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The urgency of ministry

Jesus answered, neither has this man sinned nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in Him. I must work the works of Him while it is still day: the night comes when no man can work. As long as I’m in the world, I’m the light of the world. (John 9:3-5)

In these words of Christ, we find profound insights: First, Christ sees a man who had been born blind, and contrary to the presumptions of his disciples, he reveals to us that God had chosen the man to show forth His works. This is sovereign grace. Let’s note that Christ did not say, “That the works of God should be made manifest in such” else that would have meant every physically deformed person would be an object of God’s manifest glory but that’s not the case. Christ was saying that God, by His sovereign grace, has chosen this man to show forth His works.

The next thing we see is that Christ says, “I must work the works of Him while it is still day: the night comes when no man can work.” By connecting this verse with the previous one, it becomes clearer. “…That the works of God should be made manifest in Him. I must work the works of Him while it is still day…” Christ seemed to say that he had been sent by God to manifest God’s work in the lives of men. And to answer the next obvious question, “what work?” Christ says “As long as I’m in the world, I’m the light of the world.” So we see that Christ had come to shine forth His light to men; to give sight to the spiritually blind; so he uses a physically blind man to reveal to us the works of God. Apostle Peter tells us we have been called out of darkness into the God’s marvelous light (1st Peter 2v9). This is God’s work. He further buttressed this in a later verse  “And Jesus said for judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind”(John 9v39)

Yet we see another interesting thing, Christ says the work of God must be done “while it is still day”. We must understand that Christ speaks contextually when he uses the word “day”, hence we must be careful not to interpret this statement literally as to mean that the work of evangelism should only be carried out in day time. In John 3, we see that Christ preached the gospel to Nichodemus at night. Also, in Romans 13, Apostle Paul uses the term “day” in the context of the day of Christ’s appearing by saying that “the night is far spent”(v12); so he charges us to “walk honestly as in the day” (v13). Christ was therefore speaking in the context of his physical presence on the earth as if to say, “I must do the works of Him who sent me while I’m still in the world. For as long I’m in the world, I’m the light of the world”.

If we bring this to bear on our lives as Christians, it would be clear to us that, as Christ as said in Matthew 5: we are the lights of the world and we are to let our lights shine before men that they may see our good works and give glory to God. This light is not some stardom, or some earthly achievement, it is Christ. And we must shine forth this light that men may see the glory of God and glorify Him. And this work must be done while it is still day-while we are still here. Let us therefore shed every cloak of complacency and trust the LORD to ignite in our weary hearts His fire that we may boldly declare Christ and the good news of God’s kingdom. We must not rest until every part of our being is charged with the passion to do the Lord’s work.

May the LORD help us as we call on Him.

Amen.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Religion

 

A disciple or a mere professor?

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8v32)

Tonight let’s pay attention to these instructive words of our Lord. It would be wrong for us to think that merely believing the message of salvation or on the person of Christ would suffice in our profession of discipleship. From the text above, we see that certain Jews heard the sayings of Jesus and believed Him. Then He said to those people, ““If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed”. So the key word is abiding. If we must bear fruit as believers, we must abide in Christ. The Lord Jesus buttressed this truth in John 15v4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.

But what does it really mean to abide in Christ? It essentially involves an unbroken fellowship with Christ. We start by believing in Christ and growing in the knowledge of Him in daily sanctification. Every disciple of Christ should be rooted in Christ. This is how we bear fruit as believers. We prayerfully pay attention to the words of Christ and trust Him for the grace to live by His Word. It is important to say here that as we grow in the knowledge of Christ, we become rooted in Him and are able to discern the voice of strangers. There are several voices in the world, but we are able to discern the voice of the master because we know Him. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10v5)

How is it with you tonight? Are you really in Christ or have you been playing the game of religion? Have you become so complacent that the things of God don’t excite you? Are you fully persuaded of your relationship with the LORD? Can your spirit truly bear witness that you abide in Christ? Dear friend, these questions are not intended to throw darts of condemnation at you but to charge you to shed every yoke of complacency, artificiality and the like and with a burning desire pant for the glorious presence of the LORD in your heart. He knocks at the door of our hearts; let us with deep gratitude open the door. Are you burdened with the yoke of sin? Turn form those sins and turn to God(this is what repentance truly means). If not anything, strive to have an unbroken fellowship with the LORD.

God bless!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Religion

 

On having the fear of the LORD

“My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom,and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding,if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” (Prov 2v1-5)

When we think of the fear of the LORD, we may be tempted to think that this has to do with the willful resolution of a man to revere God. We then allow such mindset to drive our conduct, in the sense that we are constantly asking ourselves the question, I shouldn’t do this because I have the fear of God. While it is a biblical truth that those who live righteously have the fear of God, it is important for us to know that the fear of God is actually the outcome of an inward desire to grow in the knowledge of God rather than a resolution to use reverence for God as the means by which our conducts are guided.

