Summaries of sermons
God's Kingdom Society
IS THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES STILL RELEVANT FOR CHRISTIANS TO CELEBRATE TODAY?
While the Jews were travelling from Egypt to Canaan, God Almighty through His servant Moses commanded them to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days starting from the fifteenth day of the seventh month, known as Tishri or Ethanim, when they had gathered in the fruit of the land. The first and eighth days were to be Sabbaths meaning that there was to be on those days an entire suspension of ordinary labour of all kinds. On those days they would hold holy convocations in which the priests taught the people the law of God, including the proper manner of conducting worship and reminded them of the great deeds God had wrought for them in the past. (Deuteronomy 31:10-13) For the entire seven days they were to make an offering by fire unto the LORD according to each person’s ability.
They were further instructed to take the “boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook” and to rejoice before the LORD seven days. They were to dwell in booths for the duration of the feast. The essence of their dwelling in booths was to remind them that God Almighty made them to dwell in booths, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. (Leviticus 23:33-43) During the celebration in the land of Israel, the natural Jews erected booths on the flat roofs of houses, in the streets or fields while the celebrants carried light branches of various trees in triumphal procession, singing psalms and crying “Hosanna!” which signifies, “Save, we beseech thee!” -Psalm 118:15,25,26.
After the Babylonish captivity the Jews under Nehemiah the Governor and Ezra the Priest read the Scriptures and on realizing the importance of the Feast, celebrated it with great joy. – Ezra 3:1-5; Nehemiah 8:14-17
It is important to point out that of the three great festivals which God Almighty ordained that His people should celebrate in time of old, it is only the Feast of Tabernacles otherwise called the “Feast of Ingathering”, that Christians should continue to celebrate. The others, the Feast of Weeks and the Passover are no longer to be celebrated in the Christian era.
It was because of the significance or relevance of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Christian era that Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, took active part in its celebration. He addressed the people “in the midst of the Feast” as it is written: “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”
On the “Last and Great Day” of the Feast Jesus Christ made a clarion call on all people of goodwill who are thirsty for the truth and salvation of God to come to him for succour as it is written: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Many people believed on him on that occasion. (John 7:1-38). Why did Jesus Christ the founder of Christianity celebrate the Feast so actively. It was no doubt to serve as an example to his disciples. If we are true Christians, then we must follow his example. (John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21)
Christ is now present among men in spirit in fulfilment of Ezekiel 37:27; Revelation 3:3 and chapter 21:1-7, helping, blessing and guiding sincere worshippers of God to His perfect Kingdom which all Christians, be they kings, queens, heads of state or commoners are praying for. – Matthew 6:9, 10. See also Matthew 18:20.
The Feast of tabernacles held during the Jewish era were only types or shadows of greater things in the Christian era. (Hebrews 10:1) By virtue of the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ “once for all” there is no longer any need for sacrifices of animals which used to obtain during the typical celebration of the Feast. (Hebrews 10:10; 1 Corinthians 5:7; etc) Moreover, the letters of the law need not be observed by the spiritual Jews or true Christians now on earth. – Romans 6:14; Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:14-16; 2 Corinthians 3:5,6.
It should be pointed out that the Tabernacle today is no longer the movable tent building or booths in which the Jews dwelt during the Feast. Rather, the Tabernacle is Jesus Christ, “the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands…” (Hebrews 8:1,2; 9:11; Isaiah 33:20) Now that Jesus Christ, the Tabernacle of God is now with his people in spirit, it is required of all to celebrate this Feast in his honour. – Revelation 21:3; John 5:23.
Moreover, there is also a prophetic command that all people who had unknowingly been walking contrary to the will of God, should celebrate the Feast for their own blessings. God declared through the prophet Zechariah: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. “ – Zechariah 14:16-19.
Jerusalem in the above text does not mean Jerusalem in Israel but God’s organization, the “New Jerusalem” from above. (Galatians 4:26; Revelation 21:2) Egypt means the ungodly. (Isaiah 31:1; Revelation 11:8) Rain in this context symbolizes blessings. Isaiah 55:10,11; Ezekiel 34:26; Hebrews 6:7.
During the Feast of Tabernacles 2019 which will be celebrated this year in Salem City, Warri, Nigeria from Sunday 15th December to Sunday 22nd December 2019, members and friends of the GKS Feast sumptuously on the word of God which gives life.(Isaiah 55:1-3; John 6:27) No fewer than 16 public lectures on various topics of the Bible are delivered for the enlightenment of the sheep of God. These include the address of the GKS President Bro. G.O. Ifeacho to the Feast celebrants, which for this year is entitled: “SINCE GOD SEES OUR HEARTS IN ALL WE DO, WE SHOULD BEWARE” All people of goodwill are cordially invited to this important annual Christian festival.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” – Revelation 22:17
HAPPY FEAST OF TABERNACLES!
ARE WOMEN ORDAINED BY GOD TO PREACH THE GOSPEL?
A woman, by reason of her faith, knowledge and good understanding, can rise to a place of honour in the Church but there are offices and privileges which God never assigns to women.
There is not a single instance in the Bible of a woman who was ordained by God as a prophetess to teach or lead His people.
Some women were improperly called prophetesses in the Bible simply because they played roles in the affairs of God’s people. No one however can prove that God ordained any of them. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, was called a prophetess as recorded in Exodus 15: 20, just because she led the women of Israel (not men) in a victory dance after the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea. To show that she was not ordained to be a prophetess, God punished her with leprosy when she joined Aaron to assume that God was also using them, and they murmured against Moses. (Numbers 12: 1-15). It is worthy of note that Aaron was not punished – indeed he was ordained a priest – but Miriam suffered for being presumptuous.
