The Show-Off Spirit Rise Up

v.1 “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, v.2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw v.3…..the time is near.  v.4 John to the seven churches…: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, v.5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth…..

v.17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”…. v.20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” ()

Rev 1:1 - 5; Rev 22:17; Rev 22:20

Background

After reading this part of my report to our AGM; “To release the expression of the diversity of gifts that Jesus gives to his whole Body remains a challenge into the future (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4). Most churches will never mature because they are afraid to enter into the seeming randomness which must precede an outpouring of the power of the Spirit of God.”, Ros asked me to speak on the topic of spiritual gifts. This immediately triggered personal connections.

The first two spiritual books I ever read were the Bible and The Cross and the Switchblade and the first five years of my Christian life were spent in a Pentecostal Church where the sick were prayed for, deliverance from the demonic practiced and prophecy and tongues regularly exercised in public services.

When I joined that church my family thought I had joined a cult, the culture shock was so great they came along to protect me and were all converted! In the decades following that time the Charismatic Movement in the traditional churches became inward and collapsed whilst amongst Pentecostals “worship” = singing progressively marginalised spiritual gifts pushing them out of Sunday meetings. We must seek a deeper biblical foundation for the exercise of the gifts from the one our spiritual ancestors laid for their time. Here is my approach.

Testimony

When at the start of 1 Corinthians 12 Paul states, “no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.” he is making a Christ-centred statement which underlines the significance of all the gifts (12:3).

Charismatic gifts are important because they communicate something of the reign of Christ through and beyond the local congregation.

This is emphatically how Peter explains Jesus’ relationship to the Spirit in his sermon on the day of Pentecost; “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, (Jesus) he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” (Acts 2:33).

As ascended to heaven Jesus is “Lord of all” and has sovereign authority to pour out the Spirit of God upon his Church (Acts 10:36).

The gift and gifts of the Spirit are signs of the Lordship of Christ.

Just as Jesus had explained it before returning to the Father, ““when the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth…he will bear witness/testify about me.” (John 15:26).

All the gifts are designed to testify to Jesus, and using the language of Revelation 19:10, since “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” all these manifestations are, in the broadest sense, prophetic of Christ.

If the Spirit brings a word of wisdom and knowledge it is a communication of Jesus’ wisdom and knowledge (1 Cor 12:8; Col 2:3), if there is a healing or miracle it is a share in the power which raised Jesus from the dead (1 Cor 12:9-10), if tongues are “mysteries in the Spirit” this must be an expression of God’s mystery which is Christ and so on (1 Cor 12:10; 14:2; Eph 3:4; Col 1:27; 2:2; 4:3).

If this way of understanding spiritual gifts is correct, then the collapse of the manifestation of spiritual gifts in the Church represents a collapse of Christ-centredness. A collapse of relating to Jesus in a spiritual mode of understanding which desperately needs to be restored today. Paul’s introduction to 1 Corinthians points us to what this sort of spirituality might be.

Apocalyptic Gifts and Popular Culture

in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 1:4-8

Compare the framework of thought behind these words to parts of my introductory scripture, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.” (Rev 1:1-2) and it becomes plain that Paul and the Corinthians shared what we would call an apocalyptic worldview.

This is an understanding of the world which expects supernatural revelation from heaven and an in breaking of the power of a new world order. From an apocalyptic perspective spiritual gifts are a sign of a new creation that has come in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). This new world order is centred on the heavenly Lordship of Jesus (Rev 5ff.).

When Paul says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:7 ESV), it is not just a case that someone is helped or healed, but that in this way there is a revelation of the exalted glory of Jesus Christ through the work of the Spirit who is the one bringing in the renewed cosmic order.

The gifts of the Spirit are evidences of the identity and character of Christ in a world where the powers of darkness seem to reign and the Church is a misunderstood and persecuted minority.

Every manifestation of the Spirit is a tangible assurance that the Holy Spirit in the Bride of Christ is joining with her in a joint witness to the testimony of Jesus, ““Surely I am coming soon.” (Rev 22:17, 20 cf. Rom 8:16).

An intense apocalyptic framework like this is the regular atmosphere of the Early Church, was prevalent in various dimensions at the time of the Reformation and was the case with the revival of spiritual gifts in Pentecostalism.

The traditional Pentecostals I knew had sustained an expectation of the cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan and the soon End of the world and deeply believed in the necessity of all the gifts of God for spiritual survival and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.

Times have radically changed. Charismatics became a part of the church furniture and formed their own groups that threatened no one.

Pentecostalism enjoyed great numerical and financial growth and power and inevitably adjusted to the dominant culture around them.

The idolatrous drive for respectability and influence proved incompatible with God’s radical Spirit-given presence to the poor, weak and marginalised. This is the state the Western Church today. There is however a way forward.

The Show – Off Spirit

The title of a well known book on 1 Corinthians 12-14 is called, “Showing the Spirit”. I think the Holy Spirit is “The Show -Off Spirit”; but in a good sense. Let me illustrate.

I was listening to a conversation between Merle and (pastor) Dale the other day. When she asked him, ‘Can I do a show and tell’ in the Sunday service?” we all know what this means.

Every time we get together the Holy Spirit wants to do a “show and tell” and he wants to show and tell Jesus.

Or, to put the same point from a slightly different angle, the Spirit of the Father wants to show off his Son.

This sort of scenario should not surprise us; the whole universe is filled with evidences for God.

As I was out praying in the early morning the other day with a full moon against a clear sky and shining stars this was gloriously unmistakeable. There are signs of the reality of God in creation, powerful signs of the kingdom of God throughout biblical history and spiritual gifts are signs of the sheer grace which is in Christ.

In the wisdom of God the Holy Spirit has been poured out from heaven to show Jesus and he does this in the most unexpected ways.

The Spirit loves to show off the Lord Jesus by distributing gifts seemingly randomly across the Body.

Unpredictability however is not the same as randomness, whatever the manifestation of the Spirit it has as its goal to point to the glory of God in Christ.

The choreographed style of the dominant church culture of today (especially the influential megachurches) is completely incompatible with the Spirit who “blows where it wishes” (John 3:8).

At the point of intersection between this present evil age and “the powers of the age to come” we should not expect the sort of order that keeps things continuing as they always have been (Gal 1:4; Heb 6:5; 2 Pet 3:4). Perhaps the strangest or most offensive way in which the Spirit distributes his gifts is who he chooses to give them to (1 Cor 12:11; Heb 2:4).

The Corinthians were a rabble; divided, immoral, disorderly, subject to bad teaching, and prone to show off their own spirituality rather than Christ, but they are “not lacking in any spiritual gift” (1 Cor 1:7).

To explain how this is possible let me use an analogy.

Some of the most wretched people I have ever met have been Christians. One of the most charismatic people I ever worked with who was seeing good church growth decided without any discussion to dismiss me by dropping a note in my letter box, and was greatly offended when I had the audacity to ring him up over it.

There were lots of weird as well as wonderful things in that parish but it helped me greatly to conclude that if the Spirit of God and his gifts can live in me he can live and work in anyone who confesses Jesus as Lord.

Paul has a deep theological grounding for this.

If as he says in 1 Corinthians 1:30 Christ Jesus is our “righteousness” = justification, then the gifts must be freely distributed to all believers independent of their spiritual maturity. They are a sign of sheer grace and as such should be “earnestly desired” (1 Cor 12:30; 14:1, 39).

Rare however is that body of people that prays earnestly for these giftings. I can think of a number of reasons for this.

Blocked

It is easy to set the fruit against the gifts of the Spirit as if they were in competition and Jesus was somehow divided.

BOTH FRUIT AND GIFTS SHOULD BE SOUGHT.

Then some folk fear displays of spiritual gifts as the misuse of these can be dangerous and confrontational. I have been in some meetings that were disordered to the point of demonised (1 Cor 14:33).

Paul however didn’t dampen the Corinthians’ enthusiasm for manifestations of the Spirit, he simply taught them about good order and right conduct. The apostolic injunction remains true today; “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thess 5:19-22).

I do not however believe that any of the above reasons for the decline of the showing of the Spirit are adequate explanations.

Throughout the New Testament the outpouring of the Spirit and his gifts is connected to the coming of the gospel.

