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February 2018



February 2018


February 4


Holiness is a phenomenon that is hard to explain because it is a stranger to human existence. It becomes easier to understand when holiness is truly someone’s way of life. In analyzing the experience of the Roman officer Cornelius, we can better understand how we can acquire holiness, how we can maintain it, and how it is manifested.
I. Even though he was not Jewish, Cornelius manifests a lot of interest for spiritual things (Acts 10:1):
1. Reverend, gentle pious, humble – “this man was devout”
2. A man who revered God – “one who feared God”
3. His family was very religious – “with all his household”
4. Generous to the poor – he gave generously to those in need”
5. He often prayed to God – “and prayed to God regularly”
II. God reacts to Cornelius’ seeking and He saves Him (verses 2 – 5).
1. God sends an angel with a message for Cornelius – “One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ “
2. Cornelius became very afraid when the angel visited him – “Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked.” 
3. The angel tells him a message from God, of appreciation for high religiousness and morality – “The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
4. The angel commands him to call upon the Apostle Peter who will tell him what he needs to do next. – “Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do
From what the angel says, we understand a few things about God:
a) God reacts to people’s morality, and He appreciates it.
b) People’s morality is not sufficient for them to be saved.
c) God sends him to a servant, who will tell him what he needs to do.
III. God prepares Peter to be able to help Cornelius and his family to be sanctified (verses 9 – 23).
1. Like every Hebrew who did not mingle with non-Hebrews, the visit of an angel was necessary to convince him that it is God’s will for him to go into the house of the Centurion Cornelius of Caesarea.
2. Peter finds out from those sent by Cornelius that he needs to go to Caesarea and tell the Centurion how he can be saved: “the words through which you and your household will be saved”. When Peter entered the house, Cornelius wanted to worship him, bowing before him, but Peter stopped him, saying “’Stand up; I myself am also a man’”.
What is Peter’s message in the sermon?
a) God loves all people and receives all those who fear Him and live in purity (verse 35).
b) Jesus was incarnate for the salvation of humanity, but they killed Him through crucifixion. But God raised Him from the dead (verses 37-41).
c) Anyone who believes in Jesus receives the gift of forgiveness of sins in His name (verse 43).
d) During the sermon, the Holy Spirit came into the hearts of those who were listening (verses 44-46).
e) After they believed, all were baptized in water.
While many Jews refused faith, Cornelius’ family received salvation. Holiness is God’s request, it is the evidence that we belong to His kingdom.



 February 11


The manner in which a man earns, manages, and spends his money shows what his true values and priorities are. What are God’s principles in regards to money?
1. The way in which we manage our money influences the spiritual relationship with God (Luke 16:11). In this verse, the Savior places the equal sign between the managing of money and the quality of the spiritual life. Knowing and respecting the divine principles in regards to money deepens a believer’s spiritual relationship with God. The evidence of supreme obedience to God becomes apparent when a person gives the Creator complete control over his finances.
2. Material possessions are in competition with God (Matthew 6:24). Material possessions constitute the element that most competes with the reign of Christ in our lives. The mercenaries that were paid to fight in the place of Christians during the Crusades of the 12th century had to accept the water baptism before signing up for the army. When they were baptized they held their swords above the water as a sign that they could use the sword when and how they wished, because the sword, being unbaptized, was not under the same reign of Christ. Similar to the mercenaries, many Christians held their wallets above the water when they got baptized, telling God: “Lord, you reign my entire life, with the exception of my money. This domain will not be placed under your reign and I will have the liberty to make decisions in regards to my money.”
3. A large part of our lives have money at their core (Matthew 6:21). Most of a person’s life is invested in gaining, managing, keeping, and spending money. Money represents the symbol of the material world, the fulfillment of earthly needs, the symbol of happiness, riches and power on earth. Money occupies the number one spot in a man’s life, because money means a house, car, clothing, food and drink, vacation, fun, fulfilled desires, the absence of worries about tomorrow, influence among others, open doors in all circumstances…
In the Bible we find approximately 500 references to prayer, fewer than 500 references to faith, but we find 2350 verses about money and material possessions. This means that the Bible talks about money more than anything else. The truth that money is very important in a person’s life is seen even in the fact that Jesus the Savior talked about money in 16 of his 38 parables. The Bible clearly affirms that God is the sole proprietor of all things: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). True believers will entrust to God the right to reign over their money and possessions, keeping only the right to manage according to the will and interests of the heavenly Master.
When Abraham demonstrated that he would renounce everything he held most dear, namely Isaac, God offered him a ram as a substitute. In the same way, when we recognize God’s right as proprietor, all of our decisions in regards to earning and spending money become spiritual decisions and express our submission to the reign of Jesus Christ.

  February 18

Consecration, passion, sacrifice, and the love of people were always characteristics of servants of God. The verb “to run” used in the New Testament describes the consecration filled with passion of the people of God saturated in sacrifice. Alongside other writers of the New Testament, Paul uses this term at least 11 times with the goal of describing his way of life and his ministry, dedicated to God. The term refers to a dedication without limits, to an accelerated path to heaven, to an urgent fulfillment of the interests of the Kingdom of God. In the letter that Paul writes to his younger collaborator (Timothy 2:3-6), the apostle uses three metaphors to describe the race of the born-again Christian: a military one, an athletic one, and an agricultural one.
1. The major goal of a Roman soldier imposed rigorous discipline and unquestionable obedience toward “him who enlisted him as a soldier”.
2. An athlete needs to have strong characteristics of discipline, self-control, patience, and remarkable tenacity.
3. The farmer suggests hard work, diligence, and hope, in contrast with the inactive and lazy workers.
In all three of these examples, perseverance is remarked:
1. A perseverant soldier gains the approval of his commanding officers
2. A perseverant athlete wins the race.
3. A perseverant farmer gains the “rich harvest”.
The three illustrations have a common point: the idea that success is gained through discipline, hard work, and determination. Paul suggests a race for at least four reasons:
1. The Glory of God
2. Eternal life
3. The salvation of others
4. Eternal reward
What good does it do someone to be a believer if he does not bring glory to God through his race, eternal life for himself, salvation for those around him, and eternal reward? How is the existence of a church justified if the race of its members does not bring glory to God, eternal life for themselves, the salvation of the family members and the community, and eternal reward through ministry? Going back to the text in 2 Timothy 2, alongside the passage in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul explains the fact that the spiritual race is characterized by battle, discipline, and spiritual victory. The soldier, athlete, and farmer need to fight, need to be disciplined, and need to overcome. A born again Christian who runs with passion in his journey to heaven will understand that the battle is inevitable, discipline is indispensible, and the victory is invaluable. Now at the beginning of the year, it is the right moment for us to remember the race that presumes the battle for faith, the discipline of character, and the victory of life.

 The time that we have available to us to serve God is short, but we can do it intensely and enthusiastically. Let us not let anyone and anything stop us or slow us down in serving.

  February 25

    The 66 Bible books contain a variety of literary styles and procedures, including parables. The parable is a fictional story, although it is usually realistic. The primary purpose of the Biblical parables was to express a superior spiritual truth. The parable of the tares continues the Savior's teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven. The master is God, the field is the world, the wheat is the man of God, the enemy is the Devil, the tares are the devil's men, the harvest is the end of the ages, the reapers are the angels. If in the parable of the sower we had only one category of seed and four categories of soil, in the parable of the tares we have two categories of seed and a single category of soil. In the parable of the sower, the Devil, God's enemy, compromises three of the four categories of soil, while in the parable of the tares he compromises the wheat seed by mixing it with the tares. God, as Master of the land, sows by day, while the enemy sows by night, secretly.
    Evil was not created by God, but was added to creation through the evil action of the Devil, who rebelled against the Creator. Adam and Eve were created by God in holiness and placed in His presence in Eden. The Devil came to Eve in a snake's physical form and sowed in her mind the seed of rebellion against the Creator. The parable of tares teaches that evil and good are in the world from the beginning and will remain to the end. The intent of the Lord's servants to remove the tares was not accepted by the Lord for the following reasons: wheat and tares are not yet ripe and can easily be confused; the tares are very similar to wheat, but when ripe, the tares remain standing tall, while the wheat becomes bent under the weight of the grains. Moreover, the roots of the wheat are so intertwined with the roots of the tares that pulling out the tares would pull out a lot of wheat as well. Also, the servants who would try to pull out the tares in the field would trample the whole harvest. Also, the servants are not perfect, so they risk being subjective in distinguishing between tares and wheat. In His wisdom, the Master decided to be leave them together until the harvest time, when the coming of reapers (the angels of God) who are qualified to distinguish between them. They will select them with precision, put the wheat in the grain of heaven and throw the tares into the hellfire.
    This does not mean that in the Church of God the evil (the sin) should be tolerated as it is in the world. There are public sins that must be punished by men, and hidden sins that will be punished by God. Sin must not be tolerated in the Church of God, but confessed and abandoned. This process must be sustained with fasting, prayer and self-control. However, the human nature has weaknesses, bad behavior, moments of vulnerability, and people should not be cast into the fire of hell because of these but rather lifted up with a spirit of gentleness: "if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted" (Gal. 6:1). Paul notices the chance of such spiritual incidents. This does not mean living in sin, but confessing and abandoning sin because "nothing impure will enter heaven" (Rev. 21:27). The church judges the proved act, while God will judge the heart and conscience. The church must be the place where people repent, but it should not be the place where they are tolerated to sin. The church must be holy!