Bulletin for Sunday 12th January, 2020January 10, 2020
Bible Study for Tuesday 14th January, 2020January 16, 2020
READINGS: ISAIAH 42:1-9; ACTS 10:34-38a; MATTHEW 3:13-17
Greeting one another for seeing the New Year is still in order, especially for those we are just seeing in 2020. God’s grace and mercy brought us this far. Fleetingly, eleven days have gone! We praise God for the blessing of the second Sunday. We have started telling ourselves that the walk this year is a walk of faith, nothing less. The only way to build capacity, enlarge coast, expand your business, attain greater heights, tread uncharted path, break new grounds, hear God, love God, grow spiritually, receive spiritual gifts and get God seriously involved is by FAITH. We all need to quickly key into this powerful flow. It is an amazing theme. The season is Epiphany; the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles. Today is the first Sunday in the Season. Plainly speaking, it is about the revelation of Jesus. To a child of God, there are always fresh revelations if we seek him consistently. “Thou shall find me when thou have diligently sought me” To the heathen, it is eureka, a turning point, translation from darkness to light.
JESUS WAS BAPTIZED TO FULFIL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS
- Out of awe and respect, John the Baptist was not going to baptize Jesus Christ who came to Jordan for that purpose. If it was that needless, Jesus wouldn’t be there.John had said ahead of Jesus that there is one coming after him who had been before him, he is not worthy to untie his sandal lace. That was coming from a place of deep, sincere and humble devotion. Seven (7) things he said about Jesus in Matthew 3:11-12; (i) He is mightier than him, (ii) He is not worthy to bear his shoes, (iii) He will baptize with Holy Spirit, (iv) He will baptize with fire, (v) He will thoroughly purge his floor, (vi)He will gather his wheat into the garner, (vii) He will burn chaff with unquenchable fire.
- Truly, Jesus did not need to be baptized. John exclaimed in Matt 3:14 “I need to be baptized by you and you are coming to me?! Baptism of John was baptism unto repentance. Jesus needed no repentance. Thus, except for the fact that Jesus’ baptism reflected a willingness to obey the Father, there is little relationship between the Lord’s baptism and that required of all people today (Mk. 16:16). In the balance, it is important to set forth five reasons for the baptism of Jesus by John.
- Offer yourself as a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1-2. God loves total surrender. God loves purity. This is how to please him. By yielding to him in sacrifice. Holding our vessels, our bodies to him in holiness.
- It was to identify with John’s ministry and approve of water baptism
- It was to publicly identify Jesus as the Son of God at the beginning of his ministry. The voice of commendation by God underscores this.
- It was to quickly present the oneness and unity of purpose of the Triune God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were present.
- It was a commencement token of the total dedication of Christ in carrying out Heaven’s plan.
- It was a visual precursor to the Savior’s ultimate death, burial, and resurrection.
- FULFILLING ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS IS PLEASING THE FATHER Matthew 3:17
Generally speaking, fulfilling all righteousness is satisfying the requirements for accessing or achieving something. It means doing the needful.
…..And suddenly, a voice came from heaven saying, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”. This was the aftermath of Jesus’ baptism. Just after pleasing the Father, there was an acclamation. Simply put, fulfilling all righteousness means doing what is required to please God. It includes humbly conforming to the will of the Father; covenanting with the Father to obey His commandments, following the examples set by Jesus Christ.
- HOW CAN I PLEASE THE FATHER? HOW CAN WE FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS?
Let me share some six ways we can be pleasing to God.
2. Praise God Always: Psalm 119:1-9. Praise is the appropriate response to God. He is worthy of all our praise. We teach our children to be thankful – not for our own sake but for theirs. We are pleased when they are thankful. God teaches us to praise him because it is the right response to him, and because it is good for us. Thanksgiving is an appropriate response to human generosity. Continual praise is the appropriate response to God’s generosity. The psalmist repeats over and over again that we should ‘praise the Lord’ v1. Praise him all day long: ‘from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets’ v2. Praise him throughout your life, ‘now and tomorrow and always’
- Live in the light. Ephesians 5:8-14. As Christians, we are called to be a community whose conduct shines as a beacon to others, illuminating the way that God intended life to be lived. Paul wrote that you are ‘light in the Lord’ (v.8). Therefore, you should live as ‘children of light’ (v.8). Light produces good fruit: goodness (generosity towards others), righteousness (doing right in relation to God and humanity) and truth. These are ways you can please the Lord (v.10). Light exposes evil. The best way to get rid of evil is to drag it into the light. Evil thrives in the darkness, but the moment it’s brought into the light, its power diminishes.
- Make the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:15-17. Time is our most valuable possession. You can get more money but you cannot get more time. Paul wrote, ‘Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil’ (vv.15–16). Do not fritter away your life. Life is to be lived as instructed by the Holy Spirit. That’s how to make the most of it. Ask God per time to lead you.
- Be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18–20. Paul contrasts the escapism of substance abuse (getting ‘drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery’) with being ‘filled’ (v.18) with the Holy Spirit: ‘Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him’. In these verses, he uses ‘filled’ in the present continuous tense, urging us to go on and on being filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit leads to singing ‘psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’ (v.19)’. It leads us to worship the Lord Jesus in our hearts and to give thanks to God – the very opposite of grumbling and complaining. It is characteristic of the Spirit-filled community to be grateful to God for all things, in all places and at all times. Without God’s Spirit, it is difficult to please God.
- Submitting to one another in love and respect. Ephesians 5:21–33. Mutual respect is the key to a happy and cordial human existence and interaction; be it marriage or friendship or business partnership. The key words in verses 21–33 are ‘respect’, ‘love’ and ‘submit’. The overall heading for this section is that ‘out of respect for Christ’, we are to ‘submit to one another’ (v.21). The word used for submission is different from the word used for ‘obey’ (6:1). Submission is voluntarily yielding in love. It is a beautiful characteristic and it is clear from the overall heading, ‘submit to one another’ (v.21), that Paul expects mutual submission. When we do this, we please God.
The list is not exhaustive. If we are going to be pleasing to God, we must note that loving him with whole of being is the key. Afterwards, it becomes easier to love others. If we obey this golden law of love, we’ll be fulfilling all righteousness. Let’s go and do the needful in the strength of the Holy Spirit.