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)
How many sermons have you heard in your life? How many have you heard in the last year? How many were memorable? How many left an eternal mark inside of you adding to the very make up of your being? Leonard Ravenhill said to his son, “Be careful when you preach, because if you don’t have a word from God, you are not only wasting your hour but as many hours that are sitting in the pews.”
I have had the privilege to hear some of the greatest sermons ever preached. I also have been in meetings where I felt like life was being sucked out of me. I know that you know the feeling of the latter, hopefully you have had the experience of the former. Leonard Ravenhill said, “When was the last time you tip toed out of the sanctuary because you met God.” In Titus Paul said that the, “Word was made manifest through…preaching.” A living word from the throne has that much power, it brings men face to face with Jesus. A word from heaven can sweep one up by the wind of the Spirit into the reforming gaze of God.
I have noticed a few things about these messages. I have noticed that they all seem to have some undeniable and inescapable qualities. After I noticed these things, I made a mental note to weigh each word that I am hearing by this Spiritual scale. I submit to you that this is a very good way to test the spirits. A solid factor in hearing God. A distinguishing maker to determine the origin of a preached word. Maybe this falls short, maybe it is spot on. I have seen it to help me. So humbly I share it with you, to take a piece of paper and mark down how many times in a month that you hear these themes selected by your Pastor. If you find them lacking, I suggest to sensitively share it with him so that he might take it back to God in prayer. There are 5 points. I believe the first is most important but the following four are not in order of importance.
The first and foremost is CHRIST. Listen closely to note how much is Jesus the emphasis. Not just the historical Jesus, but the person. Notice how challenged you are to know Him more and how personally He is referred to. Note in your heart if you genuinely and undeniably see Jesus as the centerpiece.
The second is the CROSS. Are you challenged to take up your cross? Are you able to see the evidence of the cross in your life or lack there of? Note if the doorway into the resurrected life is proclaimed to your soul.
Have you a constant Spiritual remembrance of God’s suffering punctured into your heart? Does the preacher cause you to see the dripping blood of God?
Is there any encouragement to take up your cross in relation to one another? Is the cross the heart of all wisdom presented to you and the universal solution to the problem of man?
The third is how does the things being spoken to you relate to those in CHAINS? We in America often forget that Paul told us to, “Remember those in chains.” Not just to pray for them but that the constant meditation upon the fact that our brothers are suffering throughout the world will effect the very fabric of our thinking. It is not a just balance to weigh a prosperity message next the Father who has just been ripped away from his children for the gospel. I mean, how foolish would a man feel to stand before Richard Wurmbrand, who suffered 14 years in Romanian prisons for Jesus and tell him about his best life now? Or that there is a rich blessing of material things coming his way as he gazes from the floor with a bleeding back unable to walk from his last beating and shivering from eating only one slice of bread a week? We need to remember those in chains when we speak. I am all for being provided for, but if the preaching doesn’t ring true for those in chains, we have forgotten them. If we are giving a revelation of Jesus to the inner man, it will ring to to all men. Not just a select portion of the world.
The fourth is CONVICTION. Paul said that his words came with…”conviction.” Conviction is being convinced inwardly beyond intellectual reason. Conviction is the influence of the Holy Spirit on the soul. Conviction is the power to arrest a man not just about sin but about God. I am moved in the core of my being by words from another world entering into my soul. Prophets burn with this gift. Ravenhill said, “you want to meet a prophet? You probably want to see one but not hear one. Because he will leave blisters on your soul.” Though not all men will carry such a deepness of conviction there must be a sense that this man speaking to me has been with God. Some people describe honey and others dispense honey.
The last is INCENTIVES. What are the incentives that are being laid down in front of you? Is it eternal? Is it a vision of eternity? Has the essence of eternal significance been injected into you? Is there a negative incentive rooted in eternity? That to disobey will have consequences? We cannot preach an emasculated word. It must carry the essence of a positive eternal incentive and a negative incentive as well or it will create a loose generation no matter how great their gifting, their calling or their power – without the fear of God, we will create an emasculated Christianity that cannot overcome the devil.
So these things are very important to me. You may add some or disagree with some, but I feel that it is a crucial layout for weighing a word that is claiming to be from God. If we have failed in these areas, God will have mercy on us. And He will move in spite of us, but to have these qualities is a great indication that you are standing before a man that you can be assured has come forth from the counsel of the Most High.
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com
What is called “prophetic” today, in most cases, is just a super spiritual encouragement session. We look at each other, see some sort of picture and then turn it into some type of encouraging word. I am not against this, but it is so far removed from the prophets burden. Jason Upton, “Raise up a prophetic generation that is not about the future, fortune or fame of man, but about the feelings of your heart.” I remember Dr. Michael L. Brown talking about the prophetic office, he said, “The prophet is an alarm clock. Most people don’t love their alarm clocks.”
Where are these men today? David Wilkerson has passed on. Leonard Ravenhill has been gone for years. Where are those whose intimacy with Jesus, births a burning burden that gushes out of their heart to see the church wholly given over to God? We must always remember that there is an extreme difference between a prophetic gift and the office of a prophet. A prophet is the visible expression of the heart of God. He is God’s heart walking around on the earth. This is a heavy call, many have started, but they end up stopping short or veering off into some social justice, trend or more cutting edge message to lighten their load because it is too heavy to consistently carry. Intern, they end up becoming something partial. This has never accomplished God’s desires. Standing up against social things is no substitute for a quick word from the counsel of the most high.
Prophets, RISE UP!!
Let your intimacy with Jesus be your pregnancy. Live in prayer. Then say whatever He tells you. I tell you that only His ecstasy will tap you into His agony and only His agony will take you low enough in prayer to produce life and quicken you with His words.
Listen to this short Clip from the movie JEREMIAH. I think it is a prophetic call to the modern church of America.
“In the presence of the Lord is fullness of Joy and pleasure forever more.”
His presence in our lives is everything. His presence is our distinguishing factor. Israel was just another nation without the presence of God. They would have been destroyed without God fighting for them. Moses wouldn’t go without His presence. Gideon as one man would deliver the nation because of the presence of the Lord. The prophets stood in the presence of the Lord. John’s revelation was in the presence of the Lord. His presence is everything.
David said, “the nearness of God is my good (Psalm 73.28),” and “Better is one day in your house than thousands elsewhere… (Psalm 84)”
When the ark of the presence was at the home of Obed-edom everything flourished in his life (2 Sam. 6). So it is with knowing God; the flourishing of your life will be in exact proportion to the attention you give to His presence in your life. Only when His presence is the center-piece of our lives, can He make our lives His masterpiece. “Never let anything get bigger in your consciousness than the awareness of His presence… (Bill Johnson).”
Why is this? Because His presence empowers you to obey, and obedience brings nothing but blessing (Duet 28). Jesus said, “Come to me…I will give you rest (Matthew 11.28).” Isaiah 64 shows us that the Holy Spirit gave them “rest” in the wilderness from which “He lead them.” The leading of the Holy Spirit is in the place of rest. This rest is a place of transcendence above efforts and striving. It is the ceasing of striving. “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46.10).” It is the ceasing of your Adamic outflow that enables His Divine inflow. Jesus said, “…but the Father who dwells in me, does His works.” This is rest. Man ceasing from his own initiative and resting in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit within him; yielding to His direction and life. This is the end of your own efforts and the beginning of divine enablement.
Jesus said, “I do nothing on my own initiative (John 8.28).” Evangelist David Popovici said to me one day, “our job isn’t to try to become love, but rather to be filled with Him who is love, power, peace and infinitely more.” The totality of a life laid down is the ignition of this divine rest. We don’t stop going after God to rest, we press into Him who is rest to find rest. Rest is spelled, J.E.S.U.S. The tree doesn’t focus on bearing fruit, but on receiving the sap. We cannot pin fruit on the tree. It will just fall off. It must issue out of an inward connection. This inward connection is cultivated in no other place than spending time with God. Waiting in His presence for His voice to enter and quicken us with a revelation of Himself.
“Law” can be seen as a life focused on fruit, while “Spirit” can be seen as sap focused living. This is the higher life. “The mind set on the spirit is life and peace (Romans 6.4).” This is Christianity. Anything else is just another religion; an adherence to principles and efforts for outward modification without an inward transformation. Bill Johnson said, “to desire kingdom principles without His presence, is to desire His kingdom without the King.” In no other religion does one’s God enter into him and perform the works through him. Our character in God is measured by our ability to surrender to Him. One man said it like this, “the greatness of a man’s power is measured by his surrender.” Our ceasing to be is our greatness, for it makes that man a channel of God’s life.
Spending time with God is the training ground for spiritual life. You learn to hear His voice. You learn to feel His impressions. You begin to experience His heart. You sharpen your vision. You get aligned with His thoughts. This is the absolute heart of life in God. Without this time of diligently entering His rest you will die! The gospel taps you into this rest, but you have to be diligent to abide therein. Hebrews 4 shows us the divine paradox of diligently entering His rest. The rest is then laid out as trust (absolute surrender to Jesus) and obedience (the only outflow of such a disposition). It is as simple as salvation. Colossians tells us, “as you received Him, so walk in Him.”
