By Simon Ifeanyi Ezeh The Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Shephard of Christians didn’t speak in platitudes in delivering the gospel of God’s kingdom to humanity. He is down to earth, blunt, categorical, apocalyptic and tautological but Christians would listen to anyone else except Christ.
That explains why Christians are surprised when certain things happen to them which are contrary to the messages they have been fed with by pastors. Ignorance of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ or refusal to embrace the realities of the gospel render Christians ill-prepared for the consequences of their faith in Christ. Pastors are the usual culprits who won’t go into God’s kingdom but won’t let others in by preaching lies as the gospel. If Christians would listen to Christ, their night would turn to a noon day!
John the Baptist began to preach the gospel of repentance (not sacrifice) ahead of Christ in preparation for Christ to come and continue from where he stopped. In fact, this gospel of repentance dates back to Noah who preached and warned the people but they didn’t care a damn until the rains started pouring down. John’s commitment to the gospel was total to the extent that the world was so abominable to him so that he had to live in isolation in caves, feeding on locusts and wild honey.
Expectedly, he was beheaded for telling the king his sins to his face. None of today’s clowns who humour one another as prophets ever contemplates the life of real prophets like John and the Christ.
Let’s take a glimpse of the lives and experiences of true prophets in the quotes below:
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Mat_23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
The truth is that the descriptions above don’t fit or relate to any contemporary Nigerian “prophet” or “pastor” and it’s very unfortunate. Whereas we could find a few Christians with above description, especially in the North of Nigeria, the pastors are not just within the zone at all. Pastors have no interest whatsoever in God’s kingdom, why should the world persecute them?
What exactly does Jesus Christ teach us concerning persecution in this world? And, what’s the relationship between the gospel and persecution?
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
The act of oppressing Christians, subjecting them to suffering, contradiction, exclusion, abuse or humiliation and sometimes, death is what our Lord Jesus Christ calls persecution and he says that persecution is a direct consequence of our faith in God. So, if one isn’t persecuted, he’s not a child of God.
Christ, in Matt 13:20-21, teaches that persecution would arise precisely because of (not in spite of) the gospel. The world wasn’t worthy for John to live in just as Christ, at the age of twelve, was already fed up with this evil world and was ready to leave. The Lord himself was hated by all men and we, his followers, would as well be hated by all men unless we aren’t following him.
The mega pastors of mega churches like Adeboye, Oyedepo, Olukoya, Kumuyi, Muoka, Okonkwo, Oyakhinome, Okotie, Bakare, Enenche etc. are all very popular and very rich people in the society and because they are popular and rich, living exactly like politicians, they failed the test of true believers in Christ. Jesus Christ says, “Woe unto you that are rich”, but these mega pastors say, “Blessed are you that are rich” just as Christ says, “Blessed are you poor”, but these interlopers say, “Cursed are you poor”. Jesus Christ describes money as mammon of unrighteousness but pastors have presented money as a blessing from God and all these form the sort of mindset they create in their followers which keep them in perpetual darkness and evil mindedness.
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All men speak well of pastors as in above scripture and the reason is that they are part and parcel of this world. As quintessential false prophets, how could pastors escape the damnation of hell? Of course, they can’t suffer persecution for two major reasons: they are in cohorts with the politicians and share the same agenda of oppressing the poor so the state won’t fight them, just as they are really not interfacing with the society in terms of working to earn a living since they live on daily collections from the gullible masses.
Since pastors are immune to the vagaries of societal pressures arising from daily struggle to squeeze out one’s livelihood, they preach that Jesus Christ came to make life easy and enjoyable for believers so that those who have issues in life are made to believe they’re either outright unbelievers or unserious believers. So, the pastors are responsible for Christians ignorance regarding persecution and their ill-preparedness to handle it.
Persecution is inevitable for followers of Christ because we don’t belong to this world! Any time a foreign body enters the human body (not through the mouth), the human body tends to reject it. Sometimes, it keeps pushing the foreign body until it gets to the surface of the human skin and gets removed. As long as that foreign body is in the human flesh, the carrier of that flesh won’t feel well. This is the fate of the followers of Christ on earth. We must be rejected and ejected wherever we are on earth!!
