Thirteen

Posted: February 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Rhemabytes is a call to urge believers to be original in their relationship with the Lord, to remove the shackles of religion and religiosity, and stop copying patterns we see without asking for real scripture basis. We’re rocking theological boats; ideas long entrenched in people’s minds by tradition, but have no basis in the scriptures.

Friends and Brothers/sisters, welcome to Rhemabytes 13! Let iron sharpen iron, and let our spirits be edified. Let brotherly love continue…

CONFESSION OF SINS?

Someone says that confession of sins is not for the New Creature, that 1 Jn 1:9 is addressed to “Jewish Unbelievers”. So, believers should no longer acknowledge their sins, but only their sonship before God??? That cannot be bible truth!!!

God’s intention is not that we make a list of sins, whether known or unknown, and start confessing, expecting re-redemption all over again.Confession of sins is not to avert judgement on the confessor, nor is it a means to keep clean from sins. It is a matter of relationship, where the child of God, out of a pure conscience and sincere heart, discusses with His father the things that border on his walk with Him. Not a performance indicator, but a relationship building process whereby the child gets bonded to the Father, in love. We approach, knowing our sins are forgiven. 1 John 2:12

David always ran towards God when he was brought to the awareness that he had sinned. Saul seemed to run the opposite direction. Where would we, by our teachings, want the little children of God to run to? So, it is not a matter of eternal salvation as it is with building intimacy with the Father.

Sentiments apart, it is in the bible. It’s good enough for me. We would not wrest with such as is written, for what we have as a veritable weapon against temptation is to say with total confidence, “IT IS WRITTEN” Let us not move from that absolute to verify doctrine from implications of what was written.

Let us confess our sins before God, and before men. Paul spake of more grievious things like godly sorrow and the fact that God cannot be mocked. Paul quoted Psalm 32:1. Let us read that whole Psalm, and encounter the burden of unconfessed sin. Is that what we relate to as sin-consciousness today? I think not. To refuse to confess a sin brought to your notice is a first sign of being unrepentant (heart don dey harden be dat). Remember, child of God. He is faithful and just.

We already have a witness in the gospels. When Kingdom Message arrived, it was “repent”. Then they got baptised (what are we saying about water baptism? Is it also legalism too?), confessing their sins in the process. Don’t mess with God’s children. Tell them the truth.

All scripture is given. All. our chief rule of interpretations must be filtered through the person of Jesus. (John 5:39) Scriptures, no matter whether we understand them or not, testify to JESUS.

A fellow once wrote, “When you study scripture, you must study it in the light of other scriptures consistent with Jesus Christ and his finished works!” I asked him a question, “Are there scriptures that are inconsistent with the finished works of Jesus?” I did not get an answer. Jesus is the High priest and Apostle of our profession.

What is it that will prevent you from approaching the throne of grace boldly to obtain mercy and grace, which has been freely given? The problem is not God, has never been. it is us. And if it is our conscience, we do know that the blood cleanses us from all sins, and wipes our consciences clear of guilt. We do apologise to one another, in the interest of love, so peace might reign, how much more our Father in Heaven, in the interest of continued fellowship and relationship. For the matter of conscience is a delicate one. We shouldn’t mess with people’s consciences. Leave it as it is written, let His children find their way to Him.

It is only a mark of growth, for one to have less need of confessing sins often before God. Repentance is more important, and is also a lifetime affair. Did you commit a sin, or did you not commit a sin? Does acknowledging a sin you committed before God invalidate your salvation? No. Yet you sin, and confess before Him your positional righteousness, yet refuse to acknowledge that you sinned, even pretending that you never sinned! Jesus said that those who claim to see do not need their eyes opened any further. You sin like that, and refuse to say you have sinned, yet go ahead to elaborately declare your righteousness before God. That’s not faith! That’s self-deceptive “positive confession”.

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1 Jn 1:6 

God is not mocked o! Paul says that godly sorrow leads to repentance. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. We’re told not to grieve or quench him. His convicting power in the believer’s heart is now taken to be “sin-consciousness”??? Such that when the dis-ease of sin is sensed by the human spirit, we confess the word over it? The righteous nature in you is no more averse to sin again??? No! Sin-consciousness as the bible teaches is dealt with on the cross!!!

Now, I think it is plain old insincerity and hardness of heart that will make one not apologise to God for a wrong act.We should leave 1 John 1:9 where it is, and allow God’s children find their way to Him. Even Paul was very sensitive to his brothers’ consciences, and exhorted us to do the same. Wresting that scripture from where it is, on the grounds of extra-biblical evidence reminds me of Peter and Jude’s warnings. Are we, in the name of grace, voiding the children of God of a good and pure conscience?

So now, people sin, quote a passage, and move on! I’m sure the evidence of such a doctrine is rife amongst us. No wonder the multitudes run along to hear this teaching. Lord God, save your children!

In conclusion, I say that the word of God is simple enough to be taken at face value to the heart that is simple enough to receive that word. Men’s hearts are getting really hard to want to repent and live. We are in the endtimes, people. Better believe it!

MUSINGS

I’m still musing along these lines, actually. We are a generation that is to see the appearance of mighty signs and wonders, according to God’s grace. Yet, we now see ourselves more as sons, and not as servants. We reckon ourselves as kings and not soldiers. “Who did you go out to see in the wilderness?” Jesus asked the people.

We are so stashed in comfort zones, and we know next to nothing about the sacrifice that is borne of humility. Certain words in our bibles are no longer being used. We mention love, yet fail to realise that God’s love is sacrificial in nature. The Apostles considered themselves slaves of Jesus Christ. Never heard of Paul, John, Peter refer to themselves individually as kings. We see allusions to collective mentioning, referring to the church. “We are a royal priesthood”.

The Lord mentioned to Peter:” I tell you for certain that when you were a young man, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will hold out your hands. Then others will wrap your belt around you and lead you where you don’t want to go.”

Now we have indiscipline and rebellion masking itself as “liberty in the presence of the Lord”. We’re content with going to church whenever we like, substitute TBN for sunday service, refuse discipleship classes under the guise of “I’m not led to join”. We are not expressing gratitude as a natural offshoot of grace. We are so complacent in spreading the gospel, and we go and ask those who have managed to do something along this line, “where are the testimonies? Talk is cheap, show the miracles”

We refuse to move from where we are to where the Lord has purposed for us. The stage lights are replacing the glory, smoke replacing the Presence. The Orthodox and Pentecostals copy each other everyday, one seeking to be like the other, and end up dubbing the wrong things!

AND WE EXPECT TO SEE SIGNS AND WONDERS, LIKE THE APOSTLES???

“There’s a price to pay for the call” and you say “Jesus paid it all. No need to pay more”

The longsuffering of the Lord is patience. He calls all to repentance. But, people are no longer sorry. They won’t even say, “I’m sorry, Lord”

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Twelve

Posted: August 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

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OF THE HYPER-GRACE PROPONENTS (Who stretch grace beyond the boundaries of truth)

They preach a message that will ease their consciences, making them comfortable in the sins they revel in (not struggle with). They end up with totally unrepentant hearts, and minds devoid of good reason. Afterall, according to their thoughts, “if we have forgiveness for the sins we have not thought to commit, why then do we need to repent?”

Having turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, they abdicate all responsibility of the soul to walk in the Spirit, resting in the assurance that they are born again. Did not the Jews tell Jesus that they were children of Abraham? Jesus told them,”If Abraham were your father, you would do the works that Abraham did”. Abraham’s works were not in an attempt to obey God externally. Abraham’s works were in obedience to God as a result of faith.

Whoever claims that Christ’s work is finished, and therefore has no work to do is totally ungrateful for the fact that He has been redeemed, and grossly ignorant of the distinction between What Christ DID on the cross, and what He is now DOING in the saints, and what He WILL DO when He returns. That one has selected the juicy part and is expecting to be teleguided as a zombie into the path of righteousness.

