Sola Deo Gloria (To the glory of God alone)

To the glory of God alone (Sola Deo Gloria)

— God planned our salvation before the world was created and before we were born (Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Timothy 1:9; Romans 8:29-30).

— God predestined, before time began, who would be saved and who would be left in their own rebellion and curruption (Eph 1:3-13; Romans 9).

— God accomplished our salvation in history in Christ Jesus before we could make any choice (Romans 5:8).

— God regenerated us by His Spirit before we believed in Christ (John 1:12-13; 1 John 5:1,2; John 3:3-5).

— Christ sent gospel messengers to tell us the truth and publish the gospel before we could believe in Him (Romans 10:13-15).

— God made us aware of our sins (John 16:8) and showed us the penalty of sins before we wanted to believe.

— We believe and repent because God granted us these gifts (Ephesians 2:8,9).

— We continue to believe and follow Jesus because the Holy Spirit keeps working in us (Ephesians 1:12,13).

— The good work that God started He will finish (Phil 1:6)

— Those whom God predestined, He will effectually call unto salvation, justify in time, and glorify in heaven (Romans 8:29-30).

— No one will pluck God’s children out of Christ’s hand and out of the Father’s hand (John 10:27-30).

— The determining reason why children of God will persevere is because God determines and causes them to persevere (John 6:35-40; Jeremiah 32:36-40; Ezekiel 36).

— All the glory therefore belongs to God for the believers’ regeneration, their justification, sanctification and glorification (1 Cor 1:30).

— Only God can give glorified, indestructible bodies, to those whom he wills to give them, as He is God.

— God has the prerogative to give salvation to whom he chooses, as he is God, and has the power to do so, Sola Deo Gloria (Romans 9:13-16).

— All the glory belongs to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for anyone’s salvation (Revelation 5:9-11; Revelation 7:9-11), not to the power of our self-determination to be saved (Romans 9:16).

— We boast in Christ and in God exclusively for our salvation, not partly because of us (1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 6:16).

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans‬ ‭11:33-36‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Sola fide (By faith alone)

By Faith alone (Sola Fide)

– No person gets saved without having conscious faith in Jesus Christ, except for those who are unable to believe, like infants who die, and mentally disabled people.

— Saving faith is essentially a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).

— There is a distinction between false or temporary faith and true and saving faith (Matthew 13; Hebrews 6:4-10)

— Saving faith and Biblical repentance always go together, they are distinct graces, but should not be separated from each other in salvation.

— Saving faith includes, correct knowledge of the truths of the gospel, assent to the facts of the gospel, and trust in the Person and Work of Christ.

— Biblical repentance includes, conviction of sins (change of mind), contrition over sins (change of emotions), (not attrition), confession of sins and conversion (change of behavior). Shame and hatred for sins are included in the change of emotions.

— We are saved, strictly speaking, by trusting in Christ Jesus, receiving Christ for who He is: as Lord and Savior and Righteousness, or as King, Prophet and Priest.

— Every person who is regenerated by the Holy Spirit will repent and believe the gospel because God is the determining cause in granting faith and repentance and the exclusive cause in giving a new heart to desire Christ

— We are active in repenting of our sins and trusting in Christ, our emotions, minds and wills are involved.

— These emotions to desire Christ and hate sin, this will to be willing to choose Christ, rest in Christ, and turn from sin, and this mind to understand the facts of the gospel and agree to it, to be true, have been created by Christ (Ef 2:10).

— We are commanded to repent of our sins and turn to God and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15,16; John 14:1,2). Without our wills and affections and minds involved we are not saved. We have to commit to Christ to be saved.

— By faith, in Christ alone, people are justified of their sins, Christ’s righteousness are accounted (imputed, transferred) to the believer and their sins were put on (imputed, transferred) Jesus 2000 years ago (Romans 3:24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

— By faith alone, believers are adopted into God’s family (Galatians 3), receive forgiveness of sins, the gift (baptism) of the Holy Spirit and eternal life (John 1:12; John 3:16).

