The debate about cessationism vs. continuism—meaning, whether all the gifts of the Spirit are still in operation today—is not just an abstract theological debate. It is often a matter of life and death, and as I heard some testimonies during a recent ministry trip to Canada, I was reminded of how critically important it is to have the manifest presence of God in our midst.
But before anyone misunderstands me, I’m not talking about specific manifestations, nor am I talking about how we respond outwardly to the Spirit’s presence. I’m talking about people having a life-changing encounter with the living God as He moves in our midst.
The first testimony I heard involved a Jewish man in his late 30s or early 40s. Although his mother, brother and sister were believers in Yeshua, he was totally lost and heavily addicted to drugs. In fact, when he showed up one night at a summer tent meeting in Ontario, he was near death.
The pastor leading the meeting was a graduate of our ministry school, and he deeply values the presence of God and the moving of the Spirit. When he saw this drug-addicted young man, he said to himself, “If he makes it to the end of the week, that will be a miracle.”
The man was gaunt and weak, with death in his eyes, the result of years of heavy drug abuse, and no program had been able to help him. But people were praying for his salvation.
That night, the man encountered the risen Lord in power, and he was instantly delivered from drugs.
Now, more than two years later, he is burning bright with passion for the Lord, and a result of hisdeliverance, his father, the son and grandson of Polish Holocaust survivors, became a believer. In fact, it was his father who shared the story of how the Lord set his son free.
The second testimony was from a young woman about 20 years old, full of joy and glowing with enthusiasm for Jesus.
As a little girl, she witnessed her father having a seizure, and she became so traumatized that from that day on, she suffered from deep depression.
On numerous occasions she tried to take her own life, sometimes accumulating pills with a plan to put an end to her pain, at other times cutting herself as an expression of her torment.
But people were praying for her as well, and one year ago, under that same tent, she encountered the same risen Lord. Her depression vanished instantly, and she has not had another suicidal thought.
That is the power of the gospel! That is the power of the Spirit! And that is why it is so important that we welcome God’s Spirit in our midst, however He wants to move and whenever He wants to move.
Yes, it is absolutely true that we are called to be disciples and make disciples, and that requires day-to-day obedience in big things and little things. It requires ongoing submission to the Word of God and the continual conforming of our character to the image of Jesus by the grace and help of God. It calls for careful and prayerful study of the Word, solid relationships with other believers and a consistent outreach to a dying world.
Without these important foundations, we will not bear lasting fruit for the glory of God.
But this is not the whole picture, and throughout Scripture, we see God coming suddenly and bringing radical, dramatic change, most famously in Acts 2, when the Spirit was poured out on the 120, Peter preached his powerful message, and 3,000 Jews were added to the body in a moment of time. Nothing like that had ever happened before.
Over the course of my years in the Lord, there have been times when a personal breakthrough seemed so difficult, whether it was a besetting sin that seemed so hard to resist or a step of obedience that seemed so impossible to take. And then, during a glorious worship service where the Spirit of Godbegan to move in power or while praying at home alone, the Lord’s presence took hold of me in a profound way, and suddenly that sin was gone or that seemingly impossible step was taken—and it wasn’t hard at all.
At other times, I have witnessed breakthroughs in public gatherings where repentance or healing were suddenly poured out and lives were instantly changed. This is what happens when the presence of God is manifest in our midst.
Moses understood this well, saying to the Lord, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Ex. 33:15-16, NIV).
Yes, we must love one another so the world will see Jesus in us (John 13:35), and yes, it is by our acts of kindness and compassion that people will glorify our Father (Matt. 5:16).
But that is not all. We serve a risen Lord who has ascended to heaven and poured out His Spirit, and He desires to be glorified in our midst by a demonstration of that divine power. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Cor. 4:20).
And that is why, when he brought the gospel to them, he explained, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
Where is the demonstration of the power of God in our midst?
Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesusand host of the nationally syndicated talk radio showThe Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebookor @drmichaellbrownon Twitter.
Pastor John MacArthur has announced a “strange fire” conference to be held this October, claiming that part of the charismatic movement “offers to God unacceptable worship, distorted worship. It blasphemes the Holy Spirit. It attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.”
If these charges are true, this means that many leaders in the charismatic movement have committed the unpardonable sin and are therefore hell-bound. If these charges are not true, Pastor MacArthur has seriously overstepped his bounds and misused the Word of God.
And it is only fair to ask whether Pastor MacArthur, in his rightful zeal to correct excesses or errors in the charismatic movement – what he calls “strange fire” – is also guilty of rejecting the true fire. Does he embrace the glorious things the Holy Spirit is doing worldwide, resulting in the salvation of tens of millions of souls, or does he write them off to emotionalism and deception?
Before addressing these very weighty questions, let me express my deep appreciation for Pastor MacArthur. He has been in high profile ministry for decades without a hint of a sexual or monetary scandal. He has been an unashamed witness for Jesus before the world, he has preached the cross and the blood, he has renounced cheap grace and emphasized the importance of the lordship of the Son of God, and he has been a devoted student of the Scriptures.
In all these ways, if we had more leaders like John MacArthur, the Church and the world would be in much better shape.
At the same time, he has made sweeping, critical statements, often throwing out the baby with the bathwater, not only rejecting the dangerous excesses and extremes in the charismatic movement but also labeling some genuine works of the Spirit as “charismatic chaos.”
The fact is that there has never been a true outpouring of the Spirit that has not been controversial, be it in the ministry of Jesus, at Pentecost in Acts 2, or throughout Church history, right up to our day. Yet all too often, sincere leaders like Pastor MacArthur have failed to discern what God was doing in the midst of the human emotion and response.
One Church historian pointed out that during the Great Awakening in 18th century America, the biggest difference between Jonathan Edwards, the preeminent leader of the awakening, and Charles Chauncey, the foremost critic of the awakening, was that Edwards focused on the wheat while Chauncey focused on the chaff. Has Pastor MacArthur been guilty of doing the same thing when it comes to the charismatic movement?
Without a doubt, there are horrific things being done in the name of Jesus and the Spirit, often on Christian TV for the whole world to see, and this stuff is downright shameful, bringing reproach to the reputation of the Lord. Along with other charismatic leaders, I have renounced these things for decades. But is it the responsibility of every charismatic-Pentecostal pastor and leader to renounce these things all the time?
Pastor MacArthur has called on his Pentecostal brothers and sisters to stand up and speak out against these abuses, joining him at his upcoming conference, but if a pastor is shepherding his flock and feeding them God’s Word, and his people are not guilty of these abuses or watching these TV preachers, why is it his responsibility to address these errors? Does Pastor MacArthur feel the responsibility to monitor the preaching of tens of thousands of non-charismatic pastors across the country and publicly renounce their errors? Why, then, must Pentecostal and charismatic pastors renounce extremes in their movement to somehow prove their orthodoxy?
And which is worse? To preach a carnal prosperity message or to give people false assurance that, once they are saved, no matter how they live, no matter what they do, even if they renounce Jesus, they are still saved? Which message will result in more people being misled and finding themselves in hell?
Pastor MacArthur rightly renounces the carnal prosperity message, yet many non-charismatics who follow him embrace an extremely dangerous version of the once saved, always saved doctrine. Why the double standard here?
