Who Else Wants Christian Church Revival?

22 Easy To Follow Beliefs To Adopt

A Top 10 Sermon Transcription

True Revival

Christian Church Revival and spiritual awakenings have come to Christians and the Church of Jesus Christ for centuries. These revivals and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit differ from a mere revival of religion and more devout religious practice as many religions of the world might emphasize.

file0001325346094

The interest in revival has mushroomed during recent years. Prayer groups for revival have sprung up all over the world. Some even urge fasting and prayer for it. Articles in magazines and periodicals as well as books on the subject have exploded into the market- place. In the midst of all the popularity of revival, some people have announced its arrival. Despite its current popularity, ignorance and errors about revival abounds.

You can download the complete PDF at this link.

 

Want Pastors, Religious Leaders To Appease You?

5 catastrophes to avoid

They Give Us Something Tangible to Worship

 Every Bible student knows that Aaron built the golden calf because the Israelites demanded it. (1) They also know that their calls came after God gave the law forbidding idols.

"GoldCalf" by Nicolas Poussin - http://www.cts.edu/ImageLibrary/Public_domain.cfm. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GoldCalf.jpg#/media/File:GoldCalf.jpg

“GoldCalf” by Nicolas Poussin – http://www.cts.edu/ImageLibrary/Public_domain.cfm. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GoldCalf.jpg#/media/File:GoldCalf.jpg

What preceded these events recorded in Exodus 32 may surprise you.

The children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt where they had lived for about 400 years. A short time prior to this setting, God met with Moses on the mountain and gave him the law as recorded in Exodus 20.

Exodus 24 describes how Moses, Aaron and his 2 sons, and 70 elders of Israel went to worship God. As they worshiped, they saw God standing on sapphire stone, and they ate and drank with Him. (2)

Out of that group, God called Moses to come up to His presence. Before Moses and his helper Joshua went to God, Moses told the others to wait for their return. If needed help before he returned to them, they could ask Aaron and Hur for counsel. (3)

These events introduce the disastrous events in Exodus 32. Those Israelites who met with God, saw Him standing on a sapphire stone, and observed His wonder, majesty, and beauty cried for new gods and new leadership.

The rebellion of Israel provides a clear picture of the conditions that give rise to false prophets and teachers. It repeated in history and again today, too.

Dissatisfaction For Delay

Few, if any of us, likes delays. We want “Jack-in-the-box responses to our needs and wants.

The Israelites responded in the same fashion. When Moses delayed from his return from his time with God on the mountain, they grew restless. (4) They rebelled against God and Moses, impatient to wait upon and for God’s directions for them.

This same attitude emerges as one of the great evils present in the professing Church today, an unwillingness to wait for God.

We want God to respond yesterday to today’s demands. The desire for instant gratification dominates the Church’s plans:

  • the longing for numerical church growth now;
  • the desire for spiritual growth now; and
  • the need to fill Church program positions now, even with unqualified people rather than wait for God to provide qualified ones.

The Scriptures relate dire illustrations of the disasters that come upon those who fail to wait.

King Saul’s judgment from God for his rejection of Samuel’s command to wait for him before offering sacrifices; and

Abraham and Sarah’s refusal to wait for God’s promised son, which resulted in the birth of Ishmael and the subsequent pain and suffering instead of joy.

In contrast, the Scriptures teach the great value in waiting. For example, God promised,

“they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (5) 

Again, Isaiah records another example of God’s instruction about waiting:

“Therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (6)

Like the children of Israel who expressed dissatisfaction for delay for Moses and God’s directions for them, the Church today does not want to wait for God. We want instant gratification.

Disobedience Of God’s Commands

The Children of Israel disobeyed God’s commands. God had told them not to make any graven images of birds, anything on earth or in the heavens, or especially of God. They must worship God and Him alone.

Even though the Israelites swore allegiance to God to worship Him only, they cried to Aaron to make them gods to go before them. They violated the First and Second Commandments.

God never changed these commands. Yet, professing believers today use religious paraphernalia, images, or other kinds of replicas that we design “make it easier to understand and think about God and to feel Him.”

This particular emphasis has experienced a sudden increase in the professing church today. People flock to churches that make these things available as part of their “worship” in their vain and evil appeal to human nature.

Such practices detract from the true nature and character of God and degrade Him into things made with hands.

Excuses and explanations for these false practices abound.“If it only brings in one lost soul, isn’t it worth it?”

  • “Anything is worth one soul, isn’t it?”
  • “They make me feel closer to God.

The professing Church accepts almost any kind of means that will bring about the desired numerical growth, even to the extent of violating God’s law.

The Lord Jesus, in John 4.23-24, said to the woman at the well,

“Those who worship me must worship me in spirit and in truth.”

What did He mean by that statement? God desires that we avoid anything in or worship of Him that would detract from His true nature and character. Nothing that we make can represent Him in His fullness. He manifests Himself to His children in glorious ways beyond our imaginations.

Deification Of A Man

In their displeasure and disobedience, they deified Moses: “He brought us out of Egypt.” They failed to wait for his return from his visit with God, yet they attributed to him that which God accomplished.

 God brought them out of Egypt.

