Clerics Easter Celebration Message to Nigerian Christians
Nigerian clerics has used the period of Easter celebration to enjoined Nigerians, especially christians to emulate and replicate the reason for Easter celebration, which is the spirit of love and sacrifice. In different messages made available to PROVIDENCE News, it is evidently clear, Easter celebration is unique time for believers to commemorate the persecution, sufferings, crucifixion, death, burial, ressurection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just another holiday or celebration time, but memorial period of what it stands for, means and require of Christians. It is an accurate and purposeful time that calls for self examination and accountability of our profession and believe in Jesus Christ teachings, instructions, commandments, standards and lifestyle. Also, to reflect and celebrate the great sacrifice, love, hope, victory and triumphant with the assurance of salvation for genuine rededication. We present here for your delight, messages of some respected men and women of God.
In his message, Pastor Iruofagha James, founding pastor of Glory Christian Ministries, Lagos illustrated the pain and agony Jesus went through in the hands of the Romans authority and said, this is to remind us (christians) the extent of sacrifice and love God has for humanity. Symbolising that, it did not only take care of our sins, but our shame and public ridicule. “Though Jesus been God, took every of the situation as a man in our place without uttering a word in the process of his crucifixion”.
James admonished christians to deal with their weaknesses and restraint from using their powers to take action or revenge on those taking advantage of them.
“Also, the sacrifice and love symbolizes the crucified life of man’s old nature of sins; hatred, anger, pride, jealousy, tribalistic tendencies, etc.
Therefore, it is a choice for us to live a crucified life and must consciously allow the old man to die daily in us”, he said.
Pastor James said, as Christians we should be described by love of Christ we exhibit, by putting on the Lord Jesus likeness at all times.
The presiding bishop of Amazing Grace Pentecostal Church, Bishop (Mrs.) Chioma Grace Dauji, using Mary Magdalene encounter with Jesus and eventual lifestyle of examplary Christian devotion and dedication. She implore Christians not to allow situations or circumstances depress their devotion to God and dedication to His work. She charged, “any word contrary to the word and promises of God, is a noise maker and distraction that leads to depression. Because, when God has spoken, no one can annul it and when He made a promise, no one or anything can change it”. Therefore, overcome every depression with dedication to God and His word, she said.
Though there can be delay, distraction or denial, but if Jesus can ressurect from death, there’s nothing depressed, dead or hopeless He cannot resurrect, if we believe in Him and obey His word. Bishop Dauji encourage Christians to be more devoted and committed to the things of God with dedication to His service like Mary, who after her encounter, salvation and healing, became totally committed to serving God and dedicated to His work without allowing past or present situation depressed her, neither does what people are neuseating distracted her, rather, she became close follower of Jesus. “If you are devoted to the service of Christ and committed to worship Him, you will not be depressed or be distracted, instead, you will be excited and focus”, she added.
The reason for leadership is to have guidance and direction. Everyone needs guidance and direction to navigate situations and overcome circumstances. When you are overwhelmed, you will be depressed. But when you allow your devotion to be unto Jesus, to hear His word of direction, you will be overflow with hope and assurance of great future. “Be more dedicated to the things of God, get close and be open to a leader for spiritual guidance and direction. Sometimes emotion blind us from the truth, that is why, we need godly spiritual leaders who will be true to us”, she advised.
Dauji noted that, many are depressed today in our society as a result of situation in the country and around the world, but pointed that, Christians should not to relent in praying for Nigeria and Nigerians to overcome the challenges of depression in the land.
Speaking on peaceful coexistence in Nigeria, Dauji commended the sacrifice and contributions of the Nigerian Church and christians to sustainable peace, stability, social and economic development of the country. “In the face of daunting attack with unwarranted provocation and persecution of churches and Christians, “the Church and christians has not ceased playing critical roles in development of the society, nation-building, spiritual upliftment and supporting the underprivileged”, Dauji said.
The Rev’d Michael Abiri JP. (JESUS Army) of the Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican communion declared that, this is the season of restoration for Nigeria as a nation and to every Nigerian citizen. Referring to the word of God, Abiri said, the reason for the Easter celebration is the assurance of hope and restoration. And the restoration is bringing healing and ending sorrow to our dear country, Nigeria and her citizens.
Speaking on the message, Weep No More, Rev’d Abiri, quoting to give some bible examples said, as Christ lives, when He comes into a scene or any situation, there will always be a change of scenario and permanent solution without any human assistance. He prayed that, “no matter how harsh the economic climate may be or the number of years of suffering that may be experienced, the Almighty God will attend to everyone situation and sort things out in Jesus name.
“There is hope for Nigeria and God will change things for better. Those who understood global economy may conclude, it is impossible. But when God performed His word, all things shall be possible and fall into places”, Abiri said.
Evang. Margaret Akindutire of Prayer and the Word Apostolic MinistryInc., advised Nigerians to live right and be positive than living contrary to the word of God and the lifestyle of the kingdom. “Christianity is not a religion but a lifestyle to make a difference as Christ followers. We are the light of the world and Christ ambassadors. We are to obey His words and follow His footsteps of our Lord”.
Akindutire appealed to Christians to reciprocate the love of God by allowing the death of Jesus Christ to count in their day to day lives.
Rev’ Femi Adepoju, the Overseer, Arena Of Thanks, Miracle Int’l Church Of God Ministries (MiCOG) said, “we should understand the reason Jesus died on the cross. To wash us clean of our inherited and incurred sins so that we can be reconciled to God and our lost fellowship with Him can be restored. More importantly, we must forsake our old ways and sinful lives, to live the life of faith, holiness and righteousness, without which, no man can either enjoy the kingdom goodness or reign with Christ”.
Christians should understand that by the death of Jesus, though their sins are forgiven, but there’s need to be rightly positioned, so the Holy Spirit can enable them access the grace to live above sin and no longer live in sin.
Quoting Peter 2: 24-25, Adepoju said, “we can only make the sacrifice of God and His Son Jesus count by been obedient to His instruction and living Christ-like life to make our light so shine before the world”.
He implore unbelievers to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, so that they can partake of life and peace in Christ. Also, for a better society and ultimately for a greater future and victorious life.
Lamenting on the state of the country, Rev. Adepoju said, “Nigeria is what it is today because many have veered from the way and some are separated from God. When we return to God, we can then expect His blessing to pour on us”.
While, Dr. Ofonime Emmanuel Bassey of Institute of Peace Leadership states that, Jesus stands for truth, justice, love, peace and tolerance which are keys to unity and sustainable development of Nigeria. “From the leaders down to the followers, everyone in the society is expected to be a team player in seeing that the goal of unity and peace for sustainable development is achieved, else the loss will be suffered by everyone, including Christians”.
The lessons of Easter celebration should be loud in our lives with preaching of Jesus central message -truth, justice, love and tolerant in words and deeds.
“One sure way to bring instability, stagnation and descent to a system is to practically encourage decept, injustice, hatred, nepotism, corruption and discrimination. When these thrives; peace, unity and sustainable development are sent on exile”, Bassey said.
Pastor Femi Adebayo, President of Club Abraham International (an interdenominational fellowship of Men who desires and determined glorious life in their endeavours) suggested prayer, witnessing, preaching and doing good among other ways, as the way the church can make her authority effective in the world. “These are the primary ways in which God expects the church to exercise her influence. As clearly stated in the Scriptures, God desires the church to exert a controlling influence in the affairs of this world through prayer, evangelism, teaching and charity. If the church fails to do these things, the church has become salt that has lost is savor”.