It is a special privilege and honour to be here at the formal inauguration of the new Headquarters building and auditorium of the Deeper Life Bible Church.
This is one of the proudest moments for me as a Christian, seeing this great edifice being dedicated for the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the disciplining of the saints.
This is not merely a large building, it is expertly done, built by the best workmen, with the most modern amenities and cutting edge technology.
In the surroundings of this edifice in this neighbourhood, are investments in the community, a connecting bridge, street lights and greatly improved access roads. Because we know the Deeper Life Bible Church and we know of its commitment to the full gospel of Jesus Christ, we know that the motivation for this is to honour Jesus Christ and glorify His name in this land.
There is no question at all, for those of us who have watched how this church has grown, for those of us who lived in this neighbourhood at one point in time, saw what was here before, that the ‘glory of this latter temple is greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And we declare in the words of scripture that in this place the Lord of hosts will give peace’.
But there is another reason why the dedication of this sanctuary is at an exceptional moment in the history of the church of Jesus Christ in Nigeria and the world.
We are in the end times. Indeed the time of his return is closer than when we first believed. The immediate implication is that there must be an urgency in the fulfilment of the great commission. We must work harder to obey the command and commission in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded”.
As we work and recognise that we must work to meet with this commission, we must accept that there will be resistance, the devil is even more desperate and devious as the end comes nearer. So, what are some of the resistance we see? First, there is a resistance to the building of churches, there are specific cases of places where specific allegations have been made of valid applications to build churches have been refused.
The President has mandated that I take up those cases with the specific State and local authorities, the right to freedom of worship is also the right to build places of worship.
Second is the physical persecution of Christians; a phenomenon we have seen for years. Just this morning on my way here, I was notified the violation of a catholic church in Benue State by armed killers who went in while a burial mass was taking place and they killed a priest and some worshippers.
It is not only a heinous sacrilege, but high wickedness to kill persons in a place of worship. As I discussed these issues with the President and other ministers in the Security Council, it is evident to me and to many, that the devil’s bigger agenda is to stoke up a religious conflict in Nigeria, one that will make it impossible for anyone to preach the gospel or even for Muslims to worship in their mosques. A few days ago in Bama, a mosque was bombed and many died. Many such examples abound.
While the security agencies continue to work relentlessly to hunt down the perpetrators of these evil acts and to bring a permanent end to all of the killings going on in the name of herdsmen, Boko Haram, or in any other name, we as a body of Christ must not lose focus.
The enemy wants us to stand on our pulpits and preach hate, we will not. We will obey the Lord Jesus Christ who said that we must love our enemies and pray even for those who persecute us. No person born or yet to be born, can stop the march of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed as the Word of God says, this Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
In any event, we are assured by the Lord Himself that He is building His church and gates of hell shall never prevail against it.
In this we are supremely confident. For those of us Christians in government are sometimes referred to as Esthers. We are told that we are in office for a time such as this. What is often forgotten, is that when Mordecai told Esther that she was in the palace for such a time, she said to him in Esther 4:16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” This I say to the church as well. It is the duty of the church, as we ask that the church prays for those in government, that the church upholds the hands of those in government, not by complaining but by supporting us in the place of prayer. I ask that you pray for every one of us in the place of authority in this land.
Let me congratulate our father in the Lord, and the General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor W F Kumuyi, a man of uncommon humility and commitment to the spread of the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ, with candour and integrity.
Despite these permissive times, your preaching of holiness and righteous behaviour and all of what you preach not just to the people of Deeper Life Bible Church, but the whole of our nation. These are important messages, especially for our country as we battle the cancer of corruption. God blessed the generations of David for merely thinking about building a temple for the Lord.
Sir, you have gone beyond thinking about building, you have rallied the church, to put their resources small and large, to build this incredible edifice, the 4th largest in the world. But more importantly, God has helped you to build the true temple in the hearts of so many. Surely, the Lord will reward you and your generations in the way only He can in Jesus name.
Finally, as we dedicate this temple in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pray in the words of Solomon in 1 Chronicles 6:40 – “now, my God, I pray, let your eyes be open and let your ears be attentive to the prayers that are made in this place by all of the people in this place in Jesus name Amen!
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
24th April, 2018