There are a number of examples in Acts to do with speaking in tongues and prophecy but Hebrews spells it out like this; “it (the message) was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (Acts 10:34-46; 19:1-6; Heb 2:3-4).

It must be that the power of the gospel releases the presence of the gifts of the Spirit. Paul starts off 1 Corinthians by saying, “I…did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,”, and says towards the close of the book, “I delivered to you as of first importance …that Christ died for our sins…that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day” (2:1-4; 15:3-4).

If the proclamation of the gospel is the key to the activation of the gifts of the Spirit why do we not see them in many churches that are faithful in gospel preaching?

I think a foundational part of the answer is the neglect of the fact that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the mother of every apocalyptic reality.

The falling away of the disciples, the darkness which covered the land as Jesus hung on the cross and the cry of dereliction, “My God…why have you forsaken me?” witness to the reality that every element of sin’s curse, divine wrath, Satanic assault and human rebellion unveiled by the Lamb in the book of Revelation came upon the Son of God.

That in the hour of “the power of darkness” Jesus loses sight of himself as “the gift of God” and so of all the gifts of the Spirit to/in/through him (John 4:10).

The tearing of the curtain of the temple, the earthquake splitting the tombs and the resurrection of the saints with the angelic presence at the resurrection are the first signs of the manifestation of a new world (Luke 22:53; Matt 27:45-54; cf. 24:7, 12, 29; 28:1ff.).

Biblical apocalyptic is neither a source of fear about the loss of our current stable prosperous order of life nor is it an object of mere fascination.

The spiritual drama unveiled by a biblically grounded apocalyptic worldview is the vehicle for the revelation of Christ as the crucified and exalted Lord of glory (1 Cor 2:8). It is within this intensely revelatory framework that the gifts of the Spirit belong.

Conclusion

Since we are far removed from this sort of way of seeing and experiencing the world and the Church it might seem that any significant hope for the restoration of spiritual gifts as we see them in scripture is very slim.

Surely however, “the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).

I am hopeful we will witness the rebirth of a genuine apocalyptic environment in the Church.

This can only arrive as we accept that whilst new advances for the light of the gospel are happening in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America a dark shadow is falling over the lands of Western Christianity.

In the wisdom of God those alert to the Spirit of God will find the clash between Christ and culture increasingly unbearable without a greater measure of the power of God.

It is time to seek Christ for the Spirit’s gifts, not for the sake of the reputation of the Church, which in our land is humanly irredeemable, but for the sake of testimony of Jesus of which these gifts are a part (Acts 2:33).

This is a testimony that assures us that despite all this earth’s sufferings, travails and terrors this world is not abandoned but under the Lordship of Christ in God.


MESSAGE DELIVERED: 21.8.16 | St Mark’s Anglican Perth 

Author: Dr. John Yates

Fire: Safe or Good?

      Personal Matters      

“There is nothing left in Yarloop. Everyplace we have been working in and holding services in is gone…. You can make plans for another meeting on the 17th unfortunately.” (Dr. Bob Chapman). So reads an email from an itinerant minister working to plant a church in the town of Yarloop, where I was due to preach this Sunday. With 2 dead and 140 homes destroyed by a raging inferno the media have been speaking constantly of a “war against mother nature”.

Since “mother nature” is blameless the rage of traumatised former Yarloop residents has fallen on the failure of government care.  

Our sense that the world should not be so cruel is inborn, blame must be placed somewhere.

One dialogue partner is absent from the endless media and talkback reports over these fires.

Compare this omission to the response to the Lisbon earthquake disaster in 1755.

730__Chap8Fig1-Lisbon1755TsunamiSince it was All Saints Day the churches were crowded when the quake struck and thousands were crushed as the buildings collapsed.

The Jesuits quickly attributed the disaster to God’s wrath, but since the red-light district was untouched thinking people were not persuaded.

Across Europe philosophers turned to a purely scientific explanation of the quake and the discipline of seismology was born.

Enlightened European humanism was on the rise and the notion of a God of love-and-wrath was pushed more and more to the margins.

Who will introduce the notion of such a deity back into cultural conversation?

Certainly not our media nor the shallow mainstream Church.

When a society no longer instinctively holds God responsible for its ills we are in a very dire spiritual situation.

      Nature God Goodness      

Once Westerners looked upon the world as the product of a mighty act of the Creator (Gen 1:1ff; Prov 8:22ff.).

Today the power and might of nature and humanity are seen solely as properties of complex material interactions.

Human nature no longer implies the image of God but the result of natural selection.

No one however can consistently live like as if life can be reduced to biology.

Anger at apparently unnecessary suffering makes sense if there is a God of love and humans are in his image; but what’s the point of raging against the machine if the ultimate reality to which we must bow is an impersonal universe? Few understand this.

Tragically, the everyday consciousness of the average Australian has been so stripped of awareness of the divine glory in their own humanity that not even insurance companies believe that natural disasters are “acts of God”1)http://www.insurancecouncil.com.au/assets/files/urban%20myths.pdf see p.13 for an illuminating cartoon! .

When Danny Nalliah declared that the disastrous Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria were the result of the decriminalisation of abortion he was treated as a nut case by the press and disowned by the Church. Nalliah was unwise to speak of the wrath of God as he did, but Christians must believe that the Lord is ultimately responsible for the fact that “natural” disasters happen in his creation. Otherwise “God” is not sovereign (Isa 45:7; Amos 3:6). Who however dares teach these things?

Like frightened children the Church has substituted a message of safety for goodness.

In a famous passage from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe little Lucy asks Mr. Beaver about Aslan, “Then he isn’t safe?”, Beaver replies; “Who said anything about safe? Course’ he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Popular preachers love Romans 8:28; “for those who love God all things work together for good,” but they will never tie it to the preceding affirmation that “the creation (all things) has been subject to futility” by its Maker (Rom 8:21).

After the Fall of Adam God handed the world over to seemingly unnecessary meaningless disorder and suffering, not as an act of blind rage but as a sign of the unnecessary and meaningless character of our sin!

The brutality of the world is not an unintelligible act of an impersonal “mother” called “nature” but a witness to a Father whose discipline is meant to bring our race to its senses; “For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isa 26:9).

Natural disasters image back to us what we have become and warn us of the wrath to come.

Where the Lisbon Jesuits and Danny Nalliah were wrong was in connecting God’s judgement to individual cases of sinfulness. Rejecting the suggestion some Jews perished by misfortune because they were “worse sinners” than others Jesus warned; “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”” (Luke 13:5).

Only Jesus can help us understand them “the kindness and severity of God”
 (Rom 11:22).

      Help us Jesus      

To a fallen human conscience the meaning of pain is pain; it is unnecessary, meaningless, useless.

Jesus however reveals the Father’s heart by freely embracing temptation, hunger, thirst, tiredness, rejection and finally the pain of the cross for others. Christ’s tears over human suffering reveal that the true God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked”; whether such death comes by “natural” causes or in “natural” disasters (Luke 19:41; John 11:35; 17:3; Ezek 33:11).

The Word of God reveals that the Lord’s own anger is alien to his heart, but this revelation is found in only one place, the cross (Isa 28:21; Lam 3:33; John 1:18).

The cry of bewilderment “Why have you forsaken me?” marks the point where the fallen human experience of suffering as unnecessary and meaningless is carried by Jesus on our behalf (Mark 15:34).

The outpouring of divine wrath on our unnecessary and meaningless sin in Christ is the final revelation that God loves us (Rom 3:25; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 John 4:10).

Through the cross we see that the bearing of suffering for others is the true image and glory of God.

Dying in this way of absolute love Jesus’ precipitates a resurrection and the creation of a new heavens and earth (cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:24).

The lesson of the cross is that the greater the manifestation of the wrath of God the greater the opportunity to suffer for others to the glory of God.

The Early Church understood this; it grew most quickly when plagues hit the Roman Empire, for only the Christians risked their lives to nurse sick sinners. Today there are vast opportunities to reveal Christ by relieving suffering in the midst of poverty, stress, “natural” disaster, sickness and relational breakdown.

These are opportunities to live out the gospel of the substitutionary death-and-resurrection of the Son of God.

