‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek’ (Rom. 1:16)
As believers we have been called to preach the gospel. Reaching out to the lost and unsaved. This message in our hands contains a massive load of reformative power. It is able to cause unimaginable changes in people’s lives. In this article, I desire to show us, from scriptures, instances of how the gospel completely changed people’s lives and I hope that this would in turn spur you, my readers, to be more bold in preaching this message knowing the power contained therein.
The Gospel Quickens (Brings back to life)
It is interesting to note that, when we go out to preach the gospel to the unsaved, we are actually trying to ‘raise people from the dead’. Scripture says;
‘And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;’ (Eph. 2:1)
‘Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (1 Pet. 2:24)’
Scripture describes the man who is not “in Christ” as being dead! Dead in sin. He is living but doesn’t have life! He/She doesn’t have eternal life. What a miracle it is to raise the dead back to life! And that’s exactly what happens when we save a soul. No wonder, there is much rejoicing when one soul is saved. Brethren, The Gospel contains life-giving power.
A Change of Life and Life Situations
‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)’
‘To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)’
The scriptures above show us the ability of the gospel. It can change a man’s life and circumstances. From darkness to light. From being broken-hearted to joy. From captivity to liberty, prison doors opened. From ashes to beauty. From mourning to joy. From heaviness and tears to praise. The gospel can do this! I believe this was the experience of Paul and his ministry team as they went from place to place preaching the gospel.
A testimony of a radical change as a result of receiving the gospel is recorded in the book of 1 Thessalonians;
8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. 1: 8 -10).
This change came as a result of …
..we preached unto you the gospel of God (1 Thess. 2:9)
The interesting thing we see is that, God is committed to the scriptures. When we go out preaching, He backs us up with His authority:
‘Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands’ (Acts 14:3)
That’s exactly what we should also do today, speak boldly in the Lord. Preaching the gospel, knowing that it contains the power of God that is able to save, deliver and rescue. And if you are reading this and you are not saved, today know that receiving the gospel gives you eternal life and it can turn your circumstances around. Believe in your heart for salvation and confess unto righteousness.
Say this with me:
I choose to preach the Gospel,
I choose to believe it,
I allow God’s words have free course in my life and in return it changes my life and circumstances,
I welcome the Involvement of the Gospel in my life and as a result I see the power of God flow in my situation, In Jesus name. Amen
I Call You Blessed.
I am excited to be back here to share another article with you. I believe as we behold the word as in a mirror, we are changed to the same level of glory through God’s Spirit.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Jesus during His time on earth made some daring statements. I find the one above to be one of them. He said with so much conviction and assurance, that it leaves one to ask, what kind of Man was Christ? I believe an understanding of this statement will give us a good understanding of who Christ is and of who we are.
The use of the definite article behind the words – way, truth, life, makes the statement assertive. This implies there is only one way. I believe there is a message in John 14:6 above and it is “Jesus is the way to the Father”. This statement tells us that salvation comes only through Jesus.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
No Man comes to the Father except through Jesus. He is the doorway (John 10:9). The other access into the house, other than the door, is the window and only a thief comes in that way. Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. He is the only chosen way. God is a God of order. Every other religion does not lead us to the Father.
“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18)”
The destination for every believer is not just Heaven, but the Father. Even though Heaven is glorious, the Father is The Glory. It is the Father who makes Heaven glorious.
‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor. 3:18)
We are going to become the image of God. We are changing. We are journeying to God through Christ.
“For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17)
I often like to say that Jesus is the truth with grace. I believe that the truth is not the truth without grace. The truth is not completely explained without teaching grace. When one knows the truth, he knows grace alongside.
Jesus being the truth simply implies that every ideology or belief that does not agree with Him (His person, His word) is a lie. He is the standard of Truth. If it agrees with His person and His word then it is true. Check your ideas, business, relationship does it agree with Jesus? Or are you living a lie?
The devil has filled our society with his lies, and now it seems difficult to identify what the truth is. Jesus is saying to believers, x-ray everything through me. Does it agree with Jesus, then it is the truth and if it doesn’t then it’s a lie!
