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For accessing rich treasures in His Word and for edification
 
 
MESSAGE FOR THE FORTNIGHT
 





HE IS THE FIRST IN EVERYTHING!!!

“….He is first in everything”- Col 1:18 (TLB)


Speaking about the pre-eminence of worship in a Christian’s life, a Biblical scholar put it wisely “If prayer and praise are a preoccupation about our needs and blessings respectively, then worship is a preoccupation with God’s glory alone (read God's goodness- Exo 33:18-19).

In this message, Yours Truly aims to glorify His Heavenly Sire, Saviour and Sustainer by focusing on His unique attribute of being the originator of love, faith and hope in us. Oh yes, though it is generally believed that love, faith and hope are the foundation, the pillar and the roof of our Christian life respectively to sustain the same ( 1 Cor 13:13), a closer scrutiny of the Almighty’s working in our lives (in conformity with the Scriptures) would reveal that He actually is the Creator of this “awesome threesome” in our lives lest we take any credit for birthing them in us.

Love…



So you see, our love for him comes as a result of his loving us first- 1 John 4:19 (TLB)

Firstly on the “foundation” of Christian life-love! It is often portrayed either in the mythological or the movie world that a hero is usually born to rule and kill villains, but Christ’s (the only hero in a Christian’s life- Heb 12:1-2) First advent was all about love-inspired serving and dying for the latter…of whom, we would be the chief (Matt 20:28/ John 3:16/ Romans 5:10/ 1 Tim 1:16). The realization of this truth (loved not because of virtues but in spite of vices) at the point of regeneration is what fills a Christian with gratitude giving birth to unalloyed, Spirit-empowered love which would be evident subsequently in many an act of reverence and charity towards the Saviour and Fellow-Christians respectively ( Luke 7:47/ Luke 19:8/ Acts 2:44-45/ Acts 11:27-30/ Rom 5:5/ 1 John 3:14-16).

Let’s resolve to always retain that “first love” (“first” again eh?) at all times and show it by way of selfless acts of love towards our Heavenly Father and our fellow brethren. As Love is an offshoot of mostly gratitude, a Christian needs renew His gratitude for His Saviour by prayerfully (with Holy Spirit’s help- Rom 8:26-27) remembering (on daily basis) all the benefits he has received from His Divine Benefactor’s hands’ not only from the point of salvation onwards but right from his physical birth onwards. Now this is one spiritual exercise ( I Tim 4:8) which is guaranteed to ensure that the embers of “First love” are stoked time and again!!!

Faith…



Coming to the “pillar”, as it were of Christian faith, first things first here please! Meaning of the word faith all along in the Scriptures has been not only that which comes from hearing the Gospel (leading to salvation- Rom 10:17) but one which keeps the saved soul in the straight and narrow path till the end. The Hebrew and Greek words for faith which are “Emunah” and “Pistis” employed respectively in Hebrew and Greek Bibles- meaning faithfulness or loyalty- better capture essence of the word Faith ( Hab 2:4/ Heb 10:37) rather than its regular use in Anglican Churches’.

A cursory glance of the heroes’ of faith enlisted in the Chapter of faith such as Abraham, Moses or David would bring to the fore a common unifying factor in them. None of them, after they were called (word used advisedly) by God, went back to their “old lives”. But if we pose a question, as to who called them faithfully in the first place and stood by them faithfully (?)…the answer would be unequivocally-the faithful God ( Psalm 33:4/ Gen 12:1-3/ Exo 3:1-10/ 1 Sam 16:1-13)! Ditto with every Christian ( Eph 1:3-5)!!! A honest recapitulation of the events leading to salvation would convince us of this truth- that a faithful God followed us right from conception onwards before saving us at the right time!!!

