(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
Judgement and Revival
5th July 2007
Have you ever read a passage of the Bible and suddenly realised that God was speaking NOW? Of course, God speaks through all of the Bible all of the time. But sometimes, it seems like a particular passage is especially applicable to the moment, and it’s as if the Holy Spirit is showing you.
It happened to me recently. I was due to preach in about 10 minutes’ time, when my Bible seemed to fall open at Jeremiah Chapter 33. The church I was visiting were singing a worship song and it seemed important for me to get down on my knees before God. I couldn’t sing, or speak. It was as if I encountered something of the holiness of God. I’m not saying it was wonderful compared to other people’s experiences. I’m just saying it was very beautiful and awe-inspiring for me. And it seemed the right thing to do to read Jeremiah 33. And – a few moments later, I got up and preached it.
And I think – I honestly think – that it’s very relevant to many churches in our land at this time in history.
Jeremiah – the only man of God prepared to warn of God’s impending judgement – was in prison. We still hate to hear about God’s judgement; we only want to hear about His love. But both are real. He is the Judge of all the Earth, whether we like it or not.
And the Lord who created the entire universe spoke to Jeremiah and said that if we will call out to god, he will answer. Oh, if only we really believed that! And, even more than that, God promised to teach us new things – unsearchable things that we don’t yet know.
It seems to me that far too many Christians – especially Christian leaders – think they know it all. If someone tried to tell them something they didn’t already know, they’d dismiss it out of hand. Just because it’s new to them. If you’re like that, then you’ve hit a plateau; you can’t learn anything if you think you know it all.
Dear brother or sister in Christ, be open to new things. God will not pour new wine into old wineskins.
The Babylonians were coming! They were already encamped around Jerusalem. And God said that the houses of His holy city would be filled with the dead bodies of His people. Judgement is real.
God has just pronounced death and judgement on the city. Now he says He’s going to bless it abundantly. Does that seem inconsistent to you? Strange, even? Here is the principle by which God was speaking to Jerusalem:
He will cleanse His city before He blesses it
And I believe He’s saying the same thing to the English church RIGHT NOW.
Many of us have prayed and waited for years for revival to come to our land. And England really, really needs it. But before God pours out His Spirit on and through His church, He will purify that church. There are many church members and church leaders who will fall away. They will either go into unbelief and sin, or they’ll die, or they’ll be so ill that they can’t function as part of the local church. And there are many more who will be chastised but will turn in repentance to God. And the church will be purified. And then God will pour out health, healing, peace and security. And He will win renown, joy, praise and honour for Himself. And the nations will be in awe.
Just as God transformed the fortunes of Jerusalem long ago, so He can and will transform the fortunes of His church in our day. But He will cleanse us first.
Many local churches are seeing declining congregations again. The English church is becoming a desolate waste. And it will get worse before it gets better. But it will get much better. Once again, flocks will pass under the hand of the one who counts them – the abundance of new Christians will amaze those who see them.
Dear friends, take heed. Get onside now. Be part of His plans. Get right with God. Seek Him now. And seek revival.
Remember God’s promise:
2 Chronicles 7:14