Letter From The Senior Pastor: Never Give Up

Dear Saints,

As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have been through storms, moments of dryness and immense difficulty through various situations. I have understood that before every victory, we face mountains of disappointment, weakness in spirit and in the physical that threatens to take hold of us, pulling us to wallow in despair. The idealism of many that the christian life is not one of hardship is flawed and unscriptural for even the apostles in the early church faced insurmountable odds, even giving up their lives for the work to continue. Regardless of the difficulty, the exhortation is to consider it pure joy.

James 1:2-3 states – “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Thus I stand in complete joy, not because I was told to change my outlook on it but because I see amidst the veil of calamity the silver lining to which our hope is placed. When everything falls apart, our call is to be still and trust in God. The psalmist once wrote in Psalm 42:5

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”

Yes we are cast down, yet each moment; those who walk in righteousness must take it upon themselves to preach to ones self that our hope is in God. Several years back, storms ravaged through my life especially in ministry. I stood in the midst of people I thought walked in righteousness, desired truth. I gave much, offering my life as a drink offering, standing with my family who gave so much as well to people who disdained the good we did. I saw friends go, enemies multiply. The good you do mocked and the the kindness you exude spat on. Heavy is the yoke a minister bears. You are called to sow yet the ground is rocky, irregular, infertile; and the birds fly around; stealing the word of God from the hearts of those who we gave our lives to impact and change. Despite the birds, the call is to sow, to plant; to preach the word in season and out of season. In all those times, even as I write this- one thing stood amidst the crashing waves of despair; my hope which is in God.

I look back on these things now as we have entered 6 years in church planting, I personally stand before each one of you; faithfully serving God for 14 years as a pastor and minister- not because of my strength and resolve. Like any person, I am but a frail, weak creature who seeks strength from the One who gave me life. We work and strive not for fame, glory, wealth or adulation; I stand to preach the word of God to see lives transformed, to answer the call of the King despite the people, despite the birds, despite the circumstance and situation. To this day, disappointment never ceases when we work in ministry, but regardless of that- I stand not to give up for my hope is in God. A song I heard one day that helped me through this path I take- Be still! Never giving up despite trouble. My life is given for the glory of God, in Him I place my hope- in Christ rises my victory!

Sincerely,

Pastor L.A. Lopez

House Challenge Update 1-3

As the House Challenge came to full effect, each Armor Bearer of their respective houses took up the challenge to minister and proclaim the word of God in the highways and byways. Each one stud, desiring to be a paragon of what is good, what is righteous, what is true. The week of September 18, 2016 proved fortuitous for House Obedient who garnered 1220 which made them the lead scorer, followed by House Holiness at 762 and House Truthful with 498 points. Additional points were awarded and negatives where bestowed due to attendance, conduct, etc. Each house was challenged to present Psalm 91 and Psalm 23 respectively. On the week of September 25, 2016; each house were given riddles and questions that garnered them points, they also presented their evangelism report. After service, Pastor L.A. Lopez and AHFi leadership challenged the Armor Bearers with the scripture presentation which would award the winning team with 500 points and Ice Cream. After each team presented, the scores were tabulated. House Obedient started on the top rank at 2229, followed by House Truthful with 1931 and House Holiness with 1847. Due to a brilliant presentation plus additional points given for service, and conduct; House Holiness rose up to 1st place with 2437, followed by House Truthful with 2351 and House Obedient with 2279. As the day waned, the final challenge was given.

A singular riddle was bestowed to all houses.

