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I am going to present in this
thread, a teaching on the Book
The book has been too much
neglected, and yet, it shows
the beginning of the church age,
it shows the power of God working
in the church...
We have lost too much of the truth
that they (of that time) knew,
lived, and enjoyed.
This early church learned much,
stumbled around a bit,
but turned the world upside
down with the gospel....
We can learn much for our
time now, from this book.
THE OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT UPON THE CHURCH
The Book of Acts
There is a prime prophecy in the book of Joel that is vital to the understanding of the revival in the book of Acts. In Joel 2:28-32 we read:
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions: And also upon your handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."
This was prophesied by Joel around 770 B.C. Part of this prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, as stated by Peter in Acts 2:16-21:
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh..."
This prophecy of Joel is often misunderstood. Notice the word "afterward" (Joel 2:28). After what? The gift of the Spirit is said to come upon "all flesh", "afterward."
In Joel 2:1-11, there is a prophecy of judgment.
Then in 2:12-17 there is the call for repentance.
In 2:18-27, we find the promise of fruitfulness, restoration, and divine vindication for God's people.
Then, we find the prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit upon "all flesh", in Joel 2:28-32.
In Joel 3:1-20, we find the nations being judged, and Israel re-established forever.
So - the time of the complete fulfillment of this prophecy is at the end of the tribulation, and into the millennium.
Yet, Peter said, "this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel..."
So the answer is this, the prophecy of Joel had its beginning of fulfillment on the day of Pentecost.
Yet, it is not yet completely, or perfectly fulfilled.
The completion of the fulfillment will be during the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus. It is only then that "all flesh" will be filled with the Spirit.
When Peter said "this is that", there were only 120 filled with the Spirit. Soon there were thousands filled with the Spirit. Now, there are millions, and hopefully soon, during this latter reign revival, we will see billions.
Yet, not until the millennial reign of Jesus, when the wicked have been judged, the devil bound in the abyss, and we are instructing the remaining humans about the Lord and His gifts to them... that "all flesh" will be filled with the Spirit.
This truth ruins the preaching of some who have tried to propagate the idea that the outpouring of the Spirit was only for the apostolic age. They have wanted the outpouring to be over now. However, it cannot be over. It is not yet completely fulfilled. It is a progressive prophecy, and we are getting closer to the end, when "all flesh" will be filled, but it is not finished yet. God is still pouring out the Holy Spirit upon all who will accept His gifts.
There are other prophecies of the Spirit's outpouring.
"I (John the baptist) indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He Who cometh after me, is mightier that I, ...He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire..."
John the baptist baptized (Greek = "baptidzo" = "immersed") in water. Yet, he taught that the Messiah, Jesus, would come soon, and His baptism would be an immersion into the Holy Spirit and fire.
"This spake He of the Spirit, Whom they that believe on Him should receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
"...it is expedient that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come... when the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth..."
On the initial visitation of the Spirit, many were gathered into the upper room. At one time, earlier, but following the resurrection, Jesus had appeared unto 500 at once. At least 380 of those who saw Jesus did not go to the upper room, or did not remain the full ten days until the outpouring of the Spirit. Only 120 were still there when the Spirit arrived.
It is the same today, many learn of the Spirit's outpouring, and yet, many do not avail themselves of it. The desire for the outpouring is too small, or is hindered by fear and misunderstanding. Yet, the outpouring of the Spirit was considered vital to the disciples who were about to begin the evangelization of the world.
"And, being assembled together with them,
that they should not depart from Jerusalem,
but wait for the promise of the Father,
which, saith He, ye have heard of Me.
For John truly baptized with water,
but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost
not many days hence..."
This outpouring on the day of Pentecost resulted in a rushing wind filling the room, tongues of fire then sat upon each of the 120, and they began to worship God in languages that they did not know. As they left the upper room, they were heard by the thousands of people who were on their way to the Temple to worship God for the feast of Pentecost. Three thousand of the hearers of Peter's sermon were saved that day. What a fantastic start to the fulfillment of the prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit!
This manner of worshipping God with the special prayer language of the Spirit, has been called "heresy" by some, "fanatical" by some, and "devilish" by some others.
The adherents to the experience begun that day of Pentecost have been called, "Pentecostals", and "Charismatics".
At first, these adherents were driven from the mainline denominations. Many Pentecostal denominations were soon started. Now, the experience has overstepped denominational boundaries, and many people, in many congregations, have experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
This experience is NOT FROM THE DEVIL,
but it is from the Holy Spirit
Who was sent from heaven,
after Jesus arrived back into heaven following His ascension.
It was prophesied many times
to be an experience from God.
It is not FANATICISM,
although the people at the initial outpouring thought the 120 were drunken with wine.
It was a joyous, emotional, and exciting event to them on that day, and God does not require us to be as quiet as the pews in our worship. It is the joy of finding true worship, and the excitement of truly tuning into the communication line established by God that people see in adherents to this experience.
It is not "HERESY." Paul said:
"But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call 'heresy', so worship I the God of my fathers."
Rather than being heresy, it is the best way to worship God. It is the experience, that Jesus said they should definitely have before they attempt to do their evangelistic ministries. It is not an epitome, but a doorway into a manifestation of many gifts to empower us to be the vehicle of God in evangelization of the world.
There is much heresy in the charismatic movement
of this day. There was also in the early church.
Paul, John, Peter, Jude, James all spoke
to segments of the church then that had
gotten heretical, and into false teaching.
Corinth was far from what the Lord wanted
in a church. We see today, especially on
Christian television, many who are pretending
gifts, imitating prophecies, having false teaching,
fleecing the Lord's flock, etc.
The true adherents to the experience of the outpouring of the Spirit have found much persecution for their belief and experience.
II Timothy 3:2
"Yea, all that live godly shall suffer persecution."
However, the adherents believe this experience is vital to their lives.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth."
The flesh of mankind has always sought to intrude and hinder our worship of God. The Holy Spirit can commune freely, and remove many hindrances that our minds and bodies can use to handicap our worship. The heavenly language of prayer and worship that we receive at the infilling of the Spirit will enable us to worship more freely than ever before. The baptism aids our worship. We gain a prayer language with which we can pray for things which our own minds do not know we need.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit brought REVIVAL to this sin-cursed world. This fantastic event changed the disciples, who then went out to change the world.
What is "revival"?
Revival is breaking from sin, and moving toward harmony with God.
Revival is not the position of the person with God,
it is the direction of the movement.
SIN <--------------------------------------------->PERFECT HARMONY WITH GOD
Revival is still happening today.
Many countries are experiencing revivals that make the ones in this country look small. There are great revivals now occurring in prisons. Many mainline (and formerly thought "lifeless") denominational churches are experiencing revival. Many of our leaders in government have found a relationship with the Lord Jesus. Olympic and professional athletes are getting saved. Christian television and Christian radio are having a tremendous impact on the world. But we are only skimming the surface of the revival that God is going to give.
TWO GREAT REVIVAL PERIODS
The FORMER RAIN revival began huge, and slowly lessened. The LATTER RAIN revival has started small, but will culminate with the rapture of the church.
"He shall come unto thee as the rain,
the FORMER, and the LATTER rain unto the earth."
Like the heavy spring rains which prepare the soil for the seed, so God rained revival down upon this earth as the church was beginning its ministry. At the harvest time, God is sending another time of heavy rains to finish the ripening process so the final harvest can occur. God planned an early and a late rain of blessing and revival for the church to bring it to maturity before the rapture of the church.
During the latter rain revival, there will come a time of a double portion of revival.
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former and the latter rain in the first month."
Don't envy the days of Peter and Paul, for in our time (and very soon), we will see a double portion of what Peter and Paul saw in their days. God wants to do more in and through us in these last days, than He has ever done before.
Do not be satisfied with a little revival. We should be anxious for great revival. We should expect greater revival than this world has ever seen before.
"Ask ye of the Lord rain,
in the time of the latter rain."
We usually pray for rain during a drought. However, God tells us to pray for rain, while the latter rain is falling. In other words, God does not want us to be satisfied with a sprinkle, we are to then pray for a shower. When we have the shower, we are to then pray for a downpour. When we receive the downpour, we are to pray for a real drenching. When we finally receive the drenching, we are to pray for a flood. The trouble is, God has many saints who are satisfied with a sprinkling of revival. Some have no revival, and, at best, have experienced someone else's overflow.
THE PURIFICATION OF THE CHURCH
During this LATTER RAIN revival, there will occur a HARVEST OF TARES. This will be a time of purging of the church. It is a "perilous" time of judgment of the church.
"He will thoroughly PURGE His floor (this is the harvest of tares), and GATHER His wheat into the garner (this is the rapture of the church which soon follows the harvest of tares), but He will BURN UP the chaff with fire unquenchable (this is the tribulation judgments and hellfire for the sinners)."
"So shall it be at the end of the age, the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
II Thessalonians 2:3
"...the day of the Lord shall not come, except there be a falling away (this is not "apostasia", which means "backsliding, falling away"; but the Greek word - "apolusa," which means "separation, divorce") first..."
I Peter 4:17
"For the time is come that judgment (Greek = "krima" = "damnation") must begin at the house of God."
II Timothy 3:1-4
"... in the last days perilous times shall come..."
During this harvest of tares, the Lord will remove those who are the false prophets, the hypocrites, the troublemakers, and those who have been spiritually abusing others in the church. This will bring a purification of the church during the last days. This purified church will then be able to have the double portion revival that the Lord has wanted to give. The hypocrites and other offenders within the church have hindered every revival that God wants to give. But when the Lord is getting ready to return and rapture His church, He will cause the church to become the "glorious," "without spot, without wrinkle," and "without blemish." It will be a "holy" and pure church that can have a double portion revival just before the rapture.
"That He might present it to Himself a glorious ("endoxon" = "in the glory of God") church, not having spot ("spilos" = "deceptive, hypocritical profession") or wrinkle ("putida" = "mark of age"), or any such thing, but that it should be holy ("agia" = "separated from all that take us from God"), and without blemish ("amomos" = "blameless")."
At one great event during the first coming of Jesus, Peter, James, and John were on the Mount of Transfiguration. Can you imagine the wondrous experience they could have had on that mountain. They fell asleep and missed most of the event. They missed hearing what Moses and Elijah had to say about Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection which were soon to occur. They missed the sermons which could have prepared them for success, instead of failure, at those events.
Many in the latter rain revival are unaware of the wondrous things God is doing, and soon to do, in these great revival days just before the rapture. We should search the Scriptures and prepare ourselves to have part in the double portion part of the latter rain revival. We must not fall asleep, as did Peter, James, and John.
Ananias and Sapphira were more concerned with their financial prosperity during the former rain revival. There are many today who are seeking only financial prosperity, and missing the spiritual revival and blessings of the day.
God has a great outpouring of the Spirit and His power for these last days. Are you a candidate?
"He that believeth on Me... out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, Who they that believe on Him should receive...)"
"And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth, Whom the world cannot receive... He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you... ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
There is no moral, and no positional condition required for a Christian to receive the outpouring of the Spirit. If you have experienced the "new birth", you are a candidate for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
You may still be fighting bad habits (the outpouring will help your fight against them).
You may still have ups and downs (that's one reason you need the outpouring of the Spirit).
You may still not be perfect, and you may sometimes get discouraged (the Holy Spirit will lead you toward perfection, and lift you up out of the doldrums of life).
You may still be chastened by the Lord from time to time, even after the baptism of the Holy Spirit...
Revival, with its outpouring of the Spirit, is the answer to your weaknesses. Do not avoid this fantastic experience. Do not allow the devil to convince you, as he has so many others, that you are not worthy of the outpouring of the Spirit. It is entirely mercy, as is salvation. The outpouring is given to any who ASK for it. We do not have to reach some spiritual plateau of perfection to receive it. The Lord is desirous of all of us to receive it, someday, "all flesh" will have the Spirit's outpouring.
When you received Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit made your dead spirit come alive within you. He baptized (immersed) you into Christ. You experienced the "new birth" which gave you the presence of the Spirit. Yet, there is another experience, in which Christ will immerse you into the Holy Spirit. This will give you an overflowing of the Spirit in your life.
HOW TO RECEIVE THE OUTPOURING !
1. Ask Jesus to baptize you into the Holy Spirit.
"Ye have not because ye ask not..."
2. Believe you are beginning to receive the moment that you ask. The Lord promises never to say "NO" to any saint who asks for this outpouring.
"Ask and ye shall receive that your joy may be full."
"If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"
3. Confess with your lips. Worship with your mouth. The enjoyment of worship will grow and grow. Do not wait for "tongues" or the prayer language. They are the sign that God has completed the filling. So enjoy the filling process. The filling is enjoyable worship and blessing.
"Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."
John D. Ladd
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OPPOSITION TO REVIVAL
The former rain revival met opposition
from the world almost immediately.
The priests and the officials of the synagogues felt threatened because of the involvement of the priesthood in the crucifixion of Jesus.
Rome had crucified Jesus,
so they also felt threatened by Christianity.
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, so they were angry at the premises of Christianity. Opposition from these groups came quickly.
The latter rain revival will face enormous opposition. We will compare the two periods of opposition. They are similar in some ways, and will show differences in other ways.
From WITHOUT of the Christian movement came the initial opposition to the former rain revival. It came in several well-defined steps.
First, came the THREATS.
Acts 4:8-20, 29-31
"(vs. 17)...that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in His name. ...(vs. 18)...They called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus."
It was initially difficult for the opposition to know what action to take to stop the incredible revival amidst Christianity. These Christians were breaking no law in curing the cripple. Thus, the opposition threatened them to leave out the name of Jesus in performing such miracles. Had their threats worked, the revival would have stopped. The miracles, the revival, and the salvation of souls was not instigated by the man - Peter, or the apostle of love - John.
It is not the denomination or the religious leadership that instigates revival. The secret is JESUS. The world today does not mind our religion too much if we do not mention JESUS. There are implied threats today, there are inferences, and condemnations for those who frequently mention the name that sends the demons into frenzies --- JESUS.
Notice today how the ones that are branded "Christian-right-wing extremists", "Christian fanatics", and "Christian extremists", are "coincidentally" also the ones who frequently mention the name of Jesus, and claim a relationship with this Jesus.
Do we today allow the threats and condemnations deter us from our mission? Do we slink away from the Christian movement to avoid these condemnations?
The second step of opposition was
"Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees, and were filled with indignation. And they laid hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."
A temporary lock up of the Christian leadership was attempted for the purpose of intimidating the movement. Presumably all of them were locked up. The doors that night were locked, with guards at the door. In the morning, the apostles were gone. How? Luke says, "an angel of the Lord" delivered them, and told them to go preach. THE DISCIPLES DID NOT FEAR! These disciples did not go far, but were quickly discovered near-by - preaching.
The opposition today is beginning to use prison as a deterrent threat to the Christian revival. Pro-life demonstrators, and even those who would hold a sign of opposition to the murder of the unborn are having laws drafted and used against them. Freedom of speech, and freedom of religion are being thrown out by our legislators with these laws that will incarcerate those of the Christian movement who oppose the sinful, murderous holocaust of the nation's unborn.
There are Christians in jails today, in various places of the world,
who are there because of their Christian witness.
Some new laws now being put on the books will allow this sinful government to imprison Christians for even driving someone to a pro-life demonstration, if the demonstrators come within 35 feet of an clinic which murders the unborn.
The third step of opposition was
the SECRET PLANNING OF VIOLENCE.
"Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned... they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them..."
The opposition was so angered that they were tempted to pass a death sentence (which would mean stoning). Gamaliel (a great scholar of the day) counseled wisdom here and prevented them from trying to stone them. It was not God's will for them to die here -no doubt that God would have delivered them somehow.
Then, the PHYSICAL VIOLENCE AND THREATS
came forth from the opposition.
"... And when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded them that they should not speak in the name of Jesus and let them go."
When threats do not work, and then the secret planning of physical violence will lead to the carrying out of actual violence. They gave the disciples thirty nine stripes, which was an agonizing and tortuous whipping with a sharp-edged whip. The disciples still paid no attention to their demands to stop preaching Jesus.
The fifth step was UNJUST TRIALS.
"They stirred up the people and the elders, scribes, and came upon him, and caught him and brought him to the council. And set up false witnesses..."
False witnesses twisted what Stephen really had said (about Jesus destroying the temple). The temple of which Jesus spoke was His own body... He had said, "destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up..." Stephen explained the true meaning of Jesus, which should have been obvious in the post-resurrection period, to these Jews. The false witnesses again tried to misapply this teaching, and provided another unjust trial upon a child of God.
During the latter rain revival, there will be unjust trials of the children of God. If a child of God fails in any way, the media, and the courts will use any excuse to inflict perverted justice upon them.
Jim Bakker was sentenced to forty some years in jail for what our lawmakers do on a daily basis. Some money was sent to Jim Bakker for building a hotel, and it was used for television expense. In a manifold expansion of this, most of the money collected for social security is spent by our lawmakers for other projects.
They call it "government" for themselves, but made it illegal for anyone else, especially anyone who is a Christian. Because of Jim Bakker's spiritual failure some seven or eight years previous, many in the Christian community decided to "shoot the wounded" instead of encouraging and forgiving. The media and the sinful government of the nation used the opportunity to attack him with unjust trial.
There are, and have been, many other less-noted unjust trials against the Christian world since that time. They are ever increasing. New laws are being written with the purpose of being used against the Christian body of believers. This is a step of opposition many of us may see soon. If any real revival period of the church age is examined, you will find that false accusations, imprisonment, and persecution quickly develops.
Then, the following step is the
VIOLENCE AND MURDER
of the saints.
Acts 7:54, 57, 58
"...they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth... they stopped their ears and ran upon him with one accord... cast him out of the city and stoned him..."
The Bible adequately warns us that in the last days "perilous times" shall come. We are warned that our own lives will be in jeopardy, and we may likely face martyrdom in the last days. They hated and crucified our Lord Jesus, and they will also hate those who preach His gospel.
Finally, GREAT PERSECUTION
"And at that time there was great persecution against the church... Saul, he made havoc of the church..."
It will start on a small basis, in isolated areas of the country. When a successful pattern of persecution and violence is finally recognized and allowed by the people and government, the violence will be widespread. It is coming soon. We should not be ignorant of it. We need to sit down and count the cost of building, and when we know the cost, we can forge ahead in the power of the Spirit.
The opposition will then not be able to stop our witness. We will have a song in the prison (as Paul and Silas). We will have a resurrection after the stoning (as Paul). Our imprisonment will result in the salvation of souls (as at Philippi).
Persecution does not give the devil victory, unless we forsake the Lord in the midst of it. If we allow the Spirit to use us with the gifts of the Spirit at the times of persecution and violence, victory will be assured. Stephen may have been stoned to death, but his final prayer on earth allowed God to change the coat-holder Saul into the Apostle to the Gentiles - Paul. Everything the devil tries to do to stop us will bring him further defeat.
This opposition from without the church is how the persecution started for the former rain revival. Then followed opposition from WITHIN. We have been mainly facing that kind of opposition ever since. It is the main form of opposition the church faces today. When the opposition within the church is finally handled by the Lord with the final judgment of the church, we will again face stiff opposition from without. Till the "harvest of tares" (Matt. 13) has cleansed the church, we will face grave opposition from those inside the church.
After the initial opposition from without the church began, there also started in a small way, the opposition inside the church.
Paul spoke of Demas who had "forsaken" him.
John spoke of Diotrephes who "loveth to have the pre-eminence." This Diotrephes had indicated that he would shun John from his church, if and when John would come. Diotrephes wanted to be the only important personage of that congregation.
Jealousy and envy had crept into the congregation.
