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Archbishop Gloria GraceWednesday, August 6, 2014
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THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST (PART 2)

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Continued from Part 1

hile writing my article on fixing the foundational problems of Nigeria, I mentioned that the Church is the light of the world according to Mathew 5:14, and also the salt of the Earth (Mathew 5:13) for the preservation of nations. But when I mentioned that, the words: "Church of Laodicea" stood before my eyes. God sees Nigerian Churches as Church of Laodicea.

The early Church continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2: 42). Holiness was on the plumbline to the point that Ananais and Sephira lost their lives for lying in the Church that the proceed they brought into the Church was the entire proceed. They turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6) through the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The power of God was mightily moving through the apostles: healing, saving and working great miracles.

Through persecution, imprisonment and killings because of the gospel, they were scattered abroad, still preaching the word. Churches were established in many cities. As the people of God were paying for their faith in the Lord with their lives, Apostle John was exiled to the Island of Patmos, There he was taken in the spirit to the throne room of God, and saw visions of heaven whereby he was given messages to the seven Churches in Asia concerning their works before God. In Revelations 2-3, we see that the Church have made a shift from what we read concerning the early Church to these seven Churches. Some of these Churches have abandoned their first love, some compromised the standard of the word of God and began to teach some doctrines of the devil. Worldliness, pride and witchcraft had entered the Church. All these were coming through false apostles and teachers. Some churches were however, commended for their faithfulness and steadfastness.These messages were a call to repentance, revival and to set their priorities right.

THE CHURCH OF LAODICIA

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me…whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 3: 14-22).

About three years ago, I visited Nigeria for some conferences. Before I visited, the Lord opened my eyes and showed me the situation in most Nigerian churches. I saw a pastor coming out of a luxury car wearing a flowing white agbada, flaunted around by body guards and assistants, and he was majestically flaunting himself with the agbada like "Aba business tycoons" (Aba is a commercial city in Abia state). That's the way those business tycoons used to carry themselves.

Later, while in Nigeria I ministered in a wealthy mega Church. While waiting upon the Lord for what to preach, the Holy Spirit told me that the foundation of the Church was unclean, and they were having a very long period of fasting and prayers on top of a polluted foundation. The word of God says: if the foundation be destroyed, what will the righteous do?(Psalm 11:3). Again, the Lord showed me one more challenge the Pastor herself was facing in the ministry, which was more personal to her. My message focused on the foundational pollution in the Body of Christ, which calls for repentance, cleansing and revival. The repentance however, was to start from their Church (I said) from this altar.

As soon as I was done ministering, the Pastor dropped an envelope of untouched, very clean fifty naira notes (five thousand naira) into my hand, and without letting me enter her office, she hurried off for some "program". I was kind-of shocked. Well, I left with the Pastor from a different ministry, who drove me there.

While discussing about my ministrations with a Bishop in the area, and he learnt I ministered in that Church, he asked if I was honored with at least, five hundred thousand naira? It's a very wealthy Church. I opened my wallet and showed him the five thousand naira (fifty naira notes she gave me), he pulled back and said to me: "That is bad money". I recalled visiting a restaurant on my way back, and buying food with part of the money, and mysteriously, one of my teeth broke.

Now, the Bishop's next question was: "What message did you preach there"? I explained to him what the Lord revealed to me about the ministry, and what I preached. He said: "She did not like the message you preached". Then he explained that my revelation was accurate for the wealth of the ministry came through unclean means. He explained to me what the Pastor did to acquire the wealth. But God wanted to cleanse the foundation. If the foundation be destroyed, what will the righteous do? Fix it.

Again, I visited Nigeria in 2012, a different Bishop friend from facebook sent me a text and said: I have seen the raw messages you write on your facebook walls. Please this is Nigeria, what we preach here is PROSPERITY, and that's what the people want to hear. Just preach prosperity messages. I asked: What about the message the Holy Spirit gives, shall I not rather follow divine direction to preach the message He gives me to preach since I am a servant of God to do His will? He answered me: I'm warning you, be careful with Nigerian ministers. The Lord now began to reveal to me deep secrets about another Church I was going to minister, which He was yet to connect me. The Pastor, a prophet that tells you everything about your life The Lord told me that He has armies there, but they were under chains. They were like dry bones in the valley and needed to be released unto their destinies, and some other secret things about the foundation of the ministry. The next day, I was connected to him. There was so much hype, because of continuous detailed prophetic revelations, signs, wonders and prophetic declarations. The Church would start from 9am till 5pm or 6pm. Yet people are not tired, they are pressing for more prophecies. And while all those prophecies are going on, money is rolling in like waters at the altar especially each time the Pastor asked for it. ..

Recently in Times Square New York City, as I finished ministering around there and was leaving, I saw myself walking behind a man on "Mickey Mouse costume" with a money bag hanging behind him. Instantly, it was a Nigerian prophet's back with a money bag I was seeing.The Holy Spirit was showing me that is what most of those prophets do: merchandising prophecies as they hang their money bags behind them, exploiting the people. It is their personal business, and the members are their personal banks. The people are rarely fed with the word of God, but with endless prophecies. At times, a line from the word is read out, and the rest of the day is endless prophesies. In some cases, that line of the word that is read becomes a powerful merchandise for powerful money seeds. The poor would feel guilty for not having the kind of seed that will bring in the kind of miracle being preached for that seed. At the end of the day, the Prophet/Pastor had gathered millions from the people. The people however, because they were not fed with the word of life, are still hungry. They return over and over, looking for "microwave" answers to their problems, because they do not have the word upon which they should build their faith. They are spiritually dying, but they thought that what they need is quick fix: "prophecy". And since most of such prophecies are coming from divination, lies, the people continue to face more challenges.