The riddle is as follows:

Adam, God made out of dust,
But thought it best to make me first,
So I was made before now,
To answer God’s most holy plan,
A living being I became,
And Adam gave to me my name,
I from his presence then withdrew,
And more of Adam I never knew.
I did my Maker’s law obey,
Nor never went from it astray,
Thousands of miles I go in fear,
But seldom on earth appear,
For purpose wise which God did see,
He put a living soul in me,
A soul from me God did claim,
And took from me the soul had fled,
I was the same as when first made,
And without hands or feet or soul,
I travel on from pale to pale,
I labor hard by day, by night,
To fallen man I give great light,
Thousands of people, young and old,
Will by my death great light behold,
No right or wrong can I conceive,
The Scripture I cannot believe
Although my name therein is found,
They are to me an empty sound,
No fear of death doth trouble me,
Real happiness I’ll never see,
To Heaven I shall never go, or to Hell below.
Now when these lines you slowly read
Go search your Bible with all speed,
For that my name is written there,
I do honestly to you declare,
“The answer is one word.”

All houses strived hard to answer, but only one stood victorious and that was House Holiness who answered the riddle correctly. Their answer was a whale.

Whale appears only four times in the Bible:

Genesis 1:21
Ezekial 32:2
Job 7:12
Matthew 12:40

Adam, God made out of dust, but thought it was best to make me first. So I was made before man to answer God’s most holy plan. A living being I became and Adam gave me my name. From his presence I then withdrew and more of Adam I never knew. I did my maker’s law obey, not ever went from it astray. Thousands of miles I go in fear, but seldom on the earth appear:

Whales are in the ocean.

For purpose wise which God did see, he put a living soul in me:

Jonah.

A soul from me God did claim and took from me the soul again. So when from me the soul had fled, I was the same as when first made:

Jonah was freed from the whale.

And without hands or feet or soul, I travel on from pole to pole:

Whales are long-distance travelers.

I labor hours by day, by night to follow man to give him light. Thousands of people, young and old, will by my death great light behold:

Whale oil burns very nicely in many lamps. But the whale must be killed to get the oil.

No right or wrong can I conceive, the scriptures I cannot believe. Although my name therein is found, they are to me an empty sound. No fear of death doth trouble me, real happiness I’ll never see. To Heaven I shall never go, or to Hell below.

Now when these lines you slowly read, so search your Bible with all speed for that my name is there, I do honestly to you declare.

Glory to God for House Holiness who stands the AHFI House of the Week, Garnering 200 points which moves their total to 2637 points under the leadership of Sister Ashly Manosca and Bro. Glen Manosca. Truly we are so blessed to see our youths grow in wisdom, in stature, in truth.

Meet The Teams

The Armor Bearers stand as the youth ministry of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International as headed by none other than our Senior Pastor, Pastor L.A. Lopez with the assistance of AB Minister of Operations, Minister Winchaell Villarico. Recently, Pastor L.A. Lopez challenged the Armor Bearers who hold their leadership meetings every Sunday at the place, and their outreach ministry called Armor Bearers Jr. In the Upper Room, Napindan Taguig. He called for house challenge, a particular competition that can be traced back to the beginning of AHFi. The house challenge calls the youths to be placed in 3 particular houses that are led by Ministers and Ministers in training. The mission: To Rise Up as an Armor Bearer.

In the beginning of September 2016, Pastor L.A. called forth House Obedient, House Truthful and House Holiness to rise up for the challenge. Each house will be tested through evangelism, theological examinations, challenges, purity and conduct. Every week, a new challenge is set forth for each house to face. On the first week, it was House Truthful that garnered much points which was quickly upset by House Obedient who lead the second week; with house holiness biding its time. The challenge is on, the houses are raised- who will win the house challenge, which youth shall lead their house to victory: rising up as the Armor Bearer who walks in truth, obedience, faithfulness and holiness? Only time will tell!

Love Never Fails by L.A. Lopez

After months of waiting, the ministry album of Pastor L.A. Lopez entitled Love Never Fails has finally been launch worldwide. The album was masterfully created to inspire, empower and encourage those who would hear that though we live in dark times, filled with sadness and despair- there is always hope, and that hope is in God who created this world, who gave each person a hope and future as long as we cleave to Him. L.A. Lopez, a former child star, turned pop icon who now stands as a Senior Pastor/ Missionary of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International Philippines & Abundant Harvest Ministries Florida who sang top hits like “Yakap”, “Make Me A Love Song,” “Farewell” and so many others; comes back to encourage and edify with “Love Never Fails.” A song that speaks the message of God to each person, that though all else may fail- the love of God never fails!