Then there were disputes in many congregations of that day between the Jewish converts, and the Gentile converts. The Jewish converts had been raised with many details of law. They had dietary rules that the Gentile converts did not understand. They had rules on clothing, rules about the Sabbath, rules about circumcision, etc. Some attempted to inflict these rules upon the new Gentile converts. Many of the Gentiles resisted these added rules to the Christianity they had been taught by Paul and some of the other apostles.
The converts and fans of Peter, Paul, and Apollos each contended over which was the greatest preacher. Some tried to separate from those groups and claim a superior allegiance. This last group claimed to be fans only of Christ Jesus. They were claiming to be the super-holy group. In actuality, the divisiveness of all four groups was corrupting and hindering the church.
The church congregation at Corinth had many problems. They had terrible sins that corrupted the assemblies. Paul had to severely exhort them on many issues.
These sins inside the church continued to grow and develop. During the middle ages the church was selling indulgences that allowed one to pay money to the church so he or she could commit a terrible sin and be "forgiven" ahead of time. The right to commit adultery, theft, murder, etc. were all being condoned by the church for a price.
In our day, we find many false prophets and their heresies. There are many hypocrites and spiritual abusers. The whole set up of many denominations and congregations perpetuate a form of Christianity that is powerless and is grieving to the Holy Spirit.
In the latter rain time of the church there are predictions of great opposition inside the church. Many have read the following verse and assumed it spoke of sinners outside the church. However, if the context is noted, one will find that the Word is describing the conditions inside the church of the last days.
II Timothy 3:1-14
"This know that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be
lovers of their own selves,
disobedient to parents,
without natural affection,
despisers of those that are good,
lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses,
and lead captive silly women laden with sins,
led away with divers lusts,
ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth...
their folly shall be manifest unto all men...
Yea, all that will live godly, will suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived..."
We are currently in these "perilous" times of the last days. The church is corrupted beyond belief. Many saints have "hidden their heads in the sand" of denial. The sin within the church is embarrassing, and appalling. We have seen many church congregations degenerate into pits of debate, judgmentalism, heresy, pride, spiritual apathy, and even perversion.
Some are debating allowing homosexuals be their pastors.
Some are encouraging sexual license.
Some are denying the resurrection and new birth.
Some are incorporating new age and occultic practices into the congregations.
Some are spiritually abusing young children, and new converts.
Some will spread lies and half truths to denigrate any one whose ministry they envy. Many a one who has been called a "false prophet" or "heretic" in these last days, are the real saints of God. Those that are truly - "false prophets" have made their messages to satisfy the "itching ears" of the hearers, and are propagating damning doctrines.
Some will "shoot the wounded" and shun the hurting saint.
Some love themselves, and are self seeking, capitalizing on the generosity of saints who believe their passionate pleas for money.
Some are taken in sexual perversions that would shock any who discover the sins. Some lesbians are even now promoting changing God's name to "Sophia". They want to change the Word of God. They do not even have a relationship with the God of heaven, and yet they attempt to stay within the church.
Some are proud and feel superior to other saints, wanting the others to follow them as obedient sheep to a substitute shepherd.
Some have a form of godliness, but do not have the true Christian love that would empower them to true revival.
Some are ever seeking to learn, but are refusing to believe the real truth. They have allowed their minds to be so corrupted with false doctrines, debates, and arguments on small details... that they never find the simple truths of the Word.
Some attack the real children of God, and the real message of salvation, Christian love, and Biblical truth.
Some spend their time seeking to lead others into their own brand of deception. These persecute, lie about, and shun those who expose their corruptness.
II Peter 2:1-2
"...even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies... many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom, the way of truth shall be evil spoken of..."
The first opposition to the latter rain revival
is from WITHIN its own ranks.
The devil has sought to corrupt Christianity since its inception. Judas was an early convert to the false deceptions of the devil. Ever since Judas, the devil has sought to hinder the church by planting inside it those who are sin corrupted and deceived.
Betrayal by these "brothers", friends, church acquaintances, relatives, and church leaders will be a common occurrence in these last days.
"And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake."
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations (peoples) for My name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another..."
"Before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons... and it shall turn to you for a testimony."
The opposition that we meet from within or without, need not trouble us into despair. We are to be overcomers in these last days.
If we can learn to stand against the opposition within, we will have no real trouble when the opposition comes from without.
Do not shy from the opposition.
Do not fall into the deceptions of the devil.
Stand up and be counted for the Lord.
"...they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle; and they shall fight because the Lord is with them."
We have a hedge of protection about us in these last day.
We have the power of the Spirit to bestow upon us manifold and miraculous gifts, signs, and wonders.
The devil cannot defeat us, if we do not give up.
If we simply "resist" him, he is defeated.
The devil tried greatly in the former rain revival to oppose and defeat the early church. The devil could not stop what God had started. In the latter rain revival, the devil thinks that the
and false prophets
that he has placed within the framework of the church will cause its ultimate end, but God has another surprise for the devil.
When God has purged the church of these offenders, and revived the remainder of the church, He will give a revival that will astound the world.
Then, the devil will use the sinners of this world to resist the Christians.
This last desperation attempt of the devil to oppose and to stop the revival will be valiantly defeated by the saints.
ARE YOU PREPARED?
DO NOT FEAR, THE LORD IS WELL ABLE TO DEFEND AND HELP US.
WE HAVE THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT,
THE POWER OF THE LORD,
AND THE GUARDIAN ANGELS SENT FOR OUR PROTECTION.
MIRACLES WILL ACCOMPANY THE PERSECUTION.
REVIVAL WILL "ABOUND MUCH MORE" THAN THE SIN AND TRIALS OF THE LAST DAYS.
DO NOT DESPAIR, BUT REJOICE IN THE REVIVAL.
"WHEN YOU SEE THESE THINGS BEGIN TO COME TO PASS...
John D. Ladd
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KEYS TO REVIVAL
As Shown in the Book of Acts
then and now...
What unlocked the revival in the period of the early church? Certain things that the disciples and other believers did in the early church period, allowed God to bless them with a fantastic revival? We need to find these keys that unlocked the former rain revival and do them so God can again move in great revival.
The disciples were not the only instigators of revivals. Stephen was a deacon, and he preached a great sermon that sparked a revival. Philip, another deacon, sparked the revival in Samaria. Philip also won the Ethiopian eunuch who then took revival to
Ethiopia. Paul was a former Pharisee who instigated many revivals.
Let us take note of some of the keys to the revival in the former rain period.
The disciples were commanded to "tarry until..." (Acts 1:8) another event would occur.
Many others were also commanded, but only 120 were still in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. They received the initial outpouring of the Spirit because they obeyed.
Philip was present at another event in Samaria, many were being saved. He was commanded to go to the desert area. This was not a logical decision to leave a great city-wide revival, and go to a desert road. Yet going to that one man, on a seldom used road to old Gaza, resulted in the gospel revival for a whole country (Ethiopia). Obedience was necessary for that spark of revival to ignite another country, and eventually the whole continent of Africa.
Disobedience of the 120 (if they had not tarried in the upper room) would have kept Jerusalem from receiving revival. Disobedience of Philip (if he had not left the great revival in Samaria, and gone to the desert road) would have kept Ethiopia from revival. It was an angel who told Philip to leave the revival at Samaria at its high point, and go into the Negev desert. He left the revival of many, the many new converts, and all the joy of seeing a great revival - to go to a lonely, and nearly deserted road.
Abraham left Ur and Haran "not knowing whither he went" (Hebrews 11:8). The nation of Israel, the initial claiming of the promised land, and the blessings upon the seed of Abraham were a result of that obedience. Sometimes, in the latter rain revival, we will be asked of the Lord to go to places, and we will not understand why.
Many years ago, David Wilkerson went to the street gangs of New York. Fantastic miracles have come from that obedience. God led David Wilkerson, as He had led Abraham, Philip, etc. - one step at a time. We too will be led of God in this latter rain revival, one step at a time. Obedience will be a key ingredient to many revivals.
The Holy Spirit confirmed the word Philip preached. There were "signs and wonders." The people of the land heard and saw "the miracles which he did" (Acts 8:6). "Unclean spirits... came out" of people, the "palsied" and "lame" were healed, and there was "great joy" in his ministry (Acts 8:7-8). It was the obedience of Philip that sparked revival.
2. "ONE PLACE" Acts 2:4
"Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but gathering together and exhorting each other, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching."
If you are sitting in front of your television, and you are watching your favorite soap opera, or a great football game... when the body church in which you worship is together in worship, you may be missing the revival that God wanted to give you. God may have wanted to answer one of your prayers that moment, but you did not go to the service wherein He was providing the answer.
What if Peter had gone fishing on the tenth day in the upper room? What if he intended to return after a brief "vacation" from the intense worship? He would not have received with the others, and he could not have preached that great sermon that resulted in 3000 souls coming to the Lord.
The common response is that 'God would not allow me to miss out on a great answer to prayer that He wanted to give me.' However, this is not true. Sometimes, we 'have not because we ask not...' Sometimes, we have not because 'we ask amiss...' And sometimes, we have not because we did not go to the service wherein God wanted to answer our prayers.
One time in prayer, God told me some great miracles that He wanted to do in a soon coming service. I prayed much for that service, and eagerly watched as God fulfilled many promised wonders. However, one of the signs that God told me that He wanted to do, did not occur. The person involved who had progressing arthritis did not even come to the service. I questioned God concerning this fact. God informed me that He had wanted to do the miracle, but the person had missed the opportunity.
I later found out that there had been a heated argument with the person and their mate. The one had wanted to go, and felt God was going to bless them someway, but the mate wanted to do something else that evening. The one that God wanted to heal, had given up in attempting to come, and to this day, still has the arthritis. Had the person followed the Lord's urging, and come to the service, God had already determined it to be the night in which He would heal.
What miracles and answers to prayer have we missed by not attending the worship gathering in which God intended to bless us? It is a frightening thought. We need to learn to "gather together" often in these last days. God does not promise to answer our prayers if we choose to disobey His call.
What if the woman had not pushed through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus' garment, or if the friends had not carried the sick man to the roof of the home in which Jesus ministered, and if the lame man had not somehow gotten to the temple gate the day Peter and John were to pass by??? We can miss great blessings, if we neglect to get to the place where God chooses to bless us.
3. ONE ACCORD (Acts 2:4)
Harmony with the others of the body church seems to be a vital key to real revival. There is not much harmony in some churches. They fight on such vital issues as the color of the carpet, or the proper skirt length, etc. These congregations miss many revivals and blessings by such disharmony.
The early church had great harmony, and through the years, as the harmony lessened, the revival also lessened. During this latter rain revival, we have little harmony. As the harmony of the congregations grows, so will the revival. As God continues to purify the congregations, and improve the harmony between the saints, the revival will grow.
We are all part of "one body." We are the body of Christ, and are to work in harmony as a healthy body does. The legs are to mobilize the body to walk. The arms are to move and provide balance for the moving body. The eyes are to plot the course, and the brain will make the decisions of direction. The ears are to listen for signs of danger. The heart must pump life giving blood to the parts of the body. The stomach is to digest the nourishment for the strength the body needs for this walk. All these things happen to allow the body to reach certain destinations.
In the church of the last days, we have seen a "body" that is not in harmony, not working together, and having many parts that refuse to function in a harmonious way. It is no wonder that the destination of great revival has not yet been reached by this stumbling, disconcerted, paralyzed body. It has not been in "one accord." When we finally determine to get even our own congregation into "one accord", we will find the destination of revival easy to reach.
4. "EVERYWHERE" to witness
God does not desire to fill "cesspools" with His blessings. Cesspools are basins of liquid wherein there is no outflow. Many saints want to receive and receive. They want blessings, miracles, and revival-- but they do not want to let the blessings flow out from them to others. They avoid witnessing, interceding for others, or doing good works for others. This makes them like a cesspool... and God will cease the flow of blessings to them.
God wants us to be channels of blessings. We are to allow our blessings to flow out of us and be a blessing to others. We must take our witness of power and miracles of God to others. The disciples learned to "go everywhere" preaching the gospel to everyone (rich, poor, -healthy, unhealthy, -wise, foolish, and cultured, uncultured).
The only ones to whom we may cease to preach the gospel, are those who reject our ministry. Some will harass those who have already made it clear that they do not want the gospel message... We are to continue to intercede for them, but we are to "shake the dust" and move on to those who are hungry for the Word of God.
After the death of Stephen, persecution caused most of the believers in Jerusalem to flee the city. The apostles did not flee... but stayed to continue the revival effort in Jerusalem. They were greatly persecuted, and the gospel message was greatly hindered. The saints from other parts of the world sent food and raiment to the saints in Jerusalem to keep them from starvation and destitution. A tradition recorded by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 6:5, 43), and by Eusebius (Hist. 5:13) says that the Lord had commanded the apostles to remain for 12 years in Jerusalem lest anyone say "We have not heard!"... According to the tradition, the disciples were allowed to depart Jerusalem at that time.
Whether that is true or not... history does record that the staying of the apostles in the city that had rejected the gospel message was very, very difficult. It violated the other instructions of the Lord, which taught them to take the gospel to any city which would accept them, and when rejected to depart, shake the dust of the city from them, and depart to the next city. Unless they had a direct command from the Lord, to make an exception to His general rule, they should have heeded His command. We need to find the hungry, the thirsty... and preach there.
It will surprise us when we discover who will accept the gospel message. The weak, the sick, the alcoholic, the distraught, the criminal, the poor, the wayward... will often accept the same message that the rich, affluent, proud, and educated will reject. Yet, some churches insist that God sent them to the wealthy side of town that wants nothing to do with them. The congregations flounders, and wonders why they do not grow numerically, or spiritually. They are avoiding going EVERYWHERE to find the ones who will accept the gospel.
Going to the EVERYWHERE's will spread the gospel message. The disciples and the believers in the early church talked about Jesus wherever they went. Most of the believers were ordinary people, not orators or professional speakers. They were full of the Word of God, full of power of the Spirit, and full of Jesus. They allowed this fullness to flow from them to others.
Jesus had commanded the disciples to take the gospel message to Samaria. The Samaritans were descendants of the northern ten tribes who had intermarried with the Assyrians. They followed the law of Moses, but they made sacrifices on Mt. Gerizim instead of at the temple of Jerusalem. Most Jews avoided Samaria and the Samaritans. Christianity did not make old prejudices miraculously disappear. The disciples failed to readily go to Samaria with the gospel. It finally took a deacon, Philip, to take the message there. Peter and John did not investigate until the reports of great revival began to filter back to Jerusalem.
When Peter took the gospel message to the house of Cornelius (a Gentile), it took visions, special requests, and a revelation from God to cause him to do it. The idea of the Jews had been that they were the "chosen" people of God, and the Gentiles were "dogs". For some time, the Christian gospel was hoarded by the early Jewish converts. The revival in Cornelius' home fell before Peter could give the altar call. The disciples in Jerusalem had to call Peter in and debate whether he should have gone to the Gentiles.
Many people today are still resistant to the need to take the gospel everywhere. Real revival can be found when we take seriously the command of the Lord to go everywhere and to go to everyone.
Since Philip was receptive to the command of Jesus to go to Samaria with the gospel, the Lord also sent Philip to the desert road to Gaza. There Philip happened upon an Ethiopian eunuch. This treasurer for the queen was receptive tot he gospel message. Because of that encounter, the gospel message went to Africa, and revival abounded there. God wants us to go to everyone, and everywhere... The race, background, health, and income of the people do not matter. A key to real revival is to "GO EVERYWHERE."
In Acts, chapter 10, we see that Cornelius prayed for mercy and blessings. God answered his prayers miraculously. The intercession of Cornelius brought the start of the evangelization to the Gentiles. If it had not been for the one intercessor, that community would have missed a great revival.
Intercessors are vital to revival. The prayer group in the home of John Mark's mother interceded for Peter. There was a miraculous deliverance of the apostle. Perhaps the group was weak in faith, but they knew to intercede and pray.
God searches for someone to fill the "gap" in the hedges of this world. He has a very difficult time finding true intercessors to fill the gaps. When He does find true intercessors, revival does come. The intercession allows God to treat those who do not deserve revival, as though they had repented... God can begin to do what most of the people have not requested... if He can find an intercessor to so plead.
Paul and Silas sang and worshipped in the prison (Acts 16:25-26). God began to "tap His toe" to the music, and a great earthquake shook the jail. Worship was a key to the revival and salvation of the jailer and his family. Worship is a key to many a revival.
Music and worship were the first courses taught in the schools of the prophets in the Old Testament. They knew that God "inhabits the praises of His people..." They thus knew to worship the Lord in preparation for the prophetic revelations.
It was worship that caught the ears of the people on the day of Pentecost. When they questioned the 120 who had come down out of the upper room, Peter answered with a sermon. Three thousand were saved... because the people wanted to know the meaning of this strange worship.
Real worship is a key to revival. If we want God's presence to fill the sanctuary, we must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
7. BIBLE STUDY
"These (the ones at Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of the honorable women there were Greeks, and men, not a few."
They received the Word, and searched the Scriptures daily. They trusted in the Word of God, as the authority to determine the truthfulness of the message that Paul preached. God blessed them with great revival, and many were saved.
In many congregations of today, the low regard for the Word of God, causes them to miss great revival. Because some know the story of David and Goliath, they think they have the Bible "down pat." There are great revelations in the Word of God, and those who never cease to search it for further revelations, will find revival. Those who neglect it, avoid it, or refuse its message, are doomed to a great lack of revival.
We need saints who will study God's Word. If we reject His WRITTEN VOICE, why should He share any SPOKEN, or VOCAL message with us?
When Philip went to the Ethiopian eunuch, the fact that Philip understood the passage in Isaiah (wherein the Ethiopian was reading), allowed that revival to begin. If Philip had said, "I don't know what that passage is talking about..." there would not have been revival as such. Philip was a student of the Word, and the Holy Spirit brought to the conscious mind of Philip the meaning of the passage. The Bible study of Philip allowed great revival to go to Africa with this converted Ethiopian.
The same keys to revival in the former rain revival, are the keys to revival in the latter rain revival. God will honor these same steps today. Plus, the latter rain revival is promised a double portion of blessings. How great should be our anxiousness to follow and heed these KEYS to great revival!!!!
What hinders us? Revival is available today. Why do we not have the revival that we say we desire? There is a story told of Socrates. A young student came to him, and asked how he could become as wise as Socrates. Socrates took him to the river, and waded down into the water. The boy followed. Socrates pushed the head of the boy under the water, and held it submerged. The boy struggled and struggled to surface from the water. Finally, the boy succeeded. "Why did you do that?" the boy questioned. Socrates replied, "When you want wisdom, as much as you wanted out of the water, you will find it!"
When we want revival with that kind of zeal and determination, we will follow the instructions of the Lord, and find it. Until them, we are just "playing church" and have a "form of godliness." The "power" of the gospel is so easy to find, but the desire and the zeal to follow God's plan is necessary.
John D. Ladd
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THE MESSAGES &
THE DOCTRINES OF THE REVIVAL
Someone once said that NOWHERE in the New Testament are we taught to pray for revival. However, the New Testament writers were living in the early rain revival. The New Testament, from Acts to Revelation, is an account of revival. The revival of that day, we call the former rain revival. In the Old Testament, when God's people were not in revival, they had to pray for it.
We now live in the time of the latter rain revival, but the disciples lived in the former rain revival. In God's plan for a harvest of souls from this earth, He likened the revivals to what we know about a growing season. Every spring, at planting time, we expect a spring rain time. These heavy spring rains help the seed to germinate and begin to send down roots. In church history, the church began to germinate, to send down roots, and to begin the growing process in the time of the apostles following the day of Pentecost. This former rain revival started the growth of the church.
