We need a fresh wave of great awakeners—those who will unapologetically preach hell fire in today’s dire end times.
To the shame of much of today’s church there has been a firm and steadfast rejection of any truth that doesn’t result in people feeling happy affection for God. While a core message of mine has to do with enjoyable and permeating intimacy with Jesus, I understand that it is not a mutually exclusive one. That teaching when it stands alone apart from the full counsel of God’s Word turns out a people who don’t understand the fear of the Lord, the severity of their lifestyle decisions or the intensity and nearness of eternity. It results in an overly confident and casual church that presumes God’s primary focus is our satisfaction as it forsakes the realities of holiness, standards, scriptural expectations, judgment and how those who are truly saved are hanging on to that position by a thread.
And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 1 Peter 4:18
This Christian culture of positivity depicts a God who is so enamored by us that judgment is contrary to his nature. The deception is that God so values us individually that our enjoyment in life is primary to him. This lie has fueled sanctioned perversion in the church through the “gay Christian” movement and the affirmation of homosexual marriage by many leading denominations.
I’ll say it as clearly as I can: God is much more interested in the establishment of his name and His Word than he is in the feelings or desires of individuals, or even of entire regions. This is God’s nature. This is love.
…therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 25:7
It’s all about him, not us.
In our narcissistic society our theologies have become radically distorted from just a generation or two ago. We are so self-consumed that we have adopted an image of a god that is focused day and night on worshiping us instead of us, those who are as the scum of the earth, worshiping him.
…when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 1 Corinthians 4:13
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:3
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:11-12
The Christian life is not to be about personal gain. A pursuit of supposed human rights has nearly destroyed our nation, and the same strategies are in the church. The right to slaughter unborn babies for the sake of personal convenience is a horrifying indictment on our nation—and it didn’t seem that it could get any worse, until the recent admission by a Planned Parenthood leader who casually admitted to an even more sinister evil—selling body parts of murdered people.
Yes, we need hell fire preaching in the church again.
As people both in the church and in the world have been focused on rights, pleasures and positions, evil has been advancing and God’s righteous standards have been minimized or ridiculed as nonsense. Again, this is happening in the world and in the church. Churches today support both gay marriage and abortion. It’s no longer shocking. It will forever be sickening.
We need a great awakening.
“The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready to string and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.” ~Jonathan Edwards
We have mistaken God as one who is always happy and passive, like that sweet grandfather who is forever handing out candy and hugs no matter how rebellious the child is. It’s true that God is love, but we have attempted to define love via humanistic insight, through our own lens and our own longings for acceptance. It’s also true that God is longsuffering, but only he knows how long his suffering will be. The full force of his wrath will be released one day, and many lesser though terrible judgments will come before that happens. God is a fearful force to behold and we have been self-centered and entitled presuming that approach will somehow draw us closer to his heart.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
“…the Hoods of God’s vengeance have been withheld; but your guilt in the meantime is constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath…If God should only withdraw his hand from the floodgate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury.” ~Jonathan Edwards
ZEPHANIAH AND THE COMING JUDGMENT
“I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. “I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubble with the wicked. I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom, those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him.” Zephaniah 1:2-6
The prophecy in Zephaniah is futuristic. It is yet to happen, most scholars believe. This has some serious implications. What this means is that God cannot be defined simply by the very real truth that he love, he is kind and he is patient. Also, the Old Testament God is very much the same as the New Testament God. His supposed Old Testament style end-time personality is front and center and undeniable in this passage.
There is a greater revelation of God’s nature that is not in contradiction whatsoever with his more ‘positive’ or appealing side. He is and forever will be the very definition of love. We can and should run to him and not from him as we trust him fully. We must enjoy him in a place of immersive intimacy. We should always be full of joy and abundant life—and sober and troubled as he prepares to move on the earth.
After reading through the depiction of the coming judgment on the earth we may not so casually pray for a ‘move of God’ as we pursue revival in the land. When God moves in force we will experience his greatness—his great goodness and love as well as his great fierceness and wrath. Those who are truly his (which are much fewer than the number who profess to be his) are safe from that wrath—but not of his judgment!
God’s wrath remains on the unredeemed. That is clear. However, at the crucifixion Jesus took God's wrath upon himself in place of those who are legitimately his own. That being said, while we are free from wrath, judgment will absolutely visit us in the church—and it will visit us first!
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17
Again, we need hell fire preachers to emerge and announce to the church and the world the reality of their situation and the measure of God’s wrath and judgment that is coming. Contrary to popular belief a very real revelation of hell, of torment, of God’s holiness and of our desperation and wickedness is needed to draw people to the Lover of their souls! A clear picture of Satan’s rage, of God’s standards, of eternity and of God’s overwhelming passion for people will result in an honest evaluation of their condition. For some it will result in glorious salvation.
The prophecy in Zephaniah is true. It is coming. A loving, kind, tender God is actually going to manifest in some terrible and violent ways. Is this side of God repulsive to you? I encourage you to deal with it. You can’t change God to squeeze into a Santa Clause suit. He won’t fit. Satan will though. False gods and idols fit into whatever suit we will give them. They are more than willing to appeal to our fleshly desires so as to trap us…and then to destroy us.
Carefully read what follows and ask if that picture of God matches your own:
At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’ Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.” The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. Zephaniah 1:12-18
That’s hell fire preaching. That’s a necessary message. It’s about what is yet to come. This is a revelation of God in the New Covenant. It reveals God’s nature to us afresh.
God, who is by definition love, will do what is necessary to preserve love.
A complacent people will result in a bitter day sound that announces the day of the Lord. That day is a day of wrath, distress, anguish, ruin, devastation, darkness, gloom, clouds and thick darkness. It’s also a day of a trumpet blast and a battle cry! God himself will bring distress on mankind. It won’t be the enemy. The trouble won’t simply be the result of God lifting his protection over a nation. He will personally bring distress to mankind himself.
Blood shall be poured out because of his wrath. The fire of his jealousy will result in the earth being consumed suddenly—and all the inhabitants will experience a sudden end.
Those who are deeply intimate with Jesus will both celebrate and weep as a result of this news.
Those who are casual and expect God to satisfy them and focus on their happiness on the earth will reject him—and many will actually declare that He is Satan when he moves contrary to their fleshly expectations of how God should operate.
This, my friend, is the unforgivable sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The moment we attribute a move of God to a move of Satan we can know we have found trouble.
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:28-30
The great falling away will be filled with formerly professing Christians who never missed a church service, who said their prayers and faithfully tithed and taught in Sunday School. Just as during they did during the last days of Jesus on the earth, they will quickly shift from a lifestyle of crying out “Hosanna to the King of kings!” to “Crucify him!”
The world needs to know this Jesus. The world needs to understand that God is fearful. Truly, as C.S. Lewis declared, he is not safe, but he is good. That revelation will result in a great harvest. Why? Because truth sets people free.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Why isn’t every Spirit-filled Christian craving to gather to pray in the fire every day?
A DESPERATE CALL
This is a raw, unprepared message from my heart about the desperation in my spirit for an awakening in the church.
It's saddens me that so many excuses are immediately raised at the point where the call to prayer is sounded. I'm not seeing the passion for continual, never ending intercession in most circles, and there must be a shaking come to the church.
