Archive for Salvation

Mafia, God and Justice

I have finally had the pleasure to publish my first ever book, which is evangelistic by nature. You can get an e-book copy at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Mafia-God-Justice-meets-justice-ebook/dp/B019N13274/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451467982&sr=8-1&keywords=mafia+god+and+justice

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Hellfire Sermon

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Crowns awaiting Christians in heaven

Jesus promises to give us crowns as a reward for all we have done as Christians. We are not saved by works, but the works we do as Christians count a lot towards our heavenly rewards. Jesus said “My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelations 22:12). There are five different types of crowns:

  1. Known as the incorruptible crown, this is a crown that would be given to those who discipline themselves and run the race of Christianity with all endurance (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-25). Matthew Henry commenting on this crown said “those who pursue the interests of their souls, must combat hard with fleshly lusts. The body must not be suffered to rule. The apostle presses this advice on the Corinthians. He sets before himself and them the danger of yielding to fleshly desires, pampering the body, and its lusts and appetites. Holy fear of himself was needed to keep an apostle faithful: how much more is it needful for our preservation! Let us learn from hence humility and caution, and to watch against dangers which surround us while in the body.” Every athlete trains hard for the race, and keeps a certain dietary requirements to be able to be at his best during the race, and that’s no different to us as Christians. We need to train our body and keep it in subjection to God’s commandments, and make sure that we are very careful at everything that is consumed by our body, so to make sure that our body doesn’t consume sin that will compromise our ability to finish this race to glory. In every race there is a prize, and this race is not different. Those who race in Olympics get gold medals that don’t last for eternity, but we will get medals that will shine in their brilliance for all eternity.
  2. There would be a crown for all those who took efforts to win souls for the Kingdom of God. Those who stand in street corners to preach; those who give up their lives to be missionaries, those who risked their jobs so they can witness to their colleagues, and all those who wrote books and magazines, all for the salvation of men. The bible says “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). Apostle Paul, probably the greatest soul winner the world has ever known, addressing those he won for the Kingdom said “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19). If you are doing all you can for the salvation of men, then know that your labour is not in vain. This crown should also motivate those who don’t share the Gospel to defy their fear of men and step out in faith for the Gospel.
  3. Most Christians in the West have never faced persecution or similar trials, but we know that there are more than 40 million Christians who were killed in the 20th century for their faith. We also know that 10 of the 12 original disciples of Jesus were all martyred for the Gospel. Since the first recorded Christian martyrdom of Stephen in the 1st century, many millions of Christians have been killed by the sword, thrown into lion dens, burnt at stakes, crucified, stoned, thrown in jail to die, all for Christ’s sake. Today if you are raised in a Muslim family and convert to Christianity, Islamic Law allows your parents to stone you to death, or the Islamic council can charge you with apostasy and sentence you to death, just as Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani or Iran found out. In all this persecution, the biblical message is this: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). If you are afraid of living for Christ because of expected persecution, then the bible says: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  (Revelations 2:8-11). Every Christian who has suffered persecution for Christ’s sake will receive glory and praise from Jesus with a crown to go with it. Persecution should never discourage us!
  4. As Christians we are looking forward to the glorious hope which is the second coming of Christ. We anticipate Jesus’ second coming by saying ““No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”, not by engaging in useless debates about when Jesus would come back as some are in the habit of doing. We don’t anticipate Christ’s return so He can crush our enemies and prove to the whole world that we were correct all along and they were wrong, but we anticipate it so He can “redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good”. The return of Jesus should make us tremble because of those who are unsaved, who will be subject to His wrath, and His anticipated second coming should move us with fear to warn others of the wrath to come. As His day comes closer we should move with great fear to stand in street corners and shout at the roof of our mouths the news that today is the day of salvation. We should look forward to Christ’s appearing, because “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
  5. Being a leader within the church of Christ is very important, and the contribution of faithful leaders won’t be overlooked. At this time when many so-called leaders are plundering the church coffers to fill their own pockets, while killing the spirit of their parishioners with their heresy, no wonder Jesus has promised a crown to faithful leaders within the church. The bible says “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” (1 Peter 5:1-4).

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Promises from Jesus to a Christian

We as Christians don’t have reason to be discouraged even in the midst of adversity, persecution or even death. We have promises from our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. He said “To him who overcomes:

  • I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (see Revelations 2:7)
  • Will not be hurt at all by the second death (v11)
  • I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it (v17)
  • I will give authority over the nations— ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. (v26-28)
  • They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (3:4-5)
  • I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (v12)
  • I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (v21)

These promises may look farfetched to us, but we will definitely get each and every one of them, only if we overcome.

