Analysis: EMELDA MUSONDA
TODAY many Christians across the globe gather in various places of worship to celebrate Good Friday as part of the Easter celebrations in remembrance of the day Jesus Christ was crucified, as the ultimate sacrifice for mankind’s sins (1 John 1:10).
The climax of the Easter period is the Resurrection Sunday when Christians celebrate the day Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, heralding His victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to the hope of resurrection for all who unite with Him by faith (Romans 6:5).
During this Easter period sermons focusing on the suffering and subsequent triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ are preached.
For some churches, besides preaching sermons, plays and movies like the famous “Passion of the Christ” depicting the Saviour’s crucifixion and resurrection are used to deliver the Easter message.
While during the Easter period, the true gospel of salvation, tends to dominate the sermons, sadly for some churches, the gospel of prosperity is the focus the rest of the time.
For some preachers the only time they remember to preach the true gospel of salvation is during Easter and Christmas.
It is also worth noting that even during such periods some preachers anchor their Easter messages on prosperity neglecting the need for one to make it to Heaven.
The Bible as a manual that prescribes how man should live here on earth is diverse and covers all aspects of human life. The most important of all is salvation, or rather securing eternal life beyond death.
It is however saddening that today the gospel of prosperity has overshadowed that of salvation.
While there is nothing wrong with preaching on prosperity once in a while, there is everything wrong in wholly focusing on such sermons at the expense of preaching salvation.
The real reason Jesus Christ came was to save mankind from the condemnation of eternal death due to sin.
As a result of sin man was separated from his Creator. However God, in a demonstration of His unconditional love, sacrificed His only beloved son as the price to reconcile man to Himself.
One preacher once said that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross for man to be able to buy a car, a house or indeed acquire material things. The preacher said such beliefs trivialise the sacrifice of God, who sent His only begotten son to die for mankind.
Sadly, many preachers have relegated the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to mere provision of material things. This is why the message of prosperity seems to ring louder than that of salvation.
Some pastors concentrate on turning members into financial giants as opposed to disciples of God.
Today there are many churches filled to capacity and yet more than half the congregation is headed for destruction because they have neglected the reason why God sent His son to die on the cross in preference for earthly gains.
It is common to come across Christians in the Church whose lives have no semblance whatsoever with Jesus Christ, who they claim to follow.
As the name Christian denotes, followers of Christ are supposed to be Christ-like by reflecting His godly character.
Sadly today we have so many people who claim to be Christians and yet can do anything, including engaging in corruption or prostitution to acquire wealth.
This is partly because preachers have put more emphasis on prosperity than salvation.
The Bible says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Let this Easter be an opportunity for preachers in particular to reflect on the inclination of their sermons.
All those called to lead congregations must take time to re-examine if they are preaching the true gospel, which is centred on bringing men to Christ, and not messages which are aimed at satisfying the flesh.
Preachers should remember that God will call them to account for the lives He has entrusted in their hands.
Men of God should resist the temptation of preaching what people’s itching ears want to hear. Many people want to hear how God will bless them with a big house, a posh car, marriage, a good job and so forth. Unfortunately some preachers are falling for it, for the sake of keeping members in their churches.
Needless to say, the clergy need to stay focused on the true gospel of salvation and guide members towards what matters most to God.
Let this Easter be that turning point to all those who had swayed from preaching the true gospel.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.
Analysis: EMELDA MUSONDA