The text above tells us that if we are to have the fear of God, we must desire God’s wisdom which gracefully spans His precious word.”My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding…” As we yearn to grow in the knowledge of God, we trust Him to reveal himself through His Word. He pours His wisdom in our hearts. It is this inward work of grace that produces the fear of the LORD and enables us to live righteously. The Psalmist says in Psalm 119v11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You”.

No wonder Paul writes in Colossians 1v9, For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Let’s ponder on this words and trust the LORD to bless our hearts through His precious words.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Religion

 

To the higher Rock…

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalms 61v2b)

The Psalmist understood that the fainting heart of a believer should pant for God; it should not be a time for murmuring or complaining but a time to drink from the higher Rock. Christ is the Rock from which the fountain of living water springs forth to all who’ll drink from Him. In life, we often face many battles that may make us grow weary; and the bible rightly says “Even youths grow tired and weary…”(Isaiah 40v31). However, our sonship in God is evidenced not by the possibility of encountering challenges but by our response to the difficulties that often confront us.

Are you in despair this morning? Do you feel rejected by God? Are you feeling confused in making crucial life decisions? Have you been abandoned by those closest to you? Cheer up! God has not forsaken you. “He has said I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13v5) This is an indubitable promise! The faith of the believer is most strengthened in the season of adversity. Don’t fall into the trap of coercing God to prove his love by changing your circumstances. He loves you regardless. He’s fully aware of the situation: the pains, the struggles etc. Don’t murmur or complain; Instead, thank Him because He has loved you with an everlasting love and His banner over you is love. Bless Him because your circumstances will develop the graces of the Holy Spirit in your life. Don’t thwart the gracious work of God in your life by reason of your anxieties.

Dear reader, God’s grace is ever sufficient. Don’t lose heart; be like the Psalmist who’ll ascend unto the holy hills of God to seek His face. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”. Isn’t this amazing? God expects that we submit ourselves to his will in humble recognition of our weakness and insufficiency. He has promised to “show himself strong in the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards Him”.

May the Lord bless His word in our hearts this day.

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in Religion

 

On our transient afflictions

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2nd Corinthians 4:17)

It is important for us as believers to learn to how to respond to difficult situations. God speaks to us in the text above that, first, the afflictions that God allows us to pass through are light. “For our light affliction…” We are told in the book of  1st Corinthians 10:13 that  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  The first response in any moment of trial should be thanksgiving: “Father I thank you because I know that this is a trial that I can bear and that you’ll provide the graces to overcome”.

The next thing we see in the text above is that “the affliction is but for a moment”. This should signal something to our spirit: There is a purpose for which God allows the affliction: It could be to test our faith, to correct us, etc. but one thing is certain: it is but for a moment. In the book of Hebrews 12, we see that the writer admonishes us not to take light the Lord’s discipline because God intends to use such chastisements to correct us and produce the fruit of righteousness.  …but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12v10-NIV). Elsewhere, the Lord speaks to us in James 1v12 (NIV) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” The crown of life spoken of here is used to mean having a share in God’s kind of life.

The third thing we see is that the affliction works for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. God in his mercy and love desires that we share in His glory. As we walk in God’s holiness, we share in His glory. Hence, we see that though no affliction seems pleasant, but God allows us to undergo such difficult situations in order that he may produce in us a life that possesses his glory.

Have you been accepted in the beloved and are distraught about your present trials and temptations? Cheer up! Give thanks to the Lord! Seek his face and trust him to reveal to you the very purpose of the afflictions; and then prayerfully rely on his grace to endure the trials and rely on his inward working power.

Stay blessed in Christ!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Religion

 

Trust in the Lord

 

download (1)“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live…Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him..”(Psalms 37:7b, Genesis 26v2,12-NIV)

One of the staggering realities of life and especially our Christian walk is the fact that we would surely face difficult situations. Many would hardly retain this truth in their heart but the mature believer knows better. In God’s dealings with His children, this is a process that must be undertaken as it: 1.Proves the tenacity of our faith in God and in His precious promises. 2. Strengthens our faith and helps us to develop patience. 3 Checks the very essence of our religion. 4. Enables us to grow in the grace of the Lord, etc.

I must readily admit that it isn’t easy going through such a ‘season’. In fact, there are times, when we, like Isaac, are often tempted to take succour in Egypt. We just can’t bear the difficulty any longer. (It must be stated here that I don’t intend, at all, to limit the scope of this discourse to economic hardship; of course it could also include persecution for righteousness sake, rejection from trusted allies, loss of a loved one etc.).

