Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Message: Matthew 18:21-15 "The Supremely Magnanimous King" (Ptr. Joey Cortes)

  Today ends our church sermon series on "The Parables Our Lord Jesus Told". The sermon of our pastor started with an illustration like most sermons do. It is about Eugene Burnand, a prolific Swiss painter. In his younger years he likes to paint nature and countryside. He became an excellent portrait artist later on in his life. He also paints religious themes. He painted the parables in the bible producing 84 pictures, one of which is the parables that we are going to tackle on today, 'The parable of the Unmerciful Servant.'

This parable teaches us how destructive it can be if we fail to forgive others. This parable is a story of a 'wretched man's, wretched end.' Here, Jesus emphasizes forgiving others should be the way of life of His followers. Humble disciples of Christ forgive unconditionally and limitlessly becauase they have been forgiven. We study this parable in 3 parts.

1. How Many Times Should I forgive?
In effect Peter was asking is there a limit to forgiveness. In Jewish culture forgiving someone over 3 times is considered more than enough. So Peter asked if 7 times was enough. For Jesus in His ministry, forgiveness is very important. There is no specific number of time that we are to forgive. We should infinitely forgive. Truly humble disciples do not limit how many times they forgive. The principle here is: Kingdom disciples offer unlimited forgiveness in both frequency and gravity. Failing to forgive hinders our worship.

2. How Massive Was My Debt That Was Forgiven.
Forgiveness is expected to all the followers of Jesus. Quoting from Ptr.Cortes, "Non-believers might be able to forgive for whatever reason (out of pity, out of selfish motives or self-righteousness, as an act of virtue, or only offer up partial forgiveness), but their forgiveness is not motivated by the same fuel that drives a believer's ability and desire to forgive - namely, God's lavish forgiveness of his incredibly offensive sin." Our Holy Lord offer us massive forgiveness from our sin. The principle here is to understand our massive debt and appreciate how forgiving God is.

3. How Wicked must we NOT to forgive?
Someone who does not genuinely forgives from the heart, proves that he or she has not truly experienced the power of God's forgiveness. Unlike us, God's ability to forgive is truly amazing. We must not be proud, and parade our vengeance and bitterness. The principle here is that Kingdom disciples forgive from the heart because they have been forgiven.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Message: Luke 16:19-31 "What Moses and the Prophets Really Spoke About" (Ptr. Kirby Figueras)

  Praise God I was able to attend today's service and I was able to teach the kids now at our Sunday school. I should have taught last Sunday but I was sick and physically tired. I'm okay now physically, even if I had a bit of cough. I'm not that okay 100% because I'm going through something, I hope my dear readers of this blog you could pray for me.

The Scripture readings were taken from the book of Genesis 15:1-6, Romans 4:13-25, and Luke 16:19-31. We are all familiar with the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus. From the sermon we learned about 3 things:

1. About faith that treasures more the heavenly riches than earthly pleasures.
2. Faith that transcends mere religious or fleshly heritage for righteousness, and
3. Living a life of faith that trusts a covenant-keeping God and His word.

As sons and daughters of the most-High, we should live a life of faith to God through His word. This world entices us to value temporal things. Like the rich man in the parable. He has no regard for others. He is focused on Himself only, and in the earthly pleasures of this world. It's not wrong to be rich, but it should not come to a point where our material possessions replace the position of God in our lives. Like what C.S. Lewis have said, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." This is a good reminder for us all who believes in Jesus. This is not our permanent home, we are only passersby in this world. What do we treasure the most? Where are treasure is there are our hearts will also be.

Living a life, following the footsteps of Christ is not about being blessed with a lot of money, possessions, and material wealth. Like what most evangelical pastors preach today. If we profess our faith in Jesus we will be blessed abundantly, and will prosper. The reality is that Christian life is not easy. We are also prone to sickness, there are times when tragedy or misfortune will struck us but we should never lose hope, and lose focus in Jesus. The only reason we can face God, and we can say confidently that we have a connection with Him, it is because of Jesus Christ. We should live a life that looks beyond all earthy and material things. Christian life is a life of faith, not a life of convenience or pleasures.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

How to Wait on God

    I was not able to go to church today because of my colds, and I have a cough also. Yesterday, I was able to go to school (learning a foreign language again). I felt bad because I was able to prioritize that, while to worship God should be the number one thing. Anyway, a friend from CCF told me that God is merciful. I excused myself at Sunday school, and I'm thankful to my co-teacher for filling in for me. I was supposed to teach the kids today. Anyway, I hope and pray that next week I'm already well, so I can go back to my church duties.

