by Pastor Afolabi Oladele (preached in 2010)
Gen. 1:26 “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind,and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Man was God’s idea and that means you as a human being is not your idea. And if man was God’s idea,then man had better respect the One who made him. Too many of us go around as if we own ourselves; we behave as if we are our own creator, as if we are in control of our destinies. Yet it is crucial for us, especially in these times,to settle it in our hearts, that we don’t own ourselves. All the striving for independence, all the striving to do things the way they appear to you, can only end up disastrous. Years are gone by when things are done and taken for granted. Don’t be under illusion that you’ve got a lot of time to make amends, there is no time! So bring yourself under the authority of the most high God. In the discussion between the Lord Jesus and the disciples in Matthew 16, Jesus made a particular important proclamation: “.. I will build MY CHURCH…” (Matt. 16:18b). So, this shows us very clearly that the church is God’s idea, not the idea of any pastor, prophet, ecclesiastical manor the pope. So those of you who are in the place of rulership in God’s house and treat God’s house as if it is your own, something is about to break!Whether you call yourself a pastor or a general overseer and you misuse the house of God, be careful and repent, because God is about to shake things loose! You who lives as though the congregation is your idea, it is no man’s idea, it is God’s idea.
In a third dimension, government is God’s idea (Deut. 17:14-20) God already laid out the principles and ordinances in which governments would function and operate. So government is not any politician’s idea, it wasn’t the idea of Washington, it had been ordained by God. And when government officers or politicians begin to behave as though it is their right to rule, then something is about to break!
We need to lay emphasis on these things, that as an individual, you are not your own; as a church, that the church does not belong to the pastor but to God, and that the government itself is God’s idea.
Mark 12:1 “And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.” A certain man planted a vineyard and set an hedge around it. An hedge is a boundary by definition, and it speaks of ownership. The owner of the vineyard put a hedge around it to show that it belonged to him, and that he had a right to do whatever he wanted to do with it.
Aside putting a hedge around the vineyard, the man also dug a well in the vineyard, and built a winepress there. And why would the man put a winepress in the vineyard?That is because he had an expectation of a certain result from it. So the man who set the vineyard and committed it into the hands of a people who worked for him, expected that there would be results that would come from their occupation. God expects results from your life; God expects results from the church; God expects results from those who are the rulers of the nations.
Aside putting a winepress in the vineyard, the owner also put a tower there. The tower was intended for his workers to be able to watch, and to serve as a time-marker,because he as the owner of the vineyard would return one day to take account of what his workers had done. Ownership, expectation of results and watchfulness in terms of time-markers are attributes that should make us realize that the Lord would return soon. So if we have lived our lives as though it were our own(which indeed is the nature of man), we must remember that we will give account to our creator when He returns. How have you lived your life so far? What has God prospered from your life?
And as I speak to individuals, I also speak to the church. God expects results from the church. Is the church showing forth that which the heavenly wisdom has poured into it, or has the church taken on another form? Church is not about gathering together to show beautiful dresses or fancy cars, it is to enforce God’s authority in different areas.
Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” You may think you can devise your way, but the steps you take belong to only God, because He is the one who can deal with your steps. How many of you who are wallowing in the pit of failure because you did not understand that you can devise your way, while God orders your steps.Whatever you think you want, as long as it is not in alignment with the word of God and God’s purpose for your life, you are just wasting your time pursuing it. Why don’t you then just commit your ways to God, lay it before Him and when you have come to terms with Him being the decider, you will see how He will open the way before you: step by step. Remember, you are not your own.
Many of you are in relationships or businesses that are contrary to God, you are just wasting your life and failing in terms of meeting the expectation of your creator over you. That is why many will fill up the graves, never having achieved purpose.Will that be your story? So many are gone already, who never fulfilled the purpose for which they were created. How terrible the day of reckoning will be!You don’t have time on your hands, get back to God and settle with Him, let Him work it out.
Mark 12:2 “And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.” It is a righteous expectation from God to expect a result from what He has created. But most men want to assert independence and rob God of the ownership of His property. Each time you are walking contrary to God, you are calling God a thief, one who is trying to claim what what does not belong to Him (you, whom He created). The workers at the vineyard forgot that the owner trusted them enough to put the vineyard in their care. They got so engrossed in their own things, even killing the people He sent to them. Are you like that?
Mark 12:2-8 “And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his well beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.”
Can you notice the level of increasing violence that the workers meted out to the people that the owner of the vineyard sent to them? They beat up the first servant, they beat up and wounded the next servant, they killed the others after that; and they even killed the heir to the vineyard, so they could inherit it. They increased in violence by the day. That is the stage that man also goes through – the more you find yourself in rebellion, the worse it becomes;the greater your antagonism to God, the harder your heart becomes.
Which stage are you in terms of your relationship with God? For some of you, you can’t even hear God speak to you anymore, because each time He does, you turn deaf ears to Him. Eventually you got to a situation where you have pushed God out of your life. If you are in that situation, get back right with God now, you don’t have time.
ACTS 17:22-25 “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill,and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” Facts to note:
- The owner of the winepress is God, the One who created the world and everything in it, including you. Whether you are the president or slave, you are God’s idea and if you fail Him, you will be destroyed! For all of those who are aspiring for rulership in this nation, remember that you are not your own and if you do things anyhow, time will catch up with you and your sure end is destruction. As it is true on a national level, let is also be heard in the church: if you praise wealth above the name of Jesus, He will destroy you. And at the individual level, let it be clear to us that if we don’t obey God, we will all end up in destruction. What will you present to God on the day of your own reckoning?
- God does not dwell in temples made with human hands. God is not interested in your big synagogues or cathedrals. What defence will you have before God, that you spent 5 billion Naira building a synagogue? Don’t you steal money and bring it to church because God will judge you. God is the owner of life, He owns everything and us all. His only expectation is that we show forth His praise; that we allow our lives to declare Him unto the nations.
God made Israel to be priests unto the nations – the one that will minister the truth and the revelation of who God is unto the nations. That is what the church is supposed to be. But today, the church wants to have big cars like the world has. Is that what God asked us to show?
Mark 12:9 “What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.” Whether it is you as an individual, the custodians of the church or the rulers of the nations; if you don’t give God His expected results from you, He will destroy you. So as the husbandman of your own life,if your life is at variance with bringing forth the expectation that God wants of you, there is only one end-destruction. In your place as pastors or overseers, you can’t treat the house of God anyhow as though it is your property. 1 Pet. 5 tells us how to conduct ourselves with God’s people and God’s property – both as an example of righteousness, feeding them as a caretaker,ensuring that the Master’s expectation is ensuing from their lives; not to extort them or bring them into bondage of slavery to support your own lavish attitude. (1 Pet. 5:1-4).
- Bring forth the glory of God. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 “What?know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?For ye are bought with a price:therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” You don’t belong to yourself, your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, therefore bring forth the fruits that will bless and glorify God in your life. 1 Cor. 7:23 “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” Don’t be servants of men, serve God and bring Him glory.If you cannot conclusively say that your life is bringing forth God’s glory today, then you need to make a change right now, because you don’t have time.