this with passion and persistence for that is the only solution to the dilemma of the church today.
We have seen that growth in numbers does not translate to growth in spiritual power and authority. In fact what the Holy Spirit is saying to me is that the bigger organizations have become like the church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6). They start off with the MAN with the vision. Then the man becomes a MOVEMENT. From the movement it becomes a MACHINE. This is the stage at which the center cannot hold anymore because the machine has developed a life of its own and is controlling all the people. The late Pastor S. G. Elton warned us about this machine stage. He told us that when you are at the vision and movement stage you will be under God’s control. But once you get to the machine stage, the MACHINE will control you and cause you to obey its demands. Oftentimes, God can no longer reach you because the machine has you under its grips. From the machine it finally becomes a MONUMENT. At this stage, most things are dead and like the church in Sardis, they have a reputation that they are alive but in reality they are dead. They still have a few things that are about to die which need to be strengthened and resuscitated. Also like the church in Sardis the LORD is identifying individuals within the machine who have refused to be sucked in by the machine and so still retain a clear vision of the demands of the Kingdom of God and its righteousness.
It takes a deep level of honesty for us to admit that the Machine has us in its grips and that the purpose of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God has become blurred by many other considerations dictated by the MACHINE. To raise disciples who walk and talk like Jesus is no mean task. Every leader of a big organization knows that they will lose a great part of their numbers if they were to persistently task their followership to live like Jesus. The MACHINE will warn them that it is too dangerous to contemplate and so they return time and time again to the themes that feed the machine and keep it rolling. Who we are in Christ is substituted by what we do for Christ. That is how you know when the Machine is talking. In Sardis, the reputation was that the church was alive and vibrant because of what they were doing but in reality they were dead and totally out of touch with God because of who they were.
As we look all over the world and see MACHINES and MONUMENTS appear here and there in many so called Christian nations including here in Nigeria, we sense the call of Hosea in Hosea 10:12 (NKJV)
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Righteousness is the key to God’s power. When we receive the righteousness of Christ and strive daily to walk in it, we excite heaven and the divine presence comes down to empower us to fulfill God’s purposes on earth. God’s purpose is not big organisations and big buildings but changed lives, men and women who daily strive to be like the Jesus who indwells them by His Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul articulated what we are about very well when he wrote in Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
A preacher once said that the problem with the church, all of us, is that the I is yet to be crucified with Christ. And from several pulpits in the world instead of helping men and women to crucify the I, we are assisting them to grow the I until they cannot see Jesus anymore, just themselves and their needs and desires and how to meet and solve them. And yet if we are to be crucified with Christ the power to solve the problems and meet the needs of the I, will come upon us. We are forever putting the cart before the horse.
Here is what we can do together to change things: Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
I was literally blown away when the Holy Spirit showed me that what the Father needs from me for the grace and anointing for righteousness to be rained down upon my life, is daily hunger and thirst for righteousness. Our Lord Jesus did not say: “Blessed are the righteous,” but rather those who hunger and thirst for righteousness in their lives and in their world. This is something we all can do. Every day, kneel before your God and my God and pray Matt. 5:6 and Hosea 10:12.
Shall we do so now! “O LORD our God, we approach Your holy presence through the Blood of Jesus Christ our Saviour to ask that it may please You to visit us as individuals and as the Body of Christ by the Spirit of righteousness. Let Righteousness be poured upon us from on high by Your Spirit for it is only by Your Power and Your Counsel can we lead godly lives in this world. Visit us at home; visit us at work and visit us in church that the world around us may see the Light of Jesus our Lord and Saviour in us and through us to the glory of our Father in heaven. Satisfy us early according to Your word of promise to fill and satisfy all who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for we ask it in Jesus name, Amen.