The purpose of this series I should point out with emphasis and impact is to make every believer appreciate the power of our corporate fellowship and gathering as a body, a privilege and a right, which in the past few months have come under the threat of a satanic order that is emerging in. the world!
Many believers sadly enough have not come to see the power, the blessings, and the essence of appearing before God in Zion. This explains the reason why even after the ban on worship centers have been lifted, albeit, with stringent social distancing conditions which I cannot subscribe to, many believers even before now will prefer to stay at home than resume church! Now If the clergy in some quarters are afraid of 'opening the churches' because it is 'dangerous to the people', why should we expect less from the body of believers? We have not been schooled in the supernatural the realm to which Christianity belongs and is founded upon!
Our Gospel in the past few years has moved from a power gospel to a social gospel, hence believers have come to see Zion as a place of social networking and not a place of spiritual power! Hence the reason for this series to make us see what the gathering of the believer around the world connotes and why the world, this satanically controlled world is afraid of her!
ALL ABOUT THE CHURCH
It's has always been about the church! They have accused us of saying this, but I tell you this is the truth, everything you see today, before today and you will see in the near future is all about Satan trying to fight and undermine the church and her King, her groom, Jesus!
Have you not notice that even the most powerful nations in the world feel threatened by the church? Up until the power of communism was broken in the old soviet union almost all the churches were underground! Why is China, about the most powerful nation in the world after the U.S still feels so threatened by the church that the church still operates underground there and believers are always persecuted? Why is this not so with other religions? It's because we are not a religion, we represent the power and the person of Christ! Have you not wonder why powerful governments of the world will be bothered by a group of people who are unarmed in the worldly sense of it? A people who in the natural cannot effectively wage war and topple the government? Why are they bothered? It's because we have Christ! It's because we are armed by the truth! The truth from God's word contradicts almost every deception accepted and celebrated in the world and that is why the church is always perceived as a threat and so every policy and every move in the world is to silence the advancement of the church!
The church is the pillar of truth and the truth she holds can set the world free and that is why the world is always against the church! Why is this so? The one who controls the world, the one called the god of this world, will always be in conflict and direct battle against the groom and his bride, the church. Jesus said it in Matthew 16;18
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The above statement suggests an ongoing battle with the gates of hell! The church is still been built, hence Satan will continue to persecute and fight the church until she is fully built. At that time when God has built her up then, he shall appear in his own glory! Psalm 102:16 tells us,
'When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory."
Until Zion comes to the point of being a glorious and triumphant church, a church without spot or wrinkle, Jesus will not come for her and until then she will continually face the persecution and opposition from the god of this world and its policies!
2 Corinthians 4:4 says, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them"
Satan being the god of this world will always wage war against the church. When you begin to see the world from this perceptive, then you will begin to see the world differently and from the perspective of God, you will begin to see how everything is about the church of Jesus Christ!
This is why the world and the church will always be at the logger's head, we are controlled by the word and not the world! And that's why I am putting the spotlight on Romans 12:1-2 to see how God want us to respond to our world at every point in time, how we should deal with the world.
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. DON'T BECOME SO WELL-ADJUSTED TO YOUR CULTURE THAT YOU FIT INTO IT WITHOUT EVEN THINKING. INSTEAD, FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD. YOU'LL BE CHANGED FROM INSIDE OUT! Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you" - Romans 12:1-2 MSG
Some powerful injunctions from this passage of Scripture in Romans 12:1-2, this message translation of this scripture is about my best of the other translations. Here are the injunctions giving here, I am going to focus on just the part of the scripture that I have highlighted:
"DON'T BECOME SO WELL-ADJUSTED TO YOUR CULTURE THAT YOU FIT INTO IT WITHOUT EVEN THINKING. INSTEAD, FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD. YOU'LL BE CHANGED FROM INSIDE OUT!"
From this portion, some truths and injunctions are giving on how we should respond to our world.
•DON'T LET YOUR ENVIRONMENT AND THE CULTURE OF THE WORLD MOLD, SHAPE, AND DETERMINE YOUR PERSPECTIVE AND REALITY! Today this is what is happening to the church, the voice of the church seems not too different from the voice coming from the world, both believers and unbelievers sound alike in thinking, words, and character. This is what happens when the environment and the culture around you shape your mentality and perspective. The current global plandemic is a great mirror of how the lines have been blurred between the church and the world. At the outbreak of this great crisis, save for a few, the majority of the church responded in panic as the rest of the world!
•DON'T ACCEPT NEW REALITIES, "NEW NORMAL" WITHOUT THINKING THEM THROUGH - When you respond to your environment and the happenings in the world without thinking through then you are easily led astray by its deception and subtility! The scripture in other words is saying think for your self and not just think for yourself but think through the lens of the WORD and not of the WORLD! For when the storm arises in the world it is those who respond to it from the perspective of the word that will have victory in the world. Matthew 7:24-27 tells us in the midst of crisis only God's wisdom will stand. And that wisdom is based on the revelation of the word.
•FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD! How easy it is to say that, "fix your attention on God", a spiritual cliche of the sort but which in actual reality in the times of crisis many believers are quick to throw away! The word FIX implies unbroken focus and gazes on something! When your attention is truly fixed on God you are not moved by the happenings in the world! This is why David said, " I have placed the Lord always before me and because he is at my right hand I shall not be moved"(Psalm 16:8) Hallelujah!
See, anyone can claim to place God before them what reveals the veracity of this is the people's response to the issues of life around them. Acts 4:13 said they took notice of them that they had been with Jesus! How? By reason of their words and conducts that validated what Jesus would do while on earth!
How would Jesus respond to the covid19 crisis? Yes, we will talk about covid over and again because its the crisis that is presently facing the world and it's a crisis that has come to reveal our depth or lack of depth in the word! It's easy to tell that during this crisis many have been fixing their attention on the world, on CNN, the world's media, and not God's word! Many looked more to WHO and not to HIM, and that's well reflected in their response, words, conversation, opinion on these present crisis. When you hear men from the pulpit saying it is dangerous to open the church you know certainly they have been hearing more of world news, CNN, WHO, than of the good news of the word!
It's why the "social gospel" been preached from our pulpit is that of how we must obey the health authorities and follow all the guidelines! The church at this point never had a spiritual guideline for her members on how to navigate this period of time in history, many don't have. It's clear the attention has been on the world and not the word!
•EXPERIENCE CHANGE FROM WITHIN - This last point is the resultant effect of all that has gone on before in the preceding verses: we are changed from inside out! To the believers what should shape our response is a revelation from within and not pressure from without. The outside world should not be the force changing us, but the word. of God from within that has changed us into his image and glory! This is when our "new normal" are defined by the revelations of the word and not deception from the world! True and lasting change comes from within, people who are pressured to change from without will never be consistent because they are always moved by the happenings in their environment!
When a believer follows this Romans 12 injunction they would be mature in the word and in the Lord and cannot be easily dragged down by the immature culture that is around them, whose only goal is to water down the revelation of the word we have been given!
As a matter of truth the church is meant and called to go in opposite direction to where the world is going! It's why in the Epistles John repeatedly warn us, "we are not of the world" 1 John 4:4-5 tell us this much,
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
Our language should reflect our spiritual heritage!
If we are of God we should speak like children of God, those of the world speaks like children of the world. The spiritual travesty today is that children of God speaks like children of the world!
As I conclude this in Lagos, Nigeria, where I live, the state government had earlier scheduled to open the religious centers this Friday and Sunday only to make a dramatic turnaround yesterday with the announcement that churches are closed indefinitely with no possible dates giving for her re-opening! And yet this should bother a majority of believers and the clergy, but the truth is that it is not. The world in the past few months has gotten us to see how this VIRUS is more powerful than our GOD and the safest thing to do is stay at home! The few clergies among us that dared to open their worship center after the first pronouncement of lockdown were scorned at by the church, the body of believers, and the majority of her leadership.
How did the church get to the point she was considered a nonessential service provider? Like Mary and Martha with Jesus, the master replied that only one thing is essential: sitting at the feet of the word! This is what makes the church essential, paying attention to the word, and ignoring the world! It is such focused attention on the word that makes us commands impact that consequently commands the attention of the world. Today it seems we command no such attention because we have strayed from the word, the church looks more like the world than the world looking like the church, hence whatever the world do we do. It's the reason why many of us are afraid of our father's house, it's why we see our worship centers as none essential service provider instead of seeing it as a spiritual solution center! We have violated the injunctions of Romans 12:1-2. The church needs a word and spiritual renewal for her to take her place in the world for presently the church that the world sees is that without power and authority!
"All these energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name, and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. THE CHURCH YOU SEE, IS NOT PERIPHERAL TO THE WORLD, THE WORLD IS PERIPHERAL TO THE CHURCH. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence". Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG