SEARCH THE SCRIPTURE CONFERENCE
2nd Plenary Session – Friday 14 February 2014
A STUDY OF JOHN 9
- Bro. Dayo Adeyemo
Search the Scripture Conference is not just another initiative; it is the beginning of a revolution. In the day when Martin Luther simply followed the prompting of his heart to write down 95 reasons he believed the Catholic system was wrong and nailed the same on the cathedral door, he would never have imagined that the outcome would be a worldwide movement that is still a reference point till date. To put it as bluntly as possible, things cannot continue the way they have been in the body of Christ. At some point, there has got to be a change, and I believe that change can begin with us. We trust God that this initiative will ignite a new direction entirely in the Body of Christ and may we all gathered here today be the agents of spreading the fire of reformation all across the earth.
We are returning to the basics of Christianity. Unknown to many, particularly the younger generation, what we call Christianity today is very much different from what the older Christians who gave their lives to Christ in the 80’s or 70’s. Today, we have two different and diametrically opposite things that go by the same name; Christianity. And you have to be discerning to be able to know which is the authentic and original faith of Christ, and which one is the fabrication of the world in order to deceive.
DECEPTION AND THE END TIME
Needless to say, these are the end times; scriptures like Matt. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, I Timothy 4:1, II Tim. 3:1-9; 4:1-5, II Peter 2,3 etc prove this beyond doubt. There is however something that is always associated with the end time. The Olivet discourse in Matt 24 started when the disciples asked Jesus, “Tell us the things that will characterize your coming and the end of age.” The first thing He said was this, “See that no man deceive you.” And in virtually all end time scriptures I know of, the first thing that is usually pointed out is the seriousness and the lethal danger of deception. Paul, in talking about the end time, started with this same matter of deception. He said, “As touching the return of the Lord, I will not want you to be deceived by anybody for that day shall not come unless there is the appearance of the man of sin and the son of man perdition.” And the stock-in-trade of the man of sin is deception. It smells like God, feels like God, looks like God, speaks like God but is not God. The same thing in I Thess. 4:13.
So the church today had better know that deception is a core issue that characterizes the end time. And the deceived person does not know it; he will argue to any extent that he is not, and even give you facts and figures; howbeit, he’s under deception.
Key areas of deception
Magnificent buildings: What stirred up the Olivet discourse in Matt 24? The apostles looked at the temple building and admired its magnificence; but Jesus Christ looked at them and pitied their naivety, and he said, “Do you see the thing that you are admiring? A time is coming when not one stone will be left atop the other.” Today we can also look at the mighty buildings, the mega structures and empires, the multimillion naira and dollar religious organisations and then we say, surely this is God. Beloved, do not be deceived. That it is a multi-million naira religious empire with magnificent buildings does not make it God.
Prosperity: In Revelations 3, the Laodicean church claimed that she was rich, blessed and prosperous, but Jesus said you do not know - which means she’s under deception. And prophecy analyst have said that today’s church generation is the Laodicean church. That an individual or ministry is materially prosperous does not necessarily mean it is God.
High sounding knowledge/revelation: There are two sources of revelation. One is from God and the other is from the same old serpent that deceived Eve. Today, the messages of the New Age is rampant. The Corinthian church was rich in knowledge and spiritual gifting. Yet, when Heaven read out their score card, they were said to be carnal.
Signs, wonders and exploits: Jesus said, many will come in my name and say did we not cast out devils in your name and in your name did we not do mighty works? Matt. 7:21-23; II Thess 2:9; Rev. 13:11-14.
Church/ministry activities: Matt. 7:21-23
Powerful preaching: Col. 2:4, II Tim. 4:3
People in collar: Matt. 24:11, II Cor. 11:13
A STUDY OF JOHN 9
I want to address about three or four things from this very interesting episode. The first thing that strikes me is the fact that it is possible for a man to be born blind. Being born here, of course, refers to being born again; becoming a member of the body of Christ. While it is possible for a man to lose one’s sight perhaps due to accident or aging, to be born blind is a mystery, because when a person gets born again, it is assumed that he/she has now begun to see (the Kingdom of God). and whenever anybody truly sights the Kingdom, the next thing he/she automatically does is to begin to press in order to enter the Kingdom. It is not possible to see the Kingdom of God and to still be running after the things of this world.
Alas, we have a situation here, in which a man was born blind. Notice that this man was found in the temple. He was an active worker in church, perhaps a member of two or three different activity groups. He was a regular tither and giver in church. They called him ‘Brother’ yet this man has never sighted the Kingdom. We have a similar situation in the body of Christ today where many have truly believed and have professed Jesus and have become active workers in church but they have never seen the Kingdom.