  • He parted the Red Sea when Moses stood there quivering and wondering before God: “What am I going to do?”
  • God made the bitter waters at Mara sweet so that they could drink them. Moses threw the tree into the waters, but God made them drinkable.
  • God provided the manna every morning for six days each week, not Moses.
  • God caused the pillar of fire to guard them by night and the cloudy pillar to guide them during the day.
  • God provided the water out of the rock when Moses spoke to it.

The Scriptures record numerous accounts of God’s supernatural works on behalf of the children of Israel. But, they attributed them to Moses. They deified Moses and elevated him above God.

In a similar fashion today, the professing Church deifies its leaders.

  • The Church desires leaders with glorious, wonderful personalities.
  • They want pastors and teachers who will draw in the masses.
  • They want preachers who sway them with magnetic personalities and wonderful message delivery.

That describes in part what people want for their leaders. They have deified man and elevated him to the position above God. The professing Church replaced God with a popular man.

The want ads in the back of Christian magazines that advertise for pastors and Christian leaders illustrate this practice. Rather than looking for Godly characteristics and experience with God, they instead concentrate upon relevant work experience, education, ability to manage a multiple staff, and other human qualifications.

In essence, they seek a man. The Christian community today has placed its emphasis upon man. Man runs and directs the Church today, not Christ, the Head of the Church.

In the minds of the Children of Israel, Moses brought them out of Egypt. That pattern repeats now in the professing Church. The Church wants someone to lead it into the new millennium of the Church. The Church deifies man and rejects God.

Disdain For Godliness

Exodus 32 describes the Israelites as wondering what had happened to Moses. (7)

They knew where Moses went. He obeyed God’s call to him to come up to meet with Him. Their leaders had met with God, too, saw Him standing on a sapphire stone, and beheld His glory. They knew that Moses had gone to meet with that God.

They preferred that Moses had stayed with them. They never considered what it meant for Moses to meet with God. They rejected the impact that God would have upon Moses.

Look again at the magazines that advertise for pastors and leaders of Christian colleges and organizations. These ads fail to identify that they want a man who meets with God.

They neglect to say,

  • “We want a man of prayer.”
  • “We want a man who will come and spend hours on his knees beseeching God to meet our needs.”
  • “We want a man who walks with God, who knows Him intimately, and can share that with us and guide us into that same pursuit.”

Several years ago, my wife served as a secretary in a large church. One time, the pastors of that church gathered to pray. While the pastors met in prayer, she received a phone call from a church member, who asked to speak with one of the pastors.

My wife replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. He cannot come to the phone right now. He is in a prayer meeting with the other pastors.”

The caller replied, “What do you mean he is in a prayer meeting? He ought to be working.”

That description depicts the attitude of many in the Church today. Few members realize the absolute necessity of their leaders spending time alone with God. Worse yet, few pastors and leaders recognize its importance. Too often, schedules, demands, and activities have a higher priority than time with God.

A number of years ago, I served on a pastoral search committee of the church that we attended at the time. As the committee met, it established a list of criteria for the new pastor, which emphasized the very issues mentioned earlier in this study. At that time, I joined in the chorus of agreement with the list…until we met one of the candidates.

I will never forget him. It was, I am sure, God’s appointment to bring that man in as a candidate just for me, because that interview changed my life.

 I will never forget sitting in that meeting. As the committee questioned him on every conceivable issue, he replied in the same fashion after each question. After every question, he gave his answer to the question and finished his answer with this statement:

 “…but the most important thing is this. What are you doing with Jesus? Are you walking with Jesus? Have you yielded your life to Christ? Is he working and functioning in your life on a day-to-day basis? That is the most important issue.

At the end of the session, God had used that man’s statements to change my life. That church rejected him as the pastor because of his responses to the committee’s questions.

One of the “respected” leaders on the committee swayed the congregation with this telling statement,

“Well, you know, we really do need a whole lot more than just hearing messages about Jesus.” 

That attitude permeates the professing Church today. It does not want a godly man. More than any other qualification:

  • the Church today needs leaders and pastors who know God;
  • the Church needs to hear from those who have an intimate relationship with God, who spend time on their knees and on their faces before God beseeching Him on behalf of the Church, trying to know Him, trying to understand Him.

That describes the Godly leaders and pastors the Church needs today.

Denial Of Glory To God

After Aaron fashioned for them the golden calf from the gold that they brought to him, they worshiped it. They said, “These be the gods that brought us out of Egypt.”

After all of the wondrous display of God that they observed, His nature, and His supernatural works on their behalf, they took a chunk of gold, worshipped it, and said, “That brought us out of Egypt.”

They denied God the glory that He alone deserved. They gave it instead to a hunk of gold.

How does the professing Church follow this pattern today? The Church gives honor to programs for what the “successes” they delivered. The Church increases in size with multiple programs and honors the programs that fostered the growth, adding praise to the wonderful personality who leads the programs.

God receives no glory.

The Bible warns believers that God will not share His glory with another. Thousands of years ago, the Israelites denied glory to God for His works, and the Church today follows in their footsteps.

In that day, God judged them for their sin. In this day, He, too, has withdrawn His glorious presence and begun to judge the house of God.