Prosperity messages took over the altars including top ministries. One breakthrough program after another one in which much breakthrough seeds will be sown each time. The people continue to struggle because they don't have the word to build their faith. Only the preacher is getting richer and richer and unfortunately, parading those worldly wealth to the people; lining up those expensive cars before the people that give them the money. They are still hungry for more prophecies, but in reality, the word. The man of God has become the focus, the god they see. They chase him even till midnight with more money in their hands, looking for answers which can only come through the knowledge of the word of God (by faith). It is written that the just shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38), and faith comes by hearing the the word of God (Romans 10:17). By knowledge shall the just be delivered (Proverbs 11:9).

I have to emphasize that there is a time for sowing seed (releasing one's faith). Seed sowing does not have to be money every time. Hannah vowed to give Samuel to God if God would give her a son. God heard the vow and gave her a son. She fulfilled the vow and released Samuel to God (sowing him as a seed to God) and God gave her five more children. Sowing seed could be anything God is asking you to do, including doing a full time ministry as in my case when my life and those of my children were in danger and we knew we were in great danger. God stepped in and asked me to promise to serve Him full time, and He would deliver us. I promised Him, based on what seed He required to perform that miracle. It is not always money.

One thing however, is sure. Pay your tithes and give God your voluntary offerings, and when He prompts you to sow financial seed into the life of a man of God, or any other seed, He will let you know. Don't live under satanic manipulation that everything you need in life is money seed. The word of God said that when you seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, everything else shall be added unto you (Mathew 6:33). Seek after the salvation of lost souls. Seek deep intimacy with God. Like Paul, desire to know God above all things (Philippians 3:10). Let Him be your one desire, and you will see breakthroughs in your life. All that God wants from you is love Him with all your heart, might and strength. Jesus says that if you will abide in Him, and His word abides in you. Then you shall ask whatever you will, and He will give it to you (John 15:7). You see that you don't have to keep chasing after prophets and men of God for answers. Study the word for yourself. Feed on Christ, the word and you will begin to hear Him speak directly to you. Study to show yourself approved unto God. The man of God is your coach to feed you with the word, to perfect you as Christlike and to guide you to become who God has destined you to become.

The Church of Laodicea is the Church that thought that because they have the money, all their spiritual needs are met. They can buy answers from the prophet with the money. They can pay the man of God to fast and pray for them, see visions for them and all that. But because they don't have the word of God in themselves; they don't have personal experience with God. They don't know how to put on the whole armor of God and wage war by themselves, they were completely unamored (naked, wretched, ready to be destroyed by the enemy at any time). A Liberian lady in Maryland visited her prophet Pastor to find out if her journey to Liberia was going to be safe. Her Pastor/prophet assured her that everything would be fine. She traveled and died by car crash. You see why you need to know God for yourself, and not lean on a prophet to give you quick fix. Many wealthy men and politicians have fallen victims to such situations as they patronize such prophets/men of God who would not show them the true way, who is Jesus, but make themselves "oracles" to be consulted and paid.

The people were also said to be poor because true riches is knowing Jesus Christ and His riches in glory.

Many pastors equate blessings with worldly possessions ( I am not against wealth, Abraham was very wealthy with lands, gold and silver but that was not his priority). The problem in the Church is covetousness. Many servants of God, display their possessions and pride themselves on them calling it 'BLESSING". Jesus however, reminded them that "they are naked, poor and wretched". This shows that true prosperity is not worldly possession, but knowing God and having an intimate relationship with Him; to understand His heartbeat and be a custodian of His secrets. I love the song: I am a friend of God, He calls me friend". True riches is becoming who you are created to become. Abraham was a friend of God whom God called at age 75. He had no house, no child and still living under his father's roof when God called him and through faith and obedience he became a friend of God. Today, we are the seed of Abraham by faith, inheriting his covenant blessings. True riches is knowing God and walking intimately with Him. He is your riches, you wealth.

Set your priorities right according to the word of God. Material possession is only a secondary matter. In Luke 12:15, Jesus said: Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consist not on the abundance of things which he possesses. Again, we are to lay up our treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy (Mathew 6:19). Cherish Him above everything. Seek after His will, Like David pant after Him. He is so lovely and such a wonderful and sweet friend, and His love for you is true and very passionate.. You are the apple of His eye. He loves you and with his Blood purchased you to God. Be grateful for such a sacrifice, for such love for greater love has no man than laying one's life for his friend.

Nigeria is suffering like this because, servants of God abandoned their first love, pursuing material possessions through consistent prosperity messages, and in most cases manipulating and robbing the people of God, taking advantage of their needs, especially the poor and the needy.. Ministry became a platform of competition. Many guest speakers preach what will please the host, and not what the Lord asked them to preach (based on my experiences). The word of God is freely you have received, freely give. It is not to be merchandised. Give unto God as you purposed in your heart (2 Corinthians 9:7). Learn to prevail with God through word-based prayers for your needs for only your faith in Him will please Him. Church, let us return to our first love, to the Lord. Let us cry out for repentance (2 Chronicles 7:14) and revival, and for mercy so that God will have mercy upon Nigeria and abundantly pardon. Let us also remember the widows, the fatherless children and the orphans among the people of God. As we do these, God will forgive and save the people, especially the children, amen and amen!

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