Just to underscore my point about God’s faithfulness, I am bringing in the significance of the word “Covenant” and comparing it with the word “Contract”. The 2 notable differences between these 2 almost similar words are…while a contract is always between 2 Parties of equal stature (eg…a Land owner and a building Contractor), a Covenant is always between a higher party and a lower party (eg…a marriage between a stronger husband and his wife-a weaker vessel- Mal 2:14/ 1 Peter 3:7 -or the will of an experienced father to his not-so-experienced progeny- Job 42:15). Also we need to remember that while a contract stands broken if either of the 2 Contracting parties violate the terms of agreement, a Covenant remains intact, with the higher party always fulfilling the terms of the agreement even if the lower party violates them. One need not go beyond a faithful husband Hosea and his faithful demeanor towards his faithless wife Gomer to better comprehend the meaning and nuances of the word Covenant ( Hosea 3:1-3).

To substantiate the above point even whilst emphasizing the key word - “first” -of this message (going with its ebb and flow, so to speak), I want to bring before my readership the following examples…

“First” Parents…

Yes, Adam and Eve transgressed their covenant with their Father and dealt faithlessly with Him ( Hosea 6:7-ESV) but their Divine benefactor would not go back in the matter of helping them in various ways…beginning with
    a) provision of clothes ( Gen 3:21),

    b) protection from wild animals (Daniel in the lion’s den story would get dwarfed in comparison, for after the Fall all the “wild” animal-tigers, bears, elephants- would all become hostile to our “First Parents”, leave alone the Lions) and

    c) ensuring safe delivery during child-birth at a time no midwives were there ( Gen 35:17) leave alone the maternity hospitals ….etc…etc…


“First” Church…

Contrary to popular belief that the word “Church” is used for the first time to describe only “an assembly of Christian believers” in NT section of the Bible, (a closer scrutiny of the Scriptures would tell a different story…sic) now it may surprise some, if I say that the word “Church” has been used to describe the Nation of Israel also ( Acts 7:38 KJV). Did not our Creator God have a Covenantal relationship with the Jews long before the Church as we know was “born on the Day of Pentecost” ( Acts 2:37-46)?

Though their obedience graph of the Jews would show wild swings right from their Wilderness journey, the Almighty remained faithful to them providing for them despite their rebellion therein many a time (though they brought a curse of longer stay in the Desert upon themselves…mind you…none of them died out of hunger or thirst in their 40 years journey- Deu 29:5). Later on, in the Promised Land and outside of it too (they brought the curse of exile upon themselves due to willful idol-worship) the Faithful God would continue to care, provide for them ( Jeremiah 29:1-11) besides protecting them from all kinds of dangers including a planned, horrific genocide (Book of Esther stands as a testament to this truth). Now the same faithful One has given an assurance that all Jews though they despise Christ now would soon be led to a Christ-oriented salvation ( Zech 12:10/ Rom 11:26-27).

“First” and “Last” Epistle…

Basing on the faithfulness of our ever faithful God whose unstinted loyalty toward those He has a Covenantal relationship has been time and again recorded in the faithful Scriptures, this is what Apostle Paul has to say in the first epistle of his (to appear in the NT Section) and his last epistle (if we go by true chronological accuracy) about hope (the “roof” as it were in a building comparable to a Christian’s life) and God’s faithfulness respectively…

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope- Rom 15:4

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself- 2 Tim 2:13

Hope…



Finally we come exclusively to the subject-hope (“roof”, as it were of a Christian life akin to a building). Now let’s dwell on how our God who is “first in everything” has engendered hope in all Christians. Hey, whenever we speak of “roof” inside a room, are we not inclined naturally to look skywards. Yes, it is indeed every Christian’s “Blessed hope” to be raptured unto the mid-sky one day ( Titus 2:13) “defying” either the grave or getting translated (from the Land of the living) defying gravity!

But how did this “Blessed hope” take birth in us? Let the tell-tale Scripture take over at this stage…

“…Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits (“first” yet again…hmmm) of those who have fallen asleep”- 1 Cor 15:20

Candidly put, minus the “First” Easter (there was no human hand in the Resurrection) there would be no “Blessed hope” in or for us.

So Dear Friends, in conclusion let me say that in response to His love, faithfulness and engendered hope in us…let us at all times love the Lord passionately ( Rev 2:4), follow Him faithfully (after being first called and chosen- Rev 17:14) and look ahead for the rapture earnestly ( 2 Tim 4:8). All glory to Him! Amen and Amen!!!



Yours in His service,


(Suresh Manoharan)