Again, I am not for a moment excusing doctrinal errors, emotional manipulation, financial greed, and other spiritual abuses often perpetuated in the name of the Spirit, but it is absolutely outrageous that Pastor MacArthur claims that, “The charismatic movement is largely the reason the Church is in the mess it is today. In virtually every area where Church life is unbiblical you can attribute it to the charismatic movement. In virtually every area, bad theology, superficial worship, ego, prosperity gospel, personality elevation. All of that comes out of the charismatic movement.”
And he is quite wrong when he states that, “Its theology is bad, it is unbiblical, it is bad it is aberrant, it is destructive to people because it promises what it can’t deliver and then God gets blamed when it doesn’t come, it is a very destructive movement.”
In reality, more people have been saved –wonderfully saved – as a result of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement worldwide than through any other movement in Church history (to the tune of perhaps a half-billion souls), as documented recently in Allan Heaton Anderson’s To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity, published by Oxford University Press. And Prof. Craig Keener has provided overwhelming testimony to the reality of God’s miraculous power worldwide today (see his brilliant two-volume study Miracles).
Tragically, rather than recognizing the outpouring of the Spirit worldwide – God’s true fire, falling in abundance in many nations – and focusing on the spiritual deadness that exists in many Spirit-denying churches, Pastor MacArthur has chosen to focus on aberrations and extremes in the charismatic movement, even making the extremely dangerous claims that charismatics are blaspheming the Spirit and attributing “to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.”
To be perfectly clear, I am not for a second claiming that Pastor MacArthur is blaspheming the Spirit – God forbid! – but in the New Testament, blasphemy of the Spirit is to knowingly attribute the works of the Spirit to Satan (Mark 3:23-30), and I am far more concerned about denying the true fire than I am about putting out every aberrant charismatic brush fire.
As I prepare to spend a week teaching the book of Jeremiah to Chinese pastors in Hong Kong, I’ve been reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the Church in America. Regrettably, the list of negatives is longer than the list of positives.
To be clear, though, I’m speaking of the circles in which I travel, meaning evangelical Christian circles, so my observations might not apply to other Christian groups in America.
What are some of the strengths of the American Evangelical Church?
1)We are at the forefront of feeding the poor and providing disaster relief worldwide. From the earthquake in Haiti to the tsunami in Japan, and from orphanages in Latin America to feeding programs in Africa, organizations like World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse are there, making a difference.
2) We are a generous people when it comes to funding gospel work in America and abroad. While we can sometimes be self-indulgent as we build our latest mega-edifice, we are a giving people overall.
3) We have produced an abundance of Christian resources. If you’re looking for the latest translation of the Bible or a book on any aspect of Christian living, and if you’d like to download it to your phone, look no further.
4) We have a positive, can-do mentality. This is part of the American psyche, but it comports well with the biblical message of “All things are possible with God.”
5) Our churches offer many practical programs to help everyone from recovering drug addicts to couples needing marital counseling. To this day, ministries like Teen Challenge, which help people with drug and alcohol addictions, put government organizations to shame in terms of consistent rates of success.
6) We are strongly pro-life and pro-morality. This is especially true compared to Christians in many other nations, who seem oblivious to the evil of abortion and who fail to take moral stands on other issues.
7) We are strongly pro-Israel. Even the Israeli Knesset recognizes that American evangelicals are its best friends in the world, although in recent years, some evangelicals have challenged this consistent support for Israel.
8) We have sent many missionaries to the nations, also providing them with financial support. Beginning in 1812, this has been a great part of our spiritual history, and it has not primarily been for the purpose colonizing foreign peoples or making them into Westerners.
What are some of the weaknesses of the American Evangelical Church?
1)Our Christian expression is often shallow and superficial. It has often been said that American Christianity is 3,000 miles wide and one mile deep.
2) We have been plagued with scandals among our leaders. Hardly a month (or week?) goes by without news of the moral failure of another one of our leaders.
3) We preach a carnal prosperity message. This is not the Protestant work ethic of old; it is the message of, “Jesus died on the cross to make me financially rich.”
4) We export our false teaching around the world. The latest teaching coming from professing evangelicals is that you can practice homosexuality and follow Jesus at the same time, and from our shores, this message is going to the nations.
5) We have created a worldly, cultural Christianity. Rather than preaching a Jesus who radically changes us, we preach a Jesus who radically empowers us. That’s why we have “Christian” lingerie models and “Christian” rappers who frequent strip clubs.
6) We have perfected the gospel enterprise. We have learned how to make everything “Christian” and then market it. Someone once said, “What began as a movement in Jerusalem became a philosophy in Greece, a monument in Rome, a culture in Europe, and an enterprise in America.”
7) We run our churches like businesses. It is one thing to implement good business principles where applicable, but our “corporate Christianity,” especially in our bigger churches, is another thing, and the pastor has become the CEO.
8) We are self-dependent. Who needs God’s help and we can make it happen on our own? If you want a performance, just visit our church on Sunday morning.
9) We are heavily politicized. Rather than being a prophetic witness to the society, calling on political leaders to do the right thing, we have sold our souls to the political system.
10) We have produced super-star preachers. Didn’t Jesus teach that leaders were supposed to be the servants of all?
11) We are exceptionally gullible. Only in America can a TV minister be convicted of various kinds of scams, only to be back on TV racking in the big bucks and selling all kinds of cheap gospel gimmicks. We have confused simple faith with gullibility.
12) Our “pep talk gospel” is hardly the gospel at all. Being positive and encouraging is great, but not when it comes at the expense of leaving out the rest of the message. Put another way, Jesus was not a motivational preacher.
The bad news is that the list of negatives can go on. The good news is that American history has been marked by great awakenings and revivals, and if ever we needed one, it is now.
My suspicion is that the next great awakening will also be quite a rude awakening.
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
How can we turn things around? How can we get out of the deep rut? What is the answer for those who have not grown spiritually for many months and years? What must we do to change?
We must desire God more than anything else. We must seek Him, and cry out to Him, and long for Him. We must make an absolute determination that nothing will separate us from Him. We must be utterly ruthless with ourselves and cut away everything that offends. It is time to put away our idols!
When God told Jacob to return to Bethel and build Him an altar there, Jacob said to his household, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes” (Gen. 35:2). But why were foreign gods there at all?
Jacob had met with God once at Bethel and entered into a covenant with Him there (Gen. 28). But that was a long time ago! The Lord had kept up His part of the agreement; Jacob had let things slip. For years, He had let his family and servants worship foreign gods. He had allowed them to have divided hearts. Now God was ready to visit him again. The idols had to go!
Isn’t that just like us? We have our “Bethel” experiences and powerfully meet with God (like Jacob in Gen. 28). We make a covenant to live for Him and Him alone. And then life goes on. The old habits begin to come back. The flesh starts to rule again. We witness less, pray less, and fast less (we are supposed to be growing!). Our hearts no longer break for the sick and destitute. And then God says, “Go back to Bethel and worship Me there!”
All of a sudden we wake up. We take inventory of our lives and are shocked. We have been living according to the desires of the flesh. We have hardly denied ourselves at all. Jesus is our limited Lord. Sometimes we’re even ashamed of Him.
We look at ourselves and grow sad. We remember how real God was to us. But now our eyes are on others. We work for the praise of man and are paralyzed by the fear of man. We seek to please people more than we seek to please God. Human words influence us more than divine words, and we are satisfied in this world. Our lives have been filled with idols. And God is saying, “It’s time to go back to Bethel. I’m ready to meet with you there.”
