Archive for the ‘Repentance and Revival’ Category

I recently heard a statistic how the suicide rate and attempts among high school age and college age students is on the rise. We not are hearing about it on the news but the news by word of mouth and social media travels. Our campuses are under a dark, dark cloud. Some if not most have a toxic environment. Most of my missionary and pastor associates would say that the devil has a strangle hold on our campuses and kids.
We must ask, “Why is the suicide rate on the increase among students?” Could it be that Old Testament principle is ever so true, “Confession is good for the soul,” Psalms 119:26. What are some of the benefits of confessing our sins to God? God made us with a spiritual, soul and body. He made us to have a loving relationship with Him, but our sin separates us from God and from having the proper relationship with Him. Jesus death on the cross, burial and resurrection is a blessing from God so that we can have our sins forgiven, Acts 3:26.
According to Romans 3:23, “We are all sinners.” Sin eats at your mind, your body, and your emotions. The effects of sin tears away and at the self-worth and self-esteem that God intends for you to have a child of God. He made you to be a child of the Most High God, Creator of all creation.
Instead, your children have been taught that their origin of life is by chance. They are taught they evolved out of the pool of slimy, soupy, pool of muck from a one cell organism that went through transformations of animal life and eventually became what we are today. What value does life have if your origin is based nothing more than a slimy one cell organism? This lie robs us of the Divine Truth that a loving heavenly God created us with a special plan and design in mind.
Who would conjure such a degrading lie? Well, only someone with such venomous hatred for all humankind. This individual is worse than Adolph Hitler and his regime of hate filled soldiers who brought horrific inhumane atrocities against people. The author of this dehumanizing theory must not only hate all human life but the Creator of life, God. He is known as the devil, Lucifer.
And he continues to steal, kill and destroy life John 10:10, and pervert life. Your children are told if they think it, it must be correct. If you consider a particular lifestyle then you must have been born to live it. If that is true, then we would all be rich, famous, a successful athlete, the best singer in the world, cure cancer, aids, stop world hunger an instant, bring world peace and stop ISIL in their tracks and they would stop beheading innocent Christian men, women and children.
Confession is good for the soul. Without confession of sin, you store up evil and bad thoughts, you store up hatred and bad actions that break God’s laws. You can only take so much pressure and the weight of your sin. God didn’t make you to carry all the weight and guilt of your sin. God provided a way for you to be released from the guilt and weight of your sin. He sent Jesus, His One and Only Son to die on the cross for your sin, so you can have His forgiveness.
Some intellectual individuals, like Voltaire, deny God and his existence. Voltaire eventually went crazy and was cared for by the very people he hated, Christians. Sin will make you feel guilty and tear you to pieces, emotionally, physically and hinder your mental capacity to make the right decisions.
Everyone needs to confess his and her sins to God, on a daily basis. When you pray asking God to forgive your sins, He pours on you His cleansing Spirit. But you must begin first by acknowledging Jesus Christ as God’s Son. Admit to God you have sinned against Him. Believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, because only He has died in your place for your sin. Confess your sin to God, and ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Ask God to cleanse you from all your sin.
Next you need to find a Bible teaching and preaching church and tell the pastor of your decision to surrender your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and be baptized as a believer in Jesus.
We Christians need to begin praying our campuses. The Church needs to begin praying for and prayerwalking the college campuses. Students need to know that there is a holy, loving God who wants His best for them and to bring forgiveness, and comfort.
The apostle Paul, the New Testament writer, who penned the majority of the 39 New Testament books, wrote, ““If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Our campuses and our nation God to send His Spirit to awaken lost people and save them. Pray for our churches to become alive again and passionate for God, taking the Gospel to the people once again.

When you read Isaiah 9:8-21; Jeremiah 23:1-2 Ezekiel 13:1-3; Zechariah 13, we see that God is gravely grieved by the shepherds who He put in place to lead His people and teach His truths to His people. These false prophets instead of teaching God’s Holy Word substitute it with their own opinions and misinterpretations. God promises to unleash His wrath on the false prophets.

What was it that these men said that caused God to pronounce punishment and destruction of His people, the country of Israel, and even the Temple? According to one Commentator,

The leaders of this people cause them to err (comp. Isaiah 3:12). Both the peoples were led into idolatry by their rulers, but Israel especially. Jeroboam, the first king, introduced the calf-worship, and his successors from first to last persisted in his sin. Ahab added the still grossest idolatry of Baal. Those who held high position under the kings were equally bad examples to the people (see above, Isaiah 1:2:3). Are destroyed. First, morally corrupted and debased, then physically given over to destruction – slaughtered by Philistines, Syrians, and Assyrians.(Pulpit Commentary)

When Isaiah called the people to repent and turn back to God, and follow Him, they refused.

In the Jeremiah “The prophet denounces vengeance against the pastors of Israel who have scattered and destroyed the flock of the Lord, Jeremiah 23:1Jeremiah 23:2.”

We see two points to God’s message: (1) Wo be unto the pastors – There shall a curse fall on the kings, princes, priests, and prophets; who, by their vicious conduct and example, have brought desolation upon the people.

(2) Ye have scattered my flock – The bad government both in Church and State was a principal cause of the people’s profligacy. (Clarke’s Commentary)

God instructed Ezekiel’s to preach a message of doom and punishment as well. God’s accusation against the false prophets was

What they prophesied was what they and the people wished; the wish was father to the thought. The people wished to be deceived, and so were deceived. They were inexcusable, for they had among them true prophets (who spoke not their own thoughts, but as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, 2Pe 1:21), whom they might have known to be such, but they did not wish to know (John 3:19).

Zechariah was Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel called the religious leaders to repentance as the people.

Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. 4Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets cried out, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.’ But they did not hear or pay attention to me, declares the LORD. (Zechariah 13:3)

Zechariah calls the people to repentance. He was calling them to take an active part in rebuilding the temple, thus carrying on the exhortations of Haggai, but also with reference to their general indevotion and laxity which Ezra afterwards had to reprove (see Ezra 9:2)

Today we do not need God is not calling us to rebuild church buildings. He is calling us to rebuild, to get connected with Him on a holy level. Christians need to work on building their relationship with God our Father. We have become out of touch with him. We have left our first Love.

Today we are misinterpreting God’s Word and instead of teaching His people what God’s wants there are a few who are misleading the people with false teachings. You know who they are. Others are not teaching anything wrong, their error is they are not teaching the all that God has given us in His Word.

Revival will begin with first taking the entire Word of God and seeking to live it out. God’s mandate for the church today is to Win disciples with the Gospel and teach the new believers what God has said and to mentor them how to obey God’s Word. This is where we need to start. The church needs to repent, pray for the God’s power to be unleashed, pray for opportunities to reach lost people with the Gospel and not just acts of kindness. Acts of kindness without evangelism is not New Testament kindness. It is man’s version of God’s intended Acts of Kindness resulting in evangelistic conversations and presentations.

We are hearing all types of reasons why churches in America are declining, dying and closing their doors.  We have seen a decline in baptisms since 1974 in the Southern Baptist Convention. Baptisms are down because pastors, people and leadership have bad mouthed evangelism. One pastor recently blamed pastors ‘cooling off” for a decline in evangelism.

Recently I attended a strategy meeting composed of ministers from several denominations representing most of the Christian denominations across America. An interesting fact was shared during this meeting. One reason why churches are declining, research conducted by a Religious Entity revealed, that “pastors are quitting at an alarming rate, but many stay in ministry, because they cannot do anything else so they stay and pastor in the local church.”

Wow. So we wonder why churches are declining. Many pulpits have no power because the men behind the pulpit are not walking with God. This is evident by the fact that on blogs, questions such as “can a minister drink?” and now “if pot is legalized, can a pastor smoke pot?” are being asked. Amazing! No wonder churches are dying. When the pastor who leads the church is allowing alcohol to pollute the mind. Allowing the mind to be controlled by fermented drink instead of the Holy Spirit. If God’s Spirit is not controlling the mind then who is?

What the church needs today is not for the church to pray for revival. Many prayer meetings are being held seeking God to send revival. What we need is confession. What the American church needs today is a movement of Confession. We need to confess to God our sin of being apathetic, laziness, and disobedience to Jesus command to evangelize the lost, the sin of pride and arrogance, drunkenness, homosexuality, lesbian and transgender confusion.

God could not bless the sinful church of Corinth and He cannot bless any sinful church. If the church is declining it is not due to a changing cultural landscape. Today American mindset is not different than what the apostle Paul and the early church faced. Our problem is a church filled with sin and God will not bless a sinful church. Today’s church is accepting of various lifestyles.

Today’s church, for the sake of being inclusive doesn’t preach against sin, against rebellious life styles, because it is trying to promote social justice instead of Gods’ coming judgment. Lost people do not need to hear a church say “everyone come as you choose”, but instead “come to Jesus as you are and Jesus will change you!”

Churches need to begin praying for lost people again. Churches need to begin training their church members to evangelize lost people again. One pastor said, “If we pray to God to save lost people, and the church goes out and shares the Gospel, there is no way that someone will not be saved! God’s Word does not return void.”

