April 7, 2024

Transcribed Message: And the man waxed great and went forward by Pastor Bede

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Praise the Lord. You are welcome once again to this epoch-making retreat, the Easter retreat of the Watchman Charismatic Renewal Movement. It is time to switch camps.


At this session, the Lord is going to minister unto us, is going to reach out to us, every one of us. And it is important that you make up your mind to be attentive, not to allow any distraction, because much in your life may depend on what you will hear shortly. I would like us to stand on our feet and open our hymn books.


We will sing three hymns, hymn 154, hymn 170, and hymn 181. First, we’ll take hymn number 154. ♪ I see only a bold way, new heights I’m gaining every day.


As boldly turns its way, way doft I go, I am made, and to meet me at last, I’ll go straight on, I’ll meet me, I shall be of glory, one that’s like me. 170, Deeper, Deeper in the Love of Jesus. ♪ Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus, may he lift me up.


Higher, higher in the school of grace, the Lord of grace and love. Deeper, deeper in the grace of love, in the grace of His holy grace. Deeper, deeper, let the Lord His peace be with me.


See my life is holding on to Jesus, the grace of His holy grace. If I had tried to flee, all in love of Jesus, let me His holy grace. Lord, give me His holy grace.


181, More About Jesus Would I Know. ♪ This would I know, more of His grace to all that’s sure. More of His healing pool and sea, more of His love would die for me.


Oh, more about Jesus. Oh, more about Jesus. More of His healing pool, more of His love of Jesus lift me up.


More of His holy grace descend. Spirit of life and teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me. Oh, more about Jesus.


Oh, more about Jesus. More of His healing pool and sea. Let me be sure, more of His holy grace.


Oh, more about Jesus. Oh, more about Jesus. More of His healing pool and sea, more of His love of Jesus.


Only strong reaches in glory. More of His kingdom shall decrease. More of His coming will achieve.


Oh, more about Jesus. More of His healing pool and sea, more of His love would die for me. Faithful and everlasting Father, we lift up the name of Jesus in our lives, in everything that concern us.


We’re asking and praying that the spirit of the living God will release the power from on high and make us to be fruitful, make us to be able to grow in the grace that has been bestowed upon us. Lord, it is not your hard desire, neither is it your pleasure that we should stand still, nor draw back, but that we should move forward, that we should grow, that we should be perfected in the image of Christ. Therefore, blessed Redeemer, I pray that as we look into the perfect Lord of Liberty and we draw from the provisions you have made for us this day, that your hard desire and the things you have planned for us will be our portion, will be our testimony, each and every one of us.


Father, by the time we are done, we shall be testifying that we are no longer going around around the mountain. Lord, we shall move forward. Jehovah, we shall grow, and it shall be recorded as it was concerning Isaac.


Glory and honor be unto you now and forevermore. In Jesus’ victorious name, we pray. The general theme, once again, is it is time to switch camps.


Whatever camp the Word of God disposes you to be in, but you discover is not the program of God for your life, make up your mind to switch to the camp of the Lord. Make up your mind not to be condemned by what you hear, but to be justified according to the will of God. It is necessary that you take advantage of the largeness of heart of the Lord, because God will never, never withhold His inexhaustible resources in this day that we are really in luck, in this day of very terrible challenges in the world, in this day of need, because He that commanded us not to hoard corn, He will not hoard resources even from us.


He that said we shouldn’t tell somebody that comes asking for help at our hand that he should go and return and come back the next day, He said we shouldn’t do that. The one that commanded us not to do that will not ask us to go and come back tomorrow. By the time you ask, you will receive at His hand.


So get ready to change camps. Get ready to move forward. Get ready to have your testimony changed.


Praise the Lord. The topic before us now is And the man works great, and went forward and grew until he became very great. Let’s open our Bibles to Genesis chapter 26.


And the man works great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great. We will read from verse 12 to 16. Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year a hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him.


And the man works great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great. For he had possessions of flocks, and possessions of herds, and great store of servants, and the Philistines envied him. For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them and filled them with earth.


And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us, for thou art much mightier than we. And the man works great. We want to talk about growth in the kingdom of God.


Growth is an evidence of life. It is one of the characteristics of living things. Whenever any living stops growing, it starts dying.


At any time, even when people don’t have apical growth again, there are still aspects of their lives that will continue to improve. God underscored the place of growth in the life and calling of the watchman when he told the servant of God, at the beginning of his dealings with him, saying, I will bring you into that for which I have called you, and that without measure. Not so long after that, God told him again and said, And the man works great and went forward and grew until he became very great.


That was where we read in Genesis 26, 13, the Lord at the beginning of this ministry had told his servant this, underscoring the necessity of growth even in the movement. For every one of us that has answered the call of God unto repentance and unto the belief of the truth, God demands growth. He demands growth.


He demands progress. He demands forward movement toward the apprehension of that for which Jesus has apprehended us. There is a purpose.


There is a reason for which Jesus Christ caught you. There is a reason why he caught me. There is a purpose.


There is something he wants to achieve using you and using me. Now, when we have come unto him and we have begun to walk with him, it is necessary that we should have this understanding that we should be approaching and we should be closing in on that very purpose for which he caught us. It should not be that by yesterday we were 10 kilometers away from it and by today we are still 10 kilometers away from it.


We should be drawing near until we catch that for which Jesus has caught us. The situation in the world of Christians today shows a lull. It shows a standing still.


It shows a stalemate in the lives of Christians as it pertains doing God’s pleasure. That is the general situation in Christendom today. Instead of moving forward, instead of growing, instead of knowing the Lord better, instead of improving in their relationship with the Lord and in the testimony of their lives, what we find in the world over is a terrible deterioration, terrible backsliding from the faith.


In fact, the period we are in the world now is a period of the falling away first. This is the time that which was predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 3 is being fulfilled. There it says that the Antichrist will not come and Jesus will not come the second time until and unless there be the falling away first.


2 Thessalonians 2. Let’s look at verse 2 and 3. That you be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled neither by spirit nor by word nor by letters from us that the day of the Lord is already come. Let no man deceive you by any means for that day shall not come except there come the falling away first and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. There has to be the falling away.


That was the prediction of the scriptures and that is what we are experiencing now. The deterioration, the backsliding of many that had been standing right in the time past. Because God called the watchman, the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement to, among other things, bring back Jacob.


Jacob, we have been severally told, is the church of God that has strayed afar off from him, from the shepherd and bishop of their souls. Because that is one measure of the purpose of the calling of the watchman. It becomes exigent.


It becomes necessary. It becomes very, very important that the physician must first be healed. Very, very important.


And we must recover our lives and grow beyond the present tumours that abound. Grow beyond the present lull. Go beyond the present stalemate.


In people’s Christian lives, we must move out of it and move forward before we can fulfil and achieve what God has given into our hands. Very, very tasking work, arduous task of bringing back Jacob. We must stand strong.


We must stand firm upon the rock before we can stretch out a helping hand to those who are wrestling with the troubled sea. We must soar higher and we must move on until we pass the violent clouds. We make them to come under us, well under our feet, where we can find even peace.


Because those that dwell on higher ground, beneath them the tumours of the earth may be found. But where they are, they are at peace. It is important that we recognise that we should give God golden attention.


We should give God the best of what he is asking for in our lives. The servant of God recently made us know that if you give God golden attention, he will give you golden response. This is in keeping with the word of God in James chapter 4 verse 7 where he says, if you draw near to God, he will draw near to you.


So the level of attention you give to God, the level of response he will give to you. In the message that is before us, we want to consider the following points. Number one, injunctions to grow and move forward, forward and higher.


Number two, indices of growth and forward movement. And finally, ingredients of growth and forward movement. The first point, injunctions to grow and move forward.


