When a child is born, they come into the world so sweet, so innocent, and so fragile. Although this is an exciting and wonderful time for parents, it would be a sad thought if the child never grew up and became a mature adult. Wouldn’t it be devastating if your own child didn’t grow up? Yet, we often accept it as normal in the church. Most churches are geared toward reproduction and growth in numbers, but rarely is there an emphasis on maturing the saints. This is a day of the “New Awakening!” In order to fully walk in what God has for us, we must move to a new level of maturity in Him.
We’ve Settled for Numbers but God Wants More!
The rise of the mega-church movement and multi-campus movement has come from our desire to see great numbers added to our rolls. This is a noble purpose, but not the major purpose of God. What is God looking for? The Apostle Paul summed up God’s eternal purpose in Romans 8:29 with the goal that Jesus Christ would be the first born of many brethren.
I love Christmas and the nativity story, but where would Christianity be without the celebration of Easter? The focal point of our faith is not the nativity, but the cross and the resurrection. Entrance to the kingdom of God requires us to be born again, but Jesus also proclaimed, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV) The Lord wants more than numbers; He wants sons and that requires self-denial!
His Ways Are Not Our Ways
Many people, me included, miss the great days of the charismatic revival when so many lives were touched by God. It seemed in those days everyone was coming to the Lord. Now it appears as if America is losing its grip on morality and many people are becoming un-affiliated to the church. What happened to the revival? Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that brings in all kinds of fish and after they bring it to shore some are gathered and others are thrown back (See Matthew 13:47-48). The way God works is not our way. His way always includes both a gathering and a purging. We go through the waters as sons, but we must also go through the fire!
Fire Has Always Been Part of His Plan!
The apostles, speaking of Jesus Christ, said He will thoroughly purge the threshing floor. We have been through the purging. Many Christians and ministries can clearly testify of the fire that has burned through the church. I know of believers that have even prayed for the fire thinking it would be an enjoyable experience. Well for many it has not been, but now it is time for new life through the fire that we would walk as sons!
You Have Not Been Left Behind!
This next move will not bypass those who have been through the fire. Now is the time for the gold to come forth—it’s glory time! Paul, in Romans 8:28, declared, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
God’s work in us starts easy at first, but in the end it requires something of us. Some of you have struggled enough to almost resent the call God gave you. In this season, it is time to lay aside the ashes of our fire and arise to the “New Awakening” as His sons!
“Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you. 2 Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion! 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 52:1-2, 9 NKJV)