Author Archives: David Tue

About David Tue

I love God - the Father for what He has done for me through His Son, Jesus and living in me by His Spirit. Because of His Grace, not only am I saved, forgiven and heaven-bound, but I am growing day by day and becoming more like Jesus - though I know I won't ever get there in this life! This unthinkable Grace has driven me to leave the business world and dedicate every day to doing His work in this world. I once was lost but now I'm found! Thank you Abba!

The Beauty of Adoption

There are three benefits that come to us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior:  Justification, Adoption and Sanctification.  Justification and Adoption are ours the moment we receive Christ, while Sanctification is an ongoing process that will last throughout our lives and will be completed when we are taken home to be with Jesus for eternity.

Evangelical churches spend most of their time speaking about Justification.  Justification is when our sins are forgiven and we are given the righteousness of Christ.  Here we are taught that to be justified, we can do nothing of ourselves but it is a free gift of Grace from God.  We also learn that the benefit of Justification to us is eternal life.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Sanctification means to be made holy, to be set apart. There are many professing Christians that are happy to claim eternal life and to be part of the church. However, they are not holy, they are not set apart. They look just like the world. Are you one of those? If there is no sanctification, there probably was no justification. Examine yourself! [/dropshadowbox]

When churches are not preaching about Justification, they are preaching about Sanctification.  Sanctification is where we are becoming more and more like Jesus, becoming more holy and more able to die to ourselves and to live to righteousness – the righteousness of God.  We are taught  that sanctification is a work of God through His Holy Spirit and that we can recognize sanctification of ourselves through the fruit we produce, specifically the Fruit of the Spirit.

However, we rarely hear anyone teaching about adoption.  While Justification and Sanctification are of utmost importance, their triplet brother is just as important yet is treated like the red-headed stepchild – ignored and rarely mentioned.  Adoption is the work of God’s Grace that enables us to be called children of God.  There is nothing we can do to earn this. We cannot work to become a child of God; it is a gift of God (Eph 1:5).  Our Adoption only comes to us through belief in Jesus and receiving Him (John 1:12-13, Gal 3:26).  We receive this Adoption at the same time that we receive our Justification;  so the moment we receive Jesus, we are both Justified and Adopted.  Justified because our sins are forgiven and we receive the righteousness of God and Adopted because God now calls us His children (Rom 9:8).

[dropshadowbox align=”left” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]One of the great problems of the Church is that her body has heard all the teachings and has become insensitive to what is being said. We should always be entering the Word with a spirit that is looking to know what must change in our life and not think “I’ve heard this all before.”[/dropshadowbox]

This is not new to us.  We have heard that we are both justified and adopted into the family and kingdom of God when we receive Jesus.   We have heard that we are now called the Children of God.  Yet what seems to captivate us is our future entrance into Heaven and we quickly forget the great  riches that have been given to us in Adoption.  Justification has become the sole reason for receiving Jesus.  Adoption (and oftentimes Sanctification) has been determined to be unimportant.

However, the benefit of Adoption is that we are now called children of God and if we are Children, we are then Heirs (Gal 4:7, Romans 8:16-17).  God is King and as such, has a Kingdom – the Kingdom of Heaven.  The prince has an inheritance which is his part of the kingdom.  If we are adopted into the family of God, then the King has become our Father and we have become princes and princesses and hence, heirs to the Kingdom.  Princess Diana, Princess Kate – we follow their stories with wonder and marvel at the turn their destinies took when they entered into the Royal Family.  Yet we have entered into the Divine Family and we are more amazed at the good fortune of others than our own great fortune!  Why are we not captivated by the fact that we are now called Children of God?  Why does this not strike us as the most unimaginable truth?  Why have we decided to put so much emphasis on what will happen to us (entrance into Heaven) instead of what has already happened to us (entrance into the Divine Family?)

Yet if we were to have a paradigm shift and change our thinking – from the way it is now, to the way our Christian forefathers thought – we would grasp onto this truth of Adoption and it would give us the greatest joy.  We have not attained this adoption because we have earned it.  We have done nothing to receive this most precious gift.  And a gift it is, given through the grace of God, not due us for anything we have done.  Does it cause you to fall on your knees when you realize that you do not deserve to be adopted into His family and to be heir to His Kingdom?  Does it not overwhelm you when you think that it is only by His grace that we are God’s child?

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Amazing Grace – it is truly awesome that it is only by the Grace of God that we have justification, adoption and sanctification. We can do none of it ourselves but God has done it all for us.[/dropshadowbox]

And yet, it is because it is by the Grace of God that we receive this most wonderful gift that we can know that no one can take it away from us, including ourselves.  There was nothing we did to earn this gift and there is nothing we can do to lose it.  We have been given this gift of adoption by God Himself and therefore it is secured for us.  Forever.

Understanding this, we no longer need to gain His approval or win His favor – He has already given it to us.  We no longer have to live in fear for we have the King, our Father, who is able to make a pronouncement to protect us.  We do not have to worry that we are not good enough for God for He has adopted us not because we have earned it but because of our faith in Jesus.  We do not have to beat ourselves up when we fall short.  In Christ, there is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1)

This should cause us to go out and be the person that God has intended for us to be, to do the things that He has for us to do – to become holy as He is holy and to walk in Jesus’ steps.  We do this, not because we must but because we desire it.

Additionally, it should cause us to stop beating ourselves up when we fall short.  We can have the assurance that God has already blessed us with the title of Son and Daughter and nothing can take that away.  Bathe in the knowledge of your adoption and be set free from Satan and the world, who will always try to steal our joy by deceiving us that God has turned His back, that He has remembered our sin, that He has removed His Hand.  Know instead that the Grace of God has brought you into His Family and rejoice.  It is our proper response to this marvelous gift of adoption.

What Good Thing Must I Do to Get Eternal Life?

Matt 19:16-26

Eternal life.

To some, it is a fantasy – something to give us false hope.  To others, it is a reality of what is to come after we die.  With all the books and movies about what happens after we die, it becomes obvious that most people recognize that there is more to life than this earthly body.  In all my discussions with people, even here in liberal-minded New York, I’ve never spoken to anyone who does not think they are going to heaven after they die.  And this makes sense to me.  After all, if we are just accidents that happen that somehow received life on this earth, then how did we get our reason, our love for beauty and art, our concern about our legacy after we die?  Where did the information in our DNA come from – that which somehow transformed some ape-like creature into a human being (since information means that someone with intelligence put it there – we would never look at an encyclopedia and assume that it was put together by accident, but by someone who had intelligence, and our DNA information is much more complex than a simple encyclopedia!).

Most of us believe that after this life here on Earth, there is a continuation of our life.  We call that eternal life.  But there is an implication with the phrase “Eternal Life”.  The implication is that if we are going to live forever after this life, we will do that somewhere.  Yes, there are some who believe that we get sucked into some cosmos-gathering where we become part of something else (Trekkies would call it the Borg).  But most of us know that there is another Place that we go to.  In America, most of us call that place “Heaven”.  Yet – those of us who know that there is an opportunity to go to Heaven after we die, also know that there must be a way to get to Heaven.  In other words, not everyone is going to go to Heaven but only those who know how to get there.  The implication is:  if you don’t know how to get there or you don’t succeed in doing what is necessary to get there, you will end up somewhere else – and though many people don’t like to think about it (who would?), we actually realize that as much as we don’t want it to be true, the answer to that question is, that we end up in Hell.

So then, we come to this question posed in the Title of this  post – “What Good Thing Must I Do to Get Eternal Life?”  This is the question that is asked of Jesus by a man now known as the “Rich Young Ruler”.  In our passage in Matthew 19:16-26, Jesus answers this question for the Rich Young Ruler (who will be known to us as “RYR” moving forward) by giving Him some important Truths and showing the man the state of his spirit.

What we see immediately is the heartfelt desire of the RYR.  He really does want to know how to get to heaven.  It is important to him that He does whatever is necessary to gain entrance.  He doesn’t want to have spent his life without the knowledge of what was needed to have eternal life in heaven, without having done all he could to get there.  So he goes to the one person who he knows has the answer to this.  He goes to Jesus.  Most people in the world today know that the answers to their questions about eternal life come from Jesus.  That is why every major religion in the world either has Jesus as part of their faith system or at least talks about him.  Many Jews think he was a great Rabbi (though not the Son of God).  The Muslims think he was the Great Prophet (though, like the Jews, not the Son of God).  The Hindus think he is one of the gods in their pantheon (though not the Savior).  The Buddhists think he is a BodhisattvaNo other person has had the impact that Jesus has had in the Spiritual life of mankind.

The RYR also knew this and held Jesus in the same high esteem as all these religions of the world today.  The RYR seeks him out, as we all today try to seek him.  He bows to him, as we also do today.  Yet even as highly esteemed as Jesus was held in the heart and mind of the RYR,  the RYR does not receive Jesus’ teaching nor does he receive Jesus himself.  Jesus gives him the invitation to “follow me”, but the RYR goes away sad, sorrowfully, grieving.  This sorrowful departure, along with Jesus’ conclusion of the matter (“It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven”), lets us know that all the good things the RYR did was not enough.

