Many sincere believers are skeptical about speaking in tongues that normally accompanies Holy Spirit baptism. There are 9 Bible-based reasons why God, in His wisdom, has chosen this gift among many to be the initial evidence of Holy Spirit baptism.

1. The initial evidence of Holy Spirit baptism. The only Bible based evidence that someone has been filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. Acts 2:4 — “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 10:44-46 — “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God…” Acts 19:6 — “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

2. Speaking in tongues is the peculiar feature of New Testament infilling of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, prophesying accompanied the infilling of the Spirit of God as in the 70 elders (Numbers 11:16-29) and King Saul (1Samuel 10:1-13). “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)

3. Way to control the tongue. One of the most crucial parts of the human body is the tongue, which man cannot tame. God comes to our aid by making speaking in tongues the sign of Holy Spirit baptism and thus helps in taming our tongues. James 3: 8-9 — “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.” Those who pray in tongues more frequently can testify to the fact that they control their tongues better when they pray in tongues more.

4. One of the many signs that Jesus said would follow those who believe is speaking in tongues. Mark 16:17 — “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues.”

5. For self edification. 1Cor. 14:4 – ”He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” For anyone to edify the church, he must begin at edifying himself.

6. For speaking mysteries to God. 1Cor. 14:2 – “For he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

7. As prayer language that is beyond human understanding. 1Cor. 14:14-15 – ”For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” Romans 8:26-27 – ”Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

8. For rest and refreshing. Isaiah 28:11-12 – For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.

9. The evidence that convinced the Jews that non-Jews could also be members of the body of Christ. In Acts 11, Apostle Peter was called to question as to why he went to non-Jews. In his defense, Peter said in verses 15 to 17 – ”And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” In verse 18 we read, “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’.”

Let all biases about speaking in tongues disappear and you will enjoy more of the benefits of Holy Spirit’s visitation.


INTRODUCTION: The word, ‘persecute’ means, to systematically subject a race or group of people to cruel or unfair treatment, e.g. because of their ethnic origin or religious beliefs or to make somebody the victim of continual pestering or harassment. It may include, ridicule, denial, assault, confrontation, reviling, false accusation, killing, etc.

Persecutions usually come because of teachings rather than because of conduct. Most of the persecutions suffered by Christ and His disciples were not because of miracles they performed but because of the doctrines they taught.

Let us consider seven bases of Christians’ persecution.

PERSECUTION IS PART OF THE PACKAGE OF THE CHRISTIAN CALLING: Matt. 5:11-12; Lk. 6:22-23, 26; Philippians 1:29; Mk. 10:28-30; 2Tim. 3:12; 2Cor. 11:24-27; Heb. 13:12-13; Matt. 10:16-18; Jn. 15:17-21; 16:1-3. What should be our reaction to suffering because of our faith?

REFUSAL TO JOIN IN WORLDLINESS: People always detest those whose lives are different and who would not join in worldliness. 1Pet. 4:4; Jn. 15:19; Mk. 3:21.

ENVY: People can raise contentions and persecute if they feel that your own ministry is outshining their own. Thus, it is possible to suffer persecution from fellow Christians. 1Sam. 18:6-11; Dan. 6:1-9; Matt. 27:18, 62-63; Acts 13:45; 17:5; 1Kgs. 22:11-24. Bí a là’nà t’ó mọ tónítóní, igbó dídí ni l’óju atẹni. A njuwọn ko see wi l’ẹjọ, ija ilara ko tan bọrọbọrọ.

CONFLICT WITH HUMAN TRADITION: When your message upsets the religious and traditional mindset of people, they will naturally persecute. Jer. 26:1-24; Acts 28:21-22.

STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUNESS AND/OR MESSAGE TROUBLING PEOPLE’S CONSCIENCE: When your message troubles people’s conscience and they do not want to change, they will persecute you. Jn. 7:7; Lk. 20:19-20.

ECONOMIC REASONS: When your message liberates people who were once preyed upon by false teachers, the latter will persecute. Acts 16:16-24; 19:13-41. Looking at Acts 19 from verse 11, we would observe that manifestation of the supernatural does not stop persecution. Contention or opposition to the truth does not stop simply because there is serious manifestation of the miraculous!

