Our Father’s Love

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Mat. 7:11

Recently, the Lord taught me a powerful lesson about His love for us. On that day, early in the morning as I was working outside, my daughter came up to me and said, “Dad, I have a request to make of you.”

“Say on”, I responded cheerfully.

Now, my daughter is always asking things from me since she is a college student. But on this day, she had something entirely different on her mind.

“Can you give me one of your chickens to prepare for a friend of mine who will be passing by”, she said.

She explained that her friend and a family of four had attended a relative’s funeral in a distant town and they would be passing by our town on their way home in another distant town.

Immediately she said this, I remembered the story of the prodigal son in the Book of Luke chapter 15. I remembered the answer that the father gave to his eldest son when this son complained of how his father had never given him so much as a kid, that he might make merry with his friends. The father had answered his son:

“Son… all that I have is thine.” (v. 31)

I cannot express my feelings when I realized I was reliving a Biblical experience. On TV they call it ‘live’. I was undergoing a Biblical event, live! This one, though, had a vastly different outlook: unlike the son, my daughter was not complaining.

I looked straight into my daughter’s eyes and, my heart bursting with joy, I gave her the biggest “Of course!!” she will ever receive from me.

Taking her by the hand, I led her to the chicken house and asked her to choose the chicken she wanted to prepare for her friend. She chose a good, fat one.

I watched as she joyfully prepared the chicken. She put all her love into the operation, just as I had put all my love in giving her the chicken.

Her friend would not be stopping at our house, so I would not have the chance to meet or know her nor her family. But I knew how overjoyed my daughter would be handing them her gift, and this thought alone filled my heart with inexpressible joy.

Jesus said,

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Mat. 7:11)

There are many times that I doubt the love of my heavenly Father. There are many times that I think He only looks at my mistakes. But my love for my children has taught me something awesome about the love that God has for me.

God loves me with unbounded love and He loves to do good things to me. All I need do is ask.

It is remarkable and awe-inspiring, don’t you think? Just think of how evil we are. And then just think of the love we are willing to bestow upon our children. How much more, the Bible asks, do we think God will bestow His love upon us?!

The fact that God loves us this much is not a licence to sin. But God’s revelation of His love for us is designed to make us cherish that love and to desire to love Him in return and to love our fellow men in like manner.

[Our Father’s love for us is as tight as it gets!]

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“Righteousness Exalteth A Nation