My Life Application Study Bible explains this phrase (Jesus being the Truth) to mean ‘He is the reality of God’s promises’. That is in Christ the promises of God to us are fulfilled.
‘For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us’ (2 Cor. 1:20)
As the life, He joins His divine life to ours, both now and eternally.
‘In him was life; and the life was the light of men’ (John 1:4)
‘And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins’ (Eph. 2:1)
‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being…’ (Acts 17:28)
As believers, Christ is our Life (Col. 3:4), knowing Him and knowing the Father through Him is our eternal life (John17:3). We can rejoice because we have eternal life in Him. Christ being THE LIFE means anyone not having Him though living is dead. He/She is a living dead. So, when we go on evangelism, we are giving life to people. It’s a great miracle.
As believers, the life we now live is to the Father not to ourselves. We were dead, Christ now lives in us. Through Him only does the world receive the life of the Father. Jesus is in truth, the only living way to the Father.
I Call You Blessed.
As we learnt in “The Man Christ Jesus; The Message”, the whole message of the scriptures points back to Christ. And so that must mean every promise given is a picture of Christ.
We see God make promises to people in the old testament. Each promise in the old testament speaks of the promise to send the Messiah; Jesus Christ. And in turn, the fulfilment of every promise spoke of the fulfilment of even the prophecies concerning the Messiah. For example, Genesis 21:1 says:
“The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.”
The fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah to give them a child, even in their old age, was a picture of the faithfulness of God to keep His word regardless of the hopelessness of the natural situation. (Genesis 17; 16 -21 and 18:9-15).
In the old testament, we see numerous examples of God keeping His promises to His people – and because of this they could have faith for the Messiah – even though they did not physically see Him. The whole of Hebrews 11 gives us numerous examples of faith actions in the old testament that were counted as righteousness and belief for the Messiah. And it shows that the faith which we act out – in obedience to God’s word and instructions, speaks of the faith which we have for His promises of salvation and redemption – That Christ is indeed all He promises to be.
In the new testament, Christ has come. The promise of a Saviour is fulfilled. The man Christ Jesus is THE promise of God fulfilled as well as the fulfilment of every promise. In Christ – in the fulfilment of the promise of a saviour, there are manifold promises which cascade unto all those who believe.
Ephesians 1:3 says;
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,”
These promises are all fulfilled IN CHRIST. God has blessed us IN CHRIST. In our belief that Jesus is indeed our saviour, we have access to a host of spiritual blessings which we did not previously have access to. In Christ our spirit is saved and we have access once again to the blessings God intended for us to have – the Holy Spirit, promises of peace, healing, grace upon grace, favour, righteousness before the Father, redemption from our fallen state, and so much more.
Perhaps the most important is the promise of forgiveness of sins. Jeremiah prophesied saying:
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34)
God was saying their sins He will remember no more! But we know that this was only a promise fulfilled in Christ Jesus. The book of Hebrews explains that before Christ’s sacrifice, there was still a remembrance of sin despite the sacrifice of bulls and goats being offered.
“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10: 2-3)
But talking about the sacrifice of Christ, He says:
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10: 12 – 14)
Hallelujah! He offered one sacrifice for sins for ever! Now, God doesn’t remember our sins because of the man Christ Jesus. Because of His sacrifice for sins.
Every promise of God is redemptive. Redeeming us to what He initially planned and predestined us to be (Ephesians 2:10).This is why Christ is the fulfilment of every promise because He is our Redeemer – the same way Boaz was a kinsman redeemer to Ruth – restoring to her what she had lost, Christ is our redeemer, restoring to us all that the devil aimed to kill, steal and destroy in our lives. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, paying fully for our sin which separated us from God, and allowed us to be righteous once again in the eyes of the Father. He makes us new creatures.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says;
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
So everything that would be Christs’ – as the son of God, would be ours IN CHRIST. Every promise to the people of God would be ours IN CHRIST. Because in Him we are once again God’s people.