CARNAL VERSUS SPIRITUAL: Those who preach the New Testament as handed down by the apostles of Christ will always be persecuted by those who dwell on the Old Testament. Gal. 4:21-29; 5:11; 6:12.

CONCLUSION: From abundant biblical evidences, it is apparent that it is mandatory for believers in Christ to suffer persecution. For instance, Paul said, “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). If it is a must, then believers cannot afford to run away from it. Paul also wrote, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2Tim. 2:11-12). But unfortunately, persecution of Christians can start from fellow believers (1Cor. 11:26). Are you ready to suffer persecution or you wish to be a persecutor yourself?


INTRODUCTION: Again we shall be looking at the sin of Relapsing to Judaism or going back to the Law of Moses. Unless a Christian really stands firm in the teachings of Christ and His apostles there is a very dangerous tendency to go back to Judaism because of the common heritage of both Christianity and Judaism in the Holy Bible: the personalities are the same, the prophets are the same and both have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their covenant fathers. Unless we take serious precautions, it is possible to think that they are the same. Many people today are not aware that what they are holding is not Christianity but a mixture of Judaism and the gospel. This mixture has very serious implications on our faith and destiny.

We shall make the Galatian Church our major reference point because the error of that Church gives us the opportunity of knowing the mind of the Holy Spirit on our subject matter. We shall, of course, see other references also.

What are the implications of relapsing to Judaism?

1. Deserting the grace of Christ and going into a false gospel (Gal. 1:6; 5:1-4).

2. Embracing a perverted gospel which cannot lead to God’s kingdom (Gal. 1:7).

3. Following teachers who are accursed (Gal. 1:8-9).

4. Abandoning the revelation of Christ (Gal. 1:11-12) which the other apostles endorsed (Gal. 2:1-9); and thus promoting the basis for boasting (Rom. 3:24-28).

5. Being a victim of bewitchment such that one will not obey the truth (Gal. 3:1-2).

6. Seeking to be made perfect by the flesh (Gal. 3:3; Heb. 7:19).

7. Staying permanently under curse and condemnation (Gal. 3:10-12; Jas 2:10).

8. Rejecting both the removal from the curse of the Law and the blessing of Abraham (Gal. 3:13-14); thus implying that the Law is better than grace (Heb. 8:6).

9. Trying to overthrow God’s plan of making people come to the inheritance only by faith and not by the Law (Gal. 3:15-18).

11. Refusing to recognize the transient dispensation of the Law which the original owners consider burdensome (Gal. 3:19-26; Heb. 9:1-12; Jn. 7:19; Act 15:10).

12. Turning to weak and beggarly elements that lead to bondage (Gal. 4:8-11; Col. 2:16-23); thus remaining under condemnation (Act 13:38-39).

13. Associating with Hagar and Ishmael who have no inheritance with Abraham the father of faith (Gal. 4:21-30).

14. Being cut off from Christ and staying outside the grace of God (Gal. 5:1-4).

15. Attempting to avoid persecution (Gal. 5:11; 6:12).

16. Abandoning the leading of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:18; 4:23-24, 29).
Reverting to the letter that kills and condemns (2Cor. 3:5-9).

17. Reverting to what God had annulled (2Cor. 3:11; Heb. 7:18-19).

18. Strengthening the power of sin to have dominion over the one who relies on the Law for justification (1Cor. 15:56; Rom. 3:19-20; 6:14; 7:7-11).

19. Frustrating the grace of God by making Christ’s death to be of no effect (Gal. 2:21; Act 15:10), thus insinuating that angelic ministry is better than Christ’s ministry (Heb. 1:1-4)

20. Being overpowered by the negative implication of the veil of Moses (2Cor. 3:12-16).

Consider carefully and discuss Heb. 10:28-29 in union with Heb. 2:1-4.

i). What does it mean to despise Moses’ Law and what is its result?

ii). What are the implications of ignoring the New Testament?

iii). What will happen to one who despises the New Testament?

iv). From this study, can we honestly say that relapsing back to Judaism is a harmless venture?

v). What can we do to remain in the New Testament teachings?

