----- "Let your light shine before men" (Matthew 5:16) -----

 
   
 
Internet Edition No. 64 --- July 2008 ---
Cover Page of print edition
Table of contents
Title Author
   Editorial
      Apologetic Council
Mathews Paul
   Pure heart Pastor K. Joy
   Judgements and Rewards Pastor Biju Thomas, Houston, USA
   Meditation:
       Love not your life
Saju Mathew
   News & Views Johnson K. Samuel
   Award for Paulson Thavu
   "Children's corner" "Shiny Aunty"
   Malayalam section:
      Garbhinikalkum avarudey bhavanakkaarkum
      oru prabodhanam
Pastor Babu Cherian
   Malayalam section:
      Nammudey swabhaavam
Pastor Shibu Joseph, Mumbai
   Malayalam section:
      Abhimukham with Dr. Paulson Pulikottil
   Malayalam section:
      Parisudhaathmaavu nalkunna bodhyangal
V.C. Mathai, Jabalpur
   Malayalam section:
      Kavitha: Ruth
Sabu Kaarammelil
   Sponsor's page:
      I met 'Joses'
Johnson Thomas
   Sponsor's page:
      Bro. T.T. Thomas and family



Editorial
Apologetic Council

Mathews Paul

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Pure heart
Pastor K. Joy

The writer explains that only if Almighty God who created all things, both visible and invisible, repairs our heart can it become whole.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalms 51:10)

The above quoted is part of a prayer that was uttered by David about 3000 years ago. Sin is universal. There is no righteous person without sin on earth. But the attitude towards sin is different in different people. For instance, Adam and Eve after committing sin were blaming the circumstances. Cain after having murdered Abel did not repent about it. But rather, he was rebellious. Achan covered his sin underground. Gehazi attempted to escape by telling a lie. Saul resorted to self justification. Judas committed suicide. All these were consequently subject to curse. However David was justified by God when he repented. Dear friend, what is your attitude towards your mistakes?

The Biblical reference to heart should not be mistaken for just an internal organ of our body. Whereever heart is mentioned, it speaks of the central part in us which is the seat of will, emotion, intellect, volition, character, etc. Let me quote three Bible passages which describe the filthiness of the human heart: "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5). "The heart is deceitful about all things and desperately corrupt" (Jer. 17:9). Our Lord has prepared a list of thirteen evil habits that occupy human hearts (Mark 7:20-23).

David is calling upon Creator God to repair his heart. For repairing our vehicle we may take it to a work shop. A doctor can treat the diseases of our body. But only God the Creator can repair our heart. Only if Almighty God who created all things, both visible and invisible, repairs our heart can it become whole. An outward polish or a change in name shall not do any good to the impure human heart. A new creation is essential (2 Cor. 5:17). David is not praying for the service of a heavenly seraphim, nor an agent or representative. God, Himself, must repair the heart. In Prov. 23:26, God says: "My son, give your heart to me". If we surrender our hearts to God, we will get brand new hearts (Ezek. 36:26).

When do sinful impurities begin to dwell in human hearts? How does sin exert influence on human life? Now let us think about these questions in brief. Psalms 51:5 says: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me". Sinful habit is also born along with us when we are born. It also grows up along with us. Sin develops subsequently, so that it is always before us. Sin does not stop there. It goes on to such an extent that "our iniquities prevail against us" (Psa. 65:3). The next stage is that sin overtakes us (Psa. 40:12). Then it goes over our head (Psa. 38:4). Thus we are bowed down (Psa. 38:6). It causes inflammation and sickness in our body (Psa. 38:7). It troubles us and deprives us of our peace (Psa. 38:6). Rom. 6:23 declares that the wages of sin is death. Thus it is harmful to our soul also. Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off an evil odor (Eccl. 10:1). A little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6). If a root of bitterness springs up in the church, it makes many others defiled (Heb. 12:15). By one Achan, the whole Israel lost the battle. By one Miriam, the whole Israel had to be detained for three days during their journey. By one or two unruly or disorderly persons, the whole congregation will be affected.

Regarding the consequences of sin, the scriptures tell us that sin destroys family life and even generations. "The iniquity of father will be visited upon the children upto third and fourth generations" (Exo. 20:5). We read about Uzziah who was expelled from the Temple of God (2 Chro. 26:20). His son, Jotham, never entered the Temple (2 Chro. 27:2). The next generation Ahaz destroyed the articles of the Temple of God (2 Chro. 28:24). In contrast, we can see how the generations of godly Heman were blessed (1 Chro. 25:5-6).

