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Posts Tagged ‘Word of God’

“Any objection to the carryings on of our present gold-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, ‘But we are winning them!’  And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world´s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is no.” – A.W.Tozer

“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased …  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”  (Gal 5:11 & Gal 6:14)

Over the years, I have watched churches with good intentions subscribe to a myriad of programs, seminars, study courses, video presentations, and vaudeville productions in an attempt to launch their church into an exciting, new and vibrant walk with God – something that will energize their congregation and enliven their pastor so that his normally dull sermons will be revitalized with power and excitement.  And it sometimes works … for a week or two.  But water seeks its own level and will always sink back to where it is the most comfortable.  Good intentions alone do not equate into results.
God did not leave us without His instructions; the blueprint for a true revival is in the Book of Joel.  The problem is that that solution is not what we want to hear. And since we are so smart, sophisticated and educated, we will figure out our own solution, thank you very much.  As a result, we are left to run around in circles trying desperately to catch our tails.
What is it that we really want?  Are we really after revival?  Or do we just want a richer experience so that we can be spiritually entertained?
The thermometer for the church is not the Sunday service which we all consider to be the apex of our spiritual week, but the Wednesday night prayer meeting at 7pm.  (Did you even know you had a prayer meeting on Wednesday?) There is where you will find the furnace for the entire church.  It is the Labor Room where moves of God are birthed. If there is no fire there, you won’t find it anywhere else.  The price for real revival is not paid by the front office, in the offering basket, community projects, or with mindless accolades and “ataboys” for the preacher.  It is paid for on your knees.
If that is so, then why aren’t our Wednesday night prayer meetings packed to capacity? Why are they so dull that no one wants to come?  Could it be that we really don’t believe that God will answer our prayers? Or maybe our prayers are so anemic that He doesn’t even hear us? Or maybe we just really don’t care that much? Life is good; we’re okay; hope everybody has a nice day.
Revivals have to be prayed in with deep, contending, gate crushing, desperate prayer.  It has been said that God doesn’t answer prayer – He answers desperate prayer!  Desperate prayer like Rachael’s Cry in Genesis 30:1. (Those of you who are hungry will look that up; the lazy ones will not.) If you want God to send the rain, then you have to pray like Elijah – you have to storm the Throne of God.  If you want God to move, they you have to move God, and contend before Him until He does.
Revival has a price … and it is not the price that human flesh would like to pay.  But if we will shed the baggage of our own theological endeavors and instead allow God to strip us down to the bare metal of our souls so that our only sufficiency is in Him, then we will find not only the strength, but the will and inspiration to walk that crucified walk that leads to the Cross.
And only there will the fire begin to burn.

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     “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. 
     And Elisha said unto her, what shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil.”  (2Ki 4:1,2)

 Here is a picture of the church in a time of spiritual recession. Her husband had been a prophet so she had at one time known the ways of the Lord, but now he was gone and she sat alone in poverty, powerless to save her own sons from bondage.  Elisha did not give her money, but instead asked her what she still possessed in herself.

A pot of oil.  Just a residue of the anointing that she once had in abundance.  How like the Widow of Zarephath with Elisha’s predecessor who in the time of spiritual famine only had a little meal (the Word of God) and a little oil (the anointing).  But unlike the Widow of Zarephath whose task was to support the prophet until the appointed time, this woman’s task was to exercise what she still possessed in God.

Bring in all the vessels you can find, borrow from anyone you can, and bring them into the House of God that they may be filled with Oil. Do you believe God? Do you REALLY believe?  Then bring in the vessels, not a few. Bring in the souls to the House of God that they may be filled. Do you really believe in Salvation?  Do you really believe in Hell?  And when your faith is done, then close the door. The extent of your vision is determined by the depth of your faith.

Faith allows God to multiply the anointing.  He will not pour out His Spirit on a church that does not believe Him. But when faith grows, so will the outpouring.

Is this the formula for revival? I believe so. While I am loud in proclaiming that no revival comes without repentance and that all revivals have to be prayed in with a desperation that drives us past the limitations of our own flesh, I am adamant that revival is first, foremost, and always about winning the lost. It is the primary principle to understanding revival.  In the Book of Joel, God cries out to us to be ashamed because the harvest of the field is perished (Joel 1:11), and that He has cut off the corn, the wine, and the oil from the House of God as a result.   When we turn our focus away from a burden for winning lost souls, we turn off the faucet to the Spirit of God.

The solution to seeing the anointing flow once more in the Church is to fix the problem that caused it to cease. Cry out to God, not for your personal blessings and prosperity, but for God to shower us with His Holy Ghost conviction.  Dear God, allow us to see, allow us to repent, allow us to return.  Have mercy on us so that we may, in turn, have mercy on others.  Our children are sold to be bondmen to the world because they see no power in the Church. The anointing we once had when our husband was alive in the church has dissipated to a fading memory. We have a form of godliness, but we have denied the power thereof. We have a House, but it is nothing but a shell of the glory that it once had.

     “And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 
     And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?  (Judges 6:13,14)

 

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It is easy to talk about what we should do to have a revival in the church, but the real question is how do we do it?  Where do we get the drive and desire, the passion and zeal, and the excitement to push past our flesh to accomplish these things that we know we have to do?  How do we build a fire in the church that will spread throughout our community and create the excitement that brings revival?

Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth; we are the savor that salts the meal that we offer to the world.  Our salt is supposed to make that meal taste so good to the unsaved that they will want more, but if our salt has lost its savor, it is good for nothing. If we bring the unsaved into a church that does not have a fire burning in it, if the salt has no taste to it, then they will turn around and walk back out. If you have nothing more to offer them than what they can already get out in the world, then why should they surrender their lives to your dead religion? 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto Salvation. It is not some dead philosophy about God, not some intelligent idea with a new perspective on life and Eternity.  If that is all you have to offer, then you have no Gospel at all, and you have nothing to offer unsaved souls that are hungry for Truth. We need power in our messages and fire in our churches.  All the theological knowledge in the world will do no good without it.

But when there is a fire burning in the church, everything happens naturally. The excitement rises in each of the members of the congregation until they find themselves racing out into their community to tell others what is happening in their church.  Their neighbors can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices, and the excitement begins to spread. Like a fire in a field of grass, once it catches hold, the fire cannot be stopped.

The only thing that will build a fire is another fire. Understanding that makes it easy to see that to build a fire in the church, we need to first build a fire in the individuals in the church.  Fire burns up, not down. A fire in the pulpit will only bring conviction. The fire needs to start in the pews, and from there it will spread amongst the congregation and then it will set the rest of the church on fire.

How do we do that? The simplest answer I can give is that everything in serving the Lord always comes down to those same two things: reading and prayer. But it begins with the Word because the Word of God is the source of all power. It is the Word of God that created the entire Universe and it is the Word of God that will bring revival so that, in the end, it will be God who gets the glory, not man.

The Word gives you knowledge and understanding. It gives you wisdom in the fear of the Lord and discernment in spiritual things. It washes you from uncleanness and gives you power over sin. It gives you Light to see and ears to hear. And it gives you the power to pray.

If you are going to pray, you have to believe what you are praying for; otherwise it will do you no good because without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). And where do you get faith? From hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17).  So it is the Word of God that gives you the faith to be able to pray.

But to build a fire, you need both fuel and a spark.  The Word of God is the wood and prayer is the spark. Either by themselves will not burn, but put them together, and you will start a fire.

When you take the faith that you gained through reading the Word of God to the Throne of God in prayer, the Spirit and the Word will agree in one (1John 5:7) and the Spirit of God will come down. You now take that Spirit that you just received in prayer back to the Word and you will go deeper. When you go deeper, your ears will open even more and will increase your faith. You take that increased faith back to prayer and you will go higher. When you go higher, you will get more of the Spirit. Take that Spirit back to the Word again, and you will go even deeper. And then higher to the Throne in prayer; and then deeper into the Word; and higher in prayer; and deeper in the Word; and on and on until a fire begins to blaze in your heart and sets you on fire!  That’s how it is done!

And when you are on fire, you will set others on fire, and they will set even more people on fire … and it will spread like a wildfire in your church. When your church is on fire, it will spread that fire throughout your community.  And when your community is on fire, it will keep on burning until revival falls out of the sky.  And then nothing can stop it.

… but it all starts with reading the Word of God.

In the story of the wedding at Cana of Galilee in John chapter two, God has left us specific instructions about how to bring a move of the Spirit to the church.  Jesus and His disciples were invited to a wedding feast but they ran out of wine. The wedding feast is a picture of the Church and wine is symbolic of the Spirit, so a wedding feast without wine is like a church without the Spirit of God in it.

Mary, knowing her son, told the servants in a very specific authoritarian tone, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it!” [emphasis added]  Want revival? Then whatever he tells you to do, do it.

What did Jesus tell them to do?  Jesus said, “Fill the waterpots with water.”

Water has always been symbolic of the Word of God.  We see this in the passage in Ephesians 5:26 that speaks of the washing of the water of the Word. We see it in the Rock that brought forth the water, in the Laver of Brass in the tabernacle, and in many other places. Also to be noted is that there were six waterpots of stone – six is the number for man, and the waterpots represent the vessels of clay who are made by the Great Potter – the people in the church.

So what is Jesus telling us to do?  Fill the people in the church all the way up to the brim with the water of the Word of God – not halfway or almost full, but all the way up to the brim!  When the waterpots are filled to the brim, the Spirit and the Word will agree in one, and the water will turn to wine!

Can there be any instructions more specific? Do we not understand that all power emanates from the Word of God, nowhere else? Not from books, seminars, videos, singing or dancing, not from holding a good thought, nor any other human endeavor or substitute – only from the Word of God which framed the worlds, created the Universe, brought forth life into existence, and then went to the Cross to shed Blood for our atonement and sanctification.  You cannot do it any other way because there is no other power that can bring forth revival in your church.  Jesus said that without Him, you can do nothing … and He is the Word of God.

You want a fire in your church? Read the Word of God. Read and read and read and read until you are filled to the brim with the power of the Word of God, and then go pour out the wine unto the governor of the feast. 

No excuses. No substitutes. No other way.

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