That you go to church every Sunday is not what makes you a Christian. The way you dress, however modest, is not what will makes you a Christian. Your dressing is not a sign you’re Christian
at all, but let me sincerely tell you, that if you give your life to Christ, Jesus will change the way you dress. Do you know what it means to give your life to Christ? Many people think they given their life to Christ, but they don’t know better. To take very life you have, the essence of your living, and hand it over to God, He will influence everything about you.
How to know you are a Christian
What makes you to know you are a Christian is not that you no longer wear make-up. So what is it that makes you to know about Christian? In the book of Romans 8:16, “the spirit itself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children”. So that which makes you to know that you are a child of God is not external, it is rather internal. What makes you to know you’re a child of God is the voice of the Holy Spirit telling you within you that you are a child of God.
I woke up this morning and God was just telling me “Son, I am proud of you. I am happy with you. I want you to know that I am pleased with you.” After spending quality time with God, I didn’t come out feeling depressed, but I came out with springs in my shoes. I came up with every boldness that my Papa is proud of me. That is what happens to the child of God. When you’re a genuine child of God, the Holy Spirit will bear witness that you are a child of God. It is not about what people say about you, it is not about what you say about yourself, it is about what God says about you.
There are three testimonies about people: one is what people say about you, the second is what you say about yourself, and lastly is what God says about you. If you read the book of Revelation 3:1, the Bible says, “to the angel of the church in Sardis…I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” So it is not about what people say. As a woman, you can dress in the certain way and people will call you “the holy sister of God”; you may carry yourself in such a way that people will say “he is born again”. But it is not what people say that makes you to know you are born again. Neither is it what you say about yourself because you may be a child of God and not feel like you are a child of God. That is why we should not walk by feeling, but by faith, for you could wake up one morning and feel there is no God.
The Bible says “the spirit of God bears witness with your spirit that you are the child of God“. If inside of you, the Holy Spirit does not bear witness with you, you are not yet born again irrespective of the name or title we give you: we can call you Pastor, we can call you Deacon, we can call your brother or sister, we can call you evangelist, if internally there is no witness that you are the child of God, then you are not a child of God. When you don’t have this knowledge there is a tendency for you to keep answering altar calls depending on feeling. But it does not happen that way.
When that woman, Linda, from Sierra Leone, said she died and came back to life, and began to bring messages such as “David Oyedepo has backslidden”, and that the only man of God still standing is W. F. Kumuyi. She even claimed that Papa Adeboye is no longer a child of God, but has deviated little. I never paid attention to her. Somebody gave me the cassette, even when people have not started listening to it in Abakaliki. I listened to it and concluded that the woman has no message. You know why? If you’re in terms with God, you will know. If you are in a good relationship with God, you will know. Also if you are not in good relationship with God, you will know. If you have backslidden, you will know. No backslider back-slided unconsciously, and nobody develops a good relationship with God unconsciously. But most things that happened to us are done conscientiously and deliberately.
When the Holy Ghost in you testifies that you are backslider, or that you are a pretender, that you are not the child of God as you claim, or that you only come to church for the sake of it. You know deep inside of you that that is the truth. Children of God, we must pay attention to the witness of the Holy Spirit internally, not what you make people believe or what you are trying to do so that people will clap their hands for you. Where we read in Revelations 3:1 says, “you have in name you are alive, but you are dead”. God is saying, “You are a dead church“. People may be clapping hands and saying, “it is happening here”, but God is saying, “You are not there”. That is why as Christians we must know that it is the Holy Spirit who has the final say of who is a Christian. In 2 Timothy 2:19, the Bible says, “the foundation of the Lord standeth sure and has this seal on it, that God knows those who are his, and anyone who nameth the name of the Lord must depart from iniquity”. My interest in that verse is where it says, “God knows those who are His”. Which means that your Senior Pastor does not know those who are the Lord’s. This is because you can deceive me, you can do one or two things that will impress me and make me say, “this is a sister indeed”, or “this brother is a serious brother”, but the Bible says God knows those who are His.