If we don't have time to gather to pray every day we are probably doing something God doesn't want us to do. It's time to cancel most of what makes up our daily lives and pray with a passion strong enough to launch revival in the land.
This is your hour to awaken and burn with a passion for Jesus that will shock your culture!
The apathy, sleepiness and casual responses to today's urgent alarms must cease immediately.
It's time to wake up, strengthen what remains and is about to die!
No minimum honorarium, no minimum crowd, I’ll sleep on the floor…I’m burning to bring revival to your city!
Do you lead a church or ministry? It would be great if we could connect!
I’m currently filling up my 2015 calendar, and I’d like to see if a ministry event in your region would be a benefit.
I’d love to give you a call and learn more about you and your ministry. Is there a time that would work?
My passions are REVIVAL, PRAYER AND AWAKENING…and I want to see the fire of God’s love rage through your city!
You can learn a little about what makes my heart burn by reading my articles in Charisma Magazine:
- A Prophetic Warning for the Church's Spiritual Crisis
- 16 Dangers of the ‘Positive Christianity' Movement
- 9 Prophetic Keys for Binding the Homosexual Spirit
- A Troubling End-Times Dream for America
- 6 Reasons Haiti May Be Closer to Revival than the US
- Warning: Culture of Positivity May Be Roadblock to Revival
Plus, if you feel it would benefit your ministry, we can discuss scheduling a church event or conference in your region that would powerfully encourage you and your team!
If that won’t work, that’s OK! I still want to get to know you and bless what God is doing in you!
In the meantime, my bio can be viewed at www.johnburton.net if you’d like to take a look.
The short version is:
- I’ve planted two churches, one in Colorado and one in Detroit.
- I’ve written ten books on the topics of prayer, reformation, equipping and revival. You can read several of these books for FREE if you’d like to learn more about us at www.johnburton.net/books!
- I directed one of the primary internships, Intro to IHOP, at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.
- I crave being in God’s presence with other hungry people!
- I also believe strongly in the local church and would love to serve your mission.
You also might consider hosting theLab Intensive. This 2-3 day school of fire will equip and encourage your church and leadership team. Learn more here: www.thelabuniversity.com/intensives.
Contact me any time via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 719.231.6000.
If you feel an event would benefit your church, I don’t require a minimum honorarium or a minimum sized crowd. I will sleep on the floor if it means revival can be fueled in your region!
FYI, I often hear from pastors looking to book an event about whether I’ll come and minister to a small crowd. I absolutely will!
I regularly travel to minister to crowds less than 50, and I know God is ready to pour out in those fiery, hungry environments!
I can’t wait to hear from you!
When we invited you we anticipated an unusual move of God in our church but had no idea how much you would ignite the fire of God in hearts and set us on the path to revival. What a tremendous week it has been! Thanks for all that you, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, have invested in us this week. One of these days there will be a mighty sound coming from the south. It will be the sound of revival and of a raging fire of the Spirit in Haiti. READ THE ENTIRE LETTER HERE.
Jean Heder Petit-Frere
“John is dangerously prophetic, provoking passion in those in pursuit of revival. In just a few short years, I have witnessed the impact of his obedience to Christ in a region bound by division & religion. His mandate is one of radical devotion, raising up burning ones and releasing them into new levels in their kingdom assignment.”
John Burton is a man with unquenchable passion for God. His life is a living Epistle of the truth that the Kingdom of God is not just in word, but in power. He lights fires wherever he goes leaving behind the unmistakable fragrance of the life of Christ. I highly recommend his ministry to you.
President of Awake Nations
“John won’t serve yesterdays’ manna, old wine, or an ear tickling message! His ears are tuned to hear the Word of the LORD and bring a piercing message to people who hunger for truth. Your community will be awakened, provoked, and equipped! Be prepared to encounter God, experience His power & presence and transform your world!”
Chris Ferguson, District Pastor Forerunner Christian Fellowship
International House of Prayer
Kansas City, MO
John Burton is a great man of God that is blessed with numerous gifts that serve as a blessing to the body of Christ. I would highly recommend him to anyone in ministry or the business world. He is full of integrity and does very quality work.
“John, thanks so much for listening to God’s heart! It changed my life. I’m crying, but I feel happy inside- a happiness I’ve never felt.”
“John Burton is a man who has continued to allow himself to be thrust into the middle of what God is doing. He not only hears from Heaven, but is willing to boldly shout it from the rooftops. If John is stirred about something, I would recommend that you listen.”
JD King, International Director World Revival Network of Ministries
I had a dream, and afterwards I visited Detroit to minister, and then saw the mural of jumping whales which was a key part of the dream.
It’s a warning dream, and Detroit must respond in repentance and intercession—as must the nation. Here’s the picture I took last night at the game and also the dream. (This is taken from the chapter in my book The Coming Church titled Their Freedom is Your Mission.)
A Troubling End-Time Dream
Here is a clear example of a sharp, prophetic message. Will we respond to the call or casually watch from the sidelines?
It would be nice if all of our dreams, visions and communication from God had the feel of running and dancing through a field of daisies, but it’s more important that we receive accurate data than imaginary, feel good stories.
This dream was anything but candy canes and ice cream. To date, other than my encounter with Hell in the early 1990s, I’ve never received such an urgent and troubling dream of God.
The first scene in my dream represented a typical American day. I was in my basement in a really comfortable leather recliner, sitting in front of a large television. I was excitedly watching my favorite NFL team, the Chicago Bears, play in a nationally televised evening game. I was thoroughly entertained and was settling in for a great night of football.
The scene then suddenly changed. I found myself in the captain’s seat of the largest commercial airplane I’d even seen. In fact, this jet was capable of holding over 1000 people. Everybody in the airplane was excited and ready for the journey—and they were all blood-bought Christians. They represented an end-time remnant being prepared by God for the days ahead.
In the cockpit, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude and majesty of the airplane. I put my hand on the throttle as we were sitting on the runway, ready to depart. Simply touching it revealed a power that was sobering indeed.
I understood that, as the captain of the airplane, my responsibility was immense. I felt completely incapable of fulfilling my duties, but at the same time, I felt such an overwhelming confidence. I had the grace to do what I was called to do, even though I didn’t understand even how to take the first step.
In that grace, I gave the throttle a push. Every inch that I carefully moved the throttle forward it seemed that the power increased one hundredfold or more. The slight vibration that was caused by multiple jet engines kept increasing as I moved 1000 people down the runway.
Suddenly, we were airborne, and we were catapulted into our unknown mission.
Almost immediately, as I followed the flight plan, we were flying over an ocean. As I looked down, something unusual had caught my attention, and I yearned to move in for a closer look. I brought the jet down and flew just above the surface of the water. What I saw was remarkable. All around, sea life was leaping out of the water. Everybody in the airplane was glued to the windows as they were captivated by the same view. Dolphins and whales were jumping high into the air as were innumerable other creatures, many of which I had never seen before.
As I watched, my desire for greater revelation and encounter with this seeming other-worldly exhibition was rapidly increasing. I wanted more!
I then did what makes no sense in the natural—I nose-dived and took the giant airship under the water. The moment I did, the power of the engines rapidly increased. The deeper I went, the greater the power. Under the water, I saw things I had never seen before. It was dark, but all of the sea life was easily visible as they glowed in various brilliant colors. Needless to say I, along with my passengers, would never be the same again.