— Faith is the instrument by which we receive justification, forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, not repentance.

Sola Gratia (By Grace alone)

— We are not saved by obeying the Ten Commandments or the Mosaic law.

–We are not saved by doing good works and works of mercy.

–We are not saved by the power of our relative or natural free will.

–We are not saved by praying to images or pictures of Jesus, Mary, nor by dreams and visions, giving money to the church, nor to the man of God, nor by any human invention.

–Mankind in his natural state is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-3).

–Mankind in his natural state hate God and righteousness and are unwilling to come to God. We have moral inability to want salvation (Romans 8:7; Jeremiah 17:9).

–Mankind has natural ability to choose how he wants to sin, therefore he stand guilty before God. We are not forced to sin.

–All humans stand guilty before God and deserve damnation in hell and God’s eternal wrath (Romans 3:11-20; Romans 3:23; Romans 1:18-31).

–We cannot pay the penalty of our own sins (Romans 6:23).

–We cannot buy or earn salvation by achieving merits.

–God took the initiative to send Jesus Christ to this world to accomplish salvation on our behalf.

–God takes the initiative in our salvation by sending gospel preachers to declare the way of salvation

–God takes the initiative in our salvation by making us aware of our sinful condition and our guilt before God.

–God regenerates us by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-6) and by the word of God (1 Peter 1:23-25) not because we chose him. God regenerates monergistically, without our assistance.

–Without God drawing us to Himself (John 6:44) and convicting us of our sins (John 16:8) there is no way that we would seek salvation.

–God draws the elect, irresistibly, although not against their will

–God implants a new principle within, to want, and desire, the things of Christ

–Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost (Matthew 9:10-14).

–We repent of our sins, feel sorry for our sins, and believe in Christ unto salvation, because God grants us, by his grace, the gifts of faith and repentance (2 Timothy 2:26; Ephesians 2:8-10).

Sola Christos (Battle cries of the Reformation)

2. Through Christ alone (Sola Christos)

— God planned, and revealed through the prophets, contained in the Scriptures, that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come to this world, to redeem and save His people from their sins.

— Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man, the God-man. He is eternal and immutable, the second Person in the Trinity.

— Christ became a man 2000 years ago, was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, fulfilling the just requirements of the law on behalf of His people, and so obtained a perfect righteousness.

— Christ died as a substitute, giving Himself as a sin-offering, making atonement for sins, for His people, satisfying God’s justice and setting aside his eternal wrath.

— Jesus Christ rose from the dead in a physical, glorified body, and conquered death, sin, hell and Satan through his life, death and resurrection.

— Jesus ascended to heaven in a glorified body and serves as the only Mediator between man and God unto salvation (1 Timothy 2:1-5)

— All authority and power in heaven and on earth has been given unto Him (Matthew 28:18-20)

— Christ Jesus is the Head of the church which fills all in all (Ep 1:20-22)

— Christ Jesus will judge the living and the dead, all people from all generations (Revelation 20:11-15).

— There is no other way to be saved from God’s wrath and our sins, but through Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).

— No Pope, person, Angel or supernatural force, Church, organization, human institution or government or thing, can save us from our sins and the wrath of God, except Christ Jesus.

Sola Scriptura (Battle cries of the Reformation)

The battle cries of the Reformation!

Sola Scriptura: The Canon of Scripture, 66 books, is our final authority on all truth, doctrine and practice (2 Timothy 3:15,16)

Sola Christos: Salvation is through the Person and Work of Christ alone. He accomplished and Mediates salvation alone. Christ alone is the Head of the church, not any Pope or church leader (John 14:6)

Sola Gratia: Salvation is by the grace of God alone, not by our works or achieving merits (Ephesians 2:5-10)

Sola Fide: Justification and salvation is received by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8,9)

Sola Deo Gloria: Salvation is to the glory of God alone. No person should take any glory whatsoever for his or her own salvation. Salvation is of God (1 Corinthians 1:30)

1. By Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura)

–The Scriptures were given to us by God and they are our only Canonized Source of Special revelation

–The Scriptures are our infallible Source to discern truth from error and right from wrong not so called “revelations” that people get.

