Concerning a division between the living Word as Christ and the written Word
Concerning the division between the living word as Christ and the written word of scripture, I know there is no real basis to present an argument from the scriptures. For the scriptures are not the sole basis in your mind, but a ground to a greater phenomenon, namely, an individual speaking likened unto the hearing of the saints of old (Hebrews 1:1).
It is impossible to explain this point. As the trinity is impossible to explain, it must simply be believed.
The scriptures are simply the things written or recorded that have been spoken by a living God. As you know, they can never be placed in the same category as thoughts coming from a man’s mind, no matter how extravagant (Isaiah 55:8)? God is living and His speaking lives just the same. For His speaking is not only an extension of His own heart but a revelation of His unchanging character, for as He wrought, He wrote and this for the sake of the end of the ages (1 Cor. 6:11). These “writings” He holds in esteem as high as His own reputation and name (Psalm 138:2). For instance, if He holds all things together by the power of his word (Heb. 1:3) than the same “Let there be light…” causes the light to rise every morning. This is the power of His word, placing the recording of the same in a category all by itself, being the only thing that is living/creative (Heb. 4:12). These things written are the breath of God, recorded, having the same life giving effects as it always has. God breathed into man to make him alive (Genesis 2:7). He spoke to the dry bones in the valley in order to bring life into them (Ezekiel 37:5). In the same way, nothing has been made apart from God’s speaking (Genesis 1; John 1:3; Psalm 33:9). The same is Christ. He is the very intent of God’s heart, revealing the actual character of God (Hebrews 1:3). Having always been with God (John 1:1,2), He is wisdom, understanding and knowledge (1 Cor. 1:30;Proverbs 2:6;8:22-32). He is the spoken word of God in human flesh (John 1:14). This is why the Scriptures are perfect, even after He has been revealed and penned out (Psalm 12:6,7;139:140;Proverbs 30:5).
I know what your thinking, how can Jesus be the story of Ruth, Ester or the Lamentations of Jeremiah?
They are words/stories/counsel/correction/psalms/letters (Luke 24:25-27;1 Cor. 10:6,11;Romans 15:4, God perfectly (Psalm 18:30) knit together to reveal the facets of Himself having breathed by His Spirit (1 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16), Christ (The Word), the only revealer of God (John 14:9). The only thing able to bring us unto maturity (James 1:21;2 Timothy 3:16; 1Cor 3:2; Hebrews 5:12). He has preserved His words as promised (Matt. 5:18;Psalm 12:7;Mark 13:31;Matt. 24:35). This He has done without special effort because, the words written are Christ and Christ is unquenchable and indestructible (Isaiah 40:8). It is imperative that a man’s faith is based upon that which God has spoken, His word, for anything else would be a pseudo faith. Faith comes no other way (Romana10:17). Special phenomenon have no weight next to the words of God, for it believed alone can produce faith to please God (Heb 4:2; 11:6;Luke 16:31).
You have got to see this! His word alone is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). His word alone is water for washing (Ephesians 5:26). Only if a man sees this can he truly say, “your word is like honey to my lips” (Psalm 119:103). His word is none other than He Himself. The intent of God’s heart, spoken by His Spirit, revealed through letters forming words, sentences, paragraphs, books, God’s complete revelation to man, JESUS (John 6:63). How can the Christ be words? Simple, He just is. There is nothing else that God has set His seal on. Not personal interpretations, or holy speakings…nothing else has God backed (2 Peter 1:20-21;Ephesians 2:20;3:5;2 Peter 3:2).
I know another point you are going to bring up…”Ye search the scriptures…” (John 5:39).
The Pharisees motives were called out by Christ several times (Matt 23). And just as a hunter can search for deer all day and come back empty handed, so were they in their selfish pursuit of the letter alone and not the Spirit (2 Cor 3:6). They simply would not believe that which would have transformed them, just as the Children of Israel mixed not the word of God with faith and fell in the desert. They, as a whole, hated Him (Luke 20:15). Just as Jesus is no use to you unless you apply Him, the blood in Exodus 12 was no use unless you applied it, the word of God is powerless to transform and quicken unto life if it is not mixed with faith.
