The Providence of God

Many people who believe in God and have been walking with Lord for many years still question and are perplexed regarding his work in nature, society, everything else that pertains to life.

Some in fact don’t think he is involved in the created order at all. While people believe in the creation account—God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). Still they who hold a deism view; they believe God is not involved in creation and left it on its own.

What is deism? It is the belief that, although the universe reflects the intelligent design and power of a Creator, God’s direct and personal involvement with his creatures ceased after that moment of creation, when he established a network of orderly and regular processes, with which not even he himself will interfere (Dennis E. Johnson, The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption, 16).

The end result of such view and mentality will be: no trust in God, fear, and even doubt that he can ever hear them and answer their requests. How can we trust such a God? There will be no sense of protection, security, and peace. No wonder we lack certainty, confidence, and boldness in God. The problem is not God. The problem is that we lack a better knowledge of the providence of God. He is the ultimate ruler, provider, and redeemer. God created the universe and is at constant work preserving it.

You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you (Nehemiah 9:6 ESV).

The most amazing thing about it is that he did not only create and just leave the scene unwatched and untaken care of. He is at constant work and is actively involved in all affairs of his created order. “God’s providence is His constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation for His own glory and the good of His people” (Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, 23). In his providence of creation, God is all-powerful and all good. Another description of God’s providence may be the following:

God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, 315).

God is so gracious, merciful, and loving that he is in constant care, working for the benefit of His purpose and His people. He is continually active and involved in manners of life. He is aware of everything that happens and occurs in the universe—even the rather small details of our every day lives. Only a caring and loving God would do such thing. He does so for the sake on his own name and glory.

God’s Mission Has A Church

One thing that I have learned is that God’s mission has a church, not the other way around. Now when see each one as part of the big picture in the mission of God, change will burst and lead to an awakening.

Such event will produce a new motivation, a new outlook, and a new global-minded mission. In order for this to happen there needs to be a new passion in the church.

A passion that burns within the soul to share the love of Jesus to all people, race, and culture. Believers have to step out of their norms, boundaries, and comfort to have an impact in today’s generation. Passion and urgency were the key ingredients that led the apostles and early church to pass on the gospel. Obviously God was at work through the Holy Spirit. The fact that forgiveness of sin and salvation had come through Jesus Christ, and was now available to all those who would believe, was the amazing news that motivated and fueled the triumph and success of the spread of Christianity.

Church today has changed in so many different ways, both for the positive and negative. Technology has improved and increased the chances and opportunities for the spread of the gospel. A lot of ministries have entered the radio and TV to broadcast weekly sermons, teachings, and conferences. Not to mentions all the different varieties of church apps that are now available on several phone companies.

We can almost say that there is no excuse for people to hear the good news. The problem is no personal and relational interaction. Even with this big advantage, there is still a lot of work to be done around the world. Still today there are an increasing number of people that claim to be atheists and agnostics that want nothing to do with God and faith.

Many countries still lack the resource of having a Bible translation in their own language. The gospel has still not reached many undeveloped and Muslim countries. A call to faith, holiness, and love is needed for the new coming generation to spread the gospel and expand the kingdom of God on earth.

Ultimately there is a desperate need for reformation, renovation, and refocus that must take place in the mission of the church. This will have a dramatic impact in today’s society with the saving message of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Questions: Acts 1:6-11

1. Why did Jesus leave the disciples when he ascended into heaven?

The prophet John baptized believers with water, which signified washing and repentance of sins. Jesus was the one who was to baptize with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11). Jesus left the disciples in order for the Holy Spirit to come as it was promised by God the Father (v. 4). Jesus previously stated,

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17 ESV).

Jesus ascended into heaven and was exalted to the right hand of the Father. He went back to the One who sent Him. Now Jesus left to prepare a place for those who put their faith and trust in Him (John 7:33-34, 14:2-3).

2. Where does mission begin and where does it end, according to v. 8?

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and it all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Jesus made a very clear demand for the disciples to stay in Jerusalem. The continuation of Jesus’ mission through the Holy Spirit would begin in Jerusalem and it will spread out to the ends of the earth (v. 8). The message was to be heard by the Jews in Jerusalem, and then to the Gentiles in further areas witch included the city of Rome, the central capital of the Empire. Salvation was first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:16). Jesus had purposely planned for the Jews to hear it first, since Israel was God’s chosen people.

This was to demonstrate that God was not through and done with Israel. The apostles even ask Jesus if He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel (v. 6). Soon they would hear a message of hope by followers of Jesus, whom through the resurrection of the dead would grant an inheritance of everlasting life (1 Peter 1:3-4).

3. What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit?

The purpose of the Holy Spirit was to be a helper, a comforter, and the source of power for the disciples to carry out the gospel and be a witness of Jesus Christ, spreading the Good News of salvation to the rest of the world. The Holy Spirit was to come soon upon the disciples (v. 5). Later on the apostles are seeing firsthand the great saving power of God’s grace (2:4, 4:33). The Holy Spirit was to remember the words and teachings of Jesus to the disciples as they went in their mission to spread the gospel of Jesus.

4. What is the link between the ascension of Jesus and the mission he gives to us?

There is a clear link between the ascension of Christ and His mission to the disciples. Jesus by His resurrection has been given authority on heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Therefore mission is to be done in light of knowing that Christ has risen from the dead and has conquered sin, death, and Satan. Everything has been subjected under His feet and authority (Eph. 1:20-22). Christ will gather to himself people to save them (John 17:2). Now the church is called to step up and carry the message and “preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15) and so continue what Jesus started thousand of years ago.

The mission of God is to bring forth redemption, salvation, and restoration to all the created order. The end result of such mission will eventually lead to worship, adoration, and glory to God. The promise of Christ’s second coming should be the fuel and motivation to seek, pursue, and continue His mission (v. 11). Jesus’ second coming will usher in the new eschatological age of the kingdom of God.

Israel as A Light to the Nations

One of the greatest and most important stories of the bible is the story of Israel. The Biblical story of Israel is the account through which God’s missionary and redemptive plan unfolds. The unfolding account of the nation of Israel is the universal story of humanity and creation from its rise, fall, and redemption. This is the big picture that unfolds the message of the Bible.

We see the acts of a loving God who not only wants to restore His people, but to bless them and redeem them into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore Israel was chosen to display a covenantal relationship with its Divine Creator and to be the instrument that He would use to bring salvation to the rest of the world. Israel’s mandate and calling is to be a light to the nations.

It’s Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, through whom this promise is finally fulfilled. The last step in the restoration process of not only Israel but the whole world is now complete through Jesus, the one and true Savior.

 

The Kingdom of God

The first century was the time when the single, most historic event took place in all humanity. God, in His infinite grace and mercy provided a way for His created beings to find their way back to their Creator. The coming of Christ was an important event not just for the Jewish people but also for the whole world. Jesus was the long-waited Messiah, who brought forth forgiveness of sin, redemption, and salvation to those who believe—even to this day. Reconciliation was made through the death and sacrificial atonement of His only Son. The fulfillment of the Law and the prophets was made in Jesus Christ.

The mystery of the kingdom, the secret truth, was finally revealed in Christ through His message and parables. Salvation had come to all who believe, Jews and Gentiles alike. The kingdom of God had indeed come to earth. The greatest intervention of God in the history of the world was in the form of a man (John 1:14). Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of His heavenly Father and called everyone to repentance. The life and ministry of Jesus was filled with great signs, miracles, and wonders. The power of God was at work through Jesus, restoring humanity.

Sin, death, and Satan were defeated once and for all at the cross. The resurrection of Christ brought the conquest and victory over all evil powers and principalities of the kingdom of darkness. The kingdom of God was established in the life of believers through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now believers who are committed to the Lord, live under his rule and reign, eagerly waiting for His return. There is still sin, evil, and death, worst of all—the enemy is still doing his work. We are living in the already not yet aspect of the kingdom of God.

What is the kingdom of God mean for us today? We are in the age of the church. This means we are all called to fulfill the Great Commission. Such mission is not done individually but in community. The best way to share this message is to build long-lasting relationships. Our call is to love God and love people. Love is the ultimate reason to do evangelism. True genuine love and faith, can only be displayed by good acts and works. Good news must come with good deeds. We have to live as God’s people displaying the future eschatological age in our daily lives and so further His kingdom of earth—one soul at a time. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

Working for the Ultimate Provider

God is the one and only provider who meets our needs on a day to day basis, whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial. Now when it comes to employment, God provides a job not only for our financial benefit but most importantly to be good stewards of His provision, to serve Him through the workplace, and to glorify His name.

Work is an opportunity to be good servants of God by serving others. Employment is God’s way of providing and blessing all people, with the end goal of being praised and worship for His goodness.

Jesus came not to do his will but the will of God the Father. Jesus was sent on a mission. Such mission required work and obedience to the One who sent Him.

Jesus’ ultimately goal was to please His Father in heaven. For the same reason our ultimately goal and aim is to please Him (2 Cor. 5:9). But how did He do it? By living a life that served, honored, and worshipped God almighty even through the hard times of struggles and sufferings. Now Jesus did not have a regular job where He punched in and out of work like most of us today. But Jesus did have work to do here on earth. The work of His Father, which started long time ago with His mission to bring forth redemption, salvation, and restoration to reverse the curse of sin brought into His creation. This mission calls us to be part of it and to be actively involve and continue His work on earth through our lives.

In light of what God did through His son Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins and transgressions, we should live a life worthy of our call. A great place to start is in our daily workplaces. Who ever thought working part time at a grocery store was an opportunity for me to serve God. The thought of seeing the workplace through those lenses had never occurred or even go through my mind before.

