VIDEO Another Kind of Religious Leader Must Arise

As I’ve stated before: With rapid fire changes within a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask if there is any hope for America. If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around—the vessel has been struck; what’s inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival…if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him…there is tremendous hope. Revival means to awaken, restore, renew, or repair. In churches across America, crowd appeal and pleasing the masses tends to be the goal rather than calling out destructive lifestyles, which can result in revival and renewal.

A.W. Tozer in an article entitled, Prophetic Preaching, hit the nail on the head when he wrote this decades ago:

“If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher.”

Tozer also said:

“The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.”

He concludes:

“Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.”

Those who have been called to preach, much like the prophets in the Old Testament, will confront compromise, condemn moral digression, and powerfully denounce sin in the hope of reconciling man to God—they speak the truth in love. The world, and carnal Christians, despise them because they challenge the sin they enjoy.

Preachers will ruffle feathers and step on toes from time-to-time, but it should be the result of the truth being spoken in love verses the preacher having an arrogant and judgmental heart. In a sense, a preacher is called to break the heart, a pastor to mend it; one concentrates on repentance, the other restoration. Although there can be a mixture of both preacher and teacher in a person, there is often a clear difference. Pastors (and teachers) aim for the mind; preachers aim for the heart, will, and emotions—to stir and to convict. Often…

The pastor builds—the preacher tears.

The pastor counsels—the preacher convicts.

The pastor rejoices—the preacher weeps.

The pastor plants—the preacher uproots.

The pastor teaches—the preacher preaches.

The pastor mends—the preacher breaks.

The pastor is full of hope—the preacher is full of fire.

The pastor loves to listen—the preacher needs to speak.

The pastor sees the good in others—the preacher sees the depravity in man.

The pastor desires to be among the people—the preacher desires to be alone with God.

As the famous Puritan Richard Baxter said, “I preach as a dying man to dying men”… as a dying man to a dying nation. The church, and our nation, desperately needs to hear “the voice crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict, and restore.

All pastors should ask, “Does the world love the way we ‘do church’?” Do they appreciate that your church never challenges, or calls things into question? Do they like the fact that your church never makes them feel uncomfortable or offended? Are they grateful that you never discuss controversial issues? If so, you may want to reconsider Jesus’ words that true disciples will be hated by the world because they speak the truth, not because they avoid it.

Leonard Ravenhill, in Why Revival Tarries, wrote:

“God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown of the nation and the church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness. Such a man is likely to be drastic and radical; the curious crowd that gathers to watch him will soon brand him as extreme, fanatical, and negative…and, in a sense, they are right…for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost.”

I pray that God would raise up many humble preachers—men who allow God to shape their sermons and penetrate their hearts to bring America, and the world, to her knees.

Watch, Why Do People Hate Preachers?

 

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Faith in Faithless Times

But the righteous shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4 (ESV)

The prophet Habakkuk left us an interesting book. Its three short chapters are essentially a counseling session between Habakkuk and God, for the prophet was troubled by the turbulent times in which he lived. He couldn’t understand why his culture had crumbled and why the streets of his city had become so lawless, so godless. He prayed about it in chapter 1; and in chapter 2, God told Habakkuk to trust Him and to live by faith (verse 4), for “the Lord is in His holy temple,” and one day “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (verses 20, 14).

In response Habakkuk composed a hymn of rejoicing in his third and final chapter, saying, “The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills” (verse 19).

When the way becomes rough, trust Him who is still in His holy temple. He will give you hinds’ feet on high places.

May all bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory. John Hancock, in a proclamation to Massachusetts, October 15, 1791

Living in Freedom

Romans 6:1-14

When Eve accepted Satan’s offer of greater independence from God, do you think she experienced more freedom? The answer is obvious. She, Adam, and the entire human race became enslaved to sin from that point onward. What looked like a great deal ended in deadly bondage.

Although Christ has set believers free from slavery to sin, we, like Eve, oftentimes long for the “freedom” to do what we want. But whenever we give in to sinful desires, we’re behaving like slaves instead of living as free children of God. He’s given us the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to say no to sin if we’ll just yield to His leadership.

The consequences of reverting to our old ways are devastating. We’ll sink deeper into bondage to sin, lose the peace and joy of fellowship with Christ, grieve the Holy Spirit, and find ourselves under the disciplining hand of the Father. We can also miss out on the blessing of helping to advance His kingdom—by falling into the hypocrisy of living like the world, we ruin our testimony because there’s no discernible benefit to having a relationship with God. Our unsaved friends, relatives, and coworkers are watching. Unless they see a difference between us and themselves, why would they want our Savior?

