- (Photo: New Birth Missionary Baptist Church via The Christian Post)
Bishop Eddie Long delivered his first Sunday sermon at his Atlanta megachurch since he reached a settlement out of court in the sexual misconduct case.
Congregants at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church welcomed Long with applause and cheers when he took the stage at the 8 a.m. service Sunday.
Just two days prior, the lawsuits brought by four young men alleging Long of coercing them into sexual relationships were officially dismissed "with prejudice" Friday.
Lawyers for both sides have given no details on the settlement other than to confirm that the lawsuits have been resolved.
Long did not address the allegations or the settlement during his address Sunday but his congregation did sing a praise song on "moving forward."
The bishop preached from John 7:38-39, regarding the blood and water that comes from the Lord.
He said the blood is for the forgiveness of sins that comes from Jesus' sacrifice on the cross while the water is the celebration of life.
Many Christians have already accepted the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins but have yet to allow the water that flows through him to also flow in their lives, said Long.
Without water, however, there is no life, the pastor stated.
"There are so many of us that understand the sacrifice of Jesus ...You are saved but yet you are thirsty. You are trying to quench your thirst by stuff other than him," said Long.
"Most of us are saved but ain't living," he continued. "Now we have to accept the life that God has that flows from his belly like rivers of living water."
God has rivers for deliverance, healing, prosperity, hope, provision and relationship if only believers will seek Him.
Long reminded Christians who are thirsty to get a drink of water so that they could be a complete demonstration of the life that God has willed for them.
Life is too short for Christians to simply live saying that they are saved and will go to heaven.
"Life is more than that. He paid for more than that," Long told his church.
"Get a drink, get a drink, get a drink! Don't leave here until you overflow."
The Sunday service today came eight months after the service on Sept. 26 when Long stood before his congregation and told them he was going to "fight" the charges.
The accusers in the case, Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson, were former members of New Birth. They alleged in their lawsuits filed in September that the pastor used his position and lavish gifts to lure them into sexual relationships.
New Birth updated its website Sunday to include the resolution statement on the Eddie Long case:
"After a series of discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry."
"As is usually the case when civil lawsuits resolve out of court, we cannot discuss any details regarding the resolution or the resolution process, as they are confidential."
"The resolution is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel."
The statement was originally released Thursday by Art Franklin, a spokesman for Long and the church.