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com
“Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”
Turning in the core of my heart is a fire, not a fire for “power” or “passion,” but for the restoration of internal poverty in the Christian life. I extend to you the case of internal poverty; without which a man is locked away in the cell of self. He is chained in the irons of worth. He is fixed progressing in the wrong direction. As Dietrich Bonheoffer said, “if you board the wrong train, it makes no sense to sprint down the corridor in the right direction.” Internal poverty is the dethroning of self that clears the throne of our lives for the King to have His rightful place. Have you wondered why the Kingdom is given to the poor? The rule of God, the King’s domain and the power of Kingdom life is ignited by poverty alone. The spiritual man is bound to internal poverty. He has fastened himself to poverty by his own will, having learned its attractiveness to God. He is gripped by the total freedom of bondage to Jesus Christ. Without internal poverty a man rejects such binding, attractiveness and consequently forfeits true liberty.
Poverty is greater than power. A man may posses miracles and healing, yet be disconnected from the disposition that draws God’s heart to Him; “I am poor and needy (Psalm 86.1;40.17;70.5;109.22).” The poor man understands that he doesn’t have what he most severely needs and without aid from the outside he will most definitely perish. Are you as poor today, as that day you first called upon His name to save you from your sins?
Poverty is greater than prayer. A man may pray hours upon hours and yet posses not that quality that bestows Grace on his being. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5).” Once, two men came to the same place to pray. Oh how two individuals can perform the same actions from widely different motives! One man came to boast of his right living and the other to cry out for mercy (Luke 18.13). Hearts are seen by the King (1 Samuel 16.7;Prov. 16.2). Internal poverty is His delight.
Poverty is greater than passion. A man may impress many in the assembly with volume and fervor, yet be inwardly bankrupt, because he finds great value in himself. He far removed from the riches of the Kingdom being bestowed in his soul through poverty alone. For the Kingdom is the possession of the poor. Francis De Sales said, “Nothing can so effectually humble us as the consideration of what He has done for us and what we have done against Him.” Oh brothers, poverty is that for which their exists no substitute.
Poverty is that ingredient without which there exists no potential for rise in God. Poverty is the daily and constant reaching for mercy by revelation of our inability and nothingness without His presence. Poverty is united with dependency. We are never exempt from poverty’s dependency. As David Ravenhill Said, “we never graduate from dependency.”
Lust we for GLORY? “That faculty of the soul that pants for glory is implanted of God (R. Govet).” Have you an inward burning attraction to be absorbed up into your God? Poverty is the only route, dependency the only way and humility the only foundation. For this trinity there exists no substitute. Poverty is the recognition of our wicked state without God’s presence, which thrusts us into dependency on His presence and manifests itself in humble hearts and lives. David Popovici said to me on the phone the other day, “the day we wake up without a casting of ourselves upon His mercy, we are finished.” I would add, the moment that we cease to cast ourselves upon His mercy we are finished. Temptation is a reminder of what we are apart from His presence in our lives. How many times have we all failed in some way and disappointed ourselves and God? After 14 years of following JESUS, I see more than ever, that every failure in my life was first a failure to depend upon Him.
As the rain rests upon the ground after the storm, it yearns to return back to the high place from which it has fallen. It can only long for such a return, till the sun shines down upon its humble state causing it to rise again through evaporation into its desired residence. So we as men, have fallen from a height of glory. “For all…fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23).” We all, as redeemed men, long to live in the heights from which we have fallen. Man is burning internally for Glory to be restored. I submit to you today, that without internal poverty there is no identification with the positional restored glory now and no promise of its fullness in the age to come. And most certainly, there is no connection with its transforming reality in our daily life. For His humble dying must be met by the sinner humbling himself to ever produce a humble life.
Cerebral arguments and superstar – superhero preaching all stem from a lack of poverty. Poverty alone ensures the Glory to God. A value in ourselves robs Him. He takes the beggar from the dunghill. Not the prince from the palace or the theologian from the seminary. All we see as holy acts and ways in men are empty without poverty as its heart beat.
