John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

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INTRODUCTION

Today I shall speak to you about the priceless gift of God. I believe we are all aware that a gift is something that cannot be earned. A gift is normally given to out at the giver’s discretion. A gift is never an obligation, neither is it given to satisfy a demand. To understand more about the priceless gift of God we shall take a closer look at the Motive for the gift , the gift itself and the recipient .

THE MOTIVE

a. “ For God so loved ”

Here we are told the motive for which God gave his priceless gift. It is simply put as “ God so loved. ”

i. Unconditional love

It was His unconditional love that caused the creator of the heavens and the earth to gift the most precious gift to the world. His love does not rest in words or emotion, it has action. It was through his love that he had created the heavens and earth. It was due to his love that created human beings in His image. His love was also seen when He provided food and a pleasant environment for humans being and all the other living thin gs which God had made . God ’ s love is not due to our actions. We are love by God unconditionally.

ii. Infinite love

God’s love is infinite. This means it has no end. The spring of God’s love never runs dry. Its doors are never closed. The love of God is open ed all times, for everyone to experience. The Psalmist says, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. ” ( Psalm 136:1 ) In Jeremiah 31:3, God said, “ … I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. ” There is no end of God ’ s love. Paul wrote, “ For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ” (Rom 8:38- 39)

b. “ the world ”

The Greek word is “ κόσμος ” or “ cosmos ” We now learn of the subject of God ’ s love and that is the world. There are two meanings attached to the Greek word for “ the world. ”

i. The Planet Earth

It implies that God loved the whole of planet earth. He loved all the mountains, the rivers, the seas and the whole of nature.

ii. The Inhabitants of the Planet Earth

It also implies God loved all the inhabitants of planet earth, particularly human beings. The human beings, the land animals, sea creature and the birds of the air are part of the world.

God’s motive for giving His priceless gift was His love for the world. We move on to look at the gift itself .

THE GIFT

he gave his only begotten Son

The magnitude or the extent of God’s love for the world is perfectly express in the quality and value of the gift that He gave to the world .

a. His Son God gave His Son.

He gave His only begotten Son. I doubt that there could be a sane person among us who will be bold enough to give up his son, even if he were one of many children, to be killed in order to make peace with his enemies. We would protect our children and even give our lives for them if it were possible. That is how much we value them. The Son of God, Jesus Christ is more valuable than our children.

i. He is before all things (Col 1:15 – 17)

Everything that was made was made through the Son of God, not only that but also , everything was made for Him . Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation. Without Him nothing ever came to existence.

ii. He is the express image of the God (Heb 1:3)

Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory and He is the express image of his person. To say that He is the express image of God means that Jesus Christ is exactly like the Father. As the Father is eternal so is the Son. Jesus said, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;” (John 5:26)

iii. He is the beloved Son of God (Mat 3:17, 17:5, Mar 1:11, Luke 9:35)

God testified about Jesus, saying “This is my beloved Son.” Jesus also affirmed that He was loved by the Father. In John 15:9, Jesus says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you …

iv. His Only Begotten Son (Psalm 2:7)

Jesus was the only begotten Son of God. This means there was no other Son of God like Him. All the other sons of God (Gen 6 and Job 1:6) were created but He was the only begotten Son of God. God gave up not only His Son, but His only begotten Son.

b. Eternal Life

God did not only give us His Son but He also gave us eternal life. John say s in his letter, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. ” (1 John 5:1 1) . John says that God Himself is testifying that He has given us eternal life and that life can only be found in Jesus Christ. Paul says to the Roman Church, “ … the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. ” (Roman 6:23)

Jesus Christ was and is very valuable to His Father but He did not withhold him. Instead He gave Him up to the world.

THE RECIPIENT

That whosoever believeth in him

a. Whosoever (Anyone)

Jesus Christ who is the gift of God to the world is given so that anyone may benefit through Him. There is no nation, no language, no family or any individual, that is excluded. All are counted, into this awesome grace of God. The Jews and the Gentiles from every part of the world are all welcome.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews says , “…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb 10:10). Jesus Christ was given once to the world, and He was given for all.

b. Believes on Him

The benefits of God’s Gift are limited to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ. A person may be religious and they may pray every day BUT if they don’t believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God they do not have eternal life. Though the Gift of God is given for all, it can only do well to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

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  On the morning of the Sabbath Day (10-01-2015) at 07:08, I received an SMS from brother Jono saying, “Hi man of GOD hope c u street later ta j” I couldn’t respond to it because I wasn’t really sure if I was going to town that day, after all I enjoy resting on this day. It is the day of rest, is it not? After deep thinking I decided to get ready and I took my back pack which is always packed with some tracks, a digital camera, a video camera, my KJV Bible and a bottle of water. I got my bicycle ready and I cycled 9.03Km for 25minutes to town. When I got to our favourite preaching spot, (that is to say the city centre) right outside City Hall of Pietermaritzburg, I phoned Brother Jono and told him that I was in town. I didn’t know if he was coming to town or not but he thanked me for letting him know.

While I was getting ready to preach, I heard a car hooting. I looked and to my greatest joy it was Brother Gary. He went and parked the car and then joined me. While we were busy discussing some theological controversies we have encountered on social networks, we were joined by Brother Aziz and minutes later Brother Jono joined us.

