At the just concluded solemn assembly of worship, prayers and the word of the Redeemed Christian Church of God themed “Let the Fire Fall”, Pastor Enoch Adeboye shared several gems of divine wisdom and insights…but there is one solemn thought that keeps niggling at my soul. It is seen in a story.
Many years ago amongst the people of Ife-Wara in Nigeria ( a small community of humble villagers) was a very peculiar tradition. At the wedding night, it was considered normal that the bride would be found to be a virgin and customary that the family of the groom would return to the bride’s family with special additional generous gifts and singing in confirmation of this – to thank the family for keeping their daughter unspotted. However, if the groom discovered the bride not to be one, then there would also be a visit by the groom’s family with songs of shameful mocking and demeaning presentations. Because of this tradition – the honour of families were guarded and linked to how well they trained and kept their daughters. This “crude” practice provided somewhat effective checks to curb immorality.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye narrated an application of this tradition (many years ago) in the story of his dear sister and her lady friend. The lady friend got married first and there was dismay and an embarrassing alarm as the groom’s family came later in the night after the wedding with mockery to report that she was not what they expected. The turn of his sister came years later and the Adeboye family was of course naturally anxious especially ma Adeboye (young Enoch’s mother) who fretted endlessly at the prospect of shame if her daughter was found defiled. Everyone in the community understood and accepted the tradition and there was no small relief when later in the night, the guests came with joyful singing and beautiful generous gifts indicating all was well. I understand these traditions still exist in some communities. You will tend to find even before the gospel came to these communities that immorality was low as the associated social stigma was greatly feared.
Discussing the “The last fires”, Pastor Adeboye spoke of two final fires. The first fire is the Fire of Hell which is for the damned who rejected the grace of the gospel or backsliders or the carnal who lived in reckless or just careless abandon.
Revelation 20 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The second is the fire that will try our works and service to God to see the quality and judge for appropriate reward
I Corinthians 3 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The summary of it all is that in the future are days of discovery for all acts – hidden or known. And also all that was done with questionable motives (i.e. from God’s perspective). God Himself will administer the fire to try all our deeds and just as in the wedding illustration narrated above … it may be a day of ugly revelations and regret or could be a day of joy. The time to reflect on this and adjust is now … do not set yourself for an ugly epilogue.
True ministers will be thanked for preparing people for heaven. False shepherds will be humiliated for teaching an alternative gospel often for influence, money or approval of men. We are in an era that mocks many biblical moral instructions as “legalism” or impossible to practice because of “innate” challenges even when we know many of these disciplines and acts of self control and separation have been embraced before – even amongst rural unbelievers. In Christ Jesus we can climb even higher up the mountain of consecration and like a soaring eagle excel in ethics … in Business, Ministry and personal life…
Do pray for the purifying fire of God to touch your failures, losses and sorrows – your successes, gains and gladness – your projects, health and wisdom – your today, past and future….crying for healing, revival and mercy…and grace to change your ways.
What type of songs will be rendered for you at the final assembly?
I do pray for mercy and that we shall meet in Heaven .. someday.