by Dr. John Yates
Things to Expect in 2007
Something wonderful is about to happen, Jesus is about to visit our city in a most intimate way. He is “coming soon” to the church as he speaks of in Revelation. Most of these refer to a coming in judgment (Rev 2:5, 16; Rev 3:3), but one is a door of hope. Christ woos the lukewarm Laodicea church with an invitation “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20). He is not coming because of anything we have done, there is no human credit (Gal 6:14), he is coming because he is the gracious Lover of souls and the glorious Bridegroom.
The visitation we are anticipating is a temporal inspection for judgment concerning our past deeds, “whether good or evil”, it is a foretaste of what we can expect at “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor 5:10). He is coming from “his place” in heaven (Hos 5:15) to walk amongst us (Rev 2:1) and to show us that all he has ever done is good.
When Jesus approached Jerusalem on his way to the cross, he wept over it because “you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:44). He has visited this city before, but these visits terminated in judgments – the breakdown of the charismatic movement, sex scandal exposed, confusion over the Toronto Blessing. Each time he has not been properly welcomed because the church lacked “sober judgment” (Rom 12:3). This time some will be prepared.
Refueled, Recharged & Be Alert
He has been gradually raising up elders to welcome him in humility at the city gates (Joel 1:13) with proper reverence and awe (1 Pet 1:17; Ps 34:11). These mature men and women will be progressively recognised as a relational hub for wise fatherly counsel (1 Pet 5:1 -5). These figures will shepherd the presence of the protective wings of God over our land and the church (Ps 91:4; Matt 23:37).
He is coming to a church that he has been secretly purifying through struggle, sickness and rejection so as to make her more attractive to himself (Eph 5:26 -27). Soon he will reveal to us just how strong is his passion to indwell us (Eph 3:17) – not as a temporary “visitor” to our state, but in order to take up habitation in his holy temple (Eph 2:22).
His kingly manifestation will not be easily discerned by those who think they are rich and prosperous (Rev 3:17), but applauded by the marginalised, oppressed, poor, and broken in society, and in struggling but godly churches and ministries (Matt 21:14- 16). His clear word is, “Your faithfulness will soon be rewarded” (Luke 16:11; 1 Cor 15:58).
Times of Extraordinary Miracles
His coming will release the mode of miracle. Our prosperous and typical Western city is about to realise that we need to live in the supernatural just as much as Third World nations and our persecuted brethren. This coming is directed not to our indulgence but to our sharing in a mighty global harvest (Matt 28:19; Hab 2:14).
Central to his manifestation is a return to the apostolic devotion of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4). This revival will find its foundation and longevity in the recommitment to the primacy of the Gospel revelation (Rom 1:16) in scripture (2 Tim 3:16). In partnership with this he is calling for a dedicated sanctuary of 24/7 prayer and pure worship that he might share the holy intimacy he has with his Father (John 17:26). He invites, “Will you do this for me”, will you have a place where I can be met day and night (Lev 6:12 -13).
With the revelation that all his judgments are good (Isa 26:9; Rev 19:1 -5) the purified church will enter into prophetic and “extravagant worship” that shall glorify the Lamb (Rev 5:6 -14) throughout the earth.
Through the power of the prayer – saturated Word the veil of falsehood and deception that lies over the minds of both unbelievers (2 Cor 4:4) and believers (Rev 3:18) will be stripped off and all things will be made clear to those with eyes to see and ears to hear (Matt 13:16). It will become startlingly manifest that a spiritual cloud of deceit has hung over this our land, an unholy pall constituted by false teaching inhabited by evil powers (1 Tim 4:1). This teaching has reinforced in numerous subtle ways our culture’s central lie, lie that the thing we need most fear is material and emotional deprivation; soon we shall see what it is to fear a holy God (2 Cor 7:1; Heb 12:28-29).
Faith @ Works
Jesus is about to raise up a Transformation Network that understands that the kingdom of God is not restricted to church buildings and programs, but its purpose is to fill all things with Christ. (Eph 1:22 -23; Eph 4:10) Through this he will release impartational apostolic- prophetic ministries that will be unconcerned with personal status and success. Many of these will be Christian professionals rather than professional Christians.
His coming will bring disorder to immature elements in the body of Christ (1 Cor 3:1) Where laziness about the Word and spiritual discipline (1 Thess 5:14) abounds people will revel in the signs of the Spirit for a time, but their self – confidence will hand them over to the demonic hosts (Luke 11:24-26). These communities will be fractured by false teaching, competition and immorality. In these matters the patience of God is coming to an end. A necessary schism will occur in the visible church on account of the purified preaching of Christ (1 Cor 11:18-19). This separation will not be like that of past times (doctrine, experience, denomination), but a clear distinction between the holy and the unclean (Ezek 44:23; Mal 3:16-18).
Repentance will not so much be commanded, but drawn out of softened hearts as they receive the revelation of the tenderness of the Father’s mercy in Christ (Luke 1:77-78). A marvelous protective (Eph 6:14) impartation of the righteousness of Jesus (1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21) will be released through dynamic gospel proclamation – in the streets, offices, homes, brothels, bars, schools, sports grounds and pulpits. All varieties and conditions of humanity shall rejoice in a glorious freedom in Christ (John 8:36).
As Jesus draws his true saints together into a network of relationships and ministries that are focused on the lost and broken an oversight hub will emerge of true shepherds and fathers. When these things take place there will be released a “sacred canopy” (Isa 4:5) that shields the region from the unfettered power of demonic attack (Eph 3:10). All spheres of society and will begin to acknowledge the universal Lordship of Christ (Rev 19:16).