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Prov. 14:34
Not too long ago, my two children were travelling alone to a neighboring country for a holiday. Now, that was something like a one-time experience for them, so they were very excited. When they arrived at our side of the border ready to cross over, they were calmly and immediately processed through. When they reached the other country’s border station, just a few feet away, they encountered a totally different experience. The immigration officer there demanded a mandatory inoculation certificate, which was supposed to have been given to them on our country’s side of the border.
My daughter told the officer that she and her brother had forgotten all about it and she asked him to let them go back and take the inoculation.
To which the officer replied that they could not go back because they had now crossed the border. They were now on a one-way ticket, he told them, and there was no turning back. In other words, they were now this immigration officer’s prisoners.
The only way he could help them, he told them, was for them to give him a certain amount of money.
My children love watching detective stories and by now they knew exactly where this was headed. They realised they were trapped. My daughter immediately took out the money and gave it to the officer, and they were let through.
When my daughter later told me this story, I was angry at first. But then the Lord opened my eyes to see the bigger picture and what I ended up with was deep sadness.
I know a thing or two about the country my children were visiting. One of the things that I know is that this country is deeply corrupt. Now, we all know that corruption is everywhere but, by every account, this country has taken corruption to “the next level”. That’s a fact.
The other thing that is open news is that this country is rife with deep internal problems, including racial divisions. Every few years internal wars flare up and people get killed, displaced, etc. Moreover, there are all kinds of problems both in government and within civil society itself. Crime – murders, robberies, etc. – is a byword in this country.
I had never connected the two – until I heard my children’s saga. That was when the Lord opened my eyes to see why a nation that thrives on corruption is going to have all the problems this country has.
In the Old Testament, the Book of Isaiah talks about righteousness probably more than any other book. One of the things we read there is:
“In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” (Is. 54:14)
That’s basically saying the same thing as our key scripture in Proverbs 14:34. You can pray all you want, you can be the most “Christian” nation on the entire planet; but if you are not walking in righteousness, you will not be established. Just in case you are wondering what the Bible means by “established”, it simply means that the things the Bible talks of here will not be within your borders:
“thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.”
Sometimes we wonder why there are wars and turmoils in certain countries and not in others. Unless it is a clear case of persecution for their Christian faith, the reason, in most cases, is clear: there is no righteousness in these countries. People are corrupt, or they are immoral, or they are anti-God in a variety of ways. That is what we are witnessing in the West also: a rejection of God and an increasingly brazen embracing of immorality. The outcome of these things for a nation is calamity, a broken and hurting society and terror on every side.
Jeremiah 4:2 also says:
“The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.”
Notice that both in Proverbs and in Jeremiah, the Bible speaks about a nation. It is not enough for a nation to call itself a Christian nation. We must work righteousness, and this, for a nation, applies firstly to its government. The first thing, therefore, that believers in every nation should do is to pray for that nation; not that there be no drought or famine or any other calamity; rather, chiefly, that the leaders and the people of that nation might exercise righteousness. That is exactly what the Bible says in 1 Timothy chapter 2 verses 1-4:
“1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Notice, “… first of all”.
Prayers and supplications are to be made for all men, but especially for kings and for all that are in authority (like that immigration officer) – for what purpose?
“… that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Godliness and honesty within government are the pillars of an established nation.
Let us pray.
“Lord, You reign in righteousness. You love righteousness and you show yourself the protector and defender of all who are righteous. We pray for our nation, Lord, that its people may love righteousness, right from our leaders down to the man in the lowest dungeon so that we in this nation may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

[Below: A local community meeting in Singida]

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Seeking God’s Attention

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Mat. 6:1-4

What a joy it is to do things in the presence of God! What an incredible grace to have a relationship with the living God! We have no idea what we are missing when we seek to be seen by men rather than God. To be seen by men: that is the most desolate place to be.

Actually, Jesus talked of a few other things that we should do in secret, so that only God, and not men, would see. My favorite is the one about fasting.

16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Mat. 6:16-18)

“…when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face.”

Try and visualize that. There you are, fasting for one, two, three or even five days. And every day you wake up and wash your face, comb your hair and, if you are a woman, put on the best make-up possible – just to hide from men the fact that you are fasting!

I absolutely love that. Here you have someone who has a living relationship with God. He has no hypocrisy in his heart, and he does not seek for attention from men. Not that he despises men, no. On the contrary, he understands the ways of God.

Sometimes we are so carried away with what men think of us we forget that God is bigger than men – and that His ways are far removed from the ways of men.

Then there is the one about prayer:

“5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Mat. 6:5-7)

I have been in towns in our country where preachers wake up every morning to pray on big loudspeakers. The problem with such kinds of prayers is that, unless you are perfectly in the Spirit (which means you have been led by the Holy Spirit to do such a thing), you are more likely to pray to be heard by men rather than God. Yes, there is a place and a time for public prayer. But the way things are in our day, you would think the church is competing with the world!

But our Lord’s instructions are clear:

“… when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

But is it that God does not want us to be seen by men? Hardly. It is a small thing with God how we carry on on the outside. God looks upon the heart of man. What God is all about here is that He wants to pummel the flesh and to deny it that which it seeks most – self-glorification.

When you do anything to be seen or heard of by men, you are seeking to be glorified by men. But faith sees God and it looks up always, to the heavenly glory. A man of faith will absolutely despise the cheap glories that men would heap on him. He will seek the glory that can only be seen by faith. This is a man who understands that God does not do business with the flesh.

Our Lord Jesus was perfected in faith. Never once did He do something (“something” here talks of incredibly remarkable miracles) and seek to be seen by men. We read, for example, the story of Jesus and the blind man that He healed in Bethsaida. Below is the account.

“22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. 25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. 26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.” (Mk. 8:22-26)

The Swahili version of this scripture sheds more light on exactly what happened. Verse 26 reads: “He took him to his own house…” In other words, Jesus literally took the man by the hand and led him straight to his house.

Now, just try and imagine that. Jesus had something about Him which the flesh cannot understand nor comprehend: Jesus shunned human attention and, by extension, human glory.

But, today especially, men of God are used to the media. We are used to the public eye – men’s eyes. This is a big trap for the man who seeks to be spiritual. But the gospel of Jesus Christ does not come cheaply. On the contrary, it is the most demanding thing on earth. It demands total surrender, or death, to the flesh.

People have a saying, “East or west, home is best”. In the case of the true believer, east or west, north or south, he has no option: the cross is his home. He must bring his life to the cross. He must crucify the flesh. The flesh, the devil and the world are all in league against God. And they work together. As a corporate body, they are God’s enemy No. 1. We must put on the armor of righteousness and blast them off to Neverland.

Thank God that you are alive today. If you have not placed your life on the altar of sacrifice, this is your day. Do not bother with the flesh, nor what men think or do not think about you. Serve God in the Spirit and, the Bible says, God will reward you openly.

What does it mean that God will reward you openly, anyway? It means God will bless you, and men will see it. In the course of serving God in the Spirit, you are bound to be shamed, despised and treated as nothing. But God allows that for a time. One day, whether on this earth or in heaven, God will repay you, and men will see. Many, who had been waiting for you to sink, will be surprised to see you rejuvenated, exalted and blessed.

In Pentecostal churches today, there is much talk of being “uplifted” by God. Unfortunately, many want to be uplifted to the level of the world – to prosper materially, etc. But true uplifting can only be in the Spirit and it will only come if we humble ourselves and crucify the flesh. You can uplift yourself, but God will never be involved in the uplifting of the flesh.

Today is a day for us to choose. May we choose wisely. May we choose to crucify the flesh and serve God in the Spirit.

[Below: Today is a time to praise the Lord]

 

“Hallowing” Our Father – Part 3

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise…” (Mat. 21:16)

One time the president of our country was coming to our town for some national celebrations. At that time our church probably had the best keyboard in town. The keyboard was a gift from a friend in the U.S. (Americans, I think, are the most generous people on earth. I thank them, and may God bless them exceedingly).

The leader of our town’s police band happened to be a friend of mine, and he knew about our keyboard. So, one day, sometime before the celebrations were to take place, he came knocking and asked us to lend their band our keyboard for they would be playing the national anthem during the celebrations. And, he told us, he would be playing it himself. I was happy to hear him say that because he was the finest piano player I had ever met.

When the day finally came, the president arrived right on schedule and the biggest stadium in town was filled to capacity. Finally, it was time to play the national anthem. I stood as close to my friend as possible because I wanted to see him play our big keyboard.

The minute he started playing… Wow! Nothing I can say here can express both the power of that keyboard and the expertise with which the police officer played it. Speakers as big as trucks were placed all over the stadium and our big keyboard got the ultimate reward for what it was worth. It gave the sweetest music all over town!

The man was a professional piano player and he did not play the anthem in the traditional way. Instead, he played the song in an incredibly original style. I could feel all the hairs standing on end as I listened to the music. The performance was so incredibly powerful that it was all quiet all over the big stadium. No one moved and no one spoke. When he finished playing, the applause was he received a standing ovation accompanied by a long, thunderous applause.

He played many more songs over the course of the celebrations, to the enjoyment of everyone.

The policeman told me later that the president later called and personally congratulated him for his performance.

I too was awed by the talent that I saw in that man. Later on, whenever I would go to visit him, I would take a long, hard look at him and think, “This man could be playing for kings and royalty all over the world.” But in this imperfect world, things do not the man and his talents were left buried in the police barracks he lived in.

I intended to speak about the president in this illustration, but I ended up talking about my police friend! But I meant to show that if the president of your country were visiting your town you would not call up any old band to play for him. No, sir! Contrariwise, you would bring in the best band, even if it meant calling up one from a different town!

Now, when it comes to good things if you think you know good things, I can assure you that God knows them infinitely better than you do. There are many ways of praising God; but there is the best way to do it. We therefore have no reason to worship God in any old way. As a matter of fact, with God only the best way will do. So what is this “best” way?

Scripture gives us the answer:

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise…” (Mat. 21:16)

Did you see the words “perfected praise” there? What does that tell you? It tells you that God knows the best and He wants the best. When it comes to “hallowing” Him, the Bible tells us that God has perfected praise!

How did God “perfect” praise? It is by putting it in the mouths of “babes and sucklings”.

Now this is serious stuff. This is not talking of our gurgling babies. On the contrary, it is talking about the believer. It is talking of brokenness in a believer’s spirit. It is talking of humility.

Most people think God is interested in the good music they make. He is, of course, but again He is not. God is interested in our good music only if we have a humble and broken spirit. If we do not have a humble and broken spirit, God is not interested in ANYTHING we do for Him. We cannot reduce that bar in any way to please men. Jesus spent all His life here on earth doing the will of God, not of men.

This is the central meaning of the cross in our lives. The cross comes to deal with our flesh. God is more interested in a humble lifestyle than our beautiful music and songs. No song that you sing for God can move Him an inch if it is not accompanied by a humble lifestyle.

The gospel is the life of Christ that we live in our mortal bodies. That is why we must allow the cross to have its way in our lives, to humble us, that we might do the will of God.

One of the most amazing attributes that God has, as we already noted, is God’s capacity to humble Himself. This is something that the fleshly, carnal self simply cannot do. It is impossible for the flesh to humble itself. It can create many scenarios that appear to be of humility, but it can never attain to the real thing. That is why, on judgment day, many pious-looking people will be thrown into hell, because they were not.

Humility is the capacity to obey God. To obey God is to go against the flesh. To obey God, we must be in the Spirit. And to be in the Spirit we must die to self, or the flesh. And to die to the flesh requires that one crucify their flesh.

Ultimately, “hallowing” God has more to do with taking up our cross and following Christ, than singing.

“Hallowing” Our Father – Part 2

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name… Lk. 11:1-2

I wish to apologise to the readers of this blog for the long delay in posting this article. These are the kinds of setbacks that make Mr. Trump to lose his patience with Africans, branding them “lazy” and gallivanting all across the land. I can’t blame him and he probably is right. But God is certainly more merciful than Trump and I trust that His grace and forgiveness will suffice to keep this post “alive” and that, despite its delay, it will still be a blessing to everyone who reads it.

But I love you all and I pray that God will bless you with all His spiritual blessings in the heavenly realm. We saw in the first part of this post that when our Lord Jesus Christ was down here on earth, He taught His disciples how to pray, and the first thing He taught them was to “hallow”, or extol our Father’s Name. Jesus taught them that, in our relationship with God, nothing is more important than our giving of praises and thanksgiving to Him. God simply exists to be praised for He is so much worthy to be praised. The Lord is to be praised always. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the Name of the Lord is to be praised. The most singular reason for “hallowing” God, we saw, is simply because of who He is.

But the Bible gives us another reason for praising God: we are to praise God for what He has done for us. The believer therefore has a double motivation for praising God!

Psalm 103 provides the best enumeration of the reasons we should praise the Lord. It says:

“1 A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.” Ps. 103:1-6

What a merciful and loving God we serve! Surely He is our Father. He watches over us and takes care of us as an eagle her young. Personally, I believe one could spend all of eternity praising and thanking God just for forgiving us our sins, if not for any other reason. Don’t you think so, too?

But the minute you accept that fact you will find you have a whole truckful of reasons to praise and thank God for. God has blessed in more ways than we can express. Most of His blessings are in the things that cannot be seen in the natural. Important as it is, food on the table is not the most important thing that God has done in our lives. The spiritual aspect of what He has blessed us with is of far more importance. And that is what the Bible talks of most – sometimes almost exclusively.

