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The Persecuted Church

 

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THE YEAR IS 1999

THE QUESTION IS...

What is REAL REVIVAL ?

One of the most important lessons for Christians to learn is of our past history, both the good and the bad. We can look at the Apostles whose accounts are in the scripture as well  as those who came afterwards in times of revival to see what was affective and TRUTHFUL. Much can bring the desired results but it is only in the realm of the flesh and has not the eternal affect on ones soul or spiritual life. They fall away because their conversion was not in Christ but in some thing that tantalized their fancy or gave them immediate relief in their suffering and trials. in other words they came to him not on his terms but on mans.

Finney emphasized the importance of obedience over experience: "The experience of revival is nothing more than a new beginning of obedience to God.

In Reflections on Revival, Charles G. Finney writes:"We need fear no kind or degree of excitement which is produced simply by perceived truth, and is consistent with the healthful operation of the intellectual powers. Whatever exceeds this must be disastrous.

In the history of revivals both here in America and abroad there have always been shrieking, groaning, crying for mercy, convulsions ,  agonizing, fainting, falling down in distress, and slain .My purpose is not to examine each or any of these Revivals especially through the 1800's. But I do want to point out some interesting facts.

From 1730-1760  Revival began in the Northeast and then spread to the Middle and Southern colonies of America.  The emphasis was upon doctrine,  those who preached were educated clergy who had Calvinist roots, relying on the sovereignty of God. There was no a mass-phenomenon occurring on the people.

In 1790-1830 the 2nd great awakening Found itself started in the South and old Southwest .Their theological roots were basically Arminian it came from the  Baptist, the Methodist, and  Presbyterians.  Preachers who were farmers would travel as it was directed to the masses, preaching was at times emotional.

Many of those who were reputable and started their ministry before a revival were cautious in attributing any of the phenomenon affects to God.Those who started in the revival or because of it were not as cautious.

Jonathan Edwards  mentions numerous things of what does not prove conversion despite the outward signs, these are only a few .  religious affections are very great, or raised very high, is no sign  That they have great effects on the body, is no sign  Persons having religious affections of many kinds, accompanying one another, is no sign.(In his A TREATISE CONCERNING RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS )Overall those involved in true models of revival  believed when the Holy Spirit is in control of a believers life there will be greater clarity of thought,  self-control, and understanding of scripture.Not foolish behavior, loose speech and bad teaching.Where the spirit of the lord is there is liberty, this does not exclude order. The word is focused on the person of Christ. Apologetic rebuttals are that there is always the flesh involved in every revival . True there is this element, but it does not occur from those that the Spirit is working on to repent or come back. We see this on those who are convicted will not yield or surrender to Christ as he  is proclaimed. The only evidence of this in scripture is found with Peter and Simon the Sorcerer . He wanted the Spirit but would not come Gods way, he wanted to buy it!

Martin Lloyd-Jones, in his work Revival, discusses some of the hindrances to genuine revival. Among his major points is the definite need for doctrinal purity. Consider these statements in light of the new model of ministry, "The need, we say, is the need of an outpouring of the Spirit of God. But clearly, by definition, the Spirit of God can only be outpoured on, and can only honor, His own truth. The Holy Spirit cannot honor a lie. He cannot honour a negation of truth ... So, if we want the blessing of the Holy Spirit, clearly, we must make sure that our position conforms to His truth."

W. Graharn Scroggie, said, "There never has been a spiritual revival which did not begin with an acute sense of sin."

C.H Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, made a similar observation on revivals:"That great religious excitements have occurred apart from gospel truth we admit; but anything which we, as believers in Christ, would call genuine revival of religion, has always been attended with clear evangelical instruction upon cardinal points of truth." "Its more to Gods glory that the world should be conquered by the force of truth than by the blaze of miracles"(Spurgeon)

Isa.59:14"And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen into the street ..."

Today they preach miracles, not Christ crucified. Paul preached the cross, Jesus Christ and him crucified, the power of God 1 Cor.1:18.

It has become a crossless Christianity, replaced by the spirit for cleansing and experience for forgiveness.

