To say my heart is heavy is an understatement. Like so many of you, last week's decision by the United States Supreme Court (which is very different than the Supreme Court of the Universe) to normalize and legalize homosexual marriage across the entire 50 states has deeply disturbed my spirit.
My righteous indignation, however, is not aimed at homosexuals who are enduring a demonic assault on their lives. My question at this hour is not whether God should bring judgment to the homosexuals or not. The question is whether he should enact judgment on a passive, impotent American church. The homosexual normalization in our nation is the fault of a sleeping, passive American church that refuses to preach uncomfortable, black and white truth.
"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God, and if it begins first with us, what shall the end be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17).
When God was about to pour down some general judgment, he began with afflicting his own people in order to correct and amend them, that they might be prepared for the overflowing scourge. ~Adam Clarke's Commentary
Of course, there are many blood-bought, legitimate believers throughout the land who are interceding and weeping over our sin-ravaged nation. Many are radically devoted to preaching uncompromised truth and advancing the gospel. Many does not equal most, however. Just as most of the churches of Revelation were rebuked by God, the majority in our nation is asleep.
"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says these things: I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain but are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfected before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not soiled their garments. They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy'" (Rev. 3:1-4).
Wake up. Strengthen what remains and is about to die.
Is it time to trust God's judgment?
Many people have a misunderstanding of just what judgment is, and thus rejects it as contrary to God's nature.
Judgment isn't what an evil God does to evil people with evil motives. Judgment is what a good God does, in love, with pure and holy motives. Judgment is a vehicle for calibration to God's purposes.
Judgment is simply making wrong things right. It is to be highly valued. In fact, if we are honest, nobody alive today would want to live without judgment, without justice.
When a murderer is captured and sent to trial, and eventually to prison, that is judgment and that is good.
We need swift justice in the land today, and specifically, in the church. The current state of affairs is resulting in large numbers of precious people being put at risk of an eternity in hell. Judgment must come to the church for the sake of the world.
In fact, the verse everybody loves to quote about God's love is directly tied to truth about his judgment:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:16-18).
If we are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. But what is often not said is that if we are not in Christ Jesus there is condemnation. That judgment is eternal. This is why we must trust God in his judgment on this side of eternity. We need God to judge us! Even though judgment results in trouble and shaking, we can trust a good, loving God.
I pray for God to judge me daily. I trust Him, and I don't as easily trust myself. I need His light to constantly shine on me so I live rightly and not shrink back even for a moment from doing what He desires and preaching what is holy.
"If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we would not be condemned with the world" (1 Cor. 11:31-32).
We need God to bring correction to the church so the church can once again be the holy, warrior bride it was called to be. It's time to embrace judgment for the sake of the church and for the sake of the world.
If we don't get this right, there very well may be a Sodom and Gomorrah level judgment come to America. I pray it hasn't reached that point yet.
"... and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, making them an example to those afterward who would live ungodly lives; and if He delivered righteous Lot, who was distressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man lived among them, and what he saw and heard of their lawless deeds tormented his righteous soul day after day); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment, especially those who walk after the flesh in pursuit of unclean desires, and despise authority. They are presumptuous and arrogant, and are not afraid to slander the angelic beings" (2 Pet. 2:6-10).
"I destroyed some of you, as God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a firebrand plucked out of the fire; yet you did not return to Me, says the Lord. Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!" (Amos 4:11-12).
Preach for God's Sake!
Pastors who refuse to zero in on holiness, repentance and a clear and unapologetic revelation of hell and eternity should be ashamed and embarrassed to wear the title of "pastor."
Where is the vivid, sharp preaching that divides and exposes the lies that are so pervasive today? Where is the Jonathan Edwards-style preaching that results in people feeling the heat of hell under their feet?
After you shall have worn out the age of the sun, moon and stars, in your dolorous groans and lamentations, without rest day and night, or one minute's ease, yet you shall have no hope of ever being delivered. After you shall have worn a thousand more such ages, you shall have no hope, but shall know that you are not one whit nearer to the end of your torments. But that still there are the same groans, the same shrieks, the same doleful cries, incessantly to be made by you, and that the smoke of your torment shall still ascend up forever and ever. ~Jonathan Edwards on hell
"For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no creature that is not revealed in His sight, for all things are bare and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Heb. 4:12-13).
"And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things are exposed when they are revealed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light'" (Eph. 5:11-14).
