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WHERE ARE THE RIGHTEOUS ONES?

Just over a year ago, my mother was taken from us to be with her God. As much as this was a great loss to me and my siblings, I also regarded it as a loss to the world. As tributes and testimonies poured out at the ceremonies to celebrate her life, I was the more convinced that her passing away had been a great loss to many people whose lives she had impacted. The same can be said of many people around the world who pass away on a daily basis.

The righteous ones seem to be leaving us and we are the poorer for it. However, this should be an impetus for us to examine our lives with a view to becoming like the righteous and impacting other lives along the way. It is not appropriate for us to think ourselves to be the only righteous ones left and so live in a bubble of self-righteousness while thinking of everyone else as potential enemies of righteousness. Once upon a time, a prophet thought in this manner. The Bible says,

“But the LORD said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’. Elijah replied, ‘I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with You, torn down Your altars, and killed every one of Your prophets. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.’” 1 Kings 19: 9-10 (NLT)

Elijah was a faithful prophet who did great things in the name of the Lord. But how wrong was he to think that God had no one else but him alone in the whole country? If any minister thinks likewise today, he or she would be wrong too. It is myopic for anyone in their little corner of the world to think that God would only count on them and no one else. Just because God is working greatly in your ministry does not mean He doesn’t work elsewhere; even greater.

When God saw that Elijah was very much consumed with self-pity, satisfaction and appropriation; God directed him to go back to his abode, put many things in order, anoint kings in both Syria and Israel, and also Elisha as his replacement in ministry. Note of warning to those who think all of God’s powers only pass through them; you may be signing off in your ministry if you insist to God that you are the only one left righteous like Elijah. Then God told Elijah what he didn’t know:

“Yet I will preserve seven thousand others in Israel who have never bowed to Baal or kissed him!” 1 Kings 19: 18 (NLT)

Shortly before Jesus ascended into heaven, He had series of meetings with His disciples after His resurrection from the dead. At one of those meetings, He pointedly directed Peter to feed His sheep as a sign of love to Him, while commanding all of them to go into the world and preach the gospel to all mankind. I still am not fully sure why Peter asked Jesus what John, the beloved, was supposed to do in ministry. But Jesus’ answer was so profound that it is still being discussed today. The Bible says,

“Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me.’” John 21: 22 (NLT)

It is poignant that we understand what Jesus wanted Peter to understand. Just as we have births being recorded daily around the world so will death certificates be given out. We do not know how those babies will turn out to be but we already know the legacies that those who die leave behind. Therefore, it should be of less concern to us how long anyone has but rather focus on how to ‘follow Him’ in the purpose He created us for.

I miss my mother but her passing has made me more determined to do my best in the work God has put into my hand. It has shown again that now is the only time I have, and so I must optimise it to the glory and pleasure of my God. This, I believe, is what we all should focus on. Rather than brood over the righteous who are leaving, we should become the living righteous by following the examples of the disciples of Jesus as they ‘followed Him’. The Bible says,

“God’s message was preached in ever-widening circles. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.” Acts 6: 7 (NLT)

This is our mission. The only way we can remember the departed righteous is to raise more righteous both in our generation and the one that follows us. I take it that God is not pleased seeing our world degenerate into chaos and ruins with untimely deaths and preventable crisis. That is why He left us here, after salvation, in order to do something tangible in our world. The Bible says,

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light – a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.” Isaiah 9: 2 (NLT)

Correct me if I am wrong; where in the world today do we not have the shadow of death hovering and lurking dangerously upon all humanity? This is where our so called righteousness will be put to the test. Should we sit in our little corners and worship God in our temples and live as the only people on earth? Or are we to take the gospel to the world and so turn on the light that will shine on the darkness created by the shadow of death? The Bible says,

“Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, ‘Those who were not My people, I will now call My people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.’ And, ‘Once they were told, ‘You are not My people’. But now He will say, ‘You are children of the living God’” Romans 9: 25-26 (NLT)

This is the vision of God and the ministry of Christ and the endowment of the Holy Spirit. This is our commandment to fulfil. That everyone will come to the knowledge of God in Christ, thereby becoming the children of God. If we don’t commit to this, God will use others. Be rest assured, the word of God will be fulfilled one way or another. It will only be rewarding for us to be part of this fulfilment. The Bible says,

“The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to Him. People from every nation will bow down before Him. For the LORD is King! He rules all the nations.” Psalms 22: 27-28 (NLT)

Hence, I’ll tell you where the righteous are. They are on mission for their God. Those who have left us did their part, and for us to qualify like them we must do our part. Do not self-approve yourself, do the work that will count you worthy of His approval.

All Blessings,

I Owoyemi

PERFORMING ACTS

When we prepare for church services, we encourage our spirits to be enlightened and make our souls to be hopeful. When we sit in the congregation, we expect the move of the Holy Spirit of God and some sort of answers to our supplications. When we listen to God’s word as preached by His servant, we trust in its truth as delivered to us. If our preparations are vital to our fellowship with our God, how then should the ministers be prepared to come before the congregation?

I have used every opportunity there is to witness to one particular gentle man in the last few years. One day, I was so excited when he mentioned that he would love to come to church with me. I quickly motioned the discussion to enumerating the days, times and venue of our worship centre. I hastened to grab a pen and paper, and wrote this information down in my best handwriting till date. And then, he dropped the bombshell. ‘I will like to see how you perform.’ He said.

‘Perform?’. I thought, my mind racing. I really wanted him to come to church, but not to see me perform. I wanted him to meet with Jesus, if at all possible. I wanted him to come with open mind. I thought if I told him I was not going to perform; he might not come. Unsure how to proceed, I smiled at him and told him I don’t perform at church but we fellowship with God and with one another. ‘And we wait on God for His blessings on us’. I concluded. I am not sure he was impressed because he never came to church. The Bible says,

“Are we trying to pat ourselves on the back again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart before God.” 2 Corinthians 5: 12 (NLT)

I really do not know where I went wrong with that man. The only thing I can put my hand on was that I had told him I was a minister. Perhaps, he had the wrong idea of me ‘performing’ before him whenever we talked. May be he thought it was impossible to live the life I confessed to; thereby being hypocritical. I was greatly disturbed for months till I saw him again and asked his reason for not coming to church as he promised.

He told me that our worship centre was too far away for him and that he has started attending a church nearby; though not very regularly yet. He told me he actually thought I was a ‘phoney’ like many others he knew. He then shared with me, with names and church addresses, many ministers that he has caught doing what they preach against. When I asked him how he knew these things, he simply said, ‘We used to meet in places I won’t like to tell you’. Didn’t Jesus say,

“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You ae so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy – full of greed and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisees! First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too. How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like white-washed tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23: 25-28 (NLT)

No wonder that man wanted to see me ‘perform’. Many there are today that simply come before the congregations of God just to ‘perform’. They rehearse, practise and plan to ‘perform’ before God’s people. What they say is not what they do and what they preach is light years away from their lifestyles. Jesus called them ‘hypocrites’, and so they are. They may be very articulate and charismatic and convincing; still they are hypocrites. The Bible says,

“Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a common clay pot. People with hate in their hearts may sound pleasant enough, but don’t believe them. Though they pretend to be kind, their hearts are full of all kinds of evil. While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, it will finally come to light for all to see.” Proverbs 26: 23-26 (NLT)

It’s all ‘performing acts’. They say one thing in your presence and do another at your back. While they dress very impressively, and speak with authority; their lives are hidden away in some secrecy that will shock anyone when revealed. We look up to them but God looks down on them. We accept their words and deeds but God rejects then wholly. This is because we see them in the open while God knows them in the secret. The Bible says,

“At night they go out among the graves and secret places to worship evil spirits. They also eat pork and other forbidden foods. Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ They are stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.” Isaiah 65: 4-5 (NLT)

They make their own rules and perform them. They highlight what is convenient for them only and live the way their hearts desire. They ‘perform’ these ‘acts’ with all their strength as they sweat when they preach and shake when they pray; but all these are just ‘performing acts’ and not what God sent them. Their audience are cajoled and mesmerised by their theatrical gestures; but is God impressed? The Bible says,

“I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with Himself. Instead, they are clinging to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. They won’t go along with God’s way.” Romans 19: 2-3 (NLT)

You might have noticed that many of these ‘Performing Acts’ take place in some of the largest congregations around the world. So why do they look successful? Why are the congregants happy to remain there? It is our responsibility to find the truth and hold on to it. The Bible says,

“Such people claim they know God, but they deny Him by the way they live. They are despicable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.”

The services may be fantastic, but if they are ‘Performing Acts’; then they are worthless.

All Blessings,

I Owoyemi

GREATER WORKS TO DO

When God sent His Son (Jesus) into the world, the main declaration we all had was that the world might be saved through Him. The Bible says,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3: 16.

Apparently, the work that was needed to be done by the Son to make this happen was not revealed at this stage to the world, but known to both the Son and the Father.

So, the Son came in the nature of Jesus Christ and started doing the works the Father sent Him. While some believed in Him enough to leave all and follow Him, many despised Him to the point of selling Him out for an unjust crucifixion, still others did not know how and where to place Him and His doctrine in their lives and society. However, Jesus pronounced to them all the relationship between Himself and the Father as shown in the works that He did among them.

He raised their dead, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the demoniac and paralytic, provided for the needy, gave hope to the hopeless, and brought joy to the aggrieved. Yet, instead of trusting Him many were against Him. Hence, this appeal to His disciples;

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” John 14: 10-12

Let me reiterate here that the works that Jesus did and committed to us to do, did not and should not start with miracles, but with the preaching of the good news. Note that the message of the gospel is the power of God while miracles and wonders are just the signs following. Some of our works today are being ridiculed because some of us raise the signs higher than the message. The truth is that the message gives life to live and the signs maintain the flow of faith and obedience to the Master.

Though, we are qualified to do these works in the name of Jesus, He would rather that we do greater works. We will briefly discuss three of these greater works that Jesus Christ expects of us:

1.     Jesus laid down His life for the world as the Messiah that He is and not as a sign of weakness like many people had thought.

Jesus said,

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. …. I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and Am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. ….Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” John 10: 11-18

If this is a greater work that Jesus wants us to do, are we supposed to lay down our lives as He did? The answer is, yes, but with a caution in the how.

At the last supper that Jesus had with His disciples, many things were said and done. One of them was this conversation between Jesus and Peter in the presence of all the others.

“Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.” John 13: 37-38.

Jesus never wanted Peter to lay his life down for Him because it ought to be the other way round. But Jesus wanted Peter to be ready to do for other people what Jesus was about to do for him and the entire world. For in the same conversation, this was said:

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22: 31-32

It is clear that Jesus does not want any of us to die for Him but to be ready, if need be, to give our lives in the process of preaching the gospel to all others around the world; after we have been strengthened by His Holy Spirit.

2.     The power of a Saviour is not meant for Him but for those He is to save.

At the crucifixion of Jesus, many scoffers including the priests and church leaders, politicians and the military, with everyone else derided Him on the cross. They thought within themselves, how could the ‘Saviour’ of the world be so maltreated and unable to fight back? Where was His strength to save us if He couldn’t save Himself? How can we believe Him if he does not believe in Himself? This is the account when He was on that cross:

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the Chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar, And saying, If Thou be the King of the Jews, save Thyself.” Luke 23: 34-37

The people thought He ought to show them that He was able to save Himself before they allowed Him to save them. They never understood that a Saviour is meant to save others and not Himself. They also did not know that the ‘Chosen’ of God was not expected to parade the power of God but carry it, and use it only when God allowed.

The doctrine of Jesus allowing Himself to be killed was greatly misunderstood by the people at the time, and even now. Paul made this a lot clearer in one of his writings:

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2: 14-15

Now, that was the work of the Saviour. The greater work He wants us to do in our generation, as He did in His, is to be the ‘Chosen’ of God that carry the power of God to all peoples and corners of the world. We need to release the people of our world from the clutches of the devil using the power in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord. It is no longer a cross to bear but a duty to carry out without which the cross of Christ would mean little or nothing. The world is waiting, the work cannot wait; the gospel must be preached. Amen.

3.     A work is done not just when the time is up but when the purpose is achieved.

When Jesus knew the purpose of His coming into world and giving His life on the cross had been achieved, He pronounced those comforting words of accomplishment.

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19: 30

If we refer back to the beginning of His ministry, the disciples brought food to Him after a very long day of ministering to people because they thought, and rightly so, that He must be hungry. However, the joy of leading people back to God had filled Jesus so much that His physical body did not require feeding at the time. And when the disciples persisted and investigated if anyone had brought Him food while they were away, Jesus confirmed to them what made Him not hungry:

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4: 34

If you have started this work, you must endeavour to finish it, and finish well. After we become born again, the work of the gospel is not for a while nor at our leisure; it is for our lifetime and without retirement. This was the story of Jesus for all the years He was here on earth; it must be our story too. We must go on till we reach the finish line, like Jesus did.

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent. I have glorified Thee on earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17: 1-4

Just as Jesus knew the finish line, Paul equally showed us that we can know it as well.

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4: 6-8

Brethren, we must all know that there is a time of departure for every one of us. This is the reason why we must keep the faith and fight the good fight till we finish our course. For, be assured, that crowns are waiting for everyone that finishes well, in the name of the Lord.

Finally, once we step into this race for eternity, there is no retreat, no reverse and no surrender of the faith that we have in Christ in order to finish the duty of our purpose in God. This is no work we do for the gains of earthly possessions but rather heavenly ones. Let’s all be reminded that we are here because God put us here. When we come into relationship with God through Christ, we are to work for the salvation of others around the world. Even, when we are mocked and derided, we should look only unto the ‘Author and Finisher’ of our faith with the goal of eternal life with Christ.

Let’s quit doing church and denominations. Enough of doctrinal differences that had become a wall among many Christians. It is time we stopped the upgrade of our traditions as opposed to the real preaching of the gospel of Jesus as handed down to us. We are not successful due to the number of our congregations, neither are we the real deal because of the special miracles adorning our ministry. It is not how quiet or noisy our services denote, nor how dogmatic or inspirational our presentations are. If there is only one thing we all need to do very well, it is the preaching of the gospel of Christ, in spirit and in truth.

I will like to conclude with the words of the apostle Paul, who said,

“For Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” 1 Corinthians 1: 17

May the good Lord bless us all as we carry out the ultimate duty of bringing our world unto Him. Amen.

All Blessings,

Idowu Owoyemi

Welcome to T R A I N

The motivation for the work of The Return Advocacy International Network [TRAIN] is based on three cardinal Biblical references, namely:-

  1. Absolute Truth: “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10: 37
  2. Divine Motivation: “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many, ….” Daniel 11: 33a
  3. Kingdom Desire: “….Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22: 20b

The mission of our organisation is to teach and preach the whole Bible as the word of God with unique emphasis on the following precepts:-

  • God loves all the world, irrespective of race, colour, sex, status or beliefs – John 3: 16
  • Man sinned and needed to be condemned – Romans 3: 23 & 6: 23
  • God redeems man through the sacrifice of Christ – Romans 5: 8 & 6: 23b, Acts 4: 12
  • Christ shall return for those who decide for Him to give them eternal life – Matthew 25: 31, 1 Thessalonians 4: 16

To fulfil our mission, we are apt to first, teach and instruct all Christians everywhere of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ, warning in all wisdom to present all perfect in Him at His appearing, and inspiring a revival that will turn every Christian into a witness for Christ – Ephesians 4: 13, Colossians 1: 28 & 4: 12, 2 Timothy 3: 16-17.

Second, we will be raising advocates everywhere to entreat the world for a decision for Christ so that they do not have a part in the damnation meant for Satan and his cohorts – 2 Corinthians 6: 2, Jude 14-21, Revelation 3: 10.

T.R.A.I.N, as we are fondly called, is interdenominational and non-profit in structure. We will work with any Christian group or organisation to achieve our aims. Consequently, we have outlined the main areas of network for our work as detailed in the relevant pages.

You can contact us to find out how your organisation can work with us, notwithstanding we will definitely be contacting you to explore areas of working with you. We humbly ask you all to join up with this “TRAIN” in ‘Advocating Christ’s Return, Alerting The World.’

All Blessings.


Advocating CHRIST’S Return, Alerting The World

 


MISSIONARY SUPPORT NETWORK

This division is passionate about the total evangelisation of the world as we live in it today. Read more


INTER CHURCH NETWORK

This department has as its goal to cause all Christians to work together for a common objective.. Read more


ALL CREATION NETWORK

Here, we focus on mass evangelism using various media and physical locations. Read more