Why a distorted message of grace is the church’s greatest crisis today—and how we must respond
The original article can be found here: http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/17080-what-s-wrong-with-grace
The most powerful, significant and liberating message ever given to the human race is the gospel of grace. The Christian life is established on the foundation of this wonderful truth, which emphasizes what Christ did for us on the cross and what the Holy Spirit does in us in our daily life. Paul’s dramatic declaration that we have become new creations in Christ has vast implications for our lives: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away … all things have become new … that we [our spirit] might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:17-21).
The “he” that is a new creation is our spirit man. We possess the very righteousness of God in our spirit (v. 21). This describes our new legal position in Christ—how God sees and relates to us. In Christ, all things have become new pertaining to our spirit. This includes being fully accepted by God, receiving the authority to use the name of Jesus and possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit—all of which enable us to resist sin, sickness and Satan; to walk in victory; and to release the works of God through prayer. The old things that passed away under this legal shift include no longer being under the penalty of sin nor being dominated by the power of sin.
So what’s the problem if we’ve been given such freedom as new creations? Unfortunately, man’s natural tendency to distort truth gets in the way. And when it comes to a truth as fundamental and crucial as grace, that distortion has far-reaching implications. In short, it can become the central crisis of an entire generation.
The Crisis of Our Time
The apostle Jude confronted the great spiritual crisis of his day when he exhorted believers to contend earnestly for the “faith” or for the message of grace originally delivered to them through the first apostles. In Jude 3-4, he writes: “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed … ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness.”
Think about this: Within one generation after Jesus’ resurrection, it was already necessary to contend for the true grace message. That’s how key this battle over the true grace message is and always has been since Jesus’ definitive work on the cross.
Jude warned of certain men who crept into the fellowship of the church unnoticed—that is, their error went unnoticed by most of the leaders and the people. These men turned the message of grace into a message of lewdness or one that affirmed various compromises, even sexual immorality. These men with persuasive teaching abilities twisted what the Bible said about grace, thus empowering many to confidently continue in sinful activities without feeling any urgency to repent.
Undoubtedly, these teachers of error appeared outwardly to live godly, but in their private lives they refused to repent of various lusts. Instead, they justified their ungodly habits by distorting the message of grace to accommodate their lifestyles.
The result was devastating, as many in the church concluded that it was acceptable for them also to live with similar compromises because these popular teachers were justifying this sort of lifestyle with various Bible verses. In reality, they took these verses out of context of the broader New Testament message, which called believers to live in wholehearted love for Jesus as evidenced by seeking to live in obedience to Him (John 14:15, 21).
The same is true with hyper-grace teachers today. They choose to emphasize only God’s love and forgiveness while practically ignoring Jesus’ call for His people to walk in wholehearted commitment to the Lord. They preach mostly on forgiveness without repentance and on receiving God’s blessing on their circumstances without any conditions. The truth is, it’s glorious that we are freely forgiven by Jesus and that He blesses our circumstances; but these truths are in context to seeking to live in a real relationship with Him and in agreement with His leadership and Word.
Jude’s exhortation is a significant warning for the body of Christ today. When the grace message is distorted, everything else in one’s spiritual life becomes blurred. In fact, there is no spiritual battle more significant in the church today than contending to keep the grace message faithful to Scripture.
Sadly, some believers aren’t even aware of this spiritual crisis regarding a diluted grace message. They must wake up to the emergency at hand—because today, as we contend for the spirit of truth, we are fighting for the very soul of a generation.
It’s easier in today’s world for teachers to creep in unnoticed, as Jude said, because of television and the Internet. Some contemporary teachers distorting the message of grace come from high-profile ministries whose very popularity gives them a false sense of credibility. We must not receive a ministry because it’s attractive and popular; we should only receive it if it’s faithful to the truth.
Paul prophesied of a time when many who profess loyalty to Jesus would fall to unsound doctrine: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
These people aren’t willing to embrace the challenges of a lifestyle of obedience to Jesus as emphasized by the sound teaching in the New Testament. Instead, they have “itching ears” to hear messages that affirm their sinful desires. They want to feel comfortable in their relationship with God, even as they continue to boldly walk out their sinful lusts.
