Bible DidacticsThe Truth About THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH



* The Church – A People
* The Church – In History
* The Church – A Family
* The Church – A Nuclear Farm
* The Church – A Building
* The Church – A Temple
* The Church – A Kingdom
* The Church – An Extension of Heaven to Earth
* The Church – A Ministry of Ministries
* The Church – An Unnamed Entity
* The Church – The Body of Christ
* The Church – The Engaged of Christ
* The Church – The Israel of God
* The Church – The Truly Circumcized People
* The Church – A Royal Priesthood
* The Church – Her Workers
* The Church – A Giver Group
* The Church – A People with One Lifetime Chance.

– THE CHURCH, A PEOPLE – Heb. 3:4-6

The English words, ‘Church’ and/or ‘ecclesia’ is a transliteration of the Greek ‘ekklesia’ taken from the ‘Lexicon’ (LXX) to mean ‘an assembly of the people of Israel’. The term was not exclusively used by the Jews. Therefore, it was proper to be adopted for such a gathering which would include the Gentiles – cf. Acts 19:32. As in the text above, we will see later, that ‘Church’ has never been used as a physical structure (Church cathedral/halls, meeting places) or as a sect or denomination in Scripture .

In Scripture, the word ‘Church’ is, on the one hand, used as a ‘local believing community’ and as a reference for all the believers, the world over, on the other – cf. Acts 9:31; 20:28; 1Cor.12:28; Eph. 1:22; Gal. 6:16.

‘Ekklesia’ is a reference for both a body of believers in Christ assembled locally as a congregation as well as a universal body whether assembled or not. As such, one can be a member of a local assembly of believers but fail to be one in a universal sense due to passing through just the common ritualistic experience of a local congregation not according to the faith of Christ.

God’s vision of making mankind in His image which He turned mission in the Garden of Eden was for fellowship with Him eternally. He never intended to allow this eternal intent to be hindered by sin. But the fellowship was restricted to soul-inherent beings only. Sheep, oxen, fouls, fishes, etc. were not made to fellowship with God the same way humans were.

The English dictionary defines ‘Church’ as ‘a place Christians worship’. But the Bible which I believe is ‘the dictionary of God’s love’ shows us that the ‘Church’ is ‘a people who worship God in Christ everywhere with or without a physical structure’ since worship under this regime of grace of Jesus Christ is in spirit and in truth. (See John 1:17; 4:20-24). The Church is a believing people who may or may not have built their own corporate worship place. However, worship or meeting halls or shelters would do well to protect them from sun heat, rain wets and afford them a spacious place for many corporate worshippers, thus, remaining beneficial to have. They are, however, not built to house God as God is too big to live in cathedrals constructed with human hands. (See Acts 17:24,25)

1. What is the relationship between ‘The Church’ and the place she gathers?
2. Suggest a possible misplacement of priority when dealing with ‘The Church’ with regards to ‘Church building’.
3. Can there be ‘Church’ on earth without a physical building? Why?
4. Can there be ‘Church’ on earth without ‘believing people’? If ‘yes’ or ‘no’, how?

Our predecessor message has revealed that The Christian Church is a people which is a solid foundation upon which to build the following. So, where did the people begin? Genesis’ account presents man as beginning pure from God in the Garden of Eden with the first son of God in the flesh (Adam) according to our lead text. Out of his lawless activity that threatened to severe man from his Maker and, of course, from the intended fellowship God foresaw, God withdrew for a while from His fellowship with man.

That, He did in order to plan how He will remove the barrier or the hindrance created by the sin of His first son in the body once and for all. Howbeit, the plan of restoration of fellowship will only be successful through His Son in the spirit – this time, he will not just be a living person but a life giving spirit. (See 1Cor.15:45)

The activity of the first Adam, therefore, negatively affected the last or second Adam, causing Him to die physical death, whereas, that of the last Adam (Christ) has positively affected the first Adam, making it possible for him to resurrect, in due season, alongside all others his sin affected negatively.

Between the fall of man in the first Adam and his rise in the last Adam (Christ), a whole lot of interventionist activities by God have taken place in order to keep God’s name as Maker and Keeper of the whole wide world fresh in the mind of man:- He called Noah (Gen. 6), Abram and later Abraham (Gen. 12) promising him what came to perfect fulfillment in Christ. He called Moses as deliverer of His people as an illustration of what He purposed to do in Christ giving him semblance of worship rituals in Law – cf. Heb. 9:1,8; Col. 2:16,17. God gave predictions to people He put words in their mouths (the prophets) to proclaim to His people about His intent in Christ as well as the Psalmists’ Messianic texts. (See Lk. 24:44b) After the preparatory message of John the Baptist, the Lamb of God Who is to take away the sin (barrier to the fellowship between man and God) – the man, Christ died on a tree to remove both the curse and the barrier. Jesus died on a tree to remove the curse on man because it was about a tree that the curse/barrier came.

Primarily, Jesus’ death was to REMIND us that we WERE God’s children even before the foundation of the world for fellowship with God and not just to make us God’s children. (See John 17:6) He died to remove the barrier in our minds due to disobedience caused by ignorance. (See His. 4:6; 2Cor.4:6)

1. The history about man is that he came from God. To whom or where shall he go after here?
2. We learnt that God made us for fellowship. What does He expect us to exchange with Him?
3. How does the Old Testament serve to restore the fellowship with God caused by the first Adam?
4. Why is Christ the substance of what the Old Testament foreshadowed as we read in ‘Col. 2:16,17’?
5. Why was it imperative that the last Adam (Christ) should die on a tree?

Permit me to say to you, dear reader, that none of these various sub headings should be read in isolation as they are all packaged to interweave in such a way that the revelation on the theme ‘CHURCH’ will be as comprehensive as possible.

As we all are born into families in the body, even so are Christians born into the family of God headed by Jesus Christ. (See our lead text) He is the only Son. All others are servants and slaves except anyone to whom the Son grants sonship status. (cf. Heb. 2:11b,13) I plead with you my believing brothers and sisters to always have this consciousness that you are a member of a new family with a new tradition (superior to the former) and under a new family Head (Jesus, the Christ).

Whenever you are faced with any challenge from the former family of the body, please, be conscious that you belong to a new family of the spirit that is superior to that of the flesh with its attendant abundant grace for you sufficient for all time and need. Conduct your affairs, therefore, with faith in the strength of your new family Head and refuse the fear of seeming harm of the avoidable old family traditions:- is it in burial of loved ones of the old family? Is it in marriages and other tradition-bound events of the old family? Please, remember the force of Christ’s faith. God can desire to raise instruments of change in the discharge of your faith.

Don’t cease confessing, at any point in time, to show your new-found family membership, while remaining as evangelistic as possible. What you confess may not make immediate sense to your neighborhood. But be aware that you are not limited to human audience when you are speaking about the way of Christ. As you consider God’s word in ‘1Cor. 4:9’, understand that principalities are also target audience as you declare your allegiance to Christ.

1. a. If the Christian Church is a family, who is the family head?
b. How can someone enter into that family as a member?
2. Apart from purity of life, can giving money, speaking in tongues, working miracles, etc. make God to accept us into His family?
4. With Christians in a place, what else does God need in such a place to enable Him make Himself known as a good God?
5. If the Christian Church is a family, how can Christians who are members of physical families seen as members of such family simultaneously reading ‘2Cor. 5:17’?

As there is nuclear family of the world, the Christian Church is a spiritual nuclear farm cultivated by God on earth and aimed at producing fruits for the upkeep of the life of the extended farm which is the whole wide world. (See our lead text) As already established, the Church is a believing community of people presented as a farm or vineyard on earth in Scripture. As such, it is narrowed down to believing you and I who are typified as trees or crops the owner planted.

The consequent question is, ‘what is the seed the owner intends to cultivate in this farm?’ We trust God for the best species according to ‘Matt. 13:24′ Jesus Christ says that the seed God planted in this farm is a good variety which should be watched over, lest, the enemy comes to pollute with bad type while we are negligent (Matt. 13:24,25). The good seed must come from above to be devoid of impurity of the wisdom of the world as anything from there is above all – in purity and power. (See John 3:31) The good seed is, metaphorically, the word of God and the fertile farm is the believers’ hearts. (See Luke 8:11)

Through the good seed God has planted in the Christians (the nuclear farm), the extended farm (the unbelievers in Christ), God can feed and secure till the day of Christ’s manifestation. It is upon our shoulders as deposits of this divine treasure (the Gospel of Christ – 2Cor.4:7) to add taste to our world as divine salt and also enlighten the darkened hearts of unbelievers as divine lights in the way we live our lives here on earth. (See Matt.5:13-16) God is not different from His word since He is Spirit (John 4:24) and His word, Spirit (John 6:63). When the principles of His word taught by Jesus Christ is, therefore, at work in and around us, God is undoubtedly in and around us. Amen! What a peaceful and a prosperous place we would have! The answer to the prayer, “Thy will be done on earth, as is being done in heaven, would be realistic” (see Matt.6:10b) Come on brethren, are we producing well enough as ‘good seeds’ so that God may meet the hunger need of the extended farm (the unbelievers)?

No wonder the inability of our neighborhood to quit sin – sexual immorality, indecent actions, witchcraft, kidnapping, insurgency, envy, rivalry, drunkenness, rape, bullying, lusts, etc. The reason is because people are not fed with the bread and fruit of Heaven which are resident in us – God’s nuclear farm.

1. According to ‘2Tim.2:20″ and ‘1Cor.3:9’, the world is both God’s big house and farmland. Who are those living in that house and what are the crops in that farm?
2. God says, we are co-labourers with Him in ‘1Cor.3:9’ and kicks against our accepting enslavement of any kind in ‘1Cor.7:23’. How can we be enslaved today?
3. When God’s farm produces fruits here, how will God Who is Spirit take the fruits to His place in heaven?
4. God tells us in ‘Acts 17:24,25’ that He does not lack anything and so does not depend on our services. So, how do we serve Him?

THE CHURCH, A BUILDING – Eph. 2:19-21.
Those who build their houses do so either for their private use or for commercial purposes. The reason God designates the Christian Church (you and I that have actively believed the Gospel of Christ) in both individual and corporate senses as a house is to provide Himself shelter here in a physical realm. God is Spirit. For Him to do business in a physical world, He must need visible agents which must not be detrimental to His interest. That is why we have such Scriptures as “2Cor.6:14-18”.

Although God built us for this purpose originally, He does not force His way into us without our permission. He stands at the doors of our hearts (this building) and knocks with the preaching of Jesus Christ. (See Rev. 3:20) Those who introduced this Gospel are Christ’s original Apostles. Ours is to continue in their doctrine which is also the doctrine of Christ as on “Acts 2:42 and 2John 9-11”. When the debris of sin is purged from our hearts and the Holy Spirit (spirit of righteousness) replaces through faith in the good news about the atoning work of Christ for us, then, God has had a house to live in on earth to do business.

It is in this sense that the Bible calls us “workers together with God” in ‘1Cor. 3:9’. But, we must allow God to complete the building process so that He can live in. That is important because some of us (believers) have been so incomplete a building that we are not willing to allow God’s Spirit to both kill our sinful nature on the one hand (see Gal. 2:20; 5:16,17) and to renew our minds in order to know how good, pleasing and perfect the new will/nature of God in Christ is on the other. (cf. Rom. 12:1,2) This is imperative because Scriptures preserved for our learning before now have illustrated this in the call of Abraham to, as a matter of principle, LEAVE his father’s house, place and people before God would bless him. (Gen. 12:1,2) The shadow or analogy of leaving has its substance today in how we are believers in Christ only after we have left the standards and customs of this world system to be transformed into the image of God through Christ. That is where the real enemy and the warfare is – the enemy of the cravings of our old/sinful nature, and until we kill all as illustrated in Israel’s war against Amalek (1Sam.15:1-3), we cannot be a building for God’s indwelling.

Dear sister, your war is not against that mother-in-law. Bro., the war is not against that supposed witch. (See Eph.6:12) Read “Jam. 4:1-4” and discover the source of the problem. Upon some who profess the Christian Faith, God has lavished His resources with an expectation to qualify them as teachers (house in which to live) of the life of Christ to others. But, as we speak, to the chagrin of God, are still infants in the things of Christ and therefore learners. (cf. Heb. 5:11-6:3)

This concept of believers (individually and collectively) being shelter for God also presents God as a tenant in a way. But get this, if God tabernacles in a person, it undoubtedly makes that individual a landlord automatically and imagine the attendant honour because of the kind of tenant resident in him! Praise God!

1. On “1Pet.2:4,5 & Eph. 2:20-22”, God says He has built His house or Temple with what?
2. God neither lives in material houses nor is He served with human hands in “Acts 17:24,25”, if He doesn’t live in Church cathedrals/halls to receive what we offer there, who receives what is offered by those who think of there as His house according to “1Cor.10:19,20”?
3. When Paul was distressed in Athens because of what he saw (Acts 17:16), what did he see that he called “shrines for idols”?

The Christian Church, the people of God are called ‘temple’ because of the functions performed in the illustrated temple before now in the will of God before Christ. Temples were formations in which sacrifices were made as found in our lead text above.
When our Lord Jesus attempted to explain to people of His day that the shadowy temple built with hands by King Solomon illustrated the substantial temple of our bodies which God will build and dwell in alone, the people misunderstood Him as in “John 2:15,16,18-21”. Besides the offering of sacrifices, what made that temple ‘heavenly unique’ was the presence of the box (ark) which served as the symbol of God’s power among His people because it contained the commandments of God. (See 2Chr. 6:41)

The aforementioned Scripture has shown that the power to hold the temple, whether in the shadow or preparatory document of Old Testament (biblically speaking) or in the substantial or fulfilled document of the New Testament, is the WORD OF GOD. Any vessel or human being in whom the word of Christ is found is powerful; he can do ‘all things’ or face all conditions by the power that is only resident in Christ – cf. Phil. 4:13. Hallelujah! Such life is a life named after the covenant of God. Just as that ark was the ark (box) of the covenant (containing God’s word), the individual is ‘a person of the covenant’ because he allows the doctrine of Christ to direct his life.

When the word of God departs God’s throne in heaven, it is accompanied with myriads of angels in heaven deployed to guard it. That is done so that principalities through demons in the heavenly (spirits’) places or realms will not destroy its efficacy. Any heart, therefore, that opens its door to house the word of God has received power, security and all graces supplied by God. God’s word will secure the place in which it is accepted as a principle of life. Bet it and see it draw same way. (See 1Pet.3:12,13) God is always mindful of, and also secure whatever goes out from His throne to the earth and the place (temple) such treasure from heaven is admitted will surely enjoy the same security and maintenance. In conclusion, if the word of Christ is found in any person as a guide to life, such person is the temple of God. It is the presence of God in His word that makes it a temple because, through the life of the person, God is to be made known. (cf. John 14:8-11)

The sacrifices of prayers, offerings of hospitality, evangelism, etc. which we undertake daily are the fulfillments of the sacrifices which took place in the temple made with human hands in the Old Testament. So, if God lives in believing people and reveals how good He is today and not in Church cathedral/halls as some of us errantly believe, then, enough of spending more money and resources constructing cathedrals (in which God never lives) to the detriment of the true temples (human believers) who sometimes neither can pay their rents nor live in life – enhanced conditions. So, beloved brethren, let us consider giving more attention to the place God abides than the material shelter in which we fellowship intermittently. (See 1John 3:17-19; 4:20,21) I pray that God bless you with His grace.

1. We just learned that we are a temple God has built in Christ. What are the building materials?
2. What is God’s important treasure in this God’s building that always attracts God’s insurmountable security?
3. What can be the evidence(s) to enable us conclude that some of God’s buildings (human beings), God cannot complete and inhabit because He has been resisted?
4. According to ‘Jam. 4:1-4’, do children of God fight their war of righteousness from outside or inside them?
5. If Abraham had to separate from his earthly relatives to start with God, what are we expected to separate from to be God’s temple?
6. To please God, Saul had to kill all in Amalek and never to remain (See 1Sam.15:1-3). How many acts of our sinful nature are we expected to crucify likewise before qualifying to be God’s temple as in ‘Gal. 2:20; 5:24 & 1Cor.9:27?

If the Christian Church is a kingdom and are the Christians on earth, it then means that the kingdom (government) of God is in the world already. If the Christian Church has a King (head) over them, it also means that the Church is a Kingdom. Furthermore, if the Christian Church is a Kingdom, it equally means there is power since there can be no Kingdom without power with which to run its affairs. But, indeed, the Church (God’s people) is the Kingdom of God on earth because of the following:

The word for ‘kingdom’ is ‘rule’, ‘government’, ‘dominion’, ‘reign’, etc. Since after the Genesis’ account of the disobedience of the head of God’s Kingdom in the flesh (Adam the first), there has been no reference to the phrase, “Kingdom of God or heaven” in Scripture until its reintroduction by John Baptist. (See lead text) God withdrew His Kingdom from being destroyed by sin pending the eternal cleansing which will be done by the Lamb of God (Jesus, His Christ). (See John 1:29) Although many predicted about this regime under Christ, there had been no use of the phrase, “Kingdom of God/Heaven” – cf. 1Pet.1:10-12. God, in His original intent, was to base His Kingdom on a spiritual foundation as warranted by His nature. That, He illustrated with the first Adam in the physical to pave way in His appointed time for the perfect Kingdom (rule, government) in the spirit through Christ. In ‘John 18:36’, Jesus confirms by saying that His Kingdom does not belong to this world.

So, where is the seat of power of Jesus’ Kingdom? There is no question, I guess, whether or not Jesus is King. Instead, the question should be whether or not He has a Kingdom over which He is King or rules. (For that, see the above Scripture where Jesus makes reference to His Kingdom and also ‘Col. 1:13’).

There is a response Jesus gave to the Pharisees about the Kingdom of God in ‘Luke 17:20,21′ where He said His Kingdom is resident in His believers. That shows that it is the reign of God in peoples’ hearts by His word. It cannot be materialized except its fruits.

In conclusion, it could be said that the head of Nigeria, as other nations, is God indirectly; whereas, the head of the Kingdom (government) of God – the Christian Church – is God directly through Christ or, Christ in God.