Jeremiah also prophesied:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:33 ESV)
Peter, writing to the gentiles (to us), informs us that this promise has been fulfilled in Christ:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a[special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”(1 Pet. 2:9 AMP)
“Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Pet. 2:10 AMP)
In fact, we are not just His people, we are Sons of God. Glory!
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God…”(1 John 3:2 KJV)
Scripture goes further to state something that is mind-blowing;
“For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1: 20 KJV)
The message translation of the bible states it like this:
“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident” (2 Cor. 1: 20 – 21)
The version above calls Christ Jesus, the great Amen. Amen means so shall it be or let it be so or I strongly agree. We can look into Christ and find God saying “yes” to us who believe for all His promises. All of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ. This should be a joy and rejoicing of heart for us! He is the Yes and Amen to all of God’s promises to us who believe. Have you looked through the Old Covenant, and seen any of God’s promise to us His people? 1 Cor. 1: 20 says we should rejoice, it is fulfilled in the Man Christ Jesus.
***Special thanks to Wuraola Fanimokun for helping out to co-write and edit this article***
THE BEAUTIFUL NAME OF JESUS
Today, I am excited to share with you about the most wonderful name recorded in human history, the name of Jesus. I am excited that you are joining me in this worthwhile journey of exploring what it means to pray to God in the name of Jesus. But before then, the title of this article THE BEAUTIFUL NAME OF JESUS happens to be the name of one of the books of E.W. Kenyon. Although this article is not directly lifted from the book, I would like to recommend (just as my mentor recommended to me) E.W. Kenyon’s books to everyone reading this. Reading E.W. Kenyon’s (The Beautiful Name of Jesus and all of his other books) will definitely give anyone reading great insights into a lot of bible truths, especially from the viewpoint of grace.
Prayers, have always been offered to God since the existence of humanity. Man has always prayed to God. In the Old-Testament, scriptures record powerful things achieved through prayers that even if they were to happen again today, we will definitely still acknowledge them to happen only through God’s mighty acts. One example was Elijah’s prayers, see what James says
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual]. (James 5:17 -18 AMP)
Of course, it’s obvious that the above was a direct act of God’s sovereign power. See here Abraham also
So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. (Gen. 20:17 KJV)
And Hezekiah here;
Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus says the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. (2 kings 19:20)
And Job also;
And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)
And of course there are many more examples that space won’t allow me to share here. What thrills me most when I see all these awesome acts of God under the old covenant is 2 Corinthians 3, comparing the old covenant to the new, says this
“For if the ministry that brings condemnation [the old covenant, the Law] has glory, how much more does glory overflow in the ministry that brings righteousness [the new covenant which declares believers free of guilt and sets them apart for God’s special purpose]!” (2 Corinthians 3: 9 AMP)
I am always intrigued by this verse of scripture. Looking at all the wonderful feats achieved through prayer under the old covenant, the scriptures still say what prayers would achieve in the new is far greater than what it did in the old. What we can and will do through prayers being believers is far more than what Elijah, Abraham, Hezekiah etc. achieved through prayer in their days. Why? The beautiful name of Jesus. And Jesus gave the key here:
“Until now you have not asked [the father] for anything in my name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete” (John 16:24 AMP)
The verse above gives one important distinction in prayers under the old covenant and the new covenant. He said before you have not been praying in my name, but now you will be praying in my name. Elisha, Abraham, Hezekiah did not pray in Jesus name, but now we can and that means a lot.
We are praying in the name of God’s most beloved son, in whom God is WELL pleased (Luke 3:22). When we pray in the name of Jesus, it is as though Jesus himself is making these prayers, and God ALWAYS hears Jesus.
“I knew that you always hear Me and listen to Me; but I have said this because of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You have sent Me [and that You have made Me Your representative].” (John 11:42)
Can you see why we as believers are promised more glorious things than Elijah, Hezekiah etc. under the new covenant? It is because we have better access. We are always welcome to the throne of God, to the most holy place through the name of Jesus. This is our confidence, when we pray in the name of Jesus, we know that if God won’t deny Jesus this request, He won’t deny us. We know He hears us always because He hears Jesus always. It’s not about what we do or don’t do, it’s about what Jesus did and it is called grace.
