LET THE FIRE OF PERSECUTION RAIN (PART IV)
“Open the Floodgates of Your Holy Fury, Let It Rain”
By Akin Ojumu
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14).
As a Christian, there’s a lot riding on you. If you say you are a Believer in Christ, then act like it. You can’t profess to be of the light and live as though you belong to darkness. Your light must shine by reflecting your good works for the whole world to see so that they may glorify your Father in Heaven.
Until the watching world see that your deeds match your creed, they are never going to see the Lord. So, it’s expected of you, as a Christian, to always be at peace with all men (i.e., love people) and you must live a holy life (love God). It’s when you love people (following peace with all men) and love God (by living in holiness – i.e., a life of continuous sanctification) that people will see, and want to serve, the Almighty God. It's the righteous living of the Christian that attracts sinners to Christ and draws them away from unrighteousness.
John Owen, the great Puritan writer, described sanctification as the:
“Immediate work of the Spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying and cleansing of their natures from the pollution and uncleanness of sin, renewing in them the image of God, and thereby enabling them, from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace, to yield obedience unto God according unto the tenor and terms of the New Covenant, by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ.”
The process of sanctification is lifelong, and it comes with pain and suffering; trials and temptations are its embodiment. As the believer gives himself to studying the Word of God and daily seeking the face of God, the Holy Spirit purges, purifies, and cleanses him from the pollution of sin. The believer is separated further and further from his sinful nature. Sanctification is the universal renovation of our nature, by the Holy Spirit, into the nature of God. As the Christian dwells in the presence of God – through study of Bible and prayers – he becomes transformed into the image of God.
It’s really disheartening that there aren’t too many Christians today whose deeds match their creed. Only a handful in the church can prove the validity of their faith by the way they live. For a considerable number of self-professed Christians, it’s as if Christianity stops at the church foyer. You only know they are Christians when they are in church. Outside of the church walls, they are as evil as they come. Sadly, this is the case for most of the present-day church, and it’s the reason the church is in a state of perpetual coma.
The church is defiled and not chaste, it has prostituted itself to several other gods. This is a church that is wrinkled with lots and lots of blemishes and unfit as a bride for the King of kings. An unrighteous church cannot bring about righteousness, and the unholy church cannot provoke holiness. The present-day church is spiritually bankrupt, it’s incapable of impacting the world, saving the lost, and rescuing them that are on the way to hell.
The wretchedness of the church is unsustainable, and this deplorable state cannot continue forever. The church is manifesting all the symptoms of the same spiritual disease of complacency of the early church which eventually brought about the fierce persecution that came upon them.
As we turn the corner of time into a new year, the present-day church in its spiritual cardiac arrest, needs a cardiopulmonary resuscitation. To wake the church from its comatose state, a spiritual defibrillation is necessary. Unless compelled by some cataclysmic event, it's impossible to see how contemporary Christians will ever awake from their protracted somnolence.
When the early Christians became complacent and they would not leave Jerusalem to go to their places of assignment in the uttermost part of the earth, it took the fire of persecution to arrest their attention, straighten them up, and get them to move. The church today needs to be similarly shocked out of its waywardness. And nothing concentrates a reprobate mind faster than the reality of an impending disaster. The fire of persecution is the only thing that can wake up modern-day Christians from their spiritual slumber.
Therefore Lord, let the fire of persecution rain down on your church once again. Your people are in need of it. Let the heat of torment melt the fat of complacency from their hearts. Beat them back into shape and straighten them up, O Lord. Burn all the impurities away from their souls.
Overturn the tables of the moneychangers in your House, O God. Break in pieces the benches of those who merchandize the anointing. Tear down all the altars of mammon and other idols, smash their sacred stones, and cut down their Asherah poles. Cleanse your Holy Temple of everyone and everything that has polluted it.
Father God, cause their hearts to beat for you again. Like the prodigal son, help them Lord to find their way back to you. May they all rise up and return to their purpose on earth and become who you really want them to be.
This I ask in Jesus Name. Amen!