By Pastor Fran

Text:Luke 9:57-62

The title for our message this morning is, ‘You must be a steady follower of Christ’ and it is the third on our theme for the month which is, ‘Leaving all to follow Jesus’. In the Gospel of Saint Luke chapter 9 verse 23, Jesus said, ”If anyone desires to come after me, let him take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

To be a follower of someone, you must have admired the person, his ideals or beliefs and be prepared to go in the same direction as him. You cannot say that you are following someone when you are going in opposite direction. You cannot be following a person when you do not make yourself available to listen to and obey his instructions.

And to be a steady follower of someone you have to be firmly attached to him and be consistent in your relationship with such a person. Your trust or confidence in him cannot be shaken by any external influence. It means you have decided to make him your role-model and follow his footsteps in every situation or circumstance.

In our bible reading for today, we see three men who signified their intention to follow Jesus but who due to one excuse or the other were not able to do so immediately. Jesus Christ said if anyone desires to follow Him or be His disciple, he must carry his cross and follow him. To be His follower requires sacrifice, that is, total dedication and not half-hearted commitment.

How can we be steady followers of Christ?

To be steady followers of Christ, we must have given our lives to Him and accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour through faith in the work of redemption He accomplished for us on the Cross of Calvary. After making Him our Lord and Saviour we must love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might. This means that His love will be uppermost in our hearts and we will obey all His commands.
He said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn.14:23).

If we love Him our focus will be on Him even as we follow Him. Our desire will be to please Him and shun the things of this world which could distract our attention from Him. When our focus is completely on Him, we will become insensitive to the pull of the world and gradually we will conform to His image. This is God’s desire for us His children that we should be conformed to the image of His Son (Rm. 8:29).

As Christ’s followers, we must imitate Him in holiness, obedience to God, humility, love and in His servant-spirit. Paul writes to the church in Corinth to imitate him as He imitates Christ (1Cor.11:1).

This means that our will must align with His will as we love the things that He loves, and hate what He hates. Jesus told His disciples that His will was to do the work of His Father who sent Him ((Jn.6:38).

In the same way, our will should be to do the will of Jesus our Master. He came into this world of sin but did not commit any sin. Therefore if we must be His steady followers, we must run away from sin and allow the Holy Spirit to dwell richly inside us. By this, we will have the strength to live holy and be able to bear fruit of the Spirit.

As steady followers of Christ, we will long to be in His presence at all times reading and meditating on His word, communicating with Him regularly through prayer, praising and worshipping Him, and fellowshipping with other Christians. According to His word, where two or three are gathered in His name, He will be among them (Matt.18:20).

When we meet to fellowship with other Christians, He will be among us. Moreover, we will grieve over people who are living in sin and will want to reach out to them, so that they may repent and come to Christ. He came to the world to reconcile sinners to God and he has given us the mandate to continue with the work of reconciling sinners to God.

Considering the points mentioned so far on how to be a steady follower of Christ, do you think you fulfil the conditions that make for a steady follower? Do you love Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?
Do you do things God’s way or your own way? Do you rely on God’s strength or you look for help elsewhere? Jesus said that we should abide in Him, and He in us because without Him we can do nothing.
He also said that the words He spoke were not His but they came from His Father who lived in Him and did His work through Him (Jn.14:10).

If you are following Christ steadily, you will live every day of your life for Him. Your love for him will supersede the love for anyone else and you will be following in His footstep. Your focus will be the kingdom of God and His eternal life for you, for members of your family, and for the people around you.
Jesus has commissioned all His followers to go into the world and preach the Good News so that people can be saved and be reconciled to God. Are you involved in the work of the Great Commission?

If you think you have not measured up to the standard of God’s expectation of a steady follower of Christ and you are sure of your salvation, you need to ask God to rededicate you for his service today.
But if you are not sure of your salvation, you need to confess your sins to God and ask for his forgiveness. Invite Jesus today into your heart so that He may live there through the power of the Holy Spirit.

By Pastor Fran

Text:1 Cor.3:1-15

Our message this morning is the continuation of our theme for the month, which is, ‘Faithful stewardship’ and the title is ‘Will your work stand on the day of the Lord?’

Apostle Paul, who was chosen to take the message of salvation to the Gentiles, to kings and to the people of Israel, was the founder of the Corinthian Church. While on missionary assignment elsewhere he received reports of problems bordering on jealousy and division in the church.

He viewed these things as signs of immaturity and wrote to rebuke them. In his letter he explained to them that there was no need for them to contend among themselves about the ministers God sent to them since they were only the instruments used by God for their salvation.

To bring this point home, he used the analogy of farming business that if he planted and Apollos watered, it was God who gave the increase. This means that it is not the one who did the planting or the one who did the watering that is important, but the God who makes the seed to grow. He explained that the one who plants and the one who waters, though their labour may be different in some respects, they are united for a common purpose and which is to glorify God in the salvation of souls.

