Saturday, June 29, 2013

HOW TO DEAL WITH TEMPTATIONS OF IMMORALITY



1Corinthians 6:18-19)



We are told by the apostle of our Lord, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man commits is outside the body, but the sexual immoral person sins against his own body!” (1Cor. 6:18-19).
This danger is ever lurking around us as long as we are in this body. It is for this reason that this command is in the present tense – this is what we are to do now and always – to flee from sexual immorality, and fleshly lusts that wage war with our spirits. 

Other sins are overcome by resisting (see Eph. 6:13; James 4:17). Another sin that we are to flee (because it is very attractive is idolatry (1Cor. 10:14). In giving this command, Paul himself imagines himself committing the act and then he says, ̈Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of the prostitute? Never! ̈ Do not think that you are too sanctified as to commit this sin, because Paul himself did not think like that. I have come to discover that if you think that you are weak that you are unable to resist and so you become very cautious and courteous with women, the Lord will help to flee and this temptation will leave you unscathed.
In college, young people are faced with a number of difficulties: 
  • Their bodies are growing and they think that they are now adults (Of course they are)
  • They are free from their parents and want to assert their 'independence'
  • They are living in close proximity with lovely and attractive ladies or young men
  • They are planning to get married 'soon'
  • There is sufficient time of interaction with those of opposite sex in the process of learning and socializing

However, please remember what God is telling you now:
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man commits is outside the body, but the sexual immoral person sins against his own body!” (1Cor. 6:18-19).
There are married couples who are dissatisfied in their relationship for whatever reason and so want sexual gratification from extra-marital affairs (mpango wa kando).
Please don't forget the explicit and express imperative from the Sovereign Lord:
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man commits is outside the body, but the sexual immoral person sins against his own body!” (1Cor. 6:18-19).
Whoever, you are regardless of your social status, you disregard this command at your own peril for God has said and He will not change His mind:
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man commits is outside the body, but the sexual immoral person sins against his own body!” (1Cor. 6:18-19).

This passage is found within the context of a discussion on adiaphora – things indifferent. The Corinthians thought that it did not matter what you did with your body because, the body is temporary. They were right about the manner in which you deal with adiaphora. For example you may eat what you want because all food are clean as the Lord Himself made them clean. 
But is the body temporal? No our bodies are permanent although the present composition will be changed into glory. The fact that the present constitution of the body, though temporary, will be made permanent, is a proof that food belongs to the category of things indifferent. They can have no eternal destiny to the body. But this is not true in regard to sexual immorality because the body was never designed for promiscuous living. The use of the body must be in line with its design in creation and its future destiny. The body is designed to be a member of Christ and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. So Christ redeemed our lowly bodies to be like His, with His own blood, uniting it to Himself as a member of His mystical body, making it an instrument of righteousness unto holiness. With this design of the body, the sin of immorality is incompatible, and destructive of the relation which the body has to the Lord who keeps it. And so the Lord will raise our bodies from the dead just as it happened to the Lord Himself.

What is this sin?
The sexual sin is a gross abuse of the body that the Lord entrusted you to keep as His temple. Although sins like drunkenness and gluttony are an abuse of the body, whose harmful effects harm it, yet the substances are introduced from outside. Sexual sin is the alienating of the body, which is the Lord ́s, and making it a prostitute ́s body, it is a sin against man ́s own body, in its very nature. It is a contradiction of the truth of the body done within itself. It is even more wicked because God has given a way to deal with it – by marriage. We are advised, that because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his won wife (7:2). When a man and wife are one in the Lord – united by His ordinance, - no such alienation of the body takes place, and consequently no sin. (see. Prov. 6:30-32; 7:6-27)
The relationship of our bodies between our bodies and Christ is of intimate and vital nature so that sexual sin is completely incompatible with this relationship. Of the stomach and food it is said that God will destroy them both – which simply means that the relation between the organs of digestion and food is temporary, the relationship between Christ and the body is permanent, because the Lord will raise the body in the same manner He raised Christ.