“Awake to righteousness and sin not”, the bible says

Indeed, I am not against people declaring who they are in Christ, even in the midst of their inward struggles, or occasional falls. No, I am not against such. We must declare who we are in Christ, and witness His victory on a daily basis, as we move from glory to glory, being exposed to the power of the gospel, as it reveals the righteousness of God to us, from faith to faith.

But for those, who will want to insult the Lord, by continuing unabated in evil works, and multiplying therein, devoid of repentance, or even remorse, I speak. I am speaking of those who “enjoy” themselves in the pleasures of sin and come to church, pretending to be loving and warm brethren, even preaching on pulpits, even posing online and not even minding what they have done, all the while confessing they are new creatures. Of such, it is said have their consciences seared with a hot iron.

I am not talking of sincere believers who are struggling with one sinful habit or the other, in need of a liberation or victory over that besetting sin.

” Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12

This was directed at brethren, not unbelievers. Someone will have to “disagree with Paul” in order to invalidate this scripture. The thin line is drawn in the attitude of the mind towards sin, not in whether the person actually sins or not. We have been written to that we sin not, but IF we sin, the expectation is that we do away with sin, with the help of the Christ within us.Do you condone sin in your life, or do you yield to God’s spirit in your mind, so as to become free from sin’s manifestation in your life?

We know like Paul says, none of us in this flesh has apprehended, but do we press after that for which we have been called, or do we relax, thinking there’s no pressing to do? Are we at ease in our minds with our sins, or do we reposition our minds according to God’s word, in order to get these sins to fall off your flesh(like scales)? Again, it is in the disposition of the mind that the line is drawn, and wrong teachings make it harder for the line to be seen clearly. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, but if we sin and refuse to acknowledge our sins, all the while blurting “I am the righteousness of God, I cannot sin”, then there’s a problem.

I have heard some dudes say that to confess your sins means to say what God has said about them, which means “My sins are forgiven”.And someone somewhere will say that this is sin consciousness to confess your sins. Now that is awfully TERRIBLE a statement!!! 1 John 1:10 says “If we say we have not sinned(talking to believers) we make out God to be a liar”, which means to confess your sins means to say that you have sinned, and only then is the door of forgiveness kept open to us.Because there can be no acceptance of God’s forgiveness when you refuse to admit you have sinned.

The Words of Jesus to the Seven Churches is a strong testimony against those who facilitate a one-legged theology on grace. It is serious enough when the Lord himself tells the church that He will spew the lukewarm out of His mouth, or remove a church’s candlestick from its place. Having to engage this extreme makes one look like a reverse extremist, but the goal is to create the right perspective of the scriptures. Half the truth is room enough for fatal lies to be taught.

The extreme grace brigade has no rational interpretation for these and other scriptures which emphasize the duty of the Christian to making his calling and election sure. And funny enough, it is this same brigade that will be the first to shout,”Judge not!”, yet will easily brand and label those of us that stress responsibility and good works in proper contexts as self-righteous, legalistic and pharisaiacal, or as proud and condescending(holy-holy or “spiritual” as some others choose to put it).

They are the ones who mistake love to be the affectionate placation of people’s sensibilities, taking good care not to injure the consciences of others. But it’s ok. We all need the grace of God to overcome. it is more than us just saying that we’re overcomers. We should say it, believe it, preach it, and live it.

We all need the grace of God to overcome. The grace that will teach us that we should walk, even as Jesus walked, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts. The Righteous nature of God, as revealed in the Law of the Old testament, also describes for us the same righteous nature in the recreated man. When we are “awakened to righteousness”, as Paul charges us, then we’re awakened to become “too pure to behold iniquity”, we’re awakened to sin not, and depart from all evil doings. Righteousness and sin cannot, should not, and will not continue to cohabit in the same house!

We must remember that Jesus says,”Your sins are forgiven” and “Go and sin no more”.

 

THE TRUTH, THEN THE TRUTHS…

When the attention of men is focused on truths, instead of the Truth, then they could still buy the Lie that has been from the beginning. Therefore, people could keep nodding their heads at profundity, yet could be well on their way to the bondage of profanity that leads to perdition, for many truths can be spoken in order to establish the Lie.

Christians need to know the Truth, not just as a body of concepts, but as a person.

Jesus is the Truth. Focus on the Truth, and not just on truths.

The Antichrist spirit thrives upon the strategy of baiting men with truths, in order to perpetuate himself, who is incarnate of the Liar. Thus, he gets men to doubt God and to exalt the creature to the level of the Creator, which is blasphemous and the height of pride. He starts by chipping at the very foundations of our faith: The nature of God, and the veracity of the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.

That is why Daniel 11:32 must make more sense to us today, than as we used to quote it against witches, wizards, and enemies of progress in our temporal affairs. The Antichrist shall corrupt many with flatteries. When he flatters people, he flatters them with truths. Then, when they’re not looking, he hits them with the fatal lie, and this can take place even in church. God’s people must remember their first Love. Our first love is Christ, the embodiment of all wisdom and knowledge of God. Do you love Jesus with all of your heart?

 

DIVINE INTIMACY, BEFORE DOCTRINAL CORRECTNESS

“One of the great failures of historic Christianity has been the tendency to substitute rituals for reality, form for substance, concepts and formulas for life. We must each determine to cultivate a relationship with the Lord that is real and profound, a relationship that is the consuming and undivided concentration of our hearts.” -Rick Joyner, The Harvest.

A critical factor that will distinguish God’s remnant from the multitudes in our Christian profession shall be the simplicity of our devotion to Christ. We must simplify our relationship with the Lord, for that only will guarantee a deeper depth of intimacy. We must understand that the mystery of God is revealed as Christ (requiring simple devotion), and is being revealed to us in Christ (requiring deep intimacy).

Let us embrace Christ! He is our first Love. We must embrace His love before we embrace His knowledge. For even all the knowledge in the world will count for nothing if we do not know and have love. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. Even truth has to be spoken in love. Our faith can only work in love. And the love of God births a hope in us which makes us unashamed. May it be truly so, as Peter puts it:

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him…” 1 Peter 1:8

 

THE REMNANT SHALL RETURN, ALONG WITH IMMANUEL (Isaiah Chapters 7 and 8)

Shear-Jashub, the first son of Isaiah the prophet means ‘a remnant shall return’. He was born before Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which means, ‘swift to the spoil, quick to the plunder’.  As God promises the salvation and return of the remnant, he also gives insight to how the enemy will come to plunder his people, sinful Israel. But in the midst of it, he gave the sign of Immanuel to the king of Judah(the land of His promise).

These are the days of the church’s dynamic crossroads, we shall witness the simultaneous occurrence, in a dramatic antitype, the destruction of apostate Israel and the restoration of the remnant of Judah. Wheat and tares are congregating together before out very eyes!!! A remnant shall indeed return, bearing the signs of Immanuel, and will be kept safe, in the midst of the plunder and onslaught of the evil one.

This prophecy, as uttered by Isaiah in chapters 7 & 8 applies to the church today. The wise and discerning shall hear what the Spirit is saying.

Shalom!

 

MUST WE ALWAYS CALL GOD BY THE TETRAGRAMMATON (YHWH)?

Someone seems to think so. I have noted with particular interest how a bro somewhere is proposing that we all return to calling God by his name, as revealed to Moses and the Israelites. But, I do so with some humour, because I remember that about a hundred years ago, The Jehovah’s witnesses treaded this same path, which ultimately ends up in the dead end of religious formalism. Why must we restrict everyone to call God’s name in Hebrew, not just in Hebrew, but by the Tetragrammaton? He also prescribes the same thing for the Lord Jesus.

Reason: that the laws of translation do not permit changes to people’s names. But wait a minute! This is God Almighty we’re talking about! How dare we think that we men can define and prescribe a particular name for an Infinite God, who Himself revealed Himself in various ways to various people depending on their varied circumstances? God’s ways are higher than ours, and we cannot Confine him to a particular native name.