This album was created to empower and inspire. To meet the need of this world for love. Proceeds of the album goes to the Love in Action Outreach that impacts the life of youths, students in poverty stricken locations in the Philippines. It also sets forth medical missions and feeding programs to help the needy as we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Love in Action Outreach is under the banner of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International with Pastor L.A. Lopez at the helm and all partner churches that stand to be a light to all, to shine God’s love to this darkened world; turning the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to prepare a people for the Lord.

Love Never Fails is available worldwide as CD or Digital Download. The album is available via cdbaby.com, iTunes, amazon or your favourite music downloading service. Love Never Fails is also available via spotify, apple music, tidal, etc. Your purchase will help our outreach proclaim the good news to all!

Partner with us and make a difference! Glory to God!

“Your Faith Will Protect You” By Pastor L.A. Lopez

As Abundant Harvest Fellowship International continues its series entitled: Battling Unbelief, Pastor L.A. Lopez discusses 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 which is the scripture text for his message- Your Faith Will Protect You.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in [a]Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 [b]indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, [c]He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.

One of the most constant preoccupations of our culture which is to ask the question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” A common question for both the unbelieving and those who profess to be believers. By God’s grace and a firm understanding of biblical truth, Pastor L.A. Lopez gives a biblical reasoning for painful tribulation, and how a true believer may rise up protected by exuding indestructible faith in the face of difficult circumstances.

Pastor L.A. states –

“Painful tribulation draws the seekers to God and pushes away those whose trust is in themselves; the reason for the occurrence of ill things is to sift through the tares and wheat, to validate the faith of the faithful and cast those who are truly not for God; for these tribulations if you will are birthing pains of the coming of God’s kingdom. In this hour of pain, both righteous and unrighteous shall feel the brunt of tribulation; the difference is simply; to the righteous – your faith shall protect you.”

Abundant Harvest Fellowship International is an outreach church under the umbrella of Abundant Harvest Crescent City, USA. Senior Pastor Waid Hobbs has Ordained Pastor Lyle Areanne Lopez as Senior Pastor of Abundant Harvest International and Missionary to the Philippines. Abundant Harvest Fellowship is Partnered with the Church Of God Of Prophecy.

“The Consuming Fire of God” By Pastor L.A. Lopez

As Abundant Harvest Fellowship International continues its series entitled: Be Christ Exalting, Pastor L.A. Lopez discusses 1 Kings 18 which is a time of great spiritual conflict as the children of God strayed from the truth, the strayed from the times of Joshua when the whole nation cried in one voice; we shall serve the Lord. Thus tragedy has struck, tragedy because of their refusal to be set apart from the gods of the society that surrounded them and as such their idolatry became their judgement.
The outcry of this message as it was with the outcry of Elijah is to be cleansed, to be washed. That our lives which stands as a sacrifice should be soaked and saturated in the word of God. And with a prayer- everything was consumed by fire, Hebrews 12:29 says for our God is a consuming fire. This was a type and shadow of the consuming fire of God that consumes everything that is not of Him. To be changed completely. Consume anything not of Him; our sinful attitude, any form of wickedness in us, darkness, greed, envy, jealousy. People who walk in carnality; our hunger for the world; our hunger to sate the lust in ourselves.

1 Kings 18:36-39
And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God

Abundant Harvest Fellowship International is an outreach church under the umbrella of Abundant Harvest Crescent City, USA. Senior Pastor Waid Hobbs has Ordained Pastor Lyle Areanne Lopez as Senior Pastor of Abundant Harvest International and Missionary to the Philippines. Abundant Harvest Fellowship is Partnered with the Church Of God Of Prophecy.

