[anzac] TOO DEAR A PRICE

Message: < previous - next > : Reply : Subscribe : Cleanse
Home   : August 2003 : Group Archive : Group : All Groups

From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 22:36:18 +1200
From:           	"M. Woelk" <hizgateway@...>

18 Aug 2003.

"Too Dear A Price"
-Mike Woelk.

Recently a pastor asked me to speak in his church.  I have felt inadequate
speaking anywhere this summer, but I wasn’t sure why.  The fact is that I do
have some strong things to say which have been well-received when I spoke,
garnering lots of compliments.  I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no.  I
told him I would do it.

Yesterday morning I got the reason why I have not felt prepared to speak.

When I got up to go pray, my wife/prophet was telling me how Charles
Finney prepared to speak where he had been invited.  Through prayer or
investigation, he would  identify the strongholds in that town or
church—some Christian doctrine, fleshly sin, pride,  whatever. Then he would
go to prayer over that topic as he prepared to go to that place.  He would
pray until the Holy Spirit showed him that he had found the key to
repentance for the people.  Then it would be time to preach.  People’s
prevailing sin would be identified, the Holy Spirit would convict of sin, many
would repent, Christ would be exalted, and revival would break out in that
place.

Trish said, “Ask the Lord to reveal their sin to you.  Then, when you go
preach to them, you will be able to help them find a place to repent; you will
help them to change.” What an efficient strategy!

Jesus also used that strategy.  When the Pharisees came along, he
exposed their hypocrisy built on their worship of the law and of their own
holiness. Some like Gamaliel and Nicodemus, and certainly Saul of Tarsus,
probably repented when their legalistic pride was exposed (“Paul, Paul, why
are you persecuting me?”—Paul’s zealous enforcement of the Jewish law
was actually persecuting the Lord of glory Himself!). Christ’s strategy worked
so effectively. He saw their sin and exposed it in his preaching to them. 

But something about my wife’s words stuck in me like a sharp little thorn.
“Ask the Lord to reveal their sin to you…” Am I like Ham who laughed and
judged Noah’s nakedness and drunkenness when he saw it, or am I like
Shem and Japheth, who refused to look when they had the opportunity and
chose to cover Noah’s sin until he could recover.

How easy it is to harangue and condemn people with the truth of their sin.
Indeed, a mark of the backsliding church is that they are first judgmental of,
and disgusted by, the sins of others (later on a backsliding church will join
the world in its sin).  But preachers of revival have pure hearts. They are not
disgusted by sinners; the hearts of such preachers are like the
Lord’s—weighted and broken over sin’s bondage.  They have paid the price in
intercession. They have spent their emotional capital on their knees before
the Lord asking Him to set the people free. The responsibility for such
preaching is as heavy for the preacher as is the weight on sinful listeners to
repent. Woe to the preacher who sees the sin of those to whom he preaches
and does not have a heart made sorrowful by their suffering.

Another weighty truth followed that one. I thought about the hostility which
inevitably accompanies such preaching when you stir up devils like that.
Some of the listeners repented, but others killed Jesus.  And who was it who
killed him? The most honored and successful believers of all, the Pharisees
and Sadducees. As Watchman Nee said, “Show the world the fruits of
Christianity, and it will applaud. Show it Christianity, and it will oppose it
vigorously.”  If you preach against the chief strongholds in a crowd of people,
you are attacking their security, success, and reputation.  You are asking for
trouble.

If you are going to preach this message, you must already have counted the
cost—you stand to lose your own security, your success, your reputation,
perhaps your life.  When Jesus preached exposing their sin, He knew he
was giving up these things—he was entrusting them to these sinners.  I like
to say, “Never trust others with anything you are going to need later.  They
will take it from you.”

Early in his ministry, Jesus did lots of healing, feeding, and turning water into
wine. John 2:23-25 says, “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover,
during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which
He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all
men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what
was in man.”  Jesus refused to trust His Lordship, His Kingship to this crowd
who was looking for a warrior to defeat Rome, a miracle worker to heal all
their aches and pains, a magical winemaker to supply their cabernet.  They
would prove later they did not want a God who would convict them of sin and
deliver them from it.  They would kill that man.

Jesus refused to trust them with His Lordship.  He would need that later. But
sure enough, he did trust them with his reputation, his physical welfare, and
his very life blood.  He didn’t need any of those things.

Are you hungry for revival? Do you want to be its agent? Then you must also
ask yourself, “Do you need your life?  Do you need your reputation? Do you
need to be successful?  Or do you truly believe that “you are dead and your
life is hid away with God in Christ Jesus.”

If you wish, you can give people what they want—a big church, popular and
attractive ministries, an inspiring message that makes them feel good about
themselves, keys to wealth and success.  And for that you will be paid well.
But you will be like King Hezekiah, whose end-of-career disobedience
brought the judgment of God against Israel.  Yet in his compromised heart,
this judgment was acceptable—as long as it happened after he died so he
would not have to deal with it.

That early morning I pondered what my wife and the Holy Spirit were telling
me, I realized why I have not felt comfortable taking speaking engagements
this summer. As I inspected my own heart, I did not like what I saw.  I am
not that man who can be trusted by the Holy Spirit for such a task.  I called
the pastor and begged out of the engagement.  “I really have nothing to offer
your people right now.  I might end up doing them more harm than good.” 

-M. Woelk.