Leonard Ravenhill said it like this, “a man first collapses in the prayer closet.” Meaning, if a man has fallen in his life, he first failed to fall on his knees for strength. E. M. Bounds said, “the devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” Why? Because he knows that he has gone to “fetch strength against him.” I tell you that, “praying men stop sinning and sinning men stop praying (Ravenhill).”
David told us to “Wait upon the Lord.” He also showed us that the secret to supernatural strength in God, is waiting on God (Isa. 40.31;Psalm 27.14).” The rest is entered by those who diligently come to Jesus to wait on Him. The rest is the Spirit. The Spirit of God leads and guides, strengthens and enables. So much so that Paul said in Galatians chapter 5, “if you walk in the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of sinful nature.”
The Greek word that Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit has many meanings. Jesus said, “The Comforter will come.” This word means, partner, teacher, leader, guide, advocate, strengthener, stand by, helper, intercessor, comforter and counselor.
What confidence! He knew the rest. He knew that it was above efforts and striving. He knew that in the rest, there is only victory. It is the place of hiding “under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91).” It is the place of which David said, “oh God, My Strength (Psalm 18.1).” “You are my hiding place (Psalm 32.7). Prayer is the air of the Christian life. “When we cease to pray we quench the Spirit. When we quench the Spirit we cease to pray (Benny Hinn).”
The revolution of prayer in the Christian life is a major evidence of the infilling of the Spirit.
“Spending time with Jesus is number one. Don’t ever forget that (David Hogan)!”
“To be much for God, we must be much alone with God (Leonard Ravenhill).”
Spending time with God is your sap for fruit and your air for breathing. It is your heart of victory. It is your power for living. Without it, you will die just as sure as a fish out of water. You will become more and more worldly. You will lose your sense of conviction. You will lose sight of your spiritual purpose. You will begin to ooze the poison of the first Adam instead of the life of the last (1 Cor. 15.45). You will cease to find all your satisfaction in God and by default seek satisfaction elsewhere.
“The Kingdom of God is within you.”
The inward surrender of fixed and sustained full attention upon God in waiting and worship is the only way into the presence of God. David said, “To you I lift up my soul (Psalm 143.8).” His mind, will and emotions laid upon the altar unto God. As a cup could never be filled as it spins on the table so our spinning souls must get still before God for Him to flow into us. Madame Guyon said, “God dwells in absolute stillness.” There is no other place in which to meet Him. Just because you are quiet doesn’t mean you are still. Stillness is the soul laid upon the altar of God in worshipful whole-hearted fixation upon God Himself, anticipating the impartation of His life-giving words into your Spirit. This is waiting. We know very little about what is going on while we are on the earth, it is imperative that we are led by the Holy Spirit in prayer. He knows what is going on. Listen to Him. You will not hear Him in any other place than worship, waiting and whole-hearted attention.
Some use music, a certain prayer or phrase or some kind of aid to focus completely upon God. Once you are fixed upon God you must be sure to sustain your full attention upon Him in worship, not necessarily with words, but definitely with a whole-hearted surrender of love toward Him. This will cause you to become aware of His nearness that is always with you (Hebrews 13.8). This is the base for all of what God wants to accomplish in your time with Him. Here is the dispensing of the most vital nutrients for Spiritual life. His inflow of peace beyond all understanding and complete fulfillment in the most vulnerable parts of man is the overwhelming satisfaction that transcends anything else that exists. This is where the Scriptures will come alive. In Luke 24, it was only in His presence that the word of God revealed Jesus. “He expounded to them…” The presence of God is the key to the Scriptures because they are locked until He opens them.
From this base of an inward setting of yourself upon Him, prayer becomes a powerfully rich experience, both of your hearts releasing to God and His guiding you by His Spirit in seeing the desires of His heart. Prayer will come alive. And there is simply nothing like it. Nothing touches its caliber of fulfillment and life. You can really tell when a man has touched God in prayer. He becomes addicted to the experience of God in prayer.
It is here that He gives you to drink from the river of His delights (Psalm 36.8). Just as a man cannot drink from the river while he is moving, so the soul must stop its activities if it is to ever drink from this wonderful fulfilling river of God that He has granted us unlimited access to. But stopping is only the beginning. Because worship must transcend expression and become reception or it is of little value. No amount of external contact with the river can quench the inward thirst of the soul. We must drink.
Waiting in His presence is renewing and faith building as you cease your outflow and subject yourself to His lead. It is this submission that releases you from the bondage of your own thinking. It makes you a subject and not the leader, respecting the Holy Spirit as the leader. We must be, “led by the Spirit.”