Their main purpose was to please God to whom every man and every worker in the vineyard of God will give account and receive his reward according to his own work. Some gospel workers labour with great zeal and diligence preaching the pure and undiluted word of God, and bringing many souls to God’s kingdom. These are workers who build with precious materials such as gold, silver or costly stones. Such people’s work will abide in the day of the Lord. But the work of those who propagate false doctrines and corrupt the hearts of others against the truth of the gospel, will not stand on the Day of the Lord. These are workers who build with inferior or perishable materials.

In our bible reading today we see Apostle Paul referring to himself as a master builder, who through the grace of God laid the foundation of the doctrines of the New Testament church by preaching the message of salvation through faith in Christ. He therefore warned that no other foundation could be laid other than that which Christ laid. He is the firm, abiding, and immovable Rock of Ages, who could bear all the weight that God Himself or any man lay upon Him.

There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name given to man whereby we may be saved other than the name of Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul therefore instructed that church ministers, teachers, pastors, and others should be careful how they build on the foundation that is already laid. They must ensure they build with high quality materials of sound doctrines and instructions that will edify the church.

In a church built on Christ, members are expected to be mature, spiritually sensitive and doctrinally sound. But the Church in Corinth was filled with immature people who were insensitive to one another and vulnerable to wrong doctrines. Any church with this kind of membership will have many problems because it is not built with high quality materials on the foundation already laid for the Church.

As a Christian parent, preacher, elder or teacher; what kind of doctrines are you preaching? Are you preaching the true doctrine of Christ that is able to produce genuine repentance, faith and holiness in your hearers, or popular messages that do not lead to salvation? The great commission that Christ gave to His followers is to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. Does your way of life preach Christ to others? Every man’s work will be tested by fire on the Day of the Lord. Will your work stand God’s test?

There are a few more questions we need to ask ourselves this morning and we need to answer them as honestly as possible.

1. As a preacher, elder, or teacher in the church, do you tailor your messages to direct people in the way of salvation to become members of the kingdom of God? Or are your messages only encouraging them to hold on to the things of this world?

2. Do you seek self-praise for the spiritual gifts God gave you to use for His own praise and glory?

3. Do you lay your treasure in heaven by helping the poor, widows, orphans in their needs? Or do you feel unconcerned about their plight?

4. Do you as a parent instruct your children in the way of the Lord or do you just keep quiet and allow them to do what they like under your roof? Do you correct them when they do wrong and lead them in the right way? Do you give them Christian education to love God and their neighbours?

If you think that you have not fared well in answering these questions, you need to turn to God for forgiveness and ask Him to fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit, so that you may live the rest of your life for Him.
May all our efforts serving God, attending church regularly, paying our tithes promptly and serving in the church not be a waste in Jesus’ name. Finally, will your work stand or burn in the fire in the day of the Lord?

We should work in such a way that our labour may not be in vain but be acceptable to God on the Day we stand before Him to give the account of our stewardship.

By Pastor Israel

Text:John 6:26-27, 32-35

The theme chosen for our messages for the next few weeks is: ‘Leaving all to follow Jesus.’ We read in the gospels about the early disciples of Jesus like Peter, James, John, Levi and others who left everything to follow Jesus.

They followed Him because they realised He was not just ordinary Rabbi like those around them but a Rabbi and teacher with heavenly authority and power. They came to know later that He was the Christ – the promised Messiah who would save His people.

Of course, this is valid reason for following Him though many followed Him during His earthly ministry for variety of reasons including the desire to see His miracles, to receive healing, listen to His teachings or spy on Him, or to be fed with food and others.

These reasons may seem normal at a time when people were not well informed of the actual reason He came to the world. But His reason for coming was greater and spiritually beneficial to humanity than what many people thought about Him. Jesus came to set man free from the bondage of Satan, sin and death and give us life so that we may live eternally with Him. But what is your own reason for following Him? What follower of Jesus are you? This is the focus of our discussion in this message.

Jesus told the people who were seeking Him the second day He fed over five thousand of His followers with bread and fish: “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labour for food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (Jn. 6:26-27 NKJV).

But a long time has passed, over two thousand years, since Christ walked on this planet. His reason for coming to our world, though misunderstood before despite that it was contained in the Old Testament Scriptures, is now well understood from the New Testament records of His teachings and the revelation of the Holy Spirit to His faithful servants. There is no doubt that we now know Christ’s identity – His ministry at His First Coming and the reason for His expected Second Coming.

Like when He first came, even today multitudes of people seek and follow Jesus for ordinary things of life rather than for their salvation and the hope of eternal life through faith in Him. Churches are filled with miracle and prophecy seekers. They follow Him, not because they love and appreciate what He did for them by conquering Satan, sin and death, and bringing salvation to us through His atonement death for us on the cross, but because of their physical needs like healing, provision of job, social connection, financial successes, marriage partner, fruit of the womb and a host of others.

