MY EXPERIENCE (A 52nd Anniversary Thanksgiving Speech)

A 52nd Anniversary Thanksgiving Service held at Covenant Bethel, Miracle Valley, Umuele Amazano IMO State April 21st 2019.

( Rev. Prof. P . C . Nnaocha.)

 TOPIC : MY EXPERIENCE

 Theme: WHEN EVERYONE LOVES YOU !

A Reflection :

A journey of 52 years is a significant part of a lifetime  of any man on earth. Such a period of time will have many life threatening challenges. So as I stand reading this message, my  standing in itself is also a  testimony  of the goodness and faithfulness of God to me.

So before I proceed any further,  it will be my delight that you all join me to stand up and say “thank you Lord” Amen

LOVE AND HATE :

Love is sweet word, but the word hate appears repulsive, yet it is the recipe to understand the environment in which anyone lives. If we had only love and no hate then heaven has dawned on earth.

The Biafran struggling man,  in a war against extinction or racial genocide   had this slogan “Onye ndi iro gbara gburugburu na eche ndu ya nche mgbe n’ile”. 

In English it is interpreted ” He who is surrounded by enemies keeps his life on watch at all times”. 

And I will proverbially say to my audience “When Everyone Loves You” , be prepared to fight against “EXTINCTION”. You can never have only those who love you, there must be enemies also.

The words LOVE and HATE are twin rival words and one must give chance for the other. Therefore in writing about  “MY EXPERIENCE”, I will paradoxically be driving on an angry lane : WHEN EVERY ONE LOVES YOU.

PROLOGUE 

The making of Enemies

Love is the highest commandment of Jesus , to the extent that in talking about our neighbours, he said we must love our neighbours as ourselves , if all of us do this,  then heaven has come to earth.

Jesus therefore said :

 “Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 19:19).

He earlier in Matthew 5:43 recalled :

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. (Matthew 5:43). 

Jesus spoke about what it ought to be to erase revenge from the minds of his listeners. Jesus by that expression recognised that enemies exist, it is not a fable.

My Experience talks not of what I have suffered, but more on  what  I note in the lives of people.

So  in another dimension Jesus said, we should love our enemies as ourselves and even pray for them ( Matthew. 5:44).

Love and hate had been  two ways to choose from.

HOW STRANGE IS  THIS JESUS  PHILOSOPHY OF LOVE, TO THE  ORDINARY PERSON ?

In asking His disciples to love enemies, He was not unmindful of the schemes of enemies, but promised victory to His children. And in dealing with them He cautioned  :

 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16).

THE NEED FOR WISDOM

There is need to walk in the road of wisdom in life, and note that this wisdom spoken of here,   is not that of men,  but the wisdom given by God.

Those who hate you are not necessarily those you have hurt, but as witches conceive disgust in their hearts and launch spiritual war, so are enemies of  God’s children.

Jesus has given His children the power to overcome the adversary. There is no friendly adversary, the world itself knows them and refer to them as “unfriendly friends”.

 And Jesus said:

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19).

The scorpions and serpents are enemies and they are all in the world.

But when He perceived that lovelessness would be    on the increase He said : 

 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24: 12-13).

How can a world where love is waxing cold produce such people who will love you? 

How can a world where God is using His servants to dismantle the snares of the wicked love you? 

LOVE COULD BECOME HYPOCRITICAL.

Could such love not be hypocrisy?

THE MESSAGE

THEN THE MESSAGE FOR THIS DAY.

WHAT EVER YOU  DO ON EARTH, PEOPLE  WILL  SAY SOMETHING .

Once you are following Christ the world must say something about you.

Reading from Matthew chapter 11:16,17,18,19 :

11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

11:17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

In a thrust to follow Jesus, you may not flow with the crowd to do those things they do. How can these people love you?.

11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

This world is like a market place with people of diverse minds,  who have come to buy and sell. You must note this as you listen or will read this article any time anywhere. 

In the market place,  where  people buy and sell,  they have one complaint or the other to raise here and there according to each ones own diversity. 

