In the midst of an intense life of contending we can experience great and continual joy!
First, I want to encourage you to read my two latest Charisma Magazine articles. They are receiving a lot of feedback and one has nearly 30,000 shares from the Charisma Magazine site alone:
- Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.
- Ancient and Emerging: 5 Major Changes Coming to the Church
Sometimes its easy to think that a call to contending means that we have to be grim and intense with no joy. This couldn't be further from the truth! We can experience joy, peace, life and an amazing relationship with Jesus always! Joy is strength and it is necessary for us as we advance in our callings.
It should be easy for us to smile, laugh, rejoice and experience abundant life even as we contend with a sobering, end-time calling.
I never thought a simple comment would result in such a reaction.
“I give myself an 80% chance of making Heaven.”
There it is. A clear and simple comment that has provoked people into honest pondering at the least and vicious personal assaults at the worst.
Before I continue, allow me to provide some context. This message is intended for those who believe that a Christian can lose their salvation. We have to have a common starting point. Those who subscribe to the doctrine of eternal security (once saved, always saved) will certainly be at least intrigued by this article, but many of their arguments will be unaddressed. I’m not going to attempt to debate their position in full here, but I am going to present what I hope to be a clear breakdown of why I am so convinced of my perspective.
My estimation is that I will spend eternity with Jesus, but it is not a guarantee. If it was, I would, by definition, be an adherent to the doctrine of eternal security. I am not.
Simply, if you don’t believe in eternal security, that means that every current Christian will have an opportunity to lose their salvation—to turn from Jesus. And, no current Christian would ever presume that they would do such a thing, but nonetheless many certainly will.
Why would we be immune from that temptation while multitudes of other Christians are not? I definitely am not immune.
Mat 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Many current lovers of Jesus will be deceived (even the elect) by extremely convincing yet false moves that have the name of Jesus attached directly to them.
1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…
Those who are currently in the faith are at risk. I am currently in the faith. I am at risk.
I and others more scholarly than myself have written on the dangerous false/hyper/unbiblical grace doctrines that are on the rise. You can read my previous articles to gain a better understanding of the theology here:
The reason I need to briefly address unbiblical grace in this article is to highlight a common thread that is woven through both of these talking points.
There seems to be an increasing desperation with people who are convinced that they simply cannot experience freedom from sin. Their last hope is a theology that overlooks their overpowering inclination to repeated failure. So, any teaching contrary to a quasi-universalistic viewpoint becomes a threat to their hope of eternal security.
I am absolutely sympathetic to those who are in bondage to sin. It breaks my heart that they are living in struggle and torment most every day of their lives and I am devoted to seeing them find radical, complete liberation!
The answer, however, is not unbiblical grace that would simply overlook repeated, intentional sin, but rather, true grace that actually gives supernatural power to be free from sin!
It’s from this place that I understand that I cannot continue in intentional sin and hope to live forever with Jesus. I will have many opportunities to live in sin, to intentionally gossip, lust, hate, to refuse to forgive, to lose my love. I, John Burton, must die daily, must take up my cross and must allow God to continually reveal the issues of my heart so I can turn, change and fall deeper and deeper in love with Jesus. If I don’t, I can presume that my name will be blotted out of the book of life.
Rev 3:5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
It’s simple. Pressure to turn from Jesus is only going to increase as the end draws near, and it will be so severe that many will turn from Jesus to avoid persecution and death. Imagine living during the Tribulation without the ability to buy, sell or trade. If we don’t take the mark we will have no access to medical care, food, communication tools, or much of anything else. Imagine what that will be like when Christians will have to move out of their homes because their bank accounts are closed. They can’t rush an injured child to the emergency room. They will lose everything including all natural hopes for survival. Will the pressure be high to take the mark, to turn on Jesus? Absolutely—and it’s fairly easy to presume that most will bow to that pressure. Will I? From a place of comfort it’s easy to say I won’t. It’s from a place of wisdom, however, that I must more carefully analyze that sobering question. Yes, I will be at risk of bowing.
With such a provocative statement it’s easy to make incorrect presumptions about what I really mean and what has driven me to that conclusion. I will address some of these here.
I’m confident that if I died TODAY that I’d be with Jesus forever.
I believe we absolutely can have a certain measure of confidence in our position in Christ. We are saved by the grace of God. The power of the blood of Christ is indescribable and I am fully dependent on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. As I respond to his gift and live in repentance, from a place of loving surrender and intimacy with him I know he has me. He’s mine and I’m his. If I died today, I’m quite confident I’d be welcomed into glorious eternity.