David, the Psalmist, was a rich man by any standards, but you do not see him mentioning horses and chariots, nor the many material things – or wives! – that he owned.

God wants to open our eyes so that we may see and appreciate the spiritual aspect of our relationship with Him. There are believers who see only the material and physical aspect of their relationship with God. But these things are temporal. That is why Jesus said,

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat. 6:33).

The material and worldly things are not the real thing. They are only additions to the life that God has given us. The things we should be looking for and thanking God for are the things that pertain to the Kingdom of God, the spiritual things.

In the final part of this discourse, we shall see, surprisingly, how far God’s expectations are from ours in “hallowing” Him, as they are in everything.

“Hallowing” Our Father – Part 1

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name… Mat. 6:9

How often do you think the Name of the Lord should be “hallowed”, or praised? How often do you praise Him? The Psalmist wrote:

“1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. 3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.” Ps. 113:1-4

From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the Lord’s Name is to be praised.

If you were to begin praising the Lord since the day you were born and if you continually praised Him until the day that you died (let’s assume at a ripe old age) what a joy that would be! One of the unspeakable benefits that you would reap out of such an enterprise is that there would be no place for you to grumble, complain or backbite, all which are works of the flesh and which highly displease God. Blessed is the man who can rise up every morning with praise on his tongue and who continues to praise throughout the day.

But the real blessing in praising God every second of your life is that you would be doing the most important task that any man can engage in, which is to acknowledge, to praise, and to adore, and to uplift the Name of the Living God.

And why, pray, all this praise? It is because our God is so great and worthy… The Psalmist says of Him:

4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, 6 Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” (Ps. 113:4-6)

Notice that the glory of the Lord is above the heavens. But (v.6) the Lord humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!

It is an incredible grace that you and I can even find ourselves praising the Lord and that our praises should reach Him. NOTHING supersedes this in our relationship with God. One of the extraordinary attributes that the Lord has is humility – the humility to give us His attention. We should continuously thank the Lord for that. If the Lord did not have that quality, we would be lost forever for no man is worthy to stand in the Lord’s presence. No man, I say. It is a grace and an honor that our praises can be heard by the great God Jehovah.

And so it was that when the apostles asked the Lord to teach them how to pray, the first thing that the Lord taught them was to acknowledge the greatness of our God. God the Father is so much worthy to be praised.

Hallelujah! Forever and ever and ever His praises are to ring out from every corner of the earth.

Spiritual Warfare

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints… Eph. 6:10-18

Many believers believe that spiritual warfare consists only of prayer. Or, more specifically, confessing the Word and prayer. But notice, in the scripture above, that these two are just a part of the spiritual armor that we are to put on; they are not the whole.

Even more importantly, notice that prayer and the Word are mentioned last in this long list of pieces of armor. Before he mentions “the word of God” and prayer, Paul first lists more important things: the things of the inner spirit. In other words, therefore, we see that there are things we need to do before we pray or confess God’s Word. We need to sacrifice the things of the inner man before we pray. Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

“23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Mat. 5:23-24

Fasting, prayer, overnight or mountain vigils, giving of offerings, singing – all these are good and desirable before God. But Jesus said, “first be reconciled to thy brother” before you do any one of these things!

We all know that any sinner can pray. Even a drunkard can pray. But he cannot have his “loins girt about with truth”, nor can he have “the breastplate of righteousness” on him.

This is one of the most important revelations that comes with the revelation of the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ in our hearts. When we get to know the singular message that the Apostle Paul preached concerning the cross, all of a sudden we realize that we have a responsibility, a responsibility to live a life of denying self, taking up our cross and following Christ.

We cannot and we should not hide behind prayer. We should instead go out and surrender our lives. Forgiving your brother is infinitely harder, but more important, than prayer. So is repenting. But these are the things that constitute the gospel that is needed to bring unity and true love to the Body of Christ. Without this work in our hearts, we shall remain fragmented in the Spirit. and the notion of Christ’s universal church will remain only in some church’s name plate.

The gospel always takes us back to square one. The true gospel of Jesus Christ takes us to follow Christ in His sufferings and death.