~ A Desperate Call to God for Help ~HOLY SPIRIT: KEY TO REVIVAL
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
"Oh that Thou would Rend the heavens, that Thou would Come Down, that the mountains would flow down at Thy presence. As when the melting FIRE burns, the fire causes the waters to BOIL, to make Thy NAME known to Thine adversaries that the nations may tremble at Thy presence." (Isaiah 64: 1)
In his powerful appeal to Almighty God for help in bringing Israel back to a place of repentance and righteousness, Prophet Isaiah used words like “the melting FIRE burns” and “the FIRE causes the water to boil”.
Isaiah was zealous for His Lord and wanted the godless nations to give glory to the Almighty. A Revival of Righteousness among the Hebrews would also have a godly, moralizing effect on the pagan nations!
He would have known of ELIJAH the great prophet who brought Israel back to the worship of the Jehovah. He had challenged the prophets of Baal and the prophets of the Grove to a showdown on Mount Carmel. The great Prophet stated: “The God who answers by fire; Let Him be God.” Israel would then KNOW the true and Living God!
Elijah prayed: “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the Lord God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the FIRE of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
“And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD He is the God; the LORD He is the God.” (1 Kings 18:37-39)
DON’T PUT OUT THE SPIRIT’S FIRE!
The Holy Bible states: “Our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb.12: 29) Wherever He is, there is always Fire! What happened on Mount Carmel was expected. God always backed up His prophets who spoke the truth in His Name. And He often used FIRE to demonstrate His power and bring about His will on earth!
ST. PAUL admonished the Church: “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thess. 5: 19). He was saying, “Don’t put out the Spirit’s FIRE” or “Don’t extinguish the Spirit’s FLAME.”
He knew the tendency of human carnality and pride, in wanting to do everything ourselves, to be self-sufficient! Fire can burn itself out if not stoked and fed with oxygen. We must guard the fire in our spirits, by staying full of the Holy Ghost!
HOWELL HARRIS, (1714-1773) preached in large open air meeting across Wales. In two years He walked 2500 miles between crusades. In twenty years he had reached Wales. He stated: “A fire was kindled in my soul and I was clothed in power…I could have spoken to the king were he within my reach…such power and such authority did I feel in my soul…”
It was said, the words flowed scorching hot from the preacher’s heart. He would go on thus, pouring out old things and new for 2, 3, and even 4 hours. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, hearts were broken and it was not uncommon for people to come under such conviction that they would cry aloud to God for mercy while he preached. Twenty thousand people attended his funeral.
WILLIAM BOOTH and his wife Catherine founded the Salvation Army in 1865. They chose as their slogan, ‘Blood and Fire’, referring to Jesus Christ’s BLOOD shed for the remission of sins and the Fire referring to the FIRE of the Holy Spirit.” He stated: “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally.”
In 1892, William Booth wrote the well-known hymn, ‘SEND THE FIRE’. It is filled with Gospel Truth, Biblical Doctrine and Great Commission Admonition. You can sense the presence of God by reading the words and the Holy Spirit fire burns when it is sung!
SEND THE FIRE
Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood-bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For pow’r to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Oh, see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the off’ring now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The one thing we must NOT do, is rely on our own wisdom and strength! We must never think that we can do the work of God ourselves, without relying totally on the Holy Spirit! The great Apostle realized that the Blessed Holy Spirit can be easily grieved (Eph.4: 30, 31) and marginalized. That is a major error on the part of the Church today!
GOD MOVED IN NEWFOUNDLAND!
In 1968, our Crusades with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland shook the Central district, as thousands attended nightly for about a month. During a live interview over Newfoundland’s Radio Network, the interviewer became convicted by HOLY SPIRIT and asked if I would take the remaining ten minutes to answer the question: “What is the greatest mistake the Church has made in 2,000 years?”
I answered: “The greatest mistake the Church has committed in its nearly 2,000 year history is two-fold: Number one: They have taken the leadership of the Church out of the hands of the HOLY SPIRIT and placed it in the hands of mere mortals, and Number two: They have rejected the Word of God, the Holy Bible, which He (the Holy Spirit) has anointed.”
After I finished, I invited all the listeners to pray the Sinner’s Prayer with me. As we were walking together toward the main entrance, the Manager and an Associate came walking quickly toward me. I wondered if they were going to ‘ball me out’, for making their head commentator and interviewer break down on the air.
But, NO! They said: “All the lines are jammed. Seventy thousand people have been listening. Our Television Station is across the street. Please, do the same thing over there. They are waiting for you now!”