So far, we have been discussing about the gradual development of sinful nature in human life. It was born along with us, it grew up, sat before us, prevailed, went over the head, made us prostrate, ruined our body, soul and mind, ruined even the society and family. Now imagine the sinner filing a suit against this sinful nature in the heavenly court. During the trial, Satan will be arguing the case on behalf of the sinful nature. His arguments may go this way:

"1. I know nothing except to steal, slaughter and destroy.

2. As we are doomed to eternal hell and eternal torment, we try to get as many souls as possible in our company before getting there.

3. We go over a man's head only when he bows down before us. The Master has put before man both life and death, good and evil, heaven and hell. We have influence on him only when man comes and bows down before me (John 10:10)".

In this way, Satan will not be short of arguments against man's petition in God's presence. Then what is the remedy for this problem? The remedy can only be to send the Son of God into this world who would not bow down before Satan, thereby crushing his head. Read Matt. 4:7-10 and see that Jesus, the Son of God, did not bow his head before the devil. As fulfillment of the prophecy in Gen. 3:15, Jesus crushed the head of the enemy on the cross (Col. 2:15). To religious leaders of the world, death remains a stumbling block to their teachings. But what about the death of Jesus on the cross? It is eternal life to a believer.

The blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross cleanses the sinner of all his sin-stains (1 John 1:7). You may wash the human heart in all the waters of the five great oceans, it will yet be unclean. But the holy blood of Jesus Christ washes it pure and white.

If our heart has to live for ever in peace, new inhabitants must dwell in it. Formerly 13 illegal occupants lived in it (Mark 7:20-23). After cleansing, the new occupants are: Christ (Eph. 3:17), Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:6) and The Scriptures (Psa. 119:11).

Let us pray: "create in us a clean heart, O God!".

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Judgements and Rewards
Pastor Biju Thomas, Houston, USA

The writer explains that we will be judged fairly and thoroughly before the Judgment Seat of Christ and we will receive due rewards for what we have done in our lives. Therefore, let us run our race with endurance.

"We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor. 5:6-10)

The judgment seat of Christ is often called the 'Bema'. Literally, Bema refers to a raised platform that was used for the assembly where speeches were given and crowns were awarded to the winners. In ancient Rome Caesars sat on a tribunal to award those who made heroic contributions in winning the battle. The bema of Christ - we are called to give account before an all-knowing Judge.

God honors those whom He has chosen with eternal rewards or privileges. Some would say I just want to make it to heaven's back seat! What if it is Father's good pleasure to have us "sit in the front row", but we forfeit this privilege because of our complacent attitude?

"We should be all that we can be on earth so that we can be all that we could be in heaven".

A person who cares so much about eternal rewards often forgets about it and try to accumulate greater wealth here on earth. They profess to be content with a little shack in heaven but want a big mansion on earth. We do not desire reward for the sake of a reward, but because reward is a reflection of Christ's approval of us: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Mat. 25:21).

Characteristics of the judgment

1. We will be judged fairly

a. We are judged by One who loves us. We will be judged by One who wishes us well rather than by one who is anxious to condemn us. We will be judged only for what we have done since our conversion to Christ. Paul knew that the judgment seat of Christ for some believers would be fearful indeed. Rewards are based on our faithfulness to opportunities presented to us since our conversion. We will not be judged on what we did from the time of our first birth, but on what we did since our second birth.

b. Every believer has the same potential to receive Christ's approval of "Well Done".

2. We will be judged thoroughly

a. We shall "appear" (phaneroo) which means "to be made manifest". The imagery is that we shall be "turned inside out".

b. Our good deeds like giving a cup of cold water in the name of the Lord will be remembered - those whom we helped who cannot repay us, those who we comforted when in despair.

c. Our bad or worthless deeds: All our hypocrisies and concealments, all our secret, intimate sins of thought and deed will be open to the scrutiny of Christ. Prying for position for self gain, dividing the church by dishonesty, circulating rumors from one member to another, withholding tithe for personal investments, false humility and cotton candy love.

d. The Corinthian church had the tendency to fight and bicker among themselves. So Paul admonishes them: "therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts" (1 Cor. 4:5).

e. Whether good or bad, our actions are recorded and tallied for proof. God can "download" the detailed data of what we said and did without hesitation. Un-confessed sin, sin that we rationalized and idolized will be revealed also. Be specific about your confession.

