Archive for the ‘SERMONS’ Category

The Resurrection

The tomb of Jesus Christ was found empty on the third day of his burial. His is the only truly empty tomb in human history. By this we are not considering many Cenotaphs around the globe, which mark the grave of the Unknown Soldier. Those are empty tombs with a difference. The difference lies in the fact that no human remains were ever buried in those cenotaphs! Jesus Christ went through a pulsating, terrifying, agonizing, period of prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane. His agony was so great that his sweat drops became mingled with blood. At the end of the prayer, victory was won and he fully submitted himself to be crucified. He was initially exposed to a grueling, prolonged period of mockery of a trial. The witnesses assembled contradicted each other. It was Jesus himself who provided the basis for the eventual accusation and condemnation. He spoke the truth when, in answer to the High Priest’s question, he confirmed that he is the Son of God, thus claiming equality with God. According to the Jewish leaders, he had blasphemed! The penalty for blasphemy was death. Jesus was willing to die, not for the alleged blasphemy, but for the eternal plan of salvation which was drawn ages ahead with his Father, Almighty God! He was sentenced to die as a criminal. Jesus Christ was crucified on the first Good Friday, outside the city walls of Jerusalem, in-between two thieves. Thus Jesus Christ gave himself by his incarnation, gave himself at Gethsemane and gave himself at Golgotha in order to fulfill and perfectly execute the plan of everlasting salvation for mankind! Much earlier, in response to a question by a Jewish elder and scholar named Nicodemus, Jesus said:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved(John 3: 14-17).

In the wilderness journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan, the people rebelled against God and Moses and there was instant punishment in the form of deadly fiery snakes which bit many. There was mass death. Moses and Aaron were scared and quickly cried to God for help and mercy. God instructed Moses to make a brass copy of the fiery snakes and hang it upon a pole. Moses was to tell the whole emerging nation to look upon the brazen serpent in order to recover from the deadly venom of the snake. Moses did exactly as God told him. It was a miraculous turn around because all the remaining sufferers from the snake bite who looked at the hung brazen serpent(snake) recovered and lived! Correspondingly however, anyone who defied the instruction would have perished in that wilderness episode! God Almighty, in his infinite wisdom and plan decided to re-enact the episode on a global scale using reality in place of similitude. Jesus Christ, the Son of God had to be nailed to the cross, made of two poles. Then he was lifted up crucified on Calvary Hill! The location was strategic, in that it was a public junction, with many passers- by. People from different parts of the world visited Jerusalem at that time because of the Jewish festival of Passover. The Passover lamb was killed by each Jewish family in remembrance of the great exodus from Egypt several centuries before. On that fateful Passover, the REAL PASSOVER LAMB was being killed for the whole world! Jesus Christ, the Real Passover Lamb was slain for the sins of the whole world. As it was on the eve of Jewish departure from Egypt, after 400 years of slavery, the blood of the lamb killed was collected in a basin and was applied to the door posts of each Jewish home. It was significant and strategic in that there was judgment upon Pharaoh and the whole of Egypt, resulting in the death of the first born of every family, including the first born of their domestic animals! There was sorrow, wailing and fear across the whole nation of Egypt because the LORD visited the land in judgment! In the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, no life was lost, because of the applied blood! With fear and trembling the Israelites were begged to depart from Egypt by both Pharaoh and his people! The Israelites left with great deliverance and jubilation. Egypt was literally spoiled and plundered in the sense that they willingly and hastily parted with their riches as Israel demanded PAYBACK FOR 400 YEARS OF OPPRESSIVE SLAVERY! That was the downturn for Egypt till date 2013, because the exodus marked the rapid decline of the Egyptian dominance in world civilization, economy and politics! We challenge scholars to contest this issue! This is the Twenty-first Century and the necessity for the application of the blood of the Lamb of God(Jesus Christ) is still in place for every human being! Dear friend, you need to look upon Jesus Christ nailed and hung upon the cross, lifted up on Calvary Hill, because of your sins. You look and live. Refusing to look brings avoidable disaster. The blood of Jesus Christ has been applied for you to protect you and give you victory over Satan, our No1 enemy! Underrating the situation as Pharaoh and Egypt did thousands of years ago, would become too late and regrettable for you! God planned your salvation; Jesus Christ executed it. God said earlier through Prophet Isaiah: Look unto me, and be saved, all ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else (Isaiah45:22). Jesus was nailed to the cross, his blood was shed and he died on that cross, as it was written before in the Scriptures. He was buried. On the third day he arose from the grave, as written in the Scriptures. He showed himself to Mary of Magdala, Peter and other disciples after his resurrection. Before he went back to heaven, he showed himself to over 500 witnesses at a time. Those were proofs overwhelming enough to convince any form of skepticism, logic or legalism! If you shall confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life; and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are made righteous and with your mouth you confess and you are saved (Romans 10:9-10). Typologies of Resurrection: Resurrection is likened to a grain of corn or wheat after it is planted. The grain first rottens and in the process, the dormant, potential plant, called the embryo, which contains new life, emerges to produce the new corn or wheat. It is a new life emerging from death. For us human beings, when a person dies, the whole body or ash from the cremated body is buried. At the resurrection, we Christians believe that the spirit unites with the body to produce a new body which becomes immortal. However, there are two kinds of resurrection. The righteous dead come back to life never to die again. For the wicked or unrepentant dead, they come back to life to face the judgment of God before the white throne. An inevitable condemnation follows which leads to everlasting torment in the lake of fire in hell! Jesus Christ describes the state: Where their worm never dies and the fire is not quenched(Mark 9:42-48). Worm refers to the human entity. The horrible state of the wicked is such that it is one of conscious, unending torment in the lake of fire! Contrarily however, the righteous is ushered into everlasting life of joy, peace and fulfillment. Jesus Christ’s body died as a sacrifice for sin. In the spirit, he went down to the dark abode of the dead. There Jesus fought the determinant battle against Satan and all his army. Satan was defeated and disgraced! Jesus Christ snatched the keys of death and hell from Satan. After that significant victory, Jesus Christ arose from the grave, in triumph! Therefore as Christians down through all ages we are able to sing: Up from the grave he arose; With a mighty triumph o’er his foes; He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And he lives forever with his saints to reign; He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose! Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, wrote:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the Apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time