      Conclusion      

natural_disaster
terror-01

With “natural” disasters on one side and terrorists on the other the world seems a crazy place; but it is no match for the crazy love of the cross.

Abiding in the death of Jesus the Christian can manifest a peace that no one in the world can attain (Col 1:20).

It is time to move on from our childish obsessions about personal safety to embrace the great vision of the goodness of God in the way of the cross (1 Cor 13:11).

Be warned however, such a way of life will not make sense to most contemporary comfortable Christians.

But a life of bearing suffering for those in pain leads not only to rejection but also to the revelation of the glory of God.

Yarloop is gone, someday soon this entire world as we know it will be burnt out too, but those who walk in the painful goodness of the cross will never be destroyed but reflect the image and glory of the Lamb of God forever (Matt 13:43; Mark 10:38-39; Heb 10:39; 2 Pet 3:10-13).

p.s.
If you really want to blame someone for the ills of the world start with your own Adamic nature, which, with Satan’s help, is the cause of all unnecessary and meaningless suffering (Gen 3).

References

↑ 1. http://www.insurancecouncil.com.au/assets/files/urban%20myths.pdf see p.13 for an illuminating cartoon!

The Greatest Terror

Introduction

Fear has become a part of our everyday life.

This time last year I was in a meeting with some older people in our area whose primary concern was street crime. One had recently been bashed by a young refugee outside the neighbourhood shops.

If you live in the bush you will have fears of fires, if you enjoy a swim you will be on the lookout for sharks.

Domestic violence is in all the news.

Parents won’t allow their kids to ride/walk to school for fear of sexual predators.

Many Christians are alarmed that the push for same-sex marriage will rob us of our religious freedoms.

Thousands marched in the last week to demand action at the UN Climate Change conference in Paris.

The fear of global warming touches people at all levels.

Here is a story told by a friend; “Hi John, The incident you mention was about 2007 when Alannah McTiernan was a Minister in the labour government. Whilst at a large pastoralist conference she walked up to the Department of Agriculture Climatologist and I and asked without any introduction “Are you afraid?” I assumed she had been reading a climate change book by Tim Flannery…. This reminded me of the words of Jesus that in the last days men’s hearts will fail them for fear of those things that are coming on the earth (Luke 21v26).”

Finally there is the terror of Islamic State.

The sheer ruthlessness of this group and its intense publicity machine seems to have left people feeling very uneasy.

Schools now have “lock down” drills to prepare for terrorist attacks. In the wake of the Paris attacks our own Prime Minister was exceptionally blunt; “protecting freedom….. is a global struggle …against those who seek…seek to assert some form of religious tyranny; a threat in the name of God but is truthfully the work of the devil”.

I expect most Christians responded to Malcolm Turnbull’s theological commentary positively because our thinking has not been sufficiently radicalised by the Holy Spirit in the way of the cross.

The word “radical” simply means “from the root”, a Christian who thinks things through from the roots recognises that “the devil is God’s devil” (Luther) and every theologian of the cross knows that it is the Lamb standing as slain who opens the scroll of heaven releasing the full range of physical and spiritual forces which terrify the inhabitants of the earth (Rev 5:6; 6; 13:7).

Today’s climate of fear provides a unique opportunity for the Western Church to renew her witness to this Jesus; but this will require a radicalisation of our spirituality by death and resurrection far deeper than that which can be achieved by any human power (Rom 12:1-2).

The Origin of Terror

Generally people treat fear as a bad experience, but Man was meant to fear God from the beginning.

When the Lord warned Adam, ““In the day that you eat of (the tree of knowledge) it you shall surely die”” his tone indicated the punishment of death was inconceivably horrible (Gen 2:17).

So when after their sin Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden…the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD” (3:8) they subsequently reported to God, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”” (3:9-10).

God’s presence was no longer delightful but excruciatingly painful.

Every awareness of the lost glory of God fills sinners with a deep sense of shame (Rom 3:23).

We can best understand what was lost through sin by looking at some scriptures which speak of the recreation of Paradise.

One such prophecy is in Isaiah, “[2] In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious….[5] the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. [6] There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” (Isa 4:2, 5-6 cf. Rev 7:15-17).

At the End God’s own glorious presence will protect his people from all possible harm.

The restoration of insight into “the beauty of the Lord” fills the people of God with safety and security (Ps 27:4; 90:1). This is the exact opposite of what was lost in Eden.

When God sentenced Adam and Eve for their sin he proclaimed a future of hard work, extreme pain in childbirth, conflict with wild creatures and finally the futility of death; “dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:15-19).

In our comfortable Western countries shielded by the benefits of the welfare state, with access to excellent health care and having lived in one of the most peaceful periods of world history we have forgotten our urgent need to be covered by God’s presence from the material and spiritual terrors of this world.

The radicalisation of my thinking about how God uses terror began with my conversion.

As a 20 year old I was suffering such severe paranoia that I could not walk down a public street so great was my fear of people.

Then the Lord sent a Bible into the house and I started to read it endlessly.

Soon I came under the most terrifying fear of hell; the words of Jesus became incredibly real to me; “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10:28).

Every day I would wake up thinking that if I was to die I would deservedly go to hell; it was terrible. But worse was to come. One day I was in such desperation I tried to enter a Christian meeting on the university campus, suddenly it was like there was a paralysing wall of terror between me and the meeting. I had to turn back.

The next week came around and the same demonically inspired wall of terror was there but the sheer terror of the Lord’s retribution and my need for urgent forgiveness got me through, and the rest is history.

There is a final/Apocalyptic terror from the Lord to end all finite terrors; it was the terror of not finding forgiveness that scared the hell out of me.

When Jesus prophesied of ““people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.”” he meant the intensity of their fears would be so overwhelming that could see no purpose in the state of the world (Luke 21:26). This is the condition of our media and much of the Church today.

Evil’s Purpose

Secular commentators find radical Islam almost impossible to understand.

After the Sydney siege people rushed to redefine the terrorist as mentally ill.

After the Paris attacks media described the killers as members of an unintelligible insane death cult.

But scripture tells us, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12).

Only from our position seated in the heavenly places in Christ can we see that both militant Islam and aggressive Western atheism/secular humanism are in fact equally controlled by the same evil power which hates the glory and beauty God has destined for humanity in Christ (Ps 8; Eph 2:6, 9; Col 1:15; Heb 2:5-9).

To destroy the image of this glory and beauty is evil’s purpose.

When the Muslim armies conquered the Middle East and turned churches into mosques they first tore down the crosses then whitewashed all the images Jesus.

Islam most hates the notion that God the Word became a real flesh and blood human being and died on the cross (John 1:14).

This is the work of the spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:1-3).

In the spiritual realm the power behind Islam that veils the beauty of the face of a woman is not simply patriarchal/misogynistic but understands that since “the woman is the glory of man” her beauty as a sign of the Bride of Christ must be covered (1 Cor 11:7; Eph 5:32).

Understanding Islamic terrorism as a means to deface the image of divine beauty in the world is straightforward; but how does satanic power work to destroy God’s glory and beauty in our Western world?

Abortion in our nations is defended on the grounds of a woman’s right to choose, but in the spiritual realm it represents a satanic desire to end development of the glory of a human life in the likeness of God. (Lev 18:21; Deut 32:17; 1 Cor 10:21).

The most effective way to oppose terror is through the true revelation of beauty.

In sponsoring TV ads showing the wonder of the emergence of the unborn child in the womb the Church in Toowoomba has had considerable success in bringing down the abortion rate in their city.

Light casts out darkness.

Same sex marriage activists portray Christians as “homophobic” terrorists opposed to the rights of gay people.

This campaign however is really about an attack on a deep spiritual mystery.

The author of Proverbs says, “[18] Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: [19] the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin.” (30:18-19).

The mysterious sexual relationship between men and women implanted from the beginning of creation uniquely images something of the glory and beauty of the eternal marriage of Christ to the Church.

This is the spiritual beauty being attacked by the devilish forces promoting gay marriage.

The depth of spiritual crisis in Western culture first came across to me walking along the streets of Lausanne Switzerland some years ago.