I was able to watch CCF's live worship service online. Ptr. Peter Tan-Chi, the senior pastor of CCF was the preacher for today. The topic is how to wait on God. It is really very timely for me. Only God knows, and of course my few close friends knew how I feel now. I am still waiting for God to answer my heart's desire, and honestly, there are times I feel like giving-up.

Ptr. Tan-Chi, read Psalm 13. The Psalmist who wrote it was David, a man after God's own heart. Here we can see the psalmist prayer is not yet answered by God, but even if the situation is not changing, he chooses to trust in God always. I must admit the I suffer from "immediatetitis" (this is a 'coined' word, meaning one who cannot wait). I must admit the waiting is really hard. One way of molding our character is through waiting. Waiting is one of the tools that God uses to develop our character. Ptr. Peter said he is also an impatient person, like most of us. God knows what's best for us. If we don't know how to wait then we don't really trust God. I pray that whatever it is we are praying for, even if up to this day it remains unanswered. May we still keep the faith, and continue to trust God. While we just see a small perspective of the whole scenario, He sees the whole scope of things. Like what the classic Christian song says, "God is so wise to be mistaken... just trust His heart."

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Sunday Message: Matthew 20:1-16 "The Generous Master" (Ptr.Kirby Figueras)

  Today's Sunday Message is the continuation of our sermon series about the Parables that Our Lord Jesus told. The guest preacher for today was Ptr. Kirby Figueras. The Scripture readings were taken from the book of Numbers 14:11-19, 1 Corinthians 10:1-12, and Matthew 20:1-16.

In this parable we will learn about one of God's attribute. The parable is about a Master who owns a vineyard, who hired workers to work for him. These workers who were hired earlier received the same amount of wage with the workers who were hired later  on the same day. So workers who were hired first complained to the Master of the vineyard. The Master of the vineyard told them. He was not being unfair because they agreed in the amount of wage that they will receive. As Christians what should be our response to God?

This parable is not about our chronologically priority in the Kingdom of God. We will learn about 2 things in this parable.

1. The Sovereignty of God
2. The grace of God

God is the Father, He is the master and we are mere servants of God in His vineyard. It is very hard to work for a boss who doesn't treat you right. Jesus is showing God the Father, exceeds all those negative descriptions who calls anyone. He is a just, just to do what He pleasea to do because He is the God of the universe. He is the sovereign God above all. He is consistent in His character. We do not have the right to grumble against God. We should respond to the generous Master. The passage is not about salvation. The purpose of Jesus in telling this parable is to rebuke Peter in what he is saying.

We must keep in mind what Paul says in Ephesians 2:10-12, that we Gentiles are strangers and not part of the covenant. Here we can see God's grace and merciful character. Have you ever complained to God because of what other people received through His grace? Whenever we complain to God, it is as if we are saying, "I know better than you!"

Jesus is like the foreman in the parable. Jesus will come, when it is God's time to judge all of us. He will call us, His church and He will give what He has promised to us. Amen!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Sunday Message: Luke 11:1-13 "Praying to the Father" (Ptr. Oscar Villa)

   This Sunday we had a guest preacher in our church. He's a pastor from Higher Rock Church in Quezon City, Ptr. Oscar Villa. We are also thankful to God because of them, we were able to attend and listen to very good seminars sponsored by their church. Today's Sunday message was taken from the gospel of Luke. Ptr. Villa's introduction was about Martin Luther who was terrified because of the lightning and thunder, who then prayed to St.Anne, saying if he will be spared from this event then he would dedicate his life by becoming a monk. Thus, he entered the order of St. Augustine and became a monk. We all know the end of the story because God will use him as one of the 'great voice' of the Reformation. We believe in Sola Scriptura that the bible alone must be the final authority.Because of the Reformation we have recovered the bible truths and we have a gospel grounded Christ-centered Scripture saturated prayer.

The Scripture readings were taken from the books of Psalm 103:6-14, Ephesians 1:3-14 and Luke 11:1-13. As we study this chapter and verses in the bible we learn about 3 things.

1) The Model for Praying (vv.1-4)
2) The Manner of Praying (vv. 5-8)
3. The Mindset for Praying (vv. 9-13)

How do we pray? On a scale of 1 to 10 how do we rate our prayer life?

