Two Lessons – Part 2

1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. Gal. 2:1-10

Notice, in verses 7 through 9, the two things that the apostles in Jerusalem saw in Paul: they perceived and acknowledged that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto him; and they also saw and acknowledged the grace that was given unto Paul.

This spirit of humility is very important for the church. The end goal for the church should be unity in the Spirit. Unity in the Spirit cannot be achieved where there is no humility. Had the apostles in Jerusalem not been able to see in the Spirit and had they told Paul: “You are a novice in this ministry, what can you tell us?”, the end result would have been a divided church right from the start, and there is no telling where that would have led to.

That is why we need to hail the early apostles as heroes of faith. Not only on account of the miracles that they performed, but more so for their humility. Humility always attends true faith. It is for this same reason that King David is a great man in the Bible. David did one of the most horrific sins recorded in the Bible; yet right to the end he was God’s favorite. How come? It was because David had a humble heart.

It was through this humility that the apostles could recognize Paul for who he was in the Spirit. It was also through this same humility that both Paul and these men could agree on one of the most important pillars of true Christianity: to remember the poor.

Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. (v.10)

In ministry, we must remember the poor. Remembering the poor is central to our Christian faith. We can learn from the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In John 13:29, we read:

“For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.”

This scripture clearly shows that Jesus ministered to the poor financially. (We know from other accounts that Jesus ministered physically and materially to the people He preached to.)

What about the Apostle Paul? Paul tells the Corinthians;

“I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.” (2 Cor. 11:8)

Today there are men of God who rob God’s people to enrich themselves and to live comfortable lives. There is no way you are going to convince me that a Bentley or a Hummer or a 2000-dollar suit is for ministry. Which proves that even the private jets used by modern preachers are not really for ministry.

There is no place for this kind of lifestyle in the Bible. Paul did not “rob” other churches to enrich himself. But, as we see in 2 Corithinans 8, he took the money he got from the more affluent churches to serve the less fortunate ones. This was to fulfill what th scripture says:

“… he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack” (Ex. 16:18).

As of Paul’s own life, on the contrary, we read of his and his fellow apostles’ lives thus:

“11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12 and labour, working with our own hands…” (1 Cor. 4:11-12)

True apostolic ministry will always look out for the poor. That is why the early apostles, who were true men of God, could concur and exhort each other to “remember the poor”. With these men, you would not hear such immature references to the poor as “lazy”, etc.

The long and short of it is that a gospel that does not mind the poor is a dead gospel. Whatever the Bible writes it writes to show us the heart of God. In this singular scripture, it is easy to see God’s heart for the poor and downtrodden people of this world.

Why should we “remember the poor”? It is primarily because nothing in this world is worth a person’s soul. No amount of money that you can hoard in your pocket or bank account can compare with the value of a human soul. Money – or, rather, the love of it – should not hinder us from serving the poor. In serving the poor, we serve God.

Godly Chastisement Brings Godly Character

Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 2 Cor. 12:5

This is an awesome scripture. Notice Paul talks of two different people here: “an one” and “myself”. Of this “an one” he says he will “glory”, or boast; but of the persona he calls “myself” he says:

“yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.”

Who is this person of whom the Apostle Paul is willing to boast in?

He tells us exactly who this person was: he was a person who

“was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (v.4)

This was a spiritual person because Paul says of him:

“(whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)”

We could use language here to describe these two – the “an one” and the “myself” – as two personalities within the same person. The “an one” is the spiritual man and the “myself” the carnal man. These two personalities dwelt inside Paul, just like they do in each one of us. And the Bible in Galatians 5:17 tell us that the two are in a perpetual state of war.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

The incredible fact about the Apostle Paul was that he took sides with the Spirit in its war against the flesh. That is a detail that we take so much for granted; and yet to take the side of the Spirit against our own selves is without a doubt the most difficult undertaking that any human being can attempt. It is therefore profound what Paul says of himself:

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (v. 10)

It is a powerful testimony of a man who had surrendered his life completely to Christ that the resurrection power of Christ may dwell in him. Paul allowed himself to become weak in the flesh in order that the power of Christ may rest on him. Christ had told Paul:

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (v. 10)

To which Paul responded by declaring:

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Oh, the glory of that! The long and short of it is that when we are strong in the natural, we are weak in our spirits. Conversely, when we allow ourselves to become weak in the flesh through Godly chastisement, we become strong spiritually. If, for example, an argument arises between me and my wife, I as a man am tempted to use my ‘machismo’, or male chauvinism, to remain on top. And she, having heard about the Beijing Conference and women empowerment, will try and stand her ground. Neither one will be willing to go down without a fight.