How should we respond?
We must fall on our faces and pray. We must make a radical change in our schedules. Shut off the TV and the VCR (television is the number one polluting force among American believers today). Put down the newspaper and the magazines. Cut out the endless hours of phone call chatter. Seek the face of God.
Nothing is more important. Nothing will do you more good. Desire God in prayer. Tell Him your frustration. Confess to Him your sin. Turn to God with your heart. He will turn to you.
The devil says, “It’s too late. Just quit. God will never hear. Maybe He will bless the others, but it’s way too late for you.”
Don’t listen to the devil’s lies! He knows you’re on the right track. He’s making a last ditch attempt to stop you. Spend more time with God! The devil is a thief.
“The world has not yet seen what God can do through a person completely dedicated to Him” (D. L. Moody). There are no secret methods or magical tricks. Fervent prayer is the key. It opens us up to God. It invites Him to work in our lives. It exposes us to His presence. Something has to give.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (Jam. 4:8). That is a promise of the Word. Wherever you are, whatever your condition, prayer can carry you back. Just move in God’s direction. Every day, take a step. Skip some meals and devour the Word. Fast and shut yourself in with Jesus. Call out to Him every hour — morning, noon, and night. Pour out your soul to God! Before you know it, He will change your heart. It is absolutely sure.
“Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth” (Hos. 6:3).
The Spirit is on your side. Jesus intercedes on your behalf. The Father longs to bless you. What can hold you back? Cast discouragement aside; put hopelessness under your feet. Make a determination. Seek the Lord with all of your strength. He will not let you down.
“No matter what your soul may be coveting, if it becomes the supreme cry of your life, not the secondary matter, or the third or fourth, the fifth, or tenth, but the supreme desire of your soul, the paramount issue — all the powers and energies of your spirit, soul and body are reaching out and crying to God for the answer — it is going to come!” (John Lake)
Mothers at home with young children — you can meet with Him there! Keep the Word open all day. Look at it when you pass by. Let your heart cry go up to the throne. He will take notice and hear.
God’s presence is not limited to church buildings! You can experience Him right on your job. He is looking at the longings of your soul. Spiritual hunger is a state of the heart. Let your thoughts be consumed with the Lord.
No one is too busy to seek His face! We have time to worry. We have time to relax. We have time for friends. We have time for God. None of us are too busy to eat, and drink, and sleep. None of us are too busy to pray. And God is not too busy to answer!
“If from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 4:29). He has bound Himself by His Word.
Do God’s will today. Tomorrow never comes. Follow His leading this hour. Forget about falling short. He will guide you one step at a time.
Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up (Jam. 4:10). Depend upon the grace of God. He will deliver, and He will keep. If you seek Him with all your heart, you will never have a regret.
And what happens when you get so hungry that you are determined to see revival come, whatever it takes, whatever the cost, whatever the consequences may be?
Ninety years ago “Daddy” Seymour became desperate for more of God. He had heard from Charles Parham about the baptism in the Spirit, and he was bent on receiving from heaven. He was working as a waiter and pastoring a church. Yet for two and a half years he prayed five hours a day.
“I got to Los Angeles,” he relates, “and there the hunger was not less but more. I prayed, ‘God, what can I do?’ The Spirit said, ‘Pray more. There are better things to be had in spiritual life, but they must be sought out with faith and prayer.’ ‘But Lord, I am praying five hours a day now.’ I increased my hours of prayer to seven, and prayed on for a year and a half more. I prayed to God to give me what Parham preached, the real Holy Ghost and fire and tongues and love and power of God like the apostles had.”
John Lake tells us the end of the story: “God had put such a hunger into that man’s heart that when the fire of God came it glorified him. I do not believe any other man in modern times had a more wonderful deluge of God in his life than God gave that dear fellow, and the glory and power of a real Pentecost swept the world.” It was the Azusa Street outpouring!
Seymour preached to Lake’s congregation of ten thousand people “when the glory and power of God was upon his spirit, and men shook and trembled and cried to God.”
That is what God did through a sold-out vessel. Will you sell out for Him today?
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
(This article was originally written as a chapter from Dr. Brown’s book, The End of the American Gospel Enterprise, which was written in 1989. You can order the book in its entirety at this link: The End of the American Gospel Enterprise)
What is revival? It is God “stepping down from heaven” and baring His holy arm. He comes and acts and speaks. There is a holy presence and a word on fire. God is in the midst of His people. The Lord is shaking the world. That is revival! It is a time of visitation.
If it is confined to one church it is not revival. If it is confined to the meetings themselves it is not revival. If it can all be traced to the efforts of man it is not revival. If it does not ultimately affect the society it is not revival.
When Jesus was on the earth, He explained to His disciples that it was better for Him to go away so that the Holy Spirit could come. Jesus could only be in one place at one time, but the Holy Spirit could be everywhere. Jesus could directly touch only those who heard and saw Him, but the Holy Spirit could directly touch people anywhere at anytime — even if they were resisting and running. He transcends all human agency!
In revival, the Holy Spirit moves deeply and widely, supernaturally and powerfully. He goes into the homes and schools, into the places of business and the places of sin, and He brings the sense of the reality of God. He brings conviction! It is impossible to flee from God during revival.
The words of the Lord in Jeremiah 23 and the words of the psalmist in Psalm 139 are always true, but their reality is fully sensed during times of revival:
“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD. (Jer 23:23-24)Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. (Psa 139:7-12)
During the Welsh Revival, it was commonly reported that men would go into the bars to drink, not wanting to go to their homes, because they knew their wives were praying and the presence of God was there. But they couldn’t escape Him in the bars! As they would take the drink in their hands, an unseen Hand would stop them, and they would run from that place to their homes and get saved.
As the Spirit converted many of the profane, ungodly coal miners, His presence went with them to work, and they would start their days with prayer and worship. It was said that you could feel His presence in the coal mines as much as you could in church!
Once, some visitors were asking for directions to the meetings in one part of Wales. They were told to take the train to such and such a place and get out there. “But how we will know when we are there?” they asked. “You’ll feel it!” was the reply. And they did! After getting out from the train, they asked for further directions. They were told to walk to a certain place and turn there. Again they asked, “But how we will know where to turn?” “You’ll feel it!” was the answer again. And they did!
That holy presence is not geographically limited, as Arthur Wallis documented:Ships as they drew near the American ports [in 1858] came within a definite zone of heavenly influence. Ship after ship arrived with the same tale of sudden conviction and conversion. In one ship a captain and the entire crew of thirty men found Christ out at sea and entered the harbour rejoicing. Revival broke out on the battleship “North Carolina” through four Christian men who had been meeting in the bowels of the ship for prayer. One evening they were filled with the Spirit and burst into song. Ungodly shipmates who came down to mock were gripped by the power of God, and the laugh of the scornful was soon changed into the cry of the penitent. Many were smitten down, and a gracious work broke out that continued night after night, till they had to send ashore for ministers to help, and the battleship became a Bethel.
I heard a story about a man here in the States who had witnessed to his unsaved friend and prayed for him for years. One day, that friend came over to borrow a tool but no one was home. So he went to the tool shed to find what he was looking for when, suddenly, the presence of God overtook him. He was convicted of his sins and broke down, putting his faith in Jesus at that very moment.