In John 4:24 Jesus spoke to the woman and said, “The hour has come when true worshippers will neither worship in Jerusalem nor in the mountain, but the true worshippers will worship in spirit and in truth.” True worshippers are not people who worship outwardly, people who want all eyes to see them. You know the Pharisees love to pray openly, they pay their tithe in the open, and give alms in the open but Jesus called them “a brood of vipers“. He also called them “the beautiful sepulchre, but when you open them, all you will find our rotten bones.” This is because God is not looking at your outward appearance, God is more interested in who you are inside.
What are the primary duties of the Christian?
Live for God
Stop living for yourself if you are a child of God. It is time to start living for God. It seems that many of us have our own agenda outside of God’s plan for our lives. If you are a Christian and you are living for something else outside of God’s plan for your life you are doing God, humanity and yourself a disservice. Remember where we read from Philippians 1:21, Paul said “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain“.
Please God all the time
Before we got born-again, we were trying to please our girl friends and family, but today we have only one thing; we are aiming to please God. In 2 Corinthians 5:9, the Bible says, “we make it our aim to please Him whether we are in body or out of body.” In Luke 3:22, the Bible says “this is my beloved son in who I am well pleased“. So the primary assignment of Jesus was to please his father. The assignment of a true Christian is to please God, to make God happy, to make God comfortable to dwell in him, to make God to rejoice. There are people God celebrates when he sees their lifestyle, the Bible says, “He will rejoice over us with singing“. There are other people whom when God sees their life, He will be so disappointed, like the Bible says in the book of Genesis 6:4-5, that when God looked down from heaven and saw the wickedness of men, it pained God that he made man. The Bible says “and God was sorry that he made man“. Similarly in the account of King Saul, the Bible says, “and God spoke to Samuel and said, ‘I regret making Saul the king’“. Therefore you as a Christian should aim at pleasing God with your life. Your life should attract a testimony from God, like when you read from Job 1:8, the Bible says “and God called the Devil and said ‘have you considered myself a job, there is none like him under the sun, a man who is upright, who fears God and eschews evil‘”. Job lived in such a way that God was giving testimony about him, and if I may ask you, what is God’s testimony about you? If God is to testify today about your life what will God say about?
It is not enough that you come to church, or that you belong to one department or another in the church. It is also not enough that you give your offering and sow financial seed. I was once invited to a church to preach about seed sowing, but while I was kneeling down and praying to God about the message, God told me the kind of seed that they will need to sow. He said when I get there, I should collect the following seed, and then He gave me a list of seed to collect. So during altar call, I said “every sister who has a boyfriend, God wants you to come and sow your boyfriend as a seed“. I also said, “Those brothers who are in secret cult, God wants you to come and sow your loyalty to your cult as a seed“. People came out in large numbers and sowed all manner of seeds before we could even start talking about sowing the seed of money. And so your duty is to make God to testify positively about you.
To be an extension of the kingdom of God wherever he is
A Christian brings souls to the kingdom. If you are a Christian and you have no passion for souls, it means that you are lost. If you are a Christian and nobody else has come to know Jesus Christ through you, it also means that you are lost. A Christian who has no evangelism life is not a Christian. A Christian who is comfortable to be the only one going to heaven while everybody else is going to hell fire is not a true Christian. A Christian therefore is the extension of God’s hand in the saving grace. How I know I am truly a child of God is that any time I am passing a street, I park and come out of my car to read an obituary; I usually find out that my heart is palpitating. I begin to ask myself, “I hope this person was born again before he or she died?” This happens to me because I understand that there is no repentance in the grave. Once you go to hell fire no amount of prayer can bring you across to heaven.
We know that there is no such thing as Purgatory. Even the proponents of Purgatory know deep down in their hearts that there is no such thing. The Word of God does not mention it anywhere, nor does it acknowledge indirectly or subtly that it exists. Purgatory was introduced by the early Catholic Church to mellow down how people feel about the dead and to generate income by selling pardons with the false hope that loved ones can still be prayed into heaven when they buy those pardons. With God, you are either cold or hot. There is no accommodating the lukewarm. Jesus said if you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth, see Revelations 3:16; rather the truth remains that the eternal destination of everybody from the earth is either heaven or hell. There is no buffer zone or place called Purgatory!
