What's Most Critical in this Hour? 3 Things
Updated: May 3, 2020
The times are strange. We're being told, in a sense, what to wear, how and in what fashion we can gather, and even how exactly to travel... while at the grocery store. A lot of those scripture verses that we've read in the past and always wondered about are actually coming into focus. What would it look like for "the love of many to grow cold?" How might "even the elect be deceived?" We're seeing it unfold before our very eyes, but as is usually the case these stanzas of scripture give us clues and even answers. It's the increase of wickedness that causes the love of many (or most) to grow cold in Matthew 24:12, and it's the words and works of false prophets and fake christs that will trick those that we thought might never be tricked, according to Matthew 24:24. There's actually no excuse to be caught off guard. It's right there in our Bibles. We might not have been able to visualize the scenario that would usher this great determining time for the hearts of men, but several weeks into a global pandemic, or so called, it's crystal clear to me.
The truth is when the heat is on your heart is revealed. When your job is taken away, your checking account depleted, and your ability to freely come and go questioned, how will you fare? Will you shrink back? Rush to anger? Put other people in your crosshairs? This is the determining factor: is God a part of your life or is He your only desire?
In a time when fear and deception are closing in on us, how can we sustain His love and Truth? The Lord revealed to me three non-negotiables for this hour.
It was a demonstration of the Spirit's power through Paul, not the appeal of rhetoric, that moved the Corinthians to action in 1st Corinthians 2.
"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power." 1ST CORINTHIANS 2:4-5
It was, too, the opinion of reformers and revivalists that power superseded words. Charles Finney, often times dubbed the Father of Modern Revivalism, was convinced that the ultimate need of the church in its final phases was an endowment of power from the Holy Spirit. Without it, effective ministry couldn't even occur. Other revivalists shared this posture, like Seymour and Wesley, and its blueprint comes straight out of the book of Acts.
The Apostles wait for the Holy Spirit... they receive power when He comes... then they immediately preach boldly, heal the sick, drive out demons, and carry great influence and authority to the expanses of the world. The effect? Thousands upon thousands being added to their number, as documented throughout Acts. They did not accomplish this with proper education, scholarship, & intellect, they accomplished it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Wisdom is very different than intelligence. There are very intelligent people out there with a veil over their eyes, who are scholastically brilliant but spiritually dead. Information can be learned, but wisdom must be sought and tracked down from the source - the God of the universe.
"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." 1ST CORINTHIANS 2:6-8
This wisdom, "destined for our glory before time began, " is given by God (Proverbs 2:6), it's much better than gold or silver (Proverbs 16:16), and it has to do with humility, mercy, good fruit, impartiality, peace, fear of the Lord, and a tongue that's slow to speak. (Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 15:33, Proverbs 11:2, James 3:13, James 3:17) This wisdom, God's wisdom, can only be revealed to us by His Spirit.
To have a revelation, one must have something revealed to them. And, if what's being revealed is worthwhile, it's being revealed by the Spirit of God. 1st Corinthians 2 explains that the things of God are revealed to us by His Spirit, and that without His Spirit these truths seem foolish and are unrecognizable to the world...
"The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ. 1ST CORINTHIANS 2:10-16
One of the best examples I can find of being dependent on this form of revelation is from the Book of Acts. Acts, as far as the coming and going, ministry, miracles, etc. of its main characters lays out a history of a people being totally Spirit-led. In Acts chapter 10 Peter has a strange vision of sheets and animals. Meanwhile, the Centurion Cornelius has an angelic visitation telling him to send for a man named Peter from Joppa. The two act on these strange revelations, meet, and thus the Spirit is poured out on the gentiles. This effect was not possible without a clear revelation from the Spirit of God.
In Acts 9, a similar story unfolds with Paul & Ananias. As Paul experiences a dramatic and blinding conversion, Ananias receives revelation through a vision to call for Paul, heal him, and lay hands on him that he might receive the Holy Spirit. The rest is history.
On several other occasions in Acts characters like Paul learn where to go and what to do by the Holy Spirit revealing it to them. Even their next steps and instructions were revealed to them by the Spirit of God, through visions and trances. Dramatic? Yes. Abnormal? No, or at least it shouldn't be.
We need this type of revelation, coupled with power and wisdom, or the church won't survive the trials and testing that's coming.
THE COMMON THREAD - THE HOLY SPIRIT
These three tools: power, wisdom, and revelation, are ONLY available through the Holy Spirit. You can't get any of them, some of them, or all of them any other way. He (the Holy Spirit) is the most prized gift of our day. We must be endued with his Power, we must get and keep His wisdom, and we desperately need him to reveal our game plan. Bible studies, church attendance, and being nice isn't enough.
I've often tried putting myself in the shoes of those disciples who spent three years with Jesus when he said: "it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you." (JOHN 16:7 - ESV). That statement would have broken my heart and I would not have understood it. But it was true. And if it was true for a rag-tag group of every-day guys, who turned around in Acts to flip the world upside down with a demonstration of Power, wisdom, and revelation, then it's most certainly true for us. I think it's time we did something about it.
- JF D'Orsie - Communications Director