By Dr. Richard B. W. Ing
July 8, 2005
Don’t be deceived by what you see in the body of Christ out there. What you see is only a façade, a pretense and false appearances. We’ve become so used to it that we think it is true Christianity. But, compared to the Christians and Church in the first century, we are a bunch of deceived, Laodicean brats content with making believe that we are worshiping and obeying God. We donate money, attend church functions, quote scriptures, smile in church, pray occasionally, read the Bible sometimes and do good works - anything but surrender our lives to God. Since we are unwilling to obey, we just pretend in order to conceal our rebellious hearts. Since almost every one else is doing it, we think that it’s the way of true Christianity. It is not. The Church has lost the way.
WHAT IS TRUE CHRISTIANITY?
According to famous revivalist Charles Finney, true Christianity exists only when Christians have hearts that are on fire to obey God, when they are filled with compassion and love, have a heavy burden for the unsaved and when the world has no hold on them. True Christians have their minds on eternity and know that life on earth is temporary and short. They are willing to do anything to save sinners and love obedience to God. They have a deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ and the body of Christ and are filled with faith and miracles mark their lives. They are zealous to preach the gospel of salvation to the world and ready to lay down their life for the brethren.
STATE OF THE CHURCH TODAY
Today’s Christians and churches have surrendered to the pull of the world and manifold temptations of the flesh. There is an abundance of sin, constant dissensions, jealousies and backbiting among Christians, and a worldly spirit in today’s churches. There is lack of brotherly love and church members fall into gross and scandalous sin. There is a spirit of controversy in the church or in the land and the wicked triumph over the church and brag about it. Sinners are careless and stupid and sinking into hell unconcerned. National and international Christian leaders no longer see any difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism and Martin Luther is about to roll over in his grave. In fact, the Church has begun to embrace same-sex marriages, homosexual behavior and is moving to accept all religions of the world. That’s where we are today. We can’t sink much lower.
Individual Christians today refuse to either accept hell as a reality or ignore the truth of it. Because they fail to pay attention to the reality of judgment and an eternity in hell, our families, friends, neighbors and acquaintances die and fall into hell every day without anyone preaching Jesus to them. It is estimated that only 2% of all people that die go to heaven. The remaining 98% end up in hell to be tormented forever and we don‘t really care. It is estimated that 150,000 people die every day on planet earth. If so, only 3,000 get to heaven, while 147,000 go to hell! We ignore the fate of the unsaved by spending our time in worldly pursuits - amassing wealth, living the good life and seeking recognition from others. This is not true Christianity.
When the saints go to church once a week and refuse to attend other meetings to support their leadership and where the saints have not preached the gospel of salvation to family, friends and acquaintances for months or even years, their hearts are dead. Rev. 3:1. When worldly hobbies and pursuits are more important to them than supporting the work of the ministry, they are blind, naked, have lost their first love and have fallen away. Rev. 3:15-19; Rev. 2:4. They need to become zealous and repent. Rev. 3:19.
AN AWAKENING NEEDED
Unless God intervenes and awakens our hearts, our families, friends and other unsaved sinners will continue to fall into hell. Mankind will never voluntarily obey God unless there is some benefit to Self, or we have extra time or money to devote to God. Otherwise, we just place God and His body on the back burner. Self comes first.
Like the rest of the body of Christ, we just learn to cover up while the fires in our hearts are almost out. We are spiritually dead and useless to the kingdom of God. We are desperately in need of an awakening in our hearts. Until God awakens our hearts, we will never become true Christians. We will steadily go on down the hill into oblivion and further mediocrity. The world will never be saved and there will never be a harvest of souls. Without a fresh awakening, foreign countries that are covered in darkness and under the control of Satan will never be saved.
When we were in Bulgaria, we heard that T. L. Osborn had been there a year or two before. He stated that the crusade meetings there were the worse he ever experienced in his entire career. Billy Graham reported that he has held crusades in every former Soviet-Bloc country except Bulgaria. Why? Did his crusade team know something T. L. Osborn didn’t? Was the darkness so dense that the light of the gospel could not shine through? Bulgaria needs an awakening, a revival. It is a micro-cosm of the darkness in our own land and in most parts of the world.
