*all scriptures are quoted from the KJV except otherwise stated.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;” (Eph. 4:4)
Recently, I was re-reading the account of the first pentecost after the death and resurrection of Christ. The account gave details about the infilling of the Holy Spirit received by the disciples, fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel, the boldness of Peter in preaching to those present and the resulting multitudes who came to receive Christ through Peter’s message that day.
In this account, there is a very important verse in Acts 2, which I believe was pivotal to what we read today in Acts 2, and it is the first verse of this chapter:
“And the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
I believe the phrase “ONE ACCORD” really describes the state of how God’s people (the Church) is to be. Everyone comes to fellowship together in unity irrespective of their background, life experiences, self worth, achievements and without any wall of division or segmentation in their hearts. The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote to the Ephesians saying:
“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all” (Eph. 4: 3 – 6 NLT)
Notice the first statement…”Make every effort!” I believe the Holy Spirit knows strongly the importance of brethren dwelling together in unity and as such, encourages us strongly to make sure that this is seen and witnessed amongst us. So today, I want to encourage you, make every effort to keep the Church of God united in the Spirit! Note that the Church is not limited to your local assembly but believers round the world. It is One body of Christ! One Church!
Scriptures again and again tell us of the importance of this unity. In the description of the Church given in 1 Peter 2:5, the Church is described as a spiritual house.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2: 5)
Jesus speaking said:
“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25)
I believe this explains the weakness we see in the Church today. There is so much division amidst ourselves, along denominational lines, ethnic lines etc. One person is saying I am of this group, while the other says I am of that group. One says I know better, the other says, No! I have more resources than you, so I’m better, causing so much strife and contention within a house which is supposed to stand together in one accord. It is One Faith! One body! One Father of all!
Paul writing to the Corinthians on the issue of strifes and contentions wrote:
“For you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says “I am a follower of Paul” and another says “I follow Apollos” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.” (1 Cor. 3 : 3 – 5 NLT)
Paul again writes:
“Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.”Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ”. Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!
(1 Cor. 1:12 – 13 NLT)
In other instances, scriptures describe the Church as a body which needs each part to function perfectly. The eyes are not greater than the hand, neither is the head better than the stomach. All parts need each other to function. The eyes can’t walk on its own, it needs the legs for that, and of course while in motion the legs need the eyes so it doesn’t fall into a ditch. None less, none greater.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12: 12 – 13 NLT)
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Cor. 12: 27 NLT)
Today, I encourage you to strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Don’t seek exaltation for one part of the body over another. Strife and contentions weaken the body, don’t do it!
Pray this with me:
“As a believer,
I will make every effort to keep myself united with my brethren,
As a part of the Spiritual house that Christ is building,
I will not be part of strife or contentions that weaken it.
As a part of the body of Christ,
I will contribute my part to its growth and functioning,
Without thinking I’m better or lesser than the other parts,
All this by His grace.
It is one faith, We have one body and one Father over all,
Who is Lord of all. Amen”
Thanks for reading.
I Call You Blessed
I had the privilege of visiting a senior residence a few weeks ago. I was there with a friend, my friend is a close pal of the old folks there, so they invited us to have coffee and cake with them. In all the time we spent with them, which they enjoyed, I couldn’t help but notice how slow they moved and how their hands would tremble as they tried to grip the coffee cups and eat the small pieces of cake we shared. I kept looking at how much strength was available in me and how little strength and coordination they had in their bones.
Even long after I left the residence, I kept thinking about this. Then I remembered;
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work” (John 9:4)
Yes. There is a “night season”. After the glorious/beautiful day comes the dark night. There’s a time of having full strength, and there is a time when the strength will fade. The night season doesn’t have to be a difficult time or a time full of problems/troubles. But it means, a time when those opportunities that come our way are no longer there. A time when those things that we are proficient in and able to do, we will not be able to do any longer.
When I was a student at the University of Ibadan, in my little capacity then I tried being a blessing to those around me and served in my student fellowship. You will agree with me that now it is more difficult to reach those same classmates to bless them. It’s because there is a night season over that phase of my life and the relationships I had.
