God With Us – Put Sin To Death

Romans 8:12-13So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live

Have you ever asked yourself why we fall into sin, why after knowing the truth of Christ, the sacrifice given for us to have life, a hope and future; after countless hours of studying sound doctrine and theology- why do we still fall to sin? Many would state; that it is the flesh- the spirit is willing but the body is weak- others would move to a misconstrued viewpoint that states that each person houses the old self and the new man and at times the old self overpowers the new man. Yet Dear Saint; isn’t it that we who are elected to salvation are in fact dead to sin and alive in Christ; no longer do our old passions, our old desires live- for that has been put to death along with our sinful nature As we being dead to sin are resurrected in the newness of life in Christ? Thus it is ludicrous to think that we have no power in the matter when it comes to sin unfolding; that we are but swayed by our passions as we knowing that our flesh is weak still ground ourselves in the flesh in so doing means there is no regeneration, thus- we were never saved in the first place since we do not exude the newness of life in Christ.
We are still anchored to the world, to our passions instead of being anchored in Christ. We mix righteousness with evil; light with darkness So Why do we sin? Simple answer- we are not satisfied in God. We are not satisfied in His blessings, that is why we covet and steal, we are not satisfied with His word that is why we seek knowledge from elsewhere that leads us to unbelief; we are not satisfied in the church that is why we forsake the assembly- desiring other things. And finally; We sin because deep in our hearts, we are not satisfied in God.

Let us look at Romans 8:12-13 – So we understand 2 points in our key text which the Apostle Paul stated to the Romans in the heart of sanctification-

the 1st being- Death comes to those who are indebted in the flesh; the term indebted gives us a picture of being grounded or anchored in the flesh in which we cannot by our own means break free of its chains; save by truly seeking Christ, standing in faith, and walking in obedience. The 2nd is the requirement one must fulfill in order that we may be anchored in Christ as we walk in the spirit.

The key here is to put aside the deeds of the body; what are the deeds of the body? Let us take a look at Romans 6:12-13 – So the members being stated here are the faculties of our own body; each part that makes us whole. So in our wholeness; do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. So note that the deeds of the body are what moves us to sin; that corrupts the members of our body to be instruments of evil. Instead present your members to God as instruments of righteousness- how do we do that? By Putting sin to death in our lives; sin is not something to hide in our walk; nor should it be cherished- it should be publicly declared and put to death that it may not have power of you. John Owe once said- “Do you mortify? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Thus how do we kill sin? by the spirit. One cannot defeat sin through sheer will alone; there is no mind over matter in this regard; but we must submit ourselves and conform ourselves to Christ.

Ephesians 6:16-17 moves us to the singular killing weapon in the arsenal of God; that is the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. We are called to wield the sword which is the word of God to slice, crush, impale, kill and destroy sin and temptations; the two go hand in hand. Yes understand that to be tempted is not sin; but note that when temptation strikes- sin is just around the corner waiting for us to succumb to the call of temptation- so must strike by the sword of the Spirit which is what- the Word of God.

Why do you think we call each of you to seek the Most High God; why do you think we call unto to you to read His word; to meditate on it day and night. Because we desire you to win against the call of sin. So how do we attain this sword of the spirit- Galatians 3:5 move us to focus on the works of the law; that is the good work the word of God calls us to accomplish and we are called to hear the law by faith.We attain the sword by not only hearing but trusting the word of God; by having superior satisfaction in the word of God rather than the earthly call of sin and its pleasures.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 focuses us on the understanding of our salvation and the fruit of our election which should be sanctification, holiness and purity which can only be attained by walking in the spirit and believing in the truth. Thus how do we kill sin? Hebrews 13:5-6 give us an answer by standing free from anything that would steal our focus from God by being completely satisfied in the understanding that no greater pleasure, no greater joy is there than to be in the presence of God; than to have the King look upon you. The deeds of the body would move us to death but if we are anchored in the spirit- that is to reign what satisfies us to God alone; we will not fall so easily into sin.

