FIRST LESSON: MATTHEW 5:23-24
“Therefore if thou shalt bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
SECOND LESSON: LUKE 17:3-4
“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother shall trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he shall repent forgive him. And if he shall trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day shall turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
GOLDEN TEXT: MATTHEW 18:35
“So likewise shall my heavenly Father do to you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
HAVE MERCY ON YOUR OFFENDERS, IF YOU TRULY SEEK SALVATION.
THE WAY TO SALVATION:
Brethren, the above texts and spiritual chorus forms the theme of our lesson. Judgment had since begun. Right from the time Moses obtained the commandments of the code of conduct and was served to men, the violation of which explains why the people died in great numbers. Where there is no law, there shall be no offender, but where there is a law, there are bound to be offenders. This reveals to you the state of the world.
It is not God’s desire that we should sin; this is why He sent his only begotten son to come and show us the way. Our Lord Jesus Christ came, cleared and straightened the path for us all today to follow. All those who desire salvation this day will receive same.
I have told you time without number to go and reconcile wit your enemies so that peace may abide. Go now and take this charge lightly, because it is the real truth in this kingdom. This is why unless you get reconciled with your adversaries before offering gifts, prayers or tithe to God, such offering will not be accepted. One of our spiritual choruses says, ‘I require mercy and not sacrifice, for I have condemned sacrifice on the cross’. It is worthy to note therefore, the importance God attaches to mercy, love, and forgiveness. Notwithstanding the age, colour, stature, gender, or status of your enemy or indeed any person that you have a misunderstanding with, move immediately and reconcile with him or her. It is only when you have reconciled with your adversaries that you will have peace. This instruction goes particularly to hard hearted fellows and dishearts who never believe in forgiving their fellow men. In like manner, whatever a man does, comes back to him whether good or bad. As it is said, ‘the evils or goodness that a men do lives after them’.
It has been God’s resolve to save every man gratis only if we will obey Him and forgive our enemies. Let our first lesson be read again.
THE KEY TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD:
The above passage forms the message of life and the key to this kingdom. It is also the spiritual message to the entire world. Be alive to this injunction and do not toy with it throughout your life span on earth. If you have been joking with precious gospels, change your attitude concerning this gospel. Put it on as your garment and yoke around neck, eat it as food and abide in it as your shelter. This gospel is unique because of the week it is introducing. Judgment is at its toughest state and respects no man’s position, faith or colour. Feel not shame or shy when you forgive others that you will be forgiven too. Leave people alone and you will be left alone.
Let the second lesson be re-examined.
FORGIVE YOUR OFFENDERS:
Do not litigate against your fellow or report your offender to the police. Engage not in any arguments or disputes. Even if your print is denied you or trampled upon, fight not for it, and even if your property is taken forcefully, do not struggle to retrieve same. The people of the world count how many times they have forgiven their offenders and would recourse to revenge. It is wrong for any one to count how many times he has been offended. As many times as you continue to forgive your offenders so will your Father forgive you. Your forgiveness should be unconditional. Whether one is first offended or the 490th degree, continue to forgive and your Father will also forgive you. As many times as you are offended be not tired to forgive. It is not God’s wish that any should perish, upon whose head (sake) the lord did shed His precious blood. Further more, it is written in the scriptures that no sheep shall be lost except a child of perdition. This Gospel holds out as a source of a salvation unto all those who believe and comply.
This Gospel is greater than any other gospel, or vision or any thing you can imagine. Take it home to your friends, neighbors, colleagues and the whole world and tell them to forgive their offenders for the time of judgment is at hand. Tell all men to live in peace in order to overcome the troubles ahead. A certain Bishop who rejected this Gospel, was transferred to the world beyond. But he (the Bishop) was later returned to reconcile with all his offenders.
Read the golden text again.
YOUR WORKS FOLLOW AFTER YOU:
The above text is very clear (The story concerning a rich man and Lazarus). The rich man in transition found himself in a lake of fire whereas Lazarus who was a destitute whole on earth was enjoying in Abraham’s bosom. There the rich man pleaded with Father Abraham to cause Lazarus to dip his finger into water and quench his thirst. In reply, Abraham informed him that his request could not be granted. He again pleaded that somebody should be sent from there to the world to inform his numerous brethren to repent and obey God, as the turmoil he was passing through was great. Abraham replied the rich man that they have Moses, the prophets, and that if his brethren on earth had not obeyed the prophets of God there, even if somebody should come from the Hades to lecture them, they would equally not listen. Moreover, Abraham reiterated that there was a great gulf fixed that they would pass from hence to him may not be able (Luke 16:19-30). For those who do not believe in this gospel, let them continue in their evil acts. My advice to you is that you should re-examine yourselves, refrain from unprofitable arguments and do that which will bring salvation to your soul. Of a truth, this gospel is not from here but from the spiritual world, and is worthy of believing. Here is another illustration.
A certain Bishop founded and owned several church denominations. All of a sudden, the bishop passed away. Elaborate burial arrangements were made and the date fixed for his burial. On the fateful day, the church, all assembled, their choristers sang and everybody were in a sad and mournful mood. The coffin was put out in state for final obsequies before interment. Suddenly, the congregation heard some knocks inside the coffin signifying that the bishop had come back to life.
The coffin was opened to release the formally dead bishop. The bishop rose quietly and advised the mourners and his congregation to live a godly life and refrain from cheating and deceit; as his ungodly life debarred him from entering into heaven even though he was a priest. He further refuted the brag by some people, who while alive, claimed that their palms are clear and are sure of having triumphant ride into heaven. The bishop was therefore given his rightful position among the pagans. To prove to the bishop that he was not listed amongst Christian pagans. That all his pretense of being a Christian was bore before the eyes of the Lord. Those he bore grudges, malice with was recorded against his name. Many people had offended the bishop and he too had offended many. Some he had even ex-communicated from his church, he committed adultery with ease and others had land squabbles with his members. All these acts hindered his entry into heaven. The bishop was finally given the chance to return to the world and reconcile with his offenders and enemies before he could be allowed entry through to the ‘Christian area’, if he refuses reconciliation, he would be sent to the pagan area. The bishop then decided to return, it took him 3 good weeks to reconcile with all his adversaries and peace prevailed. Then after the exercise of reconciliation was concluded, the bishop finally departed in peace. This is good enough lesson for us all to emulate. There are people who pretend to be real Christians while alive but inwardly, they are pagans. Such people, when they die, cannot and will never enter heaven. Your position or status beyond this plane is determined by your works here while alive and not the celebrations or traditional observance when dead.
In the first place, there is nothing like death – you should note. You only pass on, carrying with you your activities. Your works here follow you to another life beyond here.
Beloved brethren, let he who has ears hear what the Holy Spirit has imparted for the entire world. May the Father bless His Holy Words – Amen.
Thank You Father
FATHER’S SERMON (SUNDAY MORNING 11/02/1996)
PRODUCED BY THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL CENTRE
#34 AMBO STREET, CALABAR, CROSS RIVER STATE – NIGERIA, WEST AFRICA