Summary

This setting of Aaron’s making the golden calf provides clear examples of the circumstances that encourage false prophets. The signs present in that day,

  • dissatisfaction with delay,
  • disobedience to God’s word,
  • deification of man, and
  • denial of glory to God,

have become increasingly predominant in this day. The Church must awaken to its condition and seek God for remedy.

Questions For Review 

  • What caused the sons of Aaron and the 70 elders, who saw God in His glory, to decide they wanted new gods?
  • What does the modern evangelical Church want?
  • In what ways do you see disobedience to God’s word in the church you attend or in the churches near you?
  • What does John 4.23-24 mean?
  • How did the Israelites deify Moses?
  • How does today’s Church deify their leaders?
    1. How does that harm pastors?
    2. How does it harm the congregation?
    3. How does it harm nationally known “spiritual” leaders who appear on television, write best selling books, and speak at large conferences?
  • What reasons does the average Church have for failing to seek out Godly, praying men of God with Biblical qualifications to shepherd?
  • How do we, as individuals, fail to give God a place of glory in our lives? How does that reveal itself?

Thank you, heavenly Father, for this example that you have given us in your Word of the failure of your chosen people to follow after you and in choosing the idols and choosing of leaders that would be other than the ones that you had in mind for them. I pray that you would teach us from it and conform our lives to the truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

References

  1. Exodus 32.1-6
  2. Exodus 24.9-11
  3. Exodus 24.14
  4. Exodus 32.1
  5. Isaiah 40.31
  6. Isaiah 30.18
  7. Exodus 32.23

 

Caution: Monumental Gospel Church Dangers?

How To Spot Emerging Church Dangers

A Conspiracy Of Prophets and Priests, I

A Top 10 Podcast: Ezekiel 22.23-31

http://morguefile.com/creative/Jusben

http://morguefile.com/creative/Jusben

It reads like today’s newspaper…but it happened centuries ago.

“Religious authorities are unjust and greedy;

priests disregard God’s instructions for holy living;

the political leaders (“officials,” Heb. sarim) misuse their power for personal gain; and

the people have followed their lead” (1)

The Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel described the disastrous confusion in Israel, which depicts our day today.

Listen as Tom uses this account to your benefit today. Click here for podcast.

Reference

  1. WORDsearch 10. CodeWeavers, Inc. “Bible Reader’s Companion.” RE: Ezekiel 22.23-31. 2012.

 

Church Controversy: Bully? Victim? Protector?

3 Biblical Precepts Resolve Church Controversy

 

On June 13, 2015, David Brooks startled the world.

His editorial for the New York Times, “The Next Culture War,” chastised the Christian Church for a “…public obsession with sex.” (1) He added that the Church had lost the culture war.

ID-100287701

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/revolt-submit-tablet-means-rebellion-or-acceptance-photo-p287701

 

The world views all religions and cultures equally. Religious beliefs vary from culture to culture with no one interpretation surpassing another. The world suspects and then rejects  universal religious solutions.

A new religious standard exists:

  • Syncretism: the merging of parts of various religions into one’s own religion;
  • Ecumenism: the elimination of fundamental Biblical doctrines so that various Christian denominations can find “common” ground and join together;
  • tolerance (for my views but intolerance for your views); and
  • autonomy, individualism in belief.

The world system alters centuries-held definitions. Morality has changed into preferences, without any objective basis. Circumstances govern situational ethics. Morality varies from person to person with equal value given to differing opinions.

The depth of spirituality now relies upon personal experience instead of objective truth. Individuals no longer experience dissonance with culture. A dusty void replaces truth and character.

A new societal standard emphasizes the freedom to worship but rejects the freedom to practice religion in society. This subtle change permits religion, i.e., Christianity, to exist in society but not to practice its beliefs in the greater community. That alteration forbids Christian witness, Bible distribution, and other activities used by Christians to spread the gospel message into our culture.

Furthermore, the world rejects the gospel of Christ, calling it irrelevant. It makes concerted efforts to deny its authenticity with its attacks upon the Bible and the legitimacy of Jesus.

For years, culture has waged war against the Church, resisting its influence and active participation in societal affairs. The Church listened to the world and divided between renewed efforts upon social issues or removal from public concerns.

Neither approach conforms to Biblical direction for the Church. In His Sermon on the Mount, which the world revises to advocate its agenda, Jesus described the function of His Church in the world. (2)

The Salt Of The Earth

Jesus called His disciples “…the salt of the earth.” (3) In Christ’s day, salt served two functions:

  • to fertilize soil; or
  • to enhance food flavor. (4)
ID-100312094

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/a-glass-salt-shaker-photo-p312094

 

Salt’s qualities enrich the environments where placed, soil or food. Salt makes food pleasant and palatable. (5) In soil, it works as fertilizer, to increase the yield of crops.A little salt goes a long way. It penetrates its surroundings and transforms them, improving them. (6)

Jesus used this familiar picture to explain the purpose of His disciples in the world. He intends for us:

  • to mingle in society, not withdraw from it; and
  • to enrich it by our presence and beliefs. (7)

In like manner, Christians act like salt in society. We enter our culture with our gospel touched lives. We affect our world, season it, and transform it where we live. The savored salt of Christ followers blesses the world. (8)

The verse highlights these meanings when it describes the result of salt’s lost savor. The loss of savor by heat, water, or disintegration rendered salt useless for its original intent. (9) Christ demands that His followers maintain their savor.

