Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
When God told Abraham to go to the land he would show him, God did not tell him anything about the address or direction or the name of the country or the name of the land. However, Abraham is expected to obey. Because God promised him to make him into a great name, a great nation and be blessed to be a blessing to all the families of the earth.
However I want to bring up the aspect of “Go to the land I will show you” in Genesis chapter 12, verse one. You know the land that God wants us to go to is our promised land. When God spoke to Abraham go to the land, he would show him, God means that’s the promised land for Abraham and his offspring.
Essentially God is calling us to go to our promised land. And now this is far bigger than anything that’s what we’ve seen and heard.
Now what is the promised land? Promised land is the land where God wants us to flourish, raise our families, and enjoy God’s Shalom. Now that Shalom is not only expressed in material, physical term, but its really first and foremost in the spiritual flourishing life. Because we are in this world, but not of this world, the land we enter in must be the land we can enter into rest. Just like in Hebrews. We enter into our Sabbath.
Now when we say the promised land is ours in this world, it means we’re entering into a land of tension between the earthly city and the City of God. That’s why we are in the world, which is the city of the world. However, we’re in the world, but not of the world, if we are not of the world, then who are we of, or where are we of? The answer is that we are of the City of God. As Augustine has powerfully written about this. City of God, we can see.
The biggest thing that Augustine brought out in the City of God and also in Confessions is the word “love”. When God says “I will show you., go to the land I will show you”. He is equipping us, changing us, and molding us so that we have the love for him and his Kingdom, to be actually possessing the promised land. The land that God wants us to enter in. It’s a land full of people who are full of love for God. Just like Abraham. In this world, while he was still alive, he never saw the promised land. They just saw from a distance by faith. And they never gave up. They held on to the promises of God in their faith. And that’s what God has called us, even though we may not see the promises fulfilled in this life, perhaps. We will see in the next life the promised land that God has called us. It’s really in a state of mind and a state of the spirit.
For God wants us to really pursue the City of God in this world. That city of God is full of the glory and righteousness and love of God. And the love relationship between God and his people. I would never say the City of God is a city full of law and order, and punishment and righteousness, etcetera which may be true. However the overriding picture is of one that is of relational, intimacy with God, our creator in Christ Jesus. And that’s what God has called us to exhibit. To exhibit that intimacy with God in our walk, with God, in our relationship with one another, in our conversations, and also in our writings, in our readings and our job and our career and everything of the every sense of the word. The land of God.
The land that God will show to us is the land promised by God. It’s the city of God. We are sojourners, aliens. We are strangers in this world. The promised land is the new heaven and new Earth and now we are in the journey towards that goal. We’ll be on this new heaven and new Earth. And now we got to build that land. The land that shows the glory of God and the love of God. The power of God in our lives. God is calling us to the land, the land that will show forth the city of God, where everyone will love to come in to the city of God. Or they will hate the city of God because of Christ. There will be no in between. And there will be no City of this world. influences. It’s a tough call to go. And that’s why we need the voice of God calling us towards that. God is calling. Are you ready? Would you be willing?
In fact, the question would be more like: “Jump into it. When you’re ready, it is going to be so phenomenal”. Every one of us needs to have a dream. To have a vision. To have a hope. The hope of entering the promised land keeps us going and pumps us every day. Amen.
1 Corinthians 1: 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The antithesis and fulfillment of the cross to the culture of the world is astounding. That’s why Paul in first Corinthians chapter one says that to the Jews the cross it’s a stumbling block, whereas to the Greeks the cross is foolishness, but to the believers Christ is the power of God for salvation. When Jesus hangs on the cross, people scoffed at him saying he said “destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days”, now he can’t even save himself. Our culture today doesn’t understand the power of the cross, in fact mocks at the person hung it on the cross as foolishness and weakness. And that’s why culture today never gets it. Which is why Christianity it’s constantly baffling to them, even as it continuous to pose a threat and challenge to their worldliness and sensual desires. Thinking that they would do it their own way, to achieve personal fulfillment, satisfaction and in fact gratification, they missed the glory and power of the cross of Jesus Christ. This is self exertion, self will power and self ascension to the throne of life, completely pushed God out of his throne in our lives. It’s always a tension between God’s way or my way. Looking at the tower of Babel, they intended to make a name for themselves, and they ended up completely dispersed and in disaster. Why? Because they do it for their own glory and not for God.