But the Bible tells us exactly how to bring the power of Jesus into our homes, into our churches and even into our communities: it is through spiritual humility. And spiritual humility comes about through buffeting of the carnal mind in us.

The Bible says in Rom. 14:17:

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

How do we bring righteousness, peace and joy into our lives and into our homes?

It is by following the Apostle Paul in accepting Godly chastisement. It is the only way we can let the Spirit to win in us.

The Need For Sound Doctrine – Part 1

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Tim. 4:1-5

What a charge Timothy had! And yet it is today, more than ever, that this charge needs to be carried out to the maximum, despite the dangers that accompany its execution. Dangers, yes, for Paul here tells Timothy that, once he set out to implement this charge he would “…endure afflictions”.

There was a time when I used to wonder at the present-day phenomenon of the mega-church. These are single churches with mass congregations of ten, twenty, or thirty thousand people. It is in most of these churches that the “pop” gospels of prosperity and other doctrines made up by man are preached. In these churches also is where you find a form of hype and sensationalism which would turn the world green with envy.

I used to wonder about these things, just as King David also wondered at how God could allow evil men to prosper (Ps. 73:16).

I used to wonder… until I read 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

“3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Mark the “they” in this scripture. “They” are God’s people and with this particular group of people lies the whole problem of the church. Not all, certainly, but the majority. With God’s people lies the problem of the church. That’s incongruous, to say the least.

Notice there is “sound doctrine”, or “truth”; and there are “fables”. A time would come, Paul told Timothy, when God’s people would not endure sound doctrine. You don’t endure good things; you endure bad or difficult situations. Apparently, therefore, sound doctrine is not good for the flesh. Paul’s reference to sound doctrine here is to the gospel of the cross. He was saying a time would come when people would not endure pain. They would not endure the hard choices that the cross offers. Instead, they would choose the broad and easy road of the flesh.

That’s hardly surprising today, with the feel-good gospels that are being preached in most churches today. That is why people are flocking to these churches. The sad fact, however, is that the people who go to church to hear feel-good sermons are not spiritual people; they are worldly-minded people.

If there was one person who should have had a mega-church here on earth, it was our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that He had such a large following that, at one time he fed five thousand men, apart from the women and children. That means that the number of people who followed Jesus were in the tens of thousands. But these people were not the church.

On the day that Jesus decided to start His church, He turned to these same people and to spoke them these words:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (Jn. 6:53)

At this, His followers scattered like flies. They could not endure His hard words. Only 12 remained – the apostles. And they, too, hang on by a thread! (v. 67)

So, when Jesus was here on earth He had 12 members in His church! And we know that one of them was a devil. That left only eleven.

If things were so difficult in Jesus’ time, how can we possibly think that things are any different – or easier – today? The Bible expressly says that in the last days, the noose will get tighter. How can a man possibly claim to be breathing easier when the noose is getting tighter?

Today, we are living in times like the nation of Israel’s during Elijah’s time. At that time, the nation of Israel had forsaken God and they were worshipping pagan gods.

The nation of Israel is a type of the church. Now, we don’t want to make Elijah’s mistake and declare that there is no church in the world today. Even at the worst of times, God always has a remnant. And so it is even today. God has, within today’s apostate church,

“seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” (1 Ki. 19:18)

And yet, you realize, seven thousand in a nation as big as Israel was is a very small number. The number was so small that Elijah had no idea these people existed!

