HOW TO HANDLE DOCTRINAL AND CONDUCT ERRORS- Part III 

Published by: Izobofolo Evangelical Ministry


HOW TO HANDLE DOCTRINAL AND CONDUCT ERRORS- Part III

(9) Concluding thoughts

It is self-deceit that made us to think that non-Christians don’t know the truth. God has given every man conscience to discern what is right or wrong. They see through our covetousness and insincerity whether we admit or not. They see through our hypocrisy as we freely criticize the corrupt politicians but resist the criticism of our erring members who are also public figures.

“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?” (Rom 2:25-27)

The usual saying, “Don’t let us wash our dirty linen in the public,” does not fit here. The dirty linen is already being washed in the public by the persons amongst us who have been consistently violating biblical and moral principles without scruples. This began since we started preaching covetousness instead of contentment and godliness, since we started selling the greatest scam ever invented in human history to our people- the promise of prosperity that is not associated with productivity, since some amidst us started violating  the basic principle of social justice- amassing humongous wealth with the attendant opulent lifestyle in the midst of pervasive abject poverty in the land, since we started preaching ‘another gospel’ that emphasizes the physical wants of man above his spiritual needs (I call it “the gospel of want”), since our attention shifted from the cross and the risen Lord to ourselves, since we started hobnobbing with the corrupt politicians and look the other way as if nothing is wrong with our nation because of filthy lucre, since we started tolerating and defending sexual impurity in our camp………..

Our primary concern ought to be to uphold the truth and prevent others from falling into error but by asking people to keep quiet whenever some of us cross the line, we have invariably become complicit in their errors. We have been called to “contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints”. Can we say in all honesty that we are doing exactly that?

To my mind, this deviation from the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to ‘another gospel’ is the greatest threat to Christianity in Nigeria and not some external force as some would have us believe.

Have we ever bothered to ask why the Gospel seems to be so ineffective in curbing the social ills of our country, Nigeria? Have we ever asked why Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world despite the tens of millions of people that go to our sanctuaries on weekly basis?

Why is there no genuine revival in the land like in the days of old? Why are we not having the “Great Awakenings” in the land like it happened in Europe and America when their preachers focused on the cross and the risen Lord? Where are our signs? Don’t we think it’s time to examine our message and attitude? Isn’t it about time we went back to the Lord for clarity? The Gospel of our Lord Jesus is still as potent as it used to be. We only need to preach it as He says to do.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:16-17)

The fact remains- the blessed Holy Spirit can only bear witness to what Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection. So long as we continue preaching ‘another gospel’, He will not be able to bear witness.

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” (John 15:26)

A friend of mine related an encounter he had with a white woman in one of the European countries sometimes ago. The woman asked about the size of the Nigerian Church. My friend told her that Nigeria is home to the largest single Church building in the world so as to give an idea of the population of Christians in Nigeria. The woman retorted: “Why then is Nigeria so poor?” I believe this is instructive enough.

Have we bothered to ask why we often fail to attract and convert the native Europeans whenever we send our indigenous missionaries to them? It is common knowledge that our Churches in the West attract mostly Nigerians and other Afro-Caribbeans. Though we often attribute this phenomenon to racism, it may not be unconnected to our message and attitude. A Nigerian minister of the Gospel who is currently living in Europe said he observed this same trend in his ministry at an early stage and decided to hand over the church to his co-founders and stopped pastoring altogether. He did this because he believed God couldn’t have sent him to Europe all the way from Nigeria to gather only Nigerians and other black people who are a minority in that country. After prayers, thorough soul searching and association with the people of that country, he discovered that the problem was with his attitude. He changed. Today, he is the pastor of the largest Church in Europe with a congregation that is made up of 99% Caucasians!

Pray, what kind of message have we been preaching that has not been able to build men who could build us a nation after more than fifty-five years of independence? How do we measure the effectiveness of our message? How do we measure success in ministry- changed lives or money in bank accounts?

It is my prayer that the fate of the Western European Church will not befall the Nigerian Church and the African Church by extension. For a long time, the leaders of the European Church collaborated with their Kings and secular authorities, in general, to exploit and subjugate their people. We see the result today: the people have abandoned the faith and the Church en masse for atheism, secularism and free-thinking. I am afraid this will eventually happen down here unless we change our message back to the message of the cross and the risen Lord.

