- The difference between the Christian worldview and a secular worldview is the difference between Dependence and Autonomy. Dependence or autonomy in our epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics.
The Christian is absolutely dependent on God for knowledge, existence and moral principles. The non-Christian is (or seeks to be) autonomous. He either dispenses with the notion of God entirely or renders it irrelevant for truth or life.
- Too often, God is portrayed as someone who helps us when we are weak and troubled. While this is true, it is incomplete. God is not a mere crutch for the weak and helpless (this is a persistent view of religion by atheists). We need Him even when we suppose we are strong. He holds us up when we are standing, He sustains us when we run, and He preserves us in all we do. As Paul wrote, “It is in Him we live and move and have our being”. He is needed at all times, particularly when we think we are strong.
- The government is not our saviour. Regardless of the claims, we cannot be liberated by either the APC or any other political party. The promise of redemption or restoration through the state, which is often a part of electioneering and political campaigns, is a false imitation of the gospel.
The biblical gospel is about God’s glory and his kingdom on earth through Christ’s redemption. Today’s gospel is about me and my material wellbeing through Christ’s redemption. The difference in focus makes a huge difference.
- To be truly relevant, the church must point a self-obsessed generation to a reality that transcends the self. It must point a God-rejecting world to a God who is both holy and loving.
- The confusion in gender and sexual relations of our day is but the consequence of a prior disregard of God in modern society. Where there is no God to determine what is right or ‘natural’, we are left to our instincts and desires, however perverted they may be.
We are often enthralled by God’s works, particularly his work of redemption, that we neglect to ponder his nature and attributes. Yet we cannot truly understand his works without knowing the God behind them. Redemption is an act of love, mercy, justice, and righteousness, because the God who provides it is loving, good, merciful, just, and holy.
- To die in Christ is not to die/To live in Christ is to truly live
- To rejoice in the face of death is a privilege that none but a believer knows.
- The cross, reviled by the power-seeking Jew as weakness and despised by the wisdom-seeking Greek as foolishness, actually brought both cultures to dwell together under one roof. Christianity transformed the ancient world by healing the rifts in that world between male and female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile (Gal. 3:26-28). It is the cure for today’s racial, class, and gender tensions.
- A vague ‘Christianity’ does no good.
- It was not a vague Christianity that revived Europe in the 16th century under Luther and the other reformers. It was not a vague Christianity that transformed England under the preaching of the Puritans, the ministry of Wesley and Whitefield and the advocacy of William Wilberforce. It was clear and doctrinal teaching that shaped India under William Carey. Doctrinal, fervent Christianity has aided or resulted in political and social change in lands as diverse as Scotland, Netherlands, America, Eastern Europe, and even South Africa.
- We need a fervent, orthodox faith, grounded in scripture, borne by the power of the Holy Spirit, rooted in the life of the church passed down through the centuries, nurtured in prayer, and courageously applied to the questions and issues of today.
- You want to embrace Christ and his kingdom only when you have become financially comfortable? It is not him you seek but comfort. He who will follow Christ must follow him to the cross and the grave, and the paths to those are not paved with gold.
- What is truth?
Pilate’s question reverberates through the centuries and across cultures. Different systems have been developed, different beliefs have been held, different theories have been proposed as to what truth is. Platonism, gnosticism, aristotelianism, rationalism, romanticism, naturalism, communism, etc. Each one has proven hollow and inadequate as a description of the truth. Varying religions and worldviews, from Islam to Buddhism, claim to be the expression of truth. Like the philosophical systems, they all are found wanting.
As the wise Augustine wrote years ago, we find truth not in some abstract philosophical system but in our connection to a Person. We were made for relationship with a person, and truth is reality as it revolves around that person. Interestingly, it was to that same person that Pilate posed his question. For that person is Jesus Christ.
- A Christianity confined to the private sphere is a weak and miserable thing. It is like the roar of a mighty lion or the flaming breaths of a dragon chained to the pages of a book. The transforming power of the gospel, the renewing effect of the Christian worldview, is fully seen when it flows into the halls of government, the offices of business, the rooms of education, and the kitchens in our homes.
- The government or state does not assign human rights; it can only recognize and protect them.
- The doctrine of God is at the root of Christian theology; in fact, it is the substance of the whole discussion. Every topic ties back to Him, be it creation, worship or grace. Nothing so much shapes our lives, character, and worldview as our conception of God.
It makes no sense for the light of the world to conceal its light to a dark world. Humanity needs the light of truth which the church, and all who belong to her, possess. Oh, let her but inquire into the depth and range of this treasure and proclaim it to needy nations.
Christians of the world, arise!
Let us not be hasty in rejecting the old. Old books, old principles, old ideas. There is a wisdom that comes with the old and ancient which the new and contemporary has not even begun to approach. And nothing is as old as the revelation which comes from the Ancient of Days himself.
- At the heart of good service is an emotional connection – empathy. It is that feeling with an individual in his need, as against merely feeling for them.
- The ‘All’ who have sinned are the ‘All’ who are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24). A universal condemnation of Jew and Gentile under sin is matched by a universal redemption through faith in Christ.
- Far from that common image of a vicious, vengeful and unforgiving deity, the God revealed in the story of the Judges is a patient and compassionate King who keeps rescuing a stubborn nation from trouble. When Israel sinned, He rightly punished them (like any good father would), but then He would bring about a plan of deliverance for this same people. Hence the long list of saviours.
- All true believers, regardless of location, ethnicity, gender, race, or denomination are a spiritual body. Their connection to Christ has brought them all together into a unified body, having communion with one another. They are indwelt by the same Spirit, filled with the same love, stand in the same faith, are engaged in the same warfare, and are bound for the same goal.
- One of the greatest passages in all the Bible is that little sentence in John 11:35:
Here is the great and mighty God, the eternal Word by whom all things were made, the Logos who gives order and meaning to the universe. He enters into our broken world and identifies with human grief. As the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
In order to redeem us, he becomes us. Not in all the Old Testament has God been seen to enter so deeply into human experience. Yes, He loved his people. Yes, He cared for them. And even yes, He provided for them. But to weep with them, this was radically new. And, oh, so amazing!
- In a world constantly changing, where new skills are in demand by the labour market and old competencies become irrelevant, it is unwise to build your identity or significance on your job or career.
- Hannah’s song (1 Sam. 2:1-10) highlights a central theme of scripture: God rules over human affairs and will crush the resistance of his enemies. In light of this, the member of God’s community can rejoice that the Lord ‘will guard the feet of his faithful ones’ (v.9)
- God delights in confounding human thoughts, bringing about great things through unusual means. He makes Rahab, a prostitute, one of his Son’s ancestors. Through the dirt and scum of the world, He produces a Saviour.
- My counsel for someone out there:
Marriage could be turned into an idol, such that all a person’s actions, thoughts and plans are geared towards it. Every human on earth has dignity because we are made in God’s image. Marriage adds nothing to this basic worth of a person. Single or Married, we are precious in God’s sight.
True, the companionship that marriage brings is important and desirable. Nevertheless, we must not be pressured into thinking that we are nothing unless married. Enjoy singleness while you have it. It is a precious gift from God, just like marriage. Plan. Dream. Act. Make an impact in your own little way while you are alone. Then when you get married, you begin a partnership that will help you achieve those dreams on a grander scale.
- The Church is the fulfilment of God’s plan to being together all tribes, languages, and cultures in Jesus Christ.
- The Christian does not need any elaborate funeral or burial. He dies in the assurance of resurrection to a glorious body and a better existence.
- One of the great things about being a father is this sense of being needed. You are aware that a human being – a tender, vulnerable one at that – depends on you daily. The look on his face every now and then communicates this eloquently. It is as though he is saying: “Daddy, I need you. Stay with me. Hold me. Play with me” And it simply changes everything. It makes a trifle of your own personal concerns. Your dream of being successful, rich, or famous becomes inconsequential. All that matters is that you are there for him, that you are a good father, that you bring him up in the way he should go.
- The cross seemed like foolishness and weakness, yet it was a display of infinite power and profound wisdom. I wonder how many things or situations we assess wrongly today.
- Do not seek in your spouse what you can only find in God.
- Upon entering into our world, he took on the humble and lowly form of a servant. He served by teaching and healing; he served by feeding and delivering. His was a life of loving service. And he taught us to do the same. Shortly before his ultimate service on the cross, he imprinted the duty of service upon the hearts of his disciples in a symbolic act of foot-washing. That night he was betrayed by one of those he had faithfully served, and led away to conclude his great work of redemptive service. He did not remain in the grave, however. He rose again, poured out his Spirit upon his Church and has commanded all who confess his name to go out and transform the world through service.
- The call of the gospel is a call to community – a call to be part of a new community of persons and families who have aligned themselves with God through Christ.
- The elements of a Christian worldview – the reality of a holy, loving, all-powerful God; the truth of God’s sovereign rule over all creation; the taking on of human nature by the eternal Son of God in order to redeem humanity; the progressive realization of God’s kingdom on earth – are not ideas to be merely believed, but are truths to be daily rejoiced in.
- What makes companies like Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, or Zappos legendary is not a unit or department called ‘Customer Service’. It is the spirit or culture that runs through the entire organization and colours all they do – the understanding that the customer is truly the essence of all they do. This is a truth that companies must not lose sight of.
- Christmas is the commemoration of a true historical event – the entrance of the King of glory into the universe to repair it and establish his kingdom within it. It marks the birth of humanity’s Saviour – Jesus Christ.
- Consumerism teaches us to find meaning and happiness in acquiring material stuff; Christmas teaches otherwise. Humans are significant because they were made in God’s image, by God and for God. Hence his birth in the manger and his death on the cross. And we derive happiness by aligning ourselves with his will.
- Christmas is a critique of the secular story. Infinite Power took on finite helplessness; God became a baby. The hope and transformation of our world did not proceed through the hallowed halls of earthly power and glory. It came via the channel of lowliness and service. The Saviour of the world was a Lamb.
- We fail to rejoice in the goodness of God through common grace because our minds are so fixated on the corruption in the world. However, God created a beautiful and good world, and endowed it with so much blessings. Sin is but a distortion of that which is essentially good. And Redemption does not replace nor take away God’s good creation; it only restores it to its original excellent condition.
- To be truly Reformed is not to regurgitate Calvin nor to spew out Surgeon nor to quote Keller and Piper. It is to grasp the authority, sufficiency, and power of Scripture, to understand and be shaped by the Gospel contained therein, and to make God fully God in everything, including our salvation.
- Faith takes us out of ourselves and brings us into Christ. We are called to believe in Him, not just believe Him. Many in the world today, of course, believe Jesus. They hold him to be the greatest person or moral teacher who ever lived. They deeply rever his teachings and sayings. And they believe He is the Saviour of the world. But it ends there. They are yet to make that personal leap. They are yet to acknowledge their need for a restored relationship with God and are yet to embrace Jesus as the only one who meets that need. That final step is crucial; we must trust in Him for forgiveness and acceptance with God.
- The greatest need of the hour is not just for people who will teach Christian values. The world has been hearing that for 2,000 years. We desperately need people who will model it. We need husbands who will display it at home, mothers who will demonstrate it in the living room, and bosses who will express it at the office. We need pastors to exemplify it, government officials to portray it, and artisans to apply it. For truth is proclaimed not merely with the mouth but with the whole life.
- God will not allow himself to become an instrument in the hands of his creatures. He shows himself to be Lord both in Creation and Redemption. He is not a tool to be used but a God to be loved and worshiped.
- We worship God not because we hope to induce him to do something for us, but because He is Almighty and we were made for his glory.
The gospel is simple enough to be understood by a child yet powerful enough to transform a nation. Preach it clearly.
- Wine is a picture of the joyous life in the kingdom heralded by Christ. He both began (John 2) and ended (John 13) his ministry with a serving of wine.
- False worship is always dehumanizing. Whether it is the traditional devotion to sculpted images and natural elements, or the more modern obsession with money, sex, and power, idolatry simply keeps us from being fully human.
- When nationalism becomes an idol, all aspects of life will be made into its temple. Children will be educated for the state, business will be regulated in the interests of the nation, the media will seek to promote national values, and even the Church will be co-opted to turn the gospel of the kingdom into a gospel of national progress.
- The pursuit of God’s kingdom is a holy war. It is a fight against the powers of darkness which lay claim to the various territories of the earth. The earth is the Lord’s, declares the psalmist, and its fullness thereof. Every heart, every nation, every sphere – they all belong to God. And those who confess Christ are in the army fighting to reclaim it all to the rightful owner. However, Satan the usurper will not stand by idly. He will spend his last drop of blood to preserve all he has acquired. He will devise plots and schemes to help him retain his assets. He will strive without sleep to remain in control. Let not the Christian expect a mere argument; it is all-out war.The good news is that we know the outcome of the fight. For the Lion of the tribe of Judah is not merely a king, he is a conquering one.
- The coming of Christ gives meaning to human history. All that happened before was like a backdrop. All that happens afterwards is a commentary on the progress of his kingdom. To interpret history otherwise is to miss the true story of the world.
- It is no coincidence that the commands to ‘rejoice always’ and to ‘give thanks in all circumstances’ are bounded by the command to ‘pray without ceasing’ in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. For it is by living a life of constant and ongoing prayer that we can maintain the attitude and the mood which continually rejoices and constantly gives thanks.
Prayer turns our focus on God and constant prayer keeps it there. As we pray, we recall who God is and the amazing deeds he accomplished through creation, providence, and redemption. We reflect on the mercies and blessings which he has extended to us and all that is ours. We also remember the great pardon we have received, a pardon bestowed through such an infinitely wise scheme that the sages of the earth cannot comprehend. A pardon which is the fruit of love and holiness. A pardon purchased at such immense cost.
We cannot prayerfully reflect on these without our hearts erupting in praise and thanksgiving!