These are legitimate things but they do not guarantee our salvation. In some cases they can eventually derail our faith and separate us from Christ. Moreover, people do not realise that it is futile to run after only material and physical things of life which are temporary, and ignore the spiritual that are permanent and last for ever.

Apostle Paul wrote: “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen, are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18 NKJV).

What is the need of having all the good things of life and lose the more important thing which is our salvation? One may experience healing miracles and still perish if he has not made his peace with God through saving faith in Christ. Jesus told His followers: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mk. 8:36-37 NKJV).

Many will end up in eternal hell for following Jesus for reasons other than the salvation of their souls. Paul also wrote: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Cor. 15:19 NKJV). This statement has said it all. For those who are only seeking and following Jesus for the things of this world, this statement is for you. Note that Jesus came so that those who believe in Him may not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16).

Today prosperity messages have become hot-cakes for many carnal Christians. They have flamboyant preachers who dish out this stuff for them. Churches that preach this deception are the darling of many church-goers. They are always packed full and the worshippers listen to them with rapt attention as they listen to prosperity prayers and prophecies. Salvation and repentance from sin are rarely mentioned in such churches.

Members are made to believe that prosperity is the sign that you are right with God. This is a lie from the pit of hell. If it is the sign of right standing with God, what about non-Christians who are rich in material things (according to the narrow definition of the word ‘prosperity’), does it mean that they are saved and on their way to the kingdom of Christ in heaven? I believe not, because Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6).

We may ask ourselves why many early apostles of Christ suffered hunger and thirst when they could pray down prosperity from heaven? Or could it be that they did not know or read about the promises of prosperity in the Scriptures? The prosperity of the Old Testament patriarchs, which is often quoted to buttress this preaching, was just symbolic of the spiritual prosperity that awaits all true followers of Christ.

The Old Testament contains the shadow of the true riches that God promised to His true servants who have faith in Christ Jesus. Christians should get this point clear and not allow themselves to be given cold comfort of going to God’s kingdom while steeped in worldliness.
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul? My main objective in this message, as in all my messages, is to teach the truth of the word of God so that people may know the truth and be set free. And also that I may not be condemned when I stand in God’s presence to give account of my stewardship.

While I intend to stop this message at this point, I want to ask, what type of follower of Jesus you are. Are you following Jesus only for mundane things? Are you ready to leave the things of this world behind and follow Him? Remember that no servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other (Lk. 16:13).

One cannot love the world and at the same time love Jesus and be ready to do only His will. Jesus Himself exhorted that we should first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all that we need, will be made available to us. King David wrote: “Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him” (Ps. 34:9 NKJV). To fear Him is to keep His commands. He will always meet the needs of those who come to Him through faith in Christ.

By Pastor Israel

Text:Matthew 5:13-16

For the past few weeks we have been discussing ‘Our position in Christ’ which is our theme for this month. The possessive word ‘our’ refers to those in Christ, that is, Christians who have been washed clean in the precious blood of Christ. The aim of our discussions on this theme is for us to know who we are in Christ and be ready to live up to His expectations of us.

Already we have discussed our position as ‘the adopted children of God’; our position as ‘being dead to sin and risen with Christ’; and our position as ‘people made to sit in heavenly places with Christ.’ Today we want to discuss our position as ‘the salt and light of the world’ just as our Saviour Jesus Christ described us (Matt. 5:13-16). And this is the topic for our discussion in this message.

Let us begin by looking at what these two words ‘salt’ and ‘light’ stand for, and the qualities they possess that our Master wants us to have. Let us begin with salt. Salt as we know is a seasoning ingredient that makes food tasty. It is also a preservative that keeps food items from going rotten or free from contamination. It means then, that as the salt of the world we are meant to bring joy and sweetness to the world and not sadness, by being agents of encouragement to the down-trodden and the discouraged through what we say or do.

We are to uplift and not put down others. Apostle Paul wrote: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph.4:29, 31-32 NKJV). Christians are to replicate their Master Jesus in doing good as the bible says about Him that He went about doing good healing all manners of sicknesses (Matt. 4:23).

Let us consider the other quality of the salt as a preservative. A preservative prevents things from getting rotten or contaminated. By preaching the good news of the gospel of Christ to the world, and living it out, Christians can keep the moral tone of the world pure and uncorrupted. Through this we will be able frustrate the evil influences of the wicked one. Paul wrote: “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rm. 8:19 NKJV).

Who are these sons of God and what does the world expect from them? The sons of God are the Christians who are born of the Spirit. The world is waiting for them to usher in the kingdom of God which is the kingdom of joy, peace and righteousness into the world. We are the ones who can purify this world that is wallowing in sin by the gospel of Christ.

Jesus also called us Christians the light of the world. Light is the opposite of darkness. It represents all the good virtues that God desires of us – holiness, truthfulness, righteousness and godliness, while darkness stands for everything evil. Light will always drives away darkness. This was the reason Jesus the Light of the world came to bring His light to our world which is covered with darkness so that people may no longer walk in darkness but in the light of God.