At the end of the growing season, another rainy season comes which helps to ripen the harvest. The crops are ripening, and these rains give a spurt of growth, so the crops ripen quickly before the fall frosts kill them. In the church period, just before the rapture, an outpouring of revival blessings will allow a great harvest to occur before the rapture removes us from this earth.
Some say this latter rain revival began at Azusa St, in Los Angeles in 1901. Some say it began in 1967, when Israel took control of all of Jerusalem. Some say it began in 1945 when Israel became a nation. Some say it began in Topeka, Kansas in 1900. There are many possible starting points, but whenever it was, we know that it has started. We are now in the latter rain revival.
What will this great revival be like? Will it get better? Will it get harder? How long will it last? What will happen next? These things can be discovered by examining Scripture. Much can be learned by comparing the former rain revival with the latter rain revival.
THE DOCTRINES OF THE FORMER RAIN REVIVAL
"They continued steadfastly to the apostles' teaching."
The early church knew from the beginning the importance of the correct doctrine. The leaders insisted that the members be well instructed in the essentials of the faith. They had regular teaching sessions, and converts were expected to come.
The words - "continued steadfastly" (Acts 2:42) - are from the Greek word, "proskartereo", which means "to persevere in something," "to adhere firmly to something." Perseverance in the teaching of the same doctrines that were taught by the apostles was considered essential in the time of the early rain revival.
This emphasis on doctrine was one of the stabilizing factors of the early rain revival. Any revival that is started, in any age, will not continue unless the doctrines behind the movement are sound and the members adhere to them in perseverance.
There was an open type of worship in the former rain revival, and this broad participation in the spontaneous exercise of the gifts, required the guardian of sound doctrine to maintain the revival. There is tension between freedom of the Spirit, and the need for order and stability. We are told to stand fast in the new found freedom, but to not seek to simply emphasize the order so much that the freedom is excluded.
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
"Stand fast" comes from the original Greek, which means "to keep rank", "to keep unity" and "to not retreat..." This liberty, from which we are not to retreat, is vital to the revival. God is careful to remind us that we are not to return to the old "yoke of bondage" of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant contained types, shadows, rituals, and forms that pre-figured the true worship which would come in the New Covenant.
The rules and doctrines to which the Jews had adhered, are no longer the doctrines of the New Testament revival. The Mosaic laws, commandments, rituals, and rules that were steadily added to them made revival with them virtually impossible.
Jesus showed us an easier way, and simplified the commandments to two. Jesus said that the day was now come when men should worship God "in Spirit and in truth..." His way allows the freedom necessary to allow the Spirit to bless, unify, and revive.
Some have tried to allow so much freedom that the doctrines were diminished or ignored. This kind of freedom leads to disorder and kills revival.
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
The Colossians were congratulated for their good order.
"...I am with you in the Spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ."
Then the Colossians were warned about the danger of legalism. Legalism can emanate from too much doctrinal emphasis.
"Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not, taste not, handle not; which all are to perish with the using after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh..."
A revived church needs balance between the freedom of the Spirit, and the doctrinal emphasis. In the freedom of the Spirit comes spontaneity and dynamic stirrings. In the restraint of proper doctrine there is avoidance of error. The revival cannot survive over restraint, nor dead formalism. The cold formalities can quench the Spirit.
During the Montanist movement, in the second century after Christ, Montanus gave a message of strong emphasis on the manifestations of the Spirit. There was a demand for personal holiness. There was also eager anticipation of the second coming. The revival also marked the pushing away from the worldliness of some professing Christianity.
The tragedy of this movement was in the simple doctrinal error of giving more weight to the utterances of the prophets and prophetesses than to the words of the Bible. With that wrong doctrinal belief came the grave possibility of heresy. Soon, the error resulted in an oppressive bondage of demand for a holiness based on "do's and don't's".
The danger that came with the Montanist movement is always present in revival movements. The Word of God must always be our AUTHORITY.
II Timothy 2:15-16
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness."
The Holy Spirit will not contradict Himself. Thus, what the Word of God tells us should always be in harmony with the prophetic utterances of any revival. The Word of God is our standard of measure to assess and evaluate any utterance. The Word of God is the final authority by which we judge any utterance.
I Corinthians 14:29
"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge."
There is a need of supernatural governing by the principles of the Bible, or we risk the self destruction of revival movements.
Those in a true revival movement will fellowship with some who may differ on minor doctrinal differences. When the doctrinal error is on more major points, (as the infallibility of Scripture, the atoning power of the blood of Jesus, the imminent return of the Lord, or the salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus... etc.) there is a danger with the fellowship. We must persevere to keep the doctrinal truth free from perversion or compromise.
It is clear from the last chapter of Luke, and the chapters of Acts that the apostles regarded the authority of the Bible as final.
Luke 24:47 shows two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus "opened" to them the Scriptures.
Luke 24:45 shows that the disciples in the upper room gave emphasis and prominence to the Scriptures.
The church of the former rain revival governed their preaching, praying, and decision making by the Scriptures.
In the choosing of a successor to Judas, the disciples referred to the Scriptures (Acts 1:16).
To explain what had happened to the 120 in the upper room, Peter referred to Scriptures (Acts 4:24-26).
The former rain revival grew on the Word of God.
"And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up."
A Spirit-filled church that either rejects or ignores the Spirit-inspired Word is a contradiction in terms. It cannot be filled - with the Spirit, unless it is filled with the Word. Revival will not endure, unless the Word of God is kept as the prime and final authority.
The basis of the doctrines of the apostles centered about Jesus.
"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
They talked about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The disciples also spoke of the Lordship of Jesus. Their whole doctrine was Christ-centered. This emphasis on Jesus must never be forgotten. The "full gospel" message is only "full" if Jesus is not obscured. Any doctrine that obscures Christ is wrong, and out of place.
They taught about a salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ. They taught about a healing power that comes because of the sacrifice of Jesus. They taught about a baptism in the Spirit's power that comes because Jesus went away and sent back the Spirit as the new Advocate. They taught about the second coming of this Jesus. The whole of their doctrine was Jesus Christ.
The attention of the former rain revival was strongly on the second coming of Jesus. The whole of creation longs for it, and suffer birth pangs in anticipation of the second coming (Romans 8:19-22).
Christ is coming as Savior and Judge. On two occasions in the New Testament, when details of sermons to the Gentiles are given, the emphasis is on the coming judgment (Acts 10:42 -Cornelius' house, and Acts 17:22 - Mars Hill).
The second coming of Jesus embraces all the purpose of God. It shows the purpose of salvation - to be ready... It shows the reason for the church... to gather together for exhortation until His coming... It shows the reason for the Bible... to predict the nature of His coming. All of revival is designed to get us ready for the final triumph at the second coming of Jesus.
The more you examine the former rain revival, the more you discover its emphasis on the second coming.
They believed in God's control of the future, and this gave them their courage.
They believed Jesus to not only be a crucified Savior, but also a returning King, and this was shown in their sermons.
They were desirous of being ready for the return of Jesus, and this was shown in their motives for service.
They knew they would someday stand before Jesus and give an account of their lives, and their deeds were governed by this concept.
Their worship and observance of the Lord's supper was focused on - "till He come..." (I Cor. 5:10-11).
They enjoyed the power of the Spirit, Who was sent by the Lord to them, but they knew He was the "down payment" for what would eventually come to pass at the second coming.
II Corinthians 1:22
"Who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest ( Greek = arrabon) of the Spirit in our hearts."
II Corinthians 5:5
"Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest ( Greek = arrabon) of the Spirit."
"In Whom (Christ) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, after that ye have believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the earnest ( Greek = arrabon) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession... (the rapture is the "redemption of the purchased possession").
The Greek word "arrabon" means, "earnest," "guarantee," "down payment," and in modern Greek is used to refer to "an engagement ring." They referred to the coming of the Spirit to be the "down payment" for what they eagerly awaiting, i.e. the second coming of Jesus. The former rain revival enjoyed the outpouring of the Spirit with all His gifts, but their whole gaze was toward the future glory of the rapture and resurrection.
Our emphasis should be even more on the second coming than theirs was. We are so much closer to this great event than they were. The signs of the day tell us that it is very near. If they of the former rain gloried in its surety, how much more should we?
So, what were the sermons like in the former rain revival?
Paul preached one sermon so long that one man went to asleep in the service, and fell from the second floor window. Paul prayed and the man was resurrected from the dead, and then Paul finished his sermon.
Peter preached his first sermon following the outpouring of the Spirit, and 3000 were saved. Then at the second sermon 5000 were saved.
Some of Paul's messages resulted in him being beaten, imprisoned, stoned, or run out of town - or there was revival.
What messages resulted in these kinds of results? They were powerful sermons. What was their secret? How do we find that secret, and have that kind of powerful sermons?
We know their doctrines centered about Jesus, His sacrificial death, resurrection, and soon return... They may have emphasized the eschatology of the second coming, but they used this prophetic message as a motivating factor. It was the mission of the church to save souls from sin and hell-fire... They wanted to get as many of this world ready for the second coming as they could, so they motivated people to accept Jesus as Savior from sin with their eschatological messages.
Eschatology is great, but to be excited about the future, one must first be sure the present sin has been remitted. Sin of the present will keep the sinner from the joy of the rapture, and the victory of the second coming. The revival church must not only study prophecy, but it must use the prophetic revelations to get people to realize the urgency of the salvation message.
God's ultimate purpose in history is to restore mankind. We must not be like the Priest and the Levite on the road to Jericho, who by-passed the beaten man that the good Samaritan helped. We must realize that the knowledge of the prophetic message should motivate Christians to be soul-winners. Too many who do not have a doctrinal foundation in prophecy, are weak in soul winning.
The truly revived church will declare a message consistent with Scripture.
They will preach a message of mankind being created in God's image.
They will teach that mankind is destined to someday rule and reign with Jesus.
They will teach that sin caused a fall from that position.
The wrath of God therefore abides on all who do not find atonement for sin.
The good news of God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ is preached with enthusiasm.
The real need of the world is salvation from the power of sin. This is emphasized in the sermons of any true revival.
Atonement is the central message of sermons in a revival. The apostate church of Laodicea, that is described in Revelation 3, sees the main emphasis of the church to be a prosperity message. This is wrong and will not result in real revival. Jesus is seen on the outside of that church knocking upon its door.
With the atoning, sin cleansing, and sin conquering message, will be a message on divine healing, gifts of the Spirit, blessing and spiritual prosperity, compassionate service, intercession, miracles, and faith through trials. First, there must be a desire to see souls be saved and enter the kingdom of the Lord.
The true message has true power. One must beware of "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof..." There is a true message that has power. In fact, it is impossible to be a Christian without encountering the power of the Spirit.
The Spirit convicts of sin. (John 16:8-11)
We are born again by the Spirit's power. (John 3:3-8)
It is impossible to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, except by the Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:3)
As we respond to these first movings of the Spirit, His power grows and increases in us.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit will be a baptism into the miraculous power of the Spirit.
"But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you."
Too many have a "watered down" idea of power within the church. They do not expect, and therefore do not receive, any more than some occasional human emotion. This is a third rate substitute for real revival Christianity. It is empty of what God wants the church to have.
The revival church believes what the Bible says, and believes it means what it says. So they expect a "joy unspeakable and full of glory" type church. They do not expect a watered down substitute. They expect the "dunamis" of the Spirit, and not a slight increase in attendance yearly. True revival messages will emphasize a church of power and miracles. They will not only preach prophecy, salvation, and sin-cleansing power... they will expect and see the miraculous results of such preaching.
The woman pressed through throngs of people until she could touch the hem of His garment. She expected power when she touched His hem... The revival church will have that kind of expectancy from their preaching of Jesus... The revival church knows that virtue will flow from Jesus to those who act in such faith.
John D. Ladd
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THE POWER OF THE NAME OF JESUS
IN THE REVIVALS
"The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch..."
The converts spoke of Jesus Christ so much, that they were given the name - "Christian", which means - "Christ One".
The whole of the former rain revival was built upon the name of Jesus. They lifted Him up. Every sermon centered on Jesus. From the Old Testament, they preached Jesus. Every prayer they made, was "in the name of Jesus." Every healing that occurred was through the power and authority of "Jesus."
During the latter rain revival, the name of Jesus will recur to the former rain prominence. For so long, the name of "Jesus" has been just part of a cuss word. Many people have been ashamed to speak "Jesus." Often you may hear parishioners talk of the church, the pastor, the other parishioners, the denomination, etc -- but not - "Jesus."
In a recent year, God removed some who were getting prominence more than Jesus. Many have stumbled because their eyes were on some man, more than on Jesus. The leaders who sought prominence were shown to have major sins in their lives, and hopefully they have fully repented. Yet, mankind was shocked to see sins in these leaders. Jesus is the only One Who is perfect. No other person can claim sinless perfection. He is the only One deserving of worship, honor, and glory.
The Lord allowed the Christian world to see the flaws in those thought to be so holy, so many would realize that we worship "Jesus" - and not any man. "Jesus" must again become prominent, and so much the so... that when anyone talks with a Christian in the latter rain revival, they will not remember the denomination, the pastor, the spiritual leader, or the person... but they will know this person is a "Christ one."
Most will be criticized, persecuted, or mocked for the frequent reference to the Savior, Jesus Christ... but those who are so enthralled with "Jesus" will find great power in His name.
Lifting up, and exalting the name of Jesus caused great persecution in the former rain revival. This allowed the ministry to reach out to more and more people, for the persecution spread the Christians around the world. The name of Jesus caused more disruption among the Jews than among the Gentiles, and fewer and fewer of the Jews came to the services of these "Christ ones."
The Jewish people could not accept this Messiah called "Jesus." Jesus had come and died for them, but they were awaiting the Messiah Who would make them rulers of the world. We know now that this is how the Messiah, Jesus, will come in the second coming. They missed all the prophecies about the Messiah's first coming.
At Antioch, the Christians were mostly Gentiles. They numbered nearly 20,000 at that church. They were won to Christianity, by the preaching and proclaiming of the name of Jesus.
Note the preaching about Jesus in the former rain revival.
In the first post-Pentecost sermon of Peter... Peter said:"
"Ye men and brethren, hear these words... Jesus of Nazareth..."
To the lame man, Peter said:
"...in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise and walk..."
To those who complained about this healing, Peter said:
"the God of our Fathers hath glorified His Son Jesus..."
The High Priest questioned:
"...by what name have ye done this?"
The people of the day:
"...took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus..."
The persecutors said:
"Let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in His name..."
Their message to the world was about Jesus.
"...with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus..."
"Did we not straitly command you that you should not teach in His name? and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine!"
They preached JESUS, and had success!
"...preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed..."
The key to their success was Jesus. The key to the persecution was Jesus. To avoid persecution, many today have avoided the key to success and revival. This results in a "form of godliness... denying the power thereof..." Jesus is the key to power and revival.
Charismatic believers put much emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Yet, remember, the Holy Spirit Himself does not glorify Himself... but He glorifies Jesus. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, "He shall testify of Me..." So the truly Spirit-filled person will also be known by their glorifying of Jesus. As we fulfill the mission of the Holy Spirit (to glorify Jesus), we will receive more and more power in the Spirit.
Barnabus was sent to investigate the church at Antioch, which was growing so quickly. He rejoiced in the new converts. He went to Tarsus and brought Paul to help teach these new converts. These new converts had heard of Jesus, but had not been fully taught all about this Lord and Savior.
The former rain revival sought to win the converts, and then to teach the converts. Teaching is needed to hold fast the new converts.
"...exhorted them all that with purpose of heart, they would cleave unto the Lord..."
TEACHING JESUS, TALKING JESUS, AND CLEAVING TO JESUS... THIS IS THE REVIVAL WAY!
In Ezekiel 9, there is a story that concerns the judgment of the church in the last days. In this vision of Ezekiel, he sees a mark being put upon those who will not be condemned in this judgment.
"Set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."
The word "mark" is the Hebrew word "taw", which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet (in the oldest script). The taw is a mark that looks like our X. It is a cross shape. The Greek name for "Messiah" is "Christos" which begins with the Greek letter "chi" which is also the same X shape as taw.
The prophets of the Old Testament may not have understood why this letter taw (X) was to be used... but it became the sign of the cross, and the first letter of the name...."Christ", and an early Christian symbol. Perhaps the X put upon the foreheads of the ones in the vision in Ezekiel 9, is a sign that it represents the ones who have Jesus on their minds. Those who have Jesus as their prominent feature, will be the ones who are spared the last day judgment of the church.
There is one truth that sets us apart from all other religions... it is JESUS.
On the rapture day in heaven, no one is found worthy to open the seven seals except the Lamb of God... i.e.
The seventh angel sounds a trumpet during the soon coming tribulation period, and announces: "The kingdoms of this world are become kingdoms of our Lord, and of His CHRIST, and He shall reign forever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)
JESUS is the One we look to see at the rapture.
It is before this same JESUS that we will stand at the judgment seat to receive our rewards.
JESUS returns from heaven at the second coming to rule this world with us.
The last words in our Bible are "Even so come, LORD JESUS."
To the dead church of the last days (Laodicea), Jesus says:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with Me."
In the last days, therefore, the Lord Jesus will be seeking to get the dead church to fellowship with Him. The dead church is void of the presence and power of Jesus. The revived church is fellowshipping with Jesus.
The saints at Antioch were called "Christians." This is notable because there are many other names that we hear those in the church called today. Some are called "saints" because their holiness is so prominent. Some are called "brethren" because they are noticeably part of the family of God. Some are called "disciples" because they are students of the Word of God. These names are fine and good... but we must begin afresh to lift up the name of Jesus... More than ever we must glorify Him as Savior and soon-returning Lord...
Some today are known as "football fanatics" because they talk, think, and live for football. Some are called "Republicans," "Democrats," "liberals," "conservatives"... etc. because of their stand and beliefs. It is time that we Christians shed the other things that may brand us with a title, and begin to be known as "CHRISTIANS" again.
Too many have been "Jimmy Swaggart disciples, Jim Bakker disciples, Kenneth Copelandites, Oral Roberts followers, Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, etc. Some of these may be fine, but they are poor substitutes, at best, for the name "CHRIST ONE." Our eyes must be upon Jesus, not man, not denominations, not a church, not a dogma...
When in the foyer of your church, listen to conversations, watch your own conversation. Are these conversations about the pastor, the church, work, complaining, --- or about JESUS? You can tell a church that is in revival, by the conversations in the foyer of the church.
A revived Christian is:
a "Christ one",
a "Christ-like one",
a promoter of Christ,
a personal acquaintance of Christ,
a walker with Christ,
a cross carrier with Christ.
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."
There is real joy in following Jesus. His name is above every other name.
"Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every other name."
All are offered to share His name, the mightiest, the humblest, the wisest, and the simplest. Jesus came to save all who would accept Him. He offers the name "CHRISTIAN" to all.
He leads those who accept His name. He has gone the way before us to prepare a way for us. He makes that way as easy as He can. Without Him, we would be "of all men most miserable... (I Cor. 15:19). Salvation is in Him alone, and power is in Him alone.
Are you a "Christ one"? At one point in His ministry, Jesus made the following of Him a bit more difficult. Many of His disciples left Him.
"From that time many of His disciples followed Him no more."
At the cross, many fled or "followed afar off." Today there are many who have ceased to follow Jesus, or who follow afar off. What persecution came to cause this? Why would one cease to talk of Jesus? Aren't Christians today willing to bear the cross of Jesus? The shame, reproach, and the mockery of those who proclaim Jesus is too hard for many today. They therefore lose the glory, the power, the revival, the blessing, and the presence of JESUS.
Some have just become deadenly familiar with the Lord. One can live on the mountain top, and become so familiar with the glorious view, that they cease to see it. The Christians at Ephesus lost their "first love."
"Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left they first love..."
Many Christians today have left their first love of the Lord Jesus. We need to restore our first love for Jesus.
Peter on the mount of transfiguration, became callous to the real calling of Jesus. He suggested they "stay here...let them come to us..." Some today have lost the real relationship with Jesus, and callously sit in a pew, and wait for sinners to flock to them. We need to get so in love with Jesus, that we are everywhere, speaking His name, sharing our relationship with Jesus with others.
John D. Ladd
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THE TRANSFORMATION OF LIVES
No sinner is beyond God's love if he comes in repentance and faith. God does not just reform lives, He transforms lives. The world cannot offer such hope.
Twelve step programs try to reform addicts.
Psychiatrists try to uncover psychological problems and hope they can talk out a reason to change.
Education tries to inform and instruct a reformation.
Positive thinking tries to ignore reality and speak only good, hoping things will change.
Yet, God does so much better,
He actually transforms lives,
and changes people miraculously.
Some of these other programs
can help, but none do what God
can do... He transforms,
changes our guilt and shame
to victory and worship of our Lord...
He wipes away hurts and pains,
and brings joy and peace...
During the former rain revival, thousands of people were transformed by God. Priests of the Hebrew faith turned to Jesus. Christians were so transformed by God that they could be thrown to lions, crucified, or beheaded... and their faith stayed strong.
There is a difference between reformation and transformation. Society has many programs that try to reform. Sometimes they can help people modify behavior patterns. Transformation affects not only the mind, but also the soul of the person. Transformation is a change of the inner self. Reformation is a natural by product of transformation.
When a person is transformed, he ceases to desire the things that created the problems in the past.
Pharisaism had failed to help Paul find peace and harmony in his soul. It did make Paul to be a dedicated rebel against Christianity. He thought he was doing God a favor by mistreating, persecuting, and imprisoning Christians.
"In raging fury against them,
I persecuted them even to foreign cities."
Paul procured from the High Priest a commission to extradite from Damascus any Christians who had escaped from Jerusalem. Paul was determined to wipe out the church. When he saw many believers had fled Jerusalem, he received permission to capture and arrest any who were followers of Jesus.
On the road to Damascus, a bright light flashed around Paul. In the midst of the light was Jesus. This encounter quickly resulted in a transformation of Paul.
Paul heard Jesus speak to him from that light on the road to Damascus.
I Corinthians 15:8
"And last of all He was seen of me also,
as of one born out of due time.
For I am the least of the apostles,
that am not meet to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God,
I am what I am..."
The men about Paul saw the light, but they were not transformed. Paul saw more than the light, he met Jesus on that night. This revolutionized his soul.
Paul was transformed from one who was "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1), to a Spirit-empowered apostle of Jesus Christ. This was quite a transformation. There was an immediate change in Paul, and he was never the same again.
SIMON THE SORCERER
Simon the Sorcerer was from a city in Samaria (probably "Gitta", traditionally the birthplace of Simon the Sorcerer). Simon had done many wonders for a long time. Since his power was not from God, it must have emanated from the devil.
Philip cast out many demons, and must have cast out the demonic powers from Simon the Sorcerer. Simon accepted Jesus.
The signs of speaking in tongues when people received the baptism of the Spirit was startling to Simon. He resorted back to the old, pre-salvation desire to have power and pre-eminence. Many new Christians resort back to old habits as did Simon. Many churches are troubled by saints who have old habits and traits they should not have.
Peter said that Simon had "bitterness" at the lack of pre-eminence in giving this gift to followers. This wrong attitude almost cost Simon his soul. The "Western text" tells us that Simon kept weeping the whole time that Peter was reprimanding him.
Scripture leaves the story of Simon with him asking for mercy. What happened after that, we do not know. But like Simon, many transformed saints fight old attitudes for years. They must be reprimanded and exhorted. This may seem harsh to many, but sometimes the transformation given by the Lord can be lost if exhortation is not given.
THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH
Philip left that great revival in Samaria where many were being transformed, to go to a lonely desert road to Gaza. There he met one man. A covered wagon, with an Ethiopian treasurer reading the book of Isaiah, crossed the path of Philip. The Ethiopian was confused about Isaiah's prophecy about the suffering Messiah.
When Philip asked the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading, the answer was "No." Philip joined the Ethiopian for a while and began to explain Isaiah's prophecy of Jesus. As Philip preached Jesus, they came to the Wadi el Hesi, northeast of Gaza. It was probably in those waters that the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized.
This Ethiopian eunuch perhaps became the first Gentile convert to be baptized. The preacher was deacon... but the Ethiopian was transformed by the power of Jesus. He carried the gospel message back to Ethiopia where there is still a strong Christian church because of the transformation of one man.
Philip left and was transported by the Spirit to Azotus (the old city of Ashdod) which was 20 miles north of Gaza. The same Spirit Who transformed the Ethiopian, miraculously transported Philip.
THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER
"...they caught Paul and Silas,
and drew them into the market place
unto the rulers...saying...
These men... exceedingly trouble our city...
the multitude rose up together against them...
when they had laid many stripes upon them...
cast them into prison...
at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God...
suddenly there was a great earthquake...
all the doors were opened...
every one's bands were loosed...
the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep,
and seeing the prison doors open,
he drew out his sword,
and would have killed himself...
Paul cried... 'Do thyself no harm;
for we are all here...'
he called for a light, and sprang in...
said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'"
The Jews were upset over Paul's casting out a demon from a girl that they had used as their source of income. They brought Paul and Silas before the town rulers. These rulers gave Paul and Silas thirty nine stripes. Then they were jailed and had their legs fastened in stocks.
The jailer was probably a retired soldier. The soldiers were taught much, but probably had not been taught much human kindness. This was an evil man who was accustomed to brutality and force. He had probably killed and maimed many in his career. He was not an easy person to transform. It took an earthquake and imminent death to make him open to the gospel.
The earthquake rocked the prison foundation, and awakened the jailer from his sleep. The doors of the jail were open, and he assumed the prisoners had escaped. The punishment for that would have been death for the jailer.
Paul, in the dark with the other prisoners, seemed to know of the jailer's suicidal thoughts. He cried out to the man: "Do thyself no harm, we are all here." (Paul and Silas had apparently kept all the other prisoners from escaping.)
This jailer was ready for a transformation. He was saved, his household was saved. When God transforms someone as wicked and hard-hearted as this jailer, there is usually a "domino effect," and many more are saved too.
No case is too hard for God. He loves to transform those who seemingly are beyond hope.
MANY LIVES ARE BEING TRANSFORMED
IN THE LATTER RAIN REVIVAL
Just as Ananias was used in the transformation of Paul, as Peter was used in the transformation of Cornelius, and as Paul was used in the transformation of the Philippian jailer - God wants to use saints of today in the transformation of many today.
God still wants to transform the spiritual abusers as Paul, the demonically possessed as Simon the sorcerer, the uneducated as the Ethiopian eunuch, and the cruel and hardened sinners as the Philippian jailer. God can take such people as these in the latter rain revival, and make them to be the pure, holy, spotless church that He will soon rapture.
God wants a pure church, a transformed people during this latter rain revival.
"That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkly, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish..."
The imminence of the rapture of the church should make us want to purify ourselves, and it also demands that we desire God to transform more lives before it is too late.
I John 3:3
"Every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as He is pure..."
God is able to transform the wicked sinners of the last days, to transform the hypocrites of the church, to transform the sin-hardened ones of which every one has given up hope. God is able to completely change their sin-corrupted minds, their wicked and hateful attitudes, and their sinful desires.
I Thessalonians 5:23-24
"I pray God your whole spirit and
soul and body
be preserved blameless
unto the coming of the Lord.
Faithful is He that calleth you,
Who also will do it."
God even wants to change the lukewarm Christians of the last days to be on fire for Him. He spoke to the church of Laodicea, an offer of transforming power. He said:
"I would that thou wert cold or hot...
I counsel thee to buy of Me gold
tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich;
and white raiment,
that thou mayest be clothed..."
Lukewarmness is no longer acceptable in this last time. The God of this latter rain revival will not tolerate and soon will not allow an un-transformed life. He offers transformation, and now He demands it... the rapture is for those who are pure, holy, and spotless. The revival is to transform lives that are ready for this rapture.
God transformed lives in the former rain revival, and God can do it now again.
There are revivals taking place now in the prisons, in many foreign countries, in the entertainment industry, in the government leaders, and in any church gathering where people will humbly yield to His transforming power.
John D. Ladd
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DURING THE REVIVALS
"And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord. Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas; this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died; whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber; and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon the tanner."
"If ye shall ask anything in My name,
I will do it..."
Miracles are very vital and significant happenings in a revival.
Jesus did many miracles.
"Many other signs truly did Jesus
in the presence of His disciples
which are not recorded in this book,
but these are written that ye believe..."
"And there are also many other things
which Jesus did,
and if everyone should be written,
the world itself could not contain
the books written..."
"Signs and wonders" are mentioned over 30 times in the Scriptures.
"Sign" is mentioned over 100 times.
The word "miracle" is found over 30 times.
The word, "works" is found in the Bible over 50 times.
"Acts and doings" reappear continually in the Word of God.
The Bible is a book of miracles.
It is not just a history book.
Why do some want to down play miracles? We should expect miracles in Christian revival. The most astonishing thing is not that we are surprised by miracles, but that we are not astonished at the absence of them.
Miracles were present in the former rain revival. They will also be present during the latter rain revival. If we get saturated with God's presence, we will find miracles to be the norm.
REACTIONS TO MIRACLES
1. Satan and his agents counterfeit them.
Simon the sorcerer, before his conversion, had used miracles to cause people to follow him. These were done by the evil power of demons.
"But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one."
A fortune teller, before she was freed of the demonic powers who helped her tell the future to many people, had made her masters much money.
"a certain damsel with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying..."
The magicians of Egypt had turned rods into snakes. The witch at Endor, to which King Saul had gone, had used demonic powers to do her work. In many places, such as these mentioned, we see that the devil will also use miracles to show power. The devil and his forces do have some power.
The Antichrist and the False prophet will have miracles in their deceptive takeover of power.
II Thessalonians 2:9
"Even him, whose coming is after the workings of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders..."
We should not follow people because of their gifts, powers, or miracles. We know people who are the Lord's by a witness of the Spirit, and by their fruit. We should love the Word of God and its truth, and test all those who do miracles by that truth. The Bible assures us that those who "love the truth", will not be deceived by the devil or his lying wonders.
II Thessalonians 2:10-12
"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
2. Some refuse to believe miracles.
The irreligious refuse to believe miracles. They are unfamiliar with the Bible, and deny the possibility of the miracles. They hurt themselves with their unbelief. Their unbelief keeps them far from miracles.
In Jesus own hometown area, He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.
"He did not many mighty works there
because of their unbelief."
The nominally religious will also often refuse to believe in miracles. They are busy in the externals of religion. Like the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees in the days in which Jesus ministered on earth, many today will be in a form of religion, but deny and fight against miracles. Some of the people in that day, plotted to kill Lazarus, because of his miraculous resurrection. Many did not rejoice at the miracles of Jesus. Instead they grew angry.
3. Misinstructed Christians
are ignorant of miracles.
The mis-instructed Christians disbelieve because of ignorance. Poor teaching, or no teaching, result in much disbelief. Some believe in miracles of the Bible, but disbelieve in miracles for today.
They are like the spies sent into the promised land, and say: "Yes, it is good, but..." They have seen many mighty works of God through the years, but they doubt God can do the works that are now required. Like the spies who doubted, they wander year after year in the wilderness experience... never setting foot in the promised land of miracles and power. They are those who have a "form of godliness, but deny the power thereof..."
4. Some mock miracles and persecute those who do believe.
We today find many who have learned by the Bible, of by experience that whenever a miracle is done by God, the promotion of God, because of such miracle, brings persecution. Many therefore avoid praying for miracles, expecting miracles, or even reporting miracles that do occur. They want to avoid the mocking and persecution.
The disciples were charged with intoxication on the day of Pentecost. They had come down from the upper room, and were miraculously speaking praises to God in languages that they had never learned.
Those in Corinth were charged with madness for the tongues in which they prayed.
When miracle after miracle was done "in the name of Jesus", some of the persecutors tried to stop the miracles by forbidding disciples from using the name of Jesus.
Elisha was mocked to scorn when he told the other sons of the prophets of Elijah's translation.
Joseph was stripped, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery, because of his faith in supernatural dreams.
Elijah fled because of Jezebel's anger, after the miracle on Mt. Carmel.
Paul was beaten with a whip after casting out demons (Acts 16:23).
Today, we who believe, expect miracles, and see miracles. We are often derided, forsaken, boycotted, and spiritually abused for such belief in miracles. Miracles are often done by God so glory will be given to Him. We would see more miracles therefore, if we gave God glory for them. Too often, Christians fail to testify of miracles in their lives, because they do not want to be persecuted by the dis- believers.
WE NEED MIRACLES TODAY
The "tares" in the church, the false prophets of the day, and the hypocrites who worship only in form and ritual... hinder the miracles that God wants to do in this time. Even in the days Jesus walked this earth, there were times that He sent the ones who had little or no faith away, and then did the miracle. In His home town, He did not do many miracles, because of their unbelief. Today, because of the unbelief in many churches, miracles are rare.
The church of Laodicea, which represents most of the churches of the last days, says:
"...thou sayest... I have need of nothing..."
This is the attitude of many in the church congregations of today. They do not feel the need of miracles. They think modern medicine is a replacement for the healing power of God. They often think reform of bad habits, and conformity to some rules and standards, replaces real salvation and sanctification. They think Christian television, radio, and magazines will do the work, instead of the gifts of the Spirit. Many are blind to the need of miracles.
God is angry at the "shepherds" (pastors) of the last days who do not have miracles following their ministry.
"The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed the sick..."
God wants the ministry of the last days to do His will in feeding, seeking, binding up, strengthening, healing, etc. The Bible says:
"These signs shall follow them that believe:
in My name, they shall cast out devils;
they shall speak with new tongues;
they shall take up serpents;
and if they drink any deadly thing,
it shall not hurt them;
they shall lay hands on the sick,
and they shall recover."
These signs are not following many who say that they believe. Why not? The Lord wanted us to do miracles and signs beyond what even He did. We should be expecting, and seeing miracles in times of revival.
"By the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people."
The Bible promises the church the occurrence of miracles. If we do not have them, it is because we have not followed the Bible way.
"Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, let them pray over him anointing with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
SOURCE AND PURPOSE OF THE MIRACLES
"Not by might (the power of many),
nor by power (the strength of one),
but by My Spirit,
saith the Lord of Hosts..."
It is God's Spirit, sent back from heaven, after Jesus ascended back to His glory there. This Spirit of God miraculously works in this church age. The glory for the miracles goes to God, not to the church, not to the minister, not to the denomination, ... only to God.
We cannot be like Simon the sorcerer, who wanted the power to do signs and wonders, only so we may enhance our position. God does not do miracles to enhance a pastor, a church, an evangelist, etc. NO ! He does miracles to bring glory to Himself!!!!
Some think we should have miracles to get the lost saved. Yet, God tells us that He has chosen preaching of the gospel to save the lost.
Miracles are not done by the Spirit to "PROVE IT!". Many will come to a church, and watch to see miracles as a test. Satan tempted Jesus to do miracles to "PROVE IT !". Jesus said: "No!"
God honors faith, and He honors and confirms the Word of God with miracles.
"...the Lord, Who gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands..."
Many miracles confirmed and aided their sermons, and the preaching of the Word during the former rain revival. After the first post-Pentecost sermon, 3000 were saved.
Then in Acts 2:43 we read:
"and many wonders and signs
were done by the apostles..."
At the gate Beautiful, the lame man was healed. Then Peter preached the Word of God (Acts 3:1-8), and 5000 were saved. The miracle was only preparatory to the preaching. Too many today want to avoid the Word of God, and get right to the miracles. This is not God's way. The miracles come as a response to the Word, or are preparatory to the preaching of the Word. We cannot successfully divorce the preaching of the Word, from the signs and wonders.
The world does not mind seeing signs, wonders, healings, and miracles. They mind only if we preach a soul-saving, sin eradicating salvation message. The Bible tells us that Stephen was "full of faith and power did great miracles and wonders among the people..." (Acts 6:8) They did not stone him for those miracles... They did stone him when he preached a sermon which revealed their sinful hearts.
Philip "preached Christ unto" those in Samaria. These people "gave heed... hearing and seeing the miracles which he did" (Acts 8:5-6). The Word must accompany the signs and wonders, or the Lord is not pleased. He may send and perform miracles to awaken the spiritually asleep, draw the attention of the spiritually dead, or stir up those who are spiritually diverted... but then God wants the Word of salvation preached to the people.
After the earthquake miracle for Paul and Silas, they preached to the jailer and his whole household was saved (Acts 16:25-34).
Eutychus was raised from the dead, in the middle of Paul's long sermon. The sermon continued after the miracle (Acts 20:9-12).
Now in this latter rain revival, miracles should confirm the Word. We must get back to the preaching of the unadulterated Word of God. We must again preach the doctrines of the early rain revival. The name of Jesus must be proclaimed to the world with power and authority. Then the miracles will come. It is the adulterating of the true message of the Lord, that has hindered the miracles that should now be occurring.
"These signs" (Mark 16:17-18) should still be occurring in the congregations of the latter rain revival. In fact, the latter rain revival is prophesied to have a "double portion" of the former rain revival.
"He hath given the former rain moderately,
and He will cause to come down for you,
the former and the latter rain
in the first month..."
To truly have revival, miracles are necessary.
The message of the revival church is necessarily united
with power, signs, and wonders.
True revival brings the true message.
Then the true message brings the true power.
John D. Ladd
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THE MEMBERSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP OF THE CHURCH
"They were all with one accord and in one place..."
Who belonged to the former rain revival? What were these members like? What did it take to get a person into the power of the revival that the early church experienced? What kind of fellowship did they have? It is vital that we who want to learn of real revival, examine this membership and their fellowship so we may re-learn the key to their fellowship.
The word for church in the Greek is "ecclesia." Even in the non-Christian world of that day, the word had a very definite meaning. Literally, "ecclesia" means the "called out ones." In Acts 19, there is a speech by a town clerk of Ephesus. He was trying to cool down an angry mob who were against the Christians. He tells them if they have any genuine grounds for complaint, they could air them at the next "lawful assembly" (ecclesia). (The translators knew this word to be the same word translated "church" elsewhere, but felt that since here it referred to a secular group, they would use a different translation for it.)
"But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly (ecclesia)."
In fact, this meeting on that day was at an "assembly" of the town, and this was the Greek word - ecclesia. It is notable to see that this ecclesia (church gathering) was like many congregational gatherings of our time. Note Acts 19:32:
"Some therefore cried one thing, and some another; for the assembly (ecclesia) was confused, and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together."
In the world of that day, the word "ecclesia" was used to refer to a gathering of people who were "called out" to discuss certain civic affairs. Sometimes they were called out, and many did not even know why they were called together. Today, in many congregations, the ecclesia also is a confused and bewildered group who do not know why they are even in attendance.
The church of today is supposed to be a gathering of people who have gathered for a specific purpose. The church is not a group who have come simply to go through meaningless forms and rituals. We are "called out" for a specific purpose. We have come to do a work given us by the One Who called us into this assembly.
In law there is a summons called a WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS. This literally is a summons to PRODUCE THE BODY. The court order is a demand for a person to come before the court. The church is a group of "called out" ones who gather in the same way. We are responders to such a WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS.
