To the Only True God – the Father of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Lord and Illuminator of every honest mind – Who alone is worthy of our worship, I dedicate this book.
I have recently come to realize that brother Michael James Ekperikpe (a freelance missionary and founder of the Volunteer Christian Enterprise and Bible Reading Culture Promoter Initiative – Read And Reap Bible Enterprises) is a gifted teacher of God’s word. One needs to lower self a little to sit at his feet to listen to the teaching grace God has given to him. As expressed in this book, “Unseasoned Worship”, undoubtedly, one finds what is a great need for an advancement of the Kingdom of Christ on earth. The lessons he has written here are lacking in nothing – spiritually and professionally. I personally find him making the art of worship in which Christians engaged pretty simple due to demystifying the ambiguities and complexities due to extant ignorance. Oh that we love to read indigenous religious literature like this! Of a truth, his claim that he is A Religious Literature Developer is credible. As one of many others who supports what is edifying, I sincerely recommend that the thought expressed in this book be used by worshippers and intending worshippers without bias and evil sentiments and be shared as well.
Apostle(Dr.) Mfoniso S. Ekpo
Proprietor, Godstime Comprehensive Secondary School
Ntenge Akana Obiokpa, Oruk Anam LGA, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
All of us in the family of Read and Reap Bible Enterprises (the divine mission agency) are proud to identify with our Missionary and Mentor, Michael James Ekperikpe, the Evangelist of the Most High God, our founder and global administrative head of our mission agency to whom belongs the sole writership of the book – Unseasoned Worship. He does not deserve the praise but His God Who variously furnishes His people with manifold grace deserves the praise for illuminating his mind enabling him to write this Bible Study Guide on “Worship” for all of us. To Him alone be all the glory, power, dominion, majesty and honour even now and always in King Jesus’ name – Amen
Finally, I am thankful to his amiable wife, Excel, and his two children, Victoria and Destiny, for their support and understanding.
PS: You can hear your Father in heaven when He directs: If He does not direct you to support this work phase yet, please, do not force yourself to join others who have been divinely directed. Howbeit, if you hear Him tell you to support, in cash and kind, do not be disobedient to such heavenly vision. Others, before you, never were. (See Acts 26:19)
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This book is one of two books the Bible Teachers Training Unit of our Volunteer Christian Enterprise and Bible Reading Culture Promoter Initiative – Read And Reap Bible Enterprises – headed by me has published in the last three months. As I write this introduction, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to the Omniscient God over the heavens and Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for grace lavished upon us for an eternally enduring purpose. This book, as I already stated in the previous book, is neither confrontational nor denominational. I write it to complement previous good efforts made by God’s true worshippers on efficacy of worship on our environs. Yes, worship under Christ is neither a festival, a fun nor a ritual. More than that, the beneficial living pattern God expected to achieve in the release of His Only Begotten Son was to begin with His worshippers as exemplary. The ignorance associated with worship even with sincere intentions is alarming deserving a closer look. For instance, on several items of worship such as Giving of our Substances and Singing of Spiritual Songs and Hymns as well as the Temple or Location of the Object of Worship, you witness a chunk of this. With all due respect, you rarely and weirdly read a comprehensive definition of worship by the much venerated servants of God capable of ex-raying the pathway to the worship God recommends in Christ.
Where is God in the mentality of those who shut doors of material cathedrals in the name of worship to open when worship is over with a song “The Lord is in His Holy Temple”? When can worship come to an end in the sight of God? To some worshippers, the time of worshipping God with praise tunes is not worship until when they start raising a capella tunes and what you hear is, “Let’s be on the mood of worship”. Do such people believe teaching/preaching God’s word; giving of our substances in support of God’s Kingdom expansion on earth; relieving those in need, etc. with purity of heart is worship? Such ignorance constitutes the rationale for my writing this pathfinder worship study guide to whosoever will find it helpful. I believe reading and applying result of God’s influence on His believers into coming up with things like this is what the Scripture refers to as talent to those He gives opportunity to come by.
Therefore, I encourage you not to bury this talent when God brings it your way in form of this book.
MICHAEL & EXCEL JAMES EKPERIKPE.
LESSON ONE HERMENEUTICS OF WORSHIP
TEXT: Luke 10:25,26
MEMORY VERSE: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” – 2Tim.2:15-KJV
With hermeneutics which remains the study of theory of methods of interpreting of texts, especially sacred, we learn the meanings of words, phrases, clauses and sentences to aid our interpretations. By so doing, we domesticate and/or customize or, better still, as in translation, we learn the art and science of texts’ interpretations. This is necessary to unveil the practical meanings to enhance obedience.
In our case, we seek to look at words in their original languages which will enhance our understanding of the term “worship”. God is Spirit and spirits are communicated in word forms which must be used in such a way (in the context) that understanding can be guaranteed to enhance obedience, the very essence of communication. Worship to any kind of god, to be genuine, is the kind that cuts across all facets of life of the worshippers. (cf. 1Cor.10:31; Micah 6:6-8; Ps.50:8-15,23)
To see some words as used in the original languages (Old Hebrew and Greek) on “Worship”.
STEP I: HEBREW ‘a.vadh’, ‘hish.ta.chawah’ and ‘sa.ghadh’
- Old Usage: ‘a.vadh’ primarily means ‘serve’ which demands total loyalty to God’s will as one devoted to Him.
- Abraham in Scripture is a good example of this – cf. Gen.14:4; 15:13; 29:15; Deut.11:13f
- The above denotes that, where worship to the true God happens, it is only perfected when beneficial service for the good of mankind is the consequence.
- ‘hish.ta.chawah’ basically means “bow down” or “do obeisance”, especially so, when it is linked with prayers and sacrifices.
- Worship of visible gods by humans brought about this definition contrary to worship in spirit which, until the advent (coming) of Christ, was a mystery. (cf. Gen.19:1,2; 22:5-7; 33:1-3)
- ‘sa.ghadh’ primarily signifies “prostrating”. (Isa.44:15,17;Dan.2:46)
- This definition is appropriate with visible and/or tangible objects of worship.
STEP II: GREEK la.treu’o pro.sky.ne’o eu.se.be’o thre.skeu’o se.bo.’mai
- La.treu’o: Is a verb and has its noun form as la.trei’a and carries the idea of “rendering sacred services” which are not just ordinary services, but divinely and conscientiously approved through Scriptures revealed by God’s Spirit. (cf. Luke 1:74,75; 2:37;4:8; Rom.9:4)
- Pro.sky.ne’o is similar to Hebrew hish.ta.chawah which expresses the thought of worship or doing obeisance or paying homage illustrated in the way slaves used to do to their masters in ancient times. (cf. Matt.18:26)
- This is what Satan demanded from Christ to do in Matt.4:8,9
- It is synonymous with the word in “Rev.13:4,15-17” and “Rev.14:9-11” to refer to worship of wild beast
- Eu.se.be’o means “to venerate”, “revere” or “give godly devotion to”. (cf. Acts 17:23)
- Giving godly devotion to an invisible God like ours becomes only credible in obedience to His words – remember God emphasizing this as being better than material sacrifices in Scripture: And Samuel said, hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1Sam.15:22- KJV)
- The noun, thre.skei’a which has the verb thre.skeu’o designates a form of worship whether to a true or false god. (cf. Acts 26:5; Col.2:18)
- Se.bo.mai is connected to the term, se.ba’zomai and means “venerate”, “worship” and “revere”.
- One who is worshipped is designated in the noun – se.ba.sma
the.o.se’bes meaning “God-revering” and the.o.se’bei’a meaning “reverence to God” correspond to the German word of old, Gottesdienst which refers to “public worship”. It is a syncretism (combination) of God, worship and service delivery. The knowledge of uses of some words in the original languages is an added advantage to the Bible scholar (learner) as they are mother languages of the Old and New Testaments (Constitutions) of God respectively.
1. What is the benefit(s) in the study of hermeneutics?
2. What is the difference between “worship” and “service”?
3. Give one Hebrew and Greek words for worship.
4. What is the German word for public worship as in your lesson?
With thanksgiving, let us ask God’s revelation into His will on the reason or benefit to us for demanding that we worship Him by following His directives.
LESSON TWO: THE PURPOSE OF WORSHIP
MEMORY VERSE: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb.9:14 – KJV)
Worship is not aimless. God commands humans to worship Him as check for their welfare. Whether or not we worship God neither increases nor decreases the power of God. He is God Omnipotent any day, anytime and anywhere. Jehovah demands worship because it is about offering and services delivery which afterward will benefit the worshippers. Worship features interdependence of the worshippers upon each other and their dependence upon God simultaneously.
To see how, through worship,
- Humanity can be enmeshed with divinity.
- Humans can get satisfaction and security.
- Humans can find a means of expressing dependence upon God and
- Humans can find a way of receiving reward for services rendered here and beyond the grave.
STEP I: WORSHIP, A MERGER OF HUMANITY WITH DIVINITY.
KJV “Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man
ESV: And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
KJV: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34,35)
- When our spirit submits to the oracle of God’s Spirit in worship, it makes us more “gods” than “humans”. (see Rom. 8:16 ; Jn. 10:34-36)
- We are, thus, qualified to be called “God’s children” whose Father is Spirit. (cf. Jn. 4:23,24 ; 2Cor.6:14-18)
- It is only in the realm of the spirit that our relationship with God can be contracted and consolidated: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1Cor. 15:50 – KJV)
STEPII: WORSHIP: THAT WHICH SATISFIES AND SECURES HUMANS.
- Man, to be satisfied, growing and secured, God made to be ceaselessly worshipful. (Col.2:18-19)
- Give special attention to God’s message to us in “Col.2:19” about spiritual growth and development of our real persons.
- Joshua, as an experienced leader, was aware of this truth. (Josh.24:15 – Emphasis, mine)
- Information on the “life of worship” we obey both unites us (the worshippers) with the God we worship and with one another and secures us as well, thereby, leading us into a satisfactory living without regrets.
STEP III: WORSHIP: MAN’S MEANS OF EXPRESSING DEPENDENCE UPON GOD.
- Worshipping Jehovah is WORKING FOR Him and WITH Him. “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” (1Cor.3:9 – ESV)
- Worshippers are those who express their loyalty to anything or person they take as God. (cf.1Cor.8:5,6)
- A suitable synonym for “worship” is “service” since it has to do with “saying and doing what God would have said and done if He were physically present where the worshippers are.”
- But all such saying and doing on behalf of God MUST target benefits to mankind or they are not worthy of God’s reward on the one hand and needful on the other. (cf. 1Jn.3:17-19; 4:20,21; Micah 6:6-8)
STEP IV: WORSHIP: A WINDOW FOR REWARD
- In worship, man builds hope of a positive future reward: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor…15:58-KJV)
Our worship to God is not a NEED to God since we cannot do as much as innumerable elect angels can do. It is a NEED to us instead since we cannot survive any moment in this life without a conscious connection with God through Christ Jesus which can only be effective through worship. Can such knowledge, therefore, teach us the indispensableness of worship of the only true God? Yes!
1. How can worshiping God be a means of security to the worshippers?
2. State two reasons you cannot be satisfied when you fail to worship God.
3. Why should God reward or pay those who worship Him?
4. “Worship” is a means of merging God with man. Explain.
Thank God for the lesson and pray that your everyday life will be a reflection of a worshipper of the only true God before your neighborhood.
