For a while now my heart has been arested by the Spirit of God on one particular issue about the Church in Africa. For the past few months I’ve not been able to do anything tangible other than pray, study and meditate on this very aspect that has held my life hostage – literally.
The message that God has for the Church of Africa can best be summed up like the message God had for the Church of Ephesus.
“The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. And yes, you even hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’ (Revelations 2:1-7)
Clearly the Church of Africa seem to do all the ‘right’ things – record church attendance, prayers, holiness, miraculous display etc. And yet compared to the early church that started on the day of Pentecost , love – the same thing that was spotted by God in the Church of Ephesus- is notably missing.
The Greek word ‘agape / agapao’ translated as ‘love’ in the New Testament means ‘ the grace of God that leads to serving the needs of the other’.
It is said of the first church that,
“And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.”( Acts 4:32-35)
Now the question is this, ‘why is it that in our Churches today love is obviously absent? Why is it very rare to hear any teaching or preaching about loving one another and serving the poor?
According to the bible love is THE highest law and THE foundation of the Christian faith. As Apostle Paul best put it, ‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing…. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’ (1Cor. 13:1-3,13)
Dear God, please pour your spirit of love into our hearts afresh, in Jesus’ name, Amen.