The church is not a group of people who come into a building for a loose attachment, but a group who is in deep involvement in a process, and are there to discuss the project.
Every member in such an ecclesia, or church, is a living stone, in a divinely integrated structure.
I Peter 2:5-7
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore who believe, He is precious..."
MEMBERSHIP IN THE REVIVAL CHURCH is not a casual acquaintance, but rather a DEFINITE COMMITMENT. It is NOT a gathering of those who have simply accepted the truth of the Word intellectually, but those who have submitted to the truth of the Word, and its authority. It takes commitment, not simply association. It takes dedication, not just a decision that similar ideas are shared.
Membership in a local body or in a denomination does not guarantee membership in the revival church. Many today are members on the roll of the congregation, but they are not true members, because they have not committed to the true purpose of the ecclesia. They have been like the barnacles on the hull of the ship, they are attached, but not on the passenger list. This attachment to the organization, without an attachment to the true revival church, is not God's plan. Many who are members of the organization will never see heaven.
It is personal faith, consecration to the mission of the ecclesia that puts us on the passenger list of the ship we call the church (ecclesia). We first must have the personal encounter with the Lord. The Spirit of God quickens our spirit, and makes it alive again. We are then able to communicate with our Lord and Savior. Our God puts us into the family. While here on earth, we join together with others of the same commitment to God. We call gatherings, and fellowship with such others -- the church.
The Holy Spirit does not just do the work on us at salvation that put us into the church, He is involved in every aspect, and in every stage of development of the Christian's life.
He liberates us from habits, sins, and weaknesses of the carnal man.
He enables us "to walk in newness of life" (Romans 8:4).
The Spirit will lead us each step to the way, as we fellowship down here with the church.
He will enable us to be victorious in our spiritual conflicts.
He will bear witness to us that we are truly sons of God.
Too many have missed this power of the Spirit in their Christian life, and have missed joining the revival church wherein this body of believers come to be so ministered unto by the Spirit. Too many churches and congregations of our time have degenerated: into social clubs,
places of rituals and forms,
places of sermonettes and platitudes,
and places of pew sitting....
The Spirit of God calls us into a gathering to minister unto us with His conviction, His teaching, His comforting, His gifts of power, and His fellowship. We have a divine calling to the revival church.
There is a dynamic work of the Spirit in the true church.
John the baptist described it as a "baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire..." (Matthew 3:11).
Jesus described it as "rivers of living water" (John 7:37-39). This idea of "rivers of living water" is not a description of an underground stream, but of an artesian well that bursts up out of the earth.
In Acts 1 and 2, we find the Spirit as a "mighty rushing wind," and as "tongues of fire." The Holy Spirit "filled" the 120 in the upper room. It says that the Spirit "fell upon" them. The word for "fell upon" is "epipipto" which is also used to describe the "father" in the story of the prodigal son. In Luke 15:20, the father "fell on" his neck and kissed him.
The Spirit's work in the church is a relationship, wherein the members are "filled" with the Person of the Spirit. It is not just a power that comes into us, He is a Person who comes within us. It must be a relationship, not a possession that we gain.
The Spirit came upon Jesus at His baptism as a dove that remained upon the Lord. A dove will fly away at the slightest provocation. We must be "lamb-like" to keep the Spirit's Presence.
The work of the Spirit will develop a holy congregation. This holiness will be unlike the holiness of the Pharisees, which was simply a list of do's and don'ts.. It is not like the priest's or the Levite's holiness when they by-passed the man whom the good Samaritan helped. No, it is rather like the holiness of the good Samaritan who gave love to his neighbor. It is like the holiness of Jesus who went to the poor, the lepers, the sick... and offered help. The holiness developed in the revival church is an emphasis on the positive, rather than the negative side of holiness. It is not- "What can we not do?"... but a "What can we do?" type holiness.
The members in the true revival church will show integrity. They will consistently serve God, and love mankind. There will be a non-hypocritical, non-judgmental love and justice.
"Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine, figs? No more can salt water yield fresh."
Whatever is inconsistent in thought, word, or deed... will grieve this Spirit Who has come to teach the members of this true church of revival. The holy life must be touched in all phases by the Spirit. The Spirit must have access to all areas of our lives.
The membership in the revival church is current. It is not a trust in something that happened 30 years ago, or even 30 days ago. It is a trust in an experience that is constant fellowship. It is a communing daily with the Spirit. It is a spontaneous, instant worship that continues daily.
The whole idea of the New Testament revival church is built on corporate fellowship. The church is to be a living community. The ecclesia is called out for a specific purpose. The purpose is to unite with other parts of the body so that all parts may function in harmony with the others.
The church is also likened to a vine that depends upon the branches, roots, etc. We, in the revival church are to mutually depend upon each other.
The New Testament church during the former rain revival were:
of different nationalities,
of different cultures,
of different professions,
of different languages,
of different political views,
of different age groups,
of different social backgrounds,
of different genders.
Yet, they were all ONE in fellowship.
The early church did not gather together because of the lovely architecture of the church, or for the lovely music, or for the great recreational aspects of the new church gymnasium. They did not attend because the church was near by, or because the church bus made a special trip to pick them up. Rather, they gathered because they had found a new life, and that bound them together.
In the membership of the revival church, there is no difference between the members.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female."
The person next to you in the worship service may be a bank director, doctor, or lawyer... or simply a trash collector. Yet, in revival, each is to look at the other as "the brother for whom Christ died" (I Corinthians 8:11).
II Corinthians 5:16
"From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view."
It is sinful to claim unity with Christ, and not fellowship and love the brethren. Paul condemns this and says that it is "not discerning the Lord's body." (I Corinthians 11:29) He says that many are "weak and sickly" because of judgment for this kind of disunity. Some even had died in that day as judgment for not having proper love for the brethren.
There needs to be agreement between the members of the revival church. There may be minor differences in doctrines and persuasions, but these differences must not cause separation and lack of love.
"Can two walk together except they be agreed?"
Our fellowship must be based on the genuine grounds of mutual dependence on... and love for...Christ Jesus. Then the true fellowship among the other believers is not gained by parties, discussion groups, or other efforts to create fellowship. It is found by getting everyone in fellowship with the Lord. Then when this relationship with Jesus is found, the relationship with others is natural.
If you wanted 100 pianos to be perfectly in tune with each other, you would not tune one, and tune the next one to it, and then tune the third to the second, and the fourth to the third. No, the only way would be to tune 99 to one. Then all would be in tune with each other. It is the same within the church of revival. When we are all in tune with Jesus, we are all in tune with each other.
When this fellowship is manifested in the revival church, there will be fellowship in:
sharing of material blessings,
and training and Bible study.,
"They continued steadfastly in ...fellowship..."
There is a continuing that we must seek when we finally achieve the revival church fellowship. It must be "steadfastly" pursued, and this indicates effort.
When this fellowship is achieved, the Bible describes such fellowship as "PURE". James describes "pure religion" as:
"To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
In the revival church there is a constant awareness that we are "members one of another" (Romans 12:5).
John D. Ladd
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DURING THE REVIVALS
Acts 15:1-2, 5-14, 19,20
"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. ... But there rose up a certain sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and the elders came together for to consider this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, Who knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us... Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?... Wherefore my sentence is that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood..."
Revival is not perfection. Revival is a stirring from God upon mankind to move them in the right direction. They may be very near to God when they begin the move, or they may be very far... The revival is the direction, and not the position.
We will not reach perfection with God during this lifetime. But if we are moving in the right direction, we are in revival. So during the former rain revival, while the revival was still continuing, there arose a dispute among some who were still barely understanding what the Christian doctrines were.
Human differences are sometimes a problem. Conflicts can arise. Some Christians are hot, some cold. Some are lukewarm. Some are simply "bumps on the log." Some are stumbling stones. Some have backgrounds of faith, some have worldly pasts. Some carry with them the baggage of prejudices, and wrong teachings. There are many differences and troubles in church congregations because of differences.
Even revival does not take away all conflicts from a congregation. Revival is not a state of perfection of all the saints. There were many conflicts in the early church during the former rain revival. Acts 15 is a conflict about whether circumcision is mandatory for Christians.
Both sides had zeal for God. Both were sincere. Both felt they were totally right. The arguments became open and in front of all. God even had the writer of Acts to record this major conflict. There are lessons to be learned by us of the latter rain revival in the debate that took place within the early church on this subject.
There are always sincere, but misguided, people within congregations who want to set up rules and regulations which have little or no basis in God's Word. The latter rain revival has seen many such decisions within congregations. As a yoke about the necks, these added rules and regulations are unnecessary to Christianity. They can do much harm, and create heartache and misery.
Legalism is the attaching of something more than God requires as a requisite to salvation. God made salvation as simple as He could. Unfortunately, many religious people want to make it more complicated and difficult. The warning of Revelation 22:18 should be observed here.
"...if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book..."
Paul indicated that the one who has added regulations beyond those necessary is the weak one. In our congregations, there is a tendency to look at the one without the added regulations as the weak one. This is totally incorrect. Some say, for instance, that a "spiritual" saint is a vegetarian. These saints who take on that added rule seem to flaunt it before other Christians who have not accepted that concept. They try to infer that they have found the true way, and the non-vegetarians are weaker, uneducated spiritually. Look at what Paul said of that controversy!
"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak, eateth herbs."
Who is the weaker saint?
It is the one who has added an unnecessary rule. This debate on food was an area of dispute within the early church, as it often is in the latter rain revival. People can make different choices on diet and nutrition, but when they try to add it to the necessary items in salvation, or measure someone's spirituality by their choice in diet, it is wrong, and shows a weakness spiritually.
The plan of salvation is so simple. God simply wants us to repent of our sins and alienation from Him, and accept the death of Jesus as our redemption. With this simple step, we receive salvation.
"Except ye.............ye cannot be saved."
The middle part of the above verse is changed in many congregations. In certain parts of the church age, saints have attempted to add regulations to that verse. In the early church, one attempt was to add... "be circumcised after the manner of Moses." In other times and places, it has become-
"abstain from pork...",
"be baptized in water...",
"speak in an unknown tongue...",
"belong to 'such and such' a church",
"keep the Jewish customs and feasts",
"pay 10 % of your income to...",
"keep the Sabbath day,
"not be divorced",
"not remarry, if divorced...",
"have the proper hair length",
"have the proper hemline",
"use the correct version of the Bible",
Many of these may be fine to do or not do... but none of these are requisites for being saved.
These added items to salvation are wrong and sinful. They create debate, they injure young saints, they waste the time of the saints, they cause some to backslide or give up... They bring reproach from the world on these Christians who look like a bunch of hypocrites and judgmental bigots.
Even Peter and Barnabas were carried away with the false doctrines for a while.
"...when Peter was come to Antioch, I (Paul) withstood him to the face... Barnabas also was carried away... when I saw they walked not uprightly... I said..."
Paul publicly debated with Peter and Barnabas on this subject. Paul says that these two were in sin... ("walked not uprightly...") Peter and Barnabas did change. Many today have become so indoctrinated in false doctrines that they are hard to change. Some have listened to great men (as Peter and Barnabas), and feel that how could they be wrong... But those two were wrong temporarily. We must test all doctrines by the Word of God, not by its proponents. The denomination that we are in may even have tenets of faith that are in error... Our parents may have instilled unnecessary doctrines to salvation to us... We need to beware, and to check all doctrines by God's Word.
There is great danger in such controversies.
Arguing saints send many weak Christians, or the unsaved from the churches.
Fighting congregations send many souls to hell.
Judgmental, critical people who are judging others by standards that are additions to the simple plan of salvation do a dastardly work.
The whole of Christianity is spotted,
and unnecessarily tainted by these sinful additions to the plan of salvation.
"...if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another..."
We are in liberty, not in a legalistic faith. We have been redeemed from the law of Moses. There is freedom from mandatory laws and customs.
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law..."
This does not mean that we have license to sin, for the love of the Spirit that motivates us will not encourage us to steal, kill, etc. The law was simplified by Jesus from thousands of rules to two... Love God supremely, and love your neighbor as yourself. By applying these two simple laws, we will automatically do all that is necessary to be saved.
Many laws that do not violate those two commandments are no longer binding on us. As the disciples picked food on the Sabbath, and we can now eat pork, and we no longer have to have a blue fringe on our hemline... These types of rules were types and shadows of New Testament revelations and truths. We are now in the freedom of faith, and our salvation depends only on our relationship with Jesus. Only that which would hinder or remove that relationship is sinful.
The law could save no man. We are saved only by faith in the Lord's atoning work on the cross. We are not saved by keeping certain laws. We are backslidden if we fail to keep that relationship with Jesus. Jesus does not care about our hair length, our dietary choices, or our circumcision.
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified..."
To make additions to the simple plan of salvation frustrates God's plan of winning the world. Many congregations with added rules concerning dress, for instance, have kept some from coming to Jesus. They may die in sin, because people added rules that hindered their choice to accept Jesus.
Many who have suffered through divorce, and perhaps then become remarried have considered 'damned to hell' by some congregations who have mis-translated the few words translated divorce. They have added regulations to not allow some to be members, board members, or ministers... and though these ones excluded have been forgiven by God, they are treated as though they have sinned an unpardonable sin. Some divorced saints have wandered about congregations looking for one that would simply love and forgive as did Jesus. In many congregations, one could have murdered their mate, and repent and later become a minister of the church. If the person had divorced, instead of murdering the mate, there would be absolutely no chance of ever becoming a minister in the church. If they had remarried, they would even be considered 'excluded from heaven' by some congregations.
Adding more unpardonable sins to the Bible frustrates God's simple plan of salvation. If works saved, why did Jesus die for our sins? If there are more unpardonable sins, why did the Word tell us there is just one? If we can remind saved people of their repented sins, why did God choose to forget these same sins?
"I do not frustrate the grace of God,
for if righteousness come by the law,
then Christ is dead in vain."
Legalism is contrary to the system. God's plan for our lives is to learn how to live without adding more and more rules to the two commandments of Jesus. If those two commandments needed additions, Jesus would have added them. We now live in the Spirit, as Christians, and we are to allow the Spirit to direct each of us in our manner of living. We are not to return to the Old Testament rules, regulations, and commandments. We are to remain in the freedom God gave us in the Spirit.
"Are ye so foolish?
having begun in the Spirit,
are ye now made perfect by the flesh."
If we began our Christianity with simple repentance and faith, and the Spirit has quickened us to new life and love in Jesus, WHY would we want to credit our selves, our works, and our added regulations for our spirituality???
Pride and jealousy in such standards cause most conflicts in churches. If we would just remember that we are all wretched sinners saved by God's grace, we would have many fewer conflicts in congregations.
The latter rain revival must fight the tendency to return to legalism. We must not tie ourselves down with unneeded restrictions. The congregations who do will end up with pride in their accomplishments... but lacking in the salvation of souls, and in the real power of the Spirit in their services.
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
Salvation cannot be of works... We cannot try to alter the plan that God gave to us. His plan cost the life of the Savior, and the gift of salvation is given... not earned.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
The revival periods in Christianity will fare much better if we would keep judgmentalism out of the congregations. The argument in Acts 15 could have ended the revival in Antioch (which was mostly Gentiles). The judgmentalism of Peter and Barnabas, if not confronted by Paul, could have cost many souls in the kingdom.
"But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way..."
Too often the "saints" want to criticize a fallen brother. The Christian army is the only army that shoots its wounded. Don't condemn a brother who does fall, and don't add rules to make it look like a brother has fallen, who has not... Don't shoot the one with wrong deeds, or deeds that are outside your standards and convictions...
During the latter rain revival, the gift of exhortation is more necessary than ever before.
"...exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching..."
Exhortation is a gift of the Spirit to encourage and uplift the fallen, the troubled, or the wounded. Too often in Christianity, the time is spent in causing some to fall, troubling those who are struggling, and wounding those who are serving God. We need to reverse this, and become the exhorters, the encouragers, the defenders of the simple plan of salvation that was delivered to the saints.
Some Christians have so strong an opinion of what is right and wrong for others, that their ministries are greatly hindered. The Holy Spirit is not helping their efforts to make everyone conform to their decisions on what is right and wrong.
Often, it is ministers, and sometimes their wives, who take a "Nicolaitanes" doctrine, and expect all to follow, conform to their ideology and doctrines. They become so callous to souls, that they project the "conform or leave" concept. Many souls backslide, or are at least spiritually wounded by this doctrine. Jesus said in Revelation, twice, to the churches - that He hates this doctrine. He still hates it. It grieves the Spirit, and I personally have been often grieved as I see this error still being propagated.
One of mankind's first sins was that of Cain saying... "Am I my brother's keeper?" We are responsible for the brother... or sister. Our standards and faith must be kept pure and untainted with anything that would hinder others. We must begin to exhort, to encourage, and to straighten out conflicts.
Instead of watching people come to a church, and soon be driven, pushed, or ignored till they leave, because of such errors of doctrine... we should straighten out our doctrines to the Scriptures and finally be able to have revival.
I Thessalonians 5:14
"Now we exhort you, brethren,
WARN THEM THAT ARE UNRULY,
COMFORT THE FEEBLEMINDED,
SUPPORT THE WEAK,
and BE PATIENT TOWARD ALL MEN."
John D. Ladd
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IN THE REVIVAL CONGREGATIONS
"Do all things without
murmurings and disputings."
We often glamorize the apostolic age in our minds. We imagine an almost perfect church. We see them as righteous, powerful, holy, and in harmony one with another. We likewise hope for that kind of perfect church in the latter rain revival.
Revival has never been composed of perfect saints all worshipping together. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John joined with Moses, Elijah, and the Lord. Three of them fell asleep during the event. Peter wanted to force people to come up to them, and not have to descend down the 9000 foot mountain to them. Imperfect attitudes, and lethargic personalities made them miss much of the fantastic discussion between the Lord, Moses, and Elijah.
Similarly, Moses was once atop Mt. Sinai, and there communed face to face with God. While he was in that glorious communion, the people down the hill were building and worshipping a golden calf. Revival and blessings can be outpoured upon some, while others are in sin.
1. PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT
In the former rain revival, there was many problems. We will examine some of them. First, we will see that the early church had neglect of some, and preferential treatment of some in the church.
"...when the number of disciples
there arose a murmuring of the Grecians
against the Hebrews,
because their widows were neglected
in the daily ministration."
The Jewish believers tended to treat their own widows very lovingly, but somehow the old prejudices they had before salvation, still caused them to neglect the widows of the Grecians. The Grecians began to complain. When did this happen? It occurred "when the number of disciples was multiplied..." In other words, the revival was causing such great growth in the church, that this problem developed suddenly. Revival was occurring. The church was growing by leaps and bounds.
Perhaps the oversight of the Grecian widows was unintentional. The disciples were not accustomed to the great number of widows to attend. The Greeks were the newest members, and the disciples were not familiar with them. On the other hand, perhaps the Grecians were correct. The prejudices of the disciples against any Gentile might have still had been hanging on as past baggage from their pre-Christian days.
Is there any preferential treatment today in our congregations?
Do some saints get treated better than others?
Do people baby and coddle some saints, and ignore others?
It happened in the early church.
It happens today!
It is difficult to pastor family members. There is a natural tendency to favor those who are father, mother, brother, sister. In many such situations, the family members take advantage of such relationship. They may know the inside story of the church, the problems of the congregation. Having heard these things within family situations, they begin to feel superior to the other members of the congregation. They feel justified to expect the best positions, the leadership roles. They develop an "US" VERSUS "THEM" mentality.
The pastor falls into the trap of trusting these "family" members more, and therefore giving them the preferential treatment. There are "horror" stories of troubles and abuse that have occurred in churches because of such preferential treatment.
