This is a counsel.
A lot has been said about the necessity of the coming together of believers. This article tries to look into what we should be doing when we meet up in our fellowship periods. What should our church times consist mainly of? We try to answer this question by looking at what the fellowship of the early church in ACTS consisted of.
“These all continued with one accord in Prayer and Supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” Acts 1:14
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42
“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them” (Acts 4:23)
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy- Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31)
“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed(shared) all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27)
“So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they gathered the multitude (the church) together, they delivered the epistle:” (Acts 15:30)
Before I continue sharing more and more bible verses, we notice a particular trend in this verses above, every-time they met, it was to encourage themselves in faith. They prayed, they shared testimonies of what God was doing through them, they leant scriptures. There was no time for peripherals or unnecessary jokes or time wasting activities. It was about scriptures being taught and prayers of edification made. We can say simply that their focus was on SPIRITUAL GROWTH, so they could declare the word with boldness.
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)
Paul preached and taught. When we realise there is so much to be learnt in scriptures, we would stop inviting comedians and unnecessary people to grace our church-pulpit. There is so much to learn and share to boost our faith when we fellowship with other believers that we shouldn’t waste time on ephemerals. Paul counselled here:
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (Hebrews 10:24)
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much as more, as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Paul says, when you gather exhort one another. The Amplified bible says “encourage one another”. When we gather, the purpose of our gather should be for edification. Our spirit man built, edified through prayers and teaching of the word.
“We continue to pray night and day most earnestly that we may see you face to face, and may complete whatever may be imperfect and lacking in your faith” (1 Thess. 3:10)
I believe what Paul meant here was to teach them again from scriptures what he believes was needed for their faith to grow. He anticipated to teach them whenever they met again. I believe this should be the heart desire of every Pastor. Everyone that has people to watch under them. Again here He said:
“For I Long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established;” (Romans 1:11)
For every of Paul’s gathering with the church, his focus was always for their growth spiritually. Whenever I read through Paul’s epistles to Titus, Timothy I see how Paul keeps repeating that they should teach their members which I believe would have to be done when they met. There would hardly be any time left for unnecessary activities.
Beloved, there is so much to know. Learning from the finished work of Christ, New creation realities, our responsibilities in Christ , His future coming, the person of the holy-ghost, our disposition to the world, and many other faith question we should know to get our minds renewed, that our fellowship times should be used wisely for teaching and for Prayers geared towards our spiritual growth.
We Always Win
Written by Samson Afolabi
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Jn1:18.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”Jn14:6-9
So Jesus is saying the search for God ends here! You don’t see me and ask for the Father, that would mean you don’t know who is before you. If you see me, you have seen the Father.
So, Jesus is saying the topic of this article in answering is better rendered as “IS JESUS PREDICTABE?”.
Redemption, the gospel, revealed the personality of God (Rom1:17-18). Hence the apostles were tasked to show God in the face of Christ Jesus. (2Cor4:6)
We see many assertions about God’s immutability, many by the prophets, Christ, and his apostles. These especially in his eternal plan of man’s redemption. It is in something as grave as this that our interest is productively stirred. (This is not an investigation of the sort of whether God will meet your need by your business flourishing or someone giving to you etc.) What do we hold of God on our eternal fate, our dealings with him every day. Can we be rest assured or we might be in for some surprises! This mattered to God himself knowing what man is.
From Genesis to Revelation, it is evident we have a speaking God. A God of promises. And in all these, Jesus is his Word (his logos, reasoning, intent, essence, mind-set, thought) he was communicating. If God has said a thing, he does not rescind on his word. To know if he is predictable is to know what he has said. If we have his word, it is all assuring. Consider these;
“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).
So God’s style is to do nothing but speak it first, then fulfil it. All that Christ did in redemption were foretold by the prophets, all! (Luke 24:44-46)
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Num.23:19.
If God has said it, then he will make it good! God does not lie.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2.
His word is his bond, he says things the way they are.
“In hope of eternal life, which GOD, THAT CANNOT LIE, promised before the world began; But HATH IN DUE TIMES MANIFESTED HIS WORD through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;” Titus1:2-3. What he promised before the world began, he fulfilled in due times. These form the proofs of his eternal faithfulness, reliability. He did what he said he would do.
God wants to assure our hearts concerning his plan and promises to us.
“For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” Heb.6:13. He didn’t want Abraham to be swerved, God swore! The same to us; “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” Heb. 6:17-18.
All the promises of God made to the fathers find their fulfilment in Christ, and in him are many exceeding great and precious promises (2Pet.1:4). The apostle wrote “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Cor1:18-21) All the promises, all, find their ‘so be it’ in Christ. It’s not Yes and No, it is Yes and So-be-it(Amen).
