The Barren Olive
by Bola Olu-Jordan
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A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down” (Luk 13:6-9).
“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Php 3:18)
One of the saddest developments in the Christendom today is perhaps how the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus which brings conversion of heart and salvation of the soul of unbelievers has been lost to aggressive man-hunting for membership by pastors who have no idea what being a pastor means, except a means to personal gains and to launder their financial ambition. They have successfully raised a generation of ‘believers’ with a perverted concept of what being a Christian means and what a church is. To them, it is a religious and social networking club, where personal dreams, ambitions and desires can be realized using the name of Jesus.
Indeed, there are many professed ‘Christians’ nowadays, much more than it has ever been in history, but their profession is devoid of ‘action’ of a Christian. In most of the writings of Paul the Apostle to the Early Churches, he always addressed his epistles to “saints and faithful brethren”, i.e. believers and labourers (Col.1:2; Eph.1:1). The Gospel is not complete if we only hear, but don’t do; for the kingdom of God is expressed by action (Mat.11:12).
The kingdom is not complete if there are only believers and no labourers. The supposed labourers only labour to grow their own empire. It is to build the best cathedrals, large membership of church, schools, etc. If this was the priority of the disciples we will not have the Gospel today. If the early missionaries that brought the gospel to Africa charged the same tuition fees our supposed Christian schools charge today, the Ahmeds, Modinats and children of Alhajis of yesterdays who are Christians today because they went to Christian schools where they didn’t have to pay tuition fee would not be in the faith. But our Christian schools are the most expensive, even members of their own church cannot afford to pay the fees, let alone the children of the muslims who could have been converted attending such.
There is a sharp decline of conversion of muslims in our society because there is no missionary school again to incubate them. The so called Christian schools owned by big churches and big titles holders are for business purposes, not Gospel! Ironically, many of the founders are product of such education. Consequently, Muslim schools are now on the rise, catching them young.
I heard a case of a missionary couple, who put their two children in a muslim school because they were sent away from a Christian school because they couldn’t pay fees. The children were compelled to learn Arabic, pray and recite quranic verses. Children in purdah are now common sites in public schools and their population is on the rise. School fellowships funded by the effort of many churches with passion to catch the students young for Christ have disappeared. Even in tertiary institution, the fellowship have been politicized and driven by a denominational competition. This is the labour of our stupendously rich ministers who have no legacy to give to Christ except to enrich themselves more by the hard earned money of the members in the name of faith giving.
If this was the attitude of the early disciples and apostles; simply preaching on radios, T.V.s and cables just to identify class, advertize their ‘products and services’ and tell the world how rich they are without the aggression and passion to reach out to the lost souls in villages who don’t have the luxury of hearing them on cables, etc, the gospel would have died long ago. But their intention is not to win the lost to Christ but to win the rich and the gullible to their side, for fame, wealth and power!
The Church today believes (hears), but wont labour (act). She desires the power of His resurrection, but not the fellowship of His suffering. She wants the crown, but not the cross. Jesus is looking for believers and labourers, but the church is busy mass-producing only believers (hearers) and boasting how many millions attend their convention, to do what? To hear! Alas, Jesus is not looking for millions of hearers, but few doers, few labourers. Labourers are always few (Lk.10:2), but hearers are many; and not the hearers of the word are justified but doers (Rom.2:13)!
Why do these hearers congregate? To hear sweet words of vanity about their problem through the prophetic word of the man they have seen as deputy God (2Pet.2:18). They congregate to hear words of prophecy and comfort about their problem (1Thes.5:3). To hear that there is hope to their situation; to hear sweet nothings, lies from the pulpit, from a man who sees death but call it life so that he will not loose the crowd, because they are afraid of telling the truth lest they lose them all.
Jesus had been in their shoes before: several thousand came for his annual conference. Suddenly, he began to speak the truth, the raw truth and nothing but the truth, no facts. One by one, they ALL left, including the disciples, except the twelve, who confessed that they too would have left except that there was nowhere to go (John 6:60:66). They left because the truth to them is a ‘hard saying’. They were looking for facts, word of comfort, blessings, healings, miracles, breakthrough; bread which will not satisfy, but rather, they heard ‘a hard saying’. Preachers today preach fact and conceal the truth so that the gullible congregation can come again and of course, with their offerings. The congregation is misleading leaders, because they want a leader who would tell them fables, enticing words, philosophical words, quotable quotes, etc (2Tim.4:4). Leaders also are misleading the congregation, because they want congregation that will fund their ambition. Deceiving and being deceived (2Tim.3:13)!