Unlike salt in Christ’s day, which could become useless beyond repair, believers can experience spiritual revival and renewed usefulness.

The Light Of The World

Jesus added another series of pictures to describe the purpose of the Christian Church in the world. He called His disciples, “…the light of the world.” (10)

Jesus used two prominent examples of light to apply the picture to His disciples. (11)

  • A city on a hill
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Skyscapes_g115-Cityscape_Night_Bangkok_Bird_Eye_View_p113511.html

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Skyscapes_g115-Cityscape_Night_Bangkok_Bird_Eye_View_p113511.html

 

You have probably seen pictures from space of our nation taken at night. You can spot the major cities by the lights. You can see a city on a hill because of its lights, too. You cannot hide either of these displays. They show in stark contrast to the darkness of night.

  • A light on a candlestick

In Christ’s day, Jews used lighted candlesticks to light their homes. No one covered their candlesticks. They wanted the light to shine throughout the house to overcome the darkness.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Interiors_g380-Old_Room_p35490.html

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Interiors_g380-Old_Room_p35490.html

 

Light illuminates and overcomes darkness. Without it, darkness prevails.

Christ followers receive their light from Jesus, the True Light, and take it into the world. Our words and deeds, which manifest Christ and Christian truth, take on the nature of light. Their true nature and attributes shine into a dark world. (12)

The Influence Of Salt and Light

Jesus delivered the gospel of His kingdom to His disciples, and it extends to all of His followers. Jesus’ authentic teachings form the basis of the Church. The gospel of Christ gives a message:

  • about God;
  • about sin and humanity’s wrong relationship with God because of sin;
  • about God’s provision for sinners in Jesus Christ His Son;
  • about repentance and faith toward Christ; and
  • about the future of this world.

Jesus pronounced a mission to His followers. The Christian Church, the gathering of the community of Christ followers, demonstrates in the world, like salt and light, the truth of the gospel in practice and reality.

Summary

Dr. John MacArthur summarized it well:

“In these four verses the Lord summarizes the function of believers in the world. Reduced to one word, that function is “influence.” Whoever lives according to the Beatitudes is going to function in the world as salt and light. Christian character consciously or unconsciously affects other people for better or for worse. As John Donne reminds us, “No man is an island.” (13)

Christians must act like salt and stand as lights in a dark world. We dare not lose our savor nor hide our lights.

I urge you to accept your responsibilities before God, without regard to the world’s errors and standards.

Shoulder your task as salt and light by manifesting by word and deed the gospel of Christ in a dark world

References

  1. Brooks, David. New York Times. “The Next Culture War.” June 30, 2015.
  2. Matthew 5.13-16.
  3. Matthew 5.13.
  4. Logos Bible Software, v. 6.4. Faithlife Corporation. 2000-2015. “New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology,” “salt.”
  5. WORDseasrch 10. Codeweavers. 2012. “Barnes’ Notes On The New Testament.” Re. Matthew 5.13.
  6. Logos Bible Software,v. 6.4. Faithlife Corporation. 2000-2015. “Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible.” Re. Matthew 5.13.
  7. Logos, Ibid.
  8. WORDsearch 10. Codeweavers. 2012. “The Complete Word Study Dictionary,” “salt.”
  9. Logos, NIDNTT, Ibid.
  10. Matthew 5.14.
  11. Matthew 5.14-15.
  12. WORDsearch 10. “Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.” “Light”
  13. WORDsearch 10. MacArthur. “MacArthur New Testament Commentary.” Re. Matthew 5.13-16.

 

 

 

Emerging Insidious Catastrophe: Christian Leadership?

Unlock Biblical Perspectives on Christian Leadership

Failure in the Priesthood

1 Samuel 2.12-17

A Top 10 Emailed Podcast

The Church of Jesus Christ faces a crisis in leadership.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As the world increases its pressure upon the Church to conform to its demands. the professing Church continues to compromise with the world. Church leaders by the scores refuse to stand upon Biblical truth and encourage their followers to yield to the world’s dictates.

The Old Testament Priest, Eli, exemplifies the failures in Christian leadership present in the professing Church today. This podcast identifies these failures and the answers to them.

Listen to this powerful, timely message.

 

Exclusive Promise: Spiritual Revival?

8 Revolutionary Precepts From Charles Spurgeon

“A Promise of Revival”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Does the Bible give an exclusive promise for spiritual revival?

Charles_Haddon_Spurgeon_by_Alexander_Melville

Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher in London during the spiritual down-grade resulting from European textual criticism of the Bible, provides 8 revolutionary precepts on this pertinent issue.

Please take about 5-10 minutes and read Spurgeon’s call for spiritual revival which applies to our day, too.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt” (Amos 9:13, KJV).

Originally, as you are aware, the land of Canaan was very fertile. It was a land that flowed with milk and honey. Now the land is barren, and its valleys are parched. Yet the promise stands true that one day Palestine will be as rich and fruitful as ever it was.