Now, more than ever, true ministers of God ought to heed Paul’s exhortation to Timothy:

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine…

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

[Children play in a drain. They have absolutely no idea the danger they are in if flood waters came crashing through]

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The Cost of Serving God

And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. Acts 23:1

A “good conscience”. This is the heart of today’s post. A good conscience talks of integrity before the Lord. That talks of a clean heart, a pure heart, for there is no other way to serve God. The Apostle Paul had lived with a heart of integrity before the Lord. When we say “integrity” it does not mean that Paul was faithful in paying his tithes. Serving God “in all good conscience” means more than that. It involves giving up the deep things of our hearts, literally, a death to the carnal nature in us. There are many lusts in us, chief of which is human pride. Have you ever thought about anger? Where does it come from? The cross of Jesus deals with these things at their roots. It deals with the heart. You can tithe without allowing Christ to touch your heart. But it needs the touch of God to uproot anger from your heart.

I believe living “in all good conscience before God” is the biggest challenge that we as believers have in the Spirit. This is because it requires us to surrender the deep things of our hearts.

God looks deep into our hearts. But Paul served God with his heart. That is why for him to declare that he had served God with a good conscience all his days was no mere talk. The Apostle Paul paid the ultimate price – death to the flesh – to be able to arrive at this state of affairs.

Immediately Paul declared his uprightness before the Lord before men, it was put to the test.

“And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth” (Acts 23:2)

It was a tough test. To have someone strike you on the mouth is one of the greatest attacks on anyone’s personality.

But Paul had died to his persomality. The Bible says that death is the last enemy to be vanquished, so the flesh is still very much alive. The flesh tried to rear its ugly head in Paul’s life. But Paul would not allow it to. He swallowed his pride and humbled himself before the High Priest, and before God.

“3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? 4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? 5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people” (Acts 23:3-5)

In humbling himself, Paul proved that his was not mere talk. He proved to all present that he was a man who lived what he talked.

It is not easy to serve God with a good conscience every day of our lives. There are many things that will come and try to remove this state of affairs from our hearts. But notice Paul says,

“Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”

“…until this day.” That talks of every day of his life.

Elsewhere, Paul tells the Corinthians:

“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31).

Paul died to self daily. It was a daily battle.

Brethren, contrary to common belief, it is not easy to please God. Indeed, if we have any intention of pleasing God, let us realize there is a price to pay. We have to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. Daily.

Many people are not aware that Jesus talked about paying the price. But He did. There is a price to following Christ. You can read about that in Luke 14:25-35. The word “cost” is stated there, in verse 28.

The Bible also says:

“23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Prov. 4:23-27).

That’s talking about the cost. It talks about crucifying the flesh.

Men love talking about visions and revelations. But the single most important revelation that the church can have is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Paul had many visions and dreams, but this was the singular most important revelation that the Apostle Paul received from Jesus Christ. But Paul did not receive it in order to boast. He received it to show men – including himself – the way to being set free from the power of the flesh, and to eternal life.

[In a remote village in Singida, I found an incredible drawing by a 10-year-old girl]

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The Awesomeness of God’s Grace – Part 2

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Cor. 15:10

Notice the wording in this scripture. The Apostle Paul says grace was “bestowed” upon him. We bestow crowns and things like that upon people. In other words, Paul considered it an honor that God would impart His grace to him.

But here, again, notice the word “laboured”. That is talking of responsibility. In other words, grace was given to Paul, not to simply “Sputnik” him to heaven, but so he could do some work first. God’s grace calls us to responsibility! God is looking to making us mature, responsible sons and daughters in His Kingdom.

In Philippians 1:29-30 we read, “29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”

The call to suffer is a call to responsibility in the Spirit. That is what we call walking in the grace of God. But the invitation to walk in the grace of God is an incomparable privilege rather than an inconvenience, as many of us view it. The invitation to partake of our Lord’s sufferings is something we should eagerly look forward to.

For many of us, though, it is like we would rather believe and then be allowed to go back to our old way of living. Y’know, get saved and continue in sin.

But God calls us to share in His holy nature through “suffering for Christ’s sake”, as we just read in verse 30. Actually, that is one of the reasons that our Lord Jesus came to earth: to show us the way to attaining God’s nature in us. Jesus came to show us the way to the cross, that we may die just as He died, and be raised up in resurrection life.

If you are living a comfortable, trouble-free life, may the Name of the Lord be praised. I am sure that Jesus, Paul and the rest of the early team also had some luxurious moments in their lives. When He was here on earth, our Lord Jesus had women who ministered to Him (Lk. 8:3), and we cannot say exactly that He never once sat down to enjoy a piece of fried chicken!

We even read of one time when Jesus wanted to take His disciples on a picnic… but the crowds came calling with their needs, and He was forced to abandon the excursion (Mk. 6:31).

The Apostle Paul must have known some earthly joy, too, despite all his sufferings, for he writes in Philippians: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil. 4:12).

The church in Macedonia, especially, wholeheartedly ministered to Paul’s needs… well, whenever they could, for they were extremely poor.

But the easy lifestyle is not the general picture that we get in the New Testament. The over-riding idea in the gospels is one of suffering – and death.

That is why we need to hear a gospel that encourages us to welcome the sufferings of Christ into our lives with the same readiness with which we are willing to embrace the good life. Fortunately, this was the gospel that Jesus preached. Paul also preached the same gospel, and so did the other early apostles.

The good life will never confront the flesh; and if the flesh is not confronted we will never grow to become mature sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God. We will remain babies forever. That is why the much-loved gospel of prosperity cannot be of God. It is a gospel that appeases the flesh and imprisons God’s people in babyhood.

Contrariwise, the Lord brings us a gospel that crucifies the flesh. Through the adverse situations that He brings into our lives, God calls to each one of us to take up our cross and follow Christ – follow Christ into sonship.

Upon realizing what was expected of him, the Apostle Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “9… Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong”.

Our infirmities (the willingness to undergo buffeting) coupled with the sufferings themselves make us partakers of the grace of God in a way that nothing else can. We become mature, responsible sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God.

[Below: A street in Musoma Town]

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The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Mat. 5:5

The scripture here says that the meek shall inherit the earth. What does it mean to “inherit the earth”? But first, let us take a closer look at the word “meek”.

My computer’s Thesaurus provides me with a limitless number of synonyms for the word “meek”, but in that list, the two words that I loved most are “submissive” and “weak”.

Incidentally, those are words that no one on this earth wants to hear. No man loves being submissive to another man, and submission in this world is normally obtained at gunpoint, literally. As for the concept of weakness, that is an absolute no-no.

But the believer who accepts these two things into his/her life for the sake of the gospel is the person whom God will fight on behalf of.

Ordinarily, we assume that every born-again believer is meek of spirit. But that is not true; many believers are full of pride in their hearts. They do not give in easily, they harbor nuances and hold onto every little thing done against them. Many believers do not like being touched. If you come at them the wrong way, in their hearts they turn against you. Some will even retaliate. They will not fire a rocket-propelled grenade at you. But they will do things just to show you that they are the bosses of their own lives. They may cut contact with you. They will do many little things against you. This is pride, and such people will not “inherit the earth”.

What does it mean to be meek?

The Apostle Paul had a difficult time learning meekness. You would be surprised to learn that even after he got saved, Paul was still not a meek person – at least, not to God’s standards. So God sent a thorn into Paul’s flesh to weaken him further and make him truly meek. But the thorn was such an overwhelmingly unwelcome intrusion into Paul’s life (read human pride) that he prayed three times to God to have it removed!

It was then that God asked Paul: “What do you want, Paul?”

Paul replied, “I want your strength, Lord.”

God told Paul, “Then let me humble you. Allow that thorn into your life. Then you shall have my strength, for my strength is found in weakness.”

After a long struggle with himself, Paul finally acquiesced. A time arrived when he was ready to be buffeted to submission. Actually, God wouldn’t do the job Himself. Instead, He sent a messenger of Satan, who mercilessly buffeted Paul. But because Paul had allowed himself to be meek, he accepted this situation joyfully. After this, Paul became the greatest apostle who ever lived after Jesus.

The result of Paul allowing himself to become meek for the sake of Christ was that Paul powerfully impacted people’s lives through the gospel of the cross that he lived. I believe that is what it means to “inherit the earth”. The person who inherits the earth is the person who impacts people’s lives through the life that they have lived on this earth. People can come up and say, “I thank God for so-and-so. They have helped me spiritually.”

The Bible says of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Mat. 21:5).

Here the Bible declares outright that Jesus was a meek Man. In other words, He was weak and humble of spirit. But this Man it was who impacted the world in a way no other man ever would. He brought salvation to the world.