It is a shame for men to be led by women in God’s Organisation, and above all, it is contrary to the will of God. Men ought to rule or lead women. It was when the Jews because of their sins were forsaken by God that women dominated them. And God said: “As for my people, children are their oppressors and women role over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” – Isaiah 3:12.
If it were God’s will that women should hold such a post in His organisation, Jesus Christ would have shown an example by choosing one woman, at least, to be an apostle. But he did not, and even when he selected other 70 disciples whom he sent out, two by two, no woman was included. (Matthew 10: 1-7; Mark 3: 13-19; Luke 10: 1-17)
St. Paul stated: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” (1 Timothy 2: 11-15).
Women must not make speeches in the congregation or assembly of the Lord’s people. Even if they have doubt on any issue, the law stops them from asking questions in the church. As it is written: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 14: 34, 35)
Although women have important duties to do in God’s organisation, they must not be vested with authority to lead or teach men, neither must they be allowed to address the church.
We are not saying that a woman cannot talk God’s word at all – either by teaching her child the fear of God or preaching to another woman. She can, and that does not make her to be ordained by God. St. Paul stated that the aged women should “teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2: 3-5.
CAN CHRISTIANS JUDGE ONE ANOTHER?
There is no support in the Scriptures for the view that Christians should not judge or criticise one another. Rather there is abundance of evidence to the contrary.
The text often referred to by our critics is Matthew chapter 7, verse 1, where it is written: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
The fact is that the interpretation some people give to it is wrong and misleading. Christ himself gave its interpretation in verses 2, 3, 4 and 5. He did not mean that we should not judge or criticise at all. Rather, he meant that before we judge we should make sure that we are in a position to do so in the sense that we ourselves are free from the fault for which we judge others. In support of this principle as established by Jesus Christ, St. Paul stated that whoever condemns sin in others and do the very same thing has no defence at all but condemns himself. He declares: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judges; for wherein thou judgest another, thou consdemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” – Romans 2:1.
When a thing is wrong Christians should have the boldness to say it is wrong; and when they see the truth let them say it and stand by it. This was the character of Jesus Christ when he was on earth. He criticized the Pharisees and Sadducees for their false claims and exposed their evil practices– Matthew 22:29.
The preaching of the gospel involves the pronouncing of the written judgements of God in the Bible in condemnation of unrighteousness. Jesus said that the words he had spoken would judge men in the last day. – John 12:48. How? Through the propagation of the gospel by those he has commissioned through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, to pronounce the written judgement of God is the honour of the saints in particular, and it is also the duty of the saints’ companions who are partakers of their grace to rebuke sin. – Psalm 149: 7-9; Romans 10:13-15; 1 John 2:27; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3; Jude 14, 15; 1 Timothy 5:20, 22; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2; Titus 1:4-9; etc.
Whenever the written judgement is preached, being the truth, it brings to light every false way and has a piercing effect against all on the side of error. St. Paul stated: “But we are sure that the judgement of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.” – Romans 2:2; Hebrews 4:12.
There is always a conflict between truth and falsehood. As light exposes what is hidden in darkness so too the truth uncovers or brings to view lies, hypocrisy and all other hidden things of dishonesty. St. Paul warned “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”. He added: “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” – Ephesians 5:11-13.
For obvious reasons, evil men and those whose teachings are questionable do not want criticism. They always oppose and persecute those preaching the truth.
Criticisms aimed at correcting errors and reproving evils are necessary for progress. “All Scripture is given by the Inspiration of God” said St. Paul, “and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for Correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17.
Our judgment however, must not be malicious or based on false premises put constructive and just. Jesus Christ stated, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7: 24.
The belief that “the human personality continues to exist after death, and that it is possible for living persons to communicate with those who have died”, is ancient and very wide spread.
God commanded Adam in the Garden of Eden that he must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2: 17) It is quite clear that to “surely die” means to cease to exist, pure and simple. But Satan, in his characteristic opposition to God, went subtly to Eve, Adam’s wife, in the guise of a serpent and deceived her saying: “Ye shall not surely die”. This was a blatant lie which gave “the mother of all living” a false hope and led her to sin.
Concerning the devil, Jesus Christ said: “When he (Satan) speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8: 44) In his efforts to sustain his lie, the devil whose disposition for deceit had earned him the notorious title of SERPENT, has been influencing the thoughts of men into thinking and believing that when a man dies, he is not completely dead. Also to this end, he with the assistance of the demons has been working in men to event unfounded dogmas and warped notions about the dead, and to inspire bad dreams, false visions, hallucinations, and such like.
The truth of the Bible is that when a man dies, (the breath of life having left him) he is completely out of existence. He does NOT take any other form or shape nor does he go anywhere to live. He is absolutely unconscious and is turned to nothing: “Vanity of vanities,” said the Preacher, “all is vanity.” The next stage according to God’s promise is RESURRECTION – and then the dead rose shall be judged. Said St. Paul: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” – Hebrews 9: 27.
The Lord warned: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word (God’s word), it is because there is no light in them.” – Isaiah. 8:19, 20.
The Psalmist declared: “For in death there is no remembrance of Thee (God): in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?” “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” – Psalm 6:5; 146:3, 4; see also Psalm 30: 9; Isaiah 38: 18, 19.
What is more, King Solomon stated: “For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished…whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” – Ecclesiastes 9: 5-6, 10.
On the whole, the highlight of the Christian hope about the dead is the consoling, divine promise of resurrection. And until the resurrection takes place the dead must remain silent and unconscious in the grave, and no one living can talk with them. Read Job. 14: 13-15; Psalm 115: 17; John 5: 28, 29.
Circumcision is the act of cutting off the foreskin of a man. It is a practice which the Almighty God enjoined upon Abraham and his descendants. The rule was that a male child should be circumcised when he was eight days old. – Genesis 17: 10-12.