What I am not sure of (as nobody can be) is what decisions I will make TOMORROW. My very strong free will will always provide me the opportunity to lose my love, to fall into sin and to become lukewarm.
Rev 3:15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
It must be said that tomorrow can come very quickly, and my reaction to the drawing of the Spirit of God today is critical. I know that I can slip into a state of presumption, convinced that all is well when actually I have compromised my position in Christ.
See how the passage in Revelation chapter three continues:
Rev 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
If you jump back to the beginning of the chapter you’ll see this:
Rev 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
Am I, John Burton, somehow exempt from the fate that so many other current Christians will suffer due to their continued sin? Absolutely not. It would be quite arrogant to say that I, John Burton, don’t have to repent, can continue in sin, can fall asleep, can become lukewarm at some point in the future and will not suffer the consequences. There will be a great falling away, and I must stay alert to avoid becoming a part of that tragically massive group of people.
So, my life is focused on staying awake and strengthening what remains—and alerting others to do the same. The resulting passionate life for Jesus is well worth the internal introspection!
I don’t believe that one sin in the life of a Christian will automatically send you to Hell.
God loves us. He understands that we are in a process of sanctification and some failure is to be expected.
It’s our reaction to that failure that is so important. The Bible is a story of redemption and it should go without saying that we can fail and then embrace redemption, forgiveness and enjoy the hope of the prodigal.
However, if we choose to continue in sin, without repentance, without turning from darkness to Jesus, we absolutely are at risk of Hell. The Bible makes it so clear that it’s shocking that it’s even debated.
Heb 10:26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The answer? Live a life of wonderful, joyful repentance. Run into the arms of our Father at the point of failure. Repent. Turn. Fall in love with him again and enjoy a glorious forgiveness and a refreshed relationship with God.
I do believe we don’t ever have to sin again.
One of the reasons unbiblical grace is so popular is because so many Christians presume that we are all expected to sin every day. How tragic a theology that must be to live out!
We are no longer sinners. We are saints. True grace is so powerful that it enables us to live free from sin! If we sin every day, we have a sin problem and we should certainly be shocked into reality.
Of course, there’s a famous verse that’s pulled out in support of the idea that we are all continuing in sin:
John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
So, the argument is that we are all with sin. The problem with that argument? Jesus followed up the analysis of the situation with a command that could only be obeyed via the grace (power) of God:
John 8:10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Sin no more. Don’t sin again. Stop sinning. That was the message.
It was clear that Jesus expected this woman to live free from sin, and certainly from a life of daily sin!
Often when I state that we don’t have to ever sin again I receive a snarky comment in response: “So, how’s that working out for you, John?”
That reply exposes the condition of the person’s heart and reveals the point I’m trying to make. People feel hopeless against the power of sin and are attempting to use grace to cover it instead of eradicate it. This belief is tragic—and dangerous. It moves us quite close to a fearful judgment:
Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
I don’t live my life in fear of Hell.
The most common presumption that people have about me when they hear me say that I am not convinced I’ll end up in Heaven is that I must be living in great fear. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I am full of joy and am experiencing an abundant life in Jesus! Check this out:
1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
There is no fear in love. There are many who “got saved” to avoid torment in Hell. That is their motivation and their theology is keenly focused on the eradication of any threat of eternal torment. Though I have had an encounter with Hell, and I understand to a very small degree the horror associated with that place, I would never attempt to use God to avoid it. God isn’t one to be used for our own selfish pursuits. God is to be loved with immeasurable passion!
Let’s continue reading the passage in 1 John 4:
1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
It’s not a theology of eternal security that casts out fear, it’s love. And, this is where it gets a bit more serious. It’s possible to subscribe to a theology that ensures our salvation while also hating someone—and go to Hell.
So, my focus isn’t on avoiding Hell. I’m not living in torment. If I were, I’d know that love was not being perfected in my life and I would certainly have cause for concern. My barometer is the manifestation of love in my life. My daily goal and continual desire is to be with Jesus in a place of joyful, love driven encounter. I crave his presence. I yearn for a deeper intimacy with him. I am free, alive and thankful for what Jesus has done for me. I have no fear. But I am sober. I am alert.
I don’t believe it’s easy to lose your salvation.
For those who are truly saved, who have put their faith in Jesus and are following him, I believe it takes quite a set of circumstances to lose that salvation.
Remember, it’s intentional, continual sin that does not result in repentance the will eventually result in separation from Jesus. If we are actively wrestling with our flesh, dying daily, growing in sanctification and trusting in God’s justification, we are in a very good place!
However, if we refuse to repent and live a life of sin, no matter how insignificant that sin may seem to be, we should be very alarmed.
Again, the Bible is a book about redemption. We can look at the lives of many godly people who failed miserably yet are still considered giants of the faith. Their common thread? They turned back to God.
Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,' forgive him.”
Rev 2:5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
2 Pet3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
I do understand the miraculous, glorious work of the cross.
One accusation that I’ve heard is that I am lacking in revelation of just how comprehensive and powerful and conclusive the work of the cross is in the lives of Christians.
I won’t pretend to have a perfect revelation, but this accusation couldn’t be further from the truth.
Check out the doxology in Jude:
Jude 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
God is great! He is able to keep us from stumbling—but only if we are in agreement with it. If we choose to stumble of our own volition, we absolutely will.
The power of the blood of Jesus is worthy study and we will be growing in understanding of it for all of eternity. We have truly been set free from the penalty of sin and sin itself! We can be free, joyful, prosperous, empowered and abounding in love every moment of our lives!
The issue isn’t a lack of revelation of God’s greatness, it’s an overestimate of mankind’s devotion. I know God loves me, but do I love him? Will I be at the foot of the glorious cross when the pressure is high or will I run? Will there be a better offer, like thirty pieces of silver in a financially trying time? These are the questions that I keep in front of me as I grow in love and revelation of the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.
I do believe we must stay awake, pray and watch.
The key reason I believe we must see the prayer movement escalate, and contend for every Christian to become invested in continual prayer is that the temptation to fall will be overwhelming as the end draws near.
Mat 26:40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
The command is to watch and pray so that we may not enter into temptation. Just what temptation was Jesus referring to? Notice who he was talking to. He was telling Peter to stay awake, to watch, to pray, because his flesh would certainly give in to the temptation that was coming very soon—the temptation to deny Christ.
He slept and he sinned.
Rev 3:1 “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die.This the warning for casual, sleepy Christians today.
I was watching a TV show called They Shouldn’t Be Alive. It’s a series of survival stories that depict various adventures that should have ended in death—but somehow did not.
This particular episode told the story of a man who was canoeing alone down a river through the Grand Canyon. His boat overturned and he lost it and all of his supplies. He was cold and wet and the temperatures were quickly plummeting under the night sky. He was able to build a fire and he warmed himself as he sat under a massive cliff. He had no way of escape and his only hope was to survive the night.
The Holy Spirit got my attention as the narrator said, “If he falls asleep, and the fire goes out, he dies.”
This is the story of today’s church.
It is shocking to me how many supposed Spirit-filled Christians are actually coming out against the prayer movement. They make statements like, “While you are hiding away behind the four walls of the church I’m out evangelizing the lost.” I would be the first to argue that winning souls is a primary mandate for the church—and it’s funny when people presume I would believe any other way. However, I don’t believe we’ll have anything to offer other than religion and false hope to desperate sinners if we aren’t bathed in a lifestyle of never ending prayer.
Mat 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
We are commanded to go behind closed doors and pray. This is where the term prayer closet originated.
Simply, if someone isn’t active in continual prayer they won’t be of much value in the work of the Kingdom. They will be at risk of sleep and spiritual death. They will attempt to move in the flesh when a discerning spirit is what is required.
Mat 26:50 Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
Peter famously did what a sleeping, spiritually dull person would do—he reacted in the natural. He was aggressive and instant in action. He was protecting Jesus. Yet, he was wrong. This was the beginning of a great fall for Peter and it came due to many reasons, none greater than his prayerless, sleepy lifestyle.
Will I ever be tempted to stop watching, to fall asleep and to fall into temptation. Of course. And, as the end draws nearer the pressure to do so will only increase.
I don’t believe the state of our position in Christ is a mystery.
One of the questions I always have when someone struggles with this statement, that I give myself an 80% chance of making Heaven, is this: why not just live a life of joyful repentance?
We don’t have to worry and wonder whether we are in a good place with Jesus or not. If we sin, we repent. Period. It’s extremely simple.
We shouldn’t have to struggle with this at all. I don’t. If I sin, I repent. That being the case, why would I presume there is still a chance I can go to Hell? It’s also simple: there may come a day that I lose faith and refuse to repent—and continue in intentional rebellion to the point where my name is blotted out of the book of life.
Mat 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
And, there it is. When unparalleled tribulation, trial, murders and mass hatred comes to the church (it already has in other nations in a significant measure) many in the church will be offended. Betrayal, hatred and lawlessness will come and then love will grow cold. Cold love is the key to eternal separation from God.
In the face of such a great assault, there will be some who endure—and those are the ones who will be saved. Will I be a part of that remnant group? I don’t know. God’s pulling for me. But, it’s fully up to me.
I want to encourage you to read my book The Terror of Hell. This is the awakening that caused me to take my salvation very seriously. I had an encounter with the forces of Hell, and God spoke very clearly to me afterwards: John, many current Christians will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”
Discover how to burn hot every day and then watch it impact your city!
In this introduction to this series, John emphasizes how critical it is that we take responsibility to grow fast and deep in God and to burn hot every day. We don't want to rely on others to lead us into the deep as they may not. Instead, we mature in the prayer room and in the Word which enables us to serve them instead.
Discover four specific keys to experiencing revival on a regional level. The call is to burn hot and to see that fire ignite in our churches and in our cities. This is a powerful teaching that will leave you more passionate for Jesus and for an outpouring then ever before!
I’m working hard at building a smooth running media ministry machine!
I wanted to give all of you an update on the plans for our growing and developing media ministry. So many of you have written me expressing your appreciation for the message and the opportunity to connect with us. The feeling is mutual!
We are currently getting settled in our Branson, Missouri home, and some of the necessary projects have been more time and energy consuming than we had anticipated—so, the daily CoFI Break videos have not been, well, daily!
The contractors are here as I speak putting the finishing touches on a fairly big job in the basement which includes rebuilding a wall in my studio. In addition to that some additional construction is ahead of us in the studio as we continue to make it ready. We’ll also be setting up the stage, adding new cameras, lighting, and other equipment soon (hopefully VERY soon!) so the broadcasts will continue to be more sporadic than I’d like.
I know it’s important to stay consistent and it wont be long before almost daily videos will be arriving in your inbox.
Another project that I’m working on that is taking longer than I would have hoped is our media archive.
The goal is to have all of our past audio and video teachings available for our Media Partners to access.
The most recent 30 days of audio and video teachings are available to anybody at no cost. For those who want to go back further they will have the option to subscribe at $10 per month.
We will also be adding several new downloadable audio teachings that you can buy and keep on any of your devices.
SATURDAY COFI GROUP
Tomorrow you will have access to the first teaching of a brand new series titled Four Fires. You DON’T want to miss this series.
You will discover how to burn hot for Jesus every and and how to grow deep in preparation of revival!
You can access it (tomorrow) and other teachings here: www.thefurnace.tv/media.
Parker and I are about to head out to Collinsville, Illinois for a weekend of meetings. Pray that the fire falls as I communicate the life altering message of Jesus!
If you’d like to host me at an event in your region, it’s EASY to do so! Go to www.johnburton.net/booking and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch right away!
Stop the madness! It’s time for a reformation in the prophetic culture of the church.
I have a high view of true, biblical prophetic ministry. We will see legitimate prophetic ministries, messages and people increase in the end-times and we have to be careful not to quench the Spirit nor despise prophecies.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thes 5:20-21
That’s our instruction, and it’s clear—prophecy must continue, but it must be tested. We hold to what is good and dismiss and expose what is not.
With that in mind, I’ll state the point of this article plainly—we must stop the prophetic madness!
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST…
Church, we are embarrassing ourselves and putting God in an awkward if not very bad light.
They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 2 Peter 2:14-16
If you want to pack out a conference, develop a reputation of a Jeremiah 23 prophet. Refuse to mention anything challenging. Don’t rebuke. Don’t call to repentance. Don’t highlight the negative. Have a plastic smile on your face and cause everybody to feel great about their condition. Tell them God is thrilled with them and they are primed for massive reward, even if they are walking in compromise and darkness. Embrace the greed of Balaam and form your prophetic words just right so people will give extravagantly to your ministry.
If you want to be accused and despised by most, weep and cry at the state of the church and the world. Develop a backbone of steel and let the fire of God rage in your gut. Let the fire burst out of your mouth as it shocks the sleepers out of their coma!
16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? Jeremiah 23:16-18
Here are some of today’s prophetic trends that simply must be addressed:
General words that seem to be for everybody
Of course, there are often general words that are sounded by prophetic people both throughout history and today that are meant for everybody in the church. A word of warning, for example, of impending national calamity would be meant for the general population of that nation. Additionally, God will do something in particular seasons that impact the entire church. It's true that some time frames have a greater grace for healing or promotion, or for judgment or correction, than others. God in his wisdom is the ruler of the seasons and it's important for the entire population to understand what that season holds for us.
That being said, all too often I receive a supposed prophetic word that's sent to everybody who subscribes to that particular email list, and apparently the message is for everybody who reads it.
For example I have seen prophecies that say, “This is your season for promotion! God is opening doors and this is your time to set through them into advancement in your life!”
That prophecy simply cannot be for everybody who receives it. For some it may be a season of chastening, breaking or demotion for the sake of humility. For others God doesn't want them to advance through a door of promotion, but rather he wants them to retreat through a door they inappropriately entered through in the last season. For some there's a mountain to go around yet again because they have not learned the lesson that God had prepared for them.
We have to be careful and responsible as we deliver words. The goal isn't to excite people with false hope for the sake of growing our following.
This year or this month is not the year of transition, promotion, open doors, advance or breakthrough for everybody who might know how to read an email. Not everybody is given the same opportunity, even if they are living rightly and staying aligned with God. Some are called into the secret place, some onto the platform. Some into trial, some into breakthrough. Some into greater challenge, some into a time of refreshing.
Yes, God can manifest pretty much any way he chooses. He will use simple things to confound the wise. Unusual signs will certainly show up and we want to be careful not to dismiss them prematurely. I've experienced some dramatic and unusual signs over the years, but I always maintain a responsible level of discernment when analyzing them.
Today's prophetic movement often lends itself to the Protestant version of seeing the Virgin Mary manifesting on a potato chip.
After a recent tornado I read a headline that read something like, “A sign of God appears in the sky after people escaped harms way in recent tornado.”
What was the sign? It was a telephone pole that was hanging by the wires because the bottom portion of the pole was sheered off by the wind. It looked like a cross. No, friend. That wasn't a sign from God. It was wood boards attached by human hands in the form of a cross that held up communication wires. That's it.
Or, have you ever heard someone exclaim that they captured the Holy Spirit or angels on their camera? They see some orbs in the photo and the “obvious” conclusion is that they must be supernatural in origin. While, as I said previously, it's possible, it's highly doubtful. There is almost always a natural explanation of why the orbs are appearing. We already know that the Holy Spirit and very often angels are in our worship meetings. Why would a manifestation in the form of orbs get us excited anyway? Would that make the reality that God is with us any more real? No.
Hyper-prophetic people also tend to get excited by clouds and contrails left by airplanes. The proclamation is that God has given us a sign in the heavens when it's so obviously nothing more than airplanes crossing in the sky or cloud formations looking like snowmen, trees and the occasional angel.
Please understand, I in no way am affirming suspicion or skepticism. We don't want to have that spirit. We want to have a spirit of expectancy and belief that's balanced with true discernment. God will do many things that will blow our minds. Unusual signs do happen and more are coming. They will be just a little more convincing than a couple of boards nailed together hanging by wires.
John 4:48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
Only prophesying good, happy things
When I hear nothing but positive, happy prophecies about blessing, affirmation, promotion and other appealing topics coming from today's prophets, they lose credibility.
Ezekiel 13 2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the prophets of Israel who say they speak in my name, but who preach messages that come from their own imagination. Tell them it’s time to hear my message.
3 I, the Lord God, say those lying prophets are doomed! They don’t see visions—they make up their own messages! 4 Israel’s prophets are no better than jackals that hunt for food among the ruins of a city. 5 They don’t warn the people about coming trouble or tell them how dangerous it is to sin against me. 6 Those prophets lie by claiming they speak for me, but I have not even chosen them to be my prophets. And they still think their words will come true. 7 They say they’re preaching my messages, but they are full of lies—I did not speak to them!
8 So I am going to punish those lying prophets for deceiving the people of Israel with false messages. 9 I will turn against them and no longer let them belong to my people. They will not be allowed to call themselves Israelites or even to set foot in Israel. Then they will realize that I am the Lord God.
I do believe that judgment is coming to today's impure prophetic movement. Where are the warnings about trouble and sin?
True prophets will shock cultures much like Leonard Ravenhill did. They won't be popular. People won't flock to their conferences. To get near one is a fearful thing indeed as they radiate with the holiness and fear of the Lord.
It's time to hear God's clear and loving warnings about the penalties of sin, of coming wrath and of the necessary shaking that must come to the church. People say they don't want doom and gloom prophets. I do if the message of the hour that God has is doom and gloom. We can't pick and choose and filter out messages based on our mood or faulty theologies of a God who knows no emotions but happiness.
Prophecy on demand
I'll admit that this particular issue is a tough one to navigate. I personally believe that God does in fact have much more to reveal to people on a regular basis than we currently experience in the church. It's not at all uncommon for me to find myself in a time of ministry and then to start prophesying personally over people. There have been many times that I've prophesied over every person in the meeting (which can take hours!).
So, what I feel we must address here is not as much the act of prophesying on demand as it is the immature, casual way so many are handling it. Today people are actually making a business out of prophecy on demand. They receive orders online, usually accompanied by a payment (I mean, donation), and shoot back a personal word to their client.
I believe this is dangerous. There is a Simon the Sorcerer spirit that's attempting to hijack the true, pure prophetic movement. The desire for personal gain in the highlight and the vehicle is on-the-spot prophetic insight. The result of that is nothing more than fortune telling.
Acts 8 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Prophecy is not to be used to develop our ministry. It's not to be sought after as a quick answer to life's mysteries. It's to be handled with the fear of the Lord for it is the very word of God that is being sought after.
While I absolutely affirm personal prophecy in the right contexts and in the right spirit, I believe the best response we as ministers can give people who are seeking an instant prophetic word may often be to instruct them to go into their prayer closet and wait until they hear God for themselves.
I remember years ago when I would crave prophetic words in my life. I was hungry, but I was immature. Today I rarely seek after a prophetic word, though I do appreciate them when the come, in God's perfect timing. Some of the most important times of my life have been when such revelation was temporarily rare. Those seasons forced me to be in the Bible and to walk out my life as the Holy Spirit has clearly called me to based on those timeless, black and white truths. God's eyes are on me in those seasons. I must diligently respond rightly to the truth of Scripture, truth that is always available, instantly and on demand.
Immature people prophesying
One of my favorite ministry activities is encouraging people to grow in the prophetic. There's a way to encourage and train people in the prophetic that's safe. It's a school environment where young emerging prophetic voices discover how to hear God, how to discern and how to apply what they have received.
However, today we also have environments that encourage anybody at any level of spiritual maturity to put God's name on the various impressions, insights, desires and ideas that they have.
One reason churches are radically limiting or evening eradicating prophetic activity is because of people who are not truly vested prophesying haphazardly.
We are called to test prophecy, which means we have to be okay with coaching and correcting people as necessary. Just because someone feels a strong emotion or has an impression it doesn't mean it's God, or, if it is God, it doesn't automatically mean it is to be shared. Immature people don't know how to handle what they are picking up on.
As a young, emerging prophetic man of God I would regularly step up to the mic in our youth group to prophesy. Often I would do this several times each service. I was convinced that God was calling me to share everything I was getting, but, I was wrong. The wonderful leadership of that church pulled me aside and explained to me that prophecy doesn't quite work that way and that I would need to limit the amount of times I was interrupting the service.
1 Cor 14 29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
I've met so many people who have been convinced that they have heard God's voice, but they weren't rightly submitted to leaders and others who could test the word. So, they run with the revelation and end up causing a distraction or even quite a train wreck.
Signs that the devil actually causes
The enemy is a brilliant communicator. I have watched him mimic prophetic revelation time and time again, and I have watched some of the most amazing people get terribly sidetracked as they fell into the trap.
It's actually quite shocking how well Satan can lead people astray by revealing to them deceptive new ministry assignments, open doors, promotions and other spiritual promises.
Eph 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
If we simply look at fleeces or confirmations with our natural eyes and analyze it with our natural logic it will be easy to be led astray time and time again.
For example, as a very young, very immature eighteen year old college student I started dating a girl. I was nowhere near ready for a relationship much less a serious one, yet we decided to think about marriage. We prayed about it. We put out several very challenging fleeces and, to our wonderment, every single fleece worked! The chances of that happening were astronomical so it was absolutely evident that it was God who gave us the confirmation. Except, it was not. It was the enemy who was so eager to answer our prayers.
I was so intent on doing what I wanted even though her parents weren't in agreement with the quick decision. We didn't seek out godly counsel. We were driven by our own desires and just who do you think is really good at giving us what our flesh wants? Satan. He responded to every fleece and posed as God in the hopes of derailing both of us.
2 Cor 11:14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Can you imagine how different my life would have been had I actually gone through with that foolish plan? I wouldn't have my wonderful wife Amy or any of my children. My ministry would be nothing like it is today. I'd be living in a different place and my entire life would be out of sync with God's plan. Would there have been forgiveness and redemption. Sure. But, much would have been lost and nothing would be as it should have been.
