Text: Isaiah 49:5 – 6
The Lord has given the WCCRM what is obviously “an eleventh-hour business”. As many are aware, an outline of this business was announced to the head of the Ministry in April 2001. This was as he was returning from one of the evening ministrations during that 14 – day historic evangelistic campaign in Mbaise with about 12, 000 Watchman, titled, “Mbaise On The Hill”. It is this business that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement would have us review or preview and draw inspiration, lessons and favour from the December. So let all and sundry, the pastors, the women leaders, the workers, the youths, the children and all invitees give ear to what He has to say, and then enter into the benefits of this December retreat, as we go through the followings:-
1. The eleventh – hour explained
2. The eleventh – hour business analysed
3. Divine inspiration to embrace the business
4. The implications.
1. THE ELEVENTH – HOUR BUSINESS EXPLAINED
The American heritage dictionary of the English language says “the eleventh – hour” means “the latest possible time” (before the close of business). This dictionary went ahead to quote the parable of Jesus our Lord in Matthew 20:1 – 16. Let us now survey this parable so that we can understand what the eleventh –hour is all about. From Matt. 20:2-12, it is obvious that the house holder who hired those labourers went out at certain times or intervals between the beginning and the close of a day’s work:- 6am – 6pm, to hire the workers. The first time was at 6.00 am (early in the morning – Matt. 20:1-2). The second time was at 9.00 am (the 3rd hour) (Matt. 20:3-4). The third time was at12.00 noon (the 6th hour Matt. 20:5). The fourth time was at 3.00pm (the night hour Matt. 20:5). Lastly he went out again at the latest possible time before the close of work, termed “the eleventh – hour”, that is at 5.00 pm, one hour only to the close of the day’s work at 6.00 pm (Matt. 20:6-12). It is called the eleventh – hour because it is so close to the close of work that there could be no other time after it to go out to hire workers before work closes at 6.00 pm. Here is another illustration of “the eleventh – hour”. At the airports, planes are scheduled to take-off from given locations at given times to arrive other given locations at given times too. Let us consider a Belview Airlines plane, scheduled to leave Lagos at 7.00 am to arrive Abuja at 7.50 am. Usually the first announcement for passengers who are waiting with their tickets or who are yet buying their tickets to proceed to the tarmac to board the plane would be made at say 6.20 am (40 minutes to departure). This would be followed by another boarding announcement at 6.40 am (20 minutes to departure), and a final and “eleventh – hour” announcement at say 6.50 am (10 minutes to departure). This announcement at 6.50am is the latest possible because the period between this time and the closing of doors for departure is so short that no other boarding announcement is possible. It is in the light of the fore-going that all Watchmen must see this “eleventh-hour business” the Lord has given us. It is an “eleventh-hour” business because it is the latest possible preparatory arrangement of the church before the rapture.
THE ELEVENTH-HOUR BUSINESS ANALYSED (Isaiah 49: 5 – 6)
To analyse is to break something into its constituent parts, or to give the details of something. What then are the details of the WCCRM eleventh-hour business?
a. TO BRING JACOB AGAIN TO HIM (Isa. 49:5)
Jacob was one of the twin sons of Isaac (Gen. 25:24-26). He became the progenitor of the 12 tribes of Israel (Gen. 35:22-26). Later the name, Jacob came to be often used to mean God’s covenant people, His chosen and elect (Isa. 43:1-5; 44:1,2,21; Oba. 17). In this New Testament dispensation, Jacob represents the present people of God, the chosen and elect of God, the church (the body of Christ) (1Pt. 2:9,10). Now one of the 11th hour business God has presently charged the Watchman Movement with is To Bring Jacob Again To Him (Isa. 49:5). It is pertinent at this point to ask the following questions: What was Jacob’s original state or where was he originally? What later became of him? How do we bring him back again? What do the above mean for us today? Let’s now attempt answers to these questions. After Jacob had successfully wrestled with the angel and had his name changed to Israel, he became God’s blessed; one in whom the covenant of blessing will be fulfilled (Gen. 32:28). And as he remained faithful, he was holiness unto God; the apple of his eyes, etc. (Jer. 2:2; Lam. 2:18; Zech. 2:18). Jacob later backslid and so came under the judgement of God that made it (him) desolate and forsaken (cp. Jer. 25:32-38). It is for the purpose of bringing Jacob back again that Isaiah vowed neither to rest nor allow God any rest (Isa. 62:1-5). Daniel also interceded for the same restoration of Jacob (Dan. 9:1-4). As has already been stated, the Jacob of today is the Christian Church. The Church in its inception, was Christlike (Acts 11:26); the bride of the lamb (Rev. 19:7), holy, separated from the world and filled with/made up of heaven-bound pilgrims (Jn. 15:16, 19; 17:14; Heb. 3:1; 1Pt. 2:9-11). In the course of the years, particularly after the persecution of the early centuries, from about the 4th century, Jacob (the Church) began to undergo terrible backsliding, when many pagan practices and unscriptural doctrines began to be adopted, as Emperor Constantine feigned repentance and joined the Church. From that time till date Jacob (the Church) has been going further down to the dregs of backsliding and deadness till date. God had from time to time brought some revival in the past. But the state of the Church at this time that the Lord is about to return is rather horrible. The Church altogether, whether it is the orthodox, the evangelical, Pentecostal or Charismatic, is in a terrible backslidden state, and God has commanded that it should be brought back to the original state as a matter of 11th-hour business. The revival work to be carried out as commanded by the Lord is just the very last before the Lord returns.
