Editor’s Note: Guest article from David Popovici of FIRE School of Ministry: Chicago
Brethren, can I briefly share some things very dear to my heart?
As always, this short essay is in no way meant to be an apologetic defense or debate; time does not permit, nor do I is this the venue for such an endeavor. If by the Lord’s grace, it becomes a trumpet call to even one saint, that is enough. In one of the most climactic events in our Lords earthly mission, after surveying what His hearers said of Him, He asks His disciples the chief question, “who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). It is safe to say if were to ask 100 people who God is, you might get 90 or even 100 different answers. Nonetheless, Peter responds rightly. In fact, Jesus makes it clear in this gospel passage that there is no way he (Peter) could of come up with it on his own. It came by revelation from the Father.
Revelation, throughout history, has been progressive in regards to the one true God. Faith can only be based on God’s revelation of Himself. From revealing Himself as Creator, the God of “Covenant and Promise” (to Abraham), to the “Great I Am” (to Moses) the scripture builds revelation upon revelation. This is something hidden about God and His plan that comes to light through God’s own initiative in His perfect time. The revelation or appearing of Jesus Christ became the paramount revelation of all. Jesus is the face of God. John Lake, apostle to South Africa said this concerning the three major dispensations of God revealing Himself…
1. Patriarchal-God revealed to man
2. Mosaic-God revealed with man
3. Christ, (and later) Spirit-God revealed in man.
As I heard one man of God once say, “God wants to be known for who He is and not who we have made Him to be”. Jesus said, “if your eye is clear, then your whole body will be full of light.” The truth is that the god of this world, our adversary, deceitfully blinds the minds of unbelievers and seeks to lift up, through our thinking, strongholds that would keep us blind to the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus. One of the main ministries of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus to men. Paul, as well as all the other Biblical writers, was able to pen truth as a result of revelation from the Holy Spirit. The point being is that God seeks to, and loves to reveal Himself. If God were seeking to hide from His creation He would have never have sent His Son, nor followed it up with the sending Holy Spirit, the Divine agent behind revealing truth.
Jesus was and always will be the supreme revelation of God the Father. Remember in Matthew 16, Jesus commends Peter’s revelation and then begins to build upon it by attaching to His Identity as Messiah; the cross. Peter however, aligning himself with the influence of Satan, saw it fitting to correct the Lords Theology. The Lord rebukes him, for setting his mind on things from below-mans interests as opposed to Gods. To think according to the lower order of things was equivalent to Jesus as demonically inspired. All revelation must by definition be attached to Gods ultimate revelation, Christ on the cross. Jews seek for a sign and Greeks for wisdom yet only the cross of Christ can properly reveal Him, as He is. If Christ is the ultimate revelation and the cross was His ultimate mission, it would do us good to make it a life-long point of meditation, pursuit and prayer. As Julian of Norwich said, “give us a burning attraction to thy passion.” These realities cannot be grasped by simply reading the text, or the latest commentary. At best, we only see in part, this must be revealed by the Holy Spirit.
Paul makes it plain in 1Corinthians 1, the cross makes no sense to the logical mind, only to the renewed mind. Jesus came neither as political military leader or religious philosopher. He came as the conqueror of sin and death. The atonement for mans sins as the perfect sacrifice to God. The Chief representative of a Kingdom not of earthly origin; which only the cross could illuminate. The content of the cross is the filter through which everything is revealed from heaven. Heavens highest wisdom and greatest power demonstration is the cross. To quote biblical scholar Gregory Boyd “God flexes His muscle by dying on a Cross”.
God is in no way indebted to men, He does not feel insecure, nor does He need to defend Himself. The cross offends the twin idolatries of the human-race; the desire for power and knowledge/wisdom. He makes it so that only the humble can see. The cross is both the power and wisdom of God to us. It is not foolish or weak per se, only in regards to being understood according to the spirit of this age. This revelation is the ultimate one that all others bow to and get filtered by. Whether a teaching by Paul, Peter, Apollos, or Pentecostals, Baptists, Lutherans, no matter the stream, so to speak, the cross trumps all.
Now for the reality of this stamp of God we must contend. It is not enough to give mental assent. We do not have to choose, the cross is both wisdom and power towards us who believe and anyone else who will place their trust in Jesus. A cross that holds claim to save a man’s soul but cannot set him free from bondage and sin is either has not been truly preached or believed and applied. And the same goes for giving man an eternal hope in the face of persecution and suffering, or healing a man in the pangs of disease and infirmity, or for that matter changing the composition of a man’s life, purpose and meaning. Where instead of wasting his life, he instead gives it to the joys of loving and knowing God and saving souls. Brothers, we must have revelation, and it must lead us to the cross!
Take a listen to this audio compilation by Art Katz on “The Cross.”
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: Abraham, art katz, cross, fire school of ministry: chicago, Guest Writer: David Popovici, power, prayer, the Holy Spirit, trumpet call
“If any man would come after me let him deny himself take up his cross and follow me.”
Christianity is not a religion, it is a revelation that brings transformation. It is the switching of kingdoms. From one rule to another, “out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2.9).” There are only two rules or governments, God’s rule and everything else that is not God’s rule. We leave the management of our own lives and enter into His management of our lives. The good news is that He saves us from our own rule, and everything we deserve from being our own ruler.
Our lives are to be “living sacrifices (Romans 12.1-2).” Leonard Ravenhill said, “the only true freedom is to live in bondage to Jesus Christ.” “You are not your own you have been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6.20;7.23).”
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever places his trust in Him would posses eternal life (John 3.16, my paraphrase).” Faith is the essence of everything in God. Faith is this; the absolute refusing to trust in yourself and the casting of yourself totally upon Him. It is the Cross! Faith and the cross are inseparable. They are synonymous. Why? Because the resignation of yourself is the death, and that total surrender is true saving faith. This faith of death is the ignition of divine life! The gospel isn’t turning bad men into good men, but making dead men come alive (Ephesians 2.1). This is divine life; Christianity is not a change of life but an exchange of life. We become men in whom the Spirit of God dwells. We are no longer human, we are supernatural. We are the new race in the earth (1 Cor. 10.32). The Holy ones consecrated unto God and inhabited by God!
His love has wonderful benefits. “Forget not His benefits, who forgives all our iniquities and heals all of our diseases (Psalm 103.3).” What wonderful effects of Salvation; “Surely our sicknesses He Himself bore…by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53.3-5).” Everything that is not perfect health in your body was put upon Jesus at the cross. “Sickness is to the body is what sin is to the soul. It is already paid for by Christ Himself…every law that applies to salvation applies to healing (John G. Lake).” “God cannot choose not to purchase your healing, He already bought it (Bill Johnson).” He is not questioning, if He will buy your healing for you, He already bought it. It is God’s will to heal everyone, every time at all times. Some of the effects of the atonement are cleansing from sin, power over sin, healing from sickness and power over sickness! The fullness of His love is not just shown to us in the suffering of His death for us as a substitute, but also in the realization of all the effects of that death. He entered into every part of man and reversed the poison of death that Adam’s rebellion had set in motion. The end goal of everything is for us to be just like Jesus. He is “bringing many sons unto glory…(Hebrews 2.10)”. The cross is the only instrument that He uses to fashion us into His image.
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism.
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: bill johnson, cross, healing, image, Jesus, John G. Lake
How did you come to follow Jesus?
It was in 1978. I was a “party-boy”. I made a lot of money and drove an expensive car. One of my employees, who was a follower of Jesus Christ, began to pray for my salvation in secret. I began to think about my wicked lifestyle. I wondered what would happen to me if I should die in my sins. Then, one afternoon while alone in my office, the presence of God entered the room. I fell from my seat to the floor and put my face in the carpet. I screamed out that God might be merciful to me. I surrendered my life completely to him. Everything changed. I lost all desire for sin. I forgot that I smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day. The desire was gone. I had no longer any inclination to sin. I had been born of God.
How would you describe your ministry?
My ministry is to equip the Church to do the work of ministry. To train them to heal the sick through proclamation of the Kingdom of God. And open the eyes of those whose eyes have been blinded by the god of this age. To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among those who have been set apart by faith in Jesus.
What evangelistic efforts are you involved in?
Currently, I am involved in street ministry. Healing ministry outside the church setting, and training believers to do the same. Prison ministry in over 12 prisons. Most of my ministry is done outside the 4 walls of a church building – out where the sinful and sick are.
Below is a video of you dragging a giant wooden cross through the downtown areas of large cities across North America, what was your purpose in doing this?
Few things grab people’s attention like a person carrying a 10 ft cross in Uptown Charlotte. It has a way of stirring curiosity in people and many will come up and ask why I do it. It makes it easy to talk about spiritual things. Whenever a sinner asks me why I’m carrying it, they are not surprised or offended when I talk about God or Jesus Christ or sin or Hell. I have seen many fall on their knees in surrender to God publicly after a few moments of conversation. No one can be neutral when it comes to the cross of Christ. The cross demands a response.
Could you share a story of someone on the street responding to the cross?
There have been so many. One night, when carrying the cross in Uptown Charlotte, a group of young college students approached and asked about the cross. We shared the truth concerning sin, righteousness and the Judgment to come. Conviction came upon them. We then shared with them concerning the cross of Christ and His resurrection from the dead. In a few moments, they all fell on their knees there on the sidewalk, with people walking by, and surrendered themselves to Christ. As we walked a little further, we passed by a bar. A group of young men ran to the window to see the cross. One of them came outside and began to ask questions. After a few minutes, his friends called him back inside, but not before we had a chance to pray with him and to urge him not to sleep until he had unconditionally surrendered himself to the Lord Jesus.
As we were returning to the truck, a young man came running up to us, asking about the cross. We stopped. He was astonished, saying that he had just been on the phone with someone for over 2 hours talking about God. I asked him why he did that. He said he had been searching for the way to God for years, but that something would always distract him. I told him that this time God was distracting him. That his search was over.
After taking him through the Law to awaken his conscience and allow the Holy Spirit to convict him, we talked with him of the sacrifice of God’s Son. This man burst into tears, fell on his knees and began to repent and confess his sinfulness. He was so overcome, he literally forgot where he was. He stayed there on his knees for quite sometime. When he came to himself, he looked up and said, “oh, I forgot where I was!” He then began to rejoice and hugged us several times. He kept pointing to the spot where he had been kneeling as he would say, “I left them right there! I left my sins right there!”
It was a holy moment, and one I will never forget.
What do you want believers to walk away with after watching the video and listening to the testimonies?
I greatly desire that believers will be inspired to a life of radical faith, audacity and daring boldness so that we can all see the glory of God manifested and for His Kingdom to come, and His will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.
How can people take part in these evangelistic efforts?
I can be reached via e-mail for joining me in ministry or support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in Revolution & Justice Tagged with: cross, evangelism, Jesus, Joel Crumpton