IS EVERYONE IN CHURCH A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”(Matthew 7: 21-23)

We have millions of people in the church who profess Christ but are not Christians. Some are ushers, song minsters and church workers in various departments. They pay tithe regularly and give fat offerings. When the Pastor writes a new book, they are the first to launch it. Some have elevated positions as church elders and men of God. These people are very active in church activities, yet, have no relationship with Christ. This is because they are carnally minded people who are yet to surrender their will to God.

We can be actively involved in the things of God, but if we do not surrender to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are not Christians. Many people in church will miss heaven, not because they supported church activities with their resources, or put their gifting to use, but because they did not walk in the spirit.

Many believers in Christ, especially the rich in material things, think that when they give money to the pastor, give tithe and fat offerings to the church, they have automatic entrance into heaven. It is not so. We cannot make heaven because we gave material things to the church but have no regard for God’s commandment.

Many people in church have no regard for the next brother or sister if the person is not in their circle of social status. They forget that the church of Christ is not a social club where worldly achievements determine people’s status. The body of Christ is a family of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who treats a member of this family with contempt is not fit to be part of the family. Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of this ungodly behaviour, which disqualifies us as Christians. We may be in church, but if we have no regard for those who are not at our status, we are not Christians.

When we became born again, we became part of God’s great family. In this family, status and material wealth does not count; yet, many believers in Christ still place a lot of value on worldly achievements and treat fellow believers according to their status in the world. Those who do such things are in church, but are not Christians.

In many church denominations, money and social status determines the value placed on someone. The more money and degree one has, the greater the respect that accorded the person. This mentality does not reflect the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, humbled himself to the point of washing the feet of his disciples. How many believers in Christ has the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ? Many believers in Christ are full of pride, yet we claim we are children of God.

When we talk of believers respecting one another based on social status, men of God are equally guilty of it. We give high positions to rich and famous but carnally minded people in church at the expense of spirit-filled believers who are less rich and less educated. That is not the spirit of God. Those who do such things are quite in church, but are not Christians. A Christian is someone who follows the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. He or she is that person who sees Christ in others irrespective of their status in the society.

Our Lord Jesus Christ chose poor and illiterate folks as his disciples over the learned and the rich. He trained the unlettered disciples, gave them His wisdom and power such that they mesmerized the learned Pharisees. In their days, when they spoke, the learned Pharisees marvelled, and wondered where they got such great wisdom.

If our Master, did not choose his disciples based on how learned and rich they were in the world, why should do we think that our worldly positions interest the Lord? Why do would anyone think God prefers the rich to the poor, materially? I am not saying that education and wealth is bad. They are good. However, God does not look at that to call people to service. We should therefore not despise people because they have less money and degrees than others.

Those who practice such are in church but are not followers of Christ.

Some years back, a sister from one of the most prominent church denominations in Ghana came to pray with us. One day, I asked her to do the opening prayer. As she was praying, the Lord revealed her calling to me. When she ended the prayer, I asked if she knew the Lord has called as an Evangelist?

“Yes, man of God. Two people have prophesied it to me,” she said. “Last week, I prayed the Lord to give me a confirmation through you,” she added. Then she asked me what she should do? I told her, we will pray and seek direction from the Lord. Few weeks later, the Lord told me to tell her to leave Accra where we are for the Northern part of Ghana and start a ministry work there. I did as the Lord commanded. Interestingly, where the Lord asked her to go is her hometown. That was something I learnt after I gave her the message. That means the Lord wants to use her to show the light to her own people who are deeply involved in idol worship.

During our next meeting, the sister said she discussed what the Lord said with her Pastor. Unfortunately, the Pastor’s response was one that discouraged her. According to her, the Pastor told her he had a dream where she sold fresh tomatoes in the market. According to his interpretation of the dream, the sister cannot be an Evangelist because she does not have a degree.

“Your place is in the market as a petty trader,” he advised.

Our sister was an usher in that church. I am sure if she was rich or had a university degree, her Pastor will not dream about her selling fresh tomatoes in the market. He would have seen her as a great woman of God. Since the reverse was the case, then she belongs to the market square meant for the downtrodden in the society. As far as her Pastor was concerned, anyone without a degree cannot do ministry. That is how carnally minded some believers in Christ, including many men of God are. They respect people based on how well off they are, materially.