How to deal with sexual immorality
When we talk about sexual sin there are a few things that would help us to combat it:

1. We need to be renewed in our thinking
The first thing that can help us deal with this sin is to have our minds renewed by the truths from the Word of God. Our minds require a renewal that will make them change any course of action. If we are going to be able to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, then it on the basis of a renewed mind. we are not to be conformed to the patterns of this world, that is sinful, wicked and debased. We live especially at a time when the word is full of moral depravity, pervasion and abomination (Lev.18:17, 23, 26) and we should never be part of it.
Instead we are called upon to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. Something that renews our thinking in this passage is first of all, the fact that we belong to Christ. Your bodies are members of Christ and it shall never happen that anyone shall take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute (v.15). Secondly, it is mind renewing truth that, the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body (v.13). Thirdly, we need to bear in mind that we our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit - your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you. Why should defile the temple of One who is described in terms of His holiness and hope that we would escape the judgment and wrath of God? We are not supposed to grieve the Holy Spirit - because all sins will be forgiven the children of man,... but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness (Mark 28-29). This is marked by a continued resistance to the conviction of the Spirit of God when He warns against committing sin against the truth of the Word of God as revealed and a sustained effort to act contrary against oneś faith without any repentance. The point is we are not of our own. The Triune GOd owns us and we are supposed to do His will.
Finally, we are to understand that, he who is joined with a prostitute becomes one body with her (v. 16). Does it matter whether you are having an affair with an acquaintance or you engage a prostitute? It doesn ́t because the same sexual sin is committed and it is condemned here in the strongest terms possible. if a minister plays fast and loose, but not with a prostitute is it any less offensive? For your information, the underlying Greek Word for a female prostitute is no more than the feminine variation of the masculine word ́fornicator ́. One does not need to pay a professional to be this kind of a sinner. Not that fornication and adultery is a sin greater than the other sins, but that it is unique in its effects upon the body. Upon this premise, then we are told what to do in as far as the sin of sexual immorality is concerned. We are called upon, not to resist, but to flee. What does it mean to flee?

2. We must bear in mind who we are as ministers of the gospel
Being ministers of the gospel means that we are the ambassadors of Christ - we represent a holy God.  We minister both by what we do and what we do not do, what we say and what we would not say, what we are in faith, in word and indeed, is the essence of the gospel.
Brothers, The world looks up to us in terms of morality and we must not let them down by engaging in activities that put to shame the name of Christ. We must conduct ourselves like our Lord conducted Himself. We must be eager to show ourselves approved - who do need to be ashamed of anything. It is in the interest of Christ and His church that we flee, but we also flee because this sin can very easily lead us to hell. The Bible is very specific in this passage that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God... yes the fornicators, the sexually immoral, ... nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality and so none of us should be deceived that an immoral minister will. None will get anywhere near who has cherished sexual sin whether in thought or in deed. Our thoughts must be pure and our desires sanctified because, although we used to be immoral, we are no longer like that - we were washed, we were sanctified, and we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. 
Therefore, we are told to run and to flee this sin. Fleeing means that one realizes his own inadequacy to contend with the problem. If a house is in fire and you are inside, you first of must be in a place where you can deal with it, so you try to get out as fast as possible. You then look for the right equipments to fight the fire, but if you can then you call for help. The same with sexual sin you flee from a vulnerable position, and fight it from outside and call for other people's help.

Fleeing shows one's inability to contend with the temptation. It also shows the willingness and the desire not to be caught up into it. Very practically, how do you flee?

As a rule of the thumb, always seek to meet or talk with women who need your help when you are with your wife – that is why the Lord gave her to you. May I encourage you to seek to fully involve your wives in the ministry. Do not be lone-rangers in the ministry, get someone to be accountable to and tell them all the temptations you may have. Your wives could be strong support if you would give them the opportunity.
What does it mean to flee?

Don't wait for those compromising situations when you are by yourself with a person of the opposite in a room. It does not matter what you are doing - not even pastors should meet with female members of the church in a room by themselves. Neither should a male student study with a female student in his room. It does not matter whether you are engaged to be married or not - simply flee sexual immorality in all its forms:


  • adultery
  • fornication
  • homosexuality
  • etc
Students, study with guys of the opposite gender in open and public places. Do not allow holding hands for long or any touching. a hug must not go on for more than 5seconds! Men, do not invite female student in your room by yourself, because you might soon find yourself in a difficult.
Those who are working must be careful not to let themselves into unnecessary difficulties.
How are you to get your wife or husband with this high moral standard? Would you want to have a promiscuous spouse? Would want a husband who sleep with every Mary, Susan and Jane? When you start sexual advances on a person, you are saying that you do not love them, you love their bodies!

Pastors, do you have a place where you meet with your members for private counsellings – if you are by yourself, make sure that you talk with women outside – not even in the office. Have a veranda or a shade of the tree that you can talk with her where every person can see you. Make sure that you do not cling to her hand for longer than usual when shaking hands.

What would you do when they cry and appear to be hurting so much? Would you hold them? Get you wife to do that?
There are those women who come and pour out their hearts to you. They tell you everything about their husbands and especially to do with their marital life, until you are left vulnerable what would you do? Is it in order to listen to all the intimacies? I would stop them from telling me all that goes on in their bedroom if I think it is not proper because this is where it begins – you give her an opportunity to release all her emotion and before long you are in for trouble.

