Thursday, December 22, 2016

Urgent Call for Missions

How do we prepare for the coming of our glorious Redeemer?

I wish to make an urgent appeal in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ: Christian Brother, will you go out with the gospel? Do you not know that there are many communities who are yet to hear the gospel of Christ? The great commission (Matt. 28:19-20) is as fresh today as when it was given on the first century. The Lord does not wish that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, He said,
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:14)
What is the gospel? It is the glorious good news of the salvation of sinners from their sins, misery and eternal woe; by the most loving and gracious saviour, Jesus Christ. Christ perfectly obeyed the Law of God, which we could not obey, and so purchased the righteousness of God for us. He died our death and perfectly satisfied divine justice. The gospel brings sinners to the kingdom of God under the reign of Christ.
This gospel will not be proclaimed by the angels – it will be proclaimed by Christians. It is financially supported, not simply by the wazungus... it is by us, here in Nairobi, here in Kenya. So my friend, what are you doing for the gospel to be proclaimed?
The gospel is to be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations. As we speak, there are many communities in Kenya who are yet to know of Christ. Right here in Nairobi, there are Nubians, Somalis, Rendille, Boranas, and so many other people groups who are without God, without Christ! Believe it or not, there is a community that is devoted to moon worship here in Kenya – the Rendille. How are they going to hear?
The love of Christ controls us, (2 Cor. 5:14) so that we no longer live for ourselves, since Christ has died for us. You should consider leaving what you are doing and go out to make disciples of all nations. Remember that the coming of Christ is tied to this glorious enterprise of disciple-making.
The Lord says here, “…and then the end will come.” Shall we not ‘hasten’ His coming, humanly speaking? Surely we want others to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4). But this cannot happen unless they hear the gospel. And they cannot hear the gospel unless someone preaches to them. But no one will preach to them without being sent (Rom. 10:14-15). Are you going or will you send someone? Surely, those of you who have recently completed college can spare a year or five for the cause of the One who left the glory of heaven for you, and He is coming again to take you to His kingdom, can’t you? If you can’t go, then give for the support of those who have heeded the call to go. And you have sent someone, then commit to regularly visit him, will you?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christian Ministry - Spiritual Power

1 Corinthians 18-21
Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? 

Paul openly rebukes the Corinthians for their arrogance in his absence – this is hypocrisy. Paul was going to visit them undaunted by their arrogance. When he visits, he will discipline these arrogant people. He expected a confrontation in which the power of the Holy Spirit would reveal some disciplinary action against those who harm the church.
Paul, then introduces the kingdom of God (v.20). The phrase, ‘the kingdom of God’ means, God’s reign/rule in human life. Christ is the King of kings (Matt. 6:33; Mark 10:15; Isa. 41:21). Christians are members of the kingdom of God because of the Lord Jesus Christ who is enthroned in their hearts as King. Christ brought this kingdom by His coming. Christians possess an inheritance in the kingdom in the future (Matt. 25:34; Luke 22:16; 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 12:28).

But the problem is that the Corinthian church members were not living as citizens of this kingdom. They were more ‘Corinthians’ than pilgrims headed to the Celestial City. They loved divisions just like the world. They tolerated immorality. They spoke in arrogance and pride just as the world. The same word in verse 6 translated ‘puffed up’ is here translated as arrogance. Literally, it means, ‘bellows’ for it shows itself in big talk (v. 18; cf. 5:2 and 13:4). They were full of talk without any spiritual power (v. 19). They needed to appreciate that the Christian life and service is not a matter of empty words but of power in holiness, spiritual maturity and obedience to God.
We ought to judge a preacher's doctrine, in terms of its effects in godliness in himself and his hearers. Find out if one’s ministry is producing likeness to God, and to Christ. Are people getting more heavenly-minded or are they worldly? Do you see spiritual change in men's hearts? Are people killing sin? Do you see spiritual piety? Do you people tremble at the word of God?
Then Paul put it to their choice how he should come and deal with them. Shall I come to you with a rod (whip) or with love and the spirit of gentleness (v.21). The point is if they continued in wickedness then it would be essential to come with a rod to chastise them for their indiscipline demonstrated by their ungodliness and want of righteousness.
Stubborn offenders must be dealt with severely. In families and in Christian communities, paternal pity and tenderness will require to be shown by chastisement. Christian love and compassion sometimes force formative discipline.
Yet he was also willing to display to them the tenderness of a father. Christian ministry should always be tempered with the spirit of love and gentleness predominant, and yet to maintain its spiritual power, and discipline.

What are the characteristics of Christian service?
1.   Faithful Stewardship (vv. 1-5)
2.   Humble Ministry (vv. 6-8)
3.   Willing Service (vv. 9-13)
4.   Fatherly care (vv. 14-15)
5.   Exemplary Living (vv. 16-17)
Spiritual Power (vv. 18-21)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christian Ministry - Exemplary Living

1 Corinthians 4:16-17
I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 

Paul urges them, “be imitators of me.” Later on he tells them the same thing in 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” It was fitting for him to urge them to ‘imitate’ him for two reasons:
First, Paul had personally set them an example of hard work in the ministry. They were the products of his labour among them. He had set them an example of humility and dependence upon God. Paul was indeed a trophy of God’s grace (15:10) and an example of hard work.
Secondly, Paul’s ministry had fruit of good example in Timothy. Timothy who had occupied the same position as the Corinthians of being called Paul’s ‘beloved’ (compare v. 14 and v.17). Timothy had shown himself faithful child in the Lord. For this reason he was going to send Timothy to remind them of his ways in Christ that were worth of emulation. In sending Timothy Paul was proving to them that he teaches the same things in every church everywhere. Timothy like the Corinthians was one of his spiritual children and, therefore, well equipped to remind them of the example of their spiritual father.
Ministers ought to live in such a manner that attract people not only to follow them, but consequently follow Christ. They are the teaching and learning aids that Christ has given the world for their education in the spiritual things. Pastors, we have a responsibility to guide the flock of God by our lips and our lives.
Writing to the pastors, apostle Peter says,
shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (1Peter 5:2-3)

Therefore, like Timothy (4:12, 15-16) we have to set those who learn from us an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. We are to practice these things, immersing ourselves in them, so that all may see our spiritual and ministerial progress. This way, we may save ourselves and our hearers (as the God-appointed means of the salvation of men).

And like Titus, we are to show ourselves in all respects to be a model of good works. In our teaching, we are to show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing to say about or against us (2:7). They should follow us as far as they are satisfied that we follow Christ in faith and practice.