So people you come across, whether in the office, where you work , the neighbourhood or even your own kitchen will have ought against you.

Jesus came teaching and eating with those He came to  save and He was called a glutton, a winebibber and a  friend of sinners. John the Baptist lived a separatist life and they said  he was a maniac. As you live the life of a spend rift,  they say you  are  extravavagant. Can this one save money?

And you manage your resources to fight  against poverty and they say you are tight fisted. In either direction you may have built pretentious love boys  or antagonists.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL YOU PLEASE.

Those you cannot please must make you an enemy and hard on you in many respects. 

You must have to re-examine your Christianity when people of all shades of opinion, people of different walks of life have become too intimate to you. They may love you because you have joined them, since you cannot beat them and  while you might be friendly, they will likely have their divide towards you.  

The first line disciples, the prophets of old, the Pilgrim Fathers, who left Britain  for America, must have had their EXPERIENCE  with the world of men and  so when the apostle James called them names and  said :

 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4) ; he had substantial reasons. 

Building an ally to stimulate love.

The tendency to want to flow with the society,  will turn you to look like them to attract their affiliation. You know the world loves its own. In the process of trying to  create affiliation many have been drowned in the ways of the world.

Definition of the word ” World “.

While the world relates to the earth , we will definitely be looking at the world with reference to its peoples. 

In Genesis 1:1,  we note that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The epistle by Titus says :

“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:12).

The earth which God has created has become the world of peoples in great diversities in  behaviour and  if we must be godly, we must be sober in reflection.

In Hebrews 1:2 we read:

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:2).

Out of Jesus was this world made and that is why to redeem man God sent  Jesus to reclaim what is His. 

Read John 3:17: 

” For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

It is in this world of peoples that we move , eat , drink and hold friendship. Jesus ate with them and  cared for their infirmities. Yet, were they not   such   people who shouted crucify Him ? It is the same world of peoples in whose  ears the name of Jesus is still  repulsive.

How far will your name, entertain this world, if you are not HOOKED to what they like?

THE WORLD DOES NOT KNOW YOU

The world finds it difficult to recognise those who call upon the name of God. How can this world who does not know you really love you ? Jesus said :

 “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19).

Jesus chose His people out of the world, so a child of God is repulsive to the people of this world unconciously. They will never like you or mix with you and will go around accusing you of not affiliating with people. It  is either they are afraid of you, or are not ready to hear of God. If their sins convict them to withdraw from your fellowship : “How then can they love you?” Are people not betraying their friends? How will you be excepted?

John the divine recognised our position as believers and confirmed the words of Jesus and said :

 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1).

In political arrangements today,  it takes the power from above to have pure christians in the midst of the leaders of the world. 

And many have compromised high levels of Christian norms to fit in. They cannot say they have not  fallen from Grace, some are pretending to be in the faith still.

The Bible refers to most of the public leaders as  rulers of the darkness of this world. 

I was to join the police force in 1972 after my advance level GCE. But I was cautioned:

 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

SATAN DOES NOT EVEN LOVE THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIM.

Any man who hates a true child of God is acting on the contrariness of his heart , there is no way Satan will felicitate with people who have sold themselves to Jesus.

It could  be mere hypocrisy when they motivate  you craftily to make you believe they love you. The evil man kills an evil man, you know both of them are Satan’s workers. Does Satan love his own in that regard? 

Many a time we struggle to come together with people but such efforts are frustrated. 

They accuse you and blackmail you, because things which are alike  attract each other. You may not be like them. Cohesion can only be possible when like minds meet.  So without being contrary in any wise , people who hate you because you are a boxer will not love you, even though you have not entered the boxing ring with them.

And Paul writing to Timothy said 

 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”(2 Timothy 4:10).

Demas loved the present world. Friendship of this world is enemity with God. What makes friendship with the world to work is sin and all its appetites.