This explains why true believers do not often fail; because nothing comes before their relationship with Christ; not sin, not lust, not greed, not money or material thing could steal their focus, their life, their righteousness since they are anchored in Christ. They are satisfied in His promises; satisfied in His presence- not that the promises unveiled here does not go to those who have given themselves to their own carnality; but it is applicable only to those who seek Christ in all and everything- proclaiming His lordship each step of the way.

Thus Dear Saint; know that Eternal life can be attained in the avenue of warfare, not to make peace with the deeds of the flesh and the carnal desires of the world- but to truly abhor such since our satisfaction lies in far greater a joy and that is the presence and glorification of Christ.

God With Us is the weekly publication of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International that features the message bestowed the previous week. It is a Christ centered devotional that aims to augment the quiet time and bible study time of every believer who truly seeks to focus on God, grow deeper in His word and walk in the Newness of life in Christ Jesus. Reproduction, printing and sharing of the said work is encouraged but kindly refrain from changing, editing the said piece since it might misconstrue the original message being shared.

God With Us – Make Your Resolution Restitution

Luke 19:5-10When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Today I call upon you to make your resolution a restitution as we seek to please God by turning away from sin; being completely restored in Him since our life exudes the evidence of our rebirth into a newness of life in Christ. Restitution is defined as the restoration of something lost or stolen to its original owner, also it could be viewed as recompense for injury and finally the restoration of something to its original state. Restitution is a very biblical concept in which we see both in old and new testament the mind of God on the subject. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were under the Law, which specified restitution in a variety of circumstances. (Exodus 22:1, 3-6, 14). Leviticus 6:2-5 covers other situations in which the stolen property is restored, plus one fifth of the value. Restitution was made to the owner of the property (not to the government or any other third party), and the compensation was to be accompanied by a guilt offering to the Lord. The Mosaic Law, then, protected victims of theft, extortion, fraud, and negligence by requiring the offending parties to make restitution.

The amount of remuneration varied anywhere from 100 to 500 percent of the loss. The restitution was to be made on the same day that the guilty one brought his sacrifice before the Lord, which implies that making amends with one’s neighbor is just as important as making peace with God.
Now, as we studied the full background is restitution; I would like for us to go to the new testament as we consider a widely read bible story that speaks directly of restitution. This is the story of Zacchaeus.

In Luke 19:1-10 we see the story of a tax collector named Zacchaeus whose shameful methods were known throughout Jericho. This story has been retold countless times but sadly has been misconstrued due to many preachers placing the wrong emphasis to the set lesson of Christ. Some preachers would share this story to exemplify decisionism, na kahit maliit ka at makasalanan ka; tatanggapin ka ni God just as you are hindi tulad nang mga pariseo na huhusgahan ka at uusigin. It will then be stretched to state that Zacchaeus was saved due to sincerity of heart as he decided to accept Christ as savior that day. Though in some ways correct, but the direct message is riddled with holes. My prayer is that we will be able to study the passage as God wants us to interpret it by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to completely understand the meaning of restitution and why it should stand as our complete resolution to please our King. There are three characters here, mainly Jesus, Zacchaeus and the Townsfolk; In Luke 19:1-4 states the coming of Christ and Zacchaeus climbing a Sycamore tree in order to see Jesus through the crowd. Verse 3-4 states – “And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way”

So we see Zacchaeus a rich, short man trying to see who Jesus was; and letting nothing stand in his way, Zacchaeus climbs the tree. It wasn’t curiosity that moved him to seek God nor a contrite self defined heart to change; kasi kung gusto talaga nya magbago mula sa kanyang pandaraya; ginawa na niya ito. Zacchaeus sought out Christ because true restitution begins with divine election. God purposed Zacchaeus to come to Him at that exact moment in order that His glory maybe seen. It was Zacchaeus election that moved him to stand resolute in restitution.

