SEARCH THE SCRIPTURE CONFERENCE
Maiden edition: Feb. 14-15, 2014, held at the Chapel of Resurrection, University of Ibadan
1ST PLENARY, Fri. 14 Feb: TWO GENERATIONS IN THE KINGDOM.
Speaker - BRO. EGUNJOBI ADEBARE
“But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.” - Ezra 3:12-13 [NKJV]
For the opening charge of this Search the Scripture Conference, we’ll consider two generations: the characteristics, the peculiarities and the differences of these generations and the lessons we can learn. From the scripture that was read, the temple that was built for 10 years had been destroyed, it was built from the cedar of Lebanon; the stones were cut at the quarry site, away from the temple site so as to avoid noise in the temple. The construction of the temple took years; it took commitment; it took specific instructions from King David for Solomon to do what he did.
This was the temple that, on the day of dedication, was so much filled with the cloud of glory that the priest could not enter; it was this same temple that had been destroyed. This was that temple for which King Solomon sacrificed more than 1,000 animals in one day and God gave him a blank cheque to ask anything he wanted; that was the temple that was destroyed.
About 70 years after its destruction, God then commissioned a man called Cyrus to give permission to the people of God to rebuild the temple; and Cyrus gave clear instructions that anyone who God has so laid in his heart should rebuild the temple. So the people gathered together and the foundation for the temple was laid; and on this day there was much shouting. That is the beginning of these two generations. A generation shouted for joy, but there were some men - the ancients; they looked at it and they saw it is just a similitude; it doesn’t look like the real thing. The design may be there, the model may be there, but it does not look like the old temple they saw or perhaps read about before it was destroyed - and they started crying!
The shout and the crying met together and there was a loud noise; it wasn’t a voice anymore. When the first temple was about to be constructed, it was a voice that prompted David, Solomon and the priests. This time around, there was no voice but there was noise; crying and shouting mixed together to produce noise. And the bible recorded, in verse 13, that the noise was heard afar off, and the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people. That inability to differentiate certainly was a problem and this is where we are today. Many people can still not differentiate between the cry and the shout. Those who do not know the correct thing will be in the majority and their shout will overshadow those who are crying.
To which generation do you belong? That is the crux of the matter and we can never get it right until we go to the scripture, because I have had to ask myself: all this while in the Kingdom, have I been shouting or crying? Do I need to migrate? And this is why we are here to search the scriptures to see the basis for what we are holding. Has it been the original or is it fake; is it good enough to promote shout of joy or is it bad enough for us to cry for the original?
The shouting generation
“Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, "Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears." But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man's plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle; and the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads. So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.” - I Sam. 13:19-22
This is the generation that thinks all is well. There was a battle in Israel and people were going to war. But in the entire land of Israel, there was no single smith who could manufacture instruments of war! We are talking of the entire 12 tribes of Israel; this is a nation that was founded with battle by battle and on battle; a nation that cannot be dissociated from battle, a nation that the day they left the land of Egypt, it was amidst loud wailings of the Egyptians for the death of their firstborns. How come such a nation now has no single smith to manufacture the implements of war? This is nothing short of a tragedy. In verse 20, we are told that all the Israelites went down to the Philistines. Can you imagine this? In the day of peace before crisis came, the Philistines had their strategy in place: let there be no smith in Israel. Let them depend on us. And the gullible Israelites entered into that bargain; after all there is no war!
Have you noticed that in the church today, virtually everything we do, we learn from the Philistines? Thank God we are here today, but valentine parities are going on outside there. Let’s go to the Philistines; let’s learn their strategies; let’s learn their approach; let’s learn their dancing steps. Do you notice that choreography is taking the place of Sunday school today? Do you know that many churches are collapsing the Sunday school department and are building dance department? Let’s go to the Philistine to sharpen our domestic and farming implements - after all it is the day of peace who cares? It did not occur to anybody that when the day of battle comes, the whole nation will be stranded and left at the mercy of their enemy. How then shall they fight?
Today, how many believers have swords and spears? How many believers have quality devotional time with God again? Daily Manna, Open Heavens and other devotionals have taken over. How many believers are personally seeking the face of God? Years ago, Pastor Kumuyi did not have to do any Daily Manna; Baba Adeboye did not have to publish any Open Heavens, because every man would go to God directly and receive directly from God and not regurgitated food. Many believers in this generation have no sword or spear, so it is what our daddy in the Lord says. Let us say the truth here because this is Search the Scripture Conference; it is not just a meeting but a call to revolution.
Notice one thing, in the hands of Saul and Jonathan, there were weapons; how come? Could it be that they were wiser, smarter or simply mischievous? How come they had weapons while others didn’t? And they want to lead an army, what will happen to that army? How come that many of our G.O’s today have swords and spears but they are leading a sheepish congregation without swords and spears! How come that only few people in every assembly will have a direct relationship with God and others will just be running after G.O’s. This is the generation that jumps at anything, laughs at anything and claps for anything.
The simple generation – II Sam. 15:11
“And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything.” [NKJV]
“And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not anything. [KJV]
There is a conspiracy presently against the correct gospel and that conspiracy is getting stronger and stronger every day (vs. 12). We seem to be going away from the ancient landmark on a daily basis. To be a pastor now, I don’t need to be called, all I need is good grammar and psychology books and I will be able to deceive those who have no sword or spear; I will turn everything upside down. I will say, care for your self esteem; it’s about self actualization; it’s all about your self-worth. Yet, the bible says, every man who wants to be my disciple, let him deny himself. The same thing that the bible says should be denied is what the pastor promotes – a complete contrast. But the generation that does not know its right from its left will swallow it hook line and sinker. Why? Because, like the fruit given to Eve, it was beautiful, desirable and able to make one wise; so nobody questions anymore. We are opposing the bible right from the pulpit; the greatest enemy of the church is not outside the church but right inside the church.
Today, it will take 20 minutes to introduce the man of God, and the gullible believers will begin to clap; clapping for the self that should be denied and killed. And when we raise self, God will leave us and we begin to hear from man. so the conspiracy is getting stronger but it all started because of the 200 men that started with Absalom. They were described as simple who did not know anything. Do you know that so many people have been caught in this web of conspiracy against scriptures out of their simplicity and innocence? In the first instance, the gospel message you responded to, did it address the issue of eternity on your soul? Is it not the message of give your life to Christ so that it will be better for you? No foundation. If receiving Jesus is so that can get a visa to travel overseas, then you don’t need this salvation. If you receive Jesus, you’ll become a millionaire - that’s not the whole truth; being a Christian is much more than that. Dangote is acclaimed the richest man in Africa - is he a Christian? There are other ways to become a millionaire without being a Christian, but what is fundamental is that you cannot make heaven without being a Christian; that’s the foundation.
So in simplicity, many Christians today are just following; after all, they themselves do not have any solid personal relationship with God and they are not exposed to solid scriptural teaching in their church services. This is what made the conspiracy against the faith to be very strong and the number keeps swelling. I’m a student of church history and I try to compare what happened in North Africa to what is happening today. The church in north Africa had been very strong in places like Libya and Morocco and has been producing bishops way back since the third century. The first theological institution in the world was founded in Morocco. Today, that country is 99% Islam while Libya boasts of about 96% Islam. What happened to the church in North Africa? Uprooted.
Do you know what brought about the collapse of the church in these areas? The same issue we are talking about today. A generation rose up that placed greater emphasis on cathedrals and titles and ecclesiastical hierarchies and so on. A generation without swords and spears. A generation that was not built up in the word. You just go and study about the church in North Africa before the advent of Islam; find out the condition of the church by the time the Jihadists came. I’ll tell you what happened: there was a conspiracy that started from Rome between the church and the state. The clergy and the statesmen were too close and that closeness resulted in impoverishing the masses. Both the bishops and the politicians were feeding fat on the land of the commoners. Much attention was paid on the comfort of the clergy and building of cathedrals. Discipleship became nil; missions was simply non-existent and arguments over doctrinal statement became rife – so people did not know anything. The conviction that will make a man to say I stand for Christ, I cannot renounce was no more there when the sword of the Jihadists came. And buildings cannot stand the sword; it is only people that can stand the sword but the people were not built.
Do you see any correlation between the present church and the historical church of North Africa? That is why this is not just a meeting but a call to revolution! We are treading the same path; we are laying emphasis on projects and not paying attention to building the people. In the last 10 to 15 years, most of the people who got saved can hardly differentiate between salvation and sanctification. They cannot explain atonement, justification by faith, redemption – no they can’t. They will rather explain swot analysis and goal setting; we are turning churches to business schools and the real foundation has been forgotten. This was the same path North African church trod several centuries back. And as a missionary, we have discovered that it is easier to take over a virgin territory than reclaim a captured territory.
The Phinehas generation
“So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and hang the offenders before the Lord, out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Every one of you kill his men who were joined to Baal of Peor.” And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel.” – Num. 25:3-8
Here is another generation, the angry generation; the generation that will say no by voice and by action; the javelin people generation. How dare you bring a woman into the camp right in the presence of Moses, Aaron, the elders and all the people! No way, I cannot stand this; what impudence! How can you bring a comedian to the altar, to come and desecrate the altar? And when he is called up, he will start by messing up the cross; he will make fun of Jesus – right from the pulpit! Once he’s through with that, he takes on those in the church who have one deformity or the other. And by the time he’s through, while some are laughing, those who have those challenges are going back home crying. We can’t offer hope anymore; we are rather wounding people seeking help. Our problem is not Boko Haram; our problem is the foreign importation into the church.
Phinehas said this nonsense must stop, get me a javelin! And we are going back to the javelin of the word of God, for this plague will not cease until men rise up with javelin of the undiluted word. Mike Bamiloye said at a time that the net we threw into the river has caught so many things: lizard, crab, fish, scorpion etc and we put them all inside the church. Unfortunately, there is no word to separate them, and everything has grown together now; and the crab has become pastors.
We are talking about two generations. One is the simple generation who doesn’t know anything; they have no idea what the fundamentals of the gospel are. GTBank has pillars. MTN has core values. There are ethics in every profession. What are the unshakable pillars of the Christian faith and the guiding ethics of the Church? All that doesn’t matter today. So long you have some naira you can dole out, you become a deacon and from deacon, you are made a pastor. And if unsaved men are becoming pastors, what do you think will happen to the flock? This is where we are today.
The demarcation between the world and the Christianity is too clear and any attempt to remove that demarcation will land us in trouble. Who says we need to use the method of the world to win the world? We have tried this within the last 15 years but what have we gained? The foundation of the Lord stands sure having this seal; anybody who names the name of Christ should depart from iniquity. We can’t run away from that and still think we do modernised evangelism. Any result we get through that will surely not last.
Physiology of the Phinehas generation
1. The seeing eyes (Pro. 20:12): You must see correctly. If you don’t see correctly all this concerns will mean nothing to you. Current world population is about 7 billion with Christian population at 2 billion and Islam at 1.8 billion. Now you may say we are still more than the Muslims but if you consider the fact that we have been around for over 500years before Mohammed was born, you will know there is problem. Christians are still less than 30% of world population, so is it time to be jumping up and entertaining ourselves? If God looks at the world and about 5 billion are not Christians at all – we’re not even talking about nominal or evangelical, how do you think God will feel? How dare we see differently from the way God is seeing if we are His children? If you don’t see correctly how can you then act correctly? Others saw the Midianite woman indeed but only Phinehas saw with the eyes of God.
2. The hearing ear (Pro. 20:12): What are you hearing? Can you hear the agony of sinners going to hell right from the church?
Which generation do you want to belong to? We must stop here. Some other time we will continue with the mouth, the hands (the hands that are clean, the hands that will be taught how to war and the fingers that will be taught how to fight), the legs and of course the knees; the bended knee. We can’t stop these problems simply by talking about them; we are not doing activism here. What we are saying is, let us go back to the scriptures.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” - Acts 17:11 [KJV]
What things? The things taught by Paul and Silas. How dare you crosscheck what Paul says, the same Paul that had an encounter with the Lord of lords and the Kings of kings on the road to Damascus? If the Berean disciples can crosscheck what Paul said, how dare you not crosscheck what your G.O. is saying? Who tells you that anybody in this mortal flesh cannot make mistake or go into error? We owe it a point of duty to pray for our leaders, never to idolize them. If, tomorrow, they say we should begin boxing competition in Redemption Camp, then we go for it? Where is the generation that will ask questions? How long are we going to continue in this simplicity like the men that followed Absalom? Absalom, were you anointed? Nobody questioned him. The millions that come into church as tithes and offerings, do we question where they came from?
If Martin Luther was of the simplicity generation, we would never have had Protestant Christianity. If Kumuyi was of the simplicity generation, we would never have had the revival that characterised his generation. The generation of Kumuyi, Mike Oye, Amotsuka and E.A. Adeboye was a radical generation; they challenged the authority of the orthodox leaders of their day. They challenged the incursion of occultism that almost took over the church. David Oyedapo was not a quiet generation; now that they have become leaders, must the followers become a silent generation? They weren’t silent in their days; why are we silent in our days? If Kumuyi could challenge the leadership of his days, who says I should not challenge the leadership of my days if it is not according to the scriptures. Who is afraid of apostolic curse here? There is no apostolic curse anywhere; the only curse I am aware of is in Gal. 1:8 – if anyone preaches another gospel, let him be accursed. This is more than a meeting; it is a call to revolution. Let us go back to the bible. We are not judging or pointing fingers; we are here to go back to the scriptures and check whether those things are so. Are you a noble generation that will search the scripture like the Berean disciples? If there is going to be revival, it will start with me.
1. Father, open my eyes to see correctly.
2. Oh Lord, open my ears to hear correctly what Heaven is saying to my generation. When last did you hear from God?
3. Saul and Jonathan led an army without spear or sword. How sharp is your sword? Pray, oh Lord equip me for battle in this generation.
4. Oh Lord, equip me for relevance in this generation. Does it not bother you that we still have to go to Redemption Camp before we can see raw miracles? And does it not bother you that these men are growing grey hair on their heads? Who will take over from them? Is it the generation without sword or spear? For how long are you going to be a consumer generation? The generation of our fathers was a producer generation. Lord, send down revival into my heart.
5. When John wrote his epistle, he said, “That which we have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears and our hands have handled.” Peter said, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty on the mount.” It was not what they read in a book. Paul said, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Have you got any personal encounter with God? For how long shall it be what Daddy G.O. said? Oh Lord, I need a personal encounter; give me a personal visitation.
6. Somebody who will be an agent of revival will have an insatiable appetite for the word of God. You will have to drop these novels for some time. Let’s go into the scriptures now. Lord, make me an addict to the word. Kill this appetite in me for Arsenal and Chelsea and African Magic. Replace it with an insatiable appetite of the word. Let common bread not satisfy me anymore.
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