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REDEMPTION AND THE WORK OF OUR HANDS (Vol 01) - 1.FROM CURSE TO BLESSING

Sunday English Service - 29 OCT 17

Transcript

We've been teaching about work and I told you that we'll teach it in three parts. The first part was about 'Why Work?' We gave you Biblical reasons as to why we should work and that part was about how before the sin and fall, we learnt how God designed work for man, how it was God's original design for man. Before sin and the fall ever happened, God had already designed work for man. Work was part of God's plan for man. The first part was about God's original design.

The second part was about 'Why Work is Difficult." We just completed it last week. We gave some reasons as to why work has become difficult now. Mainly because of sin work has become difficult today. That part was about work in a fallen world, working under curse, under a world that is under curse, how that is difficult.

We're going to go into the third part today, start the third part today. That is about 'Redemption and The Work of our Hands'. Instead of titling it as 'Redemption and Work', work sometimes can have a wrong connotation. It can mean something like work versus faith in that context. I'm not talking about faith work versus work. I'm talking about work, real work, working with our hands. So, I have titled it as 'Redemption and The Work of our Hands.'

Since it is the first day, I want to just take the first few minutes and take you into the passage that I'm going to deal with today. I'm going to talk about how, through Jesus Christ, we have gone from curse into blessings. That we, as believers, redeemed people, are not living and operating under curse and we're not fallen creatures any more. We're redeemed creatures but still live in a fallen world. We still live in a world that is under curse but we are not under curse, we are under blessing. This is about working under blessing, work under blessing and how that goes.

I'm really excited about what we're going to share here about how the redeemed people work and they are under blessing and how we operate under blessing and how we work in this fallen world which is under curse. We, as people of God living under the blessing how do we operate? That's what this is going to be and today, being the first day, I want to deal with how we have already gone from curse to blessing. That's why I ask you to turn to Galatians 3. I'm going to read little later.

First, let me show you that work is an important aspect of man's life and it's totally affected by the fall. And redemption has to do with restoring everything that was affected through the fall. Redemption relates to what happened at the fall. It is all about restoring and dealing with the damages done through the fall. When you look at it like that, you will easily understand that work is also dealt with in redemption. The things that were damaged in man's work were also restored through the redemptive work of Christ.

We all understand that through redemption, our sin has been dealt with. The sin problem has been dealt with. Something has happened to us with regard to sin. We're not set free from a sinful world, we still live in a world of sin. There is sin all around us. Sin is there, present in the world. We're not in heaven where there'll be no sin. We're still living in a world where there is sin. We're living among people who are in sin. A sinful world is our world, an imperfect world but still God has done something very significant for us with regard to sin that we can today say certain things about our relationship with sin and what has happened to us. We can say that God has forgiven us our sins and we can also say that we have power over sin instead of sin having power over us. Romans 6 literally says, Sin shall not have dominion over you, shall not dominate you. We, as Christians, can go as far as saying that sin does not dominate us, it does not rule over us anymore. It used to rule over us but now our position is such since sin has been dealt with, we have been given power and victory over sin. This much we can say even though we live in a sinful world among sinful people.

The same thing can be stated about work. We live in a world that is fallen and in sin. It's not a perfect world. Work is difficult in this world in that sense. It's imperfect world. It's a world under curse but we are a blessed people. We have already moved into God's blessing and we need to understand how the power of blessing works in our lives today to put us over, to give us victory in the realm of our work. How we can triumph with regard to our work. How we can have victory with issues concerned with our work, how we must believe God for overcoming power even in the realm of our work today in this society. That is what we're going to be dealing with.

Let's first understand what sin and fall did to the work of man, this realm of work. When God first made man, the Bible says in Genesis 2:15 we read that God gave man work. He said, "Till and guard it." Till it means to cultivate it, guard it means to protect it. Man was given a job. Genesis 2:15 has made some people to think that it is man's job to work and it is not the woman's role to work. God gave work only to the man they think. But it is not so because if you go to chapter 1:27, it says that God made man. In His image and likeness, He made man. Male and female He made them. And then verse 28 says this, God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue and dominate." Five things He said. Be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue and dominate. All these five things: to be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue, and dominate, all these five things is God-given work to both of them. God blessed them, it says. It doesn't say, God blessed him. It says, God blessed them. The previous verse says, God made them male and female. God made man in His image and likeness, made them male and female and He blessed them saying...It's very clear that the words were spoken over both of them and these five responsibilities, five job assignments were given to both the man and the woman. It's very important to realize that. Be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue, and dominate.

You realize very quickly that man alone could never be fruitful, multiply, and replenish. Woman alone cannot be fruitful, multiply, and replenish. That part we quickly understand. You need a man and a woman to be fruitful, multiply, increase in number, and fill. It is not possible for just a man or just a woman. Both of them have to join together and work together to produce multiplication, fruitfulness, and replenishment, right?