In this case Paul brings himself forward as an example and He says that he must be those who flee this sin. We are to have this mind - that we are prone to all sin including sexual sin and so never should we put ourselves in compromising situations. We must not give the devil a foothold. We are to be very wise because the enemy - the devil, prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Let it not be us who will be devoured - but those who act against the truths of the gospel. We should aim at being truthful and faithful ministers of the gospel.
We all need to realize that being false teachers does not only mean preaching untruths, but also preaching what one does not practice. You may preach the truths of the Bible, but if you do not believe it, then you are in the same category of being a false teacher. We ought to be those who very faithfully represent Christ as His ambassadors and ministers of the new covenant in His blood. His blood has cleansed us from all the filthiness of sin, how can we then continue in sin? We were redeemed from sin - how can go back to it - would it not be like the pig that has gone back to its mire or a dog that has gone back to its vomit? May the Lord give us grace and strength to be those ministers who are qualified.
We are called upon to be above reproach, to be a husband of one wife (not many whether married or prostitutes) sober minded - not those who pursue the fleeting pleasures of this life, to be self-controlled - not those who follow the desires of the flesh, to be respectable not losing our reputation because of a few minutes pleasure, and we are to manage our household well (no one can manage his household well when under the spell of another woman who is not His wife.

We pray that the Lord will give us strength to overcome this sin. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Church Membership



1)    Who is eligible for church membership?

Bare essentials of membership – Acts 2:41-47
1. Salvation
2. Believer’s baptism
3. Desire to participate in basic functions of the body
  • ·      Agreement with fundamental doctrines and willingness to be taught
  • ·      Care for other members of the church family (fellowship)
  • ·      Faithful remembrance of the Lord’s Supper
  • ·      Praying for one another

2)    What are my responsibilities to my local church?

1.     Regular attendance – Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:24-25
2.     The Scriptural use of spiritual gift(s) in order to edify the whole church (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:7).
3.     Financial support – 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6,7
4.     Deliberate efforts to cultivate personal holiness through both private and public means of grace – 1Thess. 4:3; 1Peter 1;15,16; 2:2; 2Peter 1:5-8;
5.     Confession and Prayer – James 5:16
6.     Service for the extension of the kingdom of God throughout the world (for example, by witnessing and prayer). Such service must be carried on in the context of the local church – Gal. 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10
7.     Willingness to confront sinning brethren – Gal. 6:1. Openness to being confronted by caring brethren – Matthew 18:15-17
8.     Scriptural honor and submission to those in spiritual authority in the church (1 Thess. 5:12,13; Heb. 13:17), including necessary financial support (1 Tim. 5:17), and prayer for them (Col. 4:2-4).
9.     Mutual care for every member, according to clear Scriptural principles (for example: Rom. 12:10; 13:8; Gal. 6:2; Heb. 3:13; 1 Pet. 4:9; etc.): consider this:

We are to help one another grow toward Christian maturity by:


  • ü  loving one another and
  • ü  bearing one another’s burdens,
  • ü  encouraging one another,
  • ü  exhorting one another,
  • ü  praying for one another,
  • ü  confessing our sins to one another,
  • ü  speaking the truth in love to one another,
  • ü  admonishing one another,
  • ü  building up one another,
  • ü  teaching one another,
  • ü  comforting one another,
  • ü  submitting to one another,
  • ü  serving one another,
  • ü  patiently bearing with one another,
  • ü  being hospitable to one another,
  • ü  living in peace with one another,
  • ü  regarding one another as more significant than ourselves,
  • ü  caring for one another,
  • ü  exercising our spiritual gifts to serve one another,
  • ü  being kind and tenderhearted to one another,
  • ü  being devoted to one another,
  • ü  accepting one another,
  • ü  forgiving one another,
  • ü  greeting one another,






Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why you must join a church

When you join a church and get into its membership:

1. You prove that you’re not ashamed to identify with Christ or His people
Mark 8:38 [Jesus said] “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels”
When you join a church you make it clear whose side you’re on. You’re telling the family of God that you’re part of this great family too, and that you don’t want to be considered on the outside (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) any longer.

2. You stop being an independent Christian
Joining a church demonstrates that you are willing to:
1)   Be accountable to other believers
Matthew 18:15-17 And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.

2)   Be in submission to spiritual authority
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
If you aren’t part of the church, it has no authority over you and cannot do what Jesus said to do. Unless you join the church, your independence places you outside the way Jesus wants things to happen.

