The 2018 Easter retreat started on the 29th day of March through the 1st day of April 2018, with the THEME ‘’IT IS FINISHED’’. The retreat started off on an exciting mode as brethren rejoiced during the praise and worship session.
The International Director, Pastor Isaac Olori gave the opening talk, expounding the meaning of the prayers Jesus made on the cross and its significance (Luke 23:34, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). He explained that Jesus’ prayer ‘’Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” reaches even to the worse sinner. He said, no one under normal circumstances will pray for his killer in that manner, meaning there is no room for revenge as God’s children. The thief on the cross also benefitted from his mercies.
Speaking further, he said when Jesus declared “It is finished”, that was the summary of Easter. It was a declaration of victory not a cry of defeat. It was an announcement which heaven and earth needed to hear and that the effect of it is continuous, a sense of finality, nothing can be subtracted or added. He added that it was not a sign of resignation but rather He had accomplished everything He came for.
Other excepts of his talk can be found below:
Jesus accomplished His mission on earth and this meant the following;
- He fulfilled everything prophesied concerning him (Acts 3:18, Acts 13:28). If Jesus fulfilled everything about Himself up till death, then He can also fulfill that which concerns us.
- He fulfilled all the sacrifices and ceremonies (Colossians 2:16 -17), hence we do not have to carry out those rigorous sacrifices anymore.
Pastor Isaac Olori, concluded by reminding us that the perfect (Jesus) gave Himself for the imperfect (us). The phrase ‘’IT IS FINISHED’’ means ‘’paid in full’’ in business terms, this means that everything about our sins has been paid in full, we owe Satan nothing (Romans 8:33).
The second day of the retreat was a dazzling moment in the presence of God and a buildup of the first day of the retreat. After a joyous moment of praise in God’s presence, a solemn moment of prayer, everyone decentralized to their various bible study class.
The topic of the bible study was “The Work of the Cross” (John 19:13-18). The Bible study explained that the phrase, “The work of the cross” simply means the work that the cross of Christ accomplishes in the lives of the believer (Hebrews 12:2).
Wonderful works of the cross include:
The sacrifice on the cross brought about our salvation/redemption (Titus 2:14).
The power of the curse of the law that was hanging against man was removed through the work of the Cross (Galatians 3:13).
Faith in the work of the cross makes the believer righteous before God (2nd Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus disarmed the rulers, authorities and powers of darkness and put them to an open shame (Colossians 2:15).
The cross produces in us the crucified life and a crucified world (Galatians 6:14; Galatians 5:24).
By the cross, the power and bondage of death was destroyed (Hebrews 2:14-15).
The power of the blood of Jesus Christ opened access to God for us. The curtain of the Temple tore into two from top to bottom as Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:50-51).
Afterwards, with joy and expectation, everyone was attentive as the last Easter message of our founding father of blessed memory, Apostle G. D. Numbere was played. In his message, he said Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter took place in three days and in four places which are first in Heaven, secondly on Earth, thirdly under the ground and finally again in Heaven.
Easter Began in Heaven: Easter began in heaven and ended in heaven, God created angels the same way He created man. Angels are powerful, holy and they are Spirits (2 Peter 2:11). The seed of Abraham (man) is sinful, weak and dust (Genesis 2:7, Genesis 3:19). Angels and Men were lost entities because both man and angels sinned against God (Romans 3:23; Jude 6). Now God had to make a decision on whom to save, the question is who would God choose? Praise God, He chose to save the seed of Abraham (man). Apostle G. D. Numbere asked a thought seeking question, “If an individual was asked to choose between good and bad, strong and weak, holy and sinful, which would he choose?” He would definitely go for the good, holy and strong. God however, chose to save and reckon with the bad, sinful and unholy man (Hebrews 2:16). Easter is about making a choice, the decision/choice to save the seed of Abraham (man) was made in heaven and that was where Easter began.
On Earth (Hebrew 10:5)
No sacrifice could save any man so Jesus took the nature, the body of man (dust and ashes). Sacrifice and offerings cannot wash away sin, even the blood of animals (Hebrew 10:4), cannot wash away sin, hence the decision made by Jesus, to take on the body of man. This body that God put Himself into is what came in at Christmas. During Christmas, Jesus came in as a Human being (Hebrews 10:7).
Why did Jesus take a human body? (Leviticus 17:11)
The life of the animal is in the blood because it is the blood that make us live. Jesus took the human body so that he could carry blood. It was this body with the blood that was born on Christmas day. This blood was given to make an atonement of the soul of man.
Jesus made Himself humble and took the form of a servant, He made himself of no reputation, he was made in the likeness of man. Christians should be like minded, to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). He made Himself as nothing and was made in form of man. Whoever must be great will be a servant(Philippians 2:5-8). What Jesus did is mind blowing that he lowered himself to the level of man. The bible admonishes us to humble ourselves because if Jesus humbles us them we are dead. Whoever must be great must be a servant. Imagine the one who created man, think about how big heaven is, the one who created heaven and bigger than heaven and earth reduced Himself to the form of the man that he created, there is nothing worse than that.