Jesus lives in the hearts of true Christians and His light lives in them. This light is expected to radiate through them to the world. This happens when we live in holiness and righteousness. Paul wrote: “Do all things without disputing that you may become blameless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as light in the world” (Phil. 2:14-15 NKJV).

Light is always visible for people to see unless it is hidden somehow. This was the reason Jesus likened Christians to a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14). He told His followers not to hide their light but allow it to continue to shine so that “people may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16 NKJV).

In the same way He told them they should not allow the salt in them to lose its flavour or saltiness because when this happens, it would no longer be useful but to be thrown away and trampled underfoot. Thus, we have to take extra precautions to make our light continue to shine and make our salt to retain its saltiness. This we can do by abstaining from every form of evil (1 Th. 5:22), but this will not happen unless the Holy Spirit lives in us. We must allow Him to dwell richly in us by seeking His anointing continually.

The question I will want us to ask ourselves today is: Can people see Christ in me in my actions, utterance, and general demeanour? Apostle Paul wrote: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.

Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts” (Rm. 13:11-14 NKJV).

By Pastor Fran

Text:Ephesians 2:6

Theme:Our Position in Christ

In the first two messages on this month’s theme which is, ‘Our position in Christ’ we have discussed the implication of our adoption as children of God. Through our adoption into God’s family we become brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, and co-heirs with Him of the inheritance of God.

As God’s children we are blessed with the benefits of knowing Him, we are chosen for salvation, our sins are forgiven, we are given the gift of the holy Spirit who gives us power to do God’s will, and we have the hope of eternal life with Christ in His kingdom. As believers, we are dead to sin and risen with Christ. We know that our bodies will be raised from the dead because the Spirit that raised Jesus from death lives in us.

The topic for our message today is, ‘We are made to sit in heavenly places in Christ.’ It is amazing to read in the New Testament the incredible revelations God gave Apostle Paul after His conversion. God gave him insight into who believers in Christ are, and their relationship with Him.

Before we can understand why we were made to sit in heavenly places with Christ we need to know what sitting in heavenly places means. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul wrote that after Jesus was raised from the dead, God sat Him in the place of honour at His right hand in the heavenly realms far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come.

And that God has put all things under His authority and this authority is for the benefit of the church (Eph.1:20-21). He also wrote in Col.1:18 that Christ is the head of the church, and all believers who make up the church form His body. Just as the husband is the head of the wife so is Christ the head of the church. He was the first to rise from the dead and His resurrection proved His Lordship over the material world. His victory over death is our victory.

This means that those who put their trust in Christ will also be raised from death by His Spirit that lives in them and they will live eternally with Him. If Christ is the head of the church, it means that He cannot be separated from His body, the church. Since He is seated in heavenly places far above all principalities and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, we can conclude that this is the position God has prepared for us as the body of Christ.

If we do not find ourselves in this position of authority and power, it is either because we are not true members of His body or because we have not exercised our rights as children of God. When the seventy disciples were rejoicing after they returned from their missionary journey that even the demons were subject to them, Jesus reminded them that what should be their most important cause for joy was that their names were recorded in heaven.
He then told them, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you”(Lk.10:19-20 KJV).

That we are made to sit in heavenly places with Christ simply means that Christians are in the right hand of power with Christ and as a result, all the powers of darkness are under their feet. They cannot have power over them anymore. It also means we are sitting in position of power where we will rule and reign with Christ. This is part of our inheritance as co-heirs with Christ of the riches of God.

If you are actually sitting in the heavenly places with Christ you will:

1. Be living a life of victory – victory over sin. Sin will not have dominion over you anymore. It becomes distasteful to you.

2. Victory over the flesh: Your desire will not be to gratify your flesh but to please God in everything you do.

3. Victory over the devil and all the forces of darkness. You will not be afraid of witches and wizards or other people who practice evil, but you will exercise your authority over them and they must obey you because of your position in Christ.

4. Finally, you have victory over death and you will be raised up to reign with Christ in His kingdom in heaven.

Are you actually seated in heavenly places with Christ? You can only be in that position if you have sincerely surrendered your life to Him, and you are a member of His body. If you are a believer in Christ, you need to begin to use your right now and enjoy the life of victory which has been ordained for you before the foundation of the world.

By Pastor Fran


Theme:Our Position in Christ

This is our last message on our theme for this month, ‘Our position in Christ’ and the title is, ‘We are citizens of heaven.

It is a big thing of joy and pride to have a country of one’s own or to be a citizen of a famous city or country. This is because a citizen is entitled to all the benefits and social amenities including protection, education, housing and others that are obtainable in the place where one belongs as a citizen.

Apostle Paul was proud to claim his Roman citizenship when a Roman commander commanded that he should be beaten. He was afraid when he heard that Paul was a Roman citizen. He said: “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen” (Acts 22:28 NKJV). If being a citizen of the world that is temporary and will soon pass away is a big thing, how great would it is to be a citizen of heaven which abides for ever!

The citizenship of a country can be attained by birth, naturalization or by registration (children born by naturalized parents). As mentioned above no matter how one becomes a citizen, he is entitled to all the benefits of a citizen. Some of us here this morning have dual citizenships – citizenships of the countries from where we migrated originally and the citizenship of this country. But as Christians who are children of God, this world is not our own.

According to the bible, we are sojourners, foreigners, strangers and pilgrims. Jesus Himself said that we are in the world but we are not of the world. We have a better city which is spiritual and which lasts forever – that is, the heavenly city of which we are its citizens.

In Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church he said, ”For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to himself” (Phil.3:20-21).

The day we surrender our lives to Christ we become children of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal.3:26). The writer of the book of Hebrews also confirms that the people of faith mentioned in the book died without receiving all that God promised but that they never lost vision of heaven, a better place, a homeland (Heb.11:13-16 ).

If we are citizens of heaven how should we live on earth?

The Bible exhorts us to set our eyes on the things of heaven since we have been raised with Jesus Christ our Master, who is sitting on the right hand of God. That we should not concern ourselves with the things of this world only but should crave for the things that will please God because the more we regard the world around us as God does, the more we live in harmony with Him. We must not be too attached to what is only temporary.

As citizens of heaven we should consider ourselves dead to sin by being unresponsive to sexual immorality, impurity, lust, anger, idolatry, rage, malicious behaviour, slander, greed and shameful desires. But instead we should commit ourselves to what Christ, who created the new nature in us teaches and to rely on the Holy Spirit power.

Since God chose us to be a holy people whom He loves, we should get rid of our old lives and put on the new nature given by Christ which are tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We must also give room for each other’s fault and forgive people who offend us.

We must let the love of God dwell richly in us to the extent that it flows out to other people and allow the peace that comes from Christ rule our hearts. We should let the Word of God with all its richness, live in our hearts to make us wise so that we can teach and counsel each other. We should be good ambassadors of Christ everywhere we go and at all times just as we would not want to misrepresent the country whose citizens we are on earth.

Having discussed what it is to be a citizen of heaven and how Christ expects you to represent Him on earth, what do you think of yourself this morning? Do you see yourself as truly a citizen of heaven or of this world? Apostle John warns believers not to love the world or the things in the world because if they do, the love of the God is not in them. For all that is in the world -the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of God but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it but those who do the will of God abide forever (1Jn.2:15-17).

If indeed you are a citizen of heaven then you must have been completely transformed from your old sinful nature of the people of the world to a new nature of Christ. The bible states that Christians are brand new people on the inside because the Holy Spirit gives them new life as they no longer follow the desires of their sinful nature but produce the fruit of the Spirit (2Cor.2:17; Gal.5:19-23).

If you think you still have passion for evil desires you will need to confess your sins to God, ask for forgiveness and ask Christ to take full control of your life. Pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit so that you can bear the fruit of the Spirit and live the rest of your life as a citizen of Heaven.

By Pastor Israel

Text:2 Timothy 4:1-8

In this concluding message in our series on the theme, ‘Faithful Stewardship’ I want us to consider as briefly as possible the reward of faithful stewardship, and this is the topic for today’s discussion. Apostle Paul wrote that it is required in stewards that one is found faithful (1 Cor. 4:2). Faithful stewardship in the gospel -work has to do with diligence, full commitment, honesty and the love of God in doing the work that is committed to our care.

It is when we have His love in our hearts that we can do His work with all the strength and the tools He has given us. Apostle Paul, for example, appreciated the gift of His salvation so much that he dedicated the rest of his life to preaching the gospel of Christ and bringing many souls to God’s kingdom through faith in Christ.

He wrote: “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me, yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this willingly, I have a reward, but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16-18 NKJV).

Unlike many who preach the gospel of Christ for money, Paul could not be distracted by the lust for money or any earthly gain. Rather than being driven by the quest for earthly reward, he worked tirelessly looking forward only to his heavenly reward. There is no doubt that when one is driven by a purpose higher than oneself, he will pursue it with his whole strength.

That was what happened to Paul. By laying down all his energy, his life and talents for God’s use, he was more successful in the gospel work than other apostles. He wrote: “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:9-10 NKJV).

Apart from being committed to His work God requires our faithfulness in honestly teaching the whole truth of the gospel of Christ without fear or compromise. We have to be honest in preaching the whole counsel of God for the salvation of souls. Unlike some preachers who preach only what people want to hear in order to make them (the preachers) popular, rather than tell them (church members) the truth that will set them free from the hold of sin and lead them to God’s kingdom;

Apostle Paul did not fail to preach the truth of the gospel. In his farewell message to the Ephesian elders in Miletus on his journey to Rome, he told them: “You know, from the first day I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials, which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; and how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:18-21 NKJV).