He told Moses, my name is ‘I am that I am’, ‘I will be what I will be’. He makes self-committed promises. He relied on no one to fulfil his word. Man’s unfaithfulness does not change him. He does what he says he will do.
If he says “their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb10:17), we say so be it! When he said he is “not counting sins against the world” (2Cor5:19), that “our bodies will be changed like unto his own glorious body” (Phil3:21), that all believers shall have their bodies changed (1Cor15:51-52), those who believe the gospel are saved (Mk16:15-16,Rom10:9-10), that believers will not come to condemnation (Jn5:24), that we will never perish in his hands (Jn10:28-30), that his spirit will be in us forever (Jn14:16), that he is coming to be glorified in all who believed his name (2Thess1:10), that he is not unrighteous to forget our labour of love (Heb6:10), that he hears our prayer and we have our desires of him (1Jn5:14-15), we know he meant just that. For he said if it were not so, he would have told us (Jn14:2). Jesus kept using the words “Verily, verily I say unto you”. He is light, pure. He says what he means, he means what he says.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James1:17. No variableness, no shadows. This is our God!
Is God predictable? Its a question of “has God said so?!”
Written by Samuel Agboola
This week I will like to bring us to awareness of something I believe is quite important for us to have at the back of our minds as Christians. The lesson is simple, and it is we should have a world perspective of Christianity. What do I mean? I mean God has the whole world in mind. He is interested in the affairs of the whole world, and most especially he wants the whole world saved.
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2:4
Yes. All men means all men. All men every-where in the world. Every men in all nations in the seven continents of the world. See here also
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father” (Philippians 2:11)
All through the scriptures, both from the old and new testaments, especially in the book of Psalms we see phrases such as “clap your hands all ye people (Ps. 47:1)”, “Praise him all peoples (Ps. 117:1)” and many similar phrases. If it says all nations, it means all countries, all nations. He wants all people to declare his praise. We must also have this destination in mind. We have been called to save all nations. God isn’t just interested in Nigeria, or some streets in Africa, he is interested in everyone around the world.
Every tongue means every person from all nations of the earth. Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Germany, India, Malaysia and everyone. We are to start from our streets, neighbours, friends, but we must know that getting the whole world saved is our destination. Jesus speaking with the apostles about the great commission gave this same insight, he told them start from Jerusalem then to Judea and then to the ends of the world. Simply interpreted, start from your friends, neighbours, streets, states and then to the ends of the world.
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” Luke 24:47
Now, as His ambassadors here on Earth, we should have the same mind set, so that we can walk in agreement with God. See this:
“Can two walk together except they agree” (Amos 3:3)
Having a world perspective of our mission starts first about having a concern for happenings to other Christians in many other countries of the earth. We must know that God is not just working things in our environments alone, he is at work in every country. We should learn to pray for missions work all around the world.
I presently attend International Baptist Church, and what a beauty to see people from different nations, backgrounds, cultural beliefs and ways of life come gather in a room in unity in the name of Jesus. We must learn that as a Christian, we are a part of a body. A part of a whole. And the body comprises of all Christians on earth.
Brethren, Christianity is a world issue, a global issue. And we should see it as such.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
Edited by Omotayo Abraham
At the beginning of each year, there are always prophecies in almost every congregation, given by God to the shepherd in charge. It’s always beautiful to hear the promises of God for a new year as it always serves as a source of direction as we chart our course for the year, without which we would have been full of uncertainty and apprehension. With knowledge of the prophecies for the year, we can run with them and ensure their actualization by fulfilling our side of the promises. True prophecies never contradict the scriptures and the Bible make us understand that God always confirms the words that come through His prophets, and if we believe we will be established.
So they got up early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe and trust in the Lord your God and you will be established (secure). Believe and trust in His prophets and succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20
Reading through the Bible, we see that God never did anything without revealing to His children ahead of time, including the birth of Jesus and the surrounding events. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others foretold the future, as we see from scriptures:
All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet [Isaiah]: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” Matthew 1: 22-23:
They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah; For from you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ Matthew 2:5-6
Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; She refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.” Matthew 2:17-18
When Jesus was born, the wise men saw a star in the east and it went ahead of them all the way to the place the child was. How did the wise men know what the star meant? So many commentaries have tried to explain this, but I believe the wise men by some means knew about prophecies concerning the Messiah in the first place, and that’s why they could identify the star. Also, in the account of Matthew, Herod asked for the place the child was to be born and sent the wise men there. The answer was also from prophecy.
4 So he called together all the chief priests and scribes of the people and [anxiously] asked them where the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to be born.