3. You participate in a stronger, more unified effort of God’s people
And as your local church reaches across the country and around the world in direct and indirect support of missionary work, you can participate in ways of reaching the world for Christ that you could have never dreamed otherwise. In contrast, consider the potential negative impact on our efforts to talk about Jesus if we don’t join His earthly body. How believable is our testimony of the goodness and greatness of Christ if we don’t want to identify openly with Christ’s family?

4. You have a greater opportunity to use your spiritual gift
1 Corinthians 12 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit has gifted each believer with at least one supernatural empowerment for the benefit of others and the building up of the body of Christ (Cf. 1 Peter 4:10). Spiritual gifts are for church use and when used outside of the local church, the turn to be personal gifts!
Yes, you can use your spiritual gift for the good of God’s people without joining a church. But in a lot of churches, many of the ministry opportunities are available for church members only. That’s because the church wants to know that you stand with her doctrinally and support her ministry goals before you’re asked to minister in certain positions.

5. You openly demonstrate the reality of the Body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. When you join a church, you make it visible. You give a living demonstration of the spiritual reality of the body of Christ. You show that even though you are an individual, you are a part of the body and you are joined together with others. You take the body of Christ out of the realm of the theoretical and give it a meaning that people can see.

6. You participate in a more balanced ministry
Ephesians 4:11-16 teaches that God gave spiritually-gifted men to the church for the purpose of leading and teaching His people. It also teaches that wholeness and balanced growth as a Christian is dependent on the proper working of each individual part. In other words, independent Christians are always imbalanced.
God has designed us so that we can’t get this well-rounded ministry on our own. No one develops the proper spiritual symmetry just by listening to Christian radio, watching Christian television (even the best TV ‘live worship show'), or reading Christian books. You can’t get this kind of maturity merely by participating in a group Bible study. Unless you’re an active part of a local church, your Christian life and ministry will be imbalanced.

7. You demonstrate your commitment “to the proper working of each individual
part”
Ephesians 4:15-16 …speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Consider the ‘spiritual hitchhiker’ who has settled all his major questions and has definitely decided where he wants to attend church, but now he wants all the benefits and privileges of that church’s ministry without taking any responsibility for it. His attitude is all take and no give, effectively becoming a consumer rather than a disciple and a servant of Christ.
He wants no accountability, just a free ride.

8. You encourage new believers to be committed to the local body of Christ
Hebrews 10:24-25 …and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
Notice the command to ‘consider one another’ that is associated here with church involvement.
Bear in mind the message you give to other believers, especially new believers, if you do not join a church. What are you modeling to new believers when you remain uncommitted to the local church? Do they see your example and learn that church isn’t important enough to join?
Do they get the message that the kingdom of God is not worth such an investment of yourself?
Do they interpret your actions as saying that the work of God does not deserve a full
Commitment?

9. You encourage a ministry when you consider it faithful and join it
Hebrews 10:24-25 …and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
Suppose Joseph loves Mary and sees no one else but her for ten years. Every time they are together he tells her that he loves her, but he never proposes to her. Finally, after a decade she has enough nerve to ask him, ‘Joseph, why haven’t you wanted to marry me?’
If he says, ‘I’m just trying to make sure,’ how do you think she will feel? Of course, she’s glad he says he loves her, and she’s thankful for all he does for her, and she’s pleased that he doesn’t see anyone else, but in spite of all that, she’s going to be somewhat discouraged because he doesn’t love her enough to decisively commit to her.

The people and pastor of a church are glad whenever you attend. But if you keep coming and never join, they may begin to wonder what Mary wondered about Joseph, despite how happy you seem to be with the church and how many wonderful things you say about it. There is a sense in which your attendance and involvement can actually discourage the church and its leaders if, after reasonable time, you do not join it.
Conversely, the church is encouraged…and its leadership is encouraged, when you indicate by joining the church that you love it and think it is a biblically faithful ministry worthy of your commitment.

Conclusion
This is not meant to discourage those who are attending a church to find answers about
Jesus Christ and are still uncertain about their eternal destiny. If that describes you, your first priority is to come to Christ rather than to come for church membership.
Neither is this intended to deter those who are sincerely and actively seeking God’s will in a decision about a church home. Sometimes that decision cannot be made quickly. A wise person evaluates a church carefully before joining its membership.
A spiritual hitchhiker, however, has no real intention of joining the church, at least not soon.
He only wants to enjoy its advantages without any obligation on his part. He wants convenience without commitment, to be served rather than to serve. But every true Christian is to be committed to ‘the proper working of each individual part’ (Ephesians 4:16) in a local church.
When you join a church, you’re saying you believe in taking your individual part and that you don’t want to be a spiritual hitchhiker.