When he told his Christian friend what had happened to him he found out there was a simple explanation: That faithful believer had prayed with tears for his salvation for a period of years, making intercession for his soul in that very shed. The Holy Spirit was there!
Now, multiply that picture a thousand times over and spread it across cities, counties, states, and even nations, and you have a glorious picture of revival.
After the night of prayer in the Hebrides when the house literally shook with the presence of the Lord, Duncan Campbell relates that:
The following day when we came to the church we found that the meeting house was already crowded out. A stream of buses had come from the four quarters of the island. Who had told them of the services? I have no way of knowing; God has His own manner of working when men are praying in faith. A butcher’s van brought seven men from a distance of seventeen miles.We gathered in the church, and I spoke for about an hour. The Spirit of God was at work. All over the building men and women were crying for mercy. And on the road outside, I could hear the strong cries of weeping men. I saw both men and women swooning, some falling into trances. Many were crying, “Oh, God, is there mercy for me?”A young man beneath the pulpit prayed, “Oh, God, hell is too good for me.”The seven men who came in the butcher’s van were all gloriously converted that night.In the field of evangelism today, the desperate need is for conviction of sin — conviction that will bring men on their faces before God.
When the service was about to end and the last people were leaving, the young man by the pulpit, himself a new convert, began to pray, and his prayer lasted for 45 minutes. Somehow, word got out that the meetings were to be held all night! People began to return from all over, packing the church. The service lasted until 4:00 AM! But the story doesn’t end there. At 4:00 AM Campbell received a message:
Mr. Campbell, people are gathered at the Police Station, from the other end of the parish. They are in great distress. Can anyone here come along and pray with them?
Who drew them there? Who convicted them? Many of these people had been strongly opposed to the gospel right up to that very day. What was happening? The Spirit was at work! This is a true picture of revival:
We went to the Police Station and I shall never forget the scene that met our eyes. Under a starlit sky, with the moon gazing down upon us — and angels, too, I believe, looking over the battlements of glory — were scores of men and women under deep conviction of sin. On the road, by the cottage side, behind a peat stack, they were crying to God for mercy. Yes, the revival had come!For five weeks this went on. We preached in one church at seven o’clock [in the evening], in another at ten, in a third at twelve, back to the first church at three o’clock [in the morning], then home between five and six, tired, but glad to have found ourselves in the midst of this Heaven-sent movement of the Holy Spirit.
Remarkably, in the first parish where revival hit, Campbell reports that 75% of the converts were born again before they arrived at the meeting place! There was also an amazing revival among the young people. In those days, not a single young person attended any public worship services in any of the churches, but the very first evening — without announcement or advertisement — the awareness of Godin the dance hallat midnight became so great that all the young people left there and crowded into the church! And so the revival continued, spreading in like manner to the neighboring counties.
Why can’t we believe God for similar outpourings in our day? Why cheapen revival by dragging it down to the feeble level of our unbelief-ridden, flesh-dependent expectations? Why not ask God for the real thing? And here’s a good check-point for Pentecostals and Charismatics: With all our emphasis on the power of God and miracles, another sign of revival for us will be true, frequent New Testament healings in our midst. They will not be the exception to the rule but they will be the norm. Such things cannot be fabricated! But as long as our healing ministers reach multiplied millions of sick people through TV, radio, book, tape, and magazine, yet continue to have relatively meager results, we have little to boast about. All the more should we cry out for a real visitation that will not disappoint!
In 1922, when Smith Wigglesworth was ministering in Wellington, New Zealand, he called for a special prayer meeting with a group of eleven leaders. After each of them had prayed, Wigglesworth rose to seek the Lord, and the presence of God began to fill the room. Soon the glory of God became terrible. The light became too bright, the heat too intense. The other men couldn’t take it any longer. Every one of them left the room! Only Wigglesworth could continue in the midst of the Shekinah.
Another minister heard what had happened and determined at the next gathering, no matter how strong the presence of God became, he would stay until the end. Once again the scene repeated itself: Wigglesworth began to pray, the holy presence of God filled the room, and the glory became unbearable. Everyone left, except this one leader. He would not be overcome and driven out by the manifest presence of the Lord. But it was too much. Wigglesworth was caught up in the Spirit, radiant with holy fire, and even the determined minister couldn’t stand the intensity. Soon enough he was gone too!
That is the presence of God that comes with revival. It becomes unbearably intense. Its light breaks through the darkness. Its heat raises the temperature all around! It cannot be localized or confined. By its very nature, it must make an impact on its surroundings, otherwise it is not true revival. And while it will not completely change the world, it will make a radical impact. It will drive sin out!
With this in mind, we can speak quite clearly about “revival” in America today: As long as homosexuals march brazenly down our streets and serve in leading positions in our governments; as long as abortion clinics and pornography theaters thrive; as long as “Christian” young people watch MTV and “Christian” adults watch HBO; as long as the jails have too many prisoners and the mission fields have too few laborers; as long as greed and materialism rule most of the world and much of the church; as long as humanists, new agers, and atheists dominate our college faculties; as long as these things are at the forefront of our society — we are not experiencing revival! Sweeping revival in America would mean upheaval. The holy presence would change the complexion of our nation dramatically.
And what if all of America does not experience revival? Then its powerful impact will be felt in select towns, cities, or states. And even with these limitations, the far reaching effects of revival will be experienced well beyond local church walls. The divine “invasion” — actually, to most Americans, a return to New Testament reality would be as abrupt and shocking as an “invasion” — will cause a shake down and a shake up.
Of course, we praise God for the refreshing that He is now bringing to many of His people. We thank Him for the joy and encouragement. Yet we can roll on the floor and laugh every night until three in the morning, but if the world around us remains unchanged that is not revival.
If the way we live outside the building does not become characterized by holiness and sacrificial love for the Lord and the lost, that is not revival. And if everything that happens in our “revival” meetings comes through the hands of human vessels — without the supernatural visitations outside the church, without the abiding Presence, without the clear evidence that God Himself has “stepped down from heaven” in power — that is not revival.
For many ministers, that’s frustrating. We like to do it ourselves! If revival is truly a heavenly visitation, that means that we can’t manufacture it or produce it. We are utterly dependent on God. But that’s the best place to be! He wants to bring revival more than we want to see it. He wants to bless more than we want to be blessed. He has invested far more into this dying world than we have, and He has far more at stake. What better place to be than at the feet of the Lord in fervent prayer, crying out: “Revive Your people O God!”
And when He comes in power He will not only act. He will speak! Revival is characterized by the Word of God on fire. It is not simply a matter of making time in every service for teaching and preaching. It is not just giving the Word its proper place. We’ve had our fill of lifeless pulpits that “honor the Word,” and many believers today are “taught to death.” No, it is a matter of the Word on fire, a matter of holy unction, a matter of hearing the urgent message of the hour.
The effects of the Welsh Revival at the beginning of this century were far reaching and world wide. Clearly, these were days owned by the Lord. But the revival was not perfect, and many believe that it could have had an even greater and more lasting impact — especially in Wales itself — if there had been a deeper, more consistent ministry of the Word of God.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the fervor of revival, in the excitement of the manifestations, that we forget about something critical: God wants the heart, and through the Word of God, He probes the heart and changes the heart. The excitement will pass and the manifestations will wane. But if the trumpet has been sounded, if the awakening cry has been raised, if the burden of the Lord has been delivered, if the radical call to follow Jesus in a radical way has gone forth — that will determine just how deeply individuals will be changed. The Word is the road map for the revival’s future.