Today, in some churches, repentance from sin, holiness and the new birth are rarely preached. Rather, people are fed with rubbish instead of the true bread that can quench their spiritual hunger and prepare them for eternal life in Christ’s kingdom of righteousness and peace. Faithful stewardship imposes on us the duty of honestly dividing the word of truth. Paul counselled Timothy his spiritual son: “Preach the word. Be ready in season and out of season.
Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:2-4 NKJV).

This is where we are now. But God is looking for faithful stewards who will do the work of redemption for Him. Are you one of such people He is looking for?

All of us Christians have been saddled with the Great Commission to bring the gospel of Christ to the whole world (Matt. 28:18-20). As we learnt from our previous messages, we have been given ministerial gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us in this special assignment. As stewards of the gospel, are we moved by as strong purpose like Apostle Paul to do the work?

Jesus died for us as He died for Paul; do we appreciate the love that led Him to the cross to die for our sins so that we may not perish? Do we appreciate His grace that has brought us closer to God as His adopted children through faith in Christ Jesus? If our answers to these questions are in the positive, they are enough reasons for us to work faithfully for Him in His vineyard to bring others to the knowledge of His grace. God has been faithful to us, and in like manner, He demands our faithfulness.

Moreover, God has not called us to work for Him in vain. He has plenty of rewards for those who serve Him faithfully. Toward the end of Paul’s life, he looked back to his gospel ministry and with exultant jubilation he wrote: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8 NKJV). The bible makes us to understand there are other crowns reserved for those who faithfully serve the Master – the imperishable crown (1 Cor. 9:25), the crown of life (Rev. 2:10; Jas. 1:12, and the crown of glory (1 Pe. 5:4).

Now, which of these crowns do you think God will give you? If you have been faithful in your stewardship in God’s work, you are sure to wear a crown or more on that Day. We should always remember Paul’s exhortation: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immutable, always abounding in the works of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58 NKJV).

By Pastor Israel

Text:Ephesians 1:3-14

Our messages for the next few weeks will focus on the theme for this month which is, ‘Our position in Christ.’ This position refers to how we stand as blood-purchased people in God’s presence. It could also be God’s perception of us as followers of Christ. Before anything else, we must understand that our calling and new life in Christ are by His grace. Apostle Paul addressed this point when he wrote: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rm.3:22-24 NKJV).

Through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection we have salvation and justification. In addition we are adopted into God’s family as His children (Jn. 1:12-13). All this was in line with God’s eternal plan that after He has called us from darkness into light through faith in His Son, we might be conformed to His image, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (Rm. 8:29). Apostle John wrote: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1 Jn. 3:1 NIV). This brings us to the message for today which is titled, ‘Our adoption as children of God and its implication.’

Our adoption as children of God is not just honourary, but it is real and functional after we have repented of our sins, received Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and have been born again by the Spirit and the word (Jn. 3:5. 1 Pt. 1:23). It also has far-reaching implications. We may ask ourselves are we truly children of God by adoption? Note that an adopted child has the same rights as the natural child. He can call his adopter his father and has the legal right of inheritance to the father’s property. This is exactly our portion as adopted children of God.

We become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ of the riches of God. Paul wrote: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you receive the Spirit of adoption by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rm. 8:15-17 NKJV).

Like every child, the adopted child is under the training of his father until he comes of age. By that time, he must have inculcated the values and the character of his father. This is the expectation of his father. The same applies to us if we are true children of God. We learn to be like Christ through faith in Him by walking daily with Him through the study of His word, prayer and fellowship with Him.

It is God’s mind that we should be conformed to the image of Christ. If we believe that we are God’s children and Christ’s brothers, we may ask ourselves in what ways do we resemble Him? When God wants us to do anything, He will not leave us on our own, but will provide the enablement for us to achieve His aim.
For us to be conformed to the image of His Son, He has given us the scriptures in which God has clearly shown us His nature and how He wants us to be partakers of His divine nature.
He has also given us His Holy Spirit to help us if, of course, we listen to Him. Unless we are familiar with His word as written down in the bible, we may not know His mind for us, not to talk of inculcating His virtues and attributes He wants us to emulate.

Apostle Paul reminds us of some of the implications of our adoption as God’s children when he wrote: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasures of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:4-6 NKJV).

Let us examine four important implications of our adoption as mentioned in the above-quoted reference.

1. The need to be holy. As children of God the life of holiness is expected of us. This point is brought home by Apostle Peter when he wrote: “As obedient children not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also must be holy in all your conduct because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pt. 1:14-18 NKJV). As children of God we must pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).
Apostle Paul wrote that we are to present our bodies daily as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. He warns that we should not be conformed to the standard of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rm. 12:1-2 NKJV).

2. We must be blameless. This means that we should pursue righteousness both in our relationships with God and our fellow men.