I then reemerged at the surface of the water and took the aircraft back up to cruising altitude. It was time to move on to our destination.
Just as we reached the appropriate altitude, I received an urgent radio transmission:
The airport you will soon arrive at has been overtaken by terrorists. When you land, you and your passengers will deplane and will be confronted by them. You have no option to divert to another airport. If you do, the missiles that are currently locked on to your aircraft will be launched and you will all perish. You have no option but to continue according to your original flight path and land.
I then passed that information along to the 1000 passengers. In a moment, our joyful awe of what we experienced just moments ago shockingly changed to sobriety. We were about to land.
When we did, my two older boys (who at the time were approximately 10 and 12 years old) and I left the plane and entered the terminal.
I expected to see mass chaos, but I did not. Though there were many thousands of people in the terminal’s various public areas, it was so quiet that you could hear someone cough from one hundred yards away. Fear had gripped everybody. They were scared silent.
Each public area looked the same. People were ordered to line up along the walls by a terrorist who was standing in the middle of the room. The terrorist was dressed fully in black and had a machine gun in his hands.
We were ushered into a room, and as we entered, my oldest son thought he saw someone he knew on the other side of the room. Before I could do anything, he broke away from me, oblivious to what was happening, and ran across the room to see his friend. I knew it was the last time I’d ever hold my son.
I then held my younger son closer than ever as we took our place on the wall.
The terrorist then started addressing people as he walked along the wall. He slowly, methodically moved closer to where we were standing. He then stopped and ordered the man who was standing next to us to move to the center of the room. The terrorist asked this terrified man a question, “Have you ever stolen anything?”
He didn’t know how to answer. Should he tell the truth and reveal that, yes, he had stolen something at some point in his life? Would that earn him favor with the terrorist? Or, should he lie and attempt to convince him he was pure and should not be executed?
I knew that it didn’t matter how he responded. He was about to take his last breath.
What I saw next was grisly. I shielded my younger son’s eyes as the terrorist pulled out a machete and started hacking the victim’s fingers, a half an inch at a time. He dismembered this man and was ready to move on to the next—us.
Then I woke up.
What did it mean?
Football. In America, football is one of the enduring symbols of passionate, cultural entertainment. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with watching a football game, but the game’s place in my dream was significant. It represented life as usual. I was happily distracted and nothing else existed on my grid that night.
The sudden shift to the cockpit is key. Vehicles often represent ministry when they occur in dreams. We must, as the remnant Church, be ready for a sudden move into critical end-time ministry. We have to be instant in and out of season. Our ears must be attentive to the prophetic voices that are sounding alarms in our nation.
Supernatural power and grace is coming to the true, remnant Church. The 1000 passengers represented the true Church—Christians who were ready to be carried by God and who were not doing so for their own enjoyment. The massive airplane and the immeasurable power that it produced was there for a purpose—to carry people into a mission. The coming Church will be marked by people, as in the first century Church, who are mission minded and willing to lay down their lives. They aren’t there for the benefits alone.
When the remnant Church is in position, the adventure will begin! As in the dream, the first phase will include such glorious, supernatural revelation that we will be forever transformed. Those who are distracted by the offerings of the world will miss out on this remnant call into the shock and the awe of the glory of God! There is a consecration that’s required for those who are interested in going into the deep places with God.
The deeper we go, the more power and wonder we will experience.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”
Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. Joshua 3:1-6
God is raising up captains, leaders who will, like Joshua, call everybody into position. They will lead the remnant Church out of typical, deadly desert life across the water and into promise.
The end-time company represented by the 1000 on the airplane will be those who, as priests of the Lord, will carry the ark of his presence into the mission.
We have never been this way before. It is a mystery, but a mystery well worth the trouble to discover. We must consecrate ourselves on this side of the unknown as we, in faith, get ready to experience the wonders of the Lord!
As we emerge out of revelation of the glory of God, we will be functioning from a place of power and radical transformation. We will then be ready for the troubling warnings of God.
I believe the terrorists in my dream are less symbolic than we might hope. Fear is about to grip our land as the enemy puts his boots on the ground. We must stand firm in the grace of God, even when horrific trouble comes, as it did for me as a father, when in my dream, my older son broke away from my care.
Very troubling times are ahead of us. The enemy’s primary weapon will be the spirit of fear. God’s primary weapon? The shock and the awe of the glory of God. The coming Church will be a Church that has gone deep in God together and my friend, this is the only Church that will be able to stand against the wickedness.
Interestingly, I discovered after I had this dream, that it is known that Islamic terrorists will actually chop off the fingers of thieves just as I witnessed in my dream. I had never heard of this before and it was further confirmation that the dream was communication from the Lord and that we must be ready for an assault against his Bride.
“As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power.” Quran 5:38
Perfect love casts out fear, which is why we know the kingdom of darkness cannot win. This is all the more reason for the Church to go deep into God! We need a revelation of Jesus! The coming Church will have that revelation of deep, glorious love, and the enemy knows this. This is why he is unleashing a false-love movement that is actually founded on fear…
For the sake of study, I’m offering a different perspective to Kris Vallotton’s Eschatological Core Values. Share your perspective in the comments!
To say the devil has been disempowered is an oversimplification of a more comprehensive subject. It’s true that the death and resurrection of Jesus absolutely did grant us power over the enemy, and it would do us well to grasp that reality. The church is all too often living from a place of defeat, feeling vulnerable and afraid when we should be dominating! I agree with Kris’ assertion that Satan has been disempowered for Believers—but, we have to stand and advance in faith from that place. If we don’t, the enemy most definitely can and will attack Christian and sinner with great violence.
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19
Luke 10:19 is a powerful verse, and it was written to Believers. This is evidenced by the very next verse:
Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
Christians are authorized to exercise power over the enemy, to trample on him and to advance into his domain. What is his domain? The Earth.
The Bible makes it clear that Satan is actually still the ruler of this world, and it’s the job of Christians to war against him.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3
Those who are living according to the passions of their flesh are still under the leadership of a very powerful evil who is bent on devouring them. His plan to steal, kill and destroy is still in play, and those who don’t administer the judgment that was authorized by the cross and resurrection will find themselves under his influence.
This is true for Believers and unbelievers. The blood of Jesus doesn’t grant Christians immunity. It grants us authority, and if we don’t live from that place we are at threat of surrendering, in full or in part, to a ferocious beast.
From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:
Christ's ascension seems to have cast Satan out of heaven (Rev. 12:5, 9, 10, 12, 13), where he had been heretofore the accuser of the brethren (Job 1:6-11). No longer able to accuse in heaven those justified by Christ, the ascended Saviour (Rom 8:33, 34), he assails them on earth with all trials and temptations; and “we live in an atmosphere poisonous and impregnated with deadly elements.”
Possibly this passage sums up the great battle between competing powers best:
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:10-12
The primary problem with Kris’ point is that it will result in an unprepared people. What will happen to people’s faith when they see, with their own eyes, Satan raging with fearful wrath as the end continues to draw near? Great confusion will come to the church when they see a supposedly fully disempowered devil destroying people with great, evil power.
2. I will not accept an eschatology that takes away my children’s future, and creates mindsets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy.
As with any of my rebuttals in this post, I do not want to presume inappropriately what Kris’ intentions were in his article. With this in mind, I will take some license to consider various perspectives, whether they were what motivated the author or not.
When I read that there is concern about theologies that will threaten his children’s future and the legacy they are to leave, I initially agree! My children will most definitely have an amazing future and will leave a powerful legacy!
However, if we were to read into it, I think the takeaway is a bit different. It seems that Kris presumes “the end of the world” equals the destruction of his children’s future. I couldn’t disagree more.
It’s quite probable that my five children will all experience the Great Tribulation. That won’t be the destruction of their legacy, but rather the very driver of their legacy! They were born for this hour!
What greater legacy could one have than to battle with Jesus against the armies of Satan? How amazing will it be for Christians during the Tribulation to lead a terrified and hopeless people to Jesus?
Additionally, to be martyred during that short season will be a mighty honor. My focus is not preserving my children’s lives on Earth, but rather on modeling a life laid down, even unto martyrdom if need be. Fighting to secure a happy 70 or so years on today’s Earth is not at all what the call of the Believer is, and eschatology that defies our opportunity to focus on that is actually more in line with the heart of God than not.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39
The difficult times during the Tribulation are not to be avoided, but prepared for. It’s true that Christians who don’t take the Mark of the Beast won’t be able to be employed, earn money, buy or sell or live as we do today. We won’t have electricity, the internet, mobile phones, cars, running water or much of anything else that’s provided by the government. But, we will have the Holy Spirit and other Believers! God will be our provider and we will experience wonders and miracles on a continual basis! What a life to live!
In fact, we will see the ancient church reemerge. It will resemble a greater version of what they saw in Acts 2:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
Now that’s Kingdom living!
If we really think about it, how could any eschatology take away from anybody’s future? We will be living with Jesus on a renewed Earth forever! It’s all about eternity!
We have to be careful not to love our lives. Our goal isn’t to experience personal satisfaction on the Earth, but rather to lay down our lives and to prepare for eternity.
…they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. Revelation 6:9-11
3. I will not tolerate any theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lord’s Prayer that earth would be like heaven.
It would be hard for me to disagree with this point. I don’t. I do wonder what eschatology might actually sabotage either the call to make disciples or to see Heaven on Earth.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
This passage has the end-times woven right into it. The act of making disciples is tied directly to the reality of the end of the age.
There will come a time when disciple making on today’s Earth ceases—at the end of the age.
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:36-43
I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Revelation 14:14-16
Regarding the prayer that Earth would be like Heaven, that is a key mandate for us, and there is significant process involved.
Heaven won’t manifest fully on Earth until the end of the age when we see the New Heaven and the New Earth. So, our prayer for Heaven to manifest on Earth has a dual purpose.
First, we come into agreement with the cross and the torn veil. We have access to God, are seated in heavenly places and are to govern from that position. Healings, miracles, signs, wonders, prosperity, freedom and the countless other benefits and attributes of what Heaven brings are to manifest on the Earth right now.
Second, our prayer results in alignment with God’s end-time plan. When we pray this prayer, as Jesus instructed, we are praying to be prepared for the Tribulation. We are praying for the nations to hear the truth of the Gospel. We are praying for the ultimate destruction of the enemy and the start of the Millennial Reign. We are praying for the New Heaven and the New Earth to come.
4. I will not allow any interpretation of the scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities.
Christ is the hope of the nations.
In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:21
Without any debate, our mandate is to advance the Kingdom of God on the Earth. Entire cities and nations are at wonderful risk of being freed, restored and introduced to the power and love of Jesus Christ.
I myself have a clear directive of God to see cities taken, and while it’s quite the project, I have full hope that we will see entire cities experiencing unprecedented revival.
However, we have to also understand that every nation is being presented with its “Nineveh Opportunity.” Judgment and blessing lay in the balance.
God still judges nations for their sins—just as He still judges individuals. The Bible is clear: “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). ~Billy Graham
From cover to cover in Scripture we see the precedent followed—God judges rebellious nations.
There will be a final judgment of all people at the end of history, Piper adds. “The death of Jesus was God's final punitive judgment on all who believe in Christ … Individuals are sometimes judged in this life, but, for Christians, all judgments are disciplinary, not destructive. No individual in Christ needs to fear God's judgment. We may be killed proclaiming biblical holiness, as Paul said in Romans 8:36, but in all these things we will be more than conquerors through him who loved us.” ~John Piper
God is portrayed in the Bible as sovereign over the nations and ruling them for His purposes. Second, God tolerates sin in relation to nations up to a point, and then brings calamity. ~John Piper
Remember, judgment is God’s act of love, not hate. He desires to bring people into a radical encounter of love, and during a time of national rebellion he may bring judgment to convince a greater number of people to follow him than would have had the rebellion gone unmet. Of course, revival is a much preferred method, but the church must arise in faith and prayer if we are to see it happen. The end is coming, and God will fulfill his plan to ready the church and the nations of the Earth whether it’s by judgment or revival. The choice is actually ours.
God himself may step in and bring to His church a great revival of radical obedience, and a great awakening to the countries of the West. He is able. He has done it before. We should pray that He does. ~John Piper
5. I will not embrace an eschatology that changes the nature of a good God.
God is always good, but his goodness can’t be measured through our human lens. His goodness may actually look quite the opposite at the end of the age when he is killing millions of people. Many Christians will actually accuse God of being Satan when they see their “Good God” doing such stomach turning things.
The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. Revelation 14:19-20
The danger of promoting God in such a way that anything contrary to what humans consider good is that many Christians will actually reject him when he shows up in full, holy force.
Throughout biblical history we see Perfect Love, God himself, killing people, disciplining people and exercising judgment. In our limited human capacity we can’t easily equate that with perfect love—but it is.
God is always good, but he’s not always in a good mood.
If God is always in a good mood, he would be a monster, laughing and doing a happy dance as he casts people he loves into Hell. (It’s been said that God doesn’t cast people into Hell, but people do themselves via their own decisions to reject God. This isn’t fully accurate. People do have a significant part to play, but in the end they don’t jump into the lake of fire. They are thrown.)
If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15
If we believe God is always in a good mood, we will reject messages and revelations that don’t result in us being in a good mood. We will associate the love of God with the hate of Satan. We know that God is still wrathful. He still gets angry. He is saddened. He is joyful. He is happy. He has emotions, and the deepest place of love exists when we partner with God in his emotions. What is on God’s heart? How can we serve him and minister to him?
A good God will absolutely function in ways that confound us. The following passage further exposes his mission and methods:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law– a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39
6. I refuse to embrace any mindset that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus.
Now, this statement by Kris highlights his Partial Preterism quite well. Of course, we don’t want to celebrate bad news. I don’t know that any reputable student of the end-times would do that. However, we need to analyze what is happening as watchmen and, yes, understand that certain negative events are prerequisites for the return of Jesus.
Contrary to his position that the world is getting better and better, we simply have to admit that to be untrue.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1
Paul then defines what trouble is coming:
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Do we see any of this on the Earth today? Is it getting better or worse?
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-14
People are being persecuted and martyred all over the world today, and the numbers are increasing radically.
Here’s another clear piece of bad news that indicates what time we are in:
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16-17
When that day comes, it will be bad news indeed. And, we must be able to discern the signs of the times.
He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:2-3
7. I am opposed to any doctrinal position that pushes the promises of God into a time zone that can’t be obtained in my generation and therefore takes away any responsibility I have to believe God for them in my lifetime.
