WHAT MUST WE NOW BE DOING IN THESE TIMES OF TERROR?
WHAT ABOUT THE LAST DAY REVIVAL? WE ARE SEEING TERRORISTS ABOUND, SOME CHRISTIANS ARE FALLING AWAY INTO FALSE DOCTRINES. WHERE IS THE REVIVAL?
We are currently in the last days, and the revival is the most slowly progressing. Where are we, what is happening???
Well, there are things happening. First, the Spirit of Truth is working hard.
"...when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto your from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth... He shall testify of Me."
There is a grave need of the TRUTH in Christianity today. There have been false prophets, false doctrines, errors of doctrine, hypocrites and hypocrisy galore, deception and half truths pervading the congregations of these last days. God has never desired to have Christianity floundering in the midst of such lies and liars. He wants us to know the truth, live in the truth, and be in relationship with the Spirit of Truth.
I Timothy 2:4
"Who (God our Savior) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
Where the Lord is, in strength and power, there will be truth. Wherever God is in power and revival, truth will prevail. God will show forth the truth, the Spirit will reveal in His way the truth, and condemn the lies and false doctrines of the false prophets.
"...mercy and truth shall go before Thy face."
"...God shall send forth His mercy and His truth."
When the truth of God prevails in the church, the power of God will also be manifest. If the truth of God is marred and leavened by the hypocrites of the church, the power of God will be hindered. It is the presentation of the truth to the sinful of this world, and the power of God that accompanies such proclamations, that makes the consciences of mankind be sparked toward acceptance of the gospel.
II Corinthians 4:2
"...by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
To bring TRUTH back into the ministry of the church, we need the SPIRIT OF TRUTH. He must minister TRUTH to us, and He alone can guide us to the truth. The neglect of this ministry of the Spirit has hindered, yes - even devastated - the church and its proclamation of the gospel.
"Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth."
Jesus says that He is the "truth" (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit will reveal Him and the truth to the church. He has been trying to do such, and will increase His efforts in these last days. We have seen Him bring a revival of intercessory prayer to the church of the last days, we have seen the Spirit bring a revival of charismatic gifts to the church. Both of these revivals are necessary. The perversions of truth, the hypocrisy of the false prophets, and the deceptions of so-called Christians have devastated the church, and kept the revival of the last days from its true impact, and kept it from its glorious power that God wants to send.
It will take a judgment and a spiritual revival of the ministry of the Spirit of Truth to effect the latter rain revival as we desire it.
"He shall bring forth judgment unto truth."
"...execute the judgment of truth and peace."
"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged."
II Peter 2:2-3
"Many shall follow their pernicious ways (false doctrines that bring destruction), by reason of whom, the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
Secondly, many want to be in the revival, but hindrances are keeping many out of the revival.
Everyone wants to be anointed, but few want to be offended. Many want to be fruitful, but the Lord has taught that to be fruitful, one must be purged.
"...every branch that beareth not fruit, He purgeth."
Many want to be clean and pure, but God has to scold, and correct us first.
"Now are ye clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you."
Many want to be joyful, but few know that joy is dependent on obedience first.
"These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might remain in you."
Many want to be a friend of God, but it is required that they get involved in the difficult works of God.
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth, I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you."
Many want to be chosen of God, but they soon learn, that this means they will be hated.
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
Many want to be Christ-like, but we learn that this will require that they are persecuted.
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also."
Many want to be spoken to personally by God, but do not know that this means they must be humbled.
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin."
Many want to be a blessing to others, but they find out this will mean that they will be hated without cause.
"If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in the law, They hated Me without a cause."
Many want to be Spirit-filled, but do not realize those who are filled must be a witness for the Lord.
"But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, Whom proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning."
Many want to be given revelations from God, but few of these will realize that the only way to be so enlightened by God means they must be rejected, expelled from congregations, plotted against by the religious of the world.
"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me."
Third, we see that many false christs, false prophets, and heretics abound in our day.
The ones with the false doctrines are called (by John) to be "antichrists" (I John 2:18), "liars" (I John 2:22), and "seducers" (I John 2:26). These ones in his day were what history calls the "gnostics". Today, we know them by different names. We call such ones today to be "modernists", "liberals", etc. Jesus called them "tares", and other names.
When the Word of God is preached in uncompromising, rhema filled fashion, the Spirit of Truth begins to work. Then these hypocrites begin to be uneasy, and will depart. They depart from the midst of the revival. John says that "if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us" (2:19). Continuance, in the presence of the revival of the Spirit of Truth is a mark of true discipleship.
"...If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."
The reason the Holy Spirit of Truth drives out such "antichrists" is that He is manifesting truth, and His work of manifesting truth, and uncovering deceit and falsehood. There are many congregations that need such a move of the Spirit of Truth. These congregations have unrecognized "antichrists" who offend and cause harm.
God has always desired to make manifest the ones who are fake, false, and hypocritical. Somehow, someway, God seeks to unmask these ones, but the sleeping , apathetic saints hinder such attempts of the Lord. Here in the time of John, the group was exposed and left the revival congregation.
Fourth, God is keeping the real believers to be secure. He is anointing the real believers.
I John 2:26-28
"But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."
This "anointing" is the same word as "unction" in verse 20. It is from the Greek word "chrisma". The term signifies not the act of anointing, but the balm that has not just been poured upon and dripped from, but as a remaining cream that continues to affect the one anointed. This anointing is the abiding Lord within us. We are to have this anointing "upon us." John is saying that the true anointing is upon the saints, not the "antichrists" who may claim (as did the gnostics) some great anointing.
