Winning an Argument


I came across a heated argument between two parties with diverging religious views. Both parties made their case to prove the other wrong.

How do you win a religious argument? To win a religious argument is not to argue at all.

Except maybe on a platform that requires a thourough case for the Christian faith, one has to be precisely careful not to utilize oral or written threads of arguments to win souls for the Kingdom. This is of course not setting aside occasions that call for apologetics.

Here’s why:

1. It produces quarrels.

2 Tim. 2:3
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

If at the end of the day you come out victorious with a confident argument, you are still not victorious if you haven’t inched your “opponent” closer to the saving knowledge of Christ.

You gain a more determined enemy crafting a more persuasive case to exact revenge on you.

2. It is unprofitable and useless

Titus 3:9
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Note: unprofitable and useless.

You get how many hours a day to spare talking about or preaching the gospel? If those few hours are spent arguing and quarreling, it’s such a waste of time. While you waste time, remember that a soul is wasted.

I recently talked to someone telling me that it’s now the Last Days so we need to be more vigilant with the Devil’s tactics and bla bla. I almost blurted out: Since it’s the Last Days, might as well double time on Christ’s Last Words: Make Disciples.

So, how do you really win an argument without actually arguing?

My good friend Rye Delubio gave me a very good illustration. He said a dog who holds fast on its bone is determined to keep its bone. Once you try to take it from him, he bites and he bites hard. The only way to get the bone is to provide him with a savouring meat. That way, it leaves its lock on the bone and proceeds to eat the meat.

Arguing is like forcefully taking someone’s bone. It gets too messy and not to mention bloody if you do that.

The only way to win a person without resorting to a hostile argument is to present them with something better than the all dried up bone they have. In most cases, it’s the irrefutable argument of a changed life. Nobody can refute a changed life. At the end of the day, your life–a life changed by the gospel–is your winning piece.

The Huddle: Going to the Nations

The Huddle is our church’s monthly leaders’ convergence. In every The Huddle meeting we simply aim to come together to motivate, celebrate, and strategize. We celebrate life events, testimonies and victories. We also motivate our leaders from God’s Word and we glean on each other’s prayers. Topping off every meeting is our strategizing for our next moves in the coming weeks and months. The meeting is exclusive for those leading a Victory Group. We desire to bring as many people as we can to the meeting and so we try to help and assist more people to lead their own Victory Groups.

Tonight we had another fruitful and fun-filled meeting. We pitched in the vision to go to the nations. As a local church, we are embarking on two short term mission trips next year. We gave everyone the opportunity as we raffled the names for our two teams for both trips. That sure was fun! We are going to two creative access nations next year and this is really faith building. I’m praying that this will start and spark something new and something big for our leaders and for our church.

Tonight in some degree I believe we have created a shift in our local movement here in Dumaguete. We are serious in becoming a glocal (global local) church. It is our prayer that our church will be filled with more movers and shakers who would dream big and act big!


Ushers dressed as Vietnamese and Burmese
Reviewing trivias for the nations
Pinoy Henyo: Missions Edition
Victory Dumaguete Staff and volunteer staff
With Rianne. Sharing the passion for the Muslim world

Overruns No More

Anyone who understands shopping is keen with spotting real bargain deals. Bargain hunters are swift in smelling blood in the malls. They would prey on designers at a reasonable, at times, very cheap price. One of the favorites are outlets that sell overrun labels. These labels get easily siphoned off in a matter of hours. Most overruns are excess produce of tailoring companies authorized by hot selling brands mostly based in the States or Europe. They station their productions in third world cities to cut production cost and somehow provide job security. When production exceeds the demand or order in the States, outlets would readily buy the excess produce. They will rip off the labels and sell the shirts at a much cheaper price. Thus, they are called overruns.

Some overruns are damaged ones, but most are excess ones. These stuff go through the same processing, they go to the same sewing machines, same printing and they get the same hot press and packing thereafter. Just that, at the end of the day, they’re simply not needed. They’re authentic but not needed.

So much for an introduction to what I really intend to say. Some Christian cults have propagated and have clung into the poorly thought overrun theology. They believe that the slot is full. Production continues but whatever is produced are simply overruns. Accordingly, the children of God has been marked and sealed a long time ago (in reference to Revelations). I do not symphatize with that theology. Well you don’t expect anything from a cult in the first place. So we shift to our own Christian worldview. It is sad that an overrun mentality is quite a fixture among many of us.