A Christian is someone who is passionate. I remember when Rev Dr. Uma Ukpai came to Presbyterian Church, as a younger man, I think that was back in 1987, he had come to raise people who will work with him in the forthcoming crusade. There was a statement he made that troubled me so much: that when Lazarus died and when the rich man died, the Bible says, that the rich man looked up and saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, and he said, “tell Lazarus to bring a drop of water and touch my tongue for I am dying of thirst here.” Dr. Uma Ukpai said that, “heaven is very close to hell. So close that those in heaven can see the people in hell. How would you feel when you are in heaven and your loved ones in hell?” That statement set me on dangerous fire. I could not contain it. I began to think about nothing but souls. Subconsciously, once the time is 5:00 a.m., I would wake up from sleep, and begin to go around the street embarking on “Morning Cry“, talking to people about the Jesus Christ. It became a taboo to me to enter any bus and not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. This continued until I bought a car. Whenever I enter “okada“, the rider must hear the gospel no matter how short the distance he’s to carry me. I became known for this so that whenever I approached the okada park, they will begin to say, “The preacher is coming“. You cannot be comfortable when your neighbour who is Grail Message member dies, or when an Eckankar member dies and then you say, “That serves them right“. A true born-again Christian has passion to save people. At times God will tell me to help our doctors; that they are facing conditions that are not physical, some spiritual forces can being behind certain sicknesses. Somebody can be manifesting symptoms of leukaemia, then you run a medical lab test on them but are unable to find any trace of cancer in their blood, because this is what the devil has done.
A Christian therefore becomes an extension of God’s hands. Anywhere they are, they try to increase the kingdom. If such is a student, before the lecturer comes in, they would come before the class and announce that while they are waiting for the lecturer he or she would just want to share briefly with the rest of the class from the word of God, “Jesus loves you. He died for you. He wants you to accept him into your life, and so on. Let us pray“. In two minutes, you are done. We all did these things. You may not make an altar call, but you have planted the seed for someone to receive Jesus Christ later. Given time, that person’s conscience will begin to nudge them into accepting Jesus Christ. Many Christians are just sitting in the church and warming the seats; just filling the gap. There is nothing about them that is expanding the kingdom. You can’t be a true child of God and not be a preacher. A preacher is not necessary somebody who is carrying the Bible and is going about preaching. A preacher is rather somebody who opens his mouth and talks about Jesus. Most often I do not carry the Bible when I embark on evangelism. This is because sometimes I do not plan evangelism. I can be walking about doing my regular business when the Holy Spirit will minister to me to go and share the Word of God with somebody.
I have shared this story previously: when I gained admission into the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, and everybody expected me to go there. When I knelt down to pray, God told me that he gave me that admission to prove that I could be a Medical Doctor. It didn’t make sense. How can somebody have admission in two institutions in the same year and is choosing a State University when there is the option of a Federal University? Yet, I heard God say to me, “You are in that school so that I will train you there and you to do great exploits for me. I will lay the foundation that will carry you in that school.” I heard God clearly and so I decided to go back to Abia state University. My parents were disappointed, they said, “You wrote JAMB to go and study at the College of Medicine. What in the world are you doing studying Industrial Chemistry?” But I said, “It’s not a problem. I think I know where God is leading me.”
I made up my mind that I will not leave this campus without a testimony. I made up my mind that anybody I come across must know that there is Jesus in me. In our time, once you are up to 6 feet tall like I am, and you do some weight lifting, are broad-chested and so on, campus fraternities such as Pirates and Vikings will come to sign you up because they are after young intelligent youths. But the reason they couldn’t come to me was because anytime you see me, I am talking about Jesus. It was literally too dangerous to come to me.