The shops were full of such beautiful things but spiritually I felt as if I was surrounded by “beasthood” i.e. in the presence of the spirit of the antichrist (Rev 11:7; 13:1ff).

I was in great grief of heart as I could sense the destruction of souls all around me blinded by the material blessings of God apart from the saving knowledge of Christ the Blessed One (Mark 14:61; Acts 17:16; Rom 9:5).

Finally I saw something that nearly sent me out of my mind; I came across a fashion store called “Christ”.

I wrote in my prayer journal, “They have taken all that belongs to you, all your glory and beauty, even your name, FOR THEMSELVES. Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.

This is Jesus’ great prayer from the cross; and it is to the cross we must go if our minds are to be radicalised concerning God’s purposes for terror in this world and the next.

Terror of the Cross

Since “fear has to do with punishment” as a sinless person Jesus had no earthly fears (Heb 4:15; 1 John 4:18). He went about destroying the works of the devil that inspire terror (Acts 10:38; 1 John 3:8).

Sickness, demonic powers and death itself were abolished (Matt 4:24; Mark 5:10; Luke 8:50) in his glorious covering presence where the weakest found shelter (Matt 11:28; John 1:14; 11:4, 40).

When men tried to kill him he walked unperturbed through their midst for his hour had not yet come (Luke 4:29-30; John 8:59; 10:31, 39).

Everything however changes in the shadow of the cross.

The Lord’s prayer in the Garden, ““if possible take this cup from me”” and his terrible cry,““My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Mark 14:36; 15:34) have only one explanation, the cross is the terror of God (Gen 35:5; Ex 15:16; Deut 4:34; Ps 53:5; Jer 49:5; Ezek 32:32 cf. Gen 18:12).

The cross is the place where the gloom and darkness of the Day of the Lord, the great End time/Apocalyptic judgement of God on the wicked, descends upon Jesus dying in our place separated from the all-covering presence of his Father’s glory (Amos 5:20; Mark 15:33).

All the terrors of hell are concentrated in the sacrifice of the Son of God.

As Isaiah prophesied, “it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief” (Isa 53:10).

This is a grief beyond measure.

The terror of terror is not suffering, it is suffering without a good or noble purpose, the terror of hell is not suffering forever, but suffering forever without a purpose. Cut off from the presence of his Father’s good, pleasing and perfect will this is the terror Christ must endure for us (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 5:21).

Jesus however was never passive, the deeper he entered into the terror’s humanity deserves at the hands of God the more powerfully he prays; ““Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”” (Luke 23:34 cf. Luke 6:28).

Before mortal eyes, citing Isaiah again, “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa 53:2); before mortal eyes the great satanic ambition of destroying the beauty and glory of God in his image in man seems finally accomplished.

But in the eyes of the Father this love so pure and beautiful that it is indestructible, immortal and triumphant. The death of Jesus issues in the beginning of the End of the world.

The soldiers who crucified Jesus were state terrorists commissioned to flog, mock, abuse and prolong the sufferings of their victims, but Jesus is no victim (Matt 27:26, 30-31).

When “Jesus…breathed his last… The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many …who had died were raised… 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (Matt 27:50 ff.).

The terrorists have become believers in Jesus (Matt 14:33; 1 John 4:15) as the one through whom God has commenced the beginning of the End of the world by raising the dead.

This fear from heaven comes with the discovery of Christ’s empty tomb; “And they (the women) went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them…” (Mark 16:8; cf. Matt 17:6; Luke 24:5; 37).

The resurrection of the crucified Christ induces an awesome holy fear whose dimensions leave no space for any earth inspired terror.

I believe this explains the response of the crowd to Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost; “[23] this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. [24] God raised him up… [36] God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.[37] Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,”” (Acts 2:23-24; 36-37).

When the covering presence of God in Christ crucified-and-risen becomes real to sinners their greatest terror is that they might fail to find forgiveness in him.

Every other thought in the minds of the crowd, whether they would be rejected by their countrymen, as Jesus was, persecuted by the Romans, as Jesus was, went out of their heads.

Their preview of the End (cf. Joel 2:31 = Acts 2:19-20), their experience of God’s Apocalyptic terror, scared the hell out of them. What a glorious day!

The Terror of the Coming King

Spoiled by centuries of occupying a privilege the Western Church has lost sight of how radically threatening to the powers that be the Kingship of Jesus truly is.

Psalm 2, says this about Christ; “[1] Why do the nations rage…. [2] and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, [4] …the Lord holds them in derision. [5] Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, [6]…I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill. [7] …The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. [8] Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession….[12] Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:1-2, 4-8, 12 ESV).

Jesus ruling presence naturally terrifies the rulers of the earth (Matt 3:17; Acts 13:33; Rom 1:4; Heb 1:2 cf. Rev 11:18).

This is his presence in the gospel; when the apostles entered Thessalonica the city was in uproar, ““These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also…and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”” (Acts 17:6-7).

The readers of the New Testament understood that the spiritual and material worlds could not be separated.

They understood that the blind rage of Herod in slaughtering the little boys of Bethlehem was supernaturally inspired over who was king of the Jews (Matt 2:1-8; 16-18; cf. Acts 4:25-26).

The early Christians knew that by refusing to bow the knee to Caesar they would stir up the demonic powers behind Roman rule who would work to annihilate them (John 19:12, 15; Acts 17:7; Rev 12 – 13).

The demonic forces driving Islamic State have no fear of the secular forces running the nations of the West.

Their great ambition is to drive the Christian witness from the Middle East forever and move on from there. Likewise the persecution of Christians in Europe and America over gay rights issues has one goal, to diminish witness to the glory of God in Christ. Where however the Church is faithful persecution empowers the testimony of Jesus.

Unafraid

After Islamic State drove many Christians from their homes in northern Iraq a reporter asked 11-year-old refugee Maryam: “What are your feelings towards those who drove you out of your home and caused you hardships?” She replied: “I won’t do anything to them, I will only ask God to forgive them.” She said: “In the Bible Jesus said to us, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am with you.’ And also, He said forgive others no matter who they are hating you. You have to forgive them.” “Jesus is my father, and He is my creator. I have no one else better than him. When ISIS drove us out of our home, His hand was on us and He saved us.” “The Holy Spirit gave me these words to tell you.” “The only story in the Bible is the story of the resurrection of Christ Jesus the Lord because through that story, we can have hope.” “When I pray, I pray that God might help us to go back home. And also that the peace of God might come all over Iraq and also, may God forgive ISIS.

For the Church, times of terror should be times of great illumination.

Terror brings a message from heaven that only the beauties and glories of another world can last. When the city of Rome fell to the barbarians in 410 A.D. many Christians were traumatised. (“If Rome can perish, what can be safe?” (Jerome)).

But as St. Augustine aged, he increasingly thought of the world, its politics, culture, and institutions, as a tottering old man whose days were numbered: “You are surprised that the world is losing its grip? That the world is grown old? Don’t hold onto the old man, the world; don’t refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you: ‘The world is passing away; the world is losing its grip; the world is short of breath. Don’t fear, your youth shall be renewed as an eagle.‘” (Sermon 81, 8. Citing Ps 103:5).

Let me pick up this scripture; “your youth shall be renewed as an eagle.”

The Western Church does not show the beauty of spiritual youthfulness.

Everyone thinks the traditional denominations are headed for the grave; but the more contemporary trendy churches are so tied to prosperity in this passing world (cf. Your Best Life Now) that they cannot reflect “the unfading/imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Pet 3:4).

Whatever the chronological distribution, our churches lack the awe-filled apocalyptic presence of God that always threatens the status quo and cannot be intimidated by any earthly concern (Acts 5:11; 1 Cor 7:31; 14:25; 1 John 2:17).

Once no terror kept the Western Church from sending missionaries across the globe many who would never return.

But like the church in Ephesus we have lost our youthful spiritual passion for Jesus; “you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Rev 2:4).

The fountain of eternal youth is the gospel; “v.2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, v.3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, v.4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, v.5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Ps 103:2-5).

A Church that walks in the continual cleansing of the forgiving word will always feel young and beautiful; “a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. (Eph 5:27). The beauty and glory of such a church is her refusal to compromise the cause of Christ.

