TOPIC 1: MEEKNESS/GENTLENESS
Background Text: Isa. 53:1-9
Memory verse:“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Mat. 5:5, KJV).
Brethren, the only task before us is to keep looking at our model, Jesus Christ, until we are conformed to his image. So, today, we shall be looking at one of the attitude of the kingdom; a virtue which is fast forgotten in our generation.
This virtue is an ornament for the life of a child of God. It is not optional. May the Lord illuminate our hearts as we study together. (Amen).
1.0What is meekness/gentleness? Read Mat. 5:5; 1Pet. 2:21-23; Lk. 6:29; Phil. 2:2-3. How was it rendered in other versions? Comment.
1.1What does meekness entails in practical life? Discuss
1.2Men who exhibited meekness
i. David (2Sam. 16:5-14).
- Shimei was ‘junior’ to king David. He insulted and cursed David.
- What was David’s reaction to Shimei’s action? Compare it with that of Abishai.
- What was David’s decision? If you were the ‘king’, what would you have done?
- Read 2Sam. 19:16-23, what lesson can we glean for our lives?
ii. Jeremiah (Jer. 26:1-15)
- Discuss the situation around prophet Jeremiah.
- What was his reaction? How did he get out of the conspiracy? Jer. 26:16-24.
- In situation like this, can we do otherwise?
iii. Jesus, our perfect example
- From the following scriptures, discuss how Jesus exhibited meekness.
Isa. 53:1-9; 1Pet. 2:13-25.
1.3The need for Meekness
- In hearing and learning from the Lord and his word: Jam. 1:19-21; Ps. 25:9; Pro. 3:5-8. A man that is meek can easily discern the mind of God, take instruction without resistance and can easily adapt. He is flexible.
- In teaching and bringing others up for the Lord: 2Tim. 2:23-26; Tit. 3:1-9. Without meekness, you may win an argument but lose a soul. Beware, arrogance, self-defense and rigidity closes the heart of men and shut the doors of ministry. Meekness is the key in restoring backsliders.
- In relating with others (whether believers or unbelievers): Mat. 5:39; Jam. 4:7; Rom. 12:18-21; Phil. 2:3-5.
1.4Cultivating and growing in Meekness
Read these scriptures/discuss: Zeph. 2:3; Phil. 2:2-3; Col. 3:5-10; Gal. 5:22-26; Mat. 11:29.
Meekness is an attitude of Christ. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit. It can be learnt, it can be cultivated as we daily yield our lives to Christ’s teachings and the leading of the Holy Spirit. But except the flesh is crucified, there is no way for the carnal man to be meek. May we passionately seek for these virtues until we are conformed to the image of Christ.
Background Text: Mat. 18:21-35
Memory verse:“Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.” (Mat. 6:12, GNB).
The scripture enjoins us to forgive one another. We talk about it, yet we hardly put it into practice. Our master clearly stated in Mat. 18:7 that “offenses must surely arise.”. Jesus demonstrated how we should deal with those who offend us. We trust God to help you discover that God love and forgive all, so we ought to also love and forgive all who sinned against us no matter the degree of their misdeeds towards us.
2.0Understanding your enemy and his works
- Who is my enemy and how should I deal with him? Jn. 10:10, Eph. 6:10-12, Jam. 4:7, IPet. 5:8-9.
- From the cases below, who/what is responsible for people’s misbehaviors towards others?
ISam. 18:6-16 (Saul vs David), Mat. 16:21-23 (Jesus vs Peter), Lk. 22:1-6 (Jesus vs Judas).
2.1What are the activities of the enemy and physical manifestations? Jn. 10:10.
- Oppression (Ps. 106:42), Affliction (Exd. 1:8-12), Temptation (Mat. 4:1-10), Mention others.
Manifestation: Sickness, accidents, delay, death, failure, retrogression, fear. Mention others.
2.3What is forgiveness? Matt. 18:23-30.
To forgive means to deliberately “cancel” the wrong others do to you without expecting the punishment they deserve to come on them.
2.4Why must we forgive? Read Rom. 5:8, Mk. 11:25-26, Mat. 5:44-45.
- Christ forgave us all our sins and deleted their effects permanently.
- Forgiven others is the basis for us to receive forgiveness.
- Jesus taught us to forgive.
- Forgiveness is a mark of a follower of Christ.
2.5What should be our attitude towards those who sin against us? Mat. 5:44, Rom. 12:14, 17-21.
- We must love and do good to them despite their evil deeds.
- We must pray for them (not against them) and bless them.
- We must not curse them nor wish them evil.
- Do not revenge. Mention others.
2.6Lessons in forgiveness
- What did these men do when they were offended? Joseph (Gen. 50:15-21), Stephen (Acts 7:60), David (IISam. 16:5-13, 19:18-23), Jesus (Lk. 23:34).
- What will be the end of the wicked?
- What is God’s desire for all men (including the wicked)?
- How does this challenge you and shape your attitude towards those who offend you?