Verse 5 affirms this with Christ’s reaction after seeing Zacchaeus; “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” The term Must pops up to me here; must being defined as to be urged, compelled, commanded or requested paints for us a picture of intense urgency; urgency for what? Urgency to bring salvation to the house of Zacchaeus; but in order for salvation to come; there must be complete restitution.In verse 6-7; we see Zacchaeus welcoming Christ into his home much to the dismay of the townsfolk who irrevocably hated Zacchaeus first for being who he was, and second for the malpractice he committed. The people were dismayed at Christ for going in to the house of a sinner, a publican and the chief of them all. Christ does not answer; instead Zacchaeus exudes the first fruits of his election and salvation; he proclaims in verse 8: “And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold”

Friends, Zacchaeus who was looked down upon, who was disdained and hated; stood no longer himself but a new creation no because of what he did but simply because the Holy Spirit convicted him to right action as he resolved for restitution.

From Zacchaeus’s words, we gather that 1) he had been guilty of defrauding people, 2) he was remorseful over his past actions, and 3) he was committed to making restitution for all the things he’s done.

Jesus in verse 9-10 then states – “And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” From Jesus’ words, we understand that 1) Zacchaeus was saved that day and his sin was forgiven, and 2) the evidence of his salvation was both his public confession as found in Romans 10:10 which states – “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” and his relinquishing of all ill-gotten gains. Zacchaeus repented, and his sincerity was evident in his immediate desire to make restitution. Here was a man who was penitent and contrite, and the proof of his conversion to Christ was his resolve to atone, as much as possible, for past sins. Here we see a new creation; one who does not excuse the things he did; but with a contrite heart asks for forgiveness and makes restitution which exudes a broken spirit that is a pleasing sacrifice to God. Zacchaeus’ actions showed strong resolve. The evidence of his salvation is not because of his decision, nor was because he was inwardly good; the evidence was the desire and commitment to follow through with true restitution; to be right in the eyes of our brethren and most importantly in the eyes of God.

That is why Christ affirmed Zacchaeus’ salvation, because he was a classic example of one who was lost but is now found; one who did wrong but because of the Lordship of Christ in His life turned for repentance not just in word but in deed; resolute for true restitution. In this passage, it was not Zacchaeus who was the main character but the new creation that Zacchaeus had become by the Lordship of Christ in His life. It was his resolve that stood as evidence of his election into salvation since he bore humility instead of pride or shame, he bore repentance instead of defensiveness and finally he stood for restitution instead of asking for grace to cover all multitude of wrongs.

Now that is salvation, to not only turn away from sin, from wrong but to do what is right and face the consequences of each action. That is what it means when we state the phrase- no longer I but Christ who lives in me; since we no longer think on the effect of our actions, nor how it will affect our reputation but we lay it all down since the eyes of our heart have found the true treasure; that is why we can lay down our reputation, pride, wealth, ambition, hopes and even dreams; since none of these are precious save He who is precious, He who is the gift; He who is our Lord and Savior; Him who is our God!

Dear Saints, today I would like to ask whether you would like to join me in seeking restitution? Are you willing to stand with me and be like Zacchaeus who dropped everything including every treasure he held dear if it meant a restoration of His spirit in Christ? Who would stand with me to make a firm resolve to stand for true restitution? Who would stand with me who have been elected to His purpose, to worship the King in spirit and in truth as we proclaim His lordship in each aspect our existence; pleasing God through a contrite heart and broken spirit; whose character clearly exudes the newness of life that we are able to state the tried and true statement of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

God With Us is the weekly publication of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International that features the message bestowed the previous week. It is a Christ centered devotional that aims to augment the quiet time and bible study time of every believer who truly seeks to focus on God, grow deeper in His word and walk in the Newness of life in Christ Jesus. Reproduction, printing and sharing of the said work is encouraged but kindly refrain from changing, editing the said piece since it might misconstrue the original message being shared.

“The Last Five Minutes” – Pastor Lyle Lopez

As Abundant Harvest Fellowship International continues its series entitled: Proclaim The Lordship of Christ; Pastor Lyle Lopez teaches us to number our days and work for what matter most as he begins the message with an illustration that questions each saint as to what one will do if posed with the last five minutes of their life. Pastor Lyle teaches us the importance of leading our loved ones to the straight path, for our days our numbered on this earth. He continues by presenting the steps to not waste their life on fleshly desires. To number our days that we may apply our hearts into wisdom. payor Lyle highlights the present problem with society today including the churches in general as to the failure to present the Lordship of Christ and move people to be right with God especially since time is ticking; and soon the end shall come. Thus the question; what would we do in our last Five Minutes.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 – It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.

Meet The Need: You Only Get What You Give

“What I have I give, what you have you give”! Let us lovingly achieve ” To Meet The Need” of the brethren.

Last Sunday, Abundant Harvest Fellowship International launched an initiative entitled: Meet The Need; calling out to the Saints of the Church to fill requisitions for things that they may have, or have stocked in excess and moving each person to give and meet the need of their brethren.

The turn out for the 1st Sunday was a huge success as everyone was able to obtain their needs from the communal plate set up by the church thus moving forward as a body of believers who seek to be in want for nothing especially during the Christmas season. This goes hand in hand with the idealism set forth in the New Testament church in Acts 2:44-47.

Acts 2:44-47 – All the believers were together and had everything in common.45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Thus we call out to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, not just in AHFi but in every church that truly proclaims the Lordship of Christ. You might be keeping items in your possession that may give you the privilege to meet the need of another brother or sister in Christ; This is your chance to share and make a difference- not just for your family, or your church but in your community. In this season of Perpetual Hope let us be reminded How God GAVE His only begotten son Jesus Christ to save us all so that we may have Eternal Life. The saving knowledge of God’s Grace is His gift to us. The ministry of “Giving” witholding nothing is Jesus Christ’s ministry. Let us practice Generosity until it becomes second nature to us.

Matthew 25:29 – “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

Acts 20:35 – “I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “

Remember ” You only get what you Give.” Go the extra mile “To Meet The Need.” The Ministry of Giving never ends! Be a joyful cheerful Giver! Have a Blessed CHRIST-mas everyone!

Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving?

In this day and age, we see a decline in faith, a decline in gratitude and the crumbling of our humanity. Occasions and holidays are but dates where we get a silent reprieve from the everyday humdrum of life itself. Thus comes the question many in this age would ask- why celebrate thanksgiving; what have I to thank for?

Life my friend, we have life. If there is anything to be grateful for, it is the life bestowed upon us by God, our everyday; our family and friends and above all else- the hope and future to which every believer holds onto: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yet some of us may yet be aware of the origins of this holiday and the overall message that we ought to apply in our everyday life in regards to shining a thankful heart. Thus, we’d like to give you a brief history on the subject thus ending it with a greeting from our Senior Pastor as we here in AHFI stand to give thanks for all and everything. For in victory or defeat, in harvest or drought, in sadness or joy- we ought to give thanks.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 – “Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”


A Brief History of Thanksgiving

Almost every culture in the world has held celebrations of thanks for a plentiful harvest. The American Thanksgiving holiday began as a feast of thanksgiving in the early days of the American colonies almost four hundred years ago.

In 1620, a boat filled with more than one hundred people sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World. This religious group had begun to question the beliefs of the Church of England and they wanted to separate from it. The Pilgrims settled in what is now the state of Massachusetts. Their first winter in the New World was difficult. They had arrived too late to grow many crops, and without fresh food, half the colony died from disease. The following spring the Iroquois Indians taught them how to grow corn (maize), a new food for the colonists. They showed them other crops to grow in the unfamiliar soil and how to hunt and fish.

In the autumn of 1621, bountiful crops of corn, barley, beans and pumpkins were harvested. The colonists had much to be thankful for, so a feast was planned. They invited the local Indian chief and90 Indians. The Indians brought deer to roast with the turkeys and other wild game offered by the colonists. The colonists had learned how to cook cranberries and different kinds of corn and squash dishes from the Indians. To this first Thanksgiving, the Indians had even brought popcorn.

