Believers’ Convention 2015
Day Two – Monday Morning (17th August, 2015)
Ministering: Rev. E. O. Ezekiel
I am always careful when I am given the topic for this Convention because they have to be prayerfully approached. In myself, I am not worthy to handle this word but there is One who enables me.
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
The Bible said: “At that time”. We do not fully understand the times in which we live. Jesus’ answer was attached to a timing! It must have been in response to a question and it’s amazing to me that many times when I open the word of God, I don’t know where to start. It does not take long for me to find that the book is full of the riches of God. Because of our limited knowledge, we relate to the Bible in chapters and verses whereas it is a book of life. We live in a very dangerous time when people think they are wise and knowledgeable – an assumption that makes them want to correct the Bible when they are completely ignorant of how it came about “for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Ghost moved! He was the driver, He moved holy men of God and they wrote. They did not even know what they we writing because they were responding to a move (1 Peter 1:11).
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. 2Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
From prison, John told two of His followers to go and ask Jesus if He was the One coming or if they were to look for another. You cannot blame John because Jesus did not meet His expectations. Some believers think that Christianity is about having things go your way; when and how you want it. Because of this mindset, when things do not go the way they want, they begin to ask questions.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:”
People are tired, they want manifestation of the words they have heard. “Go and show John”, was the answer Jesus gave them when John’s disciples brought word to Him. He referred them to Isaiah 29:18. What Jesus said goes beyond the usual peripheral gospel that we have known. He told John’s disciples, “Go and tell John that you can see what Isaiah prophesied; tell him the gospel is being fulfilled”. He touched the blind eyes and there eyes were opened, touched the lame and they walked.
The time when people will hear the full gospel has come. We, oftentimes, preach the gospel on the surface but the mystery is here available. “Go and tell John what you see.” I stand here to announce to you that my standing here is a miracle. I’ve never seen any blind man like myself: I have been in the church for years, I have seen the pastor, the choir and the money being donated. I saw everything going on but I was not seeing spiritually. If you had asked me how that service went, I would have said, “It was wonderful and fantastic!”
Can you not see the blind receiving their sight now? That gospel that centers on the miraculous workings of God by miracles is fading away and the gospel truth, which touches and converts the soul and is the essence of the gospel is emerging. Today in the church, if you announce that blind man regains his sight physically, the congregation would clap, donate money and the man will go back to a greater darkness. That is not the type of message we will be preaching today! People who have been opening the Bible have not been seeing anything.
What Jesus told the disciples of John to go and report to John was that a new era had arrived. The time when pastors would stand at the podium to speak about Politics with eloquent grammar has passed. This time is not for that kind of gospel. Now, not only does the blind see, the lame also walks. In other words, Jesus was saying, “Go and tell John those who could not walk in their soul are now walking; those whose souls were crippled are now walking. Even though John was in prison, it doesn’t matter; I allowed him to be in the prison so that he can witness these things”.
Take me, for an example. Who could have imagined and believe that the soul of this village-boy can walk with God? I was shouting ‘Hosanna’ in time past, but I could not walk in my soul. If God opens your eyes to see the people sitting on the pews on Sundays, you will see that they are unclean! Now, however, there is total emancipation in the church. God is doing something in the church; people are receiving the baptism of washing – they are being washed and their sins are being cast into the sea of forgetfulness. They are emerging into God.
This is the time to worship God in the beauty of His holiness. The people of the Lord are being cleansed and washed; that is the company of God’s people that I belong to. Anything lesser than that will not do! Jesus also said, “Go and tell John, the lepers cleansed” (Matt. 11:5). A leper cannot feel anything. This speaks of dead souls who are in the church. These are those who are not moved regardless of what is being preached.
When I look at the young ones, many times, I see lepers. Some of them sing in the choir and are engaged in church activities but thank God, now lepers are being cleansed now. Thank God I am seeing it happen in my own time. The time is coming when the kingdom of God will be take over everything.
The deaf also hear. I have been in church for a long time and have heard both white and black preachers. What the Lord is saying, however, is “go and tell John, it’s no more the same music; this is a new creation”. Whosoever comes to Jesus can understand this. I stand here as a witness that the music is now changing.
Jesus also said, “The dead are raised up”. Don’t be surprised that the church, oftentimes, is being used as mortuary because it is used to keep dead people. We keep organising revivals but they are for men who do not have life. Whereas what a dead man needs first, is for him to be made alive. Revival is secondary. Someone who is dead cannot respond to you, no matter how loud you yell. In much the same way, they cannot respond to God.
Jesus was also told John’s disciples to go tell him that “to the poor the gospel is preached”. The poor is not speaking about those who lack money, it rather speaks of those who do not have the life of Jesus in them. It is not those who have money to buy houses that are rich, it is those who have the life of Jesus who are. Such a man who has money without Jesus is poor. If your soul does not have the light of Jesus, you are very poor. Maybe you should not even go to church again until you have Light (Life). You are wasting your time and energy because it is those who have God’s life that make up the church. The money you give is unclean if you do not have the Light of Jesus. God cannot honour the gift of a dead man because it is not backed up by life.
