Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Acid Test Of A Righteous And Wicked Person

       How would we know that a person is righteous or wicked?

We will first define who is considered righteous. A righteous person is one who is a true believer of Christ as the only begotten Son of God, but still a sinner, for the Bible tells us that no one is sinless. It says bluntly that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “The LORD look down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy (stinking); there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:2-3).

This is reiterated in Psalm 53:2-3, as follows: “God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one!” (NLT). But when one hears the gospel (Good News of salvation by grace through believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and his Savior from sin) everything becomes new; old things become new. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature’s old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). He has been born again. He is saved by grace (or undeserved favor from God) through faith in Jesus Christ. So then, a righteous man is a believer of Christ (God in person); a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).

One of the acid test of the righteousness of man is his manner or way of handling money. A righteous man (sinner save by grace) avoids borrowing, or if he borrows, he can’t sleep well if he is unable to repay. He is always thinking of paying his indebtedness, and he strives hard until he is able to pay. He is the one described in 2 Cor. 5:17 quoted above. The scripture also says: “Owe no man anything but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8).

On the other hand, a wicked person, borrows money but never intends to repay at all. He steals under the guise of borrowing. In Tagalog, “pagnakaw na harap-harapan” (In English, borrowing by robbery). Don’t misunderstand me. Not all borrowers are wicked persons. It is only the one who borrows and has no plans to pay at all.

This is how he Bible describes the acid test of determining who is righteous and never repay, but the godly are generous givers” (Psalm 37:21 NLT). The King James version (KJV) which is the version nearest to the original Greek word, is like this: “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth”.

A certain lawyer has a Chemical Engineer-client who had a younger brother, a Mechanical Engineer. The brother borrowed a substantial amount – more than a hundred thousand pesos from the Chemical Engineer-sister, and when payment was sought, he ignored to pay, saying: “salâ nimo kay nganong nagpahuram ka” (It is your fault why you lend me your money). The lawyer read to his client the King James version of Ps. 37:21, which says, “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth” (Psalm 37:21 KJV), and the client remarked was: “Tinood gyud na Atty. kay pila na ka beses naghulam sa ako ang akong manghod, ug wala gyud siya nagbayad bisan usa ka centavo” (In English, that is true Atty. for my brother borrowed from me several times and he never paid any single cent).

The brother died last Sept. 30, 2012 with heavy indebtedness to lawyer’s client and to many other individuals and business establishment. Be wary of a borrower who is wicked!

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, November 17, 2012)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Danger Of Showing To Strangers Our Material Treasures

           There is a remarkable story of King Hezekiah who became ill and was at the point of death. He has prayed fervently to the Lord to heal him, and God heard him, and had added to his life fifteen years. But he committed a colossal blunder which cost the captivity of his kingdom by a foreign power. The story as recorded in the canonized Bible is found in 2 Kings 20 and 24. It pertinently relates:
“1In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the Word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the King of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.”
7Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice (lump) of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.
8Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”
9Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”
10“It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”
11Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.”

           The healing of King Hezekiah was so marvelous that it was published to the known world at the time, when Babylon was then the world power. The Bible further records:
“12At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. 13 Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouse—the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine olive oil—his armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?”
“From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came from Babylon.”
15The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?”
They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”
16Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the Word of the Lord: 17 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 18 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (2 Kings 20:12-18 NIV).

              The fulfillment of the Word of God given through the prophet Isaiah came to pass as recorded in 2 Kings 24:12-18:
“In the eight year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the Lord had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the Lord. 14 He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.
15Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the prominent people of the land. 16 The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans. 17 He made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.”

As aforementioned, God has raised King Hezekiah from a bed of death, giving him a new lease of life for fifteen years. The visit of the Envoys or Ambassadors of the Babylonian King to Hezekiah was a test of his humility, gratitude and devotion to our God Almighty. The Babylonians had heard of his wonderful recovery. The King of Babylon sent messengers to Hezekiah to express his amazement and awe at the miraculous and awesome power of his God and to congratulate him on his remarkable recovery. The visit of these Envoys gave him an opportunity to extol our God Almighty to high heaven. But instead of exalting the God of heaven for his wonderful healing, his pride and vanity took possession of his heart, and instead in his self-exaltation and boasting, he laid open to their covetous eyes all the treasures with which God had enriched His kingdom and his people… Consequently, the report of the Envoys to their King centered on Hezekiah’s kingdom riches instead of his miraculous healing, and the King and his advisers moved them to plan to rob the treasures of Hezekiah’s kingdom to enrich Babylon.

