I wonder how many people there are out there in our world who are pretty sure that God (if there is such a being) never does anything good or bad, and cannot be expected to do anything, so they can safely continue to rule Him out and build their world their own way; the planet is their own and their lives their own to do with as they see fit.
Let me pass along to those who think this way a little counsel.
I am now 68—not old by today’s standards—and in those 68 years I have seen the most dramatic acceleration of change the world has ever seen.
When I was a boy I heard something in church about the earth waxing old “as a garment,” and I used to wonder in what far-off time that would come to pass. The earth growing old, getting worn out like an old set of clothes? Maybe hundreds of years down the road, I thought. It has come to pass in my generation. The earth on many fronts is on its last legs because of the abuse it has suffered from the tenants who were put here to be its custodians.
I think also of the acceleration in technology. I remember back in the 1950s when some of us neighbourhood kids went to visit a home several blocks away—people I barely knew—and we stood timidly in the doorway looking in at the bluish light of something called a television. We looked at one another and marvelled. It was not long before we had one in our own home. Now television is an ancient thing. In fact the technology revolution continues to antiquate things… sometimes you feel on almost a daily basis. The latest in computer technology is ancient history the day after it hits the market.
I remember also the 1960s, and the sexual revolution when all the restraints of a moral society were being cast off to the accompaniment of music that had entered a new dimension. I remember Woodstock, and LSD, and flower power. “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…” The older generation was alarmed by it all. What was the world coming to? That was all pretty Victorian compared to now. Now there has been such a casting off of restraint that they are redefining marriage.
This accords with Scripture, this casting off of restraint; we who know our Bible and our God knew this was coming somewhere down the road (2 Thes. 2:6,7, Ps. 2). It has come now—and is yet to come. What an acceleration of moral licence has taken place in one generation.
Things that had not changed much for generations, even centuries… suddenly in one generation exponential changes in the world of man.
And yet it is not considered that the living God might have anything comparable by way of an acceleration of His purposes, and an exponential manifestation of His own power and glory.
“Oh but,” someone wants to comfort me, “Haven’t you heard about the wonderful new things happening in Christianity? Third wave? Emergence? Convergence?”
Labour not to comfort me. These are man’s attempts to prop up a dying church order. For, by and large, institutional Christianity has become Ichabod—yes, even the big Charismatic churches where all the action is. The glory has departed. If we Christians cannot see this, the world around us isn’t blind. In fact, the world around us is impatient to see us acknowledge humiliating defeat, and toss Christianity into the dustbin of history where it belongs.
I agree with them, actually—that is, as far as what has come to be called Christianity is concerned. And I am not alone. Many Christians these days are grieved to the quick by how deeply dishonouring the present system of denominational Christianity is to the living God, and cry to Him day and night because of it. They are concerned for the glory of His Name.
God will not disappoint them. God will yet glorify His great and mighty Name.
He has done it before. He will do it again.
And He will do it at a breathtaking pace.
There is a time in the purposes of God when great patience, and long suffering, and long waiting, and relentless prayer, and persistent perseverance, and cries of, Oh Lord Jesus, how long, how long, till we shout the glad song, Christ returneth, Christ returneth… all this is the lot of those who have been called to stay faithful and awake on their watch in the night. God, it seems, is not moving, but we must learn to keep pace with Him in such times– He provides the grace to enable us to do so– and not run ahead of Him.
But then there comes an hour…
…An hour when the same God who takes forty long years in a wilderness to prepare a man who, by the time he is ready to do what God has in mind, has no interest in being God’s man of power anymore, for he knows he cannot do what God has in mind, and tells God He should find someone else… this same God uses that meek and broken man to deliver a captive people in a single night.
…An hour when after long centuries of waiting in which God has put it in the heart of certain of His chosen in all generations to “wait for the consolation of Israel,” suddenly the fullness of time arrives, and the Consolation of Israel has come! With what result? Straightway, immediately, forthwith (which are all English translations of the same Greek word) appears 40 times in Mark’s gospel alone.
…An hour when after much seeking, and heart searching, and attentive waiting, and great anticipation, “the day of Pentecost was fully come,” and “they were all with one accord in one place.” What a deep, deep work had been accomplished in them. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). Oh, glorious hour!
…An hour when it is nigh impossible to keep pace with this God now, and not lag behind Him. He moves suddenly, unexpectedly, swiftly, and we are hard pressed to keep up with Him, a time when “the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed” (Amos 9:13).