Trivial, non-challenging messages will not lead the way. Those who were nourished by lightweight meals will falter during the hard times. They will find themselves swerving and veering, lacking clear direction. Soon enough, they will rebuild the walls that revival tore down and revert to the habits from which revival delivered them. Within a few years, they will be living on memories and trying to perpetuate those memories through now-dead forms. If only there had been a prophetic, piercing, challenging, truthful proclamation of the Word! If only there had not been so much entertainment and frivolity!
Matthew records that:
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matt 4:23)
Do we know better than Jesus? He gave Himself to teaching and preaching as well as healing — and He taught without compromise. (His words are so disturbing!) He taught with authority. What better time than during true revival to bring the uncompromising, prophetic call? What better time to preach the cross than during times of renewal when Jesus is seen in His glory?
Even in the intensity of the spiritual outpouring in the Book of Acts, the anointed Word was still central:
Every Sabbath [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. . . . So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. (Acts 18:4-5, 11)
Do we know better than Paul?
But someone will say: “Oh, in our current ‘revival’ meetings, there is always time devoted to the Word of God” — especially before the offerings, I might add! But putting that aside, when the Word is preached, what is the substance? One prominent leader has asked some questions about the current preaching emphasis. Does it exalt Jesus? Does it produce a real burden for the lost? Does it present the wrath of God along with the love of God? Does it challenge and convict?
God used Charles Finney mightily in the first half of the nineteenth century. But his words still speak today! His sermons on revival preached in New York City in 1832 were subsequently published asLectures on the Revival of Religion, and these messages have gone around the world in multiple languages. Through the anointed word, the revival lives on. At the turn of this century, Jonathan Goforth, the Canadian missionary to China and Manchuria, began to get reports about the Welsh Revival. At the same time he began reading Finney’s Revival Lectures and he put into practice what he read. A move of God swept the cities where he ministered!
The Great Awakening and the Methodist Revival ended more than 200 years ago. But the messages of Edwards and Wesley still challenge us today. They being dead yet speak. Their words still burn and set our hearts aflame.
Now look for a moment at the compromised worldly church of America. We know almost nothing of the dedication, sacrifice, fervor, or faith lived out daily by our brothers and sisters around the world. We know almost nothing of the gospel of martyrdom. We have little understanding of the cross. What does the Spirit want to say to us? Do we need froth or fire? What is the divine prescription for the sick patient? Do we need surface manifestations or serious movings, frivolity or fervor, glitz or glory? Enough with all the fluff!
We must never forget: Revival is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (not the “Happy Spirit” — although He brings great joy; not the “Hollow Spirit” — in spite of the impression given by some of our empty meetings; and not the “Hollywood Spirit” — in spite of our superstar preachers. He is the Holy Spirit). I have heard Him described as “wild,” “exciting,” and “creative.” But have we forgotten that He is HOLY? His manifest presence is holy and His work is to make us holy. Peter wrote that we
have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood. (1 Pet 1:2)
The Spirit is not a showman; He is a Sanctifier. He may cause us to weep or laugh or stagger or fall. But His goal is holiness. His goal is separation. His goal is to make us like the Son, shining in His glory and radiance.
What is holiness? According to Samuel Logan Brengle, “holiness is pure love.” Holiness is beautiful, not binding, and wonderful, not wearisome. Holiness is being like God — in character and inner nature, in heart and soul. What a blessed state! It is marked by Christlikeness instead of corruption, by divine attributes instead of devilish attitudes, by loyalty instead of lust, by generosity instead of greed, by devotion instead of drunkenness. Holiness is perfect goodness. Holiness is purity of life.
But holiness will not be attained by spiritual excitement alone. It is not an abstract, nebulous “something” existing “somewhere,” no more than God Himself is just an abstract “something” existing “somewhere.” Holiness does not float in and skip out. Holiness means definite, concrete, radical change. It means a whole new way of living. And it is grounded in the Word of God.
Without a clear call to holiness, revival will run amuck. If the standards of the Lord are not clearly lifted up, the people will soon fall down (and I don’t mean in the Spirit). If their experience is not grounded in the Scriptures, they will have the long term stability of a feather blowing in the wind. When the shouting dies down, disappointment will set in. Some will even turn against their initial, transforming experience. Why? It didn’t last. It had no solid foundation!
Revivals have been famous for their revival preachers, and true revival preaching — not emotional ranting and raving or pseudo-spiritual rambling — must become central once again. Otherwise we will quickly lose our bearings. Otherwise we will drift!
There are at least six things the Holy Spirit will commonly do in times of revival: He will sanctify (Heb 9:13-14); convict (John 16:8-11); glorify Jesus (John 16:14); deliver and heal (Acts 10:38); empower (Acts 1:8); and refresh (Acts 3:19). He can do all these things by means of His inner, secret work on our hearts. But just think of how much more effective the working would be if it was coupled with His voice!
The Holy Spirit was upon Jesus to preach the Good News and to liberate the captives (Luke 4:16-18). In fact, it was through His anointed Word that the captives were set free. The Spirit does not contradict the Word, compete with the Word, or confine the Word. He confirms the Word (Heb 2:1-4).
Seven times in Revelation 2-3 Jesus addressed His Church. Seven times John recorded the Lord’s exact words. And all seven times He ended by saying:
He who has an ear, let him hear what theSpirit says to the churches (Rev 2:7, etc.)
Jesus speaks to His people by His Spirit! Are we hearing His voice today? The Spirit speaks His words. During revival, those words thunder forth. The message has not changed; we have changed. We need to get back to the Word! (Of course, most of our churches boast about their faithfulness to the Word, and some are even called “Word” churches — yet there’s a lot more to the Word than what you may hear in some of these places.) We need truly anointed, holy pulpits and truly anointed, holy preachers. This generation is crying for a fresh word from above. As Leonard Ravenhill expressed:
Evangelistic preaching is often a heart massage. Revival preaching is heart surgery. We have had varieties of evangelistic preaching — million dollar gospel crusades, charismatic healing evangelism. It is now time for confrontational preaching of holiness unto the Lord. Evangelism touches the emotions. Revival preaching touches the conscience.
Although the Welsh Revival did not have an emphasis on public preaching or teaching, it began with a message of immediate repentance and instant obedience. That remained as the foundation of the Spirit’s work. The Azusa Street outpouring was known far and wide for its Pentecostal manifestations, and some of its leaders strayed into strange doctrines like British Israelitism. But if you look at the doctrinal statement they drew up you will see something very clearly. It put repentance first, second, third, fourth, and fifth — leading to a holy, Spirit-baptized life.
Has that become passé? Is such a message no longer needed in this hour? Have we advanced beyond repentance and holiness? Has the Lord finally decided to look the other way? Is He choosing to ignore the fact the most of the American “Spirit-filled” (or, as I have said many times before, “Spirit-frilled”) church is hardly distinguishable from the world?