Since that time of Abraham, circumcision has not only become a necessary condition of Jewish nationality but also an act in which the Hebrews take particular glory. When Jesus Christ was born, he too was circumcised the eighth day. (Luke 2: 21) Other nations whose males were not circumcised were regarded by the Jews as unclean people otherwise known as the gentiles. Thus uncircumcision became synonymous, by implication, with heathenism, paganism or infidelity.
As time went on, certain other nations borrowed the Jewish custom of circumcision corrupted it that even their women were circumcised contrary to God’s ordinance. We must say that the circumcision of women is dangerous and very unscriptural. As a result of it some people had untimely lost their daughters or had they deformed for life. It is an unnecessary exercise which medical experts have advised against. When God instituted circumcision, He did not include women. He told Abraham: “Every MAN child (not woman child) among you shall be circumcised,” – Genesis 17: 10.
The argument of some that circumcision is a custom of the people does not justify the practice. The laws of God transcend all man-made customs or traditions. There- fore any custom that is contrary to the will of God must be thrown away by true Christians. – Jeremiah 10: 2,3.
Right from the time of Moses the prophet, God indicated that though the Jews were circumcised in the flesh, there was need yet for them to be circumcised in their hearts so that they might truly “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live”. – Deuteronomy 10: 16; 30: 6.
In the days of the early apostles of Jesus Christ, the question of circumcision aroused considerable controversy when certain men from Judea said to the gentle converts, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved”. To all intents and purposes, this teaching was subversive of genuine Christianity, and so Paul and Barnabas disputed and opposed it. – Acts 15: 1-5. When the matter was discussed in the assembly of the apostles and the elders of the Church at Jerusalem, the decision was reached that it was not necessary for the gentile converts to observe the rite of circumcision. – Acts 15: 6, 22-29.
We must at this juncture stress that in the Christian era, the circumcision of the flesh is of no spiritual significance. Since the advent of Christianity when the way of salvation was opened to the gentiles, circumcision ceased to be a mark of distinction by which Abraham’s spiritual children are to be identified. What is important now is the spiritual circumcision which is a true conversion of the heart, faith in God and the keeping of His commandments. – Romans 2: 25-29; 1 Corinthians 7: 19; Galatians 5: 2-3,6; 6: 12-16.
We can understand, therefore, that neither circumcision in the flesh nor uncircumcision has anything to do with salvation. It is a person who repents of his sins, fears God and serves Him with faith in the true church organisation, that is spiritually circumcised; and it is such that will obtain life eternal in God’s Kingdom. – Philippians 3: 3; Colossians 2: 11.
In closing, we exhort you to be truly circumcised in your hearts so that you may worship the Lord in truth. It does not matter which nation or race or tribe you hail from, because God is no respecter of persons. In every nation he that fears Him and does His will is accepted by Him. – Acts 10: 34, 35: Romans 4: 9-12. 1
DID CHRIST COME FOR THE JEWS ONLY?
HAD God Almighty purposed that the mission of Jesus Christ should be limited to the Jewish nation, Christianity, which he (Christ) founded, would not have attained with an immeasurable success its universal scope. For the salvation of mankind Jesus Christ was sent to the world. It is a denial of the divine grace of salvation, therefore, for any nation to repudiate Christianity or regard it as a foreign religion.
Truly, in fulfillment of prophecies, Jesus Christ was born a Jew, from the tribe of Judah. It was the will of the Almighty God that he (Jesus) should begin his mission on earth at Jerusalem among his kith and kin – the Jews – before the work would in due course extend to other nations. Jesus Christ had the understanding of this purpose of his Father and he worked fully in keeping with it. He himself said: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” – John 6: 38.
After the resurrection of Jesus Christ he appeared to his apostles and opened their hearts to understand the Scriptures. He told them: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until, ye be endued with power from on high.” – Luke 24: 46-49.
The point that is pertinent to our argument is struck by verse 47 of the text which states that it was ordained “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his (Christ’s) name among ALL NATIONS” (not only the Jewish nation) but “BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM”. This parallels precisely with the saying of Sir Thomas Browne (1606-1682) that “charity begins at home”.
So when Jesus Christ said that he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and commanded his disciples not to go to the Gentiles but to the lost sheep of Israel, he knew that the time had not come for the work to cut across to the gentile nations. With God “there is a season to everything, and a time to every purpose”. – Ecclesiastes 3: 1.
Even though Jesus Christ had previously charged his disciples not to go to any city of the Samaritans, he, before his ascension, later indicated that when the apostles should have been endued with power from above, they would carry his message of salvation to Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Here is the Bible’s account: “When they (the apostles) therefore were come together, they asked of him (Christ) saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, AND UNTO THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.” – Acts 1: 6-8.
What is more, Christ commanded the: apostles: “Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NAT IONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world. Amen.”- Matthew 28. 19, 20.
In the light of the foregoing, it is very wrong for anyone to say that Jesus Christ came for the Jews only.
IDENTIFYING THE TRUE CHURCH
According to the Scripture, the word church, which was translated from the Greek word ekklesia or ecclesia, means a congregation or body or an assembly of Christians and not buildings used for worship and some presuppose – Acts 14:27; Romans 16: 5, 16; 1 Corinthians 16: 19. It should be understood, therefore, that our reference to the “true Church” in the caption of this sermon, has to do with a group or body or a society of genuine Christians. The epithet “true” would have been superfluous if there had not existed groups of professed Christians which are counterfeit.
The word was first used by Jesus Christ as recorded in the gospel according to St. Matthew. – Matthew 16: 13-18.
That the rock upon which the church is built is not Peter but Jesus Christ who himself is the head of the Church is clear from the Holy Bible – 1 Corinthians 10: 4; Colossians 1: 18
All the churches cannot be true while they are at variance on several points of doctrine, and divided in their methods of worship. St. Paul stated: “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 divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1: 10) The fact that some have deviated from the truth of God in the Bible and do not speak the same thing and are divided leaves no room for doubt that such ones only call the name of Christ in pretence.
Jesus Christ knew very well that false prophets would proliferate in this age of the last day, and he warned against them in Matthew 24: 11, 24-25
In order to know which church is true and which is not, we must examine the doctrines and practices of the various groups, using the Holy Bible as our yardstick. – Matthew 7: 15-20; 1 John 4: 1; l Thessalonians 5: 21.
The fruit by which we can know the true Church is not the doing of wonders, seeing of visions, dreaming of dreams or the saying of many prayers but the preaching of the TRUTH in particular, and the showing of Christian love. (John 13: 34,35) Once the doctrine of any religious body is tainted with a lie that group is not a true church. St. John stated “that no lie is of the truth”. (1 John 2: 21)
The true Church, therefore, is the Christian Organisation in any part of the world that preaches the truth, nothing but the whole truth, as contained in the Holy Bible. (John 8: 31, 32) It is the truth that will bring us the salvation of God, but the absence of it means the loss of everything good.
As we must be honest and true to ourselves and other persons of goodwill toward God, we cannot hide the fact that the God’s Kingdom Society (GKS) is preaching the truth which has enlightened many people and brought them God’s blessings; she is therefore -like any other church organisation preaching the truth-the true Church of Christ. Some may frown upon this claim but the onus of proof rests upon them to show from the Scriptures (not their opinions) that we are not. And where they cannot let them say, as commanded by God, “It is truth.”-Isaiah. 43: 9; see also John 8: 45, 46.
WHO IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH?
The question as to who is the head of the Church, is one of the issues on which there still exists an area of disagreement. The right answer to this question is of paramount importance because it touches on the very foundation of the divine institution that is known as Church.
When Jesus Christ came to the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples: “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” Some people, the disciples told him, said John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jesus then asked: “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16) Following this reply, Jesus said: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee that: Thou art Peter: and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”- Matthew 16: 17, 18.
When Jesus said, “Thou art Peter”, we know as a rule in grammar that Peter was the second person. And when Christ added, “and upon THIS rock”, we can as well understand that he was no longer referring to the second person – Peter. If peter were the rock, Christ would have said, “Thou art Peter, and upon thee, the rock, I will build my church”. The contrast between “THOU” and “THIS” should not be confused. So when he said, “and upon THIS rock”, Christ was pointing to him- self, the Son of the Living God, as the one upon whom the Church would be built.
In fact, he is the rock or foundation stone. This fact is strengthened by St. Paul’s statement concerning the natural Jews, to wit: “And all drank the same spiritual drink; (And they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them; and THE ROCK WAS CHRIST.)” – 1 Corinthians 10: 4.
Long before the human existence of Jesus Christ it had been foretold that he would be a stone to be laid by God in Zion for a foundation-a stone, though rejected by human builders, that would still become the head-stone. (Psalm 117: 22,23; Isaiah 28: 16) Referring to Jesus Christ, St. Peter said to the Jews: “This is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, which is become the head of the corner…” – Acts 4: 10- 12; 1 Peter 2: 6.
That Christ Jesus is the head of the Church and not St. Peter, there is no doubt. Concerning Christ it is written: “…And He (God Almighty) hath subjected all things under his (Christ’s) feet and hath made him (Christ) head over all the Church…” – Ephesians I: 19-23.
Exhorting the Christians in regard to the duties of husbands and wives, Saint Paul used the relationship between Christ and the Church as an example, and showed that Jesus Christ, not Peter, is the head of the Church. He said, “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord; because the husband is the head of the wife, AS CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore, as the church is subject to Christ (not Peter, we reiterate) so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things.” – Ephesians 5: 22-24.
What is more, Saint Paul described Jesus Christ as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature”. He added: “And he (Christ) is the HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he (Christ) may hold the primacy; because in him, it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell…” – Colossians 1: 15-20.
WAS JESUS THE ONLY CHILD OF MARY?
Note that the belief of the perpetual virginity of Mary is NOT founded on the Scriptures but on “tradition and teaching of the Church”. Not the Church in the Apostles’ days but the Church at the time of Constantine the Emperor of Rome.
The truth is that Mary was a virgin until she gave birth to Jesus Christ. This was so in order to fulfil the prophecy which God caused Isaiah to utter to the effect that a virgin would conceive and bear a son whose name would be Immanuel. – Isaiah. 7: 14; Matthew 1: 23.
Thereafter, Mary lived a normal life and has other children and the facts to prove this, abound in the Holy Bible.
Firstly, if God had ordained that Mary should remain a virgin forever Joseph would not have been permitted to marry her. What the angel told Joseph is quite clear: “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife.” It is unreasonable to imagine that Mary was merely a “traditional” wife who had not the experience of conjugal relationship with her husband.
Secondly, the Gospel account shows vividly that Joseph had carnal relationship with Mary but after the birth of Christ. St. Matthew’s record states that Joseph “took unto him his wife: AND KNEW HER NOT (that is he had no sexual knowledge of her) TILL she had brought forth her firstborn son.” (Matthew 1: 24, 25) The New English Bible renders the text thus: “He (Joseph) took Mary home to be his wife, but had no intercourse with her until her son (Jesus) was born.” This in truth means that after the birth of Mary’s firstborn son (Jesus) Joseph had carnal knowledge of her. And he was perfectly in order; he did not violate the instruction of God, rather he complied with the divine mandate.
If Joseph had no sexual dealing with Mary at all there would have been no need to limit the period of time he had no sexual knowledge of her with the clause “till she brought forth her firstborn son”.
