Pastor Olukayode Oyedepo is a medical doctor who is completely sold out for Christ. Raised in Christian family of Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C) but sold out as a teenager to a wayward life of smoking Indian hemp and womanizing until Jesus Christ found him at Christ Apostolic Church Students Association (CACAS) chapter of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, and he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ since 20 years ago.
In this blunt interview with Christian Benefits on MY REBIRTH ENCOUNTER, Dr. Oyedepo, also the Resident Pastor of The Miner’s Place, Shomolu, Lagos, shares his salvation experience, his baptism in the Holy Ghost and how he handles and overcomes what he calls the endless sinful tendencies in his 20 years of walking with Jesus Christ. Below are the excepts.
Please, can we meet you sir?
My name is Olukayode Oyedepo. I am a medical doctor by training. I am also the Resident Pastor of The Miner’s Place, which is the Lagos expression of Integrity Worship Centre, Shagamu, Ogun State. I am married. My wife is also a doctor. We are blessed with three children.
Briefly share with us your upbringing, including your rebirth encounter
I was born into the family of Elder & Deaconess Samson Oyedepo; both of them are leaders in Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C). I grew up in that Christian home. I was a good child until I got to boarding school where I turned wayward. I was so bad to the point that in my final year I was part of the set that was de-boarded. My life was going down the drain. I am the first born of two children. I have a younger sister. I eventually met Christ when I got admission into the university to study biochemistry at first and later medicine. It was at Christ Apostolic Church Students Association (CACSA) chapter of the Olabisi Onabanjo University that I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ after I was reminded of the gospel of Christ. This broke my heart and I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus. My salvation experience is about 20 years now. I gave my life to Christ in 2003 and God has been faithful.
How will you describe your walk with the Lord over the years?
My walk with the Lord over the years has been an awesome experience. However, it has not been a smooth journey, not because God is not faithful. I have been the unfaithful one. I am the one who at some points would become consistent. Then I would become inconsistent and inconsistently consistent. Really, I am the one who has not been 100% faithful. But He has been faithful from day one. I always find reason to run back into His arms whenever I go wrong. God has been awesome in my different spiritual experiences, journeys and understanding of the gospel. At a time I was legalistic. Then at a time we went into the extreme of the grace gospel. By the grace of God this helped us to balance things out. But much more than a doctrine is my personal walk and personal experiences with Him when it gets to instruct; when it gets to fellowship. This makes love to my heart and I love Him. It helps me to be a blessing to other people.
Briefly share with us your kind of lifestyle before your salvation encounter
Before my salvation encounter I was a bad guy. By the time I graduated from secondary school I was an Indian hemp smoker and a womanizer. I was everything wrong despite that I was a young man raised in a Christian family. But His grace always pulled me back. I know that even in my waywardness there was this thing (grace) that always pulled me back and told me you are still going to preach the gospel. That conviction had always been strong even though I wasn’t journeying with the Lord. But His faithfulness brought me back home and glory be to God!
Share with us your baptism in the Holy Ghost after giving your life to Christ
I got baptized in the Holy Ghost after my conversion to the faith. I can’t remember the distance time between when I gave my life to Christ and when I got baptized in the Holy Ghost. But I remember I was in a meeting with a particular pastor, who was also like a mentor, Pastor Sijuade Otegbeye, while ministering he laid his hand on me and I started speaking in an unknown tongue; praying in the Holy Ghost. That was the initial one. There have been other ones that I experienced continuous in-filling when you are praying, you are worshiping, you are emitting and the Holy Spirit overwhelms your tongue and you start praying in distinct tongues. But more importantly all of these encounters begin to coalesce into a life of faithfulness towards God and a life of fruitfulness in His kingdom.
How will you describe the joy of salvation when you gave your life to Christ?
The joy of getting saved was overwhelming. I was rapture in that joy! I gave my life to Jesus Christ in a fellowship. By the time I got home for the next one and half hours I was praying. It was like the heavens were opened. I felt the joy welling up in my heart, even till now. Sometimes a bigger expression of it, and sometimes it is not as so expressed. But the joy of the Lord is still there. Every Christian should have this joy of the Lord. The Bible says righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost is the kingdom of God. I know what David meant when he said take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation (Psalm 51:11-12). I know there is joy that comes with being saved. And every Christian experiences it except they suppress it in one way or the other. Every Christian has this joy of the Lord.
Was there any particular sin that you struggled to let go after your rebirth encounter, and how did you eventually overcome this particular sin?