The post conversion experience of a believer is crucial. They know their authenticity and there is no question to that. But with the everyday lies of our adversary, he wins a day when he succeeds in making us believe we are overruns, excess, and not needed. Thus, according to Robert Coleman, any day that we are indifferent with the gospel is a day lost to the cost of Christ.

We understand who we are in Christ, we know our label and our worth, yet this mentality has allowed us to be passive, compromising, tolerant, and cold. It’s because we have propagated amongst our minds that there is such things as a legitimate misfit in the rank and file soldiers of God. In an interview by Ed Stetzer, Ptr Steve Murrell points out some myths in discipleship that runs prevalent in most churches. One of which he says is the Myth of Mentoring. “This myth causes church people to demand that pastors spoon-feed them, care for them, and meet all their spiritual needs. It turns pastors into spiritual superheroes and regular Christians into passive spectators at religious shows. Another myth is the Myth of Maturity–that no one should minister until they are mature. This myth convinces people they don’t pray enough, don’t know enough Bible verses, and are too young to engage in ministry–leading Christians to believe that only after another discipleship course or leadership seminar or seminary degree would they possibly be mature enough to be used by God. The sum effect of these myths is an ineffective church with overworked ministers, overfed members, and unengaged communities.”

It is my prayer that I get to see a people more passionate in engaging, evangelizing, and discipling their friends and families this coming 2012


Apple Peels & the Gospel

I hated apples when I was a kid; not when they are peeled and the seeds are taken out. Knowing about cyanide in its seeds added to the distaste.  I eat one only when they are neatly peeled by my Mom or any adult allowed to do knife tasks at home. While preparing for our local church’s series on cross cultural missions I was reminded of this apple peel parallelism to cross cultural gospel presentation through contextualization.

There has been so many talks about contextualization (that is contextualizing the gospel message for a specific audience or people group making it clearer and understandable for them). Some people would say it is actiually watering down the message of the gospel. I say it depends on who does the contextualizing and how it’s done. There is always an effective way to present it without bending in or compromising the message of the Cross.

In an effort to bring Christ’s message in any culture there has to be an understanding  that it is our to job remove any cultural barrier that hinders the person to receive the gospel. Remember how Paul did away with circumcision for the gentiles. How he skillfully proclaimed and made known the unknown god of Athens, how we acted like a dignitary for the influentials and how he became the weakest of the weak for the weak all in an attempt to win some. God has given us the wisdom to skillfully present the gospel in every culture. We are to peel and to take out the seeds and present the gospel as it is, that way they will realize and do away with what Paul was saying “was Paul crucified for you?” and instead embrace Jesus and Jesus only for what He has done. Happy peeling!


The word radical comes from the latin word radix which means root.  To be radical means to go for the root!

Further, to go for the root means to zero in on what really matters! So what’s the root? The root is that you and I are both filthy sinners. You’re no less than I am and I’m no more than you on this aspect. God on the other hand is way too beyond us in perfection and holiness. Way beyond.

Consider this picture: He  is like a vast ocean, perfect in its peacefulness yet very deep in its depth. It’s beholding majesty holds life for thousands. We on one hand are like an uncontrollable raging river. There is no music in our sound or harmony in our ways. We are bedded by boulders and rocks and not too much life can stand our wildness. Yet have you ever seen a mouth of a river welcomed in by a vast ocean? The wildness of the river is tamed and peace is henceforth predicted. The river ultimately dumps itself in the ocean and the ocean willfully allows another gradient of salt from it. God in His love and mercy allowed us through Jesus to come before Him and rest in the depth of His grace. Jesus has opened the way for us out of the rage of the river and into the peace of the ocean. That will have to be the root. Understanding how Jesus radically made it possible by getting to and dealing with the root of  all our problems which is sin will make us live a radical life for Him. It calls for us to go for the root be radical for God.

Romans 5:8

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinnersChrist died for us.

Spurgeon’s Street Pulpit

Long blog. Actually, a sermon. Delivered on January 30, 1859 at New Park, Southwark (wherever that is) by Charles Spurgeon. Should you have the time, this is worth reading I promise you.

“He shewed them his hands and his feet.”—Luke 24:40.