Many promises of God are futuristic. This argument just doesn’t hold water.
For example, a day is coming when we will be riding with Jesus in a great battle. That won’t happen while we are alive on the Earth. It’s futuristic.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16
I feel this point also reveals Kris’ focus on the here and now while not affirming the need to prepare for eternity.
Mike Bickle calls our life on Earth an internship. We are living sacrificially as those in training in preparation for the Great Tribulation, and then the Millennium.
Additionally, the promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth for us to abide in is most certainly futuristic.
We don’t want to be so invested in our personal experience now. We are to die daily, be crucified with Christ, lay down our lives and surrender all for the sake of the Harvest—who will live with us forever and ever—AMEN!
8. I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment, nor do I believe God gave the church the right to call for wrath for sinful cities. There is a day of judgment in which GOD will judge man, not us.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27
Judgment is actually a key driver of the end-time timeline. While so many are proclaiming that judgment doesn’t exist in the New Covenant, I’m of the opinion that we NEED judgment!
Judgment is God at work. It’s God putting things into motion to resolve the crisis on the Earth.
Can you imagine the police ignoring the crimes of a rapist? There would be mutiny! We want justice, judgment, to come to the rapist for the sake of innocent women who are at great threat of attack.
During the Tribulation, God will be pouring out his wrath on a rebellious mankind.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth; blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2 17 – 21
It’s both a great and terrible day.
I will send you Elijah…before…the great and dreadful day of the LORD. Mal. 4:5
There will be two severe waves of death. The first wave will claim one fourth, of earth’s population. The second wave will kill an additional one third of the earth. This will total 50% of the population (or 4 billion based on a possible population of 8 billion people). ~Mike Bickle
The church will be in agreement with that judgment and will be ready to minister accordingly. The church will be in a place of intense prayer, and will, as governors under Christ’s leadership, agree in prayer with his plans. This will not be the time to intercede for the judgments to delay.
The fifth seal judgment against the Antichrist will come in the context of increased intercession. We will be crying out against the vengeance of the Antichrist.
The martyrdom of the saints will unleash a powerful movement of prayer of agreement with God’s predetermined plan.
This is why the prayer movement is so critical today. We must learn to pray according to God’s heart and biblical blueprints, and not according to our own human desires.
A shocking dream will make it clear how critical it is that we gather and contend for revival.
I recently had a dream that shook me to my very core. I’m currently revising my book The Coming Church to include what follows:
The Submarine Dream
My wife and I were in a military grade nuclear submarine following behind a second submarine that contained my Father and Mother-in-law.
I was analyzing the situation, trying to gain understanding on what exactly were were doing while my wife was playfully looking through the periscope. Both submarines were staying at the surface of the water, and they were being used as tour vessels. The atmosphere was playful and carefree.
After a short time everybody was done playing and we decided to park the submarines alongside a long pier. We climbed out and walked down the pier and onto an ocean side boardwalk. There were people everywhere enjoying a beautiful sunny day. The restaurants and shops were full of activity.
We walked onto the sandy beach which was about one hundred yards from the submarines.
As we gazed out over the water, both submarines suddenly began leaving. They headed out toward deeper water.
My in-laws immediately started running into the water giving chase to the submarines. As they did, I was thinking that it was impossible for them to get anywhere near to the fast moving vessels and I didn’t understand why they had tried.
What I saw next can’t easily be described in a way that is true to the emotion I felt. The water immediately began erupting as if a powerful hurricane was upon us. I was terrorized as I frantically tried to devise a plan to help. What I saw next drained every bit of hope from my being. A whirlpool opened up underneath my in-laws and sucked them under. Then, a second whirlpool took my wife.
I was screaming for help. A few people gathered around but could offer no help whatsoever. I called 911 and all I heard was this recording, “We can’t send help for an hour. We can’t send help for an hour.”
As I stood on the beach, hopeless, the scene changed.
Only a few days had passed yet it was now bitterly cold and the water had frozen over. There was at least ten feet of snow on top of the ice.
I started moving slowly, though as quickly as I could, through the snow in the direction of where the whirlpools were.
I started digging ferociously and what I saw next will forever be seared in my memory.
It was my wife, frozen. She was gone.
I ran back to the boardwalk and into a restaurant. I saw someone who had tried to help previously behind the counter of a sports bar. He was a volunteer firefighter in addition to working at the restaurant. I yelled, “Help! Help! I found her! I found her! Come quickly!”
He just casually said, “Sorry man, I’m working.”
What? I couldn’t believe what I heard. I said, “No, you don’t understand! I found my wife! I need help!”
He just said, “Sorry.” and then looked at a customer and said, “How can I help you?”
I ran back to the snow where my wife was buried. I thought that maybe, just maybe, since she was frozen that there was a chance she could be revived. I’ve heard of people freezing and their heart beat is slowed to almost nothing before being brought back.
As I was thinking about this I looked down at her, and there was a paper right next to her frozen face.
I picked it up. All it said was, “Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die.”
Then I woke up.
When I woke up I was shaken to my core.
As I started to pray and analyze the dream, the following is what was highlighted to me:
- The submarines: Vehicles represent ministry, and I believe the submarines represented the church. The church is not meant for casual play at the surface of the water. It’s a military weapon of war designed to move into the deep as it advances toward enemy targets. When the submarines left on their own, that represented the truth that the church will most certainly advance on its mission with or without us. We can be left behind as we continue our focus on entertainment and leisure if we so choose.
- My family: Of course, this was a hard core part of the dream. The first reaction is to do everything I can to ensure those close to me are doing well and burning hot for Jesus. Beyond that, symbolically I feel they represented familiarity and presumption. It’s very easy to presume those who are close to us are most certainly doing well in their relationship with Jesus—and then to model our lives after theirs. What happens so often is that we can adopt their pace and their level of passion instead of staying locked in, on alert and advancing in the fire of God. The pressure of maintaining civilities and false-unity can result in a marginalized, lukewarm, casual disposition.
This verse best represents what I am communicating:
…I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Revelation 3:1
We must be careful not to presume that we are alive and that others are alive simply because of the preceding reputations. There are many people with both a spiritual legacy and a name for being zealous who are doing little more than playing—and it’s possible that those people may be some of our closest friends, family, pastors and other personal heroes. Don’t measure your life by their grid. We must calibrate to the truth in scripture that will bring light to every issue of our heart.
Then, we can be true awakeners. If we think people who are are asleep are already awake, then we will have no need to step into our roles as end-time prophetic messengers.
- 911: I was sounding the alarm in a variety of ways including by calling 911. I also ran into the sports bar looking for help. Both rejected the alarm. It’s clear that the hour is now for awakening though even those trained as emergency responders won’t see it. What was the alarm? Those that have a reputation of being alive are dead! Wake up!
- The storm: It was sudden, violent and really out of place. It didn’t make sense, but it wasn’t obligated to explain itself. If we would have been in the submarines AND in the deep, the storm would not have touched us.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; Matthew 24:36-38
So, what’s the call?
It’s simple, and it’s directed to the church, to those who are to be in the deep:
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:2
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:4-6
God instructed me to wrestle with Revelation 3:1. I've been burning hot for Jesus for over 20 years, yet, is it possible that my devotion is not as deep as I might think? Yes, it is possible.
