“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
Just as the story of the prodigal child, who was welcomed home not as a servant but as a son (Luke 15:11 – 32). When a man believes the gospel (about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) i.e. become saved, His spirit is given life, because his spirit was actually dead in Adam (Gen. 2:17) and he becomes born into the family of God (Eph. 3:15). God legally becomes his father just as the devil was his father before he was born again. On this account he is linked up and rooted and joined to Christ. God becomes the vine and he the branch, he becomes one with the father, a level of spiritual oneness with God (John 15:5). He carries God’s nature, he has Jesus’s own righteousness, he is not condemned anymore, because Jesus carried all his guilt, shame and condemnation, all this happened when he accepted Jesus as lord (1 cor. 15:33). So he now deserves, all that Jesus deserves because Jesus took his place at the cross. He is accepted in God’s beloved, Jesus.
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… (1 John 5:1)”
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… (1 John 3:1)”
Every Christian is accepted as a son, he has a legal right to the things of God, wherever he goes he can boast of God as his father, he represents God wherever he goes (2 Cor. 5:20). He can legally demand things to be done in the name of his senior brother, Jesus Christ. He is accepted. God accepts him as much as he accepts Jesus. God loves him as much as he loves Jesus. And God can only stop accepting or loving him the day he stops accepting or loving Jesus (Matt 3:17, Rom 8:29). Every believer has a legal sit at God’s right hand (the place of all authority), he is accepted and welcomed always in the church in heaven, so he can command things to happen in the name of Jesus, and make requests because he is righteous in Christ (1 John 4:6 , Eph. 2:6 , Is. 54:17). We must learn not to walk according to our feelings but according to the fact that we are accepted.
Children normally grow bold in making requests or even accessing their parents (no matter who their parents are) because they know they are loved by their parents, they know they are accepted, so it doesn’t matter the offence they committed yesterday, they know today and always they are loved by their parents. This is because they didn’t earn their parent’s acceptance by what they did, so it can’t be lost by what they do or didn’t do, rather they earned it simply because they were born into the family. Any other stranger may not have this acceptance even if he/she continues to do right, this is because he is not born into the family. So Likewise are we before our father in Heaven.
Christians who know they are loved, accepted, chosen before the foundation of the world (i.e. before they were born physically) are always candidates for exploits in faith (Dan. 11:32). A very good example is the apostle Paul. They grow bold in coming into God’s presence (Heb. 4: 16) to make demands, so as such it is important for every Christian to know that they are “accepted in the beloved” as Paul puts it in Eph. 1:6, and also to know “why”. We are accepted in Jesus as Paul states, not in ourselves.
Brethren, let us rejoice because we are accepted before God in Jesus Christ, not because of what we did (Titus 3:5), but because of what Jesus did. Let us also rejoice because he is continuously supplying us grace that we may keep standing in the salvation which he has granted us that we may not fall from this exalted position. The knowledge of the fact that we are accepted is what we need to continuously overcome sin, live a life of dominion and do exploits in faith (works greater than what Jesus did). 1 John 5:4, Heb. 10:39.
Grow in Grace!
Written by Samson Afolabi
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18)
I opened the Facebook App on my phone just to take a sneak peep as a short break from my mathematics books, then I saw my one of my very close friend wishing is Pastor’s wife happy birthday and he added “grow in grace”. This 3 words jumped at me, and I asked what does it mean to grow in grace? I had also used the phrase as a prayer for many of my friends and this time I wanted to find out what it really meant. My search led to writing this.
This phrase is contained only in Peter’s last words in his epistle in 2 pet 3:18. Now what did Peter mean by grow in grace? This was what I saw;
1. A deliberate Action
The use of the word “grow” informs us of the deliberate, intentional aspect of the statement. Every believer is responsible for their “grace level”. We have to make the choice to grow up spiritually. Yes, do the work to grow. Paul speaking in Ephesians 4:14 encourages us not to be children tossed to and fro. So it means it lies in our capacity to choose either to be children (babies) or matured men and women of faith. And how can we be matured, by learning grace. Grace speaks of the Person of Jesus. So the next time someone tells you to grow in grace, know it’s more than a prayer, it’s a charge. Luke 1:80, and Luke 2:40 points out to us that our Lord Jesus also choose to grow. He grew and increased in favour before God and Man.
Spiritual growth is not measured by how many years you’ve been in church, it is measured by how much deliberate effort you’ve put into growth. Growth doesn’t fall on people, people put in effort to grow spiritually.
2. Learning Grace to Stand
Another question to ask would be why did Peter tell this men to grow in grace? The answer is found in reading some earlier verses. You will discover that they were to grow in grace to be able to stand against people who were misinterpreting Paul’s epistles. The Message translation from 2 Peter 3: 16 -18 makes it clearer. It reads,
“Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don’t know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it.
