"And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them." Acts 5: 14-15
When war weary saints, get a glimpse of the history of Spiritual Awakening, most race to the bottom line, and pray, "Lord, do it again!" They ignore the cost, pound on the counter, and ask God to bring relief, results, and revival. Everyone wants to be a part of a movement of God marked by constant additions and cultural transformation. It has a price.
In the First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edward's church led the way. When God ushered in the Awakening. His church ushered him out. Little known fact. Some churches just don't want to perpetuate, what God's Spirit initiates.
Note to self: If you get fired for it. Wear it like a badge of honor. Edwards did.
The fifth chapter of the Book of Acts, contains the price-tag for a movement of God. Changing the price-tag doesn't reduce the cost of the next Great Awakening, it only delays it.
The cost, of of Spiritual Awakening to the contemporary church, is no different than the price that was paid, by the 1st Century church. It begins with simple subtraction, not awesome additions.
Case in point. Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11. When these two posers, lied to themselves, to God and the apostles, about their gift to the church, they dropped dead in church. Perhaps the greatest understatement of all time is contained in this passage of Scripture.
"And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things." Acts 5:11
You think? Really? In this day of cultural compromise, easy believism, and constant calls for tolerance and diversity, you would think the church would have vanished. Instead, it cast a giant shadow. Today churches put up huge billboards, slick advertising campaigns, and savvy websites. This is called, doing whatever it takes. Not likely.
The price for Spiritual Awakening? The people of God are honest to God. "Honest to God!" I remember hearing this for the first time, when I went to elementary school in Dallas, Texas. Up until that time, I had been raised to say yes or no when asked a question. I soon learned there was a way to add weight to these two words. When I repeated, to my parents, the three words I had learned from my new friends, I received another learning experience. Apparently, at my house, there was no need to add gravitas, to veritas, by taking God's name in vain. At my house, adding "Honest to God" was a come to Jesus moment, but not in a good way. Good to know.
Still, "Honest to God" cannot be over-rated, when applied to the need for a child of God to keep short accounts with God. This is the price of initiating and maintaining continuous, personal revival, and it is the breath of life to a Great Awakening. Public piety, far from being self-righteous posing, is simply an outward sign of private, personal integrity before God.
Pious posers, from the very beginning, have always felt comfortable, attaching themselves to the church, like barnacles on the bottom of a ship. They don't really contribute much, but they consume a great deal. The are just along for the ride, devouring the integrity of the timbers of the church, one bite at a time. They simply aren't who they appear to be. If left unchallenged, they bore their way into membership, then into leadership, and eventually sink the boat. This only happens...EVERY TIME!
Lying. God hates it! This should come as no surprise to a student of Proverbs. Out of the "six things which the Lord hates." (Proverbs 6:16), a "lying tongue" (Proverbs 6:17) is right up there at the top, at number two. Like the old Avis rental car ad, in The Sixties, locked in at number two behind Hertz, they proclaimed, "We try harder." Word to the wise: STOP IT!
Simply put, liars are not "Honest to God." The leadership of the 1st Century church put it to Ananias this way, "You have not lied to men but to God." (Acts 5:4). Nothing has changed in the last 2100 years. The Spirit of God has not reduced the price, or felt compelled to hold a "Fire Sale" or a "Final Sale" to bring in new customers or initiate the next Great Awakening.
The church, not the world, is still held accountable for the price for the next Great Awakening. It doesn't begin with the world coming to Jesus, as much as the church being "Honest to God." The confessing Christian admits to God what He already knows about Him. Get it? HONEST TO GOD!
When believers stops confessing their sins to God, believers stop professing Jesus Christ to the world. When former professors, become perpetual posers, there is little hope for a Great Awakening. The Spirit of God calls on the people of God to be "HONEST TO GOD!" His call is not new, and God's price for Awakening remains the same...
"If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray..." 2 Chronicles 7:14
Will you pay the price? Only God's people can.
TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!