CONCLUSION: The Christian faith will be pure again if we all return to the foundation laid by Christ and His apostles (Heb. 2:1-4; Rom. 16:17; 1Tim. 6:3-5; 2Jn. 1:8-11).


Another sin that can easily beset a believer in Christ is Covenant Breaking. Let us look at some relevant Bible passages first.

Rom. 1:31-32 KJV: Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

2Tim. 3:1-5 KJV: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

A truce is an agreement to stop hostilities, feud or dispute. It is a form of covenant. The words, truce-breakers and covenant breakers, imply the same thing. They both mean those who are bound by no promise, held by no engagement, obliged by no oath; persons who readily promise anything, because they never intend to perform.

Covenant breaking could also imply losing the marriage bond between husband and wife; making void all oaths, contracts, and agreements, among men, which stand in the way of their designs.

We shall attempt to look at this topic from three perspectives: the first in relation to marriage; the second in relation to Christian bond; and the third in relation to the New Testament.

1). Marriage Covenant:
i). How many Christians really remember the oath they swore to when they got married?
ii). What did the man promise to do?
iii). What did the woman promise to do?
iv). In what ways do married couples violate covenant?
v). What are the possible consequences of breaking covenant? (2Sam. 21:1-9)

2. The Christian Bond:
During the celebration of Holy Communion, certain covenant unions are implied:
a). A Christian must love his fellow believer fervently (1Jn. 4:7-12)
b). A Christian must support his fellow believer (1Jn. 3:15-19)
c). A Christian must defend his fellow believer

Violation of the Christian bond could be expressed in various ways:

***Despising a believer in your heart.

***Looking down on him/her on the basis of education, social standing, sex, race, tribe, political persuasion or any other point of dissimilarity.

***Speaking against him/her with lying tongue, especially when trying to state your case in case of a disagreement. You state your case in a way to damage his reputation.

***Speaking against him with words of hatred; attacking his person with malicious words without a just cause or on reasons based on rumour, suspicion, supposition or envy.

***Accusing him wrongly based on hearsay or presupposition.

***Ridiculing and despising him when he stumbles, and feeling sad when he is honoured.

***Giving away information about him that will make him lose favour with people.

***Taking advantage of his kindness and generosity to trick him to your selfish advantage.

***Using his labour or brain to build your business without adequately rewarding him; or failure to put in your best in his business for which you are being paid.

***Failure to defend his reputation or image in danger of being destroyed behind his back.

***Failure to correct him when he is wrong or taking offence at his correction and reproof done in good faith.

3). The New Covenant: There are three important elements in every covenant, namely, the terms, the tokens and the oath.

The oath of the Old Testament can be found in Deut. 28 and Lev. 26.

Looking at Heb.10:28-29, neglecting or ignoring or despising the new covenant has three serious implications:

i) Trampling the Son of God under foot
ii) Counting His blood a common thing
iii) Insulting the Spirit of grace.

If we link this to Hebrews 2:1-3, we shall see clearly the awful implications of sticking to the Mosaic regime unrepentantly.
Let us now look back at the curse of the Law as stated in Deut. 28:15-68.

If the curse of despising the Law of Moses was that terrible, anyone who despises the New Testament must expect more terrible afflictions.

Despising of the New Testament by sticking to the Law of Moses is actually breaking the New Testament. If someone keeps the whole Law, he still cannot make it to the kingdom of God.
What does violation of the New Testament involve?

Gal 5:3-4: For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you is justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.
One who is alienated from Christ and fallen from grace is not safe at all.

Let us look at some provisions of the NT such as in Matt. 5:44:

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
“Husbands, love your own wives”;
“Wives submit to your own husbands.”

As simple as these provisions appear, any violation will attract sorer punishment upon the violator.

Let us look at some of the evils that would be released on the violators of the Law of Moses so that we have an idea of the terrible consequences coming upon a violator of the New Testament.

a. The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.

b. The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

c. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish.

d. You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off.
e. You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity.

f. The cricket shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground.

g. The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.

