Sometimes, we can get let time and love gloss over unresolved conflicts with others. But when it comes to our crimes against God, the courts of heaven will not let anything slide. God allows suffering to come into our lives as corrective discipline to turn our hearts back to Him. But if we rail against this discipline with grumbling or anger, we prove our disloyalty to God, break His heart, and push him closer to an eternal divorce. The scriptures teach that God hates divorce, but know that Jesus requires entire consecration. Does it crush you that God is lamenting over you?
Jesus, the creator of Heaven and Earth, is bigger than we can imagine–but how big He appears to you will depend on how close you are to Him. Many people who are called by Jesus are too large and are unwilling to submit to the pruning process that will reduce them. Millions upon millions around the world will never have the light you have about Jesus–have you eagerly run to the light that you have? Or have you hidden in darkness and contempt and simply refused the call of Jesus upon your life?
This file includes the welcome from Sister Kathryn, primarily from Psalm 18.
Because of the inherent pride in our culture, we’ve reasoned that we have a right to grumble, to the point where many of us grumble incessantly without realizing that this impugns the heart of God. Listen to the video of the week and make the decision, as Hosea did, not to grumble!
In this sobering message, Pastor Ray identifies that salvation consists in a state of mind that is supremely happy in (and resigned to) God’s will. To be saved, we must recognize that we’ve stolen ourselves from God, return to Him, and make restitution to all we’ve injured. Doubtful actions will block us from hearing the Holy Spirit, sear our hearts, dull our fear of God, and ultimately ruin our souls. Is Christ’s yoke an iron collar of duty to you, or is your delight in the will of God? Where’s your heart with Jesus today as you listen to the sermon?
Welcome message by Sister Michelle
When God’s desert wooing failed to win Israel’s loyalty, he decreed, “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods” (Hosea 3:4, NIV). This signifies a time of testing to rebuild trust between God and a person who has abundantly, stubbornly sinned against great light from the Holy Spirit and now desires to return to God. In this incredibly painful place, Jesus expects a person to walk without sin (which obviously includes grumbling) while enjoying none of the blessings of God’s felt presence or answered prayers. The only way out is entire consecration and full submission to Jesus. Have you made a covenant with Jesus to receive from his hand only what he chooses to give you?
In a gut-wrenching effort to prevent divorce, God said to Israel, “I am going to block her way with thorns…I am going to lure her and lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart…and make the Valley of Achor a gateway of hope” (Hosea 2:6; 14-15). Have you found yourself boxed in by God, with no sense of his presence, and no way to save yourself from total ruin? If so, the reason may be that you’ve resisted the leading of the Holy Spirit for so long that God is bringing crisis to your life in a final attempt to save you. The devil will lie and and say, “God won’t really provide for you. He’s a hard God,” but God’s heart is to open a gateway of hope. He loves you! Will you walk through the valley of Achor trusting in the goodness of Jesus? What Jesus will explicitly show you is that you are the hard one and not Him. Are you free in Jesus today??
When God instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute, Hosea didn’t grumble, “Come on, God, I only have one life! Are you really making me do that?” Instead, Hosea trusted the Lord and did what he’d asked. Can you say the same about your walk with Jesus? When difficult times have come, have you lifted up your hands and thanked Jesus, or have you turned away in your heart and gone to grumbling, grouchiness, or a bad mood? This is not a small issue. Grumbling is sin; it is a refusal to be made holy. If we, as America and as a church, refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to rebuild the foundation principles of righteousness, God will finally say to us what he said to Israel: “You are not my people, and I am not your God.” Will you forever renounce grumbling today?
While Christians are sleeping, America is being stolen out from underneath our feet. Not only is suffering increasing as American values and culture are eviscerated, but the work of the gospel is being hindered and shut down. Using the story of Ulysses S. Grant, who in ten years went from being a washed up, drunken, nobody to the president of the United States, and victor of the U.S. civil war, Pastor Ray shows that the American church must likewise transition from washed up impotence to fighting in the prayer closet for righteousness. Do you have the guts to leave your sin and fight for the soul of America?
The American church today, and the church in most of the Western world as well, face a divorce with God. We’ve been unfaithful and cannot expect the loving presence of God until we’ve rebuilt trust with Him through repentance and obedience. God does not want to let us go—will you give up all expectations, and simply love and fully submit your life to Jesus?