However, while this promise will be carried out, this is more fully a spiritual than a temporal promise. Therefore, I will endeavor to explain my text as a promise of revival, as a lesson of doctrine, and as a stimulus for Christian exertion.

A Great Promise Of Spiritual Revival

According to the metaphor used, there is a promise of a surprising ingathering. The harvest is to be so great that, before the reapers can have fully gathered it in, the plowman shall begin to plow for the next crop. Because of the abundant fertility, one season shall run into another. For the church, this means we shall see the most abundant ingathering of souls.

We read of such marvelous revivals a hundred years ago, but we have since seen a season of lethargy and soul-poverty among the saints. Now I believe God is about to send times of surprising fertility to His church. In these modern times, if one sinner is converted, we rejoice with surprise.

However, where we have seen one converted, we may yet see hundreds. Where the Word of God has been powerful to hundreds, it shall be blessed to thousands, and even nations shall be converted to Christ.

There is no reason why we should not see all that God has given to us multiplied a hundredfold. There is sufficient life in the seed of the Lord to produce a far more plentiful crop than any we have yet gathered. God the Holy Ghost is not limited in His power.

I believe that our harvest will be so heavy that while we are taking in the harvest, it will be time to sow again. Prayer meetings will be succeeded by the inquiry of souls as to what they shall do to be saved, and before they are finished, it will be time again to preach and again to pray.

We never can be contented with going on as the churches have been for many years. Even if God sends revival, it will not exonerate us from the awful guilt of having been idle. Let all be saved who live now, but what about those who have been damned while we have been sleeping? Who shall answer for the blood of those men who have been swept into eternity while we have been going on in our religious fashion, content to go along the path of propriety, and walk around the path of dull routine, but never weeping for sinners, never agonizing for souls? Revival has not come before it was much needed.

The Suddenness Of Spiritual Revival

The promise also seems to convey the idea of amazing rapidity in the work. Notice how quickly the crops succeed each other. This is a rapidity that is contrary to the course of nature, but it is quite consistent with grace. Indeed, there is a tendency to imagine that conversion must be a slow work. However, here is a promise that one of the signs of revival will be the marvelous growth in grace of those who are converted.

There is no need for the pulse of the church to be forever slow. The Lord can quicken her heart, so that her pulse will throb as rapidly as the pulse of time itself. As fire from heaven, so will the Spirit rush from the skies; and as the sacrifice that instantly blazed to heaven, so will the church burn with holy and glorious zeal.

The Activity Of Spiritual Revival

Additionally, notice the heightened activity that is mentioned in the text. God does not promise that there shall be fruitful crops without labor, but here we find laborers endowed with extraordinary energy. One sign of a true revival, and indeed an essential part of it, is the increased activity of God’s laborers.

Many ministers think that preaching twice on Sundays is the hardest work to which a man could be exposed. However, it is preaching to a sleepy congregation that kills good ministers, not preaching to earnest people. Indeed, ministers may sometimes lack rest during times of revival, but it will never hurt them. In fact, what pastor would not like to die of such a disease– the disease of being so greatly blessed!

The Unusual Responses In Spiritual Revival

We have not yet, however, exhausted our text. The latter part of it says, “the mountains shall drop sweet wine.” Mountains are not a likely place for wine. Whoever saw fountains of red wine streaming from rocks or gushing out from the hills? By this we are to understand that in times of revival, conversions will take place in unusual places.

Brethren, I have seen this week what I never saw before. Although I am accustomed to preaching to crowded congregations, this week I have seen the people of Dublin, Ireland, without exception, regardless of class, crowd in to hear the gospel. I have seen Roman Catholics listening to the Word with as much attention as Protestants. I have seen men who never heard the gospel before, whose tastes and habits were not likely to be puritanical, nevertheless sitting to listen. I have never before seen such intense eagerness of people to listen to the gospel.

A work of God is even occurring among the sailors, the group of men most would suppose to be the least likely to be reached by the gospel. In crossing over from Holyhead to Dublin and back recently, I spent the most pleasant hours that I have ever spent. On the first vessel that I entered, I found my hands very heartily shaken by the sailors. They were calling me “brother.” When I asked, “What makes you so kind?” one said, “Because I love your Master, the Lord Jesus.”

I made further inquiry and found that, out of the whole crew, only three were unconverted men. Though most of them had been without God and without Christ, by a sudden visitation of the Spirit of God, they had all been converted. I talked to many of these men, and I have never yet met more spiritual, heavenly minded men.

They have a prayer meeting every morning before the boat starts, and another prayer meeting after she comes to port. On Sundays a minister comes on board and preaches the gospel. The cabins are crowded, and services are held on deck when they can be.

My heart was lifted up with joy to think of a ship being made a floating church. When I came back by another ship, I did not expect to have the same experience, but it was precisely the same. The same work had been going on. “Ah! Sir,” said the sailors, “we have the best proof that there is a God here, for we have seen this crew marvelously brought to a knowledge of the truth, and here we are, joyful and happy men, serving the Lord.”

