Revelation 3:22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
In accordance with those things God has been speaking to me as confirmed by so many witnesses around the world, I believe we have entered into a season in which we will witness an increased outpouring of the Holy Spirit and as a result, in the coming months and throughout 2015 an beyond, multitudes of people, from all walks of life, will experience the greatest miracle ever known to mankind.
This same word is being testified by Believers all over the world. People in dark regions of the world who are from all walks of life are having unexplainable encounters with angels and seeing visions, hearing voices and having dreams of Jesus, the Son of God appearing to them and calling them into His kingdom. I am hearing these testimonies from an increasing number of saints telling how the most unsuspecting people are coming to Christ. Invariably these conversions follow a simple and predictable pattern which we see confirmed in the New Testament of our Holy Bible.
What is that pattern? It is found over and over again from the conversion of Cornelius in Caesarea to the one called Saul on the road to Damascus Syria who saw a great light, heard a loud voice and received instructions to go and await further words from someone God was going to send. In the case of Saul of Tarsus as recorded in Acts 9, God sent a Believer who lived in Syria to go and tell Saul the Gospel message of Jesus the Messiah. When Ananias witnessed to Saul, God confirmed the Word in his heart and Saul was born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, changed his name to Paul and became the first Apostle to the Gentile nations of the world. What is that pattern being confirmed 2000 years later even in the same cities of Syria?
The New Testament Pattern
1. A Holy Spirit encounter by a lost person (That’s God’s Business)
2. A clear presentation of the Gospel by a Believer (That’s our Business)
3. A true conversion of a soul by the Holy Spirit (That’s there Business)
Just this week I met with a pastor who recently fled from Damascus in the face of the current persecution of Christians by ISIS, the Islamic Brotherhood, and those radical Sunni backed rebels who are beheading followers of Jesus Christ. We met privately and sat in a room in secret, closed off from the world, in concern that peering eyes and listening ears might reveal the whereabouts of Believers who are in hiding and contribute to their personal torture and the execution of their families. He showed me pictures taken on Wednesday and Thursday of this week showing the horrific deeds being perpetrated against innocent, peace-loving Believers in Jesus Christ as Son of God and Savior of the World, by these demon forces, all in the name of their god.
I listened with a heavy heart as this pastor told how that for the last few years the Church congregations in Syria and Iraq have had to teach their families, and especially their children, to be very careful about any display of their faith which might provoke others to unleash the demons of hatred against them. One 10 year old boy was recently heard by a friend at school praying over his food before he ate. The friend heard the boy reciting the Lord ’s Prayer and reported him to the teacher. When the teacher asked the boy what he was praying to Jesus and if he was a Christian the boy unashamedly answered that he was.
This teacher drug that 10 year old boy into the classroom, tied his feet and hoisted him up in the air. With this young lad hanging upside down the other children were given sticks and worked into a frenzy against this “infidel” and while they screamed at him and spit on him they all gathered around and beat him until he went unconscious. After school he was cut down by the teacher and left with a warning to never mention Jesus again.
I don’t wish to overdramatize these current events with any of the other accounts I was given and pictures and videos I was shown just to prove the point but I can’t get them out of my mind. Suffice it to say, there is great need in our lost and hurting world today and that need is Jesus.
One video I was shown was a video of several Christian men rounded up and taken into a compound on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey. The video, which was recently shown to our pastors and Church admin staff at the fall gathering of our COTR Churches, showed Christian men being kicked and beaten and brutally tortured by ISIS. The pictures were so horrible that many could not watch and some even left the room in tears. More than one of our staff members has had recurring nightmares since. These things are happening now … and it’s almost unimaginable to believe. Two days ago, in my private meeting with the man who smuggled this video to the US, I asked how it happened that he had a copy. I had heard the testimony but I wanted to confirm it with the source.
One of the members of the ISIS group who was participating in the beating decided he would use his phone to take some video of the torture of these Christian infidels. The beatings were bloody and brutal and just continued with hitting and bludgeoning and kicking to the heads, and faces, and necks and ribs and chests of these men. I can’t begin to imagine how someone could take videos on their phone of such atrocities.
That night the ISIS soldier who had participated and taken the video was sleeping when he had a dream. Jesus appeared to him in the dream and spoke to him and told him to run away and cross the border into Turkey. The young man was awakened and left immediately in the cover of night. The border was not that far and before daybreak as he carefully approached the crossing he was shot by an ISIS sniper hunting for fleeing refugees. He knew his life was over and wondered about the dream.
It so happened that the pastor I was meeting with this week had organized a few teams of pastors and willing church members to stretch out along the border at strategic points and hide in the darkness hoping to assist anyone who need help to get across. One of the pastors saw this man as he was shot and crawled across the border to reach him and drag him back across to safety. The wounded ISIS soldier was taken to a safe house and given medical aid and over the next 3 weeks was nursed back to health before being moved to another location. Each day as he was being taken care of he would ask why he was being helped and the answer he received was because they were Christians and that Jesus told them to love their enemies and do good to those who persecute you.
After recovering this man could no longer bear up under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the prayers which were continually going forth over him for his health and recovery and he asked if he too could become a Christian. He was led in the sinner’s prayer and became a Believer in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the World. His life changed …
A few days went by and this newly converted Believer was being discipled and taught the Word of God in the systematic classes provided by the newly formed Syrian house Church in the city where he had been moved, not far from the border. He came to the pastor I met with this week and asked a serious question. He wanted to know if he could truly be forgiven for his sins and the horrible things he had done against others. When the pastor told him yes and began to encourage him, the young man wanted to share his testimony by way of making a full confession of his sins.
As the pastor listened to him, having heard the same stories from so many others like him who have converted to Christianity in the recent months, the young man produced his phone and showed some pictures and videos which he had taken of the brutal beatings of Christians. While the pastor comforted the new convert and ensured him that God had forgiven him, he realized that these videos might one day be used to help the cause of those who continue to suffer persecution and execution in the current conflict ongoing in this region. As well, it is hoped that the world will see and respond to the terrible atrocities being perpetrated against Christians.
Revelation 3:22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
The Bible records Jesus saying this 7 times, each time Jesus is specifically talking directly to Christians in a difficult place in a difficult time