Beyond the Series: Living Out the Gospel

Beyond the Series: Living Out the Gospel

Pastor Rico Ricafort of Victory Ortigas shares how we can live out the gospel and bring hope and healing to others.

How has the gospel ministered to you and transformed your life?

The gospel has transformed my life in every possible way. It gave me hope, purpose, and joy. It affected all of my relationships: the way I treat my family, my parents, my loved ones, my colleagues. It made me realize that I can live a life that is pleasing to God because I don’t have to struggle anymore to gain His favor. I already have His favor. I already have His grace.

The things I used to struggle with no longer had a hold on me. I was able to overcome them and walk in victory through God’s grace. Experiencing His grace changes the way we live; it empowers us and gives us a fresh start. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). His grace enables us to live a life of victory over sin, over our past, and over our weaknesses.

And when God forgives us, He doesn’t just cleanse us and give us the power to overcome sin; He also empowers us to advance His kingdom. When I received Jesus into my life, my entire family did as well. Being a Christian affects not just our lives but even the lives of the people around us.

How can we effectively communicate the gospel today? How can we bring hope and healing to others?

I think the best way to communicate the gospel is to live it out. We shouldn’t just preach the gospel; we should also show other people what it means to live for Christ. Proclamation and demonstration go hand in hand. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). The grace that we have received is the same grace that we can extend to others.

Wherever we are, we can bring hope and healing to the people around us—especially those who are sick and running out of hope—by sharing how God has brought hope and healing into our lives. There’s a lot of negativity and pessimism out there, but we can always be the encouraging voice. We can always be the voice of faith that will remind people that God is for us, not against us. By encouraging others, we get a chance to point people to God, our true source of hope.

If we look at God’s eternal plan for us, we will realize that whatever we’re going through right now is just temporary; suffering is temporary. Even Jesus went through suffering, but because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), He endured the cross. We should be encouraged knowing that the grace that helped Him endure and overcome suffering is the same grace that He will give to us so we can overcome our hardships.

 

Our lives can be beautiful testimonies of God’s love and grace. Let us live out the gospel and extend the same love and grace to others.


Pastor Rico serves as the senior pastor of Victory Ortigas. He and his wife, Kitty, have been married for 13 years. They have three children: Alba, Maja, and Catya.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

When Bad Things Happen

When Bad Things Happen

When bad things happen, will you continue to anchor your faith in God and be grateful? Gigi shares how she chose to thank the Lord and fill her heart with gratitude despite the hardships that tested her faith.

My journey of knowing Christ was long and tough. I had the opportunity to hear the gospel early on, but it took me decades to really take everything to heart. All the while, God had been longing to break the walls in my heart and take the wheel off my hands.

When my mother came to know Christ in 1983, she immediately preached the gospel to our family and hosted Bible study meetings in our home every week. After four years, I accepted Christ in my life as my Savior, but I did not really allow Him to be my Lord; I did not fully let go of the things that are not pleasing to Him.

In 2003, I accidentally learned that there are worship services being held at Victory Ortigas. After more than a year of attending, I joined a Victory group, and another year later, I finally had my Victory Weekend. It felt like finally coming home after wandering away for so long.

However, while I was growing in my faith in 2006 and my family was trying to recover from a major financial crisis, my husband suffered a major stroke. He had to undergo three brain surgeries and stay in the hospital for almost two months. It rendered us all financially crippled. It tried to weaken my faith.

With 4 children in school and debts multiplying, another “big rock” hit our family just nine months after my husband had a stroke—we lost our third child to cancer. He was only 19 years old, and we were all clueless that he was sick. All we knew then was that he had a long-standing cough, which the doctors thought was caused by asthma. Things happened really quickly; we were caught off guard by a really bad surprise. My husband survived, but my son passed away. It did not make sense to us.

In 2009, Ondoy came, and it destroyed everything we had. One bad thing happened after another; it was beyond painful and difficult. As if everything that happened was not enough, my salary was cut in half in 2012, and it was my youngest son who really felt its impact. Due to an unpaid balance in his tuition, we were unable to get his transcript of records. It took us three years to pay for everything, so my son was out of school for three years. And finally, in 2013, my husband passed away. It was one of the hardest things to accept.

Despite all the things that had happened, God never made me feel alone. He gave me the strength I needed to endure all the pain that went with my husband’s and son’s deaths and with all the other trials that came along. I held on to His Word in Psalm 23 and allowed it to reassure me every time I would feel weak and weary. I would still cheerfully serve Him as an usher in church and allow His strength to carry me through every single day. In the midst of everything, He revealed to me that there is always something to be thankful for.

My son, who was out of school for three years, passed a Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) and managed to enroll back to school. He graduated from senior high school with honors and is now a dean’s lister in his college. Though we are still in the process of getting out of debt, God recently blessed me with a company car and a new home for my family. I knew it was Him working and making things possible. It was Him reminding me that there are little victories along the way—and more. He turned our mourning into dancing and our weeping into joy. His strength, indeed, is always more than enough. I can always smile in the midst of trials because of Christ.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

When trials come and really bad things happen to us, we can always anchor our faith in God and allow His strength to carry us through. Despite what may come our way, there is always a reason for us to remain grateful because Christ is with us.