I am well aware of the fact that I as one man do not posses a full picture of God and my heart is longing for the church to take her fullness again. And though there are many camps that have different emphasis in God, in receiving as much as I can from each camp, I believe that arrogance is heightened when a man claims now that which God has set for the future. There is no fullness now. There exists no sinless perfection now. There is no full seeing now. Just as much as there exists no reigning King JESUS in Jerusalem now. And anyone who wishes to preach “fullness now” or boasts in their intellectualism is missing the heart of a risen life, namely, poverty. Anyone finding the slightest satisfaction or interest in the failures and judgment of others knows nothing of poverty. For the value of themselves has blinded them to nakedness of their own soul.
We do not posses independently anything of value and that which we do posses in Him is a deposit of a fullness to come. And that which is possessed is penetrated into us by humility alone. “Beloved, if you have ever seen yourself, you will know that you are never going to be anything other than what you were (Paris R.).” Paul the apostle, who was closer than anyone alive today to a fullness of the image of Christ released in a human life said, “…as for me and my flesh there is no good thing (Romans 7).” He understood His nothingness as God’s power. Seeing strength perfected in weakness. Seeing a treasure in an earthen vessel, so that, the greatness of God’s power would be of Himself and not from us (2 Cor 4). This is in no way an advocating of sin, but rather, the way to true holiness of heart. Poverty blesses man with the riches of God’s grace that makes men truly holy from the inside out. For in the poor soul alone does the Holy Spirit find a resting place. The otherwise man is occupying the whole of the throne himself.
Listen, I fear that educated Christians in America like us will educate ourselves out of poverty and into a delusion of “fullness now,” intellectual know-it-all-ness and deceive ourselves into a mindset that is far from the current divine situation concerning God, man, mercy, power and redemption. Our power is not found in the cerebral realm. It is found in death. It is not found in a new vision of ourselves or in a puffed up identity that changes the way we carry ourselves. It is found in His mercy. It is His mercy that works everyday in us; His mercy that quickens us back to life from the death of truly understanding that we cannot ever in own ourselves please Him or move toward Him. If we know anything, let it be our continual sins forgiven and our personal poverty coming face to face with His boundless love and His timeless mercy, restoring and keeping us in the power of His presence.
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, Paul is thanking God for the Church’s “labor of love, works of faith and steadfastness of hope…in the presence of God.” The presence of God is the ground for faith that works, love that labors and hope that is steadfast. I can’t help but see it as a scene from an old UFO movie where the powerful UFO activates and charges all the power tools, lights, cars and everything electric as it flies over the old Farmer’s house in the middle of Nebraska fields. That is the activation of the presence of God. As He draws near, our love, which was otherwise frozen, comes alive. Our faith, which was otherwise dead, is working and our hope, which was otherwise forgotten, is realized. Internal poverty is the landing pad for the kingdom, which is to say the King. Dependency sustains the kingdoms rule in which a humble character is the inevitable product. And such a way to such a presence is the activation of a Christ like life. Poverty gives the kingdom, humility receives exaltation and dependency bears forth fruit which glorifies the Father.
Finally, I encourage a meditation upon Luke chapter 21 vs 1-4. This simple, yet moving, short story reveals the severity of poverty like none other. Without poverty there is no totality. Without poverty there is only partiality. The reason that most Christians in the West do not give all that they are over to God is due to the missing element of poverty of soul. The reason why most Christians in the West give partially to God is because they give out of their surplus. God return us to the poverty that brings totality and save us from giving to you partially!
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com
Editor’s Note: Guest article from David Popovici of FIRE School of Ministry: Chicago
Weakness and power are not only representative of the Gospel but also of those changed and commissioned by it. This Gospel is the main vehicle through which God chose to and continues to make Himself known to the world. The Gospel is more that just proclaiming historical facts pointing to the one time event of the Cross. It certainly and by necessity includes this content, yet so much more! It is the reality of everything that took place in that moment and continues to as a result. It is everything that it points to and everything that it re-appraises in its light. It is an encounter with the risen Lord (1Corinthians 15:1-8). The “appearing” or witness of the Gospel is what is attributed to the majority (by a landslide) of all conversions taking place outside of the western world. A world in which it is not common to find the cheap substitutes that believers often hide behind here in the west. Whether that be creature comforts, obsession with the “who’s who” of entertainment, or a cheaply held belief in the catalogue of denominational doctrines that have changed very little of your life, and even less of the lives of your neighbors.
Devils are not accused in the James’ epistle of not believing what is true about God, but for not coming into alignment with it through loving obedience. That would probably explain why the temptation remains to either steer clear of truth, (who by the way is the person of Christ) or adopt a version of it that can be attained by our own clever ideas. This Gospel, weak by worldly standards, will not cater to any man’s self-centered ideas. In fact, it is not an issue that is up for debate. It is a proclamation! God is not going “door to door” apologizing that His demand to respond to mercy can seem harsh and offensive at times.
Let me briefly comment on a few thoughts from this passage. May your hearts be encouraged by both coming into revelation knowledge of what is already true about you in Christ challenging you to walk it out by His grace and power.
“And when I came to you,” a gospel that does not presently come to others in fact falls short of its title.
“I did not come to you with superiority of speech or of wisdom proclaiming to you the testimony of God” though the gospel certainly entails intelligible content, it most certainly should not be emphasized through persuasive arguments or human reasoning.
“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” a man of weakness bearing a message of weakness should be characterized by the fact that he does not find his heart’s fascination in things below, but is himself characterized by the person and message of the Cross.
“I was with you in weakness” weakness denotes dependency. The messenger himself is evidence of his message. He may appear foolish or non-powerful in accordance with the spirit of this age, yet bears a mark that is in fact wisdom, power and life to those transformed by Christ. God’s power is most clearly manifested in our dependency, often as a result of pressure and trial.
“And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” demonstration, not explanation. And I am not saying that the Gospel does not include explanation. The Gospel transforms both within and as a result, without.
“So that your faith would not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” here is where he brings it home. Paul a wise master builders methodically discharges his ministry in the proclamation of a “weak” Gospel with this in view; that men’s convictions about life and God would not be built upon the sand of human ingenuity or self-serving appeals, but in the very reality of God.
If I can convince someone into Christ, somebody can come along and just as well convince him into something else with a better pitch than I had. But if God confronts a man through and by the Gospel, to both reveal God’s hatred for sin and love for the sinner and His victory of death. If a man can be brought face to face with LIFE by first seeing Christ’s death and his own sin, and receive a new nature, an altogether different existence. If he can see God’s life transforming, sin-destroying, disease-healing, deliverance at work in himself. Then he can properly give glory to God. For the only thing that glorifies God is what only He Himself can produce, and the Gospel is the crème de le crème from He who is Divine. “Weakness”, you gotta love it ☺.
Editor’s Note: Guest article from David Popovici of FIRE School of Ministry: Chicago.
“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ”.
After a recent ministry trip to the Middle East, I came back both encouraged and stirred with an urgent sobriety. I was encouraged by what God is doing in the region; there is a lot more happening on the ground than what your local news channel is broadcasting, you can be assured of that. As a matter of fact, God has His own “news” channel, namely the born-again, Spirit-filled believers that are both living out and propagating His gospel in the midst of an unfriendly world. I am excited by the fact that, in spite of the coming persecution and the tribulation, the world has not yet seen, nor can it even conceive what God has in store in these last days. To quote Mike Bickle “In the last days God is going to pour upon His Church both the miracles of the Exodus and the book of Acts.” Not just healings and miracles backing the message but even nature-defying acts that will distinguish us from all others, just as He did for the nation of Israel during their liberation. This definitely gives us a lot to anticipate with excitement, and at the same time a lot for which to prepare.