The deception of Universalism is creeping ever closer to the mainline church as so many are trumpeting sweet, sappy love that covers all regardless of the depth of people's apathy or severity of their perversion.
Somebody, anybody, please allow a vein in your neck to bulge, just once! Let the sweat from impassioned preaching run down your face in a race with tears that are born from grief and the horror of the future that awaits most everybody who is alive today.
Somebody needs to love homosexuals enough to warn them that never-ending torment awaits them if they choose that or any sin-defined lifestyle instead of bold, radical, heart-wrenching repentance. If they knew how terrible, constant and maddening their future terror will be, contrasted with a revelation of the darkness that Christ endured to rescue them, we just might have a revival on our hands.
God is the one who is feeling the impact of this current tragedy more than any of us could ever imagine. Every time a homosexual, murderer, pornographer, thief, backslider or lukewarm person (among others) dies and is cast into hell, God's heart is hit. The sacrifice of his Son becomes meaningless for so many who enter into panic-inducing eternal torment every single hour of every single day. For God's sake, it's time to preach!
It's not enough to reveal God's love. The light of His love must expose the darkness. Define it. Call it out. God's love must result in such a clear vision of the current darkness that extreme and full repentance is the instant response. In fact, a revelation of God's love that doesn't define the reality of the horrors that are engulfing our society isn't a revelation of love at all.
The church is losing this battle in embarrassing fashion. This should be a wake up call for all of us. It's time to return again to hellfire preaching that refuses to affirm any lifestyle short of complete surrender.
The sickening truth is that pastors and leaders are allowing themselves to be entertained in media by the very sins that required the slaughter and murder of the one they say the love. Nudity, foul language, homosexual innuendos, violence and humanistic agendas are flooding the souls of supposed Christian men and women every week—all while the prayer rooms remain empty and church services are powerless.
I've heard people say that they aren't offended by certain activities in media such as, for example, nudity or cussing. My immediate reaction is, "Who gives a rip about what offends you? Have you considered the Holy Spirit?"
"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you are sealed for the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30).
Holiness is a major issue, a major biblical theme that is ignored and minimized from pulpits today.
"The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth through unrighteousness" (Rom. 1:18).
Is it love to refuse to preach certain portions of the Holy Scripture, to shield the guilty from a revelation of their condition? Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC refuses to directly confront the sin of homosexuality. His wife Laura Lentz said, "It's not our place to tell anyone how they should live, it's—that's their journey." Does that sound like love? Does she not realize their journey will take them into literal flames that burn and a hopelessness that will never end?
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
Do we love the unrepentant church gossip or the person who's sleeping with their girlfriend or boyfriend enough to let them know that no matter how devoted they are to church, tithing, prayer or reading their Bible, they will go to hell if they die in that condition?
We need holiness preachers again! Heck, we need angry preachers again! A righteous indignation over today's passive, lukewarm culture in the church and the vomit-inducing perversion in the world should burn in our veins. The fact that people are telling both camps that it's all OK because God loves them should result in fire-breathing preachers that refuse to stand by idly.
It's undeniably rare for people to enter heaven. The road is not wide. Tonight people will die and immediately begin the second, and longest, chapter of their eternities. It's the part of their story that will never end, can never be edited and would result in maddening nightmares if those in the land of the living could read it. Once the first letter is written on the first page of chapter two, they can never go back. A trillion pages later they will be ever increasing in pain, panic, torment, hatred, hopelessness and immeasurable fear—pure terror. That chapter starts the moment they leave the land of the living, the second they die in their sins. There is a very real monster at the end of that book.
This is why true love must win—it's a love that does in fact tell the truth. They are on the road to destruction.
Then, tell them how the story can end. Should end. Chapter two, the final chapter of all of our lives, must be a story of redemption, of never-ending joy, of freedom and victory. Their book can be a story of abundant life—but only if they hit their knees and rend their hearts. At the end of that book is the Lover of our souls, a glorious King, a mighty Savior and a mighty, radiant God that is yearning to spend forever with us.
"... whom, having not seen, you love; and in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,9 receiving as the result of your faith the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1:8-9).
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored 10 books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at a major international prayer ministry. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing an online prayer and revival focused ministry school called the School of Revival. John also produces prophetic equipping media that can be watched or listened to most every day at thefurnace.tv.
He and his beautiful wife, Amy, have five children and currently live in the Branson, Missouri, region. John is available to minister anywhere in the world and can be contacted via his site at johnburton.net.
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