Re: The Battle For People’s Minds, Hearts and Hands Against Christian Obligations In Nigeria
“For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
(Nehemiah 6:9 NKJV)
Never has Christianity in Nigeria (and the world at large) faced unprecedented battle for people’s minds and hearts, like the times that we are now, excruciating it, through the Social Media.
And trending by the times that we are right now, through the Social Media, and it cannot be argued, there are massive upsurge attacks from various angles against believers’ minds that takes away their prized fellowship time, which is blessing time, or quiet time from God.
According to Peter Pilt (https://peterpilt.org/2013/03/25/social-media-is-it-a-positive-or-negative-for-a-persons-spiritual-journey-an-in-depth-analysis/), “the digital disciple age may lead to Clicktianity. A version of Christianity where people think they are growing as a disciple but are not.”
Christians are missing out in many blessings by reason of the vulnerability of the Social Media, just clicking and clicking, that its now parade “Clicktianity” as stated above instead of “Christianity”. No wonder, that the Bible buttressed this in 2 Timothy 3:5 as thus:
“Even though they will make a show of being religious, their religion won't be real. Don't have anything to do with such people.”
(2 Timothy 3:5 CEV)
The Social Media despite its numerous advantages is being used to militate against fellowshipping in church to worship God. The vicious results of this other sides of this verifiable communication tool, is that the Social Media portends to give people license to be hurtful, as it also promotes hatred and diminishes understanding and thoughtfulness.
The main focus of this discourse is centered on recent upsurge by some self-appointed propagandists on the Social Media, who have been dissuading Christians from giving their finances via offerings and tithes to God and also from going to church.
Their messages have been so vociferous, and if not contained, will subtly be leading many innocents’ believers astray, thereby, depriving them of the expected blessings they are entitled through their Christian walk.
Look at the way the Bible described them in 2 Timothy 3:8-9
“Just as Jannes and Jambres [the court magicians of Egypt] opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, unqualified and worthless [as teachers] in regard to the faith. But they will not get very far, for their meaningless nonsense and ignorance will become obvious to everyone, as was that of Jannes and Jambres.”
(2 TIMOTHY 3:8-9 AMP)
And they are going about through their subtle attacks by continuing to perpetuate untrue teachings that Christianity is likened to poverty and in this misrepresentation, they have allowed the Christian faith and space to be inundated with their negative prepositions among many that giving offerings, paying tithes, sowing seeds etc are have ended with the Old Testament scriptures.....and that in the New Testament, believers are free and should not give offerings, pay tithes and sow seeds.
While some of their teachings may sound spiritual, but it is not the message of the Gospel, which says that God has already met our needs through Jesus Christ. For example, 3 John 2 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” And there are many other scriptures which says, God wants to bless us more.
It is recognized that there are some excesses on the sides of some supposedly ministers of the Gospel, which contradicts biblical injunctions, being passed across genuinely, innocently or deliberately, but this does not cancel the original message of hope, of God wanting to bless His people, which is biblical.
And in the process of their self-appointed intervention, they have resorted to name calling of some highly revered purveyors of the Gospel, which is contrary to Christian etiquette. Please look at the way God reacted in the Bible when it comes to disrespecting spiritual authorities in Numbers 12:2
“So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it.”
(Numbers 12:2 NKJV)
The end of the story here, was that the antagonist was punished. So, they should allow God alone to deal with them (preachers) when they err. The only thing rightful and acceptable is to pray for them and not to attack them.
Granted that the Gospel is not for begging and looking for seeds, but it is a catalyst to be blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing. Passionate believers must not fall for these self-appointed teachers of wrong doctrines.
One recent report stated that, if caution and prayers are not applied, a generation of Christianity maybe wiped out in Nigeria, God forbid! (please see: https://www.naija.ng/1176674-christianity-cease-exist-nigeria-by-2043-christian-elders-group.html#1176674), and Nigeria, a country that many people around the world have seen as a beacon of hope of the end time propeller and preachers of Christian revival, as God has been raising many Nigerian born preachers around the world.
It should be noted, that, if these self-appointed propagandists are not corrected, though there have been a lot of counter reactions, frowning at this negative trend, but all it has done, or the temporary achievement of their unscriptural dissemination is to divide the body of Christ, even to the extent that, many of the known leading purveyors of Christian traditional values, have backed down, unjustly supporting their formed opinions.
