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A Perfect People First

 

By Dr. Richard Ing

March 3, 2008

 

WHY GOD WILL NOT BRING REVIVAL YET

 

Almost all Christians desire revival and harvest to sweep the earth one last time before the end of the age.   They envision one last and great revival/harvest that will bring in hundreds of millions of new converts all over the world.  Christians print literature about coming revival and yearn for it.  They fast and pray for revival.  They hold seminars and conferences on revival and preach it to congregations.  A few even do spiritual warfare to bind up ruler spirits in the heavens.  Some spend much time, effort and money to send missionaries all over the world.

 

After all, Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come.”  In Revelation 14:6, John reports, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” 

 

In Revelation 11:3-13, the Bible speaks of the two witnesses of God of the end times that prophesy (teach) for three and one-half years.  I believe that there will be two groups of witnesses that will testify of God with power.  For one thing, in Revelation 6:9-11, God tells “them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”  This clearly implies that more than two witnesses will be martyred. 

 

In Revelation 20:4-5, those that had been beheaded during tribulation will be resurrected with Jesus returns, and sit on thrones to judge and rule for a thousand years.  Verse 5. When Jesus comes back, the dead in Christ will rise first.  This is the first resurrection.  It will be more than just two individuals that will rule for a thousand years.

 

The two groups of witnesses will come into their ministry during the first one-half of Tribulation (first 3-1/2 years) and will be instrumental in ushering in and maintaining the last and greatest revival/harvest of all time.  They will testify with power.  Rev. 11:4-6.  A great revival will take place and then tribulation and the end of the world.

 

God will and cannot bring revival yet!  Why?

 

GOD’S PURPOSES HAVE NOT YET BEEN FULFILLED

 

To answer that question, we need to ask a fundamental question:  Why did God start the whole creation in the first place?  The answer is: (1) to have perfect children in the image of His Son, Jesus; and (2) to have a perfect Church to become the bride of Christ.  Ro. 8:29; 1 Jn. 3:2-3; Eph. 4:12-13; Eph. 5:27.   From the very beginning of creation, God had those two desires deep in His heart: 

 

Therefore, God set out to create a perfect people that would become the bride of His Son, Jesus.  Since the Father and the Son are One, they would all share in the relationship so created.   The Father in the Son, and the Son in us.  Jn. 17:21-23.  The closeness of such a relationship will be shared by the godhead.

 

The Bible is a story of romance and a guide to show us get ourselves ready to become His bride.  It is a story of God’s quest for a perfect people and a perfect church.

God will not bring the curtain down on mankind and the world until He has a people that come to a point where the final finishing touches leading to perfection can be applied when Jesus returns.  God’s purpose for creating mankind and the world was to produce a perfect people and church.  He will not fail.

 

REVIVAL WILL BRING IN TRIBULATION


Tribulation will begin when revival starts.  Once tribulation starts, it cannot stop until the world as we know it, comes to an end.  Therefore, starting revival will also start tribulation.  When we pray for revival, we are also praying for tribulation and persecution.


In Revelation 11:3, God says, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”  Two groups of witnesses will prophesy for roughly 3-1/2 years (3.45 years).   The word “prophesy” also means “to teach.”  In addition, they will bear testimony to Jesus.  Verse seven says, “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.”  The coming revival will last approximately three and one-half years and the witnesses are then killed.  They will be the martyrs of Revelation 20:4-5.  Rev. 12:17. 

 

These martyrs are also called the remnant of her (the true church) seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  They are powerful, mature Christians. 

 

God will not start revival until He has a perfect people or a people ready to be perfected in Christ when He returns.  The last, finishing touches will come when He returns.  It doesn’t mean that we can sit back and enjoy life and God will perfect us at the last moment.  There is much to be done by us.  Changing into the image of Jesus Christ is a high calling that Paul called a race to perfection.  1 Co. 9:24-27.   Paul also called it a pressing “forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 3:14-17.

 

We can fast and pray for revival; but if the Church ignores the task of being perfected in Jesus Christ, God cannot bring revival yet.  It is like a train at the station.  The conductor is calling out, “All aboard!  All aboard!”  But until the train has passengers, it cannot leave the platform.  Once the train starts moving down the track, it cannot be stopped and it will be too late to jump on.

 

I once had a dream in which I was standing on a train platform.  There were only a very few people standing there with me.  The doors of the train opened and we stepped inside.  It was virtually empty.  The conductor shouted, “All aboard!” and the train started to move forward.  I’m not trying to say that I have been perfected.  I’m saying that there are so few Christians that are ready to board that train.

 

That train will start moving at the beginning of revival/tribulation.  God is gathering the passengers.  The wheels are slowly beginning to turn.  Time is short!

 

No matter what else happens, God will definitely have His mature sons and daughters and a perfect church, whether you and I are in it or not.  While fasting and praying are absolutely necessary for revival, without saints seeking perfection in Christ, God cannot and will not send the train down the tracks empty.  

 

WE ARE COMMANDED TO BE PERFECT

 

There are various types of instructions and commands that God gives us.  Some are found in the Bible and are general to everyone.  For instance, all Christians are commanded to preach the gospel of salvation to all creatures.  Some are specific and intended to apply to particular groups such as leaders of the church.  An example is found in 1 Timothy 5:20, and applies to leaders.  That passage says:  “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”  Most of the commands and instructions we know are oriented towards ministry and service to God and church. 

 

Then there are commands that are personal to certain individuals and conveyed directly by God.  All of these commands are to be obeyed; however, it is obvious that not all commands can be obeyed all the time and all at once.  Circumstances and situations can prevent preaching the gospel or other activities during times of severe persecution or isolation, for instance. 

 

There is one command, however, that is constant and ever present.  It is God’s command to change into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Ro. 8:29.  The overall purpose and desire of God is for you and me to change into His image.  This does not mean that we are to stop our other activities and works and live in a cave so that we can concentrate on changing our heart.  On the other hand, we are not to emphasize works over changing our heart.

 

Doing good deeds will change a person’s heart and mind to some degree; however, the deep changes in character and nature, such as love, humility, submission and obedience are rarely changed by good works.  There are many famous Christians that accomplished great deeds but never changed their heart and attitudes.  They remained carnal until the end.  In the Bible, we read about Samson, who was called by God to defeat the Philistines, the enemy of God’s people at the time.  Though greatly anointed and given much physical power and favor, Samson loved wine, women and song and he never changed his heart until the very end of his life.

 

Another Bible example is King Saul.  He started off highly anointed and could prophesy with the prophets.  Saul accomplished much as the first king of Israel.  But he lost his humility and obedience towards God and never learned to trust, obey and glorify God.  His attitudes were carnal and self-promoting.

 

In modern times, we find a number of famous people that accomplished tremendous deeds but ended in disgrace.  Then too, many of our most recognized leaders are actually touting Christian philosophy and increasing their following with prosperity messages.  Growing the church, evangelism and living the good life are popular sermons today, but only a few pastors and leaders are dedicated to growing the saints into spiritual maturity. 

 

In Ephesians 4:11-15, we find:

 

And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  (Underlining added)

 

Again, we find the following regarding the church:              “That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  Eph. 5:27.  God is looking for perfect sons and daughters, conformed unto the image of Jesus.  Ro. 8:29.  These perfected ones will come together as a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or blemish - the bride of Christ.

 

In the last part of the Bible, we read: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  (Underlining added) Rev. 21:2. 

 

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.  (Underlining mine)  Rev. 21:9-11.

 

New Jerusalem, of course, is not just roads and buildings.  It is people that make up the city.  Finally, in the last statement found in the Bible regarding what John saw, we find the following:  “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  Rev. 22:17.  “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”  Rev. 19:9.

 

And so, the Bible starts off with God creating a bride for the First Adam, and ends with a bride for the Lamb of God.  God will have His bride.

 

UNDERSTANDING AND DESIRE

 

Although some individuals are called by God from the womb to do great things for the Lord, and are given favor and anointing by Him, each saint is called to be conformed unto His image twenty-four hours a day.  God would not have commanded it if it were limited to just a few individuals.  All of us are called into this special task.

 

The apostle Paul spoke often of changing our character and heart.  He lectured extensively on how we are to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21) and how we are to esteem others better.  He spoke of wives and husbands (Eph. 5:22-25) and their relationships.  The New Testament is filled with directions on living the Christian life, too numerous to list.             

 

We desperately need to have a clear understanding of what God wants from us in this critical hour.  If we fail to understand, we will miss it.  “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Pr. 29:18.  Now that we know what God wants, we must have a deep desire to fulfill that calling on us at this late hour.  The day is already well-spent and night is almost upon us.


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