HAVE selected this sentence as the text, although I shall not strictly adhere to it. What was to be seen on Christ’s hands and feet? We are taught that the prints of the nails were visible, and that in his side there was still the gash of the spear. For did he not say to Thomas? “Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing.” I wish to draw your attention to the ample fact, that our Lord Jesus Christ, when he rose again from the dead had in his body the marks of his passion. If he had pleased he could readily have removed them. He rose again from the dead, and he might have erased from his body everything which could be an indication of what he had suffered and endured before be descended into the tomb. But, no! Instead thereof, there were the pierced hands and feet, and there was the open side. What was the reason for this? There was no absolute necessity for it: it could easily have been dispensed with, What, then, were the reasons? I shall endeavor to enter into this subject, and I hope we may draw some profitable instructions therefrom.
    First, what influence did the exhibition of the hands and feet have upon the disciples? Secondly, why is it that Jesus Christ, now in heaven, bears with him the scars in his flesh? And, then, thirdly, is there any lesson to us in the fact that Jesus Christ still wears his wounds? I think there is.
    I. First, then, OF WHAT USE WAS THE EXHIBITION OF THOSE WOUNDS TO THE DESCIPLES? I reply at once that they were infallible proofs that he was the same person. He said, “Behold my hands and feet, that it is, I, myself.” It was to establish his identity, that he was the very same Jesus whom they had followed, whom at last they had deserted, whom they had beheld afar off crucified and slain, and whom they had carried to the tomb in the gloom of the evening; it was the very same Christ who was now before them, and they might know it, for there was the seal of his sufferings upon him. He was the same person; the hands and feet could testify to that. You know, beloved, had not some such evidence been visible upon our Saviour, it is probable that his disciples would have been unbelieving enough to doubt the identity of his person. Have you never seen men changed, extremely changed in their external appearance. I have known a man, perhaps, five or six years ago; he has passed through a world of suffering and pain, and when I hare seen him again, l have declared, “I should not have known you if I had met you in the street.” Now, when the disciples parted with Jesus it was at the Lord’s Supper. They then walked with him into the garden. There did the Saviour sweat, “as it were great drops of blood.” Do you not imagine that such a wrestling, such a bloody sweat as that, must have had some effect upon his visage. It had surely had enough to mar it before. But now the ploughshares of grief were sharpened, and anguish made deep furrows upon him. There must have been lines of grief upon his brow, deeper than they had ever seen before. This would have produced a change great enough to make them forget his countenance. Nor was this all. You know he had to undergo the flagellation at the pillar of the Praetorium, and then to die. Can you imagine that a man could pass through the process of death, through such astonishing agony as that which the Saviour endured, and yet that there should be no change in his visible appearance? I can conceive that in passing through such a furnace as this, the very lineaments of Christ’s face would seem to have been melted, and would have need to be restruck ere the disciples could discern that he was the same.
    Besides that? when Jesus rose, he rose, you know, as he now sits in heaven. His body was flesh and bone, but, nevertheless, it had miraculous powers; it was capable of entering into a room without the ordinary modes of access. We find our Saviour standing in the midst of his disciples, the doors being shut. I believe that Jesus had a body such as we are to have in the next world. Jesus Christ was not a phantom or spectra. His body was not a spirit; it was a real body. And so in heaven imagine not that we are to be spirits. We are to be spirits until the great resurrection day; but, then, our spirit is afterwards to receive a spiritual body; it is to be clothed upon; it is not for ever to be a naked, bodiless spirit. That body will be to all intents and purposes the same body which shall be laid in the tomb. It is sown in dishonor, and the same it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, and the same it is raised in power. Mark, Jesus was flesh still! All flesh is not the same flesh: all bodies have not the same qualities. So our Saviour’s flesh was flesh that could not suffer,—flesh that had extraordinary powers about it,—flesh however, that could eat, although it was under no necessity to do so. And such may be the body, the glorified body, which shall be given to us when we shall rise at the first resurrection, and shall be made like unto our head. But, now, think! If Christ had to undergo in his countenance those matchless transformations, that must have been, first of all, connected with his bloody sweat, then, with his agony, and after that, with the transforming, or, if I may use such a word, the transmutation of his body into a spiritual body, can you not conceive that his likeness would be changed, that the disciples would scarcely know him if there had not been some deeply graven marks whereby they would be able to discover him? The disciples looked upon the very face, but, even then they doubted. There was a majesty about him which most of them had not seen. Peter, James, and John, had seen him transfigured, when his garments were whiter than any fuller could make them; but the rest of the disciples had only seen him as a man of sorrows; they had not seen him as the glorious Lord, and, therefore, they would be apt to doubt whether he was the same. But these nail-prints, this pierced side, these were marks which they could not dispute, which unbelief itself could not doubt. And they all were convinced and confessed that he was the Lord; and even faithless Thomas, was constrained to cry, ” My Lord and my God!”
    II. Let us turn to the second question: Why SHOULD CHRIST WEAR THESE WOUNDS IN HEAVEN AND OF WHAT AVAIL ARE THEY? Let me give you some thoughts upon the matter.