Though I was sad by the posture of her pastor, I did not ask her to disobey him. I simply told her it was better to obey God’s voice than man’s. By God’s grace, she listened to the voice of God. Today, she is doing well as an Evangelist in her hometown in the Northern part of God as the Lord said. Interestingly, she still has no degree. It shows that the Lord can use anyone as long as we are ready to follow his leading. Money and degree means nothing to him.

If we truly are born again, we will not place much value on worldly positions. Sadly, many people in church have not weaned themselves of such carnality. They are in church, but still of the world.

A few years ago; I was part of a certain church in Accra, Ghana. One day, a sister told me something that shocked me. The sister had a habit of putting on a new dress to church every Sunday. I have no problem with people looking good. If one can afford a new dress every week, why not? After all, the Lord himself wants us to look good. I admired my friend’s sense of dressing and always told her so. However, time revealed that her motive was wrong. After church service that day, she looked sad. I asked what the matter was. Her answer shocked me. She told me she was sad because, when she came to church that morning, she realized that another sister in the church wore the same dress she had put on. Wow! I could not believe what I heard.

That was when her motive for wearing a new dress each Sunday dawned on me. She wanted to be exceptional; the Centre of attraction. So seeing another sister in the same type of dress she wore was unacceptable. That ruined her mood that day. Whatever happened during the church service that day did not interest her. It means that she was in church every Sunday to show off her new dress, not to worship God.

Again, I discovered that what made her angry was more than another lady wearing the same type of dress she wore. According to her, she felt worse because, the sister who wore that dress was below her social status. Yes, I knew that. By worldly standard, my friend looked more beautiful, she was more educated. The other sister is a petty trader. My friend works with a multinational company. So, in her mind, it was an insult for someone she considered way beneath her status to put on the same type of dress she had on her. Automatically, church service went sour for my friend because, someone far below her social status wore the same dress she had put on to church. When I understood all that, it disappointed me that my friend was like that. I wondered how the other sister would have felt if she knew what she thought about her.

The question here is, did our sister go to church to worship God, or to show off her beauty, new clothes and new shoes?

Truth be told, my friend’s attitude that day revealed that she was in church, but she was not a follower of Christ. Pride rules her life. A follower of Christ is humble.

Many years ago in Lagos, Nigeria, in a neighbourhood called, Egbeda, I walked into a church to inquire about how they worship. One thing I was told was that worshippers don’t come to church with what I would describe as common foot wears. That means that those who cannot afford beautiful sandals or shoes have no place in that church. Well, I had none of those in those days. I had only one worn out sandals which I have been wearing for the past two years. That means I did not reach the standard the leaders of that church had set for those who want to worship there. So, I walked away.

Church leaders who make such rules sack people from the house of God. They are in church, but are certainly not followers of Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ rejected no one because he or she did not put on designer’s or flashy garments and shoes. Status did not matter to him. He embraced all. We should do the same if we truly call ourselves His followers. If we don’t, we are in church but are not followers of Christ.

As I end this piece, I would like to ask a few questions.

Are you a follower of Christ?

What is your mission in the house of God?

Are you there to show off your beauty and high sense of fashion?

Are you there to discriminate against the less privileged and cause division, or to unify the children of God in love?

Whatever your reasons are, remember that the body of Christ is a gathering of believers bought by the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. He gave his life to save us because of His love for us. Except we show the same love to others, we would be in CHURCH, but will never qualify as FOLLOWERS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Whatever we do, we must remember the saying of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are his friends if we do what he commands us.

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15: 14)

Don’t be in church and not be a follower of Christ. This is the time to make a change, tomorrow might be too late. Let us always remember the following scripture:

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”(Matthew 7: 21-23)

 

Source: “Truth be told (TBT) series,”

Author:  Apostle Frank B. Ogbu
Head Pastor/Overseer

Champion Grace Eternal Ministries

Ayikai Doblo, Amasaman

Accra, Ghana

Contact us on: Telephone:  +233 2470 16970

Email: @apostlefrank01@gmail.com

Twitter: @apostlefrank01

Instagram: @apostlefrank01

Facebook: @pastorfrank1


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