Are you hungry for revival? Can you sense in your spirit that either God is going to bring revival or He is going to bring His wrath? I don’t think I have to convince many Christians that the times we live in are not good. The church is weak from its quest for cultural relevancy. We have lost our first love: Jesus.
The United Methodist Church is dying. The good news is the leadership of the church has begun to talk about it. But do we turn to Jesus for help?
We turn everywhere except Jesus. How many more books and seminars do we need to try before we turn to Jesus? I have not been to a meeting or conference where we actually sought the Lord in prayer. Prayer is the formal opening and closing activity, that’s it. Prayer must be THE activity. Didn’t the Apostles devote themselves to the Word and to prayer? Do we not believe that Jesus is real? That He is concerned about us, our church, the world and has solutions to offer us? Are we seeking Him?
I went to a roundtable discussion group a few years back and we were talking about what the church should be doing. Someone suggested prayer. One of the participants at the table said, “We need real solutions.” When faith and prayer are no longer real solutions for the church, we have more than forsaken our first love.
Are we ashamed of Jesus? Are we embarrassed by His Word? Are we afraid that if we take Him at His Word we will be labeled? The world has many labels that, in our quest for relevancy, we wish to avoid: close-minded, intolerant, fundamental, or God-forbid – Baptist.
Have we forgotten that we will stand before Jesus and give an account of our life? That if we are ashamed of Him and His words in this adulterous and sinful generation, that He will be ashamed of us before the Father? (Mark 8:38) I wonder, as a church, how much of His Word we really believe.
I do know this: When I stand before Jesus He is not going to tell me “Mike, you believed my Word a little too much.” It will be the exact opposite. “Mike, why didn’t you believe my words?”
Not only have we lost our first love, we have lost our heritage. The mission of the early Methodists was to spread scriptural holiness through the land. Can you imagine the reaction that would get today?
John Wesley would ride into town and preach, “Flee the wrath to come!” He preached to save lost souls and everyone who responded he put into a small group called a class to grow in holiness.
When was the last time we heard ministers preach about sin? Or even use the word, “sin”? How about preach repentance? Or scriptural holiness – much less try to spread it across the land? Or how about telling the people that they cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born-again? That would that imply judgment and we can’t have that. It is hard to convert people when we don’t believe they are in danger.
When ministers and the church are satisfied with no conversions we are beyond losing our first love, we are dead.
Revelation 2 records Jesus telling the church in Ephesus, “4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
The church needs to recover our first love! We need to turn to Jesus! We must abide in Him and have His Word abide in us! We need revival!
But how do we program revival? We can’t. Revival only comes when men and women despair at the condition of Christianity and the church and get on their knees and faces before God and pray for it!
And that is what is beginning to happen in northeast Florida. I’ll tell you more in my next post.