–The Scriptures are inerrant and infallible and trustworthy in all that they affirm and assert.

–The Scriptures sufficiently reveal to us the way of salvation and righteousness

–Without the Scriptures we would still be in the dark about how to be saved

–God has preserved for us the Scriptures and made it available to us in many languages.

–Salvation comes through the knowledge of the truth, the truth of the Scriptures, about God and Christ and man and salvation.

–Without knowledge of the truths of the word of God and the promises it contains, no one can get saved.

–Therefore, it is when God’s servants declare and preach the word of God, the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation, or when people read and understand the truth of the gospel and believe in God’s promises that people can be saved.

–Salvation doesn’t come through present day dreams and visions and so called “revelations”, or “prophetic words” but by knowledge of the truths of Scripture presented by God’s messengers.

Persevering prayer 7

Persevering prayer 7

Persevering prayer and action

“”Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬

There is a famous Christian saying, Ora et labora, it means, pray and work.

Although our passage mainly deals with prayer, seeking God’s face and knocking at heaven’s door, it has a wider application. And that is of working, doing. It is not enough to pray. God doesn’t only want us to pray, he wants us to take action and work. In South Africa we have this problem of unemployment, I think our unemployment rate before the coronavirus outbreak was about 30% and probably by now it is higher. Many Christians are without a job.

So, what do we do when we don’t have a job or don’t have food on the table? We need to pray and seek for it. We need to knock on doors, not once or twice or ten times. We must do it continuously, without stopping until the door opens. We must work hard, and seek and knock until doors are opening. The problem with us Christians is that we lack tenacity, we lack perseverance, we lack importunity. We give up too easily. We are not willing to grab a hold of God and of men. We must not take no for an answer, when it comes to the things that we know is in God’s will.

God wants us to work. 

God wants us to become conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. 

God wants us to overcome our lusts and pride

God wants us to be pure in heart  and humble

God wants us to gain assurance of salvation 

God wants us to gain victory over anxiety and gossip

God wants us to provide for our families 

God wants us to labor in his kingdom 

God wants us to use means to advance the gospel

When we pray for these things, continuously, persistantly, God will grant our requests. But we must not give up too easily.

There is great blessing and power in persevering prayer!

But are you willing to obey?

Ask, and it will be given to you; 

seek, and you will find; 

knock, and it will be opened to you. 

For everyone who asks receives,

and he who seeks finds, 

and to him who knocks it will be opened

Believe it, and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey! Amen

 

Persevering prayer 6

Persevering prayer

The blessings and power of persevering prayer

In this passage God gives four precious promises:

7)““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 

8)For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 

9)Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 

10)Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 

11)If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew‬

Christ, gives us three promises in the beginning and then repeats them,

8)For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be openen

I can hardly think of more precious things in the Bible. The blessing of persevering prayer and the power of persevering prayer come from God, in keeping his promises. When we pray continuously, like that widow in Luke 18 and when we ask for things that are on God’s heart He will answer and He will give us the things we ask for. God is all about fulfilling his promises to his children over and over again. That is the kind of God that He is. Faithful to his promises!

❖ Let’s take a few examples: We read of Moses in Exodus 32-34 where God wanted to destroy the Israelites and Moses interceded for the nation and God was merciful and spared them.

❖ We read of Peter locked up in prison after James his brother was killed and the church praying earnestly for Peter and then God answering and sending an angel to rescue Peter.

❖ We read of Elijah praying that for three years there would be no rain in Israel and God answering him. And then after three years him praying again and it rained. We can multiply examples.

