MEMIKORODUROAD

moving every methodist to christ

APOSTLES OF CHRIST:

PeterAndrewJohnJamesPhilip;  Bartholomew;  ThomasMatthew;  James Alphaeus;  Lebbaeus;  Simon ZelotesJudas Iscariot
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CHRISTIAN HOME

8th Oct. 2008,  15th Oct. 200822nd Oct. 200829th Oct. 2008, 
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New Life in Christ Series

NEW LIFE/Christian Life, New BirthEvidence of New LifeNew Heart (1),  New Heart (2)New Power (1),  New Power (2)ForgivenessRestitution (1),  Restitution (2)

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WORKSHOPS

MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN 

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PETER

                                                            2nd April 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  PETER
TEXTS: John 1: 41-42
The name Peter means "stone" or "rock". Simon his original name means "hearer". Clemens Alex. gives the name of his wife as Perpetua.  As "Simon" he was but an hearer; as Peter or Cephas he became an apostle and so a foundation stone of the church, by union to the one only Foundation Rock (Ephe.2:20; 1 Cor. 3:11). Left to nature, Simon, though bold and stubborn, was impulsive and fickle, but became an unshaken and firm believer. His forward energy fitted him to be spokesman of the apostles. So in John 6:66-69, when others went back (2 Tim. 4:10), to Jesus' testing question, "will ye also go away? Simon replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? He repeated this testimony at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:16). Peter was referred to as the apostle of the circumcision, as representing God's ancient church, opens the gates to the Gentiles. Peter though dead remains an uncommon Christian leader of all ages.

1.   THE MAN PETER: John 1:43; 21:16
Peters the son of Jonas (Matt.16:17); tradition makes Johanna his mother's name. He was brought up to his father's business as a fisherman on the lake of Galilee. He and his brother Andrew were partners with Zebedee's sons, John and James. He lived first at Bethsaida, then in Capernaum, in a house either his own or his mother-in-law's, large enough to receive Christ and his fellow apostles and some of the multitude who thronged about Him. (Matt.8:14, 1 Cor.9:5) The Jews obliged their young to attend the common schools. In Acts 4:13, where Luke writes the Jewish council regarded him and John as "unlearned and ignorant," the meaning is not absolutely so, but in respect to professional rabbinical training "lairs," "ignorant" of the deeper sense which the scribes imagined they found in Scripture. Ambrose (Ep. 33) says that at his fellow Christians' solicitation he was fleeing from Rome at early dawn, when Peter met the Lord, and at His feet asked "Lord, where goest Thou?" Jesus replied, "I go to be crucified afresh". On hearing this, Peter turned back to a joyful martyrdom and was also reported to encourage his wife to martyrdom. Clemens Alex. (Strom. 3:448) says that Peter's and Philip's wives helped them in ministering to women at their homes, and by them the doctrine of the Lord penetrated, without scandal, into the privacy of women's apartments. 

 
2.   PETER'S CALLING: Matt.4: 18-20
"In leaving all to follow Christ," he implies he made a large sacrifice (Mark 10:28). His first call was by Andrew his brother, who had been pointed by their former master John the Baptist to Jesus, "behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:36). The call to close discipleship is recorded in Luke 5:1-11. The miraculous draught of fish overwhelmed Simon with awe at Jesus' presence.

 3.   THE EXPLOITS OF PETER:
The rough life of hardship to which fishing inured him on the stormy lake formed a good training of his character to prompt energy, boldness, and endurance. The papal error regards Peter as the rock, in himself officially, and as transmitting an infallible authority to the popes. The "binding" and "loosing" power is given as much to the whole church, layman and ministers, as to Peter (Matt.18:18; Jn 20:23.) Peter exercised the power of the keys only in preaching, as on Pentecost (Acts 2). In the transfiguration he talked at random, (Mark 9:6). Immediately after, he attempted to walk on water to go to Jesus (Matt.14:29). In his enthusiasm, he cut off Malthus' ear and denied Jesus thrice. Peter was the first of the apostles Jesus appeared to (Lk. 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5). Peter in the first 12 chapters of ACTS is the prominent apostle in the ff aspects; before the high priest and council (Acts 4:19-20), Peter's miracle of healing (Acts 3), Ananias, Sapphira, and Simon (Acts 8), laying on of hands the Samaritan converts of Philip the deacon, through the various churches, and raised Aeneas from his bed of sickness and Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:32), outreach to Cornelius (Act 10) etc. Two Epistles were attributed to him.
 
DISCUSSION - Comment on these verses;
1. Matthew 16:16…………………………….        2. John 13:6-8……………………………………....
3. Jn. 13:36-38……………………………….        4. Acts 2:23-24………………………………………
5. 1 Peter. 1:2, 21…………………………….        6. 1 Peter 1:10-11…………………………..............
You and  I are to live a life of faithfulness and dedication as the apostles of old did.
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Andrew

                                                                                                                                             9th April 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
CHARACTER STUDY: ANDREW
TEXT: John 1:44
The name Andrew is of Greek origin (Andreas) meaning, "manly". A fisherman of Bethsaida at the lake of Gennesareth, son of Jonas, Andrew was one of the first two called of the apostles; who in his turn called his brother Simon to Jesus (John 1:35-41). Previously he had been John the Baptist's disciple, and by him had been pointed to Jesus twice as the Lamb of God. Prompt decision for Christ, not levity, led him to obey. A further call took place subsequently and more formally, when, after they had resumed their usual occupation, Jesus found them casting their net into the sea (Matthew 4:18). Void of the boldness and rocklike robustness of Peter's character, which only a few can aspire to, he had that feature which makes him a pattern within the reach of all, a simple, earnest determination in carrying out the dictates of conscience. Another feature in Andrew was, though not so qualified for public usefulness as some, he was as ardent as any to win souls in private to Jesus.

1.  THE  LIFE & TIMES OF ANDREW: Matthew 4:18; 10:2
Andrew the silent Evangelist was one of the twelve apostles. He was the brother of Simon Peter (Jn 1:41). His first care, after he had satisfied himself as the validity of the claims of Jesus was to bring to him his brother Simon. In accompanying Jesus he appears as one of the confidential disciples (Mark 13:3; John 6:8; 12:22). It is supposed that he founded a church in Constantinople, and ordained Stachys, named by Paul (Rom.16:9), as its first bishop. At length, the tradition states, he came to Patrae, a city of Achaia, where AEgeas, the proconsul, enraged at his persisting to preach, commanded him to join in sacrifices to the heathen gods; and upon the apostle's refusal, heordered him to be severely scourged and then crucified.

2.  THE SPECIAL FEATURES OF ANDREW: Jn 1: 40-42
When we admire the foremost apostle through whom 3,000 were added to the church on Pentecost, let us not forget that, without Andrew, Simon would never have become Peter. So well known was his love for souls, that when certain Greeks desired to see Jesus, Andrew was the person to whom Philip brought them. Then he and Philip (the two whose names imply connection with the Greeks; an interesting coincidence, and who had shown their zeal for conversions) brought them to Jesus (John 1:43-46; 12:20-22). Andrew had his faults too; he shared in the disciples' unbelief when Jesus tested their faith, "Whence shall we buy bread that these (5,000) may eat?" (John 6). Andrew answered, "There is a lad here that hath five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Even here he suggests a supply, but with a defective faith. Andrew was one of the four who asked Jesus privately, "When shall these things be, and what is the sign of Thy coming and the end of the world?" Andrew was not elsewhere admitted to the private interviews which Peter, John, and James enjoyed: at the raising of Jairus daughter, the transfiguration, and Gethsemane. In Matthew 10:2 and Luke 6:14 Andrew is next after Peter; but in Mark 3:10; Acts 1:14, after the first and foremost three, Peter, James, and John, and before his Greek-named associate Philip. Tradition makes him after Christ's ascension preach in Scythia; Jerome, in Greece. To make his death the more lingering, he was fastened to the cross, not with nails, but with cords. Having hung two days, praising God, and exhorting the spectators to the faith, he is said to have expired on the 30th of November, but in what year is uncertain. The cross is stated to have been of the form called Crux decussata (X), and commonly known as "St. Andrew's cross;" but this is doubted by some. An apocryphal book, bearing the title of "The Acts of Andrew," is mentioned by Eusebius (3, 25), Epiphanius (Haer. 46, 1; 63:1), and others.

CONCLUSION:
Everyone has a ministry. All of us are unique in our own right and calling. Never envy others but take time to discover God’s calling and gift for your life. (Rom. 12:4-6; 1 Cor. 12:11-12). 
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John

                                                                  16th April 2008

THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST

FOCUS:  JOHN

TEXT:  Luke 5:10, John 1:44

 

John the Apostle popularly called John ‘the Beloved’ was younger than his brother James; being named after him in Matthew and Mark, the earlier Gospels; but Luke (9:28; Acts 1:13), writing when John had gained so much greater prominence in the church, ranks him in the order of church esteem, not that of nature. Youngest of the twelve, probably of Bethsaida upon the Sea of Galilee (Jn 1:44; Lk 5:10), the town of their partners Simon and Andrew, the name John meaning the favor of God, had become a favorite one in the age where there was a general expectation of Messiah, and members of the high priestly families bore it (Acts 4:6). These hints all intimate that John belonged to the respectable classes, and though called by the council "unlearned and ignorant" he was not probably without education, though untrained in their rabbinical lore (Acts 4:13). He is not mentioned as married in 1 Corinthians 9:5, where, had he being so; it would probably have been stated. The seven churches of western Asia were under his special care.

 
1.  THE LIFE & TIMES OF JOHN THE  BELOVED:  John 19:27

Zebedee his father owned a fishing vessel, and had "hired servants" (Mk 1:20). Salome his mother ministered to the Lord "of her substance" (Lk 8:3), and was one of the women who came with Him in His last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem (Lk 23:55; 24:1; Mk 16:1), and after His death bought spices to anoint His body. John's acquaintance with the high priest (John 18:15) had been in early life, for it is not likely it would commence after he had become disciple of the despised Galilean. Hence, probably arose his knowledge of the history of Nicodemus which he alone records. John had a house of his own to which he took the Virgin mother, by our Lord's dying charge (John 19:27). Zebedee's readiness to give up his son at Jesus' call speaks well for his religious disposition. Salome went further and positively ministered to Jesus. Even her ambitious request that her two sons, James and John, might sit on either side of our Lord in His coming kingdom shows that she was heartily looking for that kingdom.

2. THE  EXPLOITS OF JOHN Math. 20:22

John's first acquaintance with the Lord was when John Baptist pointed his two disciples Andrew and John to the Lamb of God. John followed Jesus to His place of sojourn. John probably accompanied Him on His homeward journey to Galilee from Jordan (John 1), and then to Jerusalem (John 2-3), again through Samaria to Galilee (4), and again to Jerusalem (5), for he describes as an eye witness. Tradition referred him as Apostle of love. John as a "son of thunder" (Mark 3:17) was not the soft and feminine character that he is often portrayed, but full of intense, burning zeal, ready to drink the Lord's bitter cup and to be baptized with His fiery baptism (Isa 58:1; Jer. 23:29; Math. 20:22; Lk 12:49-50), impatient of anyone in separation from Jesus' company, and eager for fiery vengeance on the Samaritans who would not receive Him (Luke 9:49,53-54). Nor was this characteristic restricted to his as yet undisciplined state; it appears in his holy denunciations long afterward (1 John 2:18-22; 2 John 7-11; 3 John 9-10). Through his mother, John gained his knowledge of the love of Mary Magdalene to the Lord, which he so vividly depicts (John 20). The full narrative of Lazarus' restoration to life (John 11) shows that he was an eye witness, and probably was intimate with the sisters of Bethany. He and Peter followed Jesus when apprehended, while the rest fled (John 18:15), even as they had both together been sent to prepare the Passover (Luke 22:8) the evening before, and as it was to John reclining in Jesus' bosom (compare Song of Solomon 8:3,6) that Peter at the supper made eager signs to get him to ask our Lord who should be the traitor (John 13:24). While Peter remained in the porch John was in the council chamber (John 18:16-28). John, the Virgin Mary, and Mary Magdalene accompanied the Saviour to Calvary, and to him Jesus committed as to a brother the care of His sorrowing mother. Peter and John were in the same abode the ensuing Sabbath and to them Mary Magdalene first runs with the tidings of the tomb being empty. God used himself and Peter to heal an impotent man at the beautiful gate. Under Domitian (about A.D. 95 AD) John was banished to Patmos (Revelation 1:9, 11) from where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Three Epistles were also attributed to him. He was the only Disciple alleged to have died a natural death at full age

CONCLUSION

John portrayed commitment, dedication, love and passion for his Lord. What about you and I?
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James

                                                                                                                                            23rd April 2008

THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST

FOCUS:  JAMES

TEXT:  Luke 5:10

 

JAMES commonly called jamz, more correctly Jacobus (ja-ko'bus; Grk. Iakobos-Jacob) and the English
form of Jacob. He was the son of Zebedee (Math. 4:21; Mk 1:19; Lk 5:10) and Salome (Math 27:56;
Mk 15:40; 16:1), and the elder brother of John the evangelist (Mk 5:37). James appears first in the sacred
narrative as a fisherman, he and his brothers being partners with Simon Peter (Lk 5:10). When called by
our Lord to be His followers in the spring or summer (A.D. 27), James and his brother responded with an
eagerness that renders them models of obedience (Math 4:21-22; Mk 1:19-20). We find him named
among the twelve who received a call to apostleship (Math 10:2; Mk 3:14, 17; Lk 6:13-14; Acts 1:13).

 

1.   THE LIFE & TIMES OF JAMES:  Lk 6:13-14

James and John were called BOANERGES (Sons of Thunder) on account, probably, of their boldness
and energy in discharging their apostleship, (Mk 3:17) to express their natural character and the grace
which would purify. Their fiery zeal in its un-tempered state appeared in their desiring to call fire from
heaven to consume the Samaritans. In Luke 9:55-56, "ye know not what manner of spirit ye are (not the fiery
judicial spirit which befitted Elijah's times, but the spirit of love so as to win men to salvation, is the spirit of
Me and Mine), for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." Tradition has it that
he died unmarried.

 

2.    GREAT EXPLOITS OF JAMES:  Lk 8:51

James and John with Peter seemed for some reason to be especially fitted to live in close intimacy with the
Master and were with Him on several interesting occasions. They alone were present at the transfiguration
(Math 17:1; Mk 9:2; Lk 9:28), at the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mk 5:37; Lk 8:51), and at the Garden
of Gethsemane during our Lord's agony (Math 26:37; Mk 14:33). With Andrew they listened to the Lord's
private discourse on the fall of Jerusalem (13:3). Through mistaken views of the Messiah's kingdom and an
ambition to share in its glory, they joined in the request made to Jesus by their mother (Math 20:20-23;
Mk 10:35-40). He was among those who abode in the upper room and persevered in prayer; the apostles,
the women, and the Lord's brethren, after the ascension (Acts 1:13). Early tradition had it that through
him the healing of a paralytic and the conversion of Hermogenes were accomplished. He was reported to
have preached the Gospel in Spain. James was the first of the apostles to suffer martyrdom. (Act 12:2).
In A.D. 44 AD, Herod Agrippa I, a pliant politician but strict Jew, "very ambitious to oblige the people, and
not allowing one day to pass without its appointed sacrifice", in consonance with his well known character,
"laid hands on certain of the church." The Passover had brought James and Peter to Jerusalem (Acts 12:1-3).
So he took the opportunity just before the Passover to kill the most fiery of the two first, namely, "James the
brother of John." "The sword" was the instrument of his execution. Clement of Alexandria records a tradition
that James's prosecutor was moved by his bold confession to declare himself a Christian on the spot; he
begged James's forgiveness, and the apostle kissed him, saying "peace be to thee"; they were both beheaded
together.

 

CONCLUSION:

Can you give your life for the sake of the Gospel?
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Philip

                                                                                                                                            30th April 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  PHILIP
TEXT:    Mark 3: 18, Act 1:13

 
INTRODUCTION
The name Philip meaning lover of horses was bore by four men in the New Testament; (i) Philip a disciple of Christ-Matt.10: 3 (ii) A son of Herod the Great and Mariamne, first husband of Herodias (Mtt.14;3); (iii) Philip the tetrarch, a son of Herod the Great by Cleopatra of Jerusalem (Luke 3:1); (iv) Philip the evangelist, one of the seven Deacons chosen to serve table (Act 6:5).  Philip the Disciple of our Lord who is our focus was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee, city of Peter & Andrew (John 1:43-44; 12:21).  He was one of the twelve Apostles of Christ who received divine call to apostleship (Matt 10:3; Luke 6:14). Philip met Jesus beyond the Jordan River during the Ministry of John the Baptist.

1.  THE LIFE & TIMES OF PHILIP- Matt.10: 3, 14: 3
Philip responded immediately when Jesus called him to become his disciple; he also
brought another disciple to Jesus named Nathanael (John 1:43-51) or Bartholomew (Mark 3:18). As a new convert of Christ who had no deep understanding of his new found faith, Philip was a renowned witness. He never bordered to argue with his prospect (intending convert-Nathanael), but lovingly invited him to the Saviour-‘Come & see’. Philip is usually mentioned with Nathanael. Tradition had it that he was a brother to Nathanael.  In addition, Philip was one of the Apostles who received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at the Upper Room after the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:13).  Philip was called to be among the constant followers and attendants of Christ who were sent abroad to preach the gospel. Matt. 10: 7

2.  THE EXPLOITS OF PHILIP – John 12:21-22
Philip brought certain Greeks, who had come to Jerusalem to worship at the Feast of Passover, who said, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus" (John 12:21). He first told Andrew, and then they told Jesus of the request. Philip also assisted in caring for the multitude that were miraculously fed by Jesus with five barley of bread and two fishes. Jesus had asked Philip where bread could be bought to feed the marmot crowd. Philip began to calculate the food it would take to feed them and the cost (John 6:5-7).  In another occasion, he asked Jesus to show him the father (John 14:8-9).  Popular tradition had it that, Philip laboured in upper Asia and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis in Phrygia.  He was scourged, thrown into prison and afterwards crucified in AD. 54.

CONCLUSION
'They, who go on with vigour and zeal in the work of God, must expect to meet with hindrances, both from the groundless disaffection of their enemies, and the mistaken affections of their friends, and they have need to stand upon their guard against both.’
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Bartholomew

                                                                                                                                             14th May 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  BARTHOLOMEW
TEXT:    Luke 6: 14

INTRODUCTION
Bartholomew meaning gift of God (same meaning with Nathanael) was commonly known to be son of Tolmai an apostle of Christ (Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14). Many Scholars equated Bartholomew with NATHANAEL (John 1:45-49), but no proof of this identification exists, except by inference and he was commonly said to be the brother of Philip.  He was commissioned with other eleven disciples to “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” to preach the gospel to them (Mk.10:5-6).

1.   THE LIFE & TIME OF BARTHOLOMEW- Matt.10: 3
Jesus was long alone with God continued a whole night in meditation to carefully chose His disciple among whom Bartholomew was one. If we agree with the assumption that he was Nathanael; then he was the one introduced to Jesus by Philip (John 1: 45-49). Nathanael was skeptical that any good thing could come from Nazareth. Jesus found in him sincerity and truthfulness (Jn. 1: 47). He was a great instrument in God’s hand.

2.  THE EXPLOITS OF BARTHOLOMEW
-Lk 6: 14, Act 1: 13
Bartholomew, through a silent evangelist was used greatly by God to make a positive impart. Tradition had it that he gave a wonderful gift as the meaning of his name to translate the gospel of Matthew into India language. He was a missionary to various countries, such as Armenia and India. He is reported to have preached the gospel along with Philip and Thomas. Bartholomew was crucified upside down after being flayed alive. Another Commentator alleged that, The "Martyrdom of Bartholomew" states that he was placed in a sack and cast into the sea. Another version said he suffered crucifixion with his head downward at Albanopolis, in Armenia Minor (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. III, 2:20).

CONCLUSION:
Men like Bartholomew could not be forgotten for their indelible marks and imprint on  the shore of the World. What would you be remembered for/ of?
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Thomas

                                                                                                                                           21st May 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
F
OCUS:  THOMAS
TEXT:   
Matt.10:3, John 20:24
Thomas which means twin in English and Didymus in Greek (John 20:24) who is popularly called the doubter was one of the disciple of Jesus Christ (Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15). Commentators said that in the Bible days, it was customary for Jews to take a Greek or Latin name similar to their own when going to a foreign land or having much intercourse with Greeks or Romans. Thomas was present at the raising of Lazarus of Bethany from the death.  He lived with other Apostles in Jerusalem. He appears three other times in the Gospel of John. Except for the listing of the disciples, Thomas does not appear in the other three gospels.

1.  THE LIFE & TIMES OF THOMAS:  Lk.6:15
Thomas, the cautious, susceptible, even doubtful Apostle was so committed to Jesus that he wanted to die with Him, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" (John 11:16); when Jesus made known his intention to go into Judea, where only a short time before the Jews had threatened to stone Him. After the resurrection, Thomas followed six other disciples including Peter to fish on the Sea of Galilee with when Jesus signaled to them from the shore and told them where to cast their net (John 21:2).  He was also one of the 120 disciples who received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at the upper room after the ascension of Christ (Act 1:13-14). He was supposed to live and laboured spiritually in India and won converts for Christ. There, idol Priests tortured him with red-hot plates then cast him into an oven which had no effect on him. They then pierced him with spears while in the furnace until he died.

2.  THE DOUBTING THOMAS:   John 20:2
Thomas is best known for his skepticism on Jesus resurrection.  He forever earned the name "doubting Thomas” for his inability to believe. Thomas was absent when Jesus first appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. Upon hearing of the appearance, Thomas said, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). Eight days later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, including Thomas. He was invited by Jesus to touch the nail prints and put his hand into His side. Thomas' response was, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Many professed Christians today are worse doubters.

CONCLUSION:
Thomas the doubter became a mouth piece for Jesus. God wants to make use of me as well.
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Matthew

                                                                                                                                           28th May 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  MATTHEW
TEXT:    Matt.10:3

Matthew the apostle and evangelist is mentioned in the 4 catalogues of the apostles in Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13, though his place is not constant in this list, varying between the 7th and the 8th places and thus exchanging positions with Thomas. The name means "gift of Yahweh". Before his call to the apostolic office, his name was Levi. The identity of Matthew and Levi is practically beyond all doubt, as is evident from the predicate in Matthew 10:3; and from a comparison of Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27 with Matthew 9:9. Mark calls him "the son of Alphaeus" (Mark 2:14), although this cannot have been the Alphaeus who was the father of James the Less; for if this James and Matthew had been brothers this fact would doubtless have been mentioned, as is the case with Peter and Andrew, and also with the sons of Zebedee.