And thirdly, if Jesus Christ was the only son of Mary, it would have been unnecessary to refer to him as “her first born Son”. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines “firstborn” as the “eldest child”. This, precisely, is the understanding given in the Holy Bible. We talk of an eldest child where there are other children. Hence in the ordinances in regard to the consecration of the firstborn God said to the Jews: “The firstborn of thy SONS shalt thou give unto me.” – Exodus 22: 29.
Indeed, there is abundance of evidence in the Scriptures to show that Mary had other children after the birth of Jesus Christ – her firstborn son – and the names of some of them were even specifically mentioned, When Jesus began his ministry, there was an occasion he went to his home town with his disciples and entered the synagogue on a sabbath day to teach. Those who heard him were amazed at his wisdom and his miracles. Considering that he was just a local man like themselves, they were moved to ask: “From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty work are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” – Mark 6: 1-4. See also Matthew 13: 54-57; John 7:2-5.
IS THE SOUL IMMORTAL?
DESPITE the pains theologians, philosophers and anthropologists have taken in their researches concerning human nature, soul still remains a subject about which very many people have wrong notions and unfounded beliefs. The teaching that the soul is immortal has no basis in the Holy Bible!
Soul, according to the Holy Bible, means a living creature such as a person or animal; it also means life, and in either of the two senses it is not immortal.
The word soul first appeared in the Bible in Genesis 2: 7, where it is written: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul.” It is abundantly clear from this text that the man himself, which is made up of the dust of the ground and the breath of life, that is the “living soul”.
This lucid account of the creation of man by God gives no idea that a soul was infused into the man. Rather it is the man that is a soul. That is why it is stated that those who went with Jacob to Egypt “were seventy souls”, meaning 70 persons. (Genesis 46:26, 27; Exodus 1: 5) And in Numbers 31: 28, both persons and beasts are referred to as souls.
It is indeed very wrong to say that the soul can never die. David the psalmist and prophet, said that none of the dead “can keep alive his own soul”. (Psalm 22: 29) And in Psalm 89:48, it is written: “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?”
What is more, God himself declared: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18: 4, 20) Some may argue that it is only the soul that sins that will die. But we will ask who among men is not a sinner? That apart, if the soul is truly immortal then it can never die whether it sins or not.
However, the truth is that the soul is subject to death. St. Peter stated that “every soul, which will not hear that prophet (Jesus Christ), shall be destroyed from among the people”. (Acts 3: 23) Those who love the world and refuse to pay heed to the gospel of Christ shall lose their lives in that they shall not be saved. And Jesus said: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own Soul?” (that is, his life). – Mark 8: 36.
But those who are faithful and obedient to their Creator and who worship Him in truth shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasures and, above all, everlasting life shall be their reward in God’s Kingdom.
It is clear from the Bible truth expounded in this sermon that the soul of man is MORTAL – IT DIES. Here again we have told you, dear reader, the truth which Jesus Christ says will make his sheep free.
The word kingdom is defined as a “territory subject to a king”. Thus God’s Kingdom is the universal empire or government of righteousness and peace covering both heaven and earth to be inhabited by spirit persons and human beings, under the control of Jehovah, the Almighty God, “Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). This is the form of government known as Theocracy.
God has long promised through His prophets to establish His Kingdom wherein His faithful worshippers of all ages will be blessed with eternal life in perfect peace and happiness. – Psalm 145:10-13.
God Almighty has appointed and crowned Jesus Christ as the head and king of His glorious Government. – Isaiah 9:6&7; Isaiah 32:1.
The capital of God’s Kingdom is Mount Zion in heaven. It is the seat of Christ the King about whom God said: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:6) With Jesus Christ in heaven, apart from the holy angels, are those who constitute his cabinet. These are the anointed Christians, the saints, numbering 144,000 chosen from among men on earth beginning from the twelve apostles. (Luke 12:32; Luke 22:28-30; Revelation 14:1-5; Revelation 7:3&4)
All the holy men and women of old before Christ as well as the dead faithful Christians who were not in the class of the “Little Flock” will be raised to life at the resurrection of the dead to become heirs of and great rulers in God’s Kingdom on earth. – Job 19:25; Isaiah 32:1; Matthew 8:11, 12; Luke 14:13,14; Hebrews 11:32-40.
The Bible gives the understanding that the final end of this evil world will be marked by the greatest tribulation and conflict that the world has ever known – “the battle of the great day of God Almighty”. “For then shall be great tribulation”, said Jesus Christ, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21) It is during this battle that the Devil and all his invisible and visible followers – the demons and the wilfully wicked persons – will be destroyed by God through Jesus Christ and his holy army. – Daniel 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 20:1-3.
According to the Bible, there will be a “great multitude” of faithful Christians whom no man could number that will survive the battle of the Lord and enter the third world – The World without End. – Daniel 12:1; John 8:51; Revelation 7:9, 10, 13-15.
The Millennium, which is the reign of Jesus Christ for a thousand years, will begin after the battle of the great day (Revelation 20:4, 6). At this time, that there will be a general resurrection of the just and unjust, (Daniel 12:1-3; John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15; Hebrews 9:27) as well as the reconstruction of the earth, to be as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. (Isaiah 60:13; Ezekiel 36:33-38). When these works are completed at the end of the 1000 years, then Jesus Christ handover the entire Kingdom to his Father, Jehovah, that, in the language of St Paul, “God may be all in all.” – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.
It is this glorious Kingdom that is the New World God promised His faithful worshippers. The beauties of it cannot be described enough in human words. There shall be no oppression, injustice, bribery and corruption or any form of unrighteousness.– Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:13) And St John who saw a vision of the New World, described it thus “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea (that is, wickedness in a spiritual parable). And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things (in the present evil world) are passed away…” – Revelation 21:1-5
That God’s perfect Kingdom is immovable and that it the only hope of distressed humanity is beyond all doubt. We therefore remind all Christians of St Paul exhortation, to wit: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” – Hebrews 12:28
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
The existence of God is an eternal truth attested to in the Scriptures, by the created things on earth and by our reasoning faculties. People in all parts of the world believe in the existence of God. – Hebrews 11:1-6; Job 12:7-9; Psalm 139:13,14.