It is important for us to recognize that the RYR did everything right.  He followed all the commandments that were given, that we usually think of as the things that we need to do to get into Heaven (Matt 19:18-19) – he did not murder, steal, commit adultery, lie or slander and he honored his parents and loved his neighbors as himself.  If any of us did all those things today, not only would we think we are headed for heaven, but the world would have such a high regard for us, that we would be world-reknown (see: Mother Teresa and Gandhi as examples – and interestingly, most people would have a hard time thinking that those two in particular are not in Heaven).  However, Jesus is clear that doing these things was not enough.

Jesus used this question – regarding all the good things he had done – to show the RYR that although he had done all those things, it was not enough.  He also needed to give up all his riches.  Why did Jesus add that to the list? (And once again, notice how Mother Teresa and Gandhi also gave up all their riches.)  Because Jesus was actually making a point to the RYR – “Give up that thing that you hold more dear than God”.  In other words, Jesus was telling him that even though your actions towards others is perfect, if your heart has a love higher than God, then you are not good enough to enter into Heaven.  If there is something that you hold onto more than God, something you won’t give up and allow God to come first, that “thing” is an idol and you cannot enter Heaven because of it.  The RYR could not give up his riches – they were more important to him than God was.  Because of this, he fell short of entering Heaven.  He preferred the riches of this world than to be with God forever.

This teaches us that entering Heaven is not going to happen just by doing a bunch of good things.  It shows us that entering Heaven is not going to happen just because we really want it, really desire it.  It shows us that seeking out Jesus and hearing what he has to say is not enough. The RYR did all these things and went away sorrowful.  If we want to enter Heaven, we must give up all our idols and put God first in our heart.  If there is anything – riches, career, children – anything that we put above God, we cannot follow Jesus.  Without following Jesus, we cannot enter Heaven (John 14:6).

As much as Jesus wants him to enter into the kingdom, Jesus does not chase him or try to convince him to change his mind – he accepts that most people are not going to receive him.  He is not going to force Himself on anyone.  Jesus allows us to make our own choices.  This includes where we will spend Eternity.  Just like the RYR, we have a choice:  Will we give up our idols and recognize that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior, who gave himself for our salvation (Phil 2:5-11, Romans 10:9) or will we walk away sorrowful because we don’t want to give up our idol, this thing that we have placed above God?  If we choose the first, it will lead to Heaven.  If we choose the second, it will lead to hell.  It is our choice.  We cannot blame God and say we did not know.  Jesus just told us.

Choose wisely.  Go with God…

The Definition of a Church as per Jesus

Most churches today are filled with people who want to hear a good message.  Most of them go to churches where the pastor is famous or is humorous and entertaining.  He’s a good speaker and a good storyteller.

Most churches today are filled with people who want to worship the Lord.  They go to churches with great choirs or orchestras.  They go to hear the very talented bands.  Many of them go to hear their famous worship leaders bring them into the presence of God.

Most churches today are filled with people who want to be around other Christians.  They look forward to the fellowship and the good conversation.  They look forward to the homemade snacks or meals that have been prepared by their fellow believers.

Most churches today are filled with people who want to be filled with the Spirit.  They are prepared to come into the church and feel the Spirit move.  They are looking forward to participating with the Spirit when He comes down and is palpably felt.

It is of utmost importance that, when we come together for worship, we listen to a biblical message, make a joyful noise to the Lord, come into fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and into fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  A church that is not experiencing all of these things, is not experiencing what a biblical church really is.  It may look and sound like a true church, but if any of these things are missing, then there is something else missing that is even greater than all of these put together – Christ in the church.  If Christ is in the church, if he is the head of the church, then all of these things will be present.

Unfortunately, although most churches have one, two or even three of these, most churches do not have all of these.  They may have great teaching, worship bands and even feel the Spirit move, but they break up afterwards and fly to the exits without any koinonia, fellowship, with the brethren.  Others may have great teaching and fellowship, but there is never a touch from the Holy Spirit.  The combinations are many, but the only combination that makes the church a True Church, is all of them.

So, even now, you may be feeling that your church is in good shape.  But there is one more test.  In fact, it may be the single most important test.  For though your church may be experiencing all of these things,  there is still one thing most churches lack today in the 21st Century Church of America:  Prayer.

In the Old Testament, God tells the people, “Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7)  To make sure we didn’t miss the point, Jesus repeats this in the New Testament: “And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”” (Matt 21:13).  In other words, God is telling us through His Word, His Spirit and His Son, that His house is supposed to be a house of prayer.  Jesus’ concern is that we make it something other than that.  So the question we need to ask ourselves is:  “Have we done like the religious leaders that God chastised and have we made His house something other than a house of prayer?”