But you, friends, are well warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose talking teachers. Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 3:16 – 18] MSG
Many People have thought that when grace is taught, we give people the ticket to sin, NO! Peter says here “Learn Grace to Stand!”
3. Expand Your Capacity
“Enlarge the site of your tent [to make room for more children]; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; Lengthen your tent ropes and make your pegs (stakes) firm [in the ground]” Isaiah 54:2 [NLT]
To grow in grace is to increase in capacity. You will be able to do more as your capacity increases. Expand your inner capacity to do more. A 10 year old child would do more than a 2 year old child. If you want God to use you the more than you are doing now, then you have to grow, you have to enlarge your capacity. You need to train your spirit more, set yourself more to the tune of the spirit. Take away those things that distract you. Focus more on Grace (the person of Jesus). As we look steadfastly on Jesus, we are changed to the same level of grace as Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). Let me scream it out once again, GROW IN GRACE!
How do I then grow in grace? Study the scriptures and pray especially in the holy-ghost, listen to more edifying songs, listen to preaching’s that edifying your spirit, read spiritual books, fellowship with other brethren, have a spiritual company and every-other spiritual exercise that energizes your spirit man. As a final note, let’s know that it is God’s delight that we grow just as it is delight of every father to see his children grow. He delights to give us grace as we decide to grow in grace.
I Call You Blessed!
Written by Samson Afolabi
John chapter six describes how Jesus miraculously fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and 2 fish. He was moved to do this after noticing that they were tired and exhausted. (What a loving teacher he was.) So he asked his disciples to get food for these people. Naturally, this is how they replied:
“There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many people?” (John 6:9)
With the bread and fish that they had, they believed they couldn’t do it. To Jesus’s disciples, it was humanly impossible to feed five thousand people with this. Had you and I been in their places, we probably would have also thought the same way.
God wanted to reach the whole world with the message of Salvation – that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for the sins of mankind – but all he had was eleven disciples (minus Judas Iscariot) and some other followers totalling to 120 people (Acts 1:15). Compared to the number of people on earth at the time, 120 people was a really small number. Just like the five loaves of bread and two fish was not enough to feed five thousand men, 120 people was nothing. It was ‘’not enough’’ to get the message to the people of the world. It was humanly impossible.
However, our God is a God of the humanly impossible. He is a God of miracles! After the first followers received the holy-spirit, very soon the message spread to Jerusalem, and later on Judea, Samaria, Asia, and today to a large part of the earth. In-fact it was said of this people that:
…”These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too (Acts 17:6)”
Sometimes we look at the seemingly impossible task of the great commission …”Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15)” and we look at how huge this task is and ask “what difference can I make if I preach the gospel?” or “how many people can I really reach?” And we feel discouraged and hopeless, and then we go with the crowd, forgetting that God can multiply our little efforts. There are as well many examples, of how we may think that our efforts and what we can do are little compared to what has to be done.
We ask, “What difference does this make if I choose to be godly, or choose to stand for righteousness? Seeing that the whole world is ungodly anyway”.
Luke 13 also illustrates the kingdom of God in this way:
“It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky found shelter and nested in its branches.” (Luke 13:19)
Did you know that mustard “seeds are usually about 1 to 2 millimetres (0.039 to 0.079 in) in diameter? (Don’t worry, I didn’t either, Wikipedia told me.)Can you imagine how small that is? The bible says even this small seed later became a very big tree providing shelter for birds.
God is still in the business of multiplying our little efforts today, He is happy to do it. Your little efforts can make a huge difference. Your little prayers of intercession and evangelism to just one person can make a big difference. There is so much stored up in a believer that can never make his contributions worthless. There is so much in me and you, God’s power is at work in us. We too can turn the world upside-down for Jesus through our efforts. However ‘’small’’ they may be, they are powerful.
So what does this mean for you and me today? This means that we are called to arise like Deborah, and put in our best into whatever God has committed into our hands.
“The inhabitants of the Villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7)
Deborah decided to arise, to stand-up and be God’s voice and through her God won the battle for Israel. She didn’t see her contribution as small. What did the disciples do?
“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)
They spoke boldly. Yes you also speak boldly. Your contribution is not too little. Whatever you are doing, leading a small group, reaching out the gospel to a friend, leading the Praise and worship in Church, know that your contribution is huge in the body of Christ and it is highly needed. Your contributions are not small or little, God doesn’t see it as such and he even delights in multiplying them.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13 NIV)”
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4: 14 NIV)
God wants every Christian to grow in faith (grow in the knowledge of God). Well, that is the delight of every parent, to see their once little baby grow up and become a successful adult in whatever endeavor he/she might choose.
“Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation” 1 Peter 2:2 (AMP)
This article seeks to explain the correct mindset about God’s word we should have in our growth journey as Christians. The spirit of God is one and he reveals the truth of His word unto us per time. For the letter kills but the spirit gives life. For the word of God to profit us we must see from the vista of the Spirit and allow him teach us per time.
Three persons can read the same scripture and see three different things for a variety of reasons which includes but is not limited to the following; reading their selves into the creed (those who make personal and greedy interpretation of the bible), and seeing from the lens of God. No one making a private interpretation of the bible would grow in faith.
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20 KJV)
To grow in God and not fall into error, you must be willing to change your lens and see ONLY through the lens of the Spirit. However, is it possible to look through this lens and still not see completely? Yes. It doesn’t matter your present state, its ok if you don’t know all things NOW, but you MUST be willing to learn and do as you are taught of the Spirit. If you have this mind, then the Spirit shall indeed teach you more of Christ and bring your teachers your way. Apostle Paul had this to say to the Corinthian church and I believe God is saying same to the church today.
“Understand that we know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. He went further to state that when we come into a higher level of truth, we should put away that which we once knew and embrace the truth saying when I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good” 1 Cor. 13:10-11 (MSG)
What God expects from every believer is growth. To be able to continually grow as a believer, do not take a position wherein you are unwilling to yield to (obey and put to use) the truth of God’s word after it has been revealed to you. That you believe something today, doesn’t mean you will believe same tomorrow, as we fellowship with God we grow into a deeper level of truth, helping us come into completeness in God.
As you grow and have a better understanding of the scriptures you must not forget that there is someone who probably still sees from the perspective where you once saw things, be willing to teach the truth of God’s word to such without condemning, while you pray that the eyes of understanding of such is open to see clearly. We must learn to share our insights in the scriptures to other believers with humility of heart (Eph. 3:18).
It is possible that we encounter other believers who read the bible through God’s lens and still see from different perspectives (people interpret the word in different perspectives). In such cases, it is good the two parties are humble, hear each other out and search the scriptures to know the bible’s counsel about the topic (issue) being discussed. Do Not Argue. Sometimes one of the reasons why we argue our point and perspective whether right or wrong and try to make people see from our point of view is because we are so fixated on ourselves that we pay little attention to what the Spirit is saying and would rather show that we are knowledgeable, because knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1).
Do not take a position in your heart wherein you’re unwilling to yield to the truth of God’s word, or teach the truth in love. To receive God’s word, you need to throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life, only his word is able to save your soul, receive it with meekness (James 1:21 MSG).
In conclusion, always put this to heart as we become complete in Christ (Matured in Christ), for we shall be complete in him and it shall not be long. But for right now, until that completeness comes, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly (expressed in our thirst for God’s word), love extravagantly (expressed in our humility to share our insights with fellow believers).
Love Always Win.
Written by Abraham Omotayo
“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: (2 Pet 3:1)”
It interesting how we feel glad, when we stumble on the truth in the scriptures. We search the scriptures day and night for truths, we fast, we pray all this is good but I have discovered that we might tend to lose this truths easily, if we don’t give them a firm grip. I believe Peter knew this, and when he was writing his second epistle, his reason for writing this was basically to remind the Church of the truth, they had been taught and possibly had forgotten.
Paul, was also found doing the same thing, after planting a church in a certain location, he would go back to check them, and remind them of the things they believed in the initial. Paul writing to the Galatians (Gal. 3:1-3), rebuked them because they had forgotten the truth that told them they were saved by grace and not by works.
Today, we also fall victim of this, we find a truth, but due to many reasons, we let them slip-off our hands. When we listen to men of God, we put down notes, but the question is, do we go back to read them? Our minds needs to constantly keep this things in mind, so that our belief and faith in them may be strengthened. So when challenges come, we have a ready word in our heart, to present.
The holy-spirit speaking through Peter in 2 Pet. 1:12 – 13 says,
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth (vs. 12)”
“Yes. I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you (vs. 13)”
Have you wondered, if since you believed all the messages you have heard have been kept securely by you? I think for many of us, we will be far higher and better than we are!
We need to keep Reminders. The Holy-Spirit kept emphasizing through peter in 2 Pet. 1:12 – 13, and 2 Pet 3:1 the word “stir”. The holy-spirit compares remembrance to stirring. So when we remind ourselves of God’s truth, we are actually stirring the gift of God in us. This word particularly reminds me of the stirring of the waters as accounted in John 5:2 – 4. After this waters, was stirred any-one who steps in first was made whole. Have you ever asked “what if the waters were moved every hour?” then every hour people will be made healed.
“…And out of your belly shall flow rivers of living-waters” (John 7:38). This water, is for the healing of the nations.