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FLEE SEXUAL IMMORALITY (Part 2)

It is indeed a great challenge to stay sexually undefiled in this present sexually charged, inclined, and perverse generation. In the first part of this piece, two basic truths about the nature of sexual immorality were explained. Firstly, sexual immorality is a spiritual force stronger than our natural will or strength. Without the help and enabling of the Holy Spirit which is available to all God’s children, it is impossible to withstand the evil tides and surges of sexual immorality. It is the Holy Spirit who delivers us from the compelling and controlling influences and power of immoral spirits. (Rom. 8:2). Secondly, sexual immorality proceeds from the heart. It is one of the diverse manifestations and works of the flesh (Mark 7:21-23, Gal. 5:19). So, until your depraved heart or sinful nature inherited from Adam is changed, you will remain addicted to sexual immorality or perversion. God offers us His divine nature through Jesus Christ. When you receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and Lord, you become a partaker of God’s nature and cannot therefore happily continue in sexual sins, for “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9).

It is however possible to be genuinely born again and be Spirit-filled, speaking in tongues, and yet fall into sexual sins or even become addicted to worldly and corrupt music, pornography, sex films, masturbation and such immoral sexual habits. The Scripture and history is replete with accounts of great and anointed men and women of God who fell into sexual sins and some who even got drowned completely in the ocean of sexual immorality. It is therefore ignorance and foolishness to think that our spiritual gifting and anointing of God can shield us from the surges of sexual immorality. Nevertheless, every true believer, born of God and Spirit-filled, has all that it takes to overcome the force of sexual immorality and stay sexually pure in this ungodly generation.

Thirdly, in order to overcome sexual immorality we need to know that it is first a thought before an act. This is why Jesus warns:”But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28). When you tolerate, accommodate or cherish unclean or immoral thoughts in your heart, you will eventually commit the act when given the opportunity. Unless you take charge of your thoughts, you cannot control your actions, because your thoughts form the basis of your actions. Your thoughts are the seeds while your actions are the fruits. It is whatever seed you sow in your mind or allow the media or anyone else to sow in your mind that you will eventually reap. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7). When you tolerate, accommodate or cherish unclean or immoral thoughts in your heart, you will eventually commit the act when given the opportunity. Unless you take charge of your thoughts, you cannot control your actions, because your thoughts form the basis of your actions.

When you incline your ears to listen to ungodly and sexually induce music, you are sowing seeds of lust and immorality in your mind. When you watch sex films or stare at nude pictures or pornographic materials, you are filling your heart with seeds that will bear the fruits of sexual immorality. When you keep company or hang out with immoral friends who communicate in filthy and corrupt slangs, you have opened your mind to serve as good soil for corrupt seeds of lust and immorality. The Scripture admonishes you to be a good gatekeeper at the gates that lead to your mind – your eyes, ears, and mouth. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23).
Beloved, daily victory over sexual immorality will remain a mirage until you are able to renew your mind by constantly and consciously imbibing God’s word, thereby putting off or unsetting your former mindsets on sex or pleasure. In many culture and society today, sexual immorality or perversion is acceptable as a way of life. They see nothing wrong or outrageous in sex before or outside marriage, homosexuality or lesbianism, pornography or masturbation. Anyone with such an immoral mindset or debased value cannot pursue and attain sexual purity. It is therefore a must for you to carefully examine your heart today, your thought-pattern, your value system, and the principles that govern your life and action. If they don’t conform to or align with God’s Word, they must be discarded and put off immediately. Until you accept and adopt God’s values and principles, you cannot live a life that is acceptable to God. Having been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, you need to consciously, constantly, and diligently expose your mind to God’s Word. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Fill your heart with the incorruptible seed of God’s Word and it will bear the fruit of sexual purity. “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Psa 119:9).

Father Lord, strengthen me to be a diligent gatekeeper at all the gates that lead to my mind. Help me to fill my mind regularly and constantly with the incorruptible seed, in Jesus’ name. Amen

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FLEE SEXUAL IMMORALITY (PART 1)

by Joseph Chiagoziem

We live today in a society that is highly sexually charged and perverted. Sexual signals are constantly transmitted to us in our homes through the media and in our streets through the billboards and prostitutes who are scantily dressed. In today’s sexually inclined society, television commercials, movies and soap operas without any sexual scene or inducement have become unpopular. Artistes who cannot entertain the audience with their nakedness are no longer celebrated today. Music without sexual undertones is no longer promoted and widely circulated. Nudity, pornography, sex before and outside marriage, homosexuality, lesbianism, masturbation, and other sexual perversions are becoming widely acceptable in our debased society. Unfortunately, our churches also are fast becoming brothels where ladies parade and conduct themselves in indecent dresses and manners. So, at home, in the street, and in the church we are besieged by sexual waves and surges.