CONCLUSION: Breaking covenants at whatever level is a dangerous venture. It changes the spiritual climate around the violator to a hostile one. It appears as if some spiritual forces are ready to enforce the curses implied in a covenant deal upon any violator. “He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaks a hedge, a serpent shall bite him” (Eccl. 10:8). Breaking a hedge is the same as breaking a covenant; it activates the spiritual world of darkness to promote evil around the violator.

Whether we know it or not, certain unseen forces are present at the time of enacting a covenant. Even when the parties involved in the covenant makes light of the matter, these unseen powers take everything seriously. They are ready to watch over every detail and bring to book any violator to the smallest detail of the curses involved. They can even take the case beyond the present generation to cause damage and desolation. Believers in Christ must be wary of breaking covenant of whatever sort; it could have destructive consequences.


INTRODUCTION: The word ‘carnal’ means, relating to or consisting of the body. It has to do with something relating to somebody’s physical needs or appetites, especially as contrasted with spiritual or intellectual qualities. Carnality is the noun form which means a state of being carnally or being given to physical needs or appetites.
The Bible looks at carnality in various ways:

1. Babyhood stage of Christian experience manifesting in strife, divisions and envying.

1Cor. 3:1-3 KJV: And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

2. Considering Gal. 5:19-21, what will be the destiny of a carnal Christian?

3. Carnality can manifest when our thoughts are centred on fleshly or physical things. This is very easy to discern. We can say whether we are carnally or spiritual when we note the contents of our praise and prayers. If all we focus in our praise and prayer are majorly physical things then we are carnally minded.

Rom 8:5-8 KJV: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

POSER: If the mind that is set to the flesh is hostile to God and cannot please God, will carnality endear us to God?

4. Compare Paul’s praise and prayer focus as in Col. 1:12-14; 9-11; Eph. 3:14-19; Heb. 13:20-21 with most of our churches’ prayer focus today.

5. Those who desire to be under the Law are considered carnal.

Gal 4:21-29 KJV: Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which genders to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bears not; break forth and cry, thou that travailed not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what says the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

If the bondwoman and her son have no inheritance with the Father, can they make it to the kingdom of God? (See Gal. 5:4)

6. People who are self-willed, despise government and are presumptuous are considered to be carnally or to walk after the flesh.

2Pet. 2:10 KJV: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

POSER: Will a rebellious one be a partaker in the kingdom of God?

Rebellion is a principle from hell!


INTRODUCTION: Germs that cause sicknesses and diseases are not seen with the naked eyes; they can be seen under powerful microscopes, yet they inflict deadly consequences on people. Sins of saints may appear mild; they nonetheless irritate the God of all righteousness. We want to see how the Bible looks at ‘Respect of Persons’.
Jas 2:1-13 GNB: My friends, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance. 2 Suppose a rich man wearing a gold ring and fine clothes comes to your meeting, and a poor man in ragged clothes also comes. 3 If you show more respect to the well-dressed man and say to him, “Have this best seat here,” but say to the poor man, “Stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my feet,” 4 then you are guilty of creating distinctions among yourselves and of making judgments based on evil motives. 5 Listen, my dear friends! God chose the poor people of this world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. 6 But you dishonour the poor! Who are the ones who oppress you and drag you before the judges? The rich! 7 They are the ones who speak evil of that good name which has been given to you. 8 You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” 9 But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker. 10 Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all. 11 For the same one who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Even if you do not commit adultery, you have become a lawbreaker if you commit murder. 12 Speak and act as people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13 For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment.

1. Mention two sins committed by one who respects persons according to verse 4
*** Guilty of discrimination and
of making judgments based on evil motives

2. What is the implication if we are said to be guilty of sin and the Law condemns us as lawbreakers? (Verse 9) (See also Lev. 19:15; Deut. 1:17; 16:19; 2Chr. 19:7)

3. In what other ways do we show respect of persons?
i). When we believe what popular men of God say and ignore the position of the Bible. (1Kgs. 13:1-31)
ii). Can you think of any other way?

4. What excuses do we normally give in order to justify our position which is contrary to the will of God?
*** We argue that we want to give honour to whom honour is due. What does James 2:1 say?

