The value of the month of August in the Embassy of God church is civic position and how we have to be responsible citizens of our country and true followers of Jesus Christ.
«…This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do. He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death. But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do» (Mark 7:6-13)
Let us zoom in on the word “tradition.” It can be interpreted as culture or a lifestyle. The Pharisees and the scribes tried to find a reason to judge Jesus because His disciples did not always follow the tradition of the elders. On the contrary however, Jesus made a sharp comment regarding their customs and traditions. He explained clearly that any unregenerate culture, traditions and lifestyle contains harm and tragedies.
“The custom is often an evil”
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Jesus understood that it is impossible to reform the society and bring revival without the transformation of the traditions and customs of the people. The Lord communicated this by declaring that in order to go and make disciples of all nations for Him, we first of all have to change their core traditions and customs which are often erroneous. It is impossible to make the culture of the Kingdom a priority among people while they still live by their old tradition. It is impossible to establish new, when the old tradition still reigns; hence Jesus said that fresh wine is not poured into old wineskins.
True revival and reformation in the country cannot remain only in the church; it has to touch the traditions and customs of the entire society.
It is impossible to worship and honor God and at the same time worship one’s old lifestyle. If we strictly keep our old traditions and customs, the culture of the Kingdom of God will not govern our life. We are driven either by the culture of the Kingdom or the culture of this world.
«And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience» (Ephesians 2:1-2)
These words also tell us that the devil uses the culture and traditions of the people as a tool with which to keep them enslaved. This is why God often places foreigners in a country for the purpose of reforming it. God has to use a person who is free from the power of the culture of the society.
Traditions make God’s commandments powerless, for the commandment cannot work in a man’s life and bring blessings to him if he is faithful to his lifestyle. A man can either be faithful to his lifestyle or to the lifestyle of the Kingdom of God.
Generally, people traditions and culture are based on what is comfortable to the people, on what leads to their satisfaction and pleasure, what pleases their flesh and various lusts. In this way such cultures go against God’s values which are based on the spirit.
«I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law» (Galatians 5:16-18)
The flesh is always against the spirit and the spirit is always against the flesh. For example, the flesh wants to rest, but the spirit yearns for God in prayer and solitude. The flesh aims to avenge itself for the abuse done to it, but the spirit wants to forgive as Jesus did. The spirit strives toward the truth but the flesh seeks how to please itself. These two traditions: the tradition of the world and the tradition of Heaven, contradict each other.
That is why when we come to Jesus, our first task is to renew our mind, to change our old culture into the new culture of Heaven.
«And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God» (Romans 12:2)
If we want to change a society and establish Christian values there, we must change the old traditions and lifestyle of the people, which contradict the values of the Kingdom of God.
For example, when we look at Europe (Germany and the Scandinavian countries), their developed civilization and good values generally exist thanks to Protestant reformation.
«Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me» (Matthew 10:34-37)
Here, God shows us the examples of changes that had to happen in the culture of the people before they could experience revival. This has to take place in every nation – God’s traditions and lifestyle has to be the life style of the people and not vice versa.
The true concept of reformation is the reformation of values. This is the reason why countries that experienced Protestant reformation are the most developed. True revival should bring not only quantitative growth to the church, but also revive the whole country.
«They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it» (John 8:39-44)
We will either bring the culture of Heaven into the society or we will be subservient to the traditions and culture of people, which are earthly.
«He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all» (John 3:31)
The first apostles constantly had to fight against the old traditions (Acts 16:21, 17:7-8); we should follow suit.
“The change of habits changes a person, the change of tradition – a society.”
Dear brothers and sisters, if we really want to experience and see not only quantitative growth of the church but also the change of the country, we must change the traditions and customs of its people. For this reason I taught in the church about active civic position, about the importance of starting non-governmental organizations, I am writing the books of the University of Life. The main purpose of an active civic stance of Christians is to replace the old values and traditions of people with Godly traditions.
Recommended books to read: “Civic Position,” “The barrenness of the righteous,” “The Restorers of the Earth,” “The values we were deprived of” (University of life), Sunday Adelaja.
May God bless you and help you to bring the culture of Heaven to our society!
With love and honor, Senior Pastor of The Embassy God church: Sunday Adelaja
Translated by Vera Kozlovets
Edited by Kizito Leacock