The two most important things the Church needs today is the Power of God and the Fire of God! Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church promised: “But ye shall receive POWER after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
And JOHN THE BAPTIST stated: “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE.” (Luke 3:16).
He was speaking about JESUS, the Baptiser in the Holy Ghost and fire! He would accomplish two great things: Shed His holy Blood on the Cross for the sins of the world, and Baptize His Church with the Holy Spirit and Fire!
When the Jews heard him utter those words, they knew that something special was about to happen in the spiritual life of their nation. When God chose Israel through which He would send the Messiah, He called ABRAHAM to be the Father of the nation. The Lord promised him a son even though Sarah was barren. After about twenty – five years the miracle happened and Isaac was born.
GOD CALLS ABRAHAM BY FIRE!
The Holy Record states: “And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a BURNING LAMP that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” (Gen.15: 17, 18)
The HOLY SPIRIT was present in the FIRE that awesome night as the Almighty revealed to Abram His supernatural power. Later, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and confirmed the everlasting covenant He was making with the Nation of Israel! He had confirmed the COVENANT with Blood, symbolized by circumcision of all males and through the Holy Spirit by the presence of the coals of FIRE.
The Bible says: “As it is written, I have made thee a Father of many nations, before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.
“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the Father of many nations, according to that which was spoken: So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a HUNDRED years old, neither yet the DEADNESS of Sarah’s womb:
“He staggered not at the PROMISE of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore, it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” (Rom.4:17-22)
GOD CALLS MOSES BY FIRE!
After the Hebrews had been in Egypt for four hundred years, God brought them into a land flowing with milk and honey as He had promised Abraham. He called His chosen leader by FIRE. Through the providence of God, Moses had survived the Egyptian genocide against Hebrew male babies, and was even adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.
When Moses was "come to years", he killed an Egyptian who was abusing a Hebrew slave. Fearing retribution from Pharaoh, he fled to the land of Midian where he became a shepherd. After forty years in the desert, Moses was ready to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land. God would fulfill His promise to Abraham!
The Bible says: “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb and the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Him in a FLAME of FIRE out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said MOSES, MOSES. And he said: Here I am. And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
“Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
“And I am COME DOWN to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Ex.3:1-8). The Angel of the Lord was none other than God the Son, in a Theophany - God the Son appearing as the ‘Angel of the Covenant’!
God said that He had SEEN the affliction of His people, He had HEARD their cries for help and He KNEW their sorrows. He was going to DELIVER His people from Egyptian bondage and He was commissioning Moses, the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter, to LIBERATE them and lead them into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey!
The Lord had prepared His man! MOSES had spent forty years tending sheep. He was prepared to lead a rebellious nation of slaves for another forty years through the wilderness. After hearing the VOICE of GOD and seeing the burning BUSH of FIRE, his life was changed and he became the Great Lawgiver under God, giving Israel and the world the 'Ten Commandments', from which came the British Common Law used by all civilized, democratic nations.
Unfortunately, out of agitation with the Hebrews he made a colossal mistake by striking the ROCK twice instead of only speaking to it. God was angry with Moses and barred him from entering the Promised Land. The Rock was a type of Christ! (Nu. 20: 10-12; 1Cor.10: 4). His DEATH was final. He does not need to be struck again!
After ten powerful plagues against the ten gods of Egypt, Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery "with a high hand", the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of FIRE by night. The Holy Spirit was leading them and protecting them!
"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; by night in a pillar of FIRE, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of FIRE by night, from before the people." (Ex.13: 21, 22)
GOD CALLS SOLOMON BY FIRE!
Although Elijah is called 'The Fire Prophet', God always came down in FIRE when sacrifices were made in His name. Going back to Cain and Abel's sacrifices at the Gate of the Garden of Eden, we read: "The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering, but unto Cain and his offering, He had not respect". (Gen.4: 3-5)
Why did the Lord accept Abel's offering but not Cain's offering? When Adam and Eve sinned, God immediately instituted the sacrificial system. He killed an innocent animal which would be their substitute. The blood would atone for their sins and the skin would clothe them.
How did Cain know that God was not pleased with his sacrifice of "the fruit of the ground"? The HOLY FIRE that burned up Abel's sacrifice did NOT consume Cain's bloodless sacrifice! Whenever God was pleased with a sacrifice the FIRE always fell!
When SOLOMON dedicated the temple, he rehearsed before Israel the history of God's dealings with his father David and with His people. Solomon prayed an awesome and powerful prayer unto Almighty God (2 Chron.6: 14-42)
Then the FIRE fell, as was expected. Here is the Holy Record on this momentous event: "Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the FIRE came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the GLORY of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the House of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house.