I like the fact that you put this particular question in the past tense. I will say no but there are things I still struggle with. The Bible says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. So, our struggle is endless. The scripture says you have not yet resisted to your bloodshed in your fight or struggle against sin. The tendencies are always there. The biggest struggle for me has always been rage or anger. I struggle with anger over the years. But I can say confidently that the more I walk with the Lord the less I am able to have that outburst of anger. The tendency is still there. And I don’t even think of removing that tendency because that is what makes us humans. But I think in spite of the tendencies Christ empowers us to live contrary. That is what I have seen in my life. As the tendency persists, as long as I fellowship with him, spend time with him and allow him love me the way he wants to, and I love him back I find it quite difficult to give expression to those sinful tendencies. But I know that the struggle still continues. It doesn’t have to be struggle actually. It is actually a victory that I live by daily as I walk with the Lord.
How do you prevent yourself from backsliding, and what are the things a believer should do when he or she backslides?
First thing I will like to say is that a man cannot prevent himself from backsliding. That is the work of the Holy Spirit, and he does it perfectly. It helps us not to sin. In fact, if you are going to sin, you must really want to. You really override the ability of the Holy Spirit to prevent you from sinning for you do live a lifestyle of sinning. So, what are things you should do? You just need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by doing the following:
- Have a personal relationship with God.
- Have an altar of worship where you talk to God and He talks back to you.
- Be as consistent as possible
- Read the Word of God
- Fellowship with the Brethren
- Give yourself to spiritual activities
Like I said, these are not the things that will prevent you. But these are things that will enhance your relationship with the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is the one who can prevent you from backsliding or from living a lifestyle of sin. It is the one who upholds us. It is the one who keeps us. It is the one who assists us until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. But you have responsibilities to play and the responsibilities are those things I highlighted above in cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit. If you do that and you are accountable to the Holy Spirit and to other Christians and you give yourself to the service of the Lord; which is very interesting, you have no interest in other things. The more you serve the Lord the more it becomes difficult for you to live a lifestyle of sin. A lot of times the idle hands like people say, is the devil’s workshop. As long as you are working for Christ it is going to be difficult for you to live a lifestyle of sin, but towards God.
From your experience, what does it mean to be born again?
To be born again means to be recreated in Christ Jesus. It means to become a child of God and been in a vital living relationship with God. It means to be translated from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of the son of His love. It means that this person is now a Christian who has a living and lively relationship with God; and that is established through the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary. That is what it means to be born again.
How does one become born again?
It’s very simple. With the heart we believe unto righteousness and with the mouth we confess unto salvation. To be born again you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and saviour. However, it’s not just confessing Jesus as your Lord and saviour. To get to the point of confession, the gospel has to have been explained or preached to a person. Now, just because Jesus is mentioned in a message does not mean is the gospel. You hear people come and deliver a motivational talk and they say if you want to be successful give your life to Jesus and you see people trooping forward to receive Christ. That is not the gospel. If you responded to such kind of gospel you probably are not saved. I know I may be blunt, but it’s just the truth. You probably are not saved because the terms of the gospel have to be explained to whoever going to receive the gospel. Jesus says who is going to build anything worthwhile that will not first of all sit down, count the cost if he is able to conclude the journey or not. For you to receive the gospel, somebody must first thoroughly explain it to you. Somebody must first tell you, your present state as a sinner, and not necessarily because of what you do, but because of what Adam did, and your future if you continue to live that way is eternal damnation. But you don’t have to be eternally damned. God in His infinite mercy has sent Jesus Christ; and Jesus has died for you. And if you believe him and you are ready to follow him, he will deliver you from your sin; give you a new nature and then empower you to live a new life. That word must be preached; our sinful nature, the finished work of Christ and the dividends of receiving Jesus Christ. All of those things have to be explained to you when the gospel is being preached to such a person. It is only when we receive the gospel of Christ that we can be saved. The Bible says the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. No other means; not a motivational sermon. Paul said we did not come to you with multitude of words or in excellence of speech, but we came in the power of the Lord, declaring the truth of the gospel. The gospel itself is powerful enough. And we preach it people get saved. You don’t need to help it. If you are trying to help it, you are preaching another gospel that eventually does not make people receive the true gospel. That is how to be saved.
What are the evidences that show that someone is born again or saved?
We have already talked about the joy of salvation. Another thing is that there is an ongoing consecration that must happen. One of the things you see in a genuinely converted person is that he starts yearning for righteous living. It is always in every Christian. It’s nothing mechanic. It’s a spiritual thing. When you see a man, who have received the gospel of Christ; received the life of Christ, there is this yearning on his side for righteous living. That is the work of consecration that the Holy Spirit has started. Even when he messes up, he wants to stand up and get cleansed and keep moving. That is the biggest evidence that a man had received Christ. He just wants to live right and do right and passionate about the things of the kingdom. (Continues).