(1Corinthians 15: 3-8).
Death has been subdued by Jesus Christ! It is important to note that many Old Testament Saints appeared in Jerusalem unto many people just at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! These are those who trusted God in their generations. However, because of the sell-out to Satan, out of disobedience to God and ignorance of the tricks of Satan by Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, Satan took over the rightful status of mankind as ruler of this world. Satan also took charge of the place of the dead because our Redeemer has not come. Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, as SEED OF THE WOMAN wrestled against Satan, defeated Satan and took the keys from him. Jesus Christ therefore led out this multitude of saints from the captivity of Satan! In part of Chapter 27 of the Gospel according to Matthew, which definitely must have been observed before the later part of the 28th Chapter happened and was written, has the following account: And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. And came out of the grave after his resurrection, and appeared unto many(Matthew27:51 -53). There had been earthquakes between The Good Friday and early morning of the First day of the week which we call Resurrection morning. The Earth must be inevitably troubled because its Maker deliberately and voluntarily died for the redemption of mankind. The same earth was thus forced to give up the bodies of the risen saints who had been led out of captivity by their Captain, Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is the first to arise from the dead, never to die again! Thus he became the firstfruits of the dead! Jesus Christ, as the Captain of our salvation is alive forever. At the trumpet call of the archangel, signaling the gathering of saints prior to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with his Bride the Church, Saints would be raptured. We shall be given new bodies, never tiring, never sick and never dying again! We shall be as Jesus Christ is! Anyone who has this expectation or hope in him or her should keep himself pure, just as Jesus Christ is pure! (1 John 3: 1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18).
Much earlier, prior to his death, Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this? (John 11:25-26). Reconciliation with God the Father has been made through the blood of his cross. There is no more enmity between us and God. God has forgiven us and given us power to become his children. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was proof of God’s approval on the redemptive work he did through the shedding of his blood on the cross. Jesus said; because I live you shall live also. His resurrection gives assurance for our own resurrection too! We believe this. Do you believe? Jesus who was initially held captive defeated his captors led by Satan. Then Jesus the former captive led out a host of captive victims in victory. In deed CAPTIVE LED CAPTIVITY!
Up from the grave he arose:

When Two Elephants Fight, The Grass Suffers

Elders world wide often say that ‘When two elephants fight, the grass suffers’. The saying is often quoted when two heavy weights in a relationship are engaged in a quarrel, conflict or fight. The relationship may be pre-marital, marital, business, political, local, national, international, or in any other vital field of human activity. The dependents, dependants or those in close proximity to the two chief antagonists usually bear the brunt of the blows from the fight. When nations wage war against each other or when there are civil wars, it is the innocent children, women, the weak, sick or handicapped ones who suffer most. In the context of conflicts or quarrel in the family setting or home, it is the children who suffer most. In a family, we think of a man, his wife, who is a woman, and their children. Where they live is the home. In a normal home therefore, the ‘two elephants’ are the man and his wife, as father and mother respectively; while the children represent ‘the grass’. In the other examples referred to above, the dependents, dependants and the weaker ones, all of whom are the more vulnerable ones, represent the grass. Modern society holds the wrong view that a relationship should not be based on children who are the products of the relationship. Why, in the first place did the couple bring forth the child or children? It is simply equal to gross irresponsibility, selfishness and cruelty not to consider the children as being the most vulnerable and therefore the ones to give the most consideration! No committed Christian should go all out for divorce. Misunderstandings are inevitable in any human relationship. When misunderstandings arise, the persons involved should endeavour to resolve them. In the family, greater responsibility rests upon the shoulders of the father and mother. The family is an essential structural as well as functional living unit of any community or nation. God set up the family unit as such. Any community or nation is therefore a product of its functional unit, the family. Any damage done to the family structure is a gradual death-blow to the fabric of stability and health in the community, state, region or nation! Where persons hold the family in high esteem, no effort would be spared at maintaining its stability. The reckless abandonment with which many couples in this generation handle their marriage disputes or misunderstanding spells disaster for many homes. Resorting to divorce is not the solution. Rather, more chaos and problems are created than solved when either parent presses for divorce. Handling marriage as a trial by error affair, as a business contract or as a ‘cat and mouse affair’ would certainly lead to failure and divorce. Looking for the least form of excuses to press for divorce is not a Christian lifestyle. Consequently, the children from such homes have their lives virtually truncated and left in disarray. Many of such children grow up to become confused, angry, rebellious and retaliatory. It is much better to bring up children in a home with both father and mother positively and actively involved. No father can successfully combine the mother’s role with his. The same is true of any mother. No mother can successfully replace the father. God has given each person in the home his or her own special responsibility. The father, mother and the children make up the family which lives in the home. Teaching and supervising house chores helps parents to lay the foundation for good work habits for the future. It is easier to play than to work, but it is rather more uplifting and confidence-boosting as well as character-building in the child. Setting standards as well as boundaries in behaviour also helps in children upbringing. The father is the chief disciplinarian. The mother upholds discipline under the umbrella of the father. In the father’s absence, she is in charge. Both parents uphold discipline together, but the hierarchy of the two parents should never be in question. Words are very important in giving instructions. Clear, simple direct instructions should be given. No negative, degrading or abusive words should be used at any time. Chores should be practically taught by showing example or demonstrating it to the child. Parents should never wait on the school to teach their children chores. Schools should buttress what parents have already taught as appropriate with the child’s age. Violations of these set boundaries and standards should be frowned at and sanctions given. Good performance should also be rewarded. Firm stands should be maintained. Children are wise to detect any loophole on discipline and would like to take advantage of it. It is the responsibility of parents to eliminate such loopholes. Being in agreement in words as well as in actions is one of the sure ways to plug or avoid loopholes. The Bible states:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)

The training must be given first, from which the child would not depart later on in life. No training; no knowledge and no discipline. It is a pity that some ladies and young men who never learnt how to cook whilst growing up have to rely on cookery books for almost all their cooking. The problem is from the home background. They probably had things too much their own ways at home or the parents indulged them with the services of paid chefs and other paid domestic servants! It is not too late to learn from friends or enrol for short-term courses. Please do not be shy or ashamed to learn. It is also written:

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15).

Correction is best applied when it matters most and not when it is too late. Before a child starts school a good foundation should have been laid. Postponing training and discipline or ignoring them altogether breeds conflict, rebellion and sorrow later on. Every time the family comes together, some teaching and learning takes place. The family that prays, eats, worships and plays together, cherish each other and therefore stays together. The opposite is also true. The family that neglects praying, eating, talking, worshiping and playing together seldom stays together. Some families do not have time for cooked meals because they claim to be too busy. Some are too busy, making money to such extent that they seldom see each other except during Christmas or in an emergency.
To abandon the role of the two parents to only one is not only irresponsible, it is wicked and criminal. Examples abound of human failings by mothers or fathers. More often than not, the abandoned or partially neglected children have a permanent vacuum in their lives. Only God, by his mercy can fill that vacuum when each vulnerable person in the marred relationship opens the door for Him to interact. Various communities in different parts of the world suffer from the effects of strained or broken down relationships in the family. A corrupted form of the family has become the vogue in many parts of the so-called civilized world! There can be no satisfactory substitute for the real family. The original family setting consists of the man as husband and father; the woman as wife and mother and children as important products of the loving, cherished relationship called marriage, which binds the family together. When each member does his or her role properly, the family would be happy, peaceful and flourishing. In a Christian home, all come under the umbrella of the Almighty God, who is the Maker of Marriage and the Family. In the normal family and in this 21st Century, it is challenging, demanding and difficult to bring up children. It demands great commitment and selfless giving, especially from the father and on in the descending order of mother down to the children. How much more difficult would it be for only one parent to try bringing up children. In some quarters, people think it is their position, riches or affluence that would place them in good standing to be good parents. Money, gifts, holidays and status cannot replace good parenting which demands selfless love, positive and protective discipline, with boundaries, rewards and sanctions. A lone-ranger parenting could be likened to a motor car with two good alternate tyres. What horrible ride that would provide in a family. Such a ride would not only be uncomfortable, but unsafe. When each member does his or her role properly, the family would be happy, peaceful and flourishing. Are you a Christian? Stop any further action towards divorce now. Humble yourself before God. Seek the face of God. Seek Christian counsel. Do not join hands with Satan to mess up Christian marriage and the Family setting.
The Bible states:

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourself unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wife be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word[Ephesians 5:21-26].

It is a mutual submission to each other and not a one-way affair. The husband who expects his wife to submit to him, must be exemplary and lead the way in humble submission; not insisting and defiant. He should only insist where the Bible may be violated! Christ washed the feet of his disciples. He also prepared breakfast for them on the beach, even after his resurrection; just before his ascension back to Heaven. The wife should be cautious not to take her husband for granted. A humble, serving, caring and protective husband deserves to be respected and obeyed. He is to be followed, unless he walks contrary to the Bible. A man usually gets the commitment of the kind of wife he loves selflessly, nurtures and cherishes. A woman usually gets the commitment of the type of husband she adores, cherishes, respects and obeys. A selfless, loving, cherishing, diligent and responsible husband would be obeyed. An adoring, caring, virtuous, cherishing and obedient wife would be loved and honoured. The relationship, based on reverence for God and patterned after the love of Christ for the church, would succeed in the face of hardships and challenges of this life and especially this challenging 21st Century. A significant portion of the cases of juvenile delinquents in society is made up of children from broken relationships or from divorced parents. Out of frustration some of such children become confused, disappointed, rebellious, addicted to drugs and violent. Their confidence, security, self-esteem and in deed future have been violated! Many have need rehabilitation.
A significant problem which confronts the family of the 21st Century is the distortions or corruptions in the interpretations given to the family. Those who call evil good and call good evil shall be punished by God. Those who enact anti-God laws are seeking divine punishment also.[Romans 1:18-32, Exodus 23:1-2, Isaiah 10:1-2, Genesis 19:1-26]. The modern day violations of the family setting breed confusion and make healthy child-upbringing very challenging and difficult. Attempts by various governments to redefine marriage are calculated efforts by Satan to destroy family life, which constitutes the essential unit of human society. Such governments and the leadership only think that they are being modern and in line with what some others around the world are doing. Unfortunately however, the so-called vogue is anti-family, anti-procreation, and anti-societal well-being! Such leaders and nations are fighting against God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. There is arrogant and flagrant disregard to the words, and will of God and his plan for the betterment of humankind. Severe consequences as a result of the disregard are very imminent. The great ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexuality, violence and disobedience. Judgment is coming very soon on the arrogant and the disobedient, take it or leave it! This is an urgent warning and call to repentance to all the nations of this world celebrating or condoning homosexuality, especially the political leaders. Majority of the populace in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, taking just two examples, are against homosexuality, but some of the political leaders are bulldozing their own will through, against common sense, against natural order and against the plan of God Almighty.
Whilst concluding this post, the news of the proceedings in the House of Commons was received. It is unfortunate that the House of Commons passed the bill to allow gays to be fully married in the same way as heterosexual couples. This is a significant negative landmark and a notable additional setback for humanity! The odd and horrible likelihood of calling a man wife and the same person also as husband is the peak of human deception. The same thing goes for calling any woman husband and the same woman as wife. It is confusion master piece! Although God has been very merciful in waiting patiently for people and nations to repent over the calamity of homosexuality, his patience must never be taken for granted. Judgment is coming very soon over anyone, group of persons or nations who violate the plan of God. It is not a mark of achievement to follow a multitude or group to do evil. The correct, natural, reasonable and God-given will of the overwhelming majority has been brushed aside in order to please a significantly erring minority, all under the guise of “keeping up with the Joneses”, with the tag of human rights. It is another example of two elephants fighting, with the grass suffering. That was a setback for civilization! Perhaps the next thing for the United Kingdom and other similarly compliant nations is to pass a bill in favour of polygamy! A U-turn back to God and the time-tested Christian statutes of the United Kingdom is necessary and not too late. Agape Focus as one of the voices for God and the well-being of humanity in this generation opposes and condemns the significant error because it opposes God! We do not know the details; only God knows, but God Almighty says he would judge over this action! Signs to follow soon would be like the ANCIENT HANDWRITING ON THE WALL as in the days of Daniel. Watch out. A word is sufficient for the wise. Enough is enough! Who is a God like the Almighty that pardons iniquity? He still forgives sins today. Repent therefore that you may be forgiven. Retrace your steps back to God.

