SEAMLESS INTERACTION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST, THANKS TO COVID-19 AND TECHNOLOGY
In closing my thoughts on the Church without walls in this volume 3 of the article, we may not have realized how important the correct functioning of the body of Christ is if not the recent siege that is placed on the world by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
I have seen a lot coming out of the Church to the world and the members of the body of Christ during this period. We have seen helping hands, encouraging words, support and collective prayer focus during this time that the world called unprecedented. But this time is a prophetic fulfilment of things to come at the end of time as spoken ahead by our Lord Jesus. Whoever or whatever may be behind this, it is a matter of fulfilment of the scriptures. And don’t forget the devil himself is an instrument in the hand of God when He wants to bring to pass His purpose.
In order not to leave my focus, all that the Church is now doing, are things that are also being done by those who did not believe in Christ. In fact, some of them are doing more than what we may see the church doing. Therefore, it is no longer a unique act of the church to the world, the world itself is doing it. That was why Jesus said our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees.
What am I driving at, we should not allow the praise of men that we are receiving for the helping hands we are doing now to make our head to swell, it is supposed to have been a natural thing that we should be doing long before now, because that was what characterized the foundation of the Church immediately after Pentecost to the extent that no one suffered any need.
We should therefore concentrate on the lessons that the Lord is passing across to the church and one that is crucial is, breaking the walls within the Church. We have been forced out of the walls but we are still connecting. Like Paul said, we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. Credit to denominations that have taken the advantage of technology and Internet before now, they seem to have edge over those that did not when it matters. This is the path that the end time harvest will follow, all other traditional effort to reach people will serve its own purpose but we must beat the devil to its game by harnessing the gift of technology. You don’t need to be named after a denomination before you can reach out through the internet. The devil has used it to cause a lot of havoc to the church and individual growth but we can only pay him back in his coin by letting him know that our God is Omniscient by leveraging on technology and Internet to reach out. Don’t forget, Jesus said iniquity shall abound and the Bible said knowledge shall increase. We should not become fools in sight of the world that is increasing in knowledge. Jesus said we should be wise as serpent and be gentle as dove. Wisdom is profitable to direct!
Most importantly, during this time I see membership of denominations has flown into each other. People access worship and service on the Internet, they source for materials that will enrich their faith during this lockdown so that they will not lose it. Some individuals start home/flat/apartment fellowship, where those in the same building gather themselves together to pray, worship and fellowship together in their neighborhood. Not minding what denomination, they are affiliated to – that is the body of Christ.
It is a signal from the Spirit of the church that we should be one. We should be united in world evangelization and also edification of ourselves. I know some people after this lockdown will not return to their denomination. Simply because some have found love and affection in their close proximity in their neighborhood and household, which will influence their congregational worship decisions. (Prov 27:10 “Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.”)
I just imagine that in relaxing this lockdown if government comes with situation like they started with, to restrict the number of people that gathers together, I don’t see reasons why people cannot worship in the closest church to their neighborhood as long as they believe and preached those things I highlighted in Vol. 1 of this article. That is what church should be as the body of Christ. Our membership is individual and not by the name of the group we answer to.
In conclusion to summarize my thoughts and impression of the message of the time we are living in.
- We should bury denominationalism by spirit of competition and rivalry while our denominations exist for comfort of gathering, governance, administration and expression of our calling and gift.
- We should operate the church of today as a referral network for the body of Christ, where, I as a Pastor can refer a member of my church to see another pastor for better counselling or to partake in a different grace of calling that I don’t operate in or I am not called to do.
- We should be united on the purpose of the birth, the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for world evangelization and advancement of the kingdom of God.
- We should see beyond COVID-19 to learn from the Spirit every detail of what message the Lord is passing across to us through this incident.
- We should take advantage of technology and Internet to reach the world. And by that we should not sit back and allow the devil to deceive us and watch the kingdom of darkness dominate the influence that will be deployed by 5G technology. If 5G can make me to preach to Japanese/German without the need to learn the language in real time, why will I not take advantage of it to advance the course of the gospel. If 10G comes then the gospel must ride faster on its wheel to reach the world!
- We should explore the connexional strength of the Church, by the stronger denominations or group becoming encouragement and helping the weaker ones.
- We should use the grace of our callings to help the callings of others to be fulfilled and have expression. Particularly, I want to shout it that mission agencies and groups especially those who don’t have denominational attachment that they can regularly run to at the times of need, be given unflinching support to carry the gospel to the unreached. We should not turn them to beggars, not until they go round and write letters and raise funding before we send to them. Let relief be regularly sent to them. Acts 11:29, Rom 15:25-26, 1 Cor 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 9:1-6
- We should re-stress the importance of family altar and promote family unit church, house fellowship, cell groups that cut across denomination but are identified or brought together by location and convenience of distance and time. The love of God and the faith we share should be our attraction together as members of the body of Christ.
This write-up cannot be exhaustive but I have only borne out the burden in my heart at this time through this means. I know our Father is speaking to many others too in the family on the direction He is leading us. Let us speak out and take actions as the case may be. The field is white, the harvest is plenty, we must be ready to throw in the sickles collectively after this time of hibernation. And while the hibernation is on, for every one that has the gift, the resources and the reach, to continue with the task through the internet and our neighborhood, to edify the church so that the rod of the wicked will not rest on the lot of the righteous.
Thanks for following through. I pray the Lord will preserve us and as Jesus prayed to the Father, may He keep us in the world He has decided to leave us to manage for Him.
John 17:15,20-21 NKJV
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. ………… “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
JESUS SAVES! JESUS SAVES!! JESUS SAVES!!!
The Revd Bamidele Oni