In following years, many of the original colonists celebrated the autumn harvest with a feast of thanks. After the United States became an independent country, Congress recommended one yearly day of thanksgiving for the whole nation to celebrate. George Washington suggested the date November 26 as Thanksgiving Day. Then in 1863, at the end of a long and bloody civil war, Abraham Lincoln asked all Americans to set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving.

Psalm 77:11 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”


A Message from The Head Pastor of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International

To My Dear Family and Friends, My brothers and sisters @ Abundant Harvest Fellowship International, I would like to greet everyone a Happy Thanks Giving, Truly we have so much to be thankful for as another year draws to a close and a New Year springs forth. God is so gracious as He moves in our lives to empower, enlighten, strengthen and guide each heart, mind, soul to His calling. From the breath of life we hold dear, the mornings that we enjoy; the friends who keeps us smiling, and the family we cherish dearly- we must be thankful, We should be Thankful.

Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”

Indeed, it is His love that gave life to us all, His love that gave us purpose, His love the helps us endure and His love that gave us salvation. His faithfulness stands thus we Give Thanks for these blessings, having a heart of gratitude to celebrate was has been given, cherish our relationships and strengthen our bonds of fellowship as we cleave to Christ alone.

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

In this verse, it is explained how each morning is suppose to be filled with Thanksgiving, filled with gratefulness for man in all his subtleties have not wisdom; we think we hold our destiny, have command of each breath; captains of our fate- master’s of our soul yet we live in borrowed time; temporary as the dew in the morning yet God’s love upholds us, guides us and empowers us to reach the peak of our destiny; not by our might but by cleaving to His truth empowered by His grace. Thus Be Thankful, Be intentional in being grateful and celebrate this day and each day with a new found appreciation for this gift we call: Life by cleaving to His truth, turning away from Sin and proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ in each aspect of our existence.

In Jesus Name Amen! – Pastor Lyle “L.A.” Lopez and your AHFi Family

God With Us – Dead To Sin, Alive In Christ

Romans 5:2-21 – Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

Are You Saved? A blunt question to begin mind you but imperative for us to answer through carefully examining our faith- so are we save? If our answer is yes, the next question is – How so? Remember the sincerity is not an assurance of salvation, nor the hogwash peddled by many churches today as to the one saved always saved idealism. Just knowing it, feeling or even claiming it is not an answer; nor does it stand as an assurance of salvation- so how do we know if we are truly saved; if we are numbered with the elect?

If we are Dead To Sin, Alive in Christ.

Understand that our salvation comes as a gift if God’s grace, but it can only be appropriated by the human response of Faith. So to understand salvation, understand the set soteriology to which we bide to- we must understand two word; 1st being Faith and 2nd; Grace. When we talk about Faith; we speak of saving faith in Jesus Christ which is the only condition God requires for salvation. Note though that many fail to understand that faith is not only a profession about Christ being Lord and Savior for anyone can say that they believe; but it seeks action- that is the activity coming from the heart of a true believer who seek to follow Christ; that means to walk in obedience, to walk in righteousness as proclaim Him as Lord and Savior of our lives. Matthew 16:24-25; the call of Christ to come and follow Him in faith calls for a denial of self- being set-apart from the world; separated from our former ignorance, Dead to sin and alive in Christ. Walking in the way of the Master requires us to carry our cross and press on through;the narrow path of righteousness which we can follow by the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ. Easy enough; many people says it so- all we have to do is exude faith which is defined as complete trust. What many don’t realize is that the New Testaments concept of faith includes 4 main elements that make it Saving Faith.

The 1st is; Faith Means firmly believing and trusting in the crucified and risen Christ as our Personal Lord and Savior; It involves believing with all our hearts and completely yielding our will and committing our total selves to Jesus Christ. Romans 6:17-18 sets the understanding that once we were slaves to sin yet by the grace of God and power of Christ; we stand obedient thus being being set free from sin and becoming slaves unto righteousness, bound to Christ. This means that our will, our desires are bound to the King.