LESSON THREE: “INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIAN WORSHIP”
TEXT: John 4:20-24
MEMORY VERSE: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt.15:9 – KJV)
What is Christian worship? In lesson one, we defined “worship” generally without reference to any kind. Now, because there are many so called gods and goddesses which are worshipped, efforts must be made to distinguish “worship of the only true God” from them all done by Christians. (see 1Cor.8:5-6)
In the New Testament (constitution) which Christ did midwife, we worship God by faith and not by sight. (2Cor.5:7) In other words, we worship in spirit and in truth. (Our text) This entails the nature of that worship – it is by means of God’s word which is spirit (Jn.6:63) that only the inward person we are can be able to engage .
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2Cor.4:16 KJV) The worshipped (who is worshipped) is spirit and God is He. (ibid) Studies on true worship is, therefore, made the more imperative than ever before since the Bible speaks of the existence and operations of diverse spirits in the earth. (cf. 1Jn. 4:1)
Therefore, “worship of the only true God “, God expects, must be defined to be all inclusive in our lives to justify the very essence of being made and preserved by God all lifelong. Thus : “WHAT IS CONCEIVED IN THE HEART, SPOKEN WITH THE MOUTH AND DONE WITH THE HAND TO THE BENEFIT(S) OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GOD’S LOVE IN CHRIST. In other words, “Whatever is thought of in the heart; spoken with the mouth and done with the hand that afterwards attracts a good reward from is worship.” God cannot positively reward anything that never worshipped Him. NEVER! Hence, God says that we MUST be perfect here on earth even as He is perfect in Heaven. (See Matt. 5:48)
Our lesson’s aim is to highlight various ways by which “Christian worship” can be defined by way of its everyday’s relevance.
PRESENTATION: Christian worship or worship of the only true God may be defined in the following ways:
STEP I: AN EXCHANGE OF OFFERINGS.
- Jehovah God, to exemplify true worship, first offered us His only begotten Son – His Word incarnate – Whom He named “Jesus” as pertained to His assignment and “Christ” as pertained to His position. (cf.Jn1 : 1, 14)
- He, therefore, expects us to offer back that which we’ve received in words and in deeds. (see1Cor. 11 : 23; Col.3 :17 “ESV: And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”)
- Worship under Christ supplies worshippers power to do that which is beneficial to mankind in the love of Christ. (see 2Cor. 5 : 14; Phil. 2 :13 ; 4:13) This is contrary to worship before Christ’s advent which made worshippers watch God exercising His power.
- But worship can never be perfected when it makes worshippers decline or fear to do that which is good and beneficial. (cf.Jam.4:17)
- Worship is also inhibited in discontent (covetousness) and in high mindedness. (cf. 1 Tim.6:17-19;2Tim.3:1-7)
- As “worship” is due God, that is how “respect” is due man. (cf.1Thess.5:12-13 – “We ask you, brothers, to Respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”- 1Thess. 5:12-13 ESV)
- Respect is confused for Worship when, on the one hand, man puts confidence in a fellow man for survival and upkeep and when any man arrogates to Himself the benefactor role of God in our lives on the other.
- Apostle Peter and an angel who ministered to Apostle John understood this distinction: “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying “Stand up; I too am a man.” (Acts 10:25-26) “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brother’s the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book.(Rev.228,9)
- We, too, MUST be wary of taking God’s place in ignorance.
- The Christian Church (believing people) has only one Head deserving worship (Jesus Christ – Col.1:18, 24; Eph. 4:15) Who alone has authorization to either amend or revise God’s laws as revealed in Matt.5:38-44
STEP II: A LIFESTYLE THAT FULFILS SCRIPTURES POSITIVELY
- Worshippers are spoken of as living by faith or in the spirit like God. (cf.Gal.5:22-23, 25-26)
- They do not suffer as evildoers. (1Pet.4:12-16)
- So, their lifestyle always shows that God is still the Governor of the Universe by means of His Word.
- Laws on worship found in Leviticus which were ceremonial and earthly have been changed to moral and spiritual laws and embedded in God’s love in the New Covenant. (see Jn.13:34-35; Heb. 7:11-15)
- The grace of Christ in the New Covenant MUST, therefore, not be converted into another law system which Christ never mediated: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (Jn.1:17 ESV)
- We are children of God according to the New Covenant, hence, “Covenant children of God”. (See Heb.8:10-13)
STEP III: AN ACTIVITY WHICH ATTRACTS A GOOD REWARD FROM GOD
- Humans receive a bad reward from God when they follow men’s instruction in worship. (See our memory verse)
- This is tantamount to not worshipping at all because a good reward from God to worshippers comes as a result of worshipping Him. (cf.Matt.7:21-23)
- Reward from God for worshippers does not get to worshippers because of observing sets of ordinances. That would be ritualized worship associated with religion for which Christianity is never known. (cf.Col.2:18-19)
- Rather, it comes, sometimes; because of the expression of an obedient spirit to the leadership which is the will of God. (cf.Heb.13:7-8; 2Cor.7:15; Phil.2:29)
- God doing this does not bother on the flawlessness of the leadership, but on meeting the basic needs of God’s worshippers – God’s responsibility. (cf.Deut.13:1-3; 32: 49-51)
- Getting material care for God’s children may not be a true reflection of flawless leadership but of God’s never-falling benevolence.
- Why should God not stop the flow of water having realized that Moses and Aaron did not follow His instructions, or better still, hurt or kill them immediately as Uzzah we read of in 1Chr.13’?
- Again, why should God allow the predictions of a false prophet to come true?
- The prevailing reason is because His regime has no tenure. Power always belongs to Him.
Therefore, no time is too late for Him. Nothing happens or fails to happen amiss to Him. So good so that He can reward His worshippers.
STEP IV: THAT WHICH MAINTAINS MAN’S DOMINEERING STATUS OVER OTHER GOD’S CREATION.
- What God is in heaven in righteousness, we are expected to be likewise here on earth through worshipping Him? (cf.Matt.5:48)
- Thinking, talking and working with the consciousness of God’s love in Christ to the welfare of mankind always glorifies God and, God sees this as worship.
- It is herein God views men as gods. (cf.Jn.10:34-35)
STEP V: AN ACTIVITY THAT GLORIFIES SPIRIT
- Obedience to an oracle or any spirit glorifies or worships that spirit whose oracle has been obeyed
- So, the Holy Spirit warns, through Peter, that he who speaks from God who is also spirit should first of all be aware that he is speaking the very oracle of God. (1Pet.4:11)
- In other words, divine evidence of “it is written” and an agreeable lifestyle MUST be perpetually observed
When we understand and make worship of God paramount in our everyday existence here on earth, our success on every venture on the one hand and credible prove before our neighbors to attract them to give their lives to Christ also on the other hand can be guaranteed. May Christ’s grace enable us and God’s love cheer us always to enhance same in Jesus’ name. Amen!
- In what way can worship of God result to receiving a bad reward?
- Give at least two definitions for worship as you just learned
- How will worshipping God sincerely make us higher than other creatures before God?
- How is worship an exchange of offering?
- Acceptable worship is said to be of spirit. Why?
With thanksgiving, let us pray God to bless us with additional zeal for that which is good and acceptable to Him so that we can truly be here in righteousness what God is in heaven.
LESSON FOUR: “VARIETIES OF CHRISTIAN WORSHIP”
MEMORY VERSE: “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”. (Rev.22:10 – ESV)
For us to worship the only true God as the only Son has revealed, information or orientation on the practice of same MUST be intensively sought. Therefore, interdependence one with another individually and collectively is important. Such has accounted for God’s recommendation that we do not neglect to assemble from time to time in order that his will-based information may be shared to enhance consistency in true worship of Him. (cf.Heb.10:25) But we MUST run away from all appearances of evil even if in assemblies named after Christ Jesus and heaven. We MUST always be conscious of the report in “Matt.7:21-23” and the warning in “1Jn.4:1; 1Thess.5:21-22 and 1Cor.14:29”.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt.7:21-23)
“Beloved, DO NOT BELIEVE EVERY SPIRIT, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world”. (1Jn.4:1 ESV)
“ESV: Let two or three prophet speak, and let the others weigh what is said”. (1Cor.14:29 ESV)
“But TEST EVERYTHING; hold fast what is good”
Abstain from every form of evil.” (1Thess.5:21-22 ESV)
This lesson aims at highlighting two varieties of worship: one individual and the other collective or corporate. It will be sub-divided into “Worship in the heart expressed through the hand.”
STEP I: INDIVIDUAL WORSHIP APPROACH.
- Those who can worship God in spirit and in truth, as Jehovah God requires, are those God has saved from their former destructive way of living into the experience of the “Life of God – Eph.4:17-18”
- According to Rom.8:9, 14’, the spirit of God/Christ leads them into a lifestyle that authenticates their claim of belonging to Christ.
- This salvation is given to believing INDIVIDUALS not GROUPS. There is no group salvation from God in the Bible.
- In other words, it is a PERSONAL SALVATION:
- According to Rom.8:9, 14’, the spirit of God/Christ leads them into a lifestyle that authenticates their claim of belonging to Christ.
“But let EACH ONE test his own work, and then his reason TO BOAST WILL BE IN HIMSELF ALONE and not in his neighbor”.
For each will have to bear his own load. “(Gal.6:4-5 ESV)
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” (Phil.2:12 ESV)
- When born again persons gather (two or three in the minimum, – Matt.18:20) the presence of God who will give reward for service is guaranteed.
- The true place of worship is in the heavens – the spirit places; hence, in alignment with the nature of worship of the New Covenant – in spirit and in truth. (Jn. 4:23-24)
- Whether Christians come together or not, they still experience God’s unlimited presence anywhere due to living godly and/or holy lives. (see Heb.12:14)
- It is in holiness of the individual Christians that acceptability of corporate or collective worship hinges: “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” (Jn.9:31 ESV)
- We hear of “family and community deliverance”. But are yet to hear of “family and community salvation of the soul”. Of course, that is neither possible nor guaranteed in scripture under Christ
- Any benefit(s) derived from such deliverance is helpful but cannot cross to the next life, thus, making us the “most miserable of all people” according to 1Cor.15:19’.
STEP II: CORPORATE (COLLECTIVE) WORSHIP APPROACH.
- Worthy of note is the fact that worship cannot be LOCALIZED since it is given to the kind of God who is spirit that cannot be restricted to one place. (cf.Ps.139:7-12;Jn.4:23-24)
- The practical uprightness of the individual worshippers makes the assembly God’s dwelling in the spirit or His Word or His Christ. (cf.Eph.2:17-22)
- Therefore, corporate worship depends on the worship of individual worshippers for divine acceptance.
- Again, be wary of family and community deliverance ministers because, with salvation (deliverance) of your soul by means of God’s word in Christ, your body is sanctified (delivered) as well. : “Jn.15:3” Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. (ESV)
- The practical uprightness of the individual worshippers makes the assembly God’s dwelling in the spirit or His Word or His Christ. (cf.Eph.2:17-22)
STEP III: WORSHIP FROM THE HEART TO THE HAND
- Worship with the heart is good, but not perfected,, without its evidence at the hand : “ESV: what good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (Jam.2:14) Read also ‘1Jn.3:17-19; 4; 20-21 and Job 29:15-16’
- Worship with the heart is enjoyed by God who will never do so alone without man’s benefit.
Mankind as God’s supreme property MUST benefit from any worship of the only true God. (See Heb.2:5-8)
- Therefore, all worship must be complemented with service to man in order to enjoy God’s full acceptance and concomitant reward. (cf. Luke 12:16-21; 16:12)
Never worry for WHERE to worship the only true God. Worry, rather, for WHY and HOW to worship Him. The reason is not farfetched: The God we worship is omnipresent who is and sees everywhere to reward accordingly. Also be inquisitive enough of the evident impact of your worship. It is therein lies the credibility test of divine approval.
