Month: July 2020

A FAREWELL FROM TROAS (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 36)

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. (Acts 20:7-9 KJV) As occasion demands, Paul could accustom himself to short-timed preaching, for example, the sermon on Mars Hill, and his synagogue addresses. However, when he was among the disciples who had gathered to listen to him, making short sermons was not his stock in trade. It was normal with Paul to preach the word of God for hours (for example for his stay in Ephesus teaching at the school of Tyrannus, he taught the word of God daily for about 4 hours!) The Apostle understood the fact that there was need for quantity as well as quality preaching if men would be built up into Disciples of Christ indeed. It is not enough to go for quality word, but there is also need for ‘quantity word’. Vs. 2 of Acts 20 says, “And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,” Now, the Greek word translated as “much exhortation”, is simply “polus logos”, meaning “much word”. If there was one thing that Disciples of Paul struggled with as a disease, it was ‘too much word’. Anyone who followed God under Paul’s tutelage had more than enough word to be able to stand and contend against the world and the Devil. Now, it…

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A RIOT AT EPHESUS (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 35)

When the workers heard this, they got angry and started shouting, “Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in a riot, and some men grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who had come from Macedonia with Paul. Then everyone in the crowd rushed to the place where the town meetings were held. Some of the people in the meeting were shouting one thing, and others were shouting something else. Everyone was completely confused, and most of them did not even know why they were there. (Acts 19:28-29, 32 CEV) In his days, he did not tremble and marvel at evil; he confronted evil with the Gospel of Jesus. That was the secret of his life and exploits. The Apostle Paul believed in the power of the Gospel, and he did not see himself as having any other tool for changing his world than the Gospel. Now, if you attend a conference for World Changers, you will hear all manners of theories and philosophies with regards to how to change the world. Some say everyone should protest; some say we should actively be involved in politics so that we can change laws and write edicts supporting the Christian faith, and many more. But the early Church did not have any of the things we look forward to today as advantages; they did not have over-flowing money, nor did they have impressive buildings, or notable members in the highest places who could speak for them. Rather, they had the Gospel of the Kingdom, and it was enough for them. While Paul was still at Ephesus, a riot started in the city concerning the Christian faith. What was the matter?  Ephesus was a land filled with idolatry, and was the center for the worship of Diana (or Artemis) whose…

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Apothecary, Perfume

THE ART OF THE APOTHECARY

And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him. (2 Chronicles 16:14 KJV) A sweet smelling savour! There is nothing like it. We pay lots of money to get a nice odour, and we really do feel good when we smell good. We are proud of the mixture we carry in the glass or plastic bottle, and we are willing to apply some of it on our bodies in order to reflect a scent on the environment around us. Our friends commend our nice smell, and even our enemies envy us and wonder from what material we got this kind of aroma. But everything we are proud of, everything that makes us smell nice, every single bottle of that sweet aroma we hold in our hands, was compounded by the art of the apothecary. The apothecary: He is a master at mixing spices. He is a master at compounding. Do you know what is compounding? It means to bring together lots of individual gems and spices, and mixing them together to produce an altogether new product- a wonder of the world around us. So, as we look at each bottle of perfume, and consider each oil in our hands, we behold in awe, the inestimable art of the apothecary. You do see the perfume reeling in glory, but  you never knew how much effort it took the apothecary- the years of learning his art, the  months of collecting, of mixing (in the right proportions), the months of  purifying (to get the purest), and many more just to get that…

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THE HOLY GHOST COMES TO EPHESUS (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 34)