This might shock you: God is not a Jew, neither is He gentile. He is just that- GOD. Based on the foregoing, I submit:

God has more concern for His word than He seems to have for His name. He has ensured the preservation of His word through centuries, but the name with which He revealed Himself to Moses and the Patriarchs seems to have been lost in translation. This tells me that God has no other native name by which He wants us to call him, except His ever living and unfailing word. Psalm 138:2

Jesus, the full and final expression of God to mankind is called the name, as is written in Revelation:”The Word of God”. God has exalted His word above all His name. This says to me that God’s word is His most important name. Call God by His word in whatever circumstance. He is duty-bound to respond. But if you call Him by His name, when your life is not in accordance with His word, you get no reply.

 

 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called THE WORD OF GOD”. Rev 19:11-13

The Word of God (HoLogosTheos) is not a native or etymological name.

Getting back to God’s official revelation of His name to the Moses, the “hayah asher hayah”(Hebrew), meaning I AM that I AM (talks about His innate Character), which is different from JEHOVAH, the self-existent One(the one the Jews knew him commonly as, but will refrain from calling it for fear of using the His name in vain). It is also different from El-Shaddai, the Almighty & “breasted” God (with which He revealed Himself to Abraham, the father of all who have faith).

I AM is representative of His Character.(Who he is)

JEHOVAH(or its corresponding variants) is representative of His personality.

EL SHADDAI is representative of His reputation. We all know God is Almighty.

All the above is well represented in His word, which is His very Being. If you wanna get to know God, get to know His word. For nobody can get to know me by just learning my native name, and learning how to spell and pronounce it, however affectionately he/she attempts to use my name. When we progress in our relationship with the Lord, we shall learn, by default, the very name we will use that deepens and sustains the intimacy which we have come to enjoy with Him.

“Name” in Greek (onoma), as used in the New Testament denotes Rank, Authority, Character, Representation, Reputation. If God ever wanted us to know His name, He’d be more concerned with us knowing His attributes as stated above, than the correct spelling and pronunciation of a word. Guess what? Those attributes are all in His word. Do you know His name? More Importantly, do you use His name?

Nobody should insist that God’s name be spelt or pronounced in Hebrew. If God has not done that, then no one has the right to do that! The fact that God revealed himself and His name to the Hebrews is no indication that He wants everyone everywhere to call Him, or His Son in Hebrew. There is no scriptural grounds or basis for this. If we believe that our bibles do contain the integrity of God’s infallible word in its entirety, then we must believe that God has revealed more than enough of His name for us to bear. What else have we to say, when the book of Revelation has told us that Jesus(Whom we also believe is GOD in His revelation to man) is called THE WORD OF GOD?

People of God, let no man judge you by what name you pray to the Father. It’s perfectly ok to pray in the name of Jesus. Let nobody get you to doubt the efficacy of the name of the Lord, by which you are named. For, the power in the name of the Lord is not in the lettering or pronunciation thereof, but in the spiritual authority it bears, over  everything that exists in the Universe. Let no man deceive you or pass judgment on you in this matter”.

 

FOR ZION’S SAKE…

What fire, what zeal, what passion doth consume us for the Kingdom of God, for the rulership of Christ?

For a revival, an awakening to the realities of New Covenant truth;

For a return to righteousness, and the establishment of kingdom modus operandi for God’s people;

For an unqualified obedience and unclassified commitment to Heaven’s mandate;

For tireless preaching, teaching, exhorting, warning, and counselling, holding forth the gospel of grace and truth;

For a life regulated in totality by the indwelling and overwhelming Spirit of truth and life;

For the unity of the faith, for edification in love, seeking to bring together the sheep of God, helping one another to grow into Christ in all things, the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ;

For hearts and minds totally surrendered in a lifetime and lifestyle of true and sincere spiritual worship, in veneration and adoration of the Holy One, our King and Father;

For the kingdoms of this world to finally become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ;

For the glory of the Lord to cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea;

What fire, what zeal, what passion doth consume us for the Kingdom of God, for the rulership of Christ?

 

May our hearts burn indeed. Here ends the Twelfth edition

Eleven

Posted: August 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Welcome to Rhemabytes 11. These are thoughts on 3 pertinent topics: “Christian Polygamy” the Christian’s focus while on earth, and the matter of Head Covering in public, with respect to our dear sisters in the Lord. Stay blessed!

 

“WHY DID GOD PERMIT POLYGAMY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT ?”

“Same reason He permitted divorce. People were too distant from Him, and could not, for hardness of heart, comprehend the righteousness behind “one man, one woman”

Was this the case of God bending His rules to suit the whims of man ? No, the case of God’s word finally settling in men’s hearts, because of Christ’s work on the cross. His word is forever settled in Heaven. Remember, from the beginning, polygamy was not.

Remember too, Jesus spoke about divorce, and His disapproval of it within the context of monogamy. If not, He’d have asked the man to get another wife, and the woman to get another husband(polyandry)

There are 2 types of polygamy, as practised by humans

1. Polygyny-1 man, plenty wives

2.Polyandry-1 woman, plenty husbands

Some amongst us christians will want to debate this, and thus provide some legitimacy for those amongst us who want to marry more than one wife. However, the standard is clear. Why not uphold it, rather than suggest that men go back to re-live the mistakes that they ought to have learnt from the past(from those who have “polygamied” themselves into wahala)?

We must never teach anyone the way or option of polygamy, neither will I make it look attractive and interesting! How can I see a pit and tell my brother that “it is ok. God permits it”? God never really approved it, even though He allowed it during a time of gross ignorance of His ways.

At the same time, we should have no judgments to mete out against those who find themselves in the debilitating quagmire called polygamy. Perhaps that’s why The Lord said nothing about it, so that men can learn by themselves the problems associated with polygamy. For those that refuse to learn from history, they will re-learn and become fresh examples for our children!

As has been rightly said, Going into polygamy with two eyes open is like walking into a moving trailer with two eyes open. It therefore should become something we should not desire or wish on anyone we know. It becomes sin to recommend persons to walk into it with the false thinking that God allows it. Polygamy is as sinful as suicide.

When men have tasted and experienced God in stages of progressive revelation choose to go backwards because it is not in the letters, then the letters will keep killing. There were certain things God prohibited in the days of Israel in the law. Those things are allowed now. Why are we splitting hairs over this issue, and carrying out extrapolations about whether it be right or wrong to practise polygamy?

In the light of the above, I say it is woeful for anyone to encourage his brother to pursue polygamy. This is what happens where we ‘reduce’ our understanding of God to a mere set of rules- do’s and don’ts. He expressly commanded Abraham and the Israelites after him to physically circumcise their males 8 days old. Does He today, as a matter of law, still require us to do same today? Come, let us WALK IN THE LIGHT OF THE LORD (Revelation).

We’ve been told that He permitted some things because of hardness of hearts. Saying that polygamy today is still permissible is tantamount to saying that men’s hearts can and should still be hardened towards God!

For those of you who have been enlightened to God’s perfect will, more is required of you. To you, polygamy will be as sinful as divorce. Has it not occurred to you that wicked men always seem to get away with wickedness; but when a righteous man puts his hands to do that which is wicked, just one time, he gets caught immediately?

For you who know that God’s perfect will is monogamy, more has been given to you. For you, sin is more than the written letters. The violation of revelation light in your heart becomes SIN.

For those who come to Christ as polygamists, there is no condemnation. But I fear for those who even say that brethren can go into it. Which other Christ are we serving? The basis for which we should call plygamy sinful is well established and does not mean that those who find themselves in it are sinful, sinners, or candidates for hell.

For, if in the times of ignorance, God overlooks, and now that we have knowledge of the truth, we hold on to the law (not even the law itself, but implied conclusions from historical accounts in the Old testament, which are at best obscure precedents), because grace in this area will not help our convenience. Where people perish for lack of knowledge, how much more when the knowledge is available, deep in our hearts, and we reject it, because of what is written, not even in the law, but from events in passing that bear no relationship with the matter at hand?

When grace is convenient, we shout it out loud. Now, grace is teaching us to deny all that is revealed to us as BAD, and we go and cower behind the law! Grace tells us to embrace godliness, sobriety and righteous life, but we hide behind the letters, especially in the gray areas? May no one here end up violating the covenant of grace in his heart, because of an attempt to establish a certain righteousness from documented writings.

The root reason why the westerners go for divorce is most times the same as the reasons we blacks opt for polygamy. Persons get tired of one spouse and move on for another.

God did not call divorce sin when Moses gave the law, but gave them a law permitting them to divorce. The same God also said that He hates divorce passionately. Then why would we imagine that he thinks differently about polygamy?

Now, we’re about differentiating what is bad from what is sinful. May God help us all.

We who preach righteousness must practise what we preach, and preach what we practice. I dare anyone here, who is born again and Spirit filled, if you really are convinced that polygamy is righteous altogether, then go practise what you preach! Go marry plenty wives! After all, “he that findeth wives findeth good things”!!! And start preaching that christians should do so! And God bless you as you do so!

For if Sodom and Gomorrah were not spared, even when they had no law to tell them that homosexuality was sinful, how much more for a generation of which it may be said that has access to revelation knowledge, and the original pattern in Eden! The law against polygamy may be a moral issue. But it is well known that morality is an offshoot from true spirituality. The idea of right and wrong has been before the law was ever given! Here are we in the generation of the indwelling Christ, still wondering and pondering about this matter!

Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

If you do not do good, then you have done BAD. And the bible says you sin if you do bad. This is for those who think they can separate BADNESS from SIN.

Amen.

 

 

KINGDOM FOCUS: Are we to focus on earth, or Heaven?

A writer and speaker I know and respect very well (I don’t do names!) wrote a series of books on the Kingdom. I know many of you know him. But I fear that he is being greatly misunderstood today. He tried correcting the notion that the kingdom is futuristic, only to create another notion that there is nothing futuristic about the kingdom.

“Kingdom Come” is an ongoing process. It started when John the Baptist started preaching, is on-going as a process now, and will culminate in the events described in Eschatology. Therefore, what should be our disposition to the Kingdom. Where should we focus?

‎”Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”. This implies that what we’re looking for is still in Heaven. So, we focus on that which is in Heaven, till it comes to Earth.

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 

1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN for you, 

Php 3:20 For our conversation(CITIZENSHIP) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 

Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 

Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 

Col 3:2 Set your affection on THINGS ABOVE(Heaven), not on things on the earth.

 Our primary mandate is the great commission, which is to RAISE DISCIPLES for the Kingdom. We are to teach them to observe and do according to all that Jesus has taught us. And He will be with us(In the Person of the Holy Spirit), even unto the end of the age, when HE returns to restore all things unto Himself.

The only valid territory on earth we have been authorised by the Lord to take over in this present dispensation is the hearts of men. And the way we do that is through preaching the gospel of grace and teaching the grace of the gospel. Whatever means we use to preach, and whatever position of influence we find ourselves becomes totally secondary, the end is that as men hear and believe the gospel, the Kingdom of God advances, extending its frontiers, and gains new grounds.

We are after the grounds of men’s hearts, and not after the grounds of human socio-economic, or politico-legal, or techno-commercial fields of endeavour. Though we may find ourselves in such places, we must never be carried away from the fact that the target of our conquest is men’s hearts, men’s souls, men’s lives. That’s the mandate. And we can do that, in spite of wherever we are, however we are, and whoever we are.

So, let’s go preach. We are not waiting for all or most of the schools to be headed by Christians. We’re not waiting for most of the nations’ leaders to become believers, before we know that the Kingdom is spreading in influence. We’re not waiting for a time when finance, or education, or whatever field or discipline to be controlled by Children of the kindgom. We’re not toppling the rulership of the world’s systems in order to establish Kingdom Authority. We’re not infiltrating this decaying cosmos, so as to establish a new world order.

New wine needs new wineskins. The rulership of the Kingdom must be in the hearts of men, and men of Heaven shall learn to live by the principles of Righteousness from within. Then, the Lord shall come to establish the physical reality of the Kingdom when He comes. Make no mistake, the world as it is now is and will experience progressive darkness without, but indeed the light of the gospel shines in the heart of the Kingdom citizens.

The Kingdom of God on earth(Embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven) is still in the spiritual mode only. When Christ comes, we shall translate into the physical mode of the Kingdom. Then, the whole earth shall become a colony of Heaven, having been filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

I’ll rather place all my bets on the futuristic manifestation, than chase after that which will fade away along with this world. Everything we become(even presumably for the sake of ‘influencing’ for the kingdom), we must count as loss for the sake of Knowing Him who has the power to give us a share in the resurrection of the dead.

We have dominion on the earth today. It is a spiritual dominion, and not a political one.

 

HEAD COVERING FOR SISTERS?(1 Cor 11:1-16)

The context strongly suggests that this is optional, for us today. A matter of cultural contexts primarily. It was shameful for women in those times to expose their heads in public. Women who did that in those days were viewed as loose ie prostitutes. Secondly, men always uncovered their heads even when involved in idol worship.

And those that were still in contention at that time would be violating the CUSTOMS(not doctrines) of the churches of that time. It was not doctrinal policy, but a matter of best practice for women to appear covered in public worship in those times.

Matters of Christian doctrine are corroborated in scripture by at least ONE other witness. Therefore, in this matter, we ought to ask: What has Peter, John, Jude, or our Lord got to say about this? What about the Old Testament writers? The Law and the prophets nko? It is at the mouth of two or more witnesses that Doctrinal TRUTH is established. You see why we cannot split hairs over this one?

Hear Paul some more…

“Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. BE YE FOLLOWERS OF ME, EVEN AS I AM ALSO OF CHRIST.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ORDINANCES, as I delivered them to you.” 1 Cor 10:29-11:2.

It is a continuous flow. Note the progressions. Paul knew the severity of life-and-death issues, and of this were one of them, he would not leave it to our own judgements, nor would he ask us to evaluate from the “very nature of things”.

“Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom(PRACTICE), neither the churches of God.” 1 Cor 11:13-16

Hear this about ORDINANCES from Marvin Vincent:

1 Corinthians 11:2

Ordinances – delivered (παραδόσεις – παρέδωκα)

There is a play of two hundred words, both being derived from παραδίδωμι to give over. Ordinances is a faulty rendering. Better, Rev., traditions. By these words Paul avoids any possible charge of imposing his own notions upon the Church. He delivers to them what had been delivered to him. Compare 1Ti_1:11; 2Th_2:15.

‎”power on her head”(v.11) means a sign of authority. Of course, if it was thought improper to people at the time for women not to cover their heads, then it will also seem improper, to angels, who are in attendance in church meetings. Whoever does not conform to the norm is seen as “abnormal”. Angels are sensitive to decorum in worship.

They always watch in awe and amazement at the things that God has placed in Mankind(1 Pet 1:12). And they will be disappointed if someone somewhere for the reason of strife, and rebellion of some sort would deliberately flout customs and practices, causing brethren to bicker and quarrel over the proper way to do things.

The covering on her head indicated back then that she is under a man’s authority, from verse 9 before the one you raised.

In light of my above submission, we still really do not know 100% for sure why Paul mentioned the angels here.

It is quite clear that Paul was handing down cultural practices, and not doctrinal teachings. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE HERE, people!

When we study the bible, we should know that it is the word of God, written by men within their various social and cultural environments. We must remove our eyes from the physical signs and symbols and look at where they’re pointing to. This is about bible study, not about agreeing or disagreeing with Paul. That is why, in contextual analysis, we ask about a passage of scripture:

1. Who said it?

2. To whom was it being said?

3. On what occasion was it being said?

4. Why was it being said?

5. What is the relevance of what is being said to the New Testament Church, after Christ’s resurrection?

“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” Colossians 2:20-23

In all this, we should always ask ourselves, “how is this pointing us to Christ?” Is it the practice itself, or the eternal truth that Paul has used it to illustrate? Let us, therefore remain focused on Christ, and not on customs and practices that take away our focus from Him.

Ten

Posted: December 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

PROFITING FROM YOUR BIBLE (Guidelines)
We live in a generation where, sadly, there seems to be a dearth of the true bread of heaven. The problem cuts across the pulpits to the pews of churches in the land. We have a sizeable number of churches, but the word is scarce, even though, we all carry bibles around. Having said too much about the sad state of affairs of the day, I have decided to come out with a practical approach for EVERYONE to benefit from their bibles.

This is not for pastors only. It may surprise some of you that many pastors and ministers have quit studying their bibles. Instead, they have relied on books and tapes for quick “microwave” snacks with which their sheep are being fed. Therfore as a sequel to BRING BACK THE WORD, I present this guideline for your pondering. LET’S GO BACK TO THE BIBLE, all of us! This is not exhaustive, but presents a systematic guide for bible knowledge acquisition.

This forms a process and discipline that should run for a lifetime, without relenting, without wavering. Let us follow on to know the Lord, and this we shall do by getting acquiainted with His word, as contained in the bible.
To profit from your bible,you need to dedicate your life to knowing what is in it. I all starts from reading.

READING
I will advise you to start by reading it through,cover to cover. Tall order? But you need to start somewhere. Get a bible you can understand. I recommend the NLT, CEV, The Message, or GNB. NIV is good too. Have a plan to read through the bible in a year. The best time to start is yesterday,the second best time is now. Read it like you would read a novel, or newspaper. Read it without necessarily having to pause to think over what you read. Read, without bothering whether you remember or even understand what you are reading. Remember you are feeding your spirit also, not just your cognitive mind.

As you progress through, you will begin to develop an overview of the whole word of God,then study and meditation becomes more profitable. It’s not as if you cannot study and meditate now, but it becomes easier as you develop and follow a regular pattern of reading. Read the bible like you would read a storybook. I could go on and on, but I need you to grasp this one and internalise it, with a possible commitment to follow through.

A simple reading plan of 4 chapters a day will see you finish the bible before one year expires. As you progress, you can develop the pattern to suit your convenience. It takes a lot of discipline to establish a regular pattern, but even good habits are difficult to break too, once they are formed.

STUDY
To study,you study your bible academically, like you study other books, like your school books, save that you can also add the element of meditation in between the study.

You can study whole books, or chapters, or even verses. Get different translations (never be hooked on only one to the point that you despise others), get commentaries, dictionaries, don’t be afraid of hebrew and greek, just knock yourself out! Find out ways you to make you keep liking the word of God. Get serious with your studies by getting yourself a beautiful notebook or journal.

You can also study biblical topics, like Grace, Love, The Holy Spirit, Evangelism. I will even recommend an initial study on “The Word of God”. That will maybe ginger you more.

You can study bible people,their lives. People like Moses, David, Elijah, Paul, Daniel, Peter, etc can make good study topics. There’s so much to learn, so much to know about, dem no dey ever finish am! There is something in the word of God for everybody. Then also, you must be ready to pay the price.

Now,let’s look at MEDITATION
Meditation is the valid spiritual exercise that makes your profiting apparent to all. To meditate means to ponder, or to think upon. Meditation on the word involves memorising and “chewing on” scripture, more like a ruminant(goat, cow, etc). You take bits of scripture, like “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”- small portions you can easily commit to memory, and then spend time THINKING over it, turning it around in your mind, and exploring all possible meanings. That in itself is a vital way God speaks to us. When you think on the word like that everyday, it takes on whole fresh meanings, and it is a good experience.

You may sit down and spend hours thinking on the word. That’s meditation. You may also in the course of your daily activities be brought to remembrance of a particular word, verse, or verse combinations from different parts of the bible(which you have read, studied of thought about in the recent or distant past) that could suddenly make total meaning to you. You could hit those ‘aha’ moments, where it all suddenly makes sense. That’s also meditation. Meditation is the process that easily converts the logos in minds and spirits into rhema in our hearts concerning our specific situational needs.

So,where you have been reading, please don’t stop. Reading, meditation and study all go hand in hand. You could be very dynamic and flexible to pause and meditate on a passage you were reading, or a part of a topic you are studying, as the Holy Spirit nudges you.
In all your meditations, do develop the habit of keeping an open book and a pen close by, because you’ll be amazed at the things that God will open your eyes to, then you write them down for future reference. You shall be given timeless treasures. Treasures to share with others, treasures to keep for yourself, and treasures that are for some future use. The Lord will surely blow your mind!

Finally,
While all this is important,desire is the key thing. Keep your desire to Know God and to be full of His word, and He will surely satisfy your desires, especially when He sees your heart that you re truly seeking to know Him.

Then also, you must be ready to pay the price. You must redefine your priorities, you must be able to get to a level where reading 10 chapters of the bible a day can be so appealing and delightful. You must be ready to give up anything if it comes in between you and your quest to know God’s word better. I wish you the best .Feel free to ask questions. God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Read the word,
Meditate on the word,
Study the word,
Believe the word,
Speak the word,
Preach the word,
Know the word, then
Do what the word says.

Remain Blessed.

******************************************************************************

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Righteousness is a legal term, which exists only in relation to law. In this case, we speak of divine law, of which God is the perfect standard and source of all that is right. Only a conformity with God’s law can make a man righteous. That doesn’t change, even for the christian, who receives righteousness as a gift. If the gift is righteousness,the fruit thereof will naturally spring forth.
I will approach this subject from the kingdom perspective. Here’s why:

Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Psalm 45:6-7 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.(OR A SCEPTRE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS). Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Psalm 97:2 Clouds and darkness are round about him: RIGHTEOUSNESS and judgment are the habitation of his throne.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but RIGHTEOUSNESS(first), and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
*Capital emphases and parentheses are mine. Righteousness comes before peace. That’s why we cannot have real peace on earth, until the King of Righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu, comes to fulfill his demands of justice, then He will also Reign over earth, even as the Prince of Peace.

The thing is that the Kingdom of God cannot function or operate without Righteousness. Righteousness is the core, or engine that drives the Kingdom and it’s advancement.

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
*Righteousness is a requirement for entry into the Kingdom.

Adding to the Definition of Righteousness, Righteousness is:
To be in alignment(or sync) with Authority(The King)
To be in right standing with Authority
To have correct fellowship with Authority
To be in a right relationship with Authority.

The above are in line with the New Testament teaching of Righteousness. Righteousness includes, but is not limited to justice, honesty, virtue….indeed the KJV calls as just what other morderns call righteous. ie

The just(righteous) shall live by faith.(Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38)

In the Old Testament, it is well established that it takes obedience to the Law for one to be righteous. But in the new Covenant, it doesn’t change, only that it is emphasized that we cannot DO rightly, unless we are MADE right. Therefore righteousness has to become our BEING, before it can become of our CHARACTER/DEEDS. The Law is within our hearts, which we obey, by the motions of the Spirit within. I deal with this aspect of law in THE LAW OF GOD.

Remember, we’re human be-ings, not human do-ings.

Therefore unless we are right beings before God, all our “rightness before him is as filthy rags, Isaiah says.

However, it is expected that he who has been made right, ought to make a practice of righteousness, as against a practice of sin, which is characteristic of sinners.

1Corinthians 15:34 AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
True knowledge of God produces the fruit of righteousness. A pawpaw tree cannot bear mangoes. A goat cannot bark like a dog.

The being of righteousness is a gift from God. We are saved by grace through faith. Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. It takes faith to receive the gift of righteousness and the abundance or Grace. Romans 5:17

If therefore it takes faith for us to become righteous, it takes same faith to stay righteous. Therefore, our application of faith to God’s word ought to be a continuous one. For, in the gospel of Jesus is RIGHTEOUSNESS revealed, from faith(a level thereof)to faith(a higher level). As we grow in faith, we grow in our walk in righteousness. Rom 1:17 The very same verse adds the reason: The just(righteous) shall live by faith.

IF THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH, THEN IT TAKES FAITH TO LIVE A RIGHTEOUS LIFE!!!! (I could write this a thousand times over, to pass this point across)

Therefore, quit the struggle with sin. Place your faith in Christ and in His power within. if we can believe God for a healing, and a provision, for our needs to be met, then we may as well believe Him for a life of victory over sin. Don’t give up! Keep believing, and professing by faith, your given victory over sin, in whatever manifestation in your life, will materialise! That’s the attitude, even in the midst of conflicting circumstances. That’s the righteousness consciousness.

Our righteous nature should produce a righteous conscience, and then, a righteous culture. From the nature, we develop the culture. We be right, then do right, all by faith. Not by might, nor power, not of him that wills, or runs, but of the mercies of God available in grace through Faith.

Amen.

Nine

Posted: October 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

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A SHORT APOLOGETIC

Whoever questions the existence of God must be Infinitely knowledgeable. That will qualify him to deny the existence of an Infinitely knowledgeable Being, and will stand as correct.

In other words, it will only take God to deny the existence of God.

This means that no one with finite capabilities can question the existence of another with Infinite capabilities, and be universally correct.

The bible has a word for such people who dare such feats-FOOLS.

See Psalm 14:1

You cannot deny the reality of meaning, and assume that your denial is meaningful.

THE HYMNS OF YESTER-CENTURIES

HYMNODY! If the church must not let go of a tradition, it should be the tradition of singing hymns.

Sometimes, I mean CERTAIN MOMENTS I just feel we make TOO MUCH NOISE in church these days! That’s just a feeling, which does not last. I like loud sound too, you know. In fact, I mostly like my music hitting the walls- BOOM!

But these hymns, I think we should sing more of ’em these days. Today’s lyrics tend to fall far short in quality, when compared to some of those timeless pieces of poetry put to song of those years. Those days, more attention was paid to the words. Now, all we seem to wanna do is clap, dance and shout, and play it out loud(not bad things to do either).

There are times, I just wanna meditate on those hymns in silence and stillness. They are so full of life!

While not discounting the value of the loud and boisterous songs we sing and dance to today, we must not ignore the poise, power and awesome revelation of those age old lyrics, many of which contemporary artistes have resung. Long and slow may be boring to peeps, but those songs have lasted ages. Can we say same of contemporary mordern music which were released 10-20 years ago?

THE MARY-MARTHA SAGA IN 21ST CENTURY CHURCH LIFE

The tyranny of today’s world is it’s frighteningly cunning way with which it keeps us all busy doing nothing! And church, for the most part, has copied the world. Setting up systems and structures around God’s movements lead in the end to machinery that are primed to keep on running, even long after the Spirit and Glory of the Lord may have departed. For the most, we have Ichabod church systems, running like the mighty machine of religion that it is. Nobody stops to ask the relevant questions. Indeed no one asks where the Lord is. Few have chosen the needful thing…

It is with a deep sense of sadness and pain I recount my visit to a particular church, where all the workers had the perfect corporate touch, with their well trained “customer-service” orientation.(I work in the service Industry, I know what it takes to win a customer’s attention). The service was TIGHT. Stage lights all around, state of the art equipment, music ministration that was more like a live recording of an album. Everything on the outside was prim, proper and perfect. But I sensed a dearth in the human touch, the connection of love, warmth, and fellowship that should be the tie that binds Christian hearts.

My heart was so heavy, because many of them which run about, trying to keep this machine running were burnt out, and needed more like a break themselves. You cannot give what you do not have.

I do not intend to point direct fingers, but to draw people’s attention to the dangers that befall our church life, especially if we are not careful. Not to say that there are no people there who are not doing the right things or flowing well. Indeed we are not condemning the tightness, or the sophistication. But the bible says one thing is needful. We all tend to miss that one thing from time to time, myself included.

For the records, I have not even heard the pastor speak; He wasn’t in church that day, his wife spoke. But I could not help the ‘uptightness’ of the atmosphere, like everyone was too busy doing something, and there was this kinda ‘pressure to deliver results’ feeling I got. It was a first impression that left much to be desired. I am not invalidating the man or his ministry, or what he teaches. I have no right to do so.

I checked the observation with my friend who invited me there, and he confirmed my observations to my surprise. Then I actually wondered how many more situations like this we may have in churches around, within and outside the country.

We have a lot to learn from that congregation in terms of applying the professional touch and doing things with excellence. But, we also have to learn that the walk is always more important than the work, and that the people come before the processes. That’s what aches my heart.

If Jesus could teach in an atmosphere where Martha was working, it was still possible for Mary to sit and hear the words of the great Teacher. Indeed the presence of great and anointed teachings from the pulpit will still not stop people from running about, doing ‘protocol’, and then missing from that needful and important part. We seem to be turning our peeps more into Marthas than we should let them just be Marys!

I have also belonged to a church that was entirely PROGRAM DRIVEN! We had little or no time for ourselves. Every level of the organisation had something lined up, and as we finish from one, we jump straight to the other. That kind of schedule, combined with the demands of my day job, did help to stifle my growth, and destabilise the inner poise in my spirit.

Where you stop attending some of these programs, you re easily seen as backsliding and unserious, as one who puts hand on plough and is looking back. Brethren will make you feel so miserable by the things they say to you. Yet, you cannot even set a day aside to spend with the Lord. Just PROGRAM PROGRAM PROGRAM. And most of these programs are organised, not with the primary intent of touching lives, but for raising money. Then those who will not give to meet the needs of the church and other needy, they will give to meet their greedy and selfish ambitions. Alas!!!

Add to that mix a situation where the word is not preached in all sincerity, and we have a prosperity-mongering ministerial class. Then they get you to give, both willingly and out of strife. Different kinds of offerings. The saints are worn out, burnt out, and are not even well fed! That was my experience. I had to run for my life, like one gasping for fresh air.

THE CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE TO SUFFERING.

Let me be categorical that the Christian who denies suffering in this life is living in denial. That is a painful state of delusion, which is based on the syndrome of selectively applying the scriptures, and creaming them into what fits our “enjoyment-prone” psyche. What about suffering? Is a Christian permitted to suffer? If yes, what kind of suffering? If not, why not?

Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 

1Co 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but SUFFER ALL THINGS, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 

Let us look at 2 Corinthians a bit:

2Co 11:23-28 “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”

Having no controversy as to whether Christians suffer persecutions, what about the shipwreck, the long, and tedious journeyings, the perils of waters and robbers, the weariness and painfulness, the hunger and thirst, the forced fastings, etc. Paul suffered these too, for the sake of the gospel, and they are not the same as persecution, unless you have another definition of persecution. So, if believers are only permitted to suffer persecution, what then do we say about Paul’s case? not to talk about his “thorn in the flesh”, which was something he obviously had to suffer.

Jesus says that if an man must be his disciple, he must deny himself, then in addtion, take up his cross and follow him. This also means forsaking certain comforts in order to be on duty for the Lord. The idea that christians are not meant to suffer at all is totally unscriptural, my brother.

The bible says In all these things, we’re more than conquerors.

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 

Rom 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Note it says,”IN ALL THESE THINGS”, not ‘from all these things’, or ‘over all these things’.

This means that whatever we go through today, no matter how disadvantaged we may look on the outside, in Christ, we are victors, and the things we go through will never separate us from the love of Christ. You cannot experience God’s victory if you do not experience the conflict. There can be no healing if there is no sickness. The Word does not exclude us from experiencing these things. It only tells us that we have victory in the midst of it all. It is God himself that brings us through the water and through the fire(Psalm 66:12). God never stops us from walking through the fire, but He promised He will always be with us “IN ALL THESE THINGS” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but please note that there can be no suffering without endurance, for PATIENCE is synonym to ENDURANCE, which is rendered as LONG-SUFFERING in the bible. So, if LONGSUFFERING is a fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22), and charity suffereth long(1 Cor 13:4), then don’t cream the scriptures! People suffer in this life, whether they choose to call it suffering or not. We are not insulated from the troubles of this life. We only have the promise of the Word of God that we are overcomers in every situation.