God didn't accuse me of being dead. He didn't reveal that my passion was false. He simply wanted me to always consider the possibility that my reputation will always be at risk of being more intense than my reality.
…I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Revelation 3:1
It's time to go deep, to be awake and alert and then to awaken the sleepers…many who may have a reputation of being very much alive…but are not.
It’s time for revival. This is the hour.
Tonight at 7pm: Revival Church begins its new Sunday Equipping Service!
Are you interested in discovering how to burn hot for God and to participate in an Acts 2 level transformation in your city?
Join us TONIGHT at 7pm for our brand new Sunday Equipping Service!
After at time of worship, intercession and rapid fire prayer, I’ll begin a series based on my book 20 Elements of Revival.
This is an extended version of theLab University class on the book. You are sure to get equipped and come alive to God’s plan for your life in the end-times!
I can’t wait to see you TONIGHT at 7pm!
Revival Church is located at 26091 Sherwood, Warren, MI 48091.
Learn more about Revival Church at www.explorerevival.com.
theFurnace Radio Show
You can listen to powerful 13 minute teachings before (or after) they air in Detroit on 1440 WDRJ here: http://thefurnace.tv/audio
One I’d strongly encourage you to listen to is a very impacting and strange story about the death of my dad. It will rock you.
Here’s the direct link: https://soundcloud.com/johneburton/thefurnace-radio-032014#t=1:05
No more excuses: Don’t let an orphan spirit keep you from fulfilling your destiny!
I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 1 Corinthians 4:14-16
It’s true that spiritual fathers are needed, and it’s also true that sons and daughters must discover their true identities—and those identities are not dependent on whether fathers appear in their lives or not. It’s much deeper than that.
The sins of the fathers are significant, and they impact the succeeding generations dramatically. The call is for every one of us as sons or daughters to break off generational destruction and align ourselves with Father God. If we don’t, the devastation will continue. Children of God arise!
…Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? And the LORD says: “Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them. Jeremiah 9:12-14
Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed this people with bitter food, and give them poisonous water to drink. I will scatter them among the nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.” Jeremiah 9:15-16
This generational problem resulted in judgment then—and we are at risk of judgment again today. Notice that judgment was not due to the father’s sins, but rather to the children’s refusal to break the cycle. The children have the power to cover the sins of their fathers and experience blessing. But, that’s not what happened.
The same story unfolded with Noah:
Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. Genesis 9:20-26
The children had the power to either cover or enjoy the sin of their father. Blessing followed Shem who interceded for his father. A curse followed Canaan who exposed his father.
Children are called to stand in the gap, intercede and cut off the pattern of sin set by their fathers. As we align with our true Father, Jehovah, great blessing will come.
In fact, a major end-time prophecy hinges on the resolution of this problem:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:5-6
Interestingly God reveals that this issue must be fixed, or as in Jeremiah, destruction will come.
The Malachi prophesy resurfaces in the story of John the Baptist:
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:16-17
Did you notice the end-time spirit of Elijah, as manifested through John the Baptist, had, and still has, a two-fold mission:
- Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.
- Turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.
This isn’t mostly about dads and kids rediscovering their lost friendships. It has to do with aligning ourselves, as disobedient children, with the spirit of Wisdom, with God himself.
What’s an orphan to do?
I absolutely validate the desire that is within us as Christians to have earthly, spiritual fathers—whether they are biological or not.
I remember many years ago when I was extremely young in the Lord that a strong desire for a mentor overcame me. I asked a youth pastor if he would be that to me, and he was visibly taken aback. He said he had never been asked that before.
Well, he never did follow through on that, and I want to share with you why that was the best thing for me. God’s best for me was to not have an earthly spiritual father at that point in my life.
I grew up in a phenomenal family with an amazing mom and an incredibly spiritually strong father. However, at the time of this story, I had moved from Missouri to Ohio and was very much alone on a new adventure as a young man. I had recently encountered God in dramatic fashion and I craved a deeper relationship with him. I also yearned for spiritual growth.
I didn’t understand it then, but I believe God wanted me to understand how he would be using weak, inexperienced children, many of whom are spiritual orphans without a godly human mentor, to change the world.
What I did know what this: I was burning so hot inside, and my vision was so consuming, that there was no way I was going to wait for a spiritual father to show up in my life. In fact, I knew early on that few fathers would be able to keep pace with me.
Now, of course, there have been many people in my life that have impacted me, and there are others that I highly value and I have submitted myself to. But, to date, I’ve never had a spiritual father other than my natural one.
A lonely venture
From that moment I started blazing trails and advancing very quickly. This child wasn’t waiting for a father because he had already discovered one—Abba!
I ultimately ended up in Manitou Springs, Colorado to plant my first church.
I’ll never forget a life-changing lunch I had with an older, wiser man whom I had just met shortly after moving to Colorado.
He looked the part too. He had a beard and eyes burning with wisdom. A long wooden staff would have completed the picture! He asked me, “John, what is the one thing you want on a personal level as you begin your new church?”
I immediately said, “Well, I’m alone in this new venture. I am craving someone who has the same vision as me, who will run at the same pace with me as we get the church off the ground, and as we go after full blown city transformation.”
His answer is one I’ll never forget: “It will never happen.”
What? Was he serious? He absolutely was.
He said, “God gave you the vision, and he has given it to no one else. You can’t wait for others to lead the charge. That is your job. Others will come along side you and support the vision, but nobody else in the world has that unique, special gift that God himself has given you.”
The wisdom of this fatherly man ensured I wouldn’t be disobedient in my calling by waiting around instead of advancing. There was work to do. You have work to do too. This next section will help you fulfill your calling without waiting around for outside help.
The Gideon Strategy
Are you ready for the strategy to boldly break off an orphan spirit? Great. As I’ve said before, it’s not to wait for spiritual fathers to arrive in your life. Let’s look at Gideon.
The Israelites were under attack and went into hiding. There was no true, bold leader in the camp and the result was insecurity, fear and delay in fulfilling their destiny.
The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. Judges 6:1-2
God was the one who gave them over to the enemy, and God would be the one who would give them a strategy to break off their orphan spirit that resulted in a confused identity.
You see, fathers are supposed to nurture and build up, but since Israel forsook their Father, they were left with the opposite—oppression and brokenness.
For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD. Judges 6:3-6
They were orphans who were aimless and lost, but eventually they cried out—to their Father.
Mighty Man of Valor
Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:11-12
Keep in mind, God will be using children who break off an orphan spirit to accomplish his purposes—children who are united with their Father. This was true in the story of Gideon, and it’s true today in the end-times. An emerging army of supposed orphans are rising up. They won’t take no for an answer as they advance in their missions with ferocity and boldness as their Heavenly Father leads the way.
With Gideon, God was restoring this beautiful relationship by referring to him according to his true identity. His Father saw him as a mighty man of valor! He didn’t see him the way Gideon saw his self. This revelation comes through a dynamic, growing relationship not with people but with God himself!
What happened next was a critical lesson to be learned. Gideon was confused about the Father/son relationship and God was about to school him.
And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13
Gideon incorrectly presumed that the role of a father is to fully alleviate burdens, answer every question and to resolve issues. This isn’t the case. If you are craving a spiritual father, that is good. However, be warned. God the Father will stretch you to your breaking point so you can discover the power and responsibility you have as a child! Fathers point the way and children go.