Now, what shall we say of this, but that the mountains drop sweet wine? The men who were loudest with their oaths are now loudest with their songs. Those who were the most daring children of Satan have become the most earnest advocates of the truth. Such unlikely conversions are the mark of true revival.

The Extraordinary Conversions In Spiritual Revival

Further, from the text we learn that a time of revival shall be followed by very extraordinary conversions. Notice that the text does not only say, “the mountains shall drop wine” but that they “shall drop sweet wine.” When debauched persons are converted to God, we say, “Well, it is a wonderful thing, but I do not suppose they will be very first-class Christians.” However, the remarkable reality is that these are the best Christians alive. The wine that God brings from the hills is sweet wine.

The most extraordinary ministers of any time have been the most extraordinary sinners before conversion. We might never have had a John Bunyan if it had not been for his profanity. We might never have heard of a John Newton if it had not been for his wickedness on shipboard. These men would not have known the depths of Satan nor the power of divine grace if they had not been allowed wildly to stray before being wondrously brought back to Christ.

In true revival you will always find that the converts are not inferior to the best of the converts of ordinary seasons.

A Great Doctrinal Lesson Of Spiritual Revival

From the text, we also learn that God is the absolute monarch of the hearts of men. God does not say here “If men are willing . . .”, but He gives an absolute promise of blessing. He basically says, “I have the key of men’s hearts. I am master of the soil–however hard and rocky it may be, I can break it. I can make it fruitful.”

When God promises to bless His church and to save sinners, He does not add, “If the sinners are willing to be saved.” Man has a free will, and God does not violate it, but free will is sweetly bound with fetters of divine love until it becomes more free than it ever was before.

The rushing mighty wind of divine influence sweeps away every obstacle. The unwilling heart bends before the potent gale of grace, and sinners who would not yield are made to yield by God.

If it were not for this doctrine, I wonder where the ministry would be. The power of preaching is bought–it can do nothing in the conversion of men by itself. Men are hardened and indifferent, but the power of grace is greater than the power of eloquence or the power of earnestness. If that power be put forth, what can stand against it?

Divine omnipotence is the doctrine of revival. We may not see it in ordinary days by reason of the coldness of our hearts, but we must see it when extraordinary works of grace are wrought. We are all blind and stupid in a measure, and we must see some of these extraordinary motions of divine influence before we will fully understand God’s power.

Learn then, O church of God, this great lesson of the nothingness of man and the eternal all of God. Learn, disciples of Jesus, to rest on Him. Look for your success to His power, and while you make your efforts, trust not in them but in the Lord Jehovah.

A Stimulus for Further Exertion For Spiritual Revival  

The duty of the church is not to be measured by her success. It is as much the minister’s duty to preach the gospel in adverse times as in fruitful seasons. We are not to think that if God withholds the dew, we are to withhold the plow. We are not to imagine that if unfruitful seasons come, we are therefore to cease from sowing our seed. Our business is to act, not to worry about results.

The church must do her duty even though that duty should bring her no present reward. If we sow the seed, and if the birds of the air devour it, we have done what we were commanded to do. The duty is accepted even though the birds devour the seed. We may expect to see a blessed result, but even if it does not come, we must not cease from duty.

Remember that even when this revival comes, instruments will still be needed. The plowman is needed even after the harvest, and the treader of grapes is needed, however plentiful the vintage. The greater the success, the more need of instruments.

Brothers and sisters, you need not think that if better times should come, the world will do without you. You will be needed. They shall say, “Tell us what we must do to be saved.” They shall come to your house and ask for your prayers. They shall demand your instructions. The glory that God puts upon instrumentality should encourage you to use it.

I sometimes fear that the wind will blow on us, and we will have our sails down. Up with the canvas now. Let every effort be used. Let us be earnest coworkers with Him. It is yours today to bring down the rain even though it is God’s to send the clouds.

The Call For Prayer For Spiritual Revival

Now, you Elijahs, pray it down! Go to your knees, believers. You can bring it down, only you. “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).

Will you lose the opportunity, Christians? Will you lose for lack of effort? If so, the church is a completely cowardly church and is unworthy of its time. When there are such times as these, if every man does not go to work, we shall indeed deserve the worst barrenness of soul that can possibly fall upon us.

I believe that the church has often been plagued and vexed by her God because when God has favored her, she has not made proper use of the favor. Let us spend this week in special prayer. Let us meet together as often as we can and plead at the throne.

Do it, O Thou Crucified One, for Thy mercy’s sake! Send forth Thine Holy Spirit now and grant, O Lord, that many hearts may be fully resigned to Thy love and to Thy grace. (1)

References

  1. ©2002-2015 SermonIndex.net Audio Sermons: http://www.sermonindex.net

False Prophets: They Tell Us What We Want To Hear

 

(an excerpt from Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing)

Do you foster false prophets?

 

 

You may contribute to their prominence and not realize it.

 DGH Cover Design2

False prophets abound in the Church of Jesus Christ today. What led to their profusion?

They existed in the Apostle Paul’s day, too. He identified them and fought against their heresies. Paul warned his protégé, Timothy, of their invasion and what would encourage their presence.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Paul described the conditions and causes within churches that give an open door to false teachers. These conditions permit them to foster their fallacies and errors, and enable them to step into the vacuum where they can assume positions of leadership and lead people astray.

