Thursday, February 22, 2007
"Let me wind this up. I was reading, and I guess I read it every week or I recite it to myself, that amazing chapter that we call the Faith Chapter in Hebrews 11. Faith is mentioned twenty four times in that chapter. I BELIEVE THE KEY IS NOT JUST THE WORD FAITH, I believe the key is the 6th verse - "HE THAT COMETH TO GOD MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS." HE IS WHAT? HE IS EVERYTHING THAT HE SAID IN THIS WORD. And then, you know, I read Hebrews 11: "THEY SUBDUED KINGDOMS, WROUGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS, OBTAINED PROMISES, STOPPED THE MOUTHS OF LIONS, WOMEN RECEIVED THEIR DEAD COME TO LIFE AGAIN." I read that and I knelt down to pray in my office and it's as though the Lord said, "SAY THAT AGAIN." And so I said it, "LORD, THESE PEOPLE FAR OFF THERE, THEY SUBDUED WHOLE KINGDOMS, THEY WROUGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS, THEY OBTAINED PROMISES, THEY STOPEED THE MOUTHS OF LIONS, WOMEN RECEIVED THEIR DEAD COME TO LIFE."And, as somebody said this year, "AND NOT ONE OF THEM HAD A BIBLE." ...DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT? Let me take you back to a time when God's chosen people wondered around in sheepskins and goatskins! Now we've a land flowing with milk and honey - and churches flowing with mink and money. As though God looks on the outside. Forget it! He looks on the inside. Those people never had 66 Books. And you know what, if the world lasts another 100 thousand years, which it won't, but if it did, God doesn't have anything to add to that Book. He's said all He is ever going to say to man. In my youth, I used to go listen in a Bible class where Dr. G. Campbell Morgan used to preach very often - a fascinating Bible teacher. And I remember in my early teens I thought, "One day I'll stay behind and ask him what kind of a Bible he has because all that stuff he has isn't in my Bible." I don't care whether you are thinking of Finney or Wesley or Booth, or any great majestic figure that has ruled in the church of God and seen revival, not one of them had a bigger Bible than you and I have. It's the same Word. Again, we better make our minds up whether it is absolute or obsolete. I'll tell you what, if this Book doesn't have the answer for a rotten, corrupt, stinking world, there is no answer for it. We've out sinned Sodom and Gomorra. Do you know there are 600 million Bibles in America? Would you try to guess how many millions or billions of Bible cassettes there are in the nation? Would you like to try to estimate how many seminars there are? Or seminaries there are? Or Bible schools? Or how many Gospel messages are preached throughout the nation? And that we've got 500 radio stations that broadcast something of the Gospel. Let me give you the other side and I quit.We are the most broken nation that we've ever been in history. We've more broken homes, We've more broken hearts over those broken homes. We've more broken little kids because of those broken homes. We've more minds broken by drugs, We've more bodies broken - over a million girls last year got pregnant under 17 years of age. And people were marching a few years ago, "Stop the war in Vietnam, stop the war." "No right to kill people," and yet it's estimated in the last nine years we've put more than 10 million babies to death before they left their mother's wombs (in a Christian country. My Lord, what happens in a heathen country!) Do you think God Almighty is going to wink at our sin much longer? I don't. And the legislators can't help us, and the banks can't help us, and the government can't help us, and money can't help us. Our help cometh from the Lord. And the only way is in submission and brokeness. That we get and say, many of us, "Lord, I don't have the vision I used to have.I don't have the passion I used to have. I don't have the concern I used to have," not for America, for lost souls. Lost souls first, America second.I am convinced the key is in the ministry. Maybe the way to start revival in your church is to stand up next Sunday morning and say, "Look, I want to tell you, I've had no passion for the lost. I shed no tears for lost mankind. I've so many other things I am interested in." I believe one key to the apostle Paul's life was this, "This - one - thing - I - do." He lived God. He thought God. He prayed God. That's all. You can lash him, you can't whip it out of him. He can float on a piece of wood in the Mediterranean a night and a day - thirty six hours, you can't wash it out of him. They tried to starve him, you can't starve it out of him. He'd had a vision of the cross, he'd had a vision of the resurrection power.He'd realized the greatest thing this side of eternity is to be a God filled man. And goes out and proclaims that message, whether he goes to Jews, to barbarians, the Greeks, the intellectuals. He is as at home in the intellectual capital of the world, Athens, as he is in the religious capital of the world, Jerusalem. God never, never intended His church to backslide. God never intended His church to function with anything less than Apostolic Christianity. And it's time to call the church to prayer. I believe if we were as spiritual as we think we are we would have gone to church yesterday in sackcloth and a handful of ashes to put on our heads and mourn that the Glory has departed. I can almost hear Duncan Campbell saying how they cried in Scotland, "Oh, that Thou wouldst rend the heaven and come down." You see, we've never seen God move 'til He's stopped the traffic.'Til people in the shops are singing.'Til the lights don't go out week after week.'Til the Holy Ghost is moving in factories. He's done that in other revivals. He has called us to stand in the gap.To be the repairers of the breach.To bring the powers of the world to come on this materialistic blind day in which we live and this sleepy Laodicean church. When He was on earth He cleaned the temple. I feel it needs cleansing again, from worldliness... from materialism... May the Lord help us to search our hearts as well as search the Scriptures. Help us to be honest and admit that we've failed, seek the place of prayer, and the place of cleansing and the place of anointing. May we be a vital link between His Eternal Spirit and this troubled, lost world outside. May His glory shine forth again."
- Leonard Ravenhill
(You may have to click on the link to this blog entry to see the link to the sermon)