By isolating Bible verses about God’s blessing and forgiveness from the larger context of the New Testament’s call to love Jesus with obedience, they affirm the lustful desires of their hearers. One famous TV preacher went so far to say that there is no longer a need for a believer to repent because Jesus’ work on the cross did that for them. He obviously overlooked the fact that Jesus repeatedly called born-again believers to repent for yielding to various compromises (see Rev. 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19).
Grace: The Power to Love and Obey Jesus
If countless sincere believers have already succumbed to the rising tide of this distorted grace message, how can we stand strong through the crisis? It starts by remaining grounded in biblical truth. We must approach the biblical grace message through the lens of God calling us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).
The Lord wants us to love Him in a wholehearted way because that’s how He loves us—with all of His heart, mind and strength. This mutual relationship of wholehearted love between a believer and the Lord is foundational to the kingdom. In fact, this is the very way that the Father loves the Son—with all of His heart. The Son loves the Father and the Spirit loves the Father and Son in this way too. Oh, the glorious mystery of one God in three persons who delight in Their relationship of wholehearted love for each other (see John 3:35; 5:20; 14:31; 15:9; 17:23, 26)! God’s plan from the foundation of the earth was to redeem people so that they could participate in this loving fellowship that the three persons of the Trinity enjoy.
The core reality of the grace message is to empower us to walk with God in a relationship of wholehearted love. Jesus called this “the first commandment” (Mark 12:30). Thus, the Holy Spirit’s first agenda is to establish the first commandment in first place in the church. This must also be our first agenda. Wholehearted love is to be “first” in our response to God because it is how the Father relates to the Son and how the Godhead relates to us. We must see grace through the lens of this quality of love. To think of grace without it being anchored in the first commandment is to be aiming at the wrong target. Thus, we distort the grace message when we do not interpret it through the lens of the first commandment. We must love Jesus on His terms, and He defined loving God in terms of a spirit of obedience to His commandments (see John 14:15, 21, 23).
There’s no such thing as loving Jesus without seeking to obey His Word. Some seek to love God on the terms of a humanistic culture that has no reference to obeying the Word. But loving and seeking to obey Jesus are synonymous. All of His commands are based in His love. Thus, the biblical message of grace teaches us to live righteously and to deny ungodliness as the way of expressing our love to God. Titus 2:11-12 says, “The grace of God … has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly.”
If you hear a teaching on grace that doesn’t call you to deny ungodliness, it’s not a biblical grace message—it’s a distorted one.
Legal Position vs. Living Condition
As we correctly view the grace message through the lens of the first commandment, we can also begin to understand the difference between our legal position before God and our ongoing living condition as a response to what Jesus has done. Not only is there a key difference between these two, it’s often the element that hyper-grace adherents conveniently overlook.
Our legal position is what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross, while our living condition is what Jesus requires of us in our response to Him. In our legal position, we stand before God by possessing His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Our legal standing before God is so glorious that it will never be improved upon—not even with the perfection of a resurrected body—because we received Christ’s very own righteousness. Our legal position relates to receiving His righteousness instantly on the day that we are born again.
Our living condition, on the other hand, relates to growing in righteousness progressively as our mind is renewed, causing our behavior and emotions to be transformed by the Holy Spirit in us.
The gospel is the good news about receiving God’s righteousness and can be seen in three tenses:
- Justification: our legal position—past tense, focused on our spirit
- Sanctification: our living condition—present tense, focused on our soul
- Glorification: our eternal exaltation—future tense, focused on our body
One-third of our salvation is complete (the salvation of our spirit), but the other two parts are not yet complete in our experience (the salvation of our soul and body). All believers have received the fullness of grace in their spirit (legal position), and yet they can still live far below it in their daily experience (living condition).
Much misunderstanding about grace can be traced to misunderstanding the distinctions of these truths. Many confuse what Jesus did for us in our legal position with what He requires of us in our response to Him in our living condition.
Jesus’ finished work on the cross makes His grace fully available to us as a gift. However, our regular interaction with the Spirit causes us to experience the transforming power of this grace in our daily life. James wrote about this when he urged believers to walk in a greater measure of grace because God “gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
James wrote this to born-again believers, calling them to receive more grace. A believer already has the gift of righteousness and therefore can’t receive “more grace” in his or her legal position. However, each of us can receive “more grace” in our living condition—and this is what James was referring to. We can always experience more of God’s grace to transform and renew our mind and emotions (see Rom. 12:2).
