People make gods
Exo 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
People make god(s) because they know they need a god. That is Godism –they knew they needed a supernatural backing. They knew there’s a God but Moses was the one who represented God. They didn’t see God. They didn’t know how to reach him. O thank Jesus. Individual access to get is a great privilege they never had. We have that now. Individuals can call Abba, and approach the throne of mercy in the Name of Jesus. Hallelujah! They needed a god they could see.
Exo 32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
Exo 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
Exo 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
They knew a God brought them out of Egypt. They couldn’t afford to be without a god. They would rather transfer God’s glory and attributes to the god they created. That is what we are talking about –creating gods, fixing attributes and feats or god-like powers and doings for that god and designing his dos and don’ts. It is just what they did.
So, it is not a surprise that the people who scattered from Bethel created gods and gave those gods characters and feats. The point is, the world was one. The world had everything in common and knew that a God exist. After the separation, each culture sustained that god-consciousness. And the Devil helped them to form gods. They can now think for themselves.
Variations from Babel
Now, our primary focus is not on gods and godism but on variations from Babel. Languages came to be. Differences came to be. And as people left Babel, and journeyed farther, they left the reach of the true God. Confusion was their lot. Complexities were now trending. Later on, these peoples will identify according to languages and regions. And one would fight another. And wars would always be. It has always been. It will continue to be. That was because humans think they can think and create a destiny for themselves different from God’s purpose.
To the glory of God, in the Name of Jesus we will all continue to grow. I pray that I may know God and Jesus and grow in His grace. Amen. I do know that if all Christians in a day agree and pray on a thing, God will perform a mighty work. But the one who will make that worldwide call will not be followed by all Christians because of the differences that exist among us: mother church, Protestant –Methodist, Anglican, Baptist; Lutheran, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Latter Days, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah Witness (who do not agree to be called Christians and are not seen as Christians by many) and several other variations and thence denominations. But Christ is not for Apollo or Cephas or Paul only. He is for all.
Every time humans attempt to undo God’s work or purpose, lasting problems usually emerge. The same was what happened when men started to sleep with animals. Violating God’s laws does no harm to God but to man. As humans scattered across lands, cultures also scattered –some similarities and some differences always appear in world cultures. Some things are crazy to some and acceptable to others. If I say I eat grasshopper, I would look pitiable to a Yoruba man. But to a Hausa man I would look wise. The way Yoruba revere crayfish is the way grasshopper is revered –being roasted and sold in bowls in the market. Lizards, cockroach and so on are tasty to some people. The food or eating culture is just an example. We can easily know that is greatly different.
Schools of Thoughts
In the chapter two of Coping with complexities, we have discussed schools of thoughts as numerous and dividing in the body of Christ. One of the numerous thoughts we discussed is tithe. This issue is trending now, an evidence of complexity. Whatever a celebrity or radio presenter thinks does not matter to me. What matters is that the issue of tithe as a doctrine is controversial in the church and some pastors maintained that it is wrong to pay or collect it. It did not surprise when I see that the issue became trending in Nigeria. Even Apostle Suleiman got involved. I stand with paying tithe. But my point is not on the wrongness of those who do not agree with paying tithe. And the focus is not on the rightness of all of us paying tithe. Our concern is on the complexities and how to cope with them as Christians.
Oneness with godliness
Gen 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
Gen 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
The Lord God attested to the truth that the people were one in reasoning and in language. But that was the point when majority lost priority in God’s standard. Wholeness, majority, all people together reasoned as men and ignored God’s plan. When the majority think and decide against God’s will, how do we feel or react? Humanism, science, empiricism, atheism and other aspects of anti-God thinking had increased. They usually have propositions that are attractive. Gay, incest, zoophilia, abortion, adultery, fornication and hedonism are being treated in a very enticing and convincing and thriving models such that majority follow ungodly ways. But our focus is on the fact that aforetime men scattered they were one in language and reasoning and desire and speech.
None will Prosper against God
Gen 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
Gen 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Do not join in any counsel that is contrary to God’s intention or plan. It cannot stand. If it stands it is because God laughs them in derision. The knowledge of man in its asymptotic egoism in relation to humanity is incomplete except it upholds that originally, humans were created in the image of God and for God’s glory. Now men scattered.
Gen 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Now we must see how men scattered across the face of the earth with different language. The cause of language confusion was human logical reason set against God’s plan. Then it seemed true that never again will the whole world ever agree together on one thing at a time. Never! Until the world comes to an end there’ll never be a one voice again. Even when the whole world shall follow a 666 beast many would follow because of force. And then there will still be many that would rather suffer than accept the mark. The fact is clear, rapture is for a set of people –believers of Christ. In other words, after the division at Babel, not even the goodness in gospel will make the whole world agree and follow the same thing at a time.
The Gospel and cultures
Till kingdom come, doctrines of Christianity will always seek convergence with native cultures and at other times, will always identify divergence. Whether as serendipity or as results Christianity has verses that suit every culture. And when the truth now contradicts the native culture or human sentiments we tend to argue or debate or even fight.
Controversy in the Early Church on circumcision
Act 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
There are many cases like these in the church today. Fortunately, the elders in the church then were very respected and trusted. They were full of the Spirit. This issue of circumcision was no small controversy. Let us examine the next verse.
