The Harvest Is Ripe!
"He will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner"
What does the Lord require from man?
(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi, 4/11/97).
What does God require from mankind? After preaching to someone on the street, the fellow may ask, "What does He want from me?"
I will like to read Rev.4:11. "Thou art worthy O, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created."
We are created for his pleasure! God created us for his own pleasure. How then can you say you have to do what you want to do and not what he wants you to do?
For instance, I bought a television set for my own use. Not for the TV set's sake. The television set cannot say "I don't want to work for you today!"
I bought the set for my own sake. I know this is a crude analogy. If I go to the market and I buy a lamb or a goat. Why do I buy the goat? Could it be because I want the goat to have fun in my house? It is not for the goat's sake, but that I want to have some pleasure for myself. That is what it means to say God created us for his own pleasure. What is that pleasure for which he created us? He wants to have fellowship with us!
Let's read from Genesis, and you will see that God created Adam to fellowship with him. It doesn't mean God does not have someone to fellowship with before Adam. God has Angels all the time, but He created mankind for a special fellowship with him. It is another delight for God to fellowship with human beings.
In Genesis chapter 3 God visited Adam in the garden in the cool of the day. (Gen.3:8-9). "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?"
God came in the cool of the day. It means He had always come about that time before, but on this occasion since they have messed up, they went and hide. This shows that God loves to talk to man in the evening time, before we go to bed, or early in the morning. Not just in our sleep!
"For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man." (Job.33:14-17).
During the day, men work. But in the evening is when friends do come together and have some chat. That is when God also wants to chat with us. So God created us for fellowship, to have conversation together. Friendship is a form of fellowship. God wants to have a friend in mankind: someone to walk with, to chat with, to go places together: that is companionship.
For example, when I was not married and was living alone, it was a lonely time. Someone may say, "you will be free with no children, nothing!" No, I was lonesome. I would see folks playing in the parks with their children, and I would be so lonely. I wanted a family of my own. Picture God like that: God wanted to have children to play with. God wanted a family he could play with. So then, when I went and got married because I was lonely, it was for my purpose. That is, I got married for my own pleasure. It may sound like a selfish reason, but I am trying to bring out a point here. Every person has gone into a relationship, such as marriage, to satisfy a need. Similarly, God started this project of creating mankind on this planet for His own purpose. Do you now understand why the scriptures said "God created us for his own pleasure?"
Before I was married, God showed to me my children in the order they would come. Then we began to bring them into the world. It's for our own purpose. That is, we want to have fellowship with these children. Think of a man and his wife who have no children. After many years of marriage, if they have no children how will they feel? They will be sad. Why? They want children. Why? Maybe they were lonely. There was a couple with us who were married for over ten years without child. We were praying for them, everybody was praying for them to have a child. What do they want to get from children? They wanted to have fellowship with their own children. Not just for the children's sake! It's for the parent's sake! Human beings want somebody to hug, somebody to hold, somebody to dress up, somebody to be proud of, somebody to spend upon. It is almost for selfish reasons, isn't it? We want somebody to call our own, somebody with whom to gather together, to go to the parks together. These are all parts of fellowship. The parents are looking for children for their own sake, because they are lonely often without them. Parents want somebody to care for, somebody to be responsible for. God has the same feeling! Remember God created man in His own image! So if we have this parental feeling, God has the same feeling.
God created us for his own purpose. So then, we have to fulfill that purpose for God. Someone may say, "well, if I don't worship God, God will be so miserable." No! But it is our duty to worship him. God is not miserable if you don't worship and fellowship with him. But it is our duty to worship him. Yes He created us for his own purpose. We must remember that, if I bought this thing to serve me and the thing is not serving me, I have the right to throw it away. The pot cannot say unto the potter "why makest me thus?" (Rom.9:20-21).
There are millions of angels already worshipping God, but He still delights in sons of men, and he created us and he wanted to have fellowship with us. We are to worship him, talk and walk with him, sing praises to him. THIS IS WHAT GOD REQUIRES FROM MAN! When we give money to his course, it is merely part of worship and service. But he is not actually asking for your money. What he requires is fellowship with mankind. God is someone we can talk to, someone we can walk with. Just think of that! We can walk with God. I can say, "I'm going to London, Lord, let's go together." He promised "I will never leave you nor forsake you". When I traveled overseas, I did not go alone. We went together. He is a friend. He never goes on vacation nor leaves you by yourself. Neither does he travel with you and leave your family by themselves. He is with them still, even when you are away from home. He is omnipresent. We all need such a friend, a companion, or call him a bodyguard. Amen! God is a refuge for us! That is fellowship.
As a family we may all plan to travel to Hawaii on a vacation. That is fellowship! When I had no family, if I traveled to Hawaii, I would have to travel alone. But if I enjoy going with a company on a trip as a family, that is what fellowship is all about. God enjoys going to places with us. God loves to be in our midst. When we gather to worship and to sing praises to God, we ought to do it right, since God enjoys the fellowship of his children. "For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people." He inhabited the praise of his people. "He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints." That means, Praising the Lord is the power of the saints. (Psa.149:4; Psa.148:14).
All that the Lord requires from us is that we should fellowship with him. Prophet Micah wrote, "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8).
If we say He is our father, and that he delights in fellowshipping with us, we ought to honor him, as it is written "honor your father and your mother". If he is our father, we are to honor him. No wonder the Lord led me to read Malachi this evening. There the Lord said, if he is our father we have to give him honor; if he is our master, we have to give him respect. Part of the honor and respect we must give is to do things right. If we gather to worship, as a sacrifice, we have to give the best sacrifice.
"A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil ? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts." (Mal. 1:6-8).
In those days, the priests were offering sacrifices of goats and lambs. It became mere routine and they began to sacrifice only the goats and the lambs they will like to get rid of. Goats which are sick or lame were the ones these people would rather sacrifice. Instead of getting rid of it, these priests would say, "let's just sacrifice it unto God." God was telling them, he doesn't take such sacrifices. God is a great King. God is NOT an idea. God is not a Philosophy! God is not a Concept! God is a Personality. He can see and feel and speak and listen like you do. He created us in His image.
So if we say, God created us for his pleasure, for fellowship, then when we come to worship, let's focus on him and worship him. If singing praises, let's offer the sacrifice of praise whole-heartedly unto him. He came all the way from heaven from his glory, where angels are worshipping him, to listen to our songs on earth. Angels have better voices, and better songs, yet God delights to hear us sing his praises even with our amateurish voices. Amen! All because he created us to have fellowship with us. Think about it! Oftentimes I would go with my 6-year old to play tennis. Not because he can play tennis well to give me enough exercise, but for fellowship. More so, when we gather to worship and sing praises to God, He comes down into our midst in a special way. Not because we can sing better than the angels or the Seraphims who sing "holy, holy, holy" day and night before his throne, but for fellowship. God is interested in our songs. He is interested in our gathering, therefore we better do it right and concentrate. Don't give a polluted sacrifice therefore! Concentrate.
What does God require from us? To walk with him humbly, and to fellowship with him. He is not demanding 24-hours of our time as if to say, he will not let us go to our daily work. No! But those few minutes of gathering and fellowship, let's focus upon the Lord and offer a pure sacrifice, unpolluted sacrifice of praise with our lips to the Lord. God delights in it.
However, when we talk about fellowship, you must remember this: it must be done on his terms. He is the creator! In order for two people to walk together, they must be in agreement. If you smoke cigarette and your friend dislikes cigarette, you cannot walk together. God has condescended low enough. You are to come to him on his terms in all his likes and dislikes, as it is written, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). This is why man is commanded to repent, and believe the gospel; and ye must be born again. (Acts 2:38). The Lord Jesus also said, "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I commanded you." (Jn. 15:14).
In summary, God created us for his own pleasure. When we gather in a fellowship, we are like a family in fellowship with our heavenly Father. We ought to do it right.
I pray that the Lord, by his Holy Spirit, will help each believer to offer a pure sacrifice of praise unto the Lord always, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Be Not Entangled!
(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi )
I read from the Ecclesiastical History, where the persecution of the early church was reported, and the writer described the events preceding the persecution. He wrote that some Bishops were vocal in their support of one particular candidate for Emperor against the other candidate. Their candidate lost, and the new Emperor raised persecution against the church. I can see a similar pattern unfolding in America in this generation. Prophets have warned and cautioned the bodyof Christ to stay out of politics to no avail. The trap is set and some fundamentalist have fallen into the trap to the point that on gospel radio stations you can hear them vocally aligned to one party, and bad mouthing major political figures and candidates. The sad part is that these politically minded preachers have not only fallen into the trap, but also brought every fundamentalist believer into the same trouble when persecution arises.
You may say this is America where the constitution is against persecution. It will not be so in the end. They do not have to make a law to persecute. It may not come in the form of legislature to forbid fundamentalism. The devil normally instigates the wicked public. When the unbelieving public is inspired to commit a crime against the true believers, that is persecution, legal or not legal. In the first church, when apostle Paul was being persecuted everywhere he went, it was not condoned by the government of that day, but the unbelieving Jews were laying wait to kill him in every city. That is what I am talking about.
It was reported that when Rome was burned, the Christians of that day were falsely accused to be responsible which instigated the civilian public against the believers. When the devil can make the public to dislike the true believers, he will instigate crimes against the believers. That is persecution.
However we believers are not of the world, and we must use the wisdom of God where necessary, rather than get drawn into the politics of the world. We ought to stand for morality, ready to suffer for it. However, we must use wisdom. The Lord Jesus was tempted by the Jews about the politics of their day when they asked him, "Is it lawful to pay tribute unto Ceasar?" For Christ to say they must pay, will sound unpatriotic as a Jew; whereas for him to say they must not pay tribute would be incrimination with the Roman government. We all remember the Lordís response! He asked for the tribute money. When it was given to him, he asked "whose inscription is this on it?" They said "Caesarís". Then he told them "render to Caesar the thing that be Caesarís, and to God the thing that be Godís." That is, the money was made by Caesar, give it back to Caesar; but you are in the image of God, give your heart to God. (Lk.20: 21-25).
Some extremists have taken it upon themselves to attack and kill abortionist-doctors. Are you going to tell me that those people were inspired to kill the doctors by the Spirit of Christ? Whereas, when James and John, the sons of Zebedee, asked the Lord Jesus, "wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, (the Samaritan village), even as Elias did?" The Lord rebuked them and said "Ye know not what manner of Spirit ye are of. For the son of man is not come to destroy menís lives, but to save them." (Lk.9:54-56).
It is time for the saints to use wisdom nowadays! We ought not to speak about a particular person in authority. Just preach the truth as the bible revealed it. The word is Spirit.
If we are persecuted for the truth we preach, we have a reward. But let us not be meddlers and busybodies in other menís matters. Apostle Paul wrote, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Tim.2:4).
I strongly believe that it is entanglement when the Soldiers of Christ get themselves involved in the politics of this world. The deception is that some preachers think they have to save America by politics. The only salvation is for individual to be saved in Christ. I know this is never popular with the preachers of "social gospel". The power of the saints to effect a change is much more realizable in prayers. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph.6: 12).
Think about what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
God bless you.
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry
Box 30387, Phoenix, AZ 85046, USA.
AM 1010, KXEG, 12.15PM Saturdays
Radio Nigeria-Ibadan, 5.30PM Thursdays