Today is Nigeria’s 32nd independence anniversary. At a time like this everyone of us need to ask the question whether the independence we are celebrating today has any relevance to the one we got in the year 1960.

In the same vain many of us Christians need to ask ourselves whether the freedom we knew when we first gave our lives to Jesus Christ is still the same today. You know it is possible for everyone who come to church like this to keep claiming ‘ I am a Christian, ’even when his name is no longer in God’s register.

In Lagos for example, everyone claims to be a lagosian but when you see a lagosian proper you will identify him by his look and speech. I dare not tell anyone that I am a lagosian because my accent is going to prove otherwise. The easiest way to know where most Nigerians come from is by listening to their pronunciation of certain words.

Ask a Yoruba person from Oyo/Osun states to pronounce CHAMPION and he would say SAMPION, and SANGE for CHANGE. Our friends from Akwa Ibom/ Rivers states would say YAMPION instead of champion. The Igbos pronounce SEKURITY for SECURITY and ELUPHANT for ELEPHANT. The Hausa/Fulani pronounce FAWER for POWER. And it does not matter how much you educate an Ijesha/Ekiti person you will occasionally hear him pronouncing SANINDE for SUNDAY.

The topic of this sermon is Shibboleth and our text is taken from the book of Judges 12:5-6. This is a story of war between two towns with people of common language except in certain pronunciation.

And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before Ephramites and it was so, that when those Ephramites which were escaped said let me go over that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephramites? If he said nay then said they unto him, say now Shibboleth and he said Sibboleth; for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephramites forty and two thousand.

The Ephramites were losing in the battle and they wanted to play a smart game by deflecting to Gilead and claim to be citizen. Physically no one could tell the difference between the two warring side until their mode of speech revealed their identity. What we are about to do now is to know who exactly you are. Are you what you are making people to see or something else?


Are you surprised that I am asking a question whose answer is in the positive side? Don’t you know how long I have been born again spirit filled and sanctified? I have served in more than five departments since then and now I have been ordained a pastor in our church.

It doesn’t matter your title in the church if you are living in sin you will not be able to say Shibboleth.

No matter whom you are if you have never at any time cried to the Lord and say Lord have mercy on me a sinner your name is not in his register.

Nicodemus was a jolly good fellow and well respected among the Jews yet he felt the need to confirm whether this societal approval will earn him a passport to heaven.

Jn 3:1-5.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Jesus talked about the water and the Spirit. You need the washing of the water by the Holy Spirit. All your sins must be washed away so that you can become acceptable in the sight of the Almighty God. Not only that, your old Spirit that rebels against God must be replaced. God spoke through Prophet Ezekiel in his book 11:19-20 that:

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them an heart of flesh. That they may walk in mine statues and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God

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