Sure, there is some praying going on in every church.  There are the prayers that are printed up and read in unison.  There are the prayers that we have memorized and we repeat together.  There are the prayers of the church leaders – pastors, associate pastors, prayer leaders – that are spoken for everyone.  The pastor might say a prayer before and after the message.  The worship leader might say a prayer before and after the song.  There might be a prayer of thanksgiving before the food is served and a prayer of dismissal before we leave.  Seems like there’s lots of praying going on in these churches.  And so we have blinded ourselves to the real truth that our churches are no longer houses of prayer.

An example might look like this:  imagine a place where friends come to meet you, they sit around you and spend time talking to you.  They pray with you and may even share some Bible verses.  Where are you? In a hospital! Would you call that church?  Of course not!  But these are all the same things we are doing in church, so why not? Because there is a difference between a hospital and a church.  (For those who would say that whenever two or three get together, it is church, please read “Two or more are gathered”.)  The hospital’s main purpose is to bring physical healing to people.  A church’s main purpose is to glorify God.

Another example:  When you go to a bar, you might see a bunch of friends fellowshipping together and playing cards and gambling.  Yet there is no doubt that this is a bar and not anything other than a bar.  Just because there is gambling happening at the bar does not make it a casino.  Just because there is fellowshipping, doesn’t make it a church.  Its main purpose is to serve alcohol – hence it is a bar.

The point is, just because there is some prayer happening in the church, doesn’t make it a house of prayer.  To be a house of prayer, everyone who enters into it must understand they are going into a house of prayer and therefore are entering so that they can pray.  You go into a hospital to become physically healthy.  You go into a bar to get alcohol.  You go into a house of prayer to pray.

Prayer in a house of prayer does not mean saying a few lines written in the back of the hymnal, on a sheet of paper or displayed on a screen.  It does not mean saying a few words that have been memorized by everyone there. It does not mean that a pastor prays instead of everyone. Prayer  in a house of prayer means everyone spending time with God.  It means taking the time to remember what He has done for you.  It means acknowledging who He is.  It means seeking His face.   It means presenting your requests to Him.  It means finding out His will for you in your life.  It means dying to self and sacrificing yourself for His glory.  You can’t do these things in a one minute prayer.  A church can’t do these things in a 10 minute prayer.

If your church isn’t spending a substantial amount of time in prayer, can it really be called a house of prayer?  Many churches can probably be called a house of teaching or a house of worship, but not many can be called a house of prayer.  Yet this is what God Himself said it should be.  And can a church which isn’t spending that time in prayer really be led by Christ as her head?  How can she know what the Head is saying if she takes no time to listen or to ask?  How can he send His Comforter to her if she refuses to spend time with Him?

Once a church service becomes something other than a body wrapped in prayer, it is no longer a house of prayer but a den of thieves.  The religious leaders were making money in the Temple, which is what Jesus was so upset about.  If the purpose of our church service is to get the offering, we are no different than those who Jesus scolded.  However, to think that placing money as the priority over prayer is the only way we can steal from God and become a den of thieves, then we kid ourselves.  Jesus’ point is that prayer is the priority in a house of God and anything that takes priority over prayer makes those in that house become thieves and makes the house itself a den of thieves.

If we want revival in this nation, if we want Jesus to send His Spirit into our churches, if we want to glorify God, then we must go back to making His house a house of prayer.  The objections that the amount of time it would take would be too long, that church is only supposed to be an hour, that it will bring confusion, that there are too many people to be able to do this, that people have plans after church, etc. are all simply rationalizations and excuses for not being a house of prayer.

The objection that “our church has too many people to do this” is true in many places, which is why God never intended for churches to be so big that their pastors don’t know each sheep.  A true shepherd never has more sheep than he can safely care for.  Yet we have churches that are so big today that a person may never speak to their pastor after years of being led by them.  This is not the Church that Jesus built, it is not a house of prayer and it is all glory to those who lead it and not to the One who is supposed to be her Head.  Here’s a hard word – break up that large church into many smaller ones.  Then you can go back to being a house of prayer.

Churches are broken throughout America.  Our churches are run like secular organizations with Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Managers – except we call them Head Pastors, Associate Pastors and Ministry Leaders.  Unbiblical teaching and tickling of ears have made many churches too large.  Fellowships have created cliques.  Worship bands have created disagreements and disruption over what is kind of music is really worship.   People trying so hard to find the touch of the Spirit to recreate the upper room on the Day of Pentecost are babbling, laughing and falling down, when they should be praying like the disciples were doing on that day (Acts 1:12-14).  None of these are True churches.  The reason they exist is because we have become dens of thieves instead of houses of prayer.

We can turn this around in one week!  Insist on being in a house of prayer!  Do not attend any “church” that is not a house of prayer.  Speak to your pastor and the church leadership and make your church a house of prayer again.  If you are a pastor, then make the necessary change.  Do it and do it quickly.  Only then, will we see the power of the Church again in America and will we again bring Glory to God.