f. The judgment is also comforting for those who had been victims of unfair criticism or misinterpretation of motives. Cruelty, gossip and misunderstandings will be cleared up. 'He said, she said' arguments will be replaced with facts of truth. Thus we will not disagree with Christ, not because we are afraid to but we will have no reason to.

g. The judgment of fire (1 Cor. 3:12-15): All our deeds will be either precious metals or trash and then torched. The kind of life we lived would become evident by a test of fire. The question would be: what is left when the flames die out? Will it be more of carnality and selfishness - the wood, hay, straw? Each of us will be tested. This indicates the thoroughness of God's judgment.

Two kinds of material are contrasted - pile of wood, hay versus precious gems. Thus it is not how much we do for Christ, but rather what we do and how we do it. Why do our works have to be subjected to the flames? From our perspective we may think a believer has impressive pile of material but when torched if it is mostly combustible, we may end up with a wooden beam. Only fire can separate the real from the fake.

i. Our thoughts and intentions will be judged (Heb. 4:12-13);

ii. Our words will be judged (Mat. 12:36; Luke 12:2);

iii. Our motives will be judged (1 Cor. 4:3-5).

3. We will judged impartially

(Rom. 2:11)

a. No special advantages are given to the wealthy. Nor will pastors and missionaries be given preferential treatment. In fact, those who teach the Word of God will be judged by a "stricter judgment" (James 3:1) because they were given greater responsibility. All will be judged on the same standard of faithfulness.

b. Imagine the condition of a house hit by a tornado. The roof is blown off and walls are down and all personal belongings are visible to the public. Just so Christ will walk through our lives that now will be without walls. He will inspect the rubies and the rubble.

4. We will be judged individually

(Rom. 14:10-12)

a. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. We will not be speaking in behalf of someone else. There will be no comparison with others; no one to cover for us. The judgment will be public that is before angels (Luke 12:8).

What Christ would be looking for?

Christ calls us to bear fruit that endures - this is the fruit of the Spirit, the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The good deeds are willingness to sacrifice, a joyous faith, and a commitment to persevere as did Moses (Heb 11:6).

1. The joyful acceptance of injustice (Matt. 5:11-12)

a. The reward connected with bearing insults for His sake. For example: If you are fired because of your faith in Christ, if your conviction does not allow you to be dishonest (Heb 10:35). Let us accept such trouble in the name of Christ and rejoice.

2. Financial generosity

Christ repeatedly spoke about money as being a test of our loyalties (Matt. 6:19-21). We must never reveal how much people give. It would be a mistake to think that we will be judged solely on the basis of what we gave to the church, the poor, and missions. All our money belongs to God. We are accountable for spending.

3. Hospitality (Matt. 25:35-36; Luke 14:12-14; Matt. 10:40,41)

a. Suppose Christ was scheduled to pay a visit to your church, and the pastor was looking for a home in which Christ could stay. There would be lineup of volunteers pleading to take Him home with them.

b. Christ describes the kindness that will not escape His notice.

c. If you want to please Christ, find the poor, the physically challenged, and the lonely and throw a feast for them. You will be repaid in the day of resurrection.

4. The spiritual disciplines (Matt. 6:3-6)

a. The Jews had three spiritual disciplines they habitually practiced: the giving of alms, prayer, and fasting.

b. Christ taught that is possible to succeed in the eyes of men and fail in the eyes of God. We will not be rewarded twice. If we looking for all accolades in this world, we should not expect any repayment in the life to come.

c. Secret deeds often have purer motives than public ones.

d. All of our time, talent and treasure belong to God.

5. Faithfulness in our vocation:

Read: Col. 3:22-24

(Many dislike what they are doing. But the need for money forces them into jobs that ignite boredom, frustration, and conflict).

6. Loving the unlovable:

Read: Luke 6:27-28, 35

7. Guarding the doctrinal integrity :

Read: 2 John 1

8. Investment in people:

Read: 1 Cor. 3:6-8 - there is direct correlation between the opportunities I accept and the rewards I receive.

9. Watching for Christ's return:

Read: Luke 12:35-38

Causes of losing our reward

Read: Eph. 5:5; Gal. 5:19-21, People forfeit certain kingdom privileges due to sins. We can lose our reward both by the sins we commit and the opportunities we squander.