1.  THE LIFE & TIMES OF  MATTHEW:  Mark 3:18
The disciple Matthew was a Customs’ Officer (Matt. 10:3) in Capernaum, in the territory of Herod Antipas, Matthew was not exactly a Roman official, but was in the service of the tetrarch of Galilee, belonging to the class called portitores, serving under the publican, or superior officials who farmed the Roman taxes. As such he must have had some education, and doubtless in addition to the native Aramaic must have been acquainted with the Greek. His ready acceptance of the call of Jesus shows that he must have belonged to that group of publicans and sinners, who in Galilee and elsewhere looked longingly to Jesus (Lk 7:34; 15:1). The period of Christ's ministry when he was called does not appear with certainty, but evidently he unlike the first six among the apostles did not enter the group from among the pupils of John the Baptist. The readiness with which Matthew obeyed the call of Jesus seems to show that his heart was still open to religious impressions. We find in Luke 6:13, that when Jesus, before delivering the Sermon on the Mount, selected twelve disciples, who were to form the circle of his more intimate associates, Matthew was one of them. On a subsequent occasion (Luke 5: 29), Matthew gave the parting entertainment to his friends. After this event he is mentioned only in Acts 1:13. (A.D. 29).

2.  GREAT EXPLOITS OF MATTHEW:   Matt.11:19
Tradition states that he preached for 15 years in Palestine after the death of Jesus and that after this he went to foreign nations, the Ethiopians, Macedonians, Syrians, Persians, Parthians and Medea being mentioned. He is said to have died a natural death either in Ethiopia or in Macedonia. The stories of the Roman Catholic Church that he died the death of a martyr on September 21 and of the Greek Church that this occurred on November 10 are without any historical basis.

CONCLUSION
The promptness at which Matthew responded to the call of God is commendable. Matthew left the old life of bribery for godliness. What a challenge to us?
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James Alphaeus

                                                                                                                                            4th June 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  JAMES ALPHAEUS
TEXT:    Matt.10:3
James (the Greek form of Jacob, meaning, supplanter) our case study was the son of Alphaeus. Matthew's father was also named Alphaeus, but it was another Alphaeus. This was a very common name. In its Hebrew form it may be pronounced Alphi or Clephi. In its Arimaean form it is Chalphai. So in the New Testament we sometimes find it Alphaeus, and again Cleopas, or Clopas. The apostle James is thought by some to be our Lord's brother and by others to be his cousin; but he is probably neither. This apostle was also called JAMES THE LESS (Mt 15:39); probably because he was younger than the son of Zebedee. He must not be confounded with James the Lord's brother, who, though called an apostle by Paul, was not one of the twelve apostles (nor was Barnabas, Act 14:14). James the Lord's brother is mentioned at Matt 13:55; 1Cor 15:5-7; Gal. 1:19; 2:9, 12; Ac 15:6-9; 21:18.
1.  LIFE & TIMES OF JAMES ALPHAEUS : Mk 3:18
The son of Alphaeus, or Cleopas, "the brother" was called James "the Less," or "the Little," probably because he was of low stature. He is mentioned along with the other apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15, Gal. 1:18, 19). Some said he had a separate interview with our Lord after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7), and is mentioned as one of the apostles of the circumcision (Acts 1:13).

 DISCUSSION
As believers in Christ according to the following, what should we possess for our Lord?
1.Matt.3:8…………………………………………………………..2.Php1:11…………………………………………
3.Tit.3:8,14………………………………………………………….4.Heb6:10……………………………………..


2.  EXPLOITS OF
JAMES ALPHAEUS : Luke 6:15
Saint James the Less was said to have died in ad-62. Virtually nothing is known about him other than his inclusion as one of the 12 apostles. His feast day is celebrated with that of Saint Philip on May 3 by the Roman Catholic.


CONCLUSION
We must be busy for our Lord even when it seemed no one is watching us.
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Lebbaeus

                                                                                                                                     11th June 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  LEBBAEUS
TEXT:    Matt.10:3
The name Lebbaeus means courageous or a man of heart. Lebbaeus was one of the 12 Apostles of Christ also called Jude or Judas. Matthew called his surname as Thaddeus, (Matt 10:3, Mark 3:18; Jude 1:1). According to a church tradition, Lebbaeus is the same person as "Judas the son [or brother] of James" (Luke 6:16). Some Bible Commentators called him the son of Alphaeus and Mary, and brother of James the LESS. 

1.   LIFE & TIMES OF LEBBAEUS: Mk 15:40
The name Thaddaeus was derived from thodah (praise). In the listing by Matthew, the tenth place among the apostles is given to Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus, the eleventh place being given to Simon the Canaanite. Luke, in both his catalogues (6:15; Acts 1:13), places Simon Zelotes tenth among the apostles, and assigns the eleventh place to Thaddaeus. He is carefully distinguished from Judas Iscariot (John 14:22).

2.  EXPLOITS OF LEBBAEUS: Luke 6:16
Nothing else is known about this most obscure (unclear, unexplained, concealed, hidden, etc.) of the apostles except that some scholars attribute the Epistle of Jude to him. It was suggested that he was the author of the epistle which bears his name (Jude 1:1, Mark 6:3; Mk 15:40 Luke 6:16; Act 1:13). Nothing is certainly known of the later history of this apostle. Tradition connects him with the foundation of the church at Edessa (Şanlıurfa stands on the site of an ancient Mesopotamian city of Assyria named Urhai and later became known as Edessa. Edessa was a Christian city by the end of the 3rd century ad, and numerous monasteries were built).The Roman Catholic Church sees Jude as the patron saint of lost causes as a saint to be invoked during especially difficult circumstances and observes his feast day on October 28. The ecclesiastical historian Eusebius of Caesarea makes Thaddaeus one of the Seventy (see Luke 10:17).

 DISCUSSION
1.  
To be enlisted among the Apostles, what qualities do you think Jesus saw in Lebbaeus?
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2.  
Not every person would be vocal like Simon Peter. List other silent New Testament believers………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….....

 

CONCLUSION

Jesus sees the inner mind and appoints persons He can trust. Can I be trusted?
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Simon Zelotes

                                                                                                                                          18th June 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  SIMON ZELOTES
TEXT:    Matt.10:4
Simon is the contracted form of Simeon meaning a hearing. At least nine persons in the New Testament bear the name Simon (PETER, the Zelote-our case study,  a half-brother of Jesus – Matt.13:55; Mk 6:3, a leper that Jesus dined with- Matt 26:6; Mk 14:3,  a man from the city of Cyrene - compelled to carry Jesus' cross-Matt .27:32; Mk. 15:21; Lk. 23:26, a Pharisee which Jesus dined with- Lk 7:36-44, the father of Judas Iscariot -John 6:71; 12:4; 13:2,26, a sorcerer (also called Simon Magus) convert of Philip -who was rebuked by Peter for demanding for the Holy Spirit by offering Peter money- Act 8:9-13,18-24 and a tanner that Peter lodged with- Act 9:43; 10:6,17,32).

1.  THE LIFE & TIMES OF SIMON ZELOTES: Mk 3: 18
Simon popularly called the Zelotes was one of the twelve apostles. He was also referred to as Simon the Canaanite (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:18). This word "Canaanite" does not mean a native of Canaan, but is derived from the Syriac word Kanean or Kaneniah, which was the name of a Jewish sect. The Revised Version has "Cananaean;" marg., "or Zealot" He is also called "Zelotes" (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13; R.V., "the Zealot"), because tradition had it that previous to his call to the apostleship he had been a member of the fanatical sect of the Zealots. There is no record regarding him.

2.  THE EXPLOITS OF SIMON ZELOTES: Acts 1:13
Little more is known respecting Simon except that he was listed among the Apostles of Christ. The term Canaanite points out Simon as belonging to the faction of the Zealots, who were conspicuous for their fierce advocacy of the Mosaic ritual. A Zealot in general was described as one passionately and fanatically ardent in any cause. How zealous and passionate are we for the cause of the Gospel?

DISCUSSION

Discuss the instances where the following Bible characters displayed zeal

1.        Exd.2:12,32:19-20..........................................................................................................................

2.       Num.25:7-13...................................................................................................................................

3.       Josh.7:6;8:28...................................................................................................................................

4.       Lk2:17-18.........................................................................................................................................

CONCLUSION

Historians are waiting to record my input in the annals. What would the on-coming generation read about me?
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8th Oct. 2008

 

FOCUS: CHRISTIAN HOME                                                       
THEME: GOD’S CHOICE FOR A BELIEVER
TEXT: PROV. 18:22. , 31:10

 

            A believer is one that has experienced salvation and has accepted Christ as the Lord and personal saviour of his/her life. It is the start of a journey which Jesus Christ will dictate. The choice of God for any believer in marriage is one of the special packages that He (The Lord) had promised to every one that relies or seek Him (Lk. 12:31). Every single believer should seek the face of God for marriage, for it is a journey that might determine your life both here on earth and in eternity.

 

1. WRONG METHODS OF CHOOSING GOD’S WILL: Hosea 4:6
A number of singles make costly mistakes in choosing marriage partner.
Some of the wrong methods they employed include: *Impatience- ‘I’m too old, all my friends have married, my parents are pressurizing me, if God does not answer me by month end-I will backslide... etc. are common words echoed by impatient believers. *Unequal yoke- marriage to unbelievers, backsliders, Moslems, etc. (Deut. 7: 1-4, 2 Corin.6: 14-18) with the wrong notion of converting them for Christ. *Beauty/physique (Prov.31; 30).  *Personal prejudice/choosing by sight- 1 Sam.16: 6-7. *Multiple partners for the sake of playing safe. *Too much familiarity (1 Sam.3: 4-5. *Choice because he/she is a Christian, though God did not choose him/her for you.* Fleeces’ method/coin game- Gideon example- Judg. 6: .*Balloting-choosing from a long list- on the pretense that the Early Apostles chose Matthias that way (Act. 1: 15-26).*Tribal sentiments & worldliness- (1 Jn. 2; 15).friends/ associates suggestions- Amnon/Jonadab’s example (2 Sam. 13: 1-5, Ps. 118: 8-9). *False prophesies- some allow others to control their lives through so-called prophetic gifts. *Blind faith- claiming marriage partner by ‘faith’ as we do healing. *Forcing God to okay one’s decision through visiting the mountains, fasting & prayers. *Wealth affluence/ family background/gifts. *Academic qualifications. *Marrying on wrong motives (to run away from loneliness, pressure form parents, age, a bad family situation, poverty, pity/sympathy, peer pressure) etc.

 

2. GODLY WAY OF CHOOSING MARRIAGE PARTNER:  Prov. 18:22

We must recollect that God’s blueprints for us are unique and memorably wonderful (Ps. 84; 11,Jer. 29:11,1 Cor. 2; 9-10).  Our steps are ordered by the Lord (Ps. 37: 23).  God delights in leading us (Gen.24: 7, Isa. 42: 16). Seekers must do the following: *Pray for guidance & direction (Matt. 7: 7), trust in God (Prov.3;5-7) Be patience (Gen.24: 1-4, Abraham was 100 years while Sarah was 90 years when Isaac was born. Isaac in turn was 40 years before he got married -Gen.25: 20. Parents and those seeking to find a life partner should exercise patience Ps. 37: 7-8, Eccl. 7: 8. ). Understand how God speaks to you- is it in dreams/visions/revelations or through God’s Word/deep impression, inner voice of the Spirit? (Job 33: 14-17, Joel 2; 28-30, Act.8: 29, 11: 28, 13: 2, 21: 11). Confide in fellow believers, senior Christian associates and your spiritual leaders (Prov.11; 14). Partners’ consent- do not pursue the proposed partner around like dogs do. Do not induce her/him or intimidate him/her to force her to agree. Pastor’s consent- Do not take a final decision until your Pastor/ spiritual leader agrees (Prov.15: 22, Act.13: 2-3). Parents consent —Christians are not to steal the bride. Be patient to receive the blessings of your parents ((Gen. 24: 60). Be more committed to Church activities (Heb 10:24-25). After knowing God’s will, avoid the error of Balaam. Do not go back to God again and again to see if He would change His mind (Num. 22; 12-22). Commence a godly, holy courtship during which you avoid wearing same clothes, sleeping together, kissing/pecking, cooking for each other, washing each others’ clothes, etc.

 
CONCLUSION

There is perfect will of God for every of believer who is ready to wait on Him. Don’t settle for His permissive will, it will take you to unwanted or undesired destination. (Prov.14: l2).
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15th Oct. 2008

 

FOCUS: CHRISTIAN HOME                                           
THEME: GOD’S CHOICE FOR A BELIEVER
TEXT: EPH. 5: 21-33

The home should be the happiest sport we can ever know on earth. In it, we are expected to have the very closest and dearest relationships and it should be the constant source of strength and inspiration. Marriage can be the nearest thing to heaven on this earth when both parties do to each other, what they wished was done to them (Matt. 7:12). All of us must be aware that God wishes that our marriage should work (3 John 2). The couples are the main factors in ensuring that their marriages succeed. All parties in marriage must work hard and be determined to fight home destroyers and little foxes.

1.      FIGHTING LITTLE FOXES OF MARRIAGE- Song of Sol.2: 15

There are several hassles, problems and challenges in the world today, the home inclusive. Some of the bottle necks at home include: barrenness/ delay in child bearing- (Gen.30: 1, Deut. 7:14) , communication breakdown, money/financial matters (Eccl.l0: 19), Sex, Infidelity, lack of trust, negative parental influence, greed/self (Prov.15: 27), laziness (Eccl.l0: 18), worldly association (1 Cor.15: 33), prayerlessness/failure of family altar, etc.

 

2.      MAKING MARRIAGE WORK- Rom.12:18

Individual members of the family must be awake to their responsibilities. Breakdown in communication at home has been the ruin of many marriages. Couples must keep the channel of communication open. The essence of communication is for clarity of purpose/intension; to remove every wrong assumption and suspicion, all aimed at enhancing understanding and healthy relationship. Couples should be busy interacting with each other. Keep talking. They should not forget to imbibe the spirit of love, faith, self-discipline, patience, trust, endurance, selflessness, open door policy, forgiving spirit, financial fidelity, maintaining a virile family altar despite our busy schedule, etc. The couples must remember to leave and cleave (Gen.2: 24, Eph.5; 31). All the parties must learn to forgive and endure till the 490th time (Matt.18: 22, Lk.17: 4, Col.3: 13). Sex is a spiritual weapon  which should not be employed to punish each other but to strengthen marital bond (1 Cor.7; 3-6).Believers are to fight insufficient funds by prayerfully planning for our finances (Lk. 14: 28- 30). All should be gainfully employed (Job 1: 10, Eccl.10: 9), beware of debts (2 Kg. 4: 1.
Prov.22:7), save for the future and fight our appetites.


DISCUSSIONS:

        i.            Explain the concept of ‘leaving and cleaving’ as stated in Gen.2: 24, Eph. 5:31.

      ii.            What roles does forgiveness play in relationship? Mk. 11: 25, Lk.17: 4, Col.3: 13.

    iii.            Who should apologize?

    iv.            Read Heb.5: 14. What is the place of spiritual, emotional, physiological and psychological maturity in marriage?

      v.            Read 1 Cor.7: 33-34, 1 Tim.5:8. How critical is providing for the needs of the family to any responsible couple?

    vi.            Africans live in association. Can we as couples out rightly live as ‘me and my husband/wife?’

CONCLUSION /QUOTABLE QUOTES

Marriage is a divinely created social institution designed to be permanent-divorce is not allowed. (Gen.2: 18, 24, Prov.5: 18-19, Eccl.4: 9-12). Success in marriage is more than finding the right person. It is becoming the right person (Dr. Jack Hayford). The success of your marriage depends on you and not on God (Phil.2: 12b).

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Judas Iscariot

                                                                                                                                            25th June 2008
THEME: THE APOSTLES’ OF CHRIST
FOCUS:  JUDAS ISCARIOT
TEXT :    Matt.10:4
Judas is the Graecized form of Judah, meaning praise. Of the life of Judas before the appearance of his name in the lists of the apostles we know absolutely nothing. What that appearance implies, however, is that he had previously declared himself a disciple. He was drawn, as the others were, by the preaching of the Baptist, or his own Messianic hopes, or the "gracious words" of the new Teacher, to leave his former life, and to obey the call of the Prophet of Nazareth. The Galilean or Judean peasant found himself entrusted with larger sums of money than before, and with this there came covetousness, unfaithfulness, embezzlement. Several times he showed his tendency to avarice and selfishness. (John 12:6; 13:29) This, even under the best of influences, grew worse and worse, till he betrayed his Master for thirty pieces of silver. This calls for watchfulness on the part of you and me.

1.  THE LIFE & TIMES OF JUDAS ISCARIOT:
Son of Simon (John 6:71; 13:2, 26), surnamed Iscariot, i.e., a man of Kerioth (Josh. 15:25). His name is uniformly the last in the list of the apostles, as given in the synoptic (i.e., the first three) Gospels. The evil of his nature probably gradually unfolded itself till "Satan entered into him" (John 13:27), and he betrayed our Lord (Jn.18:3). Afterwards he owned his sin with "an exceeding bitter cry," and cast the money he had received as the wages of his iniquity down on the floor of the sanctuary, and "departed and went and hanged himself" (Matt. 27:5). He perished in his guilt, and "went unto his own place" (Acts 1:25). The statement in Acts 1:18 that he "fell headlong and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out," is in no way contrary to that in Matt. 27:5. The suicide first hanged himself, perhaps over the valley of Hinnom, "and the rope giving way, or the branch to which he hung breaking, he fell down headlong on his face, and was crushed and mangled on the rocky pavement below."

2.            THE EXPLOITS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: Acts 1:13
Judas took a unique place among the twelve apostles of our Lord. Being their treasurer, he seems to have possessed the full confidence of his fellow apostles, and was entrusted by them with all the presents which were made them, and all their means of subsistence; and when the twelve were sent out to preach and to work miracles, Judas appears to have been among them, and to have received the same powers.  He was accustomed, however, even at this time, to appropriate part of their common stock to his own use, Joh 12:6; and at length sealed his infamy by betraying his Lord to the Jews for money.  For the paltry sum of about $15, he engaged with the Jewish Sanhedrin to guide them to a place where they could seize him by night without danger of a tumult.  But when he learned the result, a terrible remorse took possession of him; not succeeding in undoing his fatal work with the priests, he cast down before them the price of blood, crossed the gloomy valley of Hinnom, and hung himself, Mt 27:3-10.  Luke, in Ac 1:18, adds that he fell headlong and burst asunder, probably by the breaking of the rope or branch.  The steep hillside south of the valley of Hinnom might well be the scene of such a twofold death.  The remorseful confession of Judas was a signal testimony to the spotless innocence of Christ, Mt 27:4; and his awful end is a solemn warning against avarice, hypocrisy, and all unfaithfulness, Mt 26:34; Joh 17:12; Ac 1:25.

DISCUSSION

What are the characteristics of Judas as recorded in the following references?

1.      Matt. 26:14-15  ……………………………2. Matt 27:3-4   ……………………………….

3.      Mark 14:10…………………………………4. John 12:5-6 …………………………………

 

CONCLUSION

No one is above temptation except the dead. We must be careful, watchful and prayerful.
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22nd Oct. 2008

FOCUS:         CHRISTIAN HOME                                                                       
THEME:        REARING GODLY OFFSPRING
TEXT:            Ps. 127: 3-4

 

Children are precious gifts from God and they are like mighty weapons of warfare in the hands of warriors; so adequate care must be taken by parents, guardians, the society and the Church to handle them. Parenting is tasking. It is an assiduous job but nothing to fear, God has promised support to all persons who ask from Him. Children should be taught early in life the habits of punctuality, personal cleanliness, love, respect for elders and constituted authourity, the value of friendship and the preservation of personal honesty, integrity, courage and conviction. All of us must take parenting as serious business because today’s child is tomorrow’s parent. Parents should first of all experience salvation in Christ before thinking of raising children in godly way; if not the children would only be good moralists. This study would consider stages in child rearing.

 

1.                  FROM INCEPTION TO CONCEPTION: Judges 13:8

A wise couple should commence prayer for the expected child before conception takes place. During devotion and at other prayer time, both should lay hands on the pregnancy and start prophesying everything good for the baby. This job of praying lies much with the woman carrying the pregnancy. Prayer must not cease after birth but should continue in its earnest. Babies must be brought to devotion. Their names should be mentioned especially when prayers are been made for them. Prayers made for babies should be all encompassing and not lop-sided.

 

2.                  TODDLING TO SCHOOL AGE: Isa. 54: 13

Children of nowadays easily catch up with what they see and hear. This call for caution in what parents should do or say when these children are present (1 Tim.4: 12). As they grow, parents should be careful of speaking harsh words in their presence. Both parents should be closer to the child. Care must be taken when we have to leave the child with relatives’ especially unbelieving ones.

 

3.                  CHILDHOOD TO ADOLESCENCE: Ps. 144; 11-12

As a child starts schooling, parents should buy Bible and other relevant Christian literature along with school books. Children must be taught the Word of God. Jesus should be introduced as Saviour. He/she must be taught how to pray. He/she must be taught how to respect elders and to be involved in home management and domestication. The child should be intimated about the devil and must be taught on how to resist him and avoid devilish acts. His/her behaviour should be monitored. Parents should know the friends of their children and observe their kind of speech. The rod should not be spared where necessary but should be done with love (Prov. 13: 24, 23: 13-14).

 

DISCUSSION

Read the following Scriptures and infer on rearing godly children

a.    Judges 13:8, 12…………………………………        b.   Ps. 144:11…………………………….
c.    Ps.144: 12……………………………………...         d.   Prov. 19: 18…………….......................
e.    Prov. 29: 15……………………………………          f.   Ezek.16: 44……………………………
g.    Col.3: 21………………………………..………         h.  1 Tim 5: 8…………………………….

 

4.                  TEENAGEHOOD TO ADULTHOOD: Lk.2: 52

Some parents think that the best way to train a child is by intimidation, commanding and ordering them around with a long list of instructions. It should not be. Parents should learn to appreciate their children and see them as gifts from God (Gen.48:9). Let them have a sense of belonging. Parents should avoid comparing children with each other. Quality attention, love and care should be provided (1 Tim.5: 8).They should be assisted in the aspects of spiritual, academics and physical activities. Parents should listen more and talk less when relating with their wards.

 

CONCLUSION

Eli, Samuel and David, occupied important offices and positions in their time. They permitted their demanding schedules to affect the training of their children. They suffered for it. Let us learn from their pitfall and be up and doing in child training. Start now!