The last two items also - subdue and dominate means that the whole earth is given in their care so that they may administer everything in this world and make it produce and do whatever they want to. They can produce anything they want in any quantity they want, in any quality they want. They have it within their power and authority to take this earth and make it do what they want it to do. They can make innovations and discoveries. We talked about having dominion is to come up with new solutions to problems and bring a lot of good to mankind and society in general. Take the authority that God has given to them to subdue and dominate not only administer, not only to produce from the land that is given to them but also to bring forth new solution to problems.

All of these things, all of these five things, even subduing and dominating, is not told just to man or the woman. It is told to both of them. They must join together and work on this enterprise of subduing and dominating, of being fruitful, multiplying, and replenishing. They must do these five things together, join hands and do it. Such a big job that when God made man, He realized that he needs a helper. I've seen some men say, "I'm just the main one. She's the helper." But if you need a helper then she must not be that bad. The one who needs help can't be that great. You can't say you're the main one and she is just the helper. Helper is not cheap, helper is very important. Helper is there because you can't do it by yourself. That's why the helper is there. The helper is not a secondary role. It is a role that is given by God to complement. The things that are missing in the male, the female complements. The things that are missing in the female, the male complements. It's a complementary role that God has given. It is not about who is superior and who is inferior. That kind of thinking is wrong.

God made them male and female and gave them these responsibilities, these jobs they are supposed to do. This is the job, these five things given to both of them. When sin happened and the fall happened, it affected them in their work very significantly. What did it do? If you move to third chapter verse 14 to the last verse...in third chapter you read about sin and fall and the punishments that came upon the man, the woman, and the serpent. There a lot of details are given. But look at the details about the woman. When God spoke to the woman, He said, in chapter 3:16, you will read something like this, chapter 3:16, God says to the woman, "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception. In pain, you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you." We've dealt with this but think about it in this way. I'm trying to show you how the fall and sin affected man's work, both man and woman and their work.

I showed you that be fruitful, multiply, and replenishing, subduing, and dominating is the job that God has given to them. If you look at it in that way, here we see that that job becomes difficult because God says her sorrow, the woman's sorrow will be multiplied in conception. Conception itself is going to be a problem and pain she shall bring forth children. Bringing forth is going to be a problem. So, conception, the bearing, and bringing forth of children is going to be a problem. That makes the fruitfulness, multiplication and filling, that job, difficult. She is supposed to do the job but that is difficult. The man is supposed to be involved in that job also. "Your desire," God says, "shall be for your husband. He shall rule over you." Something happens in their relationship, in their marriage so that instead of working together, they're in competition with one another. She desires to live with him and get along with him and be close to him but he rules over her or he tries to dominate her. When a man tries to dominate, it always ends up being paid back in full, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. She's not going to stand by and watch as you dominate. So, there's a competition. The spirit of competition comes in. That makes fruitfulness, multiplication, replenishment, subduing, and dominating, everything difficult; all these five things difficult. They can't do anything together. They can't get together to do anything. They can't even produce a child. And even if they manage to conceive, there's going to be problem in bringing forth the child. And just getting along is going to be a problem because they are in competition with one another. So, their job, ultimately, experiences difficulties. They experience difficulties in their job. That's the way I would put it. In the job that God has given to them, they're experiencing difficulty.

Look at the man in particular. Verse 17 to 19 is about the man. To Adam, God said, "Because you've heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten from of which I commanded you saying, "You shall not eat of it," cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you shall return." How much words are spent just stating this? Just look at that. To the man about his work again.

It is all having to do with work, verse 16, 17, 18, 19. All of them having to do with the job that God has given to them. The job of being fruitful, multiplying, replenishing, subduing, and dominating. It is all about that. Man is going to have a problem with the ground. The ground is going to be cursed. It is not going to produce as it is supposed to produce. So, job becomes even more important because he's going to spend a lot more time in the job because it's going to be difficult. It's going to require a lot more time because he's got to pull out the weeds and the thorns and thistles. Not just plant something and let it grow and reap. He's got some other extra work to do to get rid of the unwanted things. Thorns and thistles are coming up. So, job becomes all the more important, consuming more of his time, more of his effort, more of his labor, more sweat and more toil. That's what life becomes after the sin and the fall.

If you read chapter 3, we see that man's work...it is all about work and how much the work that was given to man both...when I say man I'm now meaning man and the woman, how much they are affected in the realm of their work. Another thing to be noticed here is this - one thing that has happened is they were affected in a very significant way. God has designed man and woman and everything in a certain way. God has designed the tree to grow from the ground. Since it comes from the ground, it has to be attached to the ground. If you pull a tree out of the ground, it begins to die. It will have life no more after a while. It has to stay attached to the ground. You don't take the tree and put the tree in the terrace on a cement floor. You plant it in the ground. It has to stay attached to the ground. The ground and the tree must have a relationship. Similarly, when God made man, his source...everything must be attached to its source, connected to its source, linked to its source in order to not survive but also flourish. Everything must be vitally connected to its source.

