Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fellowship is a Must

If we are Christians, that is people in whom Jesus Christ dwells.

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

Then there is only one reason we must break fellowship with another Christian. That is unconfessed, unrepentant immorality in the other Christian.

“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.” 1 Corinthians 5:9

For all other Christians it is the other way; we must have fellowship with them. If we do not have fellowship it is because we are not walking in the light. This is not church discipline. This is a natural consequence of sin.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fellowship is Lacking When Light is Dim

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

There are two promises here based upon one condition.

1. Fellowship with one another.
2. Being continually cleansed from all sin.

What is the condition? Walking in the light! What is the light?

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

God Himself is the light. In Him there is no darkness at all.

It is very simple. If we are not in fellowship with one another, at least one of us is not walking in the light.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Careless Tourists

The following is from Vicki Van Gorkam. She, with her husband Fred, are missionary veterinarians in Ethiopia. Fred, her husband will be speaking at the Nuart Theatre after the showing of “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” at 7:00 pm on March 5, 2006. That is 516 S. Main St. in Moscow, ID.

I’m mad at uncaring tourists, who have been visiting the Hammar people for years and exposing them to HIV/AIDS with perverted sexual acts, previously unknown to the Hammar.

For years the Hammar and Bunna had been more or less protected. HIV/AIDS had not reached these tribal peoples because of their remote locations. Even the Ethiopian truck drivers who might have been carrying the deadly virus thought the tribal women were beneath them and did not desire contact with Bunna or Hammar women. School teachers who came to live there from other areas of Ethiopia brought their own women with them.

Sharon Smith, who worked as a nurse at the Alduba station when we were there from 1987 to 2002, did a lot of teaching about AIDS and encouraged abstinence before marriage with the “True Love Waits” program. After explaining how AIDS is spread, she asked some Bunna people how long it would take for it to reach the entire tribe. Their answer? “Yesterday!” The Bunna and Hammar live very promiscuous lifestyles.

Now HIV/AIDS has hit the Hammar tribe, and it’s sure to spread. People are lying all around the clinic in Turmi dying of resultant diseases like cholera. People are “standing with their mouths open” in amazement at how fast Hammar are dying. There is no one to help. Nobody cares. There are no anti-viral drugs for the Hammar.

In my distress over this report, I cried out for a Word from the Lord, and I read Psalm 10:
“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God….He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble….He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims….His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.’…But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness…You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

We are praying that God will use this situation to open the hearts of the Hammar to the Gospel. Up until now they have had hard hearts and have seen no need for God’s love in their lives. Pray with us that God will soften their hearts and they will see that their only hope in this life and in eternal life to come is in Christ!!

Still mad but praying,

Vicki for the VGz

P.S. Please be praying, too, for Fred’s travel to the States mid-February to mid-March. We’re contacting some of you who are on his route. Our family will be coming to the U.S. late June through late August. We’re still working on that schedule. Let us know if you’ll be around and would like for us to visit. vangorkom@ethionet.et

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Rituals

Every church has a ritual, whether it is an Independent Baptist Church or an Anglo-Catholic Church and churches on either end and in between. The liturgical churches have a planned ritual. The non-liturgical churches have a ritual by default.

At the worst, rituals become idolatrous; at the best, they are figures of the true; between the best and the worst, they are dead traditions. Normally they start as figures and end up as idols. The rituals described in detail in the Old Testament were meant to be figures of the true. We see this in Hebrews, chapters seven through ten.

Long before these rituals were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, they had ceased to be figures; they became the real thing to the people who practiced them. When this happened they were no longer acceptable to God even as figures.

Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:10-20 NIV)

Sodom is not the subject; Jerusalem and Judah are the subjects (vs 1).
There is an example of this when Jesus used the bronze serpent to open up the gospel to Nicodemus in John 3:14:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up. (NIV)

This bronze serpent, the symbol of Sin and Death also symbolized Jesus who was made sin for us. This symbol, this figure of the cross, became an idol to the people for seven hundred years until Hezekiah had it destroyed.

He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) (2 Kings 18:4 NIV)

Now the cross has become an idol and sometimes a fetish.
Whatever the ritual, do you know its significance? Has it lost its significance?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Joyful Singing

There are ways of expressing joy. Singing is one of them; laughter is another; hugging, cheering, and dancing are others. However, it is possible to sing, laugh, hug, cheer, and dance without joy. We might do them for pleasure, which is not the same.

In the first instance, the singing is the RESULT of joy. In the second instance, we think that the singing is the CAUSE of joy. The danger is that we might think that pleasure IS joy and also not be able to distinguish between cause and effect.
When the singing becomes drab in our churches, we find other solutions than the real one. We get a band with drums, a “worship leader” and speaker amplifiers. The singing might improve, or it might just look like it has improved.

A much better solution is to consider that…

1. the drab singing is an evidence that the saints have lost the joy of God’s salvation (Psalm 51:12)

2. that this loss is the result of accumulated, unconfessed, unforgiven sins in the body.

3. that confession of these sins is the means of restoring the joy of God’s salvation, and consequently singing from the heart, not just from the mouth.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sophomoric

Sophomoric—adjective

This is a combination of two Greek words “wise” and “foolish.” The word “sophomore” goes back to 1684. “Sophomoric” got invented two hundred years later. Here is the definition: “conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature.”

I never liked the word. It seemed to me to be a “put down” word and I did not appreciate those kinds of expressions. It got worse when it seemed to me to be used by “sophomoric” people. Over the years I have seen many sophomoric people, not all of them sophomores, but I do not recall using the word to describe them.

This is a preamble to tell you that I am about to use the word. It is a descriptive word. It does not take much wisdom and discernment to recognize the characteristics of people pretending to be informed and authoritative. For hundreds of years the male of our species has bragged about his sexual prowess and multiple women. Add to this how much he could drink and not get drunk, or how drunk he could get and how often. There is more; he could also brag about his knowledge, and his athletic prowess and do it all with profanity. There would be competition in actions and in talk but mostly talk. I have lived with this for over 60 years. During this same period of time, university newspapers have been leading the charge in grossness. The editors are sophomoric.

We cannot expect natural men to act like spiritual men; however we can expect some educated men to act like educated men. They are in the university so they should be graded by professors in the Journalism Departments and the English Departments. They should be graded for being sophomoric and flunk.

“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:22- This describes these men.

These editors may exercise the freedom of the press granted in the First Amendment to the Constitution. How they have used this freedom is an embarrassment to the university, to the student body, and should be an embarrassment to themselves on their lack of education alone. Because they are free to be “conceited and overconfident of knowledge and be poorly informed and immature” does not mean that this is a prerequisite to be an editor or a writer of a university newspaper.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Traditions

The Jews had 2000 years of tradition at the time of Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church has had 1700 years of tradition since Constantine.

Evangelical American Protestants have 30, 50, 200 years of “traditional American values” and somehow we think it’s a virtue and a grand heritage. It includes, Ozzie and Harriet, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kincaid, Santa Claus, John Wayne, the Easter Bunny, and Trick or Treat.

Jesus said, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Mark 7:8

You may have another list of traditional American values than the list above, but they are still “traditional” values. They are not biblical; they are not Christian.

I grew up in the 30’s and 40’s of the last century. The values, then, were decadent. You may think that our current values are more decadent. That may be true, but let’s go back to the Bible; let’s not go back to an imaginary era that we worship as an idol. Compared to the previous hundred years there has been a spiritual revival in the last 50 years. Let’s consider the phrase, “traditional American values,” as fictitious values and a dirty expression. The phrase is part of the nice guy’s political correctness.

Friday, February 17, 2006

At Calvary: A Hymn

There is a word that is common in evangelical English. It is the word Calvary. It showed up as a single occurrence in Luke 23:33 in the King James Version. It is the word Kranium in Greek. It should have been translated “skull” in the King James Version. The King James Version was a transliteration from the Latin, Calvary. There is nothing in the four gospels of why the word “skull” was used and no mention that it was a hill. It was just a place. Never the less we know the place where Jesus died is now called Calvary even though it was never called Calvary at the time.

At Calvary

1.Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was
crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died On Calvary.

2.By God’s Word at last my sin I learned- Then I trembled at the
law I’d spurned, Till my guilty soul imploring turned To Calvary.

3.Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus ev’ry thing, Now I gladly own Him
as my King, Now my raptured soul can only sing Of Calvary.

4.O the love that drew salvation’s plan! O the grace that bro’t it
down to man! O the mighty gulf that God did span At Calvary!


Chorus

Mercy there was great, and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me, There my burdened soul found liberty—At Calvary.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Euphemisms

Euphemisms are pretended synonyms. A euphemism is a nice sounding word that puts a good face on a bad sounding word. The word is talking about the same act, practice, or exclamation but does it in such a way that the act, practice, or exclamation does not sound bad. In fact, it might sound good or at least, innocent.

Examples: Adultery—Affair
Homosexuality—Gay
Jesus!—Geez or Gee Whiz
The Lord’s name in condemnation—Dog gone it or goldarnit
Condemnation—Darn it

Some people think it is a virtue to soften words of sin. It sort of cleans up the dirt. It does not succeed; it only has the appearance of clean without being clean. Why not? God cleanses that which is confessed as sin. Because we have cleaned up the word the sin is not confessed and therefore not forgiven.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Synonyms

Even among real synonyms there is a difference in the emotional response to the word. We are careful to use the better sounding word. These are not euphemisms.

