Persecuted but Blessed – The best hour of the Church

Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye shares his thoughts at the Covenant House Parish RCCG on Christian Persecution and goes on to describe these days as the best hour of the Church. Also reflect on the embedded video on persecution in India …

Matthew 5:10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

New Testament Christians embraced persecutions. Persecution was the expected thing.  You cannot see in the New Testament where they hated being persecuted.  In fact they rejoiced that they were worthy to be persecuted for the Lord Jesus.  Indeed, the Lord told them they would be persecuted for His sake.  Something has gone terribly wrong with our pleasure-loving, crowd-loving, fun-chasing, persecution-hating, modern day Christianity.

We have become spineless and thus ineffective.  The gospel is meant to be confrontational.  They confronted people with their sins and with standards of God. Matthew 5:10.  Most of us abhor being persecuted.  Those who are persecuted for righteousness sake are blessed.  In these days, when sermons must not be hard but alluring, when salvation is offered to all by just repeating a prayer, sermons on repentance, hell, day of judgement must be seen as out-of-date or old fashioned.

Today, sermons are cunningly crafted not to offend anybody.  We do not want to offend our clients and customers.  Instead, we want to retain them.  The Church has been so subtly led astray that we hardly notice that Jesus said we are blessed when persecuted for righteousness sake. This blessing-crazy will not go near this brand of blessing. Why were we to see persecution for righteousness sake as a blessing?  Because great is our reward in heaven.  The result of such persecution is the accumulation of credit for us in heaven.  God cannot leave Himself without a witness.  God is calling for men and women who will contest for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.  God is looking for men and women who will refuse to compromise, men and women who will not dialogue or hold peace conferences with the enemy.

Our minds should be made up to stand with Jesus Christ in this critical hour.  We will not vacillate. It is too late.  We are hooked into Christ for all eternity.  We are neither in a popularity contest nor to be caught by the materialism flu.  We want to so stand with Christ that we will make the devil mad.  O God, take us to the place where our brand of Christianity, our loyalty to Christ enrages the devil.

Jesus preached and the people picked stones to stone Him. Stephen preached and they donated a hail of stones that sent him to heaven immediately…King Jesus stood up to receive him.  Brethren, eternity is so long.  Our 70 years on earth is so short – not up to one-billionth of eternity.  But how we spend the 70 years will determine what we get in eternity.  How foolish of us to think that the earthly things we acquire here: houses, cars, companies, titles, money, influence are the real thing.  We must be mad to measure success in such mundane, ephemeral, temporary accumulations and pursuits.  Would it not be wise to spend the 70 years with eternity in view in the company of the persecuted but blessed?  2 Corinthians 6:4-10; Hebrews 5:5-9; 1 Peter 2:7-9, 1 Peter 4:12-16.

It is not about me

The Gospel is not about me.  It is about God.  The work I am doing for God is not about me, it is about God.  The challenges I am facing are not about me, they are about God.  The things heaven wants to accomplish are not about me they are about God.  The opposition rising up against me is not about me, they are about God.  The hosts of hell and their human agents rising in fury are not about me, they are about God.   God has chosen His style and God is always right.  He may wait until I am pressed to the wall or squeezed like a tube of paste, but God will always come through.  God waited until Moses was faced with a dilemma.  The Red Sea was in front, mountains on the side and Pharaoh’s army at the back.  There was nowhere to run.  I say it is not about me, it is about God. Joseph was squeezed and re-squeezed.  From being a pet son, he was sold into slavery to prison.  It was a double squeeze lasting 13 years still he came through.  God will always come through.

Imagine the Lord Jesus telling the disciples to give the multitude food.  Where will they get the food to buy to feed such a multitude?  The Lord knew what He would do. He came through for them.  He will come through for me and for you.  It is not about you or me, it is about God.

Enlarge your tent

Enlarge your vision. Enlarge the area you want to cover for God.  Enlarge your influence for God.  It is too small if it is for God. It is not about you, it is about God.  You see so many opportunities pass you by. You see so many things you could do for Him but you seem hindered, you seem incapable.  Remember it is not about you, it is about God. Why should I enlarge my tent when I have not even filled the tent? It is too big for you; it is too small for God. It is not about you, it is about God.

Enlarge your prayer.  Ask for greater things from God. Ephesians 3:19-20.  Ask for greater things …if He intends that you should be filled with all the fullness of God, you should come to the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Why should you squeeze God into your tent? It is too small for God.  Throw yourself into the box of God where you can have space to swim.  You are in God’s team where you can do impossibilities.  Do not squeeze God into a box.  It is not about you, it is about God.

Enlarge your vision.  Enlarge your confession.  Enlarge your expectation of God.  Enlarge the result you are expecting to get of converts, of miracles, of answered prayer.  It is not about you, it is about God.  There are so many prophecies, things that have to be fulfilled before the rapture.  The whole creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.

It is not my fault that I am alive at a time like this.  It is a privilege for me and too bad for the devil. The word of God must come to pass.  Satan and his forces must be defeated.  That is the word of the Lord.  It is not about me, it is about God.  God must win and win gloriously. I am in God’s team.  I can boast.  I can be jubilant, we shall win.

All the dust that Satan is raising will not scare me.  I can see beyond his threatening. He is born to lose.  I am in the best hour of the Church age.  The end of all things has come.  I am on the right side. It is not about me.  It is about God.

Rise and shine for God when darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. Isaiah 60:1-2

God bless you…for more on Persecution of Christians in Northern Nigeria .

Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye preached this message at RCCG Covenant House  April11, 2010.

Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, Chairman – Northern States (of Nigeria) Christian Elders Forum  – NOSCEF, oversees the Food for the Total Man Ministry – The Jesus Embassy : 3, Broadcasting Road, P.O.Box 5127, Kaduna, Nigeria.

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