    I can conceive, first, that the wounds of Christ in heaven will be a theme of eternal wonder to the angels. An old writer represents the angels as saying, “Oh, Lord of glory, what are these wounds in thy hand?” They had seen him depart from heaven, and they had gone with him as far as they might go, singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth.'” Some of them had watched him through his pilgrimage, for “he was seen of angels.” But when he returned, I doubt not that they crowded round him, bowed before him in adoration, and then put the holy question, “What are these wounds in thy hand?” At any rate they were enabled to behold for themselves in heaven the man who suffered, and they could see the wounds which were produced in his body by his sufferings; and I can readily imagine that this would cause them to lift their songs higher, would prolong their shouts of triumph, and would cause them to adore him with a rapture of wonderment, such as they had never felt before. And I doubt not that every time they look upon his hands, and behold the crucified man exalted by his Father’s side, they are afresh wrapt in wonder, and again they strike their harps with more joyous lingers at the thought of what be must have suffered who thus bears the sears of his hard-fought battles.
    Again, Christ wears these sears in his body in heaven as his ornaments. The wounds of Christ are his glories, they are his jewels and his precious things. To the eye of the believer Christ is never so glorious, never so passing fair, as when we can say of him, “My beloved is white and ruddy,” white with innocence, and ruddy with his own blood. He never seems so beautiful a’ when he can see him as the rose and the lily; as the lily, matchless purity, and as the rose, crimsoned with his own gore. We may talk of Christ in his beauty, in divers places raising the dead and stilling the tempest, but oh! there never was such a matchless Christ as he that did hang upon the cross. There I behold all his beauties, all his attributes developed, all his love drawn out, all his character expressed in letters so legible, that even my poor stammering heart call read those lines and speak them out again, as I see them written in crimson upon the bloody tree. Beloved, these are to Jesus what they are to us; they are his ornaments, his royal jewels, his fair array. He does not care for the splendor and pomp of kings. The thorny crown is his diadem—a diadem such as no monarch ever wore. It is true that he bears not now the scepter of reed, but there is a glory in it that there never flashed from scepter of gold. It is true he is not now buffeted and spit upon: his face is not now marred more than that of any other man by grief and sorrow, for he is glorified and full of blessedness; but he never seems so lovely as when we see him buffeted of men for our sakes, enduring all manner of grief, bearing our iniquities, and carrying our sorrows. Jesus Christ finds such beauties in his wounds that he win not renounce them, he will wear the court dress in which he wooed our souls, and he will wear the royal purple of his atonement throughout eternity.
    Nor are these only the ornaments of Christ: they are his trophies—the trophies of his love. Have you never seen a soldier with a gash across his forehead or in his cheek? Why every soldier will tell you the wound in battle is no disfigurement—it is his honor. “If” said he, “I received a wound when I was retreating, a wound in the back, that were to my disgrace, If I have received a wound in a victory, then it is an honorable thing to be wounded.” Now, Jesus Christ has scars of honor in his flesh and glory in his eyes He has other trophies He has divided the spoil with the strong: he has taken the captive away from his tyrant master; he has redeemed for himself a host that no man can number, who are all the trophies of his victories: but these scars, these are the memorials of the fight, and these the trophies, too.
    For do you not know it was from the side of Jesus that Death sucked its death. Jesus did hang upon the cross, and Death thought to get the victory. Aye, but in its victory it destroyed itself. There are three things in Christ that Death never met with before, all of which are fatal to it. There was in Christinnocence. Now; as long as man was innocent, he could not die. Adam lived as long as he was innocent. Now Christ was about to die; but Death sucked in innocent blood; he sucked in his own poison and he died. Again, blessedness is that which takes away the sting of death. Now Christ, even when he was dying, was “God over all, blessed for ever.” All that Death had ever killed before was under the curse; but this man was never by nature under the curse, because for our sakes he was not born into this world a cursed man. He was the seed of woman it is true, but still not of carnal generation. He did come under the curse when he took upon himself our sins, but not for his own sins. He was in himself blessed. Death sucked in blessed blood: he had never done that before—all others have been under the curse—and that slew Death. It was innocence combined with blessedness that was the destruction of Death. Yet another thing. Death had never met before with any man who had life in himself. But when Death drank Christ’s blood it drank life. For his blood is the life of the soul, and is the seed of life eternal. Wheresoever it goeth, doth it not give life to the dead? And Death, finding that it had drunk into its own veins life in the form of Jesus’ blood gave up the ghost; and Death itself is dead, for Christ hath destroyed it, by the sacrifice of himself; he hath put it away; he hath said, “Oh death, where is thy sting? oh grave, where is thy victory?” But now, since it was from these very wounds that Death sucked in its own death, and that hell was destroyed; since these were the only weapons of a weaponless Redeemer, he wears and bears them as his trophies in heaven. David laid up Goliath’s sword before the Lord for ever. Jesus lays up his wounds before the Lord, for his wounds were his weapons, and this is why he wears them still.
    I was thinking while coming here of Jesus Christ in heaven with his wounds, and another thought struck me. Another reason why Jesus wears his wounds is, that when he intercedes he may employ them as powerful advocates. When he rises up to pray for his people, he needs not speak a word; he lifts his hands before his Father’s face; he makes bare his side, and points to his feet. These are the orators with which he pleads with God—these wounds. Oh, he must prevail. Do you not see that Christ without his wounds, in heaven might be potent enough. but there would not be that glorious simplicity of intercession which now you see. He has nothing to do but to shew his hands. Him the Father heareth always. His blood crieth and is heard, His wounds plead and prevail.
    Let us think again. Jesus Christ appears in heaven as the wounded one, this shews again that he has not laid aside his priesthood. You know how Watts paraphrases the idea He says,


