Message of the Month: Embracing Whom We Pierced
 
World Evangel Monthly Newsletter (December 2018 Edition)
 
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December 2018 Newsletter

Message of the Month:
Embracing Whom We Pierced

 
 
 
 
 

My prayer for you this month:

"I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power"
— (Eph 1:17-19 NRSV).

 
 
 
 
 

PREAMBLE

 

Organized Christianity (Western churches) and the world celebrate Christ's birthday on December 25 (Gregorian Calendar) while many Eastern churches celebrate it on January 7 (Julian Calendar). The period leading to these dates is one of heightened economic activities for retailers and businesses, great time for shoppers, and boisterous revelries by billions of the world's population. 

Tragically, these celebrations have nothing to do with Christ and the Mission of God. The reason for Christ's coming is lost in these festivities; the festivities can be compared to that of the Israelites worshipping Aaron's calf while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments.

"How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it.They are saying, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.'"
— (Exod 32:8 NLT)

 
 
 
 
 

 

1.0 CHRIST'S FIRST COMING

Christ was not born in a rich person's home. Rather, He was born poor. In fact, He was born in a manger (trough used to feed animals). How low could He have been born?

"She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them"
— (Luke 2:7).

Despite the sufferings and painful death that awaited His Son, God rejoiced with His angels when His Son was born. His joy was not because of the birth; rather, He rejoiced because His plan to save fallen humanity (God had made the promise to Adam and Eve on the day they had sinned against Him) was finally underway.

God looked for human beings to join Him and the heavenly hosts in celebrating this event (the greatest in human history). It is instructive that God found very few human beings worthy to share in this heavenly celebration: poor shepherds, Simeon (Luke 2:25-35), Anna, the prophetess (Luke 2:36) and wise men from the East (Matt 2:1-2).                                 

"That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger." Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased""
(Luke 2:8-14 NLT).

Question: Why didn't God announce Christ's birth to the leaders of Organized Judaism comprising the High Priest, Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, etc?

Answer: Organized Judaism had departed from God in this same manner Organized Christianity has departed from God in our time.

"You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God"
— (Matt 15:7-9 NLT).

 
 
 
 
 

 

2.0 WE PIERCED HIM AND MANY STILL CONTINUE TO PIERCE HIM WITH THEIR SINS

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived among His creation for more than thirty years. Not only did He live a sinless life (one that was completely obedient to His Father), He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed many, and taught like no one had ever done before or after.

YET,
"He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet   the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before   the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave"
— (Isa 53:3-9 NLT).

At the shouts of "crucify Him, crucify Him," we did not hear any loud dissenting voice: Not even from His disciples, or those He had healed, or the thousands He had fed with mere five loaves of bread, or those He had raised from the dead or those He had taught heavenly virtues.

Maybe they were too afraid to stand up to be counted or they were not even there or had already denied knowing Him. Jesus, the Son of God, was all alone bearing the sins of the whole world as He was tortured and nailed to the cross.

Not content, the onlookers (representing the world) mocked Him just as we mock Him when we continue to live in sin and unbelief.

 
 

 

3.0 CHRIST ROSE AND MADE THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIM PRIESTS TO SERVE GOD

"and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be
glory and dominion forever and ever Amen"
— (Rev 1:5-6 NRSV).

As a kingdom, priests serving God, how should we celebrate Christ's first coming? Should it be by selecting one day in a year to carouse or should it be by proclaiming the good news at all times and being obedient to His commands?

We posit that His first coming should not be split between birth, death and resurrection: His first coming is one unprecedented event—God living in the midst of His people, delivering them and making them priests to serve God eternally. 

We believe that followers of Christ should not separate Christ's first coming from His life, teachings, death and resurrection; rather they should celebrate His life and sacrifice daily by being obedient to His commands and by letting the light of Christ in their lives shine brightly in a dark world (Matt 5:16). 

For a follower of Christ, obedience to His commands is the true celebration of His birth, death and resurrection. Such celebration should not be a one-day event; it should be a lifelong one of living a surrendered life to Christ—a sanctified life, a life yielded fully to God and which is truly separated from the world (2 Cor 6:14-18).