What is man's source? Man's source is the earth because God made the body of man from the earth. He's got another source also because his spirit came from God. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. So, he's got two sources. One, God, the other is the earth. In order for man to survive, flourish, and thrive in his life and for all things to be well, he's got to be vitally connected to the earth. Because his body came from the earth, the earth is needed by him. He's got to have a healthy connection to the earth. He's got to live in the earth, he's got to sow in the earth, he's got to reap from the earth, he's got to eat what grows from the earth. Earth and him must be connected very closely. He cannot live in disharmony with the earth. He's got to have control over the earth. He's got to be able to rule over it in some way. He's got to have a healthy relationship with it. He's got to have a healthy relationship with God also.

What happened in the fall? Both are damaged. Relationship with God is cut off. He's become now far from God, disconnected from God. That's what we call spiritual death, disconnected from life's source. That's what happened in the fall. "The day you eat of it", the forbidden fruit, "you shall die," God said. He didn't just drop dead on that day but he died inwardly, spiritually. He got disconnected from God. The life of God was cut off. That is a very significant thing, damage. But then, the earth also is now not cooperating with him. He needs the earth very much to cooperate with him in order for him to thrive and flourish. But the earth became cursed. Its status has changed now. It's not going to produce as it should produce. It's going to give him problem. He's going to toil with the earth. He's going to sweat with the earth. This is his relationship now. Everything has become difficult.

As a result, we live in a fallen and broken world. Man was made for work. Work is one of the main things about man. God made man just like Himself. God worked six days and rested seventh day. God made man for work but in this life work has become a problem for man, for both man and the woman. Work has become very difficult for both man and woman.

The thing that was affected very deeply and greatly in man's life is work and the provision that the work brought, the provision that was brought through the work. Work and provision was affected. I think, for all of us, it hits the nerve. We understand this thing. Even if we don't understand anything, we understand this. The sin and the fall has terribly affected work and our provision. God has chosen to provide for man through these things that he is supposed to do. And now the work and the provision is affected. So, now comes in the poverty, the lack, and the want and the insufficiency, failures, loss. All of these things enter picture which was not there before sin and the fall. Now, things have changed. The world has become a different world.

In that context, only now you have to read Galatians 3, a passage that we all know very thoroughly and well but today we're going to learn some more of it. I never leave a passage because I preached on it so many times. I always keep learning more and more. There's always some more to learn. Galatians 3, let me read from verse 7. Some parts of this passage may look like very hard to understand or very complicated but I'll make it very simple as I go along. So, don't worry about it right now but please take note of whatever I'm going to say from verse 7 and later on I'll explain some more. Verse 7 - Therefore, know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham." Paul is discussing about faith verses works here. Not the work of our hands. He's talking about works in relation to salvation. Are you saved by your works? Your good works? Or are you saved by grace through faith? That's the subject. Paul says, "Therefore, know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham." He's talking about salvation. He's saying, "Well, you and I, we're all sons of Abraham because we also received salvation and became righteous before God. Not through our good works but by faith." That's what he's saying. "And the scripture foreseeing that God will justify the gentiles by faith preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."" This is a very interesting verse. It says that the scriptures preached the Gospel to Abraham it seems. It says that the gospel was preached to Abraham beforehand. Before Jesus came, before all these things happened, before the cross took place, the gospel was preached to Abraham. What was the gospel that was preached to Abraham?

Today if you ask Christians what the gospel is, you'll hear all kinds of explanation about what gospel is and I'm sure that one very popular definition about the gospel is that if you believe in Jesus Christ, when you die you will go to heaven. That's what most people understand to be the gospel. They have narrowed it down to this small thing that if you believe in Jesus Christ, one day when you die you will go to heaven. "That's the essence of the gospel," they say. But the Bible doesn't state it like this and Paul here is a great preacher of the new testament church. Half of the new testament is written by him. He's a man of revelation. The gospels record what happened on the cross in terms of what you can see. They nailed his hands and feet and they whipped him, they spit on him, they laughed at him, they ridicule...all that they write. Whatever can be seen is what is described there in the gospel. What is stated here in Galatians is revelation, what you cannot see. That's the difference between Paul and others. Paul here is saying something about the cross. He's going to say in verse 13, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law as it is written, "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree" so that the blessing of Abraham may come to the Gentiles and the promise of the spirit may be received through faith. That's what he's going to say. He's going to come to the cross and explain the cross.

Before that, he says the gospel was preached to Abraham. What was preached to Abraham? The cross was preached to Abraham, remember? In that mountain where God told him to go offer Isaac as sacrifice? And when he went there, God stopped him from killing Isaac and he found a ram caught in the thicket and he sacrificed that ram that was caught in the thicket and he named that place Jehovah Jireh meaning the Lord will provide. It's all about the gospel. Gospel was preached to Abraham. What kind of gospel was preached to him? Not just that Jesus would die on the cross. Paul is having a revelation. He says the gospel that was preached to Abraham is this - that everyone, all nations or all gentiles are going to be blessed. Paul is keeping the Jews in mind because they think salvation is of the Jews, gentiles have nothing to do with salvation. He's keeping that in mind. He says the gospel was preached to Abraham. And the thing that was preached to Abraham was that all, even Gentiles, are going to receive the blessing of God.