And now let me tell you one of the greatest days of my life. I was serving in Osun State as a Youth Corp member, and I left Osun on my way to Abakaliki and arrived Onitsha. While I was waiting for an Abakaliki-bound bus with my bag, I saw a parked Mercedes car and looking inside the car, it was my former roommate, Ike Obiozo. He ran out of the car and hugged saying he had tried severally to reach me. Back then, in 1997 there were no GSM as we have now in abundance. He insisted that we go to his office first and only then could I continue my journey. On getting to his office, if saw that he was a manager of Swiss Airlines. He gathered everyone in the office saying, “this is the man I have been talking about. This man is the reason why your manager is still alive today”. I protested, “No, you cannot give the praise you ought to give to God to me. How can you say I am the one who saved your life? You are embarrassing me, my good friend.” He said, “Pastor Wilberforce, you won’t understand. I am a Pastor today and people are asking me how it happened.” I asked him what happened and he began to remind me:
It happened in my second year in the university. He was in his final year then and so this encounter was like four years after the incident. He was a known cultist in school and he told me how one day I just called him and said, “I’m not here to quote John 3:16, but I’m here to tell you the blunt truth: give your life to Christ now. If you don’t, anything can happen. If you don’t, God will know that I have spoken to you, I have done my part, if anything happens to you, God will not blame me.” He began to shed tears and said that his friend Onyinye had been saying the same thing over and over.
“Everybody seems to be saying the same thing to me. Everybody is afraid of me in this school but I don’t know what gave you the courage to confront me.”
I said to him, “Kneel down let me lead you to Christ.” He knelt down and as I was praying for him, two guys busted into the room. When I finished, they said to him, “Let’s go” but he said, “No, didn’t you see me praying?”
They said, “It seems you’ve forgotten what it means to disregard an assignment given to you by our fraternity.” I told him not to go anywhere. They said, “When we come back we are going to cast you.”
I didn’t link it but the next morning three obituaries were announced in school. These three guys were sent to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka to hit another group. The group got the information and ambushed them. As they were driving into UniZik, they suddenly came out from the ambush and wasted them. My friend Ike was supposed to be the fourth obituary. One of them was a final year Law student, another was having a First Class in what we call GPD (Government and Public Administration), he was a third year student and very intelligent. The third one was a second year Economics student. Their obituaries arrived school speedily. They went for a hit but never succeeded.
What I’m saying is that because of that singular step God helped me to take, Ike is alive, and because he’s alive, many people have been saved to Jesus Christ because he is a child of God.
A Christian is someone who extends the kingdom of God wherever he is. You can’t say that you are a child of God and yet nobody sees you as a child of God. In your neighbourhood you live a carefree life. You can’t seriously say that you are child of God and familiar people will still continue their perverted conversation when your walk in.
Assuming you are a banker and some other bankers are bragging about how they have been taking advantage of young girls, if they can continue their discussion even after you have entered the room, then that is shameful. You are ark of God’s covenant. Wherever you are carried to Satan and his crowd must bow because you are a container of God. A true child of God is an expansion of the kingdom of God. Wherever you are you are supposed to be doing the work of God. Jesus said in the book of John 14:12, “Greater works than this shall you do because I go to my Father.”
Some people are gifted with spiritual gifts to win souls, but every Christian is called to win souls for the kingdom. Some are gifted to pray for the sick and they will recover, but every Christian is called to heal the sick. So your duty as a child of God, basically, is to be an extension and expansion of God’s kingdom. I don’t need to wait for a special anointing to pray for the sick. I don’t need to wait for special unction because Jesus clearly said, “Go ye into the world.” No specific person’s name was mentioned there.
How do you sustain yourself as a Christian?
Live a holy life
You can’t sustain Christianity by living in sin. Many Christian have one leg in the world and one leg in the Lord. Holiness is something you work out by conscious effort. Some foolish people would say, “If it is not the will of God for me to fornicate, He will not allow me to fornicate.” No, you are not a zombie. God gave you a mind and the power of choice, and so wherever you are today is where you chose to be, and whatever you are today is what you chose to become.
You are a product of the choices you made or the choices you failed to make. You must live a holy life. Holiness is non-negotiable as a child of God. A Christian living a life of sin is not a true Christian. A true Christian lives a holy life. Holiness is your identity when you stand before God. Hebrew 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no eye can see God.” I’m not talking about seeing God on the last day, but seeing God every day.
Holiness is a habitat where God dwells. Just as you can’t take the seed of a tomato and put it in boiling oil, fry it and expect it to germinate. There are places certain things cannot stay. Throw an elephant into the sea and it will not survive there because the elephant does not thrive in aquatic habitat; it will die. Throw a fish on dry land, given time also, it will die because it does not belong to the terrestrial habitat. The birds of the air belong to the air, arboreal habitat; throw them into the water and they too will die. God only stays where there is holiness, it is His habitat. Live a holy life to sustain your Christianity.
When you are not praying, you are most likely playing. You have to pray. No true Christian can wake up in the morning and just leaving the house without praying. A prayer-less Christian is a powerless Christian.
Have fellowship with other Christians
On Sundays in church we would have people fill the seats, fill the canopies and overflows outside and even stand up. But on Wednesdays, how many people do we see? If you are still a Sunday-Sunday Christian, you are not a born-again Christian. Even if you have said the sinner’s prayer, your Christianity has a big question mark hovering above it if all you do to identify with Christians and to show you are a Christian is to come to church on Sundays. The reason is because, whoever you love, you give time to. One way to prove love is through spending time with the beloved, whether it is a person or a thing.
Do you see a man who stays in the beer parlour till 11:00 pm and them comes home and slumps on his bed? You have seen a man who does not love his wife. A fan who loves Chelsea, Barcelona, Arsenal or Manchester United will give them his full 90 minutes of viewing time, plus extra time if possible. If you love movies like Prison Break, 24, and a myriad of other seasonal movies, you will invest your precious time in watching them. Whatever you spend your time doing is a proof of your love. You cannot say that you love God but you do not have time for God, it is impossible. We all have time for school, work and so on. Most of us dare not be late to work, but when it comes to the church, the gathering of the sons of daughters of the Most High God, the saints of God, you claim that “God understands”. It is not true and it is not fair.
A true child of God is conscious of the fact that God is a person. He or she feels what God feels and knows when God is disappointed. Do you know that if I’m still asleep past 2:00 am, I apologize to God because I’m late in my daily prayer appointment with Him? I kneel down and begin to worship Him, lifting up my hands as I do so, because I love Him. I do not know about you, but I love God. When you love God prayer will not be a labour, but it will become a pleasurable experience. Because whenever you love someone, you want to spend time with the person, but when you don’t love someone, you endure them. Are you enduring Jesus? Why is it that you are in a hurry to leave God’s presence whenever you attend Sunday service or Wednesday Bible study? Was it because a text message was sent to you that you even came in the first place? Did you really come to spend time with God and hear His Word or did you come to please the person that invited you so that you can earn the right to ask them for a favour? No motive is hidden from God and He will judge all. Be sure that He will judge. God knows those who are His.
Read your bible
A Christian who does not read the Bible will easily fall into sin. Psalm 119:1 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” It does not say “by prayer” or “by fasting”, but “by guiding it according to the way of the Lord.” In verse 11 the Word says, “Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against you.” When you don’t read the Bible, you are not a child of God. If you can listen to what President Jonathan said, what Buhari said, why the election was postponed, what Ban Ki Moon said, what Senator Kerry said and so on, but you cannot listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying, then you are not a Christian. If you spend time to hear men; you listen to CNN, BBC, VOA, AIT, NTA, Channels, etc. but you have no time to sit down and hear what God is saying to you through the Bible, it clearly means you are not a true child of God. No true child of God can take a physical breakfast without taking a spiritual breakfast.
Consider all that you’ve read in this piece, and answer yourself sincerely to this question: are you truly a Christian?