Over the past few months we have shared on the topic of Revival. We have highlighted characteristics of revival such as fresh revelations of love and mercy, holiness and majesty and a heightened awareness of eternity. We looked at Luke 4 and truths from the life of Jesus. As well as the importance of the presence of God as seen in the life of Moses and especially Joshua who lingered in the Tent of Meeting. Inevitably, there are moments in history when God and his children connect is precious revival ways, as heaven touches earth. These encounters can be personal and life giving. They can also be corporate in the life of the church and begin to touch society around us. There have been many divine experiences of heaven touching earth throughout the history of mankind. In those situations, a revelation of God is released that impacts society. The same is true in our modern day. This morning I want to share with you some key points of revelation from heaven that I believe are shocking our society. These truths have confronted societies through the ages but I see them needing to be addressed again.
Truth is found in Jesus
One of the beautiful aspects of God is the reality that within himself he is the fulness of truth. Truth refers to what is real, trustworthy, dependable, genuine, or valid. Truth carries the sense of dependability and genuine disclosure—showing things as they really are. As we read the Scriptures we discover that God is trustworthy and dependable because he is the absolute presentation of Truth.
However, in our society today we live where educated people don’t think there is absolute truth anymore. Truth has become relative and nobody can say anybody else is right or wrong. The unfortunate consequence of relative truth thinking is this – one of the greatest sins is now being judgmental and intolerant. This is not new as the Christians of the early church faced persecution for preaching truth found in Jesus.
Today, Christian faith is viewed as just another set of unprovable and personal religious opinions. The symbols of Christian faith, the cross, dove, rainbow are combined together with symbols for Islam, pacifism, gay rights, United Nations etc. In other words, everyone can have their own opinions but don’t you dare ever say I’m wrong, and don’t you ever say that your religion is the only right one.
There are two key points to make about truth and Christianity. Firstly, Christianity is inclusive; 2 Cor 5:15 - And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. The invitation of forgiveness and eternal life is open to all. But it is exclusive too: “Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:5,6).
Believers in Christianity proclaim the exclusivity of Christ, not because they are any better than anybody else or enjoy feeling smug and superior but because there really is only one way out of the grave and hell. Jesus is full of grace and truth.
Family is God’s design
One of my favourite aspects of the creation story is that of Adam and Eve. The beauty of relationship and intimacy and family all come into focus these two people, male and female. There is nothing more profound is all of creation than that of being able to create new life. This was God’s design for a husband and wife and their subsequent family. The strength of family has been a primary target of Satan over the ages. And this is seen in our society today.
One of the most profound social changes is recent generations has been in the area of marriage, family and human sexuality. After WW2 there were significant challenges for the family. Within a few years, the children of post-war families (baby boomers) began to explore the world. They began to explore life and for many their identity was founded in anti-establishment thinking. The sex, drugs and rock and roll of the 1960 changed the face of society. These changes have affected not only the secular world but the families in the church as well. Valued traditions for family were challenged and even rebelled against.
The lines have become blurred between sexes. It is no longer shameful to shack up with the opposite sex, but it’s now the new normal; Friends the TV show is a classic example. A homosexual lifestyle no longer is something to keep quiet. TV shows have helped to make gay couples the new normal. Same sex marriage is now legal. Christians can’t say a word or you’ll be branded as homophobic. There are no longer two genders, assigned by birth. You may now choose your gender identity, and one option is “neither.”
What does this tell us? The biblical way has become the new counterculture and for many is not politically correct. The Bible has a lot to say about parenting, fathers, mother, and how to raise children. As well, there are numerous passages that speak of healthy sexuality and warnings to flee from sexual immorality. This is an area of desperate need for Heaven to touch Earth. We need revival in the midst of our families.
One of the blessings of being a follower of Jesus is that we belong to a global family. In this light we have brothers and sisters from various ethnic groups who love Jesus. We will spend eternity with them because we are citizens of heaven (Eph 2:19). There is great encouragement and strength found in the gathering of the saints for the glory of God.
However, in our day there are many groups that gather that do not promote the righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. We are warned in the Scriptures that there will be wars and rumours of wars. The world is under increasing stress financially, ecologically, politically resulting in people gathering together in like mind. This is 21st century tribalism.
We have political tribes and racial tribes; Green Peace, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and so on. These groups when confronted with opposing views or tribes have little or no love for another, and can easily end in shouting and potential violence.
This is where we need Heaven to invade Earth by the direct involvement of Christians. We can become peace makers. We can speak of and demonstrate God’s love for all. We can practice what we preach. God wants all to be saved; remember that around the throne in heaven all nations and tribes will be represented. We can show the world how to love, respect, and forgive people for Jesus’ sake.
Evangelism is our mission
People have resisted the truth about Jesus for centuries. There are times when I have shared my faith and people have simply told me, “I don’t need your God. And I don’t want your church rules”. For years our country had a season where churchgoing and a Christian viewpoint were not only socially acceptable but actually socially expected. Times have changed.
We live in a post-Christian age that actually needs to be re-evangelized, as if it were a new world mission field. People think, feel and act differently and yet are still seeking answers for the questions of life. Our responsibility to share the truth of the Gospel needs fresh fire. Sin and Satan have left their mark on earth. It is time for the Body of Christ to be revived in their love for God and their love for the lost. Here are five keys to sharing our faith in the midst of a culture that does not readily accept truth, that may not share your biblical view of family or those that are stuck in some kind of tribalism…
Do not be antagonistic. The world is full of stress, therefore come in peace and not with a fighting attitude. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Col 4:5-6). Talk, listen and care.
Practice what you preach. The church must learn how to model the ways of Christian life on Earth as it is in Heaven. We don’t need to make a flashy show of our faith but we simply need to live our faith out in public. Believers can easily compartmentalize their faith; Sunday is for God but so is the rest of the week. Don’t be afraid to be Biblical.
Be friends with sinners. We are told that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners. In a post-modern world we need to make friends with people before we ‘preach’ the gospel. In other words, it is ok for people to be a friend or belong to a church community before they fully believe in God. We are on a journey of faith and discovery.
Share your story / testimony. The days of preaching the four spiritual days have lost their effectiveness. What people like to hear is how Jesus changed your life in everyday practical terms. As they grow in interest you will have opportunity to share Scripturally.
Pray and then pray more. Eph 6:18-20 - And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the [mystery] of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.