Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The refiners fire!

"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like refiners fire, and like fullers soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness." Malachi 3: 2-3

Much has been said about God purifying us as individuals with his "refiners fire", to get out the sinful "dross" (the impure particles in Gold and Silver that rise to the top of their liquid forms- to be scooped out by the refiner) from our lives and hearts. Today, we're going to look at his refining fire from a corporate standpoint.

The last thing Jesus told his church before leaving earth was: "Go ye therefore..." Mat. 28:18 After waiting to recieve his Spirit on the day of Pentecost, revival broke out! On the birthday of the church 3,120 souls were born again. What a great day. Many more were brought into the kingdom through Gods plan of salvation (Acts 2:38) over the coming weeks and months. Along the way, something happened.

Instead of going into the uttermost parts of the earth, they pretty much stayed in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. What happened? Revival slowed. God's people got "comfortable". Life started to become a routine. So, our Lord stoked his fire a little and allowed Herod to kill the Apostle James. He also allowed Peter to be taken captive.

That fast, the people hit their faces in prayer for their leader. Soon, Peter was free, Herod was dead, and life settled down again. Once more, God's people grew complacent. So, Jesus stoked the fires again.

A great persecutor, named Saul rose up, killing and torturing Christian men, women, and children by the thousands. As a result of this persecution, God's people finally began going to the "uttermost parts of the earth"- fleeing for their lives. The results were magnificent. Wherever God's people found themselves, revival broke out and untold numbers were born again into the family of God. After much prayer,the persecutor of God's people, was struck down and born again. Saul the killer, became Paul the apostle. Again, the church new peace.

Down through the years, the same pattern has been seen time and time again. The church gets complacent and comfortable. God allows an enemy to rise up to "lite a fire under his people". Then, after repentance, revival breaks out in the midst of persecution.

It happened under Nero. It happened in the middle ages, under the Iron fists of "the Holy Roman Empire" and the Catholic church. It happened in Europe and England during "The Great Awakening". It's happened here in the USA and is happening now in dictatorial regimes like China and the Muslim controlled countries. Millions are being born again, in spite of the absolute risk to their own lives!

We, as American Christians, seem to think that we're immune to this refining process- that somehow, we're special here in the USA. God would never allow those things to happen to us, right?

Many of us are looking around us and wondering what in the world is going on. Our elected leaders, by and large, are the most immoral and ungodly group we've ever had. Our country seems to be teetering on the brink of total collapse into socialism (which always brings oppression) and communism (which brings death to many).

The state of our churches is becoming even worse! Some churches are even openly advocating gay marriage, gay clergy, abortion, assisted suicide, Marxism, and ecumenical beliefs. After all,we're all just spokes on a wheel, trying to get to God in our own ways, right?

In the midst of all of this, God's true people have been praying for revival. The reason things are like they are is because God has, once again, lit his refiners fire. He will boil the impurities out of us and light a fire that will never be quenched! We will have revival.

But revival comes with a price. Many will be arrested. Some will die. To speak the name of Jesus in public will become criminal. We will, at some point, have to go underground. Just as they did in Rome, during Nero, and as they are doing now in China and the middle east. Through it all, though, God is accomplishing 2 things. 1) He's purifying his bride and preparing us for the trip home, and 2)He's bringing more and more people into the kingdom.

We've been praying for revival. It's almost here. I pray we're ready!