The Church at Sabongiri – 8th, 9th, 14th & 15th Oct.
As the Lord would have it, it was with the brethren at Sabongiri that I spent most of the time in Bible study. I deemed it fit to revise and re-emphasize the teaching on Christ: the Pattern for the Church with them. It was not a strange doctrine to them, but from observation, this truth was yet to be fully experiential to them.
Bro Amos and bro Simeon, the pillars among these brethren, have greatly come to an understanding of this truth – the major reason why my ministry is fully welcomed among them – but like Paul would say of his little children, “we labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” [Gal.4:19].
The Lord has never committed the building of His dwelling place among His people to man’s discretion and inventions. Moses had to build His tabernacle according to God’s pattern shown to him on the mount [Heb.8:5]. As beloved and wise David and Solomon were in the sight of God, Solomon’s Temple had to be built according to divinely revealed plan [1 Chron.28:12,19], not according to their own wisdom.
The returnees of the Babylonian captivity in the days of Ezra had no thought of improving on God’s blueprint for His house with imported Babylonian design; not at all. They rather built to the Lord’s absolute standard of the plumb line that measured all from above [Zech.4:9,10]. Even the future Temple revealed to Ezekiel has a carefully revealed and measured pattern [Ezek.40:4; 43:10-12]!
Today, even from the day of Pentecost, the church as a people has become the Temple or the House of God. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” [1 Cor.3:16]. “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” [1 Pet.2:5].
“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you [collectively] are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them, I will be their God, and they shall be my people’” [2 Cor. 6:16].
Today, the Lord does not dwell in a temple of stones with walls built with human hands, but rather, in Jesus Christ, “the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom [Christ], you [the church] also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” [Eph.2:21,22].
Equally important to note is that, as there was a divine pattern for God’s tabernacle and temple in the dispensation of the Old Covenant, so is there a pattern for the church, God’s temple, today in the New Covenant. This revelation was given to the early apostles and prophets of Christ: “for we are members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” [Eph. 2:19,20].
In the inspired words of apostle Paul, “I write to you…so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” [1 Tim.3:14,15]. And, “if anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” [1 Cor.14:37].
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the pattern of the Church [see 1 Cor.3:9-17; 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 2 Thess. 2:15; 2Tim. 1:13,14]. He is the “foundation” [1 Cor.3:11] and the “chief cornerstone” [Eph.2:20] of the church. He is the only High priest and one Mediator for all believer-priests [Heb. 4:14-17; 7:25].
He alone is our King and Lord [Phil.2:9-11]; our True vine from which all fruitfulness [Jn.15:5], life [Col.3:4], direction [1 Cor.2:16], enabling [1 Cor.1:24] and gifts [Eph.4:7,8] flow to the church! The Lord Jesus has preeminence in all things among His people. He is the only “Head of the body, the church” [Col.1:18].
And where the head is, there is the headquarters! The headquarters of the church is above, “where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” [Col.3:1]. We have no earthly Headquarters! Therefore, no local church has authority over the other. Every local assembly is directly under the control of Christ and it is to Him they are directly responsible and accountable.
No single man is THE Pastor, THE General overseer/Apostle/superintendent, or THE Pope/Archbishop/Bishop over the church or churches. The eldership of the NT. Church is in plurality [Acts 14:23; 15:6,22,23; 20:17,28; Phil. 1:1; Tit.1:5; 1 Pet.1:1; 5:1; Jas 5:14,15] with no official superiority of one over the others.
Christendom has gone astray in this pivotal truth! When shall we return to Christ, “THE Pastor and Bishop of your souls” [Emphasis added. 1 Pet.2:25]? “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider THE Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus” [Emphasis added. Heb.3:1].
Bro. Titus’ Visit – 12th Oct.
It had been the heart cry of bro Amos to also have some quality time of fellowship with bro Titus. He had been serving among the brethren in Enugu Ezike for about three weeks before I journeyed to Benue. After sending him a series of text messages making known our longing to see him, he eventually came around on the 12th of Oct., few hours before my time of ministry at Ojale village.
It was a wonderful time of fellowship. It was the first time we would be together in Benue [Editor: Titus and Yinnkah live not far from each other in the Ibadan area and are often in fellowship together there]. You can imagine how elated and animated he was at his first sight of me and bro Amos. His greetings were at such a high octave that the neighborhood wondered at our brotherhood!
He came along with one brother Uche on whose bike [motorcycle] they journeyed for about two hours from Enugu Ezike. Bro Amos’ wife, who was there “in the tent” [Gen. 18:9] served us some Benue-made pounded yam and egunsi soup [Editor: Yam in W. Africa is a large potato-like tuber, sometimes 2 feet long, that is boiled and then pounded in a mortar with a pestle into a stiff consistency. Egunsi is made from melon seed and vegetable greens]. Over the meal, bro Titus relayed the encouraging work in Enugu Ezike.
Bro Amos also exhorted from 1 Cor. 7:29-31 that the time is short, hence the need for us to be “steadfast, immovable, [and] always abounding in the work of the Lord” [1 Cor.15:58]. He also expressed his desire for bro Titus to join him in some evangelistic outreaches to some remote villages in Idoma land come December to which bro Titus was affirmative.
We had to round up our fellowship because of the phone calls from the waiting Ojale brethren; and earlier than bro Amos had wanted, bro Titus and Uche had to leave too to visit a brother at Umbokolo where he would pass the night before heading for Ibadan the next day.