Believers don’t bring harvest, it is labourers that do. Jesus asked us to “pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest because the harvest is great, but labourers are few” (Luk 10:2) and Paul says “we are labourers together with God” (1Cor. 3:9). Where there are no labourers, the harvest perish! Ripe and ready fruits fall to the ground and rot away and the labour of the husbandman is lost.
Jesus is looking for labourers (workers) who will bring Him the harvest of many souls that He died for, not congregation of those who only come to hear what the god-man is saying so that they can apply it to their lives for better result. ‘Believers’ of today only believe Him, but would not do His will: to go into all the world and preach the Gospel unto all nations. Jesus charged His disciples: now are ye my disciples if you do those things which I command you to do (John 14:15). But believers of today have completely forgotten that rescuing the perishing souls is the primary reason why Jesus came and not to distribute largesse of enjoyment of breakthrough, blessings, prosperity and such expression of wealth that many pastors teach and display as an evidence of being born again, neglecting the reason for their salvation, if they were ever saved.
He came to set the captives free (Lk.4:18) and rescue the perishing from their sins, not to organize financial and breakthrough seminars where psychology, financial principles, logic and human ideologies of earthly success are given to innocent but indolent congregation as the Gospel. That is a lie of the devil. It is indeed a gospel (good news), but not The Gospel of Jesus! Paul called it “another gospel and doctrines of the devils” (Gal.1:6;1Tim.4:1) and warned us “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:14). “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom 16:18). Peter says: “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2Pe 2:3). Friends, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Col 2:8).
The present generation of pastors, bishops, seers-turned-prophets and other leaders have explanation to make whether they are truly raising up true believers or simply a bunch of rascals and lawless bastards, who hide under the grace and mercy of God to [mis]appropriate to themselves perishable gains and inanities as dividend of the work of Christ on Calvary at the cost of His blood!
When hyenas put on collar and take up the microphone to address goats, the ulterior motive is to tear the goats into pieces and feed on its flesh. Many leaders today, who were genuinely saved years ago are preaching a message different from the one that saved them to save people today. They were genuinely given birth to, but they are in turn giving birth to hybrids, who are part sheep and part goat, because they themselves, although true believers (pure sheep), but having romanced with he-goats and receiving instruction from hyenas and hireling, give birth to quantity and not quantity, for crowd has sadly become the barometer for measuring success in ministry. So, it is not having a congregation of sheep that is a priority to them but having crowd, regardless of whether they are sheep or goats and in most cases, you hardly find a single sheep in a thousand goats, for sheep follow shepherd, not hirelings.
The Bible says Lot vexed his righteous soul with the iniquities of Sodom (2Pet.2:8), but what was he looking for in Sodom? Was he there by the leading of God, or by his physical observation and judgment? He thought he found a place of green pastures for his sheep. He thought he found rest for his soul and an escape from the pressures from the servants of Abraham who constantly strove with his own servants (Gen.13:10). He did not ask from God, He was moved by emotion as we all are many times, and we find ourselves in wrong churches under the wrong anointing yet without anything to suggest so.
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Gen 13:10-13).
Many children of God, true believers have innocently journeyed East and separated from Abraham, the friend of God and pitch their tents in the plain toward Sodom, because of the supposed green pastures, vegetation and other soul inspiring messages without discerning with their spirit eyes, not knowing that it’s the place of death. Many of such believers are still stranded in such Sodoms, called churches today because they think the pasture there is green enough. They made mistakes like Samuel, Abraham and also Lot. Even though God delivered those ones, but will these be delivered seeing that many have lost the spiritual sensitivity to hear from God even if He shouts with a mega phone in their ears to come out from among her and be separate! Rather, they love to remain there. They are captivated by the association, false love, benefit and religious aura, forgetting that God is not the God of religion, but of a person: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob: that no religion is the way to God, but Jesus. That all religion leads to hell, including Christian religion. That only Jesus is the way to God, not even Christian religion.
Although, ‘something’ in them remotely tells them they don’t belong there, but they cannot leave because they have become elders, deacons and chairman of committees. Some have been given the rare privilege to speak to thousands of souls in order to achieve a lifetime opportunity of addressing crowd. Some have been made pastors of assemblies and branches which command good financial benefits and returns and also the honor of being called the man of God, when they are doing directly opposite of what God is calling them to do, helping another man fulfil his calling and inordinate ambition at the expense of their own eternity. Some cannot leave because they think they have something to fall back on in future, not knowing that eternity is bigger than their future? All those considerations will cease to matter, only ‘did you come out as I instructed you’?
Samuel, when he saw Eliab, the brother of David after God asked him to go and anoint the son of Jesse as king, he said, “surely, the anointed of God is here before me” (1Sam.16:6), but alas, he was wrong, for God said “I have rejected him” (vs.7). Thank God he did not pour oil on him as our pastors indiscriminately pour oil on people today. He would have poured it if he did not hear God stopping him. But how many children of God hear God asking them to run out of where they are running in or how many prophets and servants of God today hear God stopping them from pouring oil on the wrong people, many of whom have become vagabonds on the altar?
Didn’t Abraham also missed it when he begged God to allow Ishmael be the promised seed instead of Isaac (Gen. 17:18), until God said ‘no’ and asked him to send the slave woman and her son away. God is still bringing the voice of correction, but how many servants of God are listening?
When God told Abraham through Sarah his wife saying: “Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac” (Gen 21:10), Abraham was displeased but God told him to let it be so. You will be displeased when God tells you to leave what is familiar to what is not. When God told Abraham to leave his land of nativity where he was born, separate himself and begin a faith walk with him, he did not know where God was leading him but he obeyed all the same (Gen.12). When God is asking you to leave where you are and yet He does not tell you where to go, He is only leading you to your place of destiny and you need to obey by faith, even without knowing where he is asking you to go, that is why it is called ‘faith walk’. You can’t do it alone, except you allow him to lead.
Only sheep will heed the warning of the shepherd because only sheep recognize the shepherd and will follow his voice (John 10:5). Goats will not heed the warning, because they are goats. Jesus says “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers… All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. (John 10:4-5,8).
Lot knew it was not good to remain in Sodom, but he was too established to leave, not without a strong hand which would cost him everything he had ever labored for and he was not ready to part with that, except by force. At the end, he lost all. It would have been more honorable if he had taken the initiative and left Sodom on his own, damning the consequences of things to loose, at least, he would still save his wife and other moveable things. But, he just couldn’t. The cost was too great he couldn’t pay it. At the end, he lost all – All! Do not wait until you lose all, even your souls. So run as fast as you can from that place you call church, but it’s an association of perverted souls, den of thieves, a company of brilliant hyenas from the top to the bottom who feed you with juicy and fertilized food to prepare you for slaughter instead of taking you to the Promised Land. They know what they are doing but you don’t and they also know who you are; that you are not part of them, but they are using you to achieve their purposes and ambition, at the end, when they have achieved their aim, you will no longer be relevant.
Watch the diet you are being fed with, is it such that guarantees your eternity or just sweetenings and sugar-coated ones, giving you a false hope of tomorrow but not of eternity? They make you feel good and happy with logical messages assuring you of a better life, what about a better heaven? Jesus Himself charged us to lay up our treasures in heaven where thieves, moths, would not destroy, but your own treasure is being laid up with the pastor /founder and GO’s to build and secure business empires and institutions for his generations which you cannot benefit from or afford to enjoy. You are being overhauled and maintained by colorful, inciting and exciting messages to keep you hopeful while your eternity is being eroded away.
A wise man once said “it is better to go to the house of mourning than house of rejoicing” (Eccl.7:2). Many churches today can at best be described as rendezvous centers, house of merchandize, a club where connections are made and latest fashion is displayed. We are supposed to gather for Jesus not for breakthrough, miracles or prosperity. Our gathering supposed to be to receive spiritual strength, stamina and grace in order to fulfil the great commission, starting from our immediate neighbourhood, but we have become a public nuisance to them. We claim to be believers but we do not labor to give Him fruits.
It is true that the present believers who profess to be born again do not even know what it means to follow Jesus. Professional pastors have taught them that to follow Jesus means to be committed to their church. They have taught them that bearing fruits means to invite people to the church and that church growth is to populate the church and the pastors themselves have been taught the strategy of amusing goats so that they can stay.
John the Baptist shouted “… O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance”(Mat 3:7-8). God is looking for a fruitful believer not a barren one. Every seed that does not produce fruit will be extinct. God told Noah to bring animals into the ark in twos so that they can reproduce themselves, otherwise they perish forever! Are you a barren believer or a fruitful one. A barren tree will die an eternal death, so also a barren believer!
The only thing Jesus is interested in is fruits! He says: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (Joh 15:8). He is looking for fruits. He is not interested in the stature of the tree or the color of its leaves or the beauty of its façade, but fruits! “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (Joh 15:2).
When Jesus cursed the fig tree, the disciples were surprised that the tree died immediately, but Jesus used it to send a strong signal to them; if you do not bear fruit, you will be like that. No wonder the disciples, after Jesus left, could not but bear fruits. They knew the consequences, but today’s believers don’t. We no longer have passion for souls but passion for membership. Our Altar calls are the same people that are being saved for several years but in different churches and programs. Our evangelism is not to save perishing souls but to expand our church branches. Our anniversary programs are to celebrate our achievements. Cathedrals are built with large investment, not souls. Testimonies of fresh and genuine conversion are no longer being recorded in crusades except testimonies of financial breakthrough through importation of contraband that the ‘Baba GO’ prophesied would scale through.
The Wasius, Kudirats and Alhajas no longer give their lives as it was in the Apostolic days, let alone witches and wizard. The power most pastors tarry for at strange mountains to possess is not to face witches and wizard in villages but for breakthrough, prosperity and success of politicians and others with questionable lives. In the past ten to twenty years now, Muslims cannot claim to have had a raw encounter with the power of God through salvation except to watch the excess of men of God displaying wealth even when their members are dying of hunger and starvation. No effort by church to reach to the muslims again. Their population is rising astronomically unlike years back when there was massive conversion. Even sound Christians are so ashamed of some of the excesses of these so called men of God with diabolical testimonies of occult practices, patronizing witch doctors and engaging in unheard-of practices to grow membership and get wealth, fame and power. How will there be conversion!
Are you trapped in such organizations unknowingly? There is no way to know except you allow the Holy Spirit to discern for you. How surprised would we be when the Holy Spirit gives us a honest report and correct assessment of some of the ‘innocent’ empires. God wants you to be part of His body, not part of the denomination. No denomination will make heaven, that’s why He says come out from among them. Join the body, not denomination. He is coming for his body. Are you part of his body? You may be a pastor of a denomination and not part of his body. Be sure right now. Denominations don’t save, only Jesus does. There is a difference in giving denomination fruits and giving Jesus fruits. Whatever fruits you give denomination is to their benefit, only fruits you give to Jesus counts!
Where is your first love? Where is the flame in you? Yes, the fire is burning down low everywhere, but must yours also burn down low. Don’t be a fool, get out from your comfort zone and go look for where the oil is. There is still oil where there is oil. There is still a balm in Gilead. If you are in a lukewarm Church you will be lukewarm. If you are in a church with misplaced priority, your life will be misplaced. Did Jesus save you to serve church or to serve Him? Commitment to church is good, but will not open the door for you in heaven. Your church or even your pastor will not stand at the judgment to plead for you. If you served the church or the pastor thinking you served Jesus, Jesus will not be there to plead for you. He will at best say: “I know you not, you that work iniquity” (Mat.7:23), depart from me into everlasting fire which God has prepared for Satan and his hosts. Jesus is the way, not denomination.
God is looking for a working tree, not a beautiful, green, tall, useful but barren tree. A working tree produces fruit, a barren tree is only good to be cut down so that it no longer occupies the ground. Its however good to be used as fire wood … God is looking for a fruitful believer, not a barren believer! “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Mat 3:10).
His mercy has preserved you up to now, He is waiting for when you will begin to bear fruit. But after some time, mercy will turn into judgment because His mercy can only endure for a time. He is the God of mercy now, but soon, the same God will be the God of judgment, for judgment must begin in the house of God (1Pet.4:17). He has given you all that you need to bear fruit, if you do not bear fruit, you have aborted destiny.
How do you bear fruit? Abide in HIM. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (Joh 15:4-7). Abide in Him, not in denomination. It is about HIM, not YOUR church. It is only when you abide in HIM, that you are a member of His body. Being a member of a denomination is not the same as being a member of His body. He is coming for the body, not denomination! Don’t make the mistake of young Samuel, called of God, but answered man. Eli was godly enough to lead young Samuel to God unlike today’s pastors: they would have simply given him a function, position or portfolio in their church to use him to fulfil their own ambition in the name of God. No one who runs in another man’s track will be honored, even though he takes the first position.
“Thou hast been shown o man, what is good and what the Lord thy God require of thee” (Mic 6:8). He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 2:7).
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