Think about how God forgave you all you did and are still doing to him. Do you think there is an offence you cannot forgive a person? Is there anyone who has offended you? Why not bow your head now and in prayer ask God for the grace to forgive him/her!
Background Text: Heb. 10:35-39
Memory verse:“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk. 9:62).
“Decay is the gradual destruction of a society, an institution or a system.” The high rate of corruption in our society and exam malpractice in our schools did not just happen suddenly. There are quite and unnoticed steps that culminated into the disarray we see today. So it is with backsliding. It begins gradually and subtly too, and before one gets to know what is happening, one has gone too far out of fellowship with God. Backsliding does not necessarily involve outward sins like getting drunk or fornication.
3.0The meaning of backsliding
Read Gen. 19:26, Prov. 26:11, Lk. 10:30a, Heb. 10:38 and point out what you understand as backsliding. Read Heb. 6:4-6. Is this the same as backsliding?
3.1Causes of backsliding
- Read up these scriptures and discuss: 2Tim. 4:10, Jam. 4:4, 1:3, Gal. 5:17, Job 2:1-9, Mat. 13:20-22, Acts 7:51, Lk. 9:59-61, ICor.15:33, Rev. 2:4.
- From ICor. 10:12, what lessons can we glean for our lives?
3.2The marks of a backslider
- What are the signs evident in a backslider? Ezk. 33:31-32, Gen. 38:1-2, Hos. 7:1, Rev. 3:16, Lk. 10:30.
- Have you observed any of these in your life? What will you do about them?
3.3The sorrows of a backslider
- From the scriptures below, mention/discuss the agonies of backsliding. Heb. 10:38-39, Gen. 19:26, IIChr. 15:2, Jer. 2:19, Ezk. 18:24, Prov. 14:4, IISam. 12:13-14.
- What does a believer lose when he backslides? Ps. 51:12.
- What is Christ’s warning to those who look back? Lk. 9:62.
3.4Our attitude towards a backslider
What is God’s attitude and what should be our attitude towards a backslider? Read Hos. 11:1-19, Lk. 22:32, IPet. 5:19-20 and comment.
Often when a believer backslides, he becomes the object of gossips in the fellowship. He is despised, shunned, and sometimes completely abandoned. Many develop a cold attitude towards him. This should not be so. We should rather be sympathetic, patient, loving, kind and understanding to a brother/sister who is spiritually off the track.
3.5Restoring a backslider
- How should we restore a backslider and what precaution must we take? Gal. 6:1.
- What must a backslider do to restore fellowship with God? Ps. 32:5, Prov. 28:13, Isa. 55:6-7, Rev. 2:5.
- What is God’s promise to those who return to him in true repentance? Hos. 6:1-3.
- Having been restored, should a backslider dwell on his/her past life of disobedience? Phil. 3:13-14.
“Beware of little foxes that spoil the vine” is God’s instruction to those who are standing. The little sins and misbehaviors you permit today could be what the enemy of your soul will use to make you drift away from the faith. Anointing for exploit is good, but it is never an immunization against falling away. The only sure immunization against going down is to abide in Christ (Jn. 15:4,6) and to take heed to yourself. Finally, we have this consolation in Christ: “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Background Text: John 14:15-17
Memory verse:“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth .” (Jn. 16:13a).
The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead. He is the Spirit of God. He is eternal (Heb. 9:14), Omnipotent (Lk. 1:35), Omniscient (ICor. 2:10), Sovereign (ICor.12:6-11), He is the same with the Father and the Son (IJn. 5:7). Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples in Jn. 10:5-15. This was a special provision for them to be able to accomplish God’s purpose on earth. Obviously, the “Acts of the Apostles” is a testament of how and what the Holy Spirit helped the early disciples to accomplish God’s task. For us today, we don’t need anything less or more than the Holy Spirit. In this study therefore, we shall trust God to reveal to us, the help our Father had provided via the ministry of the Holy Spirit, so that our walk with him and service for him can be meaningful and real.
4.0The Holy Spirit as a Person
- Is the Holy Spirit a force, a wind, a dove, oil, or a person?
- From the scriptures below, who/what is the Holy Spirit? Acts 28:25;16:6-11;13:2; 7:51;9:31, Eph. 4:30, Jn. 14:26, IJn. 2:27, Gen. 6:3, Rom. 8:26.
4.1Symbols used to described the Holy Spirit
- Point out the symbols that were used to describe the Holy Spirit from these scriptures.
- What is the implication of each of them to our life? Dove (Jn. 1:32), Water (Isa. 44:3), Oil (ISam. 16:13, Heb. 1:9), A Seal (IICor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13), Wind (Acts 2:1-2), Fire (Acts 2:3), Wine (Acts 2:13, Eph. 5:18).
- Is the Holy Spirit the same as any of these symbols?
4.2The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
(a) Salvation:- The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin (Jn. 16:8-11), produces conversion and regeneration (Tit. 3:5, Eph. 2:1), and gives an inward assurance of salvation (Rom. 8:16, IJn. 5:5-6).