And this is the reason for this school of thought: we do know the genuine transformation that should occur in the life of someone who has truly encountered Christ. This man will later say, “Once I was blind, now I see.” In the days when some of us gave our lives to Christ, our appetite for those things of the world simply died. We were not being chased to attend fellowship or read the scriptures or pray because what happened to us was a genuine change. Alas, we have a situation today in the body of Christ where people who have truly recited the sinners’ prayer – the same sinners’ prayer that we recited – and yet the change that should accompany the new birth is not there. The passion that they should have to seek God and love God is not there. In the days when we first came to know the Lord, there was such a willingness to serve God and know God. we were not looking for monetary returns. How much have things changed today. And this has generated a burden in the hearts of some of us that something is wrong somewhere.
I believe that this scripture is God’s response to that burden: many are born blind. I am not disputing the fact that at one time or the other in your life, you actually said yes to Jesus and was led in the sinners’ prayer. Even though you did all of that, the question to you today is did you really see the Kingdom? May you have an encounter with the Spirit of Christ so that you may begin to see.
From what his parents said of him, we know that this man must be well of 30 years of age. He was more than 30 years in the religious system, yet for all that period, the system could not help him in his blindness. I am reminded of that woman whom Jesus called the daughter of Abraham whose back was bent, lo, 18 years, coming regularly to the temple, yet the system could do nothing. We have situations today in which the system can promise to make you a millionaire and a 100 fold return on a financial seed but this same system falls short in that which is most important: transforming sin-bound and world chasing people into Kingdom minded saints.
Do we not have some of our church members who are more than 10 years in church, yet have never been convicted of sin and driven to the foot of the cross? Yet the system prophesies on them Sunday after Sunday and receives their tithes and offerings but has not truly helped them when it comes to this matter of salvation. When even the leadership is struggling with sin and he excuses it for ‘holy anger.’
Siloam: the apostolic ministry
But thank God for Jesus; he came to the scene and asked the man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam which is interpreted, “Sent.” The word, sent, in the Greek is ‘apostolos’ from which we get the word, ‘apostle.’ Thus, the pool of Siloam represents the apostolic ministry, which was what the Lord exposed this man to. The apostolic spirit or anointing is a dimension of the spirit of Christ and the function of the apostolic ministry is to open the eyes of the blind. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light and those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isa. 9:2) Paul, describing his commission in Acts 26:16-18, said he was mandated to “open their eyes in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of satan to God.” He again alluded to this in II Cor. 4:3-4 when he said that the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. Hopefully in the near future, we will do a study on the apostolic ministry and why that ministry must return in full force to the Body of Christ, particularly as we undertake this exercise of searching the scriptures. You really can’t search the scriptures if your eyes are closed. That was why Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, “That the Father of glory may give onto them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him and that the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, they may know what is the hope of His calling.” (Eph. 1:17-20)
I observe with interest the way the religious system rose up in fury to intimidate this man after his eyes got opened. The system will prefer that he remained in darkness and continue in his cycle of activities. They began to ask him questions and throw up every reason under heaven to discredit the authentic testimony of this man. The system is a specialist in intimidating people, at cowering people and manipulating them. You dare not ask questions. In fact, the system we have today does not permit someone in the congregation getting up to ask a question. It wanted this guy to feel so guilty that he would willingly go back into his blindness. But what had happened to him was genuine; it was not goose pimples; his eyes had become open!
So they summoned his parents who had already been completely cowered. So it is no wonder the parents did not want to implicate themselves. That was why they told the religious authorities to ask the man directly. Because the authorities had vowed to excommunicate anybody that sides with Jesus. Now, there is a social dimension of church; I don’t have really unbeliever friends. My friends are those we fellowship together. So if I am thrown out of church, there is an emotional trauma that I am subjected to because even my close friends would not want to go against the authority of the church. The people that help me are my church brethren; when that relation is severed, I am left in the cold. Most probably the person that employed is a member of the church and should I be thrown out, he might tell me on Monday morning that my services are no longer required. Perhaps, my landlord is a church member and when I begin to raise questions and then get thrown out, he may come and tell me to look for another accommodation.
So the people knew very well the implications of being disfellowshipped, so they were not ready to stake their necks. A pastor in this city was sharing his experience. He had gone with another friend to a ministers’ conference. After the meeting, both of them went to the office of the convener of the meeting, a senior minister, perhaps to greet him and as they sat in the reception with others, suddenly, the man’s P.A. stepped out of the office and asked them all to stand up and face the wall. Reason? The big man of God was coming out! These things happen right in our society. Don’t you get moved when a brother or sister has to be on their knees throughout a 5 to 10 minutes conversation with a man of God? That is not the spirit of Christ – neither in the Old Testament nor in the New. Please note that anytime an emissary from the celestials visits a man, the awe of the celestial being is so overwhelming that the man falls down almost dead. But the first thing that the messenger would always say is, “Fear not!” - whether it is God, Jesus, the angels or any of the Lord’s apostles. The first thing they do is to bring you up your feet and say, fear not. Any spirit that thrives on intimidation, that wants to cower the people of God, that is threatened whenever brethren ask questions is surely not the spirit of God. God does not operate in an atmosphere of fear, for God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love, of power and of a sound mind.
