Facebook Ministry

When has “go, stand, preach” (Acts 5:20), “go into all the world” (Mark 16:15), “stand in the courtyard and speak” (Jeremiah 26:2), “enter the house” (Matthew 10:11-15), turned into “log in and update your status”?

If “updating you status” counted as preaching the Gospel then all Mission groups should recall all their missionaries and give them iPads so they can update their statutes and win souls. If “updating you status” counted as preaching the Gospel then your unbelieving friends are preaching more than you do. Aren’t they posting bible verses in their walls/timelines?

Go out and preach the Gospel, and stop hiding behind “facebook ministry”.

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Legalistic social hoops

 

There’s a very destructive colonialism mentality that African believers need to repent from. Africans have been introduced to legalistic social hoops that unbelievers have to go through before they are welcomed as believers. For instance, where in the bible does it say a believer has to wear a suit to church? Where in the bible does say it say women have to wear skirts while men wear trousers? Where in the bible does it say believers have to tithe?

These things may look minor but very destructive! Why would a man living in rags be a believer when he’s required to wear suits to church? Why would a man who doesn’t even have food on the table because of his little income be a believer when he’ll be commanded to tithe from the very little he has, when the tithe is not even going to be used to feed the poor but to enrich the pastor? We are shutting the door of the Gospel in the faces of the poor and destitute because of what European and American missionaries have mistakenly brought to our shores along with the Gospel.

We should stop the tendency to discriminate against the poor and destitute, while we run after the affluent. Let us not neglect the rich, but let the Gospel be preached to the poor as a matter of urgency. And when the poor convert we shouldn’t try to turn them into images that we think best suit the Gospel. The poor are desperate for the Gospel, and we should remove all social hoops that are in place.

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Planting churches

Only lately have I realised that every Christian is called to plant churches. We should stop declaring ourselves evangelists who only preach but never disciples anyone. (I hate discipling by the way). Evangelising is Step 1, Step 2 is discipling, Step 3 is planting a church, Step 4 is equipping those in the church to start from Step 1 by themselves, including you.

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Hellfire Sermon

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Jehovah Witnesses say hell is unreasonable

The below article is a continuation of this fiercely debated article between myself and Emeth, a Jehovah Witness.

 

To Jehovah Witnesses (JWs), hell is a symbolic place that should never be taken to be literal. In fact every verse in the bible that mentions hell, eternal torment, lake of fire, gnashing of teeth, worms never dies, eternal destruction, etc are all considered symbolic by Jehovah Witnesses, all of them. If you were to ask a Jehovah Witness which portion of the bible is symbolic and which is not symbolic they will tell you that all references to hell in the bible are symbolic, and the rest are not. Jehovah Witnesses will also tell you that the book of Revelations is symbolic, yet they have a booklet called “Armageddon – A catastrophic end” which is based on the book of Revelations but for some reason they don’t consider this to be symbolic. All mentions of hell in the Book of Revelations are considered symbolic by Jehovah Witnesses, yet not Armageddon because it doesn’t contradict their religion.

JWs claim that God won’t send people to hell because (1) it is unreasonable (2) it is repugnant to justice (3) it is contrary to the principle of love and (4) it is entirely unscriptural. Before we look at these objections, let’s look at the issue that JWs like to bring up in conversations about hell to confuse people. If you were to ask a JW what happens after a person dies then he would say nothing then quote you this verse: “The dead are conscious of nothing at all” (see Ecclesiastes 9:5), and will probably also quote from Psalm 146:3-4 to prove their point further that dead people are actually dead. In my conversations with JWs I always wonder what point they are trying to make by quoting these verses since nobody disagrees that dead people are actually dead. In their booklet called “Where Are The Dead”, they say “We are mortal and do not survive the death of our body. The life we enjoy is like the flame of a candle. When the flame is put out, it does not go anywhere. It is simply gone.” Do JWs believe in annihilationism – a belief that when people die they result in total destruction and they will never ever live again? No they don’t! You are probably confused because it seems like that’s exactly what they believe. JWs believe in the resurrection of the dead, just as the bible teaches. They say: “You see, Jehovah promises that the dead will live again. (Isaiah 26:19) They will be brought back to life. That is the hope of the resurrection…….During a period of a thousand years, the dead will be resurrected and given an opportunity to join the faithful humans on earth in serving Jehovah.