REVIVAL IS NOT A MIRACLE
Charles Finney says that revival is not a sovereign and divine act of God. It is not a miracle in the sense of supernatural events and divine intervention. It is a natural result of repentance and getting right with God. Every miracle and gift of the spirit to heal, cast out devils, do miracles and so forth is already in us. We have all the power we need. We have the same power in us that the early apostles had. We just don’t know how to release it. The Spirit of Power is the Holy Spirit that lives in us. When hearts are dead, miracles are non-existent. When hearts are alive and on fire for God, miracles are automatic.
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Jn. 14:12. If we have the same Holy Spirit in us, then why can’t we do the same miracles that Jesus and the early apostles did, and greater miracles? The answer is - because we are untrue. The Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of Power, He is the Spirit of Truth. He cannot be who He is in our life when we are untrue. He is the one who helps us bear fruit. A good tree cannot bear corrupt fruit and a corrupt tree cannot bear good fruit. Because we are untrue and corrupt, the Holy Spirit cannot bear good fruit through us.
We are untrue to God and untrue to ourselves. We claim to be holy, but it is not true. We claim to obey God, but it is not true. We claim to be spiritually mature, but we are carnal. We claim to love God and mankind, but there is little evidence of it. We claim to be zealous for God, but we are dead. We think that we are going all out for God, but we drag our feet. We think that we have faith to move mountains, but we cannot even move a pile of rocks. We claim to be sinless, but we are full of it. There is so much filth in the church. The saddest and most insidious thing is - we don’t know it.
When our hearts become true, that’s when we become true Christians. Jesus is not true because He speaks and does truth; He speaks and does truth because He is true. We cannot become true unless God intervenes and awakens our hearts to the truth. Sister Lani had a recent dream in which she saw a lamp in the church. It was strange because instead of the light coming out of the front, it came out the back. Instead of shining its light into the darkness, it shined its light on the one holding the lamp. Before we can shine the light of truth unto others, we must first become true. We need God’s light of truth to shine on us and awaken us first. We cannot give the world what we don’t have first.
WHO WILL STAND IN THE GAP?
Ezekiel 22:30 speaks of what is happening today.
Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the pray; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with intemperate mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord, when the Lord hath not spoken.
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
But, God is merciful and His grace is everlasting. He wants to forgive and to heal the land. In the next verse, He says, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Eze. 22:30.
A few years ago, Pastor Mauro and I had completed several meetings with pastors in different parts of the Philippines to bring them together and form a nationwide organization of churches. On the way back from Cavite one day, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Give Me the glory! I don’t need your organizations and I don’t need your strategies. I don’t need your planning and your networking. All I need is one man to stand in the gap!”
God is looking for one man or one woman or one group to make up the hedge and stand in the gap before Him that He might not destroy the land and that He might heal the land and bless it. God wants to revive the hearts of His people and usher in the greatest harvest of all time. But, He won’t do it by Himself. He is looking for a people to willingly stand in the gap before Him. “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.”
2 Chr. 7:14.
WHO WILL HUMBLE HIMSELF?
Who will humble himself and fast and pray and seek God’s face? Who will repent for the sins of the people and cry out to God to have mercy before it is too late? Even now, the forces of evil are marching forward against the people of God, bent on destroying every church and every Christian on the face of the earth. Does anyone realize that God is allowing the terrorists to do their nefarious deeds in order to gain our attention? Who will stand and raise up God’s standard in the darkness and shine the light of truth on the world? Who will block the broad way to destruction and rescue sinners from hell? Who will fast and pray and cry out to God for His mercy and forgiveness?
In the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, God found none. Judgment came upon the land and the Babylonians utterly destroyed God’s people, His city and His temple. Will He find someone to stand in the gap today? Will it be you?