(Note: We’re also including Sister Michelle’s welcome. This sermon is the beginning of a series on the book of Hosea. We strongly encourage you to read and pray over this book and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.)
This powerful, terrifying message exposes the true cost of rejecting self-denial. Beginning in the Garden of Eden, Brother David shows that Adam did not sin spontaneously. Sin began to fester in Adam’s heart when he declared of his wife, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,” thereby seizing ownership of Eve and his own life. This ownership–which is really stealing from God–cost he and Eve their covenant shield with the Almighty. Adam, no longer clean in his heart before God, opened the door to darkness through which the devil and confusion entered. When presented with the forbidden fruit, Adam’s heart just flowed right into the commission of sin. Had he been clean with God, he could have said, “No, honey, I won’t eat that,” and interceded for his wife, and the fall of man would not have happened.
This cost of ownership is just as real to us. Any withholding from God will break our covenant with him. Instead of being a vessel of redemption for others, the devil will have free reign to destroy those whom God intends to save by us. The job, coffee, relationship, or habit that you cling to because you “need it to survive” is a refusal to submit to Jesus and the peace of God that comes when we receive full provision from him. This will ruin not only your own soul, but those of your closest friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers. Is having your own life really worth that cost??
Compromising gospels have so overgrown the straight way of salvation that, before asking, “What must I do to be saved?” we must first address, “What must I not do to be saved?” Beginning with the hyper-Calvinistic belief, “I don’t need to do anything to be saved,” Pastor Ray takes up over half a dozen snares to the soul. These include believing that you cannot do what God requires; fleeing to a refuge of lies in order to avoid self-denial; trusting in an intellectual understanding devoid of obedience; pride that says, “I have the truth;” waiting for a better time to submit to Jesus; accusing, name-calling, or stonewalling God or others; and unforgiveness. These all block repentance. Walking in any of these ways will quickly grieve the Holy Spirit, and, if not dealt with, result in the eternal damnation of one’s soul. Are you walking in salvation today?
Peter listened to John the Baptist and Jesus preach, and was likely baptized. While other disciples, including Peter’s brother Andrew, cleaved to Jesus, Peter continued to pursue money and self-provision by fishing. It didn’t dawn on him that Jesus was God living as man. Finally, Jesus gave Peter exactly what he wanted: an enormous draught of fish. Peter, heart uncovered, melted before Jesus and fell at Christ’s knees, crying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man!” We, too, must come to this point of seeing our selfishness, rebellion, and conceit in light of a holy God. When a person recognizes, “I don’t deserve you, Jesus!” his response is always the same: “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” He will not let us hide in our Christian closet! Have you accepted this call of Jesus?
One sabbath day, Jesus healed a woman in the synagogue who’d been “completely” bowed over for 18 years. This same Greek word, pantelēs, is used in Hebrews 7:25: “[Jesus] is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him.” Just as truly as sinners are completely bound by sin, they can be completely freed by Jesus Christ. This transformation is an inner working of the Holy Spirit who writes the law of God into a person’s heart. The saved Christian is a new creature who loves to do the will of God. Repentance is the only road into this heart of Jesus. Do you have to force yourself to obey God, or is obedience the natural desire of your heart?
Pantelēs can also be translated as “uttermost,” and we leave you with this: a hymn written by William James Kirkpatrick entitled “Saved to the Uttermost“:
Saved to the uttermost: I am the Lord’s;
Jesus my Savior salvation affords;
Gives me His Spirit, a witness within,
Whispering of pardon, and saving from sin.
Saved to the uttermost: Jesus is near;
Keeping me safely, He casteth out fear;
Trusting His promises, now I am blest;
Leaning upon Him, how sweet is my rest.
Saved to the uttermost: this I can say,
“Once all was darkness, but now it is day;
Beautiful visions of glory I see,
Jesus in brightness revealed unto me.”
Saved to the uttermost; cheerfully sing
Loud hallelujahs to Jesus my King;
Ransomed and pardoned, redeemed by His blood,
Cleansed from unrighteousness; glory to God!
CHORUS (after each verse):
Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost;
Saved, saved by power divine;
Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost:
Jesus the Savior is mine!