"And when the children of Israel saw how the FIRE came down , and the GLORY of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good: for His mercy endureth forever." (2 Chron.7: 1-3)
Almighty God said: "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilences among My people; If My people, which are called by My name, shall HUMBLE themselves, and PRAY, and SEEK My face, and TURN from their wicked ways; Then will I HEAR from Heaven, and FORGIVE their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chron.7: 13, 14)
GOD CALLS ISAIAH BY FIRE!
Isaiah was about eighteen years old when King Uzziah died. He went into the temple to seek God, not knowing what would happen to his nation. It was then that the Holy Spirit showed up. The Bible records:
"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly."
What an experience this man had, as he actually saw God the Son, in all in His glory. He saw The LORD sitting upon a throne. He saw the seraphims which covered their faces and feet in God's presence and heard them cry, Holy is the Lord!
"And one cried unto another, and said, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of Him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
“Then said I, Woe is me! For I am UNDONE; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."
God's holiness made Isaiah cry out: "I am a sinner. I am undone. I live among a sinful and unclean people, because my eyes have looked upon the thrice holy God!" In the presence of Almighty God, the prophet felt his nothingness and his weakness and his sinfulness. He cried out for mercy! Oh, how we must reverence Almighty God!
"Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having A LIVE COAL in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it on my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy SIN PURGED. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and Who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me." (Is.6: 1-8)
The Holy Spirit was in the FIRE that touched the prophet's lips! When the LIVE COAL from the holy altar touched the young man's lips, he received the assurance that his sins were gone. And immediately, he heard the Voice of the Lord calling him into service for Him!
The Book of Isaiah is called 'The Gospel of the Old Testament' and every major doctrine of Christ is found in that book! They include the virgin birth of Christ (7:14); Names of Deity given to Christ (9:6); the Spirits of God resting upon Him (11:1,2); Satan's defeat by Christ (14: 12-17); Day of resurrection and judgment (26: 19-21); and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (28: 11,12)
THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER!
"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." (John 20: 21,22)
"But when the COMFORTER is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth which proceeds from the Father He shall testify of Me. Nevertheless I tell you the Truth; It is expedient that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.
"But when HE IS COME, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment: Of sin because they believe not on Me; Of righteousness, because I go unto My Father, and ye see Me no more; Of judgment because the prince of the world (Satan) is judged.
“Howbeit when He, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.
“He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine and, and show it unto you. All that the Father hath are Mine, therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you." (John 14: 26; 15: 26; 16: 7-11, 13-15)
HOLY SPIRIT FIRE FALLS!
The Holy BIBLE records the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, ten days after the ascension of our Lord and fifty days after Christ's resurrection from the dead. St. Luke writes:
"To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me.
"For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be BAPTIZED with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth…" (Acts 1: 3-5, 8)
More than five hundred men saw Christ at one time in Galilee after His resurrection from the dead (1 Cor.15: 6) and I'm sure that all 500 would have heard His command to tarry in Jerusalem and WAIT for the Promise of the Father, the Blessed Holy Spirit, to empower them for His service!
The QUESTION is, "WHY did they not all wait for the Blessed Holy Spirit's arrival with His great power? And is this a pattern that we see in the Christian Community of Believers today, with many not waiting in His presence until they are filled with the Holy Spirit? Is it laziness, a lack of desire for God or plain and simple ignorance on the part of Pastors who have come out of Bible College or Seminary like so many sausages out of Schneider's Meat Packing Plant?”
Where were the 380 who had been commanded to WAIT for the 'Promise of the Father'? Apparently, they were too busy or afraid or felt they were good enough and didn't need this 'noisy, shouting, tongues-talking religion'. Think of what they missed: The blessed Holy Spirit coming into them with His love, mercy, grace, and power!
The Bible states: "And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Mathew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes and Judas the brother of James.
"These all continued with one accord in PRAYER and supplication, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren...the number of names were about an hundred and twenty." (Acts 1: 3-15)
TONGUES LIKE AS OF FIRE!
TONGUES LIKE AS OF FIRE!
"And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord, in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven TONGUES like as of FIRE, and it sat upon each of them.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
"For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the Last Days, saith God, I will pour out of MY SPIRIT upon all flesh:
"And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will POUR out in those days of MY SPIRIT; and they shall prophesy. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall CALL on the name of the Lord shall be SAVED." (Acts 2: 1-4, 14-21)
Jesus kept His Promise: "And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on High." (Luke 24: 49); "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever:
"Even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
"But the COMFORTER, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all bring to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14: 16-18)
The Church was born on the Day of Pentecost as God poured out His Holy Spirit upon about one hundred and twenty hungry souls! Again, He moved by FIRE! "
"And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they weee all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of FIRE, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4)
And what was the outcome? After St. Peter preached His Pentecostal message, multitudes cried: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter answered: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
“For the PROMISE is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2: 38, 39)
FERVENT IN SPIRIT!