Are we weak or are we strong? Are we fighting for and holding onto our rights, or are we allowing ourselves to be robbed of those rights in broad daylight just so we may learn to be meek as our Lord was? Remember they also shamed and crucified our Lord, not at night, but in broad daylight. So next time someone humiliates you in public, do not become agitated. Rather, rejoice and bless them. That will be of far greater effect in the Spirit than holding onto and defending your pride.

[Below: In our relationships, humility is the greatest requirement of all]

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The Apostolic Message (Part 1)

You notice in the Bible that the word “apostle” is not there in the Old Testament. We find it only in the New Testament. That means that the ministry of the apostle begins under the New Covenant.

But before we get to that, let me first share something in connection with this.

We humans are wired in such a way that we want to understand things rationally. We want everything that comes our way to be explainable and to be understood by the human mind. That is okay as far as this world is concerned. We wouldn’t be where we are progress-wise without the great rational and deductive minds of this world.

But this human predisposition becomes a problem when we turn to God. Deduction and rationalization are hardly the ways to get to know God. God is Spirit, and the human mind is matter; how can it understand spirit? It is not possible. And man’s inclination to do just that has proved to be his undoing.

This is why especially intelligent people of the world have a problem understanding God. I can assure you that when we get to heaven we will find very few intelligent people up front. Now, I know someone is probably about to burst a neck vein over this statement, but notice I did not say there will not be intelligent people up front. All I said is that they will be very few, at least in proportion to the ‘dumb’ people that you normally find in church.

This is because it is the lowly people that God choses to be the heirs of His Kingdom!

The Apostle Paul tells the carnal-minded, intelligently puffed-up Corinthians: 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  (1 Cor. 1:26-31).

In James 2:5, the Apostle James also echoes Paul’s words: Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

Notice it is God who has chosen them.

Do you know the poor? Living in Africa, I know the poor. Being poor, of course, means, first, that they have nothing. Secondly, they are uneducated, and not very intelligent. Thirdly, they have absolutely no class. It requires a strenuous effort for someone who has class to even notice this group of people. These are people that no one has any need of.

I once knew of a certain rich man in my home town who would keep people – his own employees – standing outside his house the whole day waiting for him to get out and see them. And sometimes he would not come out at all.

Generally, however, worldly people are not so cruel. Most people do all sorts of kindly things for the poor. It is called philanthropy, and much of the time it comes from a true heart of compassion. More so in church we are taught to love others as we love ourselves. But let’s face it, there are very few even amongst the best of us who do not have a red line drawn somewhere deep in our subconsciousnesses where we do not allow certain classes of people to cross over.

But God is the great I AM, and He has no such qualms. He would laugh at our weak attitudes were it not for the fact they sadden Him so much. God is so rich in grace He can do things which we can only dream about. And to prove it, God reaches out and calls the very people that this world has no need of. Now, notice the Bible does not say that God first consults with the rich people of this world on whether He should call the poor, or which poor people He should call. No. Nor does He call up a panel of illustrious university professors and ask them to prepare a list of which uneducated folk He should share His deep mysteries with: (“Oh, y’know, I am not sure whether they can handle it.”)

God is above the high and mighty of this world, and He does not consult them.

God expressly calls and uses the ‘dumb’ and lowly. Some of the Old Testament prophets that we revere today were mere shepherds!

Even when God used educated people, in the spirit they first had to relinquish their stations in life. The great man of law, the Apostle Paul, says that he suffered the loss of all things”! (Phil. 3:8) All!! When he says all, it means even his intelligence, his doctrines and beliefs, his high office as a Pharisee; and even his very identity. Remember Paul was once known as Saul. He lost even that.

And why does God call and use “the foolish”, “the weak”, “the base” the “despised”, and “things which are not” and not “the wise”, “the… mighty”, or “things that are”?

It is so “that no flesh should glory in his presence”!

The biggest thing that mankind glories in is their mind. But we cannot presume to know God by our minds, however fine they are. We can only know God through our hearts and for that a miracle must happen in our hearts.

As we study the apostolic message, therefore, it is good to pray to God to open our spiritual eyes that we might understand His heart for the church, of whom we are a part.

[Below: In order to interact with God we must have humble hearts]

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