(b) The life of a believer:- He gives power to be sons of God (Jn. 1:12), liberate us from the power of sin and death so that we can be holy (Rom. 8:2, Gal. 5:16), resides in us as the boss (Rom. 8:14), sanctifies (IPet. 1:2), guides into the truth (Jn. 16:13), comforts us (Jn. 14:26), empowers us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27), inspires praises and worship to God (Phil. 3:3, Jn. 4:24), produces the fruit of the Spirit in us (Gal. 5:22-23) and transforms us into the image of Christ (IICor. 3:15-18).
(c) Service:- The Holy Spirit gives power for service (Acts 1:8), calls and sends workers (Acts 13:2-4), directs the work (Acts 16:6-9), gives discernment (Acts 5:1-4), gives gifts for service (ICor. 12:4-11) and appoints leaders (Acts 20:28).
4.3Basic Qualification for receiving the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Salvation (Acts 2:38)
- A genuine thirst/waiting earnestly (Lk. 24:44, ICor. 14:1),
- Faith (Gal. 3:2)
4.4The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- From the scriptures below, highlight the various gifts of the Holy Spirit: ICor. 12:8-11, 28-31.
- How can we grow and maintain them?
- Keep the fire on your altar burning: quite time, prayer, bible reading/study (Atcs 2:42).
- Maintain a holy life (Ecc. 9:8).
- Exercise the gifts with knowledge (IITim. 1:6-7).
- Constantly pray to be refilled (Eph. 5:18).
- What are some things we must avoid as we relate with the Holy Spirit?
- We must not vex the Spirit (Isa. 63:10).
- Don’t blaspheme or speak against Him (Mat. 12:31, Mk. 3:29).
- Don’t lie to Him (Acts 5:3).
- We must not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).
- Don’t quench the Holy Spirit (IThess. 5:19).
- Don’t abuse or misuse the gifts of the Spirit. Use them with scriptural knowledge/principle (ICor. 14:12, 32-33,40).
We need the Holy Spirit to be able to walk in the spirit, so that we do not gratify the desire of the sinful nature. Christian life and service becomes real and successful (with ease) when believers tap into the great resources that are hidden in the Person of the Holy Spirit. However, the gifts of the Spirit are not for self-aggrandizement, self-glory, neither are they to be used to cause confusion in the body of Christ. They are given for the edification of the body of Christ.
Text: Jonah 3:1-10
Memory verse:“Is not this kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.” (Isa. 58:6).
Scriptural fasting is a means to grow in grace. It is a bodily exercise that promotes Christian growth and builds the consciousness of God in the heart of a Christian. It has become expedient to consider this subject seeing the abuse it has been subjected to amidst believers. We shall look at what a fast is, what it is not, its types, the reasons why we should fast and the results of God-ordained fast.
5.0What is a fast? (Deu. 9:9, Dan. 10:2-3, Isa. 58:2-5)
Fasting is a deliberate decision against the desire for food and other pleasures which are sacrificed for God. It is means of receiving eternal thing from God and to see the will of God done in the life of a believer. (Neh. 1:4, Est. 4:16, Dan. 9:3).
5.1Wrong Fasts (Isa. 58:2-5, Col. 2:21-23)
- Hunger strike.
- Fasting as “drug” for slimming down (Sliming fast).
- Urine fast.
- Contracted fast.
- Fasting as a public affair/show.
- Fating to pray against other peoples’ progress in life (wickedness).
- Fasting to afflict the soul.
- Fasting for pleasure.
- Coercing/forcing people to fast against their will.
5.2Scriptural Fast (Isa. 58:6-7, 61:1-3)
- A fast to lose the chains of wickedness and set the oppressed free. (Mat. 17:21).
- A fast to undo the heavy burdens and break every yoke (Mat. 11:29).
- A fast to share your food and home with the hungry and the poor. (Isa. 58:7, IJn. 3:16-18, Ps. 91:1, NLT).
- A fast to cover those that are naked. (Isa. 58:7, Rev. 3:18).
- A fast to seek God’s face to fulfill his promise. (Dan. 9:2-3, 20-23).
- A fast to seek a genuine repentance, mercy, deliverance and restoration. (Joe. 2:12-17, Jos. 7:6).
- A fast to seek God’s face for his call upon your life and to receive divine revelation. (Exd. 24:12,18, Acts 13:2-3).
How can each of these fast be observed practically? Discuss.
5.3Types of Fast
A fast may be planned (Joe. 2:17) or unplanned (Deu. 9:9, Exd. 24:12). It should be noted that the scripture did not give any rigid rule on when a fast should begin and end. Also, no time frame/duration is given. It is expected however, that as we grow in Christ, our life of fasting will also grow. In any case, the following are types of fast we could engage in.
- Dry fast:- Total abstinence from food and water. (Deu. 9:9, Est. 4:16).
- Normal fast:- Abstinence from food only. Drinking of water is allowed.
- Partial fast:- Abstinence from pleasant foods. Water is used. (Dan. 10:2-3).
- A fasted-life:- Regular abstinence from foods, eating moderately (not overeating), eating once or twice daily. (ICor. 9:26-27, Pro. 25:16).
- Others:- Abstinence from sex as married couples for a period of time. The two parties must agree. (ICor. 7:5).
5.4The gains of fasting
Highlight the benefits of fasting from Isa. 58:8-12.
Fast, when practiced within the context of the Word of God yields great reward. However, the effectiveness of our fast depends on the quality of life of the individual. A sinner who is not resolute to forsake sin would only be going on hunger strike if he does fast. Friends, this bodily exercise is of immense blessings to our soul. Lets together cultivate it.
DEVELOPING THE GRACE OF GIVING
Background Text: II Cor. 8:1-15; 9:1-15
Memory verse:“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).
“Christian Giving is a way of life learned from God through Jesus Christ. God is a giving God and his followers are giving people. Christian giving is centred in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and involves the giving of self and of possessions. The grace of cheerful giving should belong to every Christian. Yet the joy of giving is unknown to much of Christian community.” (Cecil A. Ray). In this study, we shall examine the subject of giving.
6.0Why Christian give
- What is the aim of Christian giving? Read Exd. 25:1-2, 8; 36:1, Acts 2:44-45. The goal of giving is to serve the purpose of Christ.
- What are the causes to be supported? Discuss the components of each.
- The Church
- The ministry work (ITim. 5:17-18).
- Mission, the world-wide task of the Church (Phil. 4:15-16).
- The needy, within and abroad (Acts 4:34-35, IICor. 8).
- The family (ITim. 5:4-16).
- The unfortunate persons (Mat. 6:2-4; 25:34-35, Lk. 14:13-14).
6.1How to grow the Grace of Giving (ICor. 8:3-5; 9:2, 7; 16:2)
- Give yourself first.
- Give regularly.
- Give in worship days.
- Give in proportion to your income.
- Give cheerfully.
- Give willingly not grudgingly.
- Set an example for others. How?
- Seek for opportunity to give. Identify some opportunities to practice giving around you.
6.2How much should a Christian give?
Read ICor. 16:2 again and discuss the following examples.
- The Pharisees (Mat. 23:23, Lk. 18:11-12).
- The Widow (Mk. 12:41-44).
- The Good-Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37).
- Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37).
- The woman with the alabaster box (Mat. 26:6-13).
6.3Rewards of Christian Giving
- Expansion of the Kingdom of God (Rom. 10:13-18).
- Laying treasures above.
- Great harvest (Ecc. 11:1, Mat. 10:24, IICor. 9:6, 8).
- Eternal life (Mat. 25:44-46).
- Joy of giving.
Our salvation cost Christ his very life. We must adjust our life to do more for Christ. “To grow in giving requires a willingness to submit to Christ. Above all else, God desires man’s voluntary love.” Remember, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Background Text: Lk. 10:38-42
Memory verse:“But only one thing is needful,…” Lk. 10:42a
We are saved to serve. Service is not just moving here and there in the name of doing something for God. Our primary service is to be with Jesus. From this point, we can then move to serve him at his command and return to wait on him. (Mk. 3:14). Once a believer stops doing this, he has moved from service to activity. All the men who served God acceptably were normally described as “devote men.” (Lk. 2:25). If we will win God’s approval, grow unto fullness and serve him acceptably, we must become wholly devoted to him.
7.0The meaning of Devotion
- To give oneself to something. To be wholly committed. (Acts 6:4, ICor. 7:35).
- To have deep, strong love for… (Rom. M8:35-39).
- To be addicted to something… (Acts 2:42; 16:15).
7.1Object of True Devotions
Read IICor. 3:18, Mat. 6:6, Ps. 24:5-6, Phil. 3:10 and discuss what the object of true devotion is.
The goal of every true devotion is to know God and be changed to become like him.
7.2The Necessities for Devotions
- It is the reason for our call. (Mk. 3:13-15, IICor. 5:15).
- Communion and renewal. (Mk. 1:35, Isa. 40:28-31).
- Life transformation and growth (Rom. 12:2, Jude 20).
- Fruitfulness. (Jn. 15:4-10).
- For anointing for life and service. (Mat. 17:20-21).
- For guidance, direction and lifting in times of needs. (Exd. 28:29-30, Jn. 5:19,30).
7.3Practice of Devotions (Acts 2:42-43)
Here are some godly habits we must develop.
- Prayer, personal and corporate. (IThe. 5:17).
- Bible study/reading. (IITim. 2:13-15).
- Meditation. (ITim. 4:15).
- Singing and making music in your heart. (Eph. 5:19-20).
- Writing: Taking notes during your quite time, sermon, bible study, etc.
- Reading of Christian literatures.
How will each of these devotions help us to know God more?
7.4Hindrances to the practice of Devotions
- Sin (Ps. 24:2-3).
- Indiscipline: sleep, gluttony, laziness (Pro. 6:4-11).
- Wrong company.
- Busy schedules: Mary and Martha (Lk. 10:38-42).
Our service is primarily to be with Jesus. We must learn to simply stand in his presence while he works through us (Jn. 6:29). We need to give attention to our personal devotions if we hope to grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ.
Background Text: Heb. 11:1-40
Memory verse:“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (IICor. 5:7).
Once a man has been saved, God expect him to live by faith. Believers in Christ “walk by faith, not by sight.” Our life must not be regulated by the physical environment but by heart conviction and belief in God and in what he said. If we do not live like this, we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Thus, the subject of faith is crucial to our walk with God. May the Holy Spirit illuminate our hearts as we study on. (Amen).
8.0What is Faith? Heb. 11:1
- What are the components of scriptural faith?
- Is faith the same a ‘positive thinking’?
- Who is the object of genuine scriptural faith? Mk. 11:22, Gal. 3:6, Ps. 37:3.
- Highlight some wrong objects in which we normally place our faith. Ps. 29:25, Deu. 8:12-14, Ps. 62:10, Jer. 9:23; 17:5, IThes. 1:9, IJn, 5:21.
Faith is putting our full confidence in God for the things we hope for and being certain of things we cannot see. Once you can handle a thing, there is no need for faith.
8.1Building a life of Faith
- What does Heb. 11:6 teach about approaching God?
- How does faith comes? Jn. 5:24, Rom. 10:17, ICor. 12:9.
- Read Rom. 4:17-21. Discuss how Abraham and Sarah built their faith.
- Can faith increase? Lk. 17:5-6.
- Where does faith start? Rom. 10:8-10.
- How is faith in the heart expressed? Mk. 11:20-24, Heb. 11:8-10, 23, 32-38.
- Discuss: “Faith without works is dead.” Jam. 2:14-26.
Faith comes by hearing God’s word. It is when you are tried and persevere on what you believe that your faith will grow.
8.2Hindrances to Faith
From the following scriptures, mention and discuss hindrances to faith. Jn. 12:42, Jam. 1:6-8, Pro. 23:7a, ICor. 15:33, Mk. 4:24, Lk. 12:5.
8.3Benefits of Faith
- Faith is the means of our salvation and justification. (Jn. 1:12, Rom. 5:1).
- It is the basis of relating with God. (Heb. 11:1-3, 6).
- It is our armour in spiritual warfare. (Eph. 6:16, IIChro. 20:12).
- Faith is the vehicle by which we get resources and divine blessings from God. (Mat. 8:13, 9, 29-30, Jam. 1:5-6).
- It sustains us in our times of trials and afflictions. (Dan. 3:17, Heb. 11:32-39).
- Faith helps us to develop Christian characters. (Jam. 11:2-4).
Faith is the foundation and basis for relating with God. It is the principle for daily Christian living. Faith can be learnt, practiced and improved. We must remove our trust from anything else, especially man, and begin to learn to trust God and live by His Word. May the Lord help you to step out and take steps of faith. (Amen).
: WITNESSING AND SOUL WINNING
Background Text: Matt. 28:18-20
Memory verse:“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.”(Pro. 11:30).
Have you ever preached the gospel to a soul? Soul winning is one of the acts that have suffered neglect in the body of Christ. Yet, this is the major task Jesus left with the Church. We do many other things such as bible study, praying, singing, acting drama, all in a confined building, but we never go out there where the sinners are. We are saved to serve. Just as he saved your soul, God expects you to also go and preach the gospel to others and win them to the Lord. We pray that God will stir your heart, from now on, to seek the lost after this study. (Amen).
9.0Who is a Witness? IJn. 1:1-3, Acts 22:18-15
What does it mean to be a witness for Christ? A witness for Christ is one who himself have personally received Christ as his Saviour and Lord, having being delivered from sin, he can now tell others about the gospel.
9.1Soul-Winning? Mat. 28:19-20, IICor. 5:18-20.
- What is soul-winning?
- How do we win souls?
Confront men with the gospel (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). The summary of the gospel is
- For all have sinned,
- The penalty/reward for is eternal death,
- The remedy to sin is Jesus.
9.2Necessary tools for Soul-Winning
- The Word of God. (Heb. 4:12).
- Passion and burden for the lost. (Mat. 9:36).
- Friendliness. (Lk. 15:1-2).
- Love. (ICor. 13:4, 6, 7).
9.3Methods of Soul-Winning
- One-to-one (most effective)
- Mass Evangelism
- Distribution of gospel tracts/Pamphlets
- Messages on tapes (audio and videos)
Discuss: How can I be involved practically?
9.4Some Do’s and Don’ts in Soul-Winning
- Avoid arguments and controversies. (IITim. 2:23, Tit. 3:9).
- Be clear and simple as possible in your presentation.
- Don’t attempt to covert a soul. Salvation is by choice not by force. (Mk. 10:17-22).
- Give an invitation for salvation after witnessing/altar call. (Mat.11:28).