There is something that has happened to today’s church generation. It is an African thing. When I was a child and I once told my father that what he said was a lie, he rebuked me and said that a child does not say an elder is lying. So even when something is going wrong and the child sees it, he has to keep mum. But I am so excited in my spirit because if you indeed have a genuine encounter with the spirit of Christ – yes you were born truly howbeit into a religious system, but when you now see the Kingdom, something happens to you. Just one encounter and this man became something else. In the entire four gospels, I have never seen anybody with the effrontery, the spiritual stature and the scriptural depth to withstand the overwhelming intimidation of the Pharisaic spirit and the Sanhedrin council except the Lord Jesus and John the Baptist. Well, this erstwhile blind fellow, just by an encounter at the pool of Siloam, added to the number – even before Peter and the other disciples. The spirit of Christ is the spirit of wisdom. This man was not lettered; he never went to a seminary but with his little testimony and insight, he could stand face to face with the entire religious authorities and completely rubbish their legalistic traditions and religious reasonings.
Did you see the level of boldness that came upon this man after his encounter with the spirit of Christ? He told the Pharisees, I have told you before, why are you asking again, do you also want to become his disciples? They don’t talk with the Pharisees that way. But boldness, wisdom and an ability to stand for truth comes upon you when you have a true encounter with the spirit of Christ. You will be able to truthfully say, I do not care what man can do to me. And I pray that young men and women will rise from this meeting with a boldness to begin to speak for the cause of truth. One of the things that birthed this Conference is the challenge I received from the Spirit of God around mid-last year. You see, there are some things the Lord has revealed to us as far back as 15 years ago which we have kept quiet about because we do not want to offend people. God said, for how long will you continue to keep quiet? Martin Luther said, if I refuse to speak, I shall be like a cloak that covers evil. Not to speak is to betray the truth. Martin Luther King Jnr. said, In the end, we shall remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
It’s my earnest prayer for you and for all those who will listen to the CD or read the transcript that if you were born into the religious system, you will now begin to see, or if you were seeing men as trees before, the Lord will bring a second touch into your life. I see the way some of my contemporaries burn themselves out on the religious organisation as if the organisation shed a pint of blood for them – to the extent that their personal relationship with God suffers because they want to serve the system. That is deception. May you obtain your freedom tonight. The difference between a Christian and other religionists is while may also be very zealous, none of them can boast of a personal relationship with God. And this is the Christian advantage. But if you jettison that for the sake of activity and devotion to the system, you are of all men to be most pitied. Jesus said, my sheep know me and hear my voice and the voice of the stranger they will not follow. The surest antidote against the deception of the times is for you to know the shepherd. Some of us have been exposed to all manner of things in our few years of walking with the Lord. What has kept us standing is the correctness of our foundation. If you will be part of the generation that will bring back authentic faith and lifestyle, your intimate relationship with the Lord must be intact.
- Lord, I have been born again but open my eyes, let me truly see the Kingdom.
- Bless me with an encounter that will produce a genuine transformation in me, that will enable me to walk in boldness, discernment, wisdom and cause me to lose my appetite for the ephemeral things of this life.
- While the generation of our fathers had a genuine encounter in the 70’s and early 80’s that many of them are still running with, our generation is merely an echo and not a distinct voice. The difference is encounter. Lord, in your mercy, visit our generation with an encounter so that the testimony of your doings may indeed be from generation to generation.
- Lord, thank you for what you have done in the generations past. But we cry that you do something new, something awesome in our days.
The Lord is saying that there are some here tonight whose hairs have been shaven like Samson, but he has heard your cries tonight and those hairs will begin to grow again. There are some who have lost their passion of prayer, of worship, of seeking and saving the lost, of the diligent study of the word, the enemy has stolen the passion and redirected it on something else. The Lord says he has heard your prayers tonight and that passion is being restored. The Lord is passing through the midst of his flock tonight and he’s transforming mere ordinary defenceless docile sheep into majestic warhorses ready for the battle. The Lord says mantles are dropping from heaven tonight. Ancient mantles from heaven are dropping tonight. Mantles worn by the prophets and the apostles are dropping tonight. There is a recruitment in the Spirit and a new mobilisation tonight. It is a new beginning.