Overcome What?

If you won a game or inherited riches, would you feel duty bound to share the news?  If you pinned your hopes on a promise of a promotion or raise at work, once you got it, would you feel hesitant to share your hope fulfilled with everyone? Wouldn’t you be bragging about your boss or how well your company is doing, since you got the benefits promised? Maybe some of us would shy away from such boasting for fear of what other people would expect from us, but in the church, do we know what we have won?  Do we believe promises have been fulfilled in our life with God? Do we believe God has promoted us in His view? If we answer yes to these questions, we shouldn’t struggle with evangelism, because we will be driven to share our faith out of love and thankfulness for the privileged position God has put us in. Evangelism should be as natural as growing fruit on a tree, because the fruit of the Holy Spirit engenders evangelism; it is, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, (Gal. 5:22-23). This is good news!

When we talk about privileges or rights, we usually think of issues like health-care, gun-control or polling votes. But since Christians know our victory, rewards and sanctification is not a right which is earned and to be argued about, why don’t we view it and treat it as a privilege? It may be because we are afraid of the consequences of evangelism. When was the last time you heard someone shouting from the rooftops that they had won the lottery. The fear of how the public might react would scare any winner of the lottery. So how can we be strengthened to overcome doubts and fears of evangelism? Grow the fruit of the Spirit, and experience God strengthen you to share your faith against all the consequences even Satan can throw at you.

Fear is a very human emotino and even Jesus had reason to feel fear. After all, he was the one to face a demon-possbe There are great lessons to be learnt from the way Jesus handled demon-possession and what he taught us about the Devil. Matthew, Mark & Luke all record the miracle of exorcism east of the lake of Galilee, (Mt. 8:28-34, Mk. 5:1-20, Lk. 8:26-39). John gives us spiritual insight into the privilege of spiritual warfare, evangelism is the epitome of fighting evil and overcoming it with good and destroying the works of the devil, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work, no one who is born of God will continue to sin because God’s seed remains in him, he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God, This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God, nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (1st Jon. 3:8-10).

When we sow the seed of the Kingdom, or share our faith in our actions, we are then involved in spiritual warfare. Jesus demonstrated this spiritual truth by physically exorcising demons. Why else would God repeat Himself in the story of the crazed demon possessed man being exorcised? He is teaching us what our priorities should be in following Jesus and being like Him. When was the last time you helped destroy the work of Satan and blot out a multitude of sins?

If we are fearful of consequences in evangelism, then remember how Jesus reacted to the consequences He faced from the public after helping the demoniac. He had the pig farmers complaining. He had the villagers scared and He even had the healed man, begging him to stay. Remember that when people give you friction in sharing your faith, it may be because they are SCARED. All sorts of problems arose from the good Jesus did. Did He quit or even slow down? No, He considered Himself in a privileged position, making eternal consequences, not temporal effects. What He did, He knew had lasting effects which He knew He would never see in this life. We must never suffer from spiritual myopia; focus on the big picture of eternity and immortal victories. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Rev. 14:13.

Don’t be discouraged by people’s destructive criticisms, like the misunderstanding of harm and loss of pigs and profit. Have you ever heard people criticize Christians for being so spiritually minded, they are no earthly good? There are at least two instances of misunderstandings and criticisms towards God’s good work.

a. 1st Kings 17:18-19, The widow had seen God’s powerful miraculous restoration of the oil and flour, and when she saw she lost her son, she blamed God, but because of the perseverance of Elijah’s faith, her faith was restored.

b. Acts 19:21-41, 20:1, 36-37, If not for the fearful riot of the Ephesians, would Paul have been knit closer to the saints there? Would there have been a letter to the Ephesians? What would we do without it? Paul had to fight wild beasts at Ephesus, but did it stop or kill him?(1st Cor. 15:22). If it had, he never would have written the letter we have today.

Jesus said that we should rejoice when people persecute you for righteousness sake, Matthew 5:10-12 & Luke 6:22-36. Twice the apostle John proclaims that we have already OVERCOME the evil one, 1st John 2:13-14. So if we are over-comers, why fear the opposition? Greater is He that is in me that he who is in the world. Is it a privilege or a pain to be an over-comer? Over-comers don’t just influence, they impact lives. It is a privilege to be called a child of the Almighty and a sibling of the King of kings. Heb. 2:11. We are privileged because we have been GIVEN the victory, we haven’t won it for the high quality of our faith. We haven’t earned it because of the noble expressions of our faith. We haven’t deserved it for the high price of our personal sacrifices. We have become more then conquerors, because we simply chose to submit to the sprinkling of the precious, powerful and victorious blood of the Lamb, and walk by faith, following His example in our daily life. Overcoming sin and the world, and all the fiery darts Satan can hurl at us, Eph. 6:16. It is a privileged position to be in Christ.

Does each and every Christian have a specific and privileged purpose in Christ? Yes, even the unknown Archippus mentioned in Colossians 4:17 had a job that God wanted him to complete. You and I do too. Pray and ensure that we do not let our work that we have recieved from The Lord go unknown. Whatever it is, pray for help in completing it. As Paul said, “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

Jesus Bought What?

Jesus is not on record for buying anything, but he did make a purchase for  people.  How?  Not with money, but with his blood. When he offered his blood, he did it with pain and torture that none of us have experienced. He did it for us who believe and what did He get in return? His reward is seen in three ways. The reward of Christ’s sufferings and the purchase of his blood results in the cleansing and beautifying of his people. (Ephesians 5:25-27) The reward of Christ’s sufferings is also seen in the zeal of his people for good deeds. (Titus 2:14)  The reward of Christ’s sufferings is a ransomed people from every tribe and language and nation. He bought us from slavery in sin, into freedom with Him. (Revelation 5:9)  How much of our life does Jesus have in return for His purchase?

God’s Expectations

In ancient times as in modern times, we have a desire to pass on to our children, a heritage.  Some people call it an inheritance, and whether we like to admit it or not, we children, expect our parents to have some kind of inheritance for us.  In the Bible, families often counted their flocks and herds as a heritage, something valuable and given in your old age as a parent to your children.  The people of God today are counted precious and as God’s own heritage, both in the Old Testament and the New, (Joel 3:2, Ephesians 1:11). He gives us many more blessings that are impossible for us to count and in turn we  are expected to bless Him as a precious heritage should. He also counts us as His flock. In the Bible, sheep are described as:

Beautiful, (Jeremiah 13:20)

Wise & Harmless (Matthew 10:16)

Lost, but Found & Rejoiced Over (Mt. 18:12-20)

Gathered together by a Resurrected Shepherd, (Matthew 26:31-32)

Do you believe God looks upon Christians like this?  All Christians? Yes it is a precious faith He gave us and God expects us to give this Faith to others…