October 26, 2016
Fr. Dino Jorvina
God is moving so tremendously and I trust that you are capturing the great things that God is doing in our midst as a Church. I would like to share a very basic thing about commitment to Christ. All of us will be participating here and hopefully learn about a basic principle in our lives. Open your hearts, open your Bibles, and hopefully just capture the leading of the Lord in our lives.
We live a very busy life. The 21st century offers us so much – our involvement in our jobs, our needs in the family, the hustle and bustle of the things around us, the internet, the social media. As Christians, there is an attitude that we need to cultivate in our hearts, that is, to look to the Lord. Whether we are in our prayer closet, in our work, in our school, we will have the attitude of, “I will come to You, Lord. Knowing that You are the source of my strength. You are the source of everything I am.”
Let the words of this song, “I Will Come To You,” minister to you and make the song your own:
I will come to You
You have the words of life
I will come to You
You are the door
I will come to You
You are the Light of Life
I will come to You
For You are Lord
You have laid down Your life
To forgive my sins
And You’ve made a way for me
To be born again
By Your stripes
I am healed In Your presence I’m filled
I hear You calling and now I come
We have to have an attitude of coming to God as a daily thing. We have to have a heart of conversion. Yes, we are all baptized; we are all confirmed; we are Christ’s own forever; we are God’s and God’s alone. In this human state, God calls us to be converted within – to be born again.
In John 3, Nicodemus comes to Jesus and says, “Rabbi, I know You have come as a teacher and You can do these things and You came from God.” In verses 3-5, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you. Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’” This is a banner Scripture for a lot of evangelicals. It is interesting that Jesus was not talking to a Gentile. Neither was He even talking to a Samaritan. Jesus was talking to a Pharisee, the spiritual leader of His time. Jesus was talking to the Jew, to the chosen one.
We are all baptized, confirmed and belonging to God. This is a fact of life. Salvation is not an issue about being born-again. God desires us to be converted within. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” If you come to think of it, it is all about salvation. After we are confirmed, we could just kill ourselves and go straight to heaven, but this is not the point. God wants us to live the Kingdom-life here on this earth.
It is not a question of being saved. We have salvation. We are in the kingdom of God. We are in the family of God – baptized and confirmed; but this is not enough. There is a point where we really enter the kingdom of God. We become citizens, active participants of the Kingdom. We should shine as lights and that only comes when there is a conversion within. We must come into a personal conversion in our lives to truly see and to enter the kingdom of God while in this world.
Salvation is all God’s doing. We are not qualifying who goes to heaven or who goes to hell. Judgment is God’s alone. He has given us salvation as it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son.”
There is a need to be converted within, to be born again. Being born again is not a one shot deal. It is a conversion that daily happens in our lives. One of the greatest and a sad fact of Christianity today is what we call nominal Christianity. It is a state where Christians have not responded in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This may be a practising Church member. Nominal Christianity is very prevalent today. We go to Church. We go through the Sacraments. As an evangelical, we say, “I go to Church. I have been born-again.” Somehow, we get stuck into the daily things of life and we live just like the world. We really do not live shining as lights.
This is the reason Jesus is calling us to have a personal conversion every day of our lives that as St. Paul says that Christ be formed in us. It is necessary and unless this happens, we will never be a dynamic and active member of the kingdom of God. We have come to a point of saying to the Lord, “Yes, Lord, change me. May I be converted within.”
This state of nominal Christianity is not only a state among Roman Catholics. It is prevalent everywhere among the Christian world. This is why the other religions are putting us to shame because we are living so much ordinary lives, and Christianity has been crystallized to a point that we live life so much into the things of the world that we fail to actively proclaim the Word of God in our lives. Jesus said that we actively shine as lights in this world. This only comes when there is a conversion in our lives.