“Looks like a lamb that has been slain,
And wears his priesthood still.”
If the wounds had been removed we might have forgotten that there was a sacrifice; and, mayhap, next we might have forgotten that there was a priest. But the wounds are there: then there is a sacrifice, and there is a priest also, for he who is wounded is both himself, the sacrifice and the priest. The priesthood of Melchisedec is a glorious subject. He who reads that with the eye of faith, and is blessed with the Spirit, will find much cause for joy when he contrasts the priesthood of Christ with that of Aaron. The priesthood of Aaron began, and it finished; but the priesthood of Melchisedec had no beginning, and it had no end. He was, we are told, “Without beginning of days, and without end of years;” without father, without mother, without descent. Such is the priesthood of Christ’ It shall never end. He himself is without beginning, and his priesthood is without end. When the last ransomed soul is brought in. when there shall be no more prayers to offer, Christ shall still be a priest. Though he has no sacrifice now to slay, for he is the sacrifice himself, “once for all,” yet still he is a priest, and when all his people as the result of that sacrifice shall be assembled around his glorious throne, he shall still be the priest. “For thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” I take it that this is a further reason why he still bears his wounds in heaven.
    There is another and a terrible reason why Christ wears his wounds still. It is this. Christ is coming to judge the world. Christ has with himself to-day the accusers of his enemies. Every time that Christ lifts his hands to heaven, the men that hate him, or despise him, are accused. The Jewish nation is brought in guilty every day. The cry is remembered, “His blood be on us and on our children;” and the sin of casting Christ away, and rejecting him, is brought before the mind of the Most High. And when Christ shall come a second time to judge the world in righteousness, seated on the great white throne, that hand of his shall be the terror of the universe.” They shall look on him whom they have pierced,” and they shall mourn for their sins. They would not mourn with hopeful penitence in time, they shall mourn with sorrowful remorse throughout eternity. When the multitude are gathered together, when in the valley of Jehoshaphat Christ shall judge the nations, what need he to summon accusers? His own wounds are his witnesses. Why need he to summon any to convict men of sin? His own side bears their handiwork. Ye murderers, did you not do this? Ye sons of an evil generation did ye not pierce the Saviour? Did ye not nail him to the tree? Behold these holes in my hand, and this stab in my side; these are swift witnesses against you to condemn you I There is a terrible side, then to this question. A crucified Christ with his wounds still open will be a terrible sight for an assembled universe. “Well,” but says one of my congregation “What is that to us? We have not crucified the Saviour.” No but let me assure You that his blood shall be on you. If ye die unbelievers his blood shall be required at your hand. The death of Christ was wrought by the hand of manhood, of all and entire manhood. Others did it for you, and though you gave no consent verbally, yet you do assent in your heart every day. As long as you hate Christ you give an assent to his death. As long as you reject his sacrifice, and despise his love, you give evidence in your hearts that you would have crucified the Lord of glory had you been there. Nay, and you do yourself, so fares you can, crucify him afresh and put him to an open shame. When you laugh at his people, when you despise his word, and mock at his ordinances, you are driving nails into his hands, and thrusting the spear into his side; therefore those open hands and that pierced side shall be witnesses against you, even against you, if ye die rejecting him, and enter into eternity enemies to Christ by wicked works.
    I think I have thus supplied severe excellent reasons. But now there is one more which I shall offer to your consideration before I come to the lesson which you shall learn. Christ v, ears those marks in his hands that, as believers, you may never forget that he has died. We shall need, perhaps, nothing to refresh our memories in heaven. but still’ even if we should, we have it here. When we shall have been in heaven many a thousand years we shall still have the death of Christ before us, we shall see him reigning. But can you not conceive that the presence of the wounded Christ will often stir up the holy hearts of the celestial beings to a fresh outpouring of their grateful songs? They begin the song thus, “Unto him that liveth.” Jesus looks upon them and shows his hand and they add, “and was dead, and is alive for evermore, and hath the keys of hell and death.” They would not forget that he died; but certainly that part of the song where it said, “and was dead,” will have all the more sweetness, because there he sits with the very marks of his passion—with the nail-prints of his crucifixion. If we shall be in heaven at all constituted as we are on earth, we shall need some visible token to keep us continually in remembrance. Here, you know, the most spiritual saint needs the bread and wine—sweet emblems of the Saviour’s body. There we shall have nothing to do with emblems, for we shall have the sight of him. And I say, if we be in heaven anything like what we are here, I can imagine that the presence of Jesus may be highly beneficial, may be gloriously precious to the saints in reviving their love continually, and causing their hearts, which are like fountains of love, to bubble up afresh, and send out again the living water of gratitude and thanksgiving. At any rate, I know this thought is very delightful to me, that I shall see the man that did hang on Calvary’s cross, and that I shall see him as he did inane there. I delight to see my Saviour in all the glories of his Father, but I long to go back and see him as he was, as well as he is. I think I should sometimes envy Peter and the rest of them that they should have seen him crucified. Yes, I should say, I see him glorified, but you saw the most marvellous sight. To see a God is an every-day sight with glorified beings, but to see a God covered with his blood, this is an extraordinary thing. To see Christ glorified, that we may see each day, but to have seen him on that special occasion, made obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross, that was an extraordinary sight which even angels themselves could see but once. You and I cannot see that. But those wounds are there still manifest and visible, and we shall be delighted with the rapturous sight of the Lord in glory, with his wounds still fresh upon him. May the Lord grant that we may all be there to see it. May we refresh ourselves with that glorious sight. I can say that I would part with all the joys of sense to view his face Everything that is good on earth I would give away without a wish, without one single lingering thought, if I might but behold his face, and lie in his bosom, and see the dear pierced hands and the wide-open side. We must wait his pleasure. A few more rolling suns shall do it. The moon shall rise and wane for us a few more times, and then