Luke's gospel describes the ministry of Jesus in prayer/ In chapters 5:16, and 9:18 we read about Jesus prayer life. We can see the environment of Jesus discipleship is prayer. Jesus life is immersed in prayer. In the first part of this verse, it is about knowing God as our Father. We can see in the life of Jesus, and His relationship with God the Father, as a 13 yr. old when His parents came looking for Him and He told them that how can they not know that He had to be in His Father's house, and the baptism event in the Jordan river when God said, Jesus is His beloved Son whom He is very well pleased. According to J.I Packer in his book 'Knowing God'. "Father" is the Christian name for God.

According to Packer, "You sum up the whole New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one's Holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers, and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all."

In the model of praying we are taught to have reverence to God as King, depend on God's provisions, to look to God for mercy, seek God's protection, unite all of our heart's in prayer as God's children. We can come before God in boldness, to pray to Him with our request and plea anytime. We can come to Him because of the confidence that we have in Christ. We can come before Him not because of what we have done, or who we are but because of what Christ has done for us. Is there a greater intercessor than that of Jesus Christ?

When we ask, seek, and knock to God through our prayers, this is not a guarantee that God will give us everything that we ask for. But it is an encouragement that we can come to Him anytime. As what we have read in this passage, even evil men knows what they should give to their children if they ask for something they will not be given a bad thing, how much more God who is all good and just. We can come to God knowing that He loves us, and He knows how to care for our needs. We are heirs of the Kingdom of God. Many are looking for blessings in this life, but the real blessings as Christians we know it is knowing and having Jesus Christ in our lives.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sunday Message: Luke 18:9-14 "Kingdom Righteousness" (Ptr. Kirby Figueras)

   Yesterday, we resumed our Sunday sermon series, The Parables that our Lord Jesus told. Our speaker was Ptr. Kirby Figueras, a graduate studies student of theology from Westminster  College in the US.

The Scripture readings were taken from Proverbs 16:6, Philippians 3:2-11 and Luke 18:9-14. The parable was about the pharisee and the tax collector. I believe that we are all familiar with this parable. The tax collector and the pharisee went to the temple to pray. The pharisee prayed and thank God, saying he was not like all these 'sinful people' and he enumerated all the good things/work that he has done while the tax collector beated his breast and stands humbly before God. Jesus uses 2 extreme examples of personalities in this parable. The tax collector, hated by the people because they abuse their power by collecting excessively more than the right amount. The pharisee are strict followers of the law. The temple in the story symbolizes God.

We should remember the bible verse, anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

In this parable we learn 2 important things:

In Isaiah 64:6, it says there that all we offer to God are like rags. Nothing we do or offer can be right and enough to God. A lot of people base their salvation and their righteousness through their own works. But that is really nothing in the eyes of God. It is only through Jesus Christ, the perfect and most holy sacrifice that we are made righteous before God.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Message: Psalm 27 "Secrets Fathers Keep" (PTr. Efren Pallorina)

   Today we took a break from our sermon series, The Parables, Stories our Saviour told. We have a guest speaker today, Ptr. Efren Pallorina a veteran radio broadcaster from FEBC and a worship pastor from Caloocan Bible Church. Today, the whole world is celebrating the Father's day, and we pray that as we honor all the father's today. May that act also honor our Father in heaven too. Our church gave away special token to all the father's who attended the service today, and Ptr. Efren led the prayer as the church prayed for them.
 Ptr. Efren, opened his sermon by showing us a photo of his daughter's gift to him. He also shared to us a quote from Billy Graham, "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society."

He also gave us important reminders from the bible.

Honoring our father is a command. "Honor your father and mother. so that you may live long in the land the LORD your GOD is giving you." Exodus 20:12

The mandate for fathers is tough and noble. "He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children." - Psalm 78:5-7

The standards are high. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the disciple and instruction of the Lord." - Ephesians 6:4

The Scripture readings were taken from Psalm 121:1, Matthew 10:26-33 and Psalm 27.

Psalm 27 was written by King David. In chapter 7:12 David recognizes that people close to him can fail him, and abandon him. So he decided to place his whole trust in God.

We learned 3 Secrets that Fathers keep.

1. All of us limps - Billy Graham. (We use Christianity/religion as our crutch).
2. The rumor is true we are not perfect. (Fathers are not really Superman)
3. We all feel lost sometimes. (We are not really Mr. Know It All)

Many fathers will receive a gift today. Why not give the gift of yourself, and spend time with your children, and family. The best gift you can give your children is the knowledge and theory of God in a world that disdains God.