I think back to the fire-baptized preachers of past generations — to the Whitefield’s and Tennent’s, to the Savonarola’s and Fox’s, to the Finney’s and Campbell’s — and I long to see a new breed of no-compromise leaders arise in our day. I think back to their heart-rending messages, their challenging calls to get right with God, their tearful offers of the mercy of the Lord, their fearless proclamation of the cross, their devastating descriptions of the state of the lost and their wonderful promises of the glory to come — and I can only shudder when I compare this to most of our contemporary North American “revival” preaching.
Do the people of God today need a master surgeon or a circus master? Do we need to be provoked or primped? Do we need our leaders to tell us the truth or to tell us a joke?
The world is self-destructing without God. The harvest is more ripe than it has ever been. The need for holy laborers is absolutely pressing. The time to go for it without reserve is now. What are we waiting for?
Implore the Lord of harvest to raise up spokesmen who will bring His prophetic message. Ask Him to bring to the fore those who will “cry out and spare not” (Isa 58). Beseech Him to speak clearly and directly to His people. We cannot afford a shallow revival. We cannot afford a spurious work.
Pray for the Word on fire that will set us on fire so we can go and set the world on fire — for the glory of God. The time is short. The potential is breathtaking. Let’s not miss the opportunity of a lifetime. NOW — not never.
(This selection is an excerpt from Dr. Brown’s book It’s Time for Holy Fire)
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
“…. go into your inner room, close your door and pray….” -Matt. 6.6a
The glory and importance of meeting with God in the secret place has been radically undermined in our day. The powers of darkness know where to concentrate their oppositional forces, and perhaps no area has been more targeted than the area of devotional experience in the lives of the saints. By and large, they have struck their target dead on, for in most places we are not producing men and women of prayer.
Scarcely do we hear the exhortation to the secret place, for scarcely is it found as a necessity for those leading the Church. We cannot teach men to come into that which we have not lived ourselves, and so the litany of ideas emerge which keep us from the kind of life in prayer that Jesus was hoping to encourage.
I have met several times with ministers who have lowered the bar in this area, and for seemingly valid reasons. They say they have learned to pray on the run, or that they’ve developed a more “spontaneous” prayer life. They say that in the thick of true ministry, there is not time for long hours in secret prayer and Scriptural study and meditation.
I always leave their presence with a feeling of grief; not so much a critical attitude toward them, but a sense that our preaching and laboring and serving has become clinical and cold, humanly driven and half-baked, for we are not giving ourselves to the Lord in the place where He has most desired to meet us- the “inner room” of fellowship with Him.
Jesus gives three simple calls to His disciples in the above verse.
1. Go Into Your Inner-Room
While we have the liberty for it, He tells us to take advantage of a place in our homes or in some location where we can present our souls before Him. Have you made a place for this great purpose? We set up rooms for all kinds of specific purposes in our homes. Have we found a place to meet with God?
2. Close Your Door
One of the reasons the people of God rarely make it into the life of prayer is that they seek to establish devotional lives in a religious manner, without real desire or holy intention, and they only find the strength for little spurts of reading and prayer. They lack the faith and hunger for God sufficient enough to inspire them to close the door on life, on people, on food, on errands, on entertainment, and even on ministry to others. But Jesus said we’ve got to “close the door” if ever we wish to enter into the heights of God-filled devotion. Are you closing the door on the world everyday, enough to engage the living God in secret? The powers of darkness will use any means to distract us from this place, and if we haven’t sufficiently “closed the door” they will have their way with us.
Once we have gone into the inner-room, and closed the door, we must have the boldness to enter into prayer without hesitation. We cannot dwell too long on our failures and accomplishments, or get distracted by intellectual studies. The first half of “the Lord’s prayer” is all God-ward, and our needs are touched in the second half, once we have beheld the Lord of glory. We must enter His courts with thanksgiving and worship, conjoining our adoration of Him with the cry for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done. Whether we feel inspired or not, we need to have the faith to open our souls and open our mouths in prayer. As Edward Payson used to say, “pray until you pray.”
We cannot really enter into the depths of prayer until we have prayed. We cannot pray until we have closed the door on the world. We cannot close the door if we haven’t gone into our inner room. It’s the secret life of prayer that lays the foundation for an abiding life in all settings, and this is why Jesus both lived this way, and taught His disciples to do the same.
Oh, friend, He will meet you there. He will open up the Scriptures to you. He will shower you with the waters of holy love, purify your soul with fire from above, still your heart and teach you His glorious ways. Once you have broken through the morass and clutter of life, the secret place will become your favored place, and you will wonder why you had neglected it for lesser company or lesser things. He will reward you with all the glorious fruits of communion with Himself, and your joy will be made full.
Last week, I was sitting in a bright yellow waiting room, waiting for my Ford Taurus to get an oil change. While I was there, a minister that had fallen into sin a few years ago was on television. I couldn’t help but watch, interested to hear his heart. This was the second time I had seen him on TV since his moral failure and every time I have seen him, he states that he has gone through extensive therapy, heavy counseling and has finished the restoration process.
He is still married to his wife and finds himself struggling with thoughts of homosexuality to this day. Concerning his failure he states the classic line, “No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.” Homosexuality is not a mistake. A mistake is when you forget to close the refrigerator door or forget to take out the trash. This was a gradual hardening of the heart that led to such a moral decline. A heart that has no conviction for lusting for a passing stranger is in a bad state, but a heart that enters a continual affair, with a man is a heart that is need of a deeper work of the Spirit, especially because he was a minister of the gospel (James 3.1). The red flag for me was that I never heard him mention the word repentance or the power of God in his life to overcome, or most importantly the blood of Jesus. Nor did he mention taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ or anything about putting off the old man and putting on the new (2 Cor. 10.5;Romans 13.14). Is this horrible mindset alive in other Christians living in America? Is there forgiveness without repentance? Read these words from William Booth’s prophecy one hundred years ago.
“The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, “salvation” without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.”
Notice in the middle, General Booth speaks of, “forgiveness without repentance.” I believe in forgiveness and reconciliation to all no matter what social class or level of wickedness they come from. But there is a difference between what we have seen in this pastor and the repentance seen in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke chapter 15).
For those of us who are not familiar with the parable, there are two sons. The younger of the two said to his father, father, “give me my portion of goods; my inheritance, I am entitled to the money that is to come to me” (paraphrased).
The word of God states that not many days after that, the younger son gathered all his things together, took his journey into a far country and wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all of his substance, there arose a mighty famine in the land and he began to be in want. His situation got so bad that he went and joined himself to a citizen or joined himself to a total stranger of that country; and he was sent into the citizen’s fields to feed pigs.
Here is a young man who was once rich and now is in poverty. On top of that, there rose a mighty famine. Things have gotten so bad that he had to join himself to a citizen of that land. The word, “join“ here means, “to cleave to or to be glued together.” It has the same meaning as when a man joins himself to a woman in marriage.
At this point the young man hits rock bottom longing to fill his stomach with the food that the pigs were eating. In the proceeding verse, it states that the young man starts to come to his senses and he begins to remember his Father and his Father’s house. He asks himself, “Why am I here starving to death?”
I believe a lot of individuals, especially the young, are starving to death, maybe not from a physical hunger but for the Word of the Lord. They are wondering, “Are there any absolutes in life?” There are absolutes in life. It is the word of God.
In the book of Amos, it describes that there will come a day when there will be will be a famine not of food or of thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord. America is at this point.