Those who preach evolution have been grossly misled and they are busy misdirecting others. They shall be judged and punished in the day of God’s judgment. See Psalm 14:1; Jeremiah 10:6,7, 10,11. The sons of men should put their absolute trust in God Almighty. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” – Proverbs 18:10; Joel 2:32; Isaiah 26:3,4; Isaiah 43:1-3
It is by reason of the fact that God exists that the entire universe is sustained. He guides, protexts and provides for us always. David the Psalmist declared, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” – Psalm 23:1-6.
GOD’S KINGDOM A PERFECT GOVERNMENT
God’s Kingdom is the universal empire or government of righteousness and peace covering the heavens and the earth to be inhabited by spirit persons and human beings under the control of Jehovah the Almighty God.
Jesus Christ is the appointed King and head of the kingdom. Human beings have tried various forms of government, beginning from monarchy started by Nimrod, (Genesis 10:8-10), to democracy which is practised in many parts of the world but none has been able to satisfy the needs of man. Men have even set up international institutions for the purpose of ensuring peace and happiness for mankind through joint efforts, but they have being of no avail as far as permanently solving human problems are concerned.
Only in God’s Kingdom will there be no more poverty, wars, sickness, and death. The peace in the new order to be established by God would be so pervasive that even animals will not be hostile to one another. Even natural disasters would be no more.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” (Isaiah 32:17, 18) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation 21:4, 5.
WHAT IS THE ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
God commanded Moses to make the holy anointing oil to consecrate the priests, kings, and the vessels for worship. (Exodus 30:30-33.; 40:13-16) It was used on Saul, David, Solomon, among others. – 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 16:11-13; 1 Kings 1:39.
In the Christian era, the anointing refers to the commission given to Jesus Christ and the apostles which empowered them to know the truth and to dispense it effectively without being taught by man. – James 1:18; 1 John 2:27; Galatians 1:11-16.
The anointing of Jesus Christ took place after his baptism. (Matthew 3:16, 17) Christ’s promise that they will receive the holy spirit fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. (John 14:26; 15:26; 15:13; Acts 2:1-17) The generality of Christians can ask for the holy spirit and not the anointing spirit. – Luke 11:13; Psalm 51:10,11.
We thank God that St. G. M. Urhobo is one of the remnants of the saints. He was commissioned and preached the truth without lies, that is why the GKS can stand and dispense the truth about God and His kingdom organization. – 1 John 2:27; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:19.
ARE WOMEN ORDAINED BY GOD TO PREACH THE GOSPEL?
Contrary to what is happening in the world today, it is not the will of God that women should hold the office of bishop, pastor or minister of the gospel.
Some women were improperly called prophetesses in the Bible by translators of the Bible but never did God ordain any of them. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, was wrongly called a prophetess as recorded in Exodus 15: 20, just b e c a us e she led the women of Israel in a victory dance. To show that she was not ordained to be a prophetess, God punished her with leprosy when she and Aaron contended with Moses that they were also mouthpieces of God Almighty. – Numbers 12: 1-15.
Another case is that of Deborah, called a prophetess in Judges 4:4. The fact is that she did not call herself a prophetess but “a mother in Israel”. – Judges 5:7,12.
St. Paul stated clearly and firmly that women should not teach and lead men. – I Timothy 2: 11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35.
There are other good works women should do in support of God’s work so as to be saved. We have the example of the women who supported Jesus Christ and his apostles during his days on earth. See Luke 8:1-3.
Women can teach fellow women but not a mixed congregation of men and women. – Titus 2: 3-5.
WHY HAS JESUS CHRIST COME AGAIN?
Jesus Christ never promised that during his second presence he would be visible to all. It was only the apostles he gave such a promise, in that they would see him when he resurrects them from the grave after which he would choose the remnant of the saints by revealing himself to them at his second coming. – John 14:1-3, 19, 22; Matthew 24:23, 26; 2 Corinthians 5:16.
The second presence of Jesus Christ is to be known by signs, mainly the First World War of 1914 – 1918. Christ stopped the war for his elects sake. – Matthew 24:22.
Why he came again:
- To raise the dead saints and take them to heaven. – John 14:1-3; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:49-51.
- To choose the remaining ones of the saints, thereby setting up his kingdom in various parts of the world, into which the sheep of God would be gathered. – Matthew 24:31, 14; 2 Timothy 4:1.
- To judge the living through the preaching of the truth. – John 12:48
- To glorify the Church through increase in membership of the Church and spiritual and material blessings. – Isaiah 60:22; Isaiah 9:7; Haggai 2:8, 9.
- To destroy the devil and all that answer to unrighteousness. – Matthew 13:40-42; Romans 16:20; Revelation 20:1.
After the Battle of Armageddon, Christ will start his 1000 years reign when there will be reconstruction of the earth and general resurrection. – Revelation 20: 4, 6-9
At the end of the one thousand years satan would be raised back to life to see how futile had been his boast that there will be no one on earth to serve God. He will not repent but would try to deceive the nations once again. But the anger of God symbolized as fire will destroy him for ever. There after Christ will hand over the kingdom to God and He will be all in all. – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.
We should work earnestly to be partakers of the Kingdom of God by His grace. – 2 Peter 3:10,11,13,14
HOW CAN ONE DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE DOCTRINES OF GOD AND THOSE OF THE DEVIL?
Doctrines are teachings, beliefs, tenets of a religious organization. To distinguish is to differentiate, identify, or to discover or see the difference between two ideas or things.
God Almighty has His own doctrines. – Proverbs 4:1, 2; John 7:14-17; John 8:31,32; 1 Timothy 4:16.
The devil also has his doctrines. – Matthew 16:6, 12; 1 Timothy 4:1.
The doctrines of the devil are preached by false prophets and they lead people to destruction. (Isaiah 9:16; Matthew 15:12-14) The devil’s agents are ignorant of the Scriptures, and are concerned with materialism, “supposing that gain is godliness”. – 2 Timothy 6:3-5
The true doctrines are founded on and are verifiable from the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16) That means one has to patiently listen first and then compare what one has heard with the words of God in the Holy Bible. – Acts 17:10-12; Hebrews 13:9; Ephesians 4:14; 15; 2 John 9,10
How can one distinguish between the doctrines of God and those of the devil? What we should do is to test them by comparing what they preach with what is in the Holy Bible. (1 John 4:1) Moreover St. Paul said, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
There are so many doctrines among those who profess the Christian faith which are not from God. We should choose the doctrines of God in order to get life and its attendant blessings.
WASH AND BE CLEAN
The topic is drawn from the advice of a servant of Naaman the captain of the host of Syria, who was a leper and went to Elisha the prophet for a cure. – 2 Kings 5.
To wash means to clean something leaving such a thing without dirt or a mark In the context of this sermon it means spiritual rebirth, regeneration after a thorough repentance. This is by being obedient to the laws of God so as to get salvation in the Kingdom of God when fully established.
It is sin that defiles man or makes him unclean. – Matthew 15:1-3,10,11,15-20; Proverbs 6:16-19.
Those who continue in sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21.
The kingdom of God is a highway; there is no room for evil doers. – Isaiah 35:8. See also 1 Peter 1:14-16.
We must examine ourselves and repent of our sins so as to have the mercy of God. – Proverbs 28:13,14; 2 Corinthians 7:1.
The Psalmist declared, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:9-11; John 15:3; 17:17; Isaiah 1:16-20; 1 Peter 3:10, 11.
BE YE SOBER AND WATCH UNTO PRAYER
The exhortation is drawn from the words of St. Peter in 1 Peter 4:7.
Why should we sober? Why should we watch and pray? It is because there is great trouble ahead of us. The great tribulation which God Almighty will visit on the wicked on this earth. It will be worse than any horrors any human conflict or war can unleash. However the righteous will be saved by the grace of God. – Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21, Zephaniah 1:14,15,17,18; Jeremiah 25:31-33; Isaiah 26:20,21
Knowledge of the danger ahead should make us to fear God so as to enjoy his blessings. We should not break the laws of God due to sinful pleasures as happened in the time of Noah and Lot. See Luke 17:26-30; Luke 21:33-36.
These sinful pleasures are listed in Galatians 5:19-21, while godly qualities known as fruits of the spirit are listed in chapter five verses 22 – 23.
To “watch and pray” involves studying the Scriptures to know how they fulfil and to be prayerful for God to help us to do the work until the end. (2 Peter 3:11; 1 Peter 4:17,18; 1 Thessalonians 5:1,2,6,8,9) We should watch, study the future, get the true knowledge of God, have faith, love for God and our fellow man. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. – 1 Peter 4:7.
THE BLESSING IN CELEBRATING THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES AND GOD’S KINGDOM
Many blessings accrue to the worshippers of God for celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. The Bible says, “…the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice”. (Deuteronomy 16:15)
Even in time of old, the major activity during the Feast was the reading of the law of God. God told Moses concerning the celebration, “Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 31:12) The word of God enlightens, enlivens, purifies, and strengthens His people. – John 15:3; 17:17
Moreover the prophetic injunction about the celebration of the feast makes its observance mandatory on all people living in this age and also contains promises of manifold blessings symbolized by rain. – Zechariah 14:16-19
CHRIST PROMISED TO COME AGAIN, WHEN WILL HE COME?
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave firm assurances to his disciples that he would come again to reward the faithful and fulfil age-long promises. (John 14:1-3; Revelation 22:20) His disciples restated this promise several times in their writings. 1 Timothy 6:14; Titus 2:11-14; etc.
However many people believe Christ would appear physically for all to see. Some believe he would even be in Jerusalem where all the world would be gathered to see him. One of the texts cited to buttress the belief in the bodily presence of Jesus Christ is Revelation 1:7. But the word cloud used in the text denotes invisibility, that is, that the second presence will not be visible to the ordinary eyes. (Compare Exodus 33:9,10; Acts 1:9-11) The “eyes” in Revelation 1:7 are “eyes of understanding” as explained by St. Paul in Ephesians 1:17-19. Those who will wail at his coming are the workers of iniquity who will be punished by Christ at his second presence as stated in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
The reason Jesus Christ came in flesh in the first advent was for him to die for the redemption of mankind. But Christ had accomplished that duty and resurrected as a spirit according to 1 Peter 3:18. He has been glorified. And he is in heaven.
In Matthew 24:3,7,8 Christ gave signs to mark his second presence. The disciples of Christ, knowing that the Master would not be seen physically at his second presence asked for signs by which people would know he had come. The signs he gave were that there would be a global war, to be followed by pestilences, famines, earthquakes and so on. These fulfilled in the First World War of 1914 – 1918. Also our Lord’s statement in Luke 17:26-30 show that his second presence would be by revelation.
The purposes of Christ’s second presence include the resurrection of the dead saints, selection of the remnant, separation of the sheep and the goats and the destruction of the devil. These do not require his physical presence, they are all spiritual. We do not need to see Christ physically, for we work by faith and not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:16.
Jesus Christ has come in spirit. He is in heaven, sitting in the right hand of God Almighty, ruling in the midst of the enemies and executing God’s plans one after the other; he will continue until he will hand over the kingdom to God who then will be all in all.
WILL THE DEAD RISE AGAIN?
