1. Admission into membership of Zion Church of Christ.
There are no preconditions for admitting any willing person into the membership of Zion Church of Christ.
There are two ways by which one can become a member of our church,
i. full membership and
ii. Partial Membership, under this condition one is allowed to keep their former religion or denomination either Muslim, or any other forms of Christianity
However for a full membership some steps are needed be taken to ensure a clean break between the old and the new system of life. Our Lord said to Nicodemus in John 3:3-5, “No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit”. There are three vital step: Sanctification, baptism, anointment.
(a) i. Sanctification:
Sanctification is the first rite a prospective member of the Church should undergo. Sanctification in Zion Church of Christ falls into three categories. The first one is for new members to remove their filth and stain of darkness in consonance, with the words of God in Ezekiel 36:25-30, 11:17-20; Exod. 19:10-22; Lev. 10:3. As Adam was driven out of Eden, because of sin, there was also the restoration of the second Adam through Sanctification into new Jerusalem in Christ Jesus.
After sanctification the new member is numbered among the children of promise in the new faith in Christ Jesus. Materials used for sanctification are spirit-in-word, water, and Holy Spirit.
In this first case, the following are needed: and a stick of candle which when lit is symbolic of the spirit of God like tongue of fire which descended on the first apostles to sanctify them on the day of Pentecost – Act. 2:1-4. Following immediately the sanctification of a member is the sanctification of the person’s place of abode. A clean man remains clean if he resides in a clean environment; a clean man in a filthy environment is unclean since man is a product of his environment. Acts 19:18-19 supports the essence of ridding a house of all acts that are not related to the spirit of God whenever one starts a new life in Christ Jesus.
The second category of sanctification practiced in Zion Church of Christ is the purification exercise that a woman undergoes after her monthly period, and after giving birth to a child. This is very important and God does not take it lightly. Lev. 12, Lev. 15:16-18; 15:19-24; 29-30. Many people discountenance it but Christ established it beyond reasonable doubt: Mark 5:25-34. The weight of the impurity was so much felt by Jesus Christ that he could not resist asking who touched him. The Apostles-also warned the Antioch converts to steer clear of ‘blood’ Acts 15:29.
The third category of sanctification is consecration into priesthood as it is explained in Exod. 40:12-15. It should be noted that in Zion Church of Christ, candle is used to replace lamb, goat, sheep prescribed in the scriptures Prov. 20:27.
A prospective member may be presented for the rite of baptism only after he has participated in the worship and adhered to the rules of the church for 12 months Acts 11:26. That length of time is for the person to examine the doctrine and the mode of worship thoroughly before taking the plunge. Baptism therefore is the first rite performed to admit formally a worshiper into full membership of the church after which such a member becomes spiritually equipped and elevated to partake of holy communion and join other members of the church in spiritual works according to the prompting of the holy spirit. Baptism in Zion Church of Christ follows the immersion pattern, the type which Christ our Lord underwent in Jordan through the hand of John the Baptist – Matt. 3:13-17. (Any other Christian who have under-gone this kind of baptism from any other Christian Church do not need to be re-baptized again unless he or she wants to)
A member is not considered ripe for the rite of anointment in Zion Church of Christ until such a person has steadily worshiped in the Church for three years, two years after baptism. Exod. 30:30-33. By the time a member is being presented for anointment, there should be adequate evidence that such a person is a committed Christian worshiping in Zion Church of Christ. Saul otherwise known as the Apostle Paul was for several years referred to as “Brother” until he and Barnabas were formally commissioned to proceed on a missionary journey – Acts 9:17; 13:15.
In consonance with one of the statutes of God to mankind Exod. 23:14, Zion Church of Christ tenet gives prominence to three festivals: Christmas, (the birth of Christ at the end of the year); Easter (Palm Sunday, passion week featuring washing of feet, holy communion: and Christ’s resurrection); and Harvest.
God in his infinite mercy is ever looking for ways of reconciling man to himself. It was on this mission of reconciliation that Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God volunteered to go. Christ took it upon himself, put his glory in heaven aside and came, into the world to save mankind. And when He came, He became the chief priest and king. No wonder the rite of anointment coincides with Christmas festivities and more precisely falls on December 25th every year, the day which is throughout Christendom universally accepted as the day on which Christ was born. For by anointment, in Jesus Christ, a member of Zion Church of Christ is made a priest unto the Lord and a king to reign over the earth. Rev. 5:9-10.
The world Congregation of Zion Church of Christ assembles annually on 24 December at an appointed place as directed by the Lord Himself through our Pastor and founder to celebrate.
It is an event in Zion Church of Christ which every committed member should looks forward to with fervor.
To all members, this is celebrated in remembrance of the Exodus, the time of the deliverance of the Israelite from Egyptian bondage as it is also the time the deliverance of God comes through our Lord Jesus Christ to humanity. Exodus 13:1-4; 34:18. The significance is that the Passion Week marks the time when the only begotten son of God surrendered his life an atonement for the sins of the world. (Jesus Christ is often referred to as the firstborn of the father) Heb. 1:6. The Passion Week (Palm Sunday night to Holy Saturday) is an eventful week for all members, the only week when it is statutory for members to fast. On Palm Sunday, Christendom proclaims the kingship of Jesus Christ. This is otherwise known as the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem Zach. 9:9-10; Lk. 19:32-38; Matt. 21:5-9; Mk. 11:1-10; John 12:12-15.
