Phil Cox

Miscellaneous


(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

Home page
Recent Columns
Previous Series
Phil's background
Preaching engagements
Creation and science
Miscellaneous
Contact Phil

Links
Stubbington Baptist Church
Acorn Christian Healing Foundation
Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith

Judgement and Revival

5th July 2007

Jeremiah 33

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.

Verses 1-3
While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time: "This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it — the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

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.

Verses 4-5
For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the men I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

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.

Verses 6-9
"‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honour before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’

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.

Listen:

Verses 10-13
"This is what the LORD says: ‘You say about this place, "It is a desolate waste, without men or animals." Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank-offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, "Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures for ever." For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD. "This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without men or animals — in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks. In the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the LORD.

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
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 will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.