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29th Oct. 2008

FOCUS: CHRISTIAN HOME                                                                                  

THEME: BIRTH CONTROL AND INFERTILITY

TEXT:  Lk. 14: 28-30, 1 Tim. 5:8

 

The Bible is in favour of productivity, planning and responsibility over our children. We are to be able parents who should not give birth to children for fun and to suffer. This calls for wisdom, hence the study on family planning. Another issue that the church is silent on for a long time is infertility. Many blames had been put on the innocent because of lack of child bearing. This study is an eye-opener to address these two important issues that had scattered many homes. Happy study!

 

1.      BIRTH CONTROL AT A GLANCE

Birth control, sometimes synonymous with contraception, is a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of pregnancy or childbirth. "Contraception" may refer specifically to mechanisms that are intended to reduce the likelihood of a sperm cell fertilizing the egg. Birth control is commonly used as part of family planning. Religions vary widely in their views of the ethics of birth control. In Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church accepts only Natural Family Planning, while Protestants maintain a wide range of views from allowing none to very lenient.

 

Birth control methods can be temporary (reversible) or permanent. Temporary birth control means that the method can be stopped at essentially any time without long-term effects on fertility (the ability to become pregnant). It includes the use of condom, abstinence, diaphragm, spermicidal (cream, jelly and tablet), contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices (a T-shaped device inserted into the uterus), withdrawal, injections (Depo-Provera, noristerat), rhythm, breast feeding (lactational amenorrhea method), traditional/ local methods (use of rings, igbadi, vinegar lemon, potash and salt), etc. Permanent birth control usually means that the method cannot be undone or reversed, most likely because it involved surgery. Examples of permanent methods include vasectomy for the man or tubal ligation for the woman. The direct responsibility for most of the methods of birth control that are currently available rests with the woman. The input of a health care provider may sometimes be essential in choosing appropriate birth control. Currently, no birth control method, except abstinence, is considered to be 100% effective. Plan to give birth to the children you can cater for.

 

2.      HINTS ON INFERTILITY: Exod. 23: 26, Deut. 7: 14

Reproductive endocrinologists (doctors specializing in infertility) consider a couple to be infertile if: (a) the couple has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34
(b) the couple has not conceived after 6 months of contraceptive-if the female is over the age of 35
(c) the female is incapable of carrying a pregnancy to term. Couples with primary infertility have never been able to conceive. Secondary infertility is difficulty conceiving after already having conceived and carried a normal pregnancy. Women become less fertile as they get older but not with men. In Africa generally, infertility is believed to emanate from the woman rather than the man. In the UK, roughly half of fertility problems with a diagnosed cause are due to problems with the man.

A.     CAUSES OF INFERTILITY IN MEN

i.  Infections (e.g. gonorrhea, syphilis, mumps etc.)
ii.  Birth problem (some men have genital problems from birth. They cannot impregnate a woman)  
iii. Low sperm count or no production of sperm at all).                                                                               
iv.  
Virus: some viruses have a role in male infertility.   

v.  Environmental Factors: toxins such as glues, volatile organic solvents or silicones, physical agents, chemical dusts, pesticides, etc.   
vi.  Irregular sex or sex at wrong time.
vii. Smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, etc

B.      CAUSES OF INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

i    Hormonal Problems                                              ii.  Infections such as chlamydia.
iii. Birth Problems (some women don’t have ovaries, womb, fallopian tubes, etc).
iv. Being over or underweight or her age (female fertility declines sharply after the age of 35).
v. Combination of factors                              vi.A clear cause might never established (spiritual reasons)
vii. Some women are infertile because their ovaries do not mature and release eggs.

 

3     TREATMENT OF INFERTILITY:
 
Prospects must visit Doctors to find out the cause .Physicians may also be able to suggest lifestyle changes that can be made to increase chances of conceiving. The most crucial solution is divine intervention. All those believing God for children should prayerfully claim the promises of Exod. 23: 26, Deut. 7: 14.
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WORKSHOP FOR MEN- Saturday, 22nd Nov. 2008

MEN OF NOTE

The Oxford dictionary defines man as an adult male person, as opposite to a woman or boy or both. It denotes man in opposition to woman (Gen 3:12; Matt 19:10), though more properly, the husband in opposition to the wife (compare 1 Cor 7:1).A man is an adult male eminently endowed with manly qualities. He is referred to as a male human being. When we talk of men, we mean courage, strength, ability to defend, ability to absorb shock, persevere, etc.

 

THE ROLE OF MAN

Ø  Fellowship: Man was created for fellowship or communion with God. (Gen 1:26-27). Man meets and talks with God in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:15-17). This was the original intention of God for man. Ultimately, the Redeemer-Jesus-was sent for this reason as well.

Ø  Glorify God: Man is also to glorify God through what he is and what he does (1 Cor 10:31; Eph 1:12). He is to reflect the glory of God. ’For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God (1 Cor.11: 7-12).

Ø  Obey God: Man is also created to do God's will and work. Man was created in God's image so he might "have dominion" over the rest of creation (Gen 1:26,28) or perform God's work of ruling the creation in His place.

Ø  Spiritual leader: As spiritual head, he must possess gifts of the Spirit to be able to defend his family and portray the glory of God. He must be knowledge based, spiritually fruitful and the Priest of the home. (Eph. 5: 23-33). He is supposed to be a prayer warrior (1 Tim.2: 8).

Ø  Responsibility: Men are to be responsible holding the key of possibilities of the family. (Num. 30: 1-8). They are to provide for the basic needs of the family if not they would be held accountable for any lapses due to carelessness. (1 Tim.5: 8). Men should lay solid examples for all to follow (1 Tim.4:12).

Ø  Diligence: Men are to be diligent workers (Prov.22: 29), industrious and hardworking (Gen.2:15, 1 Kg. 11:28), faithful (1 Cor.4:2), dependable, and honest (1 Thes.4:11-12). He must be a quiet achiever in the work place who is busy supporting others (2 Thes.3: 10-12, Act.20: 35).

Ø  Ambassadors: Christ expected a godly man to ably represent Him among his fellow workers as Christ Ambassador (2 Cor.5: 20). He should be seen among descent persons and should possess excellent spirit and excelling qualifications (Dan.1:17-20, 4: 4-9).

Ø  At Church: Men should defend the cause of God in Church. They should be undaunted like Elijah, Daniel and a host of the Early Apostles of our Lord. Men hold the key to the kingdom (Matt.16: 15-19).

Ø  Young Men: Men like Joseph, Joshua, Samuel, Daniel, the rich young man (Matt 19:16-22), etc. were young men in their days. As young persons, they laid down for the generations’ unborn uncommon godly examples good for emulation.

 

CHALLENGE: God has acted to restore man to his original state of innocence and fellowship with God. He has done this by sending His Son to die for man so man might be reconciled to God and be renewed or "born again" (John 3:3,7). The aim of this is to restore man to a dynamic, vital relationship with God (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:20).

 

CONCLUSION: Man is most fully human when fulfilling the intention of God for him: worshiping, serving, and loving God. Of all creatures, only man has been given this blessed privilege.

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WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN- Saturday, 22nd Nov. 2008

WOMEN OF NOTE

Pro.31: 10ff

The Oxford dictionary defines woman as an adult female person, as opposite to a man or girl or both. She is an individual female. Africa and Asia degraded the women fold until recently when the cry for equality became the order of the day. The Bible is replete with a number of women who in their rights were eminent leaders. Miriam led a band of women with triumphant song (Exd. 15:20-21); Jephthah's daughter (Judg. 11:34); the women who met Saul and David after victory (1 Sam 18:6-7); Hannah (1 Sam.2:1); Deborah the uncommon Judge (Judg 4-5); Huldah the Prophetess (2 Kings 22:14); Anna the Prophetess (Luke 2:36) etc. There were women of evil deeds like •Eve, in yielding to temptation and seducing her husband (Gen 3:6; 1Tim 2:14), •Lot's wife, in her rebellion against her situation, and against the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 19:26; Luk 17:32) •Potiphar's wife, in her lascivious lust and slander against Joseph (Gen. 39:7-20) •Jezebel, in her persecution , conspiracy against Naboth and evil counsels to, and influence over, Ahab (1 Kg 18:4,13,19:2 , 21:1-16, 21:25,17-27).

 

THE ROLE OF WOMAN

Ø  Inseparable union with man: The woman, according to Genesis 2:21-24 was created to have a profound inseparable unity and fellowship of her life with man.

Ø  Man’ helpmeet: In the creative plan of God, she is supposed to be far more than being a mere assistant, but a "helper" (Gen 2:18),

Ø  Man’s aide: She is man's complement, essential to the perfection of his being. Without her he is not man in the generic fullness of that term.

Ø  Domestic Duties: Among the Hebrews, woman administered the affairs of the home with a liberty and leadership unknown to other oriental people. Her domestic duties were more independent, varied and honorable. She was not the slave or menial of her husband. She often tended the flocks (Gen 29:6; Ex 2:16); spun the wool, and made the clothing of the family (Ex 35:26; Prov 31:19;    1 Sam 2:19); contributed by her weaving and needlework to its income and support (Prov 31:14, 24), and to charity (Acts 9:39). Women ground the grain (Matt 24:41); prepared the meals (Gen 18:6; John 12:2); invited and received guests (Judg 4:18; 2 Kings 4:8-10); drew water for household use (1 Sam 9:11; John 4:7), for guests and even for their camels (Gen 24:15-20).

Ø  Prayer warrior: this role is a crucial one. All women are to be watchmen over the spiritual and financial affairs of their home. The prayers and piety of Hannah taking effect in the spiritual power of her son Samuel, penetrated, purified and vitalized the religious life of the entire nation.

Ø  Godly influence: Jochebed, the mother of Moses, left upon him a religious impress so vital and enduring as to safeguard him through youth and early manhood from the fascinating corruptions of Pharaoh's Egyptian court (Exd. 2:1-10; Heb 11:23-26). In Ruth, the converted Moabitess, the royal ancestress of David and of Jesus, we have an unrivaled example of filial piety, moral beauty and self-sacrificing religious devotion (Ruth 1:15-18).

Ø  Diligence: The womenfolk is expected to be diligent workers (Prov.22: 29), industrious and hardworking (Gen.2:15, 1 Kg. 11:28), faithful (1 Cor.4:2), dependable, and honest (1 Thes.4:11-12). She must be a quiet achiever in the work place who is busy supporting others (2 Thes.3: 10-12, Act.20: 35).

Ø  Ambassadors: Christ expected a godly woman to ably represent Him among her fellow workers as Christ Ambassador (2 Cor.5: 20). She should be seen among descent persons and should possess excellent spirit and excelling qualifications (Dan.1:17-20, 4: 4-9).

 

CHALLENGE

Women were responsive to the teachings and the person of Christ. So much is expected from women either as girls, ladies, mothers, grandmothers or widows. As women of all ranks in society found in Jesus a benefactor and friend in their time; so are we expected to be today!

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WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN - Sat 22nd Nov. 2008

THE CHILDREN OF NOTE

 

Children are Gift of and from God-(Gen. 33:5, Ps 113:9,127:3), Though little today, children are expected to be present at places of worship (Josh. 8:35, 2Chron. 20:13, Ezra 8:21, Neh. 12:43, Mt 21:15). As children, God expects us to be helpful to our parents, Church and the community at large. Examples of Helpful children are:

  • The child Samuel assists Eli-  1 Sam. 2:18
  • A boy who waited upon David and Jonathan(1Sam. 20:36)
  • A little maid who aided Naaman in securing his health ( 2Kg. 5:2 -3)
  • The boy Christ about his Father's business (Luke 2:49)
  • The lad who have his lunch to help feed the multitude (John 6:9)

 

There are however children who were bad (2 Kg. 2:23, Job 19:18, 30:12, Isa 3:5)

 God has made special promises to obedient Children:

§  Reverent Children-  Deut. 5:16

§  Forsaken Children-  Ps 27:10

§  Early Seekers-  Prov. 8:17

§   Obedient Children-  Prov. 8:32

§  Lambs of the Flock-  Isa 40:11

§  Little Children-  Mark 10:14

§  Children of Believers-  Act 2:39

§  The Commandment with Promise-  Eph 6:2

 

Parents have a duty to their children. They are to Teach (Deut. 6:7, 20, 21:19), train (Prov. 22:6, Isa. 38:19, Lam. 2:19), provide for (2 Cor 12:14), and nurture their children (Eph 6:4, Col 3:21)

 

Special Bible Stories for Children

ü  Who Made the World-  Gen 1:1-25

ü   The Woman who exchanged her Home and all she had for an Apple-  Gen 3:1-6

ü  The voyage of the Big Boat-  Gen 6:14-22 ,  Gen 7:1-24

ü   The Boy who lost his Home by mocking-  Gen 21:9-20

ü  The Young Man who traded his Inheritance for a dish of Pottage-  Gen. 25:29-34

ü  The Beautiful Coat-  Gen. 37:1-34

ü  The Boy Captive who became prime minister,  Gen 37:13-36, 39:20-23, 41:1-44

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NEW BIRTH

 

NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                                                                                                            4th May 2011

 

THEME:           NEW BIRTH

TEXT:               John 3: 1-21                                         M.V: Jn. 3:3

 

New birth is an experience when the Holy Spirit creates new life in individuals (2Cor 5:17). New birth is not just reformation of self life neither is it a self improved attitude of bad manners; but is the conversion, or turning point from the old way of sin to new life in Christ (Mt 18:3, Col.3: 1-3); a man must repent before his experience of the new birth. Further explanations could be found in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:3-7 and in the exhortation of Peter in his first epistle 1:3 and 23.

 

1.                   OTHER NAMES FOR NEW BIRTH

Ø  Second Birth

Ø  Cleansing Process

Ø  New Creation. 2Cor 5:17

Ø  Spiritual Restoration

Ø  Regeneration

2.                   THE NECESSITY OF NEW BIRTH

1.       Unless one is born again, he cannot see (enter) the kingdom of God (Jn.3:3).

2.       To be in the kingdom is to be saved from powers of darkness. Col 1: 13

3.       Salvation requires a rebirth, regeneration. Tit 3:5

4.       To improve our moral life. Rom 12:1

5.       Nature of human heart. Rom 8: 6-8, etc.

3.                   HOW TO OBTAIN NEW BIRTH:

a.       Acknowledgement of sinfulness (Ps.51: 5).

b.       Realization of inability to save oneself (Isa. 64: 6).

c.       Repentance from your sin. (Lk.13: 3)

d.       Confession of sin before God (Prov.28: 13).

e.       Believe in Jesus (Rom.10: 8-10).

f.        Accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Saviour. 1 Tim 2:5-6, Rev.3: 20

g.       Decision to live above sin (Jn.8: 11, Rom.6:1)

Deduce on new birth from the following:

i. Mk 16:16………………………………………………………ii. John 3:14………………………………………………

iii. 1 John 4:9-10, John 3:16-17…………………………………………..…………………………………………………

 

4.                   THE BASIS OF THE NEW BIRTH:  How would you respond  to the following?

a)       Born of water and spirit (i.e., a washing of the regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit)?

b)       Born through the word of God (i.e., by responding to the gospel message)?

c)       Responding to God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice by expressing your faith in baptism?

CONCLUSION: What about you? Have you had a new birth? Can we see evidence of your new birth? Act now!
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NEW HEART (1)

 

NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                                          18th May 2011

 

THEME:     NEW HEART (1)

TEXT:       Ezel.36: 22-27

 

When a man hears the message of new birth and responds positively to it; we say that person is born again. That is not the end of the story. To live a consistent victorious Christian life; the regenerated transformed believer must go further than just confessing his/her sin. He/she must pray for a new heart (Ezek.36: 26). Possession of a new heart which only God gives is also known as sanctification. Every believer in Christ must pray for this definite experience because the flesh would not give up easily; there is constant war between the flesh and the spirit (Gal.5: 16-17). It is unfortunate to cite the cases of Samson, David and Solomon amongst other beloved persons who defeated their physical enemies but fell to the flesh. All these persons succumb to the temptations and dictates of the flesh. What a pity! You and I must therefore pray to possess new hearts so that we can see God on the last day.

 

1.    SALVATION VERSUS SANCTIFICATION: Ps.24: 3-4, 51: 1-4

It is important to clearly state some differences between salvation and sanctification (new heart experience) because these two subjects are major Christian experiences that every one must possess to see God. Salvation deals with the committed sin (outward sin) while sanctification deals with inward depravity or inbred sin. Salvation is the first step to divine regeneration while sanctification is the second step. Salvation may make our character and personality look good and descent outwardly while sanctification deals with the thoughts and sinful desires of our hearts. External change of character which salvation deals with is not enough; we need sanctification to deal with the stubborn, stiff-neck and rebellious heart.

 

QUESTION:

Why must we have new hearts?

1.................................................................................2…………………………………………………………………………………..

3…………………………………………………………………………….4………………………………………………………………………………

 

2.    NEW HEART: GOD’S PROMISE TO BELIEVERS: Deut.30: 6, Heb.13; 12

God promised to give new hearts to the converted souls as stated in Ezekiel 36 verse 26. For the Israelites; possessing new hearts is a future expectation hence Moses prophesied; ‘The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart….’(Deut.30: 6). The promise is also for our children (Deut.30: 6b) meaning that new heart cannot be inherited but it is an individual experience for believers in Christ. Zechariah also prophesied that God will make us holy (Lk.1: 72-75). Jesus already prayed for our salnctification (Jn.17: 15-17).

 

CONCLUSION: Sin is a double-fold problem that can be dealt with through double cure of salvation and sanctification. Where do you stand? Watch out for part 2.
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 EVIDENCE OF NEW LIFE

 

                                                        NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                                              11th May 2011

 

THEME:           EVIDENCE OF NEW LIFE

TEXT:               Col.3: 1-4

 

One basic requirement of God from anyone who must make heaven is that repentance from sin and evil must be done. Repentance is different from sorrow for sin. Most times people are only sorry when caught in the act but do not actually repent. Repentance is the deep inward experience which signifies total and complete turning away from sin by an individual. It is developing change of mind, purpose, action and possessing hatred for sin. A common slogan in our world today is, ’I am born again, I’m a child of God,

 I am a Christian’, etc without evidences to show that those statements are true. What signs or evidences should we look for in our lives or those of others who profess that they have received Christ into their lives? These are issues to be considered in this study today.

 

SIGNS AND EVIDENCES OF NEW LIFE IN CHRIST

1.      Hatred for sin: one major trait of new life in Christ is love for righteousness and hatred for sin. Anyone who claims to have repented must not treat sin with levity (2 Sam.12: 13a, Ps. 38: 18, 51: 17).

2.      New character: When a man receives new life; he/she begins to live new life. There would be departure from old sinful habits, friends and ungodly aspirations (2 Cor.5: 17).

3.      Passion to know God: A regenerated soul develops passion to get closer to God on a daily basis

(Phil.3: 10-14).

4.      Transformation of tongue: The conversion experience has a direct implication on the speech/conversation of the redeemed (Ps.39: 1, Prov.31: 26). No corrupt word should proceed from us except we have not met the Lord (Isa.50: 4, Eph.4: 28-29).

5.      Pursuit after spiritual knowledge: A new born baby in the Lord would be eager to understand spiritual matters hence would do all that is humanly possible to acquire divine insights (Prov.4: 7, Jn.6: 66-69).

6.      Heavenly consciousness: Another evidence of new life is heavenly consciousness. A new believer’s mind, focus and aspirations are on celestial matters (Col.3: 1-2).

7.      Eagerness to obey God: No one is spiritually transformed without first possessing an enthusiasm for obeying God irrespective of the cost (Isa.1: 19).

8.      Willingness to face persecutions and trials-Dan.1: 8, 2 Tim.3: 12

9.      Enthusiasm to share the gospel with others: New believers in Christ always want to preach the gospel of the Saviour they have just met (Act. 9; 19-22).

10.  Prayer: all those who find faith in Christ always want to speak to their heavenly Father (Mk.1: 35).

11.  Fellowship: New babies in Christ must possess passion for fellowshipping with brethren. They desire spiritual milk and are never satisfied to pray alone. They want to be in the company of fellow believers (Act.2: 42, 46, Heb.10: 25).

12.  Unity: All Bible believers must have excellent inter personal relation spirit (Act.2: 44, 4: 32).

13.  Spiritual dependence: Infants in Christ must learn to look up to God for all things (Dan.3; 16-18, Heb.12: 2).

14.  Scripture oriented: He/she searches deeply into the Scriptures (Jn.5: 37, Act.17: 10-11).

15.  Renunciation of the world and non-conformity to its practices (Gal.1: 4, 6: 14, Jam.4: 4). New believers wish that they be taken to heaven immediately. They view the world as nothing (Ps.90: 9, Jam.4: 14).

 

CONCLUSION: A good tree is known by its fruits and vice versa. Are the evidences above visible in your life? Please ponder and pray on these.
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NEW HEART (2)

 

                                                        NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                                              1st June 2011

 

THEME:           NEW HEART (2)

TEXT:             Eph.5: 25-27

      The first part of this study enlightens us on the meaning of new heart; the struggle for superiority between the flesh and the spirit; the differences between salvation and sanctification and the promise of God to give willing believers new heart. It is important to state that the process of receiving new heart from God (called sanctification) is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. This experience is such that the believer is free from sin, ungodliness and all works of evil.

      Sanctification is a definite Christian experience and not a gradual progression or advancement as some allege. It is like salvation which is obtained at once. This experience which is divine surgical operation to remove the old heart and replace it with a new heart is available only for believers in Christ; sinners are to repent first before they aspire for this experience (Ezek. 18: 31-32, Act. 17: 30). The Bible shows the pictures of several personalities who had received new life but at the time in question needed new hearts (Peter-Matt.16: 21-23, the family of the Zebedee- Matt.20: 20-26, The Disciples of Christ-Matt. 26: 6-11, etc.). If you are a new creature; don’t stay on that experience, move higher and as you receive the new heart experience; be cautious to maintain it.

 

1.  EVIDENCES OF NEW HEART: 1 Cor. 13: 4-7

When a man receives new heart; evidences must follow. There is inner and outward holiness (Ps. 15: 1-5, 24: 3-4). Believers enjoy inner victory over sin and all worldly struggles (Jn.8: 36, Heb.4: 9). Love is the major evidence of new heart (Jn.15: 12-13, 1 Jn.4: 17-21). Believers operate with right motives possessing single eye to please God in all things (Gal.1: 10, Phil. 1: 21, 2: 5).

 

2.  RECEIVING NEW HEART: Ezek. 36: 37

The major way of receiving this experience is by praying with determination, focus, understanding and persistence. For prayer to be effective; you must desire the experience (Ps. 42: 1-3, Matt.5: 6-8). When earnest believers possess faith in the God of all possibilities; the Sanctifier Himself hears the cry of the believer for new heart (Jer.32; 17, Mk.11: 24). He’s willing to do more than we ask of Him (Matt.7: 7-11, Eph.3: 20).