One of the events – washing of feet takes place on Holy Thursday.
The rite of washing of feet in Zion Church of Christ has a great significance. By the rite, it is believed that the eternal curse Gen. 3:15 on the descendants of Adam is removed, John 13:8. All the signs of the curse should be washed off before one can enter the Kingdom of God.
A full service and administration of Holy Communion follow washing of feet on Holy Thursday evening. Mark 14:22-26; Lk. 22:14-20; 1 Corin. 11:23-32. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are ye if know these things and do them” John 13:17. Again he said, “This do in remembrance of me “Lk. 22:19. It has become statutory in Zion Church of Christ worldwide to administer Holy Communion on quarterly basis – three monthly exercises.
God ordained the feast of harvest. In obeying this statute of God and to enhance the fulfillment of God’s design for his children, all members – children and adults – observe the festival of harvest as it is recorded in Exod. 23:16. There are, year in year out, evidences, and testimonies abound that the observance of this festival brings in its trail the blessing enumerated in Exod. 23:25-30.. To us every member of Zion Church of Christ will bring the names of people they have been able to convert to the new Zion, the City of Peace, where we all believed that Jehovah God is an absolute God of peace.
Worship is given a prime of place in the doctrine of Zion Church of Christ. “Then the Lord said Unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh and tell him, Thus said the Lord God of the Hebrews, let my people go, that they may serve/worship me” Exod. 9:1. It is important to note that what God primarily demands from his people and from generation to generation is “serve/worship the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might.” “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread etc”. Exod. 23:25. The service or worship of God is a strong deciding factor to show who belongs to him and who do not. Malachi 3:14:18. The prime of place given worship in Zion Church of Christ is reflected both in its frequency, mode, and intensity. It is right to say that we observe three-hourly time of prayer 6 a.m., 9am., 12 noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., 12 midnight (psalm 119:164).
Daily – 5.30 am. Morning devotion; 9 p.m. Evening devotion.
Wednesday – 3 pm. – special service for pregnant women
Friday – special service for those seeking the gift of Holy Spirit … 6 p.m. worship.
Sunday 10 am. – Worship.
First Friday of the month – 12 midnight – New Noon Service Ezekiel 46:1-6.
The new moon service is as important as the Sunday worship. It is a service that is loaded with meaningful action of reverence and adoration. The shepherd and the whole congregation in unison lift up their hand (acknowledging the sovereignty of God), then bow down, and finally kneel down with face to the ground, the forehead touching the ground. Nehemiah 8:6. The worship is conducted in absolute lowliness before God. There is no sitting on chairs or benches.
And, at other services, our act of worship is in kneeling with face to the ground touching the ground with our forehead when the bell tolls three times and we chorus in unison, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts” Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8.
For Wednesday 9 am. Special service for barren women, participants would have one candle, one bottle of water, three different types of fruits like pawpaw, orange, mango, banana, coconut etc. After a short service they are placed before the Lord with fruits, bottle of water and the lit candle placed a little distance from the head and covered with alter cloth and sanctified water is sprinkled on them. When each of them wakes up, she takes and eats one type of fruit and the bottle of water.
For Friday 12 noon – 3 p.m. special service for prophets, dreamers and those seeking the power of the holy spirit, participants would have one candle and a bottle of water. After the service, they are placed before the Lord and covered with alter cloth. They take their water when they wake up.
For Friday 3 p.m. Spiritual prenatal clinic for pregnant women, participants would have one candle and a bottle of water. After service and prayer for safe delivery, they are placed before the Lord and covered with altar cloth. They take their water when they wake up.
It will be reasonable and useful to direct our attention to the following aspects relating to our worship:
i. Falling on our faces, worshiping God – Rev. 14:6; II Chron. 20:18; Exod. 34:6-8; Matt. 26:39; Rev. 7:11; Rev. 11:16; 4:10.
ii. Gates of our church open continually – Isaiah 60:11-12; Rev. 7:15.
iii. Altar lamp burns continually – Lev. 24:1-2; Exod. 27:20
iv. Candlestick (seven pronged) – Exod.25:31-37; Heb.9:2 Rev. 1:12; 4:5
v. Table of the Altar – Exod. 25:23; Heb.9:1-3
vi. Communion box – Heb. 9:4
vii. Loins (Girdle) – Acts 12:8; John 13:4-5; Jer. 1:17
viii. White Garment (Only Anointed) – Matt. 28:2-3; Rev. 6:9-11
ix. Garment for worshipers and priests – Exod. 39:22-29.
From the above, it can be concluded that most of our practices which relate to our worship in Zion Church of Christ are dictates from the Lord as seen in the Bible. And John in Rev. 1:1-3 did not mince words that he was given in the revelation in order to show God’s chosen people what must happen very soon. Christ made these things known to John by sending his angel to him and he had told all that he had seen. “Happy are those who obey what is written in this Book”: i.e. the book of Revelation. It is evident that Zion Church of Christ is the fulfillment of the-vision of John in the scene described in Rev. 7:9-17.