Check out how God responded to Gideon’s confusion and frustration:
And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14
Did I not send YOU? God again addressed him according to his true identity, as one who is mighty, and let him know in no uncertain terms—you don’t send me, I send you!
As a spiritual child (quit referring to yourself as an orphan) you have a Father and you are a part of this end-time mission! Go in your might!
Gideon continued in his confusion with another excuse:
And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:15-16
Gideon felt like the least and the weakest. In fact, he said something quite interesting: I am the least in my father’s house. He had an orphan spirit. He acknowledged rejection and a disappointing relationship with his earthly dad.
What happened next was so important for Gideon. He was learning how to draw from his spiritual Father.
And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” Judges 6:17-18
Please don’t depart…I will stay till you return.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… James 4:8
That’s it! The child noticed the favor of his Father and started into an interactive relationship with him. He had a bad earthly dad. His entire nation had no leader. He was confused. He had an identity crisis. But, something was compelling him. He found One who believed in him, and One who was calling him higher. He found his Dad.
As the drama continues, Gideon’s eyes are opened and he is undone before his Father. He is an orphan no more!
Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. Judges 6:24
He immediately built an altar to God, but there was another altar to deal with—his earthly father’s.
That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” Judges 6:25-26
Children of the end-times will not only discover their true identities as revealed by their true Father and build an altar of worship to him—a spirit of boldness will arise in the children to tear down altars established by the previous generations—altars to Baal that will result in continued bondage and destruction. End-time children won’t wait for their fathers to make things right—they will go to battle and initiate deliverance no matter the cost!
When children tear down altars of old, there will be threats of death! This is the moment of destiny we are looking for! Gideon went from weak and the least to one with an identity of might that was given to him by his Father. His call wasn’t to wait for his earthly father to come around, it was to destroy the generational curse that was devastating him, his dad and the entire nation!
When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar. Judges 6:28-32
It was then that Gideon’s dad finally rose up! Gideon’s leadership was clear and God’s leadership was being reestablished in the nation as his dad agreed with the destruction of Baal’s altar. The hearts of father and son were turned!
Gideon was then called Jerubbaal which literally means, “let Baal contend.” Now that’s an identity!
Is there an army of former orphans who refuse to wait for earthly fathers to show up? Is there an army that will discover their true spiritual Father? Is there an army of spiritual children who just might have their names changed as they contend against the spirit of the age? Come on! It’s time!
Children, it’s time to awaken! No more hiding! No more confusion! Get alone with your Father and respond to his call into destiny!
Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. Judges 7:20-21
The miracle? Gideon fulfilled both roles: He discovered his identity as a child of God and he emerged into a spiritual of father who lead companies into destiny. This is your story!
Today’s children are marked to be leaders and fathers who will take cities and rout the enemy.
Yes, you are one of them.
As I said above, I’ve never had a spiritual father. However, there is a very important takeaway for me.
While I am ever learning and endeavor to glean much from the generals of the faith, I have come to understand that nobody I’ve met has been where I am called to go. The same was true for Gideon.
Nobody can lead me into my personal land of Promise except God, my Father.
Others can support the vision and encourage me in the journey, but most of my learning has been one-on-one with my Father—and it has been priceless. I wouldn’t change a thing.
I want to strongly encourage you to read my book, “Piece of Cake.”
It is a practical guide for starting ministries, missions, businesses and other ventures. It will help set you free from the waiting game. You as a child of God, as a mighty person of valor, absolutely can advance with confidence and strength without delay!
You can find the book here: www.johnburton.net/resources
Chris Ferguson from IHOP and prophetic messenger Julia Palermo will be at Revival Church and theLab School of Fire THIS WEEK!
First: Listen to Sunday’s teaching on the Joshua Generation and hear about the shock that’s coming to our nation and the call of the church to move with passion into position! Listen here (notes will be included below): http://media.johnburton.net/7637627
THE COMING CHURCH
What is coming to and through the church? That’s the theme this week as very special guests Chris Ferguson and Julia Palermo minister in fire at Revival Church and theLab School of Fire!
THURSDAY: END TIMES TEACHING
Julia and Chris will be ministering prophetically over everybody in attendance, and then a key teaching on the end-times and the church’s role in the Tribulation will be presented.
This is a MUST attend event!
We normally charge $25 to audit a class at theLab, but we are opening this class to everybody at NO CHARGE! FREE!
Simply show up at 7pm on Thursday! Revival Church & theLab meet at CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071.
FRIDAY: INTERCESSION IN DETROIT
Julia and Chris will be joining theLab and other revivalists and intercessors at Apostle Londen Winters Ministries THIS FRIDAY, March 22nd at 7pm.
The level of prophecy in this ministry is high and the atmosphere is hot! Bring friends or come alone!
This special prayer event is being held at: 8316 Dexter Blvd., Detroit 48206.
Get ready for powerful worship and an unusual night of prophetic fire!
Chris, Julia and I will be tag team teaching on what we see coming for the church in the end-times.
There is a great shock that’s coming, and we need to be prepared for this amazing upcoming season in the church of our nation!
We begin with IHOP worship on the screen and intercession in the sanctuary at 5:15pm.
The service begins at 6pm. You can let us know you are coming and we’ll give you a FREE copy of my book SIX ENEMIES! Go here: www.explorerevival.com/plan-your-visit
JOSHUA GENERATION NOTES
I. The Great Mission
a. Threefold Strategy of God
i. Salvation & Deliverance: The initial goal in the Exodus was to escape captivity. (inward)
ii. Intimacy & Offering: The secondary goal was to worship God in intimacy in the desert. (upward)
iii. Warfare & Possession: The ultimate goal was to take their new culture of intercession and worship into the Promised Land and conquer demonic strongholds on cities that stand in the way. (outward)
b. This is our focus at Revival Church: get you free, encounter God in intimacy, rise up as warriors and fulfill a mission. All three must be active!
i. The house of prayer must come before we take the city!
c. That’s the great mission, and now let’s look at a great mistake.
II. The Great Mistake
a. They had been slaves there for over 400 years, and God went to great lengths to deliver them from bondage.
i. They appreciated the deliverance, but they didn’t transfer their gaze from inward to upward, from them to God.
b. Shortly after their salvation form Egypt, due to their persistent unbelief that God would faithfully and safely take them into a land of their own, the Promised Land (Canaan–or Israel), God brought judgment and chastisement upon them (Numbers 13–14). He sent them into the desert to wander for 40 years. (This is most Christians!) All of the people aged 20 years or older were destined to die in the desert and to never enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief (Numbers 14:26–35, Hebrews 3:16–19).
c. The great mistake? The Israelites were known for their complaint!
i. What a legacy!
ii. Their complaining led to unbelief which led to wandering and then death.
1. If you wander too long, you will not see your promise!
iii. One of the most tragic mistakes we can make is to assume our attitudes and personal dispositions don’t have much of an impact.
iv. Check this out:
d. Numbers 11:1 (ESV) 1 And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.
e. 1 Corinthians 10:8-10 (ESV) 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
i. Dang! What is that! To be destroyed by serpents! Hard core! The Destroyer!
ii. Why? Just for sexual immorality? Grumbling?
iii. Yes, our attitudes and actions reap consequences!
f. Numbers 14:1-10 (ESV) 1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.
i. Do not rebel.
ii. Do not fear.
iii. You would think the complaining would end…but no! Check it out!