The people can see through our hypocrisy. They can see that we are often more interested in their money than their souls. Our primary concerns are the projects and not the people. We must build that empire by all means. The scam we have sold to the people will no longer sell in the next 20 to 30 years when our nation becomes more literate, enlightened and economically prosperous. What will be the point of attraction to the Church then if we do not change now?

I believe these criticisms we are getting are from the Lord. He is warning us to change our ways before it is too late. I am afraid we are not responding appropriately. Instead of going back to the Lord in repentance, we are telling people to stop pointing out our errors to us. Some are even issuing threats! Isn’t that incredible? Why have we become so stiff-necked?  If God can use a donkey to correct a derailing prophet, how much more humans?

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” (2Pet 2:15-16)

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Heb 12:6-13)

To my mind, this unhealthy defensive posture of ours is an extension of the general culture of impunity in our nation, Nigeria, where people feel too big to take responsibility for their negative actions and admit wrong doing. This is completely unchristian and totally unacceptable. Even, people who have no knowledge of Christ in other climes easily admit wrongdoing whenever they are caught. They are quick to apologize and move on. How much more those who call themselves by the name of the Lord?

The beginning of progress is positive self-criticism. Without self-criticism, progress is almost impossible. If we must make progress, we have to stop pretending to be who we are not, we have to stop running away from ourselves, we have to be truthful and courageous enough to look ourselves in the ‘mirror’ and make amends.

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev 3:14-19)

The Nigeria Church needs to go back to the Lord in repentance. Obviously, God has a plan He wants to execute through the African Church and the Nigerian Church in particular. Would we allow Him?

I have written this piece with all sense of responsibility. I never knew it will be this long. This wound has festered too long. We have played the ostrich game for too long.

I have said what I believe God put in my heart. Let he that has ear hear.

I remain yours in Him.

Reference: Dr.  Abiodun Jemilohun

THE FIRST AND THE LAST QUESTIONS GOD ASKED MAN AT THE FIRST FALL

By: Theophilus Izobofolo


THE FIRST AND THE LAST QUESTIONS GOD ASKED MAN AT THE FIRST FALL

The second question God asked man in the Bible was “WHO TOLD YOU” or “who gave you the information”? In Genesis 3:9-11, the Bible says, “Then the LORD God called Adam and said to him, “where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

And He said, “WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”. What do we make out of these questions? The most important thing was NOT what Adam did, but who gave him (Adam) the information or who was the source of his information? That is, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Do you know the last question man will ask Christ on the last day? In Matthew 7:22-23 the Bible says, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'”.

Again, what do we deduce from this question? The most important thing will NOT be what they did, but who they did those things for? or who hired them to do those things? Because, it was not Christ that actually sent them, that was the reason He would said to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”.

Today, there are so many churches with different teachings and doctrines, so the question is, “Are they all following Jesus Christ?” (Matthew 28:20; Luke 6:46). It is not possible that with their different teachings and doctrines they are all following the same Christ?

The Bible teaches the truth, and this truth does not contradict itself. Churches that contradict one another cannot all be following Christ. The word of God is not contradictory. Jesus Christ, the Word of God cannot contradict Himself. He hates contradictions as well because they import divisions. He hates divisions and dissentions, and urges His body the Church to be one, even as He and His Father are one (John 17: 21-23).

Jesus Christ will always be absent in places where there are divisions. For He had said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew. 12:25).

The Bible also says “For God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians. 14:33). The fact that some churches are moving in opposite directions means that Jesus Christ is leading people in opposite directions. Is your Jesus moving you in opposite directions?

Jesus is not an author of confusion and does not approbate and reprobate. When people try to justify divisions among the churches, they make Jesus ridiculously hypocritical. Religious dissentions, divisions, and confusions are not caused by God or His word. They are caused by worldly men and women whose sole purpose is selfish, not serving God and following His word diligently.

Division “openly contradicts the will of Christ, provides a stumbling block to the world, and inflicts damage on the most holy cause of proclaiming the Good News to every creature”. The division among Christians is a serious reality which impedes the very work of Christ. Division contradicts the truth of the Gospel, an essential element of which is the call to unity as a testimony to the world (John 17: 21-23), so that non-believers who meet missionaries each preaching different versions of the Gospel will find it very difficult to believe their different messages.

Divisions and disagreements result because people follow doctrines invented by men and not by God. As more and more human opinions developed, new groups begin to be formed, each like the New Testament church in some ways, yet each holding special human practices and doctrines which make them different from the church of the Bible and from each other. Many people today are following men instead of the Scriptures by which Jesus lived. They allow others to “interpret” Scripture for them, choose a church for them and make decisions for them.

Though they have Bibles, their Bibles are just for public show. How many of them who carry Bible, have actually studied the Bible as a whole? How many of them know what the Bible says in Joshua 1:8 or in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 or in Psalms 1:1-3 or in Psalms 119:99,100 or in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 or even in 1 Timothy 2:4?

You that believe that a man can establish his own church, if God should ask you just as He asked Adam, “Who told you…?” (Genesis 3:11), what will be your response to Him? Or you that believe that a woman can be pastor or bishop of a church, if God should ask you just as He asked Adam, “Who told you…?” (Genesis 3:11), what will be your response to Him?

Adam said it was the woman that gave the fruit to him (Genesis 3:12). The woman said it was the serpent which beguiled her (Genesis 3:13). Whom will you blame? Will you pass the buck to your pastors, or to your priests, or to your general overseers? Can’t you quote two or more scriptural verses to authenticate your stand? Why not hold God by His words?

This is the more reason you shouldn’t believe everyone’s interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Rather, examine the Scriptures and examine yourself whether you are in the faith. Check to see whether those things that are being said are indeed true, according to the Bible.

Think about the Berean Jews. They didn’t just believe what Apostle Paul had preached to them, but rather, they went home, searched their Scriptures daily to see if those things were so (Acts 17:11). That should be your attitude, too.

Remember this verse: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'” – Matthew 7:22-23.

MAN HAS GONE BACK TO NAKEDNESS?

SEVEN DANGEROUS PEOPLE IN CHURCH/ORGANIZATION

 

Rev. (Amb.) Zika N. V. Onwe


SEVEN DANGEROUS PEOPLE IN CHURCH/ORGANIZATION

As a Leader, beware that at one stage or the other in your church or business, you will find yourself dealing with the following groups of people. If you don’t have wisdom to deal with them, your church/business is in danger.

  1. THOMAS GROUP – They walk with you but they don’t really believe in you. Though God can use you in front of them, they are not easily moved, they take time to believe in you. These people can delay your vision and they are also not aware they are delaying themselves. It’s a struggle and a burden to lead people who don’t believe in you.

  2. JUDAS  GROUP – They walk with you but they have issues with you when God begins to bless you. They are not happy when things of great value are given to you. In short, they are jealous of your success. When elevation comes they will say we are poor in the church/work place but the Leader is driving a BMW 5 series but we have people that are struggling financially in this church/workplace. They want you to drive a Toyota Tazz which will make them happy. They have serious issues if your life becomes better and better. They talk as if you don’t  care about the poor. Hear these Leaders,  anyone  who is jealous about your prosperity in your church/workplace tomorrow he will betray you.

  3. ABSALOM  GROUP – You give them opportunity to teach or lead and he begins to see himself as the Boss of the church/workplace, he believes he can teach and lead better than you. When he leads, he leads to prove a point that he is better than you, he won’t even mention you in his conversation. He works behind you to steal the hearts of people so that people will follow him. He will make people to feel they are neglected in your church/workplace. He will tell people he is there for them to help them anytime they need help. This one he is in competition with you, he believes he can be a better Boss than you. Tomorrow trust me he will split your members/staff.

  4. KORAH  GROUP – This one will challenge your authority, he believes you are at the same level with everyone and he has issues when members/workers give honor to you. He will say you are honoring this man too much. He has issues when you give instructions, he is rebellious and dangerous because he sees you as someone who is at the same level with him. He believes everyone is spiritual, professional and everyone is educated so what is so special about you.

  5. HAM  GROUP – This one he will expose your nakedness, the day you find yourself in a shameful act, he will tell everybody your weaknesses and he will be happy to expose your disaster.

  6. GEHAZI  GROUP – He is with you but he will be collecting money from behind your back. He takes advantage that he is close to the Leader and use that to collect things from people. He borrows money from people and he does not pay them back. He goes to people to ask for financial assistance and make people feel you are not taking good care of him as he serves in the church/office.