4. RELIGIOUS OBLIGATIONS:
Our religious obligations in our church are many and varied. The principal ones which God does not play with are thanks offering, but tithes to us is not compulsory in our Church.
Thanks offering and tithes take a prominent place in our worship in Zion Church of Christ. The significance of these in our life is well explained in Malachi 3:6-12. Doing it is blessings and not doing it is curse. Psalm 100:1-5 relates the message loud and clear. It is the bounding duty of those who are saved to “serve the Lord in gladness” and “come to his presence with singing”. It is appropriate to enter His gates with thanksgiving to acknowledge “that the Lord, He is God; it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves”.
Of equal importance are alms, and freewill offering which is popularly known as collections 1 Corin. 16:1-3. These are sacrifices that are lifted up for blessings. It is from part of those four types of offerings: thanks offering, tithes, alms, and freewill offering called collections that the workers receive their stipend.
In Zion Church of Christ, all the laws given to Moses and the prophets are strictly adhered to. Malachi 4:4; Exod. 20:1-20 Matt. 5:17-20. Since repetition is a fixing device, the mosaic laws and Zion Church of Christ ordinances are brought into announcements every worship day. Our ordinances are categorized for ease of reference viz Food, Drink, Morality, Discipline, and Ritual Cleanliness.
It is forbidden in Zion Church of Christ to eat Pork; Crawling animals like snake, Eating blood is also forbidden Lev. 3:17; Gen. 9:4-5; Deut. 12:15-16; 23-25.
It is forbidden in Zion Church of Christ to take alcohol Lk. 1:15; Number 6:1-4. It is also forbidden to smoke cigarette or snuff tobacco. Gen 9:21, Lev 10 : 8-10, Hosea 4 : 11, Isaiah 5 : 11, 22, Jeremiah 25 :15 -16, 27, Rom 13 : 13 -14, 1Cor 5 :11, 6 : 9 -10, Ephesians 5 :18.
Adultery or fornication in any form is totally forbidden. It is forbidden for a man to hug a woman or stay too close chest to chest to a woman 1 Corin. 7:1-2; Rev. 21:8.
It is forbidden in Zion Church of Christ
For women to leave their head uncovered I Corin. 11:5-6; 10
For men and women to wear transparent dress or use transparent material to sew their Sutana;
For women to mount the pulpit to deliver sermon or lead congregational worships
1 Tim. 2:11-12;
For women to adorn their lips or nails (foot or finger) 1 Peter 3; 1 Tim. 2;
for male and female members to sit side by side in the temple of God;
It is forbidden in Zion Church of Christ
To carry a corpse into the temple of God;
To bury the dead close to the temple;
For women in their monthly period for the first seven days to move near the temple or touch any holy thing
For women after giving birth to children to enter the temple until the time of her purification 40 days after child birth;
To eat anything offered to idols.
6. SOCIAL LIFE
There are a few vital things that can pass for tenets in our marriage and child-christening ceremonies.
The aspect we will like to highlight marriage ceremony is that which shows the union not only of the bride and bridegroom but also of the two families – the families of the bride and that of the bridegroom – consummated under the spirit of God.
The parents of the bride will hold the hand of their daughter and place it in the hands of the parents of the bridegroom giving their daughter not directly to the bridegroom but to the parents of the bridegroom to be adopted as their own daughter. The parents of the bridegroom will then take the hands of both the bride (their daughter-in-law) and the bridegroom (their son) together and give to the elders of the church who then deliver the hands to the officiating minister for solemnization of matrimony. Held within three pillars – the families of the bride, the families of the bridegroom, and the church elders – the wedlock stands a great chance of lasting.
On the eighth day, every child born into a Zion Church is christened. As Jesus Christ himself was Circumcised on the 8th day
For this ceremony the following are needed: seven types of fruits, candles (2 packets), incense, honey, salt, sugar, and water. Seven of the candles, lit, will be in a bowl of water, which will be placed in front of the prophet who carries the child. At the entrance of the temple, the child will be sanctified by the shepherd and the prophet carrying the child with six other members of the congregation will usher the child into the temple dancing. One of the sidemen will carry the bowl in which seven candles are stuck out of which three are lit while another sideman will be burning incense to lead the child into the temple. In the process of the service, the spirit of God will descend on the prophet carrying the child to give the child a name. The name given to our Lord came from an angel before he was conceived Luke 2:21.
After sermon and collection, seven elders of the church, four men and three women, will stand round the child who is carried by the prophet. The name given through the holy spirit will be read out after which water, salt, and honey shall be put into the child’s mouth with words of blessing from the Leader. This is followed by the reading of Deut. 28:1-14 and prayer from the seven elders. When the service is ended after thanksgiving, the congregation will dance round the child, giving him gifts and taking part of the honey, salt, sugar, and fruits.
At the end of the ceremony in the temple, the child is led into the waiting arm of his mother outside the church just as he was led into the temple.