❖ Think of Jacob, wrestling with the angel of God praying throughout the night, and saying, I will not leave you until you bless me! And God did bless him!

❖ We hear of Geoge Müller praying that thousands of orphans to be cared for and without solicitation God answered hundreds of prayers.

❖ Thinking about my own life, I can testify of many prayers God has answered, helping me finish my studies at university, guiding me, providing for me, helping me conquer besetting sins, giving me peace, forgiving my sins, making me strong, giving me a wife, and a child, answering so many prayers, countless prayers.

In our ministry of APC, I cannot tell you how many times God has answered our prayers in crossing borders, getting books in at the right time, undertaking for us, when we got stuck in Northern Nigeria, in Malawi and Tanzania in the middle of the night with flat tyres, in the middle of nowhere, in dangerous areas.

I am sure you can multiply examples as well, if I would ask you. 

There is power in persevering prayer, because there is power in God. His hand is not shortened to help us. There is blessing in persevering prayer. God will give us what we need. Jesus said: ask and you will receive that your joy may be full (John 16:30-33).

Any Christian that prays according to God’s will will receive countless answers to prayer. The question is, are you praying what is according to His will? (1 John 5:14-16).

Persevering prayer 5

Persevering prayer

The Content of persevering prayer

Now we want to look at the content of persevering prayer: let’s look at Jesus’ words again:

9)Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 

10)Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 

11)If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Jesus said, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good things, to those who ask Him.

What are the good things?

Are they Mecedes Benzes and beautiful houses at the seaside? 

Is it material prosperity or our best life now? 

Is it healing from all our diseases in this life?

When you take this text in its context, it definitely does not exclude food, clothes, our daily necessities and many things that will make life liveable , diapers for babies etc! Ask me, I have around one now! Money to study, clothes, sanitation, healthcare, political stability, and many other things. They are all good things, that our Heavenly Father wants to give us. BUT,

There are better things, than material things and toys that we need. They are spiritual things.

In Luke 11:13 we find Jesus, saying, instead of “how much more will your Father in heaven give you good things” how much more will your Father in heaven give you the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”

And I think that is what the good things in Matthew 7:10,11 are pointing to. They point to the things of the Spirit. And then we are back to the beautitudes again. What are the good things, the ultimate good things?

They are, off course, the eternal things, the things that money can’t buy, and that are part of God. The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, patience, humility, self-control

Or as Jesus puts it:

Poverty of spirit, 

Mourning, brokenness 

Meekness, humility

Hunger after righteousness

Mercyfulness

Purity of heart

Peacableness 

Boldness for Righteosuness 

Suffering for righteousness

So, what are the prayers that God always answers?

Prayers for more of the fruit of the Spirit!!

In other words, prayers to be conformed to the image of Christ, prayers for more measures of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Now this doesn’t mean we should not pray for the sick, and those who who are unsaved and those who struggle with sins in their lives.

There are so many things to pray for, but we must focus on the best things, the things of the Spirit.

What I have found helpful is to make lists of what to pray for. And then revisit those lists. And see how God answers prayer.

Persevering prayer 4

Persevering prayer 4

The Motivation to persevering prayer

Jesus said:

9)Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 

10)Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 

11)If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Here, again we see Jesus arguing from the lesser to the greater. If we who are evil give good things to our children, how much more will our Father in heaven give us good things.

We as Christians will never give evil things to our children. We will not give them poison when they ask for water. We will not give them snakes when they ask for fish or chicken. We will not give them gravel and stones when they ask for bread. We will not give them the filth of the world when they ask for salvation. We will not give them idols, we will give them Jesus! We will not deceive them, hurt them, plan their destruction and plot their failure, let them go hungry and destitute. We will do all in our power to care for them, provide for them, protect them, teach them about the Bible, lead them to Jesus, take them to church, pray for them. Take them to the doctor when they are ill.

Won’t we? If we are Christians, we will.