I've watched people inappropriately move across country to join a ministry just because they were excited about it. God wasn't leading them and everything in the natural began to fall apart. Others have surrendered good seasons and roles in ministry as they presumed God to be leading them to greener pastures. They scrambled to get back to where they were.
I've received personal prophecy that sounded great but was not from God in the least. We have to discern carefully what God is saying because the enemy is very good at sounding just like him.
Future vs. ancient truths
Lastly, I believe it's important to deal with the need for true prophets to start focusing more on preaching the truth of Scripture than on impressing people with their ability to predict the future.
Foretelling is absolutely a true, biblical gift and it is important to give an appropriate measure of attention to it. However, it has become quite rare to hear people with the passion of someone like Leonard Ravenhill sounding alarms and calling people back to historic, biblical Christianity.
True prophets will analyze current situations and urgently call for repentance and calibration to the truths found in the ancient texts.
When we do reveal the future it will go hand in hand with an understanding that our response must be soundly biblical. The revelation of the future will result in us diving deep into the Word.
As we seek after a pure, fearsome prophetic message, the goofiness will end and the world will begin to be stunned by the undeniable truth of our very Holy God.
Branson, Missouri Church: An introduction to King’s Chapel, a Spirit-filled church in Branson, Missouri
Branson Church: As many of you are aware, my family and I recently moved to Branson, Missouri, which meant we would be praying for a new, passionate, Spirit-filled, prayer-driven Branson church to call home.
I found myself craving to dive into a new Branson church experience the moment I arrived on scene. I couldn’t imagine taking any time out, away from the church gathering, even though we’ve been in the crazy world of church leadership for so many years leading up to this! I wasn’t in the mood to church shop (which I really don’t believe in anyway), so I prayed, “God, let’s get this done. At least give us a place where we can visit that’s on fire—a church in Branson that is invested in revival, prayer and what God wants in this region. I don’t want to spend weeks trying to find that place. Amen!”
That was a Sunday afternoon. I searched the web and stumbled upon King’s Chapel Branson. I saw that they had Sunday evening services (which, sadly, are so rare today!). Then I noticed that their public gatherings didn’t begin until the next week. So, I emailed them and introduced myself and then took a nice, long nap on the couch. I woke up a few minutes before 6pm and checked my email. One of the leaders of King’s Chapel responded to my message and invited us to come to their final house meeting before moving to their new location. I shook myself awake and alert, grabbed Jet (my 8 year old) and cruised down to their house. We were about ten minutes late, but it didn’t matter—the moment I walked through the door of their home near downtown Branson I was enveloped by the presence of the Holy Spirit. I instantly knew I had walked into something special.
God answered my prayer, sent up just a few hours prior, and I was visiting a new Branson church plant that was burning for revival.
While we will certainly be connecting with a variety of Branson churches and ministries as we serve the mission of revival in the Branson, Missouri region, it was important that we would find a primary church home, a church family where we could connect, plant and grow. While we are just a few weeks into the process of prayerfully searching for that church, King’s Chapel in Branson has emerged as a wonderful surprise for us—as a place of refreshing and passion, of wind and fire—and we are excited about getting to know their team, vision and passions in deeper ways.
Just what has been evident thus far? They love Jesus. A lot. They value God’s presence. They are zealous for an outpouring in Branson, Missouri and the nations. They are a church on fire. They are real, raw, hungry and determined to see the people of this new Branson church impacted by the love and power of the Holy Spirit. They are legit.
A NEW BRANSON CHURCH PLANT
King’s Chapel is a new Branson church plant that just recently moved from their home into their first public gathering place, the Branson Community Center, at 201 Compton Dr. Branson, MO 65616. They meet Sunday at 10am and 6pm, and I encourage you to enjoy both services. It’s a powerful way to spend a Sunday!
There are also life groups, youth meetings, prayer meetings and other events throughout the week.
Pastors Chris and Melissa Davis are seasoned veterans in ministry, and it shows. They are humble, focused, excellent communicators and they hold nothing back when it comes to expressing their love for Jesus and for people. I am humbled by their gifts and determination to impact lives for Jesus. I believe they will have dramatic impact in Branson and it would do you well to meet them and their amazing team.
Additionally, my kids have thoroughly enjoyed the strong focus they have on youth and children’s ministry. Amy and I are so blessed that they have a place to discover more of Jesus with a band of other young zealots and emerging leaders!