Let’s not make a religion out of this, praying in the name of Jesus is more than saying “In Jesus name” before or after our prayers, it’s a consciousness and an understanding of it. It’s more about a knowledge of it and not just declaring mere words religiously. The words “In Jesus name” are not just meant to open up or close our prayers they are declarations made out of an understanding of the name through which we have access to God’s throne day and night.
We see already the use of this name in the book of Acts and in the epistles. First, Peter
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Acts 3:6)
Peter said above “I have the name of Jesus”. This was not a mere recitation or just religious words. It came out of an understanding of the fact that he knew he had access to God’s power in the name of Jesus. That’s how it should be when we say “in the name of Jesus” in our prayers. Do you also know you have this beautiful name of Jesus as a believer? It was given to you when you believed.
And where the name is mentioned, power follows.
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 5:4)
I would like to conclude by quoting one awesome verse of scripture about the beautiful name of Jesus and the power rooted therein, that has been given to you, me and all believers alike (just as Peter in Acts 3:6) and Christ even gave us authority to use this name, isn’t that amazing?
For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth. (Philippians 2: 9 – 10 AMP).
I Call You Blessed
When the word “Saint” is mentioned, it is often attached to perfection. When someone is called a saint, we think almost immediately about someone without mistakes or faults or someone with a flawless character or behaviors. Well, maybe such people exist, but the truth is, throughout all of my life I haven’t met anyone who fits into this definition of a saint, and neither am I one. If this is the definition of who a saint is then yes, I am not a saint. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Wikipedia describes the word saint to mean “A person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God.” It goes further saying “any believer who is in Christ and in whom Christ dwells”. When I read the latter part of this sentence, I agree completely with Wikipedia’s definition of who a saint is because I had seen over and over again, that this agrees with Paul’s definition of who a saint is in scriptures. He often admonishes the church as saints,
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;”(1 Cor. 1:2 KJV)
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:” (2 Cor. 1:1)
“All the saints salute you” (2 Cor. 13:13) KJV
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1 KJV)
“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height (Eph. 3:18 KJV)
“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with all the bishops and deacons: (Phil. 1:1 KJV)
*All emphasis in the verses above are mine*
There are just so many references that space and time won’t allow me to share them all. At the beginning of almost all of Paul’s letters he uses the word to describe the believers he was writing to. He called them saints. We can safely conclude that All Believers are saints. Yes, all believers are saints. We are saints not because of what we do or don’t do but because of what Jesus did. We are a people having the very nature and likeness of Christ, similar to what Wikipedia defines.
Now, it is important to note that not all of the churches Paul uses the word “Saint” to describe at the beginning of his letters were morally perfect people. In fact he wrote to settle quarrels among them, he wrote to put orderliness in their meetings. He wrote to warn them of sinful deeds, he wrote to correct adultery, and many other things that were not befitting of saints.
Oftentimes, I see people get mad because some brother or sister in their fellowship offended them. I notice they were not expecting “saints” to behave in such a way. Their expectancy of the behaviors of their church members is so high that they cannot understand why they would behave in such a manner. But the truth is these people are not perfect people rather they are people on their way to perfection. There is work ongoing in them.
“Being Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6 KJV)
And while this work is not yet completed, we have to learn to forbear and tolerate the faults of each other in the church without seeing each other as being less than saints. Paul knew this when he encouraged us to,
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13 NIV)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4: 2-3 NIV)
Some words used in the scriptures give an insight into how difficult it is to love each other in our local assemblies. Words like “Bear, Make every effort”, indicate that this won’t be an easy work to live out amidst saints. Even among saints you have to forgive, you have to make every effort to stay united and you have to make every effort to forgive each other, yet regarding each other as saints because of what Christ has done for us.
One of the elders of my church once said, “If you find a perfect church don’t join them, because if you do, you will make them imperfect”. And the truth is, saints are not people without faults or errors, they are however saints because of what Christ has done. Because of what He has done, of course, I am a Saint.
Written By Samson Afolabi