Afterwards, the International Director, Pastor Isaac V. Olori gave a talk on the topic: “What is finished?” (John 12:31-33). Excerpts from his teaching can be found below.
When a person is about to die, people pay attention to the utterances of that person at that moment. “It is finished”, was the last statement Jesus made at the cross. Everything that has to do with our redemption is finished so the Christian owes the devil nothing. The believer is a new person, his matter has been settled, everything has been paid for.
The Defeat of Satan
Satan was permanently defeated when Jesus declared “It is finished” on the cross. Satan is the God of this world. There are two kingdoms on earth (Ephesians 2:2), the kingdom of darkness and kingdom of God. When God takes dominion over the life of the believer then the kingdom of God is on the earth (Colossians 1:13). Satan was judged on the cross, God determined his status in life and he is under the feet of the believer. His rule over humanity was taken from him and he was cast out. The dominion of the devil over the life of the believer is finished.
On the cross Jesus accomplished bringing God’s kingdom down on earth (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Every unbeliever who is not born again is under the kingdom of darkness but for the believer, Satan has been cast out because the believer is of the Kingdom of His dear Son. By the work of the cross, the believer is a citizen of heaven, of a different heritage. Therefore, the light of the kingdom of heaven should affect the believer (Ephesians 2:2).
How Jesus Defeated the devil
Jesus disarmed the devil. The laws were given as a temporary provision to direct man and lead him to Christ but there was no man that could keep it. (Colossians 2:4-15)The blood of Jesus is a blotter that cleans all of the sins of man and the records of sins.
Jesus canceled the reign of death (Romans 5:12-21). If Jesus had not come, there would not bey resurrection. Adam spread sin to everyone (1 Corinthians 15 :10,12-14, 2 Corinthians 3:6-15, Hebrew 2:14-15) but Jesus came to take away sin (Romans 6:9, Romans 8:2).
When Jesus defeated the devil
Jesus destroyed the power of sin (Romans 6:2).
The believer gained access to the holy of holies (Hebrews 4:16).
The cross provided healing, deliverance for all (Matthew 8:17, James 5:13-16).
Jesus became a curse for the believer (Matthew 8: 17)
The work of the cross opened a way for the believer to be endued with the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
There is provision for healing on the work of the cross. All the believer needs now is to claim their healing (James 5:13-16).
The work of the cross has opened a way so believers can be redeemed with the power and anointing of the Holy Ghost.
The believer has the capacity to carry the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Joel 1:28; Joel 2:29; Galatians 3:13-14, John 7:37-39).
In conclusion, the devil recognizes what has happened on the cross, he knows that he has been defeated so he brought a strategy to conceal the truth about His dethronement (Matthew 28:10-15; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). One of the strategy of the devil is to blind the heart of the believer and unbeliever so that they do live in ignorance and not know the truth about the mystery of the cross. The work of the cross will not have effect on those who do not believe, ignorant and blinded (Matthew 13:15).
The third day of the Easter retreat was characterized by great lessons from a book review, an awesome playlet, and a talk on the Gethsemane Experience. Prof Nze Jebbin reviewed the book “Digging Deep” by Apostle G. D. Numbere.
The book reviewer, Prof Nze Jebbin in conclusion said that “Digging Deep” stresses the importance of putting into action, the words and instructions of God. Details of the book review can be found here.
The next session led us into a talk from the President of the Women Fellowship International, Pastor (Dr.) N. E Numbere. The talk was titled “The Gethsemane Experience”. She highlighted the experience of Jesus at Gethsemane from Matthew 26:36-56, Mark 14:32-50, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1-12. Gethsemane is the Hebrew word for the English word “Oil Press”. Some key points from this talk include:
- The Lord adjured His disciples to pray so they would not fall into temptation. Overconfidence was what made Peter deny Christ.
- As Christians, we must take the word of God seriously and be dependable when given a responsibility by God. God should be able to count on us to fulfil His tasks.
- Jesus was not afraid of dying.
- The Lord needed to be at Gethsemane so He could pray because of the task He had to carry out. He knew it was a time to pray, prevail and agonize.
- Christ agonized because he was going to make atonement for our sins in order to reconcile us to God (Hebrews 9:22, Revelation 14, Habakkuk 1:13).
- Jesus prayed until He got a breakthrough. The prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane was in three sections (Matthew 26:36, 39, 42, 44). If you do not pray, you will not hear God speak to you.
What made Jesus agonize more was the fact that God was going to turn His back on Him. When Jesus yielded to the will of God by saying “Let your will be done…”, He was able to pray through. Thereafter, He got up and faced the cross with so much might.
