“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Gal. 2.20
The real fruit of the Gospel in a man’s life has nothing to do with what title he bears religiously, what reputation he has maintained among colleagues, or how successful he has been ministerially speaking. A man may receive accolades from saint and sinner, he may have a great following, and he may be recognized as a great spiritual leader, but this is not the sure evidence of grace on his life.
The only proof of the validity of a man’s faith is that great foundational declaration of Paul:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me….”
Have I really been crucified with Christ? Can I say with Paul that I no longer live? Can I walk through the slopes and valleys and storms of this life with a burning consciousness that Christ lives in me?
There is an awful lot of boasting in the Church, but it is all too rare for us to find fellowship with those who “no longer live,” and in whom the Life of Christ Himself is being demonstrated. There is too much preaching that is devoid of the resonance of Christ’s life, too much ministry being carried out with mere machinery and sweat, too much religious performance by saints who know how to smile in a meeting, but who lack the kindness and purity and humility of God in the realm of day-to-day life.
Could it be that we are seeing the ill-formed fruit of too many years of un-apostolic preaching? Philip the evangelist preached Christ Himself. Paul preached Christ, and him crucified. There is no higher form of preaching than preaching Jesus Himself. True preaching calls us to lay down our own lives, and to receive the Life of the Lamb Who was slain. If we are not hearing of the glory of this Man from our preachers, our foundations are themselves faulty and dubious. Years ago, in a letter to a friend, Leonard Ravenhill wrote:
I find many evangelists are getting concerned about the lack of permanence in the so-called conversions of people they minister to in their meetings. The fact is that most preachers preach only a half gospel. All they preach is forgiveness, but a man needs more than forgiveness. He needs regeneration and his conscience purged by the blood of Christ from dead works to serve the living God. A man is not a Christian until God takes up residence in him.
A miracle must take place. We should quit asking people if they are saved. Everyone thinks somehow they are saved. Why not look them in the eye and say, “Does Christ live in you?” If Christ is not in a person, they are not born again.
(In Light of Eternity: The Life of Leonard Ravenhill, Free Grace Press; 2010, p. 356)
May the Lord raise up a host of men with the fire of God in their souls, and a revelation of Christ in their hearts, to set forth the glory of Jesus Christ, to call men back to the cross, and to preach again the everlasting Gospel as a piercing Light in the darkest places. That the Lamb Who was slain would receive the reward of His suffering ….
You know one thing about a man carrying a cross outside the city…. He’s not coming back. -A.W. Tozer
Bryan Purtle is an author that carries a jealousy for historical revival, the salvation of Israel, and the recovery of apostolic proclamation and living through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Visit his website at thoughtsuponrising.com.
Posted in Featured Articles, The Kingdom of God Tagged with: A.W. Tozer, apostolic preaching, Bryan Purtle, conversion, evangelist, Jesus Christ, Leonard Ravenhill, religious performance, the Gospel
Meetings in Kansas City at the International House of Prayer that have been happening since November ’09, known as the IHOPU Student Awakening, have resulted in the baptism of over one thousand people that had either just been converted to Christ or not yet been baptized, since they began the meetings in November. According to an IHOP leader (quoted from the March 27th meeting):
From the time that we started in November until now, we have baptized 1,259 people.
You can watch the meetings live, and view past webcasts and testimonies, by clicking here.
Meanwhile, at meetings of the likes we can barely fathom in America, over half a million people gave their life to Jesus over the course of just a few days in Nigeria! According to Evangelist Daniel Kolenda:
Just a few days ago we held a mass Gospel Campaign in the city of Numan, Nigeria. Over the course of 5 days more than 800,000 people attended the meetings and 557,860 decisions cards were registered from those professing their newfound faith in Christ.
What does a meeting like that look like? Below is a picture from Day 3 of the CFAN Crusade:
God is on the move in Kansas City, Nigeria, and around the globe!
Posted in News, The Kingdom of God Tagged with: baptism, CFAN, conversion, Daniel Kolenda, evangelism, ihop, Jesus, kansas city, nigeria
From Lou Engle of TheCall:
Rifqa Bary’s Update for October 13th 2009: Please Pray
Many of you have already heard of Rifqa Bary, the 17 year old young lady, who’s life has been threatened by her Muslim father because she has confessed Christ. Because of the death threats she fled and sought refuge in a Christian home in Florida. Tomorrow her court case will be heard again determining whether or not she will be extradited back to Ohio where her parents live. Rifqa is a precious and passionate lover of Jesus who is boldly proclaiming Christ. She is depending on her Christian family nationwide to fight in prayer for her life and for her testimony. If she is sent home a likely scenario would be that her Muslim family would return with her to their native country, Sri Lanka. It is there that there would be no restraints as to what could be done with her life.
Let Us Pray
Tomorrow, would you fast and pray for our little sister? Pray that the Gospel through her life and this present situation would explode all over the nation through the media. Pray that many Muslims would come to Christ. Pray that the spirit behind her parents radical lawyer would be restrained. Pray for the favor of Jesus to be over her. Rifqa could be like Esther and her case a flashpoint to expose darkness and release light and truth. Let us be a Mordecai to her.
Consumed by the Call,
Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: conversion, Florida, Islam, Jesus, Lou Engle, Muslims, Ohio, prayer, rifqa bary, Sri Lanka