Many of our so called modern revivals are happy but shallow. This is of deep concern to me for I am not seeing the old anointings any more. My heart grieves especially for the young people who have never witnessed the real power of God.
Honestly, some things I see today are appalling. That old teaching that we are free from the Law has raised its ugly head again. Certainly, we are free from the Law written on stone, but we are not free from the Law that is written in our hearts.
In a time when repentance is needed the most, we have teachings sweeping the land that tell Christians they don't need to repent. In a day when there is a deplorable lack of holiness in the church, we are being told that we are already holy enough through Christ's sacrifice (2 Cor. 7:1). In an hour when we sadly lack God's power, we are oversaturated with church conferences that focus on numbers. Whatever it takes to grow numbers seems to be the cry of every powerless pastor.
Call me old school if you want to, but I see far too much irreverence, levity, frivolous behavior, an obvious lack of holiness and sanctification, and a far too easy backsliding in the modern church, which frankly is coming from hearing another gospel.
For the Pentecostal and charismatic, our baptisms of the Holy Ghost are also too shallow. And we don't even speak in tongues any more, or we designate it to the back room. Pentecostals seem to be growing in number but where is the power?
Things have got to change, and it starts with ministers. If enough of us do not change, people will go underground and find another way. We will have more nones and dones, unchurched and de-churched among the multitudes.
Since this magazine is a Pentecostal/charismatic publication let's talk about our movement.
Is it still a movement or have we been grounded? Are we really in revival or in a rut? Is it a mighty flowing river that brings refreshing or has it become a swamp full of stagnancy and stench?
There was a time when Pentecostal meant something. In old-fashioned Pentecostal meetings you weren't supposed to know what was going to happen next. When led by seasoned mature men of spiritual stature there was order but there was also power and life. Today, it's 5 songs, a prayer, an offering, announcements, and a sermon—dismiss, rinse, repeat. Such routine and predictability!
Thus the reason many are leaving our local churches. Oh, they're not leaving God; they're only leaving the church to find God. Ouch! I know it hurts to hear that.
At one time Pentecostal meetings were nothing less than the gate of heaven. It was a meeting with God.
Repentance is our deepest need. Without repentance men's hearts are not touched, broken, melted or moved. The result is superficiality. There are many who still receive the word with joy, but they lack depth or have no root. And so they are not fit for the day of tribulation or persecution (Matt. 13:5, 20-21). Through soft and non-repentance preaching many pastors are grooming their people to miss the Lord's coming and be martyrs in the great day of tribulation. Ouch! I know that hurts too.
You can easily tell where there has been true repentance. The one great characteristic is a love for the Word. "Great peace have those who love Your Law, and nothing causes them to stumble" (Ps. 119:165). If you're still easily offended you have never repented as you should.
"Then He began to reprimand the cities where most of His mighty works were done, because they did not repent" (Matt. 11:20).
And let's get one thing straight. We desperately need miracles and the power of God, but that alone does not produce repentance. Neither is it in what we say or don't say. We can say the sweetest things or the most terrible things with still no guarantee of repentance. Some will still remain indifferent and never be affected. It is the Spirit that we need to produce repentance in men's hearts.
The call is to pray and to preach with the Spirit, and to let Him move.
Jesus wept over the cities who had not repented because He knew of the judgment that was coming. When is the last time you heard a message on judgment. Most preachers today have never been to the judgment Seat. They will never preach it until they've trembled before it themselves. Today religion is happier to speak of universal salvation and a pie in the sky for each of us regardless of the road we traveled to get there.
Without the Holy Spirit you will make men hard. That was my most common mistake as a young preacher. Crusty, dry soil needs a fresh shower of rain to be broken up. The great need is to see the holy, spotless King in His glory and then you will understand the universality and gravity of sin and the deep need of repentance.
A fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit will not only produce repentance, but it will keep us humble, broken and softened before Him to whom all things are open and naked (Heb. 4:13).
The true anointing of the Spirit is what is clearly missing from preachers and our gatherings today. Many are gifted and can dazzle audiences with their charisma and knowledge, but they lack the dew of heaven.
Many are like Samson, who did not know that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him (Judg. 16:20). And just as Samson, we have lost our way.
May God have mercy on us and grant us repentance, and lead us back to the gate of heaven.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including the newly released My Son, My Son—a beautiful father-son book co-written with his son Daniel for the purpose of training up a holy generation. He is also the co-host of the New England Holy Ghost Forum, a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook or @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
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