Grace in the Eight Beatitudes
If we hope to experience more of this transforming grace on a daily basis, then we must follow the words of the greatest teacher on grace who ever walked the earth: Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) is His most comprehensive statement about a believer’s role in cooperating with God’s grace. In this teaching, Jesus defined loving God in context to the eight beatitudes (5:3-10), offering us a rich understanding of how to walk out biblical grace in our daily lives.
One aspect of this is Jesus’ exhortation to us to hunger for more of God’s righteousness (v. 6). Here, Jesus affirmed the need to press into God for a greater release of righteousness in our daily lives—our living condition. Keep in mind that He wasn’t calling us to receive more of the gift of righteousness, since we already fully possess this in our legal position. Our hunger for righteousness doesn’t cause us to deserve grace—nothing can do that—but hunger positions us to receive more of the outworking of righteousness in our character.
Some believers don’t hunger to grow in righteousness in their daily life. Rather, they seek to know how far they can go in sin and how little they need to talk with Jesus to keep their salvation intact.
Imagine a couple in their wedding ceremony who have just completed their vows. While walking down the aisle for the first time as “one,” the man whispers to his new bride, “How far can I go with other women before we get divorced? And how much do I have to talk to you each week?” Adding insult to injury, he then says, “By the way, we just signed a marriage license that legalized our marriage—so now I have legal rights to all that you possess.”
Of course, the new bride would be heartbroken to hear that her husband didn’t love her with all of his heart but was instead establishing their marriage on a faulty foundation—and focusing almost entirely on the bare-minimum “requirements” and legal ramifications involved.
Some teach about grace in a way that parallels the lack of wholeheartedness portrayed in this analogy. It’s a version of grace more concerned with what it takes to “meet the requirements” on paper than to engage in the authentic, loving relationship for which it was originally intended. Sadly, this error is bound to occur whenever people separate the grace message from the first commandment.
How to Receive God’s Grace
Grace was never intended to be abused, but as our current church crisis proves, it can be. God gives us the freedom to choose relationship and obedience to His Word—and thus benefit from the true liberty found in grace. Yet this is also why Paul urged the believers in Corinth “not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1).
The gospel of grace is distorted in two main ways: first, by presenting God’s love as something we can earn; second, by refusing to call people to respond in wholeheartedness to God. The fruit of the biblical grace message is confidence in the gift of God’s love combined with a spirit of obedience. If either of these two elements is missing, then it isn’t the true message. Thus, receiving God’s grace in vain is to receive it in such a way that it doesn’t produce confidence in God’s love nor the resolve to respond wholeheartedly to Jesus’ leadership. Either distortion is disastrous for our spiritual life.
Like Jude in the first century, we must earnestly contend for the truth about grace. The very soul of the youth in our nation hangs in the balance.
The good news, however, is this: The Holy Spirit is highlighting this spiritual crisis and is committed to the recovery of the biblical grace message. We can be confident that He will release His power to establish the first commandment in first place in the church before Jesus returns for His fully prepared Bride (see Rev. 19:7). Let’s come alongside Him, rather than opposing Him, when it comes to receiving, understanding and walking in grace.
Watch as Mike Bickle explains how the American culture has colored the understanding of grace at grace.charismamag.com
Listen to the final two threats to revival in my teaching series, Ten Threats to Revival. There’s a false-grace message that’s promoted by people like Joseph Prince that is threatening a move of God.
Our gift to you? A completed series on revival that you can listen to and share with your friends right now! Listen to this teaching here: http://media.johnburton.net/6014999
The final two threats to revival that I address are:
- Seeking an enhanced life
- The lack of an immediate response
I’ll post the notes below so you can follow along, but I also wanted to share a couple portions from my book Covens in the Church.
Someone asked me about the call for an immediate response. What if we don’t feel that God is calling us to respond? Here’s my reply:
That’s a great question!
Here’s my response that includes what I wrote in my book that addresses this directly:
Most of the time, our response can’t be attached to our feelings. Basically, we’ll have to move contrary to feeling quite a bit.