5. Judging from verses 9-11, do you think the sin of respect of persons will attract less punishment than adultery or murder?

Prov. 28:21 ESV: To show partiality is not good, but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.

MSG: Playing favourites is always a bad thing; you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.

AMP: To have respect of persons and to show partiality is not good, neither is it good that man should transgress for a piece of bread.

CONCLUSION: It is advisable that our values and judgments are determined by God and by His word. What is not good in God’s estimation can lead one to perdition! Let us be warned! Respect of persons may appear subtle and harmless, yet it is common among God’s people.


Sins of saints are sins that believers do not regard as grievous enough to attract divine anger. People do not avoid them as they would want to avoid idolatry, adultery or murder. But we must recognize that little foxes spoil the vine. We want to look at the sin of hypocrisy because that sin is being committed mostly by leaders of religion and those who appear to be devoted. A hypocrite is somebody who pretends to have admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings but behaves otherwise.


1. Hypocrites may attend meetings where the word of God is preached but their ways of life run contrary to their learning.

Ezek. 33:30-31: Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness.

2Tim. 3:6-8 KJV: For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Matt. 23:1-36 (see also Lk. 11:37-52)

2. Hypocrites are hard on others but soft on themselves

V4: For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

3. They want people to see their piety

V5: But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

4. They love recognition, hence they crave for titles and such likes

V6: And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

V7: And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Matt. 23:13-16 KJV: But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

5. They leave out important matters of righteous living only to dwell on issues that are mere rituals.

Matt. 23:23-24: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Imagine how much time is spent preaching tithing but very little attention is given to preaching justice and mercy. The impression created is that people can steal, embezzle, or defraud in any way; but so far they pay their tithes, they are without offence. The Lord said that the Pharisees took great pains to avoid offence in very small matters, superstitiously observing the smallest points of the law, like a man carefully straining out the microscopic organism from what he drinks, while he is at no pains to avoid great sins – hypocrisy, deceit, oppression, and lust – like a man who should swallow a camel.” The Arabians have a similar proverb: “He eats an elephant, and is suffocated with a gnat.” He is troubled with little things, but pays no attention to great matters.

Mat 23:25-26: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter that the outside of them may be clean also.

6. They put up appearances

Mat 23:27-28: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto white-washed sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

7. They are more at home with the dead than with the living; so they will still persecute prophets sent to their own generation.

Mat 23:29-33: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the children of those who killed the prophets. Fill up then the measure of your fathers’ sins. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Lk. 11:47-48 KJV: Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

Lk. 11:47-48 GNB: How terrible for you! You make fine tombs for the prophets—the very prophets your ancestors murdered. You yourselves admit, then, that you approve of what your ancestors did; they murdered the prophets, and you build their tombs.

CONCLUSION: The sin of hypocrisy may not be manifest every time, but those who are hypocritical are sometimes aware of their state. We may successfully deceive other people or even deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive God. (Rom.2:28-29)


Deut. 18:20: But the prophet, who shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

2Pet. 2:10 KJV: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

Deut. 17:11-13: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shalt do: you shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show you, to the right hand, or to the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and you shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

Presumption is another common sin among God’s people. It is so much similar to faith. While faith is making a move based on God’s revealed word, presumption is moving when God has not spoken or has told you not to move. A good example of presumption is seen in Numbers 14:39-45. The people had manifested unbelief in the early part of that chapter. God was angry with them and Moses told them the mind of God. The people then decided to act in order to placate God; but Moses told them that it would not prosper. They went ahead all the same, and were totally defeated. Moses said that they “went presumptuously up into the hill.” (Deut. 1:43) Presumption is really a sin against light and truth.

Presumption is doing wrong on purpose; it is a stupid, arrogant and willful disobedience to the current revealed will of God. The Psalmist said, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” (Psa. 19:13)
Our Lord Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (Jn. 5:30 ESV) This should be our pattern of life.