 

3.  MAINTAINING NEW HEART EXPERIENCE: Jn.15: 1-2

All spiritual experiences could be lost if recipients permit sin (Heb. 10: 38-39). However; to keep this experience; we must not toy with sin (Rom.6: 1-6), we must be glued to our Bible (Josh.1; 8), we must be watchful and maintain consistent prayer life (Mk.1: 35, Lk.18: 1,

1 Cor.10: 12-13). We must abide in Christ daily (Jn.15: 1-5).

 

CONCLUSION: What length of time does confession of sins take in your prayer? Are you truly free from lust, worldly allurement, covetousness, foolish talks, etc? Act now! Delay is dangerous!
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NEW POWER (1)

 

                                                        NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                                              8th June 2011

 

THEME:           NEW POWER (1)

TEXT:             Act.2: 1-4

      When a Church/Christian is not endued with the Holy Ghost, that Church/individual experiences weakness, powerlessness, no unction, lack of anointing, no spiritual strength, scarcity of supernatural ability to do what God has called us to do. The spiritual dryness and famine that believers who do not have new power experience are unimaginable. A preacher without God’s power will only shouts and uses the energy of the flesh to accomplish close to nothing. When we give our lives to Christ, receive new hearts and submit our will completely to Him; He fills our life with His Spirit in a process called Holy Ghost baptism. This experience is what the believers in Christ in our text received. It is what is called New Power or spiritual dynamite. The experience is for those who desire exciting and refreshing presence and fellowship of the third person of the Godhead (Holy Spirit).

 

1.     THE PROMISE OF NEW POWER: Act.2: 17

Moses prophesied that God’s Spirit would descend on Israel to make many of them become Prophets (Num.11: 29). Ezekiel corroborated God’s design to baptize His people with His power (Ezek.36: 26, 37). John the Baptist announced the manifesto of Jesus as the ‘Baptizer in the Holy Ghost’ (Matt.3: 11).Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry at Jerusalem for this new power (Lk.24: 49). It is worthy to note that Old Testament saints had the Holy Spirit upon them for specific assignments but never had the continuous  abiding presence as we have today (Judg.3: 10, 6: 34, 1 Sam.10: 9-10, 16: 13).

 

Discussion-What can you deduce on the subject matter from the following?

a.          Prov.1: 23……………………………………………………………b. Joel 2: 28-29…………………………………………..

c. Jn.14: 16-17………………………………………………………d. Jn.15: 26,16:13…………………………………….

 

2.    THE PURPOSE OF NEW POWER: Act. 1: 8, 10: 38

The New power promised by God to all thirsty believers is not for fun. The power is to enhance our soul winning tasks and make it effective (Act.1; 8). The power would enable us to manifest supernatural powers to deal with the devil and challenging situations (Act.4: 33, 10: 38). The power if for boldness (Act.4: 31). It is to assist our prayer life (Rom.8: 26). The Holy Spirit teaches us (1 Cor.2; 13) and continually enlightens us in His Word (Jn.14: 26,        1 Cor.2:12), comforts us in time of crises (Jn.15: 26) and brings forth spiritual fruits and gifts in our lives (Gal.5: 22-26, 1 Cor.12: 4). The Holy Spirit helps to break yokes, remove mountains, full down walls of oppression and obtain what ordinary men could not accomplish.

 

CONCLUSION: 0ur lives need regeneration, rejuvenation and revival which are possible through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. All things are ready (Jn.7: 37-39).
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NEW POWER (2)

 

NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                                          15th June 2011

 

THEME:           NEW POWER (2)

TEXT:             Act.2: 1-4, 17-18, 39

      Part one of this study revealed to us that Christianity without the Spirit baptism is mere religion and mechanical waste of time. The New Power experience promised by God to believers in Christ is available to all persons irrespective of age, sex or class (Joel 2; 28-29). At salvation; everyone has a measure of the Holy Spirit but at Spirit baptism; recipients are immersed into full measure of God’s power.

 

1.  RECEIVING NEW POWER: Jn.7: 37-39

a.    Patience: those who need this power must not be in a hurry (Lk.24: 49).

b.    Spiritual hunger: God delights in seeing believers who earnestly thirst and hunger after His power (Ps.42: 1-2, Isa. 55:1, Matt.5: 6).

c.    Seek the Lord genuinely (2 Chron.15; 15, Jer.29: 13).

d.    Develop right motive-why do you need the power? (Act.8: 18-21, Jam.4; 3).

e.    Ask God in faith (Matt.7: 7, Lk.11: 9-13, Jam.4:2)

Let us be reminded that it is the will of God that all Christians receive this power so that we are not incapacitated nor limited in our service to God.

 

2.  EVIDENCES OF NEW POWER: Act. 2; 4

When a life receives Holy Ghost baptism; that life is ignited with spiritual fire and would be likened to dynamite. A few of the following evidences would be visible:

a)    Speaking in tongues: the most visible of the evidences is speaking in tongues. This evidence is different from the gift of divers tongues stated in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 10 (The one in 1 Cor.12: 10 require interpretation). All persons that received New Power in the New Testament spoke in tongues. Why would yours’ be different? (Act.2: 4, 10: 44-46, 19: 6).

b)   Comfort: The New Power comforts us (Jn.15: 26; 16: 13).

c)    Boldness, fearlessness and effectiveness in witnessing-This new experience pushes us all out to win souls for Christ (Act.1: 8).

d)   Deeper personal relationship with God: Rom.12; 1-2.

e)   Spiritual rejuvenation and enlightenment: Jn.16:7-15.

f)    Spiritual gifts become evident: 1 Cor.12: 4-10

 

CONCLUSION: The ball is in your court. Develop strong desire for this experience. If you already have this experience; cry to God for re-filling. The hour to be visited by God is now!
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FORGIVENESS

 

                                                        NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                                              22nd June 2011

 

THEME:                    FORGIVENESS

TEXT:                        Matt.18:21-35

 

The term forgiveness is a common word that could make or mar the life of someone if care is not taken. To forgive is to cease to feel angry or resentful towards someone. Forgiveness is to pardon a person who offends us. It is very clear that when we interact with each other; we offend ourselves. Offending each other is not a strange thing at all even though we might be living right in the sight of God. The Scripture acknowledges that offences would come but at the same time God expects us to be kind hearted and possess heart of forgiveness even when the offenders do not acknowledge it (Matt 18:7, 1Cor. 10:32; 2 Cor 6:3). Man has a natural tendency to revenge or refuse to forgive but believers in Christ are not taught to possess the habit of keeping grudges. May God plant into us the spirit and grace of forgiveness in Jesus name!

 

1.                 FORGIVENESS IN GOD’S PERSPECTIVE:                     LK.6: 35-37

Since offences are bound to come; the command of God is that Christians should keep forgiven up to the 490th time a day (Matt.18:21-22). Believers are not to wait till those who offend us apologize. Our forgiveness is contingent on forgiving others. (Matt.5: 43-47, 6; 14- 15 Mk.11; 25-26, Jam.2: 13).

 

DISCUSSION A: Give your comments on forgiveness according to the following:

a.      Mk. 11:25 …………………………..b .Lk 11:4 ……………………………………

c.   Lk 17:4 ……………………………..d. Eph 4:32 …………………………………..

 

2.                 BIBLICAL INSTANCES OF FORGIVENESS:      Act. 7:60, 2Tim. 4:16

Esau forgave Jacob (Gen. 33:4, 11); Joseph forgave his brothers (Gen. 45:5-15; 50:19-21). Moses also did not hold on to the sins of the Israelites but forgave them (Num. 12:1-13). Despite the cruel attitude of Saul to the young boy; David still forgave the shameless king Saul (1Sam. 24:10-12; 26: 9, 23; 2 Sam. 1: 14-17). Shimei should have received several lashes from the King but David forgave him (2 Sam. 16:5-13; 19: 16-18, 23). Solomon forgave Adonijah (1Kg. 1:51- 53) while our Lord Jesus Christ forgives his enemies (Lk. 23:34).

 

3.                 FORGIVING SPIRIT-EVIDENCE OF NEW LIFE:

When we do not forgive; we provide avenue by which the devil stops or steals our blessing. Forgiving spirit is an evidence of new heart. The motives of forgiveness is based on the mercy of God (Lk. 6:36); our need of forgiveness (Mk. 11:25); God's forgiveness of our sins (Eph 4:32) and Christ's forgiveness of us (Col 3:13).

 

CONCLUSION: A life style of forgiveness is a must if we want to make heaven. Forgiveness should be accompanied by forbearance (Col 3:13), kindness (Gen. 45:5-11; Rom 12:20), blessing and prayer (Matt 5:44)
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RESTITUTION (1)

 

                                                                                 NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                   6th July 2011

THEME:                    RESTITUTION (1)

TEXT:                        Exd.22:1-7

It is expected that everyone who desires to live eternally with God must have a complete (3600) turning away from all known sins including its deceitful pleasures. When a sinner becomes regenerated by the precious blood of Jesus; he/she needs to make necessary amends if indeed he/she must have clear and clean conscience towards God and men (Act.24; 16). The process of amending our old ways and making wrongs right (known as restitution) is our focus in this study.

 

1.     RESTITUTION: GOD’S DEMAND FROM ALL- Num.5: 5-8

Restitution is a biblical doctrine that involves the process of making amends for wrongs done against our fellow men. It is restoring stolen items to the rightful owners and releasing back things illegally taken from people (Ezek.33: 14-16). Restitution is given back what one has defrauded (Prov.6: 30-31); making confessions to the offended and apologizing to those slandered (Gen.20: 1-8, 14-18, Matt.5; 23-24, Act.23; 1-5). God demands restitution in all areas of our human relationship especially if we must make heaven. A few of such instances are exemplified below:

a.      Polygamy is sinful. First wives/first husbands are the legitimate persons recognized by God. Everyone wrongly married must restitute (Gen.20: 1-8, 14-18).

b.      If you stole monies/items in the past that you can remember; you must restitute (Ezek.33: 14-16).

c.      All dishonest gains must be paid back. Have you robed your landlord before packing out? Did you ever defraud bus conductors by evading payment? You must restitute.

d.      If you ever cheated your spouse be having extra-marital relationship; you must confess to your partner. What injury have your lies, false report, backbiting, etc caused to other person’s career, marriage of business? You must make correction.

e.      What gifts did you receive from someone on the pretence of marrying him/her whereas you married someone else? Restitution is mandatory.

f.        How have you been fraudulent to your employers, neighbours, spouse, and parents?

g.      Which certificates did you acquired falsely without sitting for the exams? Falsified certificates must be denounced.

h.      What about false age falsification, marital status lies, false information to obtain scholarship, visa or any thing done to get undue advantage? Amendments must be done.

 

2.     RESTITUTION: BIBLICAL INJUNCTIONS- Lev.6; 1-5

The teaching on restitution is as old as the Bible itself. God demanded for restitution before the law (Gen.20: 1-8, 14-18), during the dispensation of the law (Exd.22:1-7, Lev.6: 1-7, Num.5: 5-8), during the prophets (1 Sam.12: 1-6, Ezek.33: 14-16) and He requires same during this current dispensation of grace (Matt.5: 23-24, Jam.5: 16). King Abimelech returned Sarah to her husband (Gen.20: 14-18), Zaccheus did restitution (Lk.19: 8-9), Paul apologized for insulting a high Priest (Act.23: 1-5), etc. What are you waiting for? What other evidences do you need before amending your ways?

 

CONCLUSION: We should note that, God’s love does not cancel His holiness. God cannot bless us while we are hurting others. We must have clear consciences especially before men (Act. 24; 16). Action is now!
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RESTITUTION (2)

 

                                                                                 NEW LIFE IN CHRIST SERIES                   13th July 2011

THEME:                    RESTITUTION (2)

TEXT:                        Exd.22:1-7

Restitution is one of the least understood, yet most important, Bible teachings. This important principle is taught in both the Old and New Testaments as discussed in part one of this study. Yet today in the Church of God, it is commonly taught that "When a person repents and is baptized, his sins are forgiven. Therefore, he is not required to perform any restitution at all." Genuine repentance leads to a desire to redress wrongs. Believers in Christ must restitute as a point of necessity. If we are to enjoy memorable relationship with God, we must be open to things he may put his finger on that need attention. Restitution is to be a result of our salvation—it is not a requirement for salvation. In fact, the restitution that Zacchaeus made according to Luke 19: 8-9 was not simply to even out things in making wrongs right. He returned four for one in the spirit of the Old Testament restitution requirement.  There are a number of reasons for restitution as a part of our becoming disciples of Christ: Restitution will have a cleansing effect on my soul, making restitution will strengthen my integrity as a Christian; making restitution will give me opportunities to witness to those who knew me before I met Christ. May the Holy Spirit deal with us to make our wrongs right.

1. RESTITUTING FOR HEAVEN SAKE: Lev.6: 1-7

Repentance without restitution is like faith without works! There are several things to notice about Leviticus chapter 6. Firstly: God spoke the Word. Secondly: sin committed against a neighbor is unfaithfulness to the LORD. Thirdly, He specifically mentions deception, stealing, cheating, lying about finding lost property and swearing falsely, but he adds the all-inclusive “any such sin that people may do.” In the passage we are then told how to rectify the situation to God, our neighbor and ourselves. It is very simple solution. It is simply returning what we have stolen, taking it back, plus 20% interest, and offering a guilt offering to the Lord. These two things are to be done on the same day. The result is that “he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.” What do you think we should not do to gain eternity with God? For heaven sake; we should make restitution.

 

2.   RESTITUTING: APPLYING DIVINE WISDOM- Prov. 1:5; 9:9

As scriptural as restitution is, caution must be taken before we go ahead to right our wrongs. Some restitution will implicate other persons. Oftentimes, other restitution will invite injury or harm on others especially non-believers who would not seem to understand our stand. Some restitution will inflict physical torture, punishment or imprisonment on us. Godly counsel must be sought from our spiritual leaders who have similar faith before we go ahead to restitute. We must pray to God for divine guidance before proceeding to restitute. When God takes charge; He’ll go ahead to soften the hearts of the offended before we get there. (Prov. 11:14; 12:15; 15:22; 19:20; 20:18; 24:6).

CONCLUSION: Restitution must be done to the injured whether the injured is aware of the injury or not. The time of action is now! (2 Cor.6; 1-2).
                                                                                         

 

 

  THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                                  3rd April 2013

 

THEME-    THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

TEXT-        Jn.14:16-18, 26

 

One of the most prominent teachings of the Bible is on the personality of the Holy Spirit. As important as this doctrine is to Christianity, it is also one of the most misunderstood and has confused many persons who seem not to come to term with the person, purpose and manifestation of the third person of the Godhead. This series of teachings is aimed at bringing to focus the importance of the Holy Spirit in the actualization of the plan of God for salvation of mankind and the success of our expedition on earth. May we be filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit in great measure in Jesus name.

 

1.      THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:

The Holy Spirit is not a mere force but a divine person. He is not a mere influence but a personality who seeks to get hold of us and use us, no wonder the Bible uses personal pronouns like He, Him, I, etc to describe the Holy Spirit. He is a Divine personality whom we must regard, respect, honour, obey, love and fellowship with.

 

Discussion 1: Read the following references and highlight names and titles of the Holy Spirit

a.      Matt. 10: 20………………………..b.Lk.11: 13……………………c.Jn.16:13…………….………..

d. 1 Cor.3; 16………………………e.Phil.1: 19…………………………f.Heb.9:14…………….……..

 

2.      OFFICE AND OPERATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:

The Holy Spirit is eternally self-existent, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable and holy. He has specific functions in the world and in the lives of believers. He regenerates (Tit.3;5), bears witness with believers in Christ (Rom.8;14-16), confirms the Gospel (Heb.2: 3-4), intercedes for saints (Rom.8: 26-27), helps us in prayer (Zech.12:10), illuminates and inspires (Jn.16; 13-15, 2Pt.1:21), searches all hearts (1 Cor.2: 10-11), comforts, counsels and commands (Isa.11: 1-2, Acts 13: 2), teaches (Matt.10: 19-20,Jn.14: 26).

Discussion 2: What can you deduce about the Holy Spirit according to the following references?

a.      Ps.139:7………………………………..b.Isa.28;6…………………..……….c.Matt.7: 29……………………….

d.   Rom.8: 14…………………….……….e. Eph.1:13………………………..f 2Pt.1;20-21…………….…………

 

3.      RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT: Num.11;16-17, 24-29

God has promised the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit to His children who have assurance of salvation, definite and practical evidence of circumcision of heart and deep desire for the Holy Spirit (Jn.3;3-6, 7: 37-39,Ezek.36: 26-27). The Holy Spirit is not for the careless, lethargic, prayerless and indifferent believer. When we pray through; the promise of the Holy Spirit becomes a reality.

 

Conclusion: We must begin to see the Holy Spirit in a new dimension and be more willing

to submit to His lordship.

 

 

 

 

            THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                                10th April 2013

 

THEME:   PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT           

TEXT:    Jn. 14:16 & 1 Jn. 5:7

 

Many believers are not aware of who the Holy Spirit is. The devil knows that the moment you discover the personality and reality of the Holy Spirit, your life will be transformed; hence he continues to perpetuate ignorance amongst believers. It is important to note that the Holy Spirit is not a particle, nor is He one kind of feeling or emotion. The Holy Spirit is a divine personality and the third person of the Godhead. He is the complete expression of God in Spirit form. In the Old Testament, He dwells upon Holy Prophets, Kings, Priest, and selected people of God. We must understand the person of the Holy Spirit so that we can enjoy our walk in God.

 

1.                         THE GODHEAD : Lk. 3:21-22,

The Holy Spirit is a separate distinct person different from the “Spirit of the Father” or the “Spirit of the Son”. This is evident in several instances of the Bible;

 a. Luke 3:21-22: (i) God the Father said, “thou art my beloved Son: in thee I am well pleased”. (ii) God the Son was baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan.

(iii)God the Holy Spirit descended in bodily shape like a Dove.

b.  Matt.28:19 makes a clear distinction between the three persons.

c.  John 14:16-17; the Son prays: the Father sends; the Holy Spirit comes to abide.

d.  Acts 2:33- the Son is exalted to the right hand of the father, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate personalities, with mutual relations one to another, speaking to one another, recognizing each other (1John 5:7).

 

2.                         THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The belief of several persons is that the Holy Spirit is a dove. The Holy Spirit is not an inanimate power or force, but a real person. Dove is just a symbol of purity, gentleness, harmlessness, and tenderness (Matt.3:16). Other symbols used to describe the Holy Spirit include: Water (Eph.5:26), Wind (Acts 2:1), Oil (Mk.6:13), Anointing (1Jh.2:20, 27), Fire (Matt.3:11), Tongue of fire (Acts 2:2-3) etc.The Holy Spirit is co-heir with God the Father and God the Son, sharing with them the same divine attributes in the Godhead. Like the other two divine persons in the Trinity; the Holy Spirit has been active in the world since the beginning; but it was after the day of Pentecost that His presence and works become more prominent.

 

Conclusion: The Holy Spirit has a mind of His own (Rom.8:27). He has deep feelings no wonder He could be offended (Eph.4:30, Rom.15:30). He can communicate, listen, hear, and speak to us (Jh.16:13, Rev.2:7, 1Cor.2:10). May the Lord help us to enjoy the person of the Holy Spirit in our walk with Him in Jesus name.

 

 

 

 

 

THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                                17th April 2013

 

THEME:     UNDERSTANDING THE HOLY SPIRIT

TEXT:         John 14:26

 

Study on the Holy Spirit is one of the most important in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who guides into all truth; brings to memory Christ's teachings; shows things to come; glorifies Christ; speaks not of Himself but of Christ; bears witness to Christ; enables Christians to do greater works than those of Christ; convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; comes because Christ goes away; He is “another Comforter” and He is to abide with disciples forever. Amongst mysteries revealed in Scripture is that God has a triune nature. The implication of this is that His Personality is revealed in three different forms. He is three persons, yet one God. The three personalities are united as one in the Godhead and are referred to as the Trinity. Each personality of the Trinity; the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, had special functions on behalf of mankind. The Holy Spirit is sometimes the forgotten part of the Triune Godhead.

 

1.  PERSONHOOD: Rom 8:26,

Since the Holy Spirit is a person, He has the characteristics of personhood which include- intelligence (He searches all things and even knows the thoughts of God-1 Corin. 2:10-12), emotion (since He can be grieved-Eph.4:30), will (He commands believers to specific actions-Acts 13:2) and distributes gifts as He desires-1 Cor.12:11). He also has self-awareness (Acts 13:2) and moral awareness (Gal. 5:16-17). The Holy Spirit also does things that only a person can do including teaching (John 14:26), convicting (John 16:8), intercession (Rom.8:26) and bears witness (Rom.8:16). The response people have to Him also shows He is a person. He can be obeyed (Acts 8:29), resisted (Acts 7:51), lied to (Acts 5:3), insulted (Heb.20:29) and blasphemed (Matth.12:31). Something that is just a "force" cannot have these characteristics and actions or be responded to in these ways.

 

Discussion 1: What are the works of the Holy Spirit as stated from the following?

a.      Gen. 1:26, 27---------------------b.1Sam. 10:11-------------------------------

c. Psalm 51:11----------------------------------------------------------------

 

2.   HIS WORK IN CHRIST:

The impact of the Holy Spirit in the Ministry of Jesus was amazing. By the power of the Holy Spirit; the Virgin Mary conceived and gave birth to Jesus (Luke 1:35). During His childhood; Jesus understanding of the things of God made it obvious that the Spirit was upon Him (Lk. 2:47). The Spirit came upon Jesus at His baptism and empowered Him for the ministry that He would carry out over the next three years (Matt. 3:16). John proclaimed that Jesus was the one that would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11). It was by the power of the Spirit that Jesus was able to teach the things of God (Isa.11:1-4), proclaim the gospel and perform many miracles (Lk.4:18). No wonder it was so serious when the Pharisees charged Jesus with casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul (Matt.12:24). This was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and His work, and nothing more can be done for a person that rejects the revelation of the Spirit of God and proclaims it to be Satan. They are left in their sins without recourse (Matt. 12:30-32). The Holy Spirit was at work in Jesus’ death and resurrection, (Heb. 9:14) and it was through the eternal Spirit that Jesus offered Himself without blemish to God.

 

Conclusion: The Holy Spirit will never lead you into something that is unholy. It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to perform ministry. The Apostles had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them before they would have the power to proclaim Christ to the world (Acts 1:8).Every believer that desires to be filled with the Holy Spirit; must be ready to pay the price.