Here are some examples:

Medicine and Medication—We do not wish to take our medicine, but we are eager to take our medication. Medication makes us well. Medicine is unpleasant to take. However, it is the same stuff.

Here is another example:

The Shroud of Turin or The grave clothes of Torino.

One phrase has a holy sound to it. The other, a commonplace, vulgar sound.

In evangelical Christianity we have, in English, different ways to pronounce the Lord’s name.

Jeeeesus or the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we talking about the same person? The first emphasizes the long e, the vowel, and speaks to the emotions. The second emphasizes the consonants and carries more meaning even though we are talking about the same person.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why and How

Two of the most basic questions that mankind has had since the Fall have been “Why” and “How.” In both religion and science, they have caused great searches, theories, guesses and finding of fact. As a result, there has been a great advance in science. In the process of this advance, there also have been wrong conclusions in every century.

Because of man’s impatience for answers, his credulity, his mysticism, and his rebellion, we have billions of people living in scientific and spiritual darkness.
There is a basic right answer to every “why” and “how” question. The answer is,
…the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land. (Jonah 1:9 NKJV).

I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness… (Isaiah 45:6, 7 NIV)

It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. (Isaiah 45:12 NIV)

This right answer has been around for a long time. Rebelling against Him has caused a great moral problem.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32 NIV)

This right answer, “The LORD,” is the solution to the moral problem as well as the scientific problem.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

H.e is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:13-20 NIV)

There is another problem with the word “why” when it is formed as a question. Sometimes it is not looking for an authoritative answer, which would subsequently be accepted. Rather, it is formed in an accusatory way that assumes that there is not an adequate, authoritative answer to the question.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Gossip- Approving Sin?

“Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32

Practice and approve.

Gossip is a means of approving sin. It is a vicarious enjoyment of someone else’s sin by savoring it by talking about the sin and listening to the talk.

This is a means of enjoying sin without actually doing the sin. In fact, the talk may have the tone and content of disapproval. The gossiper, at least to himself, has the appearance of innocence because 1) he is not, himself, doing the sin and 2) he is voicing disapproval.

He deceives himself and his listeners.

“For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Ephesians 5:12

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Gossip- cont.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:15, 16

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” 1 Corinthians 5:12

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

There is no contradiction in the above quotations.
1. We are to have planks removed in order to remove specks.
2. We are to be fruit inspectors, judgment makers.
3. We are to be spiritually qualified judgment makers.
4. We are to judge those inside the church.

We are not to leave specks in our brothers’ eyes. They have got to be removed. We have to be qualified to do this.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More On Gossip

Many years ago we knew a U.S. Air Force Chaplain. He and his family stayed in our home for a few days while we were gone. His name was Augie Kilpatrick. On one occasion my wife, Bessie, asked Augie how he handled gossip. He had a ready answer.

“I take out my little pocket notebook and write down, word for word, what I am being told. After I have taken it all down, I read it back to the person and ask him if it is correct and is it true. With an affirmative answer I hand him the notebook and my pen and say, “Please sign here.”

Many years ago we arrived in a new town and had settled into our home and church. We had barely got settled when Bessie got a phone call from a woman in the church. She had some gossip about someone else in the church. Bessie asked, “Is that true?” The answer was “yes.” Bessie said, “Let’s you and I go see her and correct her.” “If you go to see her, don’t tell her that I told you?”

This does not stop gossip, but it does keep you out of the circuit. Normally, we are left out of the loop. When people come to see me, they know I am going to tell them to go to the person directly. They also know that I know that they are not going to do that. They come to me, not so that I can pass it on, but so that I will seek the truth and take biblical action.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mind of Christ

We know more about the thoughts of God than we do about the thoughts of man. How can that be? There are at least two ways:

1. He has revealed his thoughts to us in the Scriptures.
2. He has given us His Spirit to understand the Spiritual words.