What is the blessing that they were going to receive? First of all, the gospel is about the blessing. That's the gospel. If you preach it like this I think more people will listen. What is the gospel? What is the Christian gospel? The Christian gospel states that every single one can move from curse to blessing. It is about how everyone can be blessed. It is about how everyone, through Adam's sin, have come under the curse and the fall and have fallen from God's grace and need God's grace. The gospel is the good news that God has sent His son and sent grace through Him and dealt with sin so that every single person who has come under the punishment and the curse can now be restored back to blessing. The curse can be gone and the blessing can come. What verse 8 says is this; the gospel was preached to Abraham saying, the thing that was said is this, In you all the nations of the earth be blessed. It was preached. You read Genesis 12:3, it says that. 'In you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed' is exactly what 12:3 says in Genesis.

Verse 9, So, then, those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. In other words, very simply, he is saying to the Gentiles and others that he is writing he says, "Well, all of us who believe blessed with this Abraham. He's our father. We are just like him. He received it by faith, we receive it by faith. We are blessed with the believing Abraham. The door has been opened for Gentiles. It was already preached to Abraham that everyone will be blessed." "Because it said everyone will be blessed, you are here today," he says to the Galatians. And then he says, in verse 10, For as many as are the works of the Lord under the curse, for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the law to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the side of God is evident for the just shall live by faith. Yet the law is not of faith but the man who does them shall live by them." Don't worry about that, I'll explain that in a little while. In other words, he is saying the law never justifies anyone. It was not given to justify anyone. It was just given to prove than man is a sinner so that man himself will realize and turn to God and His grace to save him, to redeem him. That's all he is saying, okay? But I'll come back to it and explain it better.

Verse 13, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith. We've read a lot about blessing and now when you come to thirteenth verse, it says something very significant. It says, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. The curse is introduced. We've been talking about blessing, now curse is coming into picture. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law as it is written, "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree" so that the blessing of...so the curse and the blessing. He is literally saying that Christ took our curse so that we can have the blessing of Abraham. He hung there on the cross, died that horrible death like a cursed person. Why? Why such horrible death? Because it is the death of a person who took our curse. So, it is horrible. So, he died on a cross, so, he hung there in shame. That's what he's saying.

Let's talk about what the blessing is and what curse is. What blessing is, I have explained so many times. I am not going to go into great detail about it but you know to some extent what blessing is. Let me put it very simply like this when a person has blessing, it means that he is destined to succeed because blessing is the power to succeed. Blessing is the power to succeed. You look at Abraham as an example because Abraham's example is used here the blessing of Abraham. He had blessing, obviously. That's the blessing we are given through Jesus Christ. Look at Abraham's blessing and see how it makes him a conqueror over every situation. He comes through very difficult problems, tough situations through the power of this blessing. I don't have the time to go through it but you read it in so many instances. First, there is a famine in the land that he goes to when God calls him. To escape the famine, he goes to Egypt and there they take his wife to become the king's concubine because she's pretty. There God deals with them so that his wife is returned along with lot of cattle, gold and silver, male and female servants so that when he comes out of Egypt, he comes out wealthy. So wealthy that the earth could not hold the wealth of Abraham and his nephew who travelled with him. He also became wealthy just because he was with Abraham. The story goes on as to how in the next chapter, in chapter 14, it goes on to say that Abraham defeated four kings and their armies with 318 household servants. How is that possible? Ordinary man going against kings and winning the battle. The power of blessing, it puts him over. It gets him through tough situations. No one can stand against him, no one can win against him. The power always causes him to succeed. He becomes a success in every way. He didn't have a child approaching almost a hundred years of age and God gives him a child at that age. His wife was almost 90 years old. God gives them a child, gives a seed like the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea. Amazing. He comes through very tough situations, all his needs are met, he is blessed with success in all the work of his hands. God provides for everything and protects him completely from all danger, from all harm. And the Bible says that's Abraham's blessing. God is good at naming the blessing. He said it's Abraham's blessing. This is the blessing of Abraham. I'm glad He named it the blessing of Abraham like Katrina and Nila and all these storms are named. Because I'm sure otherwise we'll have great confusion these days.

When I was growing up, I have told the story, when I was growing up in the church, one man used to testify every week just about everything. Before he gets up I know what he's going to say. His children have left him, he has no money, nobody cares for him, nobody loves him. The same story every week. Very pathetic situation. That old man is going through so much. He'll stand up and just talk that. After he talked that, he would sing a song. You know what song? Count your blessings, name them one by one. And I used to always wonder what blessing is he talking about because he never mentioned even one blessing. One day I realized...I'm a thinking person, I'm thinking while he is singing. What blessing? One day I realized that this guy is saying that whatever he was going through, all the pathetic situation of his life is the blessing. He believes that. That's the blessing. Then I realized if this is the blessing, what will curse look like? In those days, if you asked me blessing I would say even all the bad things are blessing. If you broke your hand and leg, that's a blessing. One fellow said his wife left him but that's also a blessing he said. Everything is a blessing. We just didn't care to discriminate the good and the bad. Everything is a blessing. These things I learnt later on. That's not right. This guy didn't have a teaching like we're having today. Someone must have told him, "This is not a blessing. Don't take this package. The devil is delivering this to you. Don't take this. This is not a blessing. Blessing is something different." Every good and perfect gift comes down from the father above. The blessing is every good thing that comes from the father.