- Follow-up your convert.
9.5Rewards of Soul-Winning
- Joy (Jn. 4:36).
- Eternal glory (Dan. 12:3, Lk. 12:8).
- Wisdom (Pro. 11:30).
- Persecutions (Mat. 5:11-12, IITim. 3:12).
“Christians must recapture some of the zeal and passion of the early Church. Otherwise, this old world will be lost while a lifeless Church sits at ease in Zion.” (T. L. Osborn). Rise up today and go out there where the sinners are.
CHRISTIANS AND LEADERSHIP
Politics is “the art or science of government.” Generally speaking, we are either directly or indirectly involved in government. Christians have significant role to play in government. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-16, that we are the Salt of the earth and the Light of the world. The society will continue to decay if those who are in power are unrighteous and corrupt. Except we rise to take our place in public affairs, things will grow from bad to worse. Thus, we see a need to do a little study on Christians and leadership.
10.0 Christians Vs Politics
- Should a believer be involved in politics/public affairs/leadership? Discuss.
- Read the following scriptures and comment. Prov. 31:23, IPet. 2:13-14, Phil. 2:12-16, Isa. 60:1-2, Jug. 2:16, IKg. 19:15-17, ISam. 16:1, 12-13.
One of the principal things the devil does is to place his men to serve his mission and agenda in positions of authority and rulership (Eph. 6:12). As Christians, we cannot remain in low places in our spheres of life while the unbelievers aspire and attain to the high places, and expect that we will rule our world.
10.1 The purpose of aspiring for leadership as a believer
- What should be the motivating factor for a believer who desires leadership? Discuss.
- Read Mat. 5:13-15. What is light, how and when can the impact of light be felt?
- What is the implication of putting a lighted candle under a bushel?
- What could make the candle of a leader to be under a bushel?
- What is salt and of what use is it?
Apply this to Christians as salt/light in government.
10.2 Godly Tips for Leaders and God’s Expectations from Leaders
- Power belongs to God. (Ps. 62:11).
- God removes and setup kings. (Dan. 4:24-25).
- The Lords abhors false balance. What is false balance and how is it practiced in our days? (Pro. 11:1).
- Riches profiteth not in the day of wrath. (Pro. 11:4).
- Don’t listen to falsehood. (Pro. 29:1).
- Plan to end well. (Ecc. 7:1-8).
- Follow and do the will of God. (Acts 13:21-22).
- Punish evil and reward righteousness. (Deu. 16:18-19, Rom. 13:1-4).
- A leader must be ahead in his devotions and growth. (Lk. 6:41-42).
- Don’t oppress the poor and the needy but help the underprivileged. (Pro. 31:3-5; 29:14-16).
- A leader must be blameless. (ITim. 3:2).
10.3 Practical Discussion
“The destiny of a land is determined by the leaders. God’s greatest problem is not with the people but with the leaders. (Gbile Akanni). If we will go out of this campus to take our place in the society while living the life of Christ, not long we will dislodge the “giants” that have occupied our land, corruption will give way and we shall witness a revival in our corners of dominion.
Background Text: Matthew 24:36-51
Memory verse:“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Mat. 24:42).
The Rapture of the Church is one of the prophecies of the scriptures that is yet to be fulfilled. It is one of the events that will take place in the future. Obviously, we are in the End-Time. This time will usher in the Rapture. In this study, we shall look at what Rapture is, the events after it and what should be our response as we await our Lord and King. It is our earnest prayer that this study will stir your hear and give you a longing for the soon coming of the Lord. (Amen).
- What is Rapture? Is it the same as the “Second Coming of Jesus?” IThes. 4:13-18.
- Who are those that will be raptured?
- (i) The Dead in Christ. (IThes. 4:15-18, ICor. 15:23, 51-55).
- (ii) The Tribulation Saints. (Rev. 5:8-10; 6:9-11).
(iii) The Two-witnesses. (Rev. 11:7-12).
These are the companies of Saints that will meet with Christ in the air (between heaven and earth).
11.1 Events after the Rapture
From the following scriptures, highlight the events that will take place after the Rapture? Lk. 21:4-11, 25-33, Mk. 13:4-27, IIThes. 2:1-12, Rev. 4:1-19.
The Anti-Christ with his cohorts will release terrible sufferings on whoever is left on earth. This time of suffering is also known as the Great Tribulation.
11.2 Activities of the Anti-Christ
Read Rev. 13:5-6; 13:7, Dan. 8:24, 25 and discuss.
- What is the mark of the beast?
- What are the consequences of worshipping the beast and accepting the mark? Rev. 14:9-11.
- What will happen to those who refuse to worship and accept the mark of the beast? Rev. 13:15-17.
11.3 Necessary Preparations for the Rapture
Read the scriptures below and discuss what should our response.
Jer. 12:5, Mat. 24:32-42, Jn. 3:3, IJn. 3:2-3; 1:7, Eph. 5:27.