3. We are to love. We must love God with our mind, spirit, soul, and strength; and our neighbours as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40; Jn. 13:34-35).

4. Praising God. As adopted children of God, we must cultivate the habit of praising and thanking Him for bringing us into His household through the blood of His Son and for His mercies and loving-kindness toward us. Praising and thanking God should be our daily sacrifice to Him.

From all that we have heard so far, we need to understand that apart from the privileges of being God’s children, we have the responsibility to keep ourselves in the beloved through obedience to His laws and instructions given to us in His book. We must not forget that we are not on our own but we belong to Him who purchased us by His precious blood.

By Pastor Israel

Text:Acts 20:17-28, 34-35

As we continue in our discussion on the theme, ‘Faithful stewardship’ I will like us to consider how faithful we are in serving God. It is assumed that we are all serving God in one form or the other. Thus, today’s message is titled, ‘How faithful are you in your service to God?’

In our first message on this theme I pointed out that the Great Commission which Christ gave to the Church (Matt. 28:18-20, Mk. 16:15-16. Lk. 24:47, Jn. 20:21) was not restricted to a particular set of people as many of us might think. It was meant for all generations of Christians. For this reason, He gave ministerial gifts and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to Christians (Eph. 4:7, 11-13; 1 Cor. 12:7-11) to enable us function effectively in our different services to Him.

He gave to everyone according to his ability. How each one of us fares in His service depends on how much effort we put into it. But God demands our faithfulness in the services we do for Him. Apostle Paul wrote: “It is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).

It is not the size of our ministry that God is concerned with, but our faithfulness in the discharge of our duty toward Him. He considers each one of us as equal before Him and every service we offer as important. Whether you are a pastor, usher, worship-leader, prayer warrior, bishop, church cleaner, or what have you; you are all equal before Him and your job is as important as the others. In the end He will reward everyone according to their faithfulness in the discharge of their trust.

There are a few things which we need to be aware of that could erode our faithfulness as we embark on the great commission. These things are not new; those who went before us, the apostles of old also had to grapple with them. We need to learn from the way they coped and defeated them. Some of these hindrances are as follows:

1. Persecution: This may be regarded as the acid test of our faithfulness in the gospel work. There is no genuine Christian that can escape it. Our Master Jesus Christ Himself was persecuted: all His apostles were persecuted and many of them killed. Before He departed this world after His earthly ministry, He told His followers: “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).
Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy wrote: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will face persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Reflecting on his sufferings in the cause of the gospel he wrote in his letter to the Corinthians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 3-4).
In other words, God will always see us through persecutions that may come in the cause of our service to Him. With this at the back of our minds, we should not give undue attention to persecution but focus on God and His promises that can never fail and be faithful in the trust He has given us.

2. Pride: This could make a Christian worker think highly of himself above others and make a shipwreck of his ministry. How did Apostle Paul avoid this temptation? He wrote that he was “serving the Lord with humility, with many tears” (Acts 20:19). He also wrote: “We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God” (2 Cor. 1:12).
A minister of the gospel or any Christian worker should have the servant-spirit in the discharge of his duties like our Master Jesus (Phil. 2:5-7).

3. Compromise: The temptation to compromise the word of God for the fear of being persecuted could hinder our faithfulness to God in the work of the gospel. When addressing the elders of the Ephesian church in Miletus Paul told them: “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith to our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21).
Today repentance from sin, holiness, and eternal condemnation of sinners in hell are rarely preached in our churches for fear of persecution and losing members. You pastor or church leader, know you will be held accountable to God if any member of your church fails to make heaven. Read Ezekiel 3:18.

4. Fear: The fear of death, imprisonment, and deprivation can also erode our faithfulness in our gospel work. Jesus said that anyone who loves himself more than Him is not worthy of Him. Apostle Paul offers us the example of unshaken commitment and dedication in his attitude to the great commission.
He wrote: “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I have received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (vs. 22-24).
This is the type of faithfulness that God requires from us as His blood-purchased children.

5. Discouragement: A servant of God should not be discouraged no matter how difficult or uncertain a situation may appear. Apostle Paul was determined to go to Jerusalem in spite of warnings to discourage him (vs. 22-24).

6. Worldliness: Personal needs and worldliness can adversely affect our faithfulness in the gospel work. The craze for money and material things of the world has made church work a big financial enterprise. Because many preach for money, they are unable to preach the whole truth of the gospel. They preach what people love to hear and not necessarily the full gospel, so that they may keep their congregation and attract more members.
Apostle Paul boldly declared: “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourself know that these hands have provided for my necessities and for those who are with me. I have shown you in many ways, by labouring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus that He said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’” (vs. 33-35).

7. Vision Killers: Such people can truncate our faithfulness in God’s work. Like Apostle Paul we should surround ourselves with people of like minds – men and women who operate in the Spirit and not in the flesh. We should not allow anyone to kill the vision God has given us.

