Posts Tagged ‘sin’

There is  a storm coming. And not many are prepared. Not a physical storm like what we’ve seen lately with rain and hail and tornados and floods; but a spiritual storm. One that will be more devastating than any tornado or flood.

The people of Judah had rebelled against the principles upon which their nation had been founded on. Judah had turned its back upon God and rejected any attempt by those sent to call her back. As promised, God withdrew His protection from her. He had warned that if His people became faithless that He would employ a pagan power to conquer them and lead them back into captivity. He had led them from Egyptian bondage 800 years before, and now, because of their infidelity, He would allow them to return to bondage—this time in Babylon.

They had refused to believe it could ever happen to them. They found their own false prophets to tell them that everything was fine. They ridiculed Jeremiah and others who warned of the devastation to come. The Lord spoke through Jeremiah and put it this way; “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north…and I will send Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon…against this land and against its inhabitants…and this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:9-11)

But the false prophets told them that God would never allow this to happen because they were God’s chosen people. They were insisting that God loved them and that He only wanted to bless them. But it wasn’t true!

Today we have the modern counterparts of these false prophets. Some promise that God will bless you if you send them money. Some say that God will not bring judgment against Christians because they are God’s chosen people. They say that God loves them and that He only wants to bless them. They claim that the world’s problems are a direct result of sinfulness in the “world”—But if we elect someone with “Christian values”,  America will be great again.

They have forgotten that God is the one who exalts leaders into office: (Psalm 75:7; Daniel 2:21) So what if, because we have turned our back on God and instead placed our trust in man and rejected any attempt by those He sent to call us back, God also removes His protection from us?

There are many today who cry out, “God bless America!” But how can God bless America when we allow children to be beaten, raped and killed? How can God bless America when we refuse to allow our children to pray and criminalize those who do? How can God bless America when we ignore the suffering of the poor and destitute while we indulge ourselves on the luxuries we have accumulated for ourselves.

William Booth embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute. Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people.

He once related a vision he had concerning the lost. He saw a dark and stormy ocean. In that ocean he saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, shouting and shrieking, cursing and struggling and drowning. But what puzzled him most was the fact that although all of them had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone no longer seemed troubled by those who were downing—nor did they even seem to care about the poor perishing ones who were struggling and drowning right before their very eyes—many of whom were their own husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and even their own children!

The primary aim of the Salvation Army was not to provide charity, but to win souls from the devil. Booth stated that “what was important was not whether a man died in the poorhouse but if his soul was saved.” (‘The Salvationist in a Secular Society’— p29)

And yet today the Salvation Army is a human organization more interested in the needs of the flesh, rather than the needs of the soul. Is it possible that God had given William Booth a vision of the “future” Salvation Army and Christianity as a whole?

The Church today reminds me of a poem I read years ago written by Howard Clinebell:

The Little Lifesaving Station

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occurred, there was once a crude lifesaving station. The building wasn’t much more than a small hut, and there was only one boat. But the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought of themselves, went out night and day tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station. So much so that it became famous for its rescue efforts. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money for the support of its work. New boats were purchased and donated to the station and crews were trained to improve the rescue operations of the station.

As the little lifesaving station grew some of the members were unhappy that the building itself was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided for those who were rescued from the sea. So the members raised funds for the station and replaced the emergency cots with beds and placed better furniture in an enlarged building.

Soon the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They decorated it beautifully and furnished it so exquisitely that it became sort of a club. The lifesaving station’s logo still prevailed on the wall above the fireplace and its name was still used to raise funds,  but  fewer members were now interested in going out to sea on lifesaving missions. They even hired lifeboat crews to do the work that they used to do themselves.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half drowned people. These people were dirty and sick. And some of them were foreigners who couldn’t speak English. The beautiful club was thrown into chaos. The property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club building with an attached closet filled with clean clothes so that the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up and dressed properly before coming inside.

At the next club meeting there was a split in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social structure of the club. Some members insisted that the lifesaving operations were the primary reason for them being there and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The latter were finally voted down and were told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters they could start their own lifesaving station further down the coast. That’s exactly what they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old one. It evolved into a club and later another lifesaving station was founded.

History continues to repeat itself and if you visit that seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along its shores.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but sadly, most of the people there drown.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth…But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7, 14-15)

“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear, but your sins have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59: 1-2)

There are many Christians today that excuse their sin by claiming that because we are human, we do not have the capacity to stop sinning. Isn’t that the reason that Jesus died and was resurrected? “We are no longer under Law but under grace.” they say. There are some in AA circles who have even referred to sin as “character flaws” or “allergies”. But it is the power of Jesus in us that REMOVES our character flaws! And even when one has an allergy to something, they CHOOSE to partake of it or refuse it. It’s not that it is impossible for us to NOT sin, it’s that we CHOOSE to sin.

But to have victory over sin will involve a total daily surrender of Self, (Our own desires, will, and selfish nature) to God. Surrender to God simply means acknowledging to Him that all things you desire; personal as well as spiritual, good as well as bad, by His grace and by the power of His spirit, you agree to give up in order that He might be glorified. You also have to acknowledge that in your flesh, (that is, in your own strength) this is impossible to accomplish.