A chapter later, God called Abraham to greatness. God called Abraham to leave his country his homeland and go to a land he will show him. God will bless him and promised to make his name great and make him to a great nation. The greatness from yourselves will lead to destruction but the greatness given by the grace of God will lead to true greatness and fame in the name of Christ, for the sake of Christ. It would not be our own endeavor, so to speak, but it will be empowering from the Lord himself to achieve the purpose he has called us. And that’s what God did with Abraham. It was a complete reversal of the tower of Babel when they wanted to make a name for themselves, they ended up in total dispersion and destruction. That shows the man’s greed and self actualization as in our modern society today and see where that leads them. That’s why the call of God is so powerful. We need to realize that true success comes from God and God alone. True blessing comes from the Lord and him alone. And if its from where else, it will just bring us to complete disappointment and discouragement.
Abraham was not exactly seeking for fame or greatness (Gen 12), he was a mere immigrant migrating with his clan his father from or to Haran and that’s all we know about him. And out of the blue God called him to greatness in total contrast to the Tower of Babel where the people wanted to make a name for themselves (Gen 11). This is also in contrast to Eve who wanted to make a name for herself. All of them ended in disasters breaking the covenant with God.
This is the same for us today as believers in Christ, our only channel and way to success and glory is one that comes from God in Christ Jesus. And not from anywhere else or anybody else. Especially not from ourselves the self ego the self ambition the self gratification and actualization is truly a dangerous path to go.
So the gospel actualizes, and realizes the dreams of the world. By the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. And by his resurrection, he destroyed the devil who hath the power of death. All effort to self-glorification, self-achievement, self actualization, is simply going into a path of darkness. That is led by the Evil One. And that’s exactly what happened to Eve. Who was tempted? By the devil. So if we continue the path of self-desire, self-planning and self-ambition, we will end up to be like the Tower of Babel. Or like Eve, who was cast out from the Paradise.
Therefore the cross. is the fulfillment of the very thing that the world longs for. And fights for. And can never get. Because the cross made peace with God between. God and man. The peace that can only come from God by the reconciliation brought by the blood of Christ. Jesus reconciled mankind to God through the offerings of his blood on the cross. Therefore the cross or the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the absolute power of God. To bring salvation to anyone who believes in Christ. And the cross is a fulfillment of the deepest longing and desire of every sane human being. Only human being who is so out of the right thinking reject Christ. Who died on the cross for us all.
Therefore, anyone who thinks the death of Christ on the cross is irrelevant to us is completely blind sighted to total darkness and judgment of God’s coming.
And that’s why Gospel is the antithesis or opposite to our culture. Our culture’s longing is self gratification. Self ambition. Self ego. Without any reverence to who God is, and his love and his glory. Therefore Gospel is constantly a threat to the culture because it is the antithesis of the culture today. But at the same time Gospel can fulfill human’s deepest longings. Whereby. Culture can only watch with helplessness. And in fact going the way of culture will bring us down the path of destruction.
That’s why the cross is so powerful. It is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes in Christ Jesus. Amen.
We were walking to our car tonight by Costco on on the month of January in the deep cold weather tonight. It’s dark and cold and I could see shoppers getting out of Costco are all trying to get back to the cars and go back home with all the shopping. There is nothing better to come home to the warmth and coziness in this cold weather.
Then I thought of the of the eternity home. Do we human beings actually long for coming home to a home that is warm and well prepared for us to crash, to relax, to listen to music and have dinner etc. Do you see the eternal home that we are destined to return to that will be eternal; not the kind of home that we’ve put in all our savings literally with all our monthly savings going to the mortgage of the home specially in places like New York city. Totally so ironic in life that we put in all our savings into a very temporary home, while we put hardly anything into our eternal home. That’s a question befuddles me or anyone if you know there is such a thing called the eternal home. Walking through this cold night to the car parked by Costco makes me think how many how many people long and wish and hope to get to the eternal home that is warm and comfortable and eternal?