They look to a god of forces. If their is no power present for manifestations or psuedo miracles then he is not present. Signs and wonders MUST follow or their is no anointing! They are not satisfied with the words of Jesus but find it necessary to have the power.Various manifestations do not prove God is moving in power, it can actually mean the opposite.

"What many men despise today as "doctrine' the New Testament calls the gospel; and the New Testament treats it as the message upon which salvation depends. But if that be so, if salvation depends upon the message in which Christ is offered as Savior, it is obviously important that we should get the message straight. That is where Christian scholarship comes in. Christian Scholarship is important in order that we may tell the story of Jesus and his love straight and full and plain." (Gresham Machen Education, Christianity & The State p. 20)

"To me it is clear that we need a revival of old-fashioned gospel  preaching like that of Whitefield and Wesley.  The Scriptures must be made the infallible foundation of all  teaching; the ruin, redemption and regeneration of mankind must be set forth in unmistakable terms. "(THE KIND OF REVIVAL WE NEED by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

IF WE look to the NT examples for  revival and EXAMINE THEM CAREFULLY we find ... "What did Peter's first Pentecost sermon contain? Did it contain merely an account of Peter's own experience of salvation; did it consist solely in exhortation to the people to confess their sins? Not: at all. What Peter did on the day of Pentecost was to set forth the facts about Jesus Christ-his life, his miracles, his death, his resurrection.  It was on the basis of that setting forth of the facts about Christ that the three thousand believed, confessed their sins, and were saved. (Gresham Machen Education, Christianity & The State p. 17-18)

There was no miracle performed and if the people asked for it you can be sure Peter would not have complied. It was a clear and powerful presentation of Christ to many who had made up their mind already and rejected him.Yet they were convinced without a miracle.That itself would be considered a miracle by toady's standards.however when the apostle did do miracles it was almost unanimously to unbelievers, rarely to those who possessed faith.

If one looks at the accounts we find the clear presentation of scripture in the book of Acts through the epistles that brings the results that we desire to see. Acts 3:20, 5:42, 9:20,10:42, 17:18,18:5;1 Cor.15:1-4, 2 Cor 4:5; Gal.1:16;1 Tim.3:16. The focus was Christ using the scripture to verify and then people believed. Not once do we find any mention in the book of Acts the miracles. While we do know they took place they were not part of the gospel package.they followed the presentation of the word which testified to Christ.The power was in the Gospel, never were miracles or power preached to bring revival.

Acts 2:38 Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ-the result 3,000 saved. Acts  3:18-19 Christ’s death & repentance is the focus for the forgiveness of their sins."Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." In Acts 4:2-4 Jesus & the resurrection is preached, they believed the word .the result 5,000 were saved. These is the examples the scriptures give for revivals. If this is the way the apostles did it can we expect apostolic miracles when it is done differently.

"Any man who by repentance and a sincere return to God will break himself out of the mold in which he has been held, and will go to the Bible itself for his spiritual standards, will be delighted by what he finds there." (A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Christian Publications Inc., 1982, p.71) Not so today we find new revelation as gathering for the corporate anointing. The church is no longer satisfied with the word, with  studying the scripture to have Gods knowledge be imparted  to them. They want the power, the very thing Jesus warned them about when they were following him."A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a a sign."

"if the saving work of Christ were confined to what he does now for every Christian, there would be no such thing as a Christian gospel-an account of an event which put a new face on life. What we should have left would be simply mysticism, and mysticism is quite different from Christianity. It is the connection of the present experience of the believer with an actual historic appearance of Jesus in the world which prevents our religion from being mysticism and causes it to be Christianity. It must certainly be admitted, then, that Christianity does depend upon something that happened; our religion must be abandoned altogether unless at a definite point in history Jesus died as a propitiation for the sins of men. Christianity is certainly dependent upon history. "(Gresham Machen Christianity & Liberalism p. 120-121

Jesus said: The Truth will make you FREE (John 8:32) that was the word . Not the miracles or power but truth, his word that he speaks, not what another man speaks as new revelation. It was his word that sanctified the disciples separating from the world.

