THE FIRST STEP TO GOD

COMPLETELY REFRAIN FROM SIN.

DIVINE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FOLLOWERS OF GOD IN BROTHERHOOD OF THE CROSS AND STAR.

Any person who does not refrain from all the sins enumerated below, cannot be a good Christian. These sins are: Fornication, adultery, stealing, lying, deceit, envying, cunning, anger, quarrelling, fighting, gossiping, idolatry, witchcraft, taking of drinks, smoking, snuffing, heresy, lasciviousness, sedition, unrighteousness, mischief, jealousy, vindictiveness, pomposity, division, laziness, covetousness, argument, flippancy, pride, fraud, bullying, murder, insult, rancor, vain thinking, aggravation, whispering, cursing, herbalism, traditional plays, worldly dance, worldly scene, swearing by blood, oath, inordinate lust, and evil concupiscence; both native, and English treatments; occult science, burning of incense, ogboni society. Playing of band, or drums. Weeping, frowning of face, sighing, bribery, or being bribed, selfishness; flogging of children, wife, or servant; disobedience or lamenting. Wearing of gold, pearl, earrings, necklace, finger ring, piercing of ear etc. Offering people drinks. Keeping company with fornicators, mourning, keeping mourning houses, secret society such as: Rosicrucian, Lodge, Abu, Ekpe, Ekpo and others. Court action, backbiting, sacrifice, presence in worldly society, sooth-saying, or worldly gathering; eating meat, of strangled beasts, or, meat of animals, which die by themselves, and such like, ungodly manners.

Any person, who refrains from the sins, enumerated above, and complies with the instructions given in the New Testament, such a fellow will be fit to be Christ’s disciple, and will become A True Student of: The Universal Spiritual School Of Practical Christianity.

THE VIRTUES OF A GOOD CHRISTIAN IN BROTHERHOOD OF THE CROSS AND STAR.

Love, truth, patience, faith, hope, joy, temperance, peace, righteousness, generosity, complacency, meekness, truthfulness, and rightful action. Being a husband of one wife, or a wife, of one husband, or remaining a virgin. Mercy, honor, humility, and happiness, in what God gives, and respect towards God. Holiness, eloquence, quick to forgive one another, oneness of mind, and endurance.

THE LAW OF GOD.

1st. Love: Love ye one another even as Christ loved you.
2nd. Faith: Have faith in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
3rd. Hope: Have hope in God perpetually.

THE WORK OF GOD.

The work of God includes: The hearing of the gospel, and putting into practice what is preached.
The preaching of the gospel right through the world, being generous to the poor, the saints, the lame, the widow, the afflicted, the distressed and the sick. Hospitality to strangers and orphans.
The work of God is to have faith, in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and to have love for one another.

HOW TO WORSHIP GOD.

Paying of Tithe, Free Will Offering, and Charity. Take all God has given you, divide it into ten parts, and offer unto God one part, out of the ten parts. This is what is meant by paying of tithe.
Render thanks unto God, on account of what he has done unto you, giving freely what you like unto God. Praying all the time, and singing his praises continually.

REFRAIN FROM EVERY BIT OF SIN.

First Bible Lesson: Philippians 3:13

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

Second Bible Lesson: Romans 6:1-2

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Golden Text: 1st Timothy 6:11

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

TODAY, we are going to reveal to you, the first step, to take, to qualify you, as a man of God, worker for God, and a Child of God.

This is what is really meant by Baptism. As a first step, it is so necessary that, it must not be skipped. We are prepared to work for God, the moment we decide to take this step. Otherwise we are not yet ready. Preparedness, to work for God, also means abandoning all earthly things, and giving up ourselves wholly, to doing good alone. Take this decision now, and you will be on the first step, up the ladder, to God. After taking a strong footing on the first step, we are just about to advance. We have not yet finished the race excepting, we can count on the first step, as a good start, to enable us, to press on, to the mark.

GOOD WORKS:

The race that lies ahead of everyone to run is doing good. But the trouble with the world is, none is wise enough to know, we cannot do that, which is good, if we do not first of all stop doing that, which is bad. Therefore, brethren, let us all continue in doing good, throughout our lives.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

From the above text, you can see, when you have forgotten worldly things, and refrained from sin, you have done only one thing. Many things are still lying before us, to do. For instance, patience is there to be had. The Holy Spirit will direct us, and our conscience will be worried, if we do not do the first thing first; that is, if we do not refrain completely from sin, before attempting to have, that patience.

COMPARISON:

To what can we compare the abandoning of sin, as the first duty of a Christian? It is like the clearing up of a bush, which should be done first, before the trimming of the trees.

In the process of making a farm, if the process is reversed, and the trimming is done before the clearing, the trimmings will fall over the undergrowth, and the bush will not take fire; thus it will not be possible, to clear it, for planting.

For this reason, the greatest, and foremost thing, a Christian should do, is to confess his or her sins, and be baptized. In short, he or she should first refrain from all manners of sin, and the fire of the Holy Ghost will direct him or her, to do good always.

We can compare anybody, who does not take this step, to a man, who misses the consecutive order of counting from one, thus missing the first thing, and cannot have his sum correct, because he ignores the first number. Thus also, anybody, who has not completely refrained from sin, should not count himself as a servant of God. He is not fit to do anything for God.

NOT YET HOLY:

This does not mean that any person, who has refrained from all sins, is holy or good enough before God. Such a person has not yet started the work of God, until he learns to love everybody as himself. Abandoning sin only shows, the person believes in God and his Son; and, he is prepared to follow God, and to do his will. He is determined to go forward.

He has begun to hear the gospel, and is different; from the sinful person, who can never be counted, among those, who hear the gospel, though he be preacher of it. So, let all those, who are now prepared to follow Christ, refrain from every bit of sin.

And once they have refrained from sin, let them not go back to it. But let them go on, loving, and spreading the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

After, you have been taken out of sin, would you like to go back to it; so that, your soul may perish. The scriptures answer: God forbid. Anybody who stood before God, and denounced Satan, the world, and sin should under no circumstances go, to attach himself, to these things.

In 2nd Peter 2:20-22, it is written:
“For, if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them, than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them, according to the true proverb, the dog is turned, to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

Even if, you are to be killed, suffer death; instead of going back to sin, after you have abandoned it. The practice of goodness is the only thing that can sustain a man to be sinless. So, if you have actually abandoned sin, be sure of your salvation, by holding on to doing nothing but good. Otherwise, you are not yet saved. And if you go back to sin, your last position is worse than the first.

The person who has abandoned all sins, is like a man sent to England to study. He has to resign his former appointment, before leaving for further studies. If he does not do well in his studies, and is sacked from the University, he comes back without any degree; he has lost both his job, and the University qualification, and is bound to suffer.

So let all of us, who have abandoned sin, proceed at once, to do the gospel. We should not fail to do good after we have stopped doing evil. Otherwise, we shall confuse ourselves, and be in dilemma. If we have been making such mistakes in the past, let us resolve from today never to do so again.

It is said, when a person makes the first mistake, he is a fool; but when he makes a second one, he is a bloody fool. It is indeed foolish to return to sin, after we have denounced it. We may ask ourselves, why did we refrain from it at all, at first.

If sin was all that good, why did we not continue in it? Again, if we go back to sin, shall we find any good, as we perhaps thought there would be? If we will not, what gain then do those who still cling to sin have?

If you abandon hundreds of sins, but still retain one, you will suffer for that one sin, just as a person, who has not refrained from 100 sins. (James 2:10). What is the use of refraining from adultery, and fornication, and still holding on to anger? It is written, a little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump.

If you have refrained from all other sins, but continue to beat your children, are you not still in the grip of Satan? Has the Scripture not forbidden you from tormenting your children?

In Ephesians 6:4, it is written: “And, ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

You may stop actually flogging your children, but if you continue to threaten them with such words as “I will beat you to death”, are you not committing sin? This you know is provoking the children to wrath. So, if there is any sin remaining in you, remove it right now, in order to fulfill the first, and the most important condition, to qualify you, as a Christian, and a Child of God.

Among us, here today are those who have abandoned all sins. There are also among us those who have one sin left; those who say, they will leave sin gradually; and there are those who say, they are not yet ready to refrain from any sin now. I ask: “what use is there, in retaining even a single sin?” There is no sense in this thing. The only wise people are those, who have refrained from all sins, and will never go back to them, in their lives.

Everybody wants God. If you have one sin left, when are you going to take just the first step to God? If you say you will not leave sin, until God does his work, and changes you, when will that be, when will God do his work? Is God not doing his work, now that you are hearing this gospel? May I assure you, God is doing his work now.

If you change, it is better. But if you continue in sin, you are laboring in vain. You are building on sand, thus making in vain the work of God in our midst. All those, who have only one sin still remaining, are the same as those, who have not forsaken any sin; and all those, who have forsaken all sins, for a while and have gone back to commit them, are like those who have never refrained from any sin.

If you abandon sin for twenty years, and then suddenly, in the twenty-first year, you commit it again, you are even worse than the person, who has been committing sin continuously throughout his life. What then is the benefit you have derived, from the many years you had stayed and avoided sin?

May I remind you again, if you have refrained from all sins, but you do not do any good service to humanity, there is no virtue in you, and your effort to refrain from sin, is of no benefit.

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

This lesson explains what is meant in the first lesson, concerning reaching forth unto those things which are before. Let us who have therefore refrained from sin; now go after charity, peace, humility, kindness and all the rest of the virtues.

And let us note, while doing this, if we don’t first of all refrain from all sins we cannot do any good; we cannot do the work of God. Anger is of Satan. Hatred, lack of faith, stubbornness, hard-heartedness and lying are all the works of Satan.

But love, faithfulness, obedience, forgiving one another, and truth, are all of God. If you do not first, do away with everything satanic, how can you have anything that is from God? If you do not stop telling lies, how can you begin to speak the truth? If you do not leave Satan, how can you hold on to God?

Now Brethren, let us all refrain from sin, and go after virtue, let us remember first, the FIRST STEP, which is refraining from all manner of sins. If we do this, we shall find Salvation for our souls.

Those who have ears let them hear, may God bless His Holy Words. Amen!

WHOSOEVER COMMITTETH SIN IS THE SERVANT OF SIN.

Golden Text: John 8:34

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

Anybody who commits sin is bound to suffer. Even the least bit of sin is bound to bring untold punishment and death, to any person who commits it. Do you then see why, we have no peace, in our lives? You should not allow anybody to tempt you to fall. This is the reason why, you should not find fault with anybody.

There is no portion in the scriptures, which says, you have the right to judge others or revenge. God is the maker of everything, and we should leave everything to him to do for us.

But when we sin, we are the cause of all our troubles, because God Himself does not commit sin, and is therefore not responsible for anything we may suffer in consequence of sin. The punishment we get by committing sin, is from the sin not from God. All bad things, bad dreams, quarrelling and discomfort come from sin. That is why, it is said, the wages of sin is death. At the time Adam and Eve did not commit sin in the Garden of Eden, they never lacked anything.

They were never ill. They neither quarreled, nor fought, nor did they suffer any disgrace. In fact, they were not worried in any way. But from the day they committed sin, evil followed them, in everything, and in every way. When we have known this, why are our hearts hardened, our eyes closed, and we still remain in sin? Why do we allow our hands to touch or do evil? If anybody commits sin, all his words, eyes, ears and anything within and about him, are turned evil? All disgrace, tears, and torments reach him because of sin. Bad thoughts come from sin.

What is worst, about committing any sin at all is the fact, one sin giveth birth to another. When we steal we are punished; but it does not end there. We may wonder why, we who have not been stealing, are doing so now. Have we forgotten, the knock we gave that little child on the head, which is sinful enough to urge us on to commit another sin: stealing? This is a very strong reason why, we should run away from every bit of sin.

EVERY SINNER IS DEAD.

No sinner knows God. Those who know God, never commit any sin. If you like, give them millions of naira to induce them to commit sin; you will never get them to do so. They rather choose to die than to commit any bit of sin. Why? Because they know, to sin is to die.

I have told you, if a man is careful enough to avoid all manner of sin, he will not die forever. He will not suffer from any disgrace or illness. But when you feel the slightest pain, trace the cause, it will lead to sin. Any stain of sin, on the soul, is like a black spot, on a pure white: it cannot be hidden. Likewise, if you commit the slightest sin, you need not inform God, before He knows it all; and you will be disciplined, unfailingly.

Therefore, if any person says, he will commit sin, because God is merciful, and will forgive him; he is making a great mistake. Such a person does not know God. He is a slave to sin, and until he denounces sin, he will not be free to do any good thing, even to be able to ask God for forgiveness.

THE SINLESS WILL NOT SUFFER DEATH.

Sin is the cause of death. Adam and Eve died, because they committed sin. Christ is living today, because He did not commit sin. If you do not commit sin, you will not die.

A person who commits no sin, does not know any juju, witchcraft, mermaid, or hatred; he does not want suffering, or death. But if you do anything God forbids in His holy scriptures, you will die, because you have committed the sin of disobedience, which Adam and Eve committed, and died.

From the day you commit sin, you have become a slave to sin, and sin will begin to rule you. Let us all, who do not want to be slaves to sin, refrain from it. Even if you are to be starved for a hundred years, suffer it, instead of being persuaded, to commit sin, and eat sumptuously everyday. Even if you are promised the whole world, if you would sin, remember Satan made the same promise to Christ in the desert, but He refused all; because all these would lead Him to death and make Him lose eternal life. Shun the devil, the world, and all that is in it.

OUR FOREFATHERS PERISHED IN IGNORANCE.

If our forefathers in ignorance did commit sin and perished, should we who claim to be wise today, also commit the same sin, and perish like them. And if we willfully commit sin, what excuse will bring us out, of the consequences of it. We are taught to avoid sin. This is the best measure against death.

Those of us who are wise, know prevention is better than cure; and the way to prevent death, is by refraining from sin. Where then lies the wisdom, of those who say, they will commit sin and afterwards come back, to ask God for forgiveness? Once a sin is committed, the consequences will be disastrous and death often follows.

ILLUSTRATION:

Once there lived a certain King, with his queen, and three courtiers, who were eligible to act for the king, should he be absent, and to succeed him, should he be dead.

These courtiers lusted after the person of the queen, and were jealous. Each of them wanted, very much, to have an affair with her, but because they discovered how faithful the queen was to her king; they feared, they had failed, in their individual attempt of eliciting love from her. All three of them plotted to rape her or cause her death, should she resist or disgrace them by refusing their approach.

Their jealousy against the queen raged so fiercely, they started to call her names, and to say; the queen was disrespectful, looking down on every person.

Being courtiers, they were much trusted, loved by the people and allowed unlimited access to the court. They used this advantage, to secure themselves a hiding place in the court, from where they could pounce on the queen.

The Plot.

The queen was returning from bathing alone. Half way to the bathroom, her escort of maids had stopped to wait for her, to go and come back to join them. But before they could see their queen again, the three courtiers had jumped from their hiding, to grip her. Then they demanded a love affair:

“You know, we are courtiers, much honored in this kingdom, and that we have equal power, with the king your husband, so, whatever we say must be done, and whosoever refuses to do what we want, we have power to condemn to death?” “Yes, of course,” she replied. “And now, we want you to love three of us, as you love the king, and to allow us, to have the same right, on your person, as the king; if you refuse, you will be killed.”

The queen was maddened by what to her sounded, the most treasonable thing ever spoken by man. Boldly she told them, by having the thought to approach her, with such ignoble questions they had already committed a great crime: a moral sin, and for opening their mouths, to utter such dirty words, they were already dead.

As for herself, should she ever think in her heart of having an affair with anyone of them, she should die; and for her to agree, to do so, when they demanded it, she should die. God forbid, she should not do any such thing.

The three courtiers were greatly disappointed and disgraced. They wanted revenge. So, they raised an alarm, and summoned the whole court, and the whole kingdom to the palace. There they explained to the people, how they had caught the queen, having an affair with another man, and when they came up to catch them, the man escaped. This was noised throughout the land, and everybody knew the penalty for such a crime was death, and that the queen, was soon, to die.

Many blamed her for such an act, which from the evidence of the courtiers; the people believed she had committed, and were very sorry, she was to die such a disgraceful death. But the three friends who plotted it were very happy. Yet the queen was not in any way ruffled. Her heart did not condemn her, because she had committed no offense. According to the law of the land, there was nothing remaining to prevent her execution. The courtiers were trusted to say the truth in the evidence, which they gave against the queen, and no other evidence was needed to disprove what they had said. Whatever the queen had to say to defend herself was not to be listened to.

The Execution:

The execution of the queen was fixed at eight o’clock the next morning. So, the people dispersed with the awful impression of what had happened. In the night one of the prominent young men had a dream of the true nature of the case, for the queen.

The next morning when all assembled to watch her execution, the young man cried out, he would not bear to see an innocent person executed before his eyes, and that he had the other side of the “queen-caught-with-man” story to tell them. He was granted audience. He called the nobles privately and asked them to separate the three courtiers, and then cross-examined them, one by one, to know their individual versions of how they caught the queen, with a man. The three of them were kept at distances that made it impossible for them to see or hear one another.

When they were called in and cross-examined one of them said, “I caught the queen having an affair with a man, under the mango tree, and when we came running to catch them the man escaped. He was taken aside still far away. The second courtier who was called in said, he saw the queen and the man, under the pear tree; the third courtier said, he saw them, under the coconut tree.”

There was no collaboration in the evidence given by the three friends, and this proved, they conspired to kill the queen. They were guilty of high treason, and were condemned to die on the gallows.

