To the Lord our God alone be all the honour, glory, adoration and thanksgiving for bringing us together at this year convocation. In the most peerless name of our soon coming Lord and Saviour, it is my joy to welcome you all to yet another wonderful gathering of God’s watchman and woman. I’m particularly grateful to Evangelist Mrs. Dupe Olayoku for her resilient, commitment and diligence in pursuing the dream we sold to her about five years ago. I’m highly impress by the way she had handled this kingdom assignment. May God continue to strengthen you and prosper all your endeavours. My appreciation also goes to the Revd. Fasugba who had continued to be a worth assistance in driving this dream. He is one of the assets we have among the workers in the Diocese, we applaud his ruggedness, sincerity and faithfulness. May God continue to oil your lamp in Jesus name. Amen. The role played by all our voluntary workers is highly noted and appreciated, the teachers who continue to offer sacrifices of their time and talent without counting the cost, without you we wouldn’t have achieved much. May God continue to reward you for your labour of love. The role of the Old Students Association of the college gladdens ones heart and reaffirm our hope for the school. We welcome and congratulate the graduating students, for finishing well and for the courage to pass through all the rigours of coming to the new site here.
This year we are looking at the theme ‘ABOUNDING IN GOD’S WORK’ 1 cor. 15:58. The picture of what appears to us in our dear country will call for the appropriateness of this theme. I have the feeling that this country is on the verse of becoming a failed state. There are so many failed states in Africa and Nigeria is on the verse of getting that status of a failed state. Before now, we did not know about kidnapping, but it has become a way of life. Did we know about bombing before? But today, churches, schools, offices are being bombed on daily basis, the worst is that the bombers are not coming from the outside the country we are bombing ourselves. Cases of ritual killing is too alarming the worse is that serious cases of this is all around us in Ota, some of our “under bridge” suddenly become deans of cults. The Church is not better. For a church to attract crown, instead f going out for evangelism ritual has taken over mission and evangelism, faith in Christ is now too scarce. The church is today flooded with lions, hyenas and different types of Carnivorous animals.
The ministry of the Church is becoming harmful and frustrating because of the presence of the hygiene, the hirelings. The text of this theme is taken from 1 Cor. 15 is perhaps one of the most theologically rich chapters in the New Testament. Here Paul defined the resurrection of Christ and the future resurrection of believers. After holding out the wonderful hope that while we now bear the image of the first Adam, one day we will be conformed to the image of the last Adam – the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul gives this charge to his readers.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor.15:58)
The statement seemed to encourage us that every act of love, gratitude and kindness, every work of evangelism, every minutes spent teaching in the villages and town, all our involvement in the things of God, every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings, every moment of time spent on prayers and teaching God’s word, every spirit led efforts that lead to the spread of the gospel, built up the Church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption and make the name of Jesus honoured in the world – all at this will find its way, through the resurrection power of God into the new creation which God will one day make.
In other words’ the work of the Lord is an activity with a particular goal. Paul essentially makes this point negatively earlier in Chapter 15:30-32 “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.”
Throughout Paul’s letters the goal of his labour is to proclaim the gospel and establish churches. To parallel labour with the work of the Lord suggests that Paul understand the phrase as the same sort of ‘gospel’ labour that he himself has been involved in (1 cor.15:10-11) “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.”
The similarities between verse 10 and 58 labour/abounding/God’s empowering – suggests that we understand the labour and work in which Paul wants the Corinthians to abound as parallel to his own apostolic labour: It is a labour with the goal of eth gospel progressing and Christian being built up in the gospel consisting of evangelism and edification. In 1 cor. 3:9-15, Paul describes himself and others such as Apollos as ‘fellow workers’ who belong to God. Each one will have their work manifest on the last day when the nature of each one’s work will be tested by fire leading to the workers suffering, loss or reward. The work that Paul and Apollos do as God’s workers is work directed to the Christian community whom Paul describes as God’s filed and God’s building.
Brethren, we are today sending another batch of our students out into the field of work. You are going to work in Nigeria that is at the is at the verge of collapse, if it does we shall be guilty. There are churches and there are churches, we are special and unique. We are co-worker with Christ in His father’s business. Nigeria must not go down and if there is any hope for this country, it is the church – work is waiting for us.
The major purpose of this college is to produce workers to expand Christ kingdom. The System of producing workers that is doing nothing is not the dream of this College. There are Harvest all around but where are the labourers. We have planted churches that are waiting for years for pastoring. What can you contribute to the course of the gospel as you are being talented. Eph Eph. 411-12
We again appreciate you all, may God continue to enrich all of you and make you vessel unto honour for His glory.
Thanks and God bless.
Rt. Revd. Dr. Akin Atere
Dean of the College