Wednesday, 18 July 2018

O On the edge of revival

If the Church changes, the nation will change

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Pre-Revival Night – Dordrecht, The Netherlands - September 30th, 2016

Several years ago I was just discovering the incredible Anointing through the worship music of Terry MacAlmon, a worship leader from the United States. While I was watching one of his video’s, I suddenly heard him say something remarkable. He made the following statement: “So goes the Church, so goes the nation”. That caught my attention. It made me think. Could that really be true? But later I heard Derek Prince, one of my favorite Bible teachers, more or less say the same thing. He was also referring to the revival that took place in Wales. Their message was: “Bend the Church and the world will bow”. Then my attention was drawn to a message by David Wilkerson, which confirmed all of the above. It became clear to me that the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me something. 

Back in 2010, God allowed us to organize our first conference, which became the Heart of Worship Conference 2010. We were very privileged to have Terry MacAlmon as our guest, so we had incredible moments of worship. There is nothing like the tangible presence of our Lord. It was also the first time I had to speak for such a big group of people, which made me very nervous. But I had received a message from God and I was willing to share it. And it would bring change. At least that was what I believed and hoped for. At the time I was still naïve enough to believe that all people actually wanted change but afterwards I’ve discovered that the majority just wanted blessings and motivational talks, as long as it wouldn’t require any action from their side. This group of people will never see any form of change come, until they understand and act according to God’s principles. Afterwards I received many emails, from people who call their selves Christians, containing very serious curses towards me. I was shocked about the state of mind of the Church in this nation. It was a rude awakening and my naivety vanished immediately. Was my message wrong? After these sorts of accusations and indignant reactions you can become a bit confused. But every time I checked and asked God, the word was confirmed. Time after time.

In several other studies of mine, I mentioned that the spiritual world runs parallel to our natural world. If we want the victory, we need to have victory in the spiritual world first. When we have our victory in the spiritual world, the fruits will become visible in our natural world. Let’s take healing as an example. We know that Jesus has given us all the authority we need (Luke 10:19, Mark 16:17). We also know that His Word says that we are already healed (1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5). How do we apply that? In the spiritual realm there is only one currency that works: faith. The Word of God says that faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17), so when we start to proclaim the Word of God, we start to build faith. We may start with nothing or very little, but the proclaimed Word of God will make it grow. While doing that, we take in consideration:

  1. Who we are in Christ
  2. What authority Christ has given us
  3. Whose Word we’re proclaiming

God’s Word from your mouth is just as powerful as God’s Word from God’s mouth. Because the Word is His. The more we proclaim His Word, the more our faith will grow, until no evil spirit or fallen angel is able to tell us otherwise. Until we really believe it. Then we’ll have our victory in the spiritual world. As a result, the fruit will become visible in our natural world and we’ll have our visible victory. That is, in short, how it works. If we don’t have victory in the spiritual world, we will not have victory in the natural world. But everything you overcome in the spirit, will become a victory in your natural life. Just don’t give up until you have it. 

In the same way as the spiritual world runs parallel to the natural world, the condition of the nation runs parallel to the condition of the Church. If the Church allows pride, then pride will become one of the sins of the nation as well. If the Church allows adultery, then that is what you see in the entire nation as well. It is a spiritual rule, like we have natural rules as gravity. We never fall up, always down. That is a natural rule. In the same way, the condition of the Church will always have its effect to the nation. Every sin you see in the nation is a fruit of what lives inside the Church of that nation. 

And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds.
Hosea 4:9

Looking at the condition of your nation, what does that tell you about the condition of the Church and the need for change? When I look at my own nation, The Netherlands, it tells me everything. It’s far from pretty. But why does the Church have such a huge responsibility? And why do we, as the Church, fail in so many ways?

If the Church would be a group of helpless people, without any possibility to do anything, then we would have no responsibility. But that is not the case. I say it again, Jesus has given us all the authority (Luke 10:19, Mark 16:17). Everything we need, to overcome the enemy and to bring change to our lives, to our families, to our churches, to our cities and to our nations, is within our reach. Jesus Christ has made all authority available to us, He didn’t leave us helpless. So we have the entire Way, the entire Truth and the entire Life. But that comes with a responsibility. It is our responsibility to use His Word to judge everything that lives inside our hearts, to judge whatever happens in our lives, in our churches, in our cities and in our nation. Not to condemn ourselves or other people, but to distinguish the difference between right and wrong, the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness. We are the light of the world for a reason. It is to shine in the darkness, so that those who do not yet see are able to see. If they hear the Truth and reject it, they are responsible. But if we don’t share and are keeping the Truth to ourselves, we are responsible and we will be held accountable for it. We, as the Church, are responsible for the condition of our life, our church, our city and our nation, because we have received all the power and authority to bring change. Whether we use that power and authority or not, does not change anything about our responsibility. We will always be responsible and will always be held accountable. Ignore it if you want, but one day, when you stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, He will require accountability from you. 

And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Luke 12:47-48

When we stand before the great white throne of Jesus Christ, He will not only ask what you did, but why you did it. Because the why answers the question of what lived inside your heart. Then He will ask what you did with the responsibilities He gave you. This is not a light thing. Souls are at stake here and we are the tools that God chooses to use, in order to reach the lost. But it always has to start with us. We can’t go and tell others how they are supposed to live their lives and how they need Jesus Christ, when we are not a living example of that. If we are not a living example, then the people in our nation will also not be a living example. If we don’t use the Word of God to bring a clear distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, then the nation remains in unrighteousness. The result will be that God’s judgments will come over the nation. But they are not responsible for that. We are. We may feel helpless, but we are not. This is a matter of faith. Do we believe that we have received the authority? Everything is a decision. We can choose to be helpless and that is not a valid excuse. We can also choose to believe and to take our responsibility. 

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.
2 Chronicles 7:13-15

Very familiar verses from 2 Chronicles. For decades and centuries, many Christians screamed that the nation needs to repent from their wicked ways. They actually believed that they were in a bad position, lacking the rain, because the nation was unwilling to repent. But all the time, even in this present day, it was and is the other way around. The nation is in a bad position because the Church is unwilling to repent. The Church is responsible, not the nation. Simply look at the fruits! God says: “if My people who are called by My name”. Who are called by His name? Not the nation. We, the followers of Jesus Christ, are called by His name. This talks about us. The keys are simple. If we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear us, forgive us and heal the entire nation! So the entire nation benefits when the Church is willing to do that. In the same way, the entire nation suffers when the Church is unwilling to bow. All we have to do is look at the fruits. Do we see a land that is being healed? Then the Church is obeying this word. Do we still see destruction and a nation that is going downhill? Then the Church is still stubborn and prideful. Fruits will tell you everything. But because the responsibility is ours, the judgment also starts with us. Not just at the end, but already here and now.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:17

Everything that happens in the nation is a fruit of what lives inside the Church. The more you receive, the more responsible you become. Our responsibility will never decrease, only increase, as God reveals more and more. If we see bad things happen and keep our mouths shut, we are responsible. The Church of today is filled with sins. It is completely defiled with sin. All the things that God hates so much, and which He considers as sin, are happening in the Church, but are being justified under the banner of grace. We tell ourselves that everything is ok. For we have been saved by grace, we are no longer under the law and God forgives us everything, even before we have committed a sin. How diluted are we, when we choose to believe such lies? If we don’t come to the point of acknowledgment and confession of sin, our sins are simply not forgiven. You may choose to believe you are forgiven while justifying your sins, but then you’re in for a surprise at the final judgment. I’m not telling you this to condemn you. It is better that you hear this now, then to find out when you stand before the great white throne of Jesus Christ. For there will be no way back then, but now, on this day, you still have a choice. 

When the Church is willing to bow, the nation will follow. That was the message from a revival that took place a century ago. It’s still true. The verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14 is used very often, but seldom really followed. If people actually do something with it, in most cases it slowly fades away until things are the way they used to be. Religious and dead. Only a few people notice the significant promise that follows the verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14. In verse 15 God says: “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” This tells us that God closes His eyes and that His ears are not attentive when we pray, without humbling ourselves, without seeking His face and without turning from our wicked ways. If we want His attention, we need to pay attention to what He says here. There will always be people who laugh about this, telling you that God didn’t speak these words to us, but to Israel. But the fact is that these words are showing the character of God, His everlasting principles. 

Jesus never came to undo any of God’s principles. He came to offer a way to salvation, healing, deliverance and restoration. His life was the ultimate example of what the Christian life should be like. He was humble, not just by words, but by deeds as well. He reigned by serving. He was strong by being weak. He conquered dead by dying. There was not a trace of pride in His life. That’s the sort of attitude you would also expect in church. If Jesus really lives in us, then it shows by the fruits. It may not be perfect yet, but the desire to be like Jesus should be there. His desire was not driven by self-promotion or personal ambition, nor by any desires of the flesh. He also did not attempt to promote or build His earthly ministry. He was just aimed at doing the will of the Father. The will of the Father was and is simply to save, to heal, to deliver and to restore. None of these things can even be reached when sin is ignored and not dealt with.

I always used to joke about the area I lived in, by calling it ‘the dry bone valley’, but it isn’t far from the truth. The spiritual condition of the nation is like a bunch of dry bones. There is no life in it. No power. No one who is concerned about the condition of the nation, or just a very few. The term ‘revival’ has become some sort of hype, a substitute for big signs and miracles as if revival is given for our entertainment. But revival will not come before His righteousness is restored and if we ask for revival, without confessing our sins, we ask for His judgments. The only reason why revival has stayed away from our nation for so long, can be summed up in one statement: denial of sin. 

Yet you say, ‘Because I am innocent, surely His anger shall turn from me.’ Behold, I will plead My case against you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
Jeremiah 2:35

Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; You refuse to be ashamed.
Jeremiah 3:3

The times ahead will not become easier. The condition of the nation still perfectly reflects the condition of the Church, as the Word of God says. But it does offer us a unique possibility. We, as the Church, can test and judge ourselves by the condition of our nation. The more aware we are, the more willing we are to act upon that, the more of God’s judgments can be avoided. Even when God’s judgments are coming, it still offers us the possibility to act. When the body of Christ takes responsibility and does what God requires, there is simply no need for judgments. As long as judgments are coming, and as long as the rain and the latter rain are being withheld, it means that God wants our attention and that there is still work to be done.

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