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Bishop Lalachan Abraham
QUOTATIONS ON TRUTH
Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself (Augustine).
Genuine spiritual knowledge lies not in wonderful and mysterious thoughts but in actual spiritual experience through union of the believer's life with truth. When a truth is unfolded by God it most naturally becomes a power in man, who then finds himself able to believe (Watchman Nee).
Saints not only desire to love and speak truth with their lips, but they seek to be true within; they will not lie even in the closet of their hearts, for God is there to listen; they scorn double meanings, evasions, equivocations, white lies, flatteries, and deceptions(Charles Spurgeon).
Sermon Central Staff
THE AUTHORITY OF THE BELIEVER
In Santa Cruz there's a strip called Pacific Avenue, and there's a number of bars. And I remember walking down Pacific Avenue, and it was getting a little rowdy. And there was two or three very burly guys in kinda tight T-shirts that looked like they could kill you, and were very tall, very large. And if they weren't on steroids, then they were pumping a lot of iron and doing all kinda other stuff. And they looked like -- boy, I would not mess with these guys. And there was a bouncer there who was trying to get things under control, and they were drunk and they were getting pretty, really out of control, and so they called the police.
And so I just happened to be walking by, and these things were happening, and a police car pulls up, and I'm thinking -- you know, I'm human -- "I'd like to watch this and see what happens, you know?"
So I kinda get over here like this and, you know, see how this is gonna play out. And -- so help me -- door opens and, ladies, I don't mean this is in any, like, sexist way at all. But, you know, this guy's trying to handle these big, burly guys. The door closes and about a 4'11" police officer who's a female steps out. And I'm thinking to myself, "If I was the guy trying to get these big, burly drunk guys under control," I was, like, hoping for, like, a 6'5" weightlifting police officer, not a 4'11" woman.
And so I thought, "I'm gonna kinda watch how this whole thing plays out," and I could've not been more wrong, 'cause, you know, the issue is not your size or your strength. The issue is your authority and your power. Watch this carefully. I watched this happen.
This very confident 4'11" officer walks out. "Gentlemen, do we have a problem here?"
"No, we're good here. Get outta here."
"Excuse me" -- and she had this badge on right here -- "I'm authorized by Santa Cruz County to enforce the law. I'd like both of you to know that -- understand right now -- over against the car. Do you understand?" And they both started to balk a little bit, and she put her hand on her revolver. It was a .45.
And you know what? I've never seen two big, strong drunk guys get sober so fast, and it was like, "I think she might use it, you know." And pretty soon I get this 4'11" little gal and two guys, you know, like this, and she's going boom, boom, boom, boom, "Spread 'em out."
You know why? She has a badge that has a position of authority that says "I have all right and authority vested in me to exercise that. You must do what I say. And if there's any problem with that, I have some power on my leg that can enforce it immediately."
You are a child of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Your badge is your position in Christ. And you have on your side the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. And demons must believe and obey and respond to the authority of every child of God who takes the Word of God and shoots the bullets of God to the specific issues. And you don't have to be strong or spiritual or go to seminary or know a whole lot. What you have to do is claim who you are and act on what is true, and they must obey.
(From a sermon by Chip Ingram, How to Do Battle With the Enemy and Win, 6/11/2010)
Recently I read the biography of Norman Grubb, a missionary in Africa and the leader of his mission for 30 years. I was struck by what he wrote: "At conversion we learned that we had not done what we should, but then we soon learn that of ourselves we cannot do what we should." We need the enabling of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to Jesus by lip and life on a daily basis.
The same point is made in John Wesley’ life-changing experience in Aldersgate Street in May 1738. He acknowledges that he had become a true believer in justification by faith since the previous March and yet he knew he lacked something and was hungry for it. But at that meeting he said, "I felt my heart strangely warmed..." He had believed before, but now he had an assurance, he was given this direct, immediate, overwhelming experience and testimony by the Spirit, the sealing of the Spirit, and his ministry was transformed. He said that before this experience he had had the faith of a servant, but now it was that of a son.
There were very few of these
Here’s a fun exercise for you to do when you have time. Use your concordance and find all of the scriptures from Acts to Revelation in which you find the word “together” and see what early Christians did “together.” Here’s a sampling: Meeting together. Praying together. Sharing material thi...
I heard recently of a business owner who, as a seeker, had employed scores of Christians in his company. He watched them like a hawk. "You know, I was naturally drawn to God by observing Christian workers who were conscientious and kind and thorough and aggressive on the job," he said. "But I’ll tell you what really impressed me. One day a guy who I knew to be a fresh convert asked if he could see me after work. I agreed to meet with him, but later in the day I started to worry that this young religious zealot might be coming to try to convert me, too."
"I was surprised when he came in my office with his head hanging low and said to me, ’Sir, I’ll only take a few minutes, but I’m here to ask your forgiveness. Over the years I’ve worked for you I’ve done what a lot of other employees do, like borrowing a few company products here and there. And I’ve taken some extra supplies; I’ve abused telephone privileges; and I’ve cheated the time clock now and then.