We see in the Gideon story that God did release those who were feeling afraid… but, then, they disqualified themselves from participating in the mission.
The key story is Joshua. Under Moses, people didn’t respond to their authority rightly, so they didn’t enter the Promised Land and most of them died in the desert.
Under Joshua, there was precision and immediate response. Nobody stayed back. The call was troublesome and inconvenient, yet everybody was immediately responsive.
The most important first step is to answer the question of whether you are under the person’s authority or not. If someone regionally makes a call and I am legitimately not under their authority, then I can go to prayer and respond how God leads.
But, if I am under their authority, there’s no prayer necessary. I simply respond.
Here’s two sections from my book that deal directly with this:
As the leader of Revolution House of Prayer I have people who God has appointed as my authority. We call them overseers and they
are leaders of ministries and people with a mature walk with the Lord. Like the centurion, I am a man under authority.
Let’s say, for example, I, along with the leadership of Revolution, decide to hold a conference. We go through the tedious process of
securing guest speakers and figuring out how to administrate the event.
We spend thousands of dollars promoting the conference on TV, radio and in print. I am a key part of the process as well as the actual event.
I’ll be teaching in several of the workshops and facilitating the week of activities. A week before the conference I receive a phone call from
one of my overseers. He tells me he needs me to fly to Alabama to help a church work through a transition from one pastor to another. Their previous pastor just repented of indiscretion and resigned suddenly.
The problem? It’s during the same week as my conference. I would have a dilemma. Honestly, I don’t want to go to Alabama. In addition to the upcoming conference I have a wedding to officiate among other important tasks. My integrity and reputation, along with my own personal comfort would be at stake. What’s the correct approach to take?
- Refuse to mention my disagreement with my overseer with anybody–including my wife. There is power of life and death in the tongue. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I’d have to allow God to break me and cause me to have a pure heart in this matter.
- Put to death any of my own desires and prepare to surrender to the wishes of my overseer however inconvenient they may be.
- Meet with my overseer and honestly share all of the concerns and issues at stake. Inform him that I’d prefer not to go and if he could find someone else, I’d really appreciate it.
- Submit. After a healthy conversation, my overseer states that he appreciates my concerns but he still needs me to go. So, I go.
I don’t have to pray about my decision. I don’t have to talk with anybody else. I have no option according to God’s established government in my life. I fly to Alabama with a smile on my face. God’s authority has spoken.
The enemy has caused many to believe that we can’t experience freedom while being submitted. This is simply not true.
Freedom from authority is rebellion.
Freedom in the absence of authority is anarchy.
Freedom under authority is liberty.
The process of response to my leader described above not only must take place between a pastor and his overseers, but also between a youth pastor and his pastor. Also, between the ministers in the pews and their leaders. We’ll eventually see the city Church established once again and pastors will be submitting to apostles in their city. It’s a process that is quite foreign to most.
The 100% Church and the Call to Corporate Mission Advance
This issue of pastors becoming salesmen has forced the rapid growth of para-church ministries. Leaders of para-church ministries have a greater ability to call those people who have partnered with them on their mission field into a position of readiness and response.
The success of the mission is at a lesser risk as all hands are on deck and ready to go. Pastors don’t always have it as easy.
For example, a pastor may hear God tell him to gather his flock together and fast from all food for 3 days. In God’s government, there would be no resistance, complaining or negativity. 100% of the participants in the church, who had already made up their mind to be unified and ready to press ahead as warriors for God, would immediately embrace this God given mandate. All would fast. If someone had a concern with the directive, that’s OK. A good servant won’t simply ignore the plan of action, but will rather make the effort to talk to the leader. A good leader will certainly listen to their concerns with compassion.
Much dialogue can occur. However, at the end of the discussion, the two would be ‘agreed’–moving in the same direction. The events of 1988 in Baton Rouge changed that considerably.
Now, the process that poor pastor must go through when the need to call the troops to action is enough to cause him to resign!
- He studies endlessly in the Word so he can ‘cover all of his bases’. He is already preparing his heart for resistance–the resistance that was perpetuated back in 1988.
- Due to this certain impending resistance, he prays long and hard for God to help him cast vision and sell this strategy to the church by giving him ‘the words to say’.