None of the rulers of this world understood God’s wisdom. If they had, they would not have nailed the Lord of glory to the cross. It is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love him.” But God has shown it to us through his Spirit. The Spirit understands all things. He understands even the deep things of God. Who can know the thoughts of another person? Only a person’s own spirit can know them. In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows God’s thoughts. We have not received the spirit of the world. We have received the Spirit who is from God. The Spirit helps us understand what God has freely given us. That is what we speak about. We don’t use words taught to us by people. We use words taught to us by the Holy Spirit. We use the words of the Spirit to teach the truths of the Spirit. Some people don’t have the Holy Spirit. They don’t accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. Things like that are foolish to them. They can’t understand them. In fact, such things can’t be understood without the Spirit’s help. Everyone who has the Spirit can judge all things. But no one can judge those who have the Spirit. It is written, “Who can ever know what is in the Lord’s mind? Can anyone ever teach him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:8-16 NIV)

This is one of those True or False paragraphs. It is so wonderful, we hesitate to say “True.” We dare not say “False.” Meditate on this truth.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Gossip

“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:28-32

These are consequences of rejecting God. Go through the list again. Besides the awful things of murder and malice there are things we enjoy like gossip, slander, envy, disobeying parents, and boasting.

Let’s dwell on gossip. We have always had opportunities to gossip at work, at teas, bridge parties, cocktail parties, and over the back fence. Later the telephone was invented with the party line. We have had newspapers and magazines. They succeed. There is a great demand for gossip. Listening to gossip is as bad as talking gossip. Now we have chat rooms and blogs. Our need to read and listen to gossip and share gossip is immense. It is great sin. It is one of the results of ignoring God.

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13
“A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.” Proverbs 18:8
“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mind of Man

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11 NIV)

One of the things I see often is people judging with absolute certainty the thoughts and motives of another person. To them, it is self-evident. The text quoted is a rhetorical question. Paul is not asking for a show of hands on who knows another person’s thoughts. He is saying that man cannot know the thoughts of another man. We could know if the man told us and we could know if we had the man’s spirit. We could also know if God revealed the man’s thoughts to us. Until then, we must not judge the thoughts of another person. We guess! We guess wrongly and then act on our guess as if we were right.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Will of God

Here are two questions received by email. “What is the meaning of God’s will? What have I to do in order to do God’s will?” Here is a related question: “How can I know God’s will?”
There are two expressions of God’s will that are ultimate in the Scriptures. The first is our salvation.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3, 4 NIV)
The second is part of the first.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. (1 Thessalonians 4:3a NIV)
Both of these were accomplished by Jesus Christ.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV)

We now know that the will of God for us is our salvation, which includes our justification (conversion), holiness, and the redemption of our bodies at the Second Coming. Again, all paid for in advance.
Since we have already experienced our justification and we wait patiently for the Second Coming, then our participation now is in our holiness (sanctification). Remember, it is already paid and provided for.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24 NIV)

Knowing the details of God’s will (Whom should I marry? Where should I work? Should I be a missionary?) is not difficult if I am walking in the light, walking in the Spirit.
If I am not walking in the light, the detailed will of God could be written on the blackboard and I would not be able to read it.
Again, being in the will of God includes obedience to clear imperatives in the Scriptures.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Revival

“Revival,” like many words, has a recent history with several different cultural definitions:

1. The East African Revival of the 30s, 40s, and 50s of the last century. See Roy Hession’s The Calvary Road, Norman Grubb’s Continuous Revival, and Festo Kivengere’s Revolutionary Love.
2. The Welsh Revival very early in the last century where tens of thousands were converted in a few weeks. See Jessie Penn-Lewis’s, The Awakening in Wales.
3. The Korean Revival and North China Revivals were also early in the 20th century. See When the Spirit’s Fire Swept Korea, by Jonathan Goforth.
4. The Great Awakening in the middle of the 18th century and the Second Great Awakening in the middle of the 19th century. These two hit England, Scotland, Wales, the Colonies, and the United States.
The United States did not have anything startling in the 20th century that could remotely be called revival. We did have two World Wars and the ascendancy of liberalism in the Church. Europe, however, took the most damage in the Wars and in liberalism.
The nations that did have revivals had something else by the middle of the century: genocide, no freedom, and Communism in China and North Korea. There were wars and genocide in Rwanda by the end of the century and a very dead secular community in Wales.
Each century has four or five generations in it and each one of us knows, in part, two generations before us and two generations after us.

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:14-18 NIV)

This is talking about next-generation evangelism.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Deuteronomy 5:8 NIV)

This is talking about loving and obeying God. This is good for a thousand generations.
Loving God, obeying God, and proclaiming His righteousness and only His are the primary means of a continuous revival. Confession of sin by believers is the secondary means of continuous revival.
The enemy has always counter-attacked after any successful evangelism. In the book of Acts we can see this physical, violent reaction in Jerusalem (Acts 7-8), Damascus (Acts 9), Jerusalem again (Acts 9), Antioch (Acts 13), Iconium (Acts 14), Lystra (Acts 14), Philippi (Acts 16), and Thessalonica (Acts 17).