 My late General Overseer once said ‘ SIN ‘ is sweet. Do  not be astonished why some prefer to enjoy their life here and go to hell later,  than wait for that heaven, which we preach and which they have  not seen, where they  are told  to expect everlasting joy. 

Demas preferred this present world. This  place  ( world) he has seen is better than many birds in the bush.

CONFORMITY MUST GO WITH SURRENDER.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (.Romans 12:2).

We must make committed decision for Christ. Demas found friends to flow with in the world. He had to conform, and this attitude is the greatest problem of undecided people. They have to exchange their identity for the present good.

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH HAS AN IDENTITY AND EXCEPT YOU EXCHANGE IT, FOR THAT OF THE THE WORLD,   THE  WORLD WILL  NOT ACCEPT TO  MAKE YOU A FRIEND.

Eve saw the fruit as that which will make men wise.  It was appealing to the eyes.

“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, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3: 6).

When the devil begins to love you,  note that you are finished, when the lusts of the flesh fill your life many people who are controlled by the same spirit draw to you.

The tongue of the harlot is sweet, so is the tongue of the deceiver.

 Was it not affiliation with the serpent that made her to go into conversation with the serpent? When they draw near in a perceived love  they have a purpose.

In recognising this Jesus cautioned :

” And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. (Luke 16:8).

 But for the Holy Ghost, in God’s children, sinners are wiser in deception than true believers.

When all shower love  on you  and  while  you are in the course of Christ,  note they are eating into the fabrics of your salvation. You will one day,  both  fall dead physically through them,  and/or fall spiritually dead and  finally into hell. Beware!

 They can only give you what they have which is corruption.

PAUL’S EXPPERIENCE

And he Paul said “It is my desire that  all the Jews be saved”. This is the journey of a man who ought to  be loved by his people or others,  when he opened up his mind and said :

 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:1-2).

This same people he loved to save and prayed for ; were they not those who organised  his sufferings  and in this he Paul wrote  :  

 “Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; (2 Corinthians 11:25-26).

Are you who seek righteousness different from Paul?

Note the sufferings of Paul in the hands of his own countrymen, the heathen and even among false brethren. 

False brethren are those who shared the faith with Paul, but were traitors. They licked the fingers of Paul with their tongue, but later bit him with their teeth. 

Those who speak of how good you are in the Fellowship, but secretly hand you over to  your enemies are false brethren. In fact they abound.

WHEN EVERYONE LOVES YOU !  BEWARE, YOU MIGHT BE SINKING UNKNOWINGLY.

My late Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku told me this in 1987 ” I perceive that in your place of work your colleagues hate you,  but they like how you work. 

And he concluded that it is God’s will for it to be so, because if  they love you, you will easily fall in their  hands.”

Definitely in the events of pretentious love you might go into dinning and wine bibing  with the agents of death. 

“It is better to live in the hate of an enemy than his love,  so that you become wise and cautious.”

SATAN HAS GONE SCIENTIFIC

Witches have their own ships and helicopters, they have their own submarines in the city of the Leviathan.

 Please do not ask me  to explain. I might prefer to whisper into your ears.

You cannot beat them by power or might, but by the Spirit of God through the blood of Jesus.

 Let us seek the blood of Jesus for  if not the power in the blood of Jesus, believers and good men,  would have  been in great misery.

Jesus healed the sick,  among His people, he raised the dead and fed five thousand people, but were they not those who cried out :

“And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:  (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)  Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.  But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him”. (Luke 23:18-21).

This world prefers criminals more than the saints.

If those who show their white teeth of smiles before you have the opportunity, they will say the same thing which the enemies of Jesus said before Pilate.

When all men appear to love you, beware, the viper is not a friend, even to the earth it crawls. It has as a matter of fact fed on the sand of the  earth.

 WHO SHOULD YOU FEAR MORE?

The man to fear more might be the man who loves you, whose depth of love is but  a mirage,  than he that hates you and does not pretend about it.

PRESERVE THEM FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL.

A man told of his story thus:  There were friends of an opposite religious sect, who were very close to him. They offered him service for which he paid them. So they were as close to him as the tongue and teeth.  

But one day there was a riot in his vicinity and these so called friends came with cutlasses to kill him. God delivered him that he jumped through the fence to the next compound. They followed , but were overpowered by those who came for the rescue and killed them in anger.  

This is the love of pretenders of love. In the book of Songs Solomon the “lover boy”  said:

 “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7) 

This is true love compared.

People are wiliing to die for true love. I have heard of boys or girls  who say “if not Julie or Jagwa”, I rather die, respectively .

And when that same love turns sour,  many of such short minded lovers  have said, ” this girl or this boy is horrible, I wish I listened to mum or dad”

The only true love  is Agape. No human being is truly “Agapec”.

Again I repeat ” WHEN EVERY ONE LOVES YOU !  BEWARE !

A powerful man in a vicinity, who had delivered mayhem also  had people, who ate from his table. These pretenders defended his  notorious acts, but one day this strong man died. Those pretenders came out to tell the people how wicked the man had been. This is the life of man for you to note.

The mouths of those friends of his, were full of stories of shame. Do you mind them? Answer me now !

The love of the unbeliever is  extended for gain and when the “chips are  down”, they reveal the seven  colours of the rainbow and even  add sweeteners, to those who do not know the colours..

CAN WE, WITH ALL THESE,  CONTINUE IN THIS JOUDNEY OF LOVE?

To encourage us to continue in love. while in this course,  let us examine the following people :

(i) The experience of Christ

(ii) The experience of  the apostles

(iii) experience of the first line matyrs

(iv) the Experience  of the  Pilgrim Fathers.

(v) the experience of the Old Testament prophets i.e. Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Elijah to be specific.

I do not desire to enumerate those experiences of mine in this sermon. But what I wish to say here is that none of the five  groups above  surrendered. They stuck to their golden ideology,  no shaking.

They did not have it  pleasant proclaiming their faith, or showing the way, but they were all successful even though some of them parted this  life through matyrdom.

You have to reciprocate the love of seeming lovers , who might be  enemies, because Christ commanded us to show love to them for that is the centrepiece of the gospel.

Love is the centrepiece of the gospel and once we become acrimonious in  revenge in dealing with a false community, it could be said we have not taken the cross.

Where will the gospel be preached?  If the gospel has reached everybody and they have embraced Christ then the coming of Christ is delayed without  cause.

Jesus said :

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14).

The word  “witness”  is mentioned to  be a record for the unbelieving.  May God encourage you who is doing your best for Christ’s sake. Note that you cannot find a level preaching ground in evangelism anywhere on earth. You will never find true friends also  everywhere,  but God provides  those that will be real succour. Thank you.

MY GRATITUDES :

* I thank God for every experience. I pray He will give me the grace to continue to a fulfilled end, and create appropriate opportunity for me,  to launch my eventful book : “The Landmarks Of Destiny ” at His time.

* I thank all of  you who are here today and those who will read this short write up somewhere to mark the 52nd anniversary in a walk I have had with God. I pray it will  be of  benefit to all.

* God bless all my friends, and some members of our governing council, who have stretched themselves to provide for our projects.

* God bless my young friend and  I better call him a son in the Lord, ( designer :  VECTORS), who designed our website and paying all costs from inception till date. WOW!

* God bless all my children and my wife , who have made life meaningful to me in a world  that would have been lonely without Christ.

* I thank other Christian friends,  who have come as real support in my work at Miracle Valley. They will all be properly represented in Miracle Valley Hall Of Fame.

 I  always pray for all of  them that they will have their appropriate rewards from the Lord and the things they do will find the hand of God. Amen.

God bless you all.

An anniversary speech from Rev. Prof. P. C. Nnaocha on his 52nd anniversary of a  walk with the Lord on Easter Sunday  21st April , 2019 at Covenant Bethel Miracle Valley Umuehiri, Umuele Imo State, Nigeria.

outreach.mvgm@yahoo.com.

Website : www.mvgmng.org

+234 8037179735.

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