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THE CHALLENGES OF THE CHURCH IN NIGERIA – UWAKINA

Church could simply be defined as the body of Christ consisting of Christians or believers with Christ as the head. It was established to play a complementary role to that of Jesus Christ in the redemptive work of God. While Jesus died to clear man’s sin, the church continued the work of salvation after Jesus has left with His disciples exercising a delegated authority to win souls and to comply with the standard set by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although the Ten Commandments under which the Israelite were governed came when Moses was their leader it was when Jesus came that the emphasis on the spread of the gospel of God was given a special attention. On arrival, He set up machinery for the establishment of an institution [church] that could effect a change of the sinful life of the people of the world. He started with 12 disciples He selected. [Matt. 10:1-4] He groomed them and made them His companion in His evangelical mission. They were to serve as His ambassadors on a special mission to preach, teach, deliver the people, practice and defend the gospel they preach to the people.

The activities of the church as recorded in Acts of the Apostles gives credence to the fact that it stood as a true ambassador of Christ with the Apostles copying the life of Jesus and adhering strictly to His command. This was the action that made them succeed. The church was lively and was fully committed to the work of God, preaching the word of God and helping the afflicted as directed. [Matt. 28:19] Indeed it was a supreme task for the church to maintain this standard.

Every thing that stood on their way as an obstacle to a successful service to God was quickly removed. We are told that when the disciples had misunderstanding that could disturb or threaten their Unity and create a set back in their evangelical programme they quickly got it resolved. If you read Acts 6:1-4 you will get to know how committed the church was and how prepared it was to fulfill its obligation to God. The disciples selected 7 deacons who handled and settled the matter. “It is not right to neglect the preaching of God’s word in order to handle finance.

So brothers and sisters choose seven men among you who are known to be full of Holy Spirit and wisdom and we will put them in charge of this matters and we ourselves then will give our full time to pray and work of preaching”. [Acts 6:2]. The Apostles were resolute in placing God first in their order of priority. They refused to allow worldly gain to distract their attention from the service of God.

Today the story is different. The principles that guided the apostles to succeed in their time no longer receive special attention. This consequently led to the church not making progress. The Devil has craftly besieged the church of God making many people who called themselves Pastors or church leaders a stumbling block to a successful execution of its plan. Some criminals disguise themselves as pastors deceiving and misleading people. They make the service of God a lucrative business and the church a centre for nefarious activities. The most serious and shameful thing about this ugly development is that they team up with criminals in perpetrating the evil they preach against, thus tarnishing the image of the church of God and discouraging people.

There is a story in one of our national newspapers of a pastor who through the testimony in his church got convinced that the lady said to be blessed by God during the thanksgiving that followed the testimony is wealthy. Following this revelation, the pastor organized and kidnapped the lady. It is incredible that a pastor could plan to abduct a member of his church that contributes to the growth of the church because of money. Still for the sake of money politics finds its way into the church. Tussle for power in the house of God is now becoming a legal practice of the church. The devil uses this as an instrument for creating division among Christians and make the church abandon its’ duty.

The incursion of the devil into church of God is a challenge to all Christians. They should pray for the spiritual revolution that could change the sinful life of the people of God. They should accept responsibility of the failure of the church and repent of their sins. It is worth noting that prayer without corresponding action is dead. In other words it cannot yield the expected result. So if you are a Christian, then you are among those chosen by God to be a light and salt to the world. [Matt. 5:14-15].

You are therefore expected to shun all devilish and hypocritical actions capable of rubbishing the effort of the church. Let the fear of God govern your action. Be an example to others. This is the only way you can help the church to grow and attract God’s divine favour.

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