Christians have become better philosophers than God. "Sometimes the cursing can also be a blessing," one fellow says. Because of this confusion only God said 'The Blessing of Abraham' so that you won't make a mistake of calling everything blessing. God says, "Go to the Bible. Read from chapter 12 of Genesis for several chapters. See how Abraham is blessed. That's the blessing. The blessing of Abraham." No mistake. Don't make any mistake about it. The blessing of Abraham.

This is blessing, the blessing of Abraham and the blessing of Abraham is very evident in his work, in the way God provides for him every need. He doesn't seem to have failure in his work. All his difficulties and challenges...he has challenges, he has problems, he was in the famine but he overcame the famine, came out rich in the famine. He faces the challenges but the blessing always puts him over, puts him on the top. That's what blessing does. What is curse? It is exactly the opposite. If blessing is the power to succeed, curse is the power that causes you to fail and lose in life. That's the power of curse. Curse is the exact opposite of blessing. Blessing causes you to succeed, curse causes you to fail.

Let me take you to Deuteronomy chapter 28 because you can't learn about blessing and cursing without Deuteronomy 28. Deuteronomy 28 is familiar to a lot of Christians and I told you the other day. We went through it little bit, the first 14 verses. Today, I'm going to go through mostly the fifteenth verse onwards which is horrible but just hold on. I just want you to know what curse is and what you've been freed from, delivered from. Christ has redeemed us. What are you redeemed from? A lot of people don't understand that we're redeemed from the curse. What is the curse? Unless we read this passage, we won't know what is curse. I'm not reading this to tell you this is what you have. No. This is what the Bible says, no. I'm reading this to tell you this is what the Bible calls curse here. And when the Bible talks about curse in Galatians 3:13 and says Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, it is this curse that it's talking about.

I'm going to read some passages that have to do with the curse that is upon the work particularly. There's a lot of verses there. First 14 verses...I don't want to read it. Let me just put it shortly just by memory. You'll be blessed in the city, blessed in the country. Blessed going out and coming in. The fruit of your womb shall be blessed, the fruit of your cattle will be blessed, the fruit of your land will be blessed. Your enemy will come one way and run seven ways. I'll bless you in such a way that all others will see and be afraid of you. God will open the heavens and pour out rain in due season so that you will not borrow but you will lend to many nations. You will not be beneath but you shall be above only. You shall not be the tail but you shall be the head. That's the essence. I've left certain things out but this is basically the essence. You need to say that again and again until you memorize it. This is what it is. This is the blessing. This is my portion in life, this is the blessing of Abraham. It's a blessing in going out and coming in. The blessing doesn't leave me when I leave my house. The blessing doesn't leave me when I am travelling on the road. The blessing does not leave me when I go to another country or another town or another village or somewhere else. The blessing stays with me and goes with me in the country and in the city, in the going out and in the coming in. Everywhere, it follows. This is blessing, the blessing of Abraham.

Now, 15 onwards, it talks about the curses. 15 to 68, there are 68 verses. That's a long passage, isn't it? Basically, it's the exact reversal of what the 14 verses say. If you look at it like that it must have only 14 more verses. But why is it going until sixty eighth verse? Forty-some verses. Why? Because it's not only simply saying it in reverse; cursed in going out, cursed in coming in, cursed in the city, cursed in the country and so on. It's exactly the reverse. Why is it taking that many verses? Because everything is expanded, explained even more. So, a lot more verses are there. I showed you Deuteronomy 28: 1-14 where the blessings are mentioned, the blessing of Abraham is mentioned. If you read that, you will understand what Adam would have been like or Adam's descendants would have been like if Adam had not sinned. Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if Adam hadn't sinned? Read Deuteronomy 28: 1-14. That's exactly what it would have been like. We would have been blessed going out, blessed coming in, blessed in the city, blessed in the country, blessed in the fruit of our womb, blessed in the fruit of our cattle, fruit of our land. The same exact thing. That's the description of the blessing of Abraham. That's what we would have had if Adam have not sinned. What would a person look like if the curse is operating and dominating his life? Read from verse 15 all the way to 68. That's a description of what curse would look like. That's why this whole chapter is very important. Deuteronomy is very instructive and this passage is very instructive because it tells us clear difference between blessing and cursing; what is blessing and what is cursing.

Let me read to you some of the curses particularly the ones that have to do with work. I'm not reading the others because we don't deal with them now. Let me start with verse 20. The Lord will send on you cursing, confusion, rebuke in all that you set your hand to do. That's why I title it 'Work of your Hands.' In all that you set your hand to do. In all the work of your hand He says there's going to be cursing. There's going to be failure in other words. There's going to be frustration in other words. There's going to be loss and failure because curse is a power that causes you to fail in life. Everything that you set your hand to do until you're destroyed and you perish quickly because of the wickedness of your doing in which you have forsaken me. Look at verse 23 to 25, And your heavens, which are over your heads, shall be bronze. And the earth, which is under you, shall be iron. Heaven is supposed to pour rain from there. It shall be like bronze. It's like somebody had a door that shuts heaven. No rain can come down, not a drop. And the earth, which is supposed to grow food for us is like iron. You can't sow or reap. It doesn't yield its fruit. The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust. From the heaven it shall come down on you until you're destroyed. The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. Exactly the reverse of what is said in blessing. And you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth. Look at that. No blessing is there. If no blessing is there, this is what the work of our hand will look like. If no blessing is there, the work of our hand will look like that.