If Satan whispers in your ear that the Lord’s limitations are depriving you of something good, remember what happened to Eve in the book of Genesis. Liberty to do whatever we want is slavery to self and sin. Only when we live within the Father’s protective boundaries can we experience the freedom Christ purchased for us.

Law and the Spirit

“Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.” (Leviticus 23:16)

This commandment represents the initiation of the Jewish Feast of Pentecost (“fiftieth day”) which, many years later, was the day on which the Holy Spirit came to the church waiting in the upper room (Acts 2:1-4). There were seven such annual “feasts of Jehovah,” all outlined in Leviticus 23, beginning with the Passover, commemorating the deliverance from Egypt, and culminating in the Feast of Tabernacles, in memory of their entrance into the Promised Land after dwelling in tents in the wilderness.

The middle feast of the seven was Pentecost, which seems to have been the anniversary of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. It was scheduled 50 days after the “morrow after the sabbath” of the wave-offering of the “firstfruits” (Leviticus 23:10, 15), which in turn seems to have been the Passover sabbath, on the 14th day of the first month (Exodus 12:2, 6). It was on the third day of the third month that God came down on Mount Sinai to give the law (Exodus 19:1, 11, 16). Jewish time-reckoning included both the first and last days of a time period in figuring the number of days between two events, so both the Lord’s appearance on Sinai and the annual Feast of Pentecost seem to have been 50 days after the Passover offering.

And so was the coming of the Holy Spirit! When the Holy Spirit came to the upper room, there were fiery tongues and a mighty wind (Acts 2:2-3). On that great day, Peter announced to Israel, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36), and we have received His great promise of the indwelling Law in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:15-17). HMM

Bottle in the Ocean

…to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

—Ephesians 3:19

Pentecost means that the Deity came to mankind to give Himself to man, that man might breathe Him in as he breathes in the air, that He might fill men. Dr. A.B. Simpson used an illustration which was about as good as any I ever heard. He said, “Being filled with the fullness of God is like a bottle in the ocean. You take the cork out of the bottle and sink it in the ocean, and you have the bottle completely full of ocean. The bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle. The ocean contains the bottle, but the bottle contains only a little bit of the ocean. So it is with a Christian.”

We are filled unto the fullness of God, but, of course, we cannot contain all of God because God contains us; but we can have all of God that we can contain. If we only knew it, we could enlarge our vessel. The vessel gets bigger as we go on with God.   COU068

Enlarge my vessel, Lord, and fill me with more and more of the fullness of Yourself. Amen.

 

Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you

Mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied.—Jude 2.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.—1 John 4:8.

He rests in God and He in him, Who still abides in love; In love the saints and seraphim Obey and praise above; For God is love; the loveless heart Hath in His life and joy no part.

C.F. Gellert.

Divine love is perfect peace and joy, it is a freedom from all disquiet, it is all content and happiness; and makes everything to rejoice in itself, Love is the Christ of God; wherever it comes, it comes as the blessing and happiness of every natural life, a redeemer from all evil, a fulfiller of all righteousness, and a peace of God, which passeth all understanding. Through all the universe of things, nothing is uneasy, unsatisfied, or restless, but because it is not governed by love, or because its nature has not reached or attained the full birth of the spirit of love. For when that is done, every hunger is satisfied, and all complaining, murmuring, accusing, resenting, revenging, and striving, are as totally suppressed and overcome, as the coldness, thickness, and horror of darkness are suppressed and overcome by the breaking forth of the light.

William Law.

Do You Have Real Estate In Heaven?

“Knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” Heb. 10:34

This is well. Our substance here is very insubstantial; there is no substance in it. But God has given us a promise of real estate in the glory-land, and that promise comes to our hearts with such full assurance of its certainty, that we know in ourselves that we have an enduring substance there. Yes, “we have” it even now. They say, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”; but we have our bird in the bush and in the hand too. Heaven is even now our own. We have the title-deed of it, we have the earnest of it, we have the first fruits of it. We have Heaven in price, in promise, and in principle: this we know not only by the hearing of the ear, but “in ourselves.”

Should not the thought of the better substance on the other side of Jordan reconcile us to present losses? Our spending-money we may lose, but our treasure is safe. We have lost the shadows, but the substance remains, for our Saviour lives, and the place which He has prepared for us abides. There is a better land, a better substance, a better promise; and all this comes to us by a better covenant; wherefore, let us be in better spirits, and say unto the Lord, “Every day will I bless thee; and praise thy name for ever and ever.”