By Rev. Joe Olaiya
(Message from RCCG Annual Convention, 2016)
Bible Passage: John 3:13-21
Jesus was speaking to an elderly man, a religious leader, his name was Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night, he did so because he was afraid of publicly being blackmailed by his colleagues. The senior religious leaders had concluded that Jesus wasn’t of God but Nicodemus believed Jesus is from God because he was convinced that no man can do these miracles expect God was with him. When he came to Jesus in the night, he began to express his confidence in Christ. Jesus knew where he was heading to and quickly Jesus answered the question he did not ask. The question in Nicodemus’ heart was, “I want to know the secret of getting to the kingdom”. Then Jesus said to him except a man be born again, he cannot get into the kingdom. The man answered, I am this old, would I become a baby, tucked into my mother’s womb and then be born a second time? Jesus said, I tell you everything but you do not understand, whatever is born of water is water and whatever is born of the spirit is spirit, marvel not that I tell you that you must be born again. The man still did not understand, then Jesus decided to go into the scripture for the man was learned in the scripture. Jesus used a true story and a true occurrence in the Old Testament to drive His point home on what I means to be born again.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:” – John 3:14
As they children of Israel journeyed towards the promise land, it was windy, hilly and difficult; the people began to complain and murmur because of the hardship of the way, they began to speak against Moses and against God. Moses was embarrassed but he kept quiet and God withdrew. God stopped moving with them and something happened. They said there’s no food and water here whereas they had been eating and drinking before daily, so when the Lord withdrew, he sent fiery serpents into their midst. The serpents had always been there in the wilderness and they never touched anyone until they spoke against Moses and God; and God withdrew. Many of them died and the people stopped to think, “We have been coming for months, no such incident; we have been living among the serpents, crossing their boundary, they didn’t touch us; so something must be wrong”. The elders said to themselves that the only thing they have done wrong was to speak against Moses and God, and the God of Moses has withdrawn from us; because he has withdrawn from us, the serpents have come to strike us. So they took a wise counsel, to go to Moses to beg and apologize, so he could forgive them all the evil they have spoken and also for him to cry to God on their behalf for forgiveness. Moses forgave them and prayed to God. God forgave them but did not take the serpents away rather rendered their poison useless. God instructed Moses to make serpent out of brass and put it on a very tall pole for everyone to see from any direction and said anyone that’s bitten again should look up to the brazen serpent. Whoever looks at it will not die, will not perish but live. (Numbers 21:5-9)
This is what Jesus referred to when he said to Nicodemus as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so I the Son of man will be lifted up. And anyone that’s been bitten by the serpent, anyone on his way to death and destruction, who will look up to me, believe me as the Israelites looked at the serpent in the wilderness, will not perish and will have everlasting life. How many of you believe that you will not perish?
There are people today who are careless about their salvation, they think that they are the owners of life but life is a gift. Every day you spend on earth is a gift from God. If the owner of life sets a boundary that today is your last day, there is nothing you can do about it. Some people perished in the wilderness before the brazen serpent was hung up, some perished before the repentance. Do you know that if they had not repented, if they had not gone to apologize, if they had not said “I am sorry”, if they had not humbled themselves to bow before Moses to acknowledge and say “we have offended you”; they would have continued to die? There is power in repentance, it stops the poison of serpents, and it stops death, sickness and disease. Whenever Satan wants to destroy a man, he advises him not to repent and hardens their heart not to repent. I pray for you that Satan will not be your counsellor, he will not harden your heart because you will not perish. The man understood therefore that to be born again is to believe in Jesus Christ, to humble yourself and repent of your sins.