Brethren, the night comes, and because of that, we need to know how to discern the times and maximize the opportunities God brings our way by knowing what God’s will is in every season.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:16 – 17)
Notice this phrase from the scripture above “Understanding what the will of the Lord is”.I believe this is very key. 1 Kings 5, gives an account of how Solomon started building a temple for God. David, his father, had fought a lot of wars during his time as king. When Solomon became king, God gave him peace with all his neighbours. He didn’t make light of that opportunity, he discerned that the season was a time to build and he set out to do it immediately. He didn’t use that period to play around because he knew the night season would come.
The bible also tells us about the story of Joseph; he was able to discern that there was going to be seven years of plenty and abundance, followed by another seven years of lack and famine. Because he could discern the times and know God’s will, he was able to save the whole Egypt and was promoted to second in command in Egypt. Imagine, if the initial season of plenty was squandered and spent with a lackadaisical attitude, what would have been done in the night season (the next seven years) that followed.
The Bible also talks about the children of Issachar; because they could understand the times and Season, they had their brethren under their control. They were in charge. When we can learn to discern the times and seasons, we can distinguish ourselves for positions of responsibility.
“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment” (1 Chron. 12:32)
I have a habit of seeking to know God’s will for the year on my birthday. My last 2 birthdays, the Lord told me, “I am putting you strategically in positions so as for you to be able to help and bless people”. When resources and special opportunities started coming my way, I knew exactly what God’s intention about them was and made sure to be a blessing to people. My knowledge of God’s will for that season, helped me to make use of the opportunities according to God’s will.
As believers, God has given us His spirit by which we can be led and discern His next move. We are His children and qualify to hear His voice and be led by Him. Today, I encourage you to learn to make maximum use of the opportunities that God brings your way by discerning properly God’s will per time.
I Call You Blessed
When the word “Saint” is mentioned, it is often attached to perfection. When someone is called a saint, we think almost immediately about someone without mistakes or faults or someone with a flawless character or behaviors. Well, maybe such people exist, but the truth is, throughout all of my life I haven’t met anyone who fits into this definition of a saint, and neither am I one. If this is the definition of who a saint is then yes, I am not a saint. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Wikipedia describes the word saint to mean “A person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God.” It goes further saying “any believer who is in Christ and in whom Christ dwells”. When I read the latter part of this sentence, I agree completely with Wikipedia’s definition of who a saint is because I had seen over and over again, that this agrees with Paul’s definition of who a saint is in scriptures. He often admonishes the church as saints,
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;”(1 Cor. 1:2 KJV)
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:” (2 Cor. 1:1)
“All the saints salute you” (2 Cor. 13:13) KJV
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1 KJV)
“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height (Eph. 3:18 KJV)
“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with all the bishops and deacons: (Phil. 1:1 KJV)
*All emphasis in the verses above are mine*
There are just so many references that space and time won’t allow me to share them all. At the beginning of almost all of Paul’s letters he uses the word to describe the believers he was writing to. He called them saints. We can safely conclude that All Believers are saints. Yes, all believers are saints. We are saints not because of what we do or don’t do but because of what Jesus did. We are a people having the very nature and likeness of Christ, similar to what Wikipedia defines.
Now, it is important to note that not all of the churches Paul uses the word “Saint” to describe at the beginning of his letters were morally perfect people. In fact he wrote to settle quarrels among them, he wrote to put orderliness in their meetings. He wrote to warn them of sinful deeds, he wrote to correct adultery, and many other things that were not befitting of saints.
Oftentimes, I see people get mad because some brother or sister in their fellowship offended them. I notice they were not expecting “saints” to behave in such a way. Their expectancy of the behaviors of their church members is so high that they cannot understand why they would behave in such a manner. But the truth is these people are not perfect people rather they are people on their way to perfection. There is work ongoing in them.