SUNDAY SERMON: Christian Love

The love of Christ leads us and enables us as Christians not to think of our own well-being only, but to be considerate of others as well. When a person becomes a Christian, God Almighty gives him or her His Holy Spirit to live within. The Holy Spirit thenceforth helps him or her to love others as himself/herself.   We are directed to bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). Jesus commanded us to love our enemies; those who treat us badly; those who undermine us; those who see nothing good in us; those who try to block our way to progress; those who are difficult to love in the real human sense. These are those who perhaps, legally and logically do not deserve to be loved. We should however bear it in mind that we too are being loved non-stop by God, though we are very much undeserving. At least, you can and should pray for them. I do not say that you should condone their evil practices, but I say you should not give up on them. Naturally, we should not expose ourselves as to become vulnerable to their physical, psychological, material or spiritual attacks on a continuing basis. Jesus said: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:44-45). Communication is a good means of sorting out differences between two or more persons. This could be verbal or non-verbal. It could be face to face: one-to-one, one to two or more; in conference via phone, or other electronic media. In today’s world, any of the social media is being used. Differences could also be resolved via writing, e-mails, texts and such like. Jesus said further: For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect(Matthew 5:46-48). If an enemy is hungry, thirsty, exposed to the weather, or in need of something we are capable of supplying, then we should give them food,water or appropriate drink, provide shelter or cover from the elements and move on to do any other right thing within our capability. If that enemy or those enemies persist in the evil acts, then God would fight for us (as stated in Romans 12:19-21). Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul stated in his letter to the Christians in Rome: Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another (Romans 12:9-10). He also stated that they should be relevant in and to their neighbourhood by being compassionate, kind, helpful, encouraging, humble, considerate and non-retaliatory – that is, no tit for tat. They should live at peace with every one in the community. Do good to everyone and be extra good to your fellow Christian brother and sister.Every person born into this world has a unique role, duty and relevance for the overall benefit of this world. More so, every Christian is gifted by God, to be a blessing to the Church and the whole world. No individual should arrogate exclusive rights and powers to himself/herself. Others should be allowed to exercise their God-given gifts to bless the church. A leader who makes that difficult or impossible is working against God. Such a person shall not go unpunished, unless he/she repents! Considering human relationships at the marital level,herein is the deepest and highest level of Christian love contained. The Bible compares it to no higher grade than that between Christ and the Church. It is writen: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself (Ephesians 5:25-28). It is very abnormal for a person to hate himself! Following the example of the union between Christ and the Church, the husband is head, while the wife is the body. Who has seen a living headless body before?I know no one. On the other hand no one has seen a living bodyless head. That is the strong reason for cleaving to take place. This fast age is too impatient to allow mutual loving and submission to enhance perfect cleavage in the marriage relationship established by God.   A man gets the kind of wife he works for; likewise a woman gettng her kind of husband according to how much she submits lovingly.We need more of lifelong marriage relationships as directed by the MANUFACTURER,Who is none other than GOD Himself. The church needs and has true love. The LOVE must be lived. It is that peak,width and depth of Love that is of God (Agape). Please, let brotherly love continue.

LAST DAYS INDEED!

Perilous times have come indeed (2Timothy3:1-5)! Wars and rumours of wars, earthquakes, tremors, landslides, flooding, tsunamis, drought, famines, drug-resistant diseases, economic turmoil, civil disobedience, civil wars, domestic and family instabilities, broken down relationships, sexual perversions and impurities, desecration of marriage, bodily harms and abuses, men’s hearts failing them because of fears, political aberrations and instabilities, acts of terrorism, wickedness in low and high places, disobedience to parents, misplaced loyalties and emulations, disappointed hopes. Indeed, we are yet to see much more all over the world. The intensity of these calamities point to the imminence of the return of Jesus Christ and earth-shaking events which would closely precede his return. These mind-blowing events would be of severe dimensions. There would be unprecedented, intense, global, political, economic, social, spiritual and moral decline and instability. There would be strange geologic and astronomic, universal signs and wonders that would closely precede the second coming of Jesus Christ! Our hearts go out to Norway over the recent shattering blow of terrorism by a mad gun man! Our hearts also go out to the victims of famine in Somalia! No region of this world is spared trouble; there are only variations in the intensities. No nation can claim any form of superiority or immunity. No human being can claim perfection, except through the grace of God Almighty! In the midst of all these turbulence, the light of God is still shining through his grace upon and through the Church. The grace of God through Jesus Christ is the world’s only hope. Grace accepted solves problems, but grace denied or rejected spells turmoil. Grace is the unmerited or undeserved mercy of God given to human beings! How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ;( Hebrews 2:3).
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PENTECOST