- He shares his impression that God wants this three-day fast with his leadership team, hoping to gain support. He knows he’ll need it.
- He looks at the schedule to make sure he doesn’t offend anybody by scheduling the fast during a time when someone else has already planned his or her own event.
- He prays again asking God for more insight as to the purpose of the fast. He wants to make sure he has enough info so as to effectively sell this idea to the people.
- He stresses out when God doesn’t give further insight.
- He starts to guess how many will actually respond so he can devise a plan to effectively make sure those who don’t respond don’t feel alienated. After all, an affirmed and happy family is very important.
- He then shares how he ‘feels led’ that God ‘would like’ the church to fast. Those who also ‘feel led’ should sign up in the back as they leave.
- The same five or six people who show up for everything sign up and the rest of the sheet is left blank. It’s a monument of a failed mission.
- The next time God says something, the pastor will be even less zealous in sharing the dream.
Here are my notes from last night’s teaching:
- Threat 9. Seeking an Enhanced Life
1. People generally want God to make their current lives better. They want an enhancement, an upgrade.
2. However, the demands of revival include the willingness to embrace a fire that won’t warm your flesh—it will consume your flesh.
3. I wonder if the church would listen to “prophetic words for 2013” if they included extreme surrender & death to self instead of benefits.
1. We should certainly understand that the great and terrible day of the Lord is at near! We are living as in the days of Noah.
2. “I Thess. 5:2,3 …the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them…”
1. “Just as false prophets of old fraudulently forecast a bright future, in spite of the imminence of God's judgment (Jer.6:14, 8:11,14:13-14; Lam.2:14; Ezek. 13:10,16; Mic. 3:5) so they will again in future days just before the final Day of the Lord destruction.”
2. Ezekiel 13:15-16 (ESV) 15 Thus will I spend my wrath upon the wall and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash, and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it, 16 the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace, declares the Lord GOD.
3. Matthew 24:36-39 (ESV) 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
3. I was chatting with a pastor from Quebec… he said people call him the ‘death pastor’… because he is unrelenting in his call to die to self.
2. Somehow it’s a derogatory thing to call people to lay down their lives?
3. Messages of personal benefit are rampant. Joseph Prince is teaching a very dangerous message.
1. No confession, no repentance, no way to lose salvation.
4. Evan Roberts called for people to gather—but not all people—only those who were willing to make a total surrender.
1. Revival doesn’t enhance lives, it crushes them. If we attempt to advance with a semi-surrendered people, the fire simply will not fall.
2. It’s not that blessing won’t come…but there are a lot of people who are looking for an enhancement to lives that are actually on agenda to be broken, not built up.
3. We don’t want life as we know it to become better! We have to lay that life on the altar and trade it for the cross!
1. It’s the same thing that was happening when the money changers were in the temple.
1. They wanted a better life.
2. It’s the same thing that happened at the triumphal entry.
3. Matthew 21:8-9 (ESV) 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
1. Hosanna literally means: Save us now!
2. They wanted an enhanced life!
3. Jesus decided to answer their cry, but when they realized it wasn’t what they wanted, they turned on him!
4. That spirit is in the church everywhere!
5. Matthew 27:20-23 (ESV) 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
5. Since I’ve been in Detroit I’ve heard a lot about revival. It seems the whole region is crying out for it. However, this is where the root of the disturbance in my spirit exists.
1. Most every time revival is mentioned, the intent of that desire is to experience some sort of breakthrough, blessing or restitution.
2. It’s time we STOP crying out for God to revive the economy, for resolved issues, for racial tensions to subside, for a fixed city… and START crying out for God and God alone!
3. God is jealous and he won’t allow Detroit to be satisfied by money, security or anything else until we are satisfied in Him and no one or nothing else!
4. Jesus’ own disciples fell into the trap too… they focused on the enhancement instead of the mission!
1. Acts 1:6-11 (ESV) 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
6. DO NOT expect revival until we return to our first love and lay down our lives daily. It WILL NOT COME! In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the situation in this region got dramatically worse. The choice is ours, however.
7. It’s absolutely shocking to me that so much emphasis is placed on the pursuit of breakthrough yet the call to breakthrough into a pursuit of God falls on deaf ears.