So when JWs say nothing happens after a person dies, they actually mean nothing happens until that particular person is resurrected, along with all humans who ever lived, and appear to God for judgement. (It’s important to also note that they believe there are people who were buried outside Jerusalem who would not be resurrected because they are not worthy of a resurrection). Let us make it clear that the bible teaches the resurrection of the dead, and people would only appear to God on Judgement Day after the resurrection. So there is no disagreement at this point, except on two points. (1) The bible is clear that all dead people will be resurrected, while JWs say people in Gehenna won’t be resurrected. Jesus said “ for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29). JWs says Luke 12:5 confirm their argument that those in Gehenna won’t be resurrected, but there’s no such suggestion whatsoever otherwise we would be sitting with a major contradiction. You can read Luke 12:5 yourself and determine if there is such a suggestion. Point (2) of disagreement is that JWs believe Judgement Day to be nothing but a second opportunity for those who have done evil, while Jesus said “those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. So judge for yourself if JWs are lying or Jesus is lying. Can “condemn” mean “second opportunity”? Let’s note that other English translations use the word “judgement” (including authorised JWs bible – NWT) instead of “condemn”. Synonyms of “judgement” or “condemn” are convict, sentence, doom, find guilty, censure, denounce, revile, slam, reprimand but not a single synonym close to “second opportunity”, yet JWs say those who did evil will be given “an opportunity to join the faithful humans on earth in serving Jehovah”. In summary, people die, get resurrected, and face judgement.  

Let’s now look at the objections. Is hell unreasonable, repugnant to justice, and not consistent with the principle of love? (We’ll look at the scriptural basis of hell afterwards). These objections are interlinked, so it’s important to answer them concurrently. In my conversation with a Jehovah Witness called Kerry, she said that we can’t compare God to a judge because God should not be a judge to begin with, but rather a God of love and forgiveness. This is one of the primary arguments of Jehovah Witnesses to try and lessen the parallels between how God’s justice works compared to how our civil justice system works. But what does the bible really say? The bible says “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy” (James 4:12). For the benefit of JWs this is not the only scriptural reference, we are told that “The Lord is a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18), “For I, the Lord, love justice” (Isaiah 61:8), and that God commands people to “maintain justice in the courts” (Amos 5:15), amongst hundreds of scriptures that refer to God as a Judge.   

How is it possible that God could give us the Law, just as every country has a Law (Constitution), yet God doesn’t expect us to obey that Law? How could God expect people to obey His Law just as every country expects its citizens to obey the Law, yet God doesn’t put measures in place for those who break His law when countries have those measures? How could God not have his place of punishment when countries have their own place of punishment – jail? How could God call Himself a Judge when He is not willing to do the judging, but He’s expected to substitute justice for love? People who suggest that God can’t be the same as civil judges forget that it was God who appointed civil judges for children of Israel (see the book of Judges). I put it to you that our justice system is based on God’s justice system, although this world’s justice system is not as perfect as God’s justice system is.   

Since we have jail for lawbreakers, then it’s very reasonable that God should have a place of punishment for all who break His Law. If people are not expected to obey the Law and suffer consequences when they don’t, then the Law should not be given at all. So to suggest that hell is unreasonable is to suggest that God was unreasonable to give us the Law in the first place. Doesn’t the bible say God’s Law is perfect (see Psalm 19:7) and wonderful (see Psalm 119:18), so how could we even suggest that it was unnecessary? Didn’t the same God say we should live by this Law, and “carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 26:16). Didn’t the same God say “you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23), or was it was just an idle threat that will never be fulfilled?

To suggest that hell is unreasonable is to suggest that no country should have jail for criminals, but rather they should be given “second opportunity” in life. I wonder what prosecutors, police officers, judges and the society at large will think of a person who says jail is unreasonable but rather all criminals should be released immediately. They’ll probably think that person is mentally handicapped, or hasn’t been in this world for a considerable time to realise the consequences of crime. If you were to go to Germany and say Nazis didn’t deserve jail or death then you’ll probably be the one who is jailed immediately, because Germans know just how wicked Nazis were. Reality is that JWs are not aware of how offensive sin is to God, that’s why they think sin deserves a slap in the wrist rather eternal punishment in hell. Do they understand how offensive was Sodom and Gomorrah to God? Do they understand what Canaanites used to do to children in their worship of Baal? For your info, Canaanites used to throw their children into fire alive so they can please their idol god called Baal. Do you think that kind of behaviour deserves a second opportunity?