If we don’t think about the eternity home., we will be the saddest people in the world. So the question is, what are we going do about it? Taking things too much for granted. And being shortsighted, and I mean totally shortsighted, will be the most regrettable thing in life ever in the future. If you read the Bible from what Jesus said about being thrown into the lake of fire with burning sulfur. This is no laughing matter. As like in the Book of Revelations 21. And also numerous places Jesus talked about hell. The reality is that people don’t want to talk about hell. And don’t want to think about it. It is something that is so dreadful. And people would rather think it is just vague human imagination. And a lot of people also question why would a God of love and mercy and kindness send people to the eternal burning fire? To that, the answer is that why would the loving, caring God sent his son Jesus Christ to die on a ghastly death on the cross publicly? To be shamed by the Romans. And by the Jewish Pharisees. Why? The answer is:
The justice and the righteousness of God demands so. All sins of mankind are to be paid for. Otherwise all will be facing the prospect of eternal Hellfire. If anybody’s beginning to question the wisdom and the justification of the action of God, of sending anybody to hell fire, to be burned for all eternity, he needs to look at the cross. Why? Would the glorious Son of God be tortured publicly. To die on the cross 2000 years ago. And the reason is. He has to pay for the sins of the world in order to save the world.
So this is sort of a very brief explanation. And the justification of these Hellfire? From the Bible. Question is, are people convinced? Are people willing to take it seriously. The problem is, people ignore it. People would just ignore it. To bury the concept of Hellfire. People think that. by not thinking about it, it will go away. But that’s not true. And anybody with any sense, we agree with that just because you don’t want to think about it, hell fire will NOT go away.
Now if that’s the case, shouldn’t this be the biggest news on every television and news media. Today? Of course it should be! So for so for those who believe in this, while we are holding the tension of the prospect of eternity, bliss in heaven, and the eternal condemnation in the Hellfire., and remaining silent is the hardest thing in life.
First, if you share with folks about this heaven and hell, they will write you off. It is interesting how powerful the powers of the Prince of this world has taken control on the philosophical propaganda and human thoughts for this Millennium. That any one questioning or talking about the eternity will be deemed as out of date and even on the wrong side of history. This has to be dealt with. Seriously. However, if you don’t share with anybody, this issue will burn in your soul, because the prospect of seeing your friends and loved ones burning in hell for eternity, not for one month, nor for. Two years. Not for 50 years, but for eternity is frightening and dauting.
We are at this juncture in our society when any thought about eternity, long term is deemed out of fashion, because we are supposed to be scientifically minded. In reality, the scientific minded people actually do not have any answer for the eternity; for the creation and the beginning of life in this world. We have to begin to acknowledge the shortcomings! Brilliant scientific minds in this world are weak, simply do not have any answer for that. To say that humans who die were eventually become fertilizer is the complete moronic thought that is the most dehumanizing at the highest order.
Christians who have the message of eternal life in Jesus Christ: we have to come to the knees. Regularly praying and crying out to the Lord of Harvest. To send out harvests laborers to bring in the harvest., as Jesus said. Today. We literally stand at the forefront of spiritual redemption, of the scale of eternity that this world has never seen ever before. And we must act and act fast. And act with passion.
The most glorious city in the world at the time of AD 410, Rome, was sacked by the barbarians. St Augustine took up his pen in 413 AD and wrote the most famous world treasure in literature in Christian and non-Christian alike, The City of God.
The book shook the world and became the foundation stone for much of philosophy of the world today. Today we can learn a lot from Augustine as we face our present world of turmoil , godlessness and uncertainty. After the Barbarians sacked Rome, an unbelievable occurrence in the minds of the entire Roman population that the most glorious powerful city in the world with its civilization of luxuries could be sacked by anyone. Rome was stunned at her collapse with all its glory.
The Ungrateful Betrayers
In sacking of the city of Rome by the Barbarians in the AD 400+, the Barbarians actually stopped killing those who escaped into the Christian sanctuary of sort out of respect to Christ. And those Romans who were totally godless and brutal also made use of that opportunity to seek refuge in church and they were spared. But instead of being thankful to Christ, they gave credit to their own luck.