The Scripture in ‘Rom. 14:17’ says that God’s Kingdom is not made real in eating and drinking to refresh the body, (an earthly welfare state) but that, far beyond that, is about righteousness, joy and peace that God’s Spirit gives; it is for receiving inheritance that we are drafted to be members of God’s Kingdom as in ‘Eph. 5:5’. But no one receives an inheritance from a parent not willed to him, or if he does, can stand the trial of Intruders if not under oath or an Act. This is the reason we are under the ‘will of God in Christ’, so that it becomes possible for us to access our inheritance from God unhindered. (See Rom. 12:2) God willed everything He had to Jesus, and, because Jesus is generous like the Father, He re-willed same to us. Thank you, Jesus!

But, we cannot also take possession if Jesus, the Testator or writer of the will is not confirmed to be dead as shown in ‘Heb. 9:15-18’. The Kingdom’s door, therefore, was not opened for anybody to inherit anything except until after Jesus died.

God was pleased with Jesus’ multi-purpose self sacrifice on the tree and so authorized His resurrection and re-enthronment as King of kings, Lord of lords, Master of masters, Commander-in-chief and head of His Kingdom (Church). The prayer point, ‘Let Thy Kingdom come’ had its answer when Jesus died and resurrected as head over God’s Kingdom. This same event has condemned His enemy, the Devil, awaiting his execution when he will never be around in the reign of Christ to any longer trick His subjects due to ignorance.

In a Kingdom such as Christ reigns over, there must be a constitution to regulate the business of those involved which we have had in the ‘New Will’ (covenant) of God in Christ, and, of course, those to obey who are the subjects (we, who have believed in Christ). Christians are, therefore, those who are under the reign (Kingdom) of Christ on earth since they live not as people of the world driven by fleshly passions, but who live in the spirit of their King, Jesus, the Christ. (See Gal. 5:25,26; John 17:11-15; Rom. 8:9)

1. What are words synonymous with ‘Kingdom’?
2a. What is the characteristics of Jesus’ Kingdom (reign) now according to ‘John 18:36’?
b. What does that imply?
3. In a Kingdom such as Jesus claims He has had, there must be subjects and law to regulate the activities of those involved. Who are the subjects and where is the constitution?
4. In ‘power play’ or ‘service delivery’, which one enjoys Jesus’ endorsement in the Kingdom of God/Christ as in ‘Matt. 20:20-28’?
5. To go to become a citizen in the Kingdom of God/Christ is to receive inheritance (see Eph. 5:5). Who enlists intended citizens to enhance same?

In our preceding lessons, we have established that the Scripture has not presented the Christian Church as a physical structure and as a sect or denomination. If it did, the instrument of that denominationalism would be nomenclature (naming it). That would have been the frontier factor because anything that is named is denominated from others. ‘1/4’ is a denomination illustrating that ‘one’ (the numerator) has been denominated or divided into ‘four’ places.

The denominator is ‘four’ showing the number of places into which ‘one’ (the numerator) has been divided or denominated. Since name is given to something or someone to differ or divide or separate from others to show ownership, if the Church is given such identity, it would equally suggest that the Church is more than one in Scripture. Therefore, the Scripture presents the Church as ‘one indivisible entity’ under one head, Jesus Christ, thus, making Him one head who has one body (see our lead text and ‘Col.1:18,24). Nonetheless that there are many members of this one body makes no increase in the number of it. It remains ‘ONE’ head (Jesus Christ) over ‘ONE’ body of believers. Therefore, the idea of naming it to differ one from another is a nullity; the need does not arise except for different locations in which the Church gathers locally:- ‘The Church in Ephesus’, ‘The Church in Corinth’, ‘The Church in Akwa Ibom State’, ‘The Church in Ukanafun’, etc. Instead, in Scripture, what we see are terms used to describe our relationship with one true God in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as our functions. For instance, ‘The Church (people) of God’ to indicate our relationship with the Father – 1Cor.1:2; ‘The Churches of Christ’ – our relationship with the Son and ‘The Kingdom in the Spirit’ – our relationship with the Holy Spirit (John 18:36; Eph. 2:22; Rom.14:17).

Why then do we have believers’ groups around us all naming themselves to differ one from another? It seems the extant mistake of taking physical structures before now as Churches by many has begotten another mistake of naming those structures according to the volition of those sponsoring their erection.

Here is a retiree who is paid his/her entitlements who chooses to buy parcels of land and builds a gigantic hall (confused for Church). Because he is a Christian who could read Bible and, maybe, had been teaching some Bible classes in his local assembly, nothing stops him/her from being crowned as both the senior pastor and general superintendent/overseer automatically.

Those gathering around him/her cannot distinguish between the Church and the hall he has built. But that is tragic because, in the words of our Master, Jesus, if the light that was given to our body becomes dark, He marvels how darkened that body would turn. So, after my man/lady achieves completion of the physical structure confused for Church, ministry has started. But, tell me, if a person cannot separate ‘inside the house’ from ‘outside’, is such not blind? In the same vein, if one does not know the difference between the ‘Church’ and the physical building occupied by the Church, what should we say such a person is? One sure thing we are aware from Christ is that both the (blind leaders and the blind followers they lead) will fall into the same pit. (See Matt. 15:14). Oh Knowledge!

1. What is the scriptural name for the Christian Church?
2. Between corporate and individual salvation, which does the Scripture endorse?
3. How many Churches are there in Bible?
4. Who is qualified to enroll a believer into the Church?
5. Can a believer enter the Church without a physical building? How?
6. Which is scripturally correct to say:-
1. I’m coming back from Church.
2. I’m coming back from Church service.
7. What is an acceptable (scriptural) reason for a local assembly to have a name?

Heaven is a place in which only righteousness, joy, peace and everything good reside. In fact, it is a byword for holiness and goodness; a place where there is no more sorrow, grief, crying, pain and death. (See our lead text) All the blessings mentioned in the above Scripture are present now and up for grasp in the spirit realm. Those are the things we see that make us surrender our lives now to God through Christ. We are enjoying them in our minds pending when the Devil who has been condemned legally by God through the atoning work of Jesus Christ and our appropriation by faith) will be executed together with all his Seraphims who prevent us now because we are still in the body. (cf. 11Thess.2:7-12) It is not because God is not our Ruler that makes us die physical death or grieve and suffer pains; but because we are still living in the flesh.