Another example of presumption is what Nadab and Abihu did in Lev. 10:1-3. They were priests who probably thought they had immunity to act for God even when He was not ready for action. In the tabernacle in the wilderness, every offering by fire must be ignited from the fire before the LORD. (Lev. 6:9, 12-13) But Nadab and Abihu ignited their own fire, possibly to impress the people. Let us read it:

“Then Nadab and Abihu…each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire came from the presence of the LORD and killed them, and they died before the LORD.”

A profane fire is that which the LORD has not commanded. The duo did not live to learn their lesson. Presumptuous sin can be very fatal!

Again, the beginning of King Saul’s problems centres on this presumptuous sin. In 1Samuel 13:5-14 we see how Saul failed the test of patience by usurping Samuel’s role. He probably did not know that he was being tested. When narrating the pressure that led him to do wrong, he concluded by saying, “Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering” (1 Sam. 13:12). The circumstances around us are sometimes highly compelling, and the temptation to be presumptuous is very high.

One lesson we must learn about the way of God is that He hates presumption and will not for any reason, no matter how genuine our intentions, tolerate it.

It is presumption to still hold on to the Law of Moses that God said He had annulled (Heb. 7:18-19; Gal. 5:1-4).

It is presumption for a woman to assume leadership in the church over men (1Tim. 2:11-14).

It is zeal without knowledge that makes a believer establish his own way after abandoning the way of God.

Rom 10:1-4 ESV: Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Let us look at Uzzah during the reign of King David. Uzzah did what appeared reasonable in the face of the prevailing situation; but God still killed him for his error (2 Sam. 6:6-9). Uzzah was a Levite all right, but did not follow the due process before touching the ark of God (1Sam. 7:1; 2Sam. 6:2-7).

It was bad enough for Israel to copy the method of the Philistines in conveying the Ark of God. Philistines introduced the idea of carrying the Ark of God on a cart drawn by oxen. Israel decided to use the best oxen, on which no yoke had ever been put. But Israel goofed in doing that! To add insult to injury, the Levites who were appointed to stay around the Ark did not pass through the religious rituals necessary. Let us read from 1Chr. 15:11-15.

“And David called for Zadok and Abiathar…and for the Levites…he said…sanctify yourselves…that you may bring up the ark…for because you did not do it the first time, the LORD broke out against us, because we did not consult Him after the proper order” (Emphases added).

God may not consider presumption a light offence. Saints of God, be watchful!


Text: Ephe. 4:17-24
Another sin that God’s people easily fall into is disobedience. This appears to be the greatest sin anybody can commit. It is the sin which our first parents committed and allowed curse and death to enter into the world (Rom. 5:12). We want to go through this study carefully because, we believe, God’s Word is the only instrument to perfect the saints (Jn. 15:3; 17:17; Eph. 5:26).

We must recognize that Adam and Eve were saints of the first creation. When Mother Eve stretched her hand to take of the forbidden Fruit of Knowledge, she, at the same time, decided not to submit to the will of God. Her eating the fruit did not come out of subjection but out of her own will. She not only violated God’s order but disobeyed Adam as well. To disobey God’s representative authority means to disobey God. Disobedience is a sign of rebellion. So, when we are dealing with disobedience we are dealing with rebellion at the same time. Eve made her decision upon seeing that the fruit was good and pleasant to the eyes.

In listening to his wife, Adam sinned against God’s direct will. He too was disobedient to God’s authority. This was also rebellion. A decision that is prompted by our self interest will always end up as rebellion. Adam was judged because in listening to his wife he went contrary to God’s directive.

Gen 3:17 KJV: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…”

On the other hand, our Lord Jesus made obedience to God His number one priority.
Heb 10:5-9 GNB: For this reason, when Christ was about to come into the world, he said to God: “You do not want sacrifices and offerings, but you have prepared a body for me. 6You are not pleased with animals burned whole on the altar or with sacrifices to take away sins. 7Then I said, ‘Here I am, to do your will, O God, just as it is written of me in the book of the Law.’ ” 8First he said, “You neither want nor are you pleased with sacrifices and offerings or with animals burned on the altar and the sacrifices to take away sins.” He said this even though all these sacrifices are offered according to the Law. 9Then he said, “Here I am, O God, to do your will.” So God does away with all the old sacrifices and puts the sacrifice of Christ in their place.