God’s Word to us today is to trust in Him. We need to be still and wait patiently for Him, bearing in mind that God will never allow us to go through situations that we can’t bear. We need to turn deaf ears to the mounting pressures in the environment that cause to seek alternatives. We must always be rest assured of this, that God is always with us. We may seem abandoned, rejected and left alone; Christ also felt this way(Matt 27:46). But the truth is, God really never leaves us nor forsakes us.

So whenever we are in our season of trials, we need to:1. Pray to the Lord and ask for the grace to bear. 2. Thrust our faith in Him, knowing that God will surely see us through. 3. Strengthen our faith in Him by meditating on His Word and holding on to His precious promises. 4. Stay away from sin(every act of rebellion and disobedience inspired by the devil). 5. Rest in the Lord and see Him work.(Psalm46:10)

No season (good or bad) lasts forever; God is always taking us through both seasons in order that our relationship with Him may be stronger. He’ll always assure us of His presence and overwhelming love. Are you weary? Rest in Him today!

God bless!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Religion

 

Principles of true giving

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The issue of giving has become a pertinent issue that confronts God’s church today for several reasons but the most worrying of all is that many so-called ‘ministers’ see church-giving as a tool for enrichment and self-gratification. And sadly, there are many church goers who have come to believe that the ulterior motive for becoming a minster is to make money. So it’s unsurprising then, when church folks get irate when there’s a call for donations, pledges, ‘sacrifices’, ‘seeds’, etc. This widespread culture, often resulting in the reluctance of folks to part with their hard-earned money, results in many Church leaders striving so hard to make the congregation see why they should give: “it’s an instruction”, “ there is a reward,” etc.  Let’s leave common church practice. What does it mean to truly give? What are the principles of true giving? Thankfully, the Holy Scriptures has consistent answers to these questions.

 

  1. It starts with consecration.                                                                                                                                                                                    “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:5)

Any message of giving without the doctrine of consecration isn’t complete. It must be known that when a person decides to give his life to Christ, they didn’t just come to Christ for forgiveness of sins, but they surrendered their lives; they made a decision to give themselves to God. I readily admit that, in practice, this is not the case with many believers. However, the truth still remains that if we say we belong to Christ, we ought to yield ourselves (including everything we have) to God. We are not holding unto anything as ours anymore. Everything, yes everything now belongs to God. Willful giving, which is often stressed in many church circles, cannot be effectively practiced without consecration. We must come to a point where we truly admit that everything we have is God’s.

David realized this principle. “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”(1st Chronicles 29:14-KJV). This is not a scripture for just mental comprehension; we must sincerely pray that God will help us see that all we have are his.

 

  1. …The heart must always be upright

“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” (1st Chronicles 29v9)

God is pleased to receive our substance when our hearts are upright. We must understand that God is more interested in our heart disposition than in our substance. David rightly conveyed this truth when he said :

“I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.” (1st Chronicles 29:14).

 

  1. …Why are we giving?

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.(1st Corinthians 16v2)

The truth is that if ministers don’t effectively communicate the need for regular collections, church folks are likely  to show an uncooperative response. And sadly, some pastors worsen the situation by making statements like “God is not a beggar. No one should ever put twenty naira in the offering basket. You are not giving to any man but to God”.  A logical response then might be, “If I’m giving to God, leave me to God. Let Him judge me. It shouldn’t be your concern what I give to God.” But we know that such a response does not make sense, so Pastors and Church leaders should ensure that they make their congregation see what the money is used for. It’s not wrong to do this. For instance, in the book of Exodus 35, we see why the Israelites had to give an offering; in 1st Chronicles 29, the Israelites of David’s day gave for the same purpose. When I was in school, I remember the Pastor would tell us that the offering was for the purpose of rental payment. This usually created a sense of responsibility in us and we joyfully gave our offerings-mostly sacrificially. No one was compelled to give.

 

  1. Willful giving then becomes  a consequence

“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” (1st Chronicles 29v9)

Where there are believers who have yielded themselves to God, who are upright in heart and know why they are giving, willful giving is never wanting. Such believers give, not because of what they want to get in return but because their love for God propels them to give selflessly. There would be no need for them to come to the altar for public recognition. God sees them. There would be no need for their leaders to spend quality time hammering on what they’d get in return if they gave ‘sacrificially’. Willful giving has always been God’s way: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. (Exodus 25v2). It’s not about giving out of an abundance of wealth. Paul speaks of the Macedonian church:“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” (2nd Corinthians 8v2).

 

  1. God rewards those who truly give

Even though, for true givers ,reward isn’t the primary motive of giving, nevertheless  we must admit that God is always faithful in rewarding believers who truly give. How God does this in His wisdom and manifold grace cannot be explained. But one thing is sure: if we selflessly give to others in their times of need, God will always provide for us in our times of need. I believe this is what Apostle Paul meant when he said:

“But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philipians 4:18-19-KJV)

May the Lord bless His word in our heart.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Religion

 
 
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