No longer I as found in Galatians 2:20; but Christ who lives in me. This means that all our actions, decisions are motivated not by our wants, but by our faith in Christ- we desire God above all else; thus in our desiring of the Lord; we live and are purpose to please and glorify our King.

The 2nd is; Faith Exudes Repentance which was a key point in the study of the book of Ezra. Repentance is two-fold; that being the confession of sin and restitution which is to be set-apart; separated and completely turned away from sin- thus turning to God through Christ. Saving faith is always repentant faith. Thus true believers will always stand repentant upon reproach or rebuke for their true desire is to glorify God with their lives; thus in the heart of sanctification- rebuke is welcomed which then produces Godly grief that produces repentance that leads to salvation – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, Acts 2:37-38

The 3rd is; Faith includes heartfelt devotion and attachment to Jesus Christ that expresses itself in trust, love, gratitude & loyalty. Faith in an ultimate sense cannot be properly distinguished from love since it stands as a personal activity of sacrifice, self giving directed to Christ. 1 Peter 1:8-9; Faith means that we are singularly devoted to Christ above all else; nothing fills us with hope, with joy save to glorify Christ as we fellowship with the brethren; being of one heart & one mind.

The 4th is; Faith in Jesus as Lord & Savior is the act of a continuing attitude that must grow and strengthen. Because we have faith in Christ who died for our sin; our faith should become greater. Trust and Obedience develop into Loyalty and Devotion which then develops to intense love for Jesus Christ as we glorify Him by enjoying His presence in our lives. This faith in Christ brings us into a new relationship with God as the price of sin has been paid in full and through this we walk dead to sin; never going back to our ignorances but being transformed by the renewal of our mind in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Now, our life is dependent on the grace of God. In the Old Testament God revealed Himself as the God of grace and mercy; in NT- the grace of God has been revealed through Christ in which we as believers in the hope of not misconstruing nor abusing such grace need to understand that; 1- God gives a measure of grace as a gift as found in 1 Corinthians 1:4-9. 2- God gives grace to believers to set free from sin; Many professing christians state that the grace of God is a limitless start over, clean slate protocol that as sin abounds; thus grace abounds but look at Romans 6:20-22; we have been given grace thus we are set free from Sin; thus sin has no power over us- we are slaves of God; which means that we are slaves to righteousness- we who are renewed, holy, pure and true will not submit to the call of carnality, to the pressures of sin- why sin, ourselves no longer stand as our master; the mastery of ourselves is in Christ. Grace must be diligently desired and sought; that stands as number 3; Hebrews 4:16- how do we come near to the throne of grace; by studying scripture, hearing the proclamation of the gospel, praying, fasting, worshiping God and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Romans 5:20-21 – By Christ and His righteousness, we were redeemed; but not to walk in sin because grace abounds; but to embrace the grace of God as we strive to faithfully walk in holiness and purity. The law was there to make us realize the unrighteousness within ourselves; in this knowledge- we who are convicted and elected would respond in godly grief as we stand repentant of our sins and embrace the grace of God not to erase our faults and continue walking in sinfulness the next day but to once and for all by the grace of God walk circumspectly- pressing on in the narrow path as we seek righteousness in all that we do. Many have misconstrued this passage time and time again as they justify unlimited grace to unlimited sin; 2 Peter 2:21 states that it would have been better if they had not known the way of righteousness. Why? Because Hebrews 10:26 states that under deliberate sinning; that means sin that abounds after receiving the knowledge of truth has dire consequences awaiting.