5 They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah; For from you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod secretly sent for the magicians and learned from them the [exact] time the star [had first] appeared.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”
God has always revealed his mind to man. It is not His style to keep his children in the dark. In this dispensation, God hasn’t changed. He still tells his children about the future. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for the beginning of the year to know about the future, or our pastor because we have the word of God, our certain and sure word of prophecy. Prophetic revelations aren’t meant to be a one-off.
So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the morning star arises in your hearts. 1 Peter 2:19
The Bible is all the prophecy we will ever need. It tells us everything we need to know, and every child of God has access to this revelation-it is not hidden. God has given us His Spirit to help us understand it, interpret it and appropriate it in our lives.
1 Corinthians 2:9-13
9 but just as it is written [in Scripture] Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”
10 For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].
11 For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So also no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God.
13 We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit].
This prophecy doesn’t come once in a year; it comes as many times as we study the scriptures and fellowship in the Spirit. This means that every day of the new year and beyond, we can receive prophecies and see prophecies fulfilled.
In conclusion, the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelations is our sure word of prophecy. We cannot walk in the light of what we do not know, and prophecies cannot be fulfilled if we don’t fulfill the requirements. Therefore, we must read, believe, speak and do the Word. The Bible wasn’t given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives. If we do this, we will see prophecies fulfilled because God’s Word can never fail and we will be able to say like Joshua after all is said and done, “and I know in all my heart and in all my soul that not one word of all the good words which the Lord my God has promised concerning me has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed”.
Written by Iyinoluwa Onobote
Imagine being qualified to attend the inner circus meeting of your state governor and the members of his cabinet? Or imagine being called to enjoy the same privileges the children of your president enjoys? Sounds good right? Yes.
Imagine the amount of privy information that will be at your fingertips, the blessings of being able to get into the office or private chambers of the governor at any time. Personally, I would like to enjoy that.
But do you know we have been given the same privilege with the Kings of Kings, the Almighty through his Son Jesus Christ? See what 1 Cor. 1:9 says:
“God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord”.
Notice the word FELLOWSHIP. To fellowship is to be in partnership, it is companionship. There is a heartthrob. The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition gives “a friendly relationship among people, a relationship of people who share interests or feelings”. Synonyms such as fraternization, mutual liking and mutual support were also given.
“Jesus said unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)”
This access to fellowship was granted at new birth. We were called to enjoy the same fellowship that Jesus enjoys with God. We were invited into the inner chambers of the Kings of Kings. But you know what, not just for a while or for some few days but FOREVER. We too can go into the chambers of the Father, speak with him and get to know of the mysteries that govern the earth. But the question, how much are we making use of this grace?
We were called to enjoy the same fellowship Jesus (God’s only son) enjoys. Jesus said
“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). In fact he said, I do nothing except my father tells me to. They are in synergy.
It is the same for us. Our spirits are continually in this fellowship. We only need to tune our minds to this continually. I must say, speaking in tongues will help us do this well. We are seated far above, in fellowship with our saviour. Jesus said;
“He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matthew 13:11)
The Holy Spirit through Paul also said;
“Now we have received, not the spirit which is of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Cor. 2:12)
Notice, 1 Cor. 2:12 says our spirit has received this fellowship. Our spirits are always in this fellowship whether we are conscious of this or not, it is there.
Our spirits are one with God, when we are sleeping, eating, attending classes, in a meeting, walking on the street or whatever we might be doing, our spirits are constantly in this fellowship with the Father. And that is why God can speak to our spirits at any time. He does this either by giving us a message or in bringing counsel to us about a matter. You see that is why it is of great importance for us to be conscious of this fellowship at all times.
Be aware that you are connected with the King of Kings, and that His number is on your speed dial. Know that you can know all things and that God is always in connection with you.
Lastly, I will like to say that the unity of the church is rooted in us understanding this mystery. As Christians we are all connected and in fellowship because we are in fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. Let me use this to explain, you are reading this article right now connected to me because we are both connected to the Internet. So in some sense, being connected to the Internet has connected us both. If we understand that every Christian is one with the Father, we would understand that we are one body. We created to function together to bring His reign on earth.
I call you blessed
Unveiling the Reason for a Christians Existence
The topic of this article is a question I think that quite a number of people must have asked themselves at one point or another. Why am I here? What exactly is the reason why God created me? Am I just an accident? If one has very good answers to this question it gives one a reason to live. A reason to want to get out of bed every day, it gives focus, and helps one navigate through life. I pray that as you read, may the eyes of your understanding be enlightened, and may the Holy Spirit stir up our hearts, to give us understanding in Jesus name. (Amen)
First, I like to establish that everyone has a purpose. Just like everyone has a unique identity so also everyone has a unique purpose. God didn’t create you to be lost in the crowd; He gave you different fingerprints, unique facial and body features, and different blood groups in such a way that everyone is uniquely different from every other person on earth.