The types of believer's rewards

Scriptures speak of a number of crowns:

1. Crown of Life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10).

2. Crown of Glory (1 Pet. 5:4; cf. John 17:22; Heb. 2:9)

3. Crown of Righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8)

4. Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thes. 2:19)

5. Crown of Gold (Rev. 4:4)

6. Incorruptible crown (1 Cor. 9:25), as compared with the perishable crowns of the Greek games;

7. "Thy crown" (Rev. 3:11), that which is laid up for you - the summing up of all the previous crowns - all are characteristics of "thy crown". The Lord warns about the possibility of losing rewards by failing to live for Him.

"Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward" (2 John 8).

The crowns, however, will be cast at the feet of the Savior as described in Rev. 4:10: "They (24 elders) lay their crowns before the throne". Why? Receiving any crown is made possible only by the grace of God and so God gets the ultimate glory and honor.

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Meditation:
Love not your life

Saju Mathew
Reading Passage: Revelation 12: 7-12

"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death" (Rev 12:11 NASU)

Here, we see Satan, the accuser, in heaven. Like in the case of Job, he might have accused the saints for their past sins or, questioned their integrity, I suppose. They conquered the first accusation by the blood of Jesus. The second accusation would not stand against their word of testimony.

"We will not shrink back from following our Master even at the point of death", they said, and they proved their words true.

Once a king asked a second century saint to give up his faith, or all his wealth would be seized.

"You cannot do that O' King," said the saint "for all my treasures are in heaven".

"Then I will banish you from my country", the king said.

"Send me anywhere king, my Jesus will be with me," said the saint.

"Then I will kill you," screamed the king.

"But king, I am a dead man for the last forty years" was the saint's answer.

Those who do not fear death do not fear anything. They cannot be induced or threatened by anything of this world. No money, no good job, no better living, can tempt you; no excommunication, assault or anything of that kind can frighten you, if you do not love your own life. Paul says: "I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course..." (Acts 20:24. cf. Acts 21. 13).

In this case, Satan totally fails in his accusations, and he was driven out from heaven by Michael and his angels. However, it is not the power of the Archangel, but the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony that made the victory possible. Yes! If the saints loved their lives more than their devotion to their Master, the Archangel could never drive Satan away. When we do not love anything, even our lives, more than Jesus, we conquer Satan.

Prayer: Lord I understand that my love for my life is a snare. I want to defeat Satan with my confession that I do not love my life. Let what come may, I will follow you, my Master. AMEN

Further reading: Acts 20. 22-24; Luke 9.23-27; Acts 15.26

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News & Views
Johnson K. Samuel

Bishop wants to bless 'gay marriages'

Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, has written to all clergymen to encourage same-sex couples to seek the blessing of the Episcopal Church. He says in his letter: "It is our goal that all couples be treated equally by the Church, as they are equally loved by God". He adds that the California diocese works for the "full inclusion" of lesbian and gay people in the church.

Who is this bishop who speaks on behalf of God unless he has the authority of the Bible? God loves the sinner, not the sin. He accepts those who repent and turn away from sin. These so-called Christian (?) churches have lost all credibility and moral authority. One does not have to search far for the reasons for the rapid spread of other religions like Islam in the world.

Religious education branded as human rights violation in UK

A parliamentary human rights committee has issued a report recommending that students below the age of 16 also (just like those of older age) be allowed to opt out of religious education classes and daily worship. The lawmakers say that forcing a student to engage in these activities violated the European Convention on Human Rights. Christianity is the official religion of the United Kingdom. Students in most public schools are required to take religious education classes and participate in acts of collective worship. But many schools already neglect daily worship as several exceptions are available to them to do so. Now the parliamentary committee's report will provide more reasons to stop religious education in schools.

The Bible instructs us to train the child in the way he should go. The world system which is under the control of Satan has all the reasons to leave the children free to be deceived by the devil when they are adults!

Situation deteriorating for Iraqi Christians

Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is calling on government leaders to address ever-increasing religious persecution in Iraq. Since the war in Iraq began, more than 40 percent of Christians have fled the country as they have been targeted by militants. CSI says that it is not a matter of random criminality, but in fact Christians are targeted for their faith. At least 40 churches have been bombed and dozens of clergy and nuns have been either kidnapped or murdered.

Pastor Abdul Kareem Yacob, an Iraqi pastor, was jailed on kidnapping charges, held for 30 days in the Kurdish region and released on bail, according to Compass Direct News. He said, the real reason for his arrest was religious. Kurdish secret police arrested, released and then re-arrested him before finally allowing his release on bail.

Let us hope and pray that leaders are able to put an end to the deteriorating situation.

Coaches, beware!!

Football coach, Marcus Borden, has been told by the School board that he cannot kneel and bow his head as members of his team have a student-led pre-game prayer. As a coach from 1983, he used to be deeply involved in team prayers, and for a while even led them. He was asked to stop on complaints from certain quarters. Now an appeals court has ruled that the school board is within its rights in barring school staff from joining in student-led prayers. Borden's attorney wants the supreme court to hear the case.

Prayer is one of the armours of God. It is a means of communication with God and a means of protection for His children from the evil one. Satan wants that protection to be removed. Let us "pray without ceasing".

Persecution of House churches in China being intensified

ASSIST News Service reports that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has increased their campaign of eradicating house churches throughout China. Local authorities of the government's enforcement apparatus are bearing down on Christians. In Xinjiang Province, officials have posted signs asking citizens to report any "evil cult activity", meaning house churches. Two Christians in Xinjiang have been charged with the serious crime of being "separatists".

There are reliable reports that house churches in China are immensely popular and thriving. Probably Communists are scared!

'Creation Museum' celebrates first anniversary

Over 400,000 visitors have seen 'creation museum' since it opened in May 2007. (We have given news about 'creation museum' in earlier editions of 'News & Views'). The museum features state of the art exhibits and displays, such as animatronic dinosaurs and a huge wooden ark, all delivering a literal account of the biblical creation story as aligned with natural history. The celebrations included fireworks and a musical presentation of Noah's flood. President, Ken Ham, said they are excited about the future as they continue to reach new people with the creation/gospel message.

We are happy to support and pray for all efforts to present Bible accounts intelligently to a sceptical people. May be that will begin to accept Bible as the Word of God.

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Award for Paulson Thavu

Paulson Thavu (Third from left) receives the award from George Mathai CPA;
Looking on are Secretary, Saji Thattayil (left) and Vice-President, Sam T. Samuel (right).


Paulson Thavu's article, entitled "A Global Positioning System - Designed just for you" published in the September 2007 issue of Suvartha Magazine has won him an award from Pentecostal Writers' Forum, an association that recognizes and encourages Kerala Pentecostal writers in USA. Paulson's article was adjudged the best writing published in 2007 in the 'English Articles' category. The award was presented to him at a function held during the Pentecostal Conference of North American Keralites held in Atlanta, USA, from July 3-6, 2008.

We, at Suvartha Magazine, congratulate our contributor Paulson Thavu on the recognition received by him. This is not the first time that our contributors have received recognition for their work. We are justifiably proud of being able to provide a platform for the young writers in our community to exhibit their talents for the glory of God and spiritual edification of our readers.

- Editors

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Children's corner:
Pray for your friends

"Shiny Aunty"

Dear children,

Timothy was the only child of his parents. But he was not a spoilt brat. His parents brought him up in the fear of the Lord. As a child his mother taught him to pray for all his needs and also for others. He prayed to God in his innocence for everything he thought he needed to pray for. He had few friends and Jitesh was one among them. Jitesh was a mischievous boy and always ended up in trouble. He also had difficulty concentrating in his studies and therefore could not perform well in his exams. One day Timothy felt the need to pray for Jitesh. He started to regularly pray for him. Timothy prayed that Jitesh would become a disciplined boy and that God would give him wisdom to do well in his studies. It so happened that one day Jitesh was punished for some mischief he had done. That day Jitesh felt he should stop being disobedient and become a good boy. He started to become disciplined day by day. He also fared well in his studies. Today he is a young man who is not only well mannered but also a child of God. He happened to learn about the living God through his friend Timothy.

Dear children, our God is a good God and wants all human beings to enjoy His goodness and also know Him as the Lord of their life. If we pray for our friends God will bless them and help them to come into the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Read I Tim. 2:1-4.

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Malayalam section:
Garbhinikalkkum avarudey bhavanakkaarkkum oru prabodhanam

Pastor Babu Cherian, Piravom, Kerala

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Malayalam section:
Nammudey swabhaavam

Pastor Shibu Joseph, Mumbai

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Malayalam section:
Abhimukham with Dr. Paulson Pulikkottil

By Bro. Varghese Kollakompil and Pastor P. Joy

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Malayalam section:
Parisudhaathmaavu nalkunna bodhyangal

V.C. Mathai, Jabalpur

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Malayalam section
Kavitha: Ruth - Part 4

Sabu Karammelil

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Sponsor's page
I met 'Joses'

Johnson Thomas

I was travelling and it happened to be a Friday evening. I was getting to know the real place that Lansing (Michigan, USA) is. I hoped to meet new people, check out some interesting places and try some new food. The weather was quite something that I had never known. I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India, so it makes absolute sense when I say, "at 70 degree F. I am used to jackets and heaters". But here I am at sub 20 F. All the land covered in a white blanket of snow, except for the roads.

I was staying with my sister's family and they invited me to a Bible study class in their friend's place. This was a mixed group (Asian, North Americans, etc), a couple of families and a few singles, all gathered in this Indian friend's home with a beautiful fire-place. There isn't any fire though! Honestly, I was considering whether the young men here had leadership qualities, to lead such a group?

We were studying Acts 11:19-26 - "The Church in Antioch"

The city of Antioch was founded during the time of the Greek Empire (300 B.C.) and served as the capital of Syria during the Roman times. Antioch was situated along important land routes between Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine. At its height, it probably had a population exceeding half-a-million and was the third largest city of the Roman Empire, to be surpassed only by Rome and Alexandria. Antioch of Syria is mentioned in the New Testament only in Acts and in Galatians. Here the followers of Christ were first called "Christians". Antioch became the center of Paul's labors in that Paul began each of his missionary journeys there. The gospel was preached to (only) Jews in Antioch through believers who were scattered due to persecution of Stephen (v. 19). I am sure you remember reading "persecution by Saul".

This portion refers to about 10 years later when the Gospel was again preached, this time among the non-Jews (v. 20), a great number believed and turned to the Lord (v. 21). When the Jerusalem church heard of this they sent Barnabas to minister there (v. 22). Barnabas, who was he? His name was JOSES, who by Apostles was named Barnabas meaning Son of Prophecy, Son of Consolation also Son of Encouragement. Luke, the writer of Acts of Apostles, refers to him as Son of Consolation (4:36). Joses was a generous person who sold all his land, and laid the money for Gospel. He was also a kind hearted person, for he was the one who helped Paul to join the disciples by convincing them (9:26-27a) and most importantly he was of a godly character (v. 24). Joses knows his weakness and remembers Paul being a powerful speaker (9:27b), he goes to look out for Paul in Tarsus (v. 25). for he knew that Paul was only limited to Tarsus (9:30) for over 10 years now. Joses finds Paul and brings him to Antioch. And Joses and Paul assembled themselves with the Church for a whole year and taught. And this is where the believers were called Christians first (v. 26).

The leadership qualities that I just studied here were so very different from what I have ever known. Joses who sacrificed all he had for the sake of Gospel, a peacemaker, a man of good testimony from all, was the one who identified and encouraged Paul to move beyond Tarsus, never lost focus on studying and teaching the Word of God, went on to start the first missionary journey with Paul and most importantly a man filled with the Holy spirit. To my revelation I looked around in the room, I could find the same gathering that was there in Antioch. This small group had also been gathering for over a year, studying the Word. I could see some young men growing to become like Joses. Interestingly Lansing is also a State Capital like Antioch. Now I could feel the fire of Holy Spirit burning in this small group of believers, unlike the fire-place. Let's endeavor, pray and desire to meet someone like Joses. On this cold Friday evening - I am sure I met Joses in this small congregation, learnt about a new place Antioch and did taste some good food.

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Sponsor's page
Bro. T.T. Thomas and family



Bro. Thomas (67 yrs) is a member of IPC Chembur since 1976. He worked in the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia for 18 years. He is married to Sis. Saramma (Amini). She worked with Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) for 33 years. Both of them are now retired from their services and residing with their son Johnson Thomas and family.

Bro. Johnson is part of IPC Chembur since his childhood with active participation in Sunday School, Youth Groups and Administrative affairs. After his college education in Commerce he completed his Chartered Accountancy. Currently he works in Mumbai for a US Bank (Boston head-quartered). His wife Sis. Bella Elizabeth is a Scientific Officer working with BARC.

They are blessed with two daughters Sarah (5 yrs) and Baby Maria (1 yr).

Bro. Johnson has two siblings, they are married and settled in the US: Sis. Sissy Stephen (Florida) and Sis. Ruby Robins (Michigan).

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