It is God’s heart desire, it is God’s provision, it is God’s command that his people and all those associated with him should move forward always irrespective of whatsoever may stand in their ways to hinder them. Irrespective of obvious obstacles that are bound, irrespective of stiff oppositions that are on their way, it is God’s demand, it is his command, it is his desire and his provision that his people, his children should always move forward. In other words, it doesn’t matter what we meet on the way, it doesn’t matter the testimony that are bound, it doesn’t matter the troubles, it doesn’t matter the oppositions, it does not matter at all.


What God has provided for us is forward movement. Now, the scriptures are replete with God’s injunctions to this effect. God does not require any standing still, neither can he accommodate any backward movement.


What he has designed, what he has provided for, what he has demanded from us and commanded is forward movement, growth and progress. Praise the Lord. In the book of Genesis chapter 12, let’s see, going back to our early patriarchs, let’s see what the Lord has for us through them.


In Genesis chapter 12, let’s read verse 10. And there was famine in the land, and Abraham went down into Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was grievous in the land. Verse 17.


And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abraham’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abraham and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was your wife? Why sayest thou she is my sister, so I might have taken her to me as my wife? Now therefore behold thy wife, take her and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him, and they sent him away and his wife and all that he had.


God had told Abraham, he had called him, Say, go out of your father’s house, move out of your kindred and of your country, and come with me to a place where I will show you. He had taken him and he had obeyed and had left all of the Chaldeans, passed through Haran, left Haran, and went to the land of Canaan, according to how God directed him. But what he met there was famine.


God had said, I’m bringing you to a land that flows with milk and honey. I’m bringing you to a place where you’ll be blessed abundantly. You will not only be blessed, you will become a blessing.


That means his life will be so saturated with blessings that others will begin to partake of the blessings of Abraham. That was what the Lord told him. And he brought him to the land of Canaan.


But this first experience of Abraham in the land was almost opposite of his expectation. What he met there was famine, very grievous famine. And it was severe in the land.


The Bible said that famine was grievous, severe. It was terrible. Abraham could not even eat.


He couldn’t find food for his household. And what he did was, the Bible said he went down. Look at verse 10.


And Abraham went down into Egypt. That was backward movement. He had been brought out of his place to the land of Canaan.


Egypt was a backward movement. That’s why the Bible put it this way. Abraham went down into Egypt.


And when you see, in the land of Egypt, there was a lot of problems. He began to compromise his faith and many other things that happened. But then, even though he had made a mistake, the eyes of God were still upon him.


And the Bible said God plagued Pharaoh’s house by raising up the wife of Abraham that they had taken. And in keeping with what God told Pharaoh, he now chided Abraham and said, you didn’t do well. Why did you not tell me she was your wife? And all that.


Now take your wife and go. Go to where you came from. Through the mouth of a king of Egypt, Abraham was told to return.


And look at verse 1 of chapter 13. And Abraham went up out of Egypt. He and his wife and all that he had, and lot with him into the south.


He now went up from Egypt and returned to the land of Canaan, the southern part of Canaan. So going backwards is going down. And going to the place where God has commanded is going up.


In chapter 26 of the same Genesis, verse 1 says, And there was famine in the land beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech, king of the Philistines, unto Gerah. So in the time of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the same experience, the same famine, was in the land, very grievous as it was before.


But Isaac, having known that God didn’t, wasn’t happy with Abraham going to Egypt, he now decided to move toward the southern part of Canaan, where the Philistines were occupying at that time. And there God met him. Look at what God said.


Verse 2, And the Lord appeared unto him that is unto Isaac and said, Go not down into Egypt. Dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and I will bless thee.


For unto thee and unto thy seed will I give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham, thy father. So in the calling that now came upon Isaac, in the room of Abraham, his father, God told him, Don’t go down to Egypt. I called you into this place.


Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you. I will bless you. In Exodus chapter 12, from verse 29, we are talking about the injunctions of God, the expectations of God on his people, the instructions that he had given.


Exodus chapter 12, and verse 29, And it came to pass that at midnight the Lord smote all the faceborn in the land of Egypt, from the faceborn of Pharaoh, who sat in his throne, unto the faceborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the faceborn of Catilam. Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.


And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both you and the children of Israel, and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also. This we know the story, how that the Lord descended upon Egypt with plagues, with punishment, for refusing to let the children of Israel return to the land of Canaan, where the Lord had called them to stay to serve him.


And at the last count, God smote all the faceborn in the land of Egypt. And then the people said, Look, we can’t stand this again. Please go.


In a haste, they pursued them out, said, Go, go, go, and leave us alone. And then Pharaoh requested for blessing. Now, verse 37 of the same chapter 12, And the children of Israel journeyed from Ramesses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot, that were men beside children.


And a mixed multitude went up also with them, and flocks and herds, and very much cattle. And chapter 14, verse 5. Chapter 14, verse 5. And it was told the king of Egypt, that the people fled. And the heart of Pharaoh and all his servants was turned against the people.


And they said, What have we done? Why have we done this? And that we should let Israel go from serving us. And he made ready his chariots, and took his people with him. And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and camped over every one of them.


And the Lord had in the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel. And the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and all the horsemen and his army, and overtook them in camping by the sea, beside Pihaheroth, before Balzephon.


And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them, and they were in great fear. And the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there was no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt us with us to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is it not the word that we told thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.


And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, stand still, and you will see the salvation of the Lord, which we show to you today. For the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.


And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. Again God had told his people to move out from Egypt and return to the land of Canaan. And then he had taken them after they let them go through a very route that ended in the Red Sea.


By the right side and the left side was wilderness. In front of them was the Red Sea. And the sea was so large there was nothing that could ferry them across that was available.


And then, lo and behold, the army of Pharaoh had reinforced against them. They had changed their mind and said, Why should we let Israel go from serving us? And they began to pursue them. But these are the people that had gotten the word of God to leave the land of Egypt and come over to the land of Canaan where he had prepared for them.


They had obeyed the Lord. How come now this trouble? How come now the peril of their lives? How come now that the army has come with all the chariots and the horses and all the armament to destroy their lives? They were in great fear. And they began to now blame Moses.


He should have allowed us to serve these people. Why are we now coming to this wilderness to perish in the wilderness? So, Moses after encouraging the people, began to cry himself. He was overwhelmed.


Even though he had encouraged the people he had spoken unto them, he was overwhelmed. What do we do now? Do we drown in this river? Do we turn back and surrender and just beg these people to accept us back as slaves instead of killing us? What do we do? Now, the Lord spoke to Moses. Why are you crying? As long as I have called you, as long as I have spoken to you, there is no option to go in forward.


Forward, ever. Backward, never. To stand still here, that is not an option.


Tell the children of Israel, let them move forward. But there is a sea there. I say, let them move forward.


What about the obstacle? God said to Moses, tell them to do what? Move forward. There must be forward movement, irrespective of the Red Sea. I have called you several times.


The servant of God had told us that there is no contingency in God’s program. No unforeseen circumstance in God’s program. Whatever we are seeing in the world today, that is making the people very much afraid and trembling, and many are no more coming to fellowship.


They manage to come on Sundays because of the lack in the land. Because of the famine, I can say. Because of the situation, economic situation, that is so bad.


And the multitudes of the people are not able even to take care of themselves. Cannot find food to eat, a lot of things. To find money for transport is difficult.


And they look around and they don’t know what next to do. God is saying, move forward. To turn back and think about going back is not an option at all.


So, while they were in the wilderness, the children of Israel, as they journeyed toward the promised land, whatever obstacle or stifle position they met on the way was to be overcome. There is no other thing to do. Face it, overcome it, and move forward.


So that they could move forward and enter into the place that God had promised them. In Exodus chapter 17, when they had lack of water, they were famished, they were thirsty. And they were contemplating, what kind of thing is this? Is it not better we go back and, you know, serve the Egyptians? God told Moses, there is no water.


This is a desert place. There is no river. There is no pool of water.


But the people must drink water. Now, I will tell you what to do. He commanded Moses, take the rod in your hand and strike the rock that is there.