“We shall see his face, and never, never sin
But from the rivers of his grace, drink endless pleasures in.”
    III. This brings me now to the third point. WHAT DOES CHRIST MEAN BY SHOWING TO US HIS HANDS AND FEET? He means this that suffering is absolutely necessary. Christ is the head, and his people are the members. If suffering could have been avoided, surely our glorious Head ought to have escaped; but inasmuch as he shows us his wounds, it is to tell us, that we shall have wounds too. Innocence ought to escape suffering. Did not Pilate mean as much when be said, “I find no fault in him, therefore let him go?” But innocence did not escape suffering. Even the captain of our salvation must be made perfect through suffering; therefore, we who are guilty, we who are far from being perfect, must not wonder that we have to be wounded too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and do you imagine that the other members of the body are to be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Jesus Christ swim through seas of his own blood to win the crown, and are you and I to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, the wounds of Christ are to teach us that suffering is necessary. In fact, that doctrine was taught upon Mount Calvary. There are only three sorts of men that have ever lived—a good man, a bad man, and the God-man. Now, on Calvary’s cross, I see three characters, I see the thief, the representative of the bad. I see the penitent thief, the representative of the righteous, and I see the God-man in the midst. All three must suffer. Do not imagine, for a moment, that wicked men get through this world without suffering. Oh, no. The path to hell is very rough, though it seems smooth. When men will damn themselves, they will not find it a very pleasurable task. The cutting the throat of one’s soul is not such a pleasant operation. The drinking the poison of damnation is not, after all, an enviable task. The path of the sinner may seem to be happy, but it is not. It is a gilded deceit. He knows there is bitterness in his bowels, even here on earth. Even the wicked must suffer. But, mark, if any out of the world would have escaped it would be the God-man; but the God-man did not escape. He shows us his wounds; and do you think that you shall remain unwounded? Not if you are his, at any rate. Men sometimes escape on earth; but the true-born child of God must not, and would not, if he might, for if he did, he would then give himself cause to say, “I am no part of the body; if I were a part of the body, my head suffered, and so must I suffer, for I am part of his living body.” That is the first lesson he teaches us, the necessity of suffering.
    But next he teaches us his sympathy with us in our suffering. “There,” says he, “see this hand! I am not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of your infirmities. I have suffered, too. I was tempted in all ways like as you are. Look here! there are the marks—there are the marks. They are not only tokens of my love, they are not only sweet forget-me-nots that bind me to love you for ever. But besides that they are the evidence of my sympathy. I can feel for you. Look—look—I have suffered. Have you the heart-ache? Ah, look yon here, what a heartache I had when this heart was pierced Do you suffer, even unto blood wrestling against sin? So did I. I have sympathy with you.” It was this that sustained the early martyrs. One of them declared that while he was suffering he fixed his eyes on Christ; and when they were pinching his flesh dragging it off with the hot harrows, when they were putting him to agonies so extraordinary, that I could not dare to mention them here, lest some of you should faint even under the very narrative, he said, “My soul is not insensible but it loves.” What a glorious speech was that! It loves—it loves Christ. It was not insensible, but love gave it power to overcome suffering, a power as potent as insensibility. “For,” said he, “my eyes are fixed on him that suffered for me, and I can suffer for him; for my soul is in his body; I have sent my heart up unto him. He is my brother, and there my heart is. Plough my flesh, and break my bones; smash them with veer irons, I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; but he sympathises with me, arid this makes me strong.” Yes, beloved, lay hold on this in all times of your agony. When you are sweating, think of his bloody so eat. When you are bruised, think of the whips that tore his flesh. And when you are aging, think of his death. And when God hides his face for a little from you, think of “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!” This is why he wears his wounds in his hands, that he may show that he sympathises with you.
    Another thing. Christ wears these wounds to show that suffering is an honorable thing. To suffer for Christ is glory. Men will say, “It is glorious to make others suffer.” When Alexander rides over the necks of princes, and treads nations beneath his feet, that is glorious. The Christian religion teaches us it is glorious to be trodden on, glorious to be crushed, glorious to suffer. This is hard to learn. There we see it in our glorified Master. He makes his wounds his glory, and his sufferings are part of the drapery of his regal attire in Paradise Now, then, it is an honorable thing to suffer. Oh, Christian, when you are overtaken by strange troubles, be not afraid. God is near you. It was Christ’s honor to suffer, and it is yours too. The only degree that God gives to his people is the degree of “Masters in tribulation.” If you would be one of God’s nobles you must be knighted. Men are knighted with A blow of the sword. The Lord knights us with the sword of affliction; and when we fight