1. Numbers 16:1-3 (NIV) 1 Korah …became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD‘s assembly?”
2. Numbers 16:31-33 (NIV) 31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.
iv. This is getting serious!
1. Today it’s expected that leaders make it easy for people to follow.
2. I disagree. Leaders are called to lead you into the most challenging, risky and humanly impossible adventure!
3. We should make it easy for leaders to lead!
4. Paul said, Follow me as I follow Christ.
5. If you are going to follow apostolic leaders, you better have your running shoes on!
6. Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
7. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 (ESV) 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
a. Apostolic leaders lead into a difficult, costly mission with a sharp prophetic edge.
b. Pastors mostly lead you into comfort, and there is a place for that… and apostles lead you into mission, into movement.
c. This is why churches are usually best led by apostles and small groups are usually best led by pastors, or the regional church led by apostles, and local bodies led by pastors. They must work together.
d. We equip people to work, to move, to fulfill a mission.
e. Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
f. It’s time to move!
III. The Great Movement
a. From the Great Mistake to the Great Movement.
b. From dead in the desert to moving into destiny!
c. The older generation complained, grumbled, sinned sexually, had idols, etc… but the younger generation was humbled, tested and disciplined by the Lord during their desert sojourn.
d. They were ready to move into their mission.
i. Only 10% of Christians know what their calling is…their mission!
1. This means that precious days are being lost wandering and surviving instead of advancing!
2. Just because you are moving, doesn’t mean you are advancing in your mission!
3. Psalm 107:4-5 (NIV) 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
4. The only way to discover your calling is to be fully given to it!
a. This is why thelab and other ministry schools are so powerful.
b. It requires a complete surrender of time, dreams, comfort in a movement of radical unity!
c. God is isn't coming back for a church with scattered believers. He's coming back for a company of people with a common vision. ~Mike Bickle
d. The highest blessing, the commanded blessing, comes when God's people gather together in unity.~Mike Bickle
5. This end-time passage gives us the critical secret to fulfilling our mission.
a. Revelation 12:10-12 (ESV) 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
b. Salvation, power, the Kingdom, authority!
c. How do we live in that and conquer?
i. The blood of the lamb
ii. The word of our testimony
1. JFB: Their testimony evinced their victory over him by virtue of the blood of the Lamb. Hereby they confess themselves worshippers of the slain Lamb and overcome the beast, Satan's representative.
iii. Death to self
iv. This is such an important step…today most are looking for ‘life to self’…but don’t realize that life doesn’t come before death.
v. If we emphasize the benefits while ignoring the cost, people will run from Jesus when their cross is presented to them.
1. Romans 8:35-36 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
2. Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
3. John 12:24-25 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
4. Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
a. Die daily! It’s worth it because of the power of the resurrection!
5. 1 Corinthians 15:30-34 (ESV) 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
e. Our church’s key verses:
i. Joshua 3:4-5 (ESV) 4 …Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
1. Verse 4 is why we must embrace apostolic leadership—we have never been this way before…apostles are ‘sent ones’…they are pioneers.
a. You need a Daniel Boone leading you!
b. Despite some resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, in 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first American settlements west of the Appalachians.
c. Boone was a militia officer during the Revolutionary War (1775–83), which in Kentucky was fought primarily between the American settlers and the British-aided Native Americans. Boone was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1778, who after a while adopted him into their tribe.
d. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.
2. The only way we can survive such a dangerous mission is if we follow verse 5 instructions: Consecrate yourselves and prepare for wonders!
a. The call to movement means that we have to leave what is familiar into what is risky!
b. We can’t add God’s supernatural assignment to our human dreams. We have to leave our dreams and lay down our lives!
i. The non-negotiable price of supernatural mission is the surrender of convenience, comfort, and control.
3. Consecrate: Prepare, sanctify, clean, dedicate, purify
a. The older generation who died in the desert complained because they were lacking, and because they had unbelief.
b. Notice the remedy: The younger generation embraced a fasted lifestyle as they consecrated themselves…and also embraced ridiculous faith as they were called to step into the waters of the Jordan and march around the walls of a fortified city.
i. The requirements? Anybody can do it!
1. Don’t complain.
2. Be holy.
4. Respond in extreme unity and precision.
ii. We are moving into the uncharted, impossible, not into the predictable and casual! Daniel Boone! Joshua! How about Peter Pan?
1. Peter Pan Jesus
2. It’s time to follow! To blaze a new trail!
3. Now, you have to understand, you are either living in the camp or dying in the desert!
a. You can’t just live between the two in some imaginary safe place.
f. Boldly following
i. If you really want to advance, you will have to literally face trouble and threatening situations.
1. There are giants to take down, city walls to march around.
2. “I've found that great leaders are comfortable making other people uncomfortable.” JD King
a. Look at Joshua. He was leading people into sure drowning in the river, sure defeat at Jericho!
b. Today we are looking for comfort when God is calling us to challenge!
c. 1 Kings 18:21-22 (ESV) 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.
i. Will you follow those you are in relationship with, even if they lead you astray? Are you with the 450 or the 1? It’s time to lock in! Don’t be tossed around! Don’t waver any longer!
ii. If you live a decisive life, you will have to move, and you will have to break away from comfort and what is familiar.
1. Never be afraid to stand with the minority which is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority; always be afraid to stand with the majority which is wrong, for the majority which is wrong will one day be the minority.—William Jennings Bryan
2. A wrong choice results in death in the desert!
3. The following quotation is from the “Cadet Prayer.” It is repeated every Sunday in chapel services at West Point: “Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be contented with half truth when whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy.”
iii. Ephesians 4:11-14 (ESV) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
d. The mission is not one of personal satisfaction, but one of full surrender.
i. If you are looking for comfort and personal satisfaction, you are primed to fall into whatever false-doctrine provides that.
e. You can’t just soak in the river!
f. You are either dead in the desert or advancing into destiny!
i. Revelation 3:1-2 (ESV) 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.
ii. Revelation 3:5-6 (ESV) 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.’
g. If you just soak, the river will carry you away into death:
i. The Jordan river flows to the salt sea, the dead sea!
ii. If you stay still, you will be carried away into death! The salt sea has no outlet. No movement! Death!
iii. The Dead Sea is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea.
iv. We are to be salt to the earth, not in our place of comfort! If we carry salt, we must move!
v. When Lot’s wife stopped advancing, she turned to salt. Sodom was located next to the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea.
vi. The only way to live as salt is to move! To obey!
1. Lot’s instruction: Genesis 19:17 (ESV) 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”
vii. Not only can’t you complain, you can’t look back! You must advance!
3. Joshua 3:2-3 (ESV) 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it.
4. God is raising up trailblazing leaders who carry the presence of God into the land of promise! Dare you follow?!
5. Joshua 3:9-13 (ESV) 9 And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.” 10 And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13 And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”
ii. Joshua 6:1-2 (ESV) 1 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.
iii. Joshua 6:3 (ESV) 3 You shall march around the city…
iv. It’s time to move!
a. If you want your city, you have to conquer your river.
b. If you want your Goliath, you have to conquer your lion and your bear.
c. If you are not interested in taking the city, you’ll waste away in the desert on the wrong side of promise.
d. If you aren’t interested in taking on Goliath, you’ll be bait for a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
e. We have no option. We must fight. We must believe. We must advance.