THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTIAN GATHERINGS


If you are very close to me or have been part of any group or organization that I have worked with, you surely do know one thing about me. It is how uncomfortable I become when I stay in a Christian gathering for too long and all they make out of their meetings are praying for money, making prophetic declarations for wealth and teaching only about prosperity and other material things. If what is being preached in most Churches today round the clock is what Christianity should be all about, God knows I would have walked through the path of atheism. No wonder God came to me when I was very young and no wonder God allowed His healing power surge through me to heal people instantly on a few occasions! If I had never had these personal encounters of God or have never heard Him speak directly to me through His word, I would have given up on Christianity. Why?

Some teachings and practices in today’s Churches have made it seem as though what is very easy for a wealthy man to do is difficult for God to do. I remember some years ago when my Dad had issues in business, a Pastor told me and my male siblings that we would fast for two days without water and food and that after the fast, God would release His wealth on a date he gave to us. I remember that what was made out of all the gatherings I ever encountered in that ministry was about money, healing, babies and so on! There was never a day when I came and grew in the knowledge of Jesus. The financial breakthrough became my sole reason for attending those gatherings. Well, after the fast and after some years past the date he gave to us, nothing happened.

I also remember all the years I attended “21 years days fire conference” at the beginning of each year where various ministers are invited to come. It was very rare to have someone come to teach us the word, it was hard to really say we grew in the knowledge of the word. The common experience was that after each meeting, we go home bouncing in the excitement that before the end of the programs, we would be receiving miracle credit alerts, miracle jobs, miracle babies and all manner of material miracles. I have never heard any testimony that says “I want to thank God because since I started attending this meeting, I have grown in the knowledge of the word of God and my perspective is changing.”

Our faith in Jesus shouldn’t be about getting things. It is time we come to the true knowledge of the gospel, where our gathering isn’t about receiving prophetic declarations for wealth in the week or for visas to travel out. The essence should be to understand the gospel and grow in maturity. The reason God has called people into ministering to the Saints is not for anything else but for growth and maturity in the word and the things of God and His kingdom.

It makes me cry each time I look at believers gather in their thousands but miss the true essence of those gatherings, I see it as amazing opportunities being wasted. How can we be in gatherings all Sundays and Wednesdays of the week and all we ever do is ask God for a release of wealth, a release of material things but never a cry to quench our thirst and hunger for more knowledge of Him.

You will never see me in any financial breakthrough crusades or 21 days breaking of ancestral curses. This is not because I don’t regard people who do such programs but it is because I have something I am pursuing, I am hungry for more, I want to know more of Jesus and I want to be in a place of a genuine experience of God’s presence and the truism of the gospel. I am very sure that Jesus didn’t come to make us materially richer to even solve the world’s physical problem.

This earth as it is was created perfectly by God but God handed over to the man and at some point He doesn’t even decide certain things! You are wondering why we have many poor people and God seems not to be doing something about it. Well, it is not His job! It is our own job to help the poor, protect the weak, cloth the naked and even love our enemies. Why? Because this earth belongs to us and it is what we make out of it that it becomes. Jesus said that whenever we offer assistance to the least people on earth, we are assisting Him. We are God’s vessels of sharing love to others and therefore we shouldn’t be asking God to play the part that we supposed to be playing. Our focus as Christians should be about becoming better outwardly as we have been made perfect inwardly, it should be about representing what the word of God talks about.

Call for meetings where God’s word is taught, you will see me there! Call for a prayer meeting geared towards thanksgiving, you will see me there. As much as I believe in miracles and don’t joke with it, as much as I have seen God’s power surge through my own hands to heal the sick, I don’t go about seeking for Miracles, what I seek is the quench of my thirst, I seek to know more than I have ever known and I seek to know Jesus beyond whatever I have experienced. This should be the expectation of believers but now believers are the ones acting like unbelievers, going here and there in search of miracles instead of being hungry for God, they are hungry for money! What did Jesus say?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

Do you see that? It is people without faith and with unbelief that go about worrying about what to eat, drink and wear! When we commit our hands to something, we are very sure that the works of our hands are blessed! (Deuteronomy 28:12) We are the answers to world problems, it is not something we make out of meetings designed to help solidify us in the place we stand! Throughout the Bible, we will never see a time Christians gathered to pray for money and fame! It didn’t stop people from making money but they were maximizing the true purpose of Church gathering! It is immaturity to make our meetings all about material things and miracles. The Bible says in Hebrews 6:1

“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding…”

The essence of our meetings should be to become mature in our understanding of Jesus and what He has done! Asking and crying for money doesn’t increase our understanding, we are only limiting God to the capacity of men because what we are asking is what mere men can do! It also showcases our worry over things we shouldn’t worry about. There should be a place of contentment in our everyday walk, there should be a place of thanksgiving regardless of our situations.