In Numbers 12:1-6 there was a woman of God, mightily used by God, the senior sister of Moses. Moses took a decision without consulting her and she said Moses is going too far, he is despising us; we shall tell him that he is not the only one that hears from God, we hear God also. She called Aaron, let us stop Moses from taking decisions without us and God was embarrassed. God came out and called for a meeting immediately, God said Miriam when did you become a prophetess? When I speak to other people, I do so in visions, dreams and prophesies but with Moses I speak to him face to face, mouth to mouth and you Mariam opened your mouth to insult your spiritual father like this? You poured contempt on him? You are gone! Immediately leprosy covered her. Today, I am calling you to repentance. There are many us that are sick beyond cure, all anointing and prayers have failed. Do you want to know why? You spoke against your pastor. You joined them to criticize your pastor who is your spiritual father. From that time, your business collapsed, your children are dying, and you are falling sick; if you do not repent the trouble stays. Moses cried to God, Aaron began to tremble saying forgive us while Mariam was in shame. God said Moses I have heard you but if somebody disgraces his father he should have 8 days of humiliation. Many are sick and are dying because they spoke evil against the servant of God.
There is this church, the elders are the rulers in the church while the pastor is an employee of the church. They employed a young pastor but highly anointed; who will pray and heal the sick. But because of his age, he was still rascal, at times he would do some childish things. One day the elders were angry with him and said we are fed up and we would teach him a lesson. They called him to their meeting, told him to lie down and they flogged him. They told him they were old enough to be his father, the pastor thanked them and left. That same month, trouble started with each elder. The first born of the first elder died, the first born of the second elder also died and same for the third elder. Then they began to panic and run, they went to the pastor, laid down and pleaded with him. God said when did I put my first born under you that you started flogging him? I will take all your first born. Then they began to repent. I want to pray tonight, I know God sent me to you and what you are hearing is the reason why your prayers have not been answered but today there will be an Amen to your prayers if you take the right step.
When you delay to repent, you delay your miracle!
There was a king called Jeroboam (1 Kings 13:1-6), a prophet went to prophesy in his domain and he prophesied against him and against the altar and his idolatry. The king was angry and he gave orders for the prophet to be arrested. The soldiers were going to arrest him and the prophet decreed let that hand wither and the hand withered. Do you know that many people’s businesses have withered because they used their money to insult the church? King Jeroboam humbled himself immediately, begged to have mercy for his hand to be restored. The young prophet said let your hand be restored back.
God has sent me to you to let you see why your prayers are not answered, why you are perishing, why you are going down. You are holding on to your sin. I tell you of King David who took the glory of God. David took the glory of God and was glorifying himself as being the leader of the greatest army and a plague broke out. The soldiers began to die, David began to cry but when he tore his dress and cried for mercy, openly repented of his sins then God stopped the plague. (1 Chronicles 21:1-30). Everywhere God is angry with you, today you will repent and you will receive mercy in Jesus name. The hand of God can be very fierce and when you delay to repent you delay your miracle. Today, God wants to bless you, you will not delay your blessing.
King Abimelech unknowingly married another man’s wife, they lied to him that the woman was not anybody’s wife. From the day he married her, he became impotent. Fortunately he had a dream, and God appeared to him in the dream. And God said to him you are a dead man! He pleaded, God please don’t let me die. God told him he was holding another man’s wife. Don’t you know that sin brings perishing? He said he didn’t know, that he was lied to. God said to him to return the woman if he doesn’t want to die and when he does the woman’s husband is a prophet and he will pray for him and he will be forgiven. Abimelech quickly returned the woman. (Genesis 20: 1-17).
Do you want to delay your miracle or you want to get it now? Do you want God to save you, deliver you, heal you and answer your prayer? Or you want to perish? I know you don’t want to perish, so you need forgiveness and salvation today. Right where you are, say this prayer Father have mercy on me, you know what I have done and I know what I have done. Father by your grace, I will not go back that way again, forgive me Oh Lord in Jesus name. Lord Jesus, you are the one that died on the cross, I look up to you know, I believe you are the son of God, you died to take away my sins, let the power of you blood destroy the poison of the serpent, remove the judgement that is on me, remove the yoke of the devil over my life. I receive forgiveness, I receive mercy, I believe that you died and rose from the dead, and I confess that you are my lord and my saviour from today. Thank you father in Jesus name. Amen!