"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers" (2 Tim. 4:3).
Have you ever asked yourself or quietly wondered why so many in the Western church today lack a strong devotion and dedication to God? Why are there so many professing Christians who still pursue the lusts and pleasures of the world? What kind of conversion experience does someone possess if there is no personal transformation or lifestyle change? These are difficult heart-searching questions that demand answers if we are to see change in our day.
Here are a few other questions to ask ourselves: Why is there such a disparity between Christianity in the book of Acts and what we are seeing today especially in the Western world? What caused people in the early church to sell all their possessions and distribute the proceeds among those who were in need? In the midst of great persecution what enabled these first century Christians to continue to serve the Lord fervently? Where did the early apostles and the persecuted church throughout the ages get the courage and the strength to continue to preach a gospel that was getting them beaten, tortured and killed when the biggest struggle for many in the Western church today is the fear of rejection and a need for self-esteem?
I strongly believe that the answer to all these questions and the cure to all the ills that face the church today are to be found in personal revival in the lives of professing Christians. Without the holy fire of God burning in our hearts we will not be equipped to overcome the complacency, lethargy and apathy so common in the church world today. We also will not be able to endure the increasing spiritual warfare and antichrist spirit so prevalent in our world. It is the Holy Ghost and the fire of God in our lives that will prepare us for the glory of the Lord and the coming harvest of souls, as well as the Lord's soon return. The Holy Ghost and fire is how the Church started (Acts 2) and it is how it will end. It is so critical in this dark hour that we burn for Jesus!
A number of years ago the Lord began dealing with me about writing and speaking on lost themes (The Real Spirit of Revival)—truths in the body of Christ that have been understated or discarded but that need to be restored.
Some examples of such themes would include the end times, the rapture of the church and the return of the Lord, heaven, hell and holiness, the judgment seat of Christ, etc. He said that there has got to be more preaching on these themes, for they are emphasized in the Holy Scriptures. He also told me that there has been a diabolical silence on holiness that has greatly weakened the character of the church and opened a door to doctrines of devils.
The absence or dilution of these vital truths has created a large gap between the profession and practice of true Christianity in our day, and thus filled our society with much deception. The fear of the Lord, which is the foundation of loving and receiving these truths, is sadly lacking in the church world today.
The emphasis has been on messages for the sweet tooth that take away the offense of the gospel. But have we forgotten that our loving and merciful Savior was called the Rock of Offense?
When someone is used to a light diet or an unhealthy dose of junk food it will take a little while to adjust to solid nutritious food again. But that's what the Lord wants for His people in this hour so they can be healed and strengthened, and then bear fruit that remains.
May the Lord give you such a love for truth so that you will never again be afraid of a hard word of confrontation and correction. The Lord chastens and corrects those He loves. His love is what gives us value and worth. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1)!
Remember also that God never makes demands of you without empowering you to respond to those demands. He has given us His abounding grace and sent us the Helper, the mighty Holy Spirit to aid us in every way.
God our Father holds nothing back from us. All that we need to live for Him has been given freely.
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things" (Rom 8:32).
The word "freely" in this verse is the same root word for grace. God gives grace. God graciously gives us all things. He equips us to receive His word and do it. It would be unjust for God to ask us to do something we could not do. This means that what God gives is never the problem. It's what we give Him. The heart and soul of revival is that God wants more of me.
We all need more of His holy fire. If you've allowed the flame of His fire to grow dim in you, do not be discouraged, but put all your hope in God. He will ignite you again and empower you with great grace as you yield and submit your heart and life to Him.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including The Real Spirit of Revival and the newly released My Son, My Son—a beautiful father-son book co-written with his son Daniel for the purpose of training up a holy generation. He ministers interdenominationally and cross-culturally in nations, churches, streets, and homes. He and his wife also host The Holy Ghost Forum—a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook or @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
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