Many claim anointing. But there are many who are deceptive, and may not even know the One they claim abides within and upon them. The true Holy Spirit, the abiding presence of the Lord are not temporary. Since the Holy Spirit is so present, and so abiding, we constantly have with us the teaching of all we need to know.
When John says that "ye have not need that any man teach you" does not mean we do not have the ministry of teaching still in effect today, but it means that our real Teacher is the Holy Spirit, and He may use some with the gift of teaching to aid His work, but it is His work, not the human teachers. All teaching from human teaching should be tested by the Spirit and by His written Word. We can know "all" the things we need to know, via this Great Teacher, the Spirit, Who abides within and upon us.
We, as saints, need to hold to, adhere to, and continue in the true Christian message. We are told to "let that abide in you, which ye heard from the beginning." Hold the teaching of the Word, dig to find the true message, and do not easily relent when another tries to claim you are in error. Search the Word, and keep the Word as the authority.
Maintain a union and a fellowship relationship with the Lord. We are told many times in Scripture to "abide in Him." It is an imperative. This One with Whom we have a relationship will soon come. It is a unveiling and manifestation of the One with Whom we fellowship. He will pay us a royal visit. It means that His arrival, and His continuing real presence with us, will validate our abiding with Him now. Many will think us to be strange, weird, and crazy. But the coming of the Lord will validate our present claim of relationship with a Being no one now sees.
Fifth, we are at a point that the Lord wants us to discern spirits, and know the true saint from the false. The discerning of spirits is a divine gift of the Spirit. Paul also spoke of this gift.
I Corinthians 12:10
"To another, the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits."
This discerning of spirits is the special ability to distinguish between true manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and human or satanic counterfeits. Not every believer had that gift, but even without that gift, every believer is under obligation to test and try the spirits, to test the prophets and their messages.
Even the humblest of Christians can test the spirits.
I John 2:20
"But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."
Remember that John was writing to assure the believers that the gnostics that were in their midst were wrong. The gnostics claimed to be Christian, and they claimed a deep spiritual insight and revelation. Yet, they were deadly wrong.
The services during John's day were very unstructured and allowed more than one speaker. Therefore, unprincipled people would come in, and try to take advantage. Just as today, there are many false prophets, and many false prophecies in the church. They have been allowed too much freedom in our time to speak forth their heresies. The gift of discerning of spirits has been too rare, or too misused.
I John 4:1
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God."
The two-fold command is given to us by John, to:
1. "believe not every"
2. "try the spirits"
The keyword in this instruction is "spirit". The Goodspeed translation translates it as "inspired utterance". The Lamsa (Syriac text) translates it as "prophecy." The word refers to the people who claim to be speaking for God, and their messages that claim to be messages from God.
We must not "believe" such people. We are commanded, and given this imperative in the present tense. We are told to stop believing such hypocrites. True faith examines its object before believing.
What does it truly mean to "try the spirits", and how do we do such? It means to test them for authenticity, genuineness, legitimacy, reality, and accuracy. The verb translated "try" is a word used in ancient times for the testing of metals for genuineness. Notice how it is used elsewhere in Scripture:
"I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them."
I Corinthians 3:13
"testing every man's work by fire."
I Thessalonians 5:21
"Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good."
The verb denotes a test that carries with it an expectation of approval. We must not be eager to impute error, nor to find fallacies. We must be wary of trying to prove all others (but ourselves) to be wrong.
The purpose of the test should be to determine the origin of the doctrine, the teaching, the prophetic message. We are to learn "whether they are of God..." We are not to judge a doctrine by accompanying miracles... but to judge the miracles by the doctrine. Some miracles can come amidst false teaching. Even the false prophet and the Antichrist shall produce miracles, but we are to not accept them or their teachings. Too often in our day, the saints have judged a doctrine to be correct because of miracles surrounding the one purporting such doctrine. This can lead to great error.
There is great need for testing, "because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (I John 4:1) In our days, there are even more false prophets, false doctrines, and error than in the day in which John first wrote that fact.
We need to carefully, and competently test doctrines, teachings, and "prophets" to determine their origin,
Sixth, there is currently, a fresh ignoring and aversion to the coming of the Lord. Many ministries and denominations have ceased to preach the truth of the second coming. There is a fresh need for intercessory prayer for those ministries.
"LIKEWISE ALSO AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF LOT; THEY DID EAT, THEY DRANK, THEY BOUGHT, THEY SOLD, THEY PLANTED, THEY BUILDED. BUT THE SAME DAY THAT LOT WENT OUT OF SODOM, IT RAINED FIRE AND BRIMSTONE FORM HEAVEN, AND DESTROYED THEM ALL. EVEN THUS SHALL IT BE IN THE DAY THAT THE SON OF MAN IS REVEALED."
As in Lot's day, the Lord and several angels came to Abraham, allowing the intercession of Abraham to bring Lot and part of his family to safety from the destruction. The angels went to Sodom, found Lot, and offered escape to him.
We live in a day where destruction for the world, and even for the church preceding that destruction, is very near. Several righteous were spared Sodom's destruction, and some will be spared the judgment of the church due to intercessors of our day.
These are 'perilous times' and we need to be ready for the times the world will be in terror. We have things to do, we are to be entering a REVIVAL, not hiding in terror