Being born-again is not a religion. It is not another group. The born-again experience is not confined to any Church group. The born-again experience is a must for every Christian because it is a conversion within. It is not a question of salvation, but it is important that we live our lives, committing them to Jesus and having Jesus as the absolute Lord and Savior of our lives.
Conversion necessitates a desire to change one’s life to conform with Christ. I have been active in the Church since I was fourteen to fifteen years old. I remember attending the 700 Club crusade and I personally met Pat Robertson. My brother, Dcn. Jeff, and I would watch every afternoon on TV the 700 Club program and we participate in the prayers. I am a person prone to coughing and at one time, I was in a miserable state and Pat Robertson had a word of knowledge. He was saying, “There is this young man who is coughing at this moment and the Lord is healing you.” It really touched me at that point. The episodes of this program come to the Philippines around three weeks to a month after it has been aired. A word of knowledge that came three week after applied to me at that point in time. It was an appointment from God.
I have been really, really very on fire for God for all these years. As we go through life, sometimes it has a way of eroding things. I have to come to a point facing the mirror and saying, “Is that still me, the man committed to Christ?” My favourite statement is, “Time has a way of undoing.” In our lives, if we are not careful, there are things that we cannot “undo”. We have to redo them and make sure that it is still us who are committed to Christ. We have to see if we have just slid together with the world and conformed to it instead of conforming to Christ.
Conversion from within necessitates a desire for one’s life to be changed. 2Corinthians 5:16-18 says, “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this was no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” I accepted the Lord and being in that born-again experience was way back high school; but, it is an on-going thing. 2 Corinthians says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. This new creature should be from the time I was born again up to now and in the future. My commitment to Christ should ever be a flame and should be strong in my life.
God can move among us, among believers, who have truly been converted within. The need for us to be converted is so that God can move among us. In Act 28:27, it says, “For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears, they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” Another translation says, “And they be converted within and I shall heal them.” As we conform ourselves to Christ, it is important that He becomes demonstrated amongst the believers, amongst the Church. Christ becomes so alive that He ministers to others because we are conformed to Him. As we conform our lives to Christ, He is now allowed to move amongst us and to perform healing among us. It takes people with a converted heart, a people who have given of themselves to God.
A man or a woman converted from within, to be born-again, would set himself or herself in the Word of God. As the song says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light into my path.” I pray that there would be a revival of the Word of God in our lives. It is not just the Bible per se; but what it is written there will be a part of us. There should be a revival where our manner of speaking is much conformed to what the Word of God says.
A converted life is a life of prayer. We always, “Come and bow down, at Your feet, Lord Jesus, in Your presence there is fullness of joy. There is nothing, there is no one, to compare with You, I take pleasure in worshipping You, Lord.” To a lot of people that are being revived in God, there prayer life becomes so active. They come praying every day; they pray in tongues. Prayer becomes so much a part of them.
A converted life is a life that truly loves to worship God. During our early days, we love to worship, and we sing, “I worship You, I worship You. The reason I live is to worship You. I worship You, I worship You, the reason I live is to worship you.” We feel so empty when we do not worship God. Our music should be conformed to worship music. In the school, I am promoting that worship music is not just a playlist. Worship music is a lifestyle where it becomes a part of us. Our new hashtags are: #checkthelyrics; #checkthemessage; #checkthartist.
Years ago, there was this student who had a Walkman. I asked him if I could listen to his music and when I heard it, it was though my hair was being pulled off me and I told him that his music has no direction and lineless. A converted life is one that really wants to worship God. It is a lifestyle. When we are in worship, we win because it is a strong way to win battles.
A converted life sets to an amended life, change of behaviour by the help of God’s spirit. When I was born-again, I told myself that I need to change the way I live my life and my priorities because I love God and I did not want to offend Him. I made sure that my thought life, everything that I am would truly be pleasing to Him. I used to raise my eyebrow when I listen to Roman Catholics in the Mass when they sing Christian songs, but they don’t want to amend their lives. Nominal Christianity is like this. There is no amendment of life. We should have a change of behaviour and we would seek to change our lives to conform to Christ. There is a change of attitude especially at home. This is the best place to show our Christianity because we don’t have a social barrier at home to behave ourselves because we are just who we are. The home is the first place to have an amendment of life. We are willing to change because we want to conform to Christ.
