One day Satan asked himself a question:
"How can I destroy America? No army can defeat them. Their economy is foolproof. They're geographically isolated and cannot be invaded. I know what I'll do. I'll get them through their children. I'll erase the commandments, the godly traditions, the family, morality, ethics, truth and decency."
Then while pondering on this evil, hellish strategy, he says:
"If I can get the Holy Spirit out of the church I can really take over."
And so there you have it. The spiritual laboratory analysis of what is presently happening in America. I wonder which evil strategy is the worst. Are you more concerned about what is happening in the nation or the church?
My concern is not as much for the nation, or the government, or the evils that have befallen our society because I understand that an evil, decadent society is never a match for the glorious Spirit-filled church.
Jesus walks among the lampstands (churches - Rev. 2 & 3). His concern is for the state of His Church. Although His Word exhorts us to pray for all those in authority, for kings, presidents, governors and such (1 Tim 2:1-2), there is hardly a mention found in the New Testament of the evils prevalent in a nation, a society or the government. No word from the New Testament writers on Nero, Herod, Caesar or whoever was ruling. No complaints about wicked governments, criticisms about wicked kings, how evil society was or the state of failing economies. No attention was given to any of these issues. The church and the spiritual health and welfare of the saints have always been the issue. Jesus wants His lampstands to burn bright.
As long as we are in this world there will always be sin and evil. Nations, societies and governments are largely made up of unregenerate sinners. Sinners are dead in their trespasses and sins. They are possessed by a sin nature that makes them slaves to sin. Until they come to Christ and are born again they are powerless to overcome the ravages sin.
A strong spiritual church burning brightly in the midst of a decadent society is our only hope. The true church is the voice and moral conscience of a nation, and a restrainer of sin and evil.
The mind of the Spirit that the early apostles possessed was for the church to be salt and light in society and to impact it through its character, power and authority. A church full of the Holy Spirit and reflecting the glory of God will affect any society. But to actually change society you must change the hearts of the individuals within it.
The power and testimony of a transformed life, and a heart on fire, speaks louder than any old tradition, new program, perfected logic, polished sermons or eloquent speech. Give the local church a few burning testimonies of changed lives and it can start to impact a city.
"Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did." (John 4:29)
Where is the power of the Spirit-inspired testimony in the Pentecostal/charismatic and even evangelical churches? It is only the effectual working of God's power in a human heart that will allow a man to go outside of himself to share the gospel boldly and testify of Jesus. "In order to stop me you've got to kill me," is the battle cry of the radically transformed man.
"For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:20)
When the saints of God are spiritually healthy and vibrant it brings light into the local church and city. So precious are those who are on fire for Jesus especially in times of gross darkness and moral decline as we are in now. Heaven takes note of them and they shall shine as the stars forever.
"Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." (Dan. 12:3)
In a time of spiritual declension in Great Britain in the 1800s, Catherine Booth, wife of Salvation Army founder William Booth, went about the churches "looking for burning words." She recognized that doctrine alone is not enough. Logically sounding phrases and great swelling words are not enough. Oratory skills are not enough. We must have the Word on fire and the power and move of the Holy Spirit.
Many churches need to get out of the twilight zone of cessation theology and postmodernism, and learn what it means to be filled with the mighty Holy Spirit and press on into all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).
While there are pockets of revival throughout certain parts of the nation, there has also been a disturbing trend in many Pentecostal and charismatic churches of a lack of emphasis on the work, power, and fullness of the Holy Spirit. Listen to the words of the late John G. Lake, that great apostle to South Africa.
"I believe that the first essential in a real Holy Ghost church and a real Holy Ghost work is to begin to surround the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the reverence due an experience so sacred and so terribly costly."
The gospels and the book of Acts portray the original blueprint for the operation of the real church. She was born in Spirit and fire (Acts 2:1-4) and can only thrive in the same. Yes, thrive even in the midst of a morally declining and grossly dark, decadent society as we are in now.
Imagine if all Pentecostal/charismatic churches caught fire. Imagine if all evangelical churches did, too. The impact on our nation would be unprecedented.
More of the workings and fullness of the Spirit is what we need, and fire, fire, fire on the churches of Jesus Christ!
Bert M. Farias, founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including The Real Spirit of Revival and co-host of the New England Holy Ghost Forum. He is a missionary evangelist carrying a spirit of revival to the Church and the nations. Follow him at Bert Farias on Facebook or @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.