b. TO RAISE UP THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL (Isa. 49:6)
The tribes of Israel or Jacob here refers to the various denominations that make up the Church. Today, most denominations of the Christian Church are down and out of the true way both by belief, precepts and practice. The Lord has commanded the 11th hour work (business) to raise them from the deadness of sin, error, backsliding and compromise to the true biblical standard of Christianity.
c. TO RESTORE THE PRESERVED OF ISRAEL (Isa. 49:6)
Literally, this refers to the survivors of the captivity; those who were left out of the captivity, but who, nevertheless, suffered losses, damages and who were into afflictions and troubles (cp. Neh. 1:1-3). Restoring the preserved of Israel today signifies the necessary restoration to be effected both in those Churches that appear not to be obvious captives of the devils as well as in those that are clear captives. It involves the restoration of those essential Christian virtues, principles and practices like holiness and right living, without which no man will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14); pilgrim life-style (1Pt. 2:11); separation from the world (Jn. 17:14; 1Jn. 2:15-17); firm stand on the truth of God’s word and truthfulness (cp. Eph. 6:14; 1Tim. 6:3); the unity of the body (cp. Jn. 17:17-23); etc.
d. TO BE A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES (Isa. 49:6)
It is common knowledge that ‘Gentiles’ in our dispensation refers to all categories of sinners. An important part of this 11th hour business (package) is that the Lord formed us is our mothers’ womb so that at this time we might constitute a means of light and salvation to all sinners (cp. Act 26:17-19). Sinner means all sinners whether they are religious (fetish) or not.
e. TO BE GOD’S MEANS OF SALVATION UNTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH (Isa. 49:6)
This point should be considered in conjunction with the above stated point. We are meant to be a means of salvation not only to sinners within our immediate environment but also to all others in the ends of the earth. So He has given us to be a means of salvation to all sinners no matter their race, culture or creed. It is unto the ends of the earth; through out all Africa, Asia, Europe, America (North, Central and South) and the Oceanic. Although it sounds incredible, yet it is real/true. What an enormous task ! No wonder then no true Watchman at this time should toy with the issue of the IGMC of the hour which is the way God has ordained to reach men unto the ends of the earth, in addition to our mission front. Thanks be to God that our mission front will soon begin to assume its proper dimension. And all true Watchmen are enjoined to begin to get prepared for it knowing that an individual who will not go himself should be prepared to sponsor somebody to go on his behalf. Let’s here recall what the 11th hour is all about. And it need be stressed that this business cannot be negotiated. It is our life. On it hang our protection, provision and prosperity. It is indeed a very great and noble task/assignment. It is honourable. Let the teacher consider some testimonies of the honour involved. We should really be very appreciative of it (Cp. 1Thess. 2:4; 1Tim. 1:12). Although the task/business appears impossible of achievement by human estimation, the Lord is the one that has promised to do it through us and He will do it (cp. 1Cor. 1:26-29; 1Thess. 5:24). All that the Lord is requiring at our hands are faith, willingness and obedience (cp. Isa. 1:19). Surely, if He finds these, He will perform this seemingly impossible feat through us, in Jesus Name. Amen. And of course it is begun already.
3. DIVINE INSPIRATION TO EMBRACE THE BUSINESS ( Isaiah 49:5-6).
There is usually something that inspires or influence people into embracing what ever they are holding on to. This is usually so. Whether it is in the religious, political, academic or any other realm for that matter. The love of money in the purse he was in charge of influence Judas into not taking the words of Jesus seriously (Jn. 12:6). The joy of executing God’s plan for mankind’s salvation and the glory that would follow influenced Jesus our Lord into enduring the contradictions of sinners, the cross itself, despising the shame (Heb. 12:1-3). Regarding this eleventh-hour Business of the WCCRM from the Lord, the Lord has said, done and is still saying and doing things that are meant to inspire us/influence us into holding tenaciously to the calling. Consider the following inspirational statements embedded in the text:-
(a) Formed and elected in the womb for this service expatiate (Isa. 49:5 cp other like scriptures)
(b) Even though the assignment is not yet accomplished we are glorious (honourable, precious, unique) in the eyes of the Lord (Isa. 49: 5 ).
(c) The Lord being our strength – our backer, our defender, our source of boldness, strength etc, while we are executing the business (Isa. 49:5) Expatiate.
4. THE IMPLICATION
What are the implications of this calling of God upon us? What are the inferences? In other words, seeing that we have been given such an assignment, what and what then are expected of us? Broadly speaking, seeing we have been called as physicians, we must first be healed, wholesome and remain healed and wholesome. We cannot afford to be anything less than “the model”. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits (2 Tim. 2:6). Now the details of the implications.