“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Matthew 19:30
After our last worship gathering for February, the Lord spoke to me saying, ‘In this great move of Mine, the first will be the last and the last, the first.” I view this as a strong warning to the body of Christ and as such, have decided to share a bit about this.
You see, God is about to move in Nigeria (and Africa) in a way that will alter history forever. Historically, this can be compared to the days following the Luther Reformation of October 1517. The days following will transform Africa religiously, socially, culturally, intellectually, politically and economically. The outcome of this great move of God will be that Africa will no longer be called a dark continent and will be responsible for taking this ‘revolution’ to others continents.
As exciting this news is, there is a serious warning for those of who are the ‘first’ and that is we the body of Christ. So, who are the first that shall be the last?
The ‘Pharisees’ or ‘Chief Priests’: This is a key group and, unfortunately, many don’t know they are part of this group. The Pharisees were the church leaders or establishment of their day. They were serious students of scripture, fasted, prayed, faithfully observed religious activities and even won souls.
They moved from first to last because they focused on self and became arrogant, boastful and loved to show their religiosity before men (they were men pleasers). To maintain the status quo and ensure their privileged circle was preserved, they created so many traditions for commoners. They frowned at ‘terrible’ people who come into the kingdom and they avoided persecution.
Like in the days of Jesus on earth, the early church and the reformation, the church establishment (as biggest influencers) will be the biggest opponent of any radical move of God. They will go as far as mobilising their members, who sheepishly followed them, to use whatever tools to fight against those God will use for His move.
The Crowd: These are the fanatic followers of the religious leaders; in fact, they hero worship their leaders. Like the Chief Priest and elders mobilised the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas, the notorious prisoner, and have Jesus crucified, the ‘crowd’ is easily manipulated to do whatever their leaders tell them to.
They will miss out on the move of God and be an effective tool in the hands of their leaders to fight the true servants of God because they don’t have a mind of their own.
The ‘Marthas’: On two occasions in the bible, it is recorded that Martha was busy with serving while her sister Mary focused on worshipping (Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:1-4). These are the Christians who are engaged in too many activities that make them unavailable to wait on the Lord or attend a revival meeting. Some even reference their numerous church ministry or department works that take a lot of their time.
Some activities are legitimate (family and church commitments) and others are not but the point is that they are just too busy to recognise a move of God and to be available to participate in it.
The ‘rich young ruler’: Like the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:18-22, many ‘successful’ Christians will miss out on the move of God because it is easy for them do church work (including paying tithe and giving a ‘violent offering’) than to surrender their lives to God. Unfortunately, as financiers of church work, they get validation from their church leaders and take that to be an endorsement from God.
They are not able or, better put, willing to prioritise God. Why should they prioritise God when they can continue to focus on building wealth and give some to their church leaders who in turn ‘anoint’ them as heirs of the kingdom?
The ‘Judas Iscariots’: Before Judas betrayed Jesus, it was said that he was stealing from the ministry purse. Also, when expensive oil was used by Mary to anoint Jesus, he focused on the market value of the oil and how that value could have been put to ‘better’ use.
Many Christians will miss out on God’s great move because they are so focused on money. Yes, we live in a monetised culture which brings with it many ‘benefits’ including ‘anointing’ by our anointed men of God, as noted above. There is, therefore, such a great motivation to sacrifice our fellowship with the Holy Spirit to undertake many unholy schemes to gain wealth and join the league of the ‘rich young ruler’.
The ‘Peters’: When Jesus had finished discussing the matter of the rich young ruler, the disciples who genuinely believed that every rich man was blessed by God felt discouraged. Jesus encouraged them with the words, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter didn’t want such encouragement but rather he wanted to be told of the rewards he will get for his human efforts. He was seeking to justify himself as one who had forsaken all to follow Jesus.
Christians who believe that their human efforts fulfil the kingdom requirements will miss out on God’s move. Whilst they investing time in prayers and fasting demanding that God rewards them for their ‘violent’ offerings, their tithes and their sacrifice for church ministry, God is always focused on His work.
The ‘James and Johns’: On one occasion, the Zebedee brothers with their mum sought Jesus for their glory. On another occasion, they sought to use God’s power the wrong way but it was really an attempt to show their greatness.
Christians who seek their personal glory and greatness are many today. These are the ones who call down fire to burn almost everything and anyone. It is not God’s glory they seek but theirs and in the process they have become so prideful and arrogant. They lack the humility to experience the brokenness needed for the move of God.
The Foolish Virgins: Like the five foolish virgins who were dependent on the five wise virgins for extra oil (Matthew 25:1-12), many Christians are dependent on their Pastor, House Cell leader, Head of Department, their intercessory friends, parents, etc., for spiritual stability. They will miss out of the great move of God because they lack personal responsibility for their relationship with God.So, who are the last that will become first?
The ‘Rahabs’ & ‘Samaritan Woman’: These are not just women that society (including the church) condemned but were women who recognised their terrible lifestyle yet desperately yearned for God. God will break ethnic, religious, social and gender barriers to reach out to these sorts, draw them in and use them for His kingdom purposes, as He did with those two women. This move of God will have so many ‘unqualified’ people, from ‘terrible’ backgrounds.
The ‘Davids’: While the king and his exploits are well known, we tend to forget he was the forgotten one. He wasn’t remembered when Samuel came to anoint a king because he was only good for the unenviable task of looking after sheep. He was not imposing in physical attributes like Saul or his elder brothers; he wasn’t the first born; and despite being a last born, his safety out with the sheep was not considered.
The very things that brought about his neglect brought him closer to God and prepared him for the purpose of God. Many ordinary Christians are being prepared behind the scenes (most outside of Bible Seminaries) and shall do great exploits for Him as His servants after His heart.
The ‘Centurions’ & ‘Cornelius’: Like the Centurion in Matthew 8:10-12 and Cornelius in Acts 10:1-48, this move of God will include so many Christians from the ‘wrong’ part of the country and continent. We will see many people from Islamic and African Traditional Religion backgrounds who will be active participants in this great move of God. Some will have God visit them in dreams, as we are already hearing about in North African countries.
The ‘Zacchaeus’: Some of the active participants of this move of God will be former kidnappers, politicians (some found guilty of stealing huge public funds) and those who oppressed us with apparatus of government. God, who sees their heart, will seek them out, cause their genuine repentance and use them for His glory.
The ‘Apostle Pauls’: While it is easy to associate with Apostle Paul, the fact remains in his former days as Saul, he was a murderer of Christians and persecuted them with much zeal. God is raising men and women, who persecuted His church, to become servants of His mighty move.
The ‘Martyrs’: Like Stephen in Acts 6 and James, the brother of John in Acts 12 and many others, a generation of Christians who will live radical lives for Christ and joyfully lay their lives down as martyrs is coming. The more they are killed, the more many ‘unqualified’ will be drawn into the kingdom. It is happening in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, China and many of the parts of the globe where the true church is being deeply persecuted daily.
Their willingness to die for Christ and forgive those who kill them will open the ground for greater fruits for the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Unfortunately, many of His children have become part of the wisdom of this world. This post is really for you to decide if you will be part of this mighty move of God.
It is a radical and urgent call. Make your choice today and let God be your witness.