The church has always had a gun to its back and a knife to its throat. Things look hopeless until you see the world through spiritual eyes. In God’s upside down economy, death brings life!
Jesus often spoke of himself as a spring that living water flowed out of. In Ezekial and Revelations we see this river flowing down from God’s throne and covering the whole earth. Everything this river touches it is healed and brought to life.
This Easter, be encouraged that the church is an unstoppable force of love, not because of you or me but because of the power of God through it. Call out to God and ask Him to have his river flow into you and out into the world.
Happy Easter and God bless!
Text: Then the angel showed me the river of life, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Jesus spoke of this river when He said, “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.” Everything this river touches is healed and brought to life. It will flow over the whole earth and to every nation.
Jeff King: It was only 30 years after Jesus’s death, when the great persecution of the church began. In Rome, Nero was the first emperor to attempt to destroy the church. He crucified Christians. He burned them alive as torches for his parties. As Rome faded away, Islam rose, and it’s sword fell on the church. The Middle East, the birthplace of the church, was largely emptied of Christians.
From Medieval times, persecution continued and to this day we hear the whisper names of the martyrs, Tyndale, Huss and Wycliffe. In China, Mao and his Marxists imprisoned and tortured and murdered pastors. He killed thousands and thousands of Christians. In Iran, the Ayatollahs, for 40 years have imprisoned, murdered and mercilessly crushed the church. In Cuba, Castro imprisoned, tortured and murdered pastors, crushing the church seemingly to it’s death. Most recently, we have seen persecution from radical Islam and ISIS.
You just look and you think, “What’s the future for the church?” And it just feels a little hopeless, right? Is that what you feel? Because I understand that. I look out and I see what you see. And the only thing I’d say is, you have to look with spiritual eyes. And above all else, you need to understand the River of God.
So let me give you some examples of that. Earlier, I told you about Rome and all it’s great persecutions, over 500 years, these were horrible persecutions. Do you know what happened in the end? The people of Rome looked on the plight of the Christians and they saw loving people that loved justice and were caring and merciful and they were being butchered and they looked on Christians with compassion. And what happened to the church? Christianity swallowed Rome. Look at China and Mao and all his attacks on the church.
So what’s happened now is that, the Communists are still in charge, but the church is probably 150 million strong and they’re sending out missionaries to the world. In Iran the Ayatollahs have effectively killed off Islam.
Christianity is an unstoppable force. It is burning through the country. I told you about Castro in Cuba. Here’s the secret story on Cuba. Do you know what happened after 40, 50 years of terrible persecution? One of the great world revivals broke out in Cuba. You know, one denominational leader told me that 15 years after revival, the whole denomination, it went from 15,000 to 350,000 people. And that was after Castro murdered and tortured and imprisoned and killed.
Finally think about ISIS. You think about what they did and all the horrible videos you saw. I asked one pastor in the middle East of a large church. I said, “You know what? What’s been the effect of ISIS?” And he said, “Look, ISIS is merely an evangelist and I’m John the Baptist. And I’m baptizing those coming out of Islam. All of ISIS’s horrible activities, drove so many Muslims away from the faith and into the arms of Christianity, unfortunately into agnosticism and atheism as well. But they said, if that’s Islam, I don’t want any part of it.”
The church has always had a gun to it’s back and a knife to his throat, but in God’s upside down economy, death brings life. So the more the dictator [inaudible 00:03:46] on the church, the more it grows.
The church is not dead nor dying. It’s thriving and expanding greatly. The church is a curious animal for it thrives in the most hostile environments. Because it’s power, it’s source, are not human. You know, Jesus often spoke of himself as a spring, living water flowed out of him. He was carrying on the imagery of Izekial, regarding a river that flowed down from God’s throne to earth. It started as a trickle, but then became a stream, a river and then an ocean that would cover the whole earth. And everything this river touches, it brings healing and it brings to life. The dictators, the despots and the Ayatollah is, are, and will be washed away by it’s force.
The church is an unstoppable force of love and healing. And that’s not because of you or me, and it’s not because of what makes up the church. The church isn’t made up of geniuses and brilliant communicators. It’s made up of people that have given their lives to God and the power of God, the river, it flows from the throne of God and from the land, look at Revelation 22, this river that flows from the land down into the earth. It’s out there. So go call out to him, say, “Lord, release your river, let it flow through me and out into the world through me,” and then go out and take some of that water and share it with those dying of thirst around you.
God bless you.