A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!




Tribute to Elder Obey Ndalima

 During my latest trip to Kisii, Kenya to ordain four men to the office of elder and to constitute five churches, Elder Obey Ndalima of the First Primitive Baptist Church of Tanzania came to Kenya to help in the work as it was at the direction of the church he pastored that the men were being ordained and the churches were being constituted.  When he arrived in Kenya he was very sick.  I encouraged him to go home, but he insisted on staying and finishing the work before us.  After the ordaining of the four elders, Elder Obey's health had deteriorated to the point that we had to put him in the hospital in Kisii, Kenya.  He never recovered from this illness but passed away on March 31, 2009.  Below are two letters of tribute to Elder Obey.  The first letter was written by Elder Martin Onyoni, the first elder in Kenya ordained in July 2008.  The second letter was written by Elder Obey's widow:

Dear brother and sister in Christ,

I know there is a great sadness and heaviness in each one of our hearts. I know we have sweet precious memories of our late bro. Obey. Hebrew 13:1-2 reminds me of Elder Obeyís first visit with Vestavia PB Church one Sunday morning. He was a stranger to you all but you entertained him. This was because of Godís grace and the love of Christ in you. We need to continue exercising the love towards one another. We never know whom the Lord has sent our way, it may be one of Godís little sheep that is seeking and searching for his place in life that he might be able to look for consolation in our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. This reminds me of that Sunday morning when you welcomed bro. Obey in your church when the Lord directed him to Vestavia Church. The Lord purposed his coming. The Lord had to prepare him to bring the true Gospel to Africa. His desire was always to pray to God that the Lordís children might receive salvation here in time, because he knew that they were already Godís children saved by Jesus blood shed on the cross. Elder Obey has died a hero, while he was enduring for the electís sake. He has died in the battle field. We know that Elder Obeyís soul and spirit are in a far better place with our Lord. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that all the bodies of the elect and non elect await the great morning of the resurrection when our Lord that come with a loud shout.  As he delivered his last charge to the four brethren, he together with Elder Vernon Johnson and Mike Ivey and me had come to ordain in Kisii- Kenya he strongly quoted and finished saying from 2nd Timothy 4:6, 7: For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  And these were his last words to the whole congregation. As he was closing his speech, tears started rolling down his cheeks. Most of members could not hold back their tears also as each passed by him at his seat and bidding him bye. He has accomplished what he has started in Kenya, to ordain elders and constitute churches. May the Lord bless the fruits of his labour. The Lord had taken him home to rest, the very time we needed him more than before both in Kenya and Tanzania.

Whenever he was in Kenya, he could feel like he was home. His presence, preaching and singing was a great blessing to many here in Kenya. His deep love for our Lord Jesus Christ was indeed a challenge to many. We sadly miss his blessed services.

Sincerely the blessed hope we have in our Lord becomes more precious and makes us think of some sweet day to come in future. Surely elder Obey has gone home to be with his and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. What a wonderful assurance that brings to us! Though we will miss his wonderful and blessed services here on earth, we hope that one day we will go to him. It will take us too long to forget him.

I have a great burden to serve and take care of my brothers and sisters in Tanzania as well. I have a great burden and desires to continue with his work from where he left. I pray that God may give me strength and ability to spread the good news of the Lord throughout Africa. We need Godís grace to do all these. I hope the Lord is or has already prepared someone to Pastor a church in Dar-es Salaam, but I feel burdened to team up with Elders to prepare someone to be ordained as an elder in Tanzania.

We sincerely loved Elder Obey, but the Lord loved him most. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Since I am not able to be with you at this memorial service rejoicing together in the Lord in memory of our late Brother Elder Obey, I wish you the Lordís blessings in this occasion.


Your brother and servant in Christ,
Elder Martin Onyoni
Pastor of First Primitive Baptist Church of Kenya - Kisii

Dear Pastor Sam,

I greet you and all primitive Baptist members in the precious name of Jesus Christ. It is a happy day to me that God has given me strength to write this short message.

You really have lost your hero son, the most reliable person, a man of integrity, delightful, conversationalist, the most thoughtful and giving ho!

What can I say about Obey? To me, he was the love of my life, a perfect teacher to let me and my fellow Africans to know the truth of the word of God.

It is a great blessing to here that youíre going to hold a memorial service of my beloved husband. Iím with you in prayers. His struggle for the work of God and impossible dream which finally come true will remain as a pillar in my life. Letís be transformed from weeping but join him in everlasting life in heaven.

May you please receive my so special thanks for your all effort you did to save my husbandís life. You did so many things which are unexplainable, yet youíre continuing to do; May God bless you forever. Iím glad to here that youíre coming to visit us (in Tanzania) this month, we are all eagerly waiting to see you.

Convey my tender greetings to all Vestavia Primitive Baptist Members the church which was my husbandís homestead. I know for sure you love me and you pray for me. ďSis Nelda pray for meĒ

Itís me with full of love,
Mary Obey Ndalima

Notes on Matthew

Chapter 4, Part 10

Jesus works           

            Matt. 4:23 "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan."

            The power of God is manifest in the healings that Jesus performed on the people.  This included the power to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.  This also shows forth the wisdom of God in that he knows about all sicknesses and about all diseases and what it takes to heal them.

            This passage tells us four things that Jesus did.  He went, he preached, he taught, and he healed.

            There were great multitudes that followed the Lord.  As we will see in the next chapter, the multitudes followed the Lord because of his healings, not because they wanted to hear what he preached and taught.         

Matt. 5:1 The Cost of Discipleship

             Matt. 5:1 "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: "When Jesus had walked in the plain there had been many to follow him as we read in Matt. 4:25 "And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan."  There are many who are willing to follow Jesus as long as the way is easy and there are no obstacles to overcome.  What distinguishes the disciples is their willingness to climb the mountain to hear what Jesus had to say and to worship him and to serve him.  There is a cost to discipleship.  This is illustrated in the following passage: Lk. 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

            In order to be a true disciple of Jesus and not just a nominal one, there is a price that we must be willing to pay.  We look at the following principles of the cost of discipleship:

                        1.  We must determine whom we are going to serve.  Matt. 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."  In our pursuit of making a living and providing for the needs of our family, will we put earthly mammon ahead of the service of God or will we put serving God ahead of earthly mammon.  No one can answer this question for us.  Yet it is key to whether we are truly going to be the disciple of Christ.

                        2.  What is going to be our priority in life?: Matt. 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  God knows we have needs and he has promised us that if we put him first, he will see that we have our needs.  There truly is no reason why we cannot put the Lord first in our lives.

                        3.  There are truly no excuses not to honor and serve the Lord: Lk.14:16 "Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind."  While we are prone to make many excuses, such as buying a piece of land, proving some oxen, marrying a wife, etc., yet they are just excuses.  None are truly more important than honoring and serving the Lord.

                        4.  We should expect hardships if we are to be the Lord's disciples: Lk. 9:57 "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."  Are we willing to have no certain dwelling place in order to serve the Lord?

                        5.  Being a disciple of the Lord means that we may have to make some hard emotional decisions: Lk. 9:59 "And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God."  If your father had passed away, would you be willing to allow someone else to take care of his burial in order to go and preach the gospel at the direction of the Lord?  We will if we are serious about being the disciple of the Lord.

                        6.  Not only are we to put a priority of service to the Lord, but also a priority of time must be devoted to the Lord if we are to be his disciple: Lk. 9:61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

                        7.  In addition, we must put a priority of love to the Lord if we are to be his disciples: Lk. 14:25 "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."  We must love the Lord more than we love anyone else in this life in order to be his disciple.

                        8.  Finally, we must hold to the very principles of truth of the grace of Christ if we are to be his disciples: John 6:60 "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."

Elder Vernon Johnson

Primitive Baptist