Many people today were blessed by the common grace of God, but thereafter they turned around and failed to give credit to the God who saved them. For those Romans who were spared by the onslaught of the Barbarians because of the name of Christ, they failed to even acknowledge God. Today, many have been blessed by the goodness of God in their lives, been to universities, good jobs, and make a good living, however, deep inside they continue to pursue what’s in the fleshly desires, with no intension to give God the glory and thanks. So much so our Americans society sees the church as a decline and irrelevance delegating the church to the old folks, and those who are conservative in social values. Anything that that’s attributed to for the good fortune , above God, is called as ungrateful. Being ungrateful, i.e.. failing to acknowledge the God who gives us the good health, the fresh air to breath, the society stability and financial sufficiency is astoundingly disappointing. If there is a movie that shows such an ungrateful character, public would have had an uproar with that kind of figure. However, that’s precisely the very thing the society at large doing! And what’s worse, the society at large engages themselves with even more godless indulgences like blaspheming God’s name, full of lust for more, challenging the image of God for humans. We are all created in the image of God, and what that means is we bear resemblance in the attributes that God had given us as He breathed his Spirit into us. That resemblance of God in us, is now so distorted by the power of sins, seriously the image is so disfigured bringing major wrath of God in the days to come, and even in the present days now.
The spirit of godlessness continues to work in the sons and daughters of disobedience, and the bible calls him as the spirit of the air, the prince of darkness.
Those who escaped the peril of the invasion of the Barbarians, preserved their life on account of the Name of Christ, instead of thanking the Christians for what Christ has covered and protected them, they blamed Christ for the downfall of their city. The barbarians preserved those who escaped to the sanctuary house of worship of Christ, out of respect for Christ. Bu those who escaped, attributed to their own good luck.
Augustine wrote that If they had any right perceptions to attribute the severities and hardships inflicted by their enemies, to that divine providence which is to reform the depraved minds of men by chastisement (discipline), they would have passed through the trials to a better world. This indeed is a profound and deep perception of Augustine. TH problem is these worldly people have absolutely no right perceptions of any kind, as everything they look into is attuned to the depravity of minds. If they has perceived it as a chastisement of God, they would have had the opportunity to repent and grow into something better.
Ungrateful Pride and impious madness
After being saved as these Romans fled into the sanctuary of God and being spared by the Barbarians for their respect to the God of Christianity, these very same people now in ungrateful pride and most pious madness, perversely opposed the Name of Jesus.  The key words I want to bring up is “Ungrateful pride” and “most impious madness”.
These describe the conditions of many in our modern days in America today. While the perverse language flying all over our culture against the Name of Christ, these are the very people who had been blessed by the Name of Jesus. They were brought up in a stable country with the wealth and comfort most nations would envy, and do they already forget the source of all these blessings? Failure to recognize the grace of God upon our nations, upon our families and our lives, is a sure reason of being prideful of our own achievements. It’s like we have, by our own strength, and luck, achieved what we have today. The sheer humanistic pride of what I can do, and what I have achieved with hard work, is a sure way to destruction without recognizing and giving honor and glory to the One who gives us all these. It’s what Augustine called as ungrateful pride. It’s not only pride but being ungrateful. It’s like what the saying says you bite the hands that feed you.
The impious madness as it’s called such is because of two reasons. First, it’s a total lack of reverence to who God is. Not pious or religious; lacking reverence for God, religious practices, etc.; irreligious; ungodly. Lack of reverence and respect to the Name of God and who He is, is the result of centuries of decaying moral due to the works of constant rebellion and relabeling Christianity to what suits human evil depravity. Very much driven by the power of the Prince of the Air. (Eph 2: 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience).
The most scaring thing in my mind is that these people today, in ungrateful pride and most impious madness, and at the risk of being punished in everlasting darkness. By opposing the Name who provided all unto us under what’s called “common grace” of God, they perversely oppose that name under which granted themselves for the sake of enjoying the light of this brief life.
Much has been touted in the value of being vulnerable in the reformed evangelical world especially in the West, following, for example, Jesus being vulnerable before the cross and on the cross, on his way to achieve the biggest and most significant victory in the entire humanity history. That’s a divine act that changed the entire destiny of the world for good. Powerful!
