I was having a very difficult time with writing this article. I wasn't sure why, perhaps I really don't know where to start.
But to what seemed to me as a grueling endeavor of conceptualization seemed to be more than meets the eye, because the best place to start writing about how the Lord worked in the lives of the Baclagon family was basically me.
Simply put, I was a product of this God's work in this church through the ministry that was bestowed upon my brothers. I practically grew up in Grace Bible Church (GBC), with the memories of playing with Edward Nogales and Tercy Manalo in the old building as one of my few childhood memories of the church. Truly: "the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. "
The Lord's work was set into motion with my Kuya Manny's introduction to the gospel through the Living Circle Ministry (LC) in Manila Science which subsequently led him to bring my other Kuyas to GBC starting with Kuya Louie who also became part of the LC Ministry in V. Mapa High School; followed by Kuya Peddie, Benjie and Gerry.
It was through GBC that they came to know the Lord and have decided to follow Him. Back then being a Christian in our household was not as laid-back as it is now because at the time being 'born again' was uncommon in our family who hailed from a Roman Catholic religious background, but as time passed our parents have seen the changes that God brought in the lives of my brothers that they become more understanding of their faith and tolerant of their participation in the church's ministry.
As time passed I too was brought here at GBC early on through the numerous cantata's that were produced during Christmas and Easter and later on through the Sunday School and Junior Worship Services. Eventually I came to a personal relationship with Lord through the church's solid Bible-based preaching which provoked me to realize my need for a Savior.
It was here that I witnessed how the Lord worked in the lives of my brothers as they all later on started their own families here at GBC and still continued to serve the Lord through their own respective ministries: Kuya Benjie as a fulltime campus missionary Kuya Louie through the Board of Trustees and Kuya Gerry through the offertory.
GBC is celebrating its 57th Anniversary this month and I believe that it is but fitting for the Baclagons to give praise to the God that has used this church and its people to minister to us as a family. After all, who would have known that simple preaching of the Gospel in Manila Science High School would weave our family life as brothers that are not only related by blood but also of the same Spirit.
Soli Deo Gloria
Intro: We live in a lonely world in spite of the fact that recent communication technology boasts that loved ones can now be reached with a few clicks of a mouse or dial of a phone. The sad truth remains that it seems implausible that the number of solitary deaths have been on the rise in countries like the UK and Japan in recent years. Alienation, dubbed the “great emotional sickness of our era” by Italian filmmaker Michaelangelo Antonioni, remains a disease that even email, cell phones and online networking has been powerless to remedy. (1)
It seems that in a world that boasts of its connectivity by means of technology it is still a sad truth that people are still lonely and at times die of their loneliness. Which brings onto mind that old saying: “no man is an island.”
I. A Biblical Perspective on Relationships
A. Our relationship with God
In a sense there is a Biblical truth in that statement as we would look back in the beginning we will encounter that story of the Creation where man is its centerpiece and in Eden they were able to fellowship freely with God. Unfortunately, however, man rebelled and did his own thing by believing that the Serpent’s lie in Genesis 3:5 “that man will be as God,” Ultimately, severing our relationship with God and causing sin and death to enter creation.
But God sought to restore that relationship from the very start when He dealt with the Serpent in Gen. 3:5.
Redemptive history as recorded in Scriptures shows us that God dealt with us not only as individuals but also as couples (Adam & Eve, Gen. 3:21); as families (Noah and his family, Gen. 7:1) as tribes (the 12 tribes of Israel); as nations (in the nation of Israel); and as heirs of God’s promise to Abraham (with the Church Gal. 3:7-9).
God interacted with man not only as individuals but as a community that He seeks to restore His broken fellowship with.
Which, eventually materialized in the, ‘Immanuel’, Jesus Christ whom in the Incarnation became one of us, in Christ Jesus. God becoming a man [without ceasing to be God] and living with us (John 1:14); God eating with us ; God experiencing physical hunger like us (Luke 4:2); God crying with us (John 11:35); God experiencing temptation as we did (Heb. 4:15); God dying for us; All because God desires to restore our broken fellowship with Him when sin entered the world. God’s love actualized in a person who gave His all for restoring our broken fellowship with God by being an atoning to sacrifice God in our behalf (Heb. 9:14). (Note: that God restored our relationship with Him by actualizing His love for us in Christ, without undermining His holiness and leaving out Divine justice to our offenses (Heb. 9:22).
This is a relationship with God that we can actually enter but placing our faith alone in Christ whom Himself declares that: “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
God was willing to go the distance in order to re-establish our severed relationship with Him, and our only response is to come to Him in faith knowing that we are sinners and that only in Christ we can enter into a relationship with God.
B.Our relationship with one another
We are members of one another Rom.12:9. For most of us who are attending the afternoon service we are familiar with this passage. We are familiar because a series was in fact made that goes around the phrase, ‘one another’. Keeping that in mind I am reminded it was actually the first verse that was studied when the series started.
What does that now mean that we are members of one another?
“Yet to all who received Him to all who believed in His name he has given us the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
As we have discussed earlier God paved the way to enable us in Christ to enter into a relationship with Him. In fact, in the opening chapter of John’s Gospel we are told that through Christ we are given the right to become children of God, by becoming God’s children it follows then that we are now called to enter into God’s family.
Now what does this imply?
It implies that while we are called to a relationship with God through Christ, but also to enter into God’s household whereupon we have our spiritual brothers and sisters. Consider the flow of the Paul’s Gospel narrative in the book of Romans:
The sinfulness of man (Rom. 3:23)
God’s redemptive work in Christ (Rom. 5:19)
God’s gift of salvation for us (Rom. 6:23)
Our identity in Christ (Rom. 8:1, 38-39)
Man’s apt response in light of this gift (Rom. 12:1)
God’ instruction as to how we would conduct our new lives in Christ (Rom. 12-15)
Note that God calls us to offer our lives as living sacrifices to God, Paul then reminds us that ‘we are members of one another’ (Rom. 12:9), which is dealt with in greater detail in 1 Cor. 12:12,27.
In short it is upon after we are called to enter a personal relationship with God we are then also called to enter into a relationship with the body of God that is the church. In a sense, having a personal relationship with God, exhorts, us that we as disciples, of Christ, should be of kindred spirits after our conversion.
Keeping the above thought in mind it means that the church comes only after our personal conversion to Christ. Thus the church is not a means for us to be saved.
The church is the household of God on earth thus we should value our relationship with fellow believers because we are now part of a single body.
In fact God values our assembly as one body by telling us that God is present when people are gathered in His name (lookup verse: whenever two are gathered in my name I am there).
God our relationship within the body so much that he calls us to be reverent in instituting His ordinances such as The Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11: 17-24).
The communion instructs us to be of good standing within the Church before partaking of the elements.
Therefore God seeks us to give such a high value to our relationships with fellow believers. In fact while we are instructed that: “as we have every opportunity to do good to all, we are also given a mandate to do this especially to those who belong the family of believers.” (Gal. 6:10).
II. The call to accountability
If we’d closely look at the context of the abovementioned verse we will see that it deals with an important issue that Paul aspires for the believers in Galatia to grasp.
Galatians 6:1-2 "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." If your fellow believer has done something contrary to the Bible, you are called to confront him gently, forgive him, and comfort him. It also admonishes you to consider yourself because no one is above temptation.
To put it bluntly we are called to look out for each other, by holding one another accountable to each other. In a word we are called to practice accountability.
A. What is accountability?
Accountability is essential for any society to function and Christian accountability is no different. We are all held accountable in one way or another. For example, there are laws to obey and if we fail to be obedient, we may have to suffer the consequences set by the officials who hold us accountable. Accountability is simply being responsible for one's actions.
Accountability involves a willingness to open yourself up and share sensitive or personal information. This is why trust is so imperative. If you sense trust, you are more open to share your innermost thoughts without concern of betrayal.
In the Bible accountability helps to promote biblical controls or checks and balances. It provides the necessary discipline and support needed to see people reach godly goals. While we are all ultimately accountable to God, as stressed in Romans 14:7-12, God has established other levels of accountability to aid us in the matter of control, support, and growth.
Does the Bible speak of Christian accountability? First of all, the Bible says that God holds us accountable. Romans 14:12 says, "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God." This is personal accountability.
Christians are also accountable to one another. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, we read that Christians are all part of the same body - the body of Christ - and each member needs or belongs to the other. This Scripture suggests the importance of strong accountability between Believers. It is important for every Believer to have at least one other person in which to confide, pray with, listen to, and encourage.
Galatians 6:1-2 gives a helpful principle, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." If your accountability friend has done something contrary to the Bible, you are called to confront him gently, forgive him, and comfort him. It also admonishes you to consider yourself because no one is above temptation.
Another aspect of Christian accountability is encouraging each other to grow in their spiritual maturity. Hebrews 10:24 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to, "encourage one another and build each other up"
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Accountability is necessary because like sheep we tend to go our own way. We are all self-willed. We want to protect our comfort zones and avoid having to deal with certain issues that are important to becoming obedient Christians, which is one of the goals of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). Making disciples means teaching others to obey the Lord and this is very difficult without some measure of accountability.
C.Why is it important?
God calls us into Christian accountability because He doesn’t want us to live the Christian life alone we need someone there to be with us, to encourage us, to help us in our struggles, to share our joys with us, to cry with us and to confront us when we are not living our lives in accordance with God’s will, because we are all but a community of Pilgrims that God has called towards a heaven-bound journey.
This truth can be seen in the life of the Apostle Paul with Timothy and Titus. If we each had a Timothy or a Titus, someone we are giving ourselves to, someone we are helping to grow, someone we are responsible for and who is responsible to us, certainly we would see a great deal more spiritual maturity and obedience.
Also in the life of Paul and Barnabas. Paul had a Barnabas (a son of encouragement) with whom he could identify. Paul could go to him with problems and discouragement. He was someone with whom he could pray, or from whom he could get counsel, guidance, and encouragement. He was someone to give another viewpoint or perspective. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
In conclusion let us look back at the article that speaks of how in spite of the technological advances in communication genuine relationships are still hard to find and for the most part a lot of people are still dying out of alienation, still God sought to relate to us first through Christ who sought to restore our relationship with God and through our fellow believers whom God uses to be our travel companions in our Christian walk.
Do we still remember our Bible stories?
Look back and remember those stories and remember how God used a company of people who lived their lives in dependence with one another in order to care for the spiritual being of each other.
Remember how Naomi had Ruth?
David has a best friend in Jonathan.
Moses has a confidant in Aaron.
Peter looked after John Mark.
The Apostles had Christ and later on one another.
Paul had Silas, Timothy, Timothy and Barnabas.
How about you?
waiting for the great leap forward
I would try not to claim authority or even authenticity for what is stated here but nonetheless I swear that what I'm posting here is quite true if looked at with an open mind to critical observation.
Christmas would probably be over if not has not yet started or is already in progress by the time that you've come to read this confusing paragraph. But season is not that of importance it is the reality of what is being signified.
I once remember how I attended a service at church where the pastor spoke of the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ by setting the tone with an alternative song that became quite popular when I was still in 2nd year high school, it was Joan Osbourne's 'One of Us".
Theologically speaking (in a Christian, admirer of C.S. Lewis' perspective that is) the song lacks depth in what we could say as firsthand knowledge on what the Bible says about God. But true enough the question is a valid one.
Indeed what if God really was one of us?
This speaks of how man has long been searching to fill that God-shaped void in their hearts that's been longing to be filled since the ancient of days (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Now what then indeed God was one of us?
To start with in a logical sense the question is quite not likely to be valid since if we then acknowledge that there is then a God, then that God which we acknowledge would validate that He is God since he created us right?
Now what then am I trying to drive at then the above given statement would mean that we are under the notion that we are first of all created beings right?
Therefore if we were created beings then it would mean that we have a Creator, right?
If you then agree with me that God is our creator then could it be logically possible that the creator would be quite the same as its creation?
Even the science of cloning would make no such claim, because the creator is highly superior than their creation since in the first place the creations existence is dependent on the creator's act of invention.
It would then be more valid (I guess) that the question would be better implied to whether God: "Is like one of us" rather than "one of us".
This discussion would go on under the presumption that we are both in agreeable terms that God is in existence and that His existence could be proven in Scripture (since I have no time to argue and prove to skeptics, atheists and agnostics of His existence.) After all this is about Christmas in the first place and mostly those who adhere and profess their belief in the Christian faith celebrate Christmas wherein I also belong to.
Let us look at the lyrics further and see what it says shall we?
God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with him
In all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that
you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints
and all the prophets
Trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome
When looked at closely the song speaks of how the singer speaks of how God is deemed as such a distant and impersonal God by organized religion. And speaks of how perhaps by some stroke of possibility God is in a way undergoing and living such an ordinary life as we have.
Well the question is profound and I cannot claim or at the least answer it in a way that it would make sense (even to myself) but I have here something that we could consider.
The Bible speaks of a person named Jesus who was God incarnate the second person in the Trinity (John 1:1, 1:14; Col. 2:9) who came to earth to finish the work mankind's redemption from the wages of sin. (Rom. 6:23,5:8 ; Heb.2:9)
Furthermore the gospels speak of His coming which was made possible by His virgin birth, and that in itself speaks of how he was borne out of a person, he was there since creation but he chose to become man so that he could reestablish his broken fellowship with his lost creation. (John 3:16, Rom. 5:12, 5:8).
I know to somewhat I'm saying might not be making any sense but true enough the question posed by the song is quite valid and needs to be addressed.
Yes indeed God became one of us, but not so as to know how it feels to be like one of us but rather it is to die for us and give us life everlasting if we'd chose to receive Him and enter into our lives. (Christ, by highest Heav’n adored; Christ the everlasting Lord; Late in time, behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;Hail th’incarnate Deity, Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel. Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. - Hark The Herald Angels Sing, 2nd & 3rd Stanzas, Charles Wesley)
You see its what makes Christmas special its the fact that God indeed became like one of us in order to restore His broken relationship with us that we in the first place broke of with Him. (Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, Stamp Thine image in its place: Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love. Let us Thee, though lost, regain, Thee, the Life, the inner man: O, to all Thyself impart, Formed in each believing heart, - Hark The Herald Angels Sing, 5th Stanza, Charles Wesley).
You see the song indeed poses a rhetorical question and this in some could be said:
God had a name what would it be? - Jesus Christ
And would you call it to his face? - Yes. (1. Cor. 1:2)
If you were faced with him
In all his glory - yes the Bible says I can confidently face His glory (Heb.4:14-16)
What would you ask if you had just one question - what must I do to be saved (Acts 16:30, take not that the following verse tells of the answer
And yeah, yeah, God is great - yes indeed He is
Yeah, yeah, God is good - Yes because life everlasting is made possible when He chose to become like one of us.
To end let us take the chance to ask ourselves this question:
"Have I come to the saving knowledge of having a relationship with God by accepting Him as my Lord & Savior?"
I believe that it is fitting to ask this of ourselves since this is that time of the year that we take joy at the coming of Jesus as a wee babe here on earth to die for us so that we may have eternal life.
The Bible says that if we confess with our mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead we shall be saved, (Rom. 10:9-10, John 1:12).
May I ask if you are willing to enter that relationship and invite Jesus into your life?
If your answer is yes please follow the following prayer:
"Dear Jesus, I know I have sinned against you. I confess that I am a sinner. I accept the sacrifice you made on the cross on my behalf. I ask you to come into my heart. Please cleanse me of my sin. And give me eternal life. I repent from my sins and put my trust in You. Thank you Jesus. Amen." (Courtesy of CARM.ORG)
What you prayed above is not some complex formula of a magical prayer it is simply an act of sincerely admitting our present condition to God and acknowledge our need for Him to enter into our life. If you prayed that prayer with all your heart this is a time for you to celebrate because Rom. 10:13, says that for whoever calls on the Lord will be saved.
I guess it is but fitting for us to ponder on this thought by reading this verse from the hymn Joy To The World by Isaac Watts and this is where I will end.
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
God may not be one of us but he became of us and not only that he also came so that we could be given the right to be His children. Truly Jesus Christ is Our Savior from the cradle to the grave. Merry Christmas.
Hello I am Chuck Baclagon and welcome to ad maiorem Dei gloriam which is Latin for the English phrase: "for the greater glory of God".
Which is what I hope to live out as a Christian who stands confronted with the question of the Gospel's relevance in a society that seeks to eliminate the revelation of God as testified to by Sacred Scriptures and taught by the Church.
This blog serves as an online space where I would upload some of my thoughts on Christianity, theology, apologetics, some of the sermon messages that I have given exegesis for the youth ministry of Grace Bible Church. As well as some content from other blogs, sites and online resources on Christian theology.
here's an interesting video that you should watch if you plan on volunteering for Greenpeace. this serves as an introductory video to the Greenpeace Actions Unit edited by Jeanie Derillo, with music from The Offspring and DeathToPuberty