CONTINUED FROM PART 1. Click Here To Read Part One
The Pentecostal Question.
2004 – 2012 were nostalgic years of Apostolic invasion for our ministry, Voice Of His Word Ministries, (VOW). We combed the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. We showed up in Sokoto, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe, Bauchi, came down South and went through villages in Osun state with Ijesha Destiny Encounter, meandering through South South till we were halted in 2012 by unforseen circumstances of life. Of course, questions were asked by church leaders everywhere we went just to establish who we are, where we were coming from and what our mission were.
Once satisfied with our responses the acceptance and support were usually overwhelming. How can I ever forget one of our most successful meetings in Osun state at Ìjẹ̀bú Jẹ̀ṣà made possible by the then gatekeeper of that territory, but now one of God’s choicest over Lagos State Most Rev, Dr Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakiaye.
Romans 10:10 (KJV)
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Since no one can search the heart of another but God, the only way to decifer one’s commitment to faith is by one’s confession. If that is the case, it may be wrong to conclude of the faith of others when the state of their heart we can never know.
Therefore anyone who have not openly confessed with his mouth to others that Jesus is Lord should not blame anyone if they are denied fellowship. Hence God declared that the heart of man is desperately wicked, who can know it. He limited us to communion with others by their confessions.
My most defining moment of pentecostal interrogation was in Benue state. Rev Phillip Gideon Agene our arrow head to the state took me to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria State Secretary, the then Bishop John Kurudu, now an Archbishop, who received me and introduced me to the then Chairman of PFN in the State, Rev Tor Uja, who did not just want to know if I was born again, but wanted my salvation experience written evidenced with persons who can testify of my walk and work with Christ.
His protocol at the gate of Benue was that strict, but it was in the interest of the Kingdom, which we respected. And once satisfied he ordered and enlisted the full cooperation of all pentecostal churches in the city of Markudi. In his word, “we, as a church need to take advantage of this great prophetic teaching grace that God has sent our way.”
Protocol is key to our work for God. Nothing tests our humility like our moments before gate keepers. God has lifted leaders over territories and made them gatekeepers of such human estate. Abraham was such a man, strongly rooted over his territory that even God who placed him there would not by pass him: “Will I hide from Abraham what I planned to do”. Some persons as a result of encounter and relationships are God’s friends. If you can’t respect them for who they are, please, do for their friendship with God.
Do I need to talk of great disadvantage this could be to an assignment requiring urgency? Making you mark time where progress is desired per seconds.
This was our lot at the gate of Edo State on a recent mission. But we resolved, we will do nothing without the approval of the gatekeepers. Eventually we made the best of the little space of grace we were given by Rev Issac Itobiye, State Overseer of CPM and former PFN State Chairman. And God took all the glory.
Serving the body of Christ is not same as stating a work or heading a denomination. In His wisdom God demanded that I step out of church to become His steward to His body.
My experiences informed the sense of appeal in part one of this article, based on the need to get everyone to come to a point of agreement collectively as students of the Bible. For that is who we are.
Beyond our testimony of salvation, service in the kingdom, miracles, signs and wonders wrought through our hands, when push comes to shove, we are called to be comrades in kingdom work and students of the Bible, ever ready to learn not through reading but studying. Reading can be done alone, but studying carries the idea of a group involvement.
2Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
It is amazing that none of the things we have chosen for ministry endorsement, shows the mark of God’s approval on a person: the size of their churches; the magnificence of buildings; the ambience of environment; oratory, and charity to the poor.
It is important for me to clearly state that though God is not against these things, but His premium for ministry approval is how much of a studious life in God’s word we reflect in our moment of ministry balanced with our lifestyle. Your actions, when taken back to the word of God must fit. Like actors interpreting the script of their directors.
Actors may be good, very good by the judgements of the audience, but then, the director alone can tell how well he delivers his script. The Bible is our script for life and ministry, and it must be rightly divided into spoken and living words.
Neither is possible without an encounter with the word made flesh. Living epistles are persons whose heart are so soaked in the word. Their life drop the word in visible and appreciable actions that glorify Christ.
Studying carries the idea of a group involvement, but with who and who must it be formed?
“Coinonia”, fellowship or communion are words originating from communal living, but we must understand that every child of God has a Teacher in him, to whom every other teacher must submit.
So our first study partner is the Holy Spirit and He must remain our group study leader no matter the size of our group; with you and Him, or at family altars, house fellowships, local church, denominational bodies, inter-denominational fellowships, our universal body. We must look out for our Teacher in the group.
John 14:26 (KJV)
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
Note: He is from the Father, sent in the name of Christ to teache us all things that Christ has SAID, (not new things but said things, repeatedly taught to keep us in remembrance).
1John 2:27 (KJV)
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
We are students of the Teacher in us, and we need not that anyone teach us, which is better understood as you need not that anyone teach you New Things. This is where craving for revelation must come under the control of the written word.
And we have teachers called and graced to serve under the ordination of the Head Teacher, The Holy Spirit.
We must understand that this does not mean that we are all teachers if we are not called into the teaching ministry, or that we have no need of teachers, but that the scheme of what is being taught must be in perfect agreement with the Teacher in us, the Holy Spirit. Note again: not with our spirits but with His Spirit in us.
Take for example, my desire to communicate the rites of passage of Late Prophet TB Joshua in a satire, describing it as; “not even Jesus was this glorious in death.” Which phrase led to the buy in of his fans among my readers which they saw as apt and hailed me for it while others saw it as blasphemous.
Some in whom the Spirit remains our group study Leader wrote to disagree with me on the use of the phrase. One of such is the reaction of one of my Editors:
“For me, this comparison is a blasphemy sir. How can you say this? You have taken comparison too far here. Which death can be as glorious as Jesus’? Jesus died a victorious death. Victory begets glory.
“An instance: If a football team obtained victory in a competitive match, what follows? Glory.
After Jesus’ death what followed? Glory (the glory of resurrection).
“I am sure your comparison here is of the flesh and not the Spirit. Of course you know that the Spirit is superior to the physical.
“The glory of Jesus’ death from the spiritual perspective is very much greater than the physical glory that has dotted TB’s death. There is a better way to describe that glory than comparing it with the glory of Jesus’ death. Forget about the unprecedented agony that shaped Jesus’ death, the glory of His resurrection took its rooting from His death. Otherwise, the resurrection glory wouldn’t have been possible.
“So, there is glory in His death which is greater than any glory in any other death. If you have any contrary proof(s) to justify your comparison, pls give. We are ready to learn.
Another senior friend of mine, a brother in the bond of Christ, lawyer, respected constitutional authority and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, observed:
“I strongly take objection to your opinion that TB was more glorious in death than our Lord and Saviour. I can’t keep quiet, at least on that issue, please”.
No one, as a result of calling, title, status and or personality is insulated against errors of interpretations, or applications, but our teachability is of essence to fellowship and communion of the body. It is for the purpose of this: communion of the body of Christ in Nigeria and the world at large; that I write.
We have gone past TB Joshua. He has rested from his works but we have a duty to make out of the church, studious disciples and not just reading Christians. The Ethiopia Eunuch was reading without understanding until a teacher was sent to him in Philip, the Evangelist. We must raise for the kingdom, discerning hearts and not hearing ears. A choice is before us, to make between dogma and diligence.
Acts 17:11 (KJV)
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
This attitude must guide us towards all men particularly our idolized General Overseers, born again or not, doing miracles or not. We must submit all to the authority of the Bible and the Head of all Teachers in us for sound accurate biblical interpretations to inform a common faith and lifestyle. If not we will remain divided on non-essentials.
Though, the fate of the dead are sealed, for which we cannot make better their works before God, neither can we right their wrongs nor wrong their rights, we need to allow their soul to rest while their work done among us becomes a classroom from where we must continually take lessons.
In one of the parables of Jesus, we were told of the death of Lazarus. How that Angels carried him after death, possibly leaving his body where dogs used to come and minister to him. He was too debased to be socially identified with men, but not God nor his Angels will abandon him. His soul was protocoled to heaven while the body was left to rot away.
“I suppose, “sirens” blared in the cloud of heaven to usher him in. What a contrast to the rich man who also died, and was BURIED! What a glorious befitting casket they must have gotten! What pomp and pageantry they made of his burial, siren blared in the estate of men as his dust was rode in a motorcade! A befitting mausoleum will house his remains beautiful enough to remind homeless poor beggars who still depend on the crumbs from his table. What a hopeless life theirs was.
The rich man however amused me by his love for his family, in the agony of the terror of hell. Faced with the reality of eternal separation; of saints from sinners, he still begged that father Abraham allow someone to be sent from there to his household to preach to them and bring them to the point of decision he never made for which he became a candidate of hell.
Those who have deceived us, those who are deceiving us, may wish in eternity that they had not, but will never be able to get words back to us. We must therefore take responsibility.
Our focus must be on the living. We are the ones mandated by God to hold them accountable to eternal teachings of Jesus and God’s simple condition for salvation of all people; “EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN.” That is the entrance point into the family of God. Are you born again? Have you received the Holy Spirit as your Teacher? To Him, in you must all teachers be presented. To him I gladly submit as we take this case study together.
Have you answered the pentecostal question?
Are you born again?
Watchout For Part 3