The character of Yahweh in the Old testament (OT) is seen as the awesome fearsome God who divided the Red Sea and drowned thousands of Egyptian army, killed all the first born of Egypt, brought 3 million Jews to walk through the Red Sea in the most powerful Exodus in history, opened the land to swallow alive all the decedents, family of that rebel who rebelled against Moses in Exodus, thundered at Mt Sinai & caused smoke to rise that all Jewish people feared God so much, and asked Moses to speak to them instead of God. On & on….
And the character of Jesus in the Gospels, New testament (NT), has shown might and power in a very different way, seemed to be a controlled way. He cast out demons with a sentence numerous times, opened the eyes of the blind by a word or a touch, cleansed the leprous by a word, raised the dead a few times by commanding the dead to rise, walked on waters twice, fed 5,000 men with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, Jesus was just incredible, and definitely beyond human, and we call him as divine human, God-Man. But what strikes us all, is the humility that he was born in, a manger, he commanded no army, he went to Jerusalem on a donkey on the last days of his earthly life, lived a humble life as a carpenter till 33 years old, then launched his ministry, by performing miracles, signs and winders and then his Kingdom of God teachings. Most striking is the whole saga of his arrest, he yielded to the Romans and the Pharisees, with quiet posture, completely yielded himself to do the will of the Father, to die for the world in order to redeem the world, or the elect.
What I want to capture here is how He, being the Son of God, didn’t fight back with mighty thunder and lightning, or with angels surrounded him. He could have called upon his Father and sent thousands of angels ready to annulate all the Roman soldiers and Pharisees put together in a minute. But he didn’t. He surrendered to be beaten so badly that he was marred, mocked, and spit at, and the cruelty done to him, it took him a lot of inner strength and divine conviction and love, I mean inner strength, to absorb, and not react. He was a truly phenomenal man. The inner strength shown by Jesus in his last days is simply breath taking. His love and commitment, as the bible says, he has set his face a like a flint towards Jerusalem and the cross. Nothing is going to change that.
It is that resolute inner strength and power that’s taken the world by storm. God appeared to be a completely different God in NT from the OT. How could the creator of the universe have stood there being flogged, spit at, punched, whipped, and finally crucified bleeding to death on the cross? How could God die? The answer is Jesus showed to the world he was willing to be vulnerable to be with the weak and the vulnerable. He had this complete identification with the broken people of this world, on his way, carrying the cross to the Golgotha where he was finally crucified. He showed such majestic strength and inner glory, that he told John, looking at Mary, “John, here is your mother.” He even took care of his loved ones, on his dying minutes. He rose above the occasion, and demolished the enemy, Satan’s temptation to crush the Romans, which would have meant the redemption of the mankind be blown away! But he absolutely kept his cool and endured for a joy before him. Hebrews 12: “ 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” That’s the real man.
Tim Keller has always preached on the counter culture, counter intuitive way of life of Jesus that we are to copy. Jesus overcame the strong with the weak. Jesus didn’t established the Kingdom of God on earth, by the powerful heavenly angelic angels, which He could have done, but by being weak and vulnerable to overcome the strong in the world. He won the world by dying on the cross, not on a chariot of horses. Jesus demonstrated the most beautiful grace of God to crush the evil powers of death and sin, and reconciled mankind/elect back to God. That’s how it works with Jesus.
So, a lot of reformed preachers, churches, talk about the vulnerability of modern man and woman, in the midst of brokenness, stress, anxiety, rat race lifestyle, to grow in the Lord. While the Pentecostals never talk about being vulnerable, but stressed the victory in Christ, claim this, and claim that! Speak into being the victories of Christ (this is not biblical). Nevertheless, there is a sharp contrast. As a matter of fact, the former way, the Reformed way, will come up on top, because that’s what Jesus did.
I have concluded in my mind, coming from a charismatic background myself, and now being immersed in the reformed world, I can tell you that being vulnerable is not part of the Pentecostal lingo. That would have been lack of faith. There is a real conundrum right here talking about faith. For charismatics, this came from what Jesus said to the woman with the bleeding problem, “woman, your faith has healed you”. Mark 5: 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” It is verses like this caused Pentecostals to think; it’s actually the woman’s faith that has healed her according to Jesus! Jesus surprisingly accredited totally to the woman’s faith that healed her. That actually spurred Pentecostals to preach on such as a doctrine, and hence the faith movement. But if you look at this case, it’s the woman’s tenacity and desperation to find Jesus, that brought her overcame hordes of men crowding around Jesus, and touched him, because she thought to herself, 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. The healing is immediate! Hallelujah! That’s incredible! In the context of this woman pressing in against all odds, as women do not mingle and definitely not touching men in those middle eastern culture at that time, she persevered and pushed in to touch Jesus. Her faith was strong, and Jesus saw that and acknowledged that. But really power comes from Jesus, not her faith, it’s only her faith in Jesus touched Jesus who then released his power to heal her. Faith alone won’t do the job, it’s the persistent faith against all odds, moved the heart of God. So this kind of verses fired up the Pentecostals to “claim” healing, which is, in my mind, unbiblical. You can’t claim healing, but you can ask God for healing. You don’t have it, and there is nothing for you to claim.
Mark 10: 46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.51“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Did you see how earnest is the blind man in seeking out Jesus as he shouted out to Jesus for mercy and he was rebuked by many to be quiet? But he shouted all the more. Then Jesus stopped and called him, and as soon as he hears what the blind man wants, Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you”, immediately he saw! What’s the deal here? Is it his faith that healed him again? Same story, same principle, Jesus saw the earnestness of his heart, and hence his faith, Jesus healed him. Firstly Jesus saw his faith, and then Jesus healed him. Pentecostals have always used these kind of verses to conclude, it’s our faith. But our faith in the last two contexts is really the hearts earnestness and perseverance, going against all odds. That’s the deal.
I would conclude that we should be even vulnerable to walk in Jesus shoes, to learn the humility to minister to the world, but continue to develop our hearts longing for God and releasing such faith to see wonders and oracles.
This captures the NT God beautifully:
Matt 12 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. 21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Gen 1: 25 God made the wild
animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds,
and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their
kinds. And God saw that it was good.
But when it comes to Adam, he said he couldn’t find any creation that will fit Adam. And God actually for the first time said it’s not good. Gen 2: 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Couple things here, the call to pronounce its not good for man to be alone came from God, not man’s idea, but God the creator’s idea. It came from God. Then the solution to that loneliness of Adam, also came from God, for God says I will make him a helper fit for him. That’s huge, as it all points to a sovereign God, nothing of the man’s plan, will etc. All by God.
And God had to create another being that will fit Adam to be his helper. You see God used the word “fit” in Genesis 2, and that’s very significant. Nothing else fits under heaven of all the creations he created. Remember God created everything by simply speaking them into being. But for Adam, the first human, God breathed his breath into a pile of dust and God created the first man in his image. Gen 2: 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. No other creation of God received the breathe of God, except Adam, and that’s very special as the breathe of God is the Spirit of God.
Another thing is how He created Adam. That’s another
significant point here and it’s the words “in our likeness”. Nothing else was
created in Gods image except Adam! Special! In someone’s image, it means he
looks like God and have Gods special spiritual being. 27 Or So God
created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he
created them; male and female he created them.
Now God then put Adam to sleep and while he’s asleep, God took a rib out of him
and created Eve out of Adams bone. But for Adam no suitable
helper was found.
21 So the Lord God caused the man to
fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribsand then closed up the
place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God
made a woman from the rib he
had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
It’s very significant that the first woman was created from the first man. Eve was not created from dust and God’s breathe like Adam, but rather she’s created from a rib of Adam. This is huge. And in Ephesians Paul mentioned that it was Adam who was created first.
So God created Eve, and God brought her personally to Adam to be his helper. It’s like the father bringing his daughter down the aisle and handed her over to the groom. It actually appears to be the case in parallel. I believe that’s how modern or wedding for centuries are conducted with the bride’s father bringing the bride to the groom. And when God brought Eve to Adam, he uttered the first poem of humanity saying, “ Finally this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. “ Do you hear the words “finally”? Adam is saying I have been waiting and looking around and there is no one that fits. Well at that time looking around everything that moves are animals in garden of Eden. Lol. And he was pumped to see a creation that looks like him but different in sexuality, and it was God who brought her to him! So I believe it’s best to wait upon God to bring the right man to the woman, and also for God to bring the man to the right woman. I know this is rather spiritual but there is a lot of truth in it and I can testify to that how I found my wife.
Lets just expound the word “helper” here for a minute. Helper here doesn’t mean someone just helping the man to achieve something when he could have done it himself, so it’s really helping him out in terms of time etc. But no, Tim Keller expounded this word as per the original Hebrew word as someone helping the man doing something he wouldn’t have been able to do by himself. It’s something that they combined their complementarianism, achieved the impossible. I deeply believe that, basing on my own marriage, there is no way, I could have done or achieved some of the things I have done. Marriage is an enrichment and helping the man out in that sense. There is something that only a wife can bring out in the marriage walk of the man & woman.
Finally, my thesis is no man can be complete without his Eve, except some exceptions like those who are celibate for God and by God, like apostle Paul. But apart from that the fullness of a man is when he is brought a woman to be his helper or soul mate. Man can only be full when he meets a woman of soulmate. That’s why same sex union is just impossible in God’s design and will. No one can change God’s creation design and will. Let God be God.
I have not prayed for years in my passionate faith filled pentecostal prayer like this afternoon after chatting with and connecting my daughter with a sister church’s pastor in London. After that I sensed an anointing of God upon me, I prayed immediately praising God, akin to Elizabeth bursting out in praise & prayer to God, though in a smaller scale.
Luke 1:41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
That’s precious. I also remember how Jesus was filled with the
Spirit after being tempted by the devil in the wilderness for 40 days. In a
smaller scale, I begin to understand or feel what the Bible means being filled
with the Spirit.
Luke 4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil.
Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit &
spoke courageously and powerfully to a hostile crowd about the Gospel of Jesus
Acts 4: 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
All these to show that there is ample supply of bible verses
supporting the Spirit filled person after an encounter with God.
You need an encounter with God for being filled with the Spirit
Elizabeth didn’t just yell out “Blessed be the mother of my
Lord” out of nowhere. She did it because she heard the voice of Mary calling
her. Luke 1:41 and when Elizabeth heard the greeting of
Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. SO much so that her baby in her womb leaped
in her womb! That’s an encounter with God. (BTW, who says life starts at
We all need an encounter with God for the outburst of joy,
faith, and confidence. Encountering with God produces a surge of faith, like
Peter, stepping out in such strong faith and courage, preached to a hostile
Jewish crowd, who just a few days earlier, crucified the Lord Jesus. Elizabeth’s
spirit connected with God’s Spirit (Holy Spirit), when she heard the voice of
Mary. We all need that special encounter with God, in small ways, in big ways.
Normally encounter with God will be a big way.
I burst into praise to God after connecting my daughter with
Hope church London’s pastor. I then prayed with great faith. With great
liberation, I leapt into great prayer, which I haven’t seen for years in New
York. Coming from a Pentecostal background into a Presbyterian and Reformed
theology in seminary, I feel my prayers been enriched but subdued, but I wont
call it suppressed. It’s subdued in terms of burst of energy and joy. This afternoon’s
prayer is an outburst of celebration with faith and I felt connected with God
in the Holy Spirit and uttered the prayer with faith that I haven’t seen for
years. That’s the return to prayers with faith and energized by the Holy
Spirit. I long for more of this kind of encounter, and one thing for sure, I am
returning to more energized and Spirit filled faith empowered prayers. For
This is my reflections from the book “A Continuing Church” by Dr. Sean Lucas, my History Professor in Reformed Theological Seminary, NYC). PCA, a conservative Bible believing section of the original PCUS, was split from PCUS in 1973 after a turbulent sad and mastering display of the progressive minds and theologians over 50 years. In that 50 years plus, it is heartbreaking, as an orthodox conservative believer evangelical myself, to read the evolution and the progress of the liberal progressive movement in PCUS. It is hard to read and the indecision of certain leaders like Nelson Bell who strongly led in advocating and fighting for conservative teaching in PCUS, suddenly pulled out of conservative movement, clearly displays a hypocrisy and coward-ness unheard of for decades. It is due to leaders like these, who turned from hero to traitor, church must stand ready to disavow any supposedly godly conservative church leader who may flip on God in the last minute, and our constant source and only source of strength and hope must be in God and God alone as Calvin has taught in his Institutes.