As he did that, water began to rush out of the rock, and the people drank water. In Numbers chapter 13, they had reached the place that was the boundary to the promised land. And they were sent to go and spy out the land to check the parameters, whether what God said concerning the land was true, to talk about, check how fertile it was, the kind of fruits that are found in the land.


And he took one person from every tribe, and he sent the people. And they went, they spied out the land. They saw that the place was a very fertile place.


In fact, the land of Canaan is about the most fertile ground on earth for agriculture. With their rain, the dew that drops in the night, dew, is enough to make the crops grow. And even though there are a lot of desert, yet whatsoever that is sown grows.


So they found the fruits of the land, very big fruits, very heavy, and they brought some of the branches bearing the fruits to show as evidence that the land was very, very good. In fact, God described it as a land that flows with milk and honey. Now, in addition to a very good land, a very fertile land, productive land, they found the giants there.


Big people, great in stature. People that, you know, warriors of renown. And they became afraid.


They said in Numbers chapter 13 verse 1 to 2, and verse 26 to 33, the people said the Anakims, the giants that we saw there, we were like grasshoppers in their sight, and so were we in our own sight. They are so huge. They are so terrible.


They are really able to finish us. And they said, look, there is no need going to commit suicide. Let’s make a captain.


Forget about these Moses. Let’s make another captain and return to Egypt. That was a terrible, terrible situation.


God was really offended. And he said, okay, since you are not interested as something I’m going to do, all of you will be wasted in the wilderness. Initially he told Moses, let me just destroy all of them, and I will make out of you another nation.


Moses said, no. The Egyptians will hear it, and they will say, because he’s not able to take them into the land. That’s the reason he had destroyed them.


And he prevailed in that argument. But there were two people out of the twelve. Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh.


Those two said, no. The people are great, yes. The people are great warriors.


They are really fearful to behold. However, the God who brought us out is great, greater than any great being. Mightier than the mightiest.


Stronger than the strongest. If he delights in us, that’s the only thing. If the Lord has pleasure in us, if he is pleased with us, then the matter is over.


He will destroy those giants. They will become bread for us. He will cause their defense to depart from them.


Because of those people being interested in forward movement and never in backward movement, God singled them out. Because they have a different spirit. Because they have followed me wholly.


Only the two of them will enter the land. The rest of the people, more than 600,000 men perished in the wilderness. In the New Testament, Jesus always associated the kingdom of God with growth and forward movement.


The apostles also did the same when they took over from Jesus. In Matthew chapter 13, we are talking about injunctions to grow. Injunctions to grow and move forward.


In Matthew 13, verse 31 to 33, Jesus talked about the kingdom of God with this parable. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds. But when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the beds of the air come and lodge in the branches of it.


So that’s how the kingdom of heaven is. Wherever it is planted, it doesn’t remain as it was planted. It will grow, it will move forward, it will become great, and it will grow on and on until it becomes very great, such that even the beds of the air will find nest in it, and the beasts of the field will find shelter under it.


Verse 33, another parable spoke he unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leaven, little leaven that was put in three measures of meal, a large dough, flour that had been needed. Then he put just a little leaven, and that leaven would begin to permeate, it would begin to move, it would begin to grow, begin to, until it moves and leavens the entire loaf. So that is how the kingdom of heaven is.


It is not static. It doesn’t stay, you know, at a place. So, it is necessary that we should recognize this.


In Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 19, we hear the apostles, when it was their turn, to talk about growth. Ephesians 13, verse 19 to 21. Ephesians chapter 2, verse 19 to 21.


Now, therefore, you are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. And you are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom also you are built together for an habitation of God through his Spirit. The temple of God grows, it grows unto an holy temple when they are fitted together.


In 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 and verse 3. 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 3. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith groweth exceedingly. This is something we should glorify the name of the Lord because we can find growth in your faith. You were excited.


He said your faith groweth exceedingly and your love also grows. Your love to all toward each other are bounded. That’s what gives us joy.


2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 2. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word of God that you may grow by it. That you may grow by it. In chapter 3 of 2 Peter verse 18.


2 Peter chapter 3 verse 18. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to him be glory both now and forever. In that same 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 3. According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue by which are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature.


Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Beside this beside this is faith that has given us the new life. He said beside this after partaking of the divine nature after getting a new life in Christ give all diligence to add to add to your faith virtue.


To add to virtue knowledge. To add to knowledge self-control. To add to self-control patience.


To patience godliness and godliness you add brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness you add love. For if these things be in you and abound they make that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our lord Jesus Christ but he that lacketh these things these additions these items of growth. He that lacks them is blind and cannot see afar off and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.


The person that is not growing is standing still. That person is dying. His salvation is now in jeopardy.


He has forgotten that he was washed. He was you know purged from his sins. So it is necessary.


There are people that come to church from year to year. They have been there for three years. They have been there for ten years.


But apart from that initial experience where they gave their lives to Christ and repeated after the preacher. There is no other thing that you can find in their lives. The same old things that they were doing.


The same old antagonism with everybody around. That is what is still in their lives. The same old talkativeness that they were known by.


That is why. That is how it is. Still with them.


The same old life of being being antagonistic. Each time somebody comes near them, there must be a quarrel. They bite like the other.


They sting like the bee. It is still like that in their lives. When two of them come together under one roof, there will be always trouble.


In the yard, they are always quarreling with neighbors. But they have been in church for five years. They have been in church for ten years, fifteen years, twenty years.


There is no change in their lives. They have not grown beyond the things that they were known for. Such people, the Bible says, they are under-cursing.


Because, as in the book of Hebrews, when something is sown and the person you know, is not growing, is not making any improvement, that person is bringing himself toward being cursed. In Hebrews chapter 6 verse 7, For the earth will drink it in the rain that cometh often upon it, and bring it forth harps, feet for them for whom it is still receiving a blessing. The earth receives the rain.


Just like week after week, we come to fellowship, we receive the rain of the word of God. During this Easter program, another, you know, dose of rain is coming our way. The word of God comes, we hear it, we pray, we go, but the thing, if it is not producing fruit, it is a very, very bad signal.


A red signal. He said, But that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is near unto cursing, whose end is to be born. When somebody is receiving the rain, the word of God is coming, he’s hearing it every Sunday, he’s hearing it at Sunday light, Tuesday, he’s hearing it at charismatic hour, on Thursdays, he’s hearing it at Bible study fellowships.


And he remains the same. His testimony the same. Her testimony the same.


In the place of business, he is still doing business as when he never knew the Lord. The people are still not sure when they come to him, whether what he’s saying is true or not. He’s still full of, you know, business tricks that his life as unbeliever was manifesting.


He’s still doing the things and cheating the people, his business partners. A number of things. He will just tell you, my friend, this is business.


This is not church. You just take church away from it. And so they do a lot of unethical things, very shrewd and smart practices.


And the people, when they observe them and see what they are doing, they are not sure. They begin to ask, Shebi, you said this person is a watchman. I thought he was a Christian.


But look at how he dealt with me. Look at how he cheated me. Look at the kind of thing he did.


But this person has been there for 10 years. No growth. It is just that he now knows how to sing.


When you say, let us pray, he can pray and shout, but his life is not producing any fruit. What are the indices of growth and forward movement? Point number two. In the backsliding and deteriorated state of the universal church today, their indices or measure of growth is a far cry from the Lord’s own indices of growth.


The church has retrogressed from the spiritual to the carnal. Today, the church and the people that are assessing will look at carnal things, temporal things, physical things as the index of progress, the index of growth, the index of godliness. In 1 Timothy chapter 6, let’s look at verse 3 to 6. 1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 3 to 6. If any man teach otherwise and consent not to hold some words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing but doting about questions and disputes of words, of which cometh envy, strife, reliance, evil suspicions, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth.


Who suppose that gain is godliness? From such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. But we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out.


So, the perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, though they be in the church, though they may be GOs, they may be, you know, under pastors, senior pastors, parish pastors, though they may be, you know, the founders of prophetic ministries and prayer ministries, they play all the places all over the world. They now measure their growth. They measure their moving forward in God’s business with how much of physical, material things that they have acquired.


For them, if God was not with me, how come that in just three years we have had this edifice, we have built this tabernacle, this great, you know, temple, how come we now have such a number of buses for evangelism, we now have, they are just pointing to you, their material gain as an evidence of their growth in the Lord. But that is not the Lord’s own parameter. In Revelation chapter 3, we hear what Jesus Christ said concerning such a church.


In Revelation chapter 3, verse 14 to 19, and unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things say they amen, they faithful and true witness the beginning of the creation of God. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot, I would that thou were cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.


Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold dried in the fire, that thou mayest be truly rich, and white garment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anointed eyes with salve that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.


Be zealous, therefore, and repent. The angel that Jesus sent to signify to John this message of the book of Revelation now spoke and told the angel of the church of Laodicea, their pastor, their minister that God has placed over them, that’s the person who was writing, he said, you are boasting that you are rich, you are boasting that you are increased with goods, your material gain abounds, and that is all that you are pointing to. For you to celebrate success in ministry, you are simply pointing to the cars, the jeeps, the buses, you are pointing to all the fellowship centers, air-conditioned places of worship, that is what you are looking at.


You are pointing to the numbers, the millions of worshippers that you have gathered even into your ministry. That is all that you are talking about and bragging about. But the Lord said, looking at you with all the paraphernalia of children of God, I see you people naked.


When somebody is naked, that’s the person living in sin. When somebody is naked in the spiritual, Adam and Eve became naked when they sinned against God. The children of Israel became naked when they worshipped the golden calves, the molten calves.


Moses asked Aaron, what did these people do to you that you made them naked? They became naked. And so when somebody is going to church, somebody is a pastor, somebody is a pastor’s wife, somebody is a worker in church, but he’s living in secret sin. He’s living in sin.


That person is naked. And he’s bragging because since he became born again in the church and they have been coming, he has a lot of testimonies. The Lord has healed him.


He has healed him of cancer. He has healed him of asthma. He has healed him of this and healed him of that.


And that is what he’s bragging with. The Lord has also prospered him, giving him a very wonderful job. He now has, you know, he bought some estates.


He has bought some houses. He is also building some in other towns and all that. He’s living in his own house.


He has built a house in the village. That is all that he has. But when you come near him, you will see that he is naked.


God said, the angel said, you don’t know that you are wretched, miserable, and poor with all the material gain. To what God you are poor? To what God you are wretched? To what God you are miserable? You are blind. You cannot see the things, the provisions of the word of God.


You don’t know anything about them except the ones that will bring you material gain. When we talk about holiness, you are far from it. You talk about doing what pleases God.


You are not interested. You cut corners. You do many, many, many things and prosper materially and that is your boost.


No. He said, you do not recognize that you are you are poor. You do not recognize that you are wretched, you are miserable, you are blind, you are naked in the midst of apparent prosperity.


In the midst of apparent progress in the things of this life. The church that Jesus spoke about, the Laodicean church, which is the last of the church age. And that is exactly the church that we are into today.


The universal church. The Laodicean church age. That’s where we are.


The people always everybody, there is competition. This one is hundred, hundred thousand capacity. The other one is 150,000 capacity.


The other one wants to do 170,000 capacity. The other one, the next one will be 200,000. Everybody, they are competing who has, who is going to build the largest cathedral.


The largest cathedral does not bring people to heaven. It is not the air-conditioned house where they worship that makes them children of God. God’s indices of growth derives from his value system.


The indices of growth in God’s sight derives from his value system. The things that mesmerize and tantalize men are valueless in God’s sight. In fact, they are abominable.


Jesus said in Luke 16, 15, that the things that are highly esteemed among men are abomination in the sight of God. The true riches are those valuables that secure men’s place and position in the eternal kingdom of God. Those are the true riches.


And those are the things that people should labor to find. They are the primaries. These other things are the secondary.


Jesus said in Luke 6, Matthew 6, that he said, seek ye first the kingdom of God. Seek first and all his righteousness. Every other thing is an additional alleges that is given out.


Every other thing is additional. They will be added unto unto you. There are three indices that are used to measure one’s commitment to God and his Christ.


Three indices. Those three are talking about one point, one thing. How detached are you from the world? And how attached are you to God? In the last message that we had in this retreat is talking about bringing us out in order to bring us in.


Getting out in order to get in. Before you can get into Christ, before you can get into God, you must get out of the world. Out of sin.


Then into the Lord. That is the measure of your growth. In Genesis chapter 3, we see how the devil tried to use these three points to snatch Adam and Eve from God.


And today, that is exactly what he is laboring to do. Genesis chapter 3, verse 1 to 6. Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden.


And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day that you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.


And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, he took up the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. Three things stand out clearly in that consideration. They disobeyed God because they considered that the tree was good for food.


What to eat, what to drink, what to put on. It was good for food. The desires of the flesh, the things that would gratify the flesh, that was what they were gunning for.


That was what they went for at the expense of their relationship with God. So the index of growth in this area is that you are detached from the things that are attractive to the flesh. The Bible calls it the lusts of the flesh.


They include the lusts of what to eat and drink. They include the lusts of sensuality. The drive to commit immorality.


They push from within and from without the lusts of the flesh. As long as somebody is pushing in this area, is interested in what to eat and what to drink, then it is compromising his interest is, first of all, it doesn’t matter whether God is pleased with it or not, let me eat this fruit. It is good for food.


That’s what they considered and they disobeyed God. Secondly, he said it is also pleasant to the eyes. The lusts of the eyes.


The lusts of the eyes include the fashion that fill everywhere. It includes all the things that people acquire and they just go ahead and jeopardize their faith, jeopardize their spirit and jeopardize heaven, jeopardize their relationship with God to acquire this and acquire that and acquire that. The Bible said, when they fill their houses with all these possessions, he said, many of the time, it is the people that enjoy these things that increase.


The owner is only pleased with seeing it with his eyes. That’s his own portion. That’s his own gain.


He’ll just be seeing this thing and he’ll say, I own this one, I own this estate, I own the other estate and just looking at the something, he will just see it with his eyes. The lusts of the eyes. And then, the woman saw that that fruit was good to be desired, to make one wise.


The devil had told them, you will be like God, you will be wise, you will know good and evil. Ah, who am I that I should be like God? And then, I will know what God knows, I will understand I am wise like God and other and pride will set in. The Bible says, knowledge puffs up.


Because of what you know. You know this, you know that this is the area that God alone knows. Now, when you disobey him, you will know that these things are so.


You will know like God knows. Pride of life. That was in the life of the first Adam.


It was in these three points that the devil succeeded in knocking them off their relationship with God. When the second Adam came, even the son of God, Jesus Christ the righteous, the devil came on these same three points. In Matthew chapter 4, we see how the devil came to the second Adam on the same three points with which he floored the first Adam.


Matthew chapter 4 from verse 1. Then was Jesus led up by this spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungry. And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread.


Bread to eat. You are very hungry. You don’t need to wait.


Just command. Let these stones become bread and you eat the loss of the flesh. The woman saw it was good for food.


And the devil is telling the second Adam, command the stones to become bread so that you will eat the loss of the flesh. But Jesus answered and said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city and the setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple and said unto him, if thou be the son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning you, and in their hands they shall bear thee up unless at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.


Jesus said unto him, it is written again, thou shall not put the Lord thy God to the test. Again the devil taketh him up into an exceedingly high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glories of them and said unto him, all these things will I give thee if thou will fall down and worship me. Then said Jesus unto him, be gone, Satan, for it is written, thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shall thou serve.


These are the three things again. He came talking about food to eat. He came taking him to a high mountain and showing him all the kingdoms of the world, the glories of them.


He said, look at all these things. Just look at them. All of them will become yours if only you will bow down and serve me, worship me.


I would have handed back unto you. Why would Jesus detach himself from God? Just that he could own the whole world and he would see them, all the glories of Singapore and New York and all the glories of the whole nations of the earth. The good and the evil, the goodly houses and everything.


Just look at them with your eyes. Imagine that somebody should have one one complex, one building, having 50 bedrooms. And that is the place of his residence.


50 bedrooms. Out of these 50 bedrooms, this man has only 4 children. He has only 5 children or even 2 children.


And then, there are some of those bedrooms that somebody will not enter in 10 years. Even the ones that is called master bedroom, it may be as large as this hall. It may contain so many things.


The bed may be 10 feet wide. But when you look at the man, as he comes to sleep, he will occupy just a little corner of the bed. The rest of the space is wasting, is empty.


When you look at all the things, all the furniture that is in the place, all the things that are there, only a little portion will he use. The rest will just be there until one day he will just die and leave everything behind. The loss of the eyes.


When riches increase, what does it profit the owner except just looking at them with his eyes? The loss of the eyes. And those are the reasons people are detaching from God. Those are the reasons that they are moving away and cutting their relationship with God and stunting their growth in the Lord.


They don’t have time. They don’t come to church anymore. Every excuse, a slightest excuse, they don’t come to church.


They want to go to market. They want to buy and sell. Because they are interested in what their eyes will see.


The loss of their eyes. And then again, the devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and said, you fall down from here. It is written, I will give my angels charge concerning you and they will carry you on their hands and you will not dash your foot against the stone.


What is that one talking about? When Jesus will come down from such a height that you should break into pieces and die and then he just jumps like that and nothing happened. People will stand in awe. People will be amazed.


They will say, what a great man. And then pride will come. The pride of life.


These are the three points. So, in the life of the rest of mankind, the first Adam has come, he was flawed on these three points and he was detached from God. The second Adam came, the same three points, the devil wanted to detach him from God but he didn’t succeed because he held on to the word of God.


The first time he talked about food to eat, he said, it is written. Man shall not live by bread alone. Second point, he talked about the things that eyes can see.


He said, no. Only God you shall serve. You shall worship the Lord your God only with the word of God.


He flawed him on that point. On the other point, he said, look, fall down from this temple and nothing will happen to you and the people will now be amazed. They will now ah, wonderful God.


Wonderful man of God. Man of God. And they will be bowing to you.


And they will be saying, ah, hey, senior mommy, senior daddy, wonderful. You are wonderful. In fact, in fact, you are, they will begin to praise you and then you will be proud.


Jesus said, no. You don’t thank the Lord your God. It is written in the scriptures.


So, you need to understand that on these same three points, the devil will come to any living person on earth. Because it is these three points that he has successfully used over the centuries to detach men from their God. And in the present day, those are the things he is using.


And that’s why God wrote a letter to mankind. He wrote a letter to little children. Wrote a letter to youths.


He wrote a letter to adults. And in that letter, he gave them one solution to this dilemma, to this problem, to this thing that is the strategy of the devil. In 1 John chapter 2, if you read from verse 12 to 17, you hear where God says, I am writing you little children.


I am writing you youths. I am writing you adults, elders, aged men. The reason I’m writing little children is that their sins are forgiving them for his namesake.


The reason I’m writing to youths is because they are strong. It’s because the word of God abides in them. It’s because they overcome the wicked.


They are strong. The reason I’m writing to adults, elderly people, is because they have known him, that he is from the beginning. They are experienced in the word of God.


You know, they have had some experience in the knowledge of God. Now, whether you be a child, whether you be a youth, whether you be an adult, the same message is given. The same information is given.


Look at what the devil has planned to use to detach you from God. He wants to use the world. And what is in the world? He wants to use the lust of the flesh to detach you from the Lord.


He wants to use the lust of the eyes to detach you from the Lord. He wants to use the pride of life to detach you from the Lord. Therefore, if you must remain in Christ and grow in him and eventually fulfill the purpose of his calling upon your life, you must listen to this great counsel.


Verse 12 of 1 John chapter 2. I write unto you little children, because your sins have forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.


I have written to you little children, because you have known the father. I have written to you fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I have written to you young men, youths, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.


Now, what is that he has written to the children, to the youths, and to the adults? The only three sections of people in all the world. Look at what he has, he has the message now. Verse 15.


Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world, what is it that constitutes the world? Number one, the loss of the flesh.


The same thing that detached Adam and Eve from God. The same thing that the devil attempted to detach Jesus from God with. The loss of the flesh.


Food to eat. The things to, you know, the things to put on. Food to eat.


Fruits. Drinks. And, you know, the fleshly desires.


The loss of the flesh. The loss of the eyes. Amassing this and amassing that just for the mere sight of it.


The pleasure of looking at what you have gotten. My message is bigger than yours. My own Jeep, it has more, it’s full function.


But at the end, you will use that vehicle and you will use his own and you will achieve the same purpose. But because this one is full function, you now have to you know, discard this first one and you must look for it. That’s why there are, every six months new models will come out.


Every six months, new model vehicles. Vehicles will come out and people will discard the old one and begin to pursue. There may not be any difference except that the headlamp in this one was a little rectangular.


But in this one, it is now oblong. That’s all. And they call it new model.


The engine is the same. Everything. The transmission system.


Everything. The loss of the eyes. The things they see.


You see this model. You see this model. Before six months time, that one has already phased out and the new one comes.


The devil has undertook this strategy that has been successfully used over the generations and that is what he’s playing with. But the Lord is saying, don’t fall for this trick. Move forward to know the Lord.


Move forward. He said, the pride of life, the loss of the flesh, the loss of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the father but is of the world and the world passes away and the loss of it. But he that doeth the will of God abided forever.


Look at Mark chapter ten and consider what made this man not to reach heaven. Mark chapter ten verse seventeen. And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running and kneeling to him and asked him, good master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good? There is none good but one that is God.


Thou knowest the commandments, do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, defraud not, honor thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, master, all these I have observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him and said unto him, one thing thou lackest, go thy way, sell whatever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven, and come, take up thy cross and follow me.


Listen, brother, listen, my dear sister, it’s not enough to say I don’t commit fornication again, I don’t commit adultery. This man was not committing adultery, was not committing fornication. See, all the laws as you have stipulated, I have been keeping them from my youth.


In the account in Matthew, he was the one that asked Jesus the question, what lack I yet? What is it that is outstanding in my life? And then Jesus answered. He said he looked at him, he saw how sincere the man was. You may be sincere, a watchman, sincere brother, sincere sister.


Jesus saw the sincerity of the man, he saw the interest, and the Bible said he loved him, and then gave him the bitter pill. What pill is that? Detach yourself from the world and attach to me, and let’s move. Sell everything you have, give out to the poor.


Because the man was very rich, because he was, he had so much, he became offended, he became angry, and that was the end of the quest for eternal life. He left him and walked away, never came back to him anymore. So what is it, my dear brother? What is it, my dear sister, that you value so much? You value so much.


The house, the car, the dress, you value so much. It is how people look at you. It is how they respect you and regard you.


You don’t want anything to tarnish your image. And that’s the reason you are taking it, JJ, you are taking it kindly in the place of work. You don’t want to belittle yourself, and so you cannot hand out drugs.


As the deputy general manager, you cannot hand out drugs. You cannot tell somebody Jesus loves you because you are such a big man in the place. And so how can you begin to, in the midst of the people, begin to clap hands and talk to them about Jesus? It is these three things that detach people away from God.


It detached Adam and Eve from God. It, the devil attempted to use it to detach Jesus from God. And it detached this young ruler, this rich person, it detached him from Jesus.


He was interested. But when it came to sacrificing the pleasure, sacrificing the lust of the flesh, sacrificing the lust of the eyes, sacrificing the pride of life, he couldn’t. The quest for eternal life ended there.


Let nobody sacrifice eternity at the altar of material things. Let no person sacrifice eternity because he wants to be proud. He wants to be honored among men.


He wants to be celebrated. He said, he’s a celebrity. As a celebrity, there are certain things he cannot do.


There are certain things, no, he’s so unbecoming of me, I need to package myself well. You are a celebrity. And they are celebrating you among men.


Celebrating you among fools. The fool is the one that said there is no God. And the people that are clapping and following you, thousands or millions of them in Instagram, and you are bragging about them.


There are people that know not the Lord. There are people that don’t acknowledge the Lord. They are fools.


So you want to be celebrated among fools. And that is why you don’t want to. You are convicted.


You know that this is the truth. But what about your followers in the social media? What about this and that? What about the place of work? That’s the problem. The thing will make you, you won’t commit yourself.


You won’t grow in grace. You will not understand the things that the Lord will have you understand. You will not go to the streets and be doing rally and do publicity and tell people about Jesus because you are managing director of a blue chip company.


Sorry. Sorry. Growth and forward movement is what the Lord is demanding of you.


It is measured by the extent of your conformity to the image of Christ. The extent of your conformity. And the more you conform to the image of Christ, the less you are attached to this world.


You may have billions but the Bible says when riches increase don’t don’t set your heart on it. When riches increase set not your heart on it. That’s the demand of the scriptures.


You may have billions but then your money is only as valuable as they are able to solve problems. As they are able to solve problems. As they are able to be in the hand of God when he demands it.


When you are a millionaire, when you are a billionaire, when you have money, you amass some wealth, you must recognize that you are a trustee. That the money belongs to God. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness they are of.


When you recognize that that you’re only a trustee to that which the Lord has committed into your hand. If you’re a trustee to a an NGO and then the NGO wants to use social money from the money they have put in your trust to attend to this orphanage, to attend to the, does the trustee have right to say no? The answer is no. He doesn’t have that right.


The money doesn’t belong to you even though it is in your trust. That’s how you must see the money that you have. That’s how you must see everything you possess on earth.


Because soon and very soon, you close your eyes in debt and you are cut off from it. You are just holding it in trust for now. The trusteeship can be changed tomorrow.


So, when we understand this, we will recognize that the forward movement we have in life as children of God is not measured by how much wealth we have amassed, how much that our names are ringing bell in the town. It is measured by the extent of your conformity to the image of Christ. There are 64 character traits in the life of Jesus.


If you read the Bible, search for them. You can make this Bible study. 64 of them.


And Jesus Christ, he is our Lord, he is our Savior, he is our model. By these traits, Jesus brings forth to manifestation the nature of God on the earth. The life of God is brought to bear on the earth by the manifestation of these traits.


So he everlasting life, which Jesus says, I give to you, and that in abundance. He manifested that in his life. And in Hebrews chapter one, we see, Hebrews chapter one, from verse one, God, who at hundred times and in diverse manner spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world, who being the brightness of his glory, Jesus, the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of his person, the image, the presentation of God’s person was in Christ.


And upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself appointed our sins, sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory. The showing forth, the shining forth, that’s it, the shining forth of God’s glory.


So, if you see him, the glory that exudes from his life is the glory of God. He’s shining in the world. The express image of his person, the way God will talk, the way God will reason, the way God will react to situation, that is, you see the Lord Jesus, you have seen the Father.


That’s what he told Philip. How can you say, show me the Father? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father, because I manifest his life. Praise the Lord.


So, these traits include faith, love, ready forgiveness, they include meekness, peace, joy, patience, gentleness, goodness, brotherly kindness, self-control, they include liberality, they include prayerfulness, fullness of the word of God, they include power and authority of God, they include quietness of spirit, they include zeal for God’s house, they include evangelistic prowess. These traits include diligence, hard work, knowledge, godliness, and so on and so forth. In Galatians chapter 5 from verse 22, you see some of these traits.


In 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 2 to 9, you see some of the traits also. The ultimate goal of growth in life is fruitfulness. That’s the ultimate goal.


When you plant a crop and the crop begins to grow, it grows and grows and grows. If it grows to a tree and doesn’t bear fruit, it is useless. Am I right? So the ultimate goal, the ultimate end of growth, the purpose of growth, what it yields in life is fruitfulness.


When someone’s Christian life does not bear fruit but remains barren, the purpose of his life is defeated and he will rather be cursed and condemned. You see in Hebrews chapter 6 verses 1 to 12, the Bible says when the earth is taken in water, and then it begins to bring up herbs, and those things that are growing, the fruit that are bearing, are fit for those for whom they are planted. You receive a blessing.


But if after receiving this rain and the nothing, you just grow leaves and all that, but no fruit for the people for whom it is planted, you say it will be cursed. You recall when Jesus saw the fig tree on the way, when he was returning and saw the fig tree that had leaves, green leaves, at the time that fig trees should shed their leaves. He saw only green leaves.


At the time of winter, that such trees shed their leaves and assumed the stature of dead trees because they need to conserve water. But when any tree at that time has extra source of water, it can retain its leaves. And so that fig tree had green leaves.


And when Jesus saw it, he knew that such trees that have extra source of water also bear off cycle or off season fruits. So he expected to get fruit on it. Being hungry, he now went in full expectation only to reach there only leaves.


How did he react to the situation? He cursed the fig tree. That is how many of us are near cursing. Because we wear the garb of children of God.


The kind of dress we wear. When people see us on the road, say this must be a sister. This must be a brother.


Because he’s clean shaven. Because he doesn’t expose his chest and all that. And when somebody now comes near you, comes near your business, place and the things you do, becomes disappointed.


Like Jesus was disappointed. Does your Christianity just end in dressing? Does it end in not wearing jewelry? Does it end in not putting on all the lipsticks and all the colors on the face? What character traits of Jesus can we see in you? That’s the measure of growth. That’s the measure of advancement.


That’s the measure of forward movement. So, in Luke chapter 19 verse 11 to 27, we see the necessity of fruit bearing. Luke 19 verse from verse 11 to verse 27, here we see the parable of the ten pounds.


Everybody among the ten servants received one one pound. All of them. This is different from the parable of the talents in Matthew chapter 25.


In the talents, they were given the talents according to their abilities. But here, everybody received the same. Salvation is the same for the king, is the same for the queen, is the same for a pauper.


That salvation is common to every person that has received it. Now, what do you make out of your salvation? What fruit do you bear out of it? The one got ten pounds from the one pound. The other got five pounds.


But the other one said no. He went and hid his own. He didn’t do anything.


He didn’t move forward. He didn’t grow. He didn’t go to maturity and fruitfulness.


At the end of the day, the gospel according to Luke said, the master came and not only took away that one pound from him, but he punished him and put him in a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Which place is that? Hellfire. So somebody come from church, go to hell because he refused to grow.


Because he refused to move forward. Finally, what are the ingredients of growth? What are the ingredients of forward movement? In Acts of the Apostles chapter six, reading verse two to four, we see that God made it clear as he touched the apostles, as he visited them in the day of and Peter said, it is not good that we should be serving tables. It is not good at all.


Let us appoint other people to take care of this business. But we ourselves will give ourselves continually to what? Prayer and the ministry of the word. There are three major ingredients that make for growth in the life of a child of God.


These include the word of God, prayer and the spirit of God. These are the three major things that make for growth in the life of a child of God. The word of God is the power of God.


Jesus is the word of God. The word of God is the wisdom of God. In Romans chapter one, verse 15 to 17, the Bible says, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.


When anyone opens the pages of the Bible and reads, he is looking at Jesus. In John chapter five, verse 39 and 40. John 5, verse 39 and verse 40.


Jesus said, search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, but they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me that you might have a life. From one page of the first page of Genesis to the last page of Revelation, they are simply giving testimony of Jesus.


And in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, read from verse 15, from verse 5 to 18, but because of our time, we will not read all that. Let’s just read verse 18 of that 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians chapter 3. Verse 18 says, but we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. When you are reading the Bible and you are not having any bias, you have open heart, you want the Lord to teach you.


He said, that word of God is a mirror. So, when you place a mirror by the wall or you get a mirror by your hand and you are looking at your face, what do you see in the mirror? Your own face. But the mirror of the word of God, when you open it, what you see is the face of Jesus.


That’s what that place is saying. We behold as in a mirror the image of the Lord. Now, as you continue to behold that image of Jesus on the mirror of the word of God, the Spirit of God comes.


He comes and begins to work on your own image. As you are looking and seeing Jesus in the mirror of the word of God, the Spirit of God is transforming your own. He is changing you from one level of glory to another level, to a higher level.


From one level of understanding, you are growing. You are growing in grace. And the Spirit of God is at work.


As you look into the word of God, He will begin to build into you those character traits of Jesus, those virtues that were in Him. And your face will begin to look like Him. That is why He says in 1 John chapter 3 that when He comes, we will be like Him because we see Him as He is.


So, the word of God is very, very important. When you are constantly on it, when you are looking into it, the Spirit of God is changing your image, changing your life, changing your testimony, changing your behavior, changing your character. When anyone takes in the word of God constantly, his life will be patterned after the word of God, after the image of Jesus that he is seeing in that word.


And being full of this word of God, the person cannot restrain himself from giving it out and bearing fruits unto eternal life. As you look at Jeremiah chapter 23 verse 21 to 32, you will hear Jeremiah talk about how the word of God was like in his bone. It was like fire.


It couldn’t allow him to rest. And in Job chapter 32, Elihu, the friend of Job, said, I want to give my opinion. I should have been courteous enough to keep quiet because I’m the youngest.


You people are elderly people. But I am full of the matter. Something in me is constraining me.


It is like wine that is cocked up and is bubbling. It wants to bust the wine bottle. So let me, please, forgive me.


I want to speak so that I can have some ease. That is how it is when somebody is full of the matter. When the word of God is in you, when you have read it, you have studied it, you have prayed it in, you are full of the matter, you can’t keep quiet.


You will bear fruit. That one talent, that one pound you receive, that salvation you receive, you are expected to work with it and get other pounds, other talents, get other souls one into the kingdom. But when you don’t have the word of God inside you, you enter the boss, you will be afraid.


You don’t know what to say. And so you can’t preach. And you will not bear fruit.


You are neighbors in the place where you have lived with them for five years but you never told them about Jesus because you have empty hearts. The word of God is not there. When you are full of the matter, you will be like Jeremiah.


The word of God will be in your bones like fire. And you cannot be able to restrain yourself. You must speak.


You will be like Elihu who is full of the matter and said, I can no longer bear it. Permit me to just, you know, open my mouth so that I can have some ease. That is how it is.


You will bear fruit unto life eternal. And then prayer. Remember we said three things.


The word of God, prayer, and the spirit of God. To pray is to appear before the throne room of the almighty. To get into the throne room of God.


The Bible says we should come before the throne of grace in the book of Hebrews. It’s having therefore brethren boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of our Jesus. By a new and living way which he had consecrated for us through the veil.


That is to say his flesh. In verse 22 of Hebrews 10. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.


Having our hearts sprinkled from evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering for he is faithful that has called us. Let us come with boldness.


Let us not waver. Let us come with full assurance. Let us come into the holy of holies.


Into the very presence of God’s throne. And let us present our matters before the Lord. Jesus Christ told his people, you pray.


Pray. Pray. Don’t expect me to pray for you.


In John chapter 16 said, I didn’t tell you I’m going to do the praying. You pray. Go to God in my name and he will give you everything so that your joy will be full.


God ordained prayer to be the veritable means through which men obtain supplies. Through which men obtain interventions. Through which they obtain inspirations and ministrations from the almighty.


Even though God knows our needs even before we ask them. But because he has commanded us to ask in order to receive. If we don’t ask, we will simply not receive.


Prayer is asking. And answer to prayer is receiving. Simple as short.


It is as simple as that. In James chapter 1 verse 5, we hear it. He said if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.


And he will give him liberally. He will give him. But let him ask in faith.


In John chapter 16 verse 23 to 24 Jesus says, I will not do the praying for you. You go and pray. Because the father loves you as much as he loves me.


In James chapter 4 verse 1 to 3, it says you ask not and you receive not. So you walk and walk. You do not have because you didn’t ask.


Because of the potency of prayers and strategic place in fruit bearing. Psalm 2 verse 8 says, ask of me and I will give you the hidden for your inheritance. And the uttermost part of the earth for your possession.


Many of us that are complaining about our children. Many of us are complaining about our husbands, about our wives. But you never make out time and spend quality time in God’s presence talking to God about them.


You say, ask of me and I will give you the hidden for your inheritance. And the uttermost part of the earth for your possession. Our failure in prayer is our failure in fruit bearing.


It’s our failure in forward movement. Failure in growth. Bearing fruit is the most, the place of prayer and its strategic place in fruit bearing is what makes it the most fought against by the devil.


The devil fights against our prayer. He fights against our prayer life. He wants to do everything to distract us to make sure we don’t we don’t pray.


The devil knows that any child of God who eats the word of God regularly and prays fervently always is unstoppable. He knows it. He will do anything possible to stop the heavenly bound pilgrim from eating the word of God and praying.


Words abound in our day of prayer and prophetic ministries that are devoted to the knowledge of God. That are devoid of the knowledge of God and his word is rather the manifestation of satanic kingdom in disguise. I’m not talking about the prayer ministries that you find here or deliverance, family deliverance, city deliverance, community deliverance and all that.


That is the places that we see. Prophetic ministry. They come and prophesy.


They come and pray. They do deliverance and at the end of the day people will fall down and rise up and remain sinners. They themselves that are praying, they themselves that are prophesying, you come near them, you will understand that they are as raw as the average child of the liable.


But they are ministers. Don’t be perturbed by all such. 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 13 and 14 it says, such are deceitful workers, false apostles that have transformed themselves into the ministers of Christ.


He said, don’t marvel, let it not be a surprise because even Satan himself has transformed himself into an angel of light. So it’s not any big deal if his ministers be transformed into ministers of righteousness. But he said their end shall be according to their works.


So don’t be perturbed. The spirit of God, that is the third ingredient, the third thing that makes the difference. Anywhere and in any life the word of God is being eaten and prayers and praises are being made in the world.


The spirit of God is drawn to bring to birth what the word of God declares. That is the place of the spirit of God in this whole arrangement. The two main things that you will do, the one in your hand, the word of God and prayer.


As you engage in them, as you read the word, as you study it, as you pray it in. Long ago the servant of God taught us how to pray in the word of God. How to read it, read meaning into it, read it again and again until the spirit of God begins to give inspiration and open your heart as to the depth of the word of God.


The thing, the provisions of God in that scripture. And you can pray, stay on one verse of scripture and pray for one hour. And as you are praying things are coming up.


The spirit of God is bringing up more and more things. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a glorious thing.


I enjoin all the ministers of this movement to bring up this thing again. Praying in the word of God. Bring it up in the churches.


Bring it up in the parishes. Teach the people how to pray in the word of God. Let them practice it with you so that in the homes and private corners they can make use of this very wonderful tool that the Lord has given to us.


A combination of the word of God and prayer will draw the spirit of God and he will make the things that God has said begin to work in your life and your life will begin to change like the spirit to be like the Jesus that we know. In Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 to 3, you see that as the darkness was everywhere and the spirit of God was there. The word God spoke and the spirit of God acted.


So that is the how it is. In 2 Corinthians 3.18, as you look into the mirror and you are steadfastly beholding it, the Bible said the spirit of God will begin to change your image to look like the image of Jesus in the mirror of the word of God. The spirit of God is the executor of God’s word, God’s programs and projects.


The spirit is always available to bring to pass God’s word and heart desires. He is within every child of God and helps him to understand the word and pray as he ought to pray. You see in Romans 8 26 to 27, it says the spirit helps our infirmity for we do not know what to pray as we ought to, but he helps us.


In John chapter 16 verse 7 to 15, you see how the spirit of God helps us to understand. He says he will teach you all truth, bring to your remembrance the things I have taught you. Let us therefore take advantage of these provisions of the word of God, the provisions of prayer and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this regard, made available by our loving Heavenly Father, who will not hoard his resources from us, neither will he withhold the needs of our lives in the midst of the current horrible challenges and stifled position of Satan.


He commands us to move forward. He provides us with what it takes to move forward. There are no more excuses.


To stand still or draw back from our steadfastness and fervency is not acceptable to God at all. Hebrews 10 verse 25 says, let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, especially as we see the end of the world approaching. Many people have drawn back.


In verse 35 to 39, it says if any man draws back, my soul will have no pleasure in him. Let us not draw back, as many people are slacking and they are no more coming to the assembling of their brethren. The fiery situations we meet along this wilderness journey are all allowed by God to test us.


They are allowed by God to sift the chaff from the wheat. Only the things that cannot be shaken by these things will remain. So the troubles of life, the lack, the present economic, you know, crunch that is everywhere in the world, especially biting hard in Nigeria, God allowed them to test us.


That’s what the Bible says in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 8. He said he passed you through the very wilderness to taste what was in your heart. He suffered you to hunger to know whether you love him or not. So all the hunger and all the troubles and the trauma that we find, God allowed them to bring out what is in our life, what is in our heart.


As we are saying, I’m born again. He wants to show, he wants you to show you, he wants you to prove it by the things that you see. And the only thing that will make you stand and move forward in the midst of the opposition, in the midst of the troubles, in the midst of the challenges, is that you eat the word of God, is that you pray in the word, is that the spirit of God works on you and changes you.


The resilience of Jesus becomes your own testimony. He’s far-fetched. When they said, Herod, we kill you, you know what he answered? Go and tell that fox.


Go and tell that fox. I am here. I will do chaos today, I will do tomorrow, the next day, the third day, I will be perfected.


But it cannot be that the prophet will perish out of Jerusalem. In other words, even if I die, I will die doing God’s work. I’m not going to run away.


That kind of nature, that kind of die-hard attitude that Jesus manifested throughout his life in on this planet, it can become yours. When you don’t forsake the assembly of the brethren, when you seek the word of God, pray it in and allow the spirit of God to change your image, then the character of Jesus will become your character. His life will become your life.


His testimony will become your testimony. When people now meet you, when they interact with you, even though you didn’t talk about you are born again as spirit, they said even though I am not born again, but I can say that this person is born again because they have seen something in you that they didn’t see and they can’t see in the people of the world. We are passing through sifting.


We are passing through shaking. He said once more, I will shake not only the heavens but the earth so that the things that cannot be shaken are the only things that will remain. Are you there? And you want to be among those things that will remain.


This is the recipe. This is the thing that you have to do. This is what you must buy into and live by in order that you can grow.


Peter said, take the word of God. Take it in as sincere milk so that you can grow by it. We want to stand up and pray.


We want to tell the Lord, this standing still, I can no longer accommodate. I’ve been in church for five years but there are many, many, many things that are still shaking my foundation. A little thing, my heart is shaking.


My faith is shaking. I’ve been in church for ten years. The disciples of Jesus were only with him for three and a half years and he left them and went away.


And they continued until their faith was preserved to today. In spite of all the troubles, in spite of all the trauma they passed through, the persecutions, the things that they faced, they never gave up because they grew in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. The knowledge of the Lord Jesus.


You need to call upon the Lord. You need to tell the Lord how it is with you. After two years of being in church, we will say, let’s open to the book of Nahum and you will not know where Nahum is.


You can’t, you begin from Genesis to look for Nahum because you are a stranger to the word of God. It’s only when you come to church, that’s when you hear it. No Bible reading.


Somebody can say, but I don’t, I can’t read the Bible. I can’t read, I cannot write, but there is audio Bible. You say, but it’s only in the vernacular.


There is a vernacular audio Bible. You can get it and listen to it. There is audio Bible in Yoruba, there is audio Bible in Hausa, there is audio Bible in Igbo.


There is audio Bible. And if there is none, you can engage somebody to do it. It’s not a big deal.


It’s not rocket science. Somebody you can engage to read the Bible in your language because there are, there are Bible in various languages. Record it in audio and make it available in the net so that people can download.


Who cannot understand English in your vernacular, they can read. God is interested. He wants you to move forward.


The issue of standing still or drawing back is not acceptable to him at all. Call upon him. Tell him how it is with you.


Tell him to help you. Tell him you have made up your mind to go ahead, to move forward. Tell him because time is no more.


He said as much as you see the day of the Lord approaching. His day is here with us. If any person makes a mistake and the trumpet sounds and others are taken and he is left, that is how it is going to be for all eternity.


That’s how it is going to be. So make up your mind that you have put your hands on this plow. You must move forward.


You can’t look back. Call upon the Lord. Check your prayer life.


How many minutes in a day do you pray? Check your study. Do you read the Bible? Do you study it? Do you pray it in? Do you make a practice of it? How much of your character and life of old is still persisting right now? Simply because you have not looked into the word of God. You are still shaking when you see women pass.


When you open the net, you are still dragging. You are still struggling not to look at certain sides. But there is a way you will eat the Bible.


You will eat the word of God. There is a way that the spirit of God will work in you as you pray in the scriptures. Those things will not be any trouble at all.


It is in this regard, in this way, that the commandments of God will not be grievous. They will not be burdensome to you. Call upon the Lord.


The God of heaven wants us to move forward. He wants us to grow. Isaac did what God asked him to do.


He stayed in the land and he sowed. He didn’t keep idle. He sowed and the word of God says he grew.


He waxed great and grew and went forward until he became very great. The Lord wants to reckon with you. The people in your yard, the people around you, the people in the school where you teach, where you are schooling, the people around you in the place of business, the Lord is depending on you to reach out unto them and to harvest them into the kingdom.


What is your fruitfulness? You are afraid of their faces because you have not eaten the word of God. You have not prayed and your face begins to shine, becomes harder than flint. That’s the promise God made to his prophets.


If you are ashamed still of speaking the word of God, I’m sorry about it. I’m sorry for you. But the Lord God is interested that you should eat the word, be filled with it and go and tell them thus saith the Lord, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear.


Everlasting Father, I want to lift up your name again. I thank you because of your faithfulness. Lord, it is your good pleasure to give us the kingdom.


That is the reason you have spoken to us thus far. Lord, I pray that your powerful right hand will be upon our lives. Let your glory shine into the depths of our beings and cause us to move forward, cause us to grow, cause us to wax great, cause us to continue until we become very great in the knowledge of God, that the beauty of Jesus will be seen in us.


Everything, all his character traits will be manifesting as he was the manifestation of the glory of God will become his manifestation even in this generation. As he was the express image of the person of God, we will become his express image because he said, as the Father has sent me, so send I you, blessed and everlasting king. I ask that your anointing will break every yoke in our lives, all the indolence, all the laziness, all the slumbering, all the sleepiness, all the talkativeness, and the things that have to do with destruction and waste of time we should have used to invest even in this business.


Father, I pray that you open our eyes to see the areas that we have cheated ourselves. All the staying in the social media and chatting and making comments, frivolous comments, useless comments that will have utilized in becoming who you want us to be. Blessed redeemer, I ask that you wean our hearts from those things that don’t matter, that we might invest even into your kingdom, our lives that are not true.


Only one life that you have given unto us, blessed redeemer, help us. Let your power envelop us. Let your glory shine within our lives that all that will ever encounter us will say, these people have been with Jesus.


Let it be so with us in the name of Jesus Christ. Let our testimonies, oh God, resound in the places that even when people have not known that we are children of God, when they interact with us, they will go and tell concerning us, these people behave like Christ. Thank you for answering our prayers.


In Jesus victorious name we pray. I know that sure more of this day in glory see, more of his love who died for me, more more about Jesus, more more about Jesus, more of this day in glory see, more of his love who died for me.


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