 

 THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                                24th April 2013

 

THEME:    OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

TEXT:       Acts 10:44

 

A life without the Holy Spirit cannot be imagined. A preacher without the Holy Spirit is a dry land without water. Messages without the power of the third person of the Trinity are vague, useless and fruitless. How much can we achieve when the power of God is missing? How dry are we without the Spirit power! When the Spirit power is absent; our abilities and capabilities in the service of God are impaired. The Holy Ghost empowers you to see visions, dream dreams and prophesy. The purpose of prophecy is for edification, exhortation and comfort and to glorify Christ               (1 Cor.14:3).

 

The Holy Ghost is promised to the repentant. Holy Ghost baptism is available after salvation. Peter offered this instruction: repent, get baptized in water and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The baptism of the Holy Spirit makes a great difference in the life of a believer. Outpouring of the Spirit is what is referred to as been filled with the fullness of the Holy Ghost. All of us can be part of this great move of God if we pay the price.

 

1.   REASONS FOR OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:Jn.16; 13, Rom.8: 26

The power of the Spirit is not for fun but for boldness to speak God’s Word and face all challenges of life. He is also to help our prayer life (Rom.8; 26), break all satanic yokes, move all mountains, pull down all strongholds and walls and perform the extra-ordinary that natural man cannot do.

 

2.   PRE-REQUISITES FOR OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT:Ps.38:9, 42:1-4

The Holy Spirit can only dwell in believers who are eager to receive and welcome Him. As believers who separate themselves to the Lord; if we pray for the sanctifying flame of God’s Spirit with a pure heart-heaven shall be loosed on us.

 

Discussion; what conditions must we fulfill to be Spirit filled?

a.   Jn.3: 3………………………b.Rom.8: 1,9………………………….c.Ezek.36;26…………………..

 

3.   RECEIVING THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST: Act.8

Salvation alone is not enough qualification to receive the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Many were saved in Philip’s ministry that did not get baptized in the Holy Spirit until the Apostles went to see how the meetings were going and ministered the baptism of the Spirit to them. The same was the experience of twelve brethren recorded in Acts 19. If we can thirst, pray and wait; there would be refreshing power on us. When you receive this power; evidences of speaking in tongues, flowing in spiritual gifts, etc abound in our lives. All those who are already filled must continually visit God’s filling station for refreshing.

 

Conclusion: The promise for outpouring and in filling is for all as well as the blessings. If we pay the price, it shall come to pass in our lives.

 

 

     THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                                1st May 2013

 

THEME: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT-LOVE

TEXT: I Cor. 13:4-7, 13

The word love can mean many things to many people. Pronounced as luv and called philéō (the natural human affection, with its strong feeling, or sentiment, and is never used in Scripture language to designate man's love to God) and agápē (the highest, most perfect kind of love).  Love to both God and man is fundamental to true religion, whether as expressed in the Old Testament or the New Testament. Jesus Himself declared that all the law and the prophets hang upon love (Matt.22:40; Mark 12:28-34). Paul, in his matchless ode on love (1Cor.13:1-13), makes it the greatest of the graces of the Christian life - greater than speaking with tongues, or the gift of prophecy, or the possession of a faith of superior excellence; for without love all these gifts and graces, desirable and useful as they are in themselves, are as nothing, certainly of no permanent value in the sight of God. God’s plan is for everybody to experience His love flowing to Him and through Him (Gal. 5:13-14). It is out of love that God made man in His own image, even, after man has lost out, He gave us His Son to reconcile us with Him. (John 3:16). In fact love summarizes and epitomizes the ultimate nature of God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (I John 4:8).

1. LOVE- FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: Gal. 5:22

One of the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit that encompasses other fruits is love. When God’s Spirit is at work in a person, amazing things happen. The person’s whole life blossoms and bears beautiful fruits. When the Holy Spirit flows inside a behavior, one of the fruits He is expected to produce to prove this flow is to love. Our human efforts alone cannot produce godly love. Love is not laughing or greeting one another alone it must be a deep affection from the heart. To obtain this fruit is to be a child of God and be pure. This divine love is as a result of purity (Ps. 24: 3-4). It is produced by the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22; 2Thes.3:5), by the love of God to us (1 Jh.4:19; and in answer to prayer (Ps.116:1). This type of love we are describing is analysed in 1 Cor.13.

2. CHRIST’S PERFECT EXAMPLE OF LOVE:

Jesus said “A new commandment I give you love one another as I have loved you, so you also love one another” ‘(Jh 13:34). His love for us is manifested in coming to seek the lost (Luk_19:10); praying for His enemies (Luk.23:34); giving Himself for us (Gal.2:20); dying for us (Joh.15:13, 1 Jh.3:16); washing away our sins (Rev.1:5) and  interceding for us (He.7:25;9:24).  As Believers, we must love one another (Jh. 15:12,17, I Jh. 4:7, 11-12). We must also be kind to all persons irrespective of tribe, race, color or language; there should be no partiality or sentiment. So brethren, let us follow our Savior’s example by loving one another.

 

DISCUSSION: How do you understand these scriptures concerning love?

i.                      Rom. 12:10………………..……….….…. (ii) I Cor. 13:6-7 ……………………….…………………………….……

iii.                Eph. 4:32………………….……..…….. (iv) Eph. 5:1-2 …….…………………………………..……………………

v.                   I Thes.5:12-13……………..…..…… (vi) IPt.1:22 ……………………………………..…………..

CONCLUSION: Brethren love is a commandment from God. We must love our God with all our heart, do His will and love our fellow human beings (Lev. 19:186, Dent. 6:5, John 13:34).

 

 

 

 THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                                8th May 2013

 

THEME: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT-JOY & PEACE

TEXT: Gal.5.22

 

The fruit of the Spirit which has been our focus denotes that these fruits flow from the Spirit of God in us and not from our own nature. They result from the influence of the Holy Spirit. Hence, Paul does not trace them to our own hearts, even when renewed. He says that they are to be regarded as the proper result of the Spirit’s operations on the soul. The bad seed produced a bad tree, yielding all manner of bad fruit; the good seed produced a good tree, bringing forth fruits of the most excellent kind so is good seed. Joy and peace which are our main subject are indispensable virtues of every heaven-bound Christian. They are also marks of true Christians. We must be aligned with the Holy Spirit to be able to flow in this fruit.

 

1.  Joy: an Indispensable fruit-Gal.5: 22

This fruit is attributed to God (Deut.28:63;30:9; Jer.32:41). The idea of joy is expressed in the Bible as “gladness,” “mirth”;  “to spring,” “leap, “exult,” to exhilarate, to be excited”, to enjoy; to have or possess with pleasure, or to have pleasure in the possession of, “  to rejoice” and “shouting (Luk.1:14,44; Act.2:46).  Paul speaks of joy as one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal.5:22) and of “joy in the Holy Spirit” as an essential mark of the kingdom of God (Rom.14:17). This joy is associated with faith (Phil.1:25), hope (Rom.5:2; Rom.12:12), brotherly fellowship and sympathy (Rom.12:15; 2Cor.7:13; Phil.2:1 ). To rejoice in the Lord is enjoined as a Christian duty (Phil.3:1, 4:4). In Christ, the Christian “rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1Pt.1:8), in spite of his temporary afflictions (1Pt.1:6). Christian joy is no mere gaiety that knows no gloom, but is the result of the triumph of faith over adverse and trying circumstances, which, instead of hindering, actually enhance it (Act.5:41; Rom.5:3). Even our Lord Himself “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame” (Heb.12:2). There are many instances of Joy in the Bible, e.g. of Moses and the Israelites, when Pharaoh and his army were destroyed (Exd 15:1-22),of Deborah and the Israelites, when Sisera was overthrown (Judg. 5), of Jephthah's daughter, when he returned from his victory over the Ammonites (Jdg.11:34), of the Jews after hearing anew, the word of God (Neh_8:9-18), of Elizabeth, when Mary visited her (Luke 1:5-44), of Mary when she visited Elizabeth (Luk.1:46-56), etc.

 

2.  Peace: Mark of true believers-Gal.5: 22

Peace is obtained as the result of reconciliation with God (Rom.5:1).  The Hebrew word is shālōm (both adjective and substantive), meaning, primarily, “soundness,” “health,” but coming also to signify “prosperity,” well-being in general, all good in relation to both man and God. In early times, to a people harassed by foes, peace was the primary blessing. In Ps.122:7, we have “peace” and “prosperity,” and in Psa.35:27; 3:3.It is the calm, quiet, and order, which take place in the justified soul, instead of the doubts, fears, alarms, and dreadful forebodings, which every true penitent less or more feels, and must feel till the assurance of pardon brings peace and satisfaction to the mind. Peace is the first sensible fruit of the pardon of sin. It is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within the soul.

 

Discussion: What can we use to illustrate fruits of the Spirit according to the following references?

1.                          Matt.3:8; ………….………2.Matt.7:17-18……………..….………3. Gal.5:9, 22……………………………

2.                         Highlight those who made peace in the following passages

a.   Gen.13:8-9…………….……....b. Gen.26:29……………………….…c. Est.10:3………………………………

 

Conclusion: Possession of new heart in Christ makes the fruit of the Spirit flow without stress. Pray through to possess this fruit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                            15th May 2013

 

THEME: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT- LONGSUFFERING & GENTLENESS

TEXT: Gal.5.22

 

For everyone that wants to be called a child of God, he/she must possess all the fruits of the Spirit, because that is the identity of believers-‘by their fruit you shall know them’. It is when you display these fruits that you will be able to portray Christ to the world. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch because their behaviour resembles that of their Master- Jesus. If you want to resemble Jesus you must have these fruits of the Spirit.

 

1.        LONG-SUFFERING Pro.15:18;16:32

Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit that is very essential in the life of all Christians. Longsuffering is synonymous to patience and could be regarded as been slow to wrath or slow to anger (Matt. 18:26, 29). The adjective is applied to God (Exd.34:6, Num.14:18) who is described and associated with “great kindness” and “plenteous in mercy.” It is love on trial. It enables you to bear with other people and easily forgive them when they offend or hurt you. As a Christian you must have this fruit of the Spirit if truly you want to get to heaven. Many people called themselves children of God but they cannot bear with others. They over-react and get annoyed quickly whenever anybody crosses them. If annoyed; they ensure they retaliate. Every small thing annoys them.  Some people even carry inner anger from the past. Do not pay evil with evil and pray for a bridled tongue  (Prov. 15:1)

 

Discussion 1: What can you say about longsuffering according to the following references?

a.       Jer.15:15 ………………………………….b.Eph.4:2…………………………………………………..

c. Col.1:11………………………..……………d.Heb.6: 12…………………………….………………..

 

2.       GENTLENESS – Gal 5: 23, I Cor. 9:22

Gentleness means to bend low or to condescend. It is another fruit of the Holy Spirit believers must possess. Gentleness is also referred to as meekness. It means to be humble. As a believer you need gentleness to relate with everybody around you. As a Pastor, Evangelist, Teacher, Prophet, etc you all need this fruit of the Spirit if you want to succeed in the ministerial work the Lord had ordained you to do. You must be friendly with everybody and be kind. Gentleness includes true humility that does not consider itself too good or too great for humble task.

Discussion 2: What deduction can you bring out on gentleness according to the following references?

a.          2 Sam.22:36 …………………….b. Jer.11:19………………………………………………....

c.        2 Cor.10:1 ………………………………….d. 1 Thes.2:7…………………………………………………

 

CONCLUSION

As a child of God, we must be slow to anger and quick to forgive (Psalm 145:8). Let us try to listen to the Holy Spirit in all our daily lives and walk with the Lord. Yield your life to God.

 

 

 

    THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                            29th May 2013

 

THEME: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT- MEEKNESS & TEMPERANCE

TEXT: Gal.5:23

 

Meekness simply means gentle, calmness, mild, humble and could also be referred to as doing things in a quiet and careful way. In Matthew 21:5, Jesus did not come into Jerusalem riding on a great big white steed. He came riding on a little baby donkey which signifies humility. Temperance on the other hand is said to be a way of controlling oneself, behaviour, eating habit, etc.

 

1.       MEEKNESS: A must for all Christians (Mt 11:29).

This is the eight fruit of the Holy Spirit. Meekness in the New Testament is not merely a natural virtue, but a Christian “grace” (Gal_5:23). The natural person is proud, haughty, arrogant and self centered, but when the Holy Spirit fills a hearts, the person will become humble, mild, submissive and easily entreated. Jesus is the greatest example of meekness. The creator of the universe was buffeted, ridiculed, abused and spat upon by his own creation. The creator of the universe humbled himself, took on the form of a servant, became subject to whims of humanity, even to the point of death, that he might purchase our redemption by his blood. It was the spirit of the Saviour Himself (Matt.11:29). Christians are exhorted to cherish it and show it in their relations to one another (Eph.4:2; Col.3:12; 1Tim.6:11; Tit.3:2). It also ought to characterize Christian teachers or those in authority in “instructing correcting, them that oppose themselves” (2 Tim.2:25). It is necessary and important to possess this fruit as a Christian (Col 3:12).

2.             TEMPERANCE: Gal 5:23, 2 Pt:6-7

          It is the ninth fruit of the spirit and is the final characteristic of a believer in Christ Jesus. It is self control, self discipline, self-mastery and self-restraint. Temperance will solve the Christians problem of emotional outburst of rage, anger, fear, jealousy and so on.  It is properly an inner spiritual virtue, working into the outward life, incapable of being counterfeited or replaced by any abstinence limited to that which is external. No Christian can be matured in Christ, steadily filled with the Holy Spirit and fully used by God who does not regularly feed on the word of God. A heaven bound must allow this fruit of spirit in him/her. To have this fruit you must wait on the Lord and be of good courage, it may not happen over -night but the Lord shall strengthen your heart to wait on the Lord (Ps 27:14)

What can you infer from the verses listed below on fruit of the Spirit?
1. Mt 11:29…………………………….… 2. Rom 12:3…………………………………..-
3. 1 Cor9:27………………………………..4. Titus 3:2……………………………………..

 
CONCLUSION: Bring all through into captivity that you might serve Christ and live for him all the days of your life.

 

     THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                            5th June 2013

 

THEME:    FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT- GOODNESS & FAITH

TEXT:     Gal.5:22

Many of us carry big Bibles to Church to portray us as children of God but the world is no longer interested with that. This is because many persons had been duped, defrauded and cheated by people who claim to be Christians. What people are looking for today is good character. These series of lessons on the fruit of the Spirit is about how we showcase the Lord through godly behaviours wherever we find ourselves. In this study, we are considering goodness and faith as fruit of the Spirit which are essential virtues for all heaven-bound believers.

1.                        Goodness; Gal.5: 22

Goodness is agathōsunē in Greek. It is known as virtue or beneficence (Exod.18:9; Ps.16:2). Scripture also uses words like good (Ps.23:6), abundant in goodness, plenteous in mercy, abundant in loving kindness to mean goodness (Exd.33:19; Ps.31:19; 52: 1, Jer. 31:14; Hos.3:5). The New Testament translates it to mean usefulness, benignity, kindness (Luk.6:35, Rom.2:4; 11:22). Goodness as one of the fruits of the indwelling Spirit of God works in conjunction with righteousness and truth. (2 Thes.1:11). In Romans 15:14, the word goodness seems to be used in the sense of beneficence or a disposition to do good to others. The sense is that a Christian must be a good man.

What can you deduce about the virtue –goodness?

a.  Jer. 31: 14………………………………….…………..b. Hos. 3: 5…………………………………..……………………………………

c.  Rom.2:4………………………………………………………d. Rom. 11:22……………………………………………..………………………..

2.                        Faith: Gal. 5: 22

The word faith in the context of this study is from the Greek word-pistis which means persuasion, credence; moral conviction especially reliance upon Christ for salvation, assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity. In Heb.11: 1, faith also means reliance, trust. It is the substance (the guaranty) of things hoped for, the evidence (or convincing proof) of things not seen. In a similar vein; faith could be said to be punctuality in performing promises, conscientious carefulness in preserving what is committed to our trust, in restoring it to its proper owner, in transacting the business confided to us, neither betraying the secret of our friend, nor disappointing the confidence of our employer. True religion makes a man faithful. The Christian is supposed to be faithful as a man; faithful as a neighbour, friend, father, husband, son, daughter, etc. He is faithful to his contracts; faithful to his promises. No man can be a Christian who is not thus faithful, and all pretensions to being under the influences of the Spirit when such fidelity does not exist, are deceitful and vain.

 

Conclusion: Are you good to people? Can you be trusted and relied upon? What testimony do you have especially among the unbelievers? Go to the Lord now for positive turn around!

 

 

 

THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                            12th June 2013

 

THEME:       GIFTS-GIFTS OF REVELATION

TEXT:           1 Cor 12:8, 10

The scriptural doctrine on the gifts of the Spirit has been viewed from different angles by believers of different ages. Some Christian assemblies believe that the operation of the gift of the Spirit is limited to the apostolic age. In some Churches, the Manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit go on in an unedifying manner. Neither of these extremes is right since the Bible warns that we must neither quench the Spirit nor grieve it (1Thess 5:19, Eph4:30).

 

The gifts of REVELATION comprise the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom and the Discerning of spirits. These gifts can also be called Inspirational gifts or seeing gifts.  God made the spiritual gifts available in the Church to serious minded faithful believers and stewards of the mysteries of the gospel.  This gift is also very important in Church administration.

 

1.     The Word of Knowledge:-This is the ability to know something which is exclusively known to God. Knowledge deals with facts, clear perception, information and acquaintance.

Case studies; Prophet Ahijah discovered the disguise of the wife of Jeroboam (1 Kg.14: 1-6), Elisha and the covetous Gehazi (2 Kg.5: 25-27), Peter revealing the identity of Jesus (Matt.16; 16-19), Peter with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-5), etc.

 

2.    The Word of Wisdom:-This is the ability to apply knowledge in a right way. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge. It aids to solve emerging challenges and knotty issues.

Case studies: There was no human witness or blood test to guide Solomon to judge rightly between two women and the dead and living children (1kg. 3:16-28); Jesus confronted with the issue of tax (Matt. 17: 24-27); Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (Jn.8: 1-12), etc. This gift is needed by all believers, for instance, when God gives you a word of knowledge you need wisdom for right application.

 

3.    The Discerning of spirits:- 1Kgs 16:16-18.  This is the ability to have spiritual insight into the realm of the spirits, to detect and identify them. This is different from mere suspicion or imagination. There are false prophets as well as genuine prophets, spirits of error as well as spirits of truth (1 Jn.4:1-6).

Case studies: Peter discerns the unholy thoughts of Ananias and saphira through the discerning of spirit.  Paul saw the spirit of divination in the damsel who followed him (Act. 16: 16); Paul and bar-Jesus (Act. 13: 8-11).

 

Conclusion: All believers are qualified for these gifts. We must thirst earnestly for them having pure desire. When we tarry before God in faith, He will pour them on us.

 

 THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                            19th June 2013

 

THEME:           GIFTS-VOCAL GIFTS

TEXT:                1 Cor 12:8, 10

The gifts of the Spirit bestowed upon Christians are to equip us for the service of the Lord. These gifts are imparted by the Holy Spirit according to the dictates of God and His sovereignty (Rom.1; 11, 12; 3-8). These gifts are expected to be used to gratify the Lord only (1 Cor. 12; 7).

 

Vocal gifts are also called declarative gifts and gifts of inspiration. These set of gifts are so called because they have to do with talking, declaration and inspiration. It is insight into the supernatural for productivity. The gift of prophecy, divers tongues and interpretation of tongues fall under the vocal gifts.

 

1.       THE GIFT OF PROPHECY: Rom.12:6; 1 Cor.12:10,28-29

This is a supernatural utterance in the language of man devoid of ecstacy (trance, excessive joy) and ravishment witnessed in modern prayer houses. It predicts the future, unfolds mysterious truth and speaks unto men for edification, consolation and comfort (1 Cor.14; 3). This gift was bestowed at Pentecost upon the church as a whole (Act.2:16 ff), but in particular measure upon certain individuals who were distinctively known as prophets e.g. Judas and Silas (Act.15:32), the prophets at Antioch (Act.13:1), Agabus and the prophets from Jerusalem (Act.11:27 f), the four daughters of Philip the Evangelist (Act.11:9). In the New Testament era, the prophet was a minister to the believing church and not to the unbelieving world                   (1 Cor.14:4, 22).

Case studies: Jacob spoke of the end of his sons (Gen. 49:1), Nathan (2 Sam.7: 2), Elijah       (1 Kg.17: 1), Enoch (Jud.14)

 

2.      THE GIFT OF DIVERS TONGUES: 1 Cor.12:10,28,30

This is supernatural utterance in different kinds of tongues or languages. It may be unknown to the one speaking or praying. It is not the same as speaking in tongues which evidenced a person baptised in the Spirit. When Paul says that the speaker in an unknown tongue addressed himself to God and not to men (1 Cor.14:2,14) and was not understood by those who heard him (1 Cor.14:2), that he edified himself (1 Cor.14:4) and yet lost the power of conscious thought while praying with the spirit (1Cor.14:14 f), it would appear that the “tongues” must have been of the nature of devout ejaculations and broken and disjointed words, uttered almost unconsciously under the stress of high ecstatic feeling.

 

3.      THE GIFT OF INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES: 1 Cor.12:10

This is God-given ability to make known in the vernacular, the message of one who speaks in divers’ tongues. It is the interpretation of the tongues spoken in a company of believers for the benefit and understanding of all present (1 Cor.12:10, 14; 5, 13-15, 27-28). The interpretation might be given by the speaker in tongues himself (1 Cor.12:5, 13) after his mood of ecstasy was over, as he translated his exalted experiences and broken cries into plain intelligible language; or, if he lacked the power of self-interpretation, the task might be undertaken by another possessed of this special gift (1 Cor.12:27-28).

 

Discussion:

What admonition can we deduce on spiritual gifts according to the following references?

1.       Ps. 34: 10……………………………2.Prov. 2: 6…………………………….3.Eccl.2; 26………………………

4.      Matt. 7: 7………………………..5.Rom.11; 29 ……………………………..6.Eph.4: 7-8…………………..

 

Conclusion: why do you need theses gifts? Act 8: 18-19. Seek the Lord with a contrite heart and sincerity-all that you need to function in His vineyard shall be given to you.

 

THE SCHOOL OF THE SPIRIT                                                            26th June 2013

 

THEME:           GIFTS-POWER GIFTS

TEXT:                1 Cor 12:9- 10

The gifts of the Spirit enable believers to be effective in Christian service, assist others, live in victory and build up the brotherhood of the believers. Power gifts are gifts that demonstrate God’s supernatural power in physical realm. They include faith, gifts of healing and working of miracles. These gifts are manifestations, not of believers own personality, but of the Holy Spirit within the believer.  In every case the results they produce are in a higher level than the believer could achieve by his or her ability. When you are baptized in the Spirit; you become qualified to receive any of these gifts.

