Poor Jesus IV ended with the following:
*The falling away from the faith of millions of Christians.
That last bullet is the real key as pointed out in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “ If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
We need a Revival! We will discuss how Continualism figures into that scenario in later segments of Poor Jesus.
Poor Jesus V
It is July 9, 2014, as I write this segment. Things have gotten much worse since the woes narrated in segment IV took place. Terrible events have proliferated domestically and throughout the world (Ukraine in Europe, much of the middle east, much of Africa, and in some spots in Asia).
So what is going on in the Christian world?
*In developed countries Christianity is going down hill fast. The Charismatic/Pentecostal portion still holds to continuationism (the charismata-gifts of the Spirit- continue today), but is plagued by the prosperity doctrine and gross distortions of the Bible’s end-time prophesies. Result? The most active portion of Christianity is getting weaker and bearing less and less fruit;
*In contrast, many third world and developing countries are seeing signs, wonders and miracles in mass evangelism events as well as in individual or small group evangelism. Hallelujah! And this even in hostile situations.
This is illustrated by the ministry of Reinhard Bonnke, known best for his many years of mass evangelism throughout Africa. In his meetings, often attended by hundreds of thousands at a single meeting, signs, wonders, and miracles (evidence of the charismata at work) occur. Thousands are healed, delivered, saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But when he ministers in the United States or some other developed country, the results are miniscule in comparison. Other mass evangelists report the same phenomenon.
Why is that? The same Holy Spirit is the source of power at both venues, He is the same both places. The evangelist and his (in the case of Bonnke-there are very successful female mass evangelists also) team are the same at both venues. Why aren’t the results the same? It must have something to do with the conditions at the two venues. Let’s take the physical conditions first:
*Africa venue: hot, dusty, bare ground, no sanitary facilities, no drinking fountains, no hot dog stands, very long meetings, lots of mosquitoes, get there by walking (often for great distances), carry your infants who need healing, etc. In other words, AWFUL! But these awful physical conditions don’t prevent God’s supernatural work;
*American venue: indoors, air conditioning, soft seats, no mosquitoes, toilets aplenty, drinking fountains, food on site or nearby, arrive by car or public transportation. In other words, CUSHY! The cushy physical conditions don’t produce God’s supernatural work. I wonder if they hinder it? Remember what Jesus said to the church at Laodicea? “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17) Perhaps this could be a part of the problem.
But there has to be much more: How about these possibilities?
*We were once regarded as a Christian nation, but our individual, church and national sins have grown so monstrous and persisted so long that we are now regarded as a post-Christian nation! Alas, and so we are (thank God for the Remnant!!). Compare this with Ephesians 4: 30, “And do not grieve (by sinning) the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
*And those of us who are in the remnant (the small minority of serious Christians) so often fail to heed 1 Thessalonians 5: 19, “Do not quench the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit tries to put His fire in us and we quench it (try to put it out).
So, when we grieve the Holy Spirit with our sins, and quench His attempts to light a supernatural fire in us, how can we expect Him to honor our use of the charismata and produce signs, wonders and miracles? We “believe” in the continuation of the charismata, but by our actions cause them to cease or at least be greatly diminished. So guess what happens to our faith? It is diminished also, and so a climate of unbelief has developed in our country. Does that remind you of Jesus’ experience in his home town of Nazareth? Matthew 13:58 “ Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” I firmly believe that the reason the mighty works that the mass evangelists see in undeveloped countries don’t occur in the USA is because of the poisoned spiritual atmosphere here. As mentioned at the end of Poor Jesus III (quoted at beginning of this segment), WE NEED A REVIVAL ! It has to start somewhere. Why not with us as individuals here at the Chapel in the Pines, and then in the Chapel as a whole, then in our neighboring churches, then throughout Tuolumne County, California,
and the USA?
It won’t be easy. Worthwhile things never are. But it sure will be worth it! 2 Chronicles 7:14 gives the steps. God’s people, who are called by His name, should:
*Humble themselves: Give up the abominable “American dream;” substitute for it God’s calling for our lives; live a fasted lifestyle, in honor prefer others before ourselves; recognize that any good thing we are or have is a gift from God, and the like;
*Pray: spend much time talking to God in praise, adoration, gratitude, worship and asking for His will to be done in us, in our family, in the Chapel, in our country, and listening carefully to everything He has to say;
*Seek God’s face: be eager to hang out with God, basking in His presence, fellowshipping with Him as a loving Father and friend;
*Turn from our wicked ways: substituting the righteous ways outlined in the Bible for any wicked ways in our lives-God will point them out to us in our times of prayer.
Assuming that God’s people nationally fulfill these conditions, God promises that He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. If God’s people in a local church fulfill these conditions, can’t that church expect God to hear from heaven, forgive its sins, and heal (send revival to) that local church? I believe so. Here is another verse from 2 Chronicles that is very pertinent, chapter 16: 9a “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”
In Poor Jesus VI I will endeavor to describe what I think is God’s blueprint for a local church. It will be presented as the observations of one of the sheep in the Chapel in the Pines fold who has been blessed by that association for 59 years. It will be presented hoping that everyone in the Chapel family will consider it, see if it appears to be scripturally correct and worth pursuing.