Those same conditions exist today, infecting the professing Church of Jesus Christ.  To prevent the presence and growth of false prophets in the Church, we must heed Paul’s warning to Timothy and turn from the practices that foster false prophets.

Danger Sign #1: Professing Believers Disavow Sound Doctrine.

“They will not endure sound doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4.3)

Paul declared that a time would come when people in the Church will disavow sound doctrine. They will seek the false and not adhere to the truth.

What does it mean when it says they will not endure sound doctrine? It means, very literally, they won’t stand for it. They will not put up with it. They want something else.

What sound doctrine will they not endure? In 1 Timothy 1.10-11, Paul used the exact phrase “sound doctrine” and explained what it meant in verse 11:

“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Paul predicted professing believers would not endure the sound doctrine of the gospel, the good news of the gospel that would save them and bring them back into relationship with God the Father.

This group included not just those on the outside of the Church, but also those within the Church. He said that Church members and professing believers, who said they followed Christ, would not put up with the gospel.

We face a grave problem today, the misstatement of the gospel. The Church fails to proclaim even the elementary truths of the gospel.

  • The Sinfulness Of Humanity

The modern day presentation of the gospel evades the issue of sin, because people do not want to hear about their sins. The preaching of the gospel without including the truth of the sinfulness of mankind eliminates the key element of the gospel. The gospel provides salvation from sin. Sadly, many professing believers have never come to recognize their dire sinfulness before God, an elemental part of salvation.

  • The Helplessness Of Mankind To Reconcile With God

Man contributes nothing to his salvation. One preacher said wisely, “The only thing that you bring to the salvation experience is your sin.” Sinners, utterly helpless and dead in their trespasses and sins, obtain salvation only by a gift of grace from God. The presentation of the gospel today frequently excludes this truth.

Most people assume that sinners provide something toward their salvation. However, salvation is neither a cooperative nor a synergistic experience, one where each party participates on a sharing basis. Sinners contribute nothing to their salvation but their sin.

Because the Church avoids these basic elements of the gospel, many people have not obtained salvation. They have never heard the gospel in its entirety.

Leaders within the professing Church today follow the same practice that Paul warned Timothy people would practice in that day. They will not endure the gospel. They will not put up with it. They do not explain it in its fullness.

This describes the first issue that Paul’s warning to Timothy emphasized, which gives rise to false prophets: people do not want the gospel. To avoid the growth of false prophets, the Church must overcome this error and return to a full presentation of gospel truths.

Danger Sign #2: Professing Believers Seek Personal Gratification.

“…but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (2 Timothy 4.3)

Modern day professing believers delight in satisfying their fleshly natures and desires. The phrase “but after” means they do not want this, but they do want something else. They did not want a spiritual emphasis in their lives, but they greatly enjoyed pursuing pleasure, which captivated their interests.

Professing believers, who lack interest in the spiritual condition of their lives, fill the Church. Holiness, conspicuous by its absence, lacks appeal, reserved only for the devout, an option sought by dour believers. The preference for knowing God “…at a distance” makes the interest in an intimate knowledge of God outdated.

The popular faith does not want God’s interference in life. The discipline of walking with God, pursuing after Him in obedience and trust for life’s plans, has vanished.

To soothe their “itching ears” they “heap to themselves” pastors who tell them what they want to hear:

  • lessons on struggling with stress;
  • messages on managing finances;
  • feel-good homilies;
  • superficial Biblical instruction;
  • thoughts on raising children.

Instead of the gospel and holy living, these professing Christians want messages that appeal to their human natures. They pursue pastors and teachers who will scratch their ears and make them feel good. These conditions give rise to false prophets and teachers.

The Bible expressly speaks against satisfying the demands of our fleshly natures. Paul wrote to his friends at Rome on this very issue.

“I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” (Romans 7:18)

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)

This last reference refers to satisfying fleshly lusts instead of putting on Christ. Paul said, “Do not pursue your own lusts. That is not the way you should live as a follower of Christ.”

To avoid aiding the rise of false prophets in the Church of Jesus Christ, Christ followers must reject the popular trend toward satisfying their fleshly desires, and pursue after the knowledge of Christ.

Danger Sign #3: Professing Believers Turn To Error.

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

When professing believers disavow the gospel, and seek personal gratification from those who satisfy their desires, they turn from the truth to error. They gather to themselves deceptive church leaders and pastors who deny the truth. They turn to fables, imaginations, and stories. They follow error, not the Bible.

The Church has begun to enter this phase of decline. The professing Church today debates the existence of truth. The world has tried to debunk and degrade the gospel of Jesus Christ for generations, saying that we cannot know truth, an unthinkable thought which Christ followers should never consider.

The world has said this for a long time. Then world says, “There is no exclusive truth. My truth is just as good as your truth.” Of course, the world would say that. They do not want to believe God’s truth, because it describes them as sinners in need of a Savior, and they don’t want that.

However, it becomes an entirely different problem when false prophets, who profess to follow Christ, assume positions as leaders and pastors of churches and say, “You can’t know the truth.” Their error misleads those who respect and follow them.