 

1.     GIFT OF FAITH:       Matt. 17: 14-21 

The gift of faith serves as a catalyst for other gifts.  It is a gift that causes us to perform the impossible and produces a miracle. When God enables us with spontaneous ability to subdue or conquer physical forces, it is the gift of faith that causes us to step out in the incredible and without even thinking, bringing about a feat mortal man cannot accomplish himself. When this gift operates in you, it is as if you are not connected to the physical so the supernatural seems natural and you just move out in it. (Matt. 8:23-27, 21:21-22, Lk.8:22-25).

2.     GIFT OF HEALING: Acts 3:1-9, James 5:15

We must remember that God delights in the healing of His people. This gift communicates the healing power of God through His Spirit to the sick, the depressed and those with infirmities. Jesus displayed this gift throughout His earthly Ministry (Act. 10: 38). The gift of healing is not intellectually based, nor is it the result of spiritual insight. In fact, it is a supernatural phenomenon that can happen without any human intervention at all. It can of course also manifest through a human vessel, if God so chooses. He can release a supernatural ability or a divine power for man to exercise authority over impossible situations like broken bones, fatal sicknesses, even death.

3.     WORKING OF MIRACLE: Mk.11:22-23

This is the manifestation of exceptional powers in the name of Jesus with the purpose to intervene in a natural process, in other to show the supernatural power of the Almighty God. When we work in the miraculous, we are walking in the power of God and exercising authority over the natural forces of this realm. The power gift of miracles enables us to perform feats way beyond what is even comprehensible to our human minds.

Deduce from the following Bible passages

a.         Act 8:20……………………………………  b.        I Cor. 12:4………………………………..…….

c.         I Cor. 12………………………..…….......   d.        I Cor. 12:31a………………………….………

 

CONCLUSION: All these gifts are available to the believers who are dedicated, passionate, hungry for service to the Lord, faithful, consecrated, diligent in the word of God and Prayer.

 

 

          LEADERSHIP                                                            10th July 2013

 

THEME:       CALL TO LEADERSHIP

TEXT:          1 Cor 4:1-2

The subject of leadership is very crucial to our Church this year more so that the watchword for the year is ‘All Round Dominion and Incredible Testimonies’ (Gen.1: 28, Ps. 89: 1). To subdue, govern and rule that God has designed for us, we must know what it takes to lead and lead well-hence this subject. Leadership simply put is the ability to govern, direct and influence lives. A leader is someone who is in front of others; he is someone whom people follow. A leader is someone who has been assigned to be in charge of a group of persons and a person who is well ahead of others. Leadership is a calling, a ministry and a commitment which must be handled dedicatedly and sincerely.

 

1.    LEADERSHIP: BIBLICAL CONCEPT- 2 Pt.1: 10

The Biblical concept of leadership is in variance with what secular world believes and affirms. Scriptural leadership is service, following the Master and working for God as a steward. In an advanced stage of Christian maturity, no one can truly understand the pressures and responsibility of a leader except he first remains in the Lord learning and being trained by him through followership, like Elisha to Elijah. Leaders are those who like stewards manage the possession or undertakings or enterprises of God through voluntary and sacrificial service without expecting material reward.

 

2.    LEADERSHIP: A CALLING- Isa. 6: 9, Rom.11; 29

When God called an individual to serve in one capacity and for some particular purpose that call describes and indicates that a relationship exists between God and that individual. There are different ways that men of Scripture were called. Some leaders like Abraham (Gen. 12:1-9, Acts 7:2-3, Heb. 11:8), Moses (Exod. 3; 1-4), Isaiah (Isa.6; 9), Paul (Act. 9:1-5), etc. had direct personal call from God and were given in clear terms specific instructions as to what they were supposed to do. Other leaders were called through human mediators. In this group is Joshua (Num. 13:16, Deut. 31:14, 23), David (1 Sam. 16:1-3), etc. A few others were called to leadership in response to a need, e.g. James (Acts 15:13, Gal. 1:9, 2: 2) and Mathias (Acts 1:15-26). Further to the above, some are called through visions, revelations or dreams, e.g. Joseph (Gen. 37:3-11), Samuel (I Sam. 3:1-9)

 

Discussion: What qualities should all possess in preparation for use by God?

1.    Gen. 24: 12……………………………2.Isa.52: 11…………….………..………………..

3.    1 Cor.4: 2………  ……………………4. 1 Thes.2: 8-9……………………………………

 

Conclusion: God looks at the condition of the heart before He calls men and deposits in them seeds of greatness. We must surrender our lives to Him and be heavenly focussed so that we can be chosen to glorify His name and edify His Church.

 

     

    LEADERSHIP                                                                                                    17th July 2013

 

THEME:            THE MAKING OF A LEADER

TEXT:                2 Tim. 2: 2

 

The slogan ‘leaders are born not made’ or vice versa is common when we talk about leadership. However, leadership is more than been endowed with numerous talents. Leadership is basically influencing other people’s thinking, actions, or character. Adams once wrote, ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader’. Spiritual leadership is influencing people in their relationship with God, that is when through your influence, people’s thinking, actions, or character align with God and His ways. God makes leaders and He has also commissioned spiritual leaders to make disciples of all nations (Matt.28: 19-20). Making disciples is making leaders. The responsibility of raising emerging leaders has been committed into our hands.

 

1.SPIRITUAL PATTERN FOR MAKING LEADERS: 1 Cor. 11;1

Mentoring is a basic spiritual method used for the emergence of a spiritual leader. Joshua, Samuel, Elisha, the Apostles of Jesus, etc. are examples of men who were nurtured to spiritual maturity from nothingness to something. Effective leaders are those with big hearts and big vision. They could sense greatness in the live of a sinner-seeing beyond the present spiritual state of the person and through dedication, commitment, prayer and passion birth the person to emerge as a great spiritual leader.

 

2.EMERGING LEADERS: 2 Cor. 13:9, Eph. 4:12-14

Many people are on the look out for the biggest talent, gifts and divine endowments but God is less interested about that. To be a leader that everyone wants to associate with and receive divine approval, you need the following: Spiritual experience of new birth, willingness to serve, good listening ability, a good disciple/follower, be visionary, possess passion, boldness, spiritual knowledge and willingness to be led and learn new skills, readiness to fail and begin again, possess spunk (willingness to take a risk and go beyond ourselves and experience), honesty, forward looking, competence, inspiration, ability to work with difficult people, etc. All leaders must be on the look out for his/her replacement. We must train our leaders to develop prospective leaders through coaching, mentoring and encouragement.

 

CONCLUSION: Where do you belong? Are you an ordinary member or active member in the fellowship? What roles are you playing in spiritual things? Who have you discovered that the baton of leadership can be handed over to? What are you doing about your role on spiritual leadership? We need to proffer answers to the queries now!

 

             LEADERSHIP                                                                                                       24th July 2013

 

THEME:             MODEL FOR LEADERSHIP

TEXT:                 1. Cor.11: 1

Leadership is influence, sacrifice and service. The leadership style of our Lord Jesus gave the best pattern or model for effective leadership. Leaders lead others into their own encounters with God. They lead by examples, they know the Lord and by implication lead their followers to the God they serve.  Good spiritual leaders lead others to discover their own purpose and identity. Spiritual leadership is characterized by great generosity by assisting others to fully discover who they were made to be. When there is tension, fear, or apathy, a spiritual leader can transform the immediate power of these storms and restore vision, vitality and hope and transform the whole scenario to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit. Leadership as exemplified by Jesus help people see old things in new ways. Spiritual leaders influence more than they direct, and they inspire more than they instruct.

 

LEADERSHIP STYLES:

There are common styles of leadership which would be highlighted in this study:

a.                Transactional Leadership is that which is prone towards well-developed structures with well-defined rewards and punishment. The leader here is more comfortable when rules of conduct are strictly defined; the rules are more important than the personnel. Good leaders are to be concerned about the people. Moses’ type of leadership falls here. He employed rules and ordinances as given him by the Lord.

b.               Transformational Leadership believes when people are properly appreciated and motivated they will perform. Followers will perform at their optimum when they feel they are part of a winning team. A transformational leader has a personality that makes people feel like they can do anything. They inspire through words and actions (Phil. 4: 13). Remember Caleb (Num.13: 30), Nehemiah (Neh.2: 17-18), Paul (Act. 14; 21-22).

c.                Participative Leadership is the type of leadership that allows all members to be involved in the decision-making process. People are less competitive and more collaborative when they are working on joint goals (Gen. 11: 1-6, Ps. 133).

d.               Situational Leadership is a dynamic style in the sense that different situations call for different types of solutions. In this model, leadership is about finding the best solution to a given problem. This could best be achieved by allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us on every step to take to address any challenge.

e.                Servant Leadership depicts leaders who see themselves as servants to the organization and its personnel. He or she does not lead for strokes of ego, but for the greater good of the movement and his self-sacrificial. When the organization succeeds, he gives credit to the team members but takes responsibility for the down fall when a project fails. Jesus is the perfect example here (Phil.2: 5-11).

f.      Authoritarian leaders are very much task oriented and are hard on their workers (autocratic). There is little or no allowance for cooperation or collaboration.

g.               Impoverished Leader achieve low task and have low relationship. These leaders allow their team to do whatever it wishes and prefer to detach themselves from the team process by allowing the team to suffer from a series of power struggles.

 

Conclusion: We cannot achieve success without God. We must allow

Him to direct us and make us effective leaders.

 

 

 LEADERSHIP                                                                                                            31st July 2013

 

THEME:             SERVANTHOOD

TEXT:                 Jn.13: 1-5

The story told in out text of the washing of the feet of Jesus’ disciples by their Master could best be described as the office of the meanest slaves. When David sent to Abigail, to inform her that he had chosen her for wife, she arose and said: Behold, let thy handmaid be a Servant, to Wash the Feet of the Servants of my lord (1 Sam._25:41). Christian servant hood is depicted throughout Scripture to reveal a wonderful lifestyle filled with blessings and opportunities to see lives changed through service. Biblical leadership is not been a master but been a servant. Servanthood in the Bible meant putting others before oneself no matter what; but it all started with the life of Christ - the one who has shown us the meaning of a true servant. Living out our perception of how Christ lived, as a servant to others, is the ultimate example after which we ought to fashion our lives.

 

1.     CHRIST: AN EXAMPLE FOR LEADERS- Phil. 2:5-8

In contrast to the arrogance and quest for superiority of His disciples; Jesus displayed the attitude of a servant throughout His earthly Ministry. Christ did not hold on to His equality or cling to His rights as God; but humbled Himself and subordinated Himself to the will of God the Father. Jesus took the form of a servant, while proclaiming the status as the Son of God the whole time, choosing to serve rather than be served. This is the example that we ought to live our lives after; the embodiment of Christian servanthood. When He washed the disciples’ feet, we saw what a Christian attitude is supposed to be - humbling oneself, disregarding status, and meeting the immediate needs of others. When Christ would show up at tax collectors homes or take the day to spend with unlovely or undesirable people, we saw the Christian example we are to embody in action. At no time did Christ proclaim himself better than anyone else, although on every occasion the heart of Christ showed others what is meant to truly 'love'. No one could deny that the servanthood of Jesus because they saw it every day.

Discussion: What lessons can we infer on leadership from the following?

a.      Matt 20:20-22 ………………..……………..b. Mark 9:33-34 …………………………………………….

c.    Luke 22:24 …………………………………….d.Phil. 2:8……………………………………………………….

 

2. SCRIPTURAL SAMPLES OF SERVANTHOOD-

People such as Dorcas sewed garments for the poor (Act. 10:36), Martha served almost to a fault, or Paul who gave an entire life in service spreading the gospel of Christ whom He met years after He had ascended to Heaven. These and many others showed what it meant to do good deeds of kindness, sacrificing personal time and resources for others without ever expecting to be compensated.

 

Conclusion: Being a true servant is seeing people as opportunity for a relationship rather than just as needy people and as our subordinates. Being able to see them with Christ's eyes will show them His presence within the depths of our hearts. Serving others is one of the most effective ways to lead them to the Lord.

 

 

               HEALTH                                                                                                                7th Aug. 2013

 

THEME:           DIVINE HEALTH

TEXT:               3 John 2

 

Divine Health is a sickness-free life, Disease-free life, Health of God, and perfect health. When you are living in divine health you do not need healing, because you do not get sick. To some people, it is difficult for them to accept that it is possible for man to be totally healthy. But that is the life that our Lord Jesus Christ brought to us. Healing is good, it is the children’s food, but walking in divine health is far better. The will of God is that He will use this study to reveal the knowledge we need to walk in Divine Health.

A.                CAUSES OF SICKNESS – DEUT. 28:58-61

(1)            Sin: This is a major causal factor of diseases (Job 4:5-8, 42:7-10.)

(2)           Ignorance. Failure to appropriate the blessings which Jesus has purchased for us and lack of knowledge about what to we are to consume and how we are to live.

(3)           Unbelief: When we operate in unbelief of the provisions of scripture for our health we are trending dangerous path.

(4)           Spiritual oppression: Demons and evil spirits oppress non-Christians and could also afflict believers who are carefree.

(5)           Physical causes:

(a)     Deficiency of certain food elements necessary to the body’s health;

(b)     Over-eating;

(c)      Inactivity- lack of proper exercise;

(d)     Overwork, lack of proper rest and recreation;

(e)      Carelessness and negligent exposure to harsh weather and diseases;

(f)      Wrong, mental and emotional habits, or should we say wrong spiritual habits, fears, worries, hatred and failure to find rest, peace and trust in Christ.

 

B.                LIVING IN DIVINE HEALTH – EXODUS 15:26

When God created man, man was in the perfect health, no wonder the Bible says “ and God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was  very good”(Gen 1:31) .This shows that divine health is the will of God for man. He does not want your body to be sick. Now, if you are sick, you are not in the perfect will of God. As a child of God, live in continuous obedience to God. Walk in faith. Look up to Him always. Divine Health is and always has been better than divine healing, truly, we have the atonement rule of healing, but we should desire to live above sickness. You have a role to play in living a divine health (Prov.4:20 - 24, Ex.15:26).

 

Conclusion: Are you in perpetual or occasional sickness? Face it squarely. Remove the cause, claim your divine health by faith and also begin to enforce a sickness-free life through knowledge based prayer.

 

 

 

  HEALTH                                                                                                                     14th Aug. 2013

 

THEME:            FEEDING   WELL

TEXT:                Gen.2: 9, 3 John 2

 

Food is the prime necessity of life. The food we eat is digested and assimilated in the body and used for its maintenance and growth. The type and quality of food we eat determines the quality of health we enjoy. Our body is truly the temple of God and to this effect; its protection, maintenance, preservation and care is the responsibility of the host. It is important that we learn to manage our body by taking cognizance of the type of food we put in our mouth on daily basis. Foods affect how you look, how you feel, how healthy or ill you are including your odds of developing chronic diseases and whether you will age with vitality or with diminished capacity. You need to understand that your diet provides the necessary building blocks for the body to produce energy and maintain good health. To lay a good foundation for good health therefore you need diet as your choice of food can have a significant impact on how well your body functions, hence this study.

 

A .FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Genesis 1:11-12

Fruits and vegetables are best diet for our body. They boost the alkalinity of the body. Enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits which are readily available in the market such as guava, apples, lemon, grapes, oranges, pawpaw, banana watermelon, grape fruits etc. Eat lots of vegetables too like cucumber, carrot, garden egg, tomatoes, okro, all leafy green such as spinach, ugu, waterleaf etc. Eat fruits 20 to 30 minutes before meal. Taking fruits as breakfast is a good omen but be careful not to overcook your vegetables.

 

B.     WATER: Genesis 1:7-10

Water is nature’s miracle medicine. It is the cheapest medicine God has given man. You need to understand that water should be used to prevent and cure certain disease condition like heartburn, peptic ulcer, high cholesterol etc. Simply adjusting your water intake can help you treat and prevent dozens of disease conditions .Water is the main source of life. Drinking about 6-8 glasses of water per day will help the body to function well. Water is better than soft drink/juice or even milk. Water should be the first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

 

C.     FOOD Genesis 1 :20-25

All the classes of food must be moderately consumed. Eat your food in its natural form. Animal products consist of meat, poultry, fish, diary products such as milk, cheese and eggs. All of these are rich sources of protein which is essential to the development of body tissue but care must be taken to avoid over consumption. Do not skip meal for a healthy living, instead you can snack in between meal and your snack can be fruit instead of the popular pastries like meat pie, cookies cakes etc.

 

To eat good diet, complex carbohydrates should make up approximately 70% of our caloric intake. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole wheat bread, brown rice, beans, and in all plant foods in varying amounts. Take diets high in fibre.  Fiber is especially found in unrefined plant foods such as whole grains, legumes (beans), and various vegetables and fruits. Reduce intake of processed foods.

 

CONCLUSION:  We are faced with the temptation of eating junks in parties, hold-ups, offices, etc. We must be determined to consume what is profitable for our body as well as engage in other healthy practices so that we may enjoy good health. Remember “you are what you eat”(1 Cor 10: 31).

 

    HEALTH                                                                                                              21st Aug. 2013

THEME:       REST

TEXT:          Gen. 2:2, Mark 6:31

 

Rest could be described as a relief from work or series of activities in the day-to-day of human life. The importance of rest in our lives is as equal as life itself (Heb. 4:9-11). If anyone must enjoy sound health, taking time out of any busy schedule must be considered.  In Genesis, God demonstrated the significance of rest after He was through with the creations for a whole six days non-stop (Gen. 1-2:2) which equals 144 hours that is much enough to send a life to the grave. Exercise on the other hand, is the activity designed to develop, improve our body system and also gives us strength and fitness. Many people have become so lazy that exercise has been converted into stress or what they don’t have time for. Their complaint is often that of no time for such exercise. Moreover, rest and exercise have no monetary implication (Matt. 11:28-30). Our body requires at least, 7 hours of rest per day (Eccl. 5:12, Prov. 3:24) and the result on our body if the exercise is taken is fantastic.

 

1.   BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON REST:     Ps 127:2

Our Maker, God Almighty was the first to observe rest after tedious works of the creation in the book Genesis. The Israelites were warned to set aside one day without work; but for rest (Exd. 35:1-2, Lev. 23:3, 25:2-6). Even our lord Jesus Christ observed rest and also recommended it for us (Mk. 6:31, Matt. 11:28-30).

 

2.   IMPORTANCE OF REST AND EXERCISE: Prov. 3:24

It is important to make time to relax and renew your spirit and body for your health and well being. One of the ways to relax is to plan to be at home early, taking your dinner early before wee hours of the day, have night bath and relax the body. Sleeping is a way that our body is able to repair itself and for our minds to feel renewed (Prov. 3:24) or refreshed the next morning. We would then be better prepared for the challenges of the day, become happier, positive, and efficient. Exercise improves our self confidence and self esteem. Moreover, the volumes of stress some people subject themselves into do not make them richer than what they are. For instance, the carriers who help people to carry loads in the market places supposed to have become their own boss for being hard working; instead, they divide the income they get for food and pain relief drugs to sustain themselves. The result of this is lack of rest and exercise (Ps. 127:2). Exercise can be any of the following: Early morning road jugging, press-up, stretching the body, walking, etc. One of the secret of putting the body to rest and exercise is for proper thinking (Phil. 4:7-8). Also exercise helps the body to receive refreshment. Through rest and exercise, our brain functions excellently. It also takes away negative and degrading aspects of our life away and makes look radiant, young and fresh.

 

3.   REST: Genesis 2:3

Rest is good for the body because it helps you to concentrate and keep up a high energy level. It is during rest especially sleep that the body recovers or heals faster from the damage caused by stress. Besides sleep, there are a number of ways you can give your body occasional rest breaks through the day.

a. Stretch yourself: Stretching helps alleviate tension in large muscle groups. It tones and relaxes the body, helps muscle flexibility and   relieves pain in the joints. If you work on a desk, get up for a few minutes every one hour to stretch yourself and breathe deeply.

b. Have a positive mental attitude: To stay healthy all the time, you must have and maintain a positive mental attitude. The mind has a powerful influence on the body and the immune system. Rid yourself of all negative emotions such as bitterness, anger, hatred, resentment and strife because they contribute to ill health.

 

CONCLUSION:  It is important to start exercising. It makes you feel energized, you sleep better, you feel healthier, and you feel more self confident in yourself. So by making and taking the time to rest, relax, exercise, and have adequate night sleep, you will be healthier, more efficient, and therefore accomplish more. You will also feel self confident and be able to enjoy life and have a more fulfilling life.

 

 

 

 

       HEALTH                                                                                                                       28th Aug. 2013

 

THEME:             JEHOVAH RAPHA

TEXT:                 Exod. 15: 26

Jehovah (I am; the eternal living one) is the name of God which means the Self-existent or Eternal One. The Jews in reverence to God avoid every mention of this name of God but however prefers to substitute in its stead, one or other of the words with whose proper vowel-points it may happen to be written.  RAPHA means the healer. Most attachments made to the name of God like Rapha, Ropheka, etc. indicate attitude, character, attribute or at times God’s act to people. The name individuals call God, most of the time shows their experience or encounter with Him or sometimes the way He reveals himself to them. For instance:  Jehovah El-magowr – The fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13); Jehovah Bore – The Lord our creator (Isa 40:28); Jehovah El-Achba – The God that hiddeth (Ps 27:5); Jehovah Jireh – The Lord our provider (Gen 22:14); Jehovah nissi – The Lord our banner ( Exod 17:15); Jehovah Adoney – The sovereign Lord God (Deut 3:24); Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our peace (Judg 6:23-24) and so on. Jehovah-Ropheka also means, ‘I am the Lord Thy Physician’. For the purpose of this study, we desire to experience the healing power of God in our lives; family, Church, business and every other area that is important to our well begin. This shall be our portion in Jesus name.

 

1.                                              Sicknesses: cursed in Scripture-Mal 4:2

The Bible lists several sicknesses as well as those yet to be discovered as small issue that can be handled by God if we fulfill conditions of healing (Num.21: 4-9, Ps.107: 17-20). Pestilence, fever, cancer, ulcer, boils, blindness, plaques, heart failure, etc. are powerless to those who believe in divine health. (Deut.28: 15-29, 58-61). Most afflictions descended on us as a result of wrong diet, intake of contaminated food, absorbing junk food, drinking bad water,  lack of rest, skipping of meals, overwork, intake of alcohol, habit of smoking, failure to eat when not  fasting, exposure to smoke/emissions, use of expired drugs, failure to manage allergies etc. God’s promise of healing and deliverance to His people was sealed with a covenant called the healing covenant in which He cursed all manner of ailments (Exd.15: 26, 23; 25-26, Deut.7: 12-15).

