Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Sermon’

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.

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.

SUNDAY SERMON: Say It Gently; Say It Loud!

Prayer of Paul: ‘I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ'(Philemon 6). Paul wrote this letter to Philemon from prison. He did not get discouraged, but in the solitude of the prison, he had shared his faith with Onesimus, a slave of Philemon, who had been sent to jail, because he stole from his master and then ran away. Paul had quietly led him to a saving knowledge of Christ within the confines of the prison. Onesimus had thus become, not only a brother to Paul, but to Philemon as well, by virtue of the common faith. In a double sense, for being led to Christ, Onesimus had also become a spiritual son of Paul. Paul, playing a conciliatory role, urged Philemon to take his slave back in a double way. First as a brother in Christ and secondly as a servant; no longer a slave. Paul made his plea, not using his apostolic powers or authority to command or instruct. Onesimus, released from prison, after serving his term, was then fully reconciled to his old master, in a new relationship. Paul, in this short letter, made reference to the continuing efforts of Philemon in the practical way he shared his faith. This is a commendation to all of us this 21st Century, in an increasingly secularized society. How do you and how should we share our faith today? Positive helpful visiting, not as a formality for the records;loving people; bearing people’s burdens, not as a means of gossiping, but making practical solutions to minimize sufferings, should be some considerable means. In addition, saying it loud is a necessary means of sharing our faith. We should tell others what the LORD has done for us! We sang and taught this song very much in the 80s and still do so today: ‘‘Come and let me tell you what the LORD has done for me …”. From an overflowing heart of gratitude, we make known to any one we come in contact with, the goodness of the LORD in our lives. What more are we to tell? Tell others how we cried to God in difficult times and how he answered by delivering us from troubles and helped in solving our problems. Tell others how God brought us out of darkness and deepest gloom, broke our chains, broke down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron! Physical, emotional, relational, financial, vocational, psychological and above all, spiritual problems were solved for us and are being solved through us, by the enabling grace of God. Tell others about this God of ours, who knows no failure and who solves all problems, willingly brought to him! Indeed as David said: ”Let the redeemed of the LORD say so”(Psalm 107:2). Brother, sister, say so always, anywhere, anytime, and to anyone who would listen. Say it gently and as you shall find opportunity, say it loud too! God bless you.



SUNDAY SERMON:’When Majority Decision is Wrong’

Text: Numbers 13: 25 – 33 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days ———  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. It is not a mark of humility to speak contrary to God’s will for any reason whatsoever; rather it is a mark of disrespect, disregard and disobedience. 12 spies were sent by Moses, as instructed by God, to spy the land of Canaan. A spy was chosen from each tribe of Israel. As previously informed by God, the land was fertile; indeed ‘flowing with milk and honey’. That was exactly what the spies found out; just as they were told. They brought back the physical proof of fruits from the land. However, 10 out of the twelve allowed their outward vision to dim or becloud their inward vision. The challenge faced violated their potential and turned them into ‘jellyfishes’. Not only did they underrate themselves; they did so to God too! They meant by their statement that they and their God were grasshoppers, in comparison to the sons of Anak found in the land. How small is your God? How big is your God? Joshua and Caleb were the exceptional two who gave a minority report.  These faithful and bold two were almost stoned by the angry multitude. The minority report which was strongly and overwhelmingly rejected, turned our to be the prevailing, winning report! The two spies reached the promised land, while the ten, who initially thought they were wiser than God, died in the wilderness, never reaching the promised land!  In the past few decades, there have been political elections in Europe, Africa, Asia, America and around the world, where the declared results have not always been the best! Opinion polls, sometimes, are false parameters to assess candidates. So much for political digression. You are as great or small as you rate yourself, in line with or against the counsel of the Most High God! The 10 who were initial heroes turned out to be villains in the end, while the converse is true of the 2. How small is your God and how small are you? Life is full of many challenges and obstacles. How we face those challenges or obstacles and overcome them or not; make or spoil our stability and progress. I am always challenged and encouraged by the persistent efforts of Abraham Lincoln. He did not allow his poor background to hinder him. He was self developed, becoming a lawyer. He failed in two attempts to become a senator, but this great man went on to become the 16th President of the United States of America, without building a rest house at the post of failure! The same can be said of two of the great African leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Obafemi Awolowo. Abraham had faith in God. He also had faith in himself! How small is your God? How small are you? What are your own peculiar challenges or obstacles? Joblessness, Spouselessness, Indecent relationships, Homelessness, Frustration and hopelessness; Rejection and discrimination; Bullying, violence, gangsterism and terrorism; Disappointment and loneliness, Slavery to drugs, Fearfulness, torment and anguish; Diagnosis with terminal disease and bereavement?  You name it, and I inform you of the available light at the end of the tunnel!  JESUS CHRIST SOLVES ALL PROBLEMS! Put away any or all of these: self-pity or pride, arrogance, laziness, fear and procrastination. Please,come out of the self-imposed shell or bondage! Call on Jesus Christ today. Invite him into your life, asking him to help you. If you already have done this recently or in the past, surrender that particular problem or obstacle to him and ask him to help you. God has given all power to help, heal, set free, and save human beings to his son,  the Lord, Jesus Christ. Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. God says we should call upon him and that he would answer us and show us great and mighty things which we do not know(Jeremiah 33:3).  God bless you.

SUNDAY SERMON: ‘Only through The LORD’

”Let not a wise man boast in his wisdom, and let not a mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches; but let him who boasts, boast of this, that he understands and knows me” Jeremiah 9:23 -24. It is very easy to exhibit one’s achievements. It is equally easy to tell others what you have been able to do, perhaps to let others feel you have arrived or that you are important. Quite frankly, there is nothing wrong in letting people know what you have achieved or have been able to do. The only problem in this life in that regard, is simply that it tends to make the ‘achiever’ go over the top or reasonable limits. God expects each one of us to strive to attain the peak in his or her chosen vocation or career. There is no room or  pride of place for the idle, lazy, timid, procrastinator, the disillusioned, or thoughtfully myopic fellow. By going over the limits is meant that the achiever builds a castle around himself, thinking that it is only by virtue of the dint of diligence / industry alone that his goal/ height has been reached or attained. If the farmer clears, harrows, ploughs and plants on his hectares of farmland, a bountiful harvest is only possible if the weather and other natural factors are good. Sufficient, rain, dew, sunshine, darkness, moderate and conducive temperature, avoidance of pests, coupled with good management such as weed control, are all essential to a good harvest. After doing all of these and enjoying all the natural benefits only, could the farmer smile at the end. It is important to recognize that it is by the favours or mercies of God Almighty that all these successes can be achieved! It is only an unwise person who would think in an exclusive world of his/ her own, as being solely responsible for his/ her success! Other men and women we come in contact with and who help us to make good things happen, are sent by the providence of God. We all need to reassess our value system. Paul taught the Corinthians that to make boasts is a fool’s method, though he went on to indulge in making some boasts of his status and achievements, so that the Christian converts would not consider him inferior to other apostles and think little of their own faith through the instrumentality or influence of his ministry among them. At the end he gives all glory back to God and states: ”If anyone wants to boast, let him boast of the Lord . It is not the man who commends himself that can be accepted, but the man who is commended by the Lord.” 2Corinthians 10:18. Part of an old song states: —”All glory must be to the LORD; For He is worthy of our praise; No man on earth, should give glory to himself; But the glory must be to the LORD”. In God we move about and have our being; doing as much as we are capable of. In him we live to any span of years he enables us and of any quality or social status; move to different places around this world, over sea, land and air; exist, having our very lives sustained by his unfailing power (Acts17:28). Yes indeed anyone who wants to boast, let him/her do so, recognizing and appreciating that it is only through the all-sufficient power of the Almighty God! We should not behave as did the proverbial rich fool, who took God out of his past, present, and future plans, only to die prematurely, without achieving all his set goals! Yes boast, doing so by declaring the mercies of God, his blessings on you, and using all of these to bless and encourage many others near and far. God bless you. AMEN.