Yet while so many are losing their lives for their testimony of Christ, often we find in our Western circles so many deviant pursuits. Not necessarily malicious or sinful ones, but secondary. I often wonder how much of our “gospel,” the things we stress as “the epicenter” of the Kingdom, are actually relevant to our brothers and sisters all over the world. Many of these persecuted, wonder-working, Christ-like ones of which I speak, who are leading Churches, are not good readers, properly educated or even sufficiently financed. Nonetheless they are childlike and meek, filled with faith and courage and declaring the message of Christ with love and power as they invest their lives into saving the lost and building Christ’s Church. I submit that to our own detriment, it seems we in America have graduated from simplicity. I am not saying anything against theological schools; I graduated from one, nor against credentials or ordinations; I myself am ordained. Yet at the foundation of the faith, namely the one that is built upon Christ the Chief Cornerstone, lie the building blocks that God hand picked to build His church; fishermen and tax-collectors. I am in no way proposing that to be in a lower class in life, that you are more spiritual. Like Dr. Brown used to tell us in school, “you’re not more spiritual for driving an old Pinto or less for driving a new Toyota.” However, it seems as if simplicity is something that often eludes us in the more “mature” circles. The reason I put “mature” in quotations is because it is often our own estimation of maturity. Proverbs 11:30 states that those truly wise “win souls.” Paul said to the Corinthians that the highest wisdom is in fact the Cross of Christ; a message of weakness and foolishness.
We need a fresh encounter with God, and the only kind I know of are the ones marked by the Cross and that flame from Pentecost. This God who entered our world and the Holy Spirit, who infuses the life of God within like nothing else. I submit that it is time for many of our more learned brethren to come down from their ivory towers of “maturity” and become practitioners of that which they critique and interpret. I would not go to the Sahara desert to learn about gardening or vegetation, so why would I turn to a critical and dried out brother to tell me anything of Christ, His Kingdom or the Holy Ghost? And with all humility dear brothers, if that last statement offended you, you might be one.
Paul tells the Ephesians to “not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.”
That says a couple of things to me; this is a negative command and a positive command. Something to avoid and something to do. I believe we can and should stay continually filled with Him who is Divine Life. This, my dear brothers, is MORE than just a positional truth. You can say “I AM FILLED” all you want and not be, just like a man can say “I AM DRUNK” and not be until he actually drinks in excess.
The Cross-gives us the right and privilege of partaking, it doesn’t force it down our throats.
A grape needs a wine press to produce wine and a Christian needs the Cross-to show forth the Spirit Life. I believe in drinking of the presence of God in order to stay filled with His life, joy, peace, power, love, righteousness, etc. However, some of our brethren, claim to drink continually of Christ, yet by no means seem affected by the potency of what they claim to ingest. As a man who was saved from a wickedly sinful life, I know what it’s like to be physically drunk. Alcohol changes your perception, affects judgment, emotions and even gives you a reckless courage to do what you otherwise would not have done. After a life devoted to substance abuse, you are rewarded with a wrecked liver at the least. I wonder how one might drink of the Spirit and not adopt Christ’s eternal perspective, the Cross’ value system and partake of the emotions of God. Or perhaps a boldness to preach the Gospel to a world on its way to hell or to take hold of a paralytic and command him to walk in Jesus name. Or how about our insides being ruined by God, for the Kingdoms sake. If not, I question what you’re drinking or what you’re mixing it with.
Brothers, though a physician’s goal is the same for all patients, the medicine he prescribes is not always the same. To quote Dr. Brown again, “It’s never wise to major on the minors or minor on the majors.” How much of what we major on and pursue, build and fight for, will actually last in eternity? How much of it reflects the Gospel and the life of the early Church? I don’t think it’s a complex question, rather a simple one. Simple enough for even a child to understand.
“The end time demands upon the church will require a community situation.”
The cultivation of a community situation is crucial for the growth of an individual. The safety net of deeply spiritual relationships and honest love for one another is essential. Ephesians tell us that “Speaking the truth in love” is the way to maturity. “Love is the perfect bond of unity (Colossians 3.14)” and our unity is to be “of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3).” The Holy Spirit wants us connected to others in selfless love, speaking the truth to one another and bound in peace together by Him.
One person said, “you don’t gossip about the people you pray for.” I would go further and say, when you really pray for someone you are melting into them. We melt together in the presence of God. “God Himself is a sweet company (Bonheoffer)” so He reproduces the same. Jesus taught us to “love one another (John 13.34).”
It is my experience that when two individuals, that are flowing with God’s love, come together-they automatically love one another. The Church should be longing to be together. “The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5).” In the Revival in Pensacola I got right with God and was immediately connected with others who were right with God and we gravitated toward each other, burning for Jesus and one another. This is the product of Revival. Which is to say, the product of the Holy Ghost.
There was a brotherhood deeper than blood. Jesus said, “my…brother is He who does the will of God (Marl 3.35).” Those born of God are now the children of God, born of His Spirit and washed in His blood. We have an eternal connection with each other. Because of this we are in one another, needing one another so we should never neglect getting together (Hebrews 10.25). Actually, something is wrong if we do neglect Spiritual fellowship. Proverbs tells us that the man who “isolates himself seeks his own desire and quarrels against all sound wisdom (Proverbs 18.1).”
We should desire each other and what each one brings to the puzzle. We should never get so earthly with each other that we encourage each others flesh, but seeing one another after the Spirit, lift one another up to God encouraging each others gifts, even if they are not like our own.
The Church is not a building or place of worship. It is the new race (1 Cor. 10.32). They are the only other people in the world who share your mind. The church is a race and not a place; a people and not a steeple. Church isn’t somewhere we go but what we are.
The fullness of the expression of Christ will not come into the world any other way. It is to come through a community of born again individuals who love God and each other. We are a family with the most wonderful Father. Community is a people of common union, sharing spiritual communion keeping a common unity. Pastor Andrew Lamb from Acts 2 Church in Altamonte Springs, Florida always says, “the word of God never tells us to make unity but to keep it.” It other words, Jesus made us one at the cross. The rejection of the cross will cause a rejection of each other. Ephesians 3.10 show us that all things were created in order that the Church would have a platform through which to communicate a wisdom to the principalities of the air. That wisdom is namely, love. “The church is to perfect our wisdom and knowledge on how to live with each other (Art Katz, “True Fellowship”).”
Prayer with each other is the heat of the presence of God that melts us together in purpose, focus, heart and burden. We must pray together. We must tackle issue of life together. We must break things open together in prayer. Fasting together is such a powerful thing, we need to live this way. We should be so connected together in prayer, fasting and strengthening each other with Spiritual gifts, that the only other thing we have time to do together is preach the gospel in the world. Besides seasons of rest to regain physical strength there is no time for foolishness.
The problem that I am seeing is that the church is playing video games together instead of praying together. They play sports or watch sports together instead of preaching the gospel together. They would much rather call a poker night than a season of extended prayer and fasting.
This is not community. This is a bunch of friends that profess Christ. There is no spiritual union or divine melting through hours of movie nights or football. Community is spiritual union as we deliver Christ to each other and to the world together. A pizza night with two movies and a prayer will lead to the disaster of an apathetic complacency that eventually spiral into sin and death to the unity.
Lastly, we tend to gravitate only toward those who are as fleshly as we are or as gifted as we are. May God destroy partiality and bring in a flood of divine love for one another, connecting us as brothers who do the will of God, reaching to this world in prayer, fasting, true spiritual fellowship and preaching the gospel.
“There is no other way, for the way, to be the way, than the way, the way was, when it was the way.”
The first Church was not perfect but they shared their lives together. The first fruits of the Holy Spirit outpouring show us the heart of God for His people. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit upon our lives will create the same today.
We must allow the Spirit of God to move us in love for one another beyond our natural tendency. We need a close life. Many men of God have fallen because there was no brother doing the will of God next to him who could look into his eyes on a regular basis and see if his heart was compromising.
Most church systems in America today are an environment where men can satisfy a religious itch, get an ounce of God and hide from any real dealing with issues. This was never the oneness that Jesus wanted amongst His own (John 17).
Practically we should have at least one strong (preferably stronger than you) brother to talk to everyday if not see every day. We need a core group of people to look at face to face and share Jesus with and receive Jesus from. The fullest picture of Christ is released in the assembly when every member brings from his heart that which the Holy Spirit is impressing upon him.
We love the open participatory place of house to house, but must never substitute it for the devotion to the Apostles teaching in Solomon’s temple.
System churches in America are important to have; the structure, the leadership, the service. It is all good and to a degree necessary. But it cannot be a substitute from authentic Christian love or community as I have above defined it.
The Scriptures tell us that there is one body but many members; the hand and the eye, the foot and the knee. We are fitly joined together and have a part of the whole. We must not look down on the gifts or emphasis of others. We must respect them and let them grow in their area. When a person who is evangelistic meets with him who is pastoral, they need the love of Jesus to see each other’s sides.
