God Has A Word For This Hour
This is a tremendous hour in human history. There are ominous movements in the world. But I am constrained to ask, Has the Lord no plan for this hour? Has the church no message? Is there no word from the Lord concerning the spiritual recovery of this hour? If not, then this is the first time in history that a major crisis has arisen under a silent heaven.
Before God destroyed the earth with a flood, He put His message of warning in the mouth of Noah. When God judged Egypt, He sent Moses and Aaron to Pharoah with a divine pronouncement on their lips. God raised up Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah in times of crisis in Israel and Judah. They had God’s word for the hour in which they lived (Heb. 11:7; Exodus chapters 5 to 14; 1 Kgs. 17:1).
And God has a word for this hour!
A Call to Repentance!
People are awakening to the fact that we are living in a solemn hour, and that our nation’s greatest need is a revival that will bring us to God. There is a swelling tide of intercession to God – pleading for God’s intervening mercies and for a new Pentecost upon the churches.
What was true of Israel of old is true of us today. Whenever declension of spiritual power is felt, the root cause is sin in the church. Whittled down a little closer, the root cause of conditions in the world is the sin of individual Christians. This is a time for flaming messages, inspired of the Holy Ghost, preached fearlessly by men who do not fear the consequences – calling men everywhere to repentance!
In God’s program for this hour, repentance must begin with Christians, who must turn in penitence from their worldliness, prayerlessness, indifference, and the dangerous sloth and sleep. They must repent of their carnal strivings for position and place, and of their deadly church quarrels and denominational jealousy. The unrepented, unconfessed sins of God’s people have chilled the atmosphere of the church until people are driven away.
It is high time for the pulpit to thunder and burn with the power and fire of the ancient prophets and apostles of our Lord! It is high time for God’s people to awake from their Laodicean slumber, and strip themselves from their love of the world and love of self, and from the deceit, sham and hypocrisy of their shallow professions – and to turn to the Lord with all their heart, with fasting and tears, and with contrition and confession and restitution.
Where is the church "terrible as an army with banners"? (Song 6:4). Where are the Lord’s people whose prayers, like John Knox’s are the terror of evil rulers like Bloody Mary? Where is the Gospel being preached with such unction and power from God that the enemies of God say, "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also"? (Acts 17:6).
Why are not these things true of us today? Because of the failure of God’s people, because sin is tolerated in their lives and hugged to their bosoms. It is not perhaps great, blatant sin. It may be only a multitude of little chiseling sins which have cooled off our love for Christ and our passion for lost souls, and dulled our spiritual ears so we cannot hear the voice of the Lord, and dimmed our spiritual sight so we have lost the vision of a world ripe for harvest, and palsied our hands and made us unfit for His service – leaving us carping and critical Christians (Song 2:15; Eccl. 10:1; 1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9).
"By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them" (Matthew 7:20)
In the Song of Solomon, which contains wonderful church truth in figurative language, the Heavenly Husbandman says: "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes" (Song 2:15).
If we are to see a great harvest, we must take out the little foxes. They seem innocent and harmless but they kill the fruit. The little sins and compromises with the world, the flesh and the devil – these kill our usefulness. They must be taken out of our vineyard of the Lord.
Let us confess and forsake all. We will be amazed to find how greatly we need a spiritual housecleaning if we will let God search us and the Spirit probe us to rock-bottom (Psa. 139:23-24; 1 Chr. 28:9).
Some of us will find we have not put God first in our lives but rather we have given place to personal ambition, carnal comforts, and have yielded to the demands of friends and relatives and made God second.
Some of us have sinned directly towards God by rebelling against His known will and stopping our ears to His call to lay down our lives in His service.
Then there are the gross sins of the uncrucified self-life – self-will, self-pleasing, self-seeking, self-pity, self-glorifying, self-confidence, selfish affections, desires, motives, choices – all of which grieve the Spirit and unfit us to answer the call of the Lord to His people in this hour.
Some of us readily get angry, pouty, irritable. There is among us an unforgiving spirit, jealousy and envy (Jas. 3:14-18). With others there are secret and presumptuous sins – but they are not hidden from God (Psa. 19:12-13). There are also the deadly sins of gossip, backbiting, talebearing (Jas. 3:2-13; 2 Cor. 12:20). All of these God hates (Prov. 6:16-19). They close His door of blessing and hinder His answer to our prayers for our home, our community, our nation and the world.
"Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear… Your hands are defiled…your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth" (Isa. 59:1-4).
We need God! We tremendously need a revival of the supernatural. Nothing but a great visitation of the grace of God can in any wise redeem these present perilous hours. Impending disasters warn us. God’s Word warns us. The Holy Spirit warns us. "It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law" (Psa. 119:126). "Revive Thy work in the midst of the years" (Hab. 3:2).
I believe this is God’s hour for the Spirit’s outpouring. But God’s great present purposes in grace are dependent upon the whole-souled response of us – His people.
Therefore it is of vast importance to us whose hearts have been stirred about a visitation of God – that we leave no stone unturned in ourselves, meeting conditions for revival in our own heart, in our church, our community, our nation and the world.
Even if we cannot find in Scripture a specific promise of God’s mercies to us in this hour, there is, in almost every divinely sent message of judgment, the promise of salvation and deliverance if men and women will humble themselves and seek the face of God in repentance and in faith.
Think of the salvation of Nineveh, that wicked heathen city of ancient times. God’s prophet Jonah was sent with the message of doom, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jon. 3:4). No mercy was promised. But the king and the people must have reasoned like this, "If God had no gracious thought toward us, He would not have sent us this warning." So they repented in sackcloth and ashes and with fasting cried mightily unto God, and God was moved to mercy and revoked His edict of judgment (Jon. 3).
If the God of all mercies would do so much for heathen Nineveh, when she repented, will He not do as much for His own people, if we repent and turn from our worldliness and selfishness to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon us? (Hos. 10:12).
The annals of sacred history are filled with accounts of God’s undefeatable minorities. To the worldly-wise they appear foolish, weak, contemptible. But – plus God, they have become mighty, invincible, unquenchable and triumphant! They have time and again altered the course of history, and changed the face of nations. Without strength, they have wrought prodigious works. Without influence, they have transformed their generation. Of such was the Apostle Paul, Luther, Wesley. Thank God their tribe has not perished in these – our times.
"Go all-out" was a slogan of World War II. Factories ran day and night. Everyone meant business. Housewives left their homes, some by day, some by night, to work in defense plants. What would happen today if Christians would cease to trifle – and go all-out for God?
What if we would obey the Lord and fast and pray day and night, that we might be avenged of our enemies? (Luke 18:7-8). What if we would get right with God, and with each other? Without doubt this would bring a visitation of God.
I pray you do something today about the evils and dangers all about us. It is a time for fasting and tears and prayer unceasing. Begin today! If you will, we shall have one of the greatest visitations of all time!
Revival Is the Beginning of a New Obedience to God
"If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain (revival) in due season, and the land shall yield her increase …and ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you…And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight" (Lev. 26:3-8).