Have you ever wondered what the fate of Christianity could have been today, had there been a body of apostles who would have chosen to sit down and die with what they know in their hearts? Suppose that the risen Christ, having gone to heaven, had carried all the vast spiritual knowledge and wisdom He has and just left the apostles with some historical stories and miracles that happened among them, what benefit will those stories have been for us today if they were not energized by the power of the living Spirit of God? If the apostles had not learned from Christ and received the Holy Spirit who would be their guide, helper, strengthener and reminder of truth, what use will have the apostles been? Do you think for a moment that the church would have survived these two millennia just with mere zeal and some facts of a historical Jesus especially when you put into consideration the amount of persecution and false teachers that have fought with Christianity ever since its establishment?
An honest look at historical facts proves to us that the Church is more than what people think it is. It is more than an established religion with devout members who are bent on propagating some religious lies of a certain Jesus who came and died on the Cross and is supposedly believed to have appeared to some people who claim He is alive today. Christianity is more than a sect that have dissented from historic Judaism to claim that God has a Son and that Son has come in the flesh to save humanity. Christianity is more than a bunch of brain washed folk who are working for the betterment of the world by doing charitable work and good deeds to appear as peddling a new kind of love and social ethic in a world that is hopeless and troubling. Many people view Christians today as people with no truth but delusional folks who seek to uphold their religion as the best in the world thereby robbing all other religions of their impact in the world. There are numerous claims, good and bad opinions of what the Church is. As a result, Christianity has been wrongly labeled a “religion” because at least, that’s how the unsaved viewed it.
For us who believe, the Church in this world is God’s pillar of truth. For this reason, the biblical exhortation is for the Church to remain steadfast and immovable in the faith, the true teachings of the Bible that permanent record of the Gospel for all ages. Now, the expectation of the Spirit for the church to remain steadfast presupposes that the Church will undergo certain stages of faith trials, tests and hardships. These severe times will force the Church to compromise its true stand, neglect the gospel or be turned to other gospels that are false. However, in the midst of these spiritual tempests, the Church should remain immovable. It can be beaten by winds of doctrines, storms of the enemy’s power and fiery darts of the wicked one, but as its founder has prophesied, “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”.
The Church in the world today, its continuity and presence manifests the manifold wisdom of God. It pleased God to establish a spiritual institution of an assembly of the called ones to manifest His glory in the world. The Church bears the gospel torch; it bears the salt of the world and preserves the world from decaying, moral collapse and social injustice. Through its influence, the Church has managed to at least subjugate the evils that have been in the world by the preaching of the Gospel. Where the Gospel has been preached, lives have been changed; families have been changed, entire communities and nations have seen Christ’s light shining in the darkest places of sin and corruption and transformed humanity, a miracle that can only be attributed to the power of the risen Christ. No other religion has been able to transform lives the way true Christianity has done in the world. True biblical Christianity varies at large with religious Christianity, that form of Christianity that has a form of godliness but which denies the true Christ. To borrow the language of the Apocalypse, “religious Christianity shuts Christ out of His church” and is content with keeping church traditions, rituals and liturgy without self examination to see whether they are still in the faith.
Today, the true Church faces a spiritual crisis, so much deeper and stronger than before. Going through reliable historical records of ancient Christianity, several things have happened in the Church, but none will compare to what is happening now or what great periods of apostasy awaits the Church in our day and in the future, should the Lord tarries. What makes the times we live so perilous isn’t the absences of religion in the world, rather the multiplicity of counterfeit Jesus movement that claims to have Jesus on its side while peddling destructive heresies and denying the real historical Jesus that died on the Cross to save humanity from sin. The counterfeit religiosity that exists today has all forms of true Christianity present in them except the gospel of truth and Spirit-empowered life transformation. People are being transformed from being worst sinners into “feeling good” sinners. The pulpit has become a place of motivational speeches; churches are full of entertainers known as worship teams and where pastors and preachers are more into pop psychology instead of biblical exposition. People now attend church because they feel good about it. We rarely witness people who go to church because they are saved; they love God and are seeking the true fellowship of the saints.
In some churches, the Bible has long been relegated to the church’s dustbin. God is no longer the author of His written word; neither is He its interpreter. The Bible is viewed as a man’s product and is no longer relevant to the Church today. Its inspiration, authority and teachings are challenged with some interpreting it irreverently, twisting scriptures to their own destruction since they favor opinions and theories instead of biblical truth. It is to be observed that the churches are no longer safe zones especially when the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible is questioned among God’s people who profess to have been called by the name of God. If the Bible is no longer valid and relevant for the Church today, then our spirituality is called into question and our faith rests on man’s wisdom instead of God’s power.
If you are a believer and claim to be a Christian, then, what you believe matters! Most people would like to argue that there is no need for spiritual affirmations or intelligently articulating one’s Christian faith. It is even much heartbreaking to note that most churches have become anti-intellectuals. They deny what the Bible teaches, refuse mind engagement in understanding and contemplating spiritual issues and would make you believe that the rational and intellectual side of man is a stumbling block to the Spirit. Like modern day mystics, they will tell you that all that matters is your spiritual experience, that encounter that you have with God is more important than knowing the Scriptures. They tell you that your personal experience is enough to convince the world that Jesus is alive and is working in you. Why bother yourself about what is theologically right or wrong, after all, you have the Holy Spirit!
