1. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS?
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13 NKJV).
On the day you repented and accepted that you were a sinner, you made a commitment never to live a life of sin again.
But did you really know what happened in the spiritual realm on that day when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?
• You gained your freedom from the bondage of Satan and became a child of God.
• Your life became hidden in God: Satan could never pull you back into bondage because for him to succeed, he must first defeat God.
• You abandoned the kingdom of darkness and declared war on its king, Satan. Most believers assume that Satan would forget about them; a terrible mistake that has led to the shipwreck of the faith of many.
2. HOW DOES SATAN FIGHT BACK?
The overarching aim of Satan is to make sure that believers do not have personal relationship with Jesus Christ, their Lord and Saviour. He does this using the following methods:
• Get believers to sin (Encouraging believers to embrace worldliness is his favourite weapon).
• Use every trick in his arsenal to see that believers do not fix their eyes on their Lord and Saviour, Jesus.
• Use apostate churches to teach doctrines that negate the All Sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice and death and those that elevate Mammon (money) and works.
2.1 GETTING BELIEVERS TO SIN (HIS FAVOURITE TOOL IS WORLDLINESS)
Satan’s first attack is to convince a new convert to remain yoked to the world. He will infiltrate the thoughts of the unwary with such questions like, how can you preach the gospel if you cut yourself off from the world.
Satan knows that friendship with the world is enmity with God; so he does everything to have a new convert remain tied to his or her worldly friends. Remaining yoked with unbelievers creates opportunities to sin, weakens the believer, and helps to blunt a his or her testimony.
2.2 GETTING BELIEVERS TO TAKE THEIR EYES OFF JESUS
• Feeding them false information (unbiblical doctrines and false testimonies–Gal 1:8) using apostate churches and backslidden Christians. Recall how Satan manipulated Eve in the garden of Eden with false information.
• Encouraging them to spend more time on church activities and programs than they do in the presence of God.
• Encouraging them to spend their time reading self-help books and writings that promote covetousness rather than reading the Bible.
• Encouraging them to use church and ministry prepared booklets to pray even in their closets. (Satan knows that such structured praying leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to lead the believer).
• Empowering unscrupulous pastors and general overseers to perform signs and wonders. (Can anyone claiming to hear from God preach watered down messages and or doctrines that contradict God’s word?)
• Encouraging meditations, similar to what obtains in the occult, to develop one’s inner self.
2.3. PROMOTION OF FALSE DOCTRINES THAT NEGATE THE ALL SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST’S SACRIFICE AND WHICH WORSHIP MAMMON (MONEY)
Satan actively promotes doctrines that negate the All Sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. Money is the emphasis in such gatherings. Such doctrines discourage believers from having faith in God while promoting giving money to the church (works) as being essential for salvation.
Here are some of such false doctrines:
• God will give riches to those who give large offerings to their churches.
• Works are necessary for salvation.
• God will punish those who fail to pay tithes.
• Those who fail to pay tithes will go to hell.
• A church building is a Temple, tithe is part of New Testament, pastors and general overseers are priests, etc.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
• Believers are priests under the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
• A church building is NOT a Temple of the Holy Spirit; a believer is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
• A church is where 2 or 3 believers are gathered in the name of the Lord with the Holy Spirit present. (A congregation of 1 million without the presence of the Holy Spirit is NOT a church).
• Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is SUFFICIENT. It is that sacrifice that will make you and I to inherit eternal life. Our works will never take us to heaven. God’s children are led by the Holy Spirit and not by pastors and GOs.
• Those who mix the Old with the New do not know the Scriptures. Grace is for the New, the Law is for the Old.
• Satan has through the centuries conflated the Law and Grace: he knows that anyone who is keeping the Law does not truly believe in the All Sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. Whoever does not truly believe that Christ’s death and resurrection is what qualifies one to inherit eternal life does not have faith in God. Without such faith, such a person is lost.
Any doctrine that asks a believer to take back the yoke of bondage that Christ had delivered them from is false; it is from the pits of hell.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace (Gal 5:1-4 NKJV).
3.0 ELEMENTS OF A GATHERING THAT RECOGNIZES CHRIST AS HEAD OF THE CHURCH
1. The FOCUS OF ALL activities in such gathering is on HIM who came from heaven to earth, who was rejected and crucified for humanity’s sins, and whose resurrection from the dead justifies whoever accepts HIM as Saviour and Lord.
2. Christ’s authorized Representative (Helper, Advocate, Counsellor) is PRESENT.
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-(John 14:16 NKJV).
3. The Holy Spirit is directing ALL the activities in the gathering or meeting.
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you (John 14:26 NLT).
4. Those gathered are living sanctified lives–truly separated from the world and fully yielded to God (Whoever lives a sanctified life obeys Christ’s commands).
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me (John 14:23-24 NKJV).
4.0 HOW TO HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST, AND HOW TO MAINTAIN THAT RELATIONSHIP
• Come out from apostate gatherings and denominations: Any group or denomination that preaches and practices doctrines that negate the All Sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice is apostate. The Holy Spirit is not present in such gatherings.
• Be in God’s presence: regular meditative study of the Scriptures and prayers in your closet. God speaks to us through His word. He reveals Himself to those who believe in His word. He wants to have personal relationship with His children. When we are stumped and ask for His help, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to enable us gain understanding.
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth (2Tim 2:15 NLT).
• Make it a habit of witnessing God’s love to those around you. Preaching the gospel of Christ is not an option. We are not saved to hide Christ in us. Christ in us must be shown to the world so that those in bondage may be delivered the same way we were delivered. How can you show Christ in you to the world if you are ignorant of God’s character and His mission?
For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:13-15 NKJV)
• Seek out gatherings that have elements identified in point 3 above.
• Where there is no such gathering of the saints in your vicinity, seek out those who sincerely want to inherit eternal life in your area to start a fellowship. Remember where 2 or 3 are gathered with the Holy Spirit present is a church.