INTRODUCTIONHaving experienced some unusual circumstantial alignments in the last few days I have been wondering if the divine visitation I have thought about, wrote of and prayed for over several decades is close at hand.
Only God knows, but given that even some of the most famous revivals in history, such as in Wales and Azusa St, burnt out after a short time it is of great importance that we read the signs of the times (Matt 16:3 ESV).
In a series of meetings associated with Perth Prayer I believe the Lord has outlined some tests with respect to our preparedness for a true move of God.
Whatever else might seem to happen in the spiritual realm, if we fail these tests “the last state (of Church and nation) will be worse than the first”1)Matt 12:45 ESV; 2 Pet 2:20 ESV.
1. THE TESTED WORD
This scripture was brought to my notice Tuesday morning. vs.16 “When he summoned a famine on the land… vs.17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. vs.18 His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; vs.19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.” (Ps 105:16-19 ESV).
Perceived to be his father’s favourite, Joseph was hated by his brothers (Gen 37:3-4 ESV).
As a youth Joseph had prophetic dreams of his exaltation above the other members of his household, this so enraged his brothers that they sold him into slavery (Gen 37:5-36 ESV).
The very word God revealed to him led Joseph through a time of tremendous testing through suffering. Never however did his faithfulness to the testimony of the Lord waver, nor did he linger in despair.
In due time he became governor of Egypt (Gen 41:37-44 ESV).
This message of glory through suffering was well known by the time God delivered Israel from Egypt. There was no excuse then for the generation who received God’s word about the Promised Land but were “unable to enter because of unbelief” (Heb 3:19 ESV).
They should have understood that the trials of the wilderness were a preparation for a glorious inheritance2)Ex 15:25 ESV; Deut 8:2-5 ESV. So should we.
2. THE TEST OF PRAYER
During Perth Prayer yesterday I was drawn to Jesus’ clear promise to his first disciples; “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8 ESV).
Therefore in faith-filled anticipation on the eve of the Pentecostal outpouring, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14 ESV).
Talk about revival is cheap, but anyone who believes that a torrent of the Spirit is on the way will be found earnestly praying (Isa 59:19 ESV).
Not only in isolation, but in communion with others who share the same mind (Acts 4:23 ESV ff.).
3. THE TEST OF BROKENNESS
Yesterday morning I sensed the resurrected – crucified Lord coming to the disciples. Christ is the cornerstone upon which the whole House of God is built3)1 Cor 3:11 ESV; Eph 2:20 ESV.
Through being broken and burned on the cross to the utmost limit he has become God’s perfect “tested stone… a sure foundation” (Isa 28:16 ESV). Jesus’ formation through the cross equips him to be the perfect pioneering leader of the Church4)Heb 2:10 ESV; Heb 12:2 ESV.
The first apostles were full of personal ambition (Mark 9:34 ESV) until tried, found wanting and broken by the crisis of the cross (Luke 22:62 ESV).
The resurrected Lord then appeared and spoke peace and restoration into the lives of utterly broken men paralysed by fear (John 20:19-23 ESV).
Their anointing and election to leadership could not be released until they knew they were broken irregular stones and that Christ alone was the only worthy builder of the Church5)Matt 16:18 ESV; Eph 2:20 ESV.
The mystery of the cross means God can only build a regular house to contain his glory through the misshapen of this world who know they have no personal glory (1 Cor 1:26-31 ESV).
Simultaneously aware of the call of the Lord and their own emptiness broken leaders have a tremendous assurance of the power of God to bring his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (Heb 11:1 ESV)
4. THE TEST OF REST
Tuesday morning I sensed the appeal of God.
From the Fall he has been calling out to his people, “Give me rest!” vs.1 “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? vs.2 All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”” (Isa 66:1-2 ESV).
The humble and contrite person in whom the Spirit of God finds perfect rest is Jesus6)Matt 11:28-29 ESV; Luke 4:18 ESV; John 1:33 ESV.
In Christ the pattern of the coming and later departing of the glory cloud, upon judges, prophets, Israel and the temple, came to an end (Ezek 11:23 ESV).
Tragically however most revival movements plunge into rivalry and disorder through selfish ambition7)Col 3:5 ESV; James 3:16 ESV.
Almost imperceptibly at first, the glory cloud lifts and the great work of God becomes a mere memory.
Where are we placed in relation to these four simple tests?
If we are grasped by them they have already imparted a quality which is a character mark of a Christian community that has been prepared for the glorious ordeal of revival.
That character mark is “sober mindedness”8)1 Tim 3:2, 11 ESV; 2 Tim 4:5 ESV; Tit 2:2 ESV; 1 Pet 1:13 ESV; 1 Pet 4:7 ESV; 1 Pet 5:8 ESV
In an age of much flippancy and light heartedness, holy Christ-centred sobriety is a sure sign of a mature prayerful Church whom God can trust with the extraordinary gift of his Spirit.
May we listen to the exhortation of a faithful broken spirited builder who truly knew these things; “TEST YOURSELVES.” (2 Cor 13:5 ESV).
MESSAGE DELIVERED: 01. March, 2018 Location: Unknown
Author: Dr. John Yates
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References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Matt 12:45 ESV; 2 Pet 2:20 ESV|
|2.||↑||Ex 15:25 ESV; Deut 8:2-5 ESV|
|3.||↑||1 Cor 3:11 ESV; Eph 2:20 ESV|
|4.||↑||Heb 2:10 ESV; Heb 12:2 ESV|
|5.||↑||Matt 16:18 ESV; Eph 2:20 ESV|
|6.||↑||Matt 11:28-29 ESV; Luke 4:18 ESV; John 1:33 ESV|
|7.||↑||Col 3:5 ESV; James 3:16 ESV|
|8.||↑||1 Tim 3:2, 11 ESV; 2 Tim 4:5 ESV; Tit 2:2 ESV; 1 Pet 1:13 ESV; 1 Pet 4:7 ESV; 1 Pet 5:8 ESV|