 

 

Lungisa Joctrey preaching on 1 Timothy 1:15
Lungisa Joctrey preaching on 1 Timothy 1:15

I was then greeted by a Muslim man whom I had known while I was in prison and I started a short lived debate by simply asking him as to when he will become a Christian. I can’t recollect the actual words that were exchanged but it was about Jesus being the Son of God, a thing any good Muslim finds to be blasphemous. After that I took the stand and preached on Jesus Christ coming to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). While I was preaching we were joined by Brother Philip and he assisted in handing out gospel tracts. When I made the end of my speech, Brother Gary preached next, raising his voice to glory of our God and Saviour Yahshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ) while Brothers Jono, Aziz, Philip and I, handed out tracts. While I took some pictures, I spotted Brother Mandlakhe Mncwabe coming towards us and he joined us in handing out tracts.

DSCF1902After Brother Gary had made the end of preaching, we said our goodbyes and all the brothers departed except Mandlakhe who was chatting with me while I was getting my cycling gear ready (that is gloves, cap, sunshades and some good music). When we were about to part, this young man by the name of Mxolisi came to us. He had been standing by while I was preaching and he was listening to what I was saying because I had changed the language from English to IsiZulu.

Before he could tell us anything about himself, I picked up from his tongue that he was a member of the TACC. He told us that he was listening to the preaching but he could not understand the part where I said God punished His Son on the cross. I then explained from Isaiah 53, how that it was prophesied that “it pleased the LORD to bruise Him” linking it with Jesus’ well known cry, “Eli Eli lama sabchthani!!?”

Isaiah 53:4-12 KJV

(4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

(5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

(6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

(8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

(9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

(10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

(11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

(12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

He then asked us if we had received the Holy Spirit. This is the question I always get when I converse with the TACC people and I enjoy answering it. So we answered him, “No one can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ without the Holy Spirit, because according to Jesus the Holy Spirit is the one that comes to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Paul also tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed and no one can say Jesus is the Lord except by the Holy Spirit”

“There is a lot of misunderstanding here” He said, “What I know is, in the book of Acts when the people of Samaria had believed the apostles were called for to lay hands on them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. And when Simon the witch saw that “through the laying on of the hands of the apostles the people received the Holy Spirit” he produced money asking if they could sell this power to him. You see there, it shows that one can only receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of the apostles”

DSCF1907“You are mistaken” I interrupted, “You see, Acts 8:18, tells us of Simon’s opinion based on his observation. He was not an apostle therefore we cannot be taught by his opinions. This is Simon’s opinion and not the ultimate rule that one would ONLY receive the Holy Ghost through the laying on of the hands of the apostles. There are accounts on the book of Acts where believers received the Holy Ghosts without having the apostle’s hands laid on them. One elephant in the room is Cornelius. Peter did not lay hands on anyone in the house of Cornelius but they received the Holy Ghost while Peter was preaching. Paul himself received the Holy Spirit when he was in Damascus, there was no apostle there. Ananias was not an apostles but he laid hands on Paul and He received the Holy Spirit ”

(Acts 9:17 KJV)

“And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”

“But what do you say of the people that Paul asked if they had received the Holy Ghost sinced they believed and they said no, and they hadn’t heard that there was any Holy Spirit?” He asked

“The people that Paul found in Ephesus in Act 19:1-6- were not Gentiles and they were not Christians, but they were Jews who were the disciples of John the Baptist, since they were baptized by John the Baptist. Now Paul was compelled to preach to them the gospel of Jesus Christ and after that they were baptized again in the name of Lord Jesus. Then the Holy Spirit came on them.”

“I believe you are now answered on the issue of receiving the Holy Spirit, can we move on?” Mandlakhe asked

“Yes, I would like to ask you, what do you say of the resurrection of the dead?” Mxolisi asked

“The Bible says the dead will rise from their graves, just like Jesus was raised from His grave, as we all know that the disciples and the women found His grave empty. I know that your church the TACC, teaches that the dead are saved through the works of those are yet alive and they come and live in the bodies of the living in order to perform good deeds. That is not true, because firstly, the book of Ecclesiastes tell us that the dead have not a part in anything that is done under the sun. Secondly, the book of Revelation tells us that on the last judgment the dead are judged based on what is written on the books, according to their works. Those who qualify for heaven are those who have their names written on the Lamb’s Book of Life. There’s one way that anyone could have his name on that book. It is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“But there were people in the times of Abraham who had never heard the gospel…” said Mxolisi

DSCF1904“Abraham heard the gospel, as it is written, “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” You see, he was justified by faith before the coming Jesus Christ, same goes for Noah. As for the people who lived before the days of King Shaka (for the gospel came to this land in the days King Shaka) where the gospel wasn’t heard, Paul says of them, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another”  It is God’s business to deal with those who haven’t heard the gospel but I tell you the truth, that the laws of God were written in their hearts, therefore their conscience made them aware of what right or wrong. Those who have sinned without the law shall perish without the law and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.

DSCF1905“I have no argument on this matter” Brother Mandlakhe added, “I take what the scripture says, the person who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved and the one who doesn’t believe will go to hell, that is enough for me”

Romans 2:12-16 KJV

(12) For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

(13) (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

(14) For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

(15) Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

(16) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

“Are you guys from Faith Mission?” Mxolisi asked

“No, We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” I replied.

He then took my number down and promised that he would try to connect me to some of the TACC guys who might try to explain their faith to me. I responded, “That would be great, I wish to meet them because it seems like there is a lot of deception you have been taught by your pastors. I don’t blame them but I blame their teachers. You need to search the scriptures yourself and not just take the words of men. Do like the Bereans in Acts 17 who searched the scriptures in order to see if what the apostles taught was true or not.”

Amen.

ALL GLORY TO OUR GOD ALONE