By Gbenga Osinaike
The 2017 Holy Ghost congress organized by the Redeemed Christian Church of God kicked off on Monday with powerful messages from the duo of the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola.
The congress which is holding at the 3km by 3km auditorium of the church Simawa road off Lagos Ibadan Express road attracted thousands from different walks of life including Mrs. Bola Obasanjo, wife of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a host of church leaders from across the country.
Bamgbola who just came back from a trip to Israel said it was not a coincidence that he was asked to speak at the holy ghost congress pointing out that the Lord is doing a new thing in his church.
While disclosing that the Lord showed him a vision of rapture on November 5, he said, “We are at a crucial point in the church today. This is the time to serve the Lord more than ever because the Lord may come any time from now. The Lord showed me a vision of rapture where I saw that people were in groups but in those groups, some were being caught up. I saw myself interceding in that vision and pleading with the Lord to give more time”
He said those who will qualify to go with the Lord would be those who have truly experienced the saving grace of Jesus. “The people that will go with the Lord are those who have been truly born again who worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Worshiping God in truth and spirit is not about rolling on the ground or jumping around. It is not about ceremony. It is about a life of holy living. It is about a relationship with God. It is about living for God in truth and in righteousness. You can deceive yourself but you can’t deceive God”
As the programme progressed, the compere corrected the notion that the congress was the 20th version stating that the church was celebrating the 40th edition of the congress. She said the yearly event started in 1978 not 1998 as its being speculated. She however did not give further details.
Several testimonies of healing were shared while Pastor Olufemi Emmanuel led the congregation to collect offering before Adeboye took to the rostrum to share with the large crowd the message titled, victory over self.
He took an excursion through the Bible pointing out that there are three major enemies of man; Death, devil and Self. He however said, using the Bible to buttress his point that death is the last enemy that will be defeated. He said the devil had already been defeated by Jesus on the cross but that the believer has to depend on the Lord to overcome self in his daily walk.
Giving examples of Bible characters like Cain, Samson and Esau who bowed to the temptation of self, he said, while quoting the book of Proverbs that, “it is better to have control over one’s self than to conquer a city. The enemy you must overcome is the enemy of self. Cain could not control himself he became a vagabond, Esau could not control his appetite for food he lost his destiny, Samson could not control his sex urge he ended up in prison with his eyes plucked out. So, if you can’t rule over yourself you will be in danger of being destroyed.’
He however assured the congregation that they can overcome self if only they key into God’s word. He gave seven reasons why it is certain that they will overcome self, stating that ‘if you are a child of God the seed of God dwells in you and He will make you have victory over self. There are things you won’t be able to do again because it would no longer be in your nature.
“You can also overcome self because Jesus who is our Lord also overcame self. He was tempted in all ways but he overcame. You can overcome because God would not allow you to be tempted more than you can bear. I was a boxer and I know that before two boxers are allowed to enter the boxing ring they are weighed. Heavy weight boxer is not allowed to face light weight boxer. So, God will not allow you to face temptations you can’t handle. He will provide a way of escape.”
He shared the testimony of one of his “sons” saying “he was tempted to collect as bribe an amount of money that was more than his salary for a life time at his place of work. But when he remembered my message that if you buy any material thing with stolen money you will be wallowing in your grave. If you buy a car with it you will be riding in a moving coffin. When he remembered that message he was able to withstand the devil and reject the temptation to succumb.”
While warning against a lifestyle dominated by self, he said, “the fact that the Lord says in the book of Romans that sin shall have no dominion over us should be enough for us to be assured that we can’t be subdued by self. But the most important of all factors that gives us assurance that we will not fall is that God loves us. He keeps watch over us and he will not allow us to slip.”
He then led the congregation to a time of intensive prayers urging them to pray against all things that may attract them to self in their daily work with the Lord.