Thursday, October 8, 2009

Church revival/reformations, a great need!

One brother in particular used to ask me the question "Is it easier to reform a church or to start a new one?" It was his thoughts that starting a church is the way to go. Well my answer is the same today as it will always be, 'it depends!' It depends on God, the saying that goes 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' has nothing to do with biblical truth, since it's a work of God and it's a 'renewing of the mind' for all of us!
The thought that many churches are being planted is a wonderful thing as long as those churches are being built upon the foundation of scripture (and I don't mean in 'statements' but in PRACTICE). Yet I beg you to consider that the reformation of a church is a gloriously better thing, because of the MATURING of believers that are there already there, because of the purifying effect upon the ministers.
If we chose to stay or feel we are supposed to stay (or wait) then in 'the meantime' we should give our blood and tears for such a church. If God has provided a door for us to speak; then use such a door to plead with the leadership of the church (through sound doctrine). We should also not doubt the ability of God to reveal His truth to His people and accordingly we should cry (with great effort) out for such a change. We should NOT try to gather a group of people that are critical, in an effort to tear apart a church from within, nor should we pretend to support things (even with silence) which clearly violate what we have been convinced through scripture is compromising. We should choose our fights wisely, fight for the GOSPEL, the gospel which doesn't shy away from specific denunciations of SIN, that clearly represents the JUSTICE of God in DAMNING the wicked (all men). The gospel which procures not only a justified position but also a drastic sanctifying effect (without which, means there IS NO SALVATION)! This message must also be clearly preached by WHO is supported, it will only confuse and contradict what is said in the pulpit if weak gospels (presentations, crusades, books, and teachers) are promoted and praised, in otherwords the gospel must not only be presented but defended!
Along the lines of this subject, a report of genuine revival among some Venezuelan ministers who through the web were dramatically effected by Brother Washers sermons on the gospel, this is also from the current HEARTCRY magazine

Brother Martin is the HeartCry mission director for Peru. He is a dear friend and trusted colleague. The following is his account of a revival breaking out among a small group of pastors in Venezuela.
Venezuela is a country where Christianity has advanced very slowly and where several non-evangelical charismatic movements have overtaken many of the conservative and Baptist churches. Last year, several Venezuelan brothers contacted us after listening to a series of HeartCry sermons (in Spanish and via the internet) regarding the true Gospel and biblical evangelism. Unaware of the follow-up conference that we were planning in Lima, they contacted us and asked if they could visit us in Lima. They wanted to learn more. Unfortunately, due to the political situation in their country, they were unable to attend. When we learned that they were unable to come to us, we decided that we would travel to Venezuela in order to help them more clearly understand the truth about the Gospel. As a result, my co-laborer Walter Isse and I spent twelve days with several pastors and lay leaders in the city of Caracas. Our time together exceeded all of our expectations, for God had prepared their hearts to receive the truth. The journey was an undeniable work of divine providence. According to their account, one of the pastor/ teachers, who was struggling spiritually, was searching the internet for some sermons. His goal was not to know the truth, but only to find some material that he could then repeat to his congregation. It was then, through the providence of God, that he found the recordings from the HeartCry conference: “The True Gospel.” As he listened, he became frightened when he realized how off base he had been. He then made copies of the teachings and gave them to the elders of the other congregations with which he had fellowship. One by one, the elders began to see that they were in great error. They were so disturbed that they presented the recordings of our conference to the most respected elder in their network of churches. This brother is highly esteemed among the elders and is very wise. His name is Jose Rojas. When he finished watching just introduction, he cried out, “Brothers this is what we have been asking God to show us. We must repent of what we have been doing.” Then he asked, “Do we have any more of these sermons?” When the other elders told him that they had the sermons from the entire conference, he replied, “Then we must watch all of it.” This is how the revival began among the brothers in Venezuela. They began watching the videos on Thursday and did not finish until Monday. They did not even meet with their congregations on Sunday. They watched the videos attentively and tried to examine all that was said in light of the Scriptures. Many times they paused, rewound the message, and re-listened to particular parts that really convicted them. Sometimes they stopped the video to pray and to repent of the unbiblical way that they had been preaching the Gospel and evangelizing. They cried out for God to forgive them. They said among themselves “What have we been teaching?” and “What are we going to teach now? What are we going to tell our congregations?” One of them said “We must ask them to forgive us for ignoring these truths. We must humble ourselves before them as we have humbled ourselves before God.” The fear of God had fallen upon them and His kindness was leading them to repentance. The following weeks led to a time of public repentance as they recognized openly that they had been teaching a perverted Gospel. One of them, Pastor Pedro Diaz, told his congregation the following: Listening to the brothers tell this story about how the Lord had worked in their lives had a powerful effect upon Walter and me. We had never seen such a response to the Word of God. We were impressed by the way these sermons had transformed their lives and ministries. Their focus was on Christ and His message. The Gospel had done away with their methods, strategies, formalities, human goals, and personal glory. The days that we spent teaching in Venezuela were described by my brother Walter Isse as “heaven on earth.” The first four days we did not even set foot on the sidewalk in front of the church. The hunger that the brothers had for the Word was so great that we only took breaks to eat. We began at eight in the morning and we finished at ten at night. Sometimes the meetings continued until midnight. After these first few days together the brothers said, “We can not take it any more! Let’s go out and preach the Gospel.” At this request, brother Walter and I took them to the streets and demonstrated to them how to do open air preaching. One by one they followed us preaching on park benches, on sidewalks, on buses, and in the subway station. There was no place where they did not call people to repent and to believe in Christ. In spite of the political and social situation in the country of Venezuela, and in spite of the exodus of many American missionaries, God is glorifying Himself among His people. I believe that all of the oppression that the country is experiencing is part of a sovereign God’s plan to purify for Himself a people. God wants to show that He is near to His people in times of trials and that He does not need those who, in the face of the slightest threat, flee because they are not willing to pay the cost that God calls them to pay. We should pray for this work in Venezuela that it might continue and that God might raise up men and women who are willing to proclaim the Gospel regardless of what it costs them. We are praying about how we might continue to help these brothers. Please pray that God might give us wisdom to know how to be useful instruments in the work that He is doing in Venezuela and in Latin America.


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