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave” (Song of Solomon 8:6). This is how Jesus wants us to feel about him. The Christian faith isn’t about “doing it right” or “believing the right way”–it’s about being transformed into a new creature by the blood of Jesus Christ. The normal Christian life is oneness with Jesus: a soul freed from all rebellion and sin, and filled with hunger and love for Jesus. We may follow Jesus while trapped in the cycle of “sin and repent,” but we will not be one with Jesus. Do your actions and words show that your love for Jesus is as unyielding as the grave?
In preparation for tomorrow’s broadcast, Pastor Ray suggests reading the book of Malachi, Hebrews 10, and Romans 6.
Human beings were designed to give everything for the sake of what they love the most. In heroic displays of faithfulness, ancient Chinese concubines would be buried alive with their deceased emperors; the first apostles were crucified, beaten to death, or slain by sword; and, today, millions of Americans sacrifice everything for lifestyle, professional sports, shopping, television, their children, or self-indulgence.
If you intend to go to heaven, Jesus Christ must be the object of this intense, undivided love of your heart. In your daily experience, are you urgently pressing, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into intimacy with Jesus? Do you clearly see the separation between wickedness and righteousness, and, out of love for Jesus, cut off anything that would separate you from him? Do you weep over the souls of your families, neighbors, and friends? On what altar have you sacrificed everything? Like the children of Israel, have you seen God’s mighty deliverance in your life, and feasted, only to rise up and play?
The following lecture was the third in a series preached by Charles G. Finney to his own congregation at the Chatham Chapel in New York in 1835. The editor of The Evangelist took detailed notes and published the lectures that same year.
By 1868, over 80,000 copies had been printed in English. Having been translated into French and Welsh, the lectures also spread across Europe and impacted thousands of souls. A dear brother has made all of these precious lectures available online for free, including both print and audio recordings.
LECTURES ON REVIVALS OF RELIGION
by The Rev. CHARLES G. FINNEY
HOW TO PROMOTE A REVIVAL
TEXT. —Break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. –HOSEA X. 12.
THE Jews were a nation of farmers, and it is therefore a common thing in the Scriptures to refer for illustrations to their occupation, and to the scenes with which farmers and shepherds are familiar. The prophet Hosea addresses them as a nation of backsliders, and reproves them for their idolatry, and threatens them with the judgments of God. I have showed you in my first lecture what a revival is not–what it is–and the agencies to be employed in promoting it; and in my second, when it is needed–its importance–and when it may be expected. My design in this lecture is to show,
HOW A REVIVAL IS TO BE PROMOTED.
A revival consists of two parts; as it respects the church, and as it respects the ungodly. I shall speak to-night of a revival in the church. Fallow ground is ground which has once been tilled, but which now lies waste, and needs to be broken up and mellowed, before it is suited to receive grain. I shall show, as it respects a revival in the church,
1. What it is to break up the fallow ground, in the sense of the text.
2. How it is to be performed. Continue reading How to Promote a Revival
Have you submitted all to Jesus, only to quickly have your life thrown in the air? Don’t be discouraged! This is one of the ways of Jesus. He is separating the chaff from your life so that He can bring you into His barn!
(Note: This is the welcome from Sister Michelle today. Because Pastor Ray’s voice was weak, we had no sermon and shared testimonies as a church instead. But, Pastor Ray will be live on 780 AM WAVA tomorrow. We’re trusting Jesus to do this. Please pray for our ministry, that we will be faithful to the call of Jesus in the midst of the fire.)
The church’s mission picks up where Jesus left off: “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion” (Isaiah 61:2-3a). How we can proclaim the fear of God in such a way that causes people to break down and get right with God, if we haven’t gone through it ourselves?
Jesus’ warning, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” addresses the fatal self-righteousness that will block us from seeking the kingdom of God, his righteousness, and the mission to which we are called. Instead of selling out to Jesus, most of us, without even realizing it, approach church as if we’re sampling desserts at the grocery store. Are you crushed by how you’ve treated God?
The writing on the wall at Belshazzar’s banquet teaches us what it means to deny ourselves and enter the narrow gate. The first word, mene, signifies the sinner’s condition: though he thought he could dethrone God and be in charge of his own life, God will finally put an end to this stolen sovereignty. Tekel signifies the reckoning at the final judgment of the areas of our life that we shaved off and gave to the enemy, darkness, or casualness. Parsin represents hell.
Because we’ve all shaved off and stolen from God, the only way to not be found wanting at the judgment is to buy gold tried in the fire. Outward obedience and trying hard will never get us there–that is a system of works. Instead, to pass through the narrow gate is to deny our own sense of ability and any personal agenda, fully give ourselves to Jesus, and receive his righteousness. This act of faith causes a great groaning in our souls as our inner rebellion and wickedness cry out against crucifixion. Will you, like Nebuchadnezzar, humble your heart before the mighty God of heaven? Or, like Belshazzar, will you spend your last day on earth partying with the holy things of God?
Indifference grows when we sin, feel ashamed, and then blow off the shame. If we think, “I can get away with it,” then we won’t repent. In grief, the Holy Spirit will leave us, and all that will be left is a shell of religion. The child who regularly steals a chocolate and reasons that it’s right is in the same shameless, indifferent condition as King David who, without a twinge of conscience, blew off the shame of adultery and then killed a man. The only difference in the two cases is in degree. The commonness of this phenomenon and the ease with which it occurs should greatly alarm us. Precious one, have you resisted the cry of your conscience until it ceased, and then figured that everything was okay? If this is your case, do not sleep until you’ve gotten clear with Jesus!
When most of Europe had rolled over to Nazi forces, one man–Winston Churchill–took a stand and declared, “We shall never surrender.” He understood the will of God to defend Christian civilization and boldly stood in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30). Behind the scenes, Rees Howells prayed through to victory on key events that overthrew Hitler and secured the Allies’ victory.
Today, it looks like much of Western civilization and the Christian world is rolling over to the devil and political correctness. But, behind the scenes, men and women who see God’s purpose for America on a global scale are in their prayer closets, crying out to Jesus Christ to bring a revival of righteousness to America. Have you taken this stand? If you haven’t, will you, today?
Indifference thrives on moral insanity. Like many Americans, you may recognize that our country is crashing. But what are you doing about it? Have you taken the attitude, “Well, there’s nothing that I can do about it,” and then responded with either angry feelings towards the corrupt “powers that be,” or by saying, “Well, I might as well enjoy life while I can?” This sin of not praying will not be atoned for. God is willing to step into history and turn America back to righteousness. But, God will not do it until Christians will give up their casualness and entertainment, wake up to reality, and weep and wail in the prayer closet as if they would not be denied. Will you do this?
(Notes are available!)
Today, violence, suffering, and the inner pain that sin has brought to our culture–which all would have caused our grandparents to weep, wail, and fast–now produces almost no tears, no brokenness, no crying out to God, almost no reaction at all… We see many of those around us sinking into hell, and yet we’re only slightly concerned about them. We are much more concerned about our own lives, our own pain, our own whatever, and have only a slight burden of prayer, in spite of this incredible, palpable wickedness… With hardened hearts and seared consciences, we assume, “Sure, everything that’s happening in the world is terrible, but that will never happen to me. God won’t bring his judgment on me. After all, I’m an American.” This is a lie from Satan! Are you consciously aware that the lukewarm church is a billboard sign from God that proclaims His judgment has already come upon the church?
God commands us through the prophet Joel, “Rend your heart.” This happens when we finally get honest and earnestly confess our own self-centeredness and shallowness and cry out to Jesus, asking Him to change us. Isn’t it time that the unholy trinity of me, myself, and I be fully crucified by Jesus? Will you cry out to Jesus to change this, or will you allow this suffocating indifference to blind you to your lukewarmness?
God knew that Abraham was sold out to Him when Abraham didn’t withhold his son Isaac. Today, God tests us to see if we’re withholding anything from Him. God isn’t stingy–He will provide. He wants to give us His son! But, if we hold onto our life, we will be robbed of the power to live righteously. Are you absolutely surrendered to Jesus?
After Jesus lays out the moral requirements of the new covenant, he concludes the sermon on the mount with a warning. What will hinder someone from finding the narrow gate, entering the narrow path, and staying on it? Namely, false prophets, hypocrisy, intellectualism, a defensive spirit, and a performance mindset will. Have you been ensnared by any of these?
(PDF Notes are available for this sermon!)