Romans 6:1-15; verse 7 highlights that we are freed from Sin; Verse 10 highlights that though Christ was sinless; he suffered from and was humiliated by the power of sin for our sake; in His death, he died to sin’s influence; in his resurrection; he triumphed over its power- likewise though who are one with Him in death are freed from Sin this count yourselves dead to sin because you are alive in Christ; the old self is gone- we die to sin daily as we live a new life in obedience to God. Verse 12-14 calls us not to let sin reign nor allow it to regain control over us; we have to deny it; resist it- by walking in righteousness; by filling our days with scripture; never idling by but pressing on to saturate ourselves in the word of God; always communing with the King as we are reminded that we are not bound by the law but we live in God’s grace which has fulfilled the law in which we ourselves may stand to faithfully obey the law since we Christ empowers us to do.

Finally comes the question- if we are under grace then; do we sin? Verse 15 states – by no means. The answer of Paul explains that every believer must continually reaffirm and implement his or her decision to resist sin and follow Christ. Those who have not committed to Christ’s Lordship and have not completely opposed sin’s dominion in their personal lives have no right whatsoever to speak of Christ as Lord and Savior for no one can serve two masters- you cannot state that you are for Christ yet your life exudes the world thus I stand to ask you as I end;

Are you truly saved?

God With Us is the weekly publication of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International that features the message bestowed the previous week. It is a Christ centered devotional that aims to augment the quiet time and bible study time of every believer who truly seeks to focus on God, grow deeper in His word and walk in the Newness of life in Christ Jesus. Reproduction, printing and sharing of the said work is encouraged but kindly refrain from changing, editing the said piece since it might misconstrue the original message being shared.

God With Us – How Sensitive Are We Of The Holy Spirit’s Conviction?