Free Ebook, 30 Day Devotional from Pastor L.A. Lopez

Dear Saints,

Greetings, May the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you; may His truth shine on your path as His word be lamp unto our feet for His tender mercies never cease; as they are renewed each morning.

I would like to begin by remembering the first moment I started writing a message at the beginning of my ministry here in the Philippines. I remember the joy of seeing the fluidity of God’s thought come alive as I readied myself for the launching of Abundant Harvest Fellowship International; the first church I officially planted with my family as we desired to plant a church that would stand as a sanc- tuary to the saints; a place of refuge to those wearied by this world and a safe ha- ven for believers to grow in the Lord, live a life of purity as we worship the King

in Spirit and in truth. I still remember being torn, I have served years past as a Youth Pastor for several churches as God has always guided my hand and willed each work I endeavored to grow; during these years I have learned to speak the word of God soundly yet lacking the personal touch that my mother was striving to instill in me a couple of nights prior to the launch we had on October 10, 2010. Stubbornly, I decided to go to my comfort zone, thus I began preparing the message the way I always had but as I typed away; the Holy Spirit impressed upon me a simple truth- that no matter how wonderful my teaching could be; if I could not win the heart of the people; it has been for nought. I asked God for wisdom and discernment as I strived to write my message the way my mother had been encouraging me to do so; to open my heart to the people who will for the first time come to my church. To share my life with them, my experiences, my walk with God and how He turned each sorrowful story into overwhelming joyous victory. As I wrote, the words just kept on coming until I saw that I already finished the message; rather God already finished it through me. I shared the message God impressed upon me that Sunday and God moved and used it to impact so many, thus I’ve been teaching, preaching the word of God that way ever since. In this small book that God has impressed me to share with you; I have compiled a few of my teachings that I pray would be a blessing to you as I pray it stand to recalibrate your Christianity as we seek Christ in our walk. My desire is that this book would aug- ment your quiet time and help lead you to a fruitful life in Christ Jesus. This devotional was created not to replace the Bible, nor should you think that reading one day of this book should suffice your spiritual needs. Friend, we all need meat- we need the Bible to fill us and nourish us. Think of this book as a once a day tablet that upon be taken with your actual meal would augment the nutrients synthesized to build up your immune system, and keep you healthy. This devotional was cre- ated to share with you some insights that God has impressed upon me as you read the ever living word of the Most High God.

This devotional book is designed as an In-depth reader if you will, with hard spiritual truths to mull over and I pray that each day may stand as a challenge for us to check ourselves, humble our hearts, commit to change and ask God for the strength to follow through the recalibration of our Christianity. At the end of the 30 days, my prayer is that you would have applied the truths you’ve learned each day simultaneously as we strive to become the people God called us to be, not by might nor power but by His Holy Spirit.

A final note to you dear Saint as you begin your journey with me; Be intentional and focus on God!

Sincerely, Pastor L.A. Lopez

To Download a Free Copy of the Devotion of Pastor L.A. Lopez entitled; Change the Atmosphere, Confess Christ- Please click here:

Change The Atmosphere (LAL Final)

Change the Atmosphere, Confess Christ is a devotional written by Pastor L.A. Lopez. It is a Christ centered offering 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.

AHFi Protocol and Policy Manual 2015 Edition

The 2015 edition of AHFi’s Protocol and Policy Manual is available for perusal, much of the information in this edition is simply carried over from the 2014 edition with a few exceptions; such as the leadership roster, etc.

Present members and aspiring members of the church ought to study the said information in this manual as this stands as the governance for the church itself. A PDF copy is perusable through the AHFi media browser.

AHFi Protocol & Policy 2015

All information herewith is kept for AHFi use, tampering or editing the said document is prohibited. The stated document was set forth by Pastor L.A. Lopez by conferring with leadership in the Philippines and the main branch in Crescent City, Florida; USA.

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.