After our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the grave, he showed himself to his disciples and well over 500 faithfuls. Some of these people heared him talk, walked beside him, touched him, sat near him and ate with him, over a period of 40 days. These eyewitness accounts therefore provide overwhelming proofs to the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The fact of the empty tomb is another shocking, terrifying (to his enemies), yet rejoicing evidence to all the faithfuls through time and all of eternity. Having completed his major assignment on earth, Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection, under the amazing gaze of believers who gathered at the Mount of Olives as they had been previously instructed. Ten days later, making up 50 days since the Passover festival, when Jesus, as sacrificial lamb was crucified, it was Pentecost Festival. It was on that first Pentecost after Christs’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, that God the Father chose to send the Holy Spirit from heaven to dwell permanently for the first time inside believers in Christ! In response to anxieties and questions from his followers, Jesus stated just before his ascension: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea,and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1.7-8). As some of his parting words Jesus also said: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high”. In obedience to this command, the believers in Christ stayed in Jerusalem, meeting regularly to fellowship and to pray. As they did so on that specific day of Pentecost, in one accord, the Holy Spirit came upon them all in the room. Cloven tongues like as fire appeared and rested upon each one of them and they began to speak with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. Many people (both Jews and strangers)from different parts of the world, who had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost were able to hear the disciples praising and glorifying God in their own languages. It was so definite, yet amazing that they expressed this observation. Some skeptics, as usual, tried to ridicule the believers, saying that they were drunk. Peter, no longer fearful nor timid, confounded the skeptics and preached powerfully, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, explaining to them that it was a fulfilment of God’s promise through the prophet Joel that was visible before their eyes and audible to them. He urged the peole to repent. The Jesus whom they crucified is risen and alive, because it was impossible for death to hold him down. God has glorified him and made him to sit at his right hand in heaven. That same Jesus is now both Lord and Christ(the Messiah).From his exalted position he did send down the Holy Spirit. Many were convicted in their hearts and cried out to the disciples: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter stated: “Repent and be baptised, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2.14-40). About 3000 persons repented, received Christ and were baptised that same day.A new change came not only over Jerusalem, but over the whole nation. The risen Christ has demonstrated his power, timid men and women had become bold. The less educated disciples had become inspired and learned, able to teach and silence the educated skeptics by words and by deeds. It was the birth of the Church of Christ and the dawn of a new day! What then is the purpose of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost? The purpose is to powerfully give birth to the powerful Church.The purpose is through empowered men and women, to break down all barriers confronting the church then and today.The purpose is to unify the church powerfully as a formidable team. The purpose is to impact the church with the love of God.The purpose is to reach every nook and corner of this earth with the liberating power of the gospel, by the Holy Ghost through the church. The purpose is to have the same vision as God- vision of a world lost in sin; a hurting, needy, sick, poor, confused, ignorant and arrogant world, in need of the unlimited power of God through the Holy Ghost to rescue it, by the church. The full price for the world’s redemption has been paid; yet there are stubborn manifestations of Satans’ oppressive grip on many people. O for a heart of like-minded men and women who would selflessly arise today to rescue the 21st Century world from the brink of disaster! Are you a Christian? Are you appreciative of all that Christ did? Does your spirit and mind burn inside to help! How dry are your eyes? How compassionate are you? Do you love the people? Do you love your brother/sister in Christ? For how long have you been holding grudges and keeping malice? Are you ready to meet Christ in this your present state? O for a heart that is a true copy of Jesus Christ in you and me! Jesus said: “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not overcome it”.
That is reality. Satan has lost,no matter how much he tries to bark like a toothless bull-dog or pretend to harrass as a roaring lion. We are to stand up to resist him, steadfast in the faith, in the name of Jesus, his conqueror! Because of the victory of Jesus and the elevated status to which Jesus has brought the church, we are more than conquerors! Imagine what Jesus said: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14.12-14). When the church today thinks, plans and acts selflessly, people would increasingly ask again “WHAT SHALL WE DO”? Are we building for God? What materials are we using to build? Are we using wood, hay, silver, iron, bronze or gold? Are we listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit, as he seeks to lead the Church of Christ today or are we just doing our own stuffs? Charles Wesley wrote:
“A heart in every thought renewed, And full of love divine; Perfect, and right, and pure, and good, A copy, Lord, of thine”. The purpose of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is to produce ‘Proof Producers’- men and women, who seek to be more like Jesus Christ and prove to the world his unlimited power in love! Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? Then, walk also in the spirit. The purpose of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost is to produce loving, obedient, willing and effective witnesses for Jesus Christ. God bless you.
One of the greatest hymn writers God gave to the church in all generations so far was Charles Wesley. His hymn, ‘Give me the faith which can remove’ still speaks volumes of goodness to the church this 21st Century:

THE BLOOD AND THE NAME OF JESUS

There is power in both the name and the blood of Jesus.Some people have wondered and asked questions about these two aspects of Jesus. Both are part and parcel of Jesus Christ. You cannot separate the power in the blood of Jesus from the power in his name! I watched the film ‘The Passion of the Christ’ again just after Easter. Mel Gibson and the rest of the cast did a great job on the film. I do believe that half of the suffering of Christ was not told in that film! Jesus was tied to the whipping post and beaten, reducing his body almost to a pulp, before walking all the way to Calvary Hill, where he was crucified. Those Jewish religious leaders and the crack Roman soldiers were fierce and cruel! Prophet Isaiah said these about Jesus, hundreds of years before he was born: ” Surely He has borne our griefs(sicknesses, weaknesses and diseases) and carried our sorrows and pains (of punishment), yet we (ignorantly) considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God (as if with leprosy) Isaiah 53.4 Amplified Bible. It was Blood, blood, blood all the way, as Jesus willingly allowed his own blood to be shed in order to pay the price for our sins.For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord(Romans 6.23). The life of any person is in his blood. By the shedding of the blood of Jesus, his life was poured out unto death to serve as a ransom(he stood in our places) in due punishment for our sin and at the same time serve as a sacrifice to make peace between us and the Holy, Almighty God, whom we all have offended. The good news is that Jesus died for our sins, he was buried and on the third day, he rose up from the grave and took over the keys of death and Hades from the devil, setting free all dead, but faithful, God-fearing people who came before his first coming and every other person ever to be born in human history. All that Isaiah said were fulfilled.As a result of being at peace with God, mankind individually (by faith in the shed blood of Jesus, and by faith in calling upon the name of Jesus, who died and rose again) can be saved from sin, sickness, diseases of the body, mind and spirit. There is power in the blood and in the name of Jesus! We have redemption in Jesus through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Colossians1.14).Jesus made peace through the blood of his cross. On February 20, 2011, we posted an article on ‘The blood of Jesus:The Greatest and Only Panacea’ Because of the blood of Jesus, our past failures are forgiven, our present walk and fellowship with God as his children are enhanced and our future status and victory are assured. We have been rescued from the powers of the devil and set free to serve the Living God.(1John1.6-7; Romans5.6-11; Ephesians 1:3-12).We lay claim to this blessing, privilege and status by faith in the powerful blood of Jesus, shed on the cross and faith in his powerful name! When Jesus arose from the grave, he took his own blood to his Father God in Heaven, where the blood was permanently placed. There the blood of Jesus speaks by pleading for mercy for anyone who has faith in the shed blood of Jesus and anyone who calls upon the name of Jesus in prayers asking for the salvation of his soul, the healing of his body, or for any problem confronting him/ her! There is power in the blood and the name of Jesus! There is life in looking up by faith to the blood shed on the cross of Jesus Christ! There is life now for you! There is deliverance from your sins and bad habits. There is no sin that cannot be washed in the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus is greater than all detergents! The blood of Jesus is greater than all vaccines! Jesus Christ obeyed his Father totally, even to the point of death for the sin which he did not commit! As a result of this great obedience by Jesus, GOD ALMIGHTY decided to honour Jesus by giving to him the greatest name in Heaven,on Earth, and under the Earth (Underworld). That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2.10-11). By the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the writer of Hebrews stated: It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:(Hebrews 10.23-24) Christ entered into the real heaven, not with the blood of animals(as the priests of the Old Testament did), but with his own blood. The blood of Jesus Christ was used to sprinkle heaven at the real mercy-seat. There forever, the blood of Jesus Christ speaks, pleading for mercy for you and for me when we call upon his name and when we exercise faith in his shed blood! The writer of Hebrews states: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel (Hebrews 12.24). Because of the blood of Jesus shed, greatness was conferred upon his name! That is to say, by his achievement, greatness came upon the name of Jesus Christ. Because of the total obedience and humility of Jesus, he was highly exalted and given a name greater than all other names!(Philippians 2.5-11) That is to say greatness was conferred upon Jesus Christ. Because as the Word of God, from the bosom of the Father as Creator with his Father, Jesus Christ already had a great name before he was born as a baby in the manger! That is to say, Jesus Christ was born great!Jesus Christ was born great.He achieved greatness.He also had greatness conferred upon him! The Overwhelming Authority(SPIRITUAL POWER);Unlimited Ability (DYNAMIC,KINETIC and INTELLECTUAL POWER);Creative,Restorative and Corrective Ability (MIRACULOUS POWER),are all invested into the name of JESUS CHRIST!What Jesus said before his crucifixion is as valid today as it was when he first said it: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”(John 16.24).There is power in the name of Jesus Christ! Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10.13). Amen.

THE TRULY EMPTY TOMB

When we think or talk of an empty tomb the first consideration may be a Cenotaph, which is an empty tomb used to remember and honour soldiers who laid down their lives during civil, local, regional or global wars, in order that the rest of us might have or enjoy relative peace. Thus we set dates in different countries as ‘Remembrance Day’. Flower wreaths or special poppy wreaths are laid by dignitaries and special representatives on such appointed days. Peoples gather at cenotaph, squares or places of worship to celebrate our fallen heroes of wars. However, there is a more representative and truly empty tomb. Peasants, nobles, kings and queens have their bodies placed in coffins and buried inside tombs of varying qualities and costs. After months and years, these bodies usually decompose, leaving only bones, which are much resistant and slower to decay. Even in cases of strong preservative traditions such as in ancient Egypt, the bodies so preserved are of little or no value, as far as life is concerned.In the whole of human history, there is only one tomb that is truly empty. It is the tomb of Jesus, located in Jerusalem. The tomb inside which Jesus was buried, after he died on the cross, is empty because he rose from the dead on the third day, over 2000 years ago and has been alive ever since! The fact that Jesus arose from the grave is proof that the work of salvation that he carried out was and is forever successful! HALLELUYAH! King David of Israel said about Christ, centuries before Christ came:‘For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption’. Psalms 16.10 That was prophetic and it was literally fulfilled. Several other prophecies concerning his birth, his escape to Egypt, his ministry, his betrayal,his death, the borrowed tomb, his resurrection, his ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit have all been fulfilled. Jesus Christ is very unique in so many ways. He is very simple, very humble, very loving,very obedient to God, very powerful,true and honest, and very faithful. Not one word of his has ever failed. Jesus Christ is the Way. He is the Truth, the Life, the Door, the trustworthy Friend, more reliable than a brother, sister, father or mother. He is the wisest Counsellor, the most reliable Mentor. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Ultimate and most desirable Personality. In fact, he is the fairest of ten thousands and totally dependable and all-sufficient. William Shakespeare said: Some are born great,some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. ALL THREE are true of Jesus Christ! By virtue of his source and union with his Father, the ALMIGHTY GOD, Jesus Christ was and is great.Therefore he was born great. Because of his obedience unto death, Jesus Christ achieved greatness in the salvation he made possible to all mankind. As a result of his humility, Jesus Christ had greatness thrust upon him. For so humbling himself to the lowest possible depth, GOD decided to elevate him to the highest position and gave him the most powerful, most honoured, and most feared name in the three existing domains; namely Heaven, Earth and hell! It is written: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father Philippians 2.9-11 After his resurrection and appearances over a period of 40 days at different places to well over 500 persons, Jesus Christ ascended to heaven. There, as part of the promotion given to him, he sits at the right hand of the throne of God, awaiting the subduing of all oppositions. ”Till his enemies are made to become his footstool”. There is no power in any other name.Salvation is possible only through Jesus Christ. Whosoever shall call upon the name of Jesus Christ shall be saved. This same Jesus is coming back again; that has also been prophesied, even before Christ was born. The ball is now in the court of each and every person. Each person is faced with the choice to decide to call upon Jesus and subsequently begin to follow him. It is written: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved Acts 4.12. You believe with your heart and confess with your mouth. You believe the truth and confess the truth that you believe. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ shall not be ashamed. Do you? Use the powerful name of Jesus in prayer now. Call upon him. God did not send his Son, Jesus into the world to condemn it, but to save the world through Jesus Christ.Pray in your own words or native language or in the most convenient form that deals with the particular state of your mind and life. For example you may pray in this manner :Almighty God, I thank you that you gave your Son Jesus to the world, including me. I believe that Jesus died on the cross in order to save me from sin. I call upon you Jesus Christ to come into my life now.I believe that you died and rose up from the grave on the third day. I thank you that you have forgiven me all my sin. I surrender my life to you and ask you to help me as I begin to follow you today, even now. Amen. Did you pray? God actually listened to you and your prayer has been answered. Anyone who receives Jesus Christ into his or her life has been given the power to become a child of God by Jesus. God bless you. Get a Bible and start reading from the Gospel of St John. Look for a good Church nearest to you and begin to fellowship and worship God with them there. Please, get in touch with us here at AgapeFocus. You may also get in touch with the person who sent this message to you. May the power of the Most High God uphold you to the end. Grace be with you.