Some people think, "Well, I'm making a lot of money. I must be a great success because I'm doing well. I'm earning so many crores in salary. So, I'm doing well." Some people think that money is success. Do you know that you can have a lot of money and still be a failure in life? I think we all understand that. We can have a lot of money, still be a failure in life. So, the Bible when it talks about success, it is talking about good success. God told Joshua, "This book shall not depart out of your mouth. You shall meditate on it day and night so that you may observe to do according to what is written therein. Then you will make your way prosperous. Then you will have, not success, good success."

The Bible teaches about good success. What is good success? Good success is not just that you're able to make a lot of money and make a mess of the rest of your life. It is about success in every area of your life. You're happy, you got a happy family, you got good children, you raised them well, you've been able to lead them well into the knowledge of God and they're living for God. You have peace and harmony in your home, you enjoy your home life, you're a blessing to so many people. Other people love you for what you do. You're a blessing to others. Some people, if you take a vote, not one person will vote for them but they are very successful in their terms. They say, "I make a lot of money. What do I care about that fellow?" That's the way they live. They run roughshod over everybody. Run over everybody to make a living for themselves. Run over everybody to spoil others, to ruin others. People hate them. They live in such an atmosphere, surrounded by these kind of people. Already you're going to have problem if you're doing well. And now you're going to have problem because you're doing bad also to others. Good success is happiness and success and victory in every area of your life and the Bible talks about good success. That is what God wants us to have. In the work, there must be success but there must be success in other areas also.

Let me turn to Ephesians 2 just as a side line. One verse there. Let me read it and then read it in amplified version. It's a very wonderful verse. Chapter 2:10, For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus, this is talking about our new birth and how we are made a new creation in Christ Jesus. We are created in Christ Jesus. That is God the creator has created us in Christ Jesus. That's what new birth is all about. For what? For good works which God prepared beforehand. If you read the book of Hebrews, it says beforehand means long before the world began. God has prepared the good works beforehand that we should walk in them. In other words, it says God has already prepared every good works that we must do and having that in mind, He came and saved us and created us anew. We were a mess but God worked on us as the creator. He made everything right. Just like He got rid of chaos, emptiness, and darkness, He got rid of all the chaos, emptiness, darkness and made a beautiful person out of us and brought us to work the good works that He has planned and prepared.

Now listen to the amplified version and how the same verse is rendered there. Verse 10, For we are His workmanship, [His own Masterwork, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above, spiritually - transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works. He has prepared us, He has brought us into this born-again experience, caused us to be reborn and worked on us, transformed us and renewed us for good works which God prepared for us beforehand [taking paths which He set]. The path that is the map has already been drawn. The path we must travel has already been specified. Taking paths which He set so that, listen to this, we would walk in them, this is what I like about this verse, living the good life which he pre-arranged and made ready for us.

Everybody say, "Living the good life." Christian faith is about the good life. It is the good news that God has prepared a good life. A good life for you, a happy life for you, a life of usefulness, fruitfulness for you. A life that you can really be proud about. God has prepared good works for you long before the world began and He has saved you for that purpose; for the good life which He has pre-arranged and made ready for us. What a wonderful way to put it. Amplified version goes into it and tries to bring out what it's trying to say. In other words, you are saved to do the works that God has pre-arranged and set already and the map is drawn already to do those works and to live the good life, God has saved you and made you a new creation.

Everybody say, "Good life." Do you believe the good life? Some people have a problem with that. They say, "What kind of Christianity is this?" It's good life. It's the good life in Christ Jesus. Go back to where we were and let me go ahead and read some more verses there in Deuteronomy 28. We read up to 25, now let me read verse 30 onwards...or verse 29. And you shall grope at noon day as a blind man gropes in darkness. You shall not prosper in your ways. You shall be only oppressed and plundered continually and no one shall save you. You shall betroth a wife but another man shall lie with her. You shall build a house and you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard but shall not gather its grapes."

I was talking to someone. The person said, "I don't want to build a house because they say if I build a house, I'll die. That's why I keep from building a house because there is something about me. They say that is if I build a house, I'll die." This man really believes it and he's a Christian, so-called Christian. He believes that if he built a house, he will die. We should take him to this verse. Building a house and dying is not blessing. God says you will build a house...you read other passages and we'll come to it in a while...you will build a house and you will live in it. Amen? People believe a lot of things as if it is the word of God, as if this is what their portion in life is all about. Your ox, verse 31, shall be slaughtered before your eyes but you shall not eat of it. Your donkey shall be violently taken from you and shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies and you shall have no one to rescue them. This is talking about loss, terrible loss. It's like someone coming and taking all your furniture, all your jewelry and everything. This is running into loss of material things. Your sons and daughters shall be given to other people. Your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long. Let me read the next verse, So, you shall be driven mad because of your sight which your eyes see. The Lord will strike you...No, that's about sicknesses and so on.