Peter counsels the wives of unbelieving husband with words that fit the Church today; “Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” (1 Pet 3:6). “do not fear anything that is frightening.” alludes to be Proverbs 3:25 “Do not be afraid of sudden terror”.

If you are walking in forgiveness you have passed through the Apocalyptic terror of the great trial of divine judgement, free from the fallen fear that something will suddenly overtake you as a punishment by God, the promise is yours in Christ.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…. will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at noonday.” (Ps 91:1, 5-6).

With lives “hid with Christ in God” what can we fear (Col 3:3 cf. Heb 13:6)?

As a believing wife was to refuse to be intimated by anything her husband might say or do to her on account of her faith in Christ so the Church who obeys the Lord at whatever cost radiates the hidden spiritual beauty of her crucified Lord.

Later Peter puts the point more broadly, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled…. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Pet 3:14; 4:14).

Conclusion

The world as we know it is changing and no natural power can deliver the post-Christian Western nations from the terrors that confront them; and this is God’s good purpose (cf. Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11).

The right to a world enjoying climatic stability is passing away, the right to live free from the threat of religious terrorism is over and for Christians the right to religious freedom is slipping away.

In such an atmosphere the Church may perhaps be shocked into realising that our idolatries have blinded us to the real spiritual wars around us (Pss 29:2; 96:9; 1 Chron 16:29); we may perhaps recognise that the great holy fear that should grip us is that men and women daily perish without experiencing that Apocalyptic terror that can scare the hell out of them.

The ways of the Lord are radical beyond measure because they are the ways of Christ crucified.


God has always had one purpose for evil and its terror; to bring forth a beautiful and glorious Bride for his Son walking in the power of the cross and living in the forgiveness of sin which keeps her forever young.

The Lamb conquers terror by the testimony of a Bride whose unfailing witness to his gospel is her beauty (Rev 12:1, 11).

It is such a Church continually renewed in spiritual beauty and fearlessness in her suffering for Christ that will really have something to offer to a world that has no answers to the threats that confront it.

Build on Unshakable Foundation

by Timothy Tay

Tragic as it is the Chilean earthquake which came a month after the devastating Haitian earthquake brought considerably less loss of life and property despite the greater magnitude of destructive force that had struck Chile. It is becoming obvious that the state of preparedness the Chileans had for event like this had paid off.
 Strict building codes, earthquake drills and the built up of emergency funds may be taxing but so necessary. Tragically, many hundreds lives are loss in Chile not from falling buildings and highways but from the resulting tsunami which their state of preparedness had missed out on the whole.

One lesson we can learn from the events in Chile and Haiti is the obvious need to be prepared for impending disaster at all times. 

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour says Jesus to his disciples when he foretold of impending disasters and if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved is Jesus assurance of his return for the sake of his elect (Matthew 24:22).

Build your life then on the Rock of Ages1)http://awake.seranates.com/jan/Jesus-Christ-is-the-Rock-of-Ages.htm  that cannot be shaken,2)Hebrews 12:26 NIV  a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation.3)http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=sure+foundation

I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. Luke 6:47-49

Related:

Apocalyptic Signs

References

↑ 1. http://awake.seranates.com/jan/Jesus-Christ-is-the-Rock-of-Ages.htm
↑ 2. Hebrews 12:26 NIV
↑ 3. http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=sure+foundation

Apocalyptic Signs

end-is-near-sign-3» Animal Deaths (Mass proportions) Hosea 4:3

» Christians Turn Away From Truth 2 Timothy 4:3-4

» Earthquakes Matthew 24:7

» Environmental Destruction Revelation 11:18

» False Christs and Prophets Matthew 24:4-5, 11

» Famine Matthew 24:7

» Global Real Time Communication Revelation 11:7-10

» Gospel Preached To World Matthew 24:14

» Knowledge (Increase of) Daniel 12:4

» Man of Sin Revealed 2 Thessalonians 2:3

» Mark of the Beast (Ability to Enforce the Mark) Revelation 13:17

» Martyrs (Christians Being Killed) Matthew 24:9-10

» Natural Disasters Luke 21:25-26

» Peace and Safety (Middle East) 1 Thessalonians 5:3

» Sin (Increase In) Matthew 24:12

» Spiritualism (Rise in) 1 Timothy 4:1

» Unsealed Prophecy Daniel 12:4

» Violence and Sexual Immorality Matthew 24:37

» Wars Matthew 24:6-7

Shaking of Heaven and Earth

Do we really suppose that the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC) is simply one end of the repeated economic bubble of boom and bust?

Do we really imagine that it is primarily a manifestation of human greed, even if we sense the wrath of God involved?1)As per Romans 1:18ff, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”.  We should discern in this time of many troubles that the Lamb is rising from his throne in heaven on behalf of his earthly witnesses and in response to their heartfelt prayers for global revival2)After the pattern of Stephen, “v55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. v56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”” [Acts 7:55-56].

by Dr. John Yates
From ancient times men and women of faith knew that their urgent prayers penetrated the heart of heaven and brought forth a shaking of the earth, “v7 In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. v8The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry.” (2 Sam 22:7-8).

The New Testament applies the following prophecy to the entire end – times period in which we live, “v6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. v7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. v8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. v9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’” (Hag 2:6;9).

The writer to the Hebrews says, “v26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.v27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. v28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, v29 for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:26;29).

Financial crisis headlinesTo sight, nothing about the GFC3)Global Financial Crisis looks glorious, but to faith (2 Cor 5:7) the present shaking of the world is a reflection of the action of God in heaven for the sake of his building a glorious house made up of men and women on earth.    This devastation is the latest manifestation of a pattern of the shaking of foundations that leads men and women to turn desperately to God.4)For example, Isaiah 6:3;5, “v3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” v4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. v5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” ” Cf. Rev 11:1;13.

A recent researcher plotting the emotional impact of the GFC5)Global Financial Crisis investigated the number of searches for “Great Depression” on Google; they were soaring in response to bad economic news. Americans were panicking the most, followed by Australians.

The article goes on to say, “For no apparent reason,6)Locals can explain this easily, we have been told over here to expect an endless China –driven economic boom fuelled by the mineral resources of our enormous state [2,645,615 km², 1,021,478 sq mi]. West Australians are afraid of losing so much they have taken for granted.  Perth topped the list of the world’s cities”.7)The Weekend Australian march 7 – 8 2009, p.18  God is shaking people.

What should our response to such a divine movement on a global scale?

His purpose is not limited to a focus on more power encounters, signs and wonders, social justice or any other set of phenomena.8)None of which are excluded from the kingdom of God. Where the church makes these things the focus, legitimate in their own context, the end result is always disappointment.9)Consider the hopes centred on the Third Wave, the Toronto Blessing, the social gospel movement etc.

The purposes of the kingdom of God are much greater than this. The Lord is seeking nothing less than a more intense indwelling of his glory in Christ’s Body10)The glorious image of Jesus in Revelation 1 leads into the prophecies for the church in chapters 2–3.  for the sake of the salvation of the world.

The fullness of Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” awaits the End, but it is the goal towards which all things are moving through us.11)v22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, v23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” [Eph 1:22].

We are talking about seeing the fullness of Christ penetrating all things:

» CULTURE
 
» PEOPLE
 » NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

The manifest presence of Christ proclaims a clear message, “This is the way home.” Our goal in the preaching and living of the good news is that God in Christ “will be all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).

The Lord is moving the church on earth12)My comments in this section are particularly directed to lazy Western Christianity.  to increasingly image the rhythm of heaven. Above,13)See especially Revelation 4–5. the enthroned Jesus is at the centre of everything. In his presence adoration flows, those who love him recognise that he is the King of Kings who releases blessing or judgement on the nations, therefore intercession arises before him and the obedient sons of God14)In this case, angels [Mark 13:24-27].  are sent forth to harvest the earth. These dynamics of adoration, awe at Christ’s sovereignty, intercession to him and a going forth to disciple the nations are all his present purposes for the church below.

The Lord is moving us to a place where we know the practical meaning of his words, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:19). The church – creating progress of the kingdom of God on earth15)By this I mean that the power of the kingdom of God creates the church [Matt 16:16-18].  will visibly echo what is transpiring in heaven. There is however something malevolently blocking this, it is entertainment.

Who are we Sensing?

By “entertainment” I am not principally thinking of TV, DVD, CD, movies…. but the effect these media have on our humanity.16)There has surely never been a culture so entertainment saturated as contemporary Western society. The essence of entertainment is that it takes us deeper into our senses. This is what makes entertainment, at least as a lifestyle, so dehumanising. 

» If humanity was made in the image of God, then the glory of humanity is to be drawn ever more deeply into what God is sensing.
question-icon-02-32 - Copy We must seriously ask, does the popular music style of our famous churches promote an experience of the heart of God?
question-icon-02-32 - Copy Does the motivational style of preaching lead us into the core of the divine being?17)Where we find the eternal cross in the heart of God.
question-icon-02-32 - Copy The market driven and seeker centred/sensitive churches of our day, by their very nature, cannot convey “the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10).
question-icon-02-32 - Copy What then is the passion and persuasion that will lead us deeper into the senses of Jesus?
 A recent experience of mine may prophetically convey the answer.

I was talking with a pastor who started to speak of the importance of being silent before God, I immediately had two sensations. The first was one of enormous power, there was no doubt it was the power of Almighty God. The second awareness, completely involuntary and spontaneous, was of fear and resistance. I did not at all like what I was sensing,18)Jesus experienced both an awareness of divine omnipotence combined with fear and loathing as he approached the cross, “And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.””[Mark 14:36]. however I believe it feeds directly into the subject matter of this article.

In both Old and New Testaments there is silence in heaven and earth before God acts in a decisive way.

But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Hab 2:20);

Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests.” (Zeph 1:7);

Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”(Zech 2:13);

v1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. v2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. v3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, v4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. v5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” (Rev 8:1-5).

Much of the contemporary church has learnt from the apocalyptic images of scripture the lesson of adoring the Lamb, but silence in the presence of sovereignty of God is a discipline that seems to have escaped us.

Why?

To say we inhabit a noise filled world where people are always facing flat screens or living with phones in their ears is true but symptomatic. My sense is that we take silence before God19)The Reformers in particular spoke of existence Coram Deo, literally meaning “before the face of God”. It carries the notion of our living in the presence of God, under the authority of God and to the honour and glory of God. It is what each person was designed for by their Creator.  as an indication that he is absent and/or angry.

Whilst this might be the meaning conveyed by the great silence of the cross (Mark 15:34) to those who are lost, this cannot be true for us who know Jesus. In the very passage that speaks most clearly of the shaking of all things, we are comforted by the knowledge that we have come “to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Heb 12:24).

Abel’s blood, like the blood of all the innocents slain from the foundation of the world, cries out for vengeance (Gen 4:10-11), but the blood of Jesus speaks to our consciences peace (Heb 13:20; Col 1:20; 1 Pet 1:2). Our failure to dwell in this silence, from which issues all the shakings that are going on about us, suggests that we need to learn again “the elementary doctrine of Christ” (Heb 6:1).

Nevertheless, if the Spirit is speaking to the churches about power and silence, we may be assured that something marvellous is afoot, something truly awesome.20)Residents of WA will see, e.g. in the recent visit of the fatherly Angus Buchan, a fulfilment of Malachi’s words, “v5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. v6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” [Mal 4:5–6] I am anticipating that we will witness words and deeds full of the glory of the kingdom of heaven.

Homeless no More

For some years, Christians have spoken of the redemptive gift of nations and cities.21)E.g., Pieter Bos thinks Australia’s gift is “the good mate.” In the light of the teaching of this paper, I want to suggest that a redemptive gift22)I am not excluding multiple graces of God imparted to a nation/race for the good of humanity.  that God is unveiling in the present time from Australia is a sense of home. At first sight this might seem to be a peculiar suggestion.

From the penal settlement of this nation Australians have lived in a spiritual atmosphere that has made them feel like they have been robbed of glory. Therefore, in the deepest way, they lack a sense of home.23)Despite national advantages like climate, vegetation, beaches, peace, prosperity and friendliness. Arguably, Australia’s number one social problem is homelessness. Not simply in the fact that over 105,000 are listed as homeless,24)E.g. Link but that so many children are growing up without fathers, and thousands of believers struggle to find a church as home.

Even more fundamentally, the nature of white settlement has been so traumatic for indigenous Australians that many call the national celebration of Australia Day, “Invasion Day”.25)Link Australian of the year 2009, Mick Dodson, an aboriginal person, has publicly called for the date of the celebration to be changed. The recent government report on “the stolen generation” of aboriginal children forcefully removed from their families and placed in government care was called “Bringing them Home”. The notion of homeland is problematic in many ways for aboriginal people. Whilst this matter remains unresolved all the inhabitants of this country are all at a loss.

Back in the 80’s one of the most popular songs in Australia was “I Still Call Australia Home”. It speaks sentimentally of an expatriates longing for home. A sense of home has always been a difficult issue for Australians.

To quote intellectual, journalist and social commentator Phillip Adams, “Australians have always worried about national identity. We quarrel over it, we fret about it. The (recent Victorian) bushfires ended the argument….But will it last ….that depends on whether Australians want to keep the communal spirit alive.”26)The Weekend Australian Magazine February 28 – March 1 2009 p.54 Adams tone suggests he anticipates the communal spirit generated by the recent national bushfire disaster will not sustain. I think he is correct.

It needs to be stated categorically that only a sovereign manifestation of the glory of God can heal the homelessness at the heart of modern Australia.27)Some propose that Australia is in the grip of an “orphan spirit”, e.g. Link practically speaking this amounts to the same thing as having a sense of homelessness. Nothing can impart the sense of belonging, welcome, acceptance and wholeness we desperately need apart from a manifestation of the glory of Christ from his heavenly home.

This needs something far wider and deeper than a few exciting church meetings. This involves a gospel much bigger than simply the forgiveness of sins. It requires more than a visitation of God;28)Visitation is a biblical reality, but can conjure up a sense of God’s coming and going, of impermanence. it requires an experience of being God’s habitation that will spill out from the hearts of his people (John 7:37-39) into the marketplace- schools, pubs, parliaments, brothels, board rooms, factories, offices and every place where human beings experience a sense of lostness.

It is no accident of history that all the nations of the world have been drawn to Australia; it is part of God’s plan for a global homecoming at the close of the age. Almost half of the population of Western Australia has one or both parents born overseas. People from more than 200 countries, speaking 270 languages and embracing more than 100 religious faiths live here.29)The West Australian, Thursday March 5, 2009, p.14.  Western Australia has a prophetic destiny in Christ to become a “home for all peoples”.

This will not happen spontaneously nor mystically, but only as the body of Christ embraces what it means to be a “house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17), that is, a home for God from which the Spirit intercedes to the Father (Rom 8:26-27) for the discipling of all the nations of the earth (Matt 28:18-20).

We await with prayer and patience the descent of the Spirit from on high to bring us into the “peaceful habitations” of his love (Isa 32:15-18), where we sense, perhaps for the first time in our lives, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).

Conclusion

Someone wisely said a revelation of home precedes a revelation of the need for house cleaning. Only when the churches hear that the Spirit is saying, “You are the dwelling place of God”, will they be moved to get their house in order for the Holy resident. Home is where it is all heading; this is why Jesus died and why everything is being gathered to him.30)v9 he set forth in Christ v10 …a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” [Eph 1:9-10]. In the End, all peoples will find their home in him.31)v32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”[John 12:32]

In the meantime we await the opening of the celestial temple that will give us a revelation that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). As the Spirit unveils to us that to be “away from the body “is to be “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8) the vain efforts to fill our earthly lives and residences with meaning through material consumption will melt away.

Only as we bathe in the radiance of the heavenly glory as it descends from above can we be free from all the constraints of culture and nationalism and point men and women “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9) to their true home in God. Only God can send a sovereign manifestation of glory that will provokes this. Surely however this is his deepest pleasure and purpose (Eph 1:9).