One of their main arsenals of attacks have been centered, on nurturing a negative mindset that paying tithes by Christians are met to be Old Testament practice and that believers of New Testament are not obliged to pay tithes, and furthermore, that the Lord Jesus has canceled that spiritual obligations.
This is not true, and there are many profound scriptures in the Bible to buttress that the New Testament supports paying tithes and giving offerings, without compulsion, but as individually inspired.
There is no need to refer to the popular Malachi 3:10, which centers on Tithing.
The following are some of the profound passages in the Bible to educate believers more of these obligations and expected blessings:
For example, please look at what Jesus said, in Matthew 23:23, which many of these propagandists have misrepresented.
““Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you give a tenth (tithe) of your mint and dill and cumin [focusing on minor matters], and have neglected the weightier [more important moral and spiritual] provisions of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the [primary] things you ought to have done without neglecting the others.”
(MATTHEW 23:23 AMP)
From the above scripture, which is self-explanatory, Jesus did not say, believers should not pay tithes. He was rebuking the Pharisees, that they were focusing more on secondary matters, (paying tithes etc) and not paying attention to moral, executing justice and mercy, which are the primary matters, and that without any disruptions in their worshipping God, they can do both the secondary and primary matters, simultaneously, without neglecting the other.
Look at what Jesus said, about the Old Testament to buttress that the New Testament is a continuum of the Old Testament.
““Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
(MATTHEW 5:17 AMP)
And apart from the above, Luke 6:38 is another passage, where Jesus encouraged us as Christians to regularly give offerings as stated below.
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.””
(Luke 6:38 NKJV)
Furthermore, the scriptures below from Apostle Paul, as espoused in the New Testament, buttresses that the New Testament is not averse to financial giving by Christians.
“When you collect money for God's people, I want you to do exactly what I told the churches in Galatia to do. That is, each Sunday each of you must put aside part of what you have earned. If you do this, you won't have to take up a collection when I come.”
(1 Corinthians 16:1-2 CEV)
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
(II Corinthians 9:6-8 NKJV)
The implication of this wrongful dissemination of interpretation of scriptures, has been championed by these propagandists, as it looks like an agenda, a calculated ploy, leashed out to discourage believers from being blessed, when they want to cheerfully fulfill their spiritual obligations, which is biblical as can be seen from the above analyzed scriptures.
Again, as indicated in the opening reference scripture, of this discourse, the propagandists, are like Sanballat and Tobiah (Nehemiah 6:1 NKJV), who were adversaries to the progress of the Jews in Nehemiah’s time. And there is a popular saying,” if you cannot win their hearts, you cannot gain their hands.” And what these propagandists, have done inadvertently, is to negatively gain or affect the hearts of many unsuspecting believers, thereby, preventing them, using their hands (see John 3:27 below) from giving to the Lord, in their various divine locations.
Like the opening reference scripture in Nehemiah says, that is Nehemiah 6:9...
“For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.” (Nehemiah 6:9 NKJV)
And another version:
“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.””
(Nehemiah 6:9 NIV)
The believers should ignore their (the propagandists) wrong messages, and be strong in spirit to continue to bless the Lord, with their substance, which the Lord has blessed them with and just as the Bible says, in John 3:27 and which goes thus:
“John replied, “A man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing at all] unless it has been granted to him from heaven [for there is no other source than the sovereign will of God].”
(JOHN 3:27 AMP)
So, what this means, is that whatever we have, God is the provider.
And also, they (propagandists) are also, on the prowl, discouraging believers from going to church, and propagandizing that, church gatherings or fellowshipping has ended in the New Testament. This is another wrong doctrine set to weaken believers’ hearts and to prevent them from their place of divine blessings.
Please look at this scripture below from apart from many other scriptures to buttress that corporate gatherings or fellowshipping by believers is as current like the New Testament.
“not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.”
(HEBREWS 10:25 AMP)
It should be noted, that there is a place for corporate blessings and this is still very dear to God’s heart for His children.
And that is why, in conclusion, the Bible says, as follows:
“The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob.”
(Psalms 87:2 NKJV)
Pastor Segun Idahor : Agape Christian Assembly, Ibadan : www.agapeibadan.com