The Rt Revd James Olusola Odedeji installed Venerable and Mrs Abel Ajibodu as the 4th Dean of the Cathedral on Sunday February 2, 2014 at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos at a 10am Holy Communion Service. He preached the sermon at this maiden institution, induction and installation of Dean in his Episcopacy. The auditorium was crowded with worshippers, well wishers and families of the new Dean and newly installed six Canons of the Cathedral. There were 14 Bishops including the Archbishop of Lagos, the Most Revd Prof Adebayo Akinde in attendance.
“The AVMCC people also need the Gospel preached raw to them” says Bishop Odedeji in his sermon while charging the new Dean and that he should not be carried away by the wealth of the parishioners of the Cathedral such that he would now begin to modernised his sermon.
He encouraged the Dean that if God is backing anyone, no one can put his back down on the ground and that God would be expecting much from him to make difference in the life of the people. He must not waste the opportunity given to him by God and he was not the one that appointed him but God. So he must first be loyal to God because he is just an instrument of appointment.
Bishop Odedeji then highlighted the following from 2 Timothy 4:5
1. Watch in all things: The Bishop asked him to be calm, stay connected and be careful for every unguarded hour because the devil is roaring around looking for him to devour.
2. Endure affliction – Suffering is part of the package to the believers. He warned him to be careful because anointing attracts problems.
3. Do the Work of an Evangelist – It is possible to be a Bishop, Dean or Priest without doing the work of an evangelist. AVMCC people also need the Gospel. They might be rich but they need the gospel.
4. You must fulfil your Ministry – He quoted from Colossians 4:17 and encouraged him to do his best because God rewarded faithfulness. He further said that ministry was his life and his personal to him.
The Bishop of Lagos West further stressed the vitality of watching and prayer from the Gospel of Mark 14:38 especially of dangers. Most leaders started well but ended poorly because they are distracted and they become pieces of paper so the need for watching daily. He highlighted three things he must beware of.
1. Beware of People – He should beware of the wickedness of the holy men. That God that had called him must be the priority in his life. He must love all but trust few.
2. Beware of Lust – He must run from lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life according to Book of Proverbs 6:16 and 1 John 2:15-17. A proud priest cannot go far and that for you to get to the top, you need the goodwill of those at the top. As the Vicar of the largest Church in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), he needs to be humble.
3. Beware of 3W (i.e. three W) –
(a) Wealth - Integrity without charisma is catastrophic. He is not to seek after wealth but fulfilling the purpose of God.
(b) Wine – Avoid alcohol and beers.
(c) Women – Beware of bottom power. Most ladies that want that to sleep with pastors are not normal ladies. So he must beware of them as they will come to him.
Bishop Odedeji ended with prayers for him to be successful and that from here he will move higher in the ministry.
The Revd Oluwole Ibikunle
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