Can you figure that one out? The reaper with his sickle is cutting down the ripe grain. Suddenly he feels something hard against his heel. He turns to look. A plowshare! The plowman cannot wait to plant the new grain for a further crop!
And the treader of grapes is stained with the blood of the grapes that a moment ago the sower of seed had put in the ground of the vineyard.
Talk about acceleration!
Beloved, if there has been all this acceleration among the children of men in a single generation, do you not think the living God might have something even more spectacular—and surprising—in store? On behalf of His own glorious Name?
For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth (Rom. 9:28).
If we believe this, let us not be among those who are taken by surprise when He moves.
Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Let us believe, and with loins girded up, be ready to keep pace with Him. He will provide the grace to enable us to do so.
More next time.
Allan — we’re not too far apart in age and I see exactly what you see as I look back over the years since the 60’s. It seems that God is allowing mankind to demonstrate the depths of his depravity. And it is a worldwide demonstration (thanks to technology). The godless masses are less fearful of repercussions, more bold, more ‘in your face.’ Rebellion against God (helped along by ‘science,’ new age, atheism, etc.) now has access to instant worldwide communication. But God is also reigning over technology and He is using it all over the world to claim souls for His Kingdom. And it IS as exponential as the evil – there are so many coming to know Him, especially in unreached places, these days!!
We tend to think of God’s glory as Him coming as a baby (glorious because the angels declared it at His birth), Jesus’ transfiguration, resurrection, seeing Him in the clouds of His ascension, His mighty power in defeating the enemy in the Old Testament and the like. We often miss that His glory will be displayed in all eternity through His Bride! Because she is so wonderful? Because she is so beautiful? Nope – it is because the true Church will be the eternal display of His mercy and grace. Throughout all the ages to come, His Bride will be a trophy of His grace and mercy, for it is only through His redemption, sanctification, High Priestly attention and new creation work that she will become spotless and beautiful. It is not about her; it’s all about Him. (That doesn’t seem too hard to believe when you look at what Christendom has become).
We can’t overlook, though, that God’s glory is seen not only in His mercy, grace and love, but also in His justice, holiness and righteousness. The depravity of man is the backdrop for the demonstration of the magnitude of God’s entire character. It’s hard to fathom, but there is glory even in the deserved outpouring of His wrath on the earth at the end of this age.
Greetings, Lori. I do anticipate God revealing His glory, and you are right– the present state of things is the backdrop against which He will do so. If the state of things in the world of darkness has grown to such magnitude so quickly, it can only be because of the magnitude of what God has in mind to do by way of revealing Himself. And this in His bride the Church. “Unto Him be glory in the Church in Christ Jesus throughout all the generations of the age of the ages.” (Eph. 3:21) It is a wonder, what you said about the Bride: “We often miss that His glory will be displayed in all eternity through His Bride!” What a thought that is! And what, then, does that mean He will have to do regarding her present condition?
It’s my understanding that the Lord is forming His bride (which is the true Church) by calling people to Himself from anywhere they happen to be. Some of the souls who make up the Bride (for she is the corporate body, the Church) exist within the organized church (as I did for so many years, struggling to figure out how in the world this was Biblical). Others are being culled from Islam, and other religions. Some from formerly unreached tribal groups. In the organized church — the wheat and tares exist together and only He can tell them apart. So in my thinking, He will do nothing with Christendom’s present condition. He will just continue to draw people, and then welcome those who come to Him. He IS building His church – it is a church without walls; without man’s hierarchy and rituals. It’s a shame that the word “church” is used for all that stuff that exists in all those buildings — and is also the word we use to refer to His true Church (the one over which Christ is Head and His Spirit is the power). Christendom is religious depravity — mankind making himself feel good about himself, but bereft of Christ. Christ saved us for intimate fellowship with His Father — christendom wants the blessings that God offers, but they do not want Him. Tares.
I believe your perspective to be right, Lori. The Lord is drawing many in this hour out of the denominational system, and unto Himself. And the hour is coming in which we will see the demise of what is called “organized Christianity.” Which means that we will yet see manifested in the earth a City, “the New Jerusalem,” which is the Bride of Christ. “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth…”
At the same time I feel that even those who are part of this Bride are aware of a deep need for cleansing in this hour, a deeper work of the Spirit of God. I long for it myself.
Powerful, Allan. Like you, I have seen the acceleration of change and the deterioration of society in my lifetime. But our hope remains in the Lord — the same Lord who created this vast universe. How foolish that any should underestimate Him.
Hi Anna, thank you. I just now re-read that message from 2015 and my heart burned within me as I read. So I know the source of that! Indeed, let us never underestimate Him!