The dead are people who are lifeless; who do know not anything. To rise means to come back to life and live again. Many today believe that when someone dies, he goes to heaven if he is good but if evil he will go to hell fire to burn for ever and fire. This is of course a denial of resurrection, which teaches that the dead will be in the grave until they will come back to life again by the power of God.
God Almighty created man to live forever. But when man broke the law given to him, God imposed the death sentence on him. (Genesis 2:7-9, 15-17; 3:1-6, 14-19, 22-24) Since then human beings have been dying, having inherited the sin of Adam. (Romans 5:12; 3:23) But God has made the promise that the dead shall rise again.
God Almighty gave promises to raise the dead, including children, as stated in Hosea 13:14; Jeremiah 31:15-17; Ezekiel 37:1-14. Also, servants of God like Job, Isaiah, St. Paul, had hope in the resurrection of the dead. (Job 14:13-15; Isaiah 26:19; Acts 26:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19) St. Paul even declared that “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. Jesus Christ is the One God Almighty has given power to raise the dead. (John 5:21, 25)
There are different categories of resurrection. The first resurrection belongs to Jesus Christ and the saints, who will be given celestial bodies, given immortality and dwell in heaven for ever. (1 Corinthians 15:40-50) There is the better resurrection which is for the ancient worthies from the first righteous man Abel to John the Baptist. (Hebrews 11:4-40) Then there is the General Resurrection for the just and the unjust. (John 5:28, 29) While the just will be given life, the unjust will be given 100 years to work and those who are obedient will get life while the disobedient will die eternally, which is the second death. – Isaiah 65:20.
St. Paul stated, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14.
FACTS ABOUT BAPTISM
Baptism does not wash away sin, else Jesus Christ who was not a sinner would not have been baptized. St. Peter stated that Jesus Christ “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth”. (1 Peter 2: 21, 22; Matthew 26: 27, 28; Hebrews 9: 22) It is the blood of Jesus Christ which “cleanseth us from all sin” – 1 John I: 7
Baptism is an outward demonstration of one’s conversion and vow or agreement to serve God Almighty faithfully through Jesus Christ all the days of one’s life, until death but with the hope of resurrection. See 1 Peter 3: 21.
The person to be baptized should be an adult so as to be able to accept the faith and take decision by himself. Infants should not be baptized. Even our Saviour Jesus Christ was baptized at the age of 30. The appointment of godfathers and godmothers for the children does in any way change the fact that children should not be baptized as there is no basis for that in the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus Christ only blessed children but did not baptize them. – Matthew 19: 13-15; Mark 10: 13-16; Luke 3:21-23.
All the examples of baptism in the Bible show that it should be by immersion, not pouring or sprinkling of water, the word being derived from the Greek word baptizo or baptizmo, which means immersion or dipping in water. That was why John the Baptist baptized in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there …” -John 3: 23; Acts 8: 36-38.
The water covering the person is a symbol of the burial of one’s sinful desires and also that one had agreed to do the will of God until death. In other words, the person had agreed to do the will of God all to days of his life until death. Being raised out of the water is a symbol of resurrection, or the new life which the person baptised has accepted by the grace of God. – Romans 6: 3-6; Colossians 2: 12
THE SACREDNESS OF THE MARRIAGE BOND
Because marriage is holy those going into it should be holy. The sacredness or mystery in the marriage bond, the fact that it is God who joins couples is highlighted by Agur the prophet in Proverbs 30:18,19.
Among the laws of God on marriage was that a believer should not marry an unbeliever as the tendency is there for the man or woman to turn the other away from the faith. (Deuteronomy 7:3, 4) Those who are single should not rush to marry any one they see due to impatience or infatuation. The servant of Abraham prayed for God to prosper his journey to find a wife for Isaac, his master’s son. – Genesis 24:11-14.
The success of marriage does not depend on how flamboyant the wedding is but the level of understanding between the couple and their godly disposition. Also marital partners should not be chosen based only on monetary considerations. As far as marriage is concerned each person should look well before leaping and should pray to God for guidance. (Proverbs 31:10-12) “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6) Some men because of lust jump from one woman to the other. God wants the husband to treat their wives well in the fear of God and the wives should obey and respect their husbands as this makes for peace and gives glory to God.” – 1 Peter 3:7; Genesis 3:16; Colossians 3:18,19.
A man should not marry the sister or relation of his wife as long as the wife is still alive. The Bible also outlaws homosexuality, which is a common practice in various countries today. – Leviticus 18: 1, 2,18, 22, 29.
The permanency of the bond of marriage is such that said that the Bible strictly forbids divorce. – 1 Corinthians 7:10-14; Matthew 19:5-9; See also Malachi 2:16,17 from the Living Bible.
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4.
WE SHALL ALL REAP WHAT WE SOW
To sow is to put seed into the ground, to plant. To reap is to harvest. No one can plant one thing and reap something else. He caused to be read, Galatians 6:7 which says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If one sows negative things, he will reap negative; if he sows positive things, he will reap positive things. He said that as children of God there is need for us to watch what we do as God searches the heart, and gives to every one according to the fruits of their doing. – Jeremiah 17:10.
Spiritually, we all are accountable to God as said by St. Paul in Romans 14:12. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10.
Men and women of old who served God with faith such as Abraham, Noah, David, Sarah, Phoebe, Mary were prospered by Him. – Hebrews 11:1-40. James 2:21-23.
We should sow good seeds by supporting the evangelism work of the Church. No one should use the opportunity he has in the work of God for negative purposes but rather anyone given to evil should repent so as to be forgiven and be saved in the end. (2 Timothy 2:19-21) Certainly those who plow iniquity and sow wickedness shall reap the same. (Job 4:8; Proverbs 26:27; Galatians 6:8) But those who sow to the spirit by doing righteousness will reap in mercy. – Hosea 10:12; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Isaiah 3:10, 11.