Matter of fact is, God provides all types of work. Now, if He is our ultimately and divine provider, why don’t we try to do our best and work not just for the manager or boss but for the Lord? This is question I had to wrestle with. Lots of reasons and excuses come to mind.
But the truth is all those reasons and excuses are selfish, self-centered, and worthless in the eyes of God. We tend to see everything through our naturalistic eyes and only see a job for the sole purpose of helping and providing for our needs and wants.

There is nothing wrong with getting paid and earning a salary for our labor. The problem is that we only work to get paid or get a descant check with a couple zeros on it! In and out of work we go without a mission or purpose to accomplish something worth our effort and time. Where does God come in the picture? Is God is only for Sundays and in the building of a church?

God should be our top priority in our lives, especially at places other than the church or meeting place. To live a God-centered life is to do everything for Him. The apostle Paul states, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

What About Dating and Marriage?

Should Christians date?

I once heard someone say that people should get married to date. This is a whole another concept that plays into the structure and meaning of marriage, but I won’t get into that. Men tend to date and “win” their partner and eventually (hopefully) will get married. After marriage, the dating stops and life seems of all of sudden boring and unsatisfying. I guess after the conquest is over there is no need to follow and keep the excitement going. Wrong! This is when marriage should be striving to succeed to it’s fullest.

Unfortunately the world has this twisted and perversed. Now a days people date who ever they want, have sex, and the results are innocent children being abused, abandoned, and aborted. Today people date to have a good time and enjoy sexual immorality (Ephesians 3:19) Whatever happen to good moral values? The numbers of teens getting pregnant are increasing by the thousands everyday. Such a tragic result from the effects of sin.

Marriage is a beautiful thing, when done right. Such examples include Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and many others. Marriage is God’s blessing for humanity. God established marriage between a man and woman. This honors and glorifies God. Purity is a key ingredient to a successful marriage. Now dating is not bad, as long as there are stipulations, boundaries and purity.

Matter of fact is that the Bible does not talk about the act of dating or recommend it at all. Specially when it comes to a Christian dating an unbeliever. These are two unequal yokes. God forbids, warns, and exhorts us to run away from these worldly passions and desires which lead us into temptation and sin (Titus 2:12).

A better way of putting it is God does not want us to look for some type of “emotions”. Rather seek to find the true love found only in God (1 John 3:9-10) and trust Him that He will provide the perfect match. God is the divine match maker! The person he selects is the perfect partner to carry out the purposes and plans of God through marriage and family.

Marriage is an institution established by God and for God that should strive with love, faith, harmony, and hope. All of this can only happen in and through God and when we take decisions that are based and according to His good and perfect will.

Glory to God!

God is sovereign over all creation. Which means He is in full control of all things—He does what He pleases, when He pleases, and with whomever He pleases. No matter what happens in life God is always good, gracious, and abounding in love.

God is faithful and He keeps His promises to all those who seek His will. God uses different means of accomplishing his purposes, and He calls us to be part of his new creation and to be part of his mission to bring salvation to the world. This new calling—and invitation to be part of His mission—was made possible through the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, who is the first fruits of His new creation.

We are born in Christ to a new hope, a glorious inheritance that calls us to be holy and blameless before the almighty and omnipotent Creator of the Universe!

Blessed be God our father who sits on his heavenly throne with majesty and power. Praise be to Him who took our sins and iniquities upon himself for the salvation of the world. (Soli Deo Gloria!) To God alone be the Glory!

My Only Desire

My burning desire is to walk side by side with Jesus and live according to His perfect and good will all the days of my life in obedience to the authoritative and absolute truth found in His word.

I want to live a life worthy of my call in the gospel of Christ with purity, faithfulness, and holiness and so fulfill the purpose He created me for, that he established before the foundation of the world to walk in good works for Christ and for the church to the world. To abide in the love of God with humility, gentleness, and compassion for the lost and to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.

I want to be remembered as someone who walked with the Lord, filled and empowered with His Holy Spirit. Full of zeal and passion for things above and for the kingdom of God and His glory. So that when I come into His presence I would be found as an approved and faithful servant ready to receive the crown of eternal life and the glorious inheritance through His son Jesus. Praise be to God in the highest, Creator of the universe, for His grace, mercy, and His unconditional love!

The Holy Spirit

How can we imitate God and pursue His will in our everyday lives?

First, and foremost, we must accept God’s free gift of salvation and unconditional love. This calls us to live according to His word, and put Him as the foundation and center of our very existence. This work cannot take place apart from the Holy Spirit!

We cannot change in and of ourselves. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. We regenerated or “born again” by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are made right or “justified” before God by the sacrificial atonement on our behalf of Christ on the cross. We are “sanctified” or the process of becoming more holy and by the sole work of the Holy Spirit through His word. So in others words regeneration, justification, and sanctification is the result of God’s irresistible grace in the life of the believer through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Our lives changed and are transformed because of God’s grace through the work of the Holy Spirit. He is constantly working in our hearts so that we might become image bearers of His name and to prepare us for the coming age of His kingdom of heaven on earth. That itself is something to enjoy and passionately thank God with praise and worship!