Jesus As Lord

Jesus As Lord

MANY CHRISTIANS are still being persecuted in some parts of the world today.

Say I was stranded in one of these nations and a police approached me for he discovered I am a pastor proselytizing the locals and said, “I am cutting off your tongue.  And before I do, you may say one last sentence.”

Jesus Is Lord!” is what I would say.

Now, if he would allow me a second sentence then I will surely say, “Please don’t kill me!” At least I had already declared the first one!

Jesus Is Lord

This is the capsulated version of Christianity’s statement of faith, “Jesus is Lord.”  The Fathers of the faith in church history went through such great lengths just to be able to separate truth from the prevailing falsehood, help believers get a good grasp of their faith in a manner that they can easily understand, and be able to share to others. They are what we know today as (besides the Chalcedon Creed and the Nicene Creed) the Apostles’ Creed.

Do or die

Declaring “Jesus is Lord!” in the Philippines today would cause people to give you a religious label. But during the time of Jesus, it would mean martyrdom. With Rome as the prevailing empire at that time, the word ‘lord’ has an imperial usage. There’s only one lord— Caesar. On the other side of the coin, among the Jews, it had a religious connotation. Only Jehovah is Lord. So for them, to insinuate that there’s another Lord is incomprehensible.

Perfect Righteousness

When someone says, “Jesus is Lord“, that person is declaring two inseparable natures of Christ: perfect righteousness and unlimited power.

1 John 1:5 says, “In him there’s no darkness at all.” He takes charge of the universe with perfect righteousness.

His perfect righteousness, though, without his unlimited power to carry out that righteousness would render him not worthy of worship. And people of the earth could not be guaranteed justice.

Unlimited Power

While on the other hand, unlimited power without perfect righteousness would make the center of all things to be unrighteousness. And no one, as in no one, could do anything to change that. It would render Christ as tyrant and abusive in his leadership.

But thanks be to God that while in his humiliation he was named ‘Jesus’.

Matthew 1:21: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

He accomplished that through the cross.

That’s what we call the gospel.

The Gospel

My good friend Rice Broocks has this to say to summarize what the gospel is. (I hope I can write it out of memory.)

“The gospel is the good news that God became a man in Jesus Christ. He lived the life that we should have lived. And died the death that we should have died. After three days he rose again from the dead proving that he is the son of God. And offering the gift of salvation to those who will repent and believe the gospel.”

In his exaltation, he was declared by the Father as ‘Lord’.

Philippians 2:9-11: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Seriously, if I would be given a chance to speak again before the police would cut off my tongue, what would I really say?

I would just repeat my first statement.

“Jesus Is Lord!”

_____

ferdie-cabilingFerdie Cabiling is the director of Victory Metro Manila, and a member of Victory Philippine’s Apostolic team. He is married to Judy, father to Elle and John Philip. You can like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

For more information on #myVictoryStory, click here, and to read other responses to this week’s question on Lordship, please click here.

Faith for the Nations

Faith for the Nations

Lyn Abad, an upcoming campus minister from Victory Ortigas, shares her experiences on what it means to reach the nations through a Ten Days mission trip.

I’ve always had a desire to reach out to Buddhist countries. I believe God gave me a burden to reach out to the people from these nations. He honored that desire when in 2012, I took part in my first Ten Days mission trip in Macau. I was able to participate in another mission trip in Myanmar, another Buddhist nation, shortly after.

Joining a Ten Days mission trip involves enlarging your vision and territory, for you to be used in different parts of the world. One of the challenges I encountered was overcoming my natural shyness to talk to people I didn’t know—from a different culture, no less! I learned to trust God with regard to my shyness. Didn’t He say in His Word that we can do all things through Him, who gives us strength?

I also discovered that engaging people isn’t just about making friends with them and finding out about common interests—it also involves imparting to others who God is, in terms of who He is. In one of my mission trips, for instance, my teammates and I got to talk to young people who were asking about the earth, how the universe came to be, and the existence of God. This was a beautiful opportunity to share about creation, and most importantly, the Creator.

Lyn and her teammates engaged Macanese in different sporting activities
Lyn and her teammates engaged Macanese in different sporting activities

Part of being in a Ten Days mission trip includes raising funds for ministry support. The entire process of the mission trip was challenging in a faith-stretching way! It really takes faith to believe God to provide for everything that you need.

My faith was also stretched in terms of trusting God as my healer. Two weeks prior to my second mission trip, I had to undergo an operation. I was already discouraged from pushing through with the actual trip, and experienced pain even up to a few days before the trip, but I believed God for my speedy healing. I had faith that He would bring me complete healing, and at the same time be able to go to the nations. What’s interesting is, when I set foot in our destination, I didn’t experience any pain at all. God healed me completely so I could do the work He’s called me to do!

Another facet that made me so encouraged about joining short-term missions is the character molding I experienced. I got to be in a team with different people of different personalities and temperaments. God really taught me about unity–that I should fight for it, not shift blame to other people, but really step out in faith to love them.

Overall, a Ten Days mission trip is a life-changing experience. If God has called you to go and reach the nations for Him, no one can stop you from doing this!