We weren’t given Pastors so that they could pray us into money, we weren’t given ministers so that they can pray us into marriage, awesome academic results and other material success! Truth is, unbelievers achieve these things without faith and without prayers, these things aren’t why Jesus came and why the Church became instituted. The Bible tells us why we have ministers of the gospel who are committed to the Church.

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” Ephesians 4:11-14

When a Pastor spends all the years of his pastoral ministry talking about material things and financial prosperity, he isn’t fulfilling the purpose of his calling. The only essence why ministers of the gospel are called is to equip God’s people to do a general work of reconciliation given to all believers. The duty of these ministers continues until that time when Jesus will come again, that time when we all come to unity in our faith and knowledge of Jesus. Miracle seekers are prone to fall into the hands of false prophets, they are prone to fall into the hands of tricky people! Jesus said concerning this in Matthew 24:24

“For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.”

Our hunger in God’s presence should be to know more of Him and not to get more money, more health, awesome partner and good education. It is very nice to work and make earnings, it is nice to have dreams and bring it to reality but we must know where we draw the line! Mere men can offer these things like money, education and so on but our pursuit of God should be about those things men cannot offer us.

Attending Church meetings shouldn’t be about getting our names on the register and having a group support us in funeral and so on. It is not about buying God’s favour for the month and receiving “monthly prophetic words for financial release.” It should be about hearing words and teachings that help us grow and mature. It should be about meeting people of like mind and fellowshipping with other saints! When we attend our Church meetings, we are also getting new opportunities to bear one another’s burden and belong to a community where iron sharpens iron!

Why do you go to Church? To get God’s favour or to grow in the knowledge of who God has already made you become?

God bless you.

~ George O.N

Get my free story!

CHURCH: Do you need to go to Church


image

Holy Trinity, Brompton, UK

They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other. They also broke bread and prayed together. – The Acts 2:42 CEV

It is true that Church attendance doesn’t make you a Christian but a Christian must attend Church services regularly. See it this way, not all that attend Church is a Christian but a Christian must attend Church services!

The Bible tells us we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth. The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”. We should follow that example of devotion—and do the same thing.

Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely. – The Acts 2:46

Back then, they had no designated church building, but they continued meeting in the temple of the jews and even had house fellowships. Wherever the meeting takes place, believers thrive on fellowship with other believers and the teaching of God’s Word.

image

All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha

Church attendance is beyond a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says

“Some people have got out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.”

Just as we are experiencing it now, it was so in the early church. Some failed into the wrong habit of not meeting with other believers. The writer of Hebrews says it is very wrong. We all need the teachings that only Church attendance can afford. The approach of end time ought to compel us to take Church attendance seriously.

Church is the place where believers can love one another

“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.” 1 John 4:12,

Church is a place of mutual encouragement Hebrews 3:13,

“You must encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called “today”. If you don’t, then sin may fool some of you and make you stubborn.”

There are many other reasons like:
∆ “spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24 ),
∆ serve one another (Galatians 5:13 ),
∆ instruct one another ( Romans 15:14 ),
∆ honor one another (Romans 12:10 ),
∆ be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32 ).

When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the body of Christ

“Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body”. – 1 Corinthians 12:27

For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and active as written in 1 Corinthians 12:14–20 .

“Our bodies don’t have just one part. They have many parts. Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the foot still belong to the body? Or suppose an ear says, “I’m not an eye, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the ear still belong to the body? If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn’t hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn’t smell a thing. But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best.  A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body. Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body.”

It’s not enough to just be present in Church service; we should be involved in varioius type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts and abilities God has bestowed to us. No wonder, Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11–13

“Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.  We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place.”

A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without having that outlet for his gifts, and we all need the assistance and encouragement of other believers as boldly declared by apostle Paul to the Corinthian Christians and us as well

“That’s why the eyes cannot say they don’t need the hands. That’s also why the head cannot say it doesn’t need the feet. In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, but we don’t have to be modest about other parts. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy.” – 1 Corinthians 12:21–26

For these reasons and more, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life. Failure to attend church service is not a sin but makes no sense to avoid it! You need it for your spiritual maturity. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to Christ should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church as written by Saint Peter in 1 Peter 2:6-7

“It is just as God says in the Scriptures, “Look! I am placing in Zion a choice and precious cornerstone. No one who has faith in that one will be disappointed.”   You are followers of the Lord, and that stone is precious to you. But it isn’t precious to those who refuse to follow him. They are the builders who tossed aside the stone that turned out to be the most important one of all.”

and we are “like living stones . . . being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”. As the building materials of God’s “spiritual house,” we naturally have a connection with one another, and that connection is evident every time the Church “goes to church.”

Remember, it is God’s will that you attend Church meetings and become very active. With this I say to you

“May the peace of the Lord, which passes all understanding be with your hearts and mind. Go into the world and shine like light, forsaking the patterns of the world and embracing the kingdom lifestyle. May the Lord be with you”

#GracefulGeorge