ST. PAUL wrote: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (Rom.1: 1,2)
Included in his list of duties to the leadership of the Church, he adds: "...Fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." (Rom. 12: 11)
How does one remain FERVENT in the spirit? The answer is in total consecration to Jesus Christ, obeying His Holy Word and being filled with His HOLY SPIRIT! It is in complete dedication to His Body the Church, and the extension of His Kingdom!
The BIBLE says: "That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in Whom after ye believed ye were SEALED with that Holy Spirit of Promise, which is the EARNEST of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the prise of His glory." (Eph.1: 13, 14)
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye were SEALED unto the Day of Redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be KIND one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Eph.4: 30,31)
These verses prove that when a believer is born again by the Word of God and Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1: 23) and receives the Mighty Baptism of the Holy Spirit, he is SEALED until the day of his redemption.
THE HOLY SPIRIT SEALS US!
We are secure in Jesus when we give ourselves totally in repentance and faith to Him and receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The words 'SEALED until the Redemption of the Purchased Possession...' means that He will keep us safe and secure until our life on earth is over and we are in our eternal abode! We have been purchased by the precious BLOOD of Christ (1 Cor.6: 20) and are SEALED until we see Him face to face in Glory!
The Holy Spirit is the Guarantor of our salvation; of course this means that we must continue believing in and trusting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour! There is great JOY in the Holy Spirit and the Bible says:
"Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of God is. And be not DRUNK with wine, wherein is excess, but be FILLED with the SPIRIT." (Eph.5: 14-18)
History proves that only by obeying this holy precept is a revival of righteousness possible. Down through the ages we have seen this pattern repeated: Repentance of sin, receiving God's forgiveness, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, intercessory prayer, the Spirit of love and compassion exhibited, and souls won for Christ!
In his book ‘When the Spirit Came’ (1928), Moravian Evangelist Rev. JOHN GREENFIELD wrote: “Of the Apostolic Church in Jerusalem a certain writer has said: ‘Before thirty years had elapsed from the death of Christ, His followers had spread from Palestine throughout Syria; throughout almost all the districts of Asia Minor; through Greece and the Islands of the Aegean sea, the coast of Africa, and even into Italy and Rome’
“And at the close of the First Century JUSTIN MARTYR could truly testify: ‘There is not a nation either Greek or Barbarian or of any other name, even those who wander in tribes or live in tents, among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered to the Father and Creator of the Universe in the name of the Crucified Jesus.”
John Greenfield writes: “Sprung from the labours and martyr-death of the great Bohemian Reformer, JOHN HUS, ‘the Brethren’ had passed through centuries of persecution. Many had sealed their testimony with their blood.
“Imprisonment, torture and banishment had caused them to forsake the homes of their fathers and flee for refuge to Germany where a young Christian Nobleman, Count Zinzendorf, offered them an asylum on his estates in Saxony. They named their new home Herrnhut, the Lord’s Watch. And from this place after their Baptism with the Holy Spirit, they became the world’s evangelists and missionaries.”
THE GREAT MORAVIAN REVIVAL!
The Moravian Church received a powerful Baptism in the Holy Spirit in Herrnhut, Germany on August 13, 1727. The congregation of about 300 persecuted Christians from various denominations, who had been given sanctuary by Count Zinzendorf, stopped criticizing one another and began in earnest prayer and were all filled with the blessed Holy Spirit.
During the first 30 years after their spiritual Pentecost, they carried the Gospel of Salvation through the blood of the Lamb not only to nearly every country in Europe but also to many pagan nations in America, North and South, Asia and Africa, the West Indies and Greenland.
Greenfield writes: “Fifty years before the beginning of modern Foreign Missions by WILLIAM CAREY, the Moravian Church had led the way into pagan countries both by precept and example.
“Their English Missionary magazine, ‘Periodical Accounts’ inspired Dr. Carey and in a meeting of his Baptist brethren he threw a copy of the paper on the table with these memorable and historic words: ‘See what the Moravians have done! Cannot we follow their example and in obedience to our Heavenly Master go out into the world, and preach the Gospel to the heathen?”
On August 27, 1727 an around-the-clock prayer chain was started that lasted for 100 years! The well-known German historian of ‘Protestant Missions’ Dr. Warneck testifies: “This small Church in twenty years called into being more Missions than the whole Evangelical church has done in two centuries.”