False prophets teach that every one can know their truth but cannot know God’s truth. Every false prophet, teacher, pastor, or leader, who makes these kinds of claims, establishes himself or herself above God. They create a truth that they impose which surpasses God’s truth.

The false prophet or teacher who says, “You can’t know the truth” contradicts Scripture, much like the serpent in the Garden of Eden who said to Adam and Eve, “You’ll not die. God has not told you the truth. I am telling you the truth. Believe me. Don’t believe God.”

On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus gave a series of messages to His disciples on the Holy Spirit recorded in John 14, 15 and 16. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth and told how the Holy Spirit would guide believers into the truth.

Christ told them:

“… when He comes, He will guide you into the truth. Many things I cannot tell you now, because you cannot understand them, you will not endure them, nor will you understand them. You cannot grasp them now. But when He comes, He will guide you into the truth.” (John 16:13)

Further, Jesus said,

I am the truth…” (John 14.6)

In His prayer in John chapter 17, Jesus prayed to His Father,

“One thing you will do Father; you will sanctify these people in the truth.” (John 17:17)

The Bible presents each member of the Triune God, the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, as providers, teachers, and revealers of truth. To declare that no one can know spiritual truth defames the triune God.

Untrustworthy teachers welcome the opportunity to encourage their followers to enjoy an easy and false doctrine. They do it subtly, carefully, and persuasively, so that error sounds like the truth.

To elude the support of false prophets in the Church of Jesus Christ, believers must reject the errors of the false prophets and pursue the truth, guided by the Holy Spirit Whom the Father and the Son sent to reveal it.

Summary

Paul’s warning to Timothy applies to the Church of Jesus Christ today, too. Professing believers, open your eyes to the truth. We can know the truth, and it will set us free from unwittingly fostering false prophets in the Church.

The whole sequence presented in 2 Timothy 2.3-4 describes recently published Christian magazines, books, and television and radio broadcasts. Many counterfeit spiritual leaders produce books and internet articles, and preach in churches and to vast crowds all over the world.

Organizations have risen in the last few years for the sole purpose of presenting error as true Christianity. Deceiving teaching looms dark over the contemporary church.

I urge you to bring these issues to the throne of God. Seek Him and His wisdom and stand for the inerrant truth of the Word of God.

Questions For Reflection and Application

Who can you identify that fits Paul’s description?

What organization(s) and churches follow the pattern that Paul explained?

Do you presently attend a church that fits the description of Paul’s warning to Timothy?

Can you recognize untruth when you hear it from the pulpit?

Do you follow the deceitful teachings of a false prophet(s)?

Has it caused you to consider that you cannot know the truth, that God does not demand of you total obedience and surrender of your rights in total submission to Him?

Do you pursue God and His righteousness above everything else?

Thank You, heavenly Father, for Your great grace in making provision for Your children by giving them warnings. In giving the warnings, You present that which is true and that which is false and the consequences of that which is false. And, Father, by Your Holy Spirit, apply these truths in our lives, that we might be taught by them, encouraged by them, strengthened by them, reaffirmed in the truth by them, corrected by them, conformed more assuredly and more completely to the truth. We will give to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all of the glory for what You accomplish. Amen.

 

 

Jonathan Edwards: Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

Caution? Jonathan Edwards’ Monumental Warnings

10 Precepts to Adopt

 

819px-Jonathan_Edwards

 

Jonathan Edwards preached his classic sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” in the early 1700s to his church and again in 1741. Edwards based his message on Deuteronomy 32:35: “…their foot shall slide in due time.”

 

This presentation gives a summary of the message followed by a link to the complete sermon.

Summary of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1)

There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.

Most of the sermon’s text consists of ten “considerations”:

  • God may cast wicked men into hell at any given moment.
  • The Wicked deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice does not prevent God from destroying the Wicked at any moment.
  • The Wicked, at this moment, suffer under God’s condemnation to Hell.
  • The Wicked, on earth – at this very moment – suffer the torments of Hell. The Wicked must not think, simply because they are not physically in Hell, that God (in Whose hand the Wicked now reside) is not – at this very moment – as angry with them as He is with those miserable creatures He is now tormenting in hell, and who – at this very moment – do feel and bear the fierceness of His wrath.
  • At any moment God shall permit him, Satan stands ready to fall upon the Wicked and seize them as his own.
  • If it were not for God’s restraints, there are, in the souls of wicked men, hellish principles reigning which, presently, would kindle and flame out into hellfire.
  • Simply because there are not visible means of death before them at any given moment, the Wicked should not feel secure.
  • Simply because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for them, men should not think themselves safe from God’s wrath.
  • All that wicked men may do to save themselves from Hell’s pains shall afford them nothing if they continue to reject Christ.
  • God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace.

 

  • For the entire text of the sermon, follow this link.

Continue reading

Evil Assaults On Biblical Belief?

Evil Assaults on Biblical Beliefs: 5 Truths Empower Victory

A Top 10 Sermon PDF Transcription

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It happens every day. Evil assaults on Biblical belief make headlines. Their frequency and intensity increase every day.

How can you overcome these attacks? This Top 10 Sermon PDF Transcription provides 5 truths to empower you to victory. Download it here.