Sometimes the pastor of a church must decide between the story told by a wife, a sister, a brother... and the story of another saint. Unfortunately, for the pastor, the relative is not always the one who is truthful. This is very difficult for the normal pastor to conceive. How could the relative be speaking deceptively? The very concept of that is unthinkable... and often then the pastor does not even want to really hear the other side. If he does hear it, it is heard with much skepticism, that the other side was not given. The chances of preferential treatment are great.
Jesus had the problem of choosing between the needs of the disciples, and followers, and the needs of His mother, and His brothers. He explained there is no different treatment to be given anyone, regardless of family ties.
Sometimes it is friendship, vocation, or social status that instigate the preferential treatment. This is likewise wrong, and a real threat to any church. This happens even in revival, but must be handled and repented... if revival is to continue.
2. RACIAL PREJUDICE
"And the apostles, and brethren,
that were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles had also received
the Word of God.
And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem,
they that were of the circumcision
contended with him...
When they heard these things,
they held their peace, and glorified God..."
There was contention in the early church about people of other races. How shall they be allowed to become Christians? Some wanted them to have to accept Judaism first. They viewed Christianity as the true branch of Judaism... (the branch that had found the true Messiah). Others did not want the Gentiles to be able to be saved at all. They had strong prejudice against them. Some wanted them to be saved, but not have all the privileges of the Jewish converts to Christianity. This was a racial prejudice!
There is a tendency of many today to feel better than some Christians of other races. Some think Jesus was a white anglo-saxon protestant... and are disturbed by a picture of a black Jesus... In reality, going by the ancestors of Jesus through Mary, we find that the skin color of Jesus definitely could not have been white, as most picture Him... and was probably much darker than most white Christians would want to consider possible. The racial prejudice that makes the proponents of either extreme of this debate, is wrong. There is no place for racial prejudice in Christianity.
3. DIVISIONS IN THE EARLY CHURCH
"And it came to pass in Iconium,
that they went both together
into the synagogue of the Jews,
and so spake that a great multitude
(both of the Jews and of the Greeks)
But the unbelieving Jews
stirred up the Gentiles,
and made their minds evil affected
against the brethren...
but the multitude of the city was divided,
and part held with the Jews,
and part with the apostles..."
As we see in many congregations today, one group stirs up contention against another group. Here in the early church, some made others to think evil against some of the others in the church. Divisions and cliques are evil, but do occur even in times of revival.
4. CONTRADICTIONS AND BLASPHEMING AGAINST THE MINISTER
"...when the Jews saw the multitudes,
they were filled with envy,
and spake against those things
which were spoken by Paul,
contradicting and blaspheming..."
Even in that early age of the church, there were people talking against the preacher. There are many today who still serve "roast preacher" for Sunday dinner. Paul turned from this people. He did not try to change their minds, or to debate their judgmental ideas. Paul said that they had judged themselves to be unworthy of eternal life by their actions.
The minister of a church should be the child of God, the anointed one of God, and the "apple of God's eye. It is dangerous to blaspheme, contradict, and argue with a minister. Surely, in the last days, there are many false prophets. There are ministers who do err or sin. There are Scriptural grounds telling us how to handle such situations. Unfortunately, most Christians do not have any idea how to confront a false prophet or a sinful minister.
We had better have much scriptural grounds for any criticism. Revival can be ruined by the contradicting and blaspheming of a minister of God.
5. FIGHTS ABOUT DOCTRINE
"And certain men which came down
from Judea taught the brethren,
Except ye be circumcised
after the manner of Moses,
ye cannot be saved.
When therefore Paul and Barnabas
had no small dissension and disputation
There rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,
saying that it was needful to circumcise them,
and to command them to keep the law of Moses...
when there had been much disputing."
Many today also want to add rules and regulations to converts. They want to make it harder to become a Christian than God intended. They often want to make it harder to live the Christian life. It is bad enough that we have to battle the devil, but many converts battle other Christians who want to add restrictions and rules. Many sermons and books have been wasted trying to prove some addition to the requisites God gave to Christians.
6. SPLITS AND BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
"And the contention was so sharp
that they departed asunder
one from another."
Paul and Barnabas could not agree on John Mark's ability. Paul here is seemingly wrong, and Barnabas is the one who is the advocate for fallen brother who wants restored to his former ministry. The Lord blessed and restored John Mark, and later Paul called for him to come and help him. Paul had learned a lesson in this split.
Barnabas became known as the "son of consolation." We need more loving saints like Barnabas. Many splits come because, like Paul, saints lose patience and lack forgiveness for "wounded saints." Disputes and splits still occur, and many are unnecessary. They happen in spite of revival that are occurring. Salvations, healings, miracles, etc. can still be occurring when a split happens.
During the latter rain revival, there will be dissensions in the congregations of the church.
Paul warned in Acts 20:28-30:
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves,
and to all the flock
over which the Holy Spirit
hath made you overseers,
to feed the church of God,
which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this,
that after my departing
shall grievous wolves enter in among you,
not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves
shall men arise,
speaking perverse things
to draw away disciples after them..."
The devil sends in disrupters who act as grievous wolves. They speak perverse things. This is not a prophecy that we like to hear. These ones are seemingly Christian, and yet do very un-Christian things. They are like the "tares" that need severed from the wheat in Matthew 13. They are the false prophets that the Scripture clearly warns us. They are the apostates and hypocrites of the latter rain time.
In these lat days, there are two main types of church congregations.
There are many in Laodicean congregations. These are "lukewarm". They think they are rich, but are really poor spiritually. They are satisfied with their spiritual condition, but are really wretched, miserable, and blind spiritually. They need rebuked and chastened for their unrepentant conditions.
Another group is the Philadelphian believers. They are the revived, Word-keeping, steadfast believing revival church. They are promised a crown, an open door (rapture), and to be kept from the hour of temptations which is coming upon the earth (the tribulation).
We must belong to one of the two groups. There are some of each in most churches. God is going to force those in the church congregations to choose one of the two groups. He wants us "hot" or "cold", and will not accept "lukewarm."
One of the end time warnings given in the Bible is found in I Peter.
We need to carefully consider it, and heed it.
I Peter 4:7-9
"But the end of all things is at hand,
be ye therefore sober,
and watch unto prayer.
And above all things
have fervent love among yourselves;
for love shall cover a multitude of sins.
Use hospitality one to another,
There will be dissension
during the latter rain revival,
as there was in the former rain revival.
We are commanded to take
such warnings seriously...
intercede about it...
keep a fervent love...
be hospitable to one another...
and to not hold a grudge...
John D. Ladd
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THE MINISTRY AND WORSHIP
I Peter 2:5,9
"...a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ... Ye are a chosen generation... that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
We now should know our basic Bible doctrines, our hope for the future, our message for the world, our power through the Spirit, our fellowship with other saints... so what else is there for this revival? There is really much more! This is just the start. It is not enough to just be a unified, empowered group of happy believers in this revival!
Unity is not enough. If you recall in Ezekiel 37:1-10, Ezekiel is told to "prophesy unto the wind." He had previously spoken the words that God had commanded, and bones had been brought together, and clothed with flesh. Then he is commanded to prophesy to the wind, and as he obeyed, the wind moved over the bodies, and they stood to their feet -as "an exceeding great army." The unity of the bones and the flesh upon them was not enough. There had to come a new life into the bodies.
Many congregations in our day are like the disassembled bones. Some have been unified, and come together. Few are experiencing the "wind" of the Spirit creating a new life, and transforming them into a great army. Real revival will bring us to new life, and new action. The ministry of the true Word of God, and the gentle moving of the Spirit will create revival life in us.
With the coming of this life, comes movement. The dry bones become a moving, speaking, active army. Unless the unity brings such life and action, it is worthless. It is time for this latter rain revival to become an army, and not just corpses.
Many build church buildings, gymnasiums, and sanctuaries. Unless these buildings have a spiritual function, they are folly. If a church building has not a spiritual purpose, it is only a building. In the former rain revival, they knew their purpose, and they did not build buildings, but they moved forth as an army of the Lord. They "turned the world upside down..." with their ministry and worship.
Every revived saint should have a ministry. The ministry of the Word of God is not to be reserved for a special class, but is to be embraced by every member.
Paul uses the idea of the church being a body. Every part of the body is important to the whole.
I Corinthians 12:21
"...eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you..."
In the body, there is a variety of form, and a variety of function... but the body thrives and grows when every part functions properly.
The revival of the last days suffers when people seek the supernatural for its own sake. Some hunger for experiences, and want a "closed shop" of private exclusivism. They seek to keep the revival pure by excluding those who look, talk, or seem different. The real latter rain revival will reach out to all... all who will listen... all who will yield to the Spirit's movings... all who will come to the Lord... regardless of background, race, color, gender, financial status, etc.
There are two wrong extremes. The MINISTER-CENTEREDNESS in which they pay lip service to the "priesthood of believers". These tend to feel that anything not done by a full-time minister is not official. They relegate most to a "amateur" status. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, mentioned in chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation was this doctrine. The Lord said that He hated this doctrine of creating separate classes of "clergy" and "laity". We are all priests to God, and all Christians are to have a ministry. The extreme of putting the ministry upon a minister... and the rest being pew-fillers to attend and support the ministry... is anti-revival. True revival cannot come to such congregations.
The other wrong extreme is a FREE-FOR-ALLNESS which fails to realize that in the revival church, there is to be orderly arrangement. If everyone simply goes out to do ministry without direction, training, joint-worship, and Christian fellowship... there is simply anarchy. God has "set some in the church" to be lead, guide, and help others with their individual ministries. These are not to be "lords" over the flock, but are to be "examples" to the rest (I Peter 5:3).
The first of the two extremes leads to an overworked professionalism. The other leads to a spiritual anarchy. Neither extreme is correct. We need to adhere to serving the Lord Jesus as the Head of the church, and we need to accept "ministry" as norm of everyone in the church.
The early rain revival had a strong emphasis on ministry of the Word of God. The apostles eased themselves from other pressures by appointing others to do the lesser duties. The most emphasis was put on prayer and study of the Word of God. Then deacons were appointed to the visitation and serving the widows and orphans of the congregation. The apostles could spend more time studying the Word, communicating with Jesus, and ministering the Word that they received from the Lord during those times.
Paul constantly urged the studying of the Word.
I Timothy 4:6, 13-16
"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained... Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that they profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."
II Timothy 4:1-5
"I Charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
"But speak thou the things which
become sound doctrine."
I Timothy 5:17
"Let the elders that rule well be
counted worthy of double honour,
especially they who labour
in the word and doctrine."
The basic element of the ministry is evangelism. The Word of God brings life to the one being evangelized. Then the Word brings nourishment, protection, and awareness of being part of the flock of the Lord. Some think that a great program that is professionalized as well as the world's programs, will bring revival and salvation of souls. This is contrary to the Lord's teachings. We have tried and tried, and there is nothing wrong with the professionalization of the program of itself, but it is the Word of God that is preached that saves the souls, the nourishes the listeners, that allows the Spirit to convict and encourage.
"And now, brethren, I commend you
to God, and to the Word of His grace,
which is able to build you up."
One of the worst eras of Israel's history was during the period of the judges, when "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." They recognized no leadership, they sought not the authority of the Word of God. The early rain revival, not only recognized the equality of believers, but also recognized the need for leadership, discipline, and looking to the Word of God as the final authority.
There were some qualities that the early rain revival church sought in their leadership. They first ought persons who had the evidence of being already selected by the Spirit.
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves,
and to all the flock,
over which the Holy Ghost
hath made you overseers..."
The early rain revival also sought those who had spiritual and moral qualities.
I Timothy 3:2
"A bishop must be blameless..."
"For this cause left I thee in Crete,
that thou shouldest set in order
the things that are wanting,
and ordain elders in every city,
as I had appointed thee;
If any be blameless,
the husband of one wife,
having faithful children not accused
of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless,
as the steward of God;
not self-willed, not soon angry,
not given to wine, no striker,
not given to filthy lucre;
but a lover of hospitality,
a lover of good men, sober,
just, holy, temperate;
holding fast the faithful word
as he hath been taught,
that he may be able by sound doctrine
both to exhort and to convince
Thus, the ministers that are made overseers and examples to the rest of the congregation, are to have a loving heart, a dedicated life, a watchful, praying spirit, and be patient with painstaking concern.
There seem to always be some as Diotrephes (II John 9). This type of minister is concerned with his own image and position. He wants to be the shepherd of the flock, and tell everyone to listen to him as though he were a "lord." He will try to get the others to ignore any other man of God, or other minister... as Diotrephes who tried to keep John, the apostle, from coming to his church. This type of minister likes to "throw his weight around." He is not the humble servant of the flock, but tries to be the "lord-shepherd" of the flock.
The gifts of the Spirit are divided to many within the church. This is because the Lord does not want the ministry to be monopolized by any one person, or by a clique of persons.
"For as we have many members on one body, and all members have not the same office; So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy... or ministry... or teaching... or exhortation... he that giveth... he that ruleth... he that sheweth mercy......"
I Corinthians 12:8-11
"For to one is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healings by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that One and self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will."
The revival church has these gifts, and has coveted these gifts, and maintains the operation of these gifts -- under the leadership of the Spirit. The revival church recognizes the value of these gifts... They are not "pentecostal playthings", nor "spiritual novelties". They are not simply talents or natural gifts... but they are expressions of supernatural power of the Spirit. The true motives for every use of the gifts in the revival church is love, and the glory of God...
The revival church has more than correct doctrines, emphasis on the Word of God and prayer, spiritual leadership, spiritual gifts... The revival church has WORSHIP. The correct doctrines, when written upon the heart, should create a worshipping congregation.
Never underestimate correct doctrine, but it should lead to worship... Sound doctrine does not have to be "sound asleep." There is too much of the "deep frozen" religion. There are many who know the Word, know the doctrines, know the prophecies, -- but do not worship the Lord. The scribes and Pharisees of the time of the Lord's first coming, knew the Word... but failed to worship the Messiah when He stood in their presence. Today, we find many such people also.
The true vocation of the congregations includes WORSHIP.
I Peter 2:5,9
"...to offer up spiritual sacrifices... that ye should shew forth the praises of Him..."
The congregation that fails to worship, has failed at its real vocation. God meant for us to learn to worship... then learn to work. Mary and Martha were distracted by much serving. Mary chose the "better", and sat at the feet of Jesus. Had Martha also sat at the feet of Jesus, I am sure the meal still would have gotten prepared, as both could have periodically gone to the kitchen for a time, and then returned and still had time to learn and enjoy the presence of Jesus. The church needs to learn to get its work done, but put worship ahead of the "nitty-gritty" duties of the church.
Samuel was busy in the temple service, and yet in I Samuel 3:7 it says:
"Samuel did not yet know the Lord..."
It is possible to be busy in church work, and not truly know, or enjoy the Lord Jesus.
The Greek word commonly used for "worship" is "proskuneo," which means "to kiss the hand toward." This suggests an outward action which shows an inward realization of the greatness of another. The idea of "worth-ship" is recognized in real worship. In true worship is the recognition of Who the Lord truly is.
On the isle of Patmos, John was shown the future rapture day. In his vision, he saw the saints singing:
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power..."
Worship delights in the sheer glory of God. Worship revels in His Person, His Nature, and His being. Worship recognizes what He has done.
Our actions and behavior should make others rejoice and worship in the Lord. When unbelievers see our good works, our attitudes in crisis, our love in the midst of hatred, our patience in the midst of trial, and our honesty in the midst of dishonesty... they will glorify God Who has given us the grace to so behave.
I Peter 2:12
"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
In this way, our behavior is an act of worship. We can glorify God, not only with our mouths, but with our lives, our attitudes, and with our actions. We should therefore be glorifying God most every moment.
I Corinthians 10:31
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
The Greek word for "your reasonable service" is the Greek word "latreia". This word could also be translated - "your spiritual worship." The original word is capable of both renderings. The RSV translates it this alternate way. The idea is that giving our lives to be a living sacrifice, and living a holy life for the Lord Jesus, is a form of worship.
True worship is spiritual. Though it is expressed in outward expression, or with the actions of our lives, it must come from our inner being. It springs from the depth of our spirit.
"God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and truth."
Worship can be expressed in physical ways, words, and actions. It will be centered in the Holy Spirit, and will be from the depth or our being. Any worship that comes simply from the mind, or is hollow, outward show with no inward life... is not true worship. Often in congregations, there are hymns sung, wherein the words are sung - but not felt. These songs are only echoes of a shallow or dead faith. The Lord is not fooled by the harmonious beauty of the song... the heart is seen by God... and He recognizes true worship.
It is like the fancy wrapped boxes a lady left in her car. Knowing they would likely be stolen, if she left her car unlocked, she had wrapped her garbage in the fancy wrappings. Many people in congregations have wrapped their shallow faith in beautiful songs, and exuberant praise and worship. The enthusiasm does not fool the Lord. If the inside of a person is the filth of sin, the outward worship... no matter how enthusiastic or harmonious... is rejected by our God.
In the real and true worship... there is no set pattern. Yet, it never becomes disorderly or confused. Since the Spirit is in control, the Spirit directs us to worship in manifold ways. Nothing is more disastrous than to try to create an atmosphere of worship. While we may try to create exuberance and rejoicing, the Spirit may be seeking to get us to weep and cry our love for Jesus. When we seek the weeping worship, the Spirit may want to direct us toward praise and shouting.
What we must do in revival is -- to create an atmosphere that allows the Spirit to create -- a worship. When people try to recreate what they saw God do in another service, it will fall flat. Spiritual worship, since it must be Spirit directed, cannot be produced by even the best of worship leaders. It can only be -- prepared for, -- by the worship leaders... and the worshipers. We must prepare our hearts and minds with the knowledge of the "worth-ship" of the Lord, and the thankfulness for His mercy and grace.
True worship in the latter rain revival will be directed by the Spirit. We will find that:
The doctrines of mankind -- that have attempted to direct how the Spirit can work -- will have to be pushed aside.
The locations of worship -- that men have built -- will prove too small and confining.
The restrictions to worship -- that dogmas have defined - - will be forgotten
in the times of Spirit-directed, Spirit-filled worship.
John D. Ladd
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GOD PURIFIES THE CHURCH DURING REVIVALS
During a revival, the manifest presence of God is strong. The former and latter rain revivals had - and will have - a very strong, close, and powerful presence of the Lord. Whenever God's presence is near, He will judge the rebellious and abundantly bless those yielded. If sin is present, He must judge it.
As the High Priest stepping into the Holy of Holies on the day of Atonement, would fall dead if there was unrepented sin in the camp...
Likewise, if the priests were doing temple service (as lighting the golden lampstand or offering sacrifices), and they noticed that their hands or feet were dirty, they would need to immediately wash at the laver. If they neglected to do so, they were smitten dead by the Lord.
The man who reached out to steady the ark of the covenant, fell dead when he touched it.
In the same way, God's Presence will bring blessing or judgment, depending upon our own standing with Him. If we are in sin, and God's Presence visits us, we are judged. If we are justified of our sins, and in right standing with God, His manifest Presence will cause revival and blessing. In His mercy, God will not give us His Presence today, until we have come in repentance to Him.
Thereby, we may feel the lack of revival blessing, but if we humbly repent, the Presence - and blessing - of God will come. If He simply chose to visit our services next Lord's Day, there would perhaps be many who would be stricken dead at such a visitation. So God withholds His Presence, patiently (or impatiently) awaiting our repentant reconciliation to Him.
During the early days of any great revival, God is trying therefore to purify His people. He can thereby bring more and more revival to them as they are purified.
Ananias and Sapphira were judged for the lie they spoke in the presence of God during the former rain revival. They were not judged for not giving all of the money from the sale of the land, for this was not of necessity they were giving. But, they lied in God's Presence.