IT IS JESUS, JESUS ONLY!
“Matthew Henry’s comment on this passage was fulfilled in their case: ‘When God intends great mercy for His people, the first thing He does is to set them a praying.
He also sent them a human leader and deliverer in the person of the young German nobleman, COUNT ZINZENDORF, who so kindly offered this persecuted Church a place of refuge on his own estates.
“This godly youth and pre-eminent genius had been divinely prepared for his great work of spiritual leadership. Converted in early childhood he composed and signed at four years of age the following covenant: “Dear Saviour, do Thou be mine and I will be Thine.” He had chosen as his life-motto the now famous confession: “I have one passion: It is Jesus, Jesus only.”
So effective and fruitful was this leadership that nearly two centuries later Professor BINNIE of Scotland declared: “It would not be going too far to affirm that Count Zinzendorf did more than any other man to redeem the Eighteenth Century from the reproach of barrenness, in relation to evangelical teaching and work.”
JOHN WESLEY, who founded the Methodist Church, was converted to Christ through the powerful testimony and ministry of the Moravians! Dear friends, let us follow their example and begin PRAYING earnestly, fervently and effectually!
THE BLUE PRINT FOR REVIVAL!
THE BLUE PRINT FOR REVIVAL!
● GEORGE FOX (1624-1691) stated: “The Lord had said unto me: If but one man or woman were raised up by His power to stand in the same spirit that the apostles and prophets were in, that man or woman would shake all the country for miles around.”
● WILLIAM BOOTH said: “Go for the lost and go for the worst!”
● JOHN WESLEY prayed: “Give me 100 men who love nothing but God and fear nothing but sin, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.!”
● GEORGE WHITEFIELD prayed: “O’ Lord, give me souls or take mine!”
● JOHN KNOX prayed: “O’ God, give me Scotland or I die!”
● MARTIN LUTHER stated: “I live as though Jesus Christ died yesterday, arose today, and is coming again tomorrow!”
● Seven times in John’s Gospel - chapters 14,15 & 16 - Jesus invites us to pray, declaring that God will answer us when we approach the ‘Throne of Mercy’ in His Name! My hope is that multitude of Christians will realize that God invites us to pray because He delights in answering our prayers!
● D.L. MOODY heard the British preacher Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and in and by the man who is fully consecrated to him." Moody determined in his heart that he would be that man and God used him in a wonderful way for many years in the USA and Great Britain.
● WILLIAM SEYMOUR – the son of former slaves – who was used mightily in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California (1906-1909) stated: “Before I met Parham the hunger to have more of God was in my heart that I prayed for 5 hours a day for 2 ½ years. I got to Los Angeles, and there the hunger was not less but more.
“I prayed to God, ‘What can I do?’ The Spirit said: ‘Pray more.' I said: 'But Lord, I am praying 5 hours a day now.' I increased my hours of prayer to seven, and prayed on for a year and a half more. I prayed to God to give me what Parham preached, the real Holy Ghost and Fire with tongues with love and power of God like the Apostles!”
● JONATHON EDWARDS (1703–1758), who is considered America’s greatest theologian is known for his sermon, ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God’, was a mighty man of prayer. He usually sought God in agonizing prayer for 18 hours before delivering His powerful sermons!
Before preaching his renowned sermon on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut, Jonathon Edwards agonized for three days and nights in intensive intercessory prayer. The results were staggering! Many who heard his message trembled and cried out for mercy. Others fell under the Holy Spirit’s power. Five hundred people were converted that day.
Edwards was a Dedicated Vessel for the Lord. He said: “If it were revealed to me that in any stage of history there could be but one man who were in all to fulfil the will of God, I would strive with all my might to be that man."
● JONATHON EDWARDS cried out to God: “Give me New England or I die.” The revival that followed was the outcome of his agonized prayers! Undoubtedly, the godly example of his prayer-filled son-in-law David Brainerd, who persevered through much adversity in reaching the American Indians for our Saviour - also impacted Edwards greatly!
● ROBERT MURRAY McCHEYNE said: "Men return again and again to the few who have mastered the spiritual secret, whose life is hid with Christ in God. These are of the Old Time Religion, hung to the Nails of the Cross."
● RICHARD BAXTER declared: "I preach like a dying man to dying men. Every time I preach, I preach as though it were the last time I would preach."
● ABRAHAM LINCOLN said: "I want my preacher to preach like he's fighting bees when he's preaching."
● CALVIN COOLIDGE stated: “America was born in a revival of religion. Back of that revival were John Wesley, George Whitefield and Francis Asbury.”
● FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT said, “No greater thing could come to our land today than a revival of the spirit of religion. . . . I doubt if there is any problem, social, political or economic, that would not melt away before the fire of such a spiritual awakening.”
● LEONARD RAVENHILL challenged: "The greatest tragedy is a SICK church in a dying world." He charged: "If Jesus would have preached like many preach today, they never would have crucified Him."
● GENERAL WILLAM BOOTH spoke prophetically when he said: "The thing that I fear for the next century is that there will be: 1). Religion without the Holy Ghost; 2). Christianity without Christ; 3). Salvation without Regeneration; 4). Forgiveness without Repentance; 5). Politics without God; 6). Heaven without Hell."
● DR. OSWALD J. SMITH (1948), in 'The Fire of God' stated that he had studied the lives and ministries of great men of God like Luther, Knox, Wesley, Whitefield, Finney, Moody and Booth. What was their key to reach nations for God? He discovered they all majored in: Sin and Salvation, Heaven and Hell and Judgment!
Not long before the tragedy of Katrina, Oral Roberts shared a vision God had given him. He saw a dark cloud hanging over the USA and God told him that judgment would fall on America because His preachers were not preaching the Gospel. They were preaching everything but the Gospel. And they were not preaching about the soon return of Jesus Christ.
● ORAL ROBERTS said: "I began to weep and ask God to forgive me because I could not remember the last time I had preached an entire message on the 'Second Coming of Christ." Then he called on preachers, saying: "Get the fire of God in your belly and preach the Gospel and tell people that Jesus is Coming Soon."
● BILLY GRAHAM prayed this prayer many years ago: "Lord, do it Again! Do what you did when the Apostles were called. Do what you did following Pentecost. Do what you did for Saul of Tarsus, Augustine, Luther, Whitefield, John Wesley and William Booth! Lord, do it again and help us to win this world for Jesus Christ!"
CHRIST' LAST MESSAGE: REPENT OR ELSE!
Jesus Christ's last words to His followers before He ascended to the throne are referred to as 'The Great Commission'. These were His words: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned.
"And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe: In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues: They shall take up serpents (St. Paul in Malta); and if the drink any deadly thing (Pentecostal pastors in Soviet prisons) it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." (Mark 16: 15-18)
The LAST WORDS spoken by our Crucified, Risen and Glorified Lord to the Church were given to St. John on the Isle of Patmos. They were powerful and demanding and to five of the seven churches, He said: "REPENT OR ELSE!" That is very disturbing!
In our desperate need for a genuine Revival in the Church, we must go to Jesus Christ’s messages to seven churches in the Book of Revelation. I believe we can find the key to REVIVAL in these verses!
To the Church at LAODICEA, Jesus said: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou were cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot I will spew thee out of My mouth.” (Rev.3: 15, 16).
JESUS WARNS: “Because thou say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing; and knoweth not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked:
"I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou may be rich; and white raiment, that thou may be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou may see.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent. Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with Me.” (Rev. 3: 17-20)
Although five out of the seven Churches Jesus critiqued needed to repent, Laodicea was the worst. The Church at EPHESUS, had been a model Church sixty years earlier when Paul had preached there. Now they were charged by our Lord of having “left their first love” (Rev.2:4).
The Church at PERGAMOS was allowing the seriously perverted teachings of Balaam as well as the Nicolaitans to gain inroads into the congregation. Jesus warned them: “Repent or I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them (false teachers) with the sword of My mouth.” (Rev.2: 16)
To the Church at THYATIRA, He said: “Notwithstanding I have somewhat against thee, because thou suffers that woman Jezebel which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit fornication and to eat things offered unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Rev.2: 20-22)
To the Church in SARDIUS our Lord said: “I know thy works; that thou hast a name that thou lives and are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
"Remember therefore how thou has received and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shall not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shall not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Rev.3:1-3)
To the Church at SMYRNA our Lord Jesus had no words of rebuke. He said: “These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive… Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a Crown of Life.” (Rev.2: 8-10).
To the Church at PHILADELPHI our Lord Jesus Christ said: “These things saith He that is Holy, He that is True, He that hath the key of David, He that opens and no man shuts; And shuts and no man opens. Behold I come quickly; hold fast that which thou hast, that no man takes thy crown.” (Rev.3: 7, 11, 12)
The Head of the Church was not pleased with five out of the seven churches. They were admonished to repent. The sad state is that they had put Jesus out of His Church and He was trying desperately to get back in, and that is where we find ourselves in many churches in this End Time! If ever we needed a Revival of Righteousness, Intercession and Soul winning, it is now!