JWs also say that God’s love is not compatible with the existence of hell, so we can’t expect a loving God to even think of sending people to hell. Firstly, we know that God is love, and has proved His love to us through Jesus’ DEATH on the cross. Yes, God proved His love by killing Jesus. This is what JWs believe, that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us, yet they claim God’s love is not compatible with justice. It is God’s justice that killed Jesus on the cross, because Jesus carried our sins. Secondly, are JWs suggesting that all these judges who send people to jail and death row are unloving? Are they suggesting that a person can’t be lovingly and be a lawyer, police officer, judge, or soldier because he might have to apply justice? If that’s the case then all these professions are only for hateful people, but JWs won’t admit to that because some of them are holding these professions. Love is not suspension of justice, but rather fulfilment of it. That is exactly what God showed with Jesus. He loved Jesus and He loved us, which meant He had to apply His justice on the cross.

JWs will say hell is too much a punishment hence it’s a repugnant to justice. But we know that hell is not an unjust punishment. The punishment a person gets in a court of Law is based on the number of charges he has been convicted of and the severity of them. If a person is charged with 100 similar crimes and each of them carries 1 year in prison, then we don’t expect him to get less than 100 years in prison. This is why it’s possible for a person to get 5 life sentences even though he’s only expected to live once, because he may have committed crimes that carry a life sentence each. Reality is that people sin at least 10 times a day against God, as each sin is the same as having broken all of them. This can total to more than 100 000 sins in a lifetime, in fact lying alone can get close to that number. If a person were to be convicted of 100 000 crimes in a court of law then we don’t expect that person to get 1 year in jail, but rather a life sentence at the least. God gave us His sentence in His Law, He said “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), not just death but also their part in their lake of fire (see Revelations 21:8). So 100 000 sins carries with them 100 000 death sentences. We know that this is the true measure of God’s justice because He has already proved it. For instance, He killed a couple for lying (see Acts 5), killed Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality and immorality (see Genesis 19), killed Nadab and Abihu for unauthorised incense (see Leviticus 10), and had a man stoned for blasphemy (Leviticus 24). So it’s of no use to debate if God is capable of punishing sinners when he has already done it before.

We are told by JWs that hell is entirely unscriptural, but there are so many scriptural references for hell which JWs consider symbolic, but for the sake of argument let us use this one story by Jesus. We are given a glimpse of a man in Hades by Jesus. In the story of the “Rich Man and Lazarus”, Jesus tell us that the rich man died, was buried and he went to Hades where he was in torment, anguish and in blazing fire (see Luke 6:19-31). In this story it is clear that the man is in Hades (translated as hell in English), because he was in torment, anguish and in blazing fire (as translated by NWT). We are told that Lazarus was not in that place. If Hades in this case is nothing but a place for dead people, then Ecclesiastes 9:5 tells that dead people don’t have consciousness, yet this man is crying out for mercy and asking for water, and in his own words he is in “anguish in this blazing fire” (NWT). So how is it possible for a dead person who is not supposed to be conscious of anything to even speak, never mind feel pain? We are told that the man was in agony, so is Hades (which is a place for dead people according to JWs) a place where people are subjected to agony, torment, anguish and blazing fire? This is a major contradiction for a JW, but we know that Jesus was referring to what we know as hell. If Hades can’t be translated as hell in English then that is not a problem. But we do know that there is a place called Hades where people are subjected to agony, torment, anguish and blazing fire, and that is a place that I’m warning you about. But since I’m not writing this in Greek, and Hades is Greek, can I call it hell – the English translation?