8. Will we only gather and pray if we have a hope of personal blessing?
1. Where are all of the hungry people in Detroit? The stadiums should be filled with zealous, praying people every night of the week! Have the cares of life and entertainment so bewitched us that we have become convinced that being with God is not worth it?
9. I propose starting a movement of encounter which only has one goal—to be fully satisfied in enjoying and responding to the Lover of our souls. Nothing else matters. If we all have to live in a cardboard box on the streets of Detroit to encounter God, so be it! Our goal is not financial! It’s not selfish! It’s to be with God! That is all!
- Threat 10. A Lack of Immediate Response
1. There will be regular calls to prayer, calls to action… monthly, weekly, that will require a ‘drop everything’ culture.
2. My intercessors know this… if I send them an issue, depending on the severity, they drop everything… they get on a conference call… they pray.
3. If we have fallen into the trap of seeking an enhanced life, we won’t respond to the inconvenient call!
1. This is a major danger in the church today!
2. We’ll say, I don’t see how my life will be enhanced by participating, so I will hold back.
3. This is why we teach people in theLab to be alert… to always be on time… we don’t break for holidays… we don’t excuse people for vacations… it’s a drop everything culture of consecration.
4. This model isn’t just for theLab!!!! This is the life of the Believer!!!!!
5. Christmas morning at IHOP is just like any other day of the week! They stay on the wall… they don’t relax the mandate.
6. Let me set you free from a Christian cop out.
1. When called to action, don’t ever say, “I’ll pray about it”… unless you are truly going to invest some hard core prayer and then report back exactly what God said!
2. To say that we’ll pray about it… and then do what we want to do instead of exactly what God said to do whether we pray or not… is taking the Lord’s name in vain!
1. If we tell people that God said that we aren’t to do something when God never said that at all is taking his name in vain!
2. Most things don’t require praying about… and we’re a praying church!
3. In a drop everything culture where the prophetic calls are constant, if everybody just stopped everything to pray about whether they should respond or not nothing would ever be accomplished.
4. Check out a couple passages in Joel:
2. Joel 1:14 Consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
and cry out to the Lord.
3. And in Joel 2:
1. Joel 2:15-17 (ESV) 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. 17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
1. The people are saying “Where is their God!!!!!!!!”
2. Connecticut! Where was God!!!! Church!!!! Are we so asleep that we don’t see this?
3. We have to gather!!!!! Be together!!! Be instant!!! Pray!!!! Always!!!!!!
4. At 5pm every Sunday, be in the prayer room!!! Cry out to the Lord!!!
2. We live in a day where there's Twitter, email, Facebook, video and more… in every house in the city!!! We have phones that are many times smarter than the computer that took a rocket to the moon!
3. There is no excuse to not hear and respond to the prophetic decrees moment by moment!
4. We must be alert and ready! Alarms are being sounded, yet are any hearing?
5. The call a couple of years ago was for every church to gather at Fire in February. Few responded. The same thing with The Call. Few responded. The prophets are calling the church of Detroit to respond, and immediately!
4. This is one reason why church schedules must be flexible.
5. It’s also a reason why daily meetings are critical.
6. When prophetic instruction is received, the entire region must know about it right away, and the people must respond.
1. The Manitou way of doing things… continual data, continual response.
2. Luke 9:59-62 (ESV) 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
3. We have to learn to do two things:
1. Embrace key prophets in the region
2. Stay tuned in, stay in your email, stay ready for an urgent message that just may require you respond in hours time!
7. In Joshua 3, the instructions were clear, and everybody responded in unison.
1. Consecrate yourselves today…for tomorrow!!!!
8. There’s no way to fulfill this mighty mission if we are only together one day a week (actually 2 hours a week!).
1. There’s way too much work to be done!
2. As an example, Mike Bickle recently called an urgent meeting. Most of the departments at IHOP in Kansas City were immediately closed and the people all gathered together to receive an urgent prophetic message.
3. In Detroit, we must promote extreme alertness and flexibility so we can respond moment by moment to the demands of regional revival.
4. If we are mostly focused on our local, personal ventures, we’ll stay disconnected from the greater, regional mission. The response won’t be what is necessary and revival will most likely never come.