We are ceaselessly prosperous in our inward persons even though we face persecution trying to live the life of those who are under God Who is Spirit. (cf. Matt. 5:3-12) The moment we walk in the spirit, we own those blessings in our text now. But, as we look at them in a physical viewpoint, we lose them, hurt ourselves and displease God. So, God is right when He said that ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’ (Habb. 2:4 KJV) However, we have had a standard of life here on earth to emulate brought by Jesus Christ from heaven that will both make us live like our Father in heaven and perpetuate our environment with it as in ‘Lev. 24:19,20 & Matt. 5:43-48’.

Heaven is about life and, if we live the way life is lived in heaven, we have extended heaven to earth which was God’s original intent for creating the earth and making man in His likeness to inhabit. We were made to be like God ab initio.

1. According to the lesson, each time the word ‘heaven’ is mentioned, what immediately comes to our minds as God’s children?
2. Where are the blessings of heaven now?…
3. Why do we suffer the things we suffer now? Are they because God and His reign are not present among (in) us?
4. If we do not control much material resources, can we still say that our inward person is prosperous? How?
5. Where we cannot claim ‘perfection’ by works, we can be by ‘faith’. (True or False) How?

The head that we have on our physical body cannot be separated from the body. Life would end with such separation. Such is a testimony to the truth that spiritually, Christ is inseparable to us who have made Him both Lord and Savior. Our joy is His joy; our success is His success and our seeming problem, His problem. ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me’? (Acts 9:4b) were the words of Jesus to Saul, the persecutor of Christians who later was persecuted; the injure who later was injured and the blasphemer who later was blasphemed.
Jesus was not present in the physical world when Saul raged Persecution on the Christians. But Jesus never asked, ‘Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute my people?’ He personalized the persecution to be on Him.

Another big aspect of the head and body metaphor in the Church’s relationship with Christ is the consciousness that the head thinks for the body. When the leg as a member of the physical body is to undertake a function, the head must signal accordingly. Our will must therefore be crucified or be surrendered to that of Christ, our head. (See Gal. 2:20; Rom. 7:15). So, Christ is right to direct that we both CALL Him ‘Lord’ on the one hand and also OBEY Him on the other hand when He queried in ‘Luke 6:46’.

Obedience to the head will also unite the different members of the body despite various functions. It will promote interdependence too. The leaders of various local believing communities should encourage the members to endeavour to allow what bothers one to bother the other. When the ultimate aim of one member is to desire for the well-being of another, Jesus will not be difficult to see in the brotherhood.

Since Jesus is the replica of the love of God, the proof that He is being taught among a people is measured in the love shared. Love, simply put, is a sincere desire to bless others. (See John 13:35; 1John 4:20,21) No one should be more qualified for any assistance except determined by the various needs – this should apply to all, even the pastor man or woman. Similarly, no one is more anointed to merit a service window because ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. (Luke 12:48)

The leaders as other members of the body are not given a superior Holy Spirit with which to look down on the others as though they are given an inferior type. Because all talents are GIFTS, there is no place for meritorious spirit from recipients. Please read ‘1Cor.4:7’ on this.

1. What physical example, according to our brief lesson, do we see to conclude that Christ cannot be separated from His believers?
2. The Church as a body and the Christians as members, what part of the body can we say is inferior or superior?
3. If the presence of God’s love is among a people and God is love (1John 4:16), what can impossible a problem among such people?
4. If a challenge that bothers one member bothers all the other members, can such a challenge win and bring sorrow in the end?

Since Christ is not a man full of lies, we will beat our chest that this engagement will result to our wedding at last as we continue to express our dependence on Him – come rain; come shine. In Old Testament times, husbands were permitted to divorce their wives (Deut.24:1-4) although there were also dissenting voices viewed from the analogous transaction between God and Israel which was a reflection of the bond in marriage. (cf. Mal.2:14ff) However, in the New Testament times, what is similar which that has illustrated is the covenant relationship between Christ and His Church. (Eph.5:22,23) If after Jesus’ engagement of us who have believed in His atoning message, we thereafter desert Him by going back to immoral living, like He likens us to salt, (Matt.5:13), we are not good again for the wedding. It is worth mention here that, since marriage was created by God, it cannot be dissolved by human action except God Himself.

When Jesus came to the earth, He met an arrangement where, to marry, two families – the bride’s and the bridegroom’s – negotiate a betrothal between their children on a more serious and solemn manner than the courtship or dating of today in some traditions. This is the sense in our lead text. It was also allowed for younger children (minors) who never entered adult life to date or espouse than we see modern western countries we emulate today would allow. The marriage, sooner or later, will be finalized when the prospective bridegroom would come to take the bride from her parents to his home having seen to be mature enough for it.
The betrothal never included sexual relationship. Joseph was therefore not comfortable when he saw Mary with Jesus in her womb with whom he never mate. (Matt.1:18,19)

Parents of the prospective bridegroom played a pivotal role in the determination of when their child will go to bring the bride back home – Consider Abraham and Isaac (Gen.24:1-8). This was the extant arrangement when Christ said that the time of His second advent will be determined by the Father to take us (His engaged) home with Him. (See Matt.24:36; Mark 13:32)
In conclusion, we who call on Jesus as Lord and Saviour must be aware that our Lord will appear again no longer with flesh and blood but flesh and bone , and never to die again but to ultimately save those who are waiting for Him – Heb.9:28b). The fact that His body that served both as a house and a vehicle for His sojourn here when He first came was taken to heaven is enough to convince us that He will come again with that same body.

1. The mystery we see in ‘Eph.5’ is that humans can have such a closeness with God in such a way a husband and wife have. (True or False) Why?
2. As husbands and wives replenish the earth with human beings, that is how Christ and His Church replenish heaven with spirit beings. (True or False) How?
3. The physical family God has used as preparatory ground for graduation of humans into the society for the society’s good. Even so, He has used the spiritual family (Church) for graduation of Christians into heaven. (True or False) How?


If the word ministry is used to pertain to a government, it will mean a bureau, a department, an agency or office. Used with Orthodox Churches would refer to holy orders of their priesthood. With Jesus, it refers to teaching, preaching and evangelism.

The word also carries the connotation of administration even as a minister is seen as a member of a government. From the diction of ministry above, the Christian Church is a department or agency of the government (kingdom) of heaven. It is also a ministry comprising many other ministries since, in the Church, are many offices. There is the office of an Evangelist; the office of a Pastor; the office of a Teacher, etc. The ‘Church’ and ‘Ministry’ are used interchangeably in Scripture. When Peter proposed for the replacement of Judas Iscariot after the ascension of Jesus prior to the initiation of the Christian era through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the KJV uses the the word ‘ministry’ for ‘Church’ in our lead text. The Goodnews Bible renders it ‘work’. The ministry or work of ‘Bro. A’ may be different from the ministry of ‘Bro.B’ even as the ministry (work) of ‘Sis. B’ may be different from that of ‘Sis. C’ as will be determined by the grace (talent) endowment. (cf. Rom. 12:6-8)

What, friend, is your ministry in the ministry of Jesus Christ? Does your ministry meet needs as the Owner and head of the ministry would have met if He had lived in the body at the place you are living? I emphasize this because the ministry of Jesus is about meeting needs of His family members, and not keeping laws. It is not about superiority one to another. A friend reported to me the other day of how he has had a ministry of his own, and, I beg to disagree with him, because no one has not been given a ministry ab initio who has believed in Jesus Christ according to the Scripture.

Judas Iscariot had obtained a part of the ministry (work-phase) to work as a member of the body of Christ towards the growth and development of the body. (ibid) A friend also told me of how he is running a ministry and not a Church. I tried to find out what he meant and he said a ministry is different from Church because those involved do not gather for fellowship on Sunday morning. But where did he get that? In the first place, no one can own Church (people of God) or ministry – ministry hereinafter referring to Christians. God alone bought and own them by the blood of Jesus – Acts 20:28 – and has warned that no one should claim or enslave them or themselves accepting slavery of any form Spiritually any longer. (See 1Cor.7:23) God has a ministry for all of us who will go to Him through Christ which is working together for the salvation of mankind. That is His dream and He desires all Christians to partner with Him for that singular goal for their eternal reward.

As we are partners with God in this vision which He has turned into a mission for all of us to be stakeholders, we are expected to see all fellow believers as partners with each other also. God gave us dominion over all the creation, but never included fellow human beings. He never made us for any kind of abuse whatsoever by one another. Where He made all things for us, He never made us for anything except Himself. No wonder the warning of Jesus in ‘Matt. 23:9’ that we believers in Him address no one as ‘ father in the things of faith. Our earthly fathers who bore us have the to be addressed as gather, papa, daddy or anything similar.

The one that gave birth to us by the word of truth is our Father in heaven. No one is qualified to drag that with Him. (See Jam. 1:18). There is no daddy, father, papa and mummy in the things of faith or of Church since Jesus has forbidden it.

None of Jesus’ disciples – Paul, Peter, James, John, etc. – are against this Jesus’ proposition in their various writings except when we are in error thinking that Paul’s relationship with his fellow servant Timothy meant otherwise. From Paul, who. by God’s will, is an apostle of Christ Jesus and from OUR BROTHER Timothy (Col. 1:1) and From Paul, a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus and from OUR BROTHER Timothy (Philemon 1) On many occasions, Paul addressed Timothy as a BROTHER, and not as a SON. This suggest that, due to Timothy’s cooperation with Paul in the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ on earth, as a son would do to a beloved father, Paul reasonably addressed him as a son. (Read Phil. 2:22) Such is not weigty enough to repeal the earlier directive by the Master Jesus never for His followers on earth to address anyone, for any reason whatsoever, with the title reserved for the Father alone. I pray for grace of understanding for us.

1. How does the Bible use the words ‘Ministry’ and ‘Church’?
2. Used to refer to the gathering of Christians, can anyone own a mission?
3. To own a thing, it is either inherited or purchased or given. Where in Scripture can we see an example of men inheriting or purchasing or given Churches (Ministries) to own?
4. It is appropriate to post pictures (portraits) of Church leaders on billboards as owners of Christian gatherings (Churches). (True or False) Why?
5. It is only in the Old King James and American Standard Versions that the word Reverend is found in “Ps. 111:9” as One sending redemption to His people is God. Why are men wearing the same title?
6. Between titles and offices, which has the Scripture endorsed for Church workers?
7. Jesus warns that we call nobody as daddy or father in spiritual matters. (Matt. 23:9) What ‘daddy’ or ‘father’ is that?

The circumcision illustrated in the preparatory message of the Old Testament had the truth or reality version in the spiritual circumcision not done with human hands but by Christ Himself. It was done on the body and by the body then. Howbeit, now, it is done by the Spirit (Christ) in the heart – cf. Col. 2:11

The shadowy circumcision of the Old Covenant was a mark of identity separating all others not circumcised from the Commonwealth of the old Israel. In the same vein, the circumcision of the Christians’ hearts due to faith in Christ by Christ has qualified them to share in the inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. (See Eph. 5:5; Col. 1:12,13)

By the Abrahamic circumcision, the foreskin of the penis was cut off as an illustration of the cutting off of sinful nature in people today which inhibited the expression of the divine (spirit) nature of God effected by Christ through His word. Actually, the truly circumcised people are circumcised by Christ which enables them see and think heavenward who do not brag about material possessions and achievements comparing themselves one with another as carnal people do. (cf. 2Cor.10:12) In other words, their circumcised hearts have been renewed to know better how important and imperative to their lives the will of God in Christ has been. Such is what bothers them first and foremost and the topmost priority in life. They have it as a goal to live and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Son of God to such height (2Pet.3:18) or they are not believing correctly. It is not ordinary to detect this faulty status without God’s revelation. Finally, a circumcision was a mark to a biological Israelite. So, also is a life lived in the spirit a mark of identity on Christians – the new Israel. (Gal. 6:16)

1. Physical circumcision was a mark identifying a biological Israelite. What similarly is the mark identifying a Christian?
2. Where and where are both the physical and spiritual circumcisions done and by who?
3. What is the pride in both the physical and spiritual circumcisions for those circumcised?
4. Where the physical circumcision associated people with the Israel of this world, where equally does the spiritual circumcision unite those involved?

The adjective used for, modifying the noun ‘priesthood’, has to do or relate to the status of a king or queen or a member of their family. Therefore, the noun ‘priesthood’ is the type that functions in the court of a king or queen.

Priests are persons who are authorized to administer certain sacraments having been ordained to the priesthood. In our lead text above, Apostle Peter is addressing his Christian audience as God’s chosen race, the King’s priests as well as a holy nation.

Before now, God ordained priests for His service from the Aaronic tribe of Levi – a closed priesthood. (See Heb. 7:11) If the Church is a nation as Peter posits in his inspired writing, then, there should be a king over it who should have priests or chaplains in his private chapel or regiment.

In God’s arrangement shown in His old plan of worship, the one high priest and other priests serving with him had to migrate from the tribe of Levi. (ibid) So, before we ever talk of anybody serving under Him through the current High Priest (Jesus, Christ – Heb. 3:1), let us ask, “is Jesus from the tribe of Judah qualified to be High Priest?” “Under which law or order is that permissible?”

Actually, God had changed His first will (Testament, Covenant) that had limited the priesthood to the tribe of Levi in order to permit Jesus from the tribe of Judah (David) to emerge an eternal High Priest as recorded in ‘Heb. 7:12-14’. It is now knowledgeable, therefore, to say that, according to the Scripture, the new Covenant has permitted Jesus, Christ to lead all other priests to offer sacrifices to God, God having changed the old order.

As the new order permitted Jesus as High Priest, not emerging from the tribe of Levi, even so, we are permitted from every tribe, language, nation and race to both serve our God and reign on earth. (See Rev. 5:9,10 – NIV) No wonder, the veil of the shadow temple fell on its own immediately after Jesus died on a tree! (cf. Matt. 27:50,51) It served to show that anyone who believes in Christ will go to God and offer acceptable sacrifices without necessarily consulting with anybody. It was not so from the beginning. Before Christ’s regime, anyone chosen by God can be a prophet even without believing in God. Maybe, like Jeremiah, one can be selected a prophet even before he was born. On the contrary now, nobody can speak for God without believing, first of all, to receive the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) – consider ‘Rom. 8:9’ & ‘Acts 5:32; 10:38’. Furthermore, when God authorized the priests to offer sacrifices as stipulated in the Levitical order, He was not perfunctory or without an aim: He sought to show mercy to the poor and needy because all were not burnt offerings – cf. Matt. 12:6,7.
In conclusion, God has made us, believers in Christ, a Kingdom and Priesthood to serve to meet the needs of fellow persons. We know God cannot be hungry, lack clothes and shelter unless humans He made in His likeness lack them. Beloved, is your priesthood with Jesus radiating mercy in all your sacrifices these many years as a Christian? Can you beat your chest and say, “after all, I am not a waste in God’s world; if Jesus were here where I am, it would make no difference in the way His life would benefit His neighborhood?”

1. When God stipulated varieties of sacrifices in the old order, what was His aim according to ‘Matt. 12:6,7’?
2. God can choose anybody today like Jeremiah of old even though he does not believe in the Gospel of Christ as His priest and prophet. (True or False) Why?
3. If the rich of this world give gifts to fellow rich ones does not portray mercy because mercy is shown to the needy. (True or False) Why?
4. According to ‘Prov. 19:17’ and ‘Matt. 25:31-40’, if we ignore the poor because they will not make a return giving and give to the rich, it is not God that we seek to reward us but men. (True or False) Why?
5. According to ‘Rev. 5:9,10’, all Christians are priests. (True or False) Why?

The Church workers are also the Church members. Primarily and scripturally, the call of God is a call to work. To accept God’s call is not to go finding out what to get but what to do. Therefore, everyone who answers God’s call in Christ is accepting God’s salvation and service. Like an army, every believer in Christ is a troop or soldier. It is believing and becoming a member of a workforce. So, what is the actual difference between one worker and the other? It is in the nature of the assignment. We notice that the one consensus assignment in the Scripture is that we (all members) should believe in the one God has sent to us – Jesus Christ.

It is Jesus, our head, that shares responsibilities and He does so according to the measure of anointing or grace with which we have been bestowed. Howbeit, all assignments are geared towards the edification of the entire body or workforce. (See 1Cor.14:26)

No worker does anything by his power. They are variously gifted as God deems fit according to ‘1Cor. 4:7′. God, by releasing grace to us with which to do any work in the body of believers in Christ, never made anyone superior to the others who are not given the same measure of grace. But everyone is expected to search to uncover his/her God – given ability at any point in time since it is according to various assignments – see a typical example of God’s way of sharing gifts or enablement in Moses’ regime in ‘Num. 7:6-9’. In that shadowy example, the substance we see is that there are supplies that can be accessed by ‘sister A’ because of her kind of assignment any given time which cannot be equally accessed by ‘sister B’ in the same workforce as it would be a waste in the hand of the latter. God, Himself, does not expect us to offer prayer asking for such because He would see as asking to gratify fleshly passions – cf. Jam. 4:1-4.

The one Church is not given a name in Scripture. Similarly, Church workers are not given titles in Scripture. Church workers are only tagged in line with the offices they occupy at any point in time: ‘Bro. Samson’ can serve in the office of a Deacon, and so he can be addressed ‘Deacon Samson’ as long as he is in that office. But the most appropriate way to avoid confusion into titles is ‘Bro. Samson (Deacon)’; ‘Bro. Ekperikpe (Evangelist)’; ‘Sis Joy (Deaconess)’ and so on. If Bro. Samson moves next two years to work as an ‘Elder’, he is addressed as ‘Bro. Samson (Elder)’ and so on.

1. All workers are members. Does that include the Pastors, the Superintendents(?), General overseer(?), the Reverends(?), the Evangelist, the Prophets? etc.
2. To go to God is to go finding out what to do; not what to get. Discuss
3. It is services delivery that makes salvation credible. Why?
4. All of us, God has called to be servants. What therefore differs us one from another according to ‘Num. 7:6-9’?

The Church has a role model in God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. God’s desire is that we are like Him in heaven. According to ‘Matt. 5:48’, we are God’s dream children (those of us who have believed in Him through Jesus Christ). Although there are many characters in Scripture who obeyed God in their ages, the perfect model God has recommended that we imitate is Himself and His Son, Jesus Christ – cf. Heb. 12:2.

Divine providence has given us the terrestrial world and all the resources therein for our corporeal well-being (Acts 17:24,25) and Jesus as a sacrifice for the salvation of our soul after this life. (See John 3:16,17)
Such giving is not compelled by law but love and given to meet need; not to keep law. The kind of giver our Father in heaven is leaves much for us, His children, to learn here on earth as we live daily to reveal Him, an invisible Person. Fellowship with God as with every other person is in ‘giving and receiving’ (cf. Phil.4:15) but it must be motivated by a principle. Today, our giving to God cannot be done directly and God Himself does give to us indirectly except spiritual blessings: Where the Bible says that God cannot be served by human hands in ‘Acts 17:25’, we are reminded that serving God (giving to Him) can only be done indirectly. (See Matt. 25:31-46; 1John 3:17-19; 4:20,21) Jesus and/or the Father can be hungry and could be fed by us; naked and could be clothed by us; strangers and could be hosted by us when we give those services to anybody God made in His image who lacked them out of love for Him.
When God stipulated sacrifices in the Law of Moses, all were not burnt offerings. They were also intended to be agents of the revelation of God’s mercy to mankind – cf. Matt. 12:1-7. To be able to be a giver group, we must be prosperous: That is when we make profit from our business investment but not to engage in profiteering. If we engage in profiteering in order to give, we are using God’s resources to destroy God’s supreme property – mankind. No one is successful in the sight of God if his business impacts negatively on fellow human beings: This is where we know that King Solomon was not truly prosperous because, to be rich as he was, he heavily taxed his countrymen (profiteering) and conscripted them into forced labour. As we read about what transpired after his death and the beginning of the reign of his son, Rehoboam, in ‘1Kgs 12:1-20’, we can be sure of this. But God was not the cause.

As already stated, looking up to Jesus as our giver model, one discovers that we are rich, not because of what is in our custody as owners, but what has been passed by God through us to others in need. The Church in Smyrna (Rev. 2:8,9) knew, by God’s grace, it is the ‘means that justifies the earns’ and not the vice versa as is almost generally believed. Because the world system’s yardstick was used to value them, they were a suffering and a poor people. But Jesus’ value of them in heaven was the otherwise: In God’s treasure house above, Jesus saw their riches and said that they were rich. That is not unconnected with what we have established already that even though the evidence of the prosperity is not resident with us or being controlled by us, but in the lives of those God has used us to uplift, it is still counted for us.

This is contrary to what we see among the group of believers in Laodicea. (See Rev. 3:14-17) These were a people who saw themselves prosperous and lacking nothing, whereas, Jesus saw them as ignorant folks who never realized that they were wretched, miserable, naked, blind and poor. There is a lesson herein that believers in Christ never likely look for helpers around as they are aware that they are more blessed when they give than when they receive – See Acts 20:35. Instead, they look for those to help (the helpless) with what they have – either with the word spiritually or with alms physically. They also go to God in prayer as victors and not beggarly which expresses fear – not faith. In which category are you? I pray for you.

1. It is more blessed for God to give THROUGH you than TO you. (True or False) Why?
2. There can be no time that valuers in this world will see us as the richest because everyday we use any opportunity we have to do good – cf. Rev. 2:8,9 & Luke 3:11. (True or False)
3a. What is the difference between ‘making profit’ and ‘profiteering’?
b. Who is a racketeer?
4. What does Jesus teach us when, for forty days hungry, would not use His power to produce food for Himself but did so when people who listened to His preaching were hungry for a few days? (cf. Matt. 14:13-21)

As long as a person is alive here on earth, he has a chance to make heaven. Such opportunity can only be terminated by death. The subject matter under discussion is quite necessary that we know clearly so that place is not given to confusion to suggest that there can ever be any post death chance for repentance and salvation of the soul as speculated in some millennial theories of eschatology. With some, the physical Israel who, through their unbelief, an opening had been created for the Gentiles, will have an opportunity to work out their salvation under the Antichrist as though heaven would be overstretched if they and the Gentiles had believed simultaneously – a clear testimony that they never understood Paul as Peter said in ‘2Pet.3:15,16’. The error is traced to the misapplication of ‘Rom.11’. Paul never said God could not save both the Jews and the Gentiles simultaneously if they had believed the Gospel of Christ.

The message that will save everybody – physical or spiritual Israel – is received by faith – cf. Eph. 2:8,9. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6) was the message Jesus gave to Paul for every Gentile and Jew everywhere and, in ‘Rom. 11:22,23’, Paul made that clear, especially in NIV. Misconstrued information from Apostle Paul, according to Apostle Peter, has also added up to the fallacy on eschatology as stated already. (See also ‘1Tim. 1:3-5’)

There is nothing in the teachings of Christ that presents us with a second chance of repentance after Jesus’ second coming and consequently taking His elect to be with Him forever. Jesus Himself painted a picture of how it will be, based on the time of Noah: (Luke 17) Jesus will appear with a trumpet sound which all must hear and come back to life – whether wicked or righteous. Those alive till then will be transformed by Jesus into the spiritual state, separate the righteous from the wicked to be with Jesus as long as is needed for everything associated with Satan (the world system) to be destroyed beneath and finally the restoration of the new heaven and new earth. (See 2Pet.3:13). We are very much aware that our much needed unalloyed and eternal joy will be restored after Satan and his agents will be bound forever – cf. 2Thess.2:8. Complicating the simple or living message of Jesus’ victory for us over the forces of darkness must not be allowed through a veiled theory of eschatology. So, “it is appointed for men to die once and, thereafter, judgement.” (Heb.9:27)

1. Jesus committed His life to Scripture and admitted therein as true. Looking at Noah’s time, narrate the order of His second coming.
2. In apocalyptic books like Revelation and Daniel, numbers are ideas. What does the number “one thousand” mean reading ‘Rev. 20:1-7’?
3. According to ‘1Tim. 1:3-5’, what is the charge of the faith of Jesus Christ which is the aim of the divine training in faith which cannot be complicated by genealogies?
4. Our prayers must not seek to harm anybody who is alive now in the flesh since we are left with one lifetime chance guided by the Holy Spirit pending the dispensation of fire hereafter. (True or False) Why?

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