Attempting to emulate Barnabas' gift of chapter 4, Ananias gave but did not have the faith or the generosity of Barnabas. He was being hypocritical. God does not tolerate hypocrites during the former or the latter rain revival. This is why many congregations do not have much revival yet, in this latter rain revival. If God's Presence did come down in manifest revival, He would need to strike many hypocrites dead.
This may seem strange that this 'God of love', 'God of mercy', and 'God of tolerance' that many of us have grown so accustomed... would strike someone dead. The God we see in the revival periods (for instance, at the tabernacle in the wilderness, or at the time of recovery of the Ark in the days of King David, or during the former rain revival...) was adamant in His insistence upon purity. Likewise, during the latter rain revival, this same God of love will again insist upon purity... holiness... and will judge those who are not.
Sin is present during the latter rain revival. This has been predicted for thousands of years, and we who now live in that age, can attest to the presence of sin in the midst of those that God wants to revive.
I Timothy 4:1-2
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, ...speaking lies in hypocrisy..."
We have seen God judge sin in some high places of Christianity in the last number of years. A number of people in high positions of the Christian world have been judged. There has ben sin in congregations, in ministers, in evangelists, in denominations, in deacons, etc. Not in all... but in "some". God has only done so far, as He has done in all ages... purifying His people. Yet, in the latter rain, there will be a special purification... that surpasses all that He has ever done in any age. Jesus is soon to return for His church, and He therefore is seeking a purity above any ever demanded by the Lord.
"That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."
God is working during this latter rain revival to purify His church. He wants the "glory of God" in us, and the purity to be so great, that He can revive and bless us as never before.
There is therefore coming a judgment upon the church. The people of Noah's day were shocked by the judgment that came upon the earth in those days. The five foolish virgins were shocked at being shut out of the wedding chamber in the story of the ten virgins. Ananias and Sapphira did not expect judgment either.
"Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane, and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord."
"Tares" will be removed from the "wheat" first (before the harvest of the "wheat", which is the rapture of the church). These tares will be severed by a miraculous judgment of God in the time of the latter rain revival.
"Then Jesus sent the multitudes away (this message was not for all - even in that day), and went into the house, and His disciples came and said, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field... He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man, the field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom. But the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world (age). The reapers are the angels... The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things (or persons) that offend, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be weeping and wailing of teeth..."
"So shall it be at the end of the world (age), the angels shall come forth and sever (Greek = aphorizo = to separate from) the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire..."
The judgment is pre-rapture, for the wicked are severed from amidst the believers. After the rapture, this would be unnecessary, for the believers will already be removed from this world. The Bible has often warned us of a judgment of the church.
I Peter 4:17-18
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of those that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
Jesus wants a pure church when He comes to rapture it. He finds it far from that purity at the moment. The revival cannot even get progressing as He would like to see it progress, until a new purity is found. We need revival, but we need a purifying purge of the church to remove the "tares" sown there by the devil.
In Ezekiel is recorded a frightening passage. Ezekiel is being shown a vision that describes this last day purging of the church. He sees angelic beings who come. One angel marks those who are pure, and the others go forth with a slaughter weapon to slay all who are not so marked. The judgment begins at the "sanctuary."
"...six men... slaughter weapon in his hand... go through the midst... set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof... to the others... smite... slay utterly... come not near any man upon whom is the mark, and begin at My sanctuary..."
This prophetic vision has not yet been fulfilled. Many scholar's believe that Peter was referring tho this prophecy when he spoke I Peter 4:17-18. The sinful state of the church in the last days, requires a purification that this passage in Ezekiel describes. It will be a miraculous, unprecedented judgment that will enable the latter rain revival to be have the Presence of God that God wants us to have. It will get the church ready for the soon coming rapture.
II Timothy 3:1-14
"in the last days perilous times shall come..."
These "times" referred to by Paul, are times when people shall have a "form of godliness, but denying the power thereof..." These "perilous times" are times when a judgment comes from the Lord upon the church. Many have hopefully assumed that the "perilous times" mentioned, are times for the world, and not for the church. This is not in keeping with the context of the passage.
There are hypocrites, troublemakers in most every church. The word "hypocrisy" comes from the Greek word - "hypokrinomai". This word means "to play a part in a play." God will not tolerate those in the congregations of the latter rain revival that simply are play-acting. The hypocrites in every age are in trouble with God, but the ones in the latter rain revival are in grave, perilous danger. God has made it plain in Scripture, but mankind tries to ignore it, and look for the revival, the mercy... We will have revival, but the kind of revival that God wants us to have will not come until God removes those who play-act their faith.
Ananias and Sapphira coveted and lied to cover their covetousness. Whenever the presence of the Lord is near, as in that revival, God will judge sin as surely as He will fill the hungry.
At the former rain revival, God's presence filled the upper room when they were all in one place, and in one accord. The Spirit descended, they were filled, and 3000 were saved. When God's presence filled the place where Ananias and Sapphira came to present their offering, and a lie was told... judgment caused two to die immediately.
Like the Jewish people did concerning their judgment, many of the congregations of today cannot imagine a judgment time on the church. They have blinded their own eyes to the need of such a judgment, and they have ignored, perverted, and misapplied many passages of the Word of God that describe and predict this judgment.
What do we do? We must be ready, prepared, and the best way to be ready is to often "examine" ourselves. This is the purpose of the communion we share. We are to be sure that we are ready "till He come". This demands a purity, and oft-cleansing of our souls.
"...take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged (weighed down) with surfeiting (over-indulgence) and drunkenness (intoxication) and the cares of this life, so that day come upon you unawares.
For as a snare, shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the earth.
Watch ye therefore, and pray, always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these thing that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
John D. Ladd
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THE OUTREACH OF THE REVIVALS
There are certain features which mark all revivals of the Lord. We can by such features recognize real revival. Some look for the wrong things, and are thereby either stymied about a lack of revival, or deceived into thinking they have revival, when they do not.
Evangelism is one of the key ingredients of real revival. God will manifest His power during the evangelistic message.
In the former rain revival, we see men become "pricked in their hearts" (Acts 3:7), and "fear came on every soul" (Acts 2:43).
The salvation message found great power of God to make men conscious of their sinful states, and to turn to Jesus as the Answer.
The people saved during the former rain revival did not leave the services glorifying themselves, or praising the preachers, or uplifting the denomination, or admiring the beautiful sanctuary... No! They left the service, enthralled with JESUS! The early church was busy glorifying this same Jesus. When the early church was ordered to be silent, its leaders replied:
"We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
The church has an inescapable commitment for evangelism. All four gospels show an emphasis for evangelism to be upon the church.
"Go ye therefore and teach all nations..."
"Go ye into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature..."
"And that repentance and remission
of sins should be preached
in His name among all nations...
and ye are witnesses of these things..."
"As My Father hath sent Me,
so send I you..."
The church in the former rain revival expected a tremendous force of God to aid them in their outreach. They had been promised power to do miracles beyond what Jesus had done, and power to speak with new tongues, cast out devils, etc. The Pentecostal power was a force linked to evangelism.
"And ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you... ye shall be witnesses unto Me..."
The power and miraculous power of the Spirit should always be linked to evangelism. We have no right to seek the power of the Spirit, and then not evangelize. The Spirit's power was given to us, so we could more effectively evangelize... It takes nerve to be given a gift as that, and not to then evangelize...
IF we really believe what we say we do... we must evangelize...
IF Jesus is really Savior, Healer, Baptizer in the Spirit, and coming King... the world should be told...
IF the gospel is really the power of God unto salvation... the the sinners need to be so informed...
IF our message is the ONLY key that will unlock the gate of heaven, to fail to share it is criminal...
The basics of the message was, of course, Jesus.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter quickly got to a detailed description of Jesus (Acts 2:1-36).
When Philip went to Samaria, he "preached Christ unto them..." (Acts 8:5).
When Philip was taken to the Ethiopian eunuch, he "preached unto him Jesus" (Acts 8:35).
With the name of Jesus, Paul opened his ministry (Acts 9:20,22,29).
Peter took the name of Jesus to the Gentiles (Acts 10:36).
With the name of Jesus, the book of Acts closed (Acts 28:31).
The name of Jesus dominates everything during the former rain revival.
In the book of Philippians, in 104 verses, the name of Jesus is found 47 times.
The latter rain revival needs to beware becoming so concerned with the "fringe benefits" of the gospel - as prosperity, holiness, etc. - that it forgets to lead people to an encounter with Jesus.
The gospel does offer much, but the key to all of it is - salvation through Christ Jesus. To preach the wonders of revival, and ignore the key message, that is Jesus, is folly. To expect a move of the Spirit in manifest power, and not allow the Spirit to glorify Jesus - is sheer lunacy. The reason for revival, the reason for the Pentecostal experience, the reason for the church... is to be a witness of Jesus.
"...ye shall be witnesses unto Me..."
The revival church cannot be "witness" without having witnessed a personal encounter with the One Whom we witness. The former rain revival began with people who personally knew the Savior. They witnessed about Someone they personally knew. The latter rain revival needs to encourage people to truly know the Savior also. When we, the Church, personally know and speak with this Savior Jesus... we will find revival power to be manifest.
"We speak that we do know,
and testify that we have seen..."
I John 1:1-3
"that... Whom we have heard, and Whom we have seen with our eyes, Whom we have looked upon, and our hands have handled... declare we unto you..."
Simply living a righteous life, and providing the best of example to the unsaved... does not suffice. There is no substitute for the actual message we are told to take to the world. We are not told to draw a crowd of admirers to ourselves. We are not told to make disciples of a denomination. We are not told to have the best facilities, gymnasium, ball team.... We are told to make disciples, to persuade men... to preach Jesus... and to introduce this same Jesus to them for their personal encounter.
II Corinthians 5:10-20
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men... For the love of Christ constraineth us... Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature... Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ..."
It is because of Jesus Christ, and for the proclamation of His name, and His message, that we are given grace and apostleship... That is we have His mercy, and His commission to preach the gospel... because He wants it shared with the rest of the world. To share Jesus, is "obedience..." and to not share Jesus is disobedience to the faith... Note this often overlooked, yet important verse:
"By Whom (Jesus) we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name..."
Many in our day do not witness for the proper motive. In the early church revival, there were also some who preached Christ for the wrong motives.
"Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel..."
There are many today who preach, teach, witness... but out of a competitive spirit. Perhaps for a desire to have success, or the desire to sustain a denomination or congregation... they preach. We may become so entangled with the concern for numbers, or for prestige, or for fame... that we double our efforts for those reasons. The true motive is acceptable to the Lord, and any other motive will cause us to lose our reward. We must witness because of the love of Christ, which constrains us to share the One Whom we already have found.
II Corinthians 5:4
"...the love of Christ constraineth us..."
Many lose sight of the fact, that Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest. It is the message of the Lord that brings life and growth. It is His choice which field that should be reaped by each one of us.
"Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,
that He will send forth laborers
into His harvest..."
When we get the right message, and the right motive... signs and wonders will follow.
"...to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed. Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ..."
There are evil powers, and an evil leader of such powers... that is - the devil. Unless there is convicting power of the Spirit, no one will get saved. The enemy is gripping hard. His hold on the sinners is a mighty grip that is hard to break. It takes the power of the Spirit to break the devil's hold on the sinner. Miracles, healings, discerning of spirits, signs, wonders, convicting power should be present in the revival periods.
When Jesus called the apostle Paul to his work... He said:
"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me..."
The grip of the devil on the lives of sinners is broken by the miraculous power of the Spirit, and we unleash the power of God by doing the work of the Spirit... that is to glorify Jesus. The power of the devil and of all his forces... is no match for the power of a people who preach Jesus and unleash the Holy Spirit's power.
Evangelism calls for total involvement of the whole congregation. The pastor is the under-shepherd for Jesus. The Shepherd wants to feed the sheep. And the sheep are to beget sheep. This is the plan of God for the flock. The pastor may also do the work of evangelism (II Timothy 4:5), but the rest of the congregation are to be the primary witnesses.
"Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."
Like Peter, after Pentecost, preached boldly, saw the Spirit awaken the consciences of men. There came from Peter's lips - anointed preaching, fearless preaching, Christ-centered preaching. The words from Peter's mouth were prophetic... A holy unction made the sermon powerful. This unction was powerful, piercing, softening, hammering... and opened even the stony hearts. The message of Peter saw a resulting 3000 get saved.
"And there were added unto them in that day about 3000 souls."
"Many that heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to be about five thousand..."
"And the number of the disciples multiplied... exceedingly and a great number of priests were obedient to the faith..."
When the good news about Jesus is preached in any revival, multitudes will be saved. In the 1857 revival, 50,000 a week were being saved. In 1904 a great revival swept the land and 5 million were saved in two years. These kind of results, in fact, even greater results will soon occur, in response to the preaching of Jesus.
Revival tarries now because:
people build sanctuaries within churches, but forget they are personally the sanctuary of the Lord...
people own Bibles, but forget that Jesus is the embodiment of the Word...
people speak of Christ, but do not truly know Him...
people sing hymns, but do not even listen to the worshipful words they are speaking to Jesus...
people have love for the denomination, the building of worship, the pastor, etc. but do not have the "first love" they once had for Jesus...
people seek to make worship exciting, rousing, and touching, but do not build a relationship with the One worshipped...
people want services that make men praise the sermon, the pastor, the denomination... but do not seek to have them praise Jesus...
people steal the glory that belongs to Jesus...
Real revival is measured, not by its emotion... For remember that on Palm Sunday, people were emotionally joyful... but Jesus wept. Many services in which people shout, Jesus is still weeping.
Revival is not measured by the crowds... The great events of the Bible were usually witnessed by small crowds, as the Mount of Transfiguration had Jesus, Elijah, Moses, and three disciples. Calvary had John, and a few women kneeling before the crucified Savior.
Revival is not measured by its lack of problems. The devil fights harder when revival comes. The Corinthian church had more problems than most churches today, because it had revival.
Revival is measured in several ways. One of the ways in which it is measured - is the evangelization of the sinners by the proclamation of Jesus. If we begin to share our relationship with Jesus with the world, the world will see revival as never before.
John D. Ladd
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PERFECT - POWERFUL - VICTORIOUS SAINTS OF THE REVIVALS
"Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Christianity strives for perfect Christians. The striving has not led to any perfect ones yet, however. Christ alone has been the only perfect, righteous example. The striving for perfection has often degenerated into legalism, judgmentalism, and pride.
What is "perfection," and how do we strive for such a goal? The methodology used in the past has been seriously flawed, and many have just resigned themselves to remain weak, defeated, and apathetic Christians. This is not acceptable in any age, and much less tolerable in the latter rain revival, wherein we should be nearing the best that Christianity can produce.
There is a story told of "the mad scientist and Igor." They both were saved, and then attended Bible school. After graduation, they took a church to pastor. Pastor Mad backslid a bit, and opened a laboratory in the basement of the church. He began to create the "perfect Christian."
Mannequin parts began disappearing all over town. Electricity was seen shooting from the chimney of the church on dark nights. Finally, Pastor Mad felt that he had finally succeeded in creating a "perfect Christian." He called for his assistant pastor, Igor, to come to the church.
Pastor Mad asked Igor to approach the communion table, which had sheets spread over it. Removing the sheets, Pastor Mad revealed an image of a perfect man. There was a large Bible in its hand. A smile was upon its face. In its head was a slot for putting computer programming with all sorts of Biblical knowledge.
"What if he fails?" asked Igor.
"Oh, we don't have to love it, we just take it apart and reassemble it, if we can." answered Pastor Mad.
There are many Christians like Pastor Mad. There have been far too many who are either trying to manufacture "perfect Christians", or are trying to "take apart" the imperfect ones. The lack of love is evident in both groups. We need to improve our strivings for "perfect Christians" to something more in line with God's plan revealed in the Scriptures. An unloving, cold, and systematic approach as was Pastor Mad's... will never work. Love is the most essential ingredient to the plan.
What is a "perfect Christian"? If we don't even know what one is, how can we ever hope to produce one? The problem is that we all have different ideas on the subject. We vary in our description of even the goal we seek. It is much like the story of the blind men who were trying to describe an elephant. They approached the animal, and the one blind man came to the leg of the elephant, and said that the elephant is like a tree trunk. The second one came to the tail of the elephant, and decided the elephant was like a rope, or snake. The third discovered the trunk of the elephant, and decided that the elephant was like a cable. The last one came to the side of the elephant, and therefore believed the elephant to be like a wall. All were right, and all were wrong. The ideas of what a "perfect Christian" is like, similarly, are both right and wrong.
A powerful, perfect saint must be an intercessor, a person of the Word, a person who fasts, a person who has genuine Christian love, and a person who exercises the gifts of the Spirit. Powerful, perfects Christians have many such ingredients. Yet, they may differ one from another in many ways. Though they should all have some ingredients alike, there are some things that may vary greatly between them. Paul differed from Peter, Elijah differed from John the beloved. Job was much different from Moses.
God knows how to take those who come to Him, and make them into His perfect, powerful, and victorious saints. He has an agenda for us, and we must go personally to Him for His plan for our development. It will vary, and we must submit to His conception of perfection for us.
There is a plan for our lives, and we do have a part in its implementation in our lives. It is much like the way we take care of ourselves physically.
We need to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep for our physical well-being.
We cannot skip a night's sleep.
We need to eat two or three meals a day on a regular basis.
We must get enough liquid each day.
We wash and cleanse our body regularly.
We use grooming aids to make ourselves presentable to others.
We make sure we dress in clothes that are updated and laundered.
Spiritually, we also need to take proper care to make ourselves presentable to the Lord. With proper spiritual care, our lives can develop into the powerful and perfect condition that the Lord desires.
Daily we need to get into the presence of the Lord. We must never miss a day of prayer. There needs to be regular times of daily prayer.
We need to experience God's blessing daily.
There should also be daily repentance for our failures, and mercy sought for the defilements that affect us regularly.
We need to allow God to use us daily.
God deserves to be thanked daily for His goodness and blessings to us.
Like the normal hygienic care for our bodies, this spiritual care for our souls will allow the Spirit to help us mature into the powerful, perfect, victorious saints that we should be. Step by step, we grow from "glory to glory." Little by little, Christ produces in us a spiritual work that astounds the world.
"...we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily."
Thus, let us not be forgetful of the fact that it is the Lord working this maturing process in us. It is our part to present Him with a body, soul, and spirit that is yielded to His working.
"I beseech ye therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present yourselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
How does Christ and the Holy Spirit work in us? There is a process which varies in specific content from one of us to another. Yet, there are some similarities that are alike for all of us.
ACCEPT THE SEED
First, accept the blessings that God gives in "seed" form. Just as He gives us children to raise, not adults. He gives acorns to plant, not full grown oak trees. He likewise gives us blessings in seed form, and we are matured by learning how to plant the seed, and water, tend, and see the bountiful harvest come.
We may pray for revival, and He tells us to intercede. We may pray for our enemies to cease their attacks, and He tells us to love them. We may ask for financial blessings, and He provides us a new job. We may ask for a great ministry, and He gives us one gift to begin to use.
As we use the "seed" blessing, the Lord develops great things in and through us. We must learn to cooperate in this plan, and not to demand the final form of the blessing to start. I recall while attending Bible school, many of the ministerial grads sought the Lord to give them a full time ministry as their first church. They thought they had paid their dues in Bible school, and now deserved to take over a congregation of several hundred. Most found that they had just begun in the education of the Spirit, and a small "seed" blessing of a ministry awaited them. The huge congregation, that they assumed they were ready to pastor, awaited the completion of the growth of the "seed" that they were given.ACCEPT THE FUTURE TARGET
Secondly, accept the "targets" that God gives us. If our lives revolve about a past event, we are miserable. If life revolves about a future goal, we are happy. This is why God made one third of the Bible to be prophetic. We would be miserable if we did not have a future resurrection, a future reunion with the Lord, a future heavenly reward to anticipate. The Christians who ignore, or are ignorant of, the prophetic Word, are miserable Christians.