Self is an impossible force to deal with on our own. It is the foundation of all sin and all the problems that have plagued societies and civilizations since the fall of man. Everything from lust, to murder, to war are all sins derived from Self. Wars are being waged simply because someone has something that the other wants and cannot have. Neither side will compromise, so they go to war. (James 4:5-6)

Sam Shoemaker, (December 27, 1893 – October 31, 1963) is considered one of the best preachers of his era, whose sermons were syndicated for distribution by tape and radio networks for decades, Shoemaker served as the rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City, the United States headquarters of the Oxford Group during the 1930s, and was a significant influence for the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. http://aa-history.com/samshoemaker.html Shoemaker wrote over thirty books, about half of which were circulating before A A’s 12 Steps were first published in the Big Book in 1939.

A year after his death, Shoemaker’s daughter, Helen Shoemaker-Rea, compiled a collection of Shoemaker’s writings for the book, “Sam Shoemaker-at his best EXTRAORDINARY LIVING FOR THE ORDINARY MAN”. They first appeared in, Faith At Work Magazine, New York, N.Y.

The following are excerpts from the chapter called, “Victory Over Self” of that book:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“We are at war today as surely as we were in the ‘40s and are in the midst of making the same mistakes again… We fight with force against the enemy without because we have not learned to fight with faith against the enemy within. The real war is within. What we need today, more than anything else, more than victory in the war against aggression, are weapons, manpower, and strategy to win the war against selfishness. We need, and must have, victory over ourselves, before any outward victory will mean anything more than a temporary cessation of human conflict….”

“Let us face at the outset how many Christians are not victorious, but defeated. Defeated by circumstances, defeated by other peoples’ natures and wrong-doings, defeated by the down-drag of the flesh, defeated by loss, by pain, by suffering, by worry. Instead of saying with confidence, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” they have to say in honesty, “This is the defeat that has been caused by the world, even our self-centeredness.” That is the opposite of faith. Unbelief is not the opposite of faith; self-centeredness is—being centered in self rather than in God.”

“Victory over sin. This victory begins in the life and death of our Lord himself—in his life, because “he was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin”—in his death, because there he took upon himself the sin of the world, suffered in our stead, made redemption possible for us. We need to be redeemed from sin first, to have salvation put in its place by our Savior. Then we need to claim his power over our sins, one by one. Most of us fight a dreary battle for character, or else give it up entirely, and just give in to the desires that assail us—desires to coddle and indulge the body, to please and amuse the mind, to fritter away the life with trivial pursuits, to win out over somebody else, to “get ours.” The way to deal with sin is not to try to hate sin more, but to love Christ more.”

“All the victory of which we have been speaking is a derived victory. We can win the victory only because Christ won it long ago. We participate in his victory by faith.Faith is like a wire, along which he sends the power, the love, the guidance, that enable us to share in his victory. Faith is not just a belief of the mind; faith is the set of the whole personality God-ward. It doesn’t begin with beliefs, but obedience.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

If only people could realize that by surrendering Self to God and living by principles taught through the Holy Scriptures wars would cease, crime rates would go down and divorce would be all but non-existent. But as long as people refuse to surrender Self to God, all of these things will continue to plague the world and will increase in its intensity over time. That’s why we must rely on God to give us the grace we need that will allow us to surrender Self to Him. God promises in his Word that if we’re honest, admit that we’re powerless in our own nature to surrender, and humble ourselves before him, he’ll give us the grace we need to do it.

There are some who will still be convinced that it is impossible for one not to sin. But listen to what God says:

“For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.“ (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) [Emphasis mine]

The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (Burdensome)

But it is only by God’s grace that we can accomplish this. To some surrendering Self to God will become as easy as shedding a winter coat in Spring, while others will struggle daily to accomplish it.

The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 how he struggled with what he calls his “thorn in the flesh”. Some have suggested that Paul struggled with some physical malady, while others are convinced that it was spiritual in nature. We may never know until the resurrection what it was, but we do know that God gave Paul the grace to endure it.

Grace is not a replacement or an excuse for sin. Paul himself said, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)

Before becoming Navy SEALs, candidates are put through some of the most mentally challenging and physically demanding training in the world, commonly referred to as “hell week.” Very few candidates successfully complete the training. I recall hearing a story about the last day of training. Just after completing a rigorous exercise, the instructor told the candidates to complete another 1000-yard swim with fins in 20 minutes or under. Two of the candidates staggered over and rang the bell, signifying that they could not physically complete the task. The remainder of the candidates immediately received their SEAL Trident, designating them as Navy SEALs. You see, the instructor wanted to see who was WILLING to go the extra mile.

We too, need to be willing to do what it takes to have victory over sin. So with the help of God’s grace, we must decide to die to self and follow Christ no matter what.

“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50:7)

The early Church in the Book of Acts were making people angry by preaching the truth. Some of them were martyred, willing to die for the cause of Christ. After hearing the gospel message many who had been involved with the occult brought their “curious arts” and burned them in a bonfire. (Acts 19:19) The worth of the books and items were 50,000 pieces of silver. (hundreds of thousands of dollars in today’s value) The local idol makers were so enraged at Paul, that the other believers had to keep him from the angry mob waiting to tear him to pieces. (Acts 19:30)

This is what happens when people begin to live according to the truth of the Bible. Because it reduces the profits of beer companies and taverns, drug dealers, godless Hollywood film makers, strip clubs, pornography and prostitution. It causes women to keep their babies instead of murdering them and therefore decreases the profits of the abortion clinics and its providers. Praise God, when Jesus returns he will put all these evil people out of business for good!

Please notice that the early believers didn’t just preach a salvation message. They also spent much time speaking against sin and warning of being deceived by it. (James 4:17, Romans 6:23, 1 John 1:8-10, 1 John 3:4, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

But most preachers today only preach a “feel good” salvation message. They don’t preach against sexual immorality, idolatry, drunkards, or swindlers. They don’t expose the corruption and lies of the world and rarely preach about spiritual zeal and fervor. Most of what is taught in churches today is an “I’m okay, you’re okay, because we’re covered in the blood of Jesus gospel”.

I remember soon after I was saved, going to renew my driver’s license. It took me several minutes to convince the woman at the DMV that the photo on my old license was really me. You see, my countenance had completely changed so much that my “old self” didn’t even resemble who I had become! I was literally a new person!

And yet many Christians today are taught that they are “just sinners saved by grace”. But is that what the early Church taught?

A scripture that would appear to agree on this point is from the Apostle Paul: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

Because of Paul’s present tense use of the phrase, “worst of sinners” he makes it sound as if it were applicable to him at the time he wrote it. But if we look at this anomaly more closely, I’m sure you’ll see that the unusual use of verbs is Paul’s writing style and is/was a common Hebrew way of writing.

In the Preface to Youngs Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, the translator tells us of two principles to understand about Hebrew writers. (even though they may be writing in the Greek language)

  1. That the Hebrews were in the habit of using the past tense to express the certainty of an action taking place, even though the action might not really be performed for some time.
  2. That the Hebrews, in referring to events which might be either past or future were accustomed to act on the principle of transferring themselves mentally to the period and place of the events themselves, and were not content with coldly viewing them as those of a bygone or still coming time; hence the very frequent use of the present tense.

Apparently, that is what Paul did. He placed himself in the past as though it were the present. Similar to what Daniel did as he confessed his sins and the sins of his country to God in Daniel chapter nine.

Are Christians Called Sinners In Scripture? 

The first scripture that comes to mind is Romans 5:6, 8:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. . . . But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us. (All emphasis added is mine and is not in Scripture)

First please note that Christ died for the ungodly (vs. 6) and then Christ died for sinners. (vs. 8) Paul equates the ungodly with sinners. Christians are never characterized as ungodly. Next note that the past tense is used  while we were still sinners. That clearly implies a change of status. While we were still sinners is a prior status of being sinners, different from what the recipients of the letter were as Paul wrote to them. Who were the recipients of the letter? Paul described them: To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints. (Romans 1:7) Paul did not address his letter to sinners saved by grace, but to those called to be saints!

There are 28 uses of the word sinners and 13 of the word sinner in the New Testament Scripture. None refer to people who have come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus.

Jesus also made a distinction between sinners and the righteous:

Jesus revealed that the purpose of his coming was to save sinners:

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17 — See also Luke 15:7,10 and Matthew 9:12-13)

Many are taught that we all sin hundreds of times every day, and all we have to do is confess our sins and God is faithful and just to forgive us. But if we read 1 John we discover what the Apostle said about the relationship to God and the people who continue in sin:

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6) “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.” (1 John 5:18)

According to the Apostle John, if someone is sinning hundreds of times each day he is not living in Christ Jesus and does not have a true saving faith. Twice John says Christians do NOT continue to sin.

The writer to the Hebrews addressed the issue of deliberately continuing in sin. His warning is frightening:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Hebrews 10:26)

It would appear that those who have received the knowledge of the truth but thereafter deliberately continue in sin are in a terrible position. They are called enemies of God.

But in our 21st century, it is politically correct to have a tolerant attitude toward almost everything. That seems to include sin. There is not an abhorrence of sin, of seeing it through Gods eyes, nor a recognition that continuing in sin will prevent a person from inheriting the kingdom of God. Not concerned about being politically correct, Paul wrote:

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)

Paul warns that a person who continues to habitually sin (a sinner) but who calls himself a Christian brother, is dangerous to the health of the body and should be shunned. From Johns’ writings we know that such a person is not a true believer even though he may profess to be a Christian.

None of us who are Christians with a saving faith should ever call ourselves a sinner. It is not appropriate to try to claim common ground with unbelievers by saying that you also are a sinner. Scripture says otherwise. Christians are not sinners. If you are a sinner, one who habitually sins, you are not a true believer. In that case you can properly call yourself a sinner. Please note the distinction: Christians do occasionally sin. A sinner habitually sins. The Christian (should) immediately repent and seek Gods forgiveness. The sinner does not.

A Christian can properly say, I was a sinner, but I have been saved by grace.

Sinners hate to have their sin exposed. It was true in the days of the early Church and is still true today. When you tell someone who likes to party and get drunk that what they are doing is a sin, they will become angry and belligerent. If you try to explain why abortion is a sin to someone who supports a woman’s right to an abortion, they may become combative toward you. And if you point out the sin of homosexuality, people will accuse you of hate speech and may even physically attack you. (Which has happened often lately) So much for tolerance.

But this is how it has always been. And we are warned that as our days in this world are numbered, it will only get worse.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 )

Until Christ returns, we are responsible to stand against the evils of our day. (Psalm 94:16) The truth will make some people angry. But the truth will cause others to come to God in repentance. The truth is emotional. The truth demands an answer. The truth cannot be ignored forever. The truth is the truth!

Why am I so adamant about standing against sin? Because Jesus was beaten, humiliated and crucified because of sin! God hates sin. And so I too must hate sin. (Psalms 5:4, Psalms 45:6, Hebrews 1:8)

I know that there are many who wish that I would just tone down my rhetoric. That I would talk more about the good things. I don’t like to talk about bad things, but people need to know the truth. So I must speak the truth!

But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)

So I will not go quietly into the night, I will continue to fight the good fight until my life is done or until Jesus returns.

It would appear to be indisputable that same-sex marriage and the open celebration of homosexuality is quickly becoming a part of the global cultural agenda—and responding to the rise of the homosexual agenda is a teaching that is permeating even the Christian world, claiming that since Jesus never mentions homosexuality nor does He specifically condemn it, homosexuality must be legitimate in Jesus’ eyes.

This is not a judgment against those who maintain a homosexual lifestyle. I have always maintained that we are not to judge those outside the Church, but we are told to judge those inside the Church—those who claim to be followers of Christ but live a life not consistent with God’s Word. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

This is a very important issue for the Church. For if there is no accountability to God, then the secular worldview would have us to believe that homosexual marriage is a completely legitimate issue. Pedophilia and bestiality would not be out of the question either, should the prevailing secular worldview deem these lifestyles to be acceptable and the “new norm.” The biblical worldview, however, is grounded in the unchanging tenets of the Word of God. This is where the loudest cultural clash occurs and the two worlds collide.

So, did Jesus condemn, speak of, or even mention homosexuality? As it turns out, yes, he did. As a matter of fact, he spoke very clearly and directly about the issue. Let me begin with Matthew 19:4. Here Jesus is answering a question from the Pharisees regarding divorce. However, his answer is very telling concerning the entire issue of sexuality, marriage and the proper form of marriage. Here are the words of Jesus:

“And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19:4)

Here Jesus upholds male and female procreation as a part of male and female marriages, and the sanctity of male and female sexual relationships within male and female marriages. His answer tells us that since creation anything outside God’s standard for sexuality and marriage is a perversion. This truth cannot be legitimately explained away. And yet many pastors and religious leaders are teaching just the opposite! In the words of Billy Sunday, “What a spell the devil seems to cast over the Church today!”

We read in Galatians 5:19-21, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) We would expect, therefore, that while the Son of God was on earth, he taught much regarding sin. Indeed he did, and we would profit from a humble reflection on some of the sayings of Jesus about sin.

Some of the Lord’s remarks about sin have been misapplied. For example, when a woman was taken in the act of adultery, she was brought to Jesus for judgment. He dispersed the multitude by stating, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7) The verse is loved by many who hope that its recitation at just the right moment, will free them from judging or being judged.

Note the following: First, Christians should judge one another (1 Corinthians 5:12-13; John 7:24). Second, the Lord did not condone this woman’s sin. He commanded her to “go thy way; from henceforth sin no more.” (John 8:11) Third, Jesus revealed the hypocrisy of the accusers who were more interested in ensnaring the Lord than preserving holiness in their community. (cf. Mark 7:1-13) And where was the MAN who also was caught in the act of adultery? (cf. Leviticus 20:10) Fourth, Jesus respected the Mosaic law that prohibited adultery and the punishment that the law prescribed. He also regarded the laws of accusation and testimony, which may not have been satisfied in this case. And lastly, the response to this situation by Jesus was not designed to insulate wicked and unrepentant individuals from rebuke or discipline in the Christian Age.

Other sayings of Jesus teach us regarding the nature of sin itself. Sin is a master to whom we become enslaved to. (John 8:34) Sin is blinding. (John 9:39-41) Only the truth will set us free. (John 8:32)

By joining with the secular worldview on sin we have become spiritually blind. Only complete submission and sincere obedience to Jesus Christ and God’s Word will remedy our spiritual blindness.

When the Lord was criticized for eating with sinners, he revealed the purpose of his coming by responding, “They that are in health have no need of a physician; but they that are sick. I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)

But if there is no unrighteousness and no need for repentance, then there was no reason for Jesus to come and his death and resurrection was meaningless.

One of the most memorable sayings of Jesus on sin is found in Matthew 26:28. It reminds us of the purpose for which Jesus was born, suffered, died and was risen from the dead. Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto the remission of sins.”

This ought to enlighten us regarding what Jesus taught about sin. Sin is so horrible that only the spotless blood of Jesus can atone for it. His love for the sinner is so deep, he was willing to pour it out for them. Thanks be to our Lord for teaching us the truth about sin and providing the ransom.

There have been few things more damaging to the church’s witness than how it has handled moral failure among its leaders. Not simply that there has been moral failure – that is damaging enough – but how it is then handled by the church. Too many times it has simply added to the pain and disdain. Whether pedophiles, serial adulterers, or those who misuse church authority and discipline, headlines and blogs are filled with outrage and indignation over not simply the acts, but the church’s response. So why do so many churches bungle moral failure among leaders?

Many churches today are experiencing numbers that are declining and conflict within itself because its leaders exercise a level of authority over the members that Jesus himself urged not to be so. This has resulted in members becoming frustrated and apathetic about their role in the body of Christ.

A wise man once said, “If you’re a leader and no one is following, you’re just out for a walk.” Success rises and falls with leadership. A church leader must be involved with his or her people. If involvement does not take place, the Church will not grow. I have seen too many instances where leaders have become more concerned with authority, power and control than how they can be a servant and true shepherd to the people who are a part of their flock. Members become frustrated; they don’t really feel that their opinions really matter because they have no say in what happens.

The most dangerous leader in churches is the person, who by reason of insecurity or lack of leadership skills, demands a particular level of authority and control over the church that was never intended. In fact, Jesus prohibited the use of this kind of authority. Anytime you hear people talk about “not speaking against God’s anointed,” watch out! Just because a person is a church leader does not qualify them as God’s anointed! If you have used those words, please consider what it might mean. God may very well call a man to a special office and give him a special anointing to carry out that office. But the role of the pastor is to be a shepherd who leads, and not one who drags the flock, or pushes them. Yes, they may need to spiritually prod according to God’s Word, but never are they instructed to Lord over the flock. (I Peter 5:3)

Who’s voice are you listening to?

True leadership is about influence, not authority. As Jesus said, “The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:3-5)

When sheep hear a shepherd’s voice they know it will lead them to cool waters, green pastures and his protection at night. They know their shepherd “goes on ahead of them.” He doesn’t drive them like cattle. It’s interesting that right after Jesus said those words in John 10 about shepherding, John commented on the fact that “Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.” (v6) Sadly, too many leaders today don’t understand it either. If you’re a pastor and wondering why you seem to be embroiled in constant conflict and your members don’t seem to be following you, Jesus gives the answer: “They don’t know your voice!”

We need to know Him

There are two Greek words for “know”. The word “ginosko” speaks of a surface knowledge, a simple understanding. But the other word “horad” speaks of a deep, intimate knowledge. I have many friends and neighbors who “know” (ginosko) me, but my wife really “knows” (horad) me. She has a deep, intimate knowledge of me that very few other people have.

The first century Church had this deep, intimate knowledge of God and grew at breakneck speed. Yet at the same time, the level of personal care and love for their fellow believers grew also. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. ” (Acts 4:32-35)

Can the same be said of the Church today? Are we growing, both spiritually and numerically, as the early Church did? Sadly, in most cases, no. So back to my original question, “What has happened to the Church today?”

The problem is that too many people have only two ideologies about the Church today. If your ideology is worldly, you’ll have a set of core values that are probably pretty warped, and focused on the pleasures you can receive in life, reflected in your beliefs, actions and experiences.

The other option is having an ideology of the Church as an institution. For too many people their ideology of the Church has changed from the Church as the body of Christ, to the Church as an institution. If your ideology is the Church as an institution, the core values that you develop will eventually lead to overpowering controlling leaders, negative atmospheres, declining numbers, maintaining the status quo and uninvolved members who are content to sit through stiff and lifeless worship services. You’ve seen it. You might even be experiencing it right now.

So what’s the answer? We need to get our focus, our ideology, back to Jesus, our Messiah. When we do, our core values will change. We will begin to value serving others, living to please God, and understanding that we have been uniquely gifted for ministry. We will begin to see the Church as one body, and not as just belonging to our own particular denomination. Our worship will take on a whole new meaning, our involvement will become a natural expression of our desire to please God, and our leadership will become focused on shepherding a body of believers rather than managing them.

Once our focus comes back in line where it needs to be, our churches will no longer be a diverse group of denominations, but we will truly be on our way to true revival and becoming the Church that God intended!

This has nothing to do with those outside the Church. This is only directed at those inside the Church-those who profess to be followers of Jesus.

 
A pastor by the name of John Pavlovitz recently wrote an article on his blog entitled, “If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent”.  http://johnpavlovitz.com/2014/09/17/if-i-have-gay-children-four-promises-from-a-christian-pastorparent/

In the article he suggests that as Christian parents, we should accept our homosexual children as “okay”. This is what is wrong with the PC church today! If my kids told me that they thought that they were gay- yes, I would still love them as I always will, no matter what. But I would be honest and tell them that it is sin. I would pray for my children as they struggled with this, but I would NEVER accept it as being okay any more than I would accept adultery, lust or pedophilia as okay. That not only goes against God’s Law, but would give my children a false sense of salvation!

One cannot live as an unrepentant homosexual and be a follower of Jesus any more than an unrepentant pedophile can. Many have been taught that repentance means to “turn from sin”. Others believe that repentance means to be “sorry for your sins”. But neither is completely accurate. The full biblical definition of repentance is to change our heart and mind about sin that results in a change of action.

Repentance and faith are very closely related. Trying to separate the two is like trying to separate water and oil.  It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who he is and what he has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance, it is still a change of heart and mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejecting God and His commandments to faith in Jesus our Messiah.

Sexual sin has become rampant in our world and is glorified in movies and television. Sadly, the Church is not immune from its temptations. But  Jesus and the apostles were never politically correct when it came to addressing sin in the Church. Read how the Apostle Paul dealt with sexual sin within the Church: “I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother… It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1Cor. 5:1; 12-13 NLT) As Christians, our lives should be a reflection of Jesus himself. And with so many in the world watching us we should be even more careful to watch what we’re doing.

 

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Researcher George Otis Jr. writes in Charisma Magazine.com: “Of the nearly 800 cases of authentic, transforming revival in the last 15 years, only two were in North America.”

So why has it been so long since the Church has experienced a true spiritual revival like those in the 1800s? Because our need for a true spiritual revival will always be determined by our true condition. The question of whether we will actually experience revival depends on how we perceive our condition. But until there is a conviction of need, there will never be a desire for change.

I find it interesting that so many Christians quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a formula for revival in the land. But they totally overlook verse 13: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people…” And then concludes with verse 14.

Why do so many Christians purposely overlook verse 13? Possibly, like Israel of old before they were exiled to Babylon, Christians today refuse to believe that God would purposefully bring adversity to us. (See Jeremiah 29:1-14) If all Christians in America would heed God’s warning and do what this verse says, I believe revival would come, but so far it hasn’t happened–Mainly because most Christians in the land have not repented.

Throughout history nations have fallen because people forgot God and did what was right in their own minds. (Judges 17:6) One only has to examine the fall of the Roman Empire to see that this is true. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet learned from the mistakes of our ancestors. The major causes for the fall of the Roman Empire were:
• Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor
• Decline in Morals which led to the Gladiatorial Games
• Political Corruption
• Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending
• Failing Economy
• Unemployment of the Working Classes
• Decline in Ethics and Values

Sound familiar?

There is much talk in Christian circles these days about “taking back our cities for God”. And there is no shortage of books and evangelists who promote strategies for transforming everything from our neighborhoods to Hollywood to Washington, D.C. But God has not called us to win the so-called culture war. He has not called us to change the world, but to overcome it. But how do we overcome the world when we have become so much like it?
I recently read an article that listed U.S. companies that were considered to be religious.
Yahoo Finance

Many of the companies were listed simply because they print Bible verses on their products or claim to begin meetings with prayer. But quoting a Bible verse or starting a meeting with a prayer does not necessarily make you religious. Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matt. 7:15-18)
What are the fruits some of the so called religious companies listed in the article?

• Forever 21 – Sells skimpy clothing for young trendy girls.
• Tyson Foods -The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a complaint against Tyson Foods, Inc. for violating the Federal Trade Commission Act after it was revealed that workers routinely abused animals.
• Jet Blue airlines – Lowest rated airline since they stranded passengers for hours in 2011.
• Carl’s Jr. – Uses racy videos with scantily clad women to sell their unhealthy menu.

An even better Old Testament passage than 2 Chronicles 7:14 concerning revival can be found in Psalms 85:6: “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” King David, who was a man after God’s heart, knew that the purpose of revival was so that people would rejoice in God. Revival is not to be used bring glory to a program or a denomination or a person, but to God.

This verse places the origin of revival in God and not man. It is God who must quicken us that we may be changed to a people that rejoice in the Lord. If God is the one who sends revival, then He is the one we must plead with. We must ask Him to send revival on the land. We must cast ourselves on His mercy and ask that He send what we do not deserve. We deserve judgment as a nation for our sins, but we must intercede with God to have mercy upon us and to turn us around by His mighty power. We need God’s mercy toward us in this hour that He might turn us around that we might be a people who will acknowledge Him and rejoice in Him.

We need to pray as the prophet Daniel did: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land…Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” (Read Daniel 9:1-19)

I want to make it clear that this is not an article designed to bash the LGBT community. Neither is it my intention to draw attention to any particular type of sin. My intention is to bring awareness of how important is to study God’s Word ourselves so that we won’t be deceived by unsound doctrines.

For too long people have been spoon fed a watered down gospel by false teachers and pastors that use their positions more as a platform for social and political rhetoric than for speaking the truth from Scripture.

The Bible has traditionally been interpreted as the source of all truth authored and inspired by God. Although most Christians condemn the actions associated with homosexuality based on their understanding on the Bible, some anonymous editors have set out to reinterpret scriptures to create a new translation — “The Queen James Bible” — that is favorable to gays and lesbians. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/queen-james-bible-now-theres-a-gay-friendly-version-of-scripture/

The editors claim that their new version is a purer take on the scriptures. Through their website they have said, “We wanted to make a book filled with the word of God that nobody could use to incorrectly condemn God’s LGBT children, and we succeeded.” The editors also stated, “We edited the Bible to prevent homophobic interpretations.

Among the verses that they changed was Genesis 19:5. Originally reading: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.” Genesis 19:5-7 (KJV)

They amended it to, “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them. Genesis 19:5 (QJV) (Page 21)

The editors explain that they understand the story of Sodom and Gomorra to be about bullying strangers. It as if they believe that Lot asked the men of Sodom not to “wickedly bully” the angel visitors. They also point out that Leviticus forbids one to have sex with a beast, and since angels are not human, Lot was merely preventing the bullies in the town from having sex with non-humans. Plus, they rationalize that because rapes such as this one are common between men in prison, they aren’t sexual acts; they are power-dominating acts. In other words, they believe that a power-dominating rape is wrong, but consensual sex is not.

First, I feel I should point out that the Hebrew word used for angel here is ‘mal’ak’ and is best translated, messenger. Contrary to popular belief, angel / messengers mentioned in scripture did not have wings. (Although often depicted that way in art) Therefore, the men of Sodom had no idea that the visitors were anything other than human.  Just because someone is raped, it does not diminish the fact that the act of sex is involved; either homosexual or heterosexual.

Another scripture the editors changed is Leviticus 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. (KJV) And Leviticus 20:13: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (KJV)

The editors believe that Leviticus is outdated as a moral code, but still picked it as their most important book to address in their edits, because they believe most anti-LGBT religious activists cite Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 as proof-positive that homosexuality is a sin, and even worse, a sin punishable by death.

The editors assert that Leviticus 18:21 refers to “lying” with pagan male prostitutes as a form of pagan idolatry and therefore fits better with the story order of Leviticus 18, and with the other offenses punishable by death within it. That’s why they changed Leviticus 18:21 and 20:13 to read as follows:

Leviticus 18:22

Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination. (QJV) (Page 75)

Leviticus 20:13

If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (QJV) (Page 76)

The editors explain: “To address Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, we need to look at the path of translation. The Hebrew word “to’evah” from which abomination is translated simply means something that is “ritually unclean,” or a “taboo.” Although the Hebrew word tow`ebah translated “abomination” in the KJV can refer to a ritual sin, (eating unclean animals or worship of idols) in the context of this chapter it should be obvious that “Thou shalt not lie” refers to having sexual relations with someone of the same sex and not practicing pagan rituals. The word used for abomination here means: a disgusting thing; Of course, the editors prefer to translate the word abomination as “taboo”; possibly because it doesn’t sound quite as harsh?

The editors also changed Romans 1:26 – For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against their nature… (KJV) to:

Their women did change their natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, left of the natural use of the woman, burned in ritual lust, one toward another; (QJV) (Page 545)

The editors state that they can’t be exactly sure what Paul meant by the natural use of a woman, but they are pretty sure he wasn’t talking about lesbian sex. They further state that unnatural uses of their bodies could even have meant pagan dancing! Really?! God gave them up to vile affections that resulted in the women began dancing?!

To be honest, I’m surprised it took this long to produce such a Bible. Many view the concept of sin as archaic and outdated; something that needs to be cast aside in light of current “modern thought”. But there are some things taught in God’s word which will never become outdated. Sin is one such topic that is just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. But I believe the most important point that the editors of this Bible missed, and therefore deceive many; (including themselves) is that ALL unrighteousness is sin to God. (1John 5:17)

When trying to define sin, scripture provides all the information needed:

(1 John 3:4) Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

(1Cor. 6:9) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (By the way, effeminate does not just mean a male who practices homosexual forms of lewdness, but people in general who are guilty of addiction to sins of the flesh.)

(Prov. 6:16-19) These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Notice that homosexuality is not even mentioned among the seven things that God hates and yet that is the one sin that most Evangelical Christians view as the most heinous of all.

Perhaps the whole matter can be summed up in the words of James 4:17: Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

I do not believe that homosexuals are condemned just because they are homosexuals. We are ALL condemned under the penalty of sin. (Rom 3:23) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done. The only way we are justified is by faith in the redemption that is in Jesus, our Messiah. And the only way we are condemned is by rejecting that redemption. Remember:

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (Eph. 2:1-5) NLT

re·viv·al  noun /riˈvīvəl/

1. An improvement in the condition or strength of something

2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence.

3. A reawakening of religious fervor, esp. by means of a series of evangelistic meetings

4. A time of reawakened interest in religion.

One only needs to read the headlines in local newspapers or on the internet to know that our world is in serious trouble:

Social Security disability on verge of insolvency; Two shot, one attacked, at NFL pre-season game; Egypt, Israel tries to defuse tension over killings; London riots: police lose battle as lawlessness erupts; Chicago Police Brace for ‘Flash Mob’ Attacks; Gunman opens fire at Philadelphia basketball game…. And on and on it goes.

Throughout history God has called for people to repent and turn away from their ungodliness and every time they could not bring themselves to recognize their own sin. In failing to recognize their sin, they failed to recognize the holy God that they were called to serve. And as a result, God had to discipline his people with judgment. It is no different today. For decades God has been sending his prophets to warn us of His impending judgment, but we refuse to listen to them and instead continue to sin and listen to the false prophets who preach, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

Many of God’s prophets in the Old Testament delivered God’s message of impending judgment but time and time again the people would not listen because of their unrepentant hearts. The message of the Old Testament prophets is the same as it is today. The message of repentance!

I believe that the time for revival is now! Not the revival that is planned with big tents and special ‘Revival Evangelists’ but a true Holy Spirit revival that changes the lives of believers.

Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new compassion, zeal, and new life. And what a great responsibility this lays on the Church of God! Because if you hinder the work of God’s spirit by your unrepentant hearts, then the people who are perishing in the world are the ones who really suffer! Revival is not excitement, or emotionalism. It is not even evangelism! Revival is the moving of God’s Spirit, through the power of His Word, to the hearts of His children, that resurrects new life in those areas which have been lying stagnant, dormant, or out of balance, and that results in a new love and obedience to Jesus Christ.

The captives in Babylon missed revival because they placed their idols above their one true God. And if revival is being withheld from us today it is because some idol remains still enthroned in our hearts; because we still insist in placing our reliance on human schemes; and because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that, “It is not by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)  Hosea 10:12 says: “Sow to yourself in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and reign righteousness upon you.”

What is fallow ground? Fallow ground is ground that was once fruitful, but then it has been unplowed and left alone. After a time, it becomes so hard that no seed can be sown in it and it becomes unproductive. In order to plant again this ground must first be plowed up and turned over to kill the weeds that would crowd out the crop or compete with it for water and nutrients. Notice that the scripture says that we are to break up our fallow ground. Psalm 85:6 states: “Would Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee.” So, without revival, without breaking up the fallow ground in our hearts, there is an absence of joy and our lives become unproductive.