Let me read from verse 38. You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in. You work so hard, bring so little in. And when you bring the little in for the locust shall consume it. You work so hard and earn very little and come home and somebody picks your pocket and takes all the money. That's like that. You come home with the little money that you made and the locust eats it, consumes it. You shall plant vineyards and tend them but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil for your olives shall drop off. You shall beget sons and daughters but they shall not be yours for they shall go into captivity. Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land. The alien who's among you shall rise higher and higher above you and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you but you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head and you shall be the tail. It's all about the work of our hands. How people are destroyed in terms of their work. Total, absolute failure in the realm of their work. That is what curse is all about. Curse, if you read the passage from 15 to 68, lot of verses are there about the work of the hands and how total failure happens in the area of the work of the hands.

Christians ought to understand there is such a thing called curse that is out there in the world, that is in operation in the world. By putting faith in Christ, we have come from curse into blessing. We need to start believing in the blessing and claiming the blessing, stand in faith for the blessing.

Turn to Leviticus 26. Similar verses are there but I want to read some blessings also there. Leviticus 26:14 and then I'll read 19 and then verse 20 and then 26. Verse 14, But if you do not obey me and do not observe all the commandments, that's how it always begins. If you obey me and do all the commandments, you will be blessed. If you don't obey, you will be cursed. That's the way it all begins. I'll deal with it in a moment.

Verse 19, I will break the pride of your power. I'll make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain for your land shall not yield its produce nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit. Verse 26, When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven and they shall bring back your bread by weight and you shall eat and not be satisfied. Eat and not be satisfied, that's the problem. That's curse. You have something to eat but satisfy.

Now Leviticus 26:3, in the same chapter. Let me read to you verse 3. Look at the blessings, how different the blessings are from the curse. Verse 3, If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season and the land shall yield its produce and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage and the vintage shall last until the time of sowing. You shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land safely. Means you're reaping and the reaping happens for such a long time because there is so much to reap. The sowing time starts before you finish reaping. It's overlapping. That's a good problem, isn't it? You got too much. You still haven't reaped everthing, already the sowing time starts.

Verse 6, I will give peace in the land and you shall lie down and none will make you afraid. I'll rid the land of evil beasts and the sword shall not go through your land. You will chase your enemies and they'll fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred. How do you like that? How many want that blessing? Five of you shall chase a hundred. And now listen, A hundred of you shall put 10,000 to flight. It doesn't add up, does it? God's mathematics is different. Five will chase 100 and 100 will chase 10,000. The 10,000 is going to decide looking at you, "This is too much. I'm going to run for my life." That's the way it is. Your enemies shall fall by the sword before you. For I will look on you favorably. I like that. And make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm my covenant with you. Look at the word fruitful, multiplication and so on, it's all about work. What man was assigned to do, told to do. He was told to be fruitful, to multiply, to replenish and that's where the problem comes, the difficulty comes there because of the fall. Now, when God is with you, you're able to multiply and replenish. You're able to subdue and dominate. You're able to be fruitful. The power of blessing, lot of people don't have any appreciation for that. When blessing is there, you got something extra. Some people depend on only their brain, their ability, their education or whatever they have by way of strengths. But there is something that is beyond you that is called blessing. When you go to work and the power of blessing is added to your work, all of a sudden you will find that you have unusual wisdom to deal with that problem. You'll be given instant understanding of certain things, insight into certain things, ability to tackle problems that have never been tackled before which will bring you great success in the field of your work no matter what work you're doing.Many people write about how they've experienced it in their lives and today you and I can experience it in our daily life. We need the power of blessing and Galatians 3 is about how the power of blessing works in our lives.

Let's read Deuteronomy 8:6, Therefore, you shall keep the commands of the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to fear him for the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land. A land of brooks of water, of fountains, of springs that flow out of the valleys, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing. A land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. What a different picture. It brings God's provision. Blessings bring God's provision. The curse cuts off provision. Curse makes us starve, curse makes us lack and want, have insufficiency. That's what curse is all about.

Let me say this in closing. The blessings always begin with the exhortation If you harken to the voice of the Lord your God and observe to do according to all that is said, you'll have blessing.' And the curses always begin with the words 'If you don't harken and if you don't do what God says, curses will follow.' The problem is you and I know...and if you know the Bible well, if you heard some teaching here, you'll know that the Christians teaching says that even though 10 commandments are given, all the commandments of God are given in the old testament, that not one person has been successful in doing it. 10 commandments were not given so that you can succeed by doing it. 10 commandments were given for another purpose, to prove your sin. That you are a sinner and make you feel hopeless so that you'll turn to God and cry out for mercy.

In 2 Kings 22, I don't want to read it but let me say this, King Josiah...the Bible says they brought the book of the law and read it to the audience and as they read it, this man tore his clothes. Have you read that? He tore his clothes and cried out to God. Why did he tear his clothes? He said, "Who can do this? My God I have never seen a guy being able to do these 10 commandments. The commandments are good, they're holy, they're God's commandments but no one has been successful in doing it." And the commandments also come with accompanying exhortation 'If you do this, you shall live.' He knows that he can't do it and he's hopeless because he can't live. He'll perish under the curse because he can't do what the commandment says. Then curses will come for sure. So, he tears his clothes saying, "What shall I do? God has given these commandments, I'm not able to do it." He calls his men and sends them to a woman that's a prophet. "Ask her what we can do," he says and he cries out to God saying, "God have mercy on me." And they go and ask that lady and the lady has the word from the Lord for him and she says, "Tell the king that he's the only person in the whole nation that is truly repenting, realizes his hopelessness, his sinfulness and he's crying out to God for mercy. Not one person is crying out in the whole nation." He's the only man, Josiah, the king, is crying out to God. He's repentant. He wants to do what God says but he's not able to do because he's a sinner. He's crying out. And God says that He will spare him, He will bless him that he will die in the end happily. "Go and tell the man," that woman says. Don't you think if the whole nation did what Josiah did all of them would have received the same forgiveness? That's exactly the point of the law. The law was supposed to lead them to God so that God can save them. The new testament is about that.

What is the new testament about? The new testament is about how it solves that problem. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. As it is written, "Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree." Curse is hanging over us, dominating over us. We are under a curse as sons of Adam. Sin and curse has become a part of our life and the commandments of God are there and some well-intentioned people, good people would like to do it, and they can do many of it but they can't do all of it. If you can't do all, it's finished. And if you can't stay with it and do it all the time, you're finished.

Then what's the answer? The answer is Jesus Christ. That's the Christian gospel. The answer is Jesus Christ. How is Jesus Christ the answer? Jesus Christ is the answer because He is the one that took our curse, took our place, became as we were. Took our place and died there so that He can give us His blessing so that we can take His blessings. That's the gospel of Jesus Christ. No man is saved by the law.

Romans 4 is a very interesting chapter. I don't have the time to deal with it but let me just point this out and close. Romans 4, Paul talks about how by law you cannot be saved. The law doesn't save anyone. It was not given to save anybody. It was given to prove man is a sinner to drive him to God in desperation. The Jews were looking for the law to save them. They thought they can do what the law says and they can be saved. Paul addresses that and he says in Romans 4: 1, What then shall be said that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? If Abraham was justified by works, that is by his own by his own good works, he has something to boast about but not before God. What does the scripture say? It says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Now, to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. Paul is emphasizing the fact that Abraham was saved simply by believing that God will have mercy upon him, by believing in God's grace. By grace through faith he was saved. Abraham could not have been saved by the law because the law did not exist when he was living. Law came hundreds of years after Abraham. He lived long before the law came through Moses. He was saved without the help of the law. And then he gives the example of David in verse 6, Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. David committed a great sin but he understood how forgiveness comes, how righteousness comes, how God forgives and restores. David said it seems, Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. David said that just to show that it's not by the law but it is by grace. And if it is by grace, it is by faith only we can receive it. Grace means that God has provided it and faith means that I believe it, I open my heart to it and I receive it. That's what it's all about.

Today we have lot more than what Abraham had. We're talking about Abraham's blessing. We have a new birth, a new nature, we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we have the Bible, the word of God, we have the righteousness of Christ bestowed upon us. All this, Abraham did not have. We have all of this. In essence, what do we have? What we have is this, we have...when I talk about the law, I'm not saying it is not necessary to follow the law and do what the law says. What I am saying is when you're in sin, not saved, not delivered from sin, not made a new creature, you cannot, nobody can. That's what I'm saying. But when you are born again, when you are newly created, when you have the life of Christ in you, when Christ dwells in you, the Holy Spirit dwells in you and the word of God is given to you for your help, the very laws that you could not do, that no man could do, now becomes possible. You can do it. Grace is about that. Grace is not just that I can sin and God will forgive. Grace is about how God enables me to do what was not possible before. Before it was not possible. Now, it is possible. I can walk according to the word of God. I can walk in the word. Yet I don't receive blessings just because I walk in the word. I receive blessings because I am in Christ. He is perfect, there is nothing lacking. He's never a failure. He's always there, He's always perfect. God looks at His righteousness not my righteousness. Not your righteousness but His righteousness. That will never fail. You are always blessed. You're blessed today, you will be blessed in all situations, you'll be blessed everyday if you count upon the righteousness of Christ and the grace of God. If you look at yourself and think of how perfect you are or how imperfect you are, I'll tell you you'll miss the blessing because you'll always find yourself unqualified for the blessings of God. You'll never be qualified enough for the blessings of God. But if you look at the grace of God and by faith, receive it you will walk in the blessing. I think every single day, seven days of the week, we must walk in the blessing of God because God has provided the blessing through Jesus Christ. We'll be blessed on our going out and coming in, in the city and in the country, in everything that we set out to do with our hands, we'll be blessed. I believe it. How about you?

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