FROM THE PREACHER'S LENSES
|Wednesday, June 1, 2022|
eresies i.e. incorrect teachings have been in the Church for as long as in the days of Apostle Peter and Paul and those apostles dealt with them decisively. So if there are any wrong teachings today, particularly if they can cause damages to the Gospel of Christ and our witness, we must equally deal with them, irrespective of the status of whoever perpetrates them.
Apostle Peter wrote in his second letter chapter 2 vs 2
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, 2 And many will follow their evil teaching And because of these teachers, the way of the truth will be slandered. (2Peter 2:1-2).
Apostle Paul also wrote in 2Timothy chapter 4:1-4
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. ----------------- 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths (fables).
Apostle Paul wrote again to the Corinthians:
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest (i.e. differentiated) among you (1Cor. 11:19).
It is interesting to note that apostle Paul listed heresies as one of the fruits of the flesh. Read it in Galatians 5
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies---- (Gal.5: 19-20).
So the topic of my sermon today is " Some Heresies of some of Our High Profile Men of God concerning Christmas & Easter etc"
Let us pray.
Some Heresies of Our High Profile Men of God concerning Christmas & Easter etc
There are many heresies, which some people preach, which we just overlook but there are some, which we cannot overlook, those, which are causing damages to the foundation of our faith and witness.
There is a sect called the Jehovah Witness who are known from the beginning as 'argumentative' They do not believe in heaven. They say they will only inherit the earth. That is their palaver however. The earth, which God will at last burn with fire (2 Peter 3.10). We Christians do not bother about their teachings. No harm is done to us.
They do not also celebrate the birth of Christ popularly referred to as Christmas neither do they celebrate Easter, which we simply without any complexity regard as the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ.
But it becomes worrisome when adored Ministers of the Gospel follow in the dissimulation of this sect; Ministers whose words, we have taken as authority in the Christendom. And because they have made names for themselves, it is not unexpected that people will go with them even as erroneous, damaging and dangerous those teachings can be. It is very unfortunate that they are destroying the foundation of the same Gospel, which they say they are propagating due to their "I too know"
How I wish everyone can be as the Berean Church. Dr. Luke who wrote the book of the Acts of Apostles described this Church as noble.
Apostle Paul no doubt is taller than all others. Even, Apostle Peter, the leader of the twelve had high respect for him, yet the Berean Church did not just take his teachings; hook, line and sinker but returned home to study the Scripture themselves to confirm whether what was taught them was correct or not (Acts 17: 11). The followers of these high profile Pastors must start to behave like the Berean Church.
They have already carved names for themselves in the Christendom and we respect them. Christians and non Christians alike have taken them as authority in matters concerning the Christian faith, such that their members make every effort to mimick or imitate their voice; speak and pray the way they do. No qualm or jealousy but they should be careful of their utterances not to continue to be a stumbling block to young believers neither should they confuse those who are trying to find their path to salvation. They are already popular, so whose popularity do they seek again? To please the unbelievers so that they can miss the path and go to hell?
How can someone of their status go to the media and announce that Christmas and Easter celebrations are paganistic?
I have many relations and friends who are yet to accept the only way to the salvation of their soul. I come across people on daily basis who have not accepted the grace and the gift of God through Jesus Christ, who depend on that their religious zeal to take them to heaven.
Christmas and Easter are the bedrock, pillars and pivots of our faith. They are the best of times to introduce Christ to the unsaved. All of a sudden, a newspaper has it as its headline "Christmas and Easter celebrations are paganistic" quoting a high profile man of God.
What a lie. What a damage!
They say the date, December 25, was originally a day of celebration to one certain pagan god. But does that in anyway mean that we are celebrating any Demon when we celebrate the birth of our Lord on that day? And who remembers again, the god they celebrated on December 25 hundreds of years ago? Celebration of the birth of the King of kings and the Lord of Lords has taken over the celebration of a pagan god. Is that good or evil? Does that make the celebration of Jesus on December 25 paganistic?
They say December 25 could not be the date Jesus was born. Ok, let them tell us the date if they know it. Does everyone know his precise date of birth? Yet such people fix a certain date based on the history of events that took place about the time they were born.
True, we read it nowhere in the Bible where Jesus asked us to celebrate His birth. Celebration of it is from the grateful hearts of we, who appreciate Him for redeeming us with His blood from eternal doom.
And on the day, which He rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, did He oppose the women and children (crowd) who spread their garments on the road ahead of him while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road and the people all around him were shouting:
"Praise God[d] for the Son of David!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
Praise God in highest heaven? (Matthew 21: 1-8).
And when the envious religious elders rebuked Him for not quieting the crowd, He replied, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!" (Luke 19: 40) NLT
This is sufficient for us to know that the Lord is pleased with us and feels honored by separating a day in the year to mark and celebrate His coming to the world to pay the penalty of our sins so that we can be reconciled with God. He is certainly pleased that we appreciate the suffering He went through to redeem us, so we celebrate it and His resurrection, which we, simple minds call Easter.
They say the Easter celebration has a paganistic origin. But what everyone; Christians and non Christians, understand about Easter is simply a time when our Lord was crucified, died and rose after three days. Of course millions of Christians think that He might have been crucified on a earlier day before Friday. But the Jewish calendar is not Gregorian. Besides, all the days of their festivals are regarded as Sabbath and not only Saturdays. And does that mean it is a sin when we mark it in commemoration of His death and resurrection? All that is important is that He was crucified and He rose from the dead and no one disputes this in history. All other stories, to me are idle talks.