hard in many a battle, he makes us barons of the kingdom of heaven, he makes us dukes and lords in the kingdom of sorrowful honor, not through honor of man, but through dishonor of man, not through joy, but through suffering, and grief, and agony, and death. The highest honor that God can confer upon his children is the blood-red crown of martyrdom. When I read, as I have been reading lately, the story of the catacombs of Rome, and those short but very pithy inscriptions that are written over the graves of the martyrs, I felt sometimes as it I could envy them. I do not envy them their racks, their hot irons, their being dragged at the heels of horses; but I do envy them when I see them arrayed in the blood-red robe of martyrdom. Who are they that stand nearest to the eternal throne, foremost of the saints in light? Why, the noble army of martyrs. And just as God shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, and to suffer as Christ, just so much does he honor us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings, that God hath made, are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs Let us not, therefore, shun being honored. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us.
    Lastly, there is one sweet thought connected with the wounds of Christ that has charmed my soul, and made my heart run over with delight. It is this: I have sometimes thought that if I am a part of Christ’s body I am a poor wounded part; if I do belong to that all-glorious whole, the church, which is his fullness, the fullness of him that filleth all in all, yet have I said within me, “I am a poor maimed part, wounded, full of putrifying sores.” But Christ did not leave even his wounds behind him, even those he took to heaven. “Not a bone of him shall be broken,” and the flesh when wounded shall not be discarded,—shall not be left. He shall carry that with him to heaven, and he shall glorify even the wounded member. Is not this sweet, is not this precious to the troubled child of God? This, indeed, is a thought from which one may suck honey. Poor, weak, and wounded though I am, he will not discard me. His wounds are healed wounds, mark! they are not running sores; and so, though we be the wounded parts of Christ, we shall be healed; though we shall seem to ourselves in looking back upon what we were upon earth only as wounds, only parts of a wounded body, still we shall rejoice that he has healed those wounds, and that he has not cast us away. Precious, precious truth I The whole body he will present before his Father’s face, and wounded though he be, he shall not cast his own wounds away, Let us take comfort, then, in this; let us rejoice therein. We shall be presented at last, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Mark, Christ’s wounds are no spots to him, no wrinkles, they are ornaments; and even those parts of his church on earth that despair of themselves, thinking themselves to be as wounds shall be no spots, no wrinkles in the complete church above, but even they shall be the ornaments and the glory of Christ. Let us now look up by faith and see Jesus, the Wounded Jesus, sitting on his throne. Will not this help us to gird up our loins to “run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the Shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
    I cannot send you away without this last remark. Poor sinner, thou art troubled on account of sin. There is a sweet thought for thee. Men are afraid to go to Christ, or else they say, “My Sins are so many I cannot go to him; he will be angry with me.” Do you see his hands outstretched to you to night? He is in heaven, and he still says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Are you afraid to come? Then, look at his hand—look at his hand, will not that induce you? “Oh,” but you say, “I cannot think that Christ can have it in his heart to remember such a worm as I.” Look at his side, there is easy access to his heart. His side is open, and even your poor prayers may be thrust into that side, and they shall reach his heart, holy though it be. Only do thou look to his wounds, and thou shalt certainly find peace through the blood of Jesus. There were two monks of late years in different cells in their convent. They were reading the Bible. One of them found Christ while reading the Scriptures, and he believed with a true evangelical faith. The other one was timid, and could scarcely think it true; the scheme of salvation seemed so great to him he could scarcely lay hold upon it. But, at last, he lay upon the point to die, and he sent for the other to come and sit by him, and to shut the door; because if the superior had heard of that of which they were about to speak, he might have condemned them both. When the monk had sat down, the sick man began to tell how his sins lay heavy on him; the other reminded him of Jesus. “If you would be saved, brother, you must look to Jesus who did hang upon the cross. His wounds must save.” The poor man heard and he believed. Almost immediately afterwards came in the superior, with the brethren and the priests; and they began to grease him in extreme unction. This poor man tried to push them away; he could not bear the ceremony, and as well as he could he expressed his dissent. At last his lips were opened, and he said in Latin, “Tu vulnera Jesu!”—thy wounds, oh Jesus! thy wounds, oh Jesus!—clasped his hands, lifted them to heaven, fell back and died. Oh, I would that many a Protestant would die with these words on his lips. There was the fullness of the gospel in them. Thy wounds, oh Jesus! thy wounds; these are my refuge in my trouble. Oh sinner, may you be helped to believe in his wounds! They cannot fail; Christ’s wounds must heal those that put their trust in him