The story of Presbyterian Church breakup from 1920-1973 is an eye opener and warning and lesson to modern day evangelical Christians today. The first thing that drives the whole narrative and really stands up is the power of progressive thinkers, scholars, in the church. The whole liberal teachings in PCUS started from a professor in the seminary and a few pastors that also echoed the same liking for such teaching, which I would call apostasy. The troubling thing is that it’s always a mixed bag, and it’s not an outright bad apple so to speak, but it’s all mixed with some supposedly good but some eternally bad and stinking doctrines. The whole debate goes to bring the doctrine of “social gospel” to the forefront, overshadowing the gospel of salvation in Christ atoning act on the cross. You see, to a lot of people, inside and outside the church, this may sound rather appealing, because it is about helping the poor, and bringing about the social justice that’s part of the very heart of God. But what they got wrong is the order. Augustine calls it a disordered love, for example. I call this doctrine of the progressive as the “disordered doctrine”. Nothing wrong for social gospel indeed we need that. But what’s wrong with that is it is elevated above the gospel of redemption, which is the most important, and core message of the incarnation of the Son of God into the world. It must be the redemption first, and the outworking of that redemption off shooting into social justice, visit the prisons, helping the widows, and orphans as Christ himself has taught too.
This progressive teaching of PCUS in 1920 has eerie resemblance of what the liberal progressive churches in America are teaching today. They affirm and emphasize more on social gospel over and above the redemption story of Christ. Now what’s more apostasy is the PCUS progressive professors, pastors, synods, presbytery also went to deny the virgin birth of Christ! That on its own should be dispelled and excommunicated from church as instructed by our dear beloved apostle Paul in Gal 1: “6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel……9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” PCUS professors and pastors were clearly teaching and writing deviant teaching from the original gospel in the Bible, and strictly, they should have been brought under discipline and if continuing despite rebuke, should be ex-communicated. Although the PCUS conservative leadership did not expel the liberals, they in actual fact did not have the power to do so; in fact they were simply overwhelmed. It should be noted at the speed of the spreading of the liberal theology within PCUS within a few years from 1920, and that’s frightening how fast false teaching can spread. And it’s no different from today’s. If our churches are not soaked in orthodox teaching rooted in the orthodoxy inerrant word of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will face being wiped out in the future. Inerrancy of Scripture holds the key to everything in the story of PCUS. It is indeed the story for all of us evangelicals who love our Lord Jesus Christ. The troubling source of these entire progressive started with the seminary in PCUS, and the key to saturate the minds of the presbytery is through teaching, preaching and writing. In the case of PCUS, it was through the journals publication, and the seminaries, the liberal prof began to fill the minds of the presbyteries with the social gospel message that he was driving in seminaries too.
The heroic part of the story is the brave emergence of conservative leaders who had the conviction of the inerrancy of Scripture well grounded into them, rose up in unity to begin to fight the liberal progressives. They were the hero’s of the story. They went through many trials, disappointments year after year, being simply overwhelmed by the power and voice of the liberals. But they didn’t give up, even some of their own leaders called it quit when they were about to enter the Promised Land. It was through a lot of heart sharing and prayer; they formed their new church in 1973 in their First General Assembly.
Conclusion: What’s not really mentioned in the book, and I will add is the factor of spiritual warfare. I can attest to the most potent weapons of the devil against the church of Jesus Christ, is the wave of progressive liberal theology in denying the deity of Christ, and disputing the inerrancy of Scripture. These two alone can destroy any church in the future. I believe that’s the most powerful weapon of the forces of darkness today, and evangelicals today, must take note of that, and begin to rise as one man in Christ, and be like the what Jesus says, the Kingdom of God is advancing, and strong men shall take it by force. Not taking it by weeping, but rising with courage and conviction and the unction and anointing of the Holy Spirit to take this land.