The Normal Christian Life
The Normal Christian Life. Rev 3:14-22
In reading accounts of the revivals, I have come to a conclusion that anything short of that experience daily in our personal lives, of us who make up the Church, are in a back sliding and don’t know it.
To day is the time of settling on our leas.
The time when Christ is knocking at the door of the Church. (And get this into your minds and hearts that the Church is the living body of Christ not the building as so many are apt to call it today. "sanctuary" “Temple”)
A time of praying for Holy Ghost power while denying the Holy Ghost His rightful place. John Calvin said, “The sin of the OT was the rejection of Jehovah God. The sin of the NT was the rejection of Jesus Christ the Son of God. And the sin of today the church age is the rejection of the Holy Ghost.”
A time of preaching great sermons but they are dead letters.
A time of great learning in the Church, Drs. Of this and that, degrees in this ‘ology’ and that ‘ology’ and yet no personal knowledge or experience of God.
A time of denying a big percentage of Scripture by placing themselves in certain pockets of time and saying this Scripture is not for our time that was for the Apostles time and yet at the same time saying that, they are Bible believing Christians. Their Bibles must be very thin.
You must realise afresh that, NOW is the dispensation of the Holy Ghost, a continuation of the work of the Holy Spirit. That work that began at Pentecost when He Jehovah came and entered His Church and His presence was so mighty in them, that all who were there, were mightily convicted of sin and cried out “What shall we do?”
This was not the first revival as some might call it. This was the birth of the Church. God coming to His purchased possession, to dwell in His Church.
God left His dwelling place, that temple which was built by Solomon. Remember what was said then? But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? 1Kings 8:27
Even though he built a dwelling place for God he knew it was too small for Jehovah. What place indeed could contain Jehovah?
Right down through the years this was the place that the Jews turned to. Came back to. As far as they were concerned this was the Holy city because God was there. And the following is what happened because God was present.
1 When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; 2 Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. 3 The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. 5 What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? 6 Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; 8 Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters. Ps 114
When we come into the N.T. We have Jesus’ words If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14:23
Paul speaking to the Corths.
“for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” God present in His people. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1 Jn.3:24
No more was God dwelling in a temple made with hands, no more just Judah and Israel; He changed His abode to the individual believer (who makes up the Church) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple. Malachi 3:1
That was the reason for the great phenomena. And these phenomena would be a normal continuance in the Church’s life as long as the Church walks with God. This was the meaning of “I will dwell in them”
2Cor 6:16 for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people
God’s burning holiness, which none could ignore was/is always with His people.
If this is so, why are there periods of time when it seems that God is far away? Would God blow hot and cold on His people? Except His people walked with Him no more.
How could this Mighty Holy God (“Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? The Burning Holiness of God.)
How can this Holy God dwell in His church and the ungodly around not be mightily affected? One and only explanation ‘God is with them no more’
Look at the record of this in the Acts of the Apostles (Holy Spirit) from the day He came to dwell in His Church. When the Church walked with God.
Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 4:31-32 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Acts 5 12-14 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: (“Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?) but the people magnified them. 14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
Heb 2:5 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and giftsb of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
That was the start of it and in a fairly short space of time the Christian Church had spread over Asia
Justin Martyr, one of the leaders in the church about A.D. 150, said this:
There is no people, Greek or barbarian, or of any other race, by whatever appellation or manners they be distinguished, however ignorant of arts or agriculture, whether they dwell in tents or wander about in covered wagons, among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered in the name of the crucified Jesus to the Father and Creator of all things.5
Many say that, that time has passed; it was for the early Church! I say this is absolute nonsense.
The Lord said to Moses, is the Lord’ arm waxed short? Num 11:23
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me Ps.66:18
This was how it started and continued till sin entered and cut off the power of God. Till the Church no more walked in the light. Till man took the glory, till he no more believed the Word of God. As Isaiah 66:5 says, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word”
How will a Holy God live in a dirty house?
But down through the years men and women got themselves into line with God again. God again resumed His place in the Church and the only thing happened that could happen, the ungodly were converted. These happenings were named revivals because individuals confessed their backsliding and got into line with God the Holy Spirit.
Some of these awakenings lasted longer than others. Coming to the 14-16 century, Wickliffe, Huss, Luther, Zwingle and John Knox.
The great awakening in America in 1735 lasted unabated for about 25 years.
Others lasted different lengths of time the 1859 revival that we are so familiar with lasted for about 2 years obviously the effects are felt long after.
But what I’m trying to show is, the “time” limit was not because God wanted to give a wee injection of spiritual growth into the Church and then leave. The normal life of the Church ceased, because of man’s carnal behaviour and self-esteem. Sin came in and the Holy separated from the unclean.
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 hida his face from you, that he will not hear.
There you have the reason ‘Why’ there is not the “Normal, Natural” workings of God the Holy Spirit in our midst.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hida his face from you, that he will not hear.
This is clear, this is concise, the Lord has not changed His mind about sin according to our times, our whims, or our attitudes. Mal 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not” and so where sin is in the church or person, He will not hear.