HEREIN LIES THE KEY TO REVIVAL!
Going back to our text, Isaiah cries out for God to "… Rend the heavens…and Come Down that the mountains would flow down at Thy presence. As when the melting FIRE burns, the fire causes the waters to BOIL, to make Thy NAME known to Thine adversaries that the nations may tremble at Thy presence." (Isaiah 64: 1)
This is about taking hold of the horns of the altar and holding on until He answers. It is about repenting, asking, believing and by faith receiving His promised REVIVAL! And then, going out and possessing our inheritance as children of God!
It is Earth crying out to Heaven. It is a heart wrenching prayer to the Eternal God from a Prophet whose people have gone astray. It is an Emergency Call for Divine Help and intervention in the affairs of sinful men. It is an SOS directed to the ears of the Almighty God and Saviour of the world. It is the beginning of a Revival of Righteousness!
When conditions become so desperate that human nature, which is sinful at best, revolts against the deplorable, despicable perversion and violence in society, decent human beings feel compelled to call upon the Lord for help.
Prophet Isaiah was undoubtedly looking back to the times God had come down to this earth in judgment upon sinful flesh, sending a flood that wiped out the entire population except Noah and his family, destroying Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, delivering Moses and the Children of Israel by parting the Red Sea and allowing the waters to return destroying the ‘Might of Egypt’.
He cried out: "When Thou did terrible things which we looked not for, THOU CAME DOWN, the mountains flowed down. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waits for Him." (Is. 64: 3, 4)
GOD’S PROMISES: BEYOND UNDERSTANDING!
St. Paul refers to the great things which God has promised for those “who WAIT for Him.” These promises are so great that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9, 10)
The great ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’ reveals the blindness of the Jewish leaders who condemned their Messiah and the pagan Romans who crucified Him: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a Mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the PRINCES of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” (1 Cor.2: 7, 8)
These great promises are in effect today and will carry right on into eternity! Many unknowing Ministers take this to mean that all these things will begin happening only after we are in Glory. The truth is found in verse 10, where it states: “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.”
● VANCE HAVNER, one of America’s most powerful Baptist preachers, stated that the great things God promised, is not referring only to Paradise but also for the church now, if by faith we press in to receive them for His glory! I believe that UNBELIEF has robbed the Church of our effectiveness to turn back the powers of darkness that has invaded our ranks and is making us ineffective Messengers of God’s Kingdom!
Isaiah prayed in repentance with humility: "Thou meets him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways: behold, Thou art wroth; for we have SINNED; in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. But we are all as an UNCLEAN thing, and all our righteousnesses are as FILTHY RAGS; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind have taken us away.
THE KEY TO UNLOCK REVIVAL FIRES!
"And there is none that calls on Thy name that stirs up himself to take hold of Thee, for Thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of iniquities. But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay and Thou our POTTER and we all are the work of Thy hand." (Isa.64: 4-8)
Here is the key to unlock the REVIVAL Fires of God in our land! It is also the key verse that informs us why we do not have a revival. It reveals the prognoses of our spiritual sickness and also the prescription for the kind of medicine that will cure our serious illness.
First, it reveals that God had hidden his face from us because we have sinned grievously. The previous verse states that our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. The terribly bewildering fact is that there isn’t anyone getting stirred up enough to “take a hold of Him!”
There is no-one laying hold on the promises of God, like Job of old, when he cried out: “Though He slay me yet will I trust Him…” (Job 13:15). Or, like St. Peter when during the height of the raging storm, cried out: “Lord if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee on the water.” (Matt.14: 28)
NO-ONE is calling upon His name in desperation. No-one is crying out for mercy, forgiveness and healing. No-one has confronted the Almighty and taken a hold of Him, like Jacob of old, saying, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.”
There is no-one like John Knox crying out: “O God, give me Scotland or I die,” or Jonathon Edwards interceding in prayer for three days and night before preaching his powerful sermon, ‘Sinners in the Hands of the Living God’ which brought 500 souls to Christ on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
Where are God’s holy Ministers today crying out for Revival on their knees crying out: “Help me or I die; I need some answers; We need a genuine, Holy Ghost, Heaven sent revival from the hand of God; What do you want me to do? Here am I, send me!”
The Bible says: "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was STIRRED in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry." (Acts 17:16); "And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was PRESSED in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that JESUS was Christ." (Acts 18: 5)
St. Paul wrote to Timothy: "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou STIR up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Tim.1: 6.7)
Apparently, Timothy was fearful and apprehensive realizing the great responsibility he had in advancing the Gospel message, in a time when Rome was pouring on the persecution. The possibility that Paul, his great mentor, could soon be martyred was very real and then, what might happen to him. He was a young preacher and was expected to do the work of a seasoned soldier of the cross, but St. Paul knew that the gift of God which lay dormant in Timothy could be stirred up!
