Out of the Church Corner

“For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner” Acts 26:26

Before The King: Gospel In The Palace

Standing before King Agrippa, Paul made his defence of the Gospel, for the Jews had laid many grievous complaints against him, and now he sought to cut the ground under their accusations on the day of trial. In his defence, Paul described his pre-conversion activities as a Pharisee, his conversion experience, and then his post-conversion activities as a Christian. It was in the middle of all this that Paul made that striking statement which the king himself could not disavow:

 “The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.”

By this statement, Paul was asserting that everything he had recounted (and the ones he had not recounted for want of time) was not done in a corner, and the king himself was well aware of it. He realized what he was explaining was not new to the king. If he was accused of things which were done in some quiet corners of Jerusalem, then he would have needed to not only painstakingly explain the events for which he was on trial, viz. the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom, but also call for two or three witnesses who were also there in the corner to testify of the events and thus establish the matter. But this trial needed no witnesses. None of it was done in a corner; it was all done in the open—on the streets, on the highways and byways, in the market squares and town halls—it all happened on the centre stage of the Judaic society and so central was it that the king was fully aware of the details. Paul’s salvation didn’t happen in a corner, he didn’t quietly sign a decision card in one little room down the street; he got saved right on the highway to Damascus! Afterwards he took to the streets and joined the company of Christians who were turning the world upside down. When he was arrested, he was charged with teaching “everyone everywhere” (Acts 21:28). And so this was not the first time King Agrippa was hearing about this Gospel business—none of it had escaped his notice.

Church: From Center-stage To The Corner

The question thus becomes, How did that which was once on the city streets, in the market squares, in public lecture halls, in palaces and everywhere thinkable gradually end up in one small corner of society? How did the church and her Gospel metamorphose into large congregations in small corners? How did the madness of society and popular culture that was once being threatened into a corner by the ubiquitous Gospel now take prominence in society while the church receded to a corner? And, even more frightening, how did the valiantly advancing church become so comfortable in this corner? It is sad enough that we have receded to our corner of society, but even worse is that we love it so and are satisfied to abide and operate in our corners. Evangelism, at its best, has become the addition of more numbers to our corners. We are excited to meet in our corners, sing in our corners, clap hands in our corners, dance in our corners, preach in our corners, collect offerings in our corners, spend the money in our corners, and keep inviting more people to our corners for the growth of our corners! How did we become contented with this outrageous anomaly?

Satan's Strategy: Occupying All Corners

The devil is not content to operate from a corner; his devices are multifaceted and multidimensional. It is his age-old strategy to launch his attacks from every angle possible! When Balak invited Balaam to curse the people of God in the Book of Numbers, we see this multi-directional strategy of the devil come into play. Balak took Balaam to Bamoth Baal to curse the children of Israel, but Balaam rather pronounced a blessing. Balak should have aborted the mission at this point, but he was bent on achieving his objective, and perhaps he thought to himself, “If the strategy fails from this corner, why don’t we try another corner?” And so he took Balaam to the top of Pisgah and asked him to shoot from there, but again Balaam blessed the people of God. Yet this wasn’t enough reason to abort; satan’s multi-directional strategy was still in play, and I can imagine Balak gritting his teeth and demanding again, “Let’s shoot from another corner!” And he took Balaam to the top of Peor to curse from there, but again, Balaam blessed the people of God. Now notice the strategy of a relentless devil! While the people of God were still at one place, the devil had come at them from three different angles within a short space of time. That is how the devil operates; he uses the principle of rapid dominance to advance his agenda. Notice that even after Balak’s attempt from different corners fell through, it still didn’t end there; the curse was eventually changed to counsel, and the counsel worked like a charm—twenty-four thousand people died in one day without Balak having to shoot an arrow!

Today the devil is still launching his attacks from every available corner; he is not content to have just one corner to himself; he is permeating every corner of society. Think about it, what aspect of society is satan not interested in collecting for himself? He is producing motion pictures from one corner, editing and reporting world events from another corner, breeding godless students in another corner for future use in government, changing constitutions and instituting new laws in another corner, redefining the ethics of various professions in another corner, even developing curriculums for little children in another corner—he is not too busy for that, nor are the children too innocent to be left out of the onslaught. For him, no corner must be left unoccupied! How come it is at such a time as this, in the midst of this multi-directional invasion of darkness, that the church has found comfort in her corner?

Prophets In A Corner

Like salt, the church in a corner is of no use to a fast decaying society. When the worship of Baal was eating into every fibre of Israel, being advanced by Jezebel and her zealous hordes, God had seven thousand prophets that had not bowed their knees to Baal! But where were they? They were in a corner, satisfied with receiving their regular rations of bread and water. Of what good were they from their corner? It was the prophet who refused to be confined to a corner that eventually brought Baal down. One true prophet in the heart of society is of more terror to the devil than seven thousand prophets in a corner. The devil is not threatened by the church in a corner. As long as we continue to do our Christianity in our church corners and allow society to run its course, our Gospel will be of no impact in society; evil will continue to thrive and darkness will continue to dominate, while we beam and celebrate our lights in our isolated corners.

Out of The Church Corner

This is not the plan of God! Paul said to King Agrippa, These things were not done in a corner. This Gospel was not preached in a corner. The lame were not healed in a corner. The dead were not raised in a corner. The blind did not see in a corner. The crucifixion was not done in a corner. The resurrection did not happen in a corner. The ascension did not happen in a corner. Pentecost did not happen in a corner. The Gospel was not preached in a corner. The apostles were not arrested in a corner. When they were killed, they were not killed in a corner. Those dear Christians took their faith everywhere they went—invited and uninvited, solicited and unsolicited—till they were accused of filling Jerusalem with their doctrine and turning the world upside down (See Acts 5:8 and 17:6).

We cannot continue to operate from the church corner; it is time to take the Church out of church and launch into every corner of society! It is time to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to banks and schools and hospitals and every arm of society. It is time to take the power of God to Wall Street and Broad Street, to the Oval Office and Aso Rock, to Harvard Business School and Lagos Business School, to Yale and UNN, to Chatuchak Market and Oshodi, to Hollywood and Nollywood. Let’s take it out of the church corner to the uttermost ends of the earth.

We have the power of God unto salvation; the Gospel is the only hope of the world, and what we do with it will determine the fate and destiny of planet earth. Let the revolution begin with you; the church is not a building, the church is you. Take your faith, your convictions and your annointing out of the closet to the marketplace. Proclaim what you receive at your quiet time on the rooftops. Leave your corner and claim the world for Jesus.