If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom
Now I believe that our concept of sin has changed over the years. Somehow our consciences have been dulled, things that once would not have even countenanced by us, we now do, and each generation is going further and further from God. And the acceptance of once thought evil things done in our lives and in our society is accepted as the norm, pandering to all with the lame excuse “society is changing, we must go with the times” This is the thinking of the days people.
The holy Scriptures have to take a back seat in the shaping of today’s morality. And much of the professing Church because it has no guts, will not stand against this smelly river of profane thinking.
The Holy Spirit when speaking to the 7 churches said “He that hath ears to hear let him hear.” As Isaiah 66:5 says, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word”
Only those who were spiritual enough heard what God was saying! As the voice of the Holy Spirit went unheard by the Laodicean Church, so is the Spirits voice to the Church of today.
Do you have ears to hear?
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith), To day if ye will hear his voice,
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
So I ask a realistic and pertinent questions, “where is the Power of God the Holy Spirit in the church of today?” Could it be that the Church has fallen asleep, too comfortable and living in the passed, and has let its head be shaven by the whore Delilah? Are we the Laodicean church? Is Christ out side?
We talk of this power, sing of power, but I see it, as a lot of empty words. We profess that which we do not possess.
And then when we get down to the nitty gritty situations, the Church doesn’t know what to do any more. In the prayer meetings, the so called prayers are a lot clichés and repetitions because there is no praying in the Spirit and then the Church gets desperate to do something and mistakes desperation for inspiration.
The whole situation has been turned around, if it’s a situation that demands money then we can muddle through and even here the Church has its pockets well zipped up. Usually an offering is taken up for a mission or good cause so as not to go into the banked funds. (We lifted £1000 wasn’t that generous? And all the while ten’s of £1000’s sitting in the bank for the rainy day)
Silver and gold we have and such we wont give, (Tithes and offerings were never meant to buy property and shares to sit in a bank to accumulate and heap up treasure on earth) Any church that has lost funds in this way deserves it! They just never heeded the words of Jesus. “Lay not up treasure on earth”
I have heard of retired pastors when asked to preach would not, if they didn’t get paid for it. I cannot think of a more horrible insult to God.
But then the Church has nothing else to boast of. The “such” that the early Church had and which Peter spoke off is an unknown factor in the Church to day. Is that not the situation?
Peter was able to say “silver and gold have we none, but such as we have we give you, In the name of Jesus rise up and walk”
Was that not much more precious than Gold or silver? Oh for the church to be poor with not a penny to its name, but only have this SUCH
The Church of today can do anything but “walk with God”. I hear the protests loud and clear. You pride yourselves on your prayer meetings every week. I ask you about those. How many repetitions do you hear spoken each time. When last did you hear Holy Ghost praying?
If you have any spiritual ears at all, you’ll know it when you hear it. When last did you hear the sob because of sin? (Not because a loved one is sick, the unsaved sob for the same thing.) When has the burden become so great that there has been fasting and weeping?
But it’s not in the public prayer meeting where the real work starts. That meeting is secondary. Many make a show of being at the prayer meeting and repeating long prayers but are seldom on their knees at home where no one sees/knows but God.
It’s in the private meeting with God, that’s where revival starts. Then it’s carried wherever that individual goes.
And touching the preacher, he has to be first and foremost a man of Prayer and the Word. He has to come into the pulpit directly from meeting with God and not conversing with man.
I have heard the saying the “pastor he’s a man’s man”. If he is he is no true pastor. He’s to be no ones man, only God’s man!
The life of the preacher (God’s man) is a lonely one; he really can have no friends. Maybe you think this is over the top, nevertheless it’s true.
How many pastors has had to resign from the pastorate because of un-spiritual men and women whom he thought were his friends stood against him and the Word he preached.
I have personally experienced the same on many occasions since the day I started to preach 55 years ago. Found those who dislike the plain truth as is found the Scriptures. And I have said time and time again, that “No matter how hard the ‘Word’ to us is, we must bow to it”. Micah puts it 2:7 “do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” It’s always thrills the true child of God’s spirit to hear the unadulterated ‘Word of God’ but to those who are not walking right it is unacceptable, so they rebel and are content to settle for a low standard of Christianity, if there’s such a thing.
Gilbert Egerton in his book “Flame of God” Tells of Jonathan Edwards who was mightily used of God in the 1730’s was compelled to resign from the very Church, which was so signally blessed under his ministry.
When revival broke out in R. M. Mc.Shane’s church in Dundee and elsewhere.
William Burns was brought before a committee of pastors to explain the reason.
Charles Finney and many others experienced the same thing.
When a Church starts hurting under the preached word and so instead of bowing to the “Word of God” gets rid of the preacher and replaces him with some other ‘people pleasing man’, then that Church will come under the judgement of God, in God’s time.
For that Church the presence of Christ will be the same as that of the Laodicean Church “Outside”. The preacher must only be God’s man.
When a manwomanChurch bows to the “Word of God” Repents and goes through with God and so is able to come into the position of 2Cor 6:16 “for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”
Then the normal thing, the only thing that can happen, happens. “The LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly”. Ps. 84:11
But the “normal” to the carnal and the unsaved is “abnormal” so therefore they respond in an aggressive way towards the Church.
What then is your relation now with God? Are you living now the normal Christian life? God’s man/woman? Are you walking with God? Are you the temple of the Holy Spirit?