KING DAVID had sinned grievously and then he calls upon God in earnestness and desperation. He is afraid that he is near the point of no return; that he may be close the end of God’s mercy. He cries out in desperation:
“Have MERCY upon me, O God, according to Thy loving kindness. WASH me thoroughly from iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgression: and my sin is ever before me. PURGE me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
“Hide Thy face from my sins, and BLOT out all my iniquities, Create in me a clean heart O God; and RENEW a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. RESTORE unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.” (Psa.51: 1-12)
FREDRIK FRANSEN: THE FIRE PROPHET
Fredrik Fransen was an itinerant Gospel preacher in Norway around the turn of the 19th Century. At that time it was almost impossible for a Minister to conduct Gospel meetings outside the Lutheran State Church. Fredrik Fransen had been invited to stay at the home of an elderly man while evangelizing the city of Ålesund, which lies near the Ocean.
His work came to an abrupt end when an agitated crowd turned ugly and threatening. The preacher was told in no uncertain terms that he was not wanted in that city and a very large gathering of town’s people literally chased him out of Ålesund.
He stopped on the edge of town and faced the mob with these words, "As you have driven me out of your city, one day all of you will flee from this city on this very road."
About a year or so later a fire started when a cow kicked a torch in the Ålesund Preserving Company’s factory at 2:00 AM on January 23, 1904. A gale from the sea propelled the fire forward and almost the entire City burned to the ground. The fire leaped over the house belonging to the man who had given the preacher lodging. It is still preserved as a ‘heritage site’ until today.
As the fire swept across the city devouring almost everything in its path, the owner of the house fell to his knees and prayed. His relatives said: "Hurry, you old religious nut. Get out and run for your life."
He answered: "I didn't start the fire and I'm not leaving." They said: “We are all carrying what we can to the top of the mountain. We will take your furniture, you old fool. You will die." He answered: "You are free to take what you want. I didn't start he fire and I'm staying."
The fire JUMPED OVER his house. It raced up the mountainside to the look-out (A restaurant is there now) and burned every one's furniture. True to the Preacher's words, thousands of people literally ran for their lives out of Ålesund down the very road they had chased Fredrik Fransen.
At the 100th anniversary of the fire January 23, 2004, I was preaching in that city and was invited to the Museum at Midnight to hear the history and enjoy some musical renditions performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra. At midnight several hundred brave souls made a two to three hour walk about the city to hear the Curator / Historian relate some facts about the fire 100 years earlier.
Pastor Haaken Nilsen introduced me to the Curator and informed him that I could speak Norwegian and that I knew the history of Fredrik Fransen. The Museum’s Curator said that the House had been recently struck from the tour, and he would be pleased if I would relate to the crowd the story of Fredrik Fransen and the reason the fire did not engulf that house, because many had not heard it.
I stood on a chair at about 2:00 AM and shared with several hundred die-hard History buffs the great historical event of the Ålesund Fire and why it happened, and that God not only loves us but also Judges mankind because of our sins. Everyone there were very attentive and I prayed for their City and all their loved ones!
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
God still answers by FIRE! He has not changed His Word or methodology to please some airy-fairy, arrogant, proud, puny, so-called intellectual academics who parade themselves as knowing more than the Holy Spirit and our Lord Jesus Christ Who instructed His disciples and followers!
After His resurrection from the dead, our Saviour stated: “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.
“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among ALL NATIONS, beginning at Jerusalem.
“And ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on High.” (Luke 24: 44-49)
St. Luke records: “To whom also He shewed Himself ALIVE after His passions by many infallible proofs, being seen of them fifty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God:
“And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but WAIT for the Promise of the Father, which saith He, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1: 3-5)
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of FIRE, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filed with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues like as of fire.” (Acts 2: 1-4)
DID JESUS KEEP HIS WORD?
The Great Commission given by our Lord still stands today. There has been no abrogation, alteration or change in our Lord’s Words. He said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My Words shall not pass away.” (Matt. 24: 35); “…and the Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10: 35). There are strong prohibitions against interfering against His Word! I would not dare to change His Word! (Duet. 4:2; 12:32; Rev. 22: 18, 19)
JESUS commanded: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
“And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18)
Did Jesus keep His Word? He most certainly did! The Holy Bible declares: “So then after the Lord had spoken into them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the Right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with SIGNS following. Amen.” (Mark 16:19-20)