Sunday, July 5, 2009

Nobody's listening but it's got to be said anyway

The prophet's task is a pretty thankless one. It's a prophet's work to bring a nation to repentance, to bring the church to repentance, to exhort the church to spiritual power. Leonard Ravenhill knew that thankless task very well. Hardly anybody listens to the prophets; nobody likes the prophets. They say hard things, they don't talk sweet and nice and friendly. They care only for God's glory, they don't give a rap about being popular, and, if they invite unbelievers into the Kingdom, which isn't their usual task but if they do, they're going to tell them it costs, they must repent and they have to die, they aren't going to say "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." The last thing we need is more coddled worldly-minded Christians. As Ravenhill says, we're supposed to put on the full armor of God, but today's church is more like a nursery than an armory.

The Old Testament prophets were persecuted by the people God sent them to warn and exhort; New Testament prophets are always trying to drag the church back to a strict walk and their lot isn't much more cheering. They get called legalistic and asked Who do they think they are and the like. After they're dead they get accolades. But nobody listens to them really, whether they're alive or dead. If they did, by now we'd have had revival because we haven't been left without prophets over the last century.

Nobody listened to Ravenhill. And Ravenhill points out that nobody listened to J Edwin Orr who preached some thirty years earlier that if we want revival The Church Must First Repent.

So the same situation is ongoing, though worse with each passing year. The church has not repented, has not listened to Ravenhill or any of the others, has not sought the power we so sorely lack, and goes limping along while the nations continue to degenerate and skip merrily to Hell all around us.

Another way to say it is that the church has not learned to die, although according to Jesus, who is supposedly our Lord and Master, it is only death that brings life.

So when I think of writing about all this I know it's probably a lost cause. I get that sinking feeling that goes with knowing what we need to do and that it isn't going to be done. Nobody is listening. There are plenty of postings out there on the net about these things, what good would it do to add my own voice to the throng that is not being heard anyway?

The answer is it may not do any good at all, but I still have to do it.

And as Edwin Orr says, it really only takes a few who are really dedicated to get the ball rolling. Not even as many as Gideon's army. Sometimes only two or one. Do I have it in me to pay the price myself? I'm not all that good at obeying my own advice either, so that's where I really need to start, with dying to myself and praying more. Praying first that God will give me the ability to do this because, really, I don't have it in me. I have the desire, even the yearning, but I'm spiritually weak.

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