John 16:8-11 – And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged

The term Convict; is defined as to be found or proven guilty & to convince of error or sinfulness; but when we talk of the term Conviction; we study the biblical term that is rooted from in the Greek word Elencho (el-eng’-kho) which means to expose; to rebuke, refute, show fault; to convince. Chapter 16 of John speaks of the prophesied coming of the Holy Spirit as invoked by Christ in the hour of his death; the previous events prior to our key text sets the stage that the disciples upon hearing of Christ’s departure immediately were downcast, weakened and saddened in which Christ corrects them by stating that his departure stands advantageous to them for the helper; that is the Holy Spirit may come; The coming of the Holy Spirit at the day of Pentecost which is found in Acts 2:4 brings about conviction to the world; As found in John 16:8-11. The Holy Spirit comes to convict; to Elencho; that is to expose sin, to rebuke unrighteousness; to refute apostasy; to show fault and convince all of the need to repent, to make restitution; to strive for holiness, strive for purity as they are called to salvation in Christ. Understand that the coming of the Holy Spirit has never been or ever will be the coming of a impersonal force; for the Holy Spirit is a person as found in John 14:16; and the Holy Spirit is God as in Ephesians 4:4-6. Now the Holy Spirit’s ministry of conviction operates in three areas; the 1st being Sin. The Holy Spirit will expose sin and unbelief in order to awaken a consciousness of guilt and need for forgiveness. Conviction also makes clear the fearful result if the guilt persist in their sin. After conviction, a choice must be made. This will lead to repentance and a turning to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The 2nd is Righteousness; The Spirit convinces people that Jesus is the righteous son of God, resurrected, vindicated and now Lord of all. he makes them aware of God’s standard of righteousness in Christ, shows them what sin is and gives them power to overcome the world Finally, the 3rd is Judgement, The Spirit convinces people of Satan’s defeat at the cross; God’s judgement of the world and the future judgement of the entire human race- the Holy Spirit brings upon us wisdom, discernment, and a heart that is turned to God; transforming us as found in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18. The Spirit’s work and his manifestation in the life of a person stands as the winnowing fork that separates the true believer from the false; the wheat from the tares. The mark of a true believer is in fact evident in our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s conviction in our lives. The conviction that stands as evidence of the newness of life in Christ as we abhor sin, walk in righteousness and prepare ourselves for the coming judgement. A true believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit preaches the truth of God and stands to convict people of the truth; exposing sin and calling out repentance and righteousness- standing aside and coexisting with ungodly idealism, ungodly people and wickedness shows that the Holy Spirit is not in us; as such our salvation is questionable as our relationship with God is non-existent- now why can I say that? turn your bibles to 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 – in all accounts this verse states that God’s presence in a congregation is recognized by the exposure of the sin of unbelievers which would then convict them to stand repentant unto God and walk to salvation in Christ. A true believer, a true worshiper and one who is truly elected walks to convict our self and the people around us of their sin and the need to walk in righteousness since the Holy Spirit moves him/her into conviction; into exposing sin for you stand as the salt of the earth, the light in the hill; darkness will not obscure sin since you stand to expose all that is wrong as you stand for righteousness, for holiness and purity. Jesus; in his final prayer for his disciples- called that they be set-apart from the world; to be sanctified- John 17:17-21; To Sanctify means to make holy, to separate or set-apart. The evening before his crucifixion; Jesus prays that his disciples will be holy people, separated from the world and sin for the purpose of worshiping and serving God. They must be set apart in order to be near to God, to live for Him and to be like Him. This sanctification is accomplished by their devotion to the truth revealed to them by the Spirit of truth; this means that they should be sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit each step of the way; examining and testing each word uttered, each action taken if it would truly glorify God, will it please Him; will it praise Him? How do we do that? by testing and examining our faith walk through the word of God; by comparing ourselves to scripture. Verse 19 speaks of Christ sanctifying himself by setting himself apart to do God’s will; to die on the cross. Jesus suffered on the cross to bear our sins in order that all who follow Him might be separated from the world and set apart for God – Hebrews 13:12. Verse 21 cries out- That all may be one. So in our conviction to the truth of the Holy Spirit, in our sanctification and being set- apart- there is unity to be had here; mind you though Christ’s prayer for unity was not organizational unity as though we had one big governing church, or a system of government as we inhabit a tower; or a mall sized structure- what He called forth here was spiritual unity based on Living in Christ, knowing and experiencing the love of the Father & the fellowship of Christ; being separated from the world; being sanctified in truth, being obedient to God’s word and a desire to bring salvation to the lost. Unless all of these things are realized; true unity as Christ prayed for cannot and will not exist. Christ did not ask that his followers “become one” but rather his statement was they may “Be One” The present subjunctive used here designates ongoing action- “Continually being one” through their common relationship with the Father and the Son on having the same basic attitude toward the world, the Word and the need for the lost, to sensitive to conviction; sensitive to God’s call. Any attempt to create an artificial unity by meetings, conferences or complex organization can result in a betrayal of the very unity Jesus prayed for. What Christ had in mind was Spiritual unity which comes with the unity we have in the Holy Spirit which is impossible unless we are sensitive to His conviction; to what we need to change in us in order that we may sanctify ourselves and prepare for glory. That coming to His word, to His church is not a cosmetic, superficial means of holiness; but a deep down renewal which is only evident in those who are truly elected Thus as we end; I ask you- how sensitive are we to the conviction of the Holy Spirit; do we stand to convict ourselves of sin, do we stand to convict those whom we love of sin, do we convict the world of sin and turn them to righteousness? Examine your hearts today and if you failed in being sensitive to the conviction of the Spirit of God; I call to you today to stand repentant; be set apart; saturate yourself in scripture and walk sanctified, holy, pure and true as we await our King.

God With Us is the weekly publication of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International that features the message bestowed the previous week. It is a Christ centered devotional that aims to augment the quiet time and bible study time of every believer who truly seeks to focus on God, grow deeper in His word and walk in the Newness of life in Christ Jesus. Reproduction, printing and sharing of the said work is encouraged but kindly refrain from changing, editing the said piece since it might misconstrue the original message being shared.

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Video taken via iPhone 5c
Video Edited via iMovie Mobile
Music used with permission from Pastor Lyle “L.A.” Lopez’ album entitled “Faith, Hope And Love”
Song used: Agnus Dei
Location: AHFi Quezon City Main Campus and AHFi Taguig Upper Room

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