Rapture is certain and imminent. The end of all things is at hand (IJn. 2:17). All events and happenings around us are clear indications to this truth. The time of Grace is now. Next is the time to pay by one’s own blood. But who shall be able to withstanding the Great Tribulation?
Make haste today when time last. Remain focus and immovable. Christ is coming soon. May we be found ready to meet him when the trumpet shall sound? (Amen).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP II
Background Text: Genesis 24:1-67
Memory verse:“Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexual immoral.” (Heb. 13:4).
Last semester, during the Sisters’ weekend programme, we considered “God’s purpose for marriage.” Clearly, marriage was created for service. Except we understand that this is God’s ultimate reason for marriage, we will enter into it with a defective knowledge, and of course, abuse is inevitable. In that same study, we saw the diverse ways by which God reveals his will to us and what to do before saying “Yes” or “No” to a brother. Today, we shall look at what courtship is, conduct and activities during courtship and how to grow a pure courtship.
What is Courtship?
Courtship begins at the period when a sister and a brother have mutually confirmed the leading of God in their hearts as future marriage partners to each other. Except a sister gives you a “Yes” for an answer, she is not yet in courtship with you. Beware “Bro”! Put in another way, courtship is a period of conscious preparation of the two lives for marriage. (Lk. 14:28, Pro. 16:1).
Practical Discussion: Contrary to this, what do “lovers” do during courtship in our days? Do you think such behavious can achieve God’s purpose for marriage? What are the likely results of such conducts? How then should a Christian brother and sister conduct themselves during courtship?
Godly Activities during Courtship
Since courtship is the period to lay a proper foundation for the home, then the following are some activities that would help in realizing this goal.
- Fast and pray together.
- Study the Word of God together.
- Listen to Christian messages together.
- Read Christian literatures and discuss them.
- Be involved in soul winning.
- Visit Christian friends, senior friends or your spiritual father together. Mention others.
These activities are better carried out with the counsel of your spiritual father or a senior friend. Usually, they will advice you to use an open place each time you meet, or go along with a friend, your brother or sister, or meet in the house of your spiritual father. Avoid meeting under close-door. You are but an earthen vessel! Don’t forget this.
Contents of relationship during courtship
It is expected that during courtship, there should be sincere, honest and open discussion between the two friends in the ship. What should be the content of their discussions?
- Share your past life; failure and successes. (Pro. 28:13). Why do people hide their past? In your own view, will this attitude help the marriage in future?
- The brother should share the vision of the work God committed to him by God. Discuss future career and where to live. (Gen. 2:15-20).
- Discuss your background, age, family composition, health challenge if any, etc. (Ecc. 4:9-12, Rth.1:16-17).
- Discuss issues relating to child bearing and how to raise them. When and how should this discussion be? (Ps. 127:3, Gen. 1:28).
- Discuss your income, source, how to handle finance and other resources. (Mat. 19:5-6).
- At what point should you discuss how to satisfy your emotional needs? (Pro. 5:15-20).
- Discuss necessary preparations concerning the marriage ceremony in view of the need to glorify the Lord. (Mat. 18:19-20). What should be the focus of the wedding ceremony and how will it be achieved?
How to maintain a pure courtship
What ought to be our conduct and attitude during courtship with regards to the following:
- Regularity and duration of times of visits.
- Time of visits and place.
- Do we need the company of other brethren when we are together?
- How to appear, sit, talk during visit.
- Set boundaries. This could include ‘no evening or late-night visits’, ‘don’t visit when you don’t have a defined purpose’, ‘no holding of hands’, ‘on no occasion must we sleep together on one bed’, etc.
- Don’t hide it from brethren. Else, sin is lucking at your door.
- When should we involve our parents, pastor(s) and/or spiritual fathers and what role will they play? Rom. 13:7, ITim. 5:17, Gen. 24:50-51, 59-61.
- How long should a courtship last? Heb. 10:35-39.
- On what ground should an engagement be broken and a courtship discontinued? Mat. 18:8-9; 16:26.
- Sex before marriage is sinful. If for any reason your partner asks you for sex before your marriage, don’t keep mute. Run to your pastor or spiritual father (Heb. 13:4).
- Should there be exchange of gifts during courtship?
Christian courtship is a foundation for building a joyful home that can fulfill God’s purpose. It is not the time to be joined bodily. Every activity at this period must be guided by biblical principles, the Holy Spirit and your spiritual father. When courtship is handled correctly, it would lead to a Christian marriage.
ACADEMIC SUCCESS SEMINAR II
THE CANKERWORM CALLED EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE
Background Text: Joshua 7:1-26
Memory verse:“The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” (Pro. 11.1).
Among several evils that had eaten deep into the fabrics of our society is exam malpractice. It is fast destroying the good foundation that “our heroes past” labored selflessly to build. Unfortunately, the Church is not spared from this terrible menace. This act is now widely accepted. It has become the cheapest (but ungodly) way-out for academic success for a teeming population that is crazy after paper qualifications. The effects and dangers it poses to our society and the Church are grave and dreadful. Its aftermath is better not imagined.