I have read of the revivals of the past, great sweeping revivals where thousands of men were brought into the Kingdom of God. I read about Charles Finney winning his thousands and his hundreds of thousands of souls to Christ. When you read the messages of Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgen you can feel their desperation for sinners falling into the hands of a just God, and understand why men and women trembled and fell down at the altars and cried out in repentance and sobbed their way to the throne of grace!

Where are the men and women of desperation today? Why do we not care if our loved ones depart this world without salvation? Why are we satisfied with a dull watered down Gospel in exchange for the fire of the Holy Spirit? If you are waiting for a pastor or Bible teacher to lead the world to revival you will have a long wait; because religious leaders seldom welcome revival.

Leonard Ravenhill, one of the greatest revival preachers of our time said, “I don’t think the world has ever been in a greater sense of turmoil than it is in this moment. I don’t think our nation has. Whatever we shall say about revival we have to recognize this: There are three things about natural life: conception, gestation, and birth. You can’t alter the program. There has never been revival, that I can trace, that has not been preceded by agonizing prayer. You might say, “I haven’t got to that stage yet of agonizing prayer. How does is come?” Well, it comes through vision. If we are really going to get a concept of revival we have to get a vision of God’s sorrow over sin. We have to get a concept of how, day by day, we offend God. As a nation we offend God in millions of ways. If we are going to realize how much we need revival we need to recognize the dimension of sin. We have to recognize that sin offends God.”

This is the one thing that Israel and Judah did not recognize. Even though God sent prophets to warn them, they refused to repent. And because they refused to listen, they were taken captive into Babylon. And this is the one thing that God’s people today fail to recognize.

Characteristics of Revivals of the past

During revivals of the past, people were making money hand over fist. (Due to the railroad and the industrial revolution) because of the economic bubble, there was also a very serious spiritual decline. But at the same time, many were speaking out against the social injustices of the time, such as slavery. Some abolitionists felt so strongly against slavery that they felt justified in the killing of slave owners. Then as the economic bubble began to burst many people found themselves in a sudden economic downturn. Revival started as the result of intense prayer and God seemed to answer prayer in places that they least expected it and the power of God seemed to fall spontaneously in many different places. Soon afterward the Lord breathed new life into the Church where there was widespread repentance and brokenness of Christians and backsliders alike. There were also conversions of ministers during these revivals.

Why America is ready for revival

In the past decades Americans have experienced an economic boom. The 2007 World Wealth Report, issued by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini, showed a record number of millionaires in North America and abroad. The survey said there were 9.5 million millionaires in the world at the end of 2006. The millionaire population increased 8.3% between 2005 and 2006. And these millionaires controlled $37.2 trillion in wealth. By 2011, that wealth is expected to grow to $51.6 trillion. In North America, the number of financial millionaires grew 9.2% to 3.2 million. Their total wealth grew by 10% to $11.3 trillion.

In recent years some of those opposed to abortion, (The social injustice of our time) have sometimes resorted to very public demonstrations of violence in an effort to achieve their objective of curbing the termination of pregnancy. Those who engage in or support such actions defend the use of force—as justifiable homicide or defense of others—in the interest of protecting the life of the fetus.

The financial crisis in the late-2000s is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It resulted in the collapse of large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market has also suffered, resulting in numerous evictions, foreclosures and prolonged vacancies. It also contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth, which lead to a severe global economic recession in 2008. Due to the foreclosures and evictions the homeless population continues to increase and currently the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old!

The characteristics for revivals have not changed; and the Satan’s tactics to keep people from God has not changed either. Unfortunately, people tend to fall for his same old tricks. Mankind continues to put its confidence in ourselves instead of God; all the while expecting God to bless and prosper us as a nation. And then we question why He has not! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results!

Real revival is taking place, but not in America. It is occurring in Korea, where the Church has grown from less than one million 25 years ago, to over 12 million today. And it is occurring in Africa, where the Church is growing so fast that Muslims attack preachers and disrupt meetings to try to stop its progress. It is taking place in Central and South America, in China and Malaysia, but in America? No! We are so smug in our presumed spiritual superiority, so at ease in our comfortable buildings, so fat in our land of plenty that we have no need of God. That may be why God has allowed the current financial crises to occur.

Just like the ancient people of God, we have not realized our sin, and we have failed to acknowledge the holy God that we were called to serve. Why is it only when we feel threatened that we turn to God? When our money can’t help us, we may cry out to Him. When the doctors can’t save us, we may pray for a healing. When we feel we might not be quite as good as we should be, we might respond to an invitation and let the preacher massage our conscience by telling us that now that we have accepted Jesus we’re alright. We might come to God to be “blessed”, we might go to meetings to hear how God wants to “prosper” us and make us wealthy – but surrender to God? Devote our whole lives, hearts, minds, souls and strength, to His cause? Never! We have become a nation of jail house converts!

America will only see true revival if we begin to pay more than lip service to God and His Word. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” We have heard it preached many times but we must believe it and obey it if we are to see God move in our land. Our church leaders must obey the admonition of Joel, who declares, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” (Joel 2:17) In Habakkuk 3:2 the prophet prays, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” This must become the believer’s heart cry! Elisha exclaimed, “Where is the God of Elijah?” But God is now crying out, “Where are the Elijahs of God?” America can have true Holy Spirit revival if the Church recognizes the need for it and does what it takes to bring it about.

                           Oh Lord! Send revival to your Church now!