Pastor Richmond Leigh preached a sermon about God’s dealings with His children. It particular he gave a prophetic message to the Church in Nigeria. He said that there are many churches that claim to be living but are dead. When God chastises His child or a church it is a good thing. See it as a sign of love. God wants us to be holy, like Jesus. There is a price to pay for that. The Church in Nigeria has sinned and has done what is evil in God’s sight. The evangelical movement (preaching that you must be born again to be saved) started about 50 years ago. This once vibrant movement is now declining. As Christians living in Nigeria, we should all be concerned about this and pray for wisdom and discernment.

This is the way God deals with His backsliding children: when the believers refuse to listen to God’s warnings, and continue to live in sin, God will chastise them. He will hand them over to satan for the destruction of their flesh so that their spirit may be saved! (1Cor 5:5; 1Tim 1:20). Thru pain, the backsliders will eventually come back to God. A true believer will not lose his salvation because his spirit will be saved. In the same token, when the Church chooses to disobey God’s Word to the extent that sin becomes a tradition God will raise an enemy against it. Satan will have access to the Church and troubles will increase. This situation will go on until the believers repent and come back to God. Unfortunately, most church leaders do not see these troubles as divine judgment. Recently, the Church in Nigeria has been attacked by Muslim extremists and groups like Boko Haram. I believe that God allows this so that the Body of Christ in Nigeria will repent and come back to its ‘first love’, Jesus Christ!

In the Old Testament God commanded His people to live separate lives from the Canaanites (Deut 7:1-16). Israel as a nation was not allowed to make friends or intermarry with the pagans. They were to destroy the idol worshipping countries living in the Promised Land. They were to break their idolatrous altars. This is because friendships with the pagan people will make them forget God. This separation was to show that they were ‘holy people unto the Lord their God’. If they refused to obey God’s commands, God’s anger will be kindled against them and He promised to suddenly judge them. In the New Testament, God is commanding His children to live holy lives. As believers, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are ‘to mortify’ (to kill) the lusts of the flesh (Col 3:5). But if we refuse to carry the Cross and follow Jesus the anger of God will be kindled. This is the faithful chastisement of the God of love!

Manasseh was a king is Judah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He built altars to many idols. The worst thing he did was that he brought some of these idols in the house of the Lord. God was angry and He brought the army of Assyria against them. Judah was conquered. Manasseh was captured and was sent to Babylon. In prison, he repented of his many sins. God showed him mercy and brought him back to Jerusalem where he destroyed the strange altars he built in the past (2Chr 33). There is a similar story concerning King Zechariah (2Chr 36:11-23). He too did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He polluted the house of the Lord with abominable idols. He led the people of Judah into great sin. God warned them thru His prophets. But the king and the people mocked God’s messengers and rejected their words. God’s anger was kindled against them ‘until there was no remedy’. They were all sent into captivity to Babylon. The house of the Lord was burnt with fire and Jerusalem became desolate for seventy years. We should all learn from the way God dealt with His people in the past!

The Church in Nigeria has replicated what Israel did long ago. Many pastors have abandoned the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. They go to native doctors and use occult means for power to do miracles. Many pastors and Christians are involved in sexual sins without feeling any guilt. The rate of abortion in the churches is higher than among the unbelievers. The pastors use manipulation, deception and threats to collect money from their congregations. The churches have built banks, business centers, entertainment centers and secular schools in their premises. The pastors have forgotten that ‘the business’ of the church is to preach the Gospel of Christ and to disciple the believers. In view of all these unrepentant sins God raised an enemy against the Church in the form of Muslim extremists. That is why this Boko Haram cannot be defeated with guns or swords. If you fight them with guns, you shall be defeated by the enemy. That is not God’s method.

What the is the solution? As believers, we must repent and come back to God. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty thru God (2Cor 10:4). The spiritual weapons in Christ can never fail. We must pray for the backsliding Christians in Nigeria to come back to God. We must pray for the Muslims that they may be saved. God is waiting for the Church in Nigeria to repent and come back to Him. Judgment starts in the house of God (1Pet 4:17). “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev 2:29). May God have mercy on us! May revival come to the Nigerian Church! In Jesus name, amen!

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