References

↑ 1. As per Romans 1:18ff, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”.
↑ 2. After the pattern of Stephen, “v55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. v56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”” [Acts 7:55-56].
↑ 3. Global Financial Crisis
↑ 4. For example, Isaiah 6:3;5, “v3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” v4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. v5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” ” Cf. Rev 11:1;13.
↑ 5. Global Financial Crisis
↑ 6. Locals can explain this easily, we have been told over here to expect an endless China –driven economic boom fuelled by the mineral resources of our enormous state [2,645,615 km², 1,021,478 sq mi]. West Australians are afraid of losing so much they have taken for granted.
↑ 7. The Weekend Australian march 7 – 8 2009, p.18
↑ 8. None of which are excluded from the kingdom of God.
↑ 9. Consider the hopes centred on the Third Wave, the Toronto Blessing, the social gospel movement etc.
↑ 10. The glorious image of Jesus in Revelation 1 leads into the prophecies for the church in chapters 2–3.
↑ 11. v22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, v23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” [Eph 1:22].
↑ 12. My comments in this section are particularly directed to lazy Western Christianity.
↑ 13. See especially Revelation 4–5.
↑ 14. In this case, angels [Mark 13:24-27].
↑ 15. By this I mean that the power of the kingdom of God creates the church [Matt 16:16-18].
↑ 16. There has surely never been a culture so entertainment saturated as contemporary Western society.
↑ 17. Where we find the eternal cross in the heart of God.
↑ 18. Jesus experienced both an awareness of divine omnipotence combined with fear and loathing as he approached the cross, “And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.””[Mark 14:36].
↑ 19. The Reformers in particular spoke of existence Coram Deo, literally meaning “before the face of God”. It carries the notion of our living in the presence of God, under the authority of God and to the honour and glory of God. It is what each person was designed for by their Creator.
↑ 20. Residents of WA will see, e.g. in the recent visit of the fatherly Angus Buchan, a fulfilment of Malachi’s words, “v5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. v6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” [Mal 4:5–6]
↑ 21. E.g., Pieter Bos thinks Australia’s gift is “the good mate.”
↑ 22. I am not excluding multiple graces of God imparted to a nation/race for the good of humanity.
↑ 23. Despite national advantages like climate, vegetation, beaches, peace, prosperity and friendliness.
↑ 24. E.g. Link
↑ 25. Link Australian of the year 2009, Mick Dodson, an aboriginal person, has publicly called for the date of the celebration to be changed.
↑ 26. The Weekend Australian Magazine February 28 – March 1 2009 p.54
↑ 27. Some propose that Australia is in the grip of an “orphan spirit”, e.g. Link practically speaking this amounts to the same thing as having a sense of homelessness.
↑ 28. Visitation is a biblical reality, but can conjure up a sense of God’s coming and going, of impermanence.
↑ 29. The West Australian, Thursday March 5, 2009, p.14.
↑ 30. v9 he set forth in Christ v10 …a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” [Eph 1:9-10].
↑ 31. v32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”[John 12:32]

Shaking and Transforming

1)The above message was first delivered at the Transformation Conference – Equipped to transform Friday 26.10.2007 JY sermon

Introduction

Western Australia is a state full of natural riches – deserts, beaches, forests, iron ore, gas, diamonds, bauxite, mineral sands, pearls, gold, nickel, that have been put here by God for a specific purpose. Perth is physically a clean, prosperous and beautiful city.

by Dr. John Yates
According to the principle, “But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.” (1 Cor 15:46), Jesus is working to bring the human, spiritual and material realm into a unity of great productivity for the kingdom of God. This will involve a radical change of perspective for the people of God: from below to above, from earth to heaven, from an awareness mortal flesh to that of his glorified humanity, from preoccupations with the state of the church to seeing him as the Lord of all (Rev 17:14; Rev 19:16). He is reminding us that in the Spirit we are ascended with him above the clouds (Eph 2:6). He is redefining the centre of our spirituality
.

The emphases of the Evangelical stream have kept the church too earthly focused. Christ said to Nicodemus concerning being “born again”: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12).

Today we are to hear him speaking from heaven about how he is moving the whole globe towards “the regeneration of all things” (Matt 19:28). Many Pentecostals are stuck at another level. They speak as if the key to transformation is the restoration of the five- fold ministry. Our focus must be on the Lord whov10 ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things” v11 and who then gave “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers” to serve this purpose (Eph 4:10-11).

The whole church must look beyond itself to the Lord in heaven. When praying in the World Prayer centre in Colorado Springs recently I was directed to a passage that speaks from this perspective (Hebrews 12:22-29).

The Blood is Over All

In the World Prayer Centre I was struck by these words of Jack Hayford, “Direct access to Heaven’s Throne through the Blood of Jesus is the grand privilege of prayer.” From the perspective of the throne of God’s grace” (Heb 4:16) the blood of Jesus covers all created things, v19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, v20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col 1:19-20), “the sprinkled blood…speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb 12:24) giving the power of the Holy Spirit access to every place and the conscience of every person.

Since Jesus “upholds the universe by the word of his power (Heb 1:3) every corner of the planet is penetrated by his life. Wherever we live and work we can repeat the words of Jacob, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Gen 28:17).

Having shed his blood for all Jesus is present as the absolute centre (epicentre) of God’s purpose everywhere. There is and cannot be any spiritually dead place on earth.

The Shaking of Heaven and Earth

God says ““Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” (Hebrews 12:26). These earthly shakings include things like: “wars and rumors of wars…. famines and earthquakes in various places. (Matt 24:6-7). Events like 9/11 and the Bali bombings come to mind. But these events (which are certainly judgments) have not provoked a mass turning to Christ.

I was given an insight into the reason for this in the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. A lady stepped up to the microphone and asked that God would shake the heavens over Washington in a specific way to do with decisions that were then being made there.

Suddenly it was clear that if the earth is shaken and the heavens are not, all that is aroused in people is a greater fear of death that simply intensifies the control evil powers have over society (2 Cor 4:4; 1 John 5:19). Human beings are only able to receive revelation about what God is doing in history when both earth and the heavenly places are shaken in synchrony.

Mostly the church seems blind to this multi – dimensional way of seeing: Let me give an example. In the midst of the panic over “horse flu” and the dreadful prospect that the nation might miss its yearly opportunity to stop for the Melbourne Cup, a prophetic friend sent me this:

I wanted to know what you thought about the equine influenza problem.

I thought that God must be saying something through this – it is the first time that such a thing has happened in Australia I prayed about this today.

It seems to be about justice.

It is the rich who own horses and make money from racing. It is the poor who gamble on those races and that money gambled so often is the rent or the food money. Many families suffer because of this.

However, if the church takes no notice of this event – if they do not pray – then it will not bring about the desired result.

It is deeply inspired prophetic prayer that will touch the heart of God in heaven so he moves to shake the earth around us and the heavens over us. This prayer will be based on the work of the cross.

The New Testament speaks of “cosmic powers over this present darkness…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.(Eph 6:12 cf. Eph 3:10). This spiritual realm “above the earth” is inhabited by evil powers controlling the minds of men and women (2 Cor 4:4; 2 Cor 10:5).

Christ reigns in a realm far above these demonic forces.

Hebrews stresses that “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens (Hebrews 4:14). The ascended Christ is “exalted above the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:26) to the throne of God. He has gone “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. (Heb 9:24) [lit: appear before the face of God.] In heaven “he entered once for all into the holy places…by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.(Heb 9:12).

This blood “speaks a better word than the blood of Abel(Heb 12:24), because it speaks forgiveness not vengeance (Gen 4:8;16; Eph 1:7). Paul describes the spiritual warfare significance of Jesus’ journey to heaven (Ephesians 4:8), When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,”; these captives are demonic hosts.

As Jesus blazed a trail (arpkegos Heb 2:10; Heb 12:2) through the realm of the dominion of darkness (cf. Col 1:13; Eph 2:2) the evil spiritual hosts were traumatized – and they still are in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They were not traumatized by the power of God but by the new authority of a man, “the man Christ Jesus(1 Tim 2:5; Matt 28:18).

In expounding Christ’s victory the author of Hebrews says, “v14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, v15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:14-15).

