King's Business - 1969-05

these people begin to learn what revival really means, many will be offended and fall away until by the end of the week there will remain only the Gideon’s Band which means business. We cannot have revival until we cut down the Sunday crowd to a nucleus. We must begin the fire with kindling wood. In the sixth chapter of John our Lord preached His crowd away and revival follows a similar course. Dr. Torrey used to say it begins with a few members o f any church who will get thoroughly right with God. Then that faithful minority will endeavor to permeate the unfaithful majority within the church and the unreached mul­ titude without. We are so obsessed with statistics — someone has said there are three kinds o f lies, black lies, white lies and statistics — that we can­ not think in terms of the true church within the church. Revival whittles Gideon’s thirty-two thou­ sand from a motley mob to a Master’s Minority. We have been doing it the big way; revival does it the little way. We have been bringing the flag back to the regiment; revival calls on the regiment to catch up with the flag. Revival does not start the game until it finds the ball. We have been saying, “ Forget the ball!” Revival says, “ Find the ball!” If experts could do it, we would have had a renewal in the church long ago. We have had con­ ventions, conferences, panel discussions, symposi­ ums (where we pool our ignorance), books, maga­ zine articles, sermons galore on methods, tech­ niques, how to make evangelism relevant . . . but we still have no revival. One of these days, if the Lord tarries, when the last committee has met and the last expert has appeared on the panel and the last report has been read and the last word said on communication, dialogue, relevance, in­ volvement and all the gobbledy-gook of neo-this and neo-that, — when all has come to despera­ tion, God will step in and say, “You fellows have had it long enough; now I’ll take over.” He may begin in a way that will upset all our nice little calculations, embarrass the avant-garde boys and turn the faces of specialists a bright red. He may begin at a little country church at Frogpond. He may begin across the sea or with some other race or denomination. Sam Jones used to say: “ It’s mighty hard to say ‘Amen’ in the other fellow’s meeting.” May we be Christian enough to welcome the breath o f the Spirit, no matter from which direction that breeze may blow. And may we be humble enough to sing:

Pharisees active in church work without being motivated by the Holy Spirit. He says, “ It is much easier to make Pharisees than to make Christians.” Unless the church repents and has a complete overhauling instead o f a tune-up job, our evan­ gelistic and missionary drives may only add a multitude of proselytes just like the crowd we already have for the most part — for like pro­ duces like — and it is possible that many may be two-fold the children of hell, unsaved pagans and unregenerated church-members. Worldly churches produce more of the same sort. Churches weak or unsound in doctrine pro­ duce more of the same kind. Churches that operate in the energy o f the flesh, instead o f by the Spirit, produce more of that variety. We must improve the quality of our churches, for new converts tend to take on the qualities of the churches that con­ vert them. It is not enough to get excited and rush out to add a host of new proselytes. Any false cult or worldly organization can do that. Our first busi­ ness is not to evangelize but to get the church ready to evangelize. There are those who think that organized Christianity is dying and that there is little pros­ pect of reviving the church. A prominent pastor said recently that if things continue as they are now going, Christianity will be practically non­ existent by the year 2000. It may well be that our Lord is about to spew lukewarm Laodicea out of His mouth. But until He does, we must still exhort the church to repent. It is easy to grow impatient with the churches and turn to other agencies that promise to do a quicker and better job of evan­ gelism. It is true that the professing church has become rich and increased with goods and, worst of all, has need of nothing. I do not know what it will take to show our proud and prosperous and popular church people that in our Lord’s sight we are wretched and miserable and blind and poor and naked. We are lukewarm and need to come to a boil. Some churches have sat in comfortable tepidity for years. To build a fire in them would be resented by a smug membership that hangs a “ Please Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. It may be that institutional Christianity will not repent. But our Lord has one other proposition: “Be­ hold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Today while institutional Christianity shapes up into the world church getting ready for Antichrist, our Lord is calling out of this Laodicean age those “ anyones” who will hear His voice and open the door and live in fellowship with Him. To most people revival means crowds, singing, Gospel preaching, additions to the church. But that is evangelism, not revival. Revival begins with a church full o f people on Sunday morning but when

"Lord, I hear of showers of blessing Thou art scattering full and free, Showers the thirsty land refreshing ; Let some blessing fall on me .”

Q b I 11

MAY, 1969

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