Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why Revival Tarries


"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shop-window to display one's talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off.

Poverty-stricken as the Church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.

The two prerequisites to successful Christian living are vision and passion, both of which are born in and maintained by prayer. The ministry of preaching is open to few; the ministry of prayer-the highest ministry of all human offices-is open to all. Spiritual adolescents say, "I'll not go tonight, it's only the prayer meeting." It may be that Satan has little cause to fear most preaching. Yet past experiences sting him to rally all his infernal army to fight against God's people praying. Modern Christians know little of "binding and loosing," though the onus is on us-"Whatsoever ye shall bind...” Have you done any of this lately? God is not prodigal with His power; but to be much for God, we must be much with God.

This world hits the trail for hell with a speed that makes our fastest plane look like a tortoise; yet alas, few of us can remember the last time we missed our bed for a night of waiting upon God for a world-shaking revival. Our compassions are not moved. We mistake the scaffolding for the building. Present-day preaching, with its pale interpretation of divine truths, causes us to mistake action for unction, commotion for creation, and rattles for revivals.

The secret of praying is praying in secret. A sinning man will stop praying, and a praying man will stop sinning. We are beggared and bankrupt, but not broken, nor even bent.

Prayer is profoundly simple and simply profound. "Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try," and yet so sublime that it outranges all speech and exhausts man's vocabulary. A Niagara of burning words does not mean that God is either impressed or moved. One of the most profound of Old Testament intercessors had no language "Her lips moved, but her voice was not heard." No linguist here! There are groanings which cannot be uttered."

Are we so substandard to New Testament Christianity that we know not the historical faith of our fathers (with its implications and operations), but only the hysterical faith of our fellows? Prayer is to the believer what capital is to the business man.

Can any deny that in the modern church setup the main cause of anxiety is money? Yet that which tries the modern churches the most, troubled the New Testament Church the least. Our accent is on paying, theirs was on praying. When we have paid, the place is taken; when they had prayed, the place was shaken!

In the matter of New Testament, Spirit-inspired, hell-shaking, world-breaking prayer, never has so much been left by so many to so few. For this kind of prayer there is no substitute. We do it--or die!

Taken from Why Revival Tarries, by Leonard Ravenhill.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I believe: Part 4

“…suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried “ 
Philippians 2:1-16
    So far, we have spoken about the Father, the Son, and the Virgin Birth and Mary.
Today, we will be looking at the last week of Jesus’ earthly life.
I find that seeing the name of ‘Pontius Pilate’ in the Creed a little strange.  He was unquestionably not a believer but a deeply self-centered man who was politically motivated.  Just who was this man?
Pontius Pilate ポンテオ·ピラトwas most likely from a Roman family of Pontii and the name Pilate was not a given name but a sort of title.  Meaning “Wearing the cap” which indicated the he was a “freeman” or a descendant of one.
Pilate was the 5th or 6th in the order of Roman perfect (meaning ‘made in front’ or ‘put in charge’) of Judea serving under Emperor Tiberius. His main office was at Caesarea but often came up to Jerusalem.  We learn that he was a man of some means and that he really did not like living in this region—in fact, he really hated the Jews.  Along with being a dishonest ruler, insensitive, cruel, a pleasure-seeking and corrupt man, he was sent back to Rome because he harshly suppressed and massacred a group of Samaritans in an uprising in about 37 AD. And the Jews did not like him either.  Because he freely shed their blood, they often accused him of every crime in the book along with cruelty and burglary. No love there.
This Roman leader had four roles that he was in charge of. 
#1, he would levy taxes レビー税and mint coins. #2, he was an accountant会計士-as he inspected the books that went straight to Rome and with this responsibility, he was in charge of large scale building projects.  #3, he was the area’s supreme judge最高裁判所裁判官.  People could appeal to Rome but it was expensive and timely.  He would travel the countryside administering Roman justice. …#4, he was the commander of the army軍の司令官.  But, this leader only had auxiliary troops broken up onto three groups and one cavalry regiment of a total force of about 6X500 (3,000) men force. If things got real bad, he could call on the governor of Syria and have 5,300 heavy infantry come. But the Syrian governor was absent so he was by himself.
He would come to Jerusalem as seldom as possible.  In contrast to his home city of Rome with its theaters, baths, games and a very social group of friends, Jerusalem was filled with religious zealots, dreary weather and repressive heat. And when he did come, he would stay at Herod, the Great’s palace.
Well, to know this about Pontius Pilate is not what the Creed is all about. His name is in the Creed to give it some historical marker.  It was during this man’s rule that all this happened.  That Jesus did indeed suffered under Pontius Pilate.  What was this suffering?
Turn with me to a passage that deals with this suffering under Pontius Pilate. Matt 27:11-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23: 2-25; John 18:28- 19:1-16.
During the ministry of Jesus, He taught His followers to take up your cross and follow Me.”  He did not say, “Take up His Cross.”  That along was for Him to carry. We are to follow His profound three-part prescription to anyone who wants to come after Jesus and to be part of His Family. 
1. The first is to DENY YOURSELF自らを否定し.
This does not mean self-rejection.  Not wallowing around in self-loathing or turning away from any enjoyment life has. You might know the saying: “If it is fun, it must be bad!” 1 Tim 6:17 counters that with: “Richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”  We are, in fact, of great value to God.  He thought enough of you to die for you. If His loves for us is so deep, why do you hate or reject yourself? 
The DENY that Jesus teaches about is that which is rooted in the old nature. 1 John 2:16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. .
Growth in the Christian life demands this.  To live instead a Jesus—kind of life.
The second call is to 2. TAKE UP your Cross. 自らの十字架を携えMany feel that the cross is suffering. A reflection of what happened on that day on the Cross of Jesus: that was God’s UNIQUE will for His Son.  Not for you.  The Cross was both God’s Will for His Son AND the symbol of His full commitment to do His Father’s Will. 
Your Cross to bear: what could that be?  In a sense, the same as what Jesus needed to do—that being to do whatever God wants you to do…day by day.  Each day, we are to decide to do God’s Will.  In electing to do that, we become His Disciples.
The third is to 3. FOLLOW HIM彼に従ってください.  Keep close to Me is how the Living Bible states it.  I like that picture.  How can this be done—in yourself; it can’t!  That is why we really need Him and His Spirit’s closeness to our spirit.  He does not want us to use a rule book approach to this kind of life—but one that is found in a relationship.  He being our Father, connected to Him because of the Work on the Cross.  Because of His sufferings!  There, we finally got there!
His suffering was during His whole life.  See Hebrews 5:8 Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered . 12:3-4 Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. From Isaiah 53:3 we read with gladness: He was despised and rejected by mankind,a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. .
As the time got closer for His death, He told His Men Matt 26:38 Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.”. It was there that Jesus experienced four different aspects of pain. “And they crucified Him” Mk 15:24. See the handout for more details on this.
 Quickly, they are: a. Physical Pain and Death.  In the English Bible, just four words are used to say what happened there on the Cross. 
Secondly, b. The Pain of Bearing Sin罪を耐える苦痛. For Jesus, during His eternal life, He always knew God’s Love.  There was no sin in Him.  From before the creation of the world, He only knew God’s pleasure.  On the Cross, all that changed.  When His Father looked on Him at that time, God thought of Man’s sin as belonging to Christ!  Our sins, all of the sins of Mankind, DID in fact belong to Christ.  It does not mean that the Father thought that Jesus Himself actually had a sinful nature, but rather that the guilt for our sins (the liability to punishment) was thought of God as belonging to Christ instead to us. 
Thirdly, c. Abandonment放棄.  Ever felt alone?  Abandoned, deserted?  Him, more so.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, He said: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death…”  Mk 14:34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”.
In every sense of the word, He was alone.  No one could or would take His place. When He spoke from the Cross “why have You forsaken Me”, He was finally cut off from the eternal sweet closeness to His Father.  As Jesus bore our sins on that Cross, He as abandoned by His Father and faced the heaviness of the guilt of billions of sins alone.
Lastly, d. Bearing The Wrath of God神の怒りを耐える.  Much, much deeper the suffering than the first three is this one.  The Wrath of God on Himself.  His Father poured out on Jesus the ferocity of His wrath: Jesus became the object of the intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin, which God had patiently stored up since the Garden of Eden.  Romans 3:25 means: “A sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath toward us into favor.”  Propitiation. (Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin on Himself.)  25-26 He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  At the Cross, the fury of all that stored-up wrath or fury against sin was unlashed against God’s only Son. 
Oh, the beatings, the crown of thorns, the metal tipped whip, the spitting, the words of anger all was suffering.  It was this suffering that the Apostles wanted us to know about.  It is part of the Gospel of Redemption.  God’s plan was to buy us back.  We sinned.  We broke the contract – the rebellion affected our standing with God.  Because He is Holy, and we are not, we fell out of fellowship with Him.  His way to bring us back to Himself—to be redeemed—was to send His Son to die in our place on the Cross.  The one Pilate sent Jesus to.
Next week, Sunday happened.  The tables were reset, the debt was been paid, the ransom was given, and Man was set free—if they placed their trust in Him who died for us.
The following is in a handout along with the description of what a Crucifixion is…
Order of the Events of the Crucifixion:
Arrival at Golgotha (Calvary) ゴルゴタの到着(カルバリー), Mt 27:33; Mk 15:22; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:17
Offer of a benumbing drink,
痛みを麻痺させる飲み物の提供Mt 27:34
The crucifixion,
はりつけ Mt 27:35
Cry, 'Father, forgive...',
泣く、 "父よ、お赦しください..." Lk 23:34
The parting of Christ's garments,
キリストの上着を分ける Mt 27:35
Jesus mocked,
イエスは嘲笑を受ける Mt 27:39-44; Mk 15:29
The thieves rail on Him, but one believes,
泥棒はののしる、が一人は信ずるMt 27:44
Second cry, "Today you will be with me...',
第二の叫びは、 "あなたは、今日、私とともにいる."Lk 23:43
Third cry, 'Dear woman, here is your son,
第三の叫びは、 "親愛なる女性は、ここにあなたの息子がいる ' Jn 19:26-27
The darkness,
暗闇Mt 27:45; Mk 15:33
The fourth cry, 'My God, my God...',
第四の叫び、 "わが神、わが神..." Mt 27:46-47; Mk 15:34-36
Fifth cry, 'I am thirsty,'
第五の叫び、 "私はのどが渇いています 'Jn 19:28
Sixth cry, 'It is finished,'
第六の叫び、 "終わった Jn 19:30
Seventh cry, 'Father, into Thy hands...,'
セブンス叫び、 "父よ、汝の御手の中に..."Lk 23:46
Jesus dismisses His spirit,
イエスは、彼の霊をゆだねたMt 27:50; Mk 15:37
Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger's Bible Handbook, Revised by Gary N. Larson, Moody Press, Chicago, 1984, pp. 397-398.

Brothers and Sisters, what do you believe? 
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried;
On the third day He rose again;
He ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. AMEN.