Before the death sentence pronounced on them, the Queen was called to say how everything happened. She told them a very pathetic story of how these courtiers had sought to have an affair with her, and when she refused, they turned to say they had caught her with a man.

Things Changed:

Everything, the courtiers said, was false. Things changed automatically. The queen was set free, while the three courtiers were hanged by the same rope, which was earlier prepared for the queen.

Golden Text: John 8:34

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

In the above illustration, the queen, who committed no sin, could not in any way be brought under punishment of sin. But the courtiers as sinners were serving sin from the day they started to worry themselves, planning how to get the queen into their lustful trap. They told lies, and suffered shame, and finally died for their sins.

Therefore, let us run away from sin, even the least type. In thought, word or deed we should not sin at all. For disgrace, tribulation, and death await all sinners.

Women ought not to suffer any pain, in delivering children. Men ought not to suffer, for their daily bread, but today the sufferings are due to, our own sins.

If we commit no sin, we shall experience no difficulty in anything. So let us run away from sin, so that sin will run away from us, and we shall be free, and never again serve under its bondage, forever and ever.

Those who have ears to hear let them hear, may the Lord bless the preaching of His Holy Word. Amen!

THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH.

Golden Text: Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We have already started, and will continue to explain, to you, what harm sin has done to this world. If our forbearers long ago, and the philosophers of today, had known earlier, sin is the cause of all the troubles in this world, death would have ceased entirely by now. For sin is the cause of all our tribulations and death.

The increasing death toll today is alarming, and has set everybody thinking as to how to stop it. And here in our lesson today we have been shown the cause of death, which should be removed, if death must stop. We must therefore refrain from sin, for sin is the cause of death.

THE PROFIT.

The only reward or profit, we derive from sin is death. Why then do the people of the world cling to sin, or does it then mean, the world does not want life? If we quarrel, backbite, steal, hate or fornicate, cause division, fight or curse, we must die. Why then should those who desire life, do any of these things?

We all have noted how our bodies, and feelings react to sin. Once you backbite somebody, your whole person is thrown, into a state of confusion.

In our conscience, we are no more free and happy, as we used to be, in the company of the person, we backbite. All the sting and illness, we may suffer, are only minor consequences, death is the final wage, we are paid for the sins, we commit. It is the sum set aside for a sinner, to earn, as pension. When a sinner dies, God has no hand in his death, for he has been paid his pension, by sin. God is eternal life; sin is death.

SUFFERINGS.

Sinners suffer terrible things, in the course of sinning. For instance, a thief cannot tell how often, he has been attacked, stoned and buffeted; or has escaped from death, and his ordeals, under rain and sun. If we consider these things, we need not be told, to run away, from sin.

Apart from sin, there is no person or angel, who has the right, to destroy the life of any person. If anybody dies, and if you investigate the cause, you will discover it is sin. If you see anybody, who has eternal life, it is given him, by God.

WHY WONDER.

People wonder why, this or that prominent person should die. I ask: “Has he not committed sin, and thus deserve to die?” We keep on explaining this thing to you, because some think, God is responsible for illness and death. Some say, death has power.

No, it is sin not death that has power. God knows sin has power to punish sinners, with death. He does not obstruct anybody, who after being told to refrain from sin, still continues in it. He knows every sinner will earn death as his reward.

ILLUSTRATION.

Once there was a synod, attended only by very high dignitaries, from the rank of a bishop and above, from all over the land; the number of them being above two thousand.

At the end of their deliberations, one of the bishops was to serve up holy communion. He prepared and brought it out, but when he was going to start serving, thunder struck. The table was overturned, the bread scattered, and the wine was spilled all over the floor. The bishop himself was killed. All these things happened, because the bishop, who died, had secretly poisoned the food, when he was preparing it.

His plan to kill all the bishops present, at the synod, was a direct attack on God Himself. He had committed a grievous sin, and the wages he received was his own death.

CONFESSION.

Before he died, he confessed the many acts of cruelty, he used to commit, and expressly told the people, the death he would suffer was what wages, he deservedly earned, for all the atrocities, he was committing, in his life.

This story also illustrates. Satan is not afraid of God, and does not scruple to tempt the Children of God, in the house of God, disguising himself as an angel of God, but whatever form the sinner may take, his end is death.

Golden Text: Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

So brethren, let us refrain from sin, if we desire to have eternal life, as the gift of God, and gain victory over death, now and forever more.

Those who have ears to hear let them hear. May God bless His holy words. Amen.

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