2.                                              Sicknesses thrashed under the healing covenant- 3 Jn. 1:2

God has done all that are necessary to put sicknesses under our feet. The ball is now in our court. We need the following:

a.       Faith: Jesus asked some of the people who needed help whether they had faith. Do not limit God (Ps. 78: 41).

b.       Salvation in Christ: When we become His children; healing becomes our right (Matt.15: 26)

c.       Scriptural obedience: This is very key when we want God to intervene in our situations (Isa. 1: 19)

d.       Repentance and prayer: these two go together and aid healing (2 Chron.7: 14)

e.       The Word of God: God’s Word has amazing and distinctive power to break the yoke of sickness (Ps. 107: 20, Matt.8: 8);

f.            The name of God: When God’s name is called upon in faith; healing is effected (Prov.18: 10)

g.       The mercy of God: God heals not on our merit but for His mercy (Joel 2: 13, 1 Pt.2: 24);

h.       The Spirit of God: No sickness can withstand the power and Spirit of God (Matt. 10: 20, 12: 28, Rom.8: 11, 26-27).

Discussion: infer from the following references on the healing power of God

a.  Matt 9:2-8………………………………………………..………..   b. Mark 1:29-31………………………..……………………

c.  Jn 5:2-9……………………………………………………..………   d.  Luk 5:12-13………………………………………………..

Conclusion: As much as God desires to heal us; we must resist the thoughts of ill health and reject devilish suggestions. We must devote our lives to the service of God and continually stay in Him so that we continually enjoy divine health. 

            FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT                                                                                    4th Sept. 2013

 

THEME:             THE BIBLE ON MONEY

TEXT:             1Tim.6: 10

 

It is commonly quoted by people that "money is the root of all evil." This Bible verse which is our text is possibly the most misquoted Bible verse of all. The right quotation reads: "The love of money is the root of all evil." From all perspectives, money is good and a necessity, not evil in itself. This study is to lay bare to us the mind of God on money and how believers should relate to it.

 

1.   MONEY: MEANING AND ORIGIN (Eccl.10: 19)

Money is a medium of exchange issued by a government or other public authority in the form of coins of gold, silver, or other metal, or paper bills, used as the measure of the value of goods and services. It is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country. The word "money" is believed to originate from a temple of Hera, located on Capitoline, one of Rome's seven hills. In the ancient world Hera was often associated with money. The temple of Juno Moneta at Rome was the place where the mint of Ancient Rome was located. The name "Juno" may derive from the Etruscan goddess Uni (which means "the one", "unique", "unit", "union", "united") and "Moneta" either from the Latin word "monere" (remind, warn, or instruct) or the Greek word "moneres" (alone, unique). The use of barter-like methods (exchanging goods for goods) may date back to at least 100,000 years ago, though there is no evidence of a society or economy that relied primarily on barter. Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics and debt. When barter did in fact occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or potential enemies.

 

2.   MONEY: SIGNIFICANCE- Eccl.7:12

Money serves as medium of exchange (Gen 17:12, 33:19), a common measure of value- as a common denomination of trade (Gen 23:13-15), a standard of deferred payment-in settlement of debt (Gen 37:28), a store of value (ability to be reliably saved, stored, and retrieved and be predictably usable as a medium of exchange when it is retrieved), etc. Money is useful for the progress of the Gospel (Lk. 9:3-4), for business (Lk.19: 11-20), etc.                                 

 

3.   MONEY IN THE LIGHT OF THE SCRIPTURE- Eccl.10:19;

The Bible mentioned the following as means of exchange/money: talent of gold (1 Kg.9:14; 2 Kg.23:23); talent of silver (1 Kg.16:24; 2 Kg.5:22-23); shekel of silver (Jdg.17:10; 2 Kg.15:20); half shekel or bekah (Exd.30:15); third of a shekel (Neh.10:32); fourth of a shekel (1 Sam.9:8); Gerah the twentieth of a shekel (Num.3:47); pound (Lk.19:13); penny (Matt.20:2, Mk.6:37); farthing (Matt.5:26, Lk.12:6); mite (Mk.12:42, Lk.21:2), etc.

 

Scripturally, money was given for lands (Gen.23:9, Act.4:37); for slaves (Gen.37:28; Exd.21:21); for merchandise (Gen.43:12; Deut.2:6); for tribute (2 Kg.23:33;Matt.22:19); as wages (Ezra 3:7; Matt.20:2; Jam.5:4); as offerings (2 Kg.12:7-9; Neh.10:32); as alms (1 Sam.2:36;Act.3:3,6), etc.

 

Money is a good servant and the quest for it should not overtake our hearts. God wants us to take what He has given to us and multiply it (Matt.25:29). God wants to pour out His blessing, increase and prosper us in every way! We can be free to not only enjoy the blessing of God but also be a greater blessing to others!

 

Discussion: What is the Lord expecting from us from the following?

1. Deut.5:33…………………..…….2.Deut.6:24……………...…..……………3. Josh.1: 8……………....…………..

4. Job 22:21………………….……..5. Prov.11:25………………………………….6. Prov.21:21……………..……………..

 

Conclusion: The prosperity of Christians is not a sin but negative disposition and placing the totality of one’s focus and heart on money is what God contends with (Prov. 11: 28, Act. 8: 20). If you need money, it is godly to ask from God (Isa.55; 1-2, Jer. 29: 11). When He blesses us; we must be involved in His venture to glorify Him in return and assist the needy.

 

 

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT                                                                                    11th Sept. 2013

 

THEME:         MULTIPLYING REVENUE

TEXT:            Matt. 25:15-18

 

A multipliable penny is worth more than a million dollars, money that makes money and multiplies is the most valuable. God want us to take what He has given to us and multiply it, however, the reason our revenue have remained the same is either because we don’t know what to do or we fail to apply all the lessons we have learnt.

 

A.          INVESTMENT: SECRET TO MULTIPLY OUR REVENUE

The second law of Gold by Archad (the richest man in Babylon) states that “Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flock of the field”. It is only when you invest your revenue that multiplication can occur. There are lots of investment opportunities around us, the major challenge is that those opportunities are always in disguise, even when they are real we don’t make use of them because we are not prepared for them. There are opportunities in fixed deposits, treasury bills and discount houses.  Rentage, trading, consultancy, etc. provide opportunities to and for the wise.                                                                                                 

 

B.        TIPS TO MULTIPLY REVENUE 

1.    Increase your earning ability: You may need an additional certificate or learn or increase your skill for a positive turn-around. Reading a book may be the solution or learning under a successful person. Your earning capability must increase for multiplication of revenue.

2.    Cultivate habit of savings (Prov.21:20): Saving money is for the determined because it is very easy to say and discuss but difficult to practice. Be determined to save from every pay cheque. Save unexpected income. Learn to save no matter how small, make it a habit. Ten percent of your earnings should go into regular savings.  The savings should be diverted to wise investments

3.    Start your business: No one who is under paid employment can become rich except he/she engages in other means of livelihood. You must identify the right business you can start- explore different facets of yourself (your personality, social styles, age) and listen to your intuition (inner spirit) on what to do . 

4.    Pay your tithes: Mal.3; 8-10. Revenue is secured and guaranteed if payment of tithes is regular and faithfully done.

5.    Start small (Zech.4:10): Not everyone can start big or at the highest level, don’t despise the day of small beginning. START FROM WHERE YOU ARE! Earl Nightingale says: ’Your problem is to bridge the gap between where you are now and the goals you intend to reach’.

6.    Ask for wisdom (Prov.3:5-6): Before investing your money seek for godly counsel. Seek wisdom from those experienced in your line of interest. Surround yourself with winners. Spend quality time with the right type of persons.

7.    Read and read: 2 Tim.2:15 Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. Spend money on acquiring books on leadership, finance, making impacts, entrepreneurship, etc.

8.    Be wise in spending: The Bible is against spending money lavishly; even when your investment is yielding good returns, avoid impulse purchases. Spend wisely.                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CONCLUSION: poverty is a curse, multiplying what you have is the will of God for your life. START INVESTING NOW!

 

 

 

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT                                                                                    18th Sept. 2013

 

Theme:   Entrepreneur Spirit

Text:       Prov.22:29, 1 Tim.4:15a

 

Starting a business is a lot of work. Anyone who tells you it's an easy venture is either lying or has never actually started. The cost may not be pleasant as it requires long hours, great sacrifices and could pose new problems/ everyday challenges.  An entrepreneur is a risk taker who innovates, introduces new ideas and converts such into successful ventures. Entrepreneurs are forward thinkers who do not permit pessimism, difficulty or any other problems stand in their way. They understand the value of a strong peer network, effective people; they nurture relationships and surround themselves with people who can help make them more effective.  Not afraid to ask questions when the answers will give them insight; entrepreneurs are confident, but not egotistical. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but for those that have what it takes.  Entrepreneur starts their business with a dream and act on their dreams by taking requisite steps towards accomplishing their goals though the steps may be small/gradual.  An Entrepreneur sees an opportunity, makes a plan, starts the business, manages it and receives the profits. 

 

1.                       The Entrepreneur Spirit

Most people desire to be an entrepreneur- becoming their own boss and creating their own career; however, not everyone has an entrepreneurial spirit.  Desiring to be an entrepreneur is not enough but having what it takes. Some qualities entrepreneurs should possess include:

Self-motivation: Ability to govern oneself; effort without the aid of force or manager;

Creativity: Ability to take old ideas, revolutionize it and make it attractive to potential customers; they create the own path with intelligence and understand how fast current trends changes and the keep up with the changes. 

Good communication skills (Prov.15:1) skill to maintain high standards when it comes to communicating with others; speaking with clarity without ambiguity.

Authoritativeness – power to make decision that will suit the company though unpopular to majority opinion;

Competitive spirit - enjoy challenges, working tirelessly to solve problems that confront them and quest to be the best;

Ethics, integrity and truthfulness- (Prov.13:4) - nobody will do business with you, if you cannot prove yourself a credible business person.  They are not afraid to fail but are calculative and able to make best decisions in worse cases.

 

2.      Entrepreneur skillsTo be successful in your quest as an entrepreneur, the following skills are inevitable:-

i.   Confidence: Confidence is key for entrepreneurs. You should develop confidence in your ideas, in yourself and in others.  Trust others to do their job and to do it well. No matter how amazing you may think you are, you cannot do everyone's job along with your own. Being confident in your own abilities is critical to your success.

ii.   Time management and planning skills:  Time is a finite resource. Do not allow time to get away from you. Learn to prioritize and plan. Set aside hours each week to plan for the entire week and to make daily adjustments.

iii.   Courage:  (Josh.1:6): A person can be fearless and stupid. When you have courage, however, you recognize the risks, but take action regardless. You accept the risk before you start and try to do what is possible to mitigate the risk while moving forward.

iv.   Leadership skills: Learn how to maintain a sense of self-discipline, work effectively and efficiently. Become an influencer person that is approachable for others to seek advice and encouragement. Develop leadership skills

v.   Learning skills:  Learning is a skill. You need to be a quick learner, be willing to learn new skills constantly. Continually set aside time to learn new skills. You must learn to make your own arguments, memorize information, gain new relevant skills, and be able to utilize all these knowledge to create new things and make old things more efficient.

 

Conclusion: Nobody makes progress by sitting back and waiting for it to find them. Successful people go out into the world and invoke change through their actionsDo not be afraid to fail, put it out there and give it your best shot.  There's always a lesson to be learnt and a room for you at the top.

 

 

 

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT                                                                                    25th Sept. 2013

 

Theme:  HABITS OF SAVINGS

Text:    Gen. 41:25-36

 

Habit is something that you do unconsciously or automatic. It is something you do regularly until it becomes your way of life or character.  Saving is a reduction in the amount of money that is used or needed. It is the act of putting some money aside for future use. Saving is very important to anyone who wants to be financially independent. Whosoever that wants to be wealthy must cultivate discipline to be able to put money aside on a regular basis no matter how small. All of us must endeavor to make saving as one of your key expenses every month and do so on first charge basis. Although it is easier said than done; you only need to develop the habit though at first slowly and later you will confidently have acquired the skills to make it automatic. Savings take discipline and sacrifice. The general rule for savings is to save a minimum of ten percent (10%) of your income/revenue/earning. If you don’t save money during the rainy season, what would you fall back to during dry famine/scarcity?

 

Remember the general rule on finances as postulated by Archad called the 70/30 rule: 70% for you, 10% for God i.e. Tithe, 10% as savings: 10% for benevolence

 

Practical hints on saving of money

i.       Set a goal: Setting a goal that will make you to focus on what you really need. If you know what you want you will be able to save money;

ii.       Analyze Costs: Check where your money goes, try as much as possible to reduce expenses.

iii.       Increase your savings when you have increment in your salary: As your income increases; do so to your savings;

iv.       Do not buy thing to impress people: some buy things to show up and brag; this should not be your portion. Anytime you buy things ask yourself if truly you need that thing. Cut your cloth according to the material available. Do not buy to impress others.

v.        Put away surprises: Anytime you get gifts in form of cash or bonus from your office; endeavor to save it since it is not part of your income.

vi.       Open a saving account you cannot touch for sometimes no matter the situation that rises: Commence saving into an account everyday or every week that you may not have direct access to anytime you need to withdraw.

vii.       Drink more water before food: It is good to drink water before food for our health and this also will not allow us to over eat thereby it will help us to save some money.

viii.       Avoid extravagant life: Try to be moderate in all things and avoid been unnecessarily extravagant and wasteful. It is not until you buy expensive cloth or shoes before people will respect you.

ix.       Lending people money: It is not everyone you lend money. Do not give out amount of money you cannot forget.

x.       Direct debit: If you want to enforce saving habit; instruct your Bank to commence direct debit of a particular proportion of your income.

xi.       Be a disciplined person: Do not buy what you don’t plan for. When going to shopping mall or market try and write things you need down so that you will not end up buying what you don’t plan for.

xii.       Connect yourself with people that save regularly: Try and relate with people that make saving a habit. Share your experience with them and they will tutor you on wise spending;

xiii.       Document all that you need to buy and do not try to add to the list when you get to the market or store.

xiv.       Start small now, don’t postpone it till tomorrow or next week

 

CONCLUSION: Do you want to be financially independent? Try and practice 70/30 rule and follow these practical hints; you will surely get to the top.

 

 

 

 

   THE HOME                                                                                                     2nd Oct. 2013

 

THEME:       THE IDEAL FAMILY

TEXT:          JOSHUA 24:15c

 

For every kind of family, be it spiritual or physical, certain things are common, two of which are relationship and structure. God values relationship and one of such He holds in high esteem is the family. Hence, the family must be structured in a way that God is given His place, and every member recognizes His authority and sovereignty. Eve was given to Adam in the first family so that the purpose of God for mankind might be fulfilled (Gen1:28). Therefore it would be right to say that one of the major intentions of God for any family is that He could find a group of people who will fulfill His mandate on earth. A proper family structure is also a channel through which God fulfils the terms of His covenant from one generation to another (Gen 17:19), but the reverse occurs when the family fails to honour God (1Sam2:30). Like a human body, the family has different members with various roles. All members must be up and doing so that the family remains what God wants it to be.

 

1.                       LEARNING FROM SOME BIBLICAL FAMILIES:

a.                       The Adams are the first family established by God. This family failed because of communication gap between the husband and wife and their inability to recognize the evil root of jealousy in their child who consequently committed the first murder on earth (Gen3:1-6; 6:8).

b.                       The Isaacs (Gen.25:21; 28): The experience of this family teaches us that for a family to be fruitful there must be love between every member. However, favoritism among siblings almost divided this family.

c.                        The Manoahs (Jud.13:5; 14:1-2): Even though this family had good relationship with God, the parents like Eli, were not firm enough in the upbringing of their child to fulfill purpose; Samson also failed by making selfish choices at the detriment of his divine purpose.

d.                       The Elimelechs took cogent steps without divine approval. (Ruth1:1&2): One great lesson that could be learnt from this family is that God must be consulted by the family before critical decisions are taken. The family paid for their folly with the life of the husband and two sons.

e.                       The Ahabs (1Kings21:1-4; 16): A wicked family indeed! When a family fails to recognize God, it becomes the abode of the devil on earth. They failed because they had no fear of God to restrain them from evil.

f.                                       The Jobs (Job1:1; 2:9): Job feared God but he failed to carry his family along. A family that prays together stays together, weather storms together and wins together.

 

2.                       THE IDEAL FAMILY

An ideal family today is expected to be spiritually strong, morally upright, socially balanced, academically sound and financially capable. Such a family must provide an environment for raising godly children who’ll value God, education, diligence, good morals, etc. In such homes, every member must understand authority and orderliness; there must be love, tolerance, sacrifice, acceptability, and proper communication. Members’ strength and weaknesses must be properly managed to complement one another and not a basis for strife or jealousy. Phillip’s family provided an environment for raising spirit-filled children (Acts21:9), the faithful Recabites earned God’s covenant by sheer discipline and fear of God (Jer.35:5-9;18-19), Archippus’ family was peaceful enough to host an assembly of saints (Phile.1:2) and Joshua carried his own family along in the service of God (Josh.24:15c). Their family lives are good examples for us today.

 

CONCLUSION: Families fail when they refuse to recognize godly authority, enforce discipline and follow divine instructions necessary for obtaining God’s blessing and covenant. The ideal family receives from God and flourishes in all things. What kind of a family is yours?

 

 

               THE HOME                                                                                                     9th Oct. 2013

 

Theme:             Family Finance

Text:      Eccl. 10:19

About seventy percent of the problems encountered by marriages today is either fuelled or caused by money. As good and powerful money is; mismanagement or misgivings about it could scatter the home. It is therefore pertinent that everyone should adequately look into the condition of his/her finances. This could be achieved by being modest in handling expenditures; being discipline with regards purchases, increasing earning capacity, avoiding debt, learning to distinguish between wants and need, be faithful in tithing and offerings, etc. We should be modest in our wants. etc. In all these the place of prayer and understanding each other’s plight and vision are also important.

 

1.      THE PLACE OF MONEY IN MARRIAGE: Eccl.7: 12

The role money places in the home, society and nation cannot be over emphasized. Money is a wheel of progress with which the family’s progress could be measured in terms of physical achievement. It is an instrument by which family pays for goods and services. According to Eccl.7 vs 12; money is a defense through which the home is protected from starvation, assault, illnesses, illiteracy, poverty, etc. Money assists parents to give good training, sound education and sure future to their wards. To a large extent; money provides a level of comfort and peace. Money is expected to be a tool of cordiality and unity as against discord and rancor that are seen today. For evangelism, church growth, revival, mission works, etc; money is a good steward. When money is available in the home, it gives honour to the couple and high leveled respect. When money is lacking; enforcing discipline becomes a challenge. Money is the true test of the character of an individual. Covetousness, stinginess, theft, prudence, ingenuity, etc are discovered when money is absent or present.

 

2.     EFFECTIVE FAMILY FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT- Lk. 14: 28

There is no cause for alarm in the home when effective financial management keys are employed. Some of these tools include;

a.              Family vision: What does your family intend to achieve? What are your standards as per education, construction, extended family, income generation, borrowing, partying, etc.?

b.             Financial prudence: Prov.14: 15. You must learn how to spend wisely, reasonably, economically, godly and carefully. Avoid extravagancy, ungodly comparison, IOU, impulse purchases, spending to impress, living for competition, etc.

c.              Family budget: all families must budget their spending. How much do you earn? What expenditures are unavoidable? Which expenses can be deferred?

d.             Family project: the family should be busy every time and be pursuing something.

e.              Saving habit: Raining season does not remain permanent. Make savings a habit.

f.                      Family Investment: Do not just save money, put it into use. Develop investment attitude.

g.              Disciplining life: Avoid excesses. Do not move close to alcohol, immorality, pleasure spending, etc.

h.             Godly association: avoid friends that smoke, womanize, spends lavishly. Make friends with the wise.

i.               Live below your means: Do not spend up to your earning. Make your expenses lower than your income.

j.                       Participatory management: Involve your spouse in financial matters. When children are grown up; carry them along. Do not be involved in any deal without the involvement of your partner.

k.              Use the bank: avoid keeping money with friends or in the house. Use the Bank. Never be controlled by the ATM machine. Control your appetite.

 

Conclusion: The Lord wishes that we control money ultimately. Trust in the Lord for breakthrough. Trust your partner and be transparent to each other. Contentment is a virtue that we all should pray for. May we enjoy financial success in our homes in Jesus name!

 

 

 

               THE HOME                                                                                                     16th Oct. 2013

 

Theme:    Dealing with home killers (Exclusively for the Married)

Text:       Prov.14:1

 

Marriage is the first institution that God commenced because He knew that “it is not good for man to be alone.” It is the coming together of a man and a woman with a view to building a godly home. God has purpose for everything He created. His purposes are made known to us in His Word. Some of the purposes of God for marriage as revealed to us in His Word are: provision of a helpmate (Gen.2:18), companionship (Gen.2:18), procreation (Gen.1:28), sexual purity (I Cor.7:2), etc. There are home killers that could turn marriage to something else if permitted to do so. All those who desire marriage success should identify killers of the home and fight them tooth and nail.

 

Some of the home killers and the way to deal with them include:

a.     Absence of God in the home: It is not difficult to identify families where God is not on the throne. We see fighting and bickering (argument on unimportant things), drunkenness, accusations, carnality, wickedness, nagging, etc. The way out of this is to give your life to God. Embrace Him and be acquitted with His Word. Never allow culture and tradition to rule your life.

 

b.     Absence of Love: Love is the foundation of any home. Some say love is blind and love could be at first sight. These accessions are wrong. Imbibe the love of God into your life and ask Him to grant you grace to show sacrificial love to your spouse (Eph.5:25).

 

c.     Living in separate apartment: Many couples live apart due to their occupation. This however gives room for infidelity and exposes the home to spiritual, physical, and emotional separation which may ultimately end in divorce. Living in separate room is not also good enough. Let us do all that is humanly possible to live together and sleep on same bed. It may reduce the family income but this pays at the end (Gen.2:24).

 

d.     Ineffective communication: Many couples live like cat and mouse though under the same roof. They do not speak with each other and they engage in several assumptions. Begin to talk longer than you are doing before. Plan together. Give each other telephone calls during the day. Talk about spiritual matters, children affairs, plans for the future, finances, projects, properties, extended family, etc.  

 

e.     Using sex as a weapon of punishment: Many employed sex to punish their spouses without knowing that they are opening door for hatred, anger, conflict, infidelity, stinginess, loneliness, etc. Sex must be used as instrument of fellowship, companion, closeness, and fusion (Prov.5:18-20, I Cor.7:2-5). Couples must understand sexual needs of each other and satisfy it. Sex should never be used for punitive purpose. However, self-control must be applied and adequate understanding of each other’s sexual needs. 

 

f.     Financial instability: This problem always introduced frustration, insecurity, distrust, suffering, uncompleted project and discouragement. All couples must be gainfully employed or be engaged in business enterprise (Gen.30:30, Eph.4:28, 2 Thesa.3:10-11). It does not matter how small the revenue one of the partners is bringing. Never despise the small income.