This young man heard the words of his Father and he didn’t cry out, “Father I have made a mistake” or “nobody is perfect.” He cried out, “I have sinned” and “I have sinned against God.” Not the church. Not his family. But, “I have sinned against heaven and against God.”
Notice the same response from David in Psalm 51, “against You and You only have I sinned.”
At this very point the restoration process began and the young man was restored to his Father’s house and he was clothed in his right mind.
Now, back to the anonymous preacher, not once during the interview did this pastor state that he sinned against God or against heaven. He did not, at all, seem to be concerned about his relationship with Jesus. How do I know that? Well, he didn’t mention Him once. He spoke like a man who was only sorry because he got caught. I know this because; his sorrow didn’t cast him upon the blood of Jesus, but on a “restoration” process. My friend, this is worldly sorrow, which leads to death.
To the individual that is reading this, ask yourself, with a sincere heart, “Have I truly repented of my sins and turned to God?” Do I really know Jesus? Do I really have a relationship with Jesus, not just with a church or a religion? Jesus states that He is the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through Him (John 14.6). Jesus is the door. Now I charge you, to walk through Him, but before you do, make sure you COMPLETELY close the door to your past.
“Repentance must be a change of mind that produces a change of conduct and ends in salvation. Have you forsaken your sins? Or are you still practicing them? If so, you are still a sinner. You may have changed your mind, but if you have not changed your conduct, it is not Godly repentance…False repentance is the sorrow of the world; sorrow for sin arising from worldly considerations and motives connected with the present life.” (Charles Finney, “You Can Be Holy”)
“Jesus doesn’t save you in your sins but from your sins.” (Dr. Michael L. Brown, “How Saved Are We?”)
“You say, “When so and so preached, I got saved.” Well, what are you saved from? Are you saved from lying? Are you saved from cheating? Are you saved from lust? Are you saved from rebellion against your parents? Come on! What are you saved from?” (Leonard Ravenhill, Audio Messages)
Romans 1: 17 – 18 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…
We are living in a remarkable time. Arab states are experiencing revolution; kings of the earth are in turmoil; many ‘rich’ nations are on the edge of a double dip financial crisis; not to mention the recent riots on the streets of cities across the United Kingdom.
One thing the riots revealed here in the UK was a dire issue of generational sin. Ultimately, we cannot blame the State, nor the Government, but we as the Church have the key role to play in stemming sinfulness, that is past on from generation to generation. ‘You are the salt of the earth, the light of the world…’ said Jesus to His followers. Have we forgotten what Christ has invested in His people?
I do not believe in generational ‘curses’, as I do not see them mentioned in Scripture nor are they inferred. But what is clearly portrayed in Scripture (see Exodus 20) is a generational iniquity that comes because men turn toward idols, rather than the living God. In other words, God allows those who turn to idols to be ensnared by the thing they create for their own gain, and its power gets worse generation after generation. What is one man’s vice, can become his son’s bondage, and even become another further generation’s stronghold. This is clearly set forth in the life of Israel, with the sin of Jeroboam and the subsequent evil done by most kings thereafter in generations after. Yet the Bible always ultimately attributes the start of the decline of Israel at the feet of Jeroboam each time a later king falls further into wickedness.
In Romans 1 and 2, Paul conveys his amazing worldview of man, sin, God’s righteousness and wrath, and where we as God’s people fit into this situation. Paul conveys an iniquity that is revealed as God’s wrath to generations that have turned to idols, producing in humankind ‘unnatural desires’ and all kinds of wickedness.
But Romans is far from a hopeless letter of condemnation, with some good doctrine for the Church. We often make Romans out to be a manual on ‘justification by faith’, but not for Paul, nor should it be for us. (Though those precious truths are contained there.) Rather, it is God’s way of setting forth a crisis that has affected the cosmos, the world & its history, and mankind. A crisis that can only be met through a ‘Son of David’, who is also ‘Son of God’. He will come to intervene in this generational iniquity, bring an end to sin and wickedness, and bring many other ‘sons to glory’. This people are described by Paul as ‘obedient to the faith’ and recipients of ‘grace for apostleship’. They are righteous by faith in the living God, who not only covers, but imparts and regenerates by His life in them! We then are created in Him, to do good works, as Ephesians says.
Let me be clear, as Paul is: Believing in justification by faith does not save us. Believing in Jesus the Christ, does save us and makes us righteous in everyway as we submit to Him.
For Paul, this apostolic people, with faith in a perfect and righteous Christ, are to meet the dilemma head on – by seeing a revelation of God’s righteousness through the advent of Jesus, and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus.
In Romans, not only has a physical God-man brought about a violent end to sin on the cross, (Romans 2 – 6) but has also created a new race of Spirit people (Romans 7 & 8), where generational iniquity no longer abounds but His righteousness and grace are revealed through a Jesus-generation of sons. They like their father Abraham, are no longer of idolatrous origins or wickedness, but are ‘sons’ of faith & righteousness.
If this is the remarkable power of the Gospel then why aren’t we proclaiming it? If the world and the generations are in a desperate state, what are we going to do? Jesus was sent as the perfect Son to intervene and destroy the works of the devil. Yet we remain in our ‘churches’ , inviting people to come! Yet Romans 1 is clear: ‘we have received grace for apostleship… for obedience to the faith’. This means we have a reason to ‘go’; a reason to be ‘sent’; a reason to proclaim!
So then, who is responsible for the present wickedness in the land? Well humankind is – yes. But more so, the Church is certainly responsible for the increasing tide of wickedness. As sons of God in Christ, we can intercept this wickedness through the Gospel and its power, and see a generation transformed, renewed and righteous by the Blood and Spirit of Jesus.
Can we see revival for an entire generation? Absolutely, if we become as believing Abraham, and more so like our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ.
Andrew Yeoman, is a resident of Wales. He is Snr. Leader at Swansea Valley Bible Church, and a School of Ministry based in South Wales, UK; he also leads another church plant and the Europe Ablaze Missionary Society. He is the author of “Jesus Ministry,” which is available on Amazon.com.
There is something so special about the burning heart on fire with the words of God. Such a speaking cannot come from any other place than the secret place where a man has chosen to thrust himself into God to be burned away! Let these men call us deeper into the flame. Maybe you are near the fire and you can feel the heat, or maybe you can see the fire from far away. Brother, jump in to the fire by casting your life aside and allow the flames of heaven to eat your life away, so that there remains nothing but God!