Jas 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 

Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

The experience of Job in the bible is not for decoration, and we are counselled to follow his example by James here.

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

Without prejudice to the above, the only thing a Christian CANNOT suffer is DEFEAT. However, the definition of our victory over the world (which is our faith) must come into perspective. I have posted before that none of us can have uncluttered joy in this life.

For as much as we walk in our blessings and victories in Christ, we cannot be oblivious to the plight of the dying world around us. The divine compassion of the heart that’s been touched by God’s grace MUST reach out, not minding the discomforts, the pains, the inconveniences. Yes, for his sake, we forego pleasures, and place ourselves in harm’s way, so as to get the good news of the kingdom to another soul out there who needs it’s life. We embrace death everyday, so that God’s life may be born in another.

This is not to say that we are meant to cower under the adversities of this life, and bow to sickness, and poverty, and all forms of circumstances that spell defeat. We are not a defeated people. In all these things(not always over them, but in the midst of them), we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS!!! That’s why the only thing we cannot suffer is defeat.

For the sake of the kingdom, we may willingly choose to subject ourselves to adversities, but these things NEVER DEFEAT US. We get up and get going, because we have a mandate to fulfil. Jesus told Peter to Feed his lambs, tend his sheep, and feed his sheep in John 21. He further went to describe how that road will turn out to be, as he proceeds to do his Lord’s bidding. This tells us that when it comes to the Master’s work, we count it all joy, and take pleasure in sufferint for his sake. And the suffering, being not of persecution by men, but also the hardness and hardships we encounter in the line of duty. We rejoice in all that.

For anyone who thinks that serving the Lord is a walk in the park, with only the rewards to enjoy, ought to learn from the natural things of this life. Even the richest and most comfortable people in this life do have sorrows and challenges, more than we may imagine. For to whom much is given, much is expected. And we have been given this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the glory may be of God, and not of us. Such a person ought to mature in the way of service

Now whether it be persecution only or not, the truth remains that he who is in Christ Jesus is not only given life eternal, but is given also to suffer for His sake. And we must never down play the concept of having the fellowship of His sufferings, just because it is not a pleasant thing to experience.

Eight

Posted: January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

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FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT IN THE CHURCH.

Fun & Entertainment may have its place in our socio-cultural fabric as humans, and agreed, God’s people are allowed to have fun, relax, and laugh. Indeed we are commanded to Rejoice evermore.

But at what expense? Where do we draw the line?

Of course, we must see that the gospel is a life and death issue, which is NOT a laughing matter at all. Indeed the comedy thing is just an example amongst others, including music, dancing, drama, and other stage performances. The idea of sheer mockery, and coarseness of the jokes in “gospel comedy” seem to ridicule the faith, more than promote it. I can relate to people sing the word, and act the word, but I fear we may just be getting carried too far with the performance-based nature of these things, and forget that the kingdom of God and church are not spectator events. Everyone is called to be part of it.

Truth is that most of us are simply “having a good time” in the era of Jesus’ imminent return, millions/billions are pouring into hell, indeed few preach and hear the message of repentance, holiness, righteousness, walking in the Spirit, sanctification, etc,etc,etc. This is the exact replica of “the days of Noah…”

Categorically condemning these things will place me at a very dangerous extreme, where I may be seen as throwing away the baby with the bath water. But I must risk that to tell the truth: We have been exalting the packaging over the content. Indeed, we seem to have forgotten the content of our message, and exult over the packaging thereof.

If souls are not saved, and lives are not edified, then there’s no point at all…I read a quote, which says amongst other things, our pressing need today is the “old time religion, not the showtime religion”.

When Paul said that in the last days, men will be lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God, he did not imply that pleasure in itself is wrong, or sinful. He actually meant that anything that takes us away from loving God must be done away with. I know that God’s got a sense of humor, and that he really wants to see us rejoice always, in outward expressions that glorify him. But to love anything over and above the Lord is idolatry.

We can, do, and will have reasons for joy and laughter, but we DARE not make a ministry out of it(as some have been perceived to do), for the sake of it. I remember Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 that “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”

It is godly sorrow that leads to repentance, and not “godly laughter”. Laughter and mirth only benefits the soul, there’s no scripture that points out that it benefits the spirit. Hear me again, there’s nothing spiritual about laughter. Laughter is a symptom of happiness. It is joy, the oil of life, that cuts to, through and from the spirit man.

Indeed, we can do real worship without having to sing, dance, clap, etc etc. The media is only the media. We must reach God’s heart in the midst of all these, and be bold to jettison the media if it prevents rather than enhances spiritual edification. We must re-order our priorities in the kingdom of God. Kingdom Business is SERIOUS business, and we must watch our drive to please people’s flesh by offering them a ‘user-friendly gospel’

But I hope my folks will still smile with me, after saying this…

For the sake of emphasis, I say again that We must re-order our priorities in the kingdom of God. Kingdom Business is SERIOUS business, and we must watch our drive to please people’s flesh by offering them a ‘user-friendly gospel’

I really still wonder how laughter and the godly sorrow that brings about repentance will mix. Scriptures cannot be broken.

How may we define “clean jokes”, or “holy jokes”?

At what extent may we separate an honest joke from mockery/scorn? Who draws the line? For “Blessed is he who sits not in the seat of the scornful?”

Under what scriptural classification shall we place the “Comedy ministry”? Apostolic? Prophetic? Evangelistic? Pastoral? Didactic? Exhortational? See, we have become too much like the world, copying its patterns to the point that church is now a spectator event, where one person amuses the crowd, and at the end, we say”we were blessed”.

How were we blessed? The choir sang beautifully. The band played well. the preacher preached well. I “enjoyed” the sermon. We have almost completely lost the spiritual indices by which we tell how God is dealing with us in our walk with him. We are so infected by the “superstar syndrome”, that we can no more tell the difference between entertainment and edification. It’s really all about performance, and nothing about penitence.

WAKE UP, O PEOPLE OF ZION!!! This is not about finding a cure for depression. This is the exact opposite of depression. It is mania. The cause of depression is not the lack of laughter. It is the lack of joy. I tell you, Joy knows when to manifest in laughter, and when to submit in repentance, for indeed everlasting joy, the joy of salvation is the product of godly sorrow.

Is any merry? let him sing psalms. So, we’re not against merriment and laughter. We cannot use the world’s methods to win them over to Christ. God’s ways will always be foolish to the world.

Hear Jesus teach:

Luk 6:20-26 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. 

Now, that and several, even the deepest truths of scripture cannot be preached and taught in the atmosphere akin to “A night of a thousand laughs” ha ha ha ha! Laughing is not the issue, but what makes you laugh? If we need someone to come up and crack jokes before we can relax and laugh IN CHURCH, then something must have happened to the wells that are within us. Maybe they are run dry, or stopped altogether.

The greatest relevance we can give the gospel today is not the media through which we preach it, but in our daily lives. Let’s allow the power thereof to be seen in us. Let’s not be hearers only, but doers. Let’s allow it change us, and when people see that change, they’ll want a buy in. 2 Cor 4:3 tells us that our gospel is hid to them that are lost.

Therefore, it is not the packaging of the message that makes it relevant to our day. it becomes relevant when the proofs are made manifest. Where are the testimonies? Yes, the testimonies that have come from preaching, singing, even drama have been heard all around. But I cannot say same for others, even dancing(choreography) or comedy. This is not to outlaw dancing and laughter from our lives. But, the real emphasis here is that we are not expected to be performers seeking to entertain the crowds, while compromising aspects of the message we’re supposed to pass across. We need to preach the whole gospel at all times, and must de-emphasize and do away with media that filters and compromises the content of the message we are preaching.

Christians are not meant to be dull, and boring people, lacklustre, with no real reason for living. Now, if you are talking with ‘a kind of gospel you grew up with’ that projects Christians to be dull and boring, then something’s got missing.