"’But I became a Christian a few months ago and it’s real - not the smoke and mirror stuff. In gratitude for what Christ has done for me and in obedience to Him, I want to make amends to you and the company for the wrongs I’ve done. So could we figure out a way to do that? If you have to fire me for what I’ve done, I’ll understand. I deserve it. Or, if you want to dock my pay, dock it whatever figure you think is appropriate. If you want to give me some extra work to do on my own time, that would be okay, too, I just want to make things right with God and between us.’"
Well they worked things out. And the business owner said that this conversation made a deeper spiritual impact on him than anything else ever had. It was the single most impressive demonstration of true Christianity he had ever witnessed.
What was it that made this new believer so contagious? Was it a clever new gospel presentation? Was it a well-rehearsed testimony? Obviously not. It was merely a genuine and humble admission of wrongdoing along with a willingness to make it right. It was consistent Christianity.
Why would Christians choose to sin rather than choose what they know God wants them to do? Four answers are commonly given today.
1. Some would point to Romans 8:16 and explain that Christians who willfully sin have forgotten their true identity as "children of God." While it is true that Christians can forget who they are and sin as a result, Christians can also be well aware of who they are and sin anyway.
2. Some say Christians choose to sin because they have lost sight of what God has done for them. 2 Peter 1:9 indicates that Christians can be "blind or short-sighted, having forgotten [their] purification from [their] former sins."
3. Some wisely state that Christians consciously choose to sin because they have forgotten that God will severely discipline disobedient believers.
4. Some have said that Christians who consciously sin have lost their focus on the future. These Christians have forgotten that God will reward in heaven only those who have lived faithfully for Him here on earth (1 Cor 9:24). Christians who fail to keep eternity in mind often sin in the here and now.
J.Kirk Johnston, Why Christians Sin, Discovery House, 1992, p. 31.
When a believer considers how much God has forgiven him, he is able to extend pardon to others no matter what they have done. A Christian husband found this to be true when his wife, who had become an alcoholic, told him of an affair she had had with his best friend 10 years earlier. She said she experienced such feelings of guilt that the bottle was a means of escape. Anger and resentment began to sweep over him, for his wife’s drinking had embittered their children and nearly destroyed their home. He was also deeply hurt by the fact that his close friend had betrayed his trust. Then he remembered Jesus’ words, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." As he thought of God’s mercy toward him, he prayed for grace to do the Christlike thing. Here is his description of what happened the next time he met the man who had caused him such heartache: "With a sob in my soul, I reached out my hand and gripped his, and for the first time in my life I knew what it was to forgive. I felt a tremendous sense of release as the unbearable weight of bitterness was lifted from my heart. This freedom enabled me to renew my love for my wife, and to overcome the barrier that had arisen between us. When I said to her, ’I forgive you and will accept you just as I did when I pledged to love and cherish you unto death,’ the healing process began its wonderful work."
Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician and philosopher. In his writings, which were entitled Pensees, he traces the logical progression of his thought on many subjects. But something happened to Pascal which was beyond logic and rational thought. After his death, his servant found a piece of paper sewn into the lining of his coat. Here, in part, is what he wrote:
The year of grace 1654.
Monday, 23 November, . . .
From about half-past ten in the evening
until about half past midnight.
The God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob.
Not of the philosophers and intellectuals.
Certitude, certitude, feeling, joy, peace . . .
joy, joy, joy, tears of joy. . .
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ. . .
The God whom Pascal encountered was not the God of the theologians and scholars, he was the personal God of the Bible. Pascal did not gain a new theology, he gained a new experience. He gained confidence and joy. And when the true Pascal met the true God there was true surrender — sweet renunciation and complete submission — not as a slavish thing, but as one gives oneself to a lover. There was passion in Pascal’s experience that he described as “FIRE.” This is the fire of Pentecost....
A man and a woman in love long for a union, the natural result of which is offspring that are neither entirely the man’s, nor the woman’s, but bear the unmistakable marks of both. That union, Scripture boldly declares, has a spiritual parallel (Ephesians 5:31-32). Though this initially shocks our impure minds, it rings true. The human desire to express love in this manner was placed within us by the One who fashioned us in his image. The inexhaustible creativity of God longs, through our union with him, to birth within us unique and wondrous things, bearing the image, not just of one partner, but of both him and us.
A WARNING CALL
Are you hearing one? Are you sending one?
A group of 49 students and staff from Royd’s Comprehensive Middle School in England went on a week-long outdoor trip. One morning, a teacher took a small group on a river walk. She had never seen the water higher, so she led the kids through the dangerous river, instead of walking behind as usual. One of the boys slipped while trying to cross the swollen river, and needed help to get out.
Later that day another group and another teacher go on the same walk. This time, Rochelle and Hannah, two 13 year old girls, are swept away to their deaths in the flooded stream. One of the girls laughed as she slipped in the water. She thought she looked silly--her friends laughed with her. She had no idea of the danger she was really in.
Ms. Nicholson was asked why she had not warned the later groups. Her answer: She didn’t think anyone would answer the phone at the youth hostel where they were staying. She didn’t think anyone would listen.
“And so you became a model to all believers…The Lord’s message rang out from you… You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1 Thess. 1:7-10).
SOURCE: SermonCentral staff. Citation: Stokes, Paul. River Fear Not Passed on by Walk Teacher. UK Telegraph, Feb 21,2002. http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2