We should follow the example of the shepherds by praising God daily for all He has done for us. The shepherds did not go on a wild one-day celebration as many do who claim to be Christians.

"The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen."

— (Luke 2:20 NLT).

They (the shepherds) witnessed to everyone after their encounter with the Lord Jesus. They did not hold their peace. How often do we tell people about Jesus, the Author of life?

"After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child"
(Luke 2:17 NLT).

 
 

4.0 LIVING THE SURRENDERED LIFE


One can only live the surrendered (sanctified) life with God's enabling. We cannot do it on our own. Please meditate on the verse below: this verse is the key to sanctification.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death"
— (Phil 3:10 NRSV).

 
 

4.1 KNOWING CHRIST

"And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him"
— (Heb. 11:6 NLT).

A follower of Christ must have faith. Recall Judas was a follower of Christ (in fact, he was one of the twelve apostles). But did he have faith? We submit that he did not have faith or he would not have betrayed the Author of life.

Why did Judas not have faith (just like many followers of Christ today)? He did not hear God's word—what he heard did not sink in because his mind was on earthly things (remember the seed that fell on the wayside in the Parable of the Sower).      

"So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ"
— (Rom 10:17 NLT).

For faith to grow and endure, a follower of Christ must hear God's word: by hearing, we mean application of the heard (read) words in one's daily life. It is not possible to apply God's word in one's daily life without meditation of God's word. Such meditation occurs in one's closet—it is between the person and God.

"Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and
succeed in all you do"

—(Josh 1:8 NLT).

 
 
 
 
 

4.2 SHARING IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST

The more a follower of Christ knows Him, the more committed she becomes. She is ready to suffer (persecutions, shunning, distrust by the world, denial of rights, discrimination, etc) for the sake of the gospel of Christ. She is willing to share in the privilege of being killed for her faith.

Whoever says he is a follower of Christ but has never suffered for the sake of the gospel of Christ needs to re-examine his relationship with God.

"And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering"
(Rom 8:17 NLT).

"For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him"
(Phil 1:29 NLT).


If you have never suffered (for the cause of Christ), here are some of the reasons:
  • You are lukewarm (i.e., you are unenthusiastic about the things of God).
    "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! (Rev 3:15 NLT)
  • You are friends with the world (evidence is the company you keep and the things you do that go against Kingdom ethics).
    "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4).
  • You are hiding your identity in Christ: You find it difficult to witness or acknowledge you are a follower of Christ among your acquaintances and or stand up to contend for the gospel when the gospel is being attacked by your family and friends.
    "Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven" (Matt 10:32-33 NLT).
 
 
 
 
 

4.3 SHARING IN CHRIST'S GLORY

"God has "raised us up together, and made us sit together in the
heavenly places in Christ Jesus""

— (Eph 2:6).

Followers of Christ who have suffered and continue to suffer for His Namesake already share in Christ's glory even while in the flesh.

Because they have tapped into the power of His resurrection, they:

  • have unspeakable joy and wisdom beyond their years;
  • read and understand the Scriptures with the ever present Holy Spirit enveloping their lives;
  • know some things before they happen because God likes to tell His friends and children things before they happen (example: Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, Apostles like Paul, John, Peter, etc);
  • rejoice in the midst of sufferings; and
  • are not afraid to preach the gospel and to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
 
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5.0 COMMITMENT


  • Make a commitment today to break your worldly ties no matter the cost. A worldly tie is anything that prevents you from coming into the full realization of who you are in Christ.
  • Invite the Lord Jesus Christ to come in afresh into your life.
  • Believe as you make this commitment.
  • Invite the Holy Spirit to aid you as you begin a meditative study of the Scriptures.
 
 
 
 
 

Dear God,

Please hear the prayers of your children. They are seeking to know the truth that saves and which will keep them from falling prey to the evil one. Father, open their eyes of understanding and seal them with the precious Blood of your Son, Jesus. Thank you Father, in Jesus Name I pray. Amen.


(All Scripture quotations have been taken from the New King James Version unless where otherwise indicated).

 
 
 
 
 

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