Sermons from Yesteryear | Paul Cain
It is encouraging to know that God often calls or speaks to men and movements more than once. He spoke to Abraham more than once, Moses and others more than once. Stephen’s great sermon recorded in Acts chapter seven is a summary of the continual moving of God throughout Israel’s history. Stephen points out how every one of the leaders sent by God were rejected the first time, but accepted the second time.
God is Speaking the Second Time
The history of Israel and the history of the church reveal how God speaks to His people the second time to restore them. Jeremiah 33 is called the restoration chapter. “Moreover the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison” (vs.1 KJV) That the word of the Lord would come to anyone a second time represents God’s extraordinary grace towards His people. The word came a second time because they had rejected His first word. Even though they had imprisoned His prophet for prophesying, God continued to speak to them. Certainly God remains faithful even when we are unfaithful (see II Timothy 2:13).
One of the great errors of the church has been to judge movements by their most extreme elements. One of the significant movements of the last few decades was the Charismatic Renewal. Like every other move of God, the Charismatic Renewal had its extremes, which caused the less discerning to reject the whole movement. In spite of the many problems, the Charismatic Renewal was used by God to accomplish much, and we should rejoice in the good that was done. Even so, the Charismatic Renewal is now over, but God is going to move again and speak again, even to the very ones who rejected Him in the last movement.
God Uses The Foolish
Some church leaders rejected the Charismatic Renewal out of pride. First, they could not imagine that God would do anything of significance unless it was through them. This kind of pride will always disqualify us from being a part of a move of God. Others rejected it, not so much because they could not imagine God moving without them, but simply because of the foolishness they saw in many charismatics which they did not want to be identified with. This too is a form of pride and, “God resists the proud, but gives His grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Some foolishness has accompanied every move of God and will accompany the future ones too. In I Corinthians 1:21 we see that in His wisdom God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the worldly wise. This foolishness, or seeming foolishness, requires a certain humility for us to press beyond it so that we can find the real treasure and receive the grace of God. This kind of foolishness is a God ordained test for removing the proud and undeserving from the ranks of those He will use. Gideon’s army is a good example of this principle. The strategy that Gideon was given by the Lord appeared to be utter foolishness, but it was exactly what was needed to accomplish the victory. In spiritual matters, human reason will almost always result in “the paralysis of analysis” which destroys our ability to obey God.
The Wisdom Of God
So some of what appeared to be foolishness in the Charismatic Renewal really was the wisdom of God, but some of it really was human folly. We must learn to discern the difference and remove that which is folly, and an unnecessary stumbling block to sincere seekers. We must honestly evaluate the hard lessons that were learned in the last movement so that we do not make the same mistakes again. The Lord is going to give us another opportunity to do it right. We will again, very soon, see multitudes being converted and being empowered with the Holy Spirit. We must realize the limits of our own wisdom so that we do not automatically disregard that which we do not understand, even when we consider it to be foolishness, but let us quickly discern and repent of that which is our own human folly.
There Will Be A Second Harvest
Many godly, sincere leaders rejected the Charismatic Renewal be cause they considered it to be Ishmael and not the promised Isaac. These leaders have been sincerely seeking the power of God in their lives and ministries; they just did not think that the Charismatic Renewal represented the real thing. Regardless of whether they are right or not, they are still waiting and seeking the Lord for the true power of the Holy Spirit and they are going to receive it. We are nearing a Second Harvest that is about to sweep even some of the most dry and barren institutional churches and empower them with the Spirit of God. He is speaking the second time as it were, but this time we can avoid the mistakes and excesses of the last move while incorporating its many positive contributions to the spiritual advancement of the church. Even though God is moving a second time because of His great grace, we cannot be presumptuous with His grace—He is also requiring a higher standard of purity and obedience from those who would receive His full endorsement.
Judgment Begins with God’s People
Because judgment begins with the household of God (I Peter 4:17), we must understand that God is going to discipline the church for her sins before He brings judgment on the world. How could the Lord judge the world if the world can point to His own family, the church, and say, “They do the same things that you are judging us for.” Indeed, the world does now have that excuse and uses it to continue in its rebellion. With our second chance will also come a second, more severe discipline from the Lord. Just as Jeremiah received the word of the Lord a second time as a last warning before the whole land was devastated, the church is likewise in a precarious place. Let us not receive the word of the Lord coming to us again in a spirit of presumption—it is not an endorsement of our present condition, but a call to repentance. It is the kindness of God to call us to repentance (see Romans 2:4), but in our own foolishness we often interpret His kindness as a stamp of approval.
Salvation or Judgment?
Do not be like the rebellious child that has to be told several times before he will obey. That is a profound foolishness when dealing with God. He is patient and full of mercy, He sometimes gives second chances like He is about to give us, but to presume on His patience and mercy is a pride that He is certain to resist. . . “TODAY if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15 NAS). We are the ones who will choose if the next move of God will be a day of salvation or a day of judgment. For those who receive the word, repent and order their lives to conform to it, it will be a day of salvation. For those who reject it, or try to use it for their own selfish ends, they will have a more severe judgment, having rejected the word of the Lord twice. Our God is a holy God and He requires that His people be holy as well. The Holy Spirit is first of all just what His name implies—HOLY, and if we are going to be His temple we too must be holy. The Lord is offering the church another chance for renewal.
God is speaking the second time and in this we should rejoice. We are now entering a “post-charismatic” era of the Holy Spirit. There is now a wave emerging and gaining momentum. I have seen this wave by the Spirit of God, sweeping over multitudes and engulfing them in life changing power. This new move of God will contain the good from the previous moves and much more to prepare the Church of Jesus Christ for the greatest season of harvest and manifestation of His power, glory and righteousness the world has ever known.
Seek His Face, Not Just His Hand
Over a million Baptists are about to be endued with this power. The Holy Spirit is already sweeping in and preparing the great Baptist people for a great awakening. Solemn Assemblies are being called by the Holy Spirit, moving them to a holy desperation for Him. The Spirit is moving upon multitudes of Baptists and calling them to a true repentance. They are seeking God’s face and not just His hand, so He will reveal to them His hand (power) as well. He is about to meet them and bless them in a way that greatly exceeds their expectations. The church has now been pressed as far as she can go. We have reached a crisis moment in which only the true power of God can reach such a dislocated, rootless, fatherless and hopeless generation, and God is going to give that power.
The Last Day Ministry of the Church
Many other evangelical leaders of various groups are also now in desperation seeking God for a fresh Word from heaven. The Word of the Lord is coming to them the second time as well. The Lord is about to give these godly, sincere leaders a reason for believing that His supernatural power is as available today as it was when He Himself walked the earth. Those who, for various reasons, could not see a way to be involved in a past renewal, will soon see integrity of heart, sincerity and reality in this coming time of restoration and visitation that will enable them to lay aside everything that has entangled them to run the race without inhibition to be a part of the last day ministry of the church.
Vessels of Power
For the great last day ministry of the church, the Lord will take some of the greatest skeptics and make them the greatest believers, able to move mountains with their faith. He will take some of the greatest critics and turn them into the greatest vessels of His mercy. He will take some of the most proud and make them into examples of true, godly humility. He will take some of the least intelligent and use them to confound the wisdom of this world. He will take some of the weakest and display through them the works that He did and even greater ones. Just as Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee of Pharisees and the most desperate enemy of the young church, became the apostle of grace and one of the greatest heroes of the faith, the Lord has a host of such men and women that He is about to confront and radically change. Some of the leaders and denominations that have been the most adamant opposers of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, will soon become some of the greatest champions and vessels of the power of God.
The Retreat of the Lukewarm
Likewise, many who have been mightily used of God, who have seen the power of God in measure, have become proud, comfortable and lukewarm. Sadly, many who were in the center of previous moves of God do not realize that they have become spiritually blind, naked and poor. God will speak to them again too, calling them to repentance, but as has been the case with every previous move of God, many of these will not go on. The roar of the ocean is made by the retreating waves, not those coming in. Some who were a part of the last move will also make a great deal of noise as they continue their retreat, seeking to undercut the incoming wave, but this next wave will not be stopped and the opposers will soon be forgotten. But God is now saying to all of us—in spite of our mistakes—the shakings, the bondage, the disillusionments, even the criticisms and slander we have used against each other—He is going to give us another chance. There will be a restoration of His Power and Spirit to the degree that every strata of society and every stream within the church will be greatly affected and blessed.
Walk in Spiritual Reality
For those who have already tasted of the power of God it is time to lay aside everything that encumbers to walk in spiritual reality with integrity and purity of heart. It is time to lay aside the disappointments and failures, and the injuries that have come from being blown about by so many winds of doctrine. The past no longer exists, if we try to live in it we will cease to be a part of what God is doing today. Today is a new day and it is going to be different. Now is the time for us to, in a holy desperation, to lift our voices together to cry out …”AND NOW, LORD BEHOLD THEIR THREATENINGS: AND GRANT UNTO THY SERVANTS, THAT WITH ALL BOLDNESS THEY MAY SPEAK THY WORD, BY STRETCHING FORTH THINK HAND TO HEAL; AND THAT SIGNS AND WONDERS MAY BE DONE BY THE NAME OF THY HOLY CHILD JESUS” (Acts 4:29,30, KJV).
Power Will Come Through Relationship
The Lord is going to move in unprecedented power because we are going to need unprecedented power to accomplish the Lord’s purposes in this hour. Let us never make the mistake of seeking the power of God without intimacy with God. Intimacy is a special grace. We can be near to God without being intimate. Judas was near Jesus, but he was not intimate. Intimacy with God, like the grace of God, requires humility. It is no accident that Moses, the prophet who had the most intimacy and power with God was also the most humble. True humility attracts God’s majesty. Only true humility enables us to see the purposes of God without distorting them with our own self-seeking. Moses understood God’s eternal purposes; Moses knew God’s ways, not just His acts (Psalm 103:7). Because of this the Lord spoke to him face to face as friend to friend (Exodus 33:11). That is our first calling—to be the friend of God (John 15:15). When we are His true friend we will have true intimacy— then he can trust us with true power.
All are Called to Intimacy with God
Amos 3:7 (KJV) says: “SURELY THE LORD GOD WILL DO NOTHING, BUT HE REVEALETH HIS SECRET UNTO HIS SERVANTS THE PROPHETS.” The Lord does not do this because He has to, but because His prophets are His friends and He does not want to do anything without including them. Not all are called to be prophets, but all are called to intimacy, and everyone of us can be so close to the Lord that He will want to share His most intimate secrets with us. Being close to Him is something that we can decide to do—He exhorts us to seek Him, to draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us (James 4:8). He has rent the veil for us, we can come boldly before His throne at anytime (Hebrews 4:16). Every one of us is as close to the Lord as we want to be. We need power, but let us not forget that even His power is given to draw men closer to Him. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:5).