We need to have a change of behaviour by the help of God’s spirit. We have three streams in our Church and one is being Charismatic. Allow the Spirit to change our lives. If we used to live broken lives, Jesus changes us. If we seek to be released from our bondages, we have to learn to break these things from our lives not so that we can be good people but because we want to be ever pleasing to Christ. Though we live in this world, we are not of it. There should be a marked difference between us and the world.
When I was in college, I was not just there as a student. I had a sense of mission. I have to show my classmates that I was different. I would not be moved by peer pressure. My classmates knew that I was a Christian and they would call me, “Jesus is the Rock” because I would always write in the back of my exam booklet: Jesus is the Rock. There should be a marked change in us that we are not of the world. Students, prove yourselves that you are different. You do not have to conform. Instead of you being carried away, you bring them to Christ. St. Paul says to be renewed, “By the renewing of the mind.” All of these happen because of the Spirit of God.
Being good is just a fable. It is by the Spirit of God that helps us change to be truly conforming our lives to Christ. Even as the Word, prayer, and worship become active in our lives, it changes us from one degree of glory to another. From glory to glory, God changes us.
Conversion is the first step to being a disciple of Christ. This is what we desire as a Church. As we are embarking in a great thing that is happening in the Cathedral, it is exciting to be in this Church! There are so many things that God is going to show us as a Church, but it takes people that are converted within; people that want Christ to be known.
I am not trying to give a problem-less life. Problems and challenges are always there, but we have the Word of God. We have prayer; we have worship; we have the fellowship of one another because we love the Lord and we love the Church. This is our source of making us truly be on fire for God and seeking the things of God.
We seek to be true disciples of God. The transformation in our lives causes us to obey the very commission of Christ. This is why we have the sense of mission in every place that we go. We know that wherever we are, we have a divine appointment from God in that place.
Conversion is not a one-shot deal. Being born-again is a process of being birth in the Spirit every day of our lives. Being Sacramental, the Altar is always an altar-call every week. It is an altar-call of renewing ourselves in Christ and truly making Him the Lord of our lives.
Conversion of one’s self can only happen if one surrenders his or her life to the Lord. It is truly a question of surrender. Are we going to surrender to Christ, all the kingdoms of our world of our lives? Being converted and being born-again points to surrender. Am I really surrendered to Christ? Am I really resigned to His will? Am I really giving my all to Him? If we would answer this, it may not be all “yes.” The measure of our surrender to God is only measured by God Himself. We cannot measure ourselves; neither can we measure others because the ultimate Judge is only God.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” When we talk about surrender, we ask the Lord, “Show me the things in my life that I haven’t surrendered to You.” It is a lifetime surrender to the Lord saying, “Yes, Lord, I still have an area of my life that I haven’t given to You. I give of myself. I give of my life to you.”
There is a chorus of a song that I hopefully pray will cause each and every one of us to be surrendered. My prayer is that we, as a Church, will come to a point of surrendered lives to Christ, converted lives to Christ, truly born-again in our hearts and really running the race. There is a great and exciting work ahead of us. It takes a life of surrender.
I want you to make this song your own, “I Surrender All”
All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!
“Father, we surrender our lives to You. As in before, probably, we are sitted at the throne room of our own hearts; but we desire to be used by You in a greater way. Lord, may we truly be born again of heart. May we truly see You as a true and personal Lord and Savior of our lives. May You be the priority of our lives, giving of ourselves in the Word and prayer, in the fellowship of the believers, and in the worship of You.
We thank You, Father. May we carry the mission of Christ in this world. We ask this Lord, through Christ Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You in the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever, Amen.”