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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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FLEE SEXUAL IMMORALITY (Part 3)

by Joseph Chiagoziem

Believers have no excuse to follow or be carried with the tide of sexually immorality that is sweeping across our society today. God has shared with us His holy and divine nature through His Son, Jesus Christ. He has also given us His Spirit of holiness to help and strengthen us to be holy as He is holy. We also have God’s Holy Word as the incorruptible seed to fill our mind with so that we may bear the fruit of holiness. Also, we have in the Bible a clear record of things that happened to the men of old so that we may learn from them. The Scripture furnishes us with account of how Joseph continually resisted and rejected sexual advances from his master’s wife, and fled when she wanted to rape him. (Gen 39:1-12). This is to show to us that sexual purity is attainable in a perverse generation and to encourage and strengthen our hearts to pursue it. We also have a record of how David the anointed Psalmist and King of Israel fell into adultery with Bathsheba because he fixed his eyes on her nakedness while she was bathing. (2 Sam. 11:1-5). This is to warn us against being careless with what we stare at or fix our eyes on. We cannot be constantly staring at nude pictures or pornographic films and think we shall not fall into sexual immorality. We also have the story of Reuben the firstborn of Jacob who lost his birthright blessing through sexual immorality to warn us of the great consequence of sexual sin. (Gen. 49:3-4).

In our first two editions on this issue we consider some of the basic truths that we need to know about sexual sins which can help us to experience a constant victory over sexual temptations. Firstly, sexual immorality is a spiritual force that we cannot overcome by our natural strength. Sexual urge or drive is the strongest passion in man. There are immoral spirits which drive and enslave men to sexual immorality or perversion. It therefore takes the higher power of the Holy Spirit to resist and overcome immoral forces, and control sexual urge or drive. Secondly, sexual immorality proceeds from our depraved heart or sinful nature inherited from Adam. However, when we surrender our lives to Jesus and receive Him as our Saviour and Lord, we become a partaker of God’s holy and divine nature, and cannot consistently walk in sexual immorality. Thirdly, we also said that sexual immorality is a thought before an act. Though born again and Spirit-filled, we may still fall into sexual sins or remain addicted to pornographic films or materials and sinful sexual habits if we fail to take charge of our thoughts. We must consciously and constantly expose our mind to God’s word which can cleanse, renew and reset our mind. However, if we still expose our mind to corrupt seeds, our actions will remain corrupt. Whatever thought we allow, accommodate or cherish in our mind will eventually translate into action.

Fourthly, sexual immorality is mostly committed behind closed doors, in a secluded place, and in the dark. Sexual perversions are works of darkness; your victory comes by walking in the light. You can escape the tide of sexual immorality that is sweeping men and women to eternity of sorrow, pain and regret if you avoid placing yourself in a compromised setting or environment. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Eph. 5:11). The Bible warns us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Rom. 13:14). When you follow your old ungodly friends to a party or club, you are setting up yourself for sexual immorality. When you visit a young man/woman living alone late in the night behind closed doors, you are making provision for the flesh to fulfil its lusts. When you choose to live in the same room with a man/woman you are not legally married to, you have put yourself in a compromised situation and will not be able to resist sexual temptations. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). Sex is created by God, but confined within the context of marriage for the purpose of procreation, intimacy, and pleasure. It is only within the marriage setting that sex is a blessing. Outside the marriage setting sex is a sin and a curse.

Lastly, sexual immorality defiles and destroys the body, the temple of God. It is not just a sin or wickedness against God or someone else; it is also a great wickedness against yourself. The Scripture warns: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18). Sex is created by God, but confined within the context of marriage for the purpose of procreation, intimacy, and pleasure. It is only within the marriage setting that sex is a blessing. Outside the marriage setting sex is a sin and curse: it will give you guilt and expose you to shame; erode your confidence and leave you with low self-esteem; abort your dreams and swallow up your destiny; expose you to deadly diseases and demonic oppression; multiply your sorrow and compound your problems. Only a fool will sacrifice his
colourful future and eternal destiny for few moments of sexual pleasure.

Beloved, when you engage in sexual immorality as a believer, you are actually evicting the Holy Spirit from your life, and when He leaves, your life will become desolate and miserable. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Cor. 3:16-17). When Samson defiled the temple of God, the Holy Spirit left him, and he ended up as a good sport to his enemies. (Judg. 16:1-31). Nevertheless, when Samson turned and cried again to the LORD, God heard him. Regardless of the valley, pit or prison where the tide of sexual immorality has dumped you, if you repent today and cry out to God, He will bring you out and restore all that you have sacrificed on the altar of sinful sexual pleasure. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

Father Lord, I repent today of all my sexual immorality. Forgive me and bring me out of the valley and prison of sin. Restore me today Oh Lord and restore all that I have lost on the altar of lust and immorality, in Jesus’ name. Amen

 

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