Other relevant points include:
- The victory on the cross was assured because of the victory in Gethsemane.
- Jesus had to be the Lamb that was slain in order to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Isaiah 53:7).
- When you learn to travail in the place of prayer, God will send His angel to strengthen you (Matthew 4:1). However, we are not to pray to angels but God will send them to us when it is necessary.
- The first Adam failed in a garden of Eden but the second Adam succeeded in the garden of Gethsemane (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, Revelation 5:1-9).
- God did not send His Son to die for angels but man.
- Without Gethsemane there will be no cross.
- The battle we are in, as Christians, is not a physical battle (2 Corinthians 10:4) and so we do not need physical weapons but spiritual weapons through prayer.
She concluded by saying, “If you want to see results, you must pray, as God is looking for those who will travail in prayers and achieve victory”.
The Significance of The Resurrection Of Jesus: 2018 Easter Sunday
The 4-day Easter Retreat came to a climax on Sunday, 1st April 2018 which was also celebrated as Easter Sunday, all over the world. It was characterized by great thanks, praises and a communion service. Bro. Baridudor Baridudum testified how God restored the joy of his salvation and lost glory.
The sermon was delivered by God’s servant, Pastor Isaac V. Olori, the International Director. The topic of the sermon was “The Significance of The Resurrection Of Jesus” (John 20:1-17). Introducing the sermon, he said that the resurrection of Jesus was the consummation of our redemption, hence understanding that Christ is risen, not just mentally but in our spirit man, is the secret of victory. He also pointed out that there is a calculated attempt by the enemy to obscure the fact that Christ is risen, as he is ready to carry out any act to ensure we do not believe this truth.
Analyzing the character of the disciples (Peter, John and Mary) from the main text, he stated that the heart with which we seek the Lord will determine the level He will reveal Himself to us. Mary received a higher revelation than the other disciples because she yearned for answers, by staying at the sepulcher. The attitude of these disciples shows that there are three categories of disciples; one exemplified by John who ran quickly and got to the sepulcher first but did not enter, the second exemplified by Peter, who came later but entered into the sepulcher before John followed suit, and finally Mary, who stayed back even when the other two disciples had gone away. Indeed, to get a higher revelation of the personality of Jesus and the deep secrets of God, we need to pay a price.
Some relevant points from this sermon are:
- Understanding is the key to unveiling the mystery to what the death and resurrection of Christ accomplished for us. It is the scripture that reveals the purpose and plan of God for our lives.
- The greatest damage the enemy has done to the church is ignorance. When you know God, your life and walk with Jesus will not remain the same.
- The same sepulcher that the other two disciples entered was the same Mary entered but the other two were not qualified to see the angels because they were casual. In fact, the angels interacted with Mary (John 20:13). Mary’s attitude indicated that she was ready to go an extra mile for Him. When Jesus called her name she got the revelation that He was Jesus (John 20:16). At this point Mary became a carrier of good news.
- Your thirst and desire for God is what will keep you ahead of your peers.
- When your heart is touched and goes out for God, nothing will be too big for God. Many are struggling in their walk with God because their heart is cold. It is the heart that makes the difference.
The significance of the resurrection
- The empty tomb confirms the testimony that He is risen and that He is the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4). The secret of the empty tomb is that He is risen. When the power of God comes down, no power of darkness can stop God’s purpose for your life. The power of God works with the Spirit of holiness, hence any power that does not come through the spirit of holiness is from the pit of hell. If everything written in scripture about Jesus came to pass, then it means the scripture is true and it will work for you (Matthew 24:25).
- His resurrection sealed His victory over Satan and death (Romans 6:9, Acts 2:24). It was impossible for death to hold Jesus down. Death and Satan are helpless. (Psalm 16:10, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
- It authenticates/validates our faith. It makes our faith different (1 Corinthians 15:17). Any other faith not hinged on the resurrection of Jesus is pointless, vain and empty.
- Forgiveness of sin is possible. Apart from Christ’s bodily resurrection, we have a Savior and hope of eternal life.
- It brought us into a lively hope. A lively hope means a hope of living again by resurrection (1 Peter 1:3; John 3:3). His resurrection is the reason a man can be born again. When we are born again, we have a lively hope. Everyone that dies in Christ will rise again (Romans 6:5).
- It reveals God’s innumerable greatness of power towards us (Ephesians 1:18-23). The power in a believer is the same power God wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. So if you are experiencing Him in a low realm, then the problem is not the power or the giver of the power but you (Romans 8:11). God wants to see your life demonstrating resurrection.
- The resurrection of Jesus gives assurance of future judgment (Acts 17:30-31). If you ignore the sacrifice Christ made on the cross and you do not want to surrender completely, then you are on a path to judgment.