Now if this is true of Christians, the children of God, how much more of your Father who is in heaven, who is perfect in all his ways, who is holy in all he does, who is righteous and kind and good and forgiving and mercyfull?

This is the motivation for persevering prayer: God is infinitely good and wise and because He is our Father, He will give us what we need. He will take care of us. He will provide for us. He will save us from our sins and cleanse us and heal us. 

This is, like Martin Loyd Jones says, the greatest problem in people’s spiritual lives. They don’t believe God is a loving, compassionate and caring Father who looks out for them, who watches over them, who has their best interests at heart. They don’t really believe in his goodness and love.

And that is the reason they don’t visit him often in prayer. Why they don’t seek his face more frequently, why they don’t knock on his door incessantly. They think God is constantly angry with them or indifferent.

Jesus however, reminds us that our Father is caring, compassionate and loving. He is a provider, and a protector and a leader of his people. Jesus draws our attention, to this fact. God is much more willing to bless and keep you and provide for you, than you are willing to be blessed and to be kept and to be provided for. He has infinite resources. He has overflowing supplies of grace and mercy and power and holiness.

Draw your attention to God, as your Father. I hope certainly God is your Father! Because He is not the Father of all people! Let’s be clear about that once again. All people are not going to heaven. All have not been adopted into his family. You need to be born again, of the Spirit. You need to repent of your sins. You need to trust in Christ alone for salvation. You need to surrender all to Christ to become his child.

He who wants to save his life shall lose it. But he who loses his life for my sake shall find it. — Jesus. 

Persevering prayer 3

Persevering prayer 3

The Command to persevering prayer

7)““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Jesus makes it very plain. Again, he knows our need for Himself. He knows we cannot love or live or breathe or do anything without Him. He knows. He is the Master Physician. And because he knows all of our worries and anxieties and all of our worldliness and all of our judgementalism, and all our other sins, he gives us the cure for all our spiritual diseases: and that is: pray, seek the face of God, seek his strength and his fellowship and his presence.

James 4:3, the apostle, tells us: you do not have because you do not ask.

Jesus commands us: it is not a suggestion or a recommendation:

Jesus commands: ASK. SEEK. KNOCK.

These commands all point to the same thing or should we say, Person. God. Christ is commanding us to ask of him the things that we need. Christ is commanding us to seek his face, and will we then be content with other things? Christ is commanding us to knock at his door and enter into fellowship with Him. And as I said before, the asking and the seeking and the knocking is not just a thing that shoud happen when you have a need. That is what hypocrites do. They only come to God when there is a need. If the need is over they forget God. When they are hungry or unemployed or have marriage problems then they run to God and God helps them. But when their problem is fixed then they forget God.

When will we learn?

We will grow spiritually, we will advance spiritually when we take Jesus’ words to heart.

I want to ask you a personal question, how much time do you actually spend time with God alone in prayer each day?

10 minutes? 20 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour?

The examples we have of King David, Daniel, Jesus, Esra, Moses and others through church history, Luther, George Müller, Spurgeon and others, are that they would have prolonged periods of time of spending time with God. Why? Two things at least:

▪ they realized their desperate need for God 

▪ and secondly they loved to spend much time with God alone. 

If you do not spend much time, with God alone, it shows that you don’t love Him much or think that you don’t need Him much. It is actually very sad

Is the reason you struggle spiritually not because you spend so little time with God? I believe that is the bottomline. You love other things more than God.

We need to repent of these things.

God must be first in our hearts. He must rule supreme and He must be the Treaure of our lives. Nothing less!

So these commands of Jesus, are like medicine. They will heal you if you obey them. God will change you if you obey them.

Your worldliness and coveteousness and love of money will dissipate in the presence of the King of glory

Your anxiety will be flushed away if Christ is your trust and rock

Your judgementalism will be changed into love and forgiveness in the presence of God

Your hypocrisy will be crushed in the presence of the Holy Spirit