Christianity and theology

Christian Husbands and Fathers, Where are You?

This other day I was chatting with a friend and we ended up discussing false teachers and prophets that are rampant nowadays.  My friend then remarked: “Especially, women and youth, they are easily taken away by these false teachers and prophets. Whenever a person rises up and claims to be a ‘man or woman of God,’ you will see many women and youth flocking to him or her.”

Without giving it much thought, I agreed with my friend but later on as I reflected on this conversation, I realized I was wrong. In as much as we can blame women and youth and say that they are easily taken away by false teachers and prophets, men, especially husbands and fathers, are equally to blame.  My point is: most of these women and youth that my friend described as ‘easily taken away’ are wives and children. Now, what do the husbands and fathers of these women and youth do when they see these things?

I asked myself this question because to some degree, I think that some of us men, especially, husbands and fathers, are not providing the spiritual leadership we are supposed to give in our homes and churches. Scripture is clear that God has entrusted spiritual leadership both in the home and church to men (husbands and fathers) (1 Timothy 3:1-13).

Failure to provide this leadership both in the church and home will lead to scenarios like the one I have cited above where women and children will fall into the trap of false teachers and prophets. Believe you me, when men fail or chicken out from providing spiritual leadership in their homes, the homes will crumble, churches will crumble and nations too.

Consider the fall. When we read Genesis 3, we notice that Adam failed to provide spiritual leadership when his wife, Eve, was being tempted by the serpent.  Scripture tells us that Adam was with his wife when the serpent was tempting her. We read in Genesis 3:6:  “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her” (ESV, italics added).

Adam was with Eve yet the Scripture does not record any word or any action from him. He probably just kept quiet and watched his wife being misled by the devil.  So, we see that Adam’s passiveness when his wife was being tempted led to the entry of sin into the home, church and nation. Can’t the same be said of us, Christian husbands and fathers, when we let our wives and children to be led astray by false teachers while we are there watching or we have busied ourselves with other things less important than the spiritual lives of our wives and children?

Furthermore, when Christian men fail to take up their leadership roles in the church, women end up being forced to provide the leadership which is not Scriptural.  For instance, in my denomination, there is currently a great and hot debate regarding women taking leadership roles in the church as elders and deacons. Some, basing on the testimony of Scripture are opposing it while others are for it. Yet what surprises me most is that more women than men in my church attend services of worship on Sundays and mid-week prayers. Where are the men? I don’t know.

Now, when the time to nominate leaders for the church comes, even though some women will accept and understand that church leadership is for Christian men, they are somehow forced to nominate women because few men are available to take leadership roles in the church.

Please get me right here. I don’t intend to justify disobedience to God’s Word. The end never justifies the means. However, this is the reality that Christian men should ponder on. I still believe that some of us men are running away from our God-given responsibilities and roles and we are letting women down.

It is also not my intention to put the whole blame on men in regard to the spread of deception nowadays but still I feel compelled to say that we men need to do soul-searching on these matters and see if we are really providing the needed spiritual leadership in our homes and churches.  The question that ought to linger in our minds is: “Where are Christian husbands and fathers when wives and children are falling prey to the deception orchestrated by false teachers and prophets today?”

Christian men, please rise and stand up and be counted. Of course, the battle is not physical but rather spiritual. It should, therefore, be our prayer that God will grant us the  grace and strength to help us in providing leadership in our homes and churches. Really, this is not about us but Christ.  His grace is always sufficient for us, so let’s lean on him as we rise to take up our God-given leadership roles and responsibilities. Can I get an “Amen” on that, please?

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Christianity and theology

Death and Life in Christ

The fourth trustworthy saying is found in 2 Timothy 2:11 and reads: “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him.”

It is believed that the verse is a part of an early Christian hymn.  The death and life mentioned in the saying should be regarded in two ways. First, it is in reference to physical death. All believers who die in Christ have assurance that after this life, they will live a far much better one with Christ in his glory. This is why physical death should never be a threat to believers since although Christians die, they still live (John 11:25).

Secondly, the life and death in the saying should also be looked at spiritually. Anyone who believes in Christ for salvation dies to his old life and begins to live a new life.  This is why Apostle Paul also said: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20).

Salvation in Christ refers to death to old-self and life in Christ.   Dietrich Bonheoffer was right when he said: “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” We die to our old-self so that we can live in and  with him.

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My Life as a Christian

Our Defense Lies in Prayer

“We know that our defense lies in prayer alone. We are too weak to resist the devil and his vassals. Let us hold fast to the weapons of the Christian; they enable us to combat the devil. For what has carried off these great victories over the undertakings of our enemies which the devil has used to put us in subjection, if not the prayers of certain pious people who rose up as a rampart to protect us?

Our enemies may mock at us. But we shall oppose both men and the devil if we maintain ourselves in prayer and if we persist in it. For we know that when a Christian prays in this way: “Dear Father, Your will be done,” God replies to him, ‘Dear child, yes, it shall be done in spite of the devil and the whole world.’ “- Martin Luther

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Christianity and theology

Godliness

The third ‘Trustworthy saying’ is found in 1 Timothy 4:8, 9: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.”

Timothy being a young man was most likely involved in some sporting activities. Apostle Paul then takes advantage of Timothy’s knowledge of sports to communicate an important truth. He tells Timothy that physical exercises are good but they cannot surpass the need for godliness in a life of a Christian.

Now, godliness does not just come automatically in ones life; there is a need for deliberate effort to pursue godliness while still relying on God’s grace. This is why the apostle is bringing in the analogy of athletics.

In as much as athletes train for physical fitness, Christians while relying on God’s grace should ‘train’ for godliness. This is where spiritual disciplines like studying God’s Word, prayer, fasting, meditation and others come in.  Christians should not neglect these things.

It is also true from the saying is that Christians should always bear in mind that all the things we do in this world will pass away but only that which is done for Christ will last. Therefore, Christians must always seek to glorify Christ with their lives. Remember:

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last” (Anonymous)

This is not to discourage Christians from participating in other activities that the world offers us like education, business, sports, and music.  Let’s get involved in these things; however, we should never at a single time let them take the place of God in our lives because they will one day pass away but our relationship with God through Christ is eternal.

 

 

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Christianity and theology

The Noble Task

The second ‘trustworthy saying’ is found in 1 Timothy 3:1 and reads: “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.”

The words ‘Overseer’ and ‘Elder’ are used interchangeably in the Bible (Acts 2:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Peter 5:1-2). This, therefore, means that an overseer is an elder and according to Scripture the duties of an elder include teaching and preaching God’s Word (1 Timothy 3:2), directing the affairs of the church (3:5) and guarding the church from error (Acts 20:28-31).

There is a false belief which says that one should not openly desire to be a Christian leader or an elder and those who openly express their desire are regarded as ‘unspiritual or prideful.’ However, according to 1 Timothy 3:1, this belief is unbiblical. Christian men should desire to be elders or to provide leadership in the church.

The Church is in a sad state today because some Christian men have run away from their responsibility of teaching and preaching God’s Word. Sad to note that some Christian men have chickened out from their duty of guarding the church from error hence false teachings are rampant nowadays.

The Scripture is encouraging Christian men to be deeply concerned with this status quo. Christian men should desire the duty of standing up for God’s truth and guarding the Church from error. This is a noble task.

 

 

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Christianity and theology

The Worst Sinner

As I indicated in my previous post, the first “Trustworthy Saying” is found in 1 Timothy 1:15 and reads: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.” In the verse two important truths are presented before us.

First, the reason Christ came into the world was to save sinners. Although while on earth Christ healed the sick, cast out demons and performed miracles, his main goal was to save sinners and this was achieved when he lived a perfect life, died on the cross and later rose from the dead on behalf of all believers.  Christ himself affirmed this when he said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). By the way, Bible Scholars say that this is the key verse of the Gospel according to Luke.

Therefore, we, preachers of God’s Word, miss the point when we emphasize on the physical well being of people the main reason Christ came into the world. For sure, Christ did not come into the world to make the poor rich rather he came to save sinners like you and me who were once dead in our sin but were made alive in Christ by God’s grace alone (Colossians 2:13, 14). This remains the main reason of Christ’s coming into the earth even today hence preaching should center on this.

Secondly, it is important to note how Apostle Paul addresses himself in the verse.  There is no doubt that Apostle Paul is one of the men that God has used greatly in the Church. Paul also wrote almost half of the New Testament yet when he examined himself, he felt that he was the worst sinner.

This is what happens to every Christian who is growing in his/her faith hence becoming closer to God. The more we get closer to God, the more we realize how greatly we fall short of His glory. Any Christian who gets closer to God can’t help it but realize how sinful he is and how holy God is.

For instance, consider Prophet Isaiah, the moment he came closer to God, he immediately realized how holy God is and how evil his heart was and he cried out, “Woe is me for I am (sinful)” (Isaiah 6:5). The same can also be said of Apostle Peter. In his first encounter with Jesus, it dawned on him that Christ is holy and he was very sinful hence he told Jesus:  “Depart from me a sinner” (Luke 5:8).

Therefore, it should scare us when we take the holiness of God for granted.  We have every reason to be afraid when we play with the holiness of God as a child’s toy. For sure, God is a our Father and we always have to approach His throne of grace with confidence as his children yet at the same time we should bear in mind that He is holy and we are not.  The only reason he welcomes us is because of Christ who clothes us with his holiness.  Without Christ, you and me are the worst sinner hence we should continually work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

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My Life as a Christian

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

There has been silence on this blog. Yes, weeks of no words. I was down with malaria and a persistent pain in the stomach. It was a hard time for me and my family; however, we thank God for sustaining us and pouring more of His grace in our lives which is always sufficient.  For sure, His power is made perfect in weakness.

My family and I thank God for all the prayers of the saints as well as the gift of medical doctors whom he has used to  heal me. Of course, I continue to feel the pain once in a while but it is lesser now and we continue to trust God for His complete healing. Please remember us in your prayers and join me as I sing this doxology:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him, all creatures here below

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

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