If you claim to be a child of God but you’re not suffering persecution on daily basis, your claim is false. If you’re living securely, enjoying the cooperation of the world systems, to the extent that the world isn’t worried about you, you’re not a child of God. You’re obviously part of the system and that explains why they discuss their activities of bribery, corruption, sexual immorality, political horse trading, etc. in your presence without any qualms at all. In fact, you sometimes join them to do those abominable things apart from enjoying their corrupt company. You might be pacifist and elect to let sleeping dogs lie by not telling the people their sins and minding your business, you’re also a friend of the devil.
We know what’s happening in Nigeria but the politicians and their partners, the pastors would never say the truth about it. It’s an obvious onslaught against Christians and Christianity which was hitherto limited to the far north of Nigeria but with Buhari in power, it has cascaded and permeated the entire fabric of Nigeria but pastors would rather be politically correct than speak the truth because they’re in cohorts with the politicians. Christians in the south don’t care a damn about Christians in the north who are literally in the crucibles of persecution by the children of the devil. All these show that most Christians have a religion but not a life of God in them and such Christians don’t belong to Christ.
Christ in Matt 10:21-42 teaches us the nature of persecution and what our expectations, reactions and prayers as God’s children should be while we’re faced with it.
Mat 10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Mat 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Mat 10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Have No Fear Mat 10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
Mat 10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Mat 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Not Peace, but a Sword Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mat 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Mat 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Rewards Mat 10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
Mat 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
Mat 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
If you’ve just read the above scripture with a sincere heart, you would see the atrocious immorality of pastors for not telling the truth! The life of a child of God on earth is like that of a people in a war zone: everything (except his relationship with God) is uncertain and temporary. In the scripture above, we’re counselled to “run” and settle elsewhere if we’re persecuted or harassed in our current location.
This advice is contrary to standard Christian practice of praying, fasting, engaging the police and, sometimes, the courts just to remain where we are in spite of the persecution, especially if we bought the land and/or built the house. The itinerant nature of our lives as pilgrims is lost on Christians due mainly to the immoral messages they are fed with by wicked, godless pastors.
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Christian unity and cooperation would greatly reduce the adverse effects of Christian persecution and help us focus on the kingdom of God but pastors won’t let it happen by holding unto “their churches”, sitting on the finances and controlling their congregants like slaves! They go as far as threatening people with death if such people dared to leave their churches and escape their stranglehold. Therefore, whatever happens to other Christians in other churches apart from “our own” churches is their cup of tea!!!
If we had been able to imbibe the basic principle of the gospel which is that a believer is a child of God whose kingdom is in heaven and that righteousness is a believer’s readiness or desire to be with God (our Father) in heaven now (John 16:7-11), we’d not have issues letting go of anything in this life neither should we cry when a believer is called back home.
But, we’d been deceived all our lives by our blind teachers who are always acquiring and accumulating all manner of material wealth and influencing us to copy them to our own destruction. Because pastors are unaware of the meaning of righteousness, they waste peoples’ time harassing them about smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, covering or not covering heads in prayer, women wearing trousers, etc. as if any of those could defile anyone. Sad!
Let’s conclude this sermon with the following scripture:
Joh_16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
How much more blunt and clear could Christ have been that he was not? He’s told us that we shall be excluded and chased out of churches and/or even killed by a people who assume their zeal is of God once we stand up for the truth.
The whole point of this message is to let us know that suffering, exclusion, humiliation, oppression, abuse, poverty, hatred by the world, rejection, contradiction, death and all manner of adversities are the lot of believers in Christ in this world, although pastors would never tell us that for wicked and selfish reasons. So, rejoice whenever you encounter any of those aforementioned consequences of our faith since it validates our status as children of God. The Lord Jesus Christ bless your hearts. Amen
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