The times of worship have been powerful, deep and radically anointed. Jesus moves powerfully among the people as their team leads us into his presence through abandoned worship. It’s not a show. It’s not about the presentation. It’s all about the church exalting our Majesty, King Jesus as one.
King's Chapel Branson is an extension of King's Cathedral in Maui, Hawaii, pastored by Dr. James Marocco. What began in 1980 as a small church on a small island, has now grown to over 100 sites worldwide. We are one church in many locations from Alaska to Tahiti, Japan to Spain, and Seattle to one of our newest, right here in Branson, Missouri!
Branson Pastors Chris and Melissa Davis have been serving with King's Cathedral and Chapels for over 25 years, previously in both Maui and Dallas. They have a vision to see the kingdom of God expand in Branson and the surrounding areas, bringing life, healing and a fresh flow of the Spirit of God. They are anointed speakers and worship leaders, traveling extensively, training teams and producing productions. They have produced 13 albums and Chris' songs have been recorded by Integrity Music, Brentwood Music, and many others. He has also written ten original musicals, which have been performed in churches across the U.S. as well as in other nations. They have three children, Austin and wife Genevieve, Dillon and Madison.
KING’S CHAPEL BRANSON STAFF
Youth & Children’s Ministry
Minister Pua has grown up in KC since she was twelve years-old and believes in raising up a generation of world-changers. Her desire is to see the children and youth of this generation know Jesus intimately and be able to release His love to others.
Worship & Media Ministries
Minister Darron has been a worship leader for 15 years and on staff of KC for 7. He has a deep passion for worship and seeing people released in their God-given talents in worship arts. He used to play the clarinet and hates celery.
Contact this Spirit-filled Branson Church: King’s Chapel Branson:
If you’d like more info about this amazing Spirit-filled, revival-minded Branson church, contact them or get in touch with me.
*An added perk is that the team hails from Hawaii, and I bet a ministry trip to the islands just may be in my future! Well, at least a vacation anyway!
King’s Chapel, Branson, Missouri | www.kcbranson.com | A Spirit-Filled Branson Church
Watch the video: Reformation Churches Part 2—it’s time for the prophetic messengers to awaken the remnant!
FIRST: Don’t miss the last two CoFI Break messages, “Advancing in Your Ministry” and “My Three Motivations.” They are both powerful teachings that will help you stay on fire and advance in your calling every day! Use the series browser on the media player HERE.
REFORMATION CHURCHES PART 2
Revival requires a movement of reformers who will pray with passion and advance as forerunners in the cities of the Earth.
God is awakening prophetic voices to sound the alarm and call people into a supernatural life as we contend for reformation in the church.
COVENS IN THE CHURCH/PHARAOH IN THE CHURCH BUNDLE
Brand new! Order and immediately download this three piece bundle which includes both books AND the full length audio teaching!
Go to www.thefurnace.tv/shop today!
BOOK ONE: Covens in the Churchby John Burton
A nest of demons has gathered to violently assault the church worldwide-all with the church’s agreement.
Join in on a discussion on the issues of unity, authority and mission advance.
As we lock arms in intentional agreement, and refuse to move out of position because of offense or hurt, the church will fulfill its mission of Kingdom advance.
BOOK TWO: Pharaoh in the Church by John Burton
This book is a burning message, an Exodus call that originated in at least a small way like the original Exodus call in a burning bush. Moses experienced the zeal of the deliverer to see His people free to encounter Him. The goal of this book is for you to discover the pounding heart of God in a way that, I believe, will result in a deep and resounding cry of agreement to embrace a radical revolution in the church.
Watch today’s video where I deal with the homosexual movement, abortion and why the church has limited impact dealing with those issues.
Why doesn’t the church have authority against the emerging homosexual movement and the abortion movement? It has to do with how the church has been compromised by a focus on self, false human rights, our desires, greed and other selfish focuses.
Watch as I teach about the anointing that Bezalel received to launch the prayer movement, and that was used to fashion a god that gave them the pleasures that they demanded.
We should burn hot, prepare well and be deeply in prayer…before we go to church!
Should we all come ready to minister? Do we all bring a message, a prophecy, a tongue? Yes. But, while we come full and ready to pour out we have to understand biblical protocol. It’s not about us, it’s about the strengthening the church.
Also, your faithful donations are what will keep this ministry strong and able to impact the nations with messages of revival. You can give at www.thefurnace.tv/donate.