“Being Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6 KJV)
And while this work is not yet completed, we have to learn to forbear and tolerate the faults of each other in the church without seeing each other as being less than saints. Paul knew this when he encouraged us to,
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13 NIV)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4: 2-3 NIV)
Some words used in the scriptures give an insight into how difficult it is to love each other in our local assemblies. Words like “Bear, Make every effort”, indicate that this won’t be an easy work to live out amidst saints. Even among saints you have to forgive, you have to make every effort to stay united and you have to make every effort to forgive each other, yet regarding each other as saints because of what Christ has done for us.
One of the elders of my church once said, “If you find a perfect church don’t join them, because if you do, you will make them imperfect”. And the truth is, saints are not people without faults or errors, they are however saints because of what Christ has done. Because of what He has done, of course, I am a Saint.
Written By Samson Afolabi
Today, we consider the last and final part of our series on Understanding Salvation, we consider the body. But first I would like to share a scripture;
“His glory is great in your salvation: honour and majesty have you laid upon him (Psalm 21:5)”
This scripture shows us the beauty of man at the completion of God’s salvation plan. His glory is great, honour and majesty are upon him. I believe God has this picture of Man in mind in this work of salvation. I also believe that the work of salvation is to restore Man back to God’s original plan and intent. What then should be our reaction? Appreciate Him for the salvation of our spirit, agree and work with Him on the salvation of our souls and believe what He says about the salvation of our body.
Just as we earlier established, Man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body. His body gives him the ability to relate and communicate with the physical world. He needs his body to relate with the earth. As such his body is an important part of him just as his soul and spirit are. As we earlier stated the salvation of the spirit is done, the salvation of the soul is ongoing, but the salvation of the body as we have it now is a promise. It’s yet to be done.
From the beginning (Gen. 1 – 3), the body was without sickness and disease. We saw that sickness and disease came after the fall of Man. I believe that sickness is a manifestation of the death we acquired from Adam. In fact, plants, where most of our drugs come from today, were initially given for food not drugs or medicine.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Gen. 1: 29 NIV)
Paul describing God’s salvation plan in 1 Cor. 15:35 – 58, says our perishable bodies will be raised as imperishable. Our mortal bodies will be given immortality. He further says, our bodies although sown in dishonour will be raised in glory, sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body but is raised a spiritual body. And then we will have fully conquered death in all three segments of Man, then the saying that has been written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15: 54 – 56)
What a glory our bodies will inherit when it is renewed. Right now, we do not have the words to describe this, but we know that when we meet Him (Jesus), we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2). Our bodies will no longer be subject to death, or be weak or be frail as it presently is. And that is why, even as a believer you can be sick. It does not imply that the salvation of the spirit is not done or that of the soul is not on going. But it is worthy of note that, God doesn’t tempt or discipline us with sickness and disease.
But, before the salvation of the soul is achieved, the Lord has redeemed us from sicknesses and diseases (death). In fact, he wants us to be in perfect health (3 John 1:2). Read my article on “What does God say about your health” here. or through the link(https://wordofaletheia.org/fellowship/what-does-god-say-about-your-health/) .Peter, through the holy-spirit writes:
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2: 24)
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)
He bought our health with His blood. He paid for our sicknesses and weaknesses. Notice he didn’t say, we would be healed, he says we were already healed (Past tense). If you believe this, you will see the manifestation of this in your body.
What then should we do? Scriptures help us understand that our bodies are the temple of the Most High, to be kept holy and sacred for Him. (1 Cor. 6:19). It was bought with a price, when we were redeemed. I believe this includes not using our bodies for sinful purposes; fornication, adultery etc. I also believe that this includes keeping our bodies clean and healthy. Being dirty, eating unhealthy or being lackadaisical about our health is not a godly habit. God instructed the priest to keep the tabernacle clean. If God was to dwell there, it was to be kept clean and healthy, as it is often said that “Cleanliness is next to godliness”.
In Conclusion, God’s salvation plan for Man brings glory to Man. It restores Man back to God’s original intent and makes Man to be like God in spirit, soul and body.