Notwithstanding how sexually depraved our society or church has become, God has neither changed nor lowered His standard of sexual purity. It is still adultery to look at a woman lustfully even without sleeping with her.”But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28). Sex before or outside marriage is still a sin and unacceptable to God. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb. 13:4). Though it is becoming increasingly difficult or challenging to stay sexually pure in our sexually charged and debased society, yet sexual purity is not impossible or unattainable. How can we stand against today’s evil sexual tide? How do we overcome sexual temptations that come our ways on a daily basis and stay sexually pure? Understanding the nature, power, and consequences of sexual immorality is critical and helpful to overcoming it and to staying sexually pure or undefiled.

Firstly, sexual immorality is a spiritual force. There are demons, unclean spirits or evil powers behind all filthy movies, sexually induced TV commercials and music, pornographic materials, and all forms sexual perversions. These spirits always seek to possess and enslave us, manipulate and rule our emotions, lure and drive us into sexual immorality in subtle ways, and make us addicted to sinful sexual habits. Mere resolution, determination or strong will is therefore not enough for constant victory over sexual immorality because it is a spiritual battle. Unfortunately, the fall of man through disobedience to God has greatly weakened the spirit of man and made man subservient to these immoral spirits. (Eph. 2:1-3). Thank God for His great love towards us in sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver and revive us, and also restore to us our God-given dominion that we lost in Adam. Though it is becoming increasingly difficult or challenging to stay sexually pure in our sexually charged and debased society, yet sexual purity is
not impossible or unattainable.

Moreover, God has also given us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our inner man and empower us to resist and overcome the negative influences and manipulations of these unclean spirits. The Scripture testifies: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2). It is only the power and influence of the Spirit of holiness, the Holy Spirit, which can deliver our souls or minds from the negative influence, dominion and control of the immoral spirits. Anyone who is therefore not genuinely born again and Spirit-filled stands no chance against the controlling power and influence of the evil spirits and forces behind sexual immorality. Unless you constantly yield and submit to the Holy Spirit, you will be swept off by the evil tides and surges of sexual immorality.

Secondly, sexual immorality is a matter of the heart. The Scripture declares:”For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications…”All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”(Mark 7:21-23). Everyone is born with a natural tendency or inclination towards sexual immorality, for we are all born with a depraved heart, a sinful nature, the flesh, the body of sin. (Rom. 6:6). Victory over sexual immorality is therefore absolutely impossible without a new heart or a new nature which only God can give. You share of God’s nature when you become born again through genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. (1 John 3:9, 2 Pet. 1:3-4). However, this is just the starting point in your walk of holiness. Having received the divine nature of God, you are expected to set before you and pattern your life after Jesus Christ who “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15). It is only in Christ that you can find a refuge from the evil surges of sexual immorality that are drowning and sweeping away lives and destinies of many people today. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Prov. 18:10). Beloved, it takes coming regularly to God’s presence, seeking for His grace, wisdom, strength, and help to stay sexually pure in this perverse generation. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (1 Chro. 16:11).

Father Lord, strengthen me in my inner man by Your Spirit to resist and reject every negative influence and manipulation of immoral spirits, in Jesus’ name. Amen

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What is being born-again

A person is born-again when he has repented from his sins and has faith in Jesus Christ. But why does a person need to be born-again? God gave us the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20), which He expected every human to obey, and failure which results in sin. So sin is breaking the Ten Commandments. The bible tells us that a person who sins will die (see Ezekiel 18:3). But the death that the bible talks about is NOT this death that everybody suffers, but death in hell also known as second death (see Revelations 21:8). You can know if you have sinned against God by asking yourself if you have lied (9th commandment), stolen anything even when you were young (8th commandment), looked at a woman with lust or committed fornication (7th commandment), etc. If you have done these things, then you have surely sinned against God, and you will face His judgement after you die.

But God is merciful and doesn’t want to send people to hell, which is why He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. So Jesus took the punishment that we deserved, so we don’t have to be sent to hell by God. But we need to repent (leave our sins) from our sins and have faith that Jesus is able to save us from God’s judgement and give us strength to live a holy life. This is what is meant by being born-again, and this is what I have done. I left my sins even though I enjoyed them, so I can be at peace with God. And I hope you can do the same.

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