Given our individual uniqueness it is easy to deduce that God gave us all a unique purpose. Yes! I mean varying reasons to be here. You were created to fill a void. The world would be incomplete without you. God saw a need, a problem on earth and created you to be a solution to that problem. Scriptures affirm my statement above. We saw a lot of men, who when they were born, the bible clearly states the reason for their birth. Yours is not an exemption, these are some examples:
Let’s start from the Old Testament;
Joseph: was born to be a leader to preserve a lot of people from dying of famine. God had been showing this to him through dreams right from childhood.
Moses was born to be a deliverer of the nation of Israel from Egypt. He also wrote the first five books of the Bible. He was the one gave the account of creation. (Ex. 3:10)Samson: Before He was born an angel appeared to his parents and told them this, “For Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son: No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite [dedicated] to God from birth: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). He was also born a deliverer; no wonder God gave him an unusual physical strength.
Many more examples can be found in the Old Testament, David, Solomon, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha and many more who lived during the times of the Old Testament.
In the New Testament;
John: This is the one who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, “Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, direct)!” (Matt. 3:3). He was sent to herald the coming of our saviour, Jesus Christ.
Jesus: “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21)
Peter, Paul (who wrote a large part of the Bible and was very instrumental in founding many churches across our Europe of today), are a few more examples of men with their purpose from God stated in the Bible.
Having established that every man has a purpose, next, is how to know your purpose. God created man, so primarily He knows why He created each one of us. How then can we know? The first approach is to ASK. Yes ASK. At Paul’s conversion experience, he said
“And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6)
Paul asked, “What would you have me do?” and God answered him and made preparations for him to be led adequately. For some people however, the case may be different, in that God might even reveal it to them without them asking. Just like in the case of Joseph, who started having dreams from childhood, which shows one important thing that God was more than willing to reveal to anyone who asks. I believe Luke 11:9 also applies here,
“And I say unto you; Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9)
One other way to know one’s purpose is to be careful to identify the special grace and gifts God has given to each one of us. Let me be quick to add that every man has a gift. You have a special gift that makes you different from another man next to you. If you can find out what this gift is, then you might just be laying your hands on God’s assignment for your life.
Purpose, when discovered should drive your life. Every decision you make should be based on it. The books you read, the friends you make, who you to listen to, what you study, where you go, the job you take and even other minute issues in your life should be directed by it.
In Proverbs 31, Lemuel’s mother was advising him about how to live. She was giving directions about life and even the kind of woman he should marry, why? Lemuel was to be a king. That was Lemuel’s purpose. And his mother was preparing him for that. He had to be prepared; his every day decision was based on the fact that he was to be a king. He couldn’t just live like that every other person. He was to be a King. Here, are some of the counsel his mum gave him:
“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroys kings”
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for Princes strong drink” (Prov. 31: 3 – 4 KJV)
I recommend that everyone reads the book “Purpose driven Life by Rick Warren.”
Christians especially, are to take this more seriously, why? Because the life we live is not ours. We died in Christ. He gave us His life. Paul says this;
“I am crucified with Christ, Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20)
If the life you live now is not yours, have you asked the owner of the life, how He wants His life lived? Ask Him, why did He give the life to you? Paul asked, and God told him. God shows no favour. He would also tell you. Sure, I know it is to the praise of His glory, but what specifically? For me, part of it, is writing these articles, what is yours?
Lastly, let me say that as believers, I believe we have a personal purpose (as individuals) and a corporate purpose (as the church). As for the Personal purpose, we have been talking about that, and I hope I have been able to bring you to the awareness of that. Let’s look a little into the corporate purpose. By this, I mean why is the church here? (Quick note: Read my article on who is the Church? 1 & 2)
We first must note that in the eternal purpose of God, the church (which is me and you) was part of the plan. We have something to do. We are to herald his second coming. He is to come to us, come through us, come in us, come for us and then come with us.
“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Luke 10:9)
“And he said unto them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15 – 16)
In a later place, He even says the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15)”. We are called to live like the truth (Jesus). We are to live as truths and teach the truth to our world. There is a lot of work on the body (the church) and more importantly on every part of the body. If you don’t do your part, it affects others. Today, I admonish you to find your place and relevance in the body and do whatever He has assigned and created you to do.
I call you blessed
Again, if you like to read more about this topic, you can read the book “Purpose driven life by Rick Warren”.
Written by Samson Afolabi