Bible Text: 1 Chron. 12: 21-22, 1 Kings 5:4, Gen. 8:1, 3-4
Prayer: The Lord will remember you this month. Every fountain of affliction, God will dry them up in Jesus name.
The story of Noah is a very interesting story. Gen. 6: 8 explains that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. The world was full of sin and God decided to cleanse the world but Noah found grace. So God instructed Noah to build an Ark and put every animal, both, male and female, clean an unclean. Noah and his family also had the opportunity to be saved. While the world was full of the flood, Noah and his family were caged in the Ark for about 250 days. They were saved but caged. Imagine been locked up in a place for 250 days. They were saved from affliction and death but still caged.
There are people that have been saved, filled with the power of God, born again, spirit filled but are caged in one aspect or the other of their life. Some have PhDs but cannot get a good job, they are working in MacDonald’s. There are people who are living in this country and cannot work. They have been in the UK for many years but cannot seem to raise their head up high. I bring good news to you, you can find grace, and you can be saved and free.
The challenge is not many know they are caged. How can you know you are being caged?
1. Poverty: This is a distinct factor of been caged. Jesus was made poor that we may be rich (2 Corin. 8:9). As a Christian, you ought to live in abundance. In the Western world, this can even be tricky due to the availability of credit cards. Note; when you find yourself buying food with a credit card; such that you have no other means; it is like without the credit card you cannot survive, there is a problem, you are being caged.
2. When something that flourishes in your life begins to wither. The car you bought 10 years ago is now rickety but you cannot seem to change it and you keep going to the repair shop every week; you are being caged.
3. When nothing seems to work. Where others succeed, you try but fail.
4. Having disobedient children is a sign of been caged. Individuals can be caged, families can be caged. When you cannot give instructions to your children and they obey. There are families where all children are divorced, or they have one issue or the other, they lack peace and continuous success. It is a sign of being caged
5. When a person faces the “almost there” syndrome. Almost got married but never got married, almost got the job but never got the job, almost excellent but not good enough.
6. When a person lacks understanding of the word of God. When your Pastor preaches about tithes and offering, first fruits. You have been attending church since 1920 but still, you never give tithes. When a person has a strong and stony heart, the word doesn’t prosper the person; it is a sign of being caged.
7. When you constantly experience stagnancy and delay. Noah was saved but stagnant for 250 days. Consistent loss of jobs and delay in getting one are evidence of being caged. I pray for you today, God will bring you out of every bondage in Jesus name Amen.
8. Consistent perennial problems. Always having problems, no testimony for the past 1-3 years.
The above is evidence of being caged but one that is being caged can be delivered with the following signs and dos.
1. You must realize that you have been caged. Credit cards are designated for investments not for buying food to eat. Live within your means and wait on God of increase. You are on a 30 years old mortgage and you are not making reasonable effort to pay back on time. There is this general saying that the day a madman knows he is mad; that is the beginning of his cure. So, it is necessary to know that you have a problem. Do not live in denial.
2. You must be holy and love God. Prov. 8: 17-18 – “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honour, enduring wealth and prosperity.” Everything you are looking for is in Christ. Those that seek God early will find Him. If you want to be free, love God passionately. Early in the morning worship him, praise him, and adore him not because of what He gives you. There was a man I used to know who was a multi-billionaire in dollars but the last 3 years of his life was lived in agony, pain, he couldn’t eat and even his money could not help him. He couldn’t even comprehend his surroundings. John 14: 21-23 & 24.
3. Be obedient to the word of God. The first test of your love for God is Obedience. When you truly Love God, you will keep his commandment.
4. Holiness is a key ingredient, it will pave way for you. The purity of heart. The master key to greatness, deliverance is holiness. The most destructive thing is Sin, not Stan, You have the power to say NO to sin. Psalm 107: 17 – “Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities”. Matthew 5:8- “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
5. Resolve to be violent in prayers and for God. Matt. 11:12 – “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it”. Life will not yield anything good to you on a platter of gold, whether in secular life or within the church. The way life is designed, you have to work hard and smart. You must learn to fight in life (1 Timothy 6:12a). Fight the good fight of faith. When you are destined to be great, there will be resistant to the devil but as a far, as God lives, you shall fulfil a purpose.
An example was when Jacob was going back home after serving Laban for 15years (Gen 29). At some point he was alone, the road was weary and he had to fight an Angel to get what is duly his. Gen.32:24
6. You must put a demand on life by holiness and fervent prayers. At some point in time, God will not expect your Pastor to pray for you for everything. You need to pray for yourself, you need to fight in prayers by yourself. There are somethings God expect you to fight for.
7. You can also be delivered by the mercy of God. Rom. 9: 15 & 16. We need the mercy of God to be successful. I pray God will show you mercy always.
Ruth was shown mercy and became one of the great-grandmothers of Jesus. Also, Solomon was shown mercy 1 Sam 12: 24 & 25, born out of an adulterous murderous situation, he became king and there is no one that holds as much wisdom as he held as the king of Israel. Note that it doesn’t matter your circumstances, how you were born, you are being loved by the highest once you are saved.
8. Another way to be delivered from being caged is to have absolute faith in God. 1 John 5:4, Mark 9:23. You must believe the word of God that by His stripes you have been made whole. No matter what the doctors say, you must believe the word of God.
However, there are many types of cages: Cage of barrenness, singlehood, poverty and stagnancy
One of the many ways to get out of poverty is sowing. I remember when I used to farm back in the days, we usually keep the best of our yam for sowing the next season. The problem with some Christians is that they do not sow their best. 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8.
Sowing can bring all grace. Do something new and experience a new thing. If you study the story of the Shunammite woman, how she prepared a table for the prophet and when she suffered an affliction she had a seed to put her problems in (2Kings 4). When battles come do you have a seed that you can put your problems in?
Resolve today to sow obedience, holiness, and praise to God. Love God passionately, you can be saved and free.
You are freed from bondage as you do the word of God continually in Jesus name Amen.
The sermon, Saved But Caged, by Pastor Bayo Adeyokunu, RCCG Regional Pastor, USA and Senior Pastor RCCG Victory Temple, Bowie, Maryland, USA, was delivered on July 8, 2018, on the occasion of the 12th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service.