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Video version below.
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods (whom you have not known) and let’s serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. Deut. 13:1-4, NASB
God is on the move. People are hungry for true spiritual food. Revivals are springing up and continuing. The movie Jesus Revolution has inspired many people that what God has done in the past, He will do in the present…and even greater things. There is a mounting expectation. We may be on the verge of an exciting new worldwide move of God..or perhaps the move of God in non-Western countries is going to ignite in Western countries. However you look at it, great things are happening for the Kingdom of God, and greater things are coming. Let us be in prayer and support.
Having said that, let me add that in times of great true spiritual renewal and advance, Satan is not idle. He tries to come in under the radar with a counterattack. God allows him to test the Church to see how genuine our commitment is. Are we seeking the Giver or the Gift? Are we willing to discipline our lives to God’s standards, or are wanting God’s blessing on our way of life?
Let’s learn from history. The 1700s and 1800s were times of great moves of God. We had both the Great Awakening and Second Great Awakening during this period. Mighty men of God preached the Word of God with tremendous effectiveness. George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney and D.L. Moody are just a few of the people involved at this time.
God was not just moving in Western Society. He was stirring hearts for the unreached millions around the world. William Carey, who became known as the Father of Modern Missions, went to India. Hudson Taylor went to China and later founded the China Inland Mission. Hundreds of missionaries went around the world, leaving family and friends behind as they risked their lives for the cause of Christ. There was also a focus on translating the Bible into foreign languages so that everyone could read the Bible in their native tongue.
Hearts were challenged, and organizations were founded to help spread the gospel and minister to the needy. During this time, the London Missionary Society was founded, followed by many other missionary societies. The British and Foreign Bible Society was formed, and other Bible societies sprang up. George Muller, with his great faith, ministered to the orphans. The Salvation Army, the YMCA and the International Red Cross got their beginning here as well. Through the efforts of the dedicated Christian William Wilberforce and others, slavery was abolished in the British Empire.
It was a time of fantastic advancement of the Kingdom of God with Christians not only going into all the world with the gospel but also helping the needy at home and tackling social problems. The world would never be the same.
Yet Satan was not idle. He was not ready to surrender. He launched devastating counterattacks against the Home Front, many of which are still impacting the world today. He knew that the branches would eventually wither and die if he could destroy the root. The wheat and the tares were growing together.
During this time of true spiritual renewal, many cults also had their beginnings, including Mormonism, after Joseph Smith had what he thought was an angelic visitor, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Spiritualism with its New Age practices. The Communist Manifesto was also published, which would inspire the enslavement of a large percentage of the world’s population and the cold-blooded murder of well over 100 million people.
Attacks came from within the church as well. Higher Criticism, which sought to destroy the authority, reliability and Divine Authorship of Scripture, was launched. The unity of Scripture was attacked by dividing it into a series of dispensations and relegating large portions of it either to the past or future. This is called Dispensationalism and has been accepted by many genuine, God-loving Christians but has diverted both time and resources from advancing the Kingdom of God. Ironically, John Darby, who popularized this system, was inspired by a book written by a Catholic monk trying to oppose from Scripture the Reformer’s teaching that the Pope was the AntiChrist. So many Protestant believers accept a doctrine based on a Catholic monk’s opposition to the Reformation. Satan is probably having a good chuckle on that one.
In my opinion, Satan’s most devastating counterattack was publishing the Origin Of The Species by Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin was not the originator of the idea of evolution, but he was certainly the one who popularized it. Evolution was undermined - often with the support of Christians - the authority of the Bible. It was the inspiration behind Stalin, Hitler and other brutal dictators. It has led to the pseudo-scientific justification for the sexual revolution, abortion, euthanasia and much more, working its devastation on literally billions of lives.
During this current move of God, will Satan counterattack? Of course. God will let him. Does the Church need to be afraid? Of course not. The Holy Spirit working through His people is more than able to defeat any counterattack. But we need to be aware and prepared.
Why did evolution and some of these other Satanic measures gain such a strong foothold during a mighty move of God? There could be many reasons, but one comes to my mind are that some of these things did not seem significant or relevant at the time. With the focus on personal renewal and missionary/evangelistic work, they did not seem important. In the case of evolution, the church as a whole refused to take a stand on the clear teaching and authority of the Word of God. Many Christians then and now do not want to be laughed at and persecuted by the world so they must adopt some kind of compromise. In the Apostle Paul’s day, the issue was circumcision; today, it is evolution - but it is still the same principle.
So what do we do to build and maintain momentum for the advance of the Kingdom of God now and not lose ground either now or in the future? Two obvious answers which almost everybody gets right are prayer and being yielded to the Holy Spirit. These are essential parts of the foundation. You probably are and have heard many messages on them, so I won’t elaborate on them now. There are two others which are less often talked about, and that is Knowing God and having a Biblical Worldview.
Knowing God requires that we study the Scriptures. It dredges up the dreaded word ‘doctrine.’ Do we know what the Bible teaches about the nature of God, the nature of man, the nature of salvation, the kingdom of God and much more? Are we digging in to discover Who our God has revealed Himself to be and what His world is actually like? To our pragmatic culture with its self-focused emphasis, this does not seem to be of any practical value. Sometimes we have the attitude in the Scripture above, ‘If it works, it must be right.’ No, not true. If it lines up with the Word of God in context, then it must be right. Commitment to the truth of God’s Word is foundational if we are to build solid Christian lives, families and nations which will withstand every counterattack. Paul almost always began his letters with theology before moving to practical applications.
There has been more emphasis lately on developing a Biblical Worldview. No matter who you are or what you believe, you have a worldview - but is it Biblical? A Biblical worldview is one that searches for and accepts Biblical teaching on every aspect of life and reality. It acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, not just the so-called ‘spiritual’ aspect of life. A Biblical worldview will look at the Scripture on everything from government to the environment - from the military to the family - from foreign policy to inner city development. It is a holistic view of the world. Christianity is the only belief system that makes sense of everything - although it is much more than just a belief system. It is a relationship with the Living God.
Unlike the predictions of the futuristic doomsayers, the future is bright for the Christian. If you cannot support the current revivals, at least take the advice of Gamaliel [gu. May. Lee o] in Acts 5:38-39 and don’t oppose it!
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