Jesus Christ is perfect theology. (Bill Johnson, youtube video, “Bringing Heaven to Earth”)
What is wrong with a Christian who possesses no spirit of prayer? No power with God? He is an infidel. (Charles Finney, “Power from on High” Chapter, the Spirit of Prayer)
The training of the disciples was the presence of Christ. (Andrew Murray, “The Secret of Christianity”)
The Gospel always gives life to the receiver and death to the giver. (Jackie Pulinger, youtube video “Go”)
It is our privilege and duty to live above innocent amusements. (Charles Finney, “Power from on High” chapter Innocent Amusements)
Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. The less joy you have the more entertainment you need. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
The more man reaches for material things on the outside the more he points to his bankruptcy on the inside. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
I would rather feel contrition of heart then be able to define it. (Thomas A. Kempis, “The Imitation of Christ”)
If a commission from an earthly king is considered and honor. How can a commission from a heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? (David Livingston)
The only thing that pleases God is what He does Himself. (Robert Gladstone, audio message “In the Light of Eternity”)
Anti-Christ is not only that which is opposed to Christ, but that which is seeking to be something like Him, yet not Him. (Art Katz, audio message “And they Crucified Him”)
Nothing is more likely to lead to error or heresy than the focus on part rather than the whole. (David Ravenhill, audio message “Worship”)
The idolatrous religions are those that give you a small measure of religious satisfaction yet allow you to retain the Lordship of your own life. (Art Katz, audio message “And They Crucified Him”)
Beloved, for the sake of a lost and dying world, pay any price, get God’s power and set the prisoners free. (John G. Lake, Dr. Michael L. Brown told me that was his favorite quote)
There are a thousand parts of our hearts that need softening a thousand times a day. (Smith Wigglesworth, “The Wigglesworth standard”)
We will get to doctrinal differences once we have exhausted the riches of Jesus Christ. (Frank Viola, audio message “Essential Ingredients”)
Now is the time where we either seize the moment or look back with ever lasting shame that we missed it. (Dr. Michael L. Brown, audio message, “Holy Desperation”)
Can you sit and watch t.v. while your family goes to hell? (David Wilkerson, audio message “A Call to Anguish”)
If God removed His Spirit from the Church today 90 percent of church activities would continue on. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
Why do you call me Lord but do not do what I say? (Jesus Christ, Luke 6.46)
One of these days we will get sick and tired of the spiritual bankruptcy that we live in and the joke that our lives often are and we will get serious with God. (Dr. Michael L. Brown, audio message “John G. Lake” Giants of the Faith series)
Never let the means of worship eclipse the object of worship. (David Ravenhill, audio message “Worship”)
You want to know how to know Christ? Put everything else away and go after Him. (Robert Gladstone, audio message “Crucified with Christ”)
As the earthly tabernacle was the copy of the heavenly so the Christian is to be the copy of the Christ. (David Popovici, text message 11.06.09)
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is determined by one principle alone; total loss of self. (Watchman Nee)
You can go to hell with the “gifts of the Spirit” but not the fruit of the Spirit. (David Popovici, phone conversation 11.10.09)
Never assume someone is right with God. (Stephen L. Hill, Revival 1999)
Christ’s cross is Christ’s way to Christ’s crown. (William Penn, No Cross No Crown)
Anyone who is not bowed down beneath the cross has yet to see it. (Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Eveneing Devotional)
We have substituted organizing for agonizing and equipment for endowment. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
…we should represent religion as it really is-as living above the world, as consisting in a heavenly mind, as that which gives an enjoyment so spiritual and heavenly as to render the low pursuits and joys of worldly men disagreeable and repulsive. (Charles Finney, Power from on High, chapter Innocent Amusements)
It is so hard to see when my eyes are on me. (Keith Green, song “I Pledge My Head to Heaven)
Humility is the blossom of which death to self is the perfect fruit. (Andrew Murray, Humility chapter Humility and Death to Self)
It is a sad stumbling block to the unsaved to see professing Christians seeking pleasure or happiness from this world. (Charles Finney, Power from on High, chapter Innocent Amusements)
Give therefore place for Christ and deny entrance to all others. (Thomas A. Kempis, Imitation of Christ)
We slander God by our very eagerness to work for Him without knowing Him. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
The problem with Christians is not that they don’t love Jesus, it is that they don’t love only Jesus. “Solomon, loved the Lord but…”(Eric Gilmour)
Every seemingly small compromise serves to remove us that much further from the Spirit of Truth until the holy dove departs, and we go on, not even realizing that He has left. (Art Katz, The Spirit of Truth)
The lack of obedience in our lives breaks down our praying…Disobedient living produces extremely poor praying. Disobedience shuts the door of the prayer closet. It bars the way to the Holy of Holies. No man can pray-really pray-who does not obey. (E. M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, Prayer and Full Surrender)
Do not we rest in our day too much on the arm of the flesh? Cannot the same wonders be done now as of old? Do not the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth still to show Himself strong on behalf of those who put their trust in Him? Oh, that God would give me more practical faith in Him! Where is the Lord God of Elijah? He is waiting for Elijah to call on Him. (James Gilmour)
Be sure to look to your secret duty; keep that up whatever you do. The soul cannot prosper in the neglect of it…It is secret trading that enriches the Christian. Let prayer be the key of the morning and the bolt at night. The best way to fight against sin is to fight it on our knees. (Philip Henry)
the unalterable basis of an open heaven is a grave, and a crisis at which you come to an end of your own self-life. It is the crisis of real experimental identification with Christ in His death, not now for your sins, but as you. Your open heaven depends on that. (T. Austin Sparks, “The School of Christ”)
God can depend on consecrated men. God can afford to commit Himself to those who have fully committed themselves to Him in prayer. He who gives all to God will get all from God. Having given all to God, he can claim all that God has for him…The prayer life and the consecrated life are intimate companions. They are Siamese twins, inseparable. Prayer enters into every phase of a consecrated life. A prayerless life that claims consecration is a misnomer, false, counterfeit. Consecration is really the setting apart of oneself to a life of prayer. It means not only to pray, but to pray habitually, and to pray more effectively.
It is the consecrated man who accomplishes most by his praying. God must hear the an wholly given up to Him. God cannot deny the requests of the man who has renounced all claims to himself and who has wholly dedicated himself to God and His service. This act of the consecrated man puts him on praying ground and pleading terms with God. It puts him in reach of God in prayer. It places him where he can get a hold of God, and where he can influence God to do things that He would not otherwise do. (E.M. Bounds, “Essentials of Prayer” chapter Prayer and consecration)
Christianity is not a change of life but an exchange of life.(Eric Gilmour)
Christian, what have you to do with sin? Has it not cost you enough already? Burnt child, will you continue to play with fire? When you have already been between the jaws of the lion, will you step into his den a second time? Have you not had enough of the old serpent? He poisoned you once. Will you play near the hole of the viper and put your hand upon the cobra’s den a second time? Oh do not be so foolish! Did sin ever give you any real pleasure? Did you find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to your old drudgery and wear the chain again. But sin never did give you what it promised to bestow. Rather, it deluded you with lies. Do not be snared again. Be free and let the remembrance of your ancient bondage forbid you to enter the net again. Sin is contrary to the designs of eternal love. God desires your purity and holiness. Do not oppose the purpose of your Lord. Christians can never sin cheaply. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer and brings darkness over the soul. Therefore, do not be the slave of sin. (Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening)
“We know one thing about a man heading down the road with a cross. He is
not coming back.” (A.W. Tozer, The Best of Tozer)
“Sensuality is the greatest hindrance in the world to Martyrdom. To face
martyrdom, a Christian must first have crucified lesser affections. He who
is overcome by little degrees of pain will hardly consent to lose his life.” (Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living)
“God will forgive you but time will never forgive you.” (Leonard Ravenhill)
“We say, “Just confess the Lord and you are in!”
He says, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom.”
We say, “Just pray this prayer and it’s done.”
He says, “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, take up his
cross and follow me.”
We say, “Just come to the alter it will only take a minute!”
He says “make every effort to enter through the narrow door.”
Who do you think is right?” (Doctor Michael Brown, “How Saved Are We?”)
Any “revelation” from Scripture that doesn’t lead me to an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ, only makes me more religious and equips me to argue with those who disagree. (Bill Johnson, audio messages)