Remember to contact me, if you have any questions about any of the Parts 1, 2 and 3.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
What do you see? I think this is a very important question to ask.
“Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city” Vs 14
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my Lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. Vs 15
“Don’t be afraid”, the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them”. Vs 16
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Vs 17 (2 kings 6: 14 – 17 NIV)
I find the above passage very interesting and insightful. It shows the reaction of 2 men (Elisha and his servant) to the same scenario. One acting in fear and the other in boldness and confidence. Why? One (Elisha) could see what the other (his servant) could not see. Isn’t this similar to life issues? Elisha’s servant got afraid, seeing an army marching out against two men, while Elisha was seeing a greater army marching out against another army far smaller in size compared to it.
You know, often times in life, it’s the same. We worry because we can’t see. Our two eyeballs are open to the physical just like Elisha’s servant to see our problems, challenges etc. But the eyes of our minds are not open to see the numerous opportunities God has placed around us. What we see, determines how we act. It’s essential we see well! The renewal of our minds which comes as a result of our continuous walk and fellowship with the spirit brings about a change of sight.
“The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an almond tree” (Jer. 1:11 AMP)
“Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [actively] watching over my word to fulfil it” (Jer. 1:12 AMP)
God asked Jeremiah, what do you see? He answered and God said you see well. My dear friends, looking at the major preoccupation of your mind, if God was to ask “What do you see?” would He be able to say to you, “YOU SEE WELL”? Do the things you see bring wellness to your soul? Do they help you conform to God’s image more, or do they distort your view of life and scriptures? I believe God was asking Jeremiah this, because for Him and Jeremiah to walk together, they had to agree (Amos 3:3). They had to see the same things. Sometimes the problem we have is, our minds don’t see what God sees, so it’s difficult for us to walk in faith.
Jesus was to heal a particular man, and this happened:
“Taking the blind man by the hand, He led him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” (Mark 8:23 AMP)
“And he looked up and said, “I see people, but [they look] like trees, walking around” (Mark 8:24 AMP)
“Then again Jesus laid His hands on his eyes; and the man stared intently and [his sight] was
restored, and he began to see everything clearly. (Mark 8:25 AMP)
After Jesus first prayer, notice the man could see, but he wasn’t seeing well. He saw humans like trees. Jesus didn’t allow him to go. That would have been dangerous. He could have pick up an axe and started hacking at people, or started leaning on people. Notice Jesus called him and prayed for him again, until he saw clearly. Let me add an important principle below.
Whatever we are experiencing in our lives, is a result of what our gaze is fixed upon. If you notice you are worried, full of anxiety, fears, and burdened about the future, check your gaze, you might just be too focused on your problems and challenges and that has fuelled your thoughts. If you are struggling with a particular sin, check the kind of videos or songs you’ve been listening to, your gaze might just be on the wrong things. Your gaze determines your personality. What you look upon determines what you become. So if you want to see right, start looking at the right things. Fix your gaze more upon the perfect law of liberty (the scriptures). Let it define you, your life and your life principles, shut down every voice not from God which speaking to you.
The issue of sight is important, we know this because Jesus said:
“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light; but when your eye is evil, your body is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34 KJV)
Again, let me ask, what do you keep your gaze on? does it bring wellness to your soul? In the book of Numbers 21:6 – 9, the children of Israel were healed by setting their gaze upon the brazen serpent.
“So Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it on the pole, and it happened that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived” (Numbers 21:9 AMP)
So much power is in what you look upon. Setting your gaze on the right things brings life. By looking on Christ, who he is and what He has done for us, we are changed. Our soul receives life. We are transformed from who we used to be to who Christ is. And then our reactions are defined from that view point. We then act no longer in fear but in courage and love. Paul counsels:
“Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]” (Col. 3:2 AMP)
Yes. Our gaze must be right. Despite our situations we must learn to see what He sees. We must also learn to keep our gaze on Him to be like Him.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18 KJV)
It is my prayer that:
The eyes of your understanding be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. And what Is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly place far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi