Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Prayer Can Shape History

According to David Barret, around 170 million followers of Jesus are praying for revival of the church and world evangelization. There are 10 million small groups who gather weekly to pray for revival and the Great Commission would be completed (Alvin VanderGriend, Love to Pray, p. 86).

Imagine all that praying going on for revival! What an awesome time it will be when God answers our prayers and revival and evangelism will occur. Our churches and world will never be the same.

Praying for revival!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

When the Mountains Flowed Down

When the Mountains Flowed Down
All Scriptures KJV

Editor's Note:
This article is adapted from a taped message delivered by Mr. Duncan Campbell approximately thirty years ago to the students of the Faith Mission Bible College in Edinburgh, Scotland. It chronicles some of Mr. Campbell's experiences and insights related to the revival from 1949-1953 in Hebrides Islands off the northwestern coast of Scotland.

Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
Isaiah 64:1-3

I never read that third verse without my mind going back to what actually happened in the parish of Barvas on the island of Lewis. At the outset, let me make it clear that I did not bring revival to the Hebrides. I had the privilege of being there and in some small way leading the movement for about three years but God moved in the parish of Barvas before I set foot on the island. Revival is still a sign which is spoken against, and you cannot believe every story you have heard about the Lewis Awakening. Down through the years things have been said which have no foundation in fact, however, facts are powerful things.

Revival Defined

First, let me tell you what I mean by revival. An evangelistic campaign or special meeting is not revival. In a successful evangelistic campaign or crusade, there will be hundreds or even thousands of people making decisions for Jesus Christ, but the community remains untouched, and the churches continue much the same as before the outreach. In revival, God moves in the district. Suddenly, the community becomes God conscious. The Spirit of God grips men and women in such a way that even work is given up as people give themselves to waiting upon God. In the midst of the Lewis Awakening, the parish minister at Barvas wrote, "The Spirit of the Lord was resting wonderfully on the different townships of the region.

His Presence was in the homes of the people, on meadow and moorland, and even on the public roads." This presence of God is the supreme characteristic of a God-sent revival. Of the hundreds who found Jesus Christ during this time fully seventy-five per cent were saved before they came near a meeting or heard a sermon by myself or any other ministers in the parish. The power of God, the Spirit of God, was moving in operation, and the fear of God gripped the souls of men - this is God-sent revival as distinct from special efforts in the field of evangelism.

A Foundation of Intercession and Vision

How did this gracious movement begin? In 1949, the local presbytery issued a proclamation to be read on a certain Sunday in all the Free Churches on the island of Lewis. This proclamation called the people to consider the "low state of vital religion . . . throughout the land . . . and the present dispensation of Divine displeasure . . . due to growing carelessness toward public worship . . . and the growing influence of the spirit of pleasure which has taken growing hold of the younger generation." They called on the churches to "take these matters to heart and to make serious inquiry what must be the end if there be no repentance. We call upon every individual as before God to examine his or her life in light of that responsibility which attends to us all and that happily in divine mercy we may be visited with a spirit of repentance and turn again to the Lord whom we have so grieved."

I am not prepared to say what effect the reading of this declaration had upon the ministers or people of the island in general, but I do know that in the parish of Barvas a number of men and women took it to heart, especially two old women. I am ashamed to think of it - two sisters, one eighty-two and one eight-four, the latter blind. These two women developed a great heart concern for God to do something in the parish and gave themselves to waiting upon God in their little cottage.

One night God gave one of the sisters a vision. Now, we have got to understand that in revival remarkable things happen. It is supernatural; you are not moving on human levels; you are moving in divine places. In the vision, she saw the churches crowded with young people and she told her sister, "I believe revival is coming to the parish." At that time, there was not a single young person attending public worship, a fact which cannot be disputed. Sending for the minister, she told him her story, and he took her message as a word from God to his heart.

Turning to her he said, "What do you think we should do?" What?" she said, "Give yourself to prayer; give yourself to waiting upon God. Get your elders and deacons together and spend at least two nights a week waiting upon God in prayer. If you will do that at your end of the parish, my sister and I will do it at our end of the parish from ten o'clock at night until two or three o'clock in the morning." So, the minister called his leaders together and for several months they waited upon God in a barn among the straw. During this time they plead one promise, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring" (Isaiah 44:3).

This went on for at least three months. Nothing happened. But one night a young deacon rose and began reading from Psalm 24, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:3-5).

Closing his Bible, he addressed the minister and other office bearers in words that sound crude in English, but not so crude in our Gaelic language, "It seems to me so much humbug. To be waiting as we are waiting, to be praying as we are praying, when we ourselves are not rightly related to God." Then, he lifted his hands toward heaven and prayed, "O God, are my hands clean? Is my heart pure?" Then, he went to his knees and fell into a trance. Now, don't ask me to explain the physical manifestations of this movement because I can't, but this I do know, that something happened in the barn at that moment in that young deacon. There was a power loosed that shook the heavens and an awareness of God gripped those gathered together.

Breakthrough in Barvas

Now, I wasn't in the island at the time. I was in another area when word came asking me to come to Lewis for ten days. I had other meetings scheduled and wrote back that I would put Barvas on my calender for the following year. However, do to circumstances I won't go into, my other meetings were canceled, and I found it possible to go to the islands as requested. Arriving by boat, I was met by the minister of the church and one of his office bearers. As I stepped ashore, the office bearer came to me and said, "Mr. Campbell, may I ask you a question? Are you walking with God?" I was happy to be able to respond, "I can say this at any rate, I fear God."

They had arranged for me to address the church at a short meeting beginning at nine o'clock that night. It was a remarkable meeting. God sovereignly moved, and there was an awareness of God which was wonderful. The meeting lasted until four o'clock in the morning, and I had not witnessed anything to compare with it at any other time during my ministry. Around midnight, a group of young people left a dance and crowded into the church. There were people who couldn't go to sleep because they were so gripped by God. Although there was an awareness of God and a spirit of conviction at this initial meeting, the real breakthrough came a few days later on Sunday night in the parish church. The church was full, and the Spirit of God was moving in such a way that I couldn't preach.

I just stood still and gazed upon the wondrous moving of God. Men and women were crying out to God for mercy all over the church. There was no appeal made whatsoever. After meeting for over three hours, I pronounced the benediction and told the people to go out, but mentioned that any who wanted to continue the meeting could come back later. A young deacon came to me and said, "Mr. Campbell, God is hovering over us." About that time the clerk of the session asked me to come to the back door. There was a crowd of at least 600 people gathered in the yard outside the church... Someone gave out Psalm 102 and the crowd streamed back in to the church which could no longer hold the number of people. A young school teacher came down front crying out, "O God, is there nothing left for me?" She is a missionary in Nigeria today.

There was a bus load of people coming to the meeting from sixty miles away. The power of God came into the bus so that some could not even enter the church when the bus arrived. People were swooning all over the church, and I cannot remember one single person who was moved on by God that night who was not gloriously born again. When I went out of the church at four o'clock in the morning there were a great number of people praying alongside the road. In addition to the school teacher, several of those born again that night are in foreign mission work today.

In Church, Meadow, and Moorland

From Barvas, the move of God spread to the neighboring districts. I received a message that a nearby church was crowded at one o'clock in the morning and wanted me to come. When I arrived, the church was full and there were crowds outside. Coming out of the church two hours later, I found a group of 300 people, unable to get into the church, praying in a nearby field. One old woman complained about the noise of the meetings because she could not get to sleep. A deacon grabbed her and shook her, saying, "Woman, you have been asleep long enough!"

There was one area of the islands which wanted me to come but I didn't feel any leading to accept the invitation. The blind sister encouraged me to go and told me, "If you were living as near to God as you ought to be, He would reveal His secrets to you." I agreed to spend a morning in prayer with her in the cottage. As we prayed, the sister said, "Lord, you remember what you told me today that you were going to save seven men in this church.

I just gave your message to Mr. Campbell and please give him wisdom because he badly needs it." She told me if I would go to the village, God would provide a congregation. I agreed to go, and when I arrived at seven o'clock, there were approximately 400 people at the church. The people could not tell what it was that had brought them; it had been directed by the Spirit of God. I spoke for a few minutes on the text "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent' (Acts 17:30). One of the ministers stopped me and said, "Come see this." At one end of the meeting house, the most notorious characters in the community were on their faces crying out to God.

On a trip to a neighboring island I found the people were very cold and stiff. Calling for some men to come over and pray, I particular requested that a young man named Donald accompany them. Donald, who was seventeen years old, had been recently saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit about two weeks later on a hillside. As we were in the church that night, Donald was sitting toward the front with tears falling off his face onto the floor. I knew Donald was in touch with God in a way that I was not. So I stopped preaching and asked him to pray. Donald rose to his feet and prayed, "I seem to be gazing into an open door and see the Lamb in the midst of the throne and the keys of death and hell on his waist." Then he stopped and began to sob. After he composed himself, he lifted his eyes toward heaven, raised his hands, and said, "God, there is power there. Let it loose!"

And at that moment the power of God fell upon the congregation. On one side of the room, the people threw up their hands, put their heads back and kept them in that position for two hours. It is hard to do this for ten minutes, much less two hours. On the other side, the people were slumped over, crying out for mercy. In a village five miles away, the power of God swept through the town and there was hardly a house in that village that didn't have someone saved in it that night.

In one area of the district there was bitter opposition to the movement because I preached the baptism of the Holy Ghost as a separate and distinct occurrence following conversion. Those who opposed me were so successful in their opposition that very few people came to the meetings. One night, the session clerk came to me and said, "There is only one thing we can do to the correct the situation which now prevails. We must give ourselves to waiting upon God in prayer. I have been told there is a farmer who said we could meet in his home. He is not a Christian and his wife isn't saved, but they are God-fearing people." About thirty of us, ministers and elders from the district, met in this farmer's house.

I felt the going very, very hard. I prayed. All the ministers prayed. One felt that the very powers of hell were unleashed. About midnight I turned to one of the elders and told him I thought the time had come for him to lay hold of God. This man rose to his feet and prayed for about half and hour. (Of course, you must remember that we were in revival, and in revival time doesn't exist. Nobody was looking at the clock.) The man paused, lifted his hand toward heaven and said, "God, did You know that your honor is a stake? You gave the promise that You would pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground, and You are not doing it." I wonder how many of us could approach God with words like that on our lips?

Then he said, "There are five ministers in this meeting, including Mr. Campbell, and I don't know where a one of them stands in Your Presence. But if I know anything about my own heart, I think I can say that I am thirsty for a manifestation of Your power." He paused again, then cried out in aloud voice, "God, Your honor is at stake and I now challenge You to pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground." And in that moment the stone-built house literally shook like a leaf. I immediately went to the Acts of the Apostles where it is recorded that they prayed and the place where they were assembled was shaken.

As soon as this dear man stopped praying, I pronounced the benediction a little after two o'clock in the morning and went out to find the whole village ablaze with God. I went into one house and found nine women on their knees in the kitchen crying out to God. One woman saved that night has written some of the finest Gaelic hymns in our Gaelic hymnal. On the following Sunday, the road was black with the people walking two miles to the church. The drinking house in that particular village closed that night and has never reopened since. This is God at work. A God sent revival is always a revival of holiness.


It takes the supernatural to break the bonds of the natural. You can make a community mission-conscous. You can make a community crusade-conscious. But only God can make a community God-conscious. Just think about what would happen if God came to any community in power. I believe that day is coming. May God prepare us all for it. Amen.

Duncan Campbell: Duncan Campbell (1898-1972) was raised in the Highlands of Scotland. He came to the Lord as a teenager and served congregations of the United Free Church (Presbyterian) and as an itinerant evangelist. In addition to his involvement in the Lewis Awakening, he was much in demand as a speaker throughout the British Isles.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Prayer, Holiness and Reaching Others...

Good morning.

The advancement of God's Kingdom through the local church depends heavily on our personal holiness and fervent praying.

Andrew T. Pierson words it this way...

“If missions languish, it is because the whole life of godliness is feeble. The command to go everywhere and preach to everybody is un-obeyed, until the will is lost by self-surrender in the will of God. There is little right giving because there is little right living, and because of the lack of sympathetic contact with God in holiness of heart, there is a lack of effectual contact with him at the Throne of Grace. Living, praying, giving and going will always be found together, and a low standard in one means a general debility in the whole spiritual being.”

Let us keep praying for revival as we seek to be like Jesus


Monday, July 23, 2007

What is Your Church Prayer Gathering Like?

Good Morning.

When your church gathers for prayer, what is the theme of the prayers? Is it give-me, give-me, give-me?

What would happen to our churches and lives if we prayed with great faith?

"Prayer meetings are dead affairs when they are merely asking sessions; there is adventure, hope and life when they are believing sessions, and the faith is corporately, practically and deliberately affirmed."
– Norman Grubb

Praying for revival


Friday, July 20, 2007

Intense Prayer

How intense should our prayers for revival be?

Amy Carmichael has the answer...

"Pray that we may enter into that travail of soul with Him. Nothing less is any good. Spiritual children mean travail of soul-spiritual agony."

Praying for Revival


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Praying for Prodigals

Good morning. Tonight at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church, we are praying for the prodigals in our lives. We are praying for our sons and daughters and grandchildren and others who have left the Church and Jesus. Dutch Sheets has written an excellent book on the subject called How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones. In it, he states that we can believe and persevere that God will break through in the lives of the prodigals..

Well, we ARE going to believe. And we ARE going to break heaven loose over people!”



Monday, July 16, 2007

When Revival Comes....

When revival comes to a local church (after weeks or months or years of fervent praying for it) one of the first sure signs of a true revival will be sorrow and brokenness over personal sin.

Robert Owen Roberts, in his book, Revival writes...

"Pride and self-centered living will no longer be excused as necessary defenses in a wicked world, but the very essence of evil itself. Words carelessly spoken will rise from their forgotten graves to haunt and torment until such a wave of conviction is felt that it will seem impossible to stand before it.

Long forgotten sins against members of the Body of Christ will be remembered with great grief. Indeed, when revival comes, so powerful will be the conviction that persons who once thought themselves well worthy of heaven will stand in wonder and amazement that they are not already burning in the fires of hell
" (p.23).

If we are thinking that revival isn't necessary in our church because the above sins don't apply, then we are in desperate need for revival.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Prayer In Nashville

Over 50,000 people met in Nashville to pray for the nation.

55,000 Answer 'The Call'
Written by Mark Kelly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The sins of a nation drew an estimated 55,000 believers to Nashville July 7 to convene a "solemn assembly" and pray for spiritual awakening among America's young people.

Christians from all 50 states and countries as far away as Nepal and Mongolia gathered in Nashville's riverfront LP Field for The Call -– 12 hours of worship and prayer they hoped would spark a renewal movement that would sweep the country.

The nondenominational event marked 40 years since the "Summer of Love" in San Francisco unleashed a wave of sexual promiscuity, drug abuse, abortion on demand and pornography in the country and separated a generation of Americans from God, organizers said.

Public confession and repentance was a hallmark of the day, as a series of individuals testified about the havoc those sins had wreaked in their lives and publicly prayed for forgiveness –- both individually and on behalf of the nation.

Sam Brownback, a Republican senator from Kansas and GOP presidential contender, greeted the crowd when the meeting opened at 10 a.m., affirming that he shared their convictions about the sanctity of life and the need for spiritual renewal in America. Popular musicians like Ricky Skaggs, Michael W. Smith and Jeff Deo echoed Brownback's concerns and performed for the assembly.

The Nashville event also commemorated 40 years since the youth revival called the Jesus Movement swept America -– and organizers hoped it would spark a similar movement for another generation.

"America is a sleeping nation. We have casually and nonchalantly let things slide and get worse," said Morgan Blount, a staff member of The Call from Dallas. "We are calling for young people in this country to wake up and take a stand, to pray about our world instead of just complaining about what's wrong with it. We are calling them to take action and believe that the Lord can change things."

Prayer is the key to spiritual awakening, said Adam Thomas, a staff member of The Call from Louisville, Ky.

"This weekend was about prayer, whether you are Baptist or Catholic or Church of Christ. We believe that prayer changes things," Thomas said. "Our desire is to see God come back on the scene like He did in the 1800s, when there was a great awakening that shut down entire towns with the power of God.

"I believe that a movement of prayer is going to unlock these things for America. We believe history belongs to the intercessors. Ezekiel 22:30 tells us God is looking for a company of people who will stand in the gap in prayer so the country will not have to be destroyed. We want to be like the widow in Luke 17 who kept pressing the judge until he gave her what she wanted."

As midday temperatures soared near 100 degrees, worshipers lifted their hands in prayer. The stadium floor was sectioned off for those who wanted the freedom to prostrate themselves or kneel in prayer.

Many of those in attendance had fasted for up to 40 days in preparation. Prayerwalkers left Nashville's Centennial Park at 7 a.m. and made their way in silence through downtown to the stadium.

To symbolize their desire for America to return to a covenant relationship with God, three couples simultaneously exchanged marriage vows late in the afternoon.

Organizer Lou Engle, who initiated The Call in Washington, D.C., in 2000, chose the date -– 7/7/07 -– because seven is the biblical number of covenant.

"In the Old Testament, the cult of Baal was identified with violence and death, sexual promiscuity, pornography and promiscuity," said Dutch Sheets, senior pastor of Springs Harvest Fellowship in Colorado Springs, Colo. "We are here today to confess our nation's sin and ask God to renew His covenant with us. This stadium is a courtroom today. We have filed for divorce as a nation from the spirit of Baal, and we are petitioning God for custody of our children."

The event was broadcast live over the Internet at thecall.com and Christian television networks like God TV, TBN, DayStar and Inspiration Network also carried part of the proceedings to as many as 200 countries.

The evening closed with 300 men -– the number of Gideon's biblical army -– blowing the shofar while those in the stands shouted.

"That was the highlight for me," said Julia Richardson, spokeswoman for the event. "You could feel the presence of the Lord. In the sound of the shofar, we pray our destinies are released and that the city of Nashville would see a new wave of the Lord."

Future gatherings are planned later this year for Las Vegas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Orlando, Detroit and Berkeley, Calif. An assembly is scheduled for Washington, D.C., in August 2008.

( http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0%2C1703%2CA%25253D165809%252526M%25253D200725%2C00.html?)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Revival Begins in the Church

One characteristic of revival is that it begins with God's people in the church fervently praying for it. Then it will lead to outreach. Andrew Murray, back in 1900 wrote...

There is need of a great revival of spiritual life, of truly fervent devotion to our Lord Jesus, of entire consecration to His service. It is only in a church in which this spirit of revival has at least begun, that there is any hope of radical change in the relation of the majority of our Christian people to mission work.”

Praying for Revival


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Do We Read Abour Prayer or Do We Actually Pray?

I have dozens of books on the subject of prayer. I could become an expert on prayer because of my vast knowledge about it. But all that will not matter in the long run. What is important is that I pray. Paul E. Billheimer puts this way...

"Satan does not care how many people read about prayer if only he can keep them from praying. When a church is truly convinced that prayer is where the action is, that church will so construct its corporate activities that the prayer program will have the highest priority."

Let's do more than just talk and read about prayer--let's actually do it.



Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How Earnest are We in Prayer?

Good morning. When we prayer, how earnest are we? Consider the words of John Webb...

"We must be very earnest and importunate in our prayers in God and persevere in them till we obtain the mercy we pray for. For to be cold and formal in any prayer to God is to invite denial from Him and therefore, in such a case, to hope for an answer of peace is the most daring presumption"

(Quoted in Revival by Richard Owen Roberts, 54).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Spurgeon's words on 07/07/07

On this seventh day of the seventh month in the two thousand and seven, I give the morning devotion from Spurgeon's Daily Meditation...

Saturday, July 07, 2007
This Morning's Meditation
C. H. Spurgeon


"Brethren, pray for us."—1 Thessalonians 5:25.

HIS one morning in the year we reserved to refresh the reader's memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle and now repeated by us. Brethren, our work is Solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.

A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men. As officers in Christ's army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labour to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt, above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it.

We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are at a non plus; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blest to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners; therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God. Miserable men are we if we miss the aid of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications.

You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city missionaries, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you




Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Revival will Always Include Tears

When an heaven sent revival hits us, it will always cause much sorrow and agony because our sins will be completely illuminated by God's holiness...

"Revival is always a revival of holiness. And it begins with a terrible conviction of sin. It is often the form that this conviction of sin takes that troubles those who read of revival. Sometimes the experience is crushing. People weep uncontrollably, and worse! But there is no such thing as a revival without the tears of conviction and sorrow" (Brian H. Edwards, Revival! A People Saturated with God, 115).

This is a necessary early step of true revival

Let us continue to pray for it.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Freedom from the Law of Sin and Death

Happy Fourth of July. Praise the Lord for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States to follow Jesus and to worship Him. More importantly, praise Jesus that we are free from the power and destruction of sin. Below is an article from Monergism.com (http://www.gracegems.org/W/r2.htm)

Freedom from the Law of Sin and Death

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans viii. 2.

This passage has been regarded by some sacred critics as difficult of interpretation; one of whom furnishes three different meanings of the text, and then leaves the reader to make his own selection in the case. We think, however, that a simple examination of the words, taken in their connection, will remove the obscurity which may be supposed to veil them. The evident design of the Apostle is, to furnish an argument in support of the leading proposition he had just laid down, namely, the believer's deliverance from condemnation.

There is clearly a connection between that declaration and the passage under consideration. "For the law of the Spirit of life." But the main difficulty seems to be in the meaning of the terms employed in the text. By some expositors, the "law of the Spirit of life" is interpreted of the influence or control exerted by the Spirit of God over the minds of the regenerate, emancipating them from the curse and tyranny of sin, and supplying them with a new authoritative enactment for their obedience and regulation, as those whose course is guided by the Spirit. "The law of sin and death," is by the same authority interpreted of the contesting power of sin, leading to death and condemnation; having its throne in the heart, and from its governing and despotic power, maintaining a supreme and dire sway over the whole moral man.

The freedom, therefore, which the law of the Spirit of life confers upon those who are bound by the law of sin and death, is just the supremacy of one principle over the force of another principle: the triumph of an opposing law over an antagonist law.

But the interpretation which we propose for the adoption of the reader, is that which regards the "law of the Spirit of life," as describing the Gospel of Christ, frequently denominated a "law"- and emphatically so in this instance- because of the emancipation which it confers from the Mosaic code, called the "law of sin and death," as by it is the knowledge of sin, and through it death is threatened as the penalty of its transgression. W

ith this brief, but, we believe, correct explanation of the terms of the passage, we proceed to consider the exalted liberty of the believer in Jesus, of which it speaks,; tracing that freedom to the instrument by whose agency it is secured. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death."

In the preceding chapter, we were led to regard all who were outside of Christ, as under a present, and as exposed to a future condemnation. Not less awful is the condition of the unconverted, as depicted in the passage before us. Reverse the state of the believer and you have the exact state of the unbeliever. Is the believer in Christ a free man? the unbeliever is a slave. Is the believer justified? the unbeliever is condemned. Is the believer a living soul? the unbeliever is a lifeless soul. Is the believer a reconciled son? the unbeliever is a hostile rebel. Is the believer an heir of glory? the unbeliever is an heir of hell.

Between these two conditions there is no neutral ground. You are, my reader, either for Christ, or you are against Christ. In this great controversy between Christ and Satan, you are not an indifferent and unconcerned spectator. The Prince of Light or the prince of darkness claims your service, and presses you into the conflict. Oh, it is a matter of the greatest moment that you decide to which law you are bound- the "law of life," or "the law of death."

But in what sense is the believer "free from the law of sin and death?" As a covenant he is free from it. How clear and impressive is the reasoning of the Apostle on this point! "Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to those who know the law) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband, so long as he lives ; but if the husband is dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband."

The believer's union to Christ, represented under the figure of a marriage covenant, frees him from the condemnatory power of this law. He looks not to it for life; he rests not in it for hope; he renounces it as a saving covenant, and under the influence of another and a higher obligation- his marriage to Christ- he brings forth fruit unto God. Was ever liberty so glorious as this- a liberty associated with the most loving, cordial, and holy obedience?

Not a single precept of that law, from whose covenant and curse he is released by this act of freedom, is compromised. All its precepts, embodied and reflected in the life of Christ- whose life is the model of our own- appear infinitely more clear and resplendent than ever they appeared before. The obedience of the Lawgiver infinitely enhanced the luster of the law, presenting the most impressive illustration of its majesty and holiness that it could possibly receive.

The instrument to whose agency this exalted liberty is ascribed is, the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." The term law is forensic; though not unfrequently used in God's Word to designate the Gospel of Christ. "Out of Zion shall go forth the law." "The isles shall wait for his law." "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No; but by the law of faith." In this sense we hold that the word is used in the text, to designate the Gospel of the blessed God, as the great instrument by which the freedom of which we have spoken is obtained.

A few particulars will, we think, justify this view. The Gospel is the law which reveals the way of salvation by Christ. It is the development of God's great expedient of saving man. It speaks of pardon and adoption, of acceptance and sanctification, as all flowing to the soul through faith in his dear Son. It represents God as extending his hand of mercy to the vilest sinner; welcoming the penitent wanderer back to his home, and once more taking the contrite rebel to his heart.

It is also a quickening law- emphatically the "law of the Spirit of life." What numbers are seeking sanctification from the "law of sin;" and life from the "law of death!" But the Gospel speaks of life. Its doctrines- its precepts, its promises, its exhortations- its rebukes, its hopes, are all instinct with spiritual life, and come with quickening power to the soul. "The words that I speak unto you," says Jesus, "they are spirit and they are life." "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever."

Oh, there is life in the Gospel, because it is "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." It testifies of "Christ, who is our life." It declares that there is no spiritual life but in him. And although "the letter kills," working alone, yet in the hands of the Spirit it gives life. Thus clothed with the energy of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel proves a "savor of life unto life," to all who believe in it to the saving of the soul.

In concluding this chapter, we would remind those who can appropriate to themselves the language of the text, of the exalted privilege to which they are raised. A holy, filial, joyful liberty, is your birthright. It is the liberty of a pardoned and justified sinner. It is the liberty of a reconciled, adopted child. It is the liberty of one for whom there is "now no condemnation."

And yet how few of God's people walk in the full enjoyment of this liberty? How few pray, and love, and confide, as adopted children! How few labor for life! Oh, sons of God, rise to this your high and heavenly calling! Your freedom was purchased at a high price, undervalue it not. It is most holy- abuse it not.

It binds you, by the strongest obligations, to yield yourselves unto God, as those who are alive from the dead. Be these the breathings of our soul- "Lord! my sweetest liberty is obedience to you; my highest freedom wearing your yoke; my greatest rest bearing your burden. Oh, how I love your law after the inward man! I delight to do your will, O my God!" The Lord grant unto us that we, "being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The "Boiler Room" of the Church

How hot is the boiler room of your church? I am not referring to an actual boiler room, but to the prayer gatherings of the church. How hot or cold is it?

Leonard Ravenhill once said: "Let the fires go out in the boiler room of the church and the place will still look smart and clean, but it will be cold. The Prayer Room is the boiler room for its spiritual life."

Let's turn up the heat this summer!