Proverbs 10:5

“He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” NIV

“At harvest season it’s smart to work hard, but stupid to sleep.” CEV 

In this verse God teaches us a principle of the harvest. The lesson is about a wise or sensible son versus a disgraceful son. The Proverbs says that during the harvest a wise or prudent son will bring in the harvest. The harvest time is a time to labor in the field. Harvesting, for those who have never experienced this type of work is hard labor. This son brings the family respect and honors his father.

This son who labors in the field is obedient to the father’s call to go out and work in the field, unlike the son in the parable which Jesus told that lied to the father and said, “I will go, but never does go out.”

Growing up in a family that grew crops in Texas, we sometimes went and harvested various crops that my father’s brothers had planted on their ranch. In the summer time Texas can be very hot. But the harvest was fun because I was co-laboring with my family.

Proverbs 10:5 says that the disgraceful son does not work the harvest fields, for he sleeps instead of brining in the harvest. Not only is the disgraceful son sleeping, but according to several commentators he goes to sleep quickly and is in a very deep sleep.

This disgraceful son throws away an opportunity that is there for a season. It is a window of opportunity. In my book “Breaking the Evangelism Code”, I describe a business or investment principle, “Opportunity Cost.” This is the missed the opportunity of increasing your financial gain by acting on an opportunity for monetary gain.

I use this principle to show how the church and believers will intentionally and unintentionally miss an opportunity to share the Glorious Gospel with a lost person. I refer to this as “Opportunity Lost.” We miss out on seeing the effects of God’s Word, and God’s Spirit bring an unbelieving soul to new life as we share God’s Living Word, the Gospel.

Jesus has already commanded us to go into the harvest field and work. He said, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” John 4:35. Proverbs, 11:30b says, “He who wins souls is wise!” What does that say about professing Christians who do not win lost souls with the Gospel?

We all need to pray that we would not be a Disgraceful Son, but a Wise, Honoring Son to our heavenly Father and to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God, please forgive us for not working the harvest fields and please ignite our souls to evangelize the lost, In Jesus Name!

 

The world is in desperate need of a spiritual awakening. The Church is in desperate need to wake up and become the evangelistic organism that God intended the church to be, evangelizing the lost world. God has empowered the church to be able to carry the gospel out into the communities of America. The church has all it needs to see God turn this world upside down, if only God’s people would repent, be obedient and begin witnessing.

The church has fallen for the devil’s lie that evangelism does not work. What better lie to promote! He could not stop the church from doing evangelism by persecution. So he did the second most effective thing, tell the church that evangelism does not work anymore. The church today lives as though the gospel is powerless and acts as though the gospel is in some type of code.

The church appears to be in a state of confusion and stumbling around as though intoxicated by some cheap wine or fermented drink that the devil has concocted when it comes to evangelism. The church seems as though it is in a thick fog and acts as though the gospel is in some type of cryptic code, needing to be solved before it can tell the world about Jesus.

While the church struggles trying to discover a new approach or grasp which evangelism strategy or method works best, the world is going to hell on jet fuel. The declining church continues to listen to some of our leaders and individuals, whom we have deemed as the experts, who fan the flames of disillusionment and gospel-phobia, while the devil is running havoc on our families, our marriages, our churches, and communities. He continues to lead many lost people to an eternal fiery hell while we sit around trying to figure out how to grow the church without going outside of our walls or leaving our soft pews to do intentional evangelism.

The Devil has crept into some churches and has taken control. It is evident by the back biting, negative comments, sexual immorality, stealing, promoting personal agendas instead of God’s biblical plan and the lack of intentional evangelistic effort and a lack of concern for reaching the lost. Stopping churches from being evangelistic can only be the devil’s deceptive scheme. No Evangelism is the Devil’s Mantra! Have we fallen for his devilish schemes?

Evangelism is the good news that the world needs to hear. Th e message of the gospel is that God set up a road block to hell; it is called the cross. It is all about the cross. Jesus died on a cross so we would not have to pay for our sins in hell. Salvation is available to all who believe. It is free to all who want to receive it from God. It is not cheap for it cost God His only Son, Jesus and it cost Mary her first born son. It is not cheap because it cost Jesus His life and the agony of taking on all of our sins that separated Him from the Father.

To read more of Dr. Victor Benavides, writings on evangelism, please purchase one of his books:

“Breaking the Evangelism Code”, “The Prepared Witness”, “Intentional Community Evangelism”

Go to amazon.com