It is like two blind men on either side of an elephant. One is holding the trunk and describing it to the one holding the elephants small tale. They must trust each other and hear each other to be able to put together what animal it is. If they insist on their side of feeling alone, they will divide. They must simply feel their side and listen to the other.
Robert Gladstone told me that when two men pray for bread, God may give one man two loaves and the other none. The man with two says, “God why didn’t you give him one of these loaves?” And God says, “I did, when I gave it to you.”
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com
I heard a minister recently talking about the rapture and trying to make the point that every prophecy necessary to the return of Christ has already been fulfilled. One of his points was that the Gospel has already been preached in all the world according to the promise of Jesus in Matt 24:14 (And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.), “Now” he said, “We’re just waiting for Jesus to come back.”
If you are one of those standing in line waiting for the rapture like a ride at Disney World, consider these statistics on world evangelism that I have collected from a variety of sources. As you read these keep in mind that in the United States there is 1 ordained minister for every 200 people. Yet…
– For every million unreached Muslims there are less than 3 missionaries.
– In Afghanistan there are 17 million people, 48,000 mosques…but not a single church.
– In Turkey there are 44 million people, but less then 200 Christians
– In India alone 500 million people have yet to hear the Gospel
– 30% of the world’s population (more than 2 billion people) have had virtually no exposure to the Gospel.
– The New Testament has been translated into the mother tongue of over 80% of the world’s population. However the remaining approximately 20% will require over 5,500 new translations.
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19). The word, “Nations” is “Ethne” in the Greek meaning ethnic people groups. Yet…
– There are an estimated 6,700 unreached or nearly unreached people groups.
– The countries with the most unreached people groups in descending order; India, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh.
– 98% of all unreached people groups are located in the “10/40 Window”.
THE GREAT COMMISSION IS STILL UNFULFILLED! Oswald Smith said, “We talk of the Second Coming; but half the world has never heard of the first.” Regardless if you are “pre-trib”, “post-trib”, “mid-trib” or some other “trib”, we must all confess that there is something desperately wrong with this type of doctrinal philosophy that makes us happy to escape with our own hides while the world burns and billions of people are lost. Where is the heart of Jesus in that? “…that none would perish, but that all would come to repentance.”
Here’s some food for thought; Jesus died more then 2,000 years ago. If it was God’s ultimate goal to rapture us all out of this “old god-forsaken world”, then why are we still here? What are we still waiting for? One person told me, “Jesus is building my mansion in heaven.” Really? It took him 6 days to create the entire cosmos, yet he’s been hung up with your “mansion” for 2,000 years? Not likely.
Heb. 10:12, 13 says, “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.” Since we are his hands and feet, then He must be waiting for…us. If He is waiting for us, and we are waiting for him, it would seem we are at an impasse. This is why Jesus told his disciples, “GO” into all the world and preach the Gospel. No more waiting and debating…just Go and PREACH.
“In the vast plain to the north I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been” — Robert Moffat
In Acts chapter four we see the disciples standing on trial. They are commanded to stop preaching Jesus. Look at part of their response. They said, “we can’t stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” There seems to be the reverse effect today in the American church, because we can’t start speaking (for the most part).
The reason that there is a divide between the apostles, who couldn’t stop speaking, and the modern American church, who can’t start speaking, is because the issue of speaking lies in the issue of seeing and hearing. Jesus said, “What you have heard in the dark speak in the light.”
Many modern American Christians haven’t been hearing the voice of God and very rarely see anything in God. Their spiritual eyes are darkened and because of this, they having nothing living inside of them to speak out. Not only that, but because they don’t speak out they don’t see anything happen that would build their faith. As Bill Johnson noted, “The first step to growing in miracles is to pray for the sick.”
I believe that if we really spent quality time in His presence, consistently depending on Him for life, our ears would pop open. I believe here, in the place of hearing, our eyes would be unveiled to see. And having seen and heard from the Lord we would have a bursting spring of the love of God inside of us for a lost and dying world. We would be leaking deliverance to our surroundings.
Brother, if you have an issue getting yourself to speak, take care of the root issue and go get with Jesus. Let Him show you His heart and place it inside of you. I promise like the apostles of old, you will have a hard time passing people on the street because you are burning to tell them of His wonderful love for them.
Today I was walking around the park with a friend of mine talking about the wonderful revelation of Jesus that has been burning in the secret place of His presence. We saw a man sitting on a bench by himself. We figured that he was waiting for us. So we brought the gospel to him. Not only did he give his life to Jesus as we told him of the wonderful Savior who didn’t come to shame sinners but to save them, but he told us that he had a torn cartilage in his knee and it was in a lot of pain and as we prayed for him, all his pain left his knee. Also, a word of knowledge about his religious past broke his heart and his eyes filled with tears as the presence of God came upon him in power and love.
Let’s get alone with Jesus. He will speak and show us Himself. This is the only inflow for such an outflow!
The first word of the Great Commission is, “GO…”When Jesus used fishing as a metaphor for Evangelism, he revealed to us something about his chosen model and paradigm. What does evangelism mean to Jesus? To be a “fisher of men” implies releasing the moorings from the bollard, pulling back the anchor, pushing away from the shore and launching out into the deep. “The Son of Man”, He said of Himself, “Has COME to SEEK…” Now, to us He says, you “GO” and seek.
Juxtapose the Jesus way to the preferred method of most Christians today. It is what I call “Spider web Evangelism” because as the spider loiters in her web, many Christians crouch in their churches every Sunday waiting and praying that some hapless sinner might wander in so that the pastor can pounce on them. But the word, “GO” necessarily implies action, initiative and movement. There is no way to “Go” while we stay! To “GO” requires less talk and more walk, less intention and more action. There is no shortcut, free-ride or easy way to evangelism. Ultimately we will either “GO” to win the lost or we will supplement our sedentary fruitlessness with a myriad of programs, seminars, conferences, excuses and explanations. In the end we may discover that working so hard to appear artificially effectual was a greater expenditure of energy than actually going would have been.
D.L. Moody once attended a convention in Indianapolis on mass evangelism. During a break in the meeting he decided to put principle into practice. He went out to the street corner, stood on a box and began to preach. A crowd gathered to listen and soon they were blocking traffic. Moody had a solution to this dilemma. He invited all the sinners to follow him into the convention center where he would continue his preaching. Soon the convention delegates began to return only to find their seats filled with unwelcome, unregistered street people. Being forced to stop preaching, Moody concluded his message by saying, “Now we must close, as the brethren of the convention wish to come and discuss the topic, ‘How to reach the masses’.
When Jesus commissioned His disciples He didn’t spend much time teaching techniques and procedures for winning the lost. Instead He summed up the heart of evangelism with a two-letter word. Jesus came from Heaven to earth to win us, now we must go to win others. ”Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”.
Four Christians from Acts 17 Apologetics Ministry were arrested and taken away in handcuffs by police for “disorderly conduct” after sharing the gospel at an Arab Festival in Dearborn, MI. The Detroit Free Press picks up the story here, while the men arrested share their side of the story here.
Acts 17 described the series of events this way:
At one point, we came across a festival volunteer who seemed to take issue with us simply being at the festival. We could tell he had a problem with us, and so we asked “What are we doing wrong?” He said “Put the camera and microphone down, and I’ll tell you.” (By the way, there was more to this conversation, but when you see the footage, I think you’ll see I’m being fair in my summary.) So I obliged, handing the microphone to David and asking him to not record the man. I then approached him and said “No camera, no mic, tell me what we’re doing wrong”, he said “Get away from me!” (or something to that effect). Again, I obliged, and walked away.
About 20 minutes later, to shouts and cheers of “Allahu Akbar!” we were all being led away from the festival in handcuffs. From the brief description we were given by the police of why we were being arrested, it sounds like the festival volunteer said we surrounded him and didn’t give him an opportunity to leave, thereby “breaching the peace.” This is as blatantly false as an accusation can get.
Last year, security lied about us and we got kicked out of the festival. We had it all on tape, so we were able to vindicate ourselves. This year, a volunteer lied about us, and we got thrown into jail. But when we get our footage back, we’ll be able to vindicate ourselves again.