“And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
If you journey towards receiving life, blessing follows you. If you are not, you should be pitied! If you are still blind and your ears are still deaf, if you cannot move, you are in a position of great offence. There is limitation to what you can do, no matter how enthusiastic you are to do anything. You may not see these limitations but they are there – down in your soul. They are in your inner-man, and only God can see it. The way out of this is seen in verse 25 of the chapter.
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
The above verse puts me in track. When Jesus says: “I thank You Father for You have hid it…” Really, something is hidden from the wise and prudent. I am neither wise nor prudent. The only place I identify with is that of ‘Thank You Father…’. Jesus thanked the Father for me. How much have you appreciated Jesus? Thank You for opening my eyes, opening my deaf ears, cleansing me of leprosy and healing me of lameness. The wise and prudent know nothing about this.
I was discussing with one of my kinsmen who was rich in worldly goods about this new life, I understood that we misuse the word “blessing” a lot and it makes us defeated even though we are zealous. Possessing material things does not necessarily mean you are blessed. That is why I am not here to present or preach prosperity. It’s good to prosper in material things but I am bringing to you the Gospel of the new creation – so that your eyes to be open, your ears to be open and for your legs to be strengthened. This gives us reason to rejoice!
Isaiah prophesied about this before now. Your soul needs to be saved and redeemed because you have been in slave market for years. You have been poor but Jesus redeemed you and brought you back. You’re shouting ‘Hallelujah’ without fully understanding either what happened or what Jesus did. No one can comprehend this salvation. It has the ability to transform a useless man who had been condemned to go to hell into an oracle. Amazing Grace!
What the do we do?
“Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matt. 11:26-27).
That’s why you’re here in this Convention. No one else other than God can help you because He hid these things from the wise and prudent. Religion is my greatest enemy. Religion will paint Heaven as the hope and you will only think of going to Heaven whereas you do not even know the way. Some people are so comfortable with iniquity that it has become their habitation.
I perceive in my spirit and hereby say openly, “This Convention is a spiritual hospital where eyes are opened, deaf ears are unlocked, a new heart is given and understanding is enlightened.” It will happen in the twinkling of an eye and it is not the making of any man. The day it happened to me, I wondered what I had been doing as a Christian. I began to see the Gospel in a new dimension. May God help us!
Jesus became us but we cannot become Him by my strength. He lived and died for me but I have no capacity to live for Him. That is why but He gave me redemption in my soul. Jesus said the Father has revealed this to babes and He thanked God for it.
Sometimes, the opening of believers’ eyes of understanding is a dimension the Father has reserved in His own sovereignty but once this happens, the believer sees and understands the full gospel; not just a part of it.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
There’s a storm in your soul. Jesus is saying, “there is a storm in your soul, come unto Me’’. Even if you are ten thousand or a billion people, ‘Come unto me’ is the first step. The second step is “take My yoke upon you”. From the natural standpoint, the Lord knows the meaning of yoke because of the experience He had gathered at Joseph’s carpentry business. I can imagine Him saying during those times, “This one you are carrying is only stick and wood, why not come for the real yoke? When you take it, you begin to learn My way, for I am meek!” You might have been a Christian for years but you have to look for that rest and find it! That yoke is easy.
In this Convention, if your heart is not set on finding rest for your soul, you will be wasting your time. You have come to find rest. The first rest is a free gift, but the second one must be found by you. Do not think you are resting when you are not. There are certain things you have done and are still doing that deny you rest and shows you have not died to ‘self’. I preach the gospel of salvation and deliverance because they are important, yet I discovered that it does not necessarily do anything to alter my nature. The Lord will not give me His image if I do not die to self. Jesus died and was buried, but on the third day, He came alive again. The climax of my belief is death to self. If I am dead to self, I will not be pulled by whatever anyone says even when my reputation is being slandered. This is why Paul was so bold to say, “None of these things move me” (Acts 20:24). Only dead men speak that way. The beauty of it, however, is that after death is resurrection. Another person will emerge in you at resurrection.
The same Jesus Who was crucified on Friday was the same Person Mary could not recognize at resurrection because of the new class and new level that He had attained by that operation of God. We still have a long way to go. The hardest part of christianity is obedience; may God help us.
“Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.
Somebody will like to experience this REST. When you take the yoke, you begin to learn. It is not easy though. I am still learning. The answer to our many questions is with Jesus because He alone has the answer.
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes.”
Let us begin to tell the Lord to work on the inside of us. Tell Him you want to find rest; you must die to get rest. You cannot initiate your death to self. It must be arranged for you by the Lord and the extent of the death will be tested. A dead man cannot see; neither can he hear. What do you see? What do you hear? What are you pursuing in this world? Please make sure you die to self.
Thank the Lord for the work of the Spirit. Jesus came to fulfill the gospel, but they did not recognise Him. Stop leaving on peripherals, please go deeper to find that rest! Jesus will give it to you – “Come all ye that labour and are heavy laden” (Matt. 11:28). Don’t over labour yourself, come into rest. That Labour is ‘hard labour’ where you won’t be yourself. The bible says: “This is the work of God, that he believe in Him Whom He has sent” (John 6:29). It sounds easy but this is the hardest of the labors of the soul.