It’s amazing how many opinions have found a safe sanctuary in the house of the Lord today. Religious leaders have brought in their spiritual merchandise to tread in God’s house and one can find everything and anything spiritual to soothe the searching heart. The ever increasing number of churches that are deviating from truth is so perplexing and alarming. Almost daily in the media, reports are plenteous. Church so-and-so has ordained gays to the ministry; church so-and-so said the Biblical miracles are a hoax, preacher so-and-so says Christians and Muslims worship the same God, Pope So-and-so says churches should be filled with Koran copies and promote religious unity, etc.
We may be wondering, but why is this happening at such a time as this? Shouldn’t the true Church be expecting a greater revival? Are we in fact not enjoying a great revival as we see the rise of prophets and miracle workers in our time at a rate that has never been unprecedented in history? News flash! We are in the end times and there is no great revival except a great apostasy. The reason why many Christians fail to see that we are in the end times is because they have never given thought to it while others have been lazy to study the Bible to stay informed and abreast with current spiritual developments. Instead, we should be like the sons of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (1 Chronicles 12:32). The Holy Spirit said that we should be wise, and discern the times and also know what the Lord’s will is. But how many Christians are taking heed to what is happening among us?
In this book, I have set forth to discuss the importance of guarding the faith, that most precious treasure that the Lord has given us and to encourage the Church to avoid spiritual trash in a generation that seems to have forgotten what it means to have a healthy relationship with the Lord. Above all, Christians should not be like the world; we are in the world but not of it. We are distinct people, holy and peculiar, chosen to manifest the praises of Him who called us (1 Peter 2:9-10). Our distinctiveness also lies in this, that we believe biblical truth and we have made a commitment to live by its teachings and to practices them. Thus, as Christians, we are people of divine principles that are rooted in the Bible which we believe to be the only true, inspired, inerrant and authoritative written word of God on this planet. To this end, we labor so much to read and study it, understand its teachings and teach them to others so that the church should remain firm, standing in the truth.
The apostle Paul, understanding that his time for leaving this world was drawing to a close, he sought to confide in Timothy, his trusted son in faith. He sought for an opportunity to entrust to him the most precious treasure any spiritual father could give his spiritual son. In his last epistle to him, he writes,
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 2:1-5)
This charge to Timothy presuppose that at a later date in time, there will be a mass exodus from the faith, when people will not endure sound doctrine but will find teachers that seeks to please their audiences with a different kind of gospel which is not “the Word” but spiritual fables. It should also be noted that before these people could have a going away from the faith, they should have first came into the faith. This then tells us that, these people will be that kind of Christians who first knew the truth because you cannot depart from truth if you had never had the truth before. As Paul is giving Timothy of a preview of what will happen in the future, he also knew that his own time had come, thus, he sought to prepare the young evangelist for such times. There is nothing new under the sun. In Timothy’s day, there was an exodus from the faith, people went into apostasy and followed false teachers. Today, the same thing is happening, but Paul urged Timothy to “preach the word” and to “watch in all things”. Thus, preaching the word and staying alert are two vital components in guarding the spiritual treasure.
As Christians, we should seek to come together to find workable spiritual solutions to our current dilemma. When I speak of spiritual solutions, I am referring to consulting the mind of God, his wisdom and knowledge as revealed in the written word of God, the Bible. I am not referring to some spiritual nudges or some supposedly new revelations or prophetic utterances. God has spoken and yes, he still speaks today (Hebrews 12:25). We cannot put Him in a box and utterly reject His ever unveiling of Himself, but, all that should be put in tits respective place and our understanding should be that God’s word is long settled in Heaven (Psalm 119:89). For the Christian, the Bible is God’s revealed truth and all our thinking should stem from it as the solid rock for our faith. If our faith is not solidly grounded in the authority and truth of Scripture, then we are either delusional or outright liars.
How do we prepare for the times to come? How does the Church remain principally rooted in the Bible and the sound gospel of truth? This book seeks to guide us into understanding the importance and relevance of what the apostles taught and entrusted to faithful witnesses who have throughout successive generations, committed them to faithful men who have taught others also. It is my firm conviction that if we are to witness a triumphant church in our generation, and perhaps in the coming generations (should the Lord tarries), the true Church should reaffirm its stand on the Spirit-authored Scriptures, raise godly leaders who live godly lives and teach God’s truth. These leaders should be able to know the word of God, live it and be inspiring examples to others. These Christian leaders should be leaders at home, church, work and everywhere, impacting the nations with a biblical worldview. Thus, if these kind of godly leaders could reproduce themselves, standing firm in the faith, the church will not be taken by the enemy’s surprise. Christ wants a healthy and triumphant Church and we should not fail the apostles or those believers that have gone ahead of us and passed the button to us, to press forward earnestly contend for the faith.
It is my hope that the message of this book will be a wake-up call to Christian leaders and believers throughout the world. Not only should we be cautionary leaders, we should be exemplary in the way we serve the Lord and the churches. Above all, we should guard the spiritual priceless treasure of God’s Word that has been transmitted to us and we should seek to avoid the spiritual trash around us. Our aim should be higher ground where we stand firm and immovable in the faith.