In this workshop, we shall practically examine the matter of examination malpractice via the Word of God.
Definition and origin
What is exam malpractice? It is any unlawful activity practiced by a person or persons for personal advantage before, during or after and examination. That is, any action or inaction done against the rules and regulations guiding an examination. Officially, the first case was reported in 1977 when the live questions of WAEC were massively leaked out.
Shades of Exam Malpractice
- Dubbing:- Either from a textbook, note, board, project,…
- Expo:- Having access to exam questions before exam day.
- ‘ECOWAS’, ‘ECOMOG’ and ‘OAU’:- This is an articulate arrangement among friends who evolved a suitable system of passing messages in coded language in the exam hall. In IBBU Lapai, students call it “COLLABO.”
- Micro-chips:- Pieces of papers on which students write condensed portions of their notes book and smuggle it into the hall.
- Super-print:- A generic form for all forms of writing on clothes, handkerchiefs, uniforms and body.
- Impersonification:- Hiring an individual to write an exam, assignment or text for another candidate.
- Forgery:- Collaborating with or without an examiner/exam body to issue grade(s) or certificate you do not merit or for which you did not sit for the exam.
- Communicating during test or exam without the permission of the invigilator.
- “Good-Samaritan Syndrome”:- Leaving or uncovering your answer scripts for another candidate to copy.
- Assaulting and intimidating of exam officials.
- Bribery:- Deliberate and calculated gifts to a lecturer, an examiner or exam officer to influence the outcome of your results.
- Others:- Bullets, missiles, giraffe, swapping of examination materials or seat, contributing money as a class for a lecturer to indirectly influence your result.
Note:- On a general note, it is not against examination ethics for an examiner or examination body, to upgrade or review the score/results of ALL candidates who sat for an examination. Usually, this is done across-board.
What saith the Scriptures about Exam Malpractice? Luke 16:15
- It is a false weight:- “Differing weights and differing measure – the LORD detest them both.” (Pro. 20:10). Exam malpractice gives you a weight or measure you do not merit. It gives a false picture of your academic performance.
- It is a shameful deed:- Any action that cannot be brought to light is vile (shameful). Such are always done under cover. How many people can boldly stand before God, his angel and the Church to testify how they obtained all their results/certificate so far? (Rev. 21:7-8).
- It makes you to break your oath:- Students take oath, either consciously or unconsciously, not to take part in exam malpractice. The implication of taken an oath is great and must not be taken lightly. God will not hold guiltless anyone who breaks an oath unadvisedly. Did you keep your oath/pledge not to cheat during WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, IBBUL exams? (Num. 30:2, Mat. 5:33-37).
- It makes you a thief, a liar/false witness:- Claiming the right of ownership on something you did not acquire legally makes you a thief and a liar. (Exd. 20:15). Each time you present your certificates for screening, it is like saying: “these are my credentials, I wrote the exams by myself, they are the results of my labour.” But is this testimony true? (Rev. 21:7-8).
- It uncovers you to attack and you cannot stand for God in battle:- We read of Achan, who stole an accursed thing and hid it inside his tent. As a result of this, Israel (as a nation) was defeated in a battle against Ai (a very small city). About 36 men were killed in that battle. They could not stand for God to defeat the enemy rather they were prone to attack from the enemy. Friend, each time you are in possession of an accursed thing, you cannot stand as a soldier for the Lord and your life is exposed to attack. (Jos. 7:1-26, Zec. 3:1-4).
Effects of Exam Malpractice
- Turn-out of half-baked, unqualified graduates/professionals.
- It is threat to standard.
- Delays the process and release of examination results.
- It makes innocent students to suffer.
- Those involved could be expelled or suspended from school.
- It denies qualified candidates opportunity for admission.
- It discourages good candidates from studying hard.
- It makes you a hypocrite.
- It produces a religious but powerless Church.
- It denies qualified applicants of job opportunities/employment.
- It encourages corruption in other aspect of public affairs/government.
From the following scriptures, what is God’s verdict on this sinful act? Hab. 2:6, ICor. 6:9-10.
Remedy to Exam Malpractice
- Seek counsel from senior believers.
- Be committed to your study so that you will not be tempted.
- Do not join the multitude to do evil.
- Don’t plan to depend on your friend during test/exam.
- Write your assignment, test, exam, term paper, project and examination by yourself (no matter the circumstance).
- Above all, be heavenly conscious rather than being certificate conscious.
Are you already caught in the web of exam malpractice? Do you long to see God at the end of the age? Are you planning to be a useful vessel in God’s hand in the years to come? Do you want to leave a legacy of an impeccable academic excellence behind for the generation yet unborn? Do you want to possess a ‘rod’ with which you can deliver the lost and challenge the present corruption in the society? Then exam malpractice is not an option.
What shall it profit a man if he shall gain wonderful certificates/results and lose his own soul? Exam malpractice is deadly, stay clear!