  7. DEOTREPHES GROUP – This one is too dangerous, he is famous in the church/workplace, he has power and influence and has a voice amongst the people. He speaks malicious words behind your back. He is poisonous, he can come with stories that can totally destroy your image as a Leader. He can come up with serious lies that cause people to leave your church/job. He will come with stories that you are eating church/company money, you are sleeping with women/men and you are also using evil power to grow your church/work. His stories are very harmful and dangerous.

Therefore, I pray that God will give you wisdom to deal with all these kinds of spirits like Lord Jesus did, because, no Leader can rise to higher level of his calling/workplace until all these spirits have been dealt with in his church/establishment. And if you deal with them in a carnal way you can cause more damage to yourself and your calling/job. Depend on the Holy Spirit as Jesus did, He will help you. May you receive discerning spirit to deal with these spirits as they manifest in Jesus name. May you receive supernatural power to over come their unleash and finish strong in Jesus name. Amen.

 

12 THINGS EVERYBODY SHOULD DO IN 2018

 

By: Counselor Fenyi


12 THINGS EVERYBODY SHOULD DO IN 2018

  1. Pursue something. Don’t walk in the entire 365 days without having something particular in mind to achieve. Start a building project, buy a car, pay some school fees, start some job. Just do something!
  2. Walk with people wiser or stronger than you. In 2018, surround yourself with people who will inspire you, who will make you feel you can do better, who will challenge you on.
  3. Check your dressing or appearance. Don’t put on ‘anything’ just because it covers your nakedness. Your appearance tells a lot about you. Iron your dress neatly. Don’t wear dresses in the name of fashion or trend . Wear more decent but fitting dresses. This is the slogan: Simple but Classy.
  4. Check how you talk. Before you open your mouth, be mindful of who you are talking to, where you are talking, when you are talking and also know that your integrity is at stake. In every situation, choose silence over speech unless you don’t have any option.
  5. Visit old people’s home to appreciate them, also orphanage and children in need of special care.  Don’t let them feel unwanted or neglected in the scheme of things.
  6. In 2018, be more prayerful. You can’t live your life thinking things occur merely logically. There’s a Supreme Being who makes things happen, pray to him.
  7. In 2018, start thinking or planning towards doing more for humanity.
  8. In 2018, always think Positive while being Realistic. When you see tigers praying to God, don’t join them. You can be positive that they won’t ‘chop’ you since they are praying but be realistic too that after the prayers, they’ll remain tigers and God will feed them with flesh.
  9. Buy gifts for your love ones in 2018, try and do something ‘small’ for parents . You have no idea what  goes on in their minds Let them feel you are not far off
  10. In 2018, Invest more, save less, spend less. Put your money into investment ventures. Buy T-bills, buy shares, buy fixed deposits, import some goods and sell, be a stock broker, etc. In fact, get more than one stream of income!
  11. Many known names have gone and life goes on. The point is, don’t work your life out. You won’t take your work with you when you die. You are not as important as you think, calm down. Take time off work, go and do medical check-up, visit your family, visit gardens or the beach and appreciate nature, etc.
  12. Acknowledge The supremacy of God.

THE USE OF ARMED MILITARY ESCORTS IS NOT THE CHRISTIANITY TAUGHT BY CHRIST! 

 

By: Clement Ntugoku – 


THE USE OF ARMED MILITARY ESCORTS IS NOT THE CHRISTIANITY TAUGHT BY CHRIST!

Christ talked constantly about the need to come out of this world’s society (John 17: 14), the need to prepare for persecution (John 15: 19, 20), and the need to “give up” one’s life in order to truly serve the only One who can actually give us eternal life (Luke 18: 22).

How many of our church leaders and pastors today are ready to tolerate tribulation or persecution which Christ said must “arise because of the word”? – Matthew 13: 21. None!

Rather, they are all interested in using military escorts. In how many military escorts and convoys did Christ or His disciples go during their earthly ministry?

On one occasion, Apostle Paul had to escape death by being let down in a basket through a window by the wall (2 Corinthians 11: 33).

“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?  If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.  The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.  In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:  And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands”

2 Corinthians 11:24‭-‬27‭, ‬29‭-‬33)