I know this one thing. Without His presence I don’t stand a chance. Neither do you. It is not God’s plan. He wants everything to hinge upon Him. The oneness of God and man! This is God’s desire. Worship; the inward fixation sustained upon God in the worship of total surrender waiting upon Him and His voice is the divine melting of the soul of Man into the Spirit of God.
“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.
The world out there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity but a new demonstration.
“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 men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. “ (1 Cor. 2.4,5)
Demonstration: “the action of showing the existence or truth of something by giving proof or evidence.”
The Gospel is not a verbal argument for the existence of God. It is above all things a demonstration of God Himself. It is the evidence of who He is in His love and power.
I believe “LOVE AND POWER” evangelism is the only evangelism that there is. The reason is simple; we don’t want the faith of individuals to rest on the cleverness or wisdom of our arguments but on the demonstration of God’s love and power. We seek to embody these things to the world, first of all in our lives, and then in our outreaches.
Love is the greatest demonstration of power that there is; in Christ’s love He went to the cross, and through His death He destroyed the power of the enemy.
Power is the undeniable demonstration of God’s love. We have seen men who have little to no belief in God encounter Jesus when their torn ACL was completely and supernaturally mended before their eyes. In that moment, there is nothing that a man can say other than, “God is love.” For they had done nothing to earn the privilege of being supernaturally healed, but His care for them was extended to them even in their rebellion and ignorance.
Love still holds the key to His power, and His power showcases His love; love and power embody the gospel of Jesus Christ.
BE IN LOVE
“Do everything in love” (1 Cor. 16.14).
We ought to have no agenda but to love. God’s agenda has always been to love, His reaching out to humanity reaching its climax in His Son, Jesus Christ. 1 Corinth 13:1-8 states, “Without love we are nothing, love never fails.” So let us drop all other agendas and expectations we may have, in order to be free to simply love people.
We are bound by our agendas and drained by our expectations, but love is freedom, for it is not something to do, but be. Let us focus on the love of God and let love melt the hearts of men. Even if they don’t receive the gospel that day, they will never be able to shake off the fact that we loved them and told them of His irresistible love.
Jesus did not come to shame sinners but to save them. Evangelism is spreading the good news of Jesus’ salvation of our souls from sin, which is the greatest expression of love. So how empty is the testimony of God’s love if it be void of love itself? Love’s presence during evangelism shows that we not only believe, but also care that men are literally walking toward an eternal fire. God’s word says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love,” (Galatians 5) and “for the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5.5);” therefore, the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives will be love. We should never forget that God makes men like Jesus, and Jesus laid His life down for others.
Love is best defined as “selflessness,” since “greater love has no man than this, that He would lay down His life for His friends” (John 15.13). This is why “Perfect love casts out all fear ” (1 John). Fear is based out of self-consciousness, and love is being conscious of others before ourselves. We are slaves to fear to the degree that we love our lives, and to the degree that we love our lives, we will fail to be witnesses; we will simply be restrained by fear and self-interest from the love that makes us true witnesses. Our Christianity is silent to the degree that we love ourselves. But if we will allow the Holy Spirit to be a constant presence in our lives, His love will expand in our hearts and self-consciousness will burn away. God will be free to extend His hand to the world through us. Love is the goal. Love is the incentive. Love is the inspiration. Love is the power. Love is the gospel. Love never fails.
WALK IN POWER
When God made it possible for the Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead to live in you, He made powerlessness inexcusable.
Jesus did not leave us powerless. He never desired us to go without power. To do God’s work we need God’s power. There is no witness without power. A good news without power is not good.
The power of the Holy Spirit is for the preaching of the gospel (Isa. 61.1). It is for the delivering of the captives (Acts 10.38). The gospel is the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1.16. Paul shows us that he was not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God. Many people are ashamed of the gospel because they have never seen it as the power of God. To see the gospel as the power of God will destroy this shame.
A demonstration of power forces a decision by those who witness it, because it shows God to the individual in an undeniable way. We see the sick healed on the streets, and it is such an arresting moment in the individual’s life. Even in their shock, they are stuck with the evidence that God has just touched them. Even if they are not sick, we seek to pray for them in an attempt to usher the presence of God into their hearts. As they sense He who is the desire of the nations, they break internally. Power is irreplaceable.
Without power we can end up as phony as the door to door salesmen whose products do not work when he is asked for a demonstration. Power is God coming into the lives of men. What love! Power is love. Power is the gospel. Power is the demonstrated presence of God.
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism.
“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.”
The word “preserve” here has to do with “keeping something in its original state.” The fact that David is reaching out for another to preserve him implies that he recognizes that he cannot preserve himself. Our original state in God is purity, holy and undefiled from this world. God has taken us out of the mud and washed us as squeaky clean as His very own Son by the blood of His very own Son. David is acknowledging his inability and helplessness to stay clean, remain undefiled or be preserved in purity. The Psalmist often cried, “save me” (Psalm 3.7;6.4;7.1;22.21;31.2). But this cry is different. It is not a cry to be rescued; it is a cry to remain in the rescued state. Not to be made pure, but to remain pure.
I extend to you the God revealed route to a sustained purity and preserving in God, “…for in thee do I put my trust.” All victory begins with this heart, “I can’t do it!” When man reaches the end of himself, there and nowhere else, does he find the beginning of God. Our hearts must cry, “I cannot preserve myself, so I look to you.” A.W. Tozer in the famous book, “The Pursuit of God” said, “faith is the inward gaze of the soul unto God.” Jesus, talking of the salvation that is impossible with men and only possible with God (Matt.19.26), made a parallel with the serpent lifted up in Old Testament (John 3.14). The only path of salvation from the snake poison in the body of the Israelites was to lift their eyes to the golden serpent to be healed. So, when a man simply looks in surrender to Jesus, not only once to be saved, but consistently to be preserved, he finds his glorious rescue and union with God (John 15.5).
None of us did anything to attain our salvation (Eph. 2.8,9). We simply recognized that we could not save ourselves and we cried from a dark pit, the helpless cry of a condemned sinner, “God save me!” God in His mercy reached down and saved us from such a state and doom (John 3.16-17; Romans 8.1; Ephesians 2.1-2). God is not waiting for you to reach a certain point of desperation before He rushes in to preserve or save, He is waiting for you to empty your inward poison by looking away from yourself and unto Him. It is not that He refuses to come to man until, but that man will not respond to His having come to us. Jesus simply summed up all of Christianity in one phrase, “Come to me…(Matt. 11.28).” That isn’t when He saves you, that coming to Him IS your saving.
I submit to you today, that the same utter dependency, total reliance and absolute surrender to God that your soul reached to God with to be born again, is the same cry that must be lived in for the sustained victorious spiritual life. David Ravenhill said, “we never graduate from dependency.” That is the secret. That is the most mature perspective in God that there is. I CANNOT DO IT! I need you, oh, I need you, every hour, I need you.
Jesus said, “the son can do nothing of Himself; I do nothing on my own initiative (John 5.19;8.28).” Oh struggling brother, tired Christian and weak-willed complacent distant follower of Christ, you cannot maintain yourself. As long as you try to maintain yourself, you are already in failure. For no amount of Adamic resolve could ever enter a man into the Spiritual power released only by dependency. Resolve will always dissolve. But by surrender we will never cease to enter. Why is it this way? It is because God Himself is our Salvation (Psalm 38.22). He saved us from a life that doesn’t look to Him. Have you a sensitivity to see that our own life is something so evil, no matter how “good” it seems, that we must be saved from it? A life without the Lordship of Christ requires saving! Leonard Ravenhill said, “the greatest sin in the world…is ‘I can manage my life without God.'” A life still in our own hands is dead. Paul talked about people being, “dead even while they live.”
Jesus told us that only the children enter the Kingdom (Mark 10.14), the poor posses the Kingdom (Matt. 5.3) and the infants have revelation of the Kingdom (Matt. 11.25). Everything in God must hinge upon God. This is why Paul said so boldly, that to lean on any addition to dependency severs you from Christ (Galatians 5.4). There is no other way to have the rule of God truly ruling our lives than for us to declare “my soul says, ‘You are my Lord.'” If He is to be Lord, He can only ascend to the throne in your life by the bankrupt recognition and surrender of total reliance… utter dependency and absolute surrender is required.
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism.
A biography of Leonard Ravenhill written by Mack Tomlinson is now available for purchase. To order the book entitled In Light of Eternity: The Life of Leonard Ravenhill, click here.
Who was Leonard Ravenhill? AW Tozer summed him up well:
Those who know Leonard Ravenhill will recognize in him the religious specialist, the man sent from God not to carry on the conventional work of the church, but to beard the priests of Baal on their own mountain-top, to shame the careless priest at the altar, to face the false prophet and warn the people who are being led astray by him.
Such a man as this is not an easy companion.
…he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost as one would turn off a faucet. He insists upon being a Christian all the time, everywhere; and again, that marks him out as different.
The video below is from the book’s website. Watch it, and allow the story and words of Leonard Ravenhill into your spirit: