Dearly beloved, I bring you greetings in the name that is above every other name Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God and our soon coming King. What a joy to be alive today; welcome to the first Sunday of the 8th month of 2017, and another edition of our “Old School Sunday”. God truly deserves all the praise. This morning in keeping with the theme of the service, I want to admonish us to keep the boundary lines in place.
Let’s examine this scripture together;
Proverbs 22:28 (MSG) “Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines staked out long ago by your ancestors.”
Our text this morning is very instructive and especially relevant even as we climax the age. If you evaluate our world today, you will agree with me that things are not what they used to be 20, 10, 5 or even 1 year ago. A lot has changed, and is still changing at a very rapid rate. Words such as marriage, gender, family, now have different meanings in the dictionary; attitudes, behaviours, and things that we considered abnormal 15 years ago, have now taken centre-stage, and assumed prominence. People seem to have lost value for the very things that make us human, and this is sad.
All over the world, these things have been happening, but the unfortunate thing is that it has crept into the church. Look across the Church world, the Church of Jesus Christ is going through a similar phase. The pillars of our faith as handed down from Jesus to the apostles, to the early church fathers, and through the ages unto this time, are fast eroding in today’s church. The discipline, fervency, commitment, dedication and doggedness to influencing the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, that characterized the lives of the apostles and the early church, is becoming a thing of the past in when this modern era. Words akin to the faith like integrity and chastity have been thrown out the window. Even the pulpit is not spared; manipulations, deceptions of the highest order are perpetuated today, all in the name of church.
In the marketplace, the lines of distinction are blurring fast; in fact, it seems completely blurred. Nowadays you can’t distinguish between a believer and an unbeliever, because apart from looks or physical appearance sometimes, character and behaviour-wise, they are the same. Child of God, this is not the Church that Jesus died for! The reality is that we find ourselves contending for the faith that was handed to us, which we must bequeath to the next generation, if Jesus tarries.
I remember, and you would too if you cast your mind back, how after I became born again, I was so passionate and dedicated to knowing more about the Christian faith, nothing was a barrier. I gave myself to fasting, prayer, studying the Word, as discipline for my personal growth. I remember being rejected by family members, because I had answered the call of God into full-time ministry, but I was determined that it was either this gospel or nothing. Back then, things were not as they are now, when it is fashionable to be a Pastor, but yet we obeyed, because there was a genuine hunger for God.
Nowadays, we give excuses for everything; why you can’t attend service, pay tithe, give your time and talent, pray, fast, the list is endless. Paul writing in 2 Tim. 2:2, admonished Timothy to commit the things he had received of him, to faithful men. Beloved, if we are going to ensure the continuity of our faith after we’re gone, then we cannot afford to shift the boundary lines.
In all of this, my encouragement is that the Word of God has not changed, and it remains as potent as ever. I pray that you will not relent in fighting the good fight of faith, and will finish strong. I bless you in Jesus’ name, Amen.
In His Royal Service
Dr Mike Okonkwo
The Presiding Bishop