The gospel is the one message that reunited us with God. The gospel is boring to those who are perishing, but very enjoyable to those being saved- enjoyable not in terms of human definition, for the things of God are foolishness to the world, and God has forever ordained the foolishness of preaching to be the means by which the gospel is spread. Everything I said here is validly and solidly backed up by scripture.

What then does it mean not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind? Are we admitting that, for us to keep people in church, we need to “import” the very things that take them out of church? Are we now seeing gospel music and “comedy” as the in-house alternative for the secular stuff that goes on outside? Are we now trying to ‘help’ God to do His own convicting work in people’s hearts?

Is this not the type of gospel that will bring in Kanye West to church to minister to the youth in a youth programme? So, we have reduced the power of the gospel to a religious bore that needs the assistance of “secular-like” entertainment in order to keep the crowd in church? Is this not the type of gospel that will make people avoid churches without musical instruments, airconditioning, comfortable parking spaces and chairs? Where fun and laughter are externally sourced, these things become too important, but where joy within flows like a river, WHO CARES whether the music is good or not? Or about the tushed-up ambience? or the disco-lights and concert-style church services? Jesus says, ‘wash the inside of the cup,and the outside will be clean also” This means that if we stick to the real gospel message, then we shall have veritable means to preach it. But, if we are only focused on keeping the people in church, then we may have forsaken the Fountain of living waters.

And finally, if in the first place, church has become boring, then the reason is not a lack of entertainment or fun. It is a lack of God’s presence. In His presence is fulness of JOY. At his right hand, pleasures forevermore.

We do not need programmes to “generate” laughter, or “prompt” people to laugh in church. It ought to come naturally, as a response of praise and worship, a joy-filled offering in love to our Lord. Any outside that will surely need another edition of the Holy Scriptures. That is the witness we can give to the seekers coming in. For, if they come to church and see it done the way it is done out there, what’s the difference?

Alright then, let’s have them laugh their way into the kingdom. Maybe some of us were actually laughing loudly at our sins and were amused when we were giving our lives to the Lord. Fine. Let’s all have a good laugh at all this!!! We are now converting talent to ministry, so that we do not lose our people to the world. but I do challenge all that oppose my submission to bring sound scripture that encourages Fools and Jesters(yes, not to insult, but to actually show that this was the name given to those who amused the courts of the medieval kings) to have the floor and charge the people of God into laughter.

But frankly, I adjure you all to consider the context of my initial post, and know that I am no enemy of laughter and fun. And I will repeat again:

Categorically condemning these things will place me at a very dangerous extreme, where I may be seen as throwing away the baby with the bath water. But I must risk that to tell the truth: We have been exalting the packaging over the content. Indeed, we seem to have forgotten the content of our message, and exult over the packaging thereof.

Seven

Posted: August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Friends and Brothers/sisters, welcome to Rhemabytes 7. Freely disagree with me on any point. Let iron sharpen iron, and let our spirits be edified. Let brotherly love continue…

THE CULTURE OF OUR FAITH, AND IT’S RELEVANCE IN THE 21st CENTURY.

This is from a discussion about how other religions do enforce and translate their faiths into societal cultures, norms and practices. It’s about whether Christians should seek to legislate our faith, and enforce our principles into state policies. Is our agenda to infiltrate politics, technology, economics, business, and enthrone righteousness? My submission:

The last time Christianity was a “state religion”, it became fraught with a lot of compromise. We must learn from History that the kingdom of God cannot mix with the kingdoms of this world. There’s no meeting place for the 2 kingdoms, no room for negotiations. Our agenda nonetheless, our kingdom is not of this world, and seeking to make this world more comfortable for “Christianity” actually tends from a tall order to an attempt to get the world to like us. We must preach the gospel as it is, and save as much as we can, for the time is short.

Think about Constantine, and the resultant Roman Catholic Empire, up to the middle ages of the crusades and the inquisitions…then think today about our tendency to want to influence govt. policies with Christian principles.(not a bad initiative in itself, but has limited temporal results)

Even on a larger scale, the example of the American dream, which was birthed and founded by godly people. But today, that dream has been hijacked by godless men, seeking to do only things that are abominable.

We must face it. Such initiatives, being laudable, and of good value to the Kingdom, do lose their momentum when the godly man is replaced by an ungodly man. Then the foundations laid by the godly will be destroyed. It’s as temporary as the present world in which we all find ourselves. The real takeover is not now. Our kingdom is not of this world.

For the now, our duty is to preach the gospel, and increase Kingdom influence in men’s hearts IN PREPARATION for the takeover.

Whatever positions of influence we are “taking over” today is but an opportunity to influence people to righteousness. Such opportunities should not be viewed as permanent. Despite that, we shall give account of such opportunities. Remember Esther, becoming queen “for such a time as this”? This is, because, the world in which we live is naturally averse to righteousness, and will soon fold up anyway.

Christ took back our dominion over the earth, but we have not yet entered into the fulness thereof. Our mandate to “occupy till he comes” does not primarily speak of occupying spaces or territories, but an occupation of “getting busy” for the Kingdom. The Kingdom is at hand, is coming, and will yet come. We’re not yet in the fulness. When that time comes, then we will begin to rule with our King all over the earth.

Today’s doctrines in this area seems to give the idea that the kingdom will gradually gain influence over the earth, and begin to conquer, and influence people, till all the earth is won for the Lord. That’s not true. We are in the days when iniquity shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold. Only a definite, sudden and imminent return of the Lord will turn things around completely and righteousness will be enthroned on the earth.

Christianity is a culture, a holy nation, called out ones from the nations of the earth. It is actually an exclusive community, meant to function in love, open to, but not influenced by the outside world, and will not compromise to worldly patterns and standards. If we will get to function as that community, and we will become that, there shall be a serious backlash from the world around us. Such was the case of 1st Century Church. 

The world really hates us, and will do all it can to keep us disunited, unable to come together to achieve kingdom mandate as we should on the earth. Babylon system will not sit with folded arms and watch the church begin to establish godly policies and righteous principles on earth. The more we become united on earth, the more we will become distinct and repulsive to the world. For then, they will not be able to deny our results and effectiveness, but will hate us still.

My true point is that Christianity cannot enforce a culture which the rest of the world will endorse. They will come persecuting. 

And, interestingly, we’re heading there…

The impact we shall have as a church is not to be realised by a planned and thought out “infiltration” of the systems of government, commerce, business, and other establishments(in order to promote righteousness). Though we may find ourselves in such privileged positions of influence, we may do well to use such for the advantage of the Kingdom.

Our lifestyle and culture, like I have spoken of before is too distinct and in a class beyond this present world. it is such that the world, in its gross darkness shall not comprehend us, and will naturally be hostile to us. No matter how culturally up-to-date we become, and how upgraded we become to the 21st century model, there will still be the system that seeks to destroy and pull down all that is of God. We will have the gay-rights, the atheists, and those who will outlaw and ban public prayers. 

The world is hostile to God, and the church, and will not sit back and watch the church become a powerful force to reckon with. As long as we look divided, we will not accomplish our goal, the devil thinks.

But the times we live in speaks of itself. We shall soon witness the Emerging generation of God’s Unstoppable church. When that generation comes, everything we speak of here, so passionately shall be manifested in a dimension that’s far greater than what our hearts perceived, our minds conceived, or our eyes envisioned. We shall then become in stark reality, A HOLY NATION, within, but distinct from the world. We shall fully operate as the Embassy of Heaven, with God’s authority in whatever we do.

And since we cannot as a church enforce a culture on the earth in these days that the rest of the world will endorse, the war for the souls of men shall assume another dimension. Persecutions will increase, but our effect will not be in doubt. Whatever political and economic leverage we shall enjoy for the kingdom’s sake shall be because of the spiritual leverage we would have attained.

I speak not of this as a wish, but with a persuasion that comes from the prophetic scriptures- THE GLORY OF THE LATTER HOUSE.

I know that some see eternity from the standpoint of today, but I cannot help but see today within the context of eternity.