“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” A. W. Tozer

Sermon #97: Are You a Responsible Person?

Today I am going to deal with a very important topic.

I am going to focus on the need for each one of us to act responsibly and I am glad that you've spared some time to read this sermon.

I believe that people were created to be responsible citizens. I am convinced that God never intended that people would act irresponsibly. God is a God of integrity, He's a God of excellence, and nobody could grow into a mature child of God if they continue to act irresponsibly.

When I look around today I see that I have been a victim of irresponsibility, in some way. There are several areas of my life that have been negatively affected by somebody else's irresponsibility, and the same surely applies to you. Just look around you and see for yourself!

But now is the chance for us to rectify things!

When I realised that a number of people were acting irresponsibly, even some who are supposed to be esteemed people in society, I decided to recheck my definition of the word “responsible” because I had begun to think that I could be using a wrong definition.

I said to myself, “If these people, who are supposed to know better, knew the meaning of the word ‘responsible’, they would not be acting in this manner.” 

English is a second language to me; I therefore need to rely on the dictionary a lot. I suppose that even those who are really English do consult the dictionary from time to time.

So I consulted my only dictionary, The Random House College Dictionary. The dictionary defines the word ‘responsible’ as follows: answerable or accountable, as for something within one’s power or control. Having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable.

Read the definition again. After you do, you should take a minute of silence to consider the question which says: “Am I a responsible person?” Be honest. Are you accountable for the things within your power and control? Do you always make use of your capacity for moral decisions? 

I now request you to pause reading for while. During this break, write down just three occasions in which you acted irresponsibly. If many of them come to mind, write down all of them.

After you are done take some time to look at your list. What picture do you see? What were the consequences of your irresponsibility either to you or the next person? Looking back, don't you wish you had acted (more) responsibly?  

You need to keep in mind that the picture that you see is the same picture that the world sees in you. 

I have come to believe that most, if not all, of the problems that every person faces today arise out of either their own irresponsibility or that of somebody else. I think that the world would be a far better place today if everybody had acted responsibly in the past. Similarly, our children and grandchildren will only live a great life if we act responsibly in the now. Think about it.

The call to act responsibly is getting louder and more frequent by the day, and as you read this sermon, you must find it in your heart to heed the call. It's an urgent call. Now is the day that all hearts should burn for what is noble, transparent, constructive, right, morally correct.

You and I have several areas that are within our power and control. In each of these areas we need to ensure that we conduct ourselves with integrity; we should demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility.

We shouldn't have anything to hide. Instead, we should be in a position to explain all our actions or omissions without stuttering. As you read this sermon, you can be sure that there are lots of people who are busy hiding information on the actions that they have taken, simply because such actions cannot stand scrutiny! Any action that cannot stand scrutiny borders on selfishness, hence irresponsibility.

Let me quote from the Bible.

Paul gave Timothy the following instruction: "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care" (1 Timothy 6:20). Paul was teaching Timothy to be accountable for his actions - to make maximum use of the capacity given him to make moral decisions. Timothy heeded the instruction and went on to become a great leader in the service of the Lord.

What is it that has been entrusted to your care?

There surely is at least one thing that you act guardian over. I have; you have. What are you doing with or about it? Are you guarding it; are you plundering it; are you acting irresponsibly towards it?

If you are a pastor, you have the congregation in your care. If you are a teacher, you have the students in your care. If you are a parent, you have the family in your care. If you are a health professional, the patients have been placed in your care. If you are a driver, the passengers are in your care. If you are a city father, the city has been entrusted to your care. If you are an employer, your employees are under your care. If you are a ruler, the nation has been placed in your care.

I think that you now appreciate why I think that most of our problems arise from the irresponsibility. 

So many people have died on the roads simply because the driver acted irresponsibly and even ignored rebuke by the passengers. Road accidents are sometimes caused by motorists speeding through red robots, pedestrian crossings or junctions at which they must give way to other traffic.

Drunken driving is also a major contributor to road accidents.

One day I overheard two men engaged in a conversation. They were laughing and I thought that they were talking about something really exciting. One of them said, “My friend, I still am at a loss how on this earth I managed to drive home yesterday evening. I was so drunk that I could not get out of the car after parking it. My wife and children had to pull me out of the car and carry me into the house.”

What do you make of this? Sounds familiar?

I also know of a number of cases in which teachers were either sacked or imprisoned for sexually abusing students in their care and children who have taken to the streets because parents failed to take proper care of them.

These are just examples. The cases of irresponsibility are too numerous to mention.

If we fail to act responsibly in the here and now, then we certainly do a great disservice to future generations. 

With our actions or omissions, we shape the future. Let us not underestimate the power that we wield in determining the kind of future our children will possess. They look at us, they witness our actions and omissions, they listen to us speaking and sometimes they judge us.

How beautiful it would be for us to be guided by noble principles! How marvelous it would be to be real role models in society! How pleasing it would be for the future generations to look back and conclude that their elders taught and raised them up right!

We need to preserve the environment so that we bequeath it to our children in a condition that they would enjoy.

We need to build our economies and the social sectors to a condition that is better than we found them, if our children are to see us as builders, not demolishers.

We need to leave a legacy of honesty, love, work and peace.

It is within our power. It is within our means. Yes, we can. I believe that we have sufficient willingness to do so. So let us work together. Let us be of service to the human race. Let us think progress.

Above all, let us strive to act responsibly, always.

Are you guarding that which has been entrusted to your care?

Do you have a clear conscience regarding how you have conducted yourself in the past? Can you stand with your chin up and shoulders high, without shame? Would God and man describe you as noble, responsible? Would they take you to be a person of integrity? If that is not the case, then you've some serious work to do, and NOW is the time!

Guard whatever is entrusted to your care. Act responsibly. What a powerful instruction!


Sermon #96: Being A Friend of God

There is this thought that keeps coming to my mind.

The thought is provoked whenever I read the following verse: “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God's friend” (James 2:23, NIV).

Abraham was called God’s friend; what closeness! How was this possible? It was because Abraham believed God. Marvelous!

Abraham believed whatever God told him; he also acted on God's instructions according to the exact will of Him who instructed him. Now that's a real friend, if you ask me. Are you willing and ready to conduct your life likewise?

When God said “Leave this place,” Abraham left the place. When God said, “Give Me your son,” Abraham 'gave' Him his son. Abraham believed everything God told Him; hence he was called God’s friend.

God told His plans about Sodom and Gomorrah to Abraham. I believe that God told Abraham because the two were close, way too close.

God didn’t want Abraham to feel let down. If God had not told Abraham about it, Abraham could probably have subsequently queried, “But my Friend, why didn’t you give me just a hint of what You were planning to do?”

In the process of considering the punishment that He was going to unleash on Sodom and Gomorrah, God remembered His friend. Listen to this: “Then the LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’”(Gen 18:17, NIV). How beautiful! I imagine God saying the same thing about me - “Shall I hide from Phanuel what I am about to do?” Glory to God!

So when I look at this I conclude that God told Abraham about His plans because Abraham was His close friend. He could tell him His secrets and plans. God could confide in Abraham. Can He safely confide in you?

After God told Abraham about His plans, Abraham actually bargained with Him; and God never took offence at Abraham for asking almost the same question several times. Imagine somebody asking, “What if they are fifty?” then “What if they are forty-five?” then “What if they are forty?” then “What if they are thirty?” then “What if they are twenty?” then “What if they are ten?”

Our God is a patient God. He answered all these questions without any hint of impatience; after all, it was a close friend who was asking!

This is my view: Although every Christian is loved by God, not all really get into the closeness that God had with Abraham. 

Some Christians have dedicated their lives to walking the tight rope. If certain things are not of God, this kind of Christians will never associate with such things. I believe that these people are first Christians and they have gone a step further to become God’s friends.

On the other hand are Christians, really born again and heaven-bound, but they appear and live like they are not. They choose what to believe and what not to believe. If God says, “This colour is red,” they believe. When God takes another colour and says, “This is blue,” they say, “But it looks greyish; it can’t be blue.” God cannot get into deeper closeness with such Christians because of their unreliability.

I say this not to offend, but to encourage. You need to examine yourself and to change whatever needs to be changed, all the time guided by the will of God. If you chose the Christian life, then you need to be on the move, always. There is no room for monuments in Christ; there is room only for divine movements, Christians on the go!

Christians build their lives on the foundation called Christ. But what does the Bible say about this building exercise? Listen to this: “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward” 1 Cor 3:12-15, NIV.

Are you building with gold? Or are you building with straw? The Bible says whatever you are building will undergo the test of fire. Can straw withstand fire? These are questions that every Christian needs to be always seized with. We should not walk aimlessly in this faith; rather, we exist to aim for the prize!

“Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil,” (Eph 5:15-16, NIV).

God bless!

P. S. - I know that some people believe that every Christian is a friend of God. I believe that a friend is a confidant. I do not believe that every Christian is God's confidant.  

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Sermon #95: On Being Led by the Spirit

“…those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14, NIV).

Who are the sons of God? Who are the sons and daughters of Abraham? It is “those who are led by the Spirit of God”. Glory to God!

The unsaved cannot be led by the Spirit of God because they are not of the Spirit. They, however, might eventually become of the Spirit. On the other hand, the saved need to seriously think about Paul’s statement in Romans 8:14.

A Christian should always be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s direction.

We need, as Christians, to keep our antennas high and searching, so that we remain in touch with the thinking of the Spirit at every point of our lives.

Consider the radar; it’s always on the alert. Once an airplane gets into the radar’s area of coverage the radar immediately shouts, “An airplane has just entered my airspace!” That’s exactly how alert Christians should always be!

We should never miss the Spirit’s mind concerning our lives, not even once. A Christian who is always attentive to the Spirit is able to capture the thoughts and guidance of the Spirit at every turn.

It doesn’t mean that one should necessarily hear a voice, although some people do hear God’s voice. Even without hearing a voice, one would know what God’s thoughts are with respect to any area of their life, if they are attentive.

You might decide to go somewhere, but before you go, you need to ask yourself the question: “What does the Spirit of God say about my plan?”

You might have been wronged by somebody and you are in the process of considering your options; you should ask, “What does the Spirit of God expect me to do under these circumstances?”

You might be in a clothing shop, trying to grab some fashion. Before you buy, you should be in a position to tell what the Spirit’s mind is regarding any item of clothing that you might be admiring.

God is a God of a Christian's entire life; not just a part of it. We therefore shouldn’t surrender just a portion of our lives and affairs to God; instead, we should surrender every aspect of it! God should have the final say on everything concerning our lives.

I do not believe people who say God approves of everything that we might decide to do or to be; if He did then to me He wouldn’t be God. Does your earthly father approve of everything about you? Hasn't he directed you at one point to change certain things concerning your life? What more the Heavenly Father, the Father even to your father!

We should never confuse our will for God’s will. Under all circumstances, it should be very easy for a Christian to come to a decision. All one has to do is ask themselves, “What is the mind of the Spirit on this?” The mind of the Spirit becomes the decision!

Some of God's children are in not so good a shape. These people allow God to direct them only in some areas of their lives and keep certain areas exclusively to themselves. They reach certain decisions and stay put even if God were to direct them otherwise. That is disobedience!

Several Christians disobey the Lord in certain respects. Even when they know too well what God’s direction is regarding something about their lives, these people proceed as if they knew nothing. Just because they like it that way, they say, in effect, “Even God will not shift me from this.” What do you make of it?

The Bible mentions some people who ‘wandered from the faith” (see 1 Timothy 6:21). I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the disobedient Christians eventually wander from the faith, because their conduct is already inclined that way. They might end up disobeying the Father in everything!

I implore you to act and react only in a manner that’s consistent with the direction of the Spirit. There might be something that you love to do, or a behaviour that you might find irresistible, or gatherings that you are weak to avoid. The bottom-line is, “What is the mind of the Spirit regarding this?”

You should always be convinced that your conduct in life is exactly what the Spirit ordered.

“What is the mind of the Spirit on this? What does the Spirit instruct me to do? Would God be pleased if I were to do it this way?” That’s how Christians make decisions.

I have met Christians who say, "But I do not know the will of God regarding this aspect of my life." In response I normally say, "Do not worry about what you do not know now. What are you doing about that which you know?"

If one did their best regarding the will of God that they know, they are in a good place. I think going forward, the more such people learn about the will of God, the more they adhere to it. In addition to advising them about their situation, I also urge such people not to remain a minute in a state of ignorance because nothing stops them from searching the scriptures for answers!

Just as I was about to fall asleep one day, the thought of writing this message entered my mind. Because I was tired and wanted to rest, I decided to postpone the writing until the next day. However, when I asked myself the question, “What does the Spirit say I should do?” I realised that the Spirit wanted me to wake up and write the message straight away. So I did.

I sure hope this sermon has helped you in some way. If it has, then it was worth my writing. Remember that you will never mature if you don’t give the Spirit free reign in your life.

Sermon #94: Your Prosperity - Wealth, Riches, Money

I could do with more wealth, more money. I would be better off with lots of it. I am not the only one in this condition; you too could do with more of it.

I know a number of people who are seeking an improvement with regards to the status of their wealth. They are frantically looking in various places for this.

Yet when I look at it, I sometimes feel as though people generally take the lead when it comes to wealth creation, leaving God behind, leading to a lot of debris all over the place, as people blunder their way.

And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD’” (Ex 14:13, KJV). God is wonderful. He says, “As far as your life and wealth creation are concerned, panic ye not.” What comfort! Stand still. Be at peace. Praise God!

Consider this as well: “So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matt 6:31-32, NIV). Your Father, the unlimited provider, knows that you need these things. 

Because He knows you need these things and because He is your provider, He will “satisfy you fully” (Joel 2:19, NIV). 

So “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:6, NIV).

I have noticed some misfiring in a number of believers - they desire more wealth to the extent of negating all that God has already done for them. They don't seem to appreciate what they already have! They are always anxious, edgy and sullen, simply because they have not got that which they seek.

Consider this: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:16-18, NIV).

Believers should be joyful always; they should give thanks in all circumstances. This is something! Whatever situation you might be in, you've got to give thanks to God, with joyous hymns, because life is good!

There should be no room for anxiety in a Christian’s life. Jesus’ instruction on anxiety is clear enough. He says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” 

If you find yourself in a closed box with regards to wealth, you now know what to do. Don't get angry or restless. Instead, present your requests to God, keeping in mind that you should ever be joyful and thankful. Thank Him for what you possess. Thank Him also for what you hope for.

If you have the basics of life, then you are in a good state. God will take you from there to yonder places if you dedicate yourself to living in accordance with His teachings. Just listen to this: “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Tim 6:7-8, NIV). 

Do you have food? Do you have clothing? Do you have shelter, even if rented? If so, then you should be ashamed of yourself if you are living a miserable life! Jesus said, “…we will be content with that.” We will be satisfied with that. You should be content with that. You ought to be thankful and your gratitude should beam right into the throne room.

Of course you should always take steps to create new and more wealth, but your starting point ought to be different from the starting point of non-believers. While non-believers might start from a point of dissatisfaction, believers should make it a point to start from a point of satisfaction.

I have learnt some valuable lessons. Here they are:
  • God delights in the prosperity of His children.
  • God is willing and able to take His children to spacious places in terms of wealth. He can enrich us exceedingly above even the wildest of our imaginations.
  • However, God wants Christians to begin their journey from a point of satisfaction, not dissatisfaction, acknowledging every good thing that He has already done for them.
A satisfied life is a life well-lived. It is a full life, without any regrets. With God the past, present and future belong to you. You can reclaim, with compound interest, everything that was meant for you, but which had somehow eluded you. So, while you work towards more wealth, you need to do so calmly, peacefully, with God each step of the way.

Wealth is on my mind, and life is good!

Sermon #93: Victory for the Christian

"Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and your helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their places" - (Deuteronomy 33:29, NIV). 

Wow! What more can I say? We are in the best of places...glory to God!

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