Had Hezekiah took the opportunity given him to extol and bear witness to the power, the goodness, and the compassion of the one true God in healing him, the report of the Envoys would have been only on his miraculous and wonderful healing. But he magnified himself above the Lord of hosts and failed to give God all the glory. Compounding his mistake, King Hezekiah volunteered to show to total strangers all the material treasures and riches of his kingdom which ignited the covetousness and envious ambition of the King of Babylon.

The situation is somewhat similar to what precipitated Japan to invade the Philippines during World War II in its desire to acquire dominion over it because President Manuel L. Quezon magnanimously allowed some Japanese officials to acquire the fertile lands in Mindanao which is flowing with milk and honey, so to speak, particularly in the Province of Davao, which the Japanese people envied beyond measure. But our God had other plans for the Philippines. He used the Americans through President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Gen. Douglas MacArthur to liberate the Philippines from Japanese imperialism. This and our national independence for which our national heroes fought so hard is our everlasting legacy from the Americans who equally sacrificed a lot in terms of the lost lives of their soldiers. To God be all the glory!

The Ministry of Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International is primarily to relate in humility our wonderful experience on how our God had miraculously healed us physically and marvelously prospered us materially, physically and spiritually and in our businesses and vocations, giving God thanksgiving and all glory and honor. In this way others especially the unbelievers, will be attracted to our God thereby paving their conversion to Christianity by the Holy Spirit, not by our own efforts. But how often those for whom God worked miraculously are like King Hezekiah—forgetful of the Giver of all their blessings and instead in their pride, exalt themselves above measure. Like in the case of King Hezekiah, his kingdom was robbed of its riches and treasures by those who do not fear God. God forbid. Let us cling to Him who is our all in all at all times.

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin November 20, 2012)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Is Everyone Guaranteed A Resurrection?

In the book of Job, a question was asked: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come”. (Job 14:14 KJV).

The correct answer to the question is “Yes”, based on the dialogue between Jesus Christ and Martha. Jesus said to Martha when he visited Lazarus who died four days earlier. “Thy brother shall rise again” (John 11:23) to which Martha said to him, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (vs. 24). Jesus did not correct what Martha said, but instead he remarked, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (vss. 25 and 26). Obviously, the Lord Jesus was referring to spiritual life, not physical life, which is affirmed by what he said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Again, he is referring to spiritual life, not physical life. How can we have eternal life?

Again, the Lord Jesus emphasized, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my Word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life” (John 5: 24 KJV).
Significantly, the second phrase of Job 14:14 says, “all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come”. This is reinforced by Job 19:26 which says, “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God”. In Psalm 17:15, which is a prayer of King David, the prince of all psalmists, he said, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness”. Meaning when the believer resurrect or live again, he will have a glorified physical body like that of the Lord Jesus when he resurrected from the grave.

Obviously, the second phrase of Job 14:14 refers to rapture at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of his second coming in John 14:1-3 when he said, “Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Then, He (Jesus) concluded, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also (vs. 19).

On the other hand, Apostle Paul said:

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or precede) them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:13-17 KJV)

The Lord Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29 KJV). The latter mentioned to be resurrected shall be thrown in the lake of fire, or hell. This is the second death. That is, those who have not repented of their sins; they have not accepted Jesus Christ as their only Savior; those that do not confess or acknowledge their sins shall not be forgiven. The promise of the Lord to the believer-sinner is that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 KJV). “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him (Jesus Christ) a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10 KJV). Why, because it is written, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

In the teleserie, “Walang Hanggan”, the ending of the love story of Daniel and Katerina, was that they both died and resurrected and in heaven they were together joyous and loving and enjoying the company of each other. Notably, the doctrine of the Lord Jesus as to what life will be in the second life in heaven is written in Matt. 22:23-30 (KJV). The doctrine is completely stated thus:

23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Matt. 22:23-30)

Angels are sexless. They therefore do not feel the urge for sex as ordinary human beings do. This could be the very reason why they do not marry. Many wives and some husbands do not marry for the second time after the death of their spouse, because they say, it is troublesome to be married. Although some, especially men, get married again. Because the action is on earth, no longer in heaven. The atmosphere in heaven is different from the earth. It is a place of paradise. Inhabitants of paradise/heaven do not have the trouble of making money for a living. They just pick the fruit of the tree of life for their food. They do not need any transportation, inasmuch as they can go any place they want to, like Jesus Christ and the angels. They will just appear suddenly when necessary, so no one will boast he rides in a Mercedes Benz or Rolls Royce, etc. Everybody is equal. No more sickness, so no physician is needed; no more evil people, so there is no need for lawyers. No one engages in business anymore, so there is no need for accountants or managers or clerks. Everybody is like an angel—messengers/servants of God, and always fellowshipping with God forever – without end. The choice is ours: when we resurrect will we want to be in heaven or hell?

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, November 3, 2012)