Thus, in our development to be perfect, powerful, and victorious Christians, we are given future "targets" at which to aim. We must therefore learn to take our eyes off of the past failures, defeats, and burdens of life.
We may have passed through "desert experiences" as did Moses.
We may have had enemies chasing us about in anger, as did David.
We may have suffered ill health, loss of children, loss of possessions, or betrayal of friends, as did Job. We may have been disliked by our family, or imprisoned, or forgotten by those we helped, as was Joseph.
The secret of moving toward perfection and power with God, is to not get our eyes upon those problems, but to put our eyes on the future goals provided by the Lord. If we put our eyes on the problems, and fill our selves with self pity, thoughts of misery, or depression, we will hinder the Spirit's work of development within us.
Consider the facts that:
If Moses had pouted about his 40 years in the backside of the desert,
or if David had grown angry at the fact that Saul sought to kill him,
or if Job had blamed and cursed God and died as his wife suggested,
or if Joseph had sought revenge against his brothers...
they would not be heroes of faith to us... or to God.
Find the goals that God has for you. Then push on toward them. Push aside every suggestion of the devil, or the suggestions of those he may use, to cause us to dwell on past hurts, sins, failures, or problems. Let Jesus work in you to develop a perfect, powerful, and victorious saint.BE POSITIVE, NOT NEGATIVE
Thirdly, get rid of the "take apart, and concentrate on the evil - syndrome." Like Dr. Mad in the story, too many Christians become distracted by the tendency to "take apart" other Christians who are imperfect. These type of saints are on the attack, they are critical, they are judgmental. This type of Christian never gets near "perfection." This critical attitude keeps God from even forgiving them their own sins, let alone for Him to be able to perfect them toward the powerful and victorious kind of saint that He desires them to be.
There are two circles of saints. Some in this latter rain revival talk of miracles, healings, and salvation. Some others talk of backsliding, sin, failings, judgment, and how hard it is to witness. Both of these extremes are present in this latter rain revival. The Lord can do little with the second group, but the first group who see the "silver lining", instead of the "dark clouds" are more easily moved by God toward perfection, power, and victory.
Two can look out of the same window, and one can see the "muddy ground," another will see the "starry sky." In churches today, one may find both types of saints. In twenty years, return to such a church, and you will find the one who saw the "starry sky" will possess more perfection, power, and victory than the other. The one who saw the "muddy ground" may not even be still saved. That one will move more and more toward discouragement and failure.
The former rain revival had miracles, healings, salvations of multitudes. Church congregations were started, people experienced the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Yet, that is not all that happened in the former rain revival. There were stonings, beatings, imprisonments. Some were crucified, burnt at the stake, thrown to lions, beheaded. There were bickering congregations, backsliders, persecutions, poverty. Some of the saints in Jerusalem were starving, some of the saints were sitting in prison.
Did Paul pout and complain? Did those saints stay home from church until the Lord changed their troubles to victories? Did they stay in the dumps? Probably -- some of them did. But the ones who moved toward perfection, power, and victory did not keep their eyes on such problems. Paul gloried in his troubles. He rejoiced in the weaknesses and afflictions. He became one of the most admired of saints, for he kept his eyes on the miracles, healings, power. God had to give him a "thorn in the flesh" to remind him that he was to not be too heavenly minded.
Paul could have appropriated the "take apart, and concentrate on evil - syndrome". Paul could have attacked the other so-called "saints" who were instigators of the problems. Rather, he did explain what the problems were, but then moved on to glory in the answers provided by the Lord for such problems.
We all face both trials and victories. We all see both "saints," and "aints". We all have both brothers and sisters in Christ, and those who would spiritually abuse us. On which are your eyes? Upon which group do you tend to think most? When someone asks you how you have been, do you give:
a list of complaints?
a list of trials?
a list of defeats?
a list of aches and pains?
...or do you tell of:
your latest spiritual victory?
the wondrous presence of God that you have felt within your trial?
the souls that you are seeing being saved?
the joys of the Christian life?
and the expectation of the return of Jesus?
Peter, Paul, and John faced greater trials than most of us have faced. If they would have pouted, complained, etc. do you think they would have had their books of such included in the New Testament? Imagine, if you will, the epistles of Paul, if he would have written of anger at God allowing him to suffer shipwreck, imprisonment, beatings, shunnings, misunderstandings, etc!
Nor can we put our eyes on trials, problems, hypocritical church persons, and still be acceptable, or available to God for the maturing process into perfect, powerful, and victorious saints.
Surely, there is death, persecution, and the wrath of the sinners to come in attack against the saints. Yet, there is also the double portion of the latter rain revival, the rapture of the church, the judgment seat of Christ, and the joys of heaven also soon to come. On which do you contemplate?
Christians will soon be more persecuted, more attacked, more hated than ever before. Don't pout or fear. Look for the broken-hearted, the hopeless, and the hurting. Lead them to Jesus.
When we must speak of judgment, remember that God judges with the expectation that many will turn to Him during the judgment.
"...in their affliction, they will seek Me early..."
If we must speak of trials, let us also speak that:
"...all things work together for good..."
When we must speak of the great sins of the day, let us also add:
"Where sin abounded, grace did the much more abound..."
At times when we speak of being beat down, let us not forget to add:
"...we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us..."
Let us quit "taking apart" the imperfect saints, and begin letting Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit make us to be the perfect, powerful, and victorious saints. Who are we to judge Another's servant? Let us remove the beam from our own eyes, before we attempt to remove splinters from the eyes of others.
A farmer knows that you do not go to the barn, kick the cow, and demand it to give more milk. If the farmer does do that, he will find that the production will be down, not up. The cows will begin to secrete fluids into the milk that will make it of poorer quality.
If the farmer comes to the barn, and handles the cows gently, speaks kindly, the production will be increased. The milk will be of better quality. This is the same way with people. Too many ministries attempt to berate saints, to nit-pick at details of Christian living. These may measure skirt lengths, hair lengths, and adornments. They may major in outward appearances, instead of inward graces. These kind of ministries end in judgmentalism, bickerings, anger, depression... and loss of souls from the kingdom.
CEASE YOUR DEMANDS
Fourth, let us not demand "strokes" The story is told of a man who saw a little girl on top of the hill stroking a dog. She kept stroking and stroking. He sensed that something was wrong, so he approached. He found she had bite marks all over her arms. Every time she tried to stop stroking the dog, the dog bit her. This is like too many church congregations. Some demand strokes from others.
If we want to allow the Lord to develop us into perfect, powerful, and victorious saints, we must cease such demands of others. Forget how others see you. Don't expect or seek attention, praise, and pats upon the back. Seek only the approval of the Lord.
Jesus was treated with disrespect, with persecution, attempts on His life, and bitter attacks. He did not seek to get the approval of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, the wicked... He humbled Himself to suffer the bitter attacks of these people. In Philippians we are told to "let this same mind be in you, as was in Christ Jesus..."QUIT FEARING THE DEVIL
Fifth, quit fearing the devil. We are victorious in Christ Jesus, and we are on the winning side. There is a story told of a bee, buzzing and buzzing about a boy. The father came to help, and he swatted at the bee also. The bee finally stung the father. The son kept frantically swatting. The father said, "RELAX, SON! THE BEE LEFT HIS STINGER IN ME!"
The devil keeps buzzing about us also. Yet, he has lost his stinger at the cross. He has been defeated and is no longer a threat to us. Laugh at the foolish devil. We are told to "resist the devil, and he will flee..." Too many marvel at the deeds of the devil, when they should be glorying in God's deeds. Too many fear the devil, when he would be fearing them... if they ever discovered the power they have through Jesus.
The writer of the book of Hebrews preached this same sermon in Hebrews 12:1-3:
"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith... consider Him...lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
Here the writer shows us that we need to have the goals of the Lord in our minds ("the race that is set before us"), and we need to look unto Jesus Who is the "Author" (that is, the Instigator of the process of faith development), and He is the "Finisher" (that is the One who will complete this task of making us into perfect, powerful, and victorious saints). If we do not keep our eyes onto Jesus... we will become "wearied" and begin to "faint" (or give up).
There is a plan of God to make us perfect, powerful, and victorious saints during this later rain revival. Let us carefully attend to our part of the process!
John D. Ladd
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SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
BETWEEN THE FORMER AND LATTER RAIN REVIVALS
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else; and My people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit."
There are two great revival periods.
The former rain revival was a great period. It had great miraculous results. The church began with an explosion of the power of God being shown forth through the converts. It was also a trying period. Persecution and problems were present in that age. They conquered sin and evil, and the power of God made even the trials to "work together for good." We have often envied their revival. Yet, there is a greater revival to come... than this world saw in the former rain revival, or in any revival before or after...
The latter rain revival will see even greater things occur. It has already begun, and it is ever increasing in magnitude and power. We have a double portion of the former rain revival to anticipate yet.
Revival is God's blessing on a people hungry and desirous for God. People are often confused about what revival is and is not. There have been so many pathetic ideas propagated about the meaning of "revival", that most are expecting it to be far from what it actually is. Let us summarize the similarities and differences of the two great revivals, and see what revival is, and is not.
REVIVAL IS NOT:
Revival is not a fortunate accident that happens on an unsuspecting church.
Revival is not an end in itself.
Revival is not a special program.
Revival is not having the right "personality" for services.
Revival is not just special services.
Revival is not going down the street with a group of emotional, praise-giving people, it is getting back to calvary with weeping and repentance.
Revival is God's answer to genuine humility. It is found by having an earnest desire, and by having believing prayer, and after full surrender to the Holy Spirit.
Revival is God's way of preparing us for effective service.
Revival is found by a church on their knees crying for their own, and for the world's, sins.
Revival is a new beginning of obedience to God.
Revival is a congregation under the direct control of the Spirit, and one that is responding to His direction (as an orchestra responds to the direction of the conductor).
WHEN DO WE NEED REVIVAL?
When it is easier to work, than to worship.
When it is easier to be critical, than to be kind.
When it is easier to read fiction, than to read the Bible.
When it is easier to sleep in church, than to stay awake.
When it is easier to grumble, than to praise.
When it is easier to condemn sinners, than to intercede for them.
When it is easier to hold grudges, than to forgive.
The former rain revival slowly lessened during its time. Too soon the power was gone. It was not because of a lack of education, or for a lack of money. It was not that they had no great buildings of worship (for they began without any buildings, and the revival ended after they had built great cathedrals). It did not end because they had not the Word of God preached, or taught (for it began with just a few copies of the gospels being passed about, and ended when the Bible as we know it was finally compiled).
At the beginning of the former rain revival, the disciples were very uneducated. At its beginning, most of the saints were poor, and yet there was revival. At its end, most saints were the powerful and rich "pew fillers". As education, money, and power came, they lost sight of the direction of the Holy Spirit.
In the latter rain revival, we may have started with education, money, and power, but as we get our eyes off those things, and more onto the Spirit, we shall see the latter rain revival grow and grow.
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
1. BEGINNING AND ENDING DAY
The former rain revival began on one day (the Day of Pentecost) at the coming of the Holy Spirit. The latter rain revival will end (at least end for the church) on one day at the coming of the Lord Jesus on the day of the rapture of the church (perhaps also on the Day of Pentecost?!?!).
"He shall come unto us as the rain,
as the former and the latter rain to the earth."
2. BEGINNINGS, AND DEVELOPMENT
The former rain revival began large, with thousands being saved in each service, and it slowly lessened. The latter rain revival began small with a few being converted in services, but will build bigger and bigger until its climax.
We are not to be satisfied during this latter rain revival with the miracles, healings, signs, wonders, evangelical success. We are to constantly seek more and more revival.
"Ask ye of the Lord - RAIN,
in the time of the latter rain."
In other words, we are to not be satisfied with a SPRINKLE of revival, but to pray for more, when we have that SPRINKLE. When a DOWNPOUR of revival comes, we are to pray for a DELUGE. When a deluge comes, let us pray for FLOOD! Ask for more and more. God will keep answering those prayers!!!!
3. JUDGMENT OF THE REVIVALS
The former rain revival had God judging the sin of those who were hypocritical (Ananias and Sapphira). God judged quickly and publicly, those, within the church, who would taint the great move of revival with sin. The latter rain revival will see God suddenly separate the TARES (sown into the church by the devil). They will be judged (damned, = krima) and sent to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. (See Matthew 13.)
The WHEAT will be raptured after this sudden judgment of the hypocrites who hinder the great revival of the last days. Between this judgment of the troublemakers of the church, and the rapture, will be the double portion time of revival promised by Joel.
"He will thoroughly purge His floor,
and gather His wheat into the garner..."
The "harvest of tares" is explained in great detail in the Bible. It is prophesied about even more than is the rapture of the church. Yet, many have not understood those Scriptures. Many are blinded to this truth, as were the Jewish people to the many Scriptures concerning the first coming of the Messiah. The "tares" will be judged and damned by the Lord in a sudden judgment before the rapture. Don't be one of those who is shocked when this great judgment comes.
II Thessalonians 2:3
"...day of the Lord shall not come, except there be a falling away (apolusa = separation, not apostasia = defection, withdrawal) first..."
This verse prophesies about a time of separation within the church, caused by God, not by backsliding, in the last days before the rapture. He will remove from the congregations, those who "offend" and those who "do iniquity" (Matthew 13). They will be severed by angelic intervention, much as God judged by angelic intervention on the Passover night in Egypt.
I Peter 4:17
"For the time is come that judgment (krima = damnation) must begin at the house of God..."
The judgment of God on this world does not start with the world, but it begins by God judging His church. After He cleanses His church with great judgment, He will pour out the "double portion" of revival. Then He will rapture His church, and begin the tribulation judgments on the world. He judges His own first.
4. HINDERING POWER OF THE REVIVALS
The former rain revival hindered Rome, and the false religions of the day. These people, who were thus hindered, persecuted the church greatly. There were trials, imprisonments, stonings, beatings, hungry lions, beheadings, etc. The latter rain revival will also hinder, and it will hinder until it is taken "out of the way" by the rapture of the Church.
II Thessalonians 2:7
"Only he that hinders shall hinder,
till he be taken out of the way..."
God will have to take the church of the latter rain revival out of the way, for our ministries will become so effective, that if left here, the Antichrist and the other forces of the devil could not come and do their deceptive, evil work.
Some believe in a mid-trib rapture, but I believe in a pre-trib rapture of a church that will be so revived in the double portion of revival, that the tribulation cannot start with the miraculous, powerful, revived church still on the scene.
5. DANGER WITHIN REVIVALS
It was dangerous to be a Christian during the former rain revival. It will also be very dangerous to be a Christian during the latter rain revival.
II Timothy 3:1-14
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection... Yea, all that live godly shall suffer persecution... evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse... but continue thou in the things that thou hast learned..."
The devil knows that his time is short, and he will do all he can to hurt the Christian in these last days. He will stir up dissension, and cause even one saint to attack another. We need to keep up our hedges, and intercede for one another. We need to stay under the "shadow of the Almighty."
The power of God is greater than the power of the devil.
"Where sin abounded, grace did the much more abound."
There may be much sin, deception, and danger in the last days, but it will be like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, and like Noah's day. There will be a remnant saved and spared. The key is to not fear the devil's unleashing of evil... but to recognize that there is greater power in God. We can be some of those who are here to release that power of the Lord.
6. DEPARTINGS FROM THE FAITH DURING REVIVALS
Some apostacized and fell away into sin during the former rain revival. Ananias, Sapphira, and Demas, are a few examples. In the latter rain revival, there will also be "some depart from the faith..."
I Timothy 4:1-8.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron... if thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ..."
God is testing and judging the church. He will separate the weak and hypocritical. He will test to see if the congregations want the world, or Jesus!
7. DIVISIONS, DOCTRINAL DIFFERENCES IN REVIVALS
In the former rain revival, there were divisions on doctrinal issues (eating meat, admitting Gentiles, Jewish customs, the old law, etc). In the latter rain revival, there are divisions, false prophets, and many are being deceived.
"And He said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying - "I am Christ; and the time draweth near:" go ye not after them..."
There are multitudes of false doctrines, many false prophets, and scores of false religions in our time. We must beware, try the spirits, and search the Scriptures when any minister teaches or preaches. The church at Berea listened to Paul, and then searched the Scriptures to be sure that he was teaching it correctly. The Scriptures need to be the test of all teaching. We cannot follow dogmas of a denomination, teachings of a scholar, or writings of a sage... We must follow the Word of God.
We also need to pray for the "gift of discernment", which will be of vital importance in these last days. The deception within the church congregations is of such a magnitude, that we need to daily re-examine our position, our doctrines, and our message... Much of what has been taught in Christian circles is not only un-Biblical... but also ungodly.
8. LOSS VS ADHERENCE TO THE FIRST LOVE
The former rain revival started with the poor, uneducated, and persecuted, but later became the religion of the richer, scholarly, and powerful. They lost their first love for mankind, and for the Lord. They mixed sin with the gospel message. The latter rain revival, started with the poor, persecuted, and uneducated. Yet, it will be purified to become a glorious church before the rapture.
"That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."
The latter rain revival will have a purified, empowered church. It will be filled with the glory and power of the Lord. The miracles, healings, signs, and wonders of this revival will astound the world, and even surprise the saints.
9. THE GOSPEL SPREAD TO ALL IN REVIVALS
During the former rain revival, the sons, daughters, free, slaves, Gentiles, Jews... shared the gospel. During the latter rain revival, the whole world will hear the gospel message.
The Lord has allowed the development of many forms of spreading the gospel. We will also have the impetus of the Spirit's mighty move of revival to help us spread the Word of God.
10. DOUBLE PORTION REVIVAL
The power of the Lord was very great during the former rain revival. During the latter rain revival, there will come a time of a double portion of what revival the former rain revival had.
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you - THE RAIN, THE FORMER AND THE LATTER RAIN IN THE FIRST MONTH."
Don't envy the times of miracles of the early church. Peter and Paul had spectacular ministries, but God wants to make them to be just the shadows of what He has planned for we who minister in this latter rain revival.
11. THE PERIODS FOLLOWING REVIVAL
The former rain revival was followed by a long period of time that we call the "dark ages." The latter rain revival will be followed by a 1000 year period that we call the Millennium during which Christ will rule and reign on earth.
Some believe that the climax of the latter rain revival will be the rapture of the church. Actually, the Holy Spirit carries on the revival without the church. The 144,000 have great revival, the two witnesses (Enoch and Elijah) return and have a powerful, sign and wonder filled, ministry. The Lord has revival amidst those hiding in Petra. When they call out for Jesus, the true Messiah, we return at the second coming of Christ and set up this millennial rule of Christ.
Peter, James and John fell asleep on the Mount of Transfiguration. They missed hearing what Moses and Elijah had to say about the crucifixion that was soon to come. Don't let us fall asleep during this latter rain revival. Many will be ashamed by their lack, their failure, and their apathy... during the latter rain revival.
Ananias and Sapphira were more concerned with their financial success during the former rain revival. Let us not be concerned with the riches of this world, let us dive into the riches of the latter rain revival. The power, the miracles, the signs, the wonders, the salvation of many souls, the power of the Spirit... need to be enjoyed. Demas loved the things of the world, more than the things of God... and there are many like Demas, Ananias and Sapphira today.
DON'T GET SIDETRACKED!
John D. Ladd