Ben Kwashi from Nigeria shared at the Thursday evening celebration at New Horizon. Here the NH Media Team bring you a summary of his message.
I was deeply moved by Bishop Harold’s message yesterday and I will take the message back to Nigeria where the divisions are on the increase. Those divisions are intended by Satan to stop us from taking the love of God across borders. The thing about the cross is that when you lay your burdens there, don’t pick them up again.
John 3:16 – 21
Jesus was talking to Nicodemus at night time. Nicodemus’ had grown up to be a religious leader and had reached a senior position. Jesus was teaching something new. Why was He sitting with prostitutes and tax collectors? How was it possible that the blind could see and lepers were healed?
God does not hate anyone. God loves everybody. But Nicodemus was troubled because as a religious man he had always thought that you had to be righteous to be loved by God. “Are you saying that God loves all these terrible people? I’ve worked so hard to be righteous!”
Jesus says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus was wondering, what would happen to him when he saw God face to face. What was all his religious activity worth?
Everything that you have acquired, or accomplished or achieved in this life comes to nothing unless it is prepared and done by the love and in the love of God. What are you struggling to achieve outside the love of God?
Only the things done in the love of God will be celebrated in eternity.
From 1987, at the first attempt on my life, I built my own coffin. I had concluded that any day I lived after that was extra time. To this minute, I’m living on extra time.
The heaps of things we gather, they fade in history as soon as we die. Only what you give to somebody now is yours for eternity. God has never stopped loving the world. From the beginning of Creation, He has not changed His mind. If He did not want to love you, you would not have been born.
God loves the world. He doesn’t make distinctions. God loves you as you are… black, yellow, red, white, blue, purple… God loves you. I don’t’ know where we got racism from but it damages God’s image. Like Sectarianism, it benefits us and is not of God!
Nicodemus had taught God’s word but didn’t understand it. One of the dangers of teaching and leading without understanding is that you will be as dumb as the people you are teaching!
God loves the world. If we do not understand this, we will be restricting God. We will be creating conditions and boundaries. We are falling short if we choose who to show love to and who not to show love to. God has always been looking at how to redeem humanity and redeem the world.
To refuse to do mission is to wish some people to perish and that is the devil’s work because God wants none to perish. There has never been a plan B with God. The only way in which salvation could be made complete was for His Son to come in human form and be crucified on the cross.
He wasn’t crucified in secret. It was done in public. The cross of Jesus Christ and his death is beyond human fabrication. It was a public event and there were witnesses. The governor who signed his death warrant is known. The certificate of his death was signed. The soldiers were there. Secular historians wrote about this event in history.
He took the sins of the whole world, all of it, to show how much God loves the world. There is no amount of sin too big that the cross cannot satisfy. And on the third day He rose again. Jesus deserves our praise because He defeated death, He defeated sin and He defeated Satan. There is nothing now that can restrict the love of God to anybody. No more hindrance.
God does not desire the death of a sinner. On the cross, Jesus said, “Forgive them Lord for they do not know what they are dong.” The love of God is so sympathetic to our human sins, failings and wickedness.
He can see that the anger, bitterness and hatred in your heart is hurting you. Let it go so you can be free! That is why Jesus died on the cross, so that you no longer need to carry the weight of sin.
Let it go!
An old woman in Africa went to collect firewood. She walked about three miles into the bush. She was carrying the wood on her head when a young man stopped his pickup trucked and offered to give her a lift. She said, “Oh my son, thank you so much. I’m so tired.” So he drove her in his truck but then he looked in the mirror and saw that she was still carrying the firework on her head, even while sitting in the truck. He asked, “Why?” “Oh my son, I don’t want to be more of a burden to you…” He said, “There is no need for you to carry it. Let it go. I will take you home!”
If you are carrying your sin still… drop in. Jesus’ death on the cross is capable of carrying you and your sin… all of it. There is no need to carry it any more. God so loved the world that He gave His Son to carry you! Nicodemus was hearing this truth for the first time.
Jesus continues, “All who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” When you receive Jesus Christ, your name is no longer on death row. You are now beginning to live life. There is a restoration but it is also true that something supernatural, the work of the Holy Spirit, begins to take place inside of you, overflowing your heart, your life and your actions with love in such a way that God loves people through you. Paul appeals to the Romans, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You now become an instrument through which God loves people.
Tonight, we saw how a young doctor, Hudson Taylor responded to the love of God. He felt somebody needed to share that love in China! From Scotland some of the young men and women who came to Africa didn’t pack suitcases, they built their coffins and put their clothes in them. They knew that even if they lost their lives in the effort of sharing their love of God, they still gained!
Remember those missionaries who came to Nigeria. They spent six weeks on the high seas. And even when they arrived at the shores, there was no medicine, no security, no nothing. They went into the jungle to share the love of God. Many of them perished… they died and their death is not for nothing, otherwise I would not be here.
We can think, “It is not safe”… Tell me where it is safe? Is anywhere safe? I don’t know any mission of God that is based on safety. It is not the first consideration. God is calling us in New Horizon to broaden our vision because He has poured out His love unconditionally on us. How come we are placing conditions on sharing the love of God?
Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it. The safest place to put this life is in the hands of a loving Father who gave His only son to die on the cross.
If you die while demonstrating the love of God, you go to be with Jesus. If you live, you live to be a conduit of God’s love to the world. Whether you live or die, you lose nothing. That is the way to live.
There should no longer be any inhibitions, no more conditions created by us. God doesn’t set conditions (salvation is for “whoever” believes). This week we are experiencing the unconditional love of God. He is waiting for us to become His hands and feet.
Young people are crying out. We can think that the solution young people is to provide them with “stuff”. But they are unsatisfied. We think that the things of the world will satisfy… they don’t. People are waiting for someone who will sit amongst them and show them that Jesus really loves them.
The power of God is the love of God to save and not to destroy. The world has made us believe that the weakness of God is on the cross but we know that it is the power!
There was a woman in a village in Africa who was newly married and she had a son. When he was three months old her husband died in a car accident. She would wake up very early in the morning and leave her son in bed to go and fetch water to bathe him. One morning as she came back, smoke was all over the village.
Some careless woman had left the thatched fence near fire and all the roofs of the village were engulfed in fire. They tried to quench the flames. She remembered her son and cried out. They tried to stop her but she tore loose and went into the fire and grabbed her son. She was severely burnt but her son was rescued. She got better but she was terribly scarred.
She worked to raise the child and he gained a scholarship to go to school. One day she visited to the school and asked for her son. She found out that he had told them his mother was dead.
She looked at her son and said, “I know why you are ashamed of me. I’ve not always been ugly but there was a fire and I had to rescue you. The fire burnt me instead of you. That is why I look like this. Son, are you ashamed of me because I look like this?” The boy looked at his mother and said, “Mum, you did this for me? I will never be ashamed of you again.”
We need to leave this place tonight no longer feeling ashamed of the cross. Only through the cross can we touch people’s lives. Any investment outside the love of God is a waste.