Act 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
No doubt, it’s written that it was no small dissension. So, when we hear or see dissension and issues arising from denominations we must first get used to the fact that it is no big deal, it is no new thing, it is was so even in the early Church. Denominationalism is not a Nigerian thing. It is a church thing. And it is because there had already been centrifugal cultures established n every region among every people; long practiced before the preaching of the gospel was begun. So, the best action then was to consult the elders.
Dissension didn’t stop them from preaching
Act 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
O my God, are we getting this? Can we just see this? Coping with complexity? There was a controversy and it caused no small dissension. There was no conclusion. They needed to go to Jerusalem for final words from the elders. God bless our elders. But on the way, my God, these people passed through certain region AND THEY PREACHED! Jesus Christ! When a Methodist organized a crusade, preaching to gentiles, how do the Pentecostals feel? When the Celestial Church of Christ of the Cherubim and Seraphim organized a crusade for the conversion of the gentiles how do you speak concerning that? Get used to the fact that you or your denomination is not exclusive to truth or to Jesus! And our differences must not steal our joy. We read in the verse above that they caused a great joy unto the people of that city. It was because they had joy within them. Of course, they had the Holy Spirit whose fruit joy is. The dissension didn’t mean they had lost the Holy Ghost. O Great Jesus! No, the differences didn’t mean they couldn’t preach and win souls for Christ. What is now our priority; the glory of our church (denomination and its doctrines) or the Name of Christ? Selah!
They Shared Testimony
Act 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Glory to God. They came to the brethren, the Apostles, and the elders and they were received. What a family. It seemed they believed the elders would handle the case with great finesse. The dissension was not their priority. They first shared testimony to the people. Glory!
Cultures influence Faith
Act 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses
Are you not like these people? They were of the Laws of Moses. It was easy for them to cope in faith. Jesus is of Abraham and He taught holiness. He is of a critical view not against God’s laws. But imagine someone from a culture far from YHWH. Imagine converts that were once rooted in paganism and alien to God’s ways. And then all you can do is impose all your easy and familiar ways on them, forcefully, judgmentally, demandingly and in fact emphatically. Do you not compare yourself with such new converts and expect them to reach your level at once and then you judge or hate them or refrain from them? God have mercy on us! It is possible that it was while the visitors narrated God’s wonders of converting the gentiles that these pharisaic believers rose up –challenging such conversion without circumcision. It may be that the visitors had declared their reason for coming.
The Apostles and Elders Reasoned
Act 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
May God grant us the church in which the leaders and elders can always reason together. Actually, the leaders and the elders are different categories. But they talked on this matter. Notably, as it is shown in the verse below, the elders and the Apostles also had disagreement on this issue. So what is the reason why we should think that dissension makes us unchristian? We just have to think and come together and talk on how to solve problems. We cannot magnify problems by lamenting on their occurrence.
Then Peter Talked
Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
Here, we see that there had been MUCH DISPUTING among the elders and Apostles. For God’s sake they were still Christians. Pastors disagree? And so what? Bishops and elders and prophets and G.O’s disagree? And so what? Who says they cannot? But do they still concluded with the consciousness that we are all heirs of the Father in the Son Jesus? That is the main thing! Apostle Peter was not really different before this time. In the Acts chapter 10 similar case had happened. But Apostle Peter had learnt that God is not a respecter of persons and He is the God of all. Nevertheless, he at a time also demonstrated the sentiment of circumcision against the gentiles.
Apostle Peter unlearned and relearned
Gal. 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
This great Apostle stayed with Apostle Peter for fifteen days. That means they are friends. And Paul knew Peter as someone to respect and learn from.
Gal. 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
Gal. 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Gal. 2:8 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
Paul withstood Peter not in Peter’s house. It was when Peter came to Antioch. Peter was to blame for what? He upheld the doctrine of circumcision. Is that doctrine bad? Is it not Biblical? Was it not what God commanded Abraham to observe? Is it bad if it is emphasized? But let us look at the verse below.
Gal. 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Apostle Peter had seen what God did in the house of Cornelius. It was easy for him to eat with the gentiles. But when he saw others who were Pharisaic he withdrew and affected many. It wasn’t his fault. He feared what those sentimental believers would do or say. You see what that means –we at times know the working of God in a different way from what was known but we fear what might be said by those of the status quo.
As we have different cultures, we also have different families or social relations. Our level of discipline as we grew up is not the same. The eating habit, giving habit, sleeping habit, praying habit, singing styles, clapping, dancing, speaking and temperament are all different. What we are taught, what we design as personal principles and what we are allowed to do (indulgence) or what we are not permitted to do (discipline) all inform our personality. And our personality is boldly printed on our minds. It forms our ego. The Bible can help us to deal together in love. If we will all think and act the same way discipline will not be needed in the church.
In a church, local, or a fold, let us know that we come from different cultures even if we are same in race or tribe or clan. In fact, in a family, some children grow with different level of discipline and attitude. Where is our love? Where is our joy? Where is our Christ?
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Renewal of our minds
With abuse this word, I like to say that to be renewed in our mind is a word that was used in the letter to the Romans. And in that church are many of the Jewish sentiments. It was birthed from the need to understand the ways of God in Christ Jesus being towards all men. That is what John 3:16 emphasises. Of course, it means to renew our minds for holiness, and jettison ungodliness. It is important to know that to cope with complexities in the church and controversies as many as there are we must first free our mind of defenses or sentiments. That is, we must first understand they cause of variations and differences. Perhaps, we know the causes, all. But we need to discuss them first and from them decide that for the sake of Christ we must cope with these complexities rather than cringe because of them. I love you all. God loves you most. Click here Read the Previous
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