We find the claims the presence of the Lord changes lives . Instead the scripture is clear that it is the word that does this Rom.12:1-2. This is no small point to be made in passing. The very catalyst that Jesus pointed to is discarded, traded in  for a sensory feeling. The work of the Lord is most often  a slow and steady lifetime work now an impartation or zapping for the cure.

My words are spirit and they are life,has been change to the Spirit is life the power ALONE. But the word and the Spirit are to act together or not at all.Today it is the anointing that breaks the yoke, new ones , fresh ones, special ones, even financial ones (where's that in scripture?). Some have actually claimed that Jesus preached the anointing . (click here> to go to Copeland .Contending for the faith to those in unbelief has been replaced with the anointing to do miracles.           

Do people who are our new leaders on TV and in the miracle crusades  really care to present the truth? Do they really care for people? If they did they would stay in the word and continue in it. Instead they use it as a springboard for their own agenda around their ministry, which they claim is revival.

True knowledge is painful because it is the narrow way .It cost a lot to follow truth. Falsehood on the other hand by its own nature is easy to follow and soothing to those who refuse truth. Its the wide road to destruction that Jesus warned about. Real revival is a renewed sensitivity to sin not a fresh anointing, a zap from above. Where's the conviction today, what we have is a feel good meeting a self esteem booster. Is it any wonder the church has lost the sting of the salt, we want to be tolerant of others while we enjoy ourselves being blessed. Does anyone come away from these experience oriented meetings stricken to their soul ready to make a radical change in their lives ? We no longer take God at his word and walk in faith but need an experience for proof.

Matt. 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. What are they cold too? The word of God, their eyes saw the miracles but they did not want the word to pierce their heart and change them inside. Jesus is referring to seeing spiritually , understanding what they were hearing.The word came first for them to embrace then the healing would follow.Not so today, they come by droves to get the miracle by the new anointed Nicolaitan. if nothing spectacular happens they go home disappointed as if God may not have visited.

In the new revivalism There is no preaching on sin, holiness, a crucified life instead the focus is on power and miracles.

The church has learned to be comfortable smelling the skunk and hugging a porcupine.

Lets not forget the sobering message for the end of time Matt 24:24 "For false Christ's and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.Its not the elect that do the signs and wonders but are being tested of them, The purpose is to deceive them, Deut. 13.

Those who are strong in faith do not need signs and wonders to know that the Father is caring for them, they don’t need to be further convinced of the reality of God's power; We do not need signs and wonders to prove to us that He exists or that He hears our prayers. Faith comes by hearing the word about Christ, (Romans 10:17. Without seeing any evidence of supernatural manifestations. We believe because God has granted us grace to believe based upon the testimony of His Son.  That is true faith.

Its not the ambience or the Charisma of the speaker or the enthusiasm of the audience that can bring the true affects of new life. What people are searching for is a methodology to bring success like Toronto or Pensacola . No one wants to put in the time and the labor of equipping their  people who will bring revival to their community. Instead revival is centered around the Church assembly with those who already believe. In the new model of revivalism atmosphere is everything. The music , the testimonies , the speaker brings a hush and then the sounds of the crowd roaring as he has them rise up with him . It has become more like a rock concert. Take away all this ambiance and all you would have is the message. Do you think they would have the same participation and testimonials of healing without the atmosphere and the platform to promote it?  I seriously doubt it. I think noone would show up.

In every age there are always those who profess the name of Christ but who do not want to bear the reproach of the cross. They cannot stand to be looked down upon by the wise of this world. They are more concerned with making the gospel "respectable" than in declaring the "whole counsel of God." They have made a complicated system of "gears" as to "gear" the gospel to youth, to the athlete, to the politician, to the movie star, etc. The whole program is deceptively dangerous for it appeals to the flesh in the name of the Spirit and invariably glories in size rather than in fidelity to the truth.(Bible Truth Society, New Zealand-quoted from the Berean Call Newsletter)

The truth is God will start a new revival by outpouring his spirit on the faithful teachers of his word. Its is the clarion call of the gospel which brings revival.  A revival is focused on Christ and the word, on repentance, on following Christ.  Revival is God sent not man made, its Gods timing, Gods way by Gods mercy.   May we pray and labor to actually see this occur in our lifetime.

  (for more on this subject go to > the Cross)

 

 

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