 

g.     Insecurity: Due to rumour, suspicion, past failed relationships, problematic childhood experiences, etc. many partners feel insecure in the marriage relationship. These may however result in jealousy, unnecessary nagging, lack of trust, source of sorrow, shame, etc. To deal with it; deal with the over-hangings of your heart, discuss with each other and meditate on the Word of God.

 

h.    In-laws: In this part of the world; in-laws are important and issues relating to them should not be treated with levity. We should remember that we ourselves are in-laws to other people. Therefore, in-laws should be treated with love, respect and dignity to avoid conflicts and unnecessary problems.

 

Conclusion: All good marriages are under the surveillance of the enemy. Let us be vigilant and continue to work on how to guard against all destroyers of the home and see how to improve on our marriages.  

 

 

 

               THE HOME                                                                                                     16th Oct. 2013

 

Theme: Dynamism of singlehood (Exclusively for the Singles)

Text:    Prov.3:5-7


Singlehood is a pleasant period of one’s life that helps to lay solid foundation for what we become later in life. It therefore becomes imperative that we handle our singlehood with care, love and prayer. One major preparation singles make is on the choice of who to marry but it is important to ask about the age when one is ripe enough for any marital relationship. Maturity in some areas is what will determine whether one is ripe or not. Spiritual, moral, physical, emotional, metal, social and financial maturity cannot be compromised if any single intends to make a success of marriage. There are other important things that must be put into consideration; these form the bulk of this study!

 

1.   Factors singles must consider: Heb.13; 4

a.   God must take the first and prime place in our lives-Matt.6: 33

b.   We must be actively involved in kingdom business at all times-Jn.9: 4

c.    All must understand how God speaks to him/her. God’s voice will never contradict His written Word (Ps.119: 89). His voice will always produce inward peace (Ps. 23:2 ,85;8);

d.   Your marriage partner may not come from your denomination or tribe;

e.   Sex before wedding is sinful. Anyone who truly loves you will not make advances of sex to you until wedding night. True love is not in haste (1 Cor.13:4,7);

f.       Singles should flee from the temptation of romance, kissing and caressing as these stimulate sex;

g.    Men desire and pray to marry virgins, even play boys disdain prostitutes for wives;

h.   Men respect ladies who refuse to give in to sex outside marriage;

i.       Contentment is a virtue that must be embraced. Never be enticed by money (1 Tim.6: 6);

j.      When your Pastor, parents, Christian friends, etc. are against your relationship; break it.

 

2.   Hurdles to pleasant singlehood:Eccl.4: 9-12

Many married couples of today lament and groan due to the way their singlehood was used. Some of the hurdles that must be handled properly so that we enjoy our singlehood include:

a.  Inadequate preparation-He that fails to plan plans to fail (Lk.14; 28);

b.  Wrong choice of marriage partner;

c.  Marrying an unbeliever, a church-goer or a religious person who never met Christ;

d.  Giving the enemy a space;

e.  Making one’s decision then praying for divine confirmation (Ezek.14: 1-11, 2 Thes.2: 9-12);

f.   Misinterpreting Scripture: Fleece method and balloting over two or more persons (Judg.6: 16,36-40, Act.1:14)

g.  Ignorance of scriptural proceedings

h.  Wearing transparent clothes, mini-skirts and clothes that expose the body on the excuse of looking good. Men see ladies who expose their nakedness as way-world and sex objects;

i.   Money temptation (1 Tim.6: 10);

j.   Beauty, intellectualism and talents deceive (Prov.31; 30);

k.  Intimate relationship with unbelieving friends, colleagues and acquaintances should be broken.

 

Conclusion: What innumerable joy will a Christian single have if he/she defects the devil in the aspect of infidelity? What will your story be as a married fellow if you soiled your hands during your singlehood? It is the will of God that you stand tall-above reproach and rebuke. The ball is in your court!

 

 

 

 

 THE HOME                                                                                                     23rd Oct. 2013

 

Theme:           Sex in Marriage (Exclusively for the married)

Text:    Gen. 1:28, I Cor. 7:2-3


Sex is intercourse between legally married couples. It’s not for singles or the engaged but for people who had left the altar and not for people who are preparing to go to the marriage altar. Sex was given to us by God as a gift, to be accepted, received and celebrated. It can be a catalyst for the family progress, lead to joy with love-filled marriage and thereby make couples to live happily. It is not the plan of God to use sex against us, but this has been abused nowadays. Unfortunately, singles who are banned from it are engaging themselves in it. What was created to be a good tool in the hands of God and an instrument of multiplication has turned out to be an instrument of destruction in the hands of devil, using it as a two-edged sword, encouraging the singles to have more of it to hold them in perpetual bondage while at the same the discouraging couples from having it with their lawful mates to destroy their homes.

 

1.   Bible Stand on Sex: Gen. 4:1

The stand of the Bible is very clear on sex. Couples should know the following:

I.               God who instituted marriage was the founder of sex (Gen. 1:28).

II.   Satisfying each other at all times and not denying each other except for fasting and prayer      (I Cor. 7:3, 5).

III.   The body of the wife belongs to the husband, and the body of the husband belongs to wife      (I Cor. 7:4).

IV.               Have sex with your spouse only (Prov. 5:15, 19).

V.               It is better to marry and have sex with one’s partner than to burn with lust (I Cor. 7:1-2, 9).

VI.               Sex with another person’s spouse is sinful and can destroy one’s life and destiny (Prov. 7:24-27).

VII.               Sex is likened to drinking water (Prov. 5:15).

VIII.               Women can initiate sex with their husbands as against African mentality (SOS. 3:1-2).

IX.       Sex should not be in our rooms and on our beds alone, the scriptures encourage change of venue (SOS. 7:11-12).

X.       Your spouse is the best (SOS. 5:10).

XI.          Wives should not be ashamed to allow their husbands look at their nakedness (Gen. 2:24-25).

XII.               Sex can take place anywhere in privacy: SOS. 7:12.

 

2.    Purpose and etiquette of sex:

Every couple should understand the reason God created sex in marriage: Sex in marriage is for purity and not to make you unholy, dirty or unrighteous. It is not to destroy you, but to build you. It is not to separate couple but to bind them together. It is for pleasure, expression of love to one’s spouse, communion, covenant, recreation, preservation of marriage, a way of staying close as a couple, to build unity and oneness, procreation, a way of showing and displaying monopoly of your spouse. Sex is the duty of the couple and is to be used to manage crisis, tension management and to protect self. Preparations must be made to enjoy sex. Mating can take place when love, care, togetherness, acceptance of each other, attention, communication, affection, sharing, kindness, humour, etc. are actively involved. Couples should ensure quarrels are settled quickly. Romance must be cultivated and the place of prayer given high prominence.

 

Question: What lessons can we deduce on sex from the following verses?

i.     Lev. 18:6……………………….…………..…….ii. Prov. 5:i6-17 ……………………………………………….

iii. 1 Cor. 7:18……………….……………….……..… iv Heb. 13: 4…………………………………..……………

 

Conclusion: God gave us sex as a gift to be used correctly, not misused, over used or abused. 

 

 

       THE HOME                                                                                                     23rd Oct. 2013

 

Theme:             Gems for Singles (Exclusively for the Singles)

Text:                  Heb. 13:4

 

Singles have a number of gems they must imbibe if they intend to achieve marital success. The foundation laid during singlehood is of great necessity to build a virile home. However, solid foundation alone is not enough but what you build on it is also part of the factors that determine success.

 

1.          Knowing and doing the will of God:

Carnality is what has taken hold of many singles today in the aspect of choice of marriage partner. Many Christians become agitated and impatient when it comes to seeking for the bride or groom of their lives. They lose heaven’s blessings to get earthly profit. Do not be hasty. Wait on the Lord! (Ps.37: 7, Eccl.7: 8).You need to also know that the saints and sinners are not permitted to marry each other. The Bible also forbids marriage with the divorced whose former spouse is still alive (Mk.10: 11-12, Lk.16: 18, 1 Cor.7: 39, 2 Cor.6: 14-18).Do away with agitation, fear, anxiety, wandering thoughts and prayerlessness. Develop confidence in God (Ps.37: 23, Rom.8: 14, Phil.1; 3-6). Be careful that you are not praying in contrast to the Bible (Num.22: 12-22). Do not depend on prophecies or revelations from people as this may be misleading (1 Kg.13: 11-18, 24, 22: 5-24, 34-37, 1 Chron. 17: 1-4). Pray sincerely and allow him to speak and direct you (Prov.3: 5-7). Allow your Pastor, parents and brethren to give their blessings. When you are sure of God’s leading; do not delay any longer. Be ready to submit to His will and be obedient to Him (Gen.24: 50-56, 31: 24-31, Deut.5: 29, Matt.6: 10, 1 Pt.5:5-6).

 

2.         Pursuing success in relationships:

There are a number of questions that singles must ask their purported friends to test the sincerity of their relationship. What does he/she likes in you? (Is it your colour, stature, dressing, educational qualifications, parental achievements, job, etc.). How soon does he/she want sex? How much does he/she love God? What is his/her commitment in Church? How long has he/she been involved in spiritual work? Is he/she proud of you? How happy is he/she to introduce you to friends, family members, Pastors, colleagues, etc.? Is he/she willing to tell of his/her past? You must be careful never to go into any relationship to pity the person. This may later work against you as the partner you pitied may not love you. Our relationship must be pure. Sex is not permitted until after the wedding day. If traditional wedding will still be preceded by Church wedding, sex should wait till then. Make a vow with your partner to obey God. Watch out for satanic deception. Do not permit marriage issue to cause disaffection with your Pastor, church and parents. Give God the opportunity to rule your affairs. Remember your younger ones and children will ask questions on how you handled the situation in your own time.

 

Conclusion: Take a decision to glorify God in all endeavours of yours.

 

 

 THE HOME                                                                                                               30th Oct. 2013

 

THEME:           The place of prayer in the home

TEXT:                Isaiah 56: 7

 

Many of us suffer lack are defeated and are molested by the devil because we have not discovered the potency of prayer Although God is all powerful and all knowing, He has deposited so much in our prayer. Prayer is the act of talking to God.  It is the secret of holiness. It is disheartening to note however that we say many things about prayer but do not pray. Even when we pray, we do not take time to listen to God before we rush out for our daily activities. Many homes are in shamble because the altar of prayer is dry. If we resuscitate our prayer life and make prayer a major project in our homes; our lives, careers, businesses, Ministry, nation, Church,  etc. will experience uncommon turn-around. We must however understand that we need to overcome our guilt and shame. Overcoming the inertia of pride and the accompanying attitude of self-sufficiency is one major factor that must also be attended to. Let us begin to pray!

 

1.       Prayer Power: Psalm 107:28-30

Prayer works. The power of prayer cannot be overemphasized. James 5:16-18 declares, "…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Jesus taught, "…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal...... The Bible urges us, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests...." (Ephesians 6:18). The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying; rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us...." God answers prayers that are in agreement with His will. The power of prayer has overcome enemies (Psalm 6:9-10), conquered death (2 Kings 4:3-36), brought healing (James 5:14-15), and defeated demons (Mark 9:29). God, through prayer, opens eyes, changes hearts, heals wounds, and grants wisdom (James 1:5).

 

Families must identify the best time to be at prayer altar. Concentration from all participants is key to success. Family vigils should be encouraged at least twice a year. Children must also be encouraged to fast because the potency of prayer coupled with fasting cannot be over-emphasized.

 

2.      Watch in Prayer In The Home:           2 Tim 4:1-5

There must be family altar in our homes. We must make prayer practicable and a habit. As Christians, we should make our homes house of prayer where yokes break, sicknesses vanish and impossibility becoming possibilities (Job 22; 21-28, 2 kings 6: 18). We should be able to watch in prayer for our children in all aspects of their endeavours. Our prayers  should capture all that pertain our spouse’ affairs. We should ensure that our prayers cover all aspects of our well being. In addition; effort must be put in place to prayerfully watch over our children and wards to ensure they are also prayerful. Passion behind prayer makes prayer effective. Though God’s answers are not always yes, but are always in our best interest. When our desires line up with His will, we will come to understand that in time. When we pray passionately and purposefully, according to God's will, God responds powerfully!

 

Conclusion: Prayer is the key. Why are you waiting till you are in Church programme or vigil before you battle in prayer? Let u speak less on prayer but begin to pray more so that our Lord conquered with prayer.       

 

 

                MINISTRY OF ANGELS                                                                                      6th Nov. 2013

 

THEME:       THE BIBLE AND ANGELS

TEXT:         Gen.16:7, Col..1:16-17

 

The subject “Bible” and “Angels” are inseparable because the Bible contains numerous information and revelation about angels. The English word “angel” is derived from the “Greek” word “angelos” which means “messenger”. It is generally believed that Angels are messengers of God (2 Thes.1:7). Angels are said to be spirit beings and invisible (2 Kgs 6:17, Heb.1:14) who can enter locked rooms (Acts 12:7), open doors without keys (Acts 5:19) and ascend in a flame (Judge 13:19-20). They can travel long distances quickly and are wiser and more powerful than men (2 Sam.14:20). There are various ranks and orders of angel (Jude 9). There are also angels, principalities, power, dominions and thrones (Col.1:16, 1Thes. 4:16). Angels are immortal (Lk.20:35-36).

 

1.  DESCRIPTION OF ANGELS: Psalms 8:4-5

The theological study of angels is known as "angelology". They are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth, or as guardian spirits or a guiding influence. Most Angels have the appearance and form of men. Some are larger than life. Some are invisible, yet their presence is felt and their voices heard (Ezek. 1:1-28, 10:20, Isaiah 6: 1-8). Angels are created beings no wonder the Bible used the following passages as evidence: "praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts… for He spoke and they were made. He commanded and they were created…" (Ps. 148:2-5; Col. 1:16). Many regard angels as asexual (not belonging to either gender) and use Matthew 22:30 to buttress their view but the names of Angels revealed in Scripture are masculine. Angels are essentially “ministering spirits,” (Heb. 1:14) and do not have physical bodies like humans. Jesus declared that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:37-39). The Bible does, however, make it clear that angels can only be in one place at a time. They must have some localized presence. Angels can take on the appearance of men when the occasion demands. How else could some “entertain angels unaware” (Heb. 13:2) On the other hand, their appearance is sometimes in dazzling white and blazing glory (Matth.28:2-4).

 

2.  MINISTRY OF ANGELS: Heb.13:2

Angels were created to glorify and worship God (Rev. 4:8, Heb. 1:16) and to live for eternity (Lk.20:26, Rev. 4:8). On earth; Angels are to run errands for the Lord e.g. Hagar’s story, release of Peter from prison, appearance to Zechariah to inform him that he will have a child despite his old age, thus proclaiming the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11),  the visit of archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to foretell the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26), the proclamation of  the birth of Jesus in the Adoration of the shepherds in Luke 2:10; in Matt.4:11 and Luke 22:43 angels comforted Jesus Christ. In Matthew 28:5 an angel speaks at the empty tomb, following the Resurrection of Jesus and the rolling back of the stone by angels. Angels help human (Heb. 1:14). Angels ministered to human (Daniel, Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, Philip to mention but a few). They also act as divine police officers and soldiers to execute God’s judgements and purpose for instance an Angel blocked Balaam’s path way (Num.22:22), killed proud King Herod (Acts 12:23) and will eventually gather the sinful tares at the last judgment and burn them (Matt. 13:41). They also guide believers (Acts 8:26), assisting, protecting & strengthening saints (see the story of Elijah in 1Kg. 19, Daniel in the lions’ den, (Dan. 6:22), and Jesus in Lk. 22:43).

 

DISCUSSION: From the following references, what can you say about Angels.

a)       Lk. 16:22……………………………………..…………..b)  1Cor. 6:3………………………………….………………..……….  

c)      Col. 1; 16…………………………………………..…..(d)  Col. 2:18……………………………………………………….………

 

Conclusion: Any born-again child of God is superior to angels. Angels are to run our errands (Heb. 1:14) and are not meant to be worshipped (Rev.19:10) since they are subject to Christ (1Pt. 3:22). Let us, therefore, remain in grace of God to show our gratitude to Him for the ministry of Angels.

 

           

MINISTRY OF ANGELS                                                                                13th Nov. 2013

 

THEME: ANGELIC MINISTRY

TEXT:  Heb. 1:14

 

Angels are heavenly spiritual beings created by God for the purpose of emissary and worship. (Ps 148:2,5; Jn1:3,Col.1:16) Their appearances might be frightening.  Many believe that since Angels are celestial beings and are invisible atimes; they move or speed faster than light and work precisely and according to God’s dictate. The Scriptures intimates that there are angels of light and also of darkness (2 Cor.11:14).Angels of light are those obedient to God while the other group are falling ones, who rebel along  with Satan their master.

 

A: Divisions of Angels : Exod25:17-22,Isa 6:5-7,Dan.8:15-17; 10:12-14,Luke 1:11-19, 1.Thes 4:16-17,Jude 9. Church tradition developed hierarchy of Angels which is made up of nine orders or levels of angelic beings in three groups: the highest hierarchy being next to God, Seraphim (Isa. 6:2), Cherubim (Gen. 3:24, Ezek.10:1-22), and Thrones (Col. 1:16); the middle hierarchy involved in government, Dominations (Col. 1:16), Virtues (1 Pt. 3:22), and Powers (Col. 1:16); and the third hierarchy involved in work, Principalities (Col. 1:16), Archangels (1 Thes. 4:16) and Angels.

 

B: Roles and duties of angels :

i.  Worshipers of God: The primary role of all angels is to praise and exalt God and His Son Jesus Christ. All creations including Angels, people and even nature are to glorify Him. (Ps 148:1-5; Heb 1:6 ;Rev 5:11-12; 7:11-12);

ii.Ministers of God’s people: Angels are not to be worshipped, but are to do the will of God day and night as they minister to Him and His people. (Heb 1:14);

iii.    Delivering messages from God: Angels are couriers from God who bring special messages to His people. For instance: Abraham and his wife (Gen.18:9-14,22:11-18); Gideon (Judges 6:11-14); Zechariah and Elizabeth (Lk.1:11-17); the night of the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:10,13-14);

iv.Delivering God’s Word: Angels bring God’s word to people and also help them to understand it. Ten commandment given of Mt Sinai –Deut 33:2-3;53, Gal 3:19;

v.  Bringing God’s guidance: God’s angels direct people’s steps and clear the path before them as they do His will. Consider the case of Eliezer when he was to choice a wife for Isaac (Gen 24:7), instruction to Jacob to return home (Gen 31:11-13), Philip directed Ethiopia Eunuch ( Acts 8:26-31);

vi.Comforting and encouraging God’s people: Angels are sent to comfort and encourage people during difficult times in their lives.  Hagar and her son (Gen 21:9-21), Jacob at Bethel  (Gen 28:11-15), Apostle Paul on board on the ship to Rome, etc. were comforted by Angels ( Acts 27:23-24).

vii.    Other angelic roles include sustaining, protecting and delivering God’s people, promoting the gospel, carrying God’s people to Heaven; defenders of God’s glory and honour; participants in end-time events etc. (Dan. 3, 6, Luke 16:22).      

Conclusion :  Angels are spirit beings, holy, elect, intelligent, but not omniscient, powerful but not omnipotent and are not to be worship.

 

 

               MINISTRY OF ANGELS                                                              20th Nov.2013                                                                                         

 

THEME:           FALLEN ANGELS

TEXT:       Isaiah 14: 12-14

 

The Scriptures did not explicitly tell us when the angelic realm was created, however, the available information implies that the angels were formed after God created the heavens but before He fashioned the earth (Job 38:4-7, Neh. 9:6). Fallen angels are those angels who rebelled against God along with Lucifer, an archangel who became the devil.

 

1.   DESCRIPTION OF FALLEN ANGELS: Matt.25: 41

Are those angels who rebelled against God along with Lucifer which also called ‘day star’ or ‘son of the morning’ many recognize him as Satan, the fallen angel ,but prior to his down fall, Lucifer was a magnificent being with a unique ministry, unfortunately pride took over his heart and sin cost him everything.  Ezek. 28:13.Most Scholars agree that one third of the angels fell into sin and become demons. It was vividly pictured that pride was the source of down fall. [Rev.12:3-4, 2 Tim. 3:6]. Evil angels, however, are those who have fallen from their first estate (Jude 1:6) since the Creation. The Bible records several different times when angels fell to earth. Some have already fallen (Gen. 6:2; Amos 5:26; Rev.12:4) and some will fall in the future (Rev. 6:13, 8:10-11, 9:1). It is Satan, the great dragon, who entices them (Rev.12:4), perhaps with promises that they will be worshipped by men as gods or rule over an earthly kingdom. Fallen angels learn wickedness and become apprentices of their new master Satan.

 

2.   REASONS FOR FALLEN: Job 4:17-18; 15:15, 25:5

Holy angels fell into sin and became corrupt hence their estate turned and they became fallen angels (Jude 1:6). Some angels (the Old Testament regard angels as sons of God) took on human form (which angels can do-Gen.19:15-16;Heb.13:2) transgressed their created purpose by lusting after the daughters of men and marrying wives who bore them children. This evil brought mankind to a new realm of wickedness so frightening and terrible that God saw it necessary to destroy the earth with a flood (Gen.6:1-2). The fall of these angels is told by Enoch (Jude 1:14). Unlike humans, fallen angels cannot be redeemed. Once angels rebel against God, they are permanently banned from God's glory and presence. Some fallen angels are currently imprisoned until God's day of judgment (I Pt 3:19-20; II Pt 2:4; Jude 1:6), and some rule the realm of darkness with Satan. They, too, will face the wrath of God (Matt.25:41).

What can you deduce from the following Bible passages about the fallen angels;

1.   Matt. 25:41……………………… 2. II Pet 2:4…………………………. 3. Jude 14……………………

3.    Jude 6 ………………………….. 5.   Rev 12:9…………………………………

 

As a result of today's heightened fascination with the occult and spirit world, it is entirely plausible that fallen angels and humans will mix once again, creating terrible chaos to bring about the final wrath of God. Believers however are to flee from all forms of witchcraft and the occult (Lev. 19:31), including books about witchcraft, fortune telling, sorcery, etc. Beware of the music you listen to as seducing spirits thrive in this arena. Be careful of television as it’s a common vehicle for allowing every kind of evil spirit imaginable into your home/life. Constantly submit yourself to God.

 

CONCLUSION; Proverbs 16:18, reminds us that pride comes before fall and that a haughty spirit causes one to stumble, therefore no matter how gifted or skillful or any honorable position we occupy we must not equate ourselves with God nor allow pride to come over us, instead we should humbly maintain our esteems to glorify the name of the Lord. 

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