THE GLORY OF GOD ON CAPE COD

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Revive Us Again With the Wind of Your Spirit

by Dr. Paul Jehle on March 2, 2016

Revive Us Again with the Wind of the Spirit

February 28, 2016

Dr. Paul Jehle, Senior Pastor

The New Testament Church of Cedarville

 

“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”

Psalm 85:6

 

The Biblical pattern for revival throughout the Scriptures involves personal repentance, or a turning to God on His terms through confession and forgiveness of sin, personal revival, or a living and dynamic walk with the Lord, and reconciliation, or the harmonizing of our conduct to match our profession before God and others.  Instead of looking and praying for revival to come “from out there” somewhere, we look for God to work within our own hearts – personally.  This is the context and focus of Psalm 85 – Lord, would you not revive us again?

 

There are concepts and words that the Bible joins with the work of revival as well.  There is the word blessing where we speak faith rather than doubt.  The focus of fatherhood gives the very real clarity that we are walking with God the Father through Christ – for Jesus is the way to the Father.   It also brings reconciliation between parent and child as well (see Malachi 4).  Another concept found frequently is accountability to our Creator.  This brings the fear of God upon a culture when knowing that there will  be eternal consequences of accountability for actions done here on earth.  Of course, the ultimate reality of God’s Agape Love permeates all revivals and positively overwhelms our increased sensitivity of our guilt before Him.

 

However, there are also symbols of weather that are often used by God to describe the way revival comes also.  For instance, Psalm 148:7-8 states “praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all the depths; fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word.”  We know God uses the weather to do His will – but also He symbolically utilizes our understanding of fire, hail, snow, clouds and stormy wind to see with spiritual eyes.  I want to take the idea of storm and wind as an example of how we can anticipate and expect revival to occur – right here in New England.  After all, God used this symbol when he stated in Acts 2:2“and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.”

 

We know the Greek word used for Spirit in the Bible means “wind.”  The Spirit of God is like breath, we must interact with it or we die.  We die physically without oxygen, and we die spiritually without the life giving Spirit of God actively working within us.  Often God ordains stormy winds to get our attention and to perform His work, always with the redemptive purpose of bringing revival to our parched hearts and wayward minds.  The nature of wind illustrates the way God moves as well.  In fact, all of God’s creation and the laws that accompany them speak of spiritual reality and truth.

 

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

Romans 1:20

 

Two laws of meterology as it applies to wind might help clarify for us the spiritual laws that are made visible by those in the physical realm and of course confirmed in the Bible.  We might call the first law the following – high pressure always flows toward low pressure.  We are all familiar with the weather forecasters who display for us a large H or L and demonstrate for us that whenever a “high” and a “low” come near one another – the result is wind – and often lots of it.  In fact, this is the stuff that creates storms and our famous Northeasters here in New England.

 

The second law might be stated as this – moist, warm air rises while dry, cold air sinks.  We all know these are the ingredients for precipitation.  Only a surface review of our academic science texts will reveal that wind storms caused by lows and highs, as well as moist and dry air colliding, produce several benefits to the globe during its regular rhythm of seasons.  These benefits include, but aren’t limited to, moderating the surface temperature of the earth, distributing moisture, and cleansing the atmosphere.  From a spiritual perspective, our nation in general, and New England in particular, suffers from the extremes of the flesh and sin, a parched earth and an atmosphere in desperate need of cleansing from sin and the clutter of worldliness.

 

Revival and Evangelism

 

So maybe we actually need a spiritual wind storm!  Before analyzing this further, it might be good to remind ourselves that the wisdom of the Word includes an ingredient in all revivals that we are desperate to experience as well.  That ingredient is conversion.  Massive conversions always accompany both Biblical and historic revivals.  But let us consider Proverbs 11:29-30 before we move on.

 

“He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”

 

Many believers today do not pray for storms – in fact we often pray against them.  Now I don’t mean we ought to pray for disasters or tragedies, far from it.  However, storms are a natural part of our physical life and they serve a positive purpose.  They are also a part of our spiritual lives and serve a parallel purpose, yet much more powerful.  If our focus is misplaced, we will not interact with God in the way that He has chosen for us.  For instance, if we believe that God’s highest purpose is to make us happy, we will constantly blame God for unhappy circumstances and storms.  However, if we understand Biblically that our highest purpose is to give Him glory in all things (1st Corinthians 10:31), then we will live a more victorious life and gain strength in the midst of  the storms of life.

 

When God brings storms, His purpose is also to bring in souls.  We are rooted in the tree of life that stands by the banks of His river, yielding fruit in His season.  It is the chaff that are blown away by the storm (Psalm 1).  When we focus on the storm rather than God’s purpose in the storm – we inherit only the wind.  In other words, we expenericne the storm, and we may get through it, but we don’t glean its purpose, seeing our lives strengthened and souls saved.  We are thus foolish and do not see the wisdom of God.  But the fruit of being rooted in the tree of life will be leaves that do not wither and souls that are won for Christ in the midst of storms.  After all, God deliberately rains on the just and unjust for the purpose of revealing the rock on which we stand – Christ (see Matthew 7:24-27).

 

So the question remains,  do we need a spiritual wind storm in New England?  Well, to help answer that question and apply the truths we have been rehearsing, let me refer you to a comprehensive study done in 2010 on the spiritual condition of our nation.  A group of researchers did a massive study on the number of evangelical churches preaching the gospel in proportion to the number of believers who regularly attend church across the nation.  Also, they did this in proportion to the population of those who live around those churches.  The result was astounding in many ways.  As a point of reference, for instance, in 1910, a little more than a hundred years ago, it was estimated that 42.2% of the population were evangelicals who practiced their faith and regularly attended church.  If everyone in the nation in 1910 were saved from a massive revival, we would need room for an average of 357 people per church!  In other words, our kingdom net was fairly secure and could hold such a theoretical revival since there were so many believers.

 

Today we are in much more desperate need.  Consider the following table revealed about New England in 2010 and the number of unsaved individuals that would attend each church if a massive revival occurred today:

 

n  Maine – 3% evangelical today / 3,783 per church

n  Vermont – 2% evangelical / 4,349 per church

n  Connecticut – 2% evangelical / 7,403 per church

n  Massachusetts – 2% evangelical / 8,078 / church

n  Rhode Island – 2% evangelical / 8,454 per church

 

We could include New Jersey and New York in these statistics, which were the lowest in the nation according to this study.  In other words, New England, New Jersey and New York is the area of lowest pressure from a spiritual perspective in the entire nation!  It is the darkest area.  For those who work here, it is no shock to hear such things, of course.  But we must remember,high pressure always flows to low pressure!  In other words, we are ripe for revival and the moving of the wind of the Spirit of God (the highest pressure in the universe)!  The spiritual laws that are illustrated in wind storms ought to encourage us greatly!  How we need our atmosphere cleansed!  Though natural laws don’t govern the spiritual, they can encourage us when we see that God’s ways move in patterns and seasons as well!

 

God will use Every Believer

 

Now another question remains – how will God use us in this time?  We were not born by accident, and we don’t live in New England by accident either.  The calling that brought us here is still valid and God has not changed His nature or His ways.  Our role is to equip the saints to do the work of evangelism as well as the other ministries given to the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16).   Christianity is not a spectator sport where couch potatoes watch ministers perform on Sundays and then pay them according to their entertainment value.  We desire for the average believer in the average church to be ready to see extraordinary things done as the wind of God’s Spirit moves!  We will soon be tested by the storms that are on the horizon.  These will be good tests, divinely ordained tests of wind storms that will bring in souls and cleanse the atmosphere, moderate the extremes of the flesh and bring added moisture to our region.

 

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.  So is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8

 

The Bible tells us that in evangelism and the sharing of the gospel, understanding spiritual wind currents is essential.  We can’t completely predict spiritual results any more than weather forecasters can physically.  However, we can learn to see the effects.  No one can be born again without the wind of the Spirit at work.  No one is able to get themselves into the Kingdom by their own effort.  It might be instructive to briefly review how an understanding of the possible wind currents of the Spirit can help equip us to expectantly be ready to share with those God brings into our paths.

 

The presence of wind means high pressure is flowing to low pressure

 

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with them.  Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” –John 3:1-3

 

All believers need to make friends with those who do not know the Lord.  It is the interaction of high and low pressure that will help us detect the wind blowing.  We ourselves are not the high pressure, nor are we the focus, but the Spirit of God within us indeed is high pressure!  Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, privately, because he knew Him.  He was also drawn by the presence of God, of course.  It is in this natural conversation that it could be detected that Nicodemus was being drawn by God’s wind.

 

As we interact with unbelievers, and they express their need, it will draw out of us the wind of the Spirit flowing toward that need – but we must be willing to make deliberate contacts with unbelievers to build friendships.  It is in these private relationships that we might share – the only way I have understood the spiritual kingdom of Christ is by being converted or ‘born from above’.  It is an expectation that we must have of seeing the wind of God blowing us toward those with needs, bringing the gospel to them. 

 

Moist warm air rises, dry cold air sinks

 

“Nicodemus said to Him, ‘how can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter a second time into this mother’s womb and be born?’  Jesus answered, ‘most asurredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘you must be born again.’”

John 3:4-7

 

Answering questions in a discussion with someone who is not born again is a real blessing.  One way to view this, however, is to consider the fact that we need to share our own testimony of entering the kingdom in a short amount of time, say two minutes or less.  In all of our conversations, we need to learn how to include the moisture of the Word of God and the way God worked in our own lives to bring us to Him.  Again, it is not our own presence that brings moisture, but His presence.  The cold and dry air that surrounds all of our needs in this life can be lifted by the rising warm air of God’s Spirit.  This will cause precipitation, spiritual rain, and a relief to all.

 

 

Much of the World is in Revival Today

 

In 1910, 67% of all believers lived in Europe, a hundred years later only 25% live there.  North America, including the U.S., is in spiritual decline, and for the first time we have less than a majority who even claim to know God (as distinct from 42% who actually practice their faith and attend church as in 1910).  In South America the revival fires of 50 years ago are still blazing and the evangelical population is steadily gaining.  Asia has risen, in a hundred years, from 3 to 7% Christian, but Africa from 9 to 63%!  Middle and southern Africa has been in continuous revival for decades.  Millions of Muslims are coming to Christ with direct dreams and visions of Jesus Christ!  This is happening even in the midst of tremendous persecution.  So, Europe and North America, and the U.S., is presently in spiritual decline. 

 

So what can we say to these things?  An expectancy should be in the air – for a spiritual wind storm is brewing!  Our condition of darkness and low pressure is not to be lamented, but turn our hearts toward hope and expectation!  Moist air is rising over the cold damp air of New England and the U.S., and soon it will fall as rain.  The snow will cover the ground like the blood of Christ cleanses and forgives sin.  May God receive the glory, and may He, in due time, bring the former and latter rains upon us!

 

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