Monday, August 12, 2019

Famine at the Hearing of the Words of the Lord (Amos 8:11)

I struggled much for a whole week before delivering the message yesterday at a church’s 20th anniversary. I was invited because when they first started as an official local church 15 years ago I was the District Superintendent and basically helped the leaders to establish a proper functioning church council and I also conducted a leadership seminar at a retreat for them. It’s been a while though I had preached in their 2017 Christmas service. I preached about ecclesiology, about what a mature church should look like or ought to be doing. I preached mostly from 1 Corinthians 11-14. I told the audience that the church is the body of Christ but with many members, members from every tribe and nation. I quoted Paul’s exhortation to the Roman church to accept everyone and not be too scrupulous about inconsequential things like drinks, foods, and sabbaths. Then I said every member is spiritually gifted and a mature church will recognise these gifts and get everyone working together for the common good.
I listed the five major organs of the body and made the analogy that in the church we too have 5 main offices, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph 4:11) and also in 1 Cor 12:28 first, apostle, second, prophet and third, teacher. I went on to elaborate on prophets and teachers and took the example of the Antiochean church in Acts 13:1 where there were prophets and teachers ministering and the Holy Spirit sent forth Barnabas and Saul. Prophets will also come in the future, in the end time in the persons of the two witnesses who are called the two prophets. I spoke about prophets’ ministry to rebuke and call people to repentance and like Jesus did not give face or respect any person but taught the way of God in truth. I spoke about prophets not being welcomed in their home countries (John 4:44). Then I went on to explain the importance of teachers. I gave the example of Ezra and how he was a scribe and expert in the law of God because he devoted himself to study and research (Ezra 7:10). I bemoaned the lack of biblical knowledge and shared how even in theological colleges a small percentage of the curriculum focuses on biblical books. Imagine going to Law school but study a little about law but many other non law subjects instead. I am still amazed at the church in general and theological education as well when the Bible does not have an integral role but almost as a side subject. You have BTheol or MDiv graduates getting their diplomas but having studied at most 2 or 3 biblical books out of the 66 books of the Bible. No wonder there is little knowledge of God in the land. I am glad yesterday many youths came up to me and thanked me and told me how the message opened their minds and blessed them. I am glad the chairman of the council said he would invite me to conduct seminars and courses so that the congregation will grow in the knowledge of Scripture.

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