Satan has “the power of death” because the “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (1 Cor 15:56). Prior to Jesus ascension to the throne of God the devil accused all humanity as law breakers “day and night before our God. (Rev 12:10); all stood condemned because of their sin. In taking his blood through the heavens into heaven Jesus reveals to the demonic hosts that the ransom price has been paid for the guilt of all humanity. Jesus has bound the strong man and plundered his goods (Matt 12:29), Satan’s only remaining strategy is deception (Rev 20:3, 8).

How we Shake the Heavens and the Earth with Jesus

God knows the victory of Christ over evil powers is complete (John 19:30; Col 2:15), Satan knows that “his time is short” (Rev 12:12), but the church – though in Christ elevated as the bridge between heaven, the heavens and the earth – often fails to understand its mission.

Paul expounds our commission:“v20 he raised him (Jesus) from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, v21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. v22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, v23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.(Eph 1:20-23).

Jesus the Bridegroom is calling from heaven to the church his bride on earth; he is calling her to enter into prevailing prayer. “v19 we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, v20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, v21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, v22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb 10:19-22).

Entering behind the curtain God’s purposes are no longer veiled, his redemptive plan is revealed, his way to the shaking of all things is through the intercession of the saints.“v5 My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. v6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. v7 And I will shake all nations (Australia), so that the treasures of all nations (iron ore, gas, diamonds, bauxite, pearls, gold, nickel) shall come in, and I will fill this house (the church) with glory, says the Lord of hosts. v8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. v9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.(Hag 2:5-9)

The prophetic fulfillment of this word from Haggai about the shaking of “all things” is not primarily about supernatural manifestations in church meetings; it is a political shaking, a community shaking, a business shaking, a legal shaking, a shaking in the media, in family, in health and in all the realms of human existence redeemed by Christ.

Whatever realm in which the Lord has sovereignly placed you (Eph 1:10-11), this arena will shake as you step forward in the prayer of faith and appropriate the truth that every element of creation is open to the Lordship of Christ (Acts 10:36). This state and this city are a funnel through which Jesus Christ wants to pour untold resources amongst the nations of the world.

The Lord is about to release blood authority in church, this is the authority of sacrificial love. A huge reversal is coming soon through the kingdom of God, the weak will say “I am strong” and the poor will say “I am rich”. The sun of righteousness is dawning on Australia with healing in its wings (Mal 4:2), fathers will turn to children and children to parents (Mal 4:6) because through the power of the sacrifice of Christ all things are being restored (Acts 3:21).

This release of the authority of the blood of Christ will generate power to witness in word, sign and deed. The Father is about to “entrust blood mediated power to his witnesses (Rev 12:11).

EVERYWHERE [i.e. inall things”]– in offices, homes, schools, factories, shops, streets, clubs, pubs… the church is being led into “the witness box” where it will give testimony to the unconquerable fact that the shed blood of Christ has cleansed heaven and earth (Col 1:20; John 1:29).

Jesus is moving to break the cycle of deprivation at all levels of society:“v50 his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. v51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; v52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; v53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.(Luke 1:50-53)

He will lift up the deprived, the abused, the reviled, the addicted, the despised – the sufferers of domestic violence, the psychologically disturbed, the prostitute, the guilt tormented homosexual, the hopeless from indigenous communities, the fatherless, the lonely, the broken hearted, the aged, the dying ….he is lifting them all up to his throne.

Covering/Protection/Refuge

A foretaste of Isaiah of Isaiah 4 will be fulfilled over us: “v5 Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. v6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.(Isa 4:5-6)

The power of the covering/canopy/shade that will protect this state of refuge will be the spiritual authority of the blood of Christ. Under the released authority of his blood the heaven will be open and many miracles will happen. But this language of a canopy has another use in scripture.2)fn01 Strong’s Concordance 6738 tsel from 6751 tsalalhovering over” “shade

When Caleb and Joshua returned in faith from spying out Canaan they literally said of their enemies, “their shade = defence is gone” (Num 14:9). The shade” of the evil powers in the heavenlies, their defence against the power of the kingdom of God (Col 1:13), is about to be shaken loose.

These dark beings have only one covering/defence, they cloak themselves with the shame/guilt of men and women whom they condemn mercilessly before the throne of God (Rev 12:10). The revelation that shakes the foundations of all the structures of the old creation is that in the shade of the cross the guilt and shame of humanity before God has been taken away e.g. 2 Cor 5:19.

Humanity’s guilt before God has been removed from heaven, but only the church living in the authority of a cleansed conscience can boldly declare this from earth in prayer, praise and proclamation. We are called to live out the truth in Isaiah, “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 like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18). We are called to live in anticipation of the marriage supper of the Lamb “v7 his Bride has made herself ready; v8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Rev 19:7-8, 14). These are the righteous deeds of gratitude for the grace of God who will present us “blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy (Jude 24).

The fine linen that Jesus puts on us strips away the consumerism, sensuality, materialism, overwork, religiosity, craving for popularity … and all the other demonically – infested cloaks lost humanity vainly uses to try to cover its shame.

What Can Become of Us?

In the manifold wisdom of God (Eph 3:10) Jesus Christ has structured the planet so there is a Great South Land for the Holy Spirit with its unique wildlife, startling indigenous people and distinct Australian persona. WA is full of treasures prepared for the world. Perth is a Western city on the edge of the Indian Ocean basin facing Africa and the vast throngs of South Asia, in the same time zone as much of SE Asia and the emerging global superpower of China.

The Spirit has brought all the nations and tongues of the world here in preparation for a global Pentecost. I want to raise a historical comparison to help us understand what the Lord is saying. In 1800 only about 10% of America’s population were church members, drunkenness was an epidemic and violence was in the streets. Around this time God’s people stopped looking at their visible circumstances and started to pray.

Revival broke out. Upper state New York in the 1820’s – 1840’s became known as the “Burned-Over District” because it was such a cauldron of new ideas and attitudes . It was on the frontier of expanding enterprise between the old English colonies of the east and the new lands opening up to the west. Between 1825 and 1835 at least 1343 “revivals” took place in New York State as part of the so-called Second Great Awakening. A key preacher was Charles Grandison Finney.

What is not so well known was that Finney and other socially conscious Christians started hundreds of Christian colleges, fiercely advocated the abolition of slavery and were part of the underground railroad smuggling slaves out of America.

Several denominations (Methodists, Presbyterians) split in this area over the issue. The Burned Over Ground spawned new moves in women’s rights, dress reform, education reform, it was the birthplace of the temperance movement, released peace advocates, asylum builders and so on.

Because of its spiritual intensity this region also witnessed the founding of Mormonism, the Spiritualist movement, and various extreme Adventist groups (Millerites).

200 years ago slavery was the battle zone between those demonic powers controlling wider culture and the gospel of Christ’s all redemptive blood. The signal manifest evidence of the power of Christ over Australia today must be the supernatural elevation and healing of indigenous communities.

The pioneering spirit of breaking up hard ground into new frontiers that God released in the Second Great Awakening is in our state. There is a spirit of inventiveness here that is set to explode, climaxing in new forms of self – propagating clusters of cooperating ministries drawn from business, intercession networks and local church. These will bring holistic sustainable mission to all the corners of the globe.

New ministries will arise to the sexually broken, there will be a youth movement that will leave behind both modern consumerism and post modern skepticisms.. Breakthroughs in technology with the potential not only to release vast economic for the poor, new methods of housing, agriculture, energy saving devices, and water supply can come out of this state. God is putting his people in places of authority in government, law, finance, education, health, industry, the service economy and beyond.

Conclusion and Application

This is not a fairy story it is a story of faith. “Direct access to Heaven’s Throne through the Blood of Jesus is the grand privilege of prayer.” (Jack Hayford) It is constant prayer in the presence of God in an atmosphere of praise to the slain and risen Lamb that will usher in the shaking of the earth around us and the heavens above us.

We are being urged by the Spirit to join the heavenly refrain, “v9 Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, v10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they reign on the earth.(Rev 5:9-10).

Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44). All over the world we are seeing the Father drawing men and women into the family of God and we are on the threshold of a Great Awakening in our midst.

References

↑ 1. The above message was first delivered at the Transformation Conference – Equipped to transform Friday 26.10.2007 JY sermon
↑ 2. fn01 Strong’s Concordance 6738 tsel from 6751 tsalalhovering over” “shade