Brother Philemon’s testimony.
Back in 1993, I was a regular guy who loved drinking beer in the local pub. One day, I remember I was drinking in the inner room of the pub with two of my friends. I happened to know that both these men were once saved, but they had backslidden. And so on that day, I asked them why they had backslidden.
One of them told me, “Pal, salvation is a very difficult thing.”
“But”, I countered, “I have heard them teach that there is a hell?”
“Yes”, he answered, “there is a hell.”
“Don’t you fear going to hell?” I pressed further. But they did not answer me and we continued drinking.
But something had grabbed at my heart. Hell. I cannot say it was fear; rather, it was like the word “hell” made a big impression upon me and it just would not let go.
I had a neighbor who was saved and when I woke up the next morning, I knocked on his door. I asked whether he had a Bible and whether he could lend it to me.
“Most gladly”, he said, and he went inside and came back with a Swahili language copy of the New Testament.
I took the book back home and began reading it. But all I was searching for was the word “hell”. I wanted proof from the Bible that hell exists and that every sinner would end up there.
In the course of reading that small Bible over many days, I found plenty of that proof. There was a lot written there concerning hell! Whatever had grabbed my heart concerning hell continued to tighten its grip. Gradually, a conviction formed in me that I ought to get saved. As the days went by, that conviction grew and grew.
One day I came back home and called to my wife. I said to her, “I am thinking of leaving you.”
“Why?” she asked, surprised.
“Because I am thinking of getting saved.”
“You?” she scoffed. “How can you get saved while you are drinking in the pub all day long?”
But, unknown to her, I had already made up my mind. One Sunday morning, I went to my neighbor’s house, the one who had lent me his Bible. I told him, “Here, I brought you back your Bible. See you later, I am going up to the shops.”
“Wait”, he said. “I am going that way, too, to church.”
We walked on together, and when we reached his church, I made to pass on. But the man reached out and said, “Welcome in. Come on in and let’s worship together.”
“Oh, okay”, I said, and without much ado, I turned and walked into his church.
The service went on and, at the very end, the pastor called to anyone who would want to get saved. I stood up and walked to the front. I could feel everyone staring at me. But this was a decision I had made for quite a while, and I was simply delivering on it. And so, on that day, I got saved and became a born-again believer.
Soon after, my wife followed suit and gave her life to Jesus.
In those days, unlike today, the fear of God was in church, and the pure gospel of Jesus Christ was preached. We knew what it was to live a holy life.
But, as the years progressed, things began to change. Gradually, the pure gospel we had been hearing was replaced by something else. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there was a definite change. There was an emphasis on the outside man rather than the spirit. There was, for example, an emphasis on how one dressed; and on being financially stable. In church! Now, today, as I speak, the church that I got saved in is a circus. There is little of the Spirit there. The services are a circus, geared towards entertaining the flesh. And, in preaching, there is a lot of emphasis on money. Today, when the bishop comes to visit, women lay down clothing for him to walk on, all the way from his car to the inside of the church! That was not so in the early days of our salvation. Moreover, back in the diocese in town, the churches are ranked according to how well they treat the bishop when he comes and the leaders make a huge thing out of it.
But the worst part are the broken lives of believers. The lives of believers are a joke; and so are those of the leaders themselves. There is more discord and enmity amongst church members than there is in the world. Leaders are jostling – actually fighting – for positions in church. Me and my wife were leaders in that church, but we arrived at a point where we decided it was far much better – and safer – to just stay at home rather than go to church even if we were members of the church leadership.
That was when I met Dude here. He told me he had met some brethren who preached a different gospel, the gospel of the cross. He told me that the gospel of the cross revealed the problem of the church today, which is the flesh.
What he said made sense to me and I desired to hear more about this gospel. That was when you came to Minyughe.
In my life, I have seen much in the church, and I am convinced in my heart that the gospel of the cross is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing would budge me and my wife from this belief. We have witnessed the grace of God through the revelation of the cross in our lives. Today, our lives are filled with joy and purpose in the Spirit. We have changed! We look at our brethren in all these Pentecostal churches, fighting and living defeated lives, and we simply thank God for the revelation of the cross.
What do I believe? I believe with all my heart that this revelation will cover the entire earth, and then Jesus will come. When I read scripture, that is what it tells me. Jesus will not come back until the truth – the gospel of the cross – has been preached everywhere, to prepare God’s people.
I will forever be grateful for the revelation of this revelation in my life.
What an inspiring story of God’s Spirit at work, and of the good soil the word of God landed on.
“the good soil the word of God landed on.” I love that, David, thank you.