Every day for over two years, he taught them in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, which resulted in everyone living in the province of Asia, Jews and non-Jews, hearing the prophetic word of the Lord. God kept releasing a flow of extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul. Because of this, people took Paul’s handkerchiefs and articles of clothing, even pieces of cloth that had touched his skin, laying them on the bodies of the sick, and diseases and demons left them and they were healed. (Acts 19:10-12 TPT) EPHESUS- It was a very important city, and a center of a lot of trade going on in the then known world. Before Paul came there, Apollos was in this city already, and had preached his Gospel from a limited knowledge of the baptism of John. Though Paul had been in Ephesus before, but he had not stayed long to preach there. He just left Aquila and Priscilla (the missionary couple) there, while he journeyed to other places. Though Aquila and Priscilla were already doing some work in the land, but the work had not reached everyone. The couple was pastoral in their labours, and so did the best they could, but the whole game was about to change the moment Paul arrived there later in order to labour. What really happened? There in Ephesus, Paul first encountered a group of 12 believers (or disciples) who have not received the Holy Spirit. Now, to their credit, these were believers as Paul himself would later attest by his question to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” However, whenever I look at that question, I perceive clearly that there were certin elements or realities that were lacking in the lives of these believers that made Paul to ask this…

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A MISSIONARY COUPLE (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 33)

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. (Acts 18:1-3 KJV) Today, I want to talk to you about a husband and wife: a missionary couple- one whose marriage was not merely for ‘settlement’, but for the expansion of God’s Kingdom- one whose story would be told for all eternity- a husband (Aquila) and the wife (Priscilla). The man was born in Pontus, and returned from Italy to Corinth (because of an edict of the Emperor chasing the Jews who believed in Christ.) We are not told about his wife’s place of birth, but as at the time we met them in the Bible, they were married. Do you notice that the Bible in most cases is silent on how marriages were contracted by the brethren in the Bible? Why do you think this is so? Maybe to let us know that there isn’t a specific pattern to marriage when it comes to individuals; just that the general principles of purity must be observed, but God’s utmost concern is the working together of husband and wife to make their marriage count for an eternal purpose. There was an essence around their ministerial labours that made it important that they somehow hanged around each other. There were apostles and brethren whose wives did not feature much in the ministry… Not because they were not spiritual, but that was how God wanted it. But for this couple, there was a sense in which they laboured…

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AN ADDRESS ON MARS HILL (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 32)

Ever wondered what it looks like to address intellectuals? I recommend that you go and read Paul’s speech on Mars’ Hill. In fact, if you can stand up on a podium and read it aloud, you will really find cause to marvel at the personality of the Apostle. In him, I learnt what it means to be a versatile man- being all things to all men. Athens was a different city from all the other cities that Paul had visited. It was a city then that was at the forefront of intellectualism. It is to be remembered that Athens was home to three great philosophers in succession: Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. They had their peculiar problems, but poverty was not one of them. It was a city whose people were proud in whom they were. It could be possible that several men on missions had come to Athens and passed simply because they felt incapacitated to talk to these men who were content in their ways. But not Paul of Tarsus. Paul was thoroughly convinced that the Gospel was the need of all mankind; hence he was willing to go to all manners of men, and not just to some manner of men. Once he had been granted audience to speak, we see how Paul guided his statements carefully; not starting and quoting the Bible recklessly, like some of us do when we go for evangelism, but starting from a point in which they shared things in common. How many of us have seen ourselves become bored of reading a book which was compassed about with too many scriptural quotations? How much more the fact that we expect unbelievers to read such? It is important we realize that in being successful in reaching out to others, we all must imbibe…

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TO THE UNKNOWN GOD (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 31)

Now while Paul was awaiting them at Athens, his spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned and argued in the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshiped there, and in the marketplace [where assemblies are held] day after day with any who chanced to be there. Acts 17:16‭-‬17 AMPC Several years ago, as a University student, I returned from an evangelism outreach one evening to meet my hostel weekly fellowship going on. That evening, the brother that led in prayers echoed to us the realties of a growing wickedness at the off-campus area where we lived. We had lived there at a time when there were no much University students in that environment; hence the environment was quieter and saner. However, with each passing day more hostels were built and more students moved into the area, and with that was a concomitant increase in wickedness (you get what I mean, right?) That night, as the prayers went on, my spirit got stirred inside of me; so I left the prayer meeting that was still going on, changed the batteries of a megaphone that was in my hostel to new ones, and went forth into the streets. With my shirt unbuttoned and flying in the air, and with my voice blasting loud on the megaphone, I ‘shouted’ down the Gospel on my street that evening pacing the street and preaching. By the time I finished my shouting exercise and returned back to my hostel (having eased the burden in my heart), I met one of my brothers, a law student, though the fellowship had ended, he was still at one corner praying. I joined him for sometime and then had to leave him when I discovered that…

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THE BEREAN COMMITMENT (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 30)

And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. (Acts 17:10-12 KJV) The battles that the Gospel of Jesus faced from the evil world around them were great. Wherever Paul and his team went, they were constantly met with opposition and harassment from both Jews and Gentiles. However, this did not deter them from preaching the Gospel wherever they went; and in every city they left footprints- a team of disciples to take on the assignment. So, Paul left Philippi, but not without having encouraged and strengthened the new disciples. Some commentaries believe that Luke was left behind to look after the new disciples; but whatever the truth about this was, Luke did not move on with the Apostle’s company but stayed back in Philippi until Acts 20 vs. 4 when Paul visited Macedonia again, and he (Luke) now continued in the company of Paul till the end of Acts. Paul and his team passed through Amphipolis and Appolonia (two more cities) until they came to Thessalonica. Paul started by going to the synagogue of the Jews and reasoning the scriptures with them there. This does not mean that his entire ministry was only to the Jews, but it was merely a way of registering his presence. He reasoned in the synagogue for 3 weekends (Sabbath days), but Bible scholars believe that he stayed much longer in Thessalonica than merely three (3) weeks. In his short time of reasoning…

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PRAISE AT MID-NIGHT (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 29)

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. (Acts 16:25-26 KJV) It is easy to sing praise in the day time, when you are surrounded by the congregation of the brethren, and when all things are going well for you; but to offer praise at midnight, away from the brethren and bound in a prison yard, is another matter. Compelled by the Macedonian vision, Paul had journeyed till he came to Philippi. However, unlike what he saw in the vision, the Philippians did not look like they needed help. This is one irony about Christian ministry. Sometimes, while in the place of prayers, you will see men seeking God and desiring to know God, and your heart will be stirred to teach them about God. However, when you now go out to actually preach or seek them out, you will see a different story- you will see people who are indifferent to the Gospel. But that is simply because you are observing things with the natural eyes. If we observe from the real spiritual situation, we will see that behind the stubborn looks and the indifferent demeanours is a heart seeking help. Hence, not moved by the physical situation in Philippi, Paul sought out a place of prayers and started preaching there. This led to one of their first converts in that region, a woman called Lydia. It is important to note in scriptures the role that women played in Bible times. The conversion of Lydia led to Paul and his team having a place to rest their heads each night. They…

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WHEN GOD SAYS ‘NO’ (#ROARfromHEAVEN pt. 28)

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. (Acts 16:6-7 ESV) Though the loss of Barnabas and John Mark may have seemed light, but it really affected Apostle Paul. He lost a friend and a helper also and God knew that he needed one urgently. So, the Lord did him some kindness- he sent him Silas to be a replacement for Barnabas; and in the coming days, the Lord also sent him another young man called Timothy to replace John Mark in his life. Timothy’s mother was a Jewess though his father was a Greek, and Timothy must have been raised by the Jewish faith of his mother and grandmother as Paul remarked that he had known the Holy Scriptures from his childhood. He was possibly either a native of Lystra and Derbe (two neighboring cities) or he lived there with his parents. It was about 5 years ago when Paul and Barnabas came to the city of Lystra and Derbe where they preached the gospel. It was in that city that Paul was stoned and left for death; yet it was in that first city that the young man who was to be his greatest helper in the ministry was residing. Having heard the word of God from Paul’s mouth, Timothy believed and became a disciple (possibly alongside his mother). He was well spoken of by the brethren all over Lystra, Iconium and Derbe; so Paul possibly felt led to take him up as a ‘helper’ in the faith. It is remarkable to note that Paul (who opposed circumcision for the…

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