- Mention the two types of Christian worship as you learned.
- One type of Christian worship is dependent upon the other for divine acceptance. Which one is that?
- If worship can take place anywhere, what is the spiritual benefit of building halls as God’s presence?
- “Worship with the heart is good, but not perfected without its evidence at the hand.” Explain.
Let us thank God for the lesson and ask for his amazing grace upon us to enable us make our worship to be unlimited to any place and for its efficacy to be felt around us.
LESSON FIVE: THE WORSHIPPER OF THE GOD OF HEAVEN
TEXT: John 4:20-24
MEMORY VERSE: Rev. 19:10 “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him but he said to me, ‘you must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
The worshipper is not permitted to device how he wants to worship the only true God; else, he would be worshipping himself. He is first expected to have the same spirit with the one he aspires to worship to guarantee divine acceptability. The worshipper is the physical contact person for the unbelievers who daily expect divine blessing on the one hand and through whom God passes this welfare to His already impoverished humanity on the other. But who is the worshipper?
We want to see the worshipper of the only true God as a priest and a worker; a truly spiritual person; a benefactor and a partner as well as a co-lender with God.
STEP I: THE WORSHIPPER AS A PRIEST AND A WORKER
- He is the King Jesus’ Priest and worker (cf. 1Pet.2:9)
- With the church as the new and spiritual Israel (cf. 1Pet. 2:9; Gal.6:16,17) and Jesus as the King over her, who must have priests or chaplains in His private regiment, the worshippers are the priests or chaplains.
- But the church worker does not differ from the church member or the worshipper (1Cor.4:7).
STEP II: THE WORSHIPPER AS THE TRULY SPIRITUAL PERSON
- The word the worshipper received from God is spirit (See Jn.6:63) which makes him a truly spiritual person as a consequence (cf. Rom.8:9, 14; 1 Jn.4:1,5,6).
- Word from any other source supplies the spirit of falsehood or occultism (ibid)
STEP III: HE IS A BENEFACTOR AND PARTNER WITH GOD (1 Cor. 3:9)
- Before we believed in Christ, we were just beneficiaries only surviving from God through the services of His people (cf. Eph.2:10,19)
- Now, conversely, we are agents of God’s blessing to others (cf. Gal.2:20)
STEP IV: HE IS A CO LENDER WITH GOD (Prov. 19:17)
- When God will pay back what the worshipper lends to Him (in solving the problems of others Jesus died for), He will pay something on top (cf. Luke.6:38; 16:10-12)
- Check, therefore, where the materially poor people dwell to invest. Make friends with all such (cf. Jam.2:5)
The priest, as we read of in the old regime before the incarnation of the Word of God into Jesus, was middle men who worked for themselves and their people. Where God will never be physically seen to ask us for food, clothes, shelter or every other corporeal thing, He expects us to give to Him through those He made in His images and for whom Jesus died who lack them as this era’s priests.
- Mention two attributes of the worshipper of the only true God
- Why is the worshipper a lender also?
- When God calls us to worship Him, what is that call in real terms?
- Where should the materially rich person go to invest?
With thanksgiving for the lesson, let us pray that God make us true worshippers whose effect will not be farfetched, that the will of God will not be difficult to see in our generation through us.
LESSON SIX: THE TEMPLE AND ALTAR OF WORSHIP
TEXT: Eph. 2:17-22
MEMORY VERSE: 2 Chron. 6:18 “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house that I have built!” (ESV)
Priest served in the temple with the high priest in the shadow arrangement we see in the old constitution or Testament God gave to His debut people, Israel of this world (Col.2:16-17). But the true and permanent sanctuary into which Christ, the High Priest of our profession, has led us as priests is invisible and everlasting; its builder is God (cf. Heb 8:1-2,5; 9:11,23,24; 11:10). The temporary or sketch temple had secular worship regulations pointing to an eternal reality that will be unveiled by the breaking of the body of Christ (cf. Heb 9:1,8; 10 19-22). So, where does God dwell as His temple?
This lesson aims at seeing the Christian as the dwelling place for God in the earth and his heart as God’s altar for sacrifice.
STEP I: THE BELIEVER’S BODY AS GOD’S TEMPLE
- Partnership with God starts with the offering of the body (cf. Rom.12:1-2).
- According to Jesus in “John 2:18-21”, the real temple God foreshadowed in the first constitution under Moses to indwell was our bodies as pure vessel.
- All Christians the world over, collectively and individually, are referred to as a building (see 1 Cor. 3:9) and as a body in Scripture (cf. Col 1:18, 24; Eph. 4:15).
- The only compulsory offering the Bible emphasizes is our bodies (ibid).
STEP II: THE BELIVER’S HEART AS GOD’S ALTAR
- Without an altar, the heart that houses the spirit, any item(s) for sacrifice is of no use. Since God passes life to his worshippers through the heart, He desires that it be guarded jealously ( cf. Prov. 4:23)
- For the Devil to defile us to death, and for God to clean us to life, the agency is the heart (Mark 7:17-23; Col 3: 15-16).
- The Word of God (Christ) washes believers clean in the heart (cf. Jn 15:3)
- Any person that is clean from the heart is actually and truly clean.
Eph 2:20-22” says that the Prophets and the Apostles are the foundation upon which we have been built. This is true because the Messiah the prophets first predicted will come (cf. 1 Pet. 1:10-12), the apostles first proclaimed has come, both of which were on a proving mission or ministry that Jesus was He. But His ministry was not to be followed carnally. The carnal appearance of Jesus was just for acquiring holy blood and water (cf. 2 Cor. 5:16). His temple and altar and that of his government or kingdom have to be in the same nature (cf. Jn. 18:36; 4:23-24). He cannot operate in man-made temples and altars which must always go together, lest, he be seen as an idol (cf. Act 17:16, 24, 25). Solomon’s temple was not built to indwell God thereby limiting Him to one place (see our memory verse). God must be worshipped everywhere (cf. Ps. 139:7-12).
- Why does God refuse to live in man-made temples?
- The temple is a building. What does God use as building materials?
- How are we built upon the Apostles and prophets of God as our foundation?
- For the devil to defile us, where does he target?
Let us thank God for the lesson and pray, “O Father, grant that our bodies will be a pure dwelling place for You, and our hearts, an eternal altar for Your operations.
LESSON SEVEN: SOME BIBLE CHARACTERS THAT WORSHIPPED GOD
TEXT: Heb. 12:1-6
MEMORY VERSE: Rom. 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the scripture, we might have hope.
We are, in this lesson, to look at a deca-character of Bible time worshippers with the consciousness of what we learned last that worship is. Partly, we learned that worship is anything thought of, said and done to benefit our neighborhood with the consciousness of God’s love in Christ. Since loving God is keeping his commandment (see Jn. 14:15), God’s view in his word makes anything worship of him such as is thought of, said and done as a consequence thereto.
The aim of this lesson is to see ten (10) characters who pleased God in the Scripture who, in other words, did so to give God worship.
STEP I: ABEL AND NOAH AS EXEMPLARY WORSHIPPERS
- The scripture attests, Abel’s sacrifice pleased God (Heb. 11:4)
- Noah and his household were found righteous in their generation (Heb. 11:7)
STEP II: ABRAHAM AND MOSES AS EXEMPLARY WORSHIPPERS
- Abraham is addressed as God’s friend and a father of faith (Heb. 11:8-19; Gen. 18:1-5).
- Moses, a type of Christ, is a fitting deliver of God’s people (Heb. 11:24-29).
STEP III: JOSHUA AND NEHEMIAH AS EXEMPLARY WORHSIPPERS
- By his faith in God, Joshua led his people (Israel of the flesh) to the conquest of Jericho (Heb. 11:30; Josh. 6:13-25).
- Nehemiah pleased God exceptionally as the governor of Syria then (Neh. 5:1-19).
STEP IV: JOHN, BAPRIST AND JESUS AS EXEMPLARY WORSHIPPERS
- John, the Elijah in spirit is known for his doggedness, boldness, simplicity and selflessness (Mk. 6:14-20; Jn. 3:25-36).
- Jesus depended on the father in everything – a show of faith (cf. Jn. 7:12-18).
STEP V: PAUL AND TIMOTHY AS EXEMPLARY WORSHIPPERS
- Paul became everything for the gospel (not against it in any way) of others’ salvation (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19-23).
- Timothy, like Paul, made the gospel work imperative (cf. Phil. 2:19-24).
A worshipper of the true God must have three things in mind which are “holiness”, hospitability and humility to constituted authorities” (cf. Jam. 1:27; Rom. 13:1-7). Those traits, if we practice, ooze out benefits to us and our neighborhood. So, worshippers of the God of heaven are defenders of God’s humanity with God. They are, in other words, God’s co-workers (1 Cor. 3:9).
- What makes any activity worship of the only true God?
- What is the target of the worshipper of the God of Jehovah?
- What is the difference between the faith of Christ and other faiths?
- If even the love of God does not manifest. His worshippers are still accepted. (True or False). Why?
With thanksgiving, shall we pray for grace to enable us bequeath eternal legacies for our children and neighborhood as we have just studied about the heroes of faith in their life time in Bible.
LESSON EIGHT: ACCEPTABLE SEASON, PLACE AND DAY OF WORSHIP
MEMORY VERSE: Rom.14:5 “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers everyday alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his mind.”
According to our memory verse, there is nothing like, “in season” and “out of season” when the worship of the only true God is in consideration. There are things in life for which God specifies boundaries, but not acceptable worship of Him. He demands our unlimited worship of Him for our good. WORSHIP IS UNLIMITED! (Not MOBILE, the oil giant, to which the word “Unlimited” is appended).
At the end of this lesson, we should be able to see:
- What replaces acceptable season, day and place of worship God specified in the old regime (under Moses, the faithful servant in God’s house) in the new regime of grace and truth under His son, Christ, the head of His house.
- How God cannot condemn anybody by reason of place, season and day of worship and
- How one separating from another for the aforementioned reasons does not have divine approval and is therefore Satanic
STEP I: THE CHRISTIAN ERA DOES NOT WORK WITH HOLY DAYS, PLACES AND SEASONS
- We are in a new era of spirit and truth; not in days, weeks, years, seasons and places (see our text)
- God has made that optional; but we must choose seasons, places and days in which most people can be affected by the God of love we worship (cf.Rom.14:5 – our memory verse).
STEP II: THERE ARE NO HOLY DAYS, SEASONS AND PLACES TO VIOLATE UNDER JESUS
- Jesus Christ is the end of any condemnation from the old regime because Jesus submitted Himself to be condemned for us and will not further be allowed to condemn His followers (cf.Rom8:1-2; 10:4)
- Legalizing on days, seasons and places of worship is ignoring the huge price Jesus paid to establish this grace and truth regime for us (cf.Lev.29:19-20; Matt.5:38-45).
STEP III: IT IS SATANIC TO DENOMINATE OR WITHDRAW, ONE FROM ANOTHER, DUE TO WORSHIP DAYS, PLACES AND SEASONS
- One is not for the truth of Christ who divides from another due to worship days, places and seasons (cf.1Cor.11:19; Rom.14:19).
- There is no physical place of worship we build today that can guarantee acceptable worship except for the intent of building and the extant human needs (see Heb.8:3-6)
- Why the Levitical rules and place of worship became contrary to God’s will of worship today is because blessing gained by worshippers were earthly and could not cross the grave with them. In other words, they never possessed eternal characteristics and value as in what obtains in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. (cf.Eph.1:3; 1Cor .15:19)
- The Holy Spirit does not rely on keeping of regulations in true worship as in the Old Testament Levitical order. Please drop them. (cf.Heb.9:8-9)
- Patterns of administering the Gospel are not another law system, neither are they doctrine as Apostles’ doctrine.
- It should be noted also that sacrifice were not offered for presumptuous sins, but for sin unwillingly (unwittingly) committed (cf.Heb.9:7; 1Tim.1:12-13)
- There are two ways to identify carnal sanctuaries namely;
- Specially constructed by man as God’s presence. (cf.Acts17:24) and
- Restrictions on who accesses due to holiness’ attachment.
- Specially constructed by man as God’s presence. (cf.Acts17:24) and
- There are pulpits all around us that have been diabolically arranged all in the name of consecration of which true worshippers must be wary. You likely hear so called miracle workers refer to you as possessing the powerful presence of God.
- God reveals Jesus as one Shepherd over one sheepfold (See Jn. 10:16)
Because God is Omni-potent, Omni-science and Omni-present, nothing should limit or be made to limit Him to one place, day and season in our dealing with Him (cf.Ps.139:7-12)
- What should necessitate the choice of any place, day or season for corporate worship?
- In making any day, place or season for Christian meetings ritually imperative, what does that do to the grace that is only found in Christ?
- What Bible passage tells us that it is never God’s will for us to ceremonially select worship days, seasons and places?
- If worship is not acceptable according to days, season and a place, according to what is it acceptable?
Father, thank you for the lesson and grant that our patterns of administering the Gospel in days, seasons and places will not be a tool in the hand of Satan to divide us – Children of the same Father
The previous quarter of the “READ & REAP Bible contest” had come and gone on the theme ”Worship” as elliptic pending the part two on the same theme as complement. The preceding part dealt largely on definitions. This complementary edition will look at the various Christian activities as to how they are items of Christian worship.
How can preaching and/or teaching God’s word; singing psalms, hymns and spiritual song; offering of our substances; offering prayers, etc. be worship? The spirit of such question will drive the discourses in this first quarter edition brochure of 2023.
Our previous lesson(s) defined applied “worship’’ as “anything conceived in the heart; spoken with the mouth and done with the hand to the benefit(s) of the neighborhood in the consciousness of God’s love in Christ.’’ But the definition fell short of naming such activities as may be conceived, spoken and done to illustrate worship. This extension will, therefore, strive to illustrate such activities as may be considered worship of our only true God under Christ through God’s Spirit. In doing so, activities engaged in by Christians in both corporate and personal settings will be highlighted – How singing psalms, preaching and teaching of God’s word, praying and giving are items of worship will be stressed. Fundamentally, the bulwark upon which divine acceptance hinges is first of all, in the consciousness or intentions of the worshipper before any activity is performed as worship.
Our consideration will be segmented into units of studies that will together be complementary to each other to facilitate understanding of the subject matter. The approach we have adopted for discussion is didactic or lecture method. There are evaluation questions and prayer summary at the end of every lesson or unit of study which will be subdivided into lessons.
We will consider the following units for our discourse:
- The Holy Spirit As The Teacher of Worship.
2. Praying as an item of worship.
3. Offering as an item of worship and
4. Singing as an item of worship.
May God be our guide,
MICHEAL JAMES EKPERIKPE (Missionary).
READ AND REAP BIBLE ENTERPRISES
+234 814 1291 073
Unit 1: “THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE TEACHER OF WORSHIP”
LESSON NINE: THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
TEXT: Matthew 12:30-32
MEMORY VERSE: Ephesians 4:30:- “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” (NLT)
INTRODUCTION: Whatever migrates out of God, in terms of substance, is God. If our President, Muhamedu Buhari, can go to any place in a representative capacity through the vice and others he may choose, then, Jehovah, God can come to the earth in a representative capacity through His Son, Jesus Christ and His Spirit. – The Holy Spirit. After-all, in science, if A = B and B = C, then A = C. Similarly, if God is spirit as in ‘John 4:24’, and that spirit is a holy type, then God is Holy Spirit.
OBJECTIVE: To know qualities possessed by the Spirit that gives Him a personality as well as His form of manifestation making Him an able teacher of worship.
STEP I: PERSONAL QUALITIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
- The Holy Spirit is intelligible.
- He has a mind (cf. Rom. 8:27).
- He intercedes for His own (cf. Rom. 8:26-27).
- He teaches His subjects (cf. John 14:26).
- He testifies and witnesses (cf. John 15:26; Gal. 4:6).
- He speaks and reveals (cf. Rev. 2:7; 2Pet. 1:21).
- He comforts and commands (cf. John 14:16; Acts 16:6-7).
- The Holy Spirit has a feeling.
- He may be grieved (memory verse).
- He may be lied to (cf. Acts 5:3).
- He may be blasphemed against (our text).
- The Holy Spirit has a will or determination (cf. 1Cor. 12:11).
STEP II: CONFUSION ABOUT HIS MANIFESTATION
- The Holy Spirit always works in a representative capacity – in the invisible realm –talking for Jesus and hiding in Christians through the Word of God in the conscience (cf. Rom. 8:9, 14; John 16:13).
- Since He is not visible with a definite form, many are confused as to His personality.
- This is particularly so in the Old Covenant Scriptures in which the name, according to research, appears only three times and even in the New Testament that He appears eight-six times, He is associated with the sanctifying power for Jesus’ followers as a source of bestowal of holiness generally.
- Everything that exists must not have a definite form before we accept that they exist like wind and wisdom.
- The Scriptures present the Spirit’s manifestations variously in the forms of a dove, fire, wind, water, seal. etc. (cf. Isa. 4:4; John 3:8; 7:38-39; Eph. 1:13).
- All the above are operational descriptive not wresting His personality.
CONCLUSION: For God Who is Spirit to adopt us as children is only possible through His Spirit so that mortal men can interact with an immortal Jehovah. The Holy Spirit serves as the middle person in all transactions witnessing the Father, and the Son, Jesus our Elder Brother, in an intelligible manner as deserving an Omniscient God infinite in wisdom (cf. Rom. 8:9, 14).
- Mention any three features that designate the personality of the Holy Spirit.
- Identify what shows that the Holy Spirit has a feeling?
- In what three forms does the Scripture show the Spirit’s manifestations?
- In what capacity does the Spirit work in this era under Christ?
PRAYER: Thank God for His Word and ask Him to take us away from attempts to win arguments during evangelizing which is not the same as winning souls and, thus, not supported by our teacher Christ through His Spirit.
LESSON TEN: THE PORTRAIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Part 1)
TEXT: 1Cor. 12:4-6
MEMORY VERSE: Luke 1:35: “The angel replied, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the son of God’.” (NLT)
INTRODUCTION: If the Spirit of God performs like God, the honour due God must be accorded Him. Any form of ridicule to Him is equally a ridicule of His sender-Jehovah, God. He is mentioned as an executive player in the cabinet of the government of heaven; the rank far above all the heavens. We do know, however, that, at the total restoration of God’s creation eternally from corruption, both the Son and the Spirit will return to be in the Father eternally as before the corruption, that Jehovah will be everything to everyone (see 1Cor. 15:24-28).
OBJECTIVE: To understand how the spirit is identified due to functions, relationship and status in the Godhead.
STEP I: THE SPIRIT ACCORDING TO RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST.
- He is an executive member in the Godhead (see 2Cor. 13:14).
- He is ‘the finger of God’ through whom God created and preserves the universe (cf. Luke 11:20; Gen. 1:2).
- He is as Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient as the Father and Jesus Christ (cf. Ps. 139:7-10; 1Cor. 2:10-11; Matt. 28:19).
- He is the spirit of God who is holy, hence, the Holy Spirit.
- Where He is not independent of God, He is also distinct from God acting in the realms of our thoughts, will and activity enhancing true worship.
- It is the mystery in the Godhead that the Spirit is one with God and yet is seen to be distinct from Him.
- He is the Spirit of Christ (cf. Rom. 8:9)
- Christ reveals to us that the Spirit will speak of Him (Christ) and not of Himself (John 16:13).
- In the Spirit of God; Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit, there is no pronounced or essential distinction since they have similar objective of redeeming the Godhead’s creation (cf. Rom. 8:18-25).
STEP II: IDENTITY ACCORDING TO FUNCTIONS
- He is the Spirit of Christ because:
- He is sent by Jesus (John 14:26) and has come in His name.
- The new life of Christ is borne by this one Spirit and believers are baptized by Christ in the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:4-5).
- He is an envoy in this world to glorify Christ (John 16:14). He is to make men worship Christ by only following His teachings.
- He has come to make Christ and His atoning love real in the believers.
- The born again person is both “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” since they both indwell the believer (cf. Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:9).
CONCLUSION: He who is indwelt by the Spirit of God can be easily noticed in the behavioral patterns of the individual. For God to change the first covenant replacing it with the present one inaugurated by Jesus as borne by His Apostles, He saw avenues in the Spirit through which the adversary – Satan – would have used to dilute and infiltrate with lies or “weeds” the truth in us (cf. Heb. 8:7; 9:1, 8).
- With regards to creation, how do members in the Godhead relate?
- Give two descriptive of the Holy Spirit in His relationship with the Father and the Son.
- Why is the Holy Spirit identified as the Spirit of Christ?
- How does the Holy Spirit glorify Christ?
PRAYER: Thank God for the lesson and pray that in our Spirits, God should unveil Himself with such degree of clarity that no form of codification by Satan can affect our fellowship with Him.
LESSON ELEVEN: THE PORTRAIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Part II)
TEXT: John 14:15-21
MEMORY VERSE: Jn. 14:16: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate who will never leave you.” (NLT)
INTRODUCTION: Jesus knows the very best gift for our encouragement, comfort and empowerment. He calls the gift (the Holy Spirit) an Advocate. Where His believers would not be able to speak, He knows the quality and capability to the Father’s substitute that He (The Spirit) will speak for us if we lean on Him. Thanks be to God again for His indescribable gift of the Holy Spirit like Jesus He first sent (cf. 2Cor. 9:15).
OBJECTIVE: To understand how the Spirit is identified due to status in the Godhead and functions.
STEP I: THE SPIRIT IS ANOTHER COMFORTER.
- If not Jesus God sent to teach and guide His children; to stand by them as they teach and preach; to face an opposing world; who will do those things for God’s children? Another comforter – the Holy Spirit – will.
- The Greek word for ‘comforter’ is “paracletos” and literally means:
- An aide to somebody especially in legal and criminal proceedings.
- In ancient times, the practice was that one was allowed in court or tribunal to be joined by one or two of his most influential friends who can stand in for him and defend him called in Greek, “paracletos” and Latin, “Advocatus”.
- Such was the role Jesus played for His disciples while He lived with them that brought about their sadness at Jesus’ announcement of His departure.
- The Holy Spirit invisibly will be what Jesus was to His disciples – another comforter.
- The word, “another” used here makes it clear that Jesus is different from the Holy Spirit.
- Therefore, the Holy Spirit is both the successor and presence of Christ.
i) “…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). How will Christ be in us? By the Holy Spirit Who will feature the life, nature, virtues and sentiments of Christ in the believer.
ii) If not Christ and his teachings, the Holy Spirit has nothing to offer the Christians. It is in Christ’s likeness and model that He is fashioned.
- As the Christians’ ‘paraclete’ in heaven is Jesus defending them against ‘the accuser of the brethren’, so is the Holy Spirit their ‘paraclete’ on earth silencing the earthly adversaries of the church (cf. Heb. 7:25; John 14:18).
- Jesus is now more than an example to be copied as He was in the flesh. In His Spirit now, He is a life to be lived.
- He was not omnipresent while in the flesh as He is now in the Spirit (cf. 1John 2:1).
- Someone thanked God that through the Spirit now, Christ has become the Soul of our souls; the Spirit of our spirits; the Truth of our minds; the Love of our hearts and the Desire of our wills.
- Jesus as David prepared the materials for a physical temple but was built by his son, Solomon, Christ also had prepared the materials (his inspired teachings) for the spiritual temple of God (the Church) but was built by the Holy Spirit.
- Christ was sent to do something FOR us even as the Holy Spirit was afterward sent to do something IN us.
CONCLUSION: The continuation of the comfort of believers by Christ is guaranteed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is another comforter of the Christians through the ministry of the teachings of Christ – the same way Christ was while He was in the body. Let’s do our best to submit to Him, our divine Light.
- What is the Latin word for comforter?
- Looking at our legal system today, how can you illustrate the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
- How is it possible for Christ to be in heaven and on earth simultaneously on our behalf?
- Why is the Holy Spirit called “another comforter”?.
- Has God put comfort in you for your neighbors by His Spirit? How are you sure?
PRAYER: Thank God for His word and pray that our partnership with Him in the redemption of His creation through worshipping Him be renewed through a renewed commitment to do His will like never before as a demonstration of our growth in the knowledge of spiritual things.
LESSON TWELVE: THE PORTRAIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Part III)
TEXT: Lk. 24:44-29
MEMORY VERSE: Lk. 24:49: “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (NLT)
INTRODUCTION: The Christian faith is a government or kingdom which cannot be functional without power. The bearer of both the inaugural and administrative power of Christ’s government is the Holy Spirit. The power that sustains citizens in this Jesus’ kingdom is also from the Holy Spirit. As such, He is indispensable in the Christians’ affairs.
OBJECTIVE: To understand how the Spirit is identified due to functions.
STEP I: HE IS THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE
- His coming is a subject of prophetic fulfillment bearing grace and power with which to bless believers in Christ (cf. Joel 2:28; Ezek.36:27).
i. So, according to Jesus, He is “the Promise of the Father’’ (see our memory verse and read also Gal. 3:14).
STEP II: HE IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH
- He is the true interpreter of the Lord Jesus, His life and His Word, just as the word become incarnate to reveal the Father so that He may be glorified in us through a change of life.
STEP III: HE IS THE SPIRIT OF GRACE AND LIFE
- Beginning with our physical lives preserved by God’s grace through His spirit, there is anointing for sanctification, patience in trials and service delivery (cf. Heb.10;29; zech.12:10).
(b) Preservation of both natural and spiritual lives is the function of God’s Spirit as a person in the Godhead (cf. Rom 8:2).
STEP IV: HE IS THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION
- He reiterates the consciousness in us that we are the children of God who share in the divine nature (cf. Rom 8:15).
- He is the regenerative Spirit of God Who was not emphasized in the Old Testament era except as a future blessing to whom the coming Messiah will be preached (cf. Jer. 31:34; 1Pet 1:10-12)
- He was the need of the Israelites when the mass of the people would incessantly be lapsing into paganism and iniquity even as their leader (Moses) lamented His absence (cf. Num 11:29)
- He was needed to raise workers and speakers for administration and spiritual obligations (cf. Joseph – Gen.41:38-40 Bezaleel – Exd 35:30-31; Samson – Judges 13:24-25 – workers for God).
- Consider the Spirit also raising speakers for God (prophets) b resting on them; laid hold of them; filled them; moved them; took them up as well as spoke through them (cf. Ezek. 8:1-3; Isa. :1-6; Rev. 1:10; Acts 22:7).
CONCLUSION: The mission of raising children for God as testimony that the teachings of Christ is a living faith resides with the Holy Spirit. He releases the Christian grace and truth to the believers of His message to enhance obedience. Life in the flesh without the leading of the Holy Spirit is sinful and dead. If we get more familiar with loving material wealth, we’ll get less familiar with loving Christ the Holy Spirit preaches.
- Give two descriptives, according to our lesson, of God’s Spirit and why He is so described.
- Mention two workers the Holy Spirit raised for God in the Old Testament era.
- Why was an outpouring of the Spirit needed for the people?
- As Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to glorify Him, who was sent to glorify the Father initially?
- Only those who live in the Spirit can glorify God. Are you one of them? How can you show it?
- God still desires to speak to your generation. Can He use you? (Yes/No) How are you sure?
Unit 2. “PRAYING AS AN ITEM OF WORSHIP”
LESSON THIRTEEN: PRAYING AS TALKING BACK TO GOD
TEXT: Matt. 6:5-8
MEMORY VERSE: “Never stop praying” (1 Thess. 5:17- NLT)
INTRODUCTION: One of the many ways in which we fellowship with God is in praying, because, in fellowship, we exchange offerings. In praying, we exchange words with our maker by citing what He wrote about Himself which we have believed and relied upon as reason for Him to act in our favour against the destructive wishes of Satan and His demonic agents (cf. Isa. 41:21). In doing this, we think also of the good of each other-intercession (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1-4). Acceptable praying in our era as Christians is limited to what Christ has taught about the Father as handed down to us through His original witnesses (cf. 1 Jn. 1-4).
OBJECTIVE: To see that prayer is to talk or appeal to God; to talk for one’s benefit as well as the benefit of others (intercession).
STEP I: PRAYER IS TO TALK OR MAKE AN APPEAL
(a) Because Christ abides in us through His word, everything about us – mental, vocal or active – is recorded in heaven for a corresponding reward (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10).
(b) In praying, we think about God in His Christ and talk without which it will not be based on true faith (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6 .)
(c) To talk back to God is to make necessary inference based on God’s word as reason God should do or refuse to do a particular thing for us and our neighborhood as we can see in ‘Acts 4:23-31’ and as the first Christians exemplified. (Read also Isa. 41:21)
SEPT II: PRAYER IS TO APPEAL TO GOD FOR OUR BENEFITS AND THOSE OF OTHERS (INTERCESSOR)
- We pray or talk to God to express our dependence upon Him which is otherwise called ‘faith’ (cf. Mark 11:22).
- We do not pray so that God can provide our needs, but because we believe He knows our needs and well able to provide them even before we ask (our text)
- Prayer is a measure of checking the Devil and his destabilizing effect in our neighborhood (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1-3)
- In praying for the good of others – even our human enemies – we are blessing ourselves (cf. Matt. 7: 12). This is what Bible believers call ‘the golden rule’.
- Our enemies are not human beings. Human beings are like horses on which our true enemies (Satan) rides to attack us.
- Therefore, it is the rider of the horse (Satan) that we should target to banish; not the horse (human beings – his visible representatives) – cf. Luke 9:51-56
- It is not Christianity and true worship to ask God to kill human beings who are ignorant agents of the Devil who use them to attack us. Christ, our head does not want it so. So, we must desist from it (see Matt. 5:3-48)
CONCLUSION: Every recommendation God has made to us is meant to keep us His followers inseparable from Him – singing, praying, alms giving, (witnessing His word to others and every other thing – edifying.) They are also sources of recompense created by God which we must not ignore, however veiled and seemingly insignificant they may seem.
- What did God say to us that we should talk back to Him in prayer?
- Prayer is restricted to vocal or vivavoce type. (Yes/No). Why
- Why do we say our physical enemy is like a horse?
- Why does Jesus forbid us from asking for the death of our physical enemies?
PRAYER: Thank God for His Word you have just received and pray that we be enabled to uphold this place of authority God has given us through worshiping Him to make decrees (in prayers) which the heavens must obey since we base them on God’s Word through Christ.
LESSON FOURTEEN: VARIETIES OF CHRISTIAN PRAYER AND POSTURE
TEXT: Matt. 6:9-13
MEMORY VERSE “When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward the will ever get”. (Matt. 6:5-NLT)
INTRODUCTION: How Christians pray is important since it is done with words used by spirits in the heavenly places as oracles. No wonder, the early followers of Christ requested Jesus to teach them the techniques of effective praying (see Luke 11:1). You and I should neither think that effective praying is in the quantity of words spoken and quality of time covered (cf. Matt. 6:7); nor is it in appearing nude, prostrating and rolling on the floor as some falsely think. Rather, it is a knowledge activity flowing from the consciousness of Christ’s directive whose Words count in the heavens. Godly living and compassion play a major role (cf: John 9:31 Isa. 58:5-12).
OBJECTIVE: To see two pronounced varieties of Christian prayer and the acceptable posture.
STEP I: VARIETIES OF CHRISTIAN PRAYER
- There are two pronounced varieties of Christian prayer, namely, the corporate and individual varieties.
- The corporate (embolden) prayer is sub-divided into corporate vocal and corporate candidate approaches.
- Corporate Vocal: This approach denotes all talking according to items given by the prayer leader as in ‘Acts 4:23-31’.
- Candidate or Delegate Vocal: This approach denotes one member appointed to lead other members who will agree with an ‘amen’ as in ‘1 Cor. 1:16-17’
– In leading corporate or collective prayers, understood medium must be used for easy communication as the Bible passage above emphasizes.
– Corporate worship activities’ leaders must also acknowledge order and decency with regards to the time allotted since divine acceptance does not hinge on duration of time spent and quantity of words spoken (see Matt 6:7-8)
– The laity or members must also do well to obey the leader appointed to lead without any interference whatsoever.
(2) Individual Prayer:
(i) Unlike corporate way of praying, the individual praying has no Scriptural administrative order except in not appearing nude and in doing all things to the glory of God and for one’s blessing (cf. Col. 3:17).
(ii) The one praying chooses venue and duration as we see Jesus did in the Scripture (see Lk. 6:11-12; Heb. 5:7)
STEP II: POSTURE OF PRAYER IN SCRIPTURE
- Aside from not appearing nude as stated already, the Scripture does not outline acceptable and explicit posture since prayer is a spiritual exercise (cf. Eph. 5:18).
(i) It solely depends on what method the moderator wants who must be obeyed. (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
CONCLUSION: Someone has said that “order is the first law of heaven”. I agree totally to the thought above, hence, not joking with God’s directives on how to order public corporate worship assemblies of believers in Scripture (cf. 1 Cor, 14:26,40). Knowing how to pray to the Almighty God was important for which reason the early followers of Christ demanded from Him orientation on how to do it well (see Luke 11:1).
- What are the features of a collective or congregational prayer?
- According to ‘1 Cor. 14:40’, what two things are observable during corporate worship?
- In candidate vocal types of corporate praying, what important element must be considered?
- What is the Scripturally acceptable prayer posture?
PRAYER: Thank God for the lesson and pray for knowledge of what we affect during praying so as to conduct our hearts and assemblies in a manner that will not negatively affect our prayer.
LESSON FIFTEEN: HOW CHRISTIAN PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED BY GOD
TEXT: 2 Cor. 6:1-2
MEMORY VERSE: “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’.” (Rom. 10:12-13) (NLT).
INTRODUCTION: It is Joyous to receive of God what one had asked of Him. Abel prayed and got a positive answer from God in his days, and, we are told, he is still praying to this day (cf. Heb. 11:4). If we do not receive from God our prayerful expectation, conclusion should not be drawn that it is as a result of our sin. Instead, we should see that our Father is all-knowing Who always wants the very best for us in the end (cf. Jere. 29;11 Jam. 1:2-4). He always knows our needs before we ask of Him (cf. Matt. 6:8). Let’s trust Him for maturity of the blessing before He releases to us.
OBJECTIVE: To see five ways the Scripture depicts as possible ways God may answer the prayers we pray to Him.
STEP 1:l WE MAY GET THE VERY THING WE ASKED
- In praying, sometimes we receive the very thing we asked for, like Jonah (see Jon. 2:1-10).
(i) Jonah asked God to give him a second chance, that he will obey Him, and God granted by directing the whale to vomit him at the very point (Nineveh) at which he will perform his assignment.
STEP II: WE MAY GET MORE THAN WE ASKED
- King Solomon asked for wisdom but received more because it met
God’s will for His people (see 1 Kgs 3:9-13; 1 John 5:4)
STEP III: WE MAY GET AN EXCHANGE OF WHAT WE ASKED
- God gave to Moses and Aaron an exchanged answer of not stepping into the
material promised land (see Deut. 32:48-52).
- in order that they be forgiven to be able to enter the true promised land whose builder is God, they were denied visa into the material promised land (Palestine) – cf. Heb. 11:10, 39-40.
STEP IV: WE MAY BE ASKED TO KEEP PRAYING, BELIEVING AND WAITING.
(a) The widow in the illustration Jesus used in ‘Luke 18:1-8’ is an example of persistence in our exercise of praying.
(i) we must pray without ceasing jealously (see 1 Thess. 5:17).
STEP V: WE MAY GET NOTHING
(a) Sometimes, God says ‘NO! because of seeing that what we have asked for will neither glorify Him nor be helpful to our existence (cf. Jam. 4:1-6).
CONCLUSION: All Christian prayers are answered immediately after they are offered. This is so because they are in accordance with God’s will in Christ. The answer does not immediately manifest on earth. If the answer does not immediately manifest physically, it is awaiting God’s fullness of time (FOT) and not necessarily tantamount to denial or sin on our part.
1. Mention three ways in which God may answer our prayers.
2. When do we say a prayer is according to God’s will?
3. Why did God refuse Moses and Aaron visa into Palestine?
4. In order that we persist in prayer, what does God do with answers to some of our prayers?
PRAYER: Thank God for His Word and pray for grace to always, through knowledge, be resolute in our fellowship with Him trusting in His unfailing and never-ending care which is true worship.
LESSON SIXTEEN: DETERMINANTS TO FAVOURABLE ANSWERS TO PRAYERS
TEXT: Isa. 52:5-12
MEMORY VERSE: “We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but He is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will”. (Jn. 9:31-NLT).
INTRODUCTION: Prayer is not a bribe given to God for a favour since He has more resources than any prayerful demand of those praying to Him. In other words, God does not give favourable answers to prayers because those getting favourable answers can lobby Him more than others who do not yet get such replies. His fullness of time (FOT) also counts in His answer which is entirely His making. Right or sinful living does not influence the answer in this respect. In not answering prayers, God also teaches persistency and discipleship which, too, does not hinge on well doing or wrong doing.
OBJECTIVE: To know five outstanding elements the Christian praying must have to facilitate favourable answer from God.
STEP 1: DOUBTLESSNESS (FAITH UNWAVERING)
(a) Any doubt and/or qualm in our minds limits the power of God, and will always constitute hindrances to favourable answers to or prayers.
(i) God expects us to always approach His throne of grace with confidence and boldness (cf. Mark 11:23-24; Matt. 6:8; Heb. 4:15-16)
STEP II: PERSISTENCY
(a) When we do not immediately get what we need from God, it is a good thing as so to help us become more sober going closer to God for solution (cf. Lk. 18:6-7, 1 Thess. 5:17).
(b) Why God should give us is also important in God’s sight. (cf. Jam. 4:3)
STEP III: HOLINESS, HOSPITALITY AND HUMILITY
(a) Holiness or purity of heart is imperative and indispensible in God’s dealing because God is holy (see 1 Pet. 1:14-16, Heb. 12:14; Rom. 13:1-7)
(b) The inward or unseen holiness must be expressed in obedience to Christ’s indoctrinations and constituted authorities as well as in show of hospitality (see Jam. 1:27)
STEP IV: FULLNESS OF TIME (FOT)
(a) God’s patience is not forgetfulness as some ignorant folks see (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9; Rom. 5:3).
(b) He (Jehovah) that calls us is faithful; He will do the things He has promised (see 1 Thess. 5:24). AMEN?
STEP V: MOTIVE (Jam. 4:3)
(a) There must be strong and reasonable divine backup to our prayers to move God’s hand to answer. cf. Isa. 41:21.
CONCLUSION: In praying, we imbibe the consciousness of being sons and daughters of a King and never ask our beloved Father as beggars. We must show that we are not just talking, that beyond that, we are making declarations and announcements as in preaching. God is our Helper (see Heb. 13:5-6) who expects us to receive from Him help for His world and go about helping just as Jesus did (cf. Act 10:38; John 17:18). We should stop asking God to lead us to our helpers instead of the helpless. We have only one helper who is God. If we are agents of help to others, we will surely be helped. May God bless you in Christ with knowledge.
(1) How many helpers do we have in the world and who is he?
(2) If God delays the answer to our request, He does not deny us and will not let us die before the answer. Discuss.
(3) Why do we need persistency in our dealing with God?
(4) If our wickedness neither harms God nor our righteousness benefit Him in heaven, why does He bother to correct us?
(5) How do we examine ourselves to ascertain that we are fit to be called His children?
PRAYER: Thank God for the lesson and pray that our prayers will always seek to have the things that glorify God in being of benefit to each other for the love of Christ as evidence that we are worshippers.
UNIT 3. “OFFERING AS AN ITEM OF WORSHIP”
LESSON SEVENTEEN: GOD AS THE GREATEST GIVER
TEXT: ACTS 17:16,22-25
MEMORY VERSE: “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since He is Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in man-made temples and human hands can’t serve His needs-for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need.” (Acts 17: 24-25) NLT
INTRODUCTION: The love of God for us became a motivating force for releasing Jesus to us to meet our salvation need. Initially, He had used Him to provide our material needs evident in the creation of the other creatures. Evidently, we can conclude that, even if it may be possible for an enemy to give to his target as a bait to harm, it is impossible to love without giving, “For God SO LOVED the world that he GAVE His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). For us to show love to each other, as God has exemplified, it is not only in giving services to meet needs, but also in thinking of what to do as a testimony in us to that love so that we may not miss any anticipated opportunity to show it in any circumstance life may present.
OBJECTIVE: To see how Jehovah demonstrates His love towards us and some characteristics of that love.
STEP I: DEMONSTRATION OF GOD’S LOVE FOR US
(a) A gift of the other creature for our corporeal (material) wellbeing (see memory verse).
(i) This is truly love-inherent as we never prayed about it (cf. Eph. 1:3-4)
(b A gift of Jesus for our spiritual wellbeing (cf. Rom. 5:8).
(i) Again, we never asked God for Him (ibib).
STEP II: CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S GIFT OF LOVE
(a) It is good and pleasing (see Gen. 1:4, 10,12,18,21,25; Rom. 8:32; Eph. 5:2).
(b) It is indescribable (see 2 Cor. 9:15).
(c) It is need-oriented or need-meeting (cf. Gal. 4:4-5).
(d) It is priceless (cf. 1 Pet 1:18-19).
(e) It is inventive – the first of its kind (cf. Eph. 1:3-4, 5:12).
(f) It is an expression of love, not forced (cf Eph. 1:3,4; 5:1-2)
CONCLUSION: A giving God is a reigning God. He that is God-like perpetually arms himself in giving to meet the needs of the needy in the society for His sake. By so doing, he unarguably reigns with God (cf. 1 Cor. 3:9). Let us please apply His grace into our hearts to willingly subject ourselves to identify with God in such traits as outlined above.
(1) If a materially rich fellow only keeps friends who are rich like himself, has he any opportunity to demonstrate God’s love? How?
(2) How does gift of the Bible demonstrate His love for us?
(3) If at the place one lives in this world, he will be alone all his life without seeing a fellow person, the preaching of Jesus is not for him. (Yes/No). Why.
PRAYER: Let’s thank God for His all-round generosity to us and ask that we be able to imitate Him so that it may be done on earth as is being done in heaven – an answer to Jesus’ prayer guide in “Matt. 6:10”.
LESSON EIGHTEEN: MY BODY AS THE FIRST AND COMPULSORY OFFERING
TEXT: Rom. 12:1-2
MEMORY VERSE: “My Old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me”. (Gal. 2:20 – NLT)
INTRODUCTION: The Christian is both a living and a dead person. He is living in the world but not of the world. He is alive by the will of God in his spirit, but he is dead to his fleshly will. That, plainly speaking, means to be led by the dictates of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) Who overwhelms his inborn desires (innate tendencies) as a result of his willing surrender to the message of God’s Spirit (cf. Rom. 8:16; Rev. 3:20). God does not allow Himself to be limited by us to Church cathedrals in which He never lives.
OBJECTIVE: To see that the Christian is the purified vessel that bears God around as His priest and prophet who replaces the animals’ offerings of the Hebrew Greek Scriptures.
STEP I: WITH OUR BODY, WE BEAR GOD AROUND
- Just as God revealed Himself to His mankind through Christ Jesus (cf. John 14:6) and through Christ’s life transforming message, He is pleased to accept a takeover by Christians as recommended by Christ (cf. John 17:1-3,13-14,20-21)
- The Christian life is the life of God Himself (cf. Eph. 4:17-18, Rom. 8:28-29).
STEP II: THE LIVING CHRISTIAN REPLACES THE DEAD ANIMALS’ SACRIFICES
(a) His self sacrifice of service delivery will ooze out mercy just as the animals’ sacrifice of the Mosaic regime sought to bring relief to the needy (cf. Lev. 7:8; Matt.12:1-8; Hos. 6:6).
(b) Those who brought animals, after examination, had to lay hands on their animals’ head to indicate that they were offered on their behalf (see Lev. 1:4)
(i) This was symbolic of our personal salvation today (cf. Gal. 6:5; Phil. 2:12).
STEP III: THE LIVING GOD INDWELLS THE CHRISTIAN
(a) The treasure of life for mankind, God dwells in Christians to deliver (cf. 2 Cor. 4:6-7, 1 Cor. 4:6-7; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16-20; Eph. 2:20-22).
STEP III: THE CHRISTIAN IS GOD’S PRIEST AND PROPHET
(a) See who a prophet is in ‘Deut. 18:18-19.’
(b) God Himself has described us, the body of Christ, as a royal priesthood and a kingdom (see 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev.5:9-10)
Our physical bodies, God being a Spirit, desires to live in order to do business in a physical realm. May we totally surrender to Him our hearts in His word so that He can purify our bodies for us because no other offering from us can replace this mega offering first expected.
- “The Christian is both a living and dead person.” How?
- How can God’s word become flesh again in our day?
- God is invisible. How, then, can physical beings bear Him around?
- According to ‘Deut. 18:18-19’. how can we define a prophet?
- But do you believe you are God’s prophet to the unbelievers? Why?
PRAYER: Thank God for His word and let’s pray for grace to keep our bodies as pure vessels (habitat-worthy) for God to indwell here on earth in order that He will still be active in our generation.
LESSON NINETEEN: A GIVER UNDER THE OLD COVENANT (CONSTITUTION)
MEMORY VERSE: “Each year every man in Israel must celebrate these festivals: The festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of shelters. On each of these occasions, all men must appear before the Lord our God at the place He chooses, but they must not appear before the Lord without a gift for Him.” (Deut16:16 – NLT)
INTRODUCTION: What will later become an act under the regime of Moses after Israel had become a nation, God had shown, in a way, to people before then. In the instance if tithing and Sabbath, God had shown during creation and in His dealings with the fathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In our study today, we will restrict everything to what it was during the national Israel – the period under the act or law. It must be seen also that there is found in no other arrangement than (this of welfare) where God commands, as a must, that material gift must be brought to Him by those who sought His presence. This must be stressed in order that women, children, slaves, the handicapped and foreigners be seen to be exempt from this command except men Israelites of twenty years and above to whom were given landed inheritance and were expected not to be lazy and unproductive.
OBJECTIVE: To appreciate that all givings were welfare programmes for the care of the poor (orphans, widow, slaves, strangers, handicapped and priest) and the compulsion associated there-with.
STEP I: ALL FORMS OF GIVING WERE WELFARE PROGRAMMES
- Tithes were for the welfare of the Levites (Num.18:21-24) who had to give their tithes (tithes of tithes) from there (Num.18:25-29).
- Tithes were also for the welfare of the orphans, windows and strangers, etc. (see Deut. 14:22-29; 26:12-15;).
- All the various offering stipulated by God except the burnt and sin offerings (Lev. 1:3-9; 4:1-12) were targets of mercy God had for the people. They included:
- Communion or fellowship offering (Lev.3:1-17;19:5)
- Guilt offering (Lev.5:1-6:7).
- Grain offering (Lev.2).
- Drink offering (Num.15:5,10).
- Wave offering (Lev.23:10-11, 15-17), etc.
STEP II: LAW CONTROLLED GIVING; NOT GRACE (Our memory verse)
- “ ALL MEN must appear… each of you MUST bring a gift… “(our text).
- All men of age 20 and above must bring an offering and these were such as were numbered (cf. Num.14:29; Exd.12:37).
- There is no other place of reason in the entire Bible that makes it a MUST for anybody who seeks God’s face to necessarily bring a material offering as a condition (cf. Acts 17:24-25; Micah6:6-8).
i. God was aware He had given those men arable land in which to farm and, unless they were lazy, that they could not have been able to produce something from which to bring as offering for the needy humans; not for God’s need.
STEP III: SOME GIVING LIKE TITHE WAS REGULATED
a) Tithe simply means “one out of ten”. More or less of it makes it sinful under the act or law.
b) Godly giving today is not by threat of law as some of us use ‘Mal.3:8-10’ to illustrate. Instead, divine giving today is named according to needs and varieties are determined by the expected diverse needs to be addressed.
i. Name them first fruit and harvest and restrict them to season (Read ‘Gal.4:9-11’ to see how seasonal offering is not a good option).
ii. Name it tithe and restrict it to law – one out of every ten.
iii. Name it giving and restrict it to welfare which is need-oriented and acceptable to Jesus Christ (see Gal.6:2,9,10).
- But all forms of giving were God’s welfare schemes which must continue in any form. (Deu. 15:4,11).
- If you had asked Moses, ‘how am I going to love my brother with my wardrobe?’ He would say, “count, if your shirts are up to ten, give him one” (Mal.3:10-11).
- If you asked John Zechariah the same question, he would say, ‘if you have two, give him one and do same with other things’ (see Lk.3:10-11).
If you asked Paul, the Missionary, he would say, ‘if you have opportunity, do good to all men’ (see Gal.6:10).
- To solve 5,000 problem of your brother, where you had 20,000, all messengers of God in the Bible, except Moses, will tell you to go ahead and do so because you are under the grace and truth regime of Christ.
- To solve such problem under the Law of Moses, you would need to have 50,000 before removing 5,000 as tithe.
i. As grace has come with a need-meeting approach seeking for problem to solve, that is how the Law of Moses came with fault-finding approach seeking for defaulters to punish.
ii. “Heb.7” speaks about the superiority of Jesus and His priesthood to Abraham and the priesthood of Aaron the Levite using the giving of tithe by Abraham to Melchizedek as an illustration.
-During then, Abraham showed that he was less than Melchizedek to seek his blessing and Christ is a type of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:4,7).
– So Abraham whose junior was Levi, together with Levi, acknowledged the superiority of Melchizedek in a way (Heb. 7:9-10).
– So the whole idea of “Heb. 7” is about superiority, not tithing used for illustrating that superiority.
(iii) “Matt.23:23” is similar to “Mark 1:44” where Jesus encouraged His people to keep the Law which existed before His manifestation in the flesh pending when He would inaugurate another system as replacement (cf. Heb. 7:12; 8:6-8, 13; Matt.26:28).
iv. The law of God is always good and spiritual, even law of tithing, if used to the benefit of mankind.
- A person (knowingly or unknowingly) is a Muslim when he practices the Law of Moses (Gal. 4:21-26) which is also known as the Law of Sin and Death (Rom. 7).
i. To kill and dispossess of material land or enslave enemies (where God permits) became the divine mission of those who followed the Law of Moses.
f) A person, conversely, is a Christian when he practices the Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2) which is also known as the Law of the Spirit of Life (Rom. 8:2).
i. To help and pray for one another, even one’s human enemies, is a divine mission of those who follow the Law of Christ.
ii. This is so because Christ has taught His followers to hope for a land that is to come, not the present one (cf. Heb. 2:5; 2Cor. 4:16-18).
iii. Where all Scriptures are given by divine inspiration for our welfare generally, (2Tim. 3:16) the part of it that guarantees our welfare after this earthly life is “the Apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:1-4; 4:1,4-6; John 17:13-21)
- Between proportionate giving and regulated giving, which one has Jesus’ endorsement?
- If God was still using the first covenant to govern the spiritual life of His people, would our text apply to everybody? Why?
- Reading ‘Lev.24:19-20’ vis-a-vis ‘Matt.5:38-42’, would you still say that Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses for us so that we keep practicing it?
Thank God for His word and let’s pray for grace to look up to Jesus Christ in His teachings as He handed down to us through His original Apostles for a unified spirit of effectual worship to God through Him.
LESSON TWENTY: THE GIVER UNDER THE NEW COVENANT
MEMORY VERSE: “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full-pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount will determine the amount you get back. ” (Lk.6:38 – NLT)
Any government needs a testament to regulate the activities of those involved – whether a changed one or an amended one. A saved person under the New covenant that had lived under the Old Covenant does not change face; he changes fate through the new faith. He does not change race; he changes realm; he does not change name; he makes a name. Similarly, giving under the Old Covenant remains. What changes is the approach, an improvement in method to reveal its deeper meaning and meet a greater need of the people.
To see giving supervised by the Holy Spirit, as in the New Testament, as being distinct from that ordained under the Law of Moses.
STEP I: GIVING UNDER THE NEW COVENANT IS PROPORTIONATE
- Givers give according to income and extant needs (cf.2Cor.8:12; 1Jn.3:17-19).
- No giving of material things was needed for ritual or giving purposes. (cf.Exd.36:4-7; Num.7:6-9)
- The timeless business of the Church is spiritual as the leader (Christ) cannot be accessed physically (See 2Cor.5:16).
- Sharing of spiritual gifts/blessings through the Christian teaching is the reason God recommended gathering together (cf. Heb.10:25), not for material possessions which can be possessed by all at any point.
STEP II: THE NEW TESTAMENT GIVING IS MERCY-DRIVERN IN ITS ENTIRETY
- They are entirely relief offerings.
- Under the first covenant, one was allowed to eat and be satisfied in another’s farm but never to take some home (See Deut.23:24-25).
- Owners of farm were not to glean to the four edges of their farms for the good of alien residents, the orphans and the widows (See Deut.24:19-21; Lev.19:9-10)
- But the New Testament acts of charity gain greater significance than that of the old because of Christ’s endorsement (cf.Heb.2:1-4)
- Later handlers of the Law of Moses came to view those acts of charity as meritorious possessing the power to atone for sins against the message in ‘Prov.11:4’. (The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1976, Vol.1,p.435).
- This attitude brought about Jesus statement of Matt.6:2-4’
- Besides giving proportionately, what else distinguishes New Testament giving?
- In what way is giving under the first covenant different from that of the new covenant?
- According to ‘Num.7:7-9’, what should be the yardstick of any giving?
- Why should individual or optional material giving be more encouraged than the corporate and/or regulated material giving?
- Should giving meant to be offered during fellowship be used to help a stranded person before then? Why?
Thank God for the lesson and may we pray for grace to see material giving of any type not any compulsory activity in God’s teaching in Christ today, but as an upkeep module for each other in His love.
LESSON TWENTY-ONE: GIVING AS A FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM STRATEGY
MEMORY VERSE: “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” (1Cor.9:22 – NLT)
The spirit of getting what one desires is the reason for the choice of our text in which David refused to kill his first human enemy in anguish but fed him and, as a result, saw the window for total recovery of all the previous raids by the invaders. This I call, ‘friendship evangelism’.
To see that vengeance is the Lord’s if we allow Him to fight for us, and that, His victory for us will always be total and full of blessing in the end.
STEP I: PERFECT VENGANCE IS THE LORD’S
- When we allow God to handle our enemies from the real world, then, we are sure of a total victory like in our text.
- When we pray for the peace and wellbeing of our human enemies and exercise same as opportunity appears, we empower God to deal with them (cf. Rom.12:17-21; 1pet.3:9-12).
- We can destroy what God desired to preserve and become judges with our evil thoughts if we do not listen to the Holy Spirit and handle situations as David did in our text above.
STEP II: GOD IS ALWAYS EXALTED AND HIS OWN ELATED FINALLY
- Because David won one with the love of Christ, God use that and glorified His name in the midst of His enemy (out text)\
- He also brought great joy and reunion in the camp of His people.
- May patience finish its work in us – Amen? (See 1Sam.30:19-20)
- The text above says that nothing was missing – David recovered all – and it could be rightly said that God recovered all for David.
STEP III: THE BLESSING IS WRAPPED IN EMPTYING OF SELF
- Begin now to greet that supposed enemy because of the experience you have had in this lesson so that God may start now to gather your blessings (see Matt.5:43-48)
- See that you count it all joy whatsoever happens (Jam.1:2).
- According to the lesson, what do you understand as ‘friendship evangelism’?
- In relation to the Egyptian in our lesson, why did David not miss his blessing?
- Between the visible human being and invisible Satan, who is the real enemy?
- In banishing Satan or his visible agent, which one will solve our lingering problem(s)
As we thank God, let’s pray for perfected patience on our part a Christians so that we allow vengeance to God Who knows the very best for us in blessing and in the handling of our opponents.
Unit 4: “SINGING AS AN ITEM OF WORSHIP”
LESSON TWENTY-TWO: THE REASONS FOR PRAISING AND THANKING GOD
MEMORY VERSE: “Who can be compared with the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high? He stoops to look down on heaven and on earth. ” (Ps.113:5-6) NLT
To praise God is to express, in His acceptable way, appreciation and love for Him (cf. Ps.69:30). The Greek noun “hymnos” and Hebrew verb “ha.lal” from which we have the English words “hymn” and “hallel” (hallelujah) carry in them that sense of raising songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.
To appreciate some reasons we praise God and the divinely recommended timing.
STEP I: GOD IS AN EXEMPLARY PREFECT BEING AND OUR MODEL
- In everything, God has revealed Himself as a perfect model for our successful living in this world to eternity (cf. Matt.5:43-48)
- The paramount job He has assigned us, first of all, is to strive to be like Him as taught by His Christ (cf.Rom.8:28-30)
- By so being, we will be invincible and/or too strong for our adversary – Satan.
STEP II: HE IS OUR CREATOR AND THE CREATOR OF THINGS WE NEED
- Before bringing us out of Himself, he had prepared all that will be needed for our existence (cf. Ps.135:3; 1Chron.16:25-26).
STEP III: IN DISTRESS MOMENTS, HE IS OUR HEALER
- God is the assurance of our confidence in times of distress to deliver and to sustain (cf. Ps.107:20; Heb.13:5-6; 1Cor.10:13; Psalm 46:1)
STEP IV: RECOMMENDED SEASONS OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING
- Under the New Testament (constitution) of Jesus Christ, praise and thanksgiving to God are every moment since it has to be done in the spirit that is not intermittent (cf.Acts.2:46-47; Phil.4:4-7).
- We are to be full of praise and thanksgiving to God always
Praising and/or thanking God in words and deeds is a means of expressing our appreciation to Him for the upkeep of His Children daily, beginning from his commanding the morning to our side of the globe (See Job 38:12) and granting us visas into the dawning days. Brethren, we are limited in our knowledge of how to identify all divine blessings and to accompany the praise acknowledgement thereof. But we must all the time be thankful to Him.
- Give three reasons why God deserves our thanksgiving?
- Why are there no longer seasons of thanksgiving?
- What three benefits do we derive from being thankful to God?
PRAYER: Let’s thank God for the lesson and for our lives, every person and everything He has put in place for our blessing and upkeep.
LESSON TWENTY-THREE: SEPARATING THANKSGIVING FROM REVELRY
MEMORY VERSE: “In view of all this, we make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision and moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge.” 2Pet.1:5
What is revelry? According to Greek – English Lexicon of the New Testament by Joseph Thayer, it is “a nocturnal an riotous procession of half-drunken fellows who, after supper, parade through the street with torches and music in honor of Bacchus or some other deity and play before the houses of their male and female friends. ” (1889,p.367). It is an intemperate or licentious behaviour, with street procession, equivalent with modern day carnivals in cities and communities. True worshippers who were converted in ancient times were not to continue with them after repentance to the faith of Jesus (1Pet.4:1-5).
To know that praising and thanking God should teach our neighbors godliness, bringing them and us to a state of sober reflection on the life of God taught by Christ (cf.Eph.4:17-21)
STEP I: SELF CONTROL NEEDED DURING PRAISES
- Without the consciousness of self-control as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, the pathway will lead to revelry during corporate worship.
- Worship (applied) is what is thought of in the heart, said with the mouth and done with the hand with the consciousness of Christ’s teachings – to the welfare of the neighbourhood and to the glory of God.
- It does not matter the day, season, place and time. It is worship because it attracts a good reward from God.
- Worship of the true God is working for Him and with Him deserving pay.
- Raising songs of thanksgiving to God is ‘Worship in praise’ which is not even limited to vocal singing. It includes doing or saying things as God would have done and said if He were visible in the body like us.
- Doing so means we are carrying out those good things on His behalf which will surely gladden Him to reward us accordingly (cf.Heb.11:4; Prov.19:17).
- ‘Worship in acappela’ is when we sing without instruments which is the new Testament praise pattern as it has to be spiritual songs from the heart and the fruit of our lips as a sacrifice (cf.Col.3:16; Heb.13:15)
- About one tenth of the entire Bible is songs, Psalms being the foremost.
- It is evil to allow our beloved worshippers to get into ‘religious rascality’ without knowing in the name of praising God.
- Our youths are the most vulnerable in this respect who will have no business in sober reflection during corporate worship like the others due to distraction form instruments under their watch.
- The other day, a Church leader announced that the organists should please not stop playing so that his anointing will not stop flowing. You now understand what I mean. But where did he get that to yoke our Christian youths with? It is holiness and need meeting service delivery that attract God’s Spirit; not instrument as in Elisha’s time the Church leader cited in (2kgs.3:14-15)
- For the records, harpists cannot bring down the influence of the Holy Spirit in this era as in “2Kings 3:14-19”.
- It is obeying the teachings of Christ as taught by His original Apostles that releases the Holy Spirit to the believers – cf. Acts 2:36-38
- Many of our youths have discovered business in learning how to play instruments because believers’ groups now errantly consider them most effective and indispensible agents of Church growth than those studying and sharing Scriptures. They are sometimes paid for their playing services. Sometimes, they play in more than service a week – Business indeed! Don’t you think so? But there are bigger packages beyond the material money, dear. Watch well and discover that you can share more virtues than with money gotten in such a deal.
- In your own words, what is revelry?
- Have you seen anything like revelry or carousing in your fellowship?
- Has our Christian Greek Scriptures recommended anything against the spirit of sobriety?
- Youths who spend their time studying God’s Word and teaching are not encouraged as those playing instruments. (True/False). Why?
- According to our lesson, which practice somewhat recruits our youths into “religious rascality”
Thank God for His Word and help pray for generational legacy of the truth to be ensued to reflect in way Christian leaders of nowadays treat it with seriousness before their followers.
LESSON TWENTY-FOUR: PRAISING GOD AS A CHRISTIAN
TEXT: Acts 11:22-26
MEMORY VERSE: “But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian, Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name!” (1Pet.4:16 – NLT)
Christians live by God’s ransoming power and His enabling grace. They are those who have resolved to follow Jesus no matter what (cf. Matt.16:24). To praise God as Christians is all the Christians think, talk and work watching what Christ teaches as a show of love to Christ (cf.Jn14:15; Lk.6:46). The term “Christian” which is derived from “Khristi.anos” is only found three times in the Christian Greek Scriptures in Acts 11:26; 26:28 and 1Pet.4:16 and first used in Antioch of Syria (our text). King Agrippa II using the descriptive in Caesarea at about A.D. 58 is a testimony that the term was well known even then. The Scripture says that it was a God-ordained name even though initially adopted by unbelievers for repudiating the believers. (Our text).
To appreciate that praising God as a Christian is praising Him with the knowledge of what Christ teaches as well as anticipate a good reward.
STEP I: CHRISTIANS DO ALL THINGS INCLUDING PRAISE IN CHRIST’S NAME (Col.3:17)
- To do all things in Christ’s name is to have His authorization based on His inspired teachings beneficial for education and disciplining humanity (cf.2Tim.3:16-17; John 17:17; 2Pet.1:21)
- What brings God praise is beyond lip singing to a working or living faith (cf.Jam.2:17, 21-26)
STEP II: IT IS A PRAISE FROM THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN CONVERTED
- Why the Christian must repent and live the life of the born again person is that it is not only his direct praise that will suffice but also the indirect praises of others to God through his beneficial lifestyle (cf.Matt.5:16)
- It is the life lived that praises God, not the songs sung which is just a fragment of fruits of that life.
- The Christians live to demonstrate in real terms who they are called: ‘the chosen’, ‘believers in the lord’, ‘brothers and disciples’, ‘faithful ones’, ‘slaves to God’, ‘holy ones’ and ‘those who call upon the name of the Lord’ (cf.Col.3:12; Acts 5:14; 6:3; 9:2; Rom.6:22).
- How can praise given to God differ from other praises?
- If a Christian is not a Christian indeed, can God receive his praise and give him a positive reward?
- If not for lip praise, can praise be given to God through other means? (YES/NO). If yes, what are they?
Let’s thank God for His word and ask Him for more grace with which to thank Him as a demonstration of our trust and continued dependence upon His unfailing promises to us.
LESSON TWENTY-FIVE: THE SECULAR GOVERNMENT, A REASON FOR THANKING GOD
MEMORY VERSE: “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.” (Rom.13:3-NIV)
In view of its original meaning, to govern is to guide or direct using authorized institutions. Where there is no law, there is no order and where there is no order, there is no government; where there is no government, there is no God. Therefore, government is a blessing if the governing body and the governed run according to rules. The government of heaven extended to earth through Christ and His Church (believing people) is a perfect political model for all secular governments.
To see the various blessings in the existence of governance as lacking in anarchy
STEP I: THE GOVERNMENT IS A UNIFYING FORCE
- The blessing of the people pooling their resources (human and natural) together is only possible in a central arrangement called government
- Harmony in the day to day existence and in business transactions of the subjects for the expected dividends will be guaranteed (cf.Gen.11:1-9)
STEP II: THERE IS THE BLESSING OF RESTRAINT
- With government in place, evil people with their sabotaging intentions can be restrained.
- This authority’s influence exercised over them is for the wellbeing of the peace lovers; hence the divine recommendation that we pray for any extant government (cf.1Tim.2:1-4).
- Have you heeded that divine charge by praying sincerely for our government at federal, state and local government levels or you are casting aspersions on it.
STEP III: THERE IS THE BLESSING OF PROMOTION AND EMPOWERMENT
- In enforcing law and order by the government, those who do good will be promoted and empowered (our text)
- Civil authorities are approved by God to share God’s material resources to mankind equitably through the instrument of beneficial or need-oriented legislations (our text).
- Similarly, the Church (Christians) is placed of God to share God’s spiritual resources (the more important and eternal resources) to mankind equitably through the instrument of Christ teachings (cf.Eph.1:13-14; 2:17-19; 3:6).
- Everybody in the world who does not express sincere faith in what Jesus Christ teaches is poor in the true sense of poverty.
- This is the “poverty in spirit” to which Jesus referred in ‘Matt.5:3’
- Such, is the real hunger of which the scripture speaks (See Matt.5:6)
- Considering the effects of anarchy and governance, what are two merits of a government?
- What makes an individual a part of an extant government?
- Who are the givers of power to those in authority after God?
- Why should we pray for our government?
Praise God for the lesson and ask Him for the spirit of loyalty to and prayer for instituted authorities knowing fully well that no authority can be exercised without Christ’s endorsement Who alone is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
LESSON TWENTY-SIX: THANKSGIVING FOR DAILY UPKEEP
MEMORY VERSE: “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and trough. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one Who calls you is faith full and He will do it.” (1Thess.5:23-24) (NIV)
According to our text, when pagans worry, more ideas of how to invent sins, expressed in diverse atrocities, are revealed to them by the one (Satan) who lives in them (cf.Eph.2:1-2; Rom.1:30). We too, have had Jesus abiding in us through the Holy Spirit as an assurance and guarantee of God’s faithfulness. He says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb.13:5 – NIV).
To see reasons for thanking God for daily grace of life and our upkeep and of all that concern us.
STEP I: OUR PHYSICAL LIFE, A REASON FOR PRAISE
- It is the grace of God in Christ that grants us entry into any new day through elect angels’ ministration (cf.Heb.1:14)
- God has done so from the beginning of our lives till today.
- He started the good work of securing and sustaining us from when we were first formed in our mothers’ wombs, born and now He has perfected it by bringing us into the Kingdom of His beloved Son. Praise God! (See Phil.1:6; Col.1:12-14).
STEP II: KEEPING ALL THAT CONCERN US
- In fact, no amount of praise and thanksgiving can go for God’s care for all that concern us
- Our husbands, wives, children, relations, business associates, etc
- Our spiritual relations: our amateur and professional pastors, other Christians, our heart – mentality, intelligence, will, etc.
- Our economic activities: our offices, shops, workshops, security during travels – for us and all our partners – physically and spiritually. The list is endless.
STEP III: SONGS/PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING
- Singing! Singing!! Singing!!!
- Prayers of thanksgiving
This period should be used for singing spiritual songs to the glory of our God, our Protector and Sustainer. To Him be all glory, power, dominion, majesty and honour now and always. AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!