Is Rob Bell’s Love Wins a betrayal of Biblical Truth?

I am intrigued enough about this. By the tone of what Rob Bell was saying about Hell, God, and other Christian beliefs I think his upcoming book will generate a lot of attention from the evangelical world. But I can’t come at any conclusion yet as I haven’t read the book yet. I can comment on the video though. He didn’t say any absolutes but surely he got me itching.

Accomplishing an intimate community by the thousands

I had a friendly conversation with an old pal that revolved around the challenges of having/leading a church by the thousands. Apparently, my friend believes it’s rather difficult to achieve the intimacy in a mega church setting. So since intimacy is challenged, discipleship, shepherding and the likes are challenged as well. Inevitably, church members become a bunch of chaffs.

I’m not for the numbers game but yes I am for quantity as much as I gauge quality. Quantity in a way is one measure of fruitfulness.

That being said, the question then again lies on whether an intimate community of believers by the hundreds or thousands is achievable.

Yes it is.

Acts 2 outlines a church with more than three thousand members.

Acts 2:41-47

41 …and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

That in place the question now centers on how it was done.

They devoted themselves to:

Apostles teaching – Bible reading, podcasts, services..

Fellowship – Meaningful relationship with discernible purpose and goal..

Breaking of the bread – Communion. Reminding ourselves of the cross of Jesus..

Prayer – Devotions, quiet time..

Had everything in common – Giving and generosity..

Meet together in temple courts – Small groups, discipleship

The last line of the verse seems more like an inevitable result:

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.