So when we stir up the gift, we make our pools ready for the healing of the world and even for ourselves. Many of us are suffering now from things now, that the truth that will set us free have already been communicated to us, but we have forgotten them. It is time, to search our archives, to set reminders, it is time to read our sermon notes. It is time to listen to those tapes we have bought again and again and again.
The Holy-Spirit doesn’t just speak to us, for us to build sermon notes, He speaks to us to liberate us and help us liberate the world from darkness.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised ;)” (Heb. 10:23)
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21)
LASTLY, I SAY STIR UP THE GIFT!
I CALL YOU BLESSED.
This article is considered by me, one of the few articles I have been prompted to write, and that God has continuously kept repeating to me my-self over and over again. I have been learning and am presently learning how to drive this message into my sub-conscious. All through-out the journey of life, we will arrive at points when it all seems not-working, when frustration sets-in and our soul seems weary. Whilst all this points towards the fact that this world isn’t our destination (place of rest), yet there is one thing, I believe God keeps saying to us and it is “Am Supplying You GRACE”. And truly He is. Indeed He is! I wish I can scream that loud at the top of my voice with all seriousness written over and across my face, because I believe that is the same thing God is also trying to say to US. He is Supplying Us Grace. For in our Knowing this lies our strength to overcome every of our challenges. As you read, May the Holy-spirit communicate this message to you also.
“And He said unto me, My Grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness… (2 Cor. 12:9)”
Man is frail, Man is weak. We don’t have a power of our own and we don’t even have the wisdom to solve many life puzzles. Many times, failure, Sorrows, engulf our hearts, we are confused looking in every direction and asking “Where is God”. Economic Crisis here and there, Health issues, Poverty, No Jobs, and for many for students, academics are sometimes nightmares. The psalmist considered man, and couldn’t make anything of him that he asked “what is man?”
We are faced every now and then with challenges and obstacles, we ask questions not knowing direction, most times we are confused because we have used all our strength and seems things are not working, it seems life is not just fair some times. Now all this shows and proves our in-ability, it shows our need of help. Our need to rely on an outer supply of help. And not just help, timely and constant help.
It is obvious that a fellow man cannot just fill the void for another man’s lack or failure because an empty barrel can’t fill another empty barrel. God is the perfect fill of all the lack we may ever expect. The most interesting part of this is that, God is far more ready to supply this “missing part” (grace) to us than we ever need or than we ever request. Every day he turns out loads of grace to us such that every day becomes “grace-day” for us.
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (Ps. 68:19).
Benefits in the above verse stands for addition, extra, grace, favour etc. and in any area of life we may need it. Now, before we activate this grace in our lives, we must come to acknowledge that God is supplying us this grace. In your academics, you need to acknowledge God is supplying grace for you, to be the best in class, acknowledge it and you see it (Believing is seeing). In your finances acknowledge that God is supplying you grace never to lack, in your relationship, always acknowledge that God is supplying you grace to be the best partner you can be.
As long as we keep acknowledging the availability of this grace, we will keep seeing this grace at work and we will keep seeing God making all things working out for our good. The Key to making exploits by believers is recognizing their weakness and always being conscious of God’s supply of grace per time. Being conscious of this grace helps put this grace to work. It is possible God supplies us grace and we don’t put it to use. Just like it is possible, someone has money in his pocket, and he is starving because he thinks he doesn’t know he has money to buy food.
One way to keep being Conscious of this to keep confessing this. Keep saying it. When problems stare at you. Tell the problem “I have grace”. While you are at school, work say it “I have grace”. Keep saying it “there is grace” or say “God is supplying me grace”. When it seems you are confused or confounded say it again “I have grace”. Your body or mind may not feel like saying it, it may seem hard to say but say it “I have grace” “God is supplying me grace”. Keep confessing it and you will see it.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth: … (Amos 3:2)”
God’s direction of grace to you alone is as though you are the only one on earth. Like though He doesn’t have any-other thing to do except to supply you grace. It is as though you are the only child He has. His focus is on you and you and you alone as though you are the only student in that class, like as though you are the only person that needs help financially, like you are the only married man, like you are the only person seeking admission or looking for a Job. He keeps supplying YOU grace. Heaven’s attention is on you.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:18)”
Sometimes it’s easy, to read the bible, and accuse the children of Israel for not trusting God at some specific times of their journey, but we don’t really look at our-selves and notice we aren’t doing so too. Paul cried out to God to remove an infirmity from Him, and all God could say was “Am supplying you grace”. Many times we cry to God, and what God is saying to us also is “Am supplying you Grace”. We need to trust Him, for by trusting Him, can we enjoy His grace and come into His rest.
But Remember, to put this grace to effect we need to acknowledge it. Keep acknowledging this grace daily and see yourself live a victorious life.
I call you blessed.
Written by Afolabi Samson