Apostle Paul has shown us through his ministry how to serve God faithfully. I wonder what service you now render to God. Or you are yet to decide what to do with your God-given talent? If you are already in the gospel work, how faithful are you? Let take our cue from Apostle Paul and labour faithfully night and day for the Master.

The harvest is truly plenteous and crying to you and me to engage faithfully in the harvest of souls before Christ’s return. Always remember Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 15:58.

By Pastor Israel


In continuation of our messages on the theme: ‘Leaving all to follow Jesus’ we want to discuss the cost of following Him in today’s message.

I wonder if we have ever paused to consider the reason the cross is chosen as the symbol or the banner of Christianity. The reason is contained in what the cross stands for. We all know that it stands for death. It was on the cross that Jesus, our Master, and Saviour died such a shameful and cruel death for us that we may be saved. There is a price to be paid for every success and every good thing. For Christ to be the Saviour of the world, He had to taste death for everyone even though He never sinned. The story did not end there: He rose triumphantly from death the third day to give us justification.

Following Jesus too is not without cost. He told the people who wanted to follow Him: “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mk. 8:34 NKJV). What cross was He speaking about? He was speaking about the persecution that His true followers will suffer because of Him. They would face tribulation and be hated by all nations for His name’s sake; and some of them would be killed, and those who kill them would think they are doing service for God (Matt. 24:9; Jn. 16:2).

There are other costs that He mentioned. He said: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Lk. 14:26 NKJV). This was a hard saying; but He did not mean that people who follow Him should hate anyone. What He was saying is that the love they should have for Him must be greater than their love for their parents and siblings. This is worth considering because many followers of Jesus have relaxed or even abandoned their faith in Christ to please parents, siblings or friends.

Jesus did not just call us to follow Him but He warned us beforehand, what following Him would involve. He advised that we should count the cost of following Him before we embark on the journey lest we go back when we realise we can no longer continue. He said: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first, and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he had laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was unable to finish?’” (Lk. 14:28-30 NKJV).

Of course, this is true, because it is not all who start the Christian race run it to the end. If you are one of those who think that the race is too tough and are contemplating to withdraw, I want you to take the courage and comfort from Jesus’ parting word to His disciples: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33 NKJV). Our faith in Christ enables us to endure hardship and suffering because He has promised to be with us to the end of the age.

As we take our cross to follow Jesus we also have death to die. We have to die to self, to the flesh and to the world. To die to self is to put to death the sinful promptings of the flesh like evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, theft, false witness, lying, and blasphemies, that Jesus said come from within the heart (Matt. 15:19).

We can do this if we allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us of these defiling elements. To die to the flesh is to mortify the lusts of the eye. We should rid ourselves of all covetousness and be content with what God gives us and be thankful. We are not to crave for what He has not given us.
Jesus Christ should be enough for us. To die to the world is not to allow the things of the world to draw us away from following Jesus – fashions of the world, craze for recognition, world’s system of doing things, friendship with the world, and unequal yoke (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
We are to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. When we do this, He will supply us all that we need.

From all that has been said so far, following Jesus may be costly but we have the examples of the heroes of faith (as recorded in the bible) who went before us to follow. They left everything to follow Christ. They went through imprisonment, hunger and thirst, and even death because of their faith in Christ. Apostle Paul mentioned many things he suffered because of his faith in Christ in his letters, and yet he could say: “For me to live, is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21 NKJV).

He also wrote: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and counted them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8 NKJV). What a faithful apostle of Christ! He has set us a good example to follow as Christians.

If I may ask you my brothers and sisters in Christ, what have you lost for Christ? Or let me put it this way, what have you sacrificed for Him – your relations, time, convenience, or your money? Many people take Christianity very lightly and nonchalantly. They want easy Christianity that will cost them nothing. This is absolutely not true Christianity. Christianity involves a lot of sacrifice. Our Master Jesus walked the way of the cross and carried His own cross.
Let us remember that once you are a true follower of Jesus, you have a cross to carry. It is not your parents, friends or your pastor who will carry it for you. You have to carry it yourself. Know that without the cross there is no crown.

What then should you do in the light of these things? Don’t bargain for easy Christianity. Be ready to serve the Lord when it is convenient and when it is not convenient. Take your Christianity very seriously; it is your life. Tarry in prayer and in the reading of the word. Worship God in spirit and in truth. Be always in fellowship with other children of God whether at church or in house-fellowships. Spend your time, money, and talent in the service of God. Make the word of God a lamp to your feet and a light to your paths.

Always remember that it is God you are serving and not man. Above all, struggle to enter through the narrow road, because narrow is the way that leads to God’s kingdom; and few are those who find it. But broad is the way that leads to everlasting regret and many are on this road. It is not your church that will give you salvation.
No church can give any one salvation except the Lord Jesus.
Apostle Peter told the religious leaders that there is no name under heaven given to man by which we can be saved, except the name of Jesus. Salvation is only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

Therefore, establish a very close relationship with Him.