Jn. 5:19 GNB: So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does.

Jn. 5:30 KJV: I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Jn. 4:34 GNB: “My food,” Jesus said to them, “is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do.

Jn. 8:28-29 GNB: So he said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that ‘I Am Who I Am’; then you will know that I do nothing on my own authority, but I say only what the Father has instructed me to say. 29And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.”

As believers in Christ, our decision should not be based on the knowledge of good and evil but on a sense of obedience to God. We must not allow the effect of the Fruit of Knowledge to persist in our system more so after our redemption. We must not decide on what is good or bad without reference to the Word and Will of God.

Many sincere believers do not realise that any form of disobedience is also a form of rebellion. Before Adam and Eve ate the Fruit of Knowledge, their good or bad was determined solely by God. After eating the fruit, man had in himself the sense of right and wrong. This poses a serious problem to man in trying to obey God and in trying to discern His will. Most of man’s decisions on good or bad do not come from God but from self interest. Redemption seeks to restore us to the place where we will now find our right and wrong (good and bad) in God.

Man’s conflict with Satan is the direct result of his attributing authority to God. You have no contention with the flesh, with the world and with Satan apart from your attempt to obey God. Like Jesus, we face Gethsemane experience each time we seek the way of obedience.

The greatest demand of God on man is not for him to bear the cross, to serve, make offerings or deny himself; but the greatest demand is for man to obey. There is no holiness without obedience! No work for God is acceptable if it is done under the rebellious principle of Satan. It is only by working under obedience to authority that we can work in accordance with the will of God. This principle is clearly explained in Numbers 30:1-16. A woman under the authority of her father or husband does not have a total licence to do or not to do something for God if the father or the husband does not approve of it. If any woman thinks she has zeal and insists on doing otherwise, she is using satanic principle of rebellion to ‘serve’ God; and God will not accept her service. A woman who thinks she has liberty but refuses to be under order is in rebellion.

In Matt. 7:21-23 we find our Lord reprimanding those who prophesy and cast out demons and do mighty things in His name. Why are they disapproved? They are disapproved because they make self their starting point; they do things in the name of the Lord but at the same time they fail to do His will. The Lord labelled them evildoers instead of His labourers. We are not to find work to do; rather we are to be sent to work by God. When we understand this we shall truly experience the reality of the kingdom of the heavens.

A believer may be tempted, out of zeal, to be rebellious against governmental apparatus especially if it makes obnoxious decree. Let us see God’s design and then look at how the apostles of Christ responded to such situation.

Rom 13:1-7 GNB: Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself. For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, because they are God’s servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God’s servants and carry out God’s punishment on those who do evil. For this reason you must obey the authorities—not just because of God’s punishment, but also as a matter of conscience. That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honour for them all.

Here, rulers are said to be ministers of God. This revelation came when Nero the tyrant was emperor of the Roman Empire. Three times in the book of Jeremiah, God called Nebuchadnezzar His servant (25:9; 27:6; 43:10).

Titus 3:1-2: Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.

Act 4:18-20 KJV: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Note that the answer they gave did not carry with it any sense of rebellion. They could have said: “What do you mean? We shall continue to preach and teach; and you can do your worst.” In trying to do the work of God, a child of God who understands authority must never allow rebellion to be part of his approach.

Jude 1:8-10 BBE: In the same way these dreamers make the flesh unclean, having no respect for authorities, and say evil of rulers. Now when Michael, one of the chief angels, was fighting against the Evil One for the body of Moses, fearing to make use of violent words against him, he only said, May the Lord be your judge. But these men say evil about such things as they have no knowledge of; and the things of which they have natural knowledge, like beasts without reason, are the cause of their destruction.

Note the way Angel Michael approached Satan when contending with him on the body of Moses; he did not use violent words against him because he understood authority.

Anyone who says, “If he can, I can too” is in a state of rebellion. This is the situation with King Saul in 1Samuel 13:1-14. One would have thought that the pressure that led him to do what he did was a good excuse; but violating God’s authority is a grievous offence. Let us look at verses 13-14: “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.” That disobedience of King Saul was not just a simple matter, it was one borne out of rebellion–“If he can, I can too”.

In the case of Nadab and Abihu, the two priests under Aaron in Leviticus 10:1-3, they both were condemned to death because they violated authority. God is not only careful to see that there is fire; He is also keen to notice the nature of the fire. Rebellion changes the nature of a fire. That which was not ordered by God or by Aaron was strange fire. What God looks for is not the matter of sacrifice but the question of maintaining authority.

Let us consider Genesis 9:20-27:
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Failure of delegated authority tests obedience. God put the whole family under Noah’s authority. One day, Noah became drunk in his vineyard and uncovered himself. Ham saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. Noah should not have been drunk. But even then, Ham failed to see the dignity of authority. When Ham saw his father’s improper conduct he did not have the slightest sense of shame and sorrow, nor did he try to cover his father’s fault. This reveals that he had a rebellious spirit. He went out instead and told his two brothers, pointing out to them his father’s ugliness and so adding to himself the sin of reviling. Observe, though, how Shem and Japheth managed the situation. They entered the tent backwards–thus avoiding seeing their father’s nakedness–and covered their father with the upper garment which they had laid on their shoulders.

The failure of Noah became a test to Shem, Ham and Japheth. It revealed who was obedient and who was rebellious. Noah’s fall revealed Ham’s rebellion. When Noah cursed Ham in his son, Canaan, he sentenced him to servitude under authority for generations to come. Serving God inside rebellion is a dangerous venture!

Another example to look at is the reviling of Aaron and Miriam in Numbers 12:1-9. Maybe they have a point. Miriam could reprimand his younger brother Moses on the basis of family relationship; but when she dabbled into the work of God, she was instantly judged. Aaron and Miriam said, “Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.” (12:2)

Disobedience may be more of attitude than real action as our Lord expresses in Mark 7:6-13. In whatever form, it is an act of rebellion.


We are still looking at some sins that believers easily fall into without knowing or without realising their gravity. The third one is envy. The Apostle Paul spoke a lot to warn believers of this seemingly mild sin among God’s saints.

Envy is the resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions. It is feeling bitter and unhappy because of another’s advantages, possessions, or good fortune. There is nothing wrong in desiring what is good and worthy in another person, but when there is a feeling of annoyance or bitterness because someone has an edge over you somehow, then envy is evident. In other words, envying means feeling uneasiness or jittery at the superior condition and happiness of another. It could also be the feeling of humiliation experienced at the supposed prosperity and happiness of another. It is an expression of ill will at others, on account of some supposed superiority. Strife always accompanies envy.

Let us see some Bible references:

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. Rom. 13:13 KJV

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1Cor. 3:3 KJV

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Gal 5:25-26 KJV

Envy can manifest in the following ways:

1. Condemning or playing down on someone else’ success or possession. The manifestation of excellence is enough to trigger off envy. Neh. 4:1-3; 2:19; Matt. 12:22-24; 27:18.

2. Finding fault with the success of a leader is, more often than not, borne out of envy. Num. 16:1-3, 8-14. No matter what a leader does, one who is ruled by envy will always find fault. (B’aa là’nà t’ó mọ tónítóní, igbó dídí ni l’óju atẹni.)

3. Using our position to keep someone who is coming up down. When we try to eclipse a promising person so that attention will not shift to him, we show envy. Gen. 37:18-20 (Acts 7:9); 1Sam. 18:6-9; Acts 17:5-8.

4. Leaving the real issue to attack the person. Num. 12:1-10 compare Gal. 2:11-14 where Paul corrected an error without attacking the person. (A njuwọn ko see wi l’ejọ, ija ilara ko tan bọrọbọrọ.)

CONCLUSION: Envy starts as a feeling in the heart. Every expression of comment about someone must be seen to be without envy. In Gal. 5:19-21, one of the sins that will disqualify anybody from entering the kingdom of God is envying.

The Authorized Version pluralises it to imply envying in all its shades and manifestations. Love does not envy (1Cor. 13:4). Thus, every manifestation of envy is an expression of hatred. God’s people are called upon to keep watch over their hearts lest evil devices creep in.

Feasting on the word