The Gospel of Christ is very simple and I do not understand why these High profile servants of God want to make it complex as if they are the only ones who can do research.
Apostle Paul and Peter warned several times of generating unprofitable controversies. Let us look at some of those warnings:
To Timothy he counselled "Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly (1Tim.4:7)"
To same Timothy again in his second book to him
Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer-------. 18They have left the path of truth, ------ in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.
"Again I say, don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights (2 Tim.2:16-18, 23)"
I have courage to preach this sermon based on this counsel of Paul before this erroneous teaching reaches stage 4 of cancer
To Titus, Paul wrote "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless 10 Warn a divisive person. (Titus 3: 9-10) NIV"
At another time to Timothy he wrote,
14 Keep reminding God's people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen (2 Tim 2:14)"
Apostle Paul wrote the Church in Colosse
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ (2 Colossians 2: 8).
Apostle Paul wrote the Ephesian Church:
We will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies, so clever they sound like the truth (Ephesians 4:14)
Apostle Peter wrote:
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness (2Peter 3:17)
Apostle Paul wrote the Galatian Church
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal.5:1)
I belong to some social platforms through which, some of us reach the unsaved souls and all of a sudden, some media houses to come with a Headline "Christmas and Easter celebrations are paganistic" quoting one of the highly celebrated Pastors. What a damage to our witness! What a confusion! What a contradiction! Do the unbelievers have the time and patience to read through the argument? They have heard all they needed to harden their hearts against their salvation.
We have read in this sermon, several serious warnings from Apostle Paul and Peter to people who cause schism in the Church. Of course we cannot all have same interpretations to all Bible verses but not on a subject like the Birth, death and resurrection of our Saviour and a situation, which can lead to confusion in the hearts of the people who are trying to find salvation for their souls.
Paul wrote the Corinthian Church:
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no schism among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1Cor 1:10)"
He also wrote the Roman Church:
"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but enjoy the company of the lowly. Do not be conceited. Do not be too wise (Romans 12:6)"
But more seriously, these our senior men of God must properly understand, as spelt out by our Lord, the consequences of making little ones (in the faith) to stumble (Matthew 18:6).
What more popularity do they seek or they just want to prove that they are on a higher class of Christianity? What else do they want, we call them Baba and we adore them but must they destroy the witness of our Lord?
They are wasting their energy on teachings that are worthless as if there are no other worthy things they ought to focus on? Are they happy with the confusion in which we are in the country, where there is no orderliness, where fraudulent practices and extortion, cheating, yahoo yahoo activities, murder, terrorism, banditry, ritual killings, emptying of the treasury by politicians and Civil servants are the order of the day, thereby making the citizens miserable?
Is there nothing they can do about the poverty that is making millions of people to backslide and losing their salvation? I always say it that the Ministers that control large followers, if they desire, can turn with the power of God the unfortunate tide of events in the country around but they say it is not their calling. So which is their calling when the majority of their followers are backsliding under the burden of poverty?
The Northern parts of Nigeria, where preaching the name of Christ is dangerous is one place that their presence is needed. They are gloating in the south with the large crowd at their meetings. Why do they not spread their nets to the North of Nigeria? The day they concentrate their attention on things that are profitable, that is the day they will no longer have the time for unprofitable heresies.
Actually, the confusion they are causing did not just start today. It is from the beginning. I have been meeting them in my days in Lagos towards the mid 70's.
1. They did not accept anyone to be a Christian except you are one of them. I couldn't careless about that actually. My relationship with Christ is personal and I can't be bothered with what they think of me.
2. At the beginning, they described TV set as a Devil's box. I have a friend who was one of them. He went overseas on a management course and came with a TV set. Before any of the members would visit his house and observe that he already had it, he reported it himself and he was kicked out of his post in the Church. Thanks to God, they now use same Devil's box to the glory of God.
3. Also in the beginning, they saw wearing of lace clothing as worldly and those who had them discarded them. I was told of a gentleman who we grew up together in the faith but had found love with them and went to the extreme of not only burning all his lace materials but those belonging to his uncle, who was actually his foster father, who raised him up. The foster father, late, was a highly spiritual Bishop of the Anglican Communion.
5. This next one I want to say is very annoying. During the Covid-19 pandemic, some of these Holier-than thou Churches donated huge amount of money and food relieves to a Federal government that has zero financial accountability. Can they be so na´ve? Did they not understand and envisage that the money will eventually end up in the private pockets of the government officials who were already stinkingly wealthy with the commonwealth? Yet their members and workers were groaning under the burden of economic strangulation and extreme poverty? I see their members and workers and children and I pity them as they look so malnourished like people having one kind of malignancy or the other.
Unfortunately, a State Conference of my own constituency, Lagos State Baptist Conference followed in the hypocrisy. It delivered lorry loads of food stuff to Alausa Secretariat for people whose bellies have protuded due to over eating. I see those actions as eye service that have no blessings from God but reprimand.
If those who are allotted oil blocks gave money to the government, they know what they are doing, they are only paying back their dues and for the benefit of future rewards, but for Pastors whose members are suffering from poverty to go and give the donations, which those poor members gave to the Church to a government that has no financial credibility has no wisdom. I know their followers will tell me "Baba does not do anything except God had instructed him" You can as well tell me that God told Baba that all your hard earned sacrificial offerings should be dumped in the Atlantic ocean"
Let us pray.