by Pastor Afolabi Oladele
The word of the Lord came to me saying, “Unless some of you stop, think, plan, and start to execute the things that matter most to God at this time, Satan and the world that he temporarily rules; indifference, passivity and procrastination would have won against you.” But it won’t be that way for everybody because there will be a remnant who knows what it is all about, and it would be obvious who truly is following the Lord and who claims to love the Lord, yet is burning incense at a different alter.
It is possible for a people to be revived and they still choose not to follow the Lord through. Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
Verse 3a shows that we all have a choice to make where it says, “then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord…” This shows that it is possible for one to have been revived but yet never really follows through. And that is the present danger that we all need to deal with. It would be obvious who is really following the Lord and who claims to love the Lord but is burning incense at another altar. God commands this day that you present Him a heart of wisdom.
There is a mental set that is found in the people of God which is reflected in the story of Solomon. If you don’t understand what the issues are and how they affect you as a believer, you risk being among those who are burning incense on a strange altar even though you say you love the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 3:10, 11 “I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”
Think for a minute, is it really true that God has set the world in the hearts of men so that no man can find out the work He is doing from the beginning to the end? I tell you, that is Solomon’s perception, that is not God’s. Solomon got so vast in the wisdom of the world, so sold to the world that he himself became part of the world, and that’s why he came to that conclusion.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” If you place this scripture against Ecclesiastes 3:11, you will find that they are contrary. Is it not irrational for God who says, “In me you will have peace, in the world you will have tribulation” to then put the world in your hearts? That is not God! But you must know that it is your choice if the world is in your heart. God has not put the world in any man’s heart, because He knows that the world is under the temporary rulership of the devil.
God made a statement of fact when He said “… in this world you will have tribulation …”, but men choose to embrace the tribulation.
The Message Translation puts it this way: “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” In another translation, it calls it distractions, or things that turn your attention away. You will never understand the difference when you are drinking the ‘wine of Babylon’ and you consider it as “life is good”. The time is here when we will know those who are truly serving the Lord, from those who claim to serve Him but are burning incense at a different altar.
There are too many things that the world serves us and thrusts on us which we are unable to refuse; because they are not the things that God wants for us. Instead we accept them because we see them all around us every day. Solomon came to that conclusion, but I put it to you that except you know and understand that God did not put the world in your heart, you will deceive yourself into thinking that what the world offers is what God is giving you.
The church itself is running after the same things that the world is running after: you dress like them, you eat like them, you drive like them, and you do everything like them, because you take your standards from the world, not from the word of God. God did not put the world in our hearts, we chose to love the world and pattern our lives after it.
Eccle 8:17, 9:1 “Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it. For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.”
I want to get you to understand a few things about the will of God. When an ocean liner is moving, the people aboard are not all static, but doing different things; some will be sleeping, some chatting, some walking about, and some working; but whatever they are doing does not change the direction of the ocean liner’s destination. That is the way the will of God works. If we are walking in righteousness with the Lord, we will operate in different kinds of gifting, but all working in the same direction. So you need to know what is allowed you as an individual in this race and what you are not allowed to do. If you cannot make that distinction, many of you will make shipwreck of your faith and you will still be saying that you are a Christian, whereas you are gone!
Solomon’s wrong conclusion was as a result of a confused state of mind of a man who had abandoned God, yet what he said proves to be true for many of us believers. His conclusion is wrong because it is not God who put the world in men’s heart, men choose to do so; and that is the present danger of many believers.
1 Cor. 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” Can you see this scripture attacking the conclusion of King Solomon? If it were not the covenant God had with David working for Solomon, I would say he was a candidate for hell. If you walk in righteousness with God, you will know the things to do and the things not to do. If you are confused and you are doing the wrong thing claiming that you are walking in righteousness with God, there’s a big question mark on you.
God has not given us the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, and the Spirit which is of God tells me that I have overcome the world. You don’t have to embrace the distractions of the world, you don’t have to take the tribulations of the world, you don’t have to take your standards from the world; but it is your choice. You need to make a clear distinction of these things so that you don’t go about saying you are a Christian but everything about you speaks the world; you are deceiving yourself. If you are schooled in the word of God, nobody needs to tell you what is right from wrong, you would know. Take your Bibles and read, read it by the Spirit of God; dwell on it, eat it and it will be obvious to you that what we see in churches today, are just houses of illusion. If you say I judge them, I do, but I judge them according to the word of God. I am not a perfect man, but I know where I take my standards from.
1 Cor. 3:18 “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”
The Message Translation says “Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times.”
Some people in my house, who used to call me ‘old school’, now call me ‘analogue’. They said the world has gone digital but I am still analogue. I am ‘analogue’ because my standards are taken from the word of God. And I am not trying to be mean, I just want to be down to earth, because we need to know who is truly following the Lord. What witness will I give you if you see me sitting at a table with a bottle of beer placed before me? Even if I was not drinking it, won’t you be doubtful about my testimony?
You need to know what you are communicating at every moment in time. I don’t have to be up-to-date with the times, you don’t have to be up-to-date with the times, and you can still be as pretty and handsome as God has made you. God didn’t give us the spirit of this world, but if you get swallowed up in the world, you will go with it.
1 Cor. 7:31 AMP “And those who deal with this world [overusing the enjoyments of this life] as though they were not absorbed by it and as if they had no dealings with it. For the outward form of this world (the present world order) is passing away.” In other words, the things that you consider as enjoyments are passing away.
The Message Translation puts it this way: “Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you sees it is on its way out.”
When the world thrusts it distractions on you, it is your responsibility to push them back. But you need to have known that it is the world thrusting these things at you, else you would just embrace them. How can we be deliberately embracing things that are destructive to our lives when Jesus has offered us peace?
The church has lost its power because it went on a banana peel to the world, because the world suddenly set the standard for the church. I also drank of the wine of Babylon but I am purging myself every day. From education to everything, we have been stuffed with so many things of the world. But those things by which I am said to have prospered, I am now beginning to see them as the things that are undoing me.
Looking at the parable of the lost sheep, it does not make business sense. How can a man leave ninety-nine sheep to go and look for one lost sheep? Which will cost him more? But that shows us that God’s thinking is so far different from ours. I now understood why it took forty years for God to purge Moses of all the things he had learnt in Egypt. The world has so eaten deep into all of us that we must make deliberate, conscious efforts to purge ourselves of them, otherwise these things would cause us to slip away, and we will still be saying we are Christians whereas we are gone. Apply these things to every dimension of your lives.
1 John 4:5 “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.”
When I thought this through, I found out that it is not only when I am talking that I communicate; my actions, everything about me also speak. In other words, the only way people will know of what nature I am, or what I belong to, is what I communicate. I don’t have to tell you I am of the world with my mouth, my moderation; my disposition already tells the story.
I took time to break these down, to make you to see a paradox here; what the world stands for, and how believers get themselves soaked in it, not knowing that it is destructive to their nature. Now that you know, I hope you will make the right choices going forward, because the way things are going in the world, many will find themselves in positions where they have totally compromised. And because they have never built their trust in the things of God, they will go with the world.
I want to give you a glimpse of the world in the years to come, starting from 2011.
Luke 14:16-24 “Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 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. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed 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. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
I want you to take note of the phrase, “… they all with one consent…” this suggests that the invited guests actually ganged up and agreed not to attend the party. Then I understood that even though this parable spoke concerning the Pharisees and the Sadducees of the days of Jesus, who commonly rejected Jesus; but it was speaking concerning the nations of our times also, as is seen In Psalm 2 which says, “why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the world gathered themselves together against the Lord and His anointed.” The people who were invited were the men of substance in the land; because someone who is buying land, buying cow or marrying a wife is not a poor man.
We are in the times when people of substance, nations will say “God, we don’t need you”. Look at the nations of the world; when a people are in trouble, shouldn’t they be asking God for help? Which nation of the world that has been in crisis in the last five years did you hear even their president declare a fast or prayer unto God?
I want to show you why things are not going to get better in the world: God already put a damnation upon those that rejected Him when He said, “they will never taste of my supper”. In other words, the world and the nations of the world are not going to see any kindness from God, except in places where people are interceding for God’s help. I am simply saying that when I look at the general trend of events, in the manner in which God has set it, the nations of the world are already under judgment; there is no gainsaying about that.
Whereas God has set judgment upon nations, except in places where people are actively interceding to God. In 2Chronicles 6, you will find out that when the people sinned, the heavens were shut up; no rain for agriculture which was the economy of their day. When the economy is failing, God would only turn things around if the people humbled themselves and called on the name of the Lord. It is only in places where people are actively seeking God in prayers that there will be a difference, if not, judgment prevails. That is why we tell you to pray for our nation Nigeria, pray for the rulers; because we know that is the only way we can change the circumstances concerning our nation.
God later stepped it downed from nations and from government and went after individuals. Looking at the counterpart scripture in Matthew 22, you will find that of the maimed, lame and others who were later invited, there was a man who was not robed in his garment for the party. If you don’t have the garment of righteousness, you are in soup. That man had the time to have collected the garment and put it on, but he chose not to; and he was bound hand and foot and thrust out into darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The world that you are looking at today and accepting its dainties, has judgment already appointed of it; and if you have clothe yourself with that world, do you think you will be accepted at God’s wedding party? Never! I am saying these things to you as an individual, and the church at large, to take heed to these things, because judgment starts in the house of God.
Isaiah 8:9-10 “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.”
Look at all the things that have been done to try to resurrect the economies of the world, has it gotten better? No, because they rejected the real source of help.
Verses 11-12 “For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”
I found out that anytime God came down to speak to His people, the first thing He says is usually, “Fear not”. And my word to you by the Spirit of the Lord, notwithstanding everything that will befall the world is “fear not”; because when you are on the Lord’s side, you are under cover. Reject the world, rejects its standards; don’t accept the things it thrusts at you; because those who observe lying vanities forsake their own mercies. That’s exactly what you are doing when you are meddling with the world.
Let’s pay attention to what is crucial to God. Take time to stop, think, plan and begin to execute those things that matter to God.
Matthew 14:22-27 “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Jesus was praying, while He had sent his disciples away. The time between when He sent them away and the fourth watch of the night, they were in trouble. There were skilled fishermen among them who knew about waters, but their skills could not stop what was going on. Think about that. But Jesus saw them, He knew they were in trouble, and He showed up when He knew their faith was going to break. Storms will come, but He sees you, He won’t allow you to go under, He will appear right on time.
Don’t be afraid of whatever comes your way, but be under Christ’s cover. Be sure that you are accepted of Him; you can’t be of the world and also be of Jesus, that’s impossible.
When Jesus told them not to be afraid, Peter said, “if it be you, bid me to come”; in other words, Peter prayed. The Lord answered his prayer, and he heard the word of the Master in the place of prayer. Do you really have a place of prayer? Do you have a place where you stand in God’s presence and you can listen to Him? And when you hear Him in the place of prayer, do you obey Him?
Peter prayed, God answered and Peter obeyed. As long as Peter’s obeyed the word and kept his eyes on the Lord, the storms could not overpower him. There is a connection between hearing the word that is spoken to you in the place of prayer, obeying it, and surmounting the things that surround you. We want to react to temporary circumstance in our wisdom, and that’s what happened to Peter. The moment he shifted his eyes away from his Master and began to look at his world, doubts crept in, and he began to sink. Make a difference in this New Year.
Understand the double jeopardy that, those who take their standards from the world have no basis for faith for troubled times. Will you as a matter of principle for the year going ahead, stop, think, plan, and begin to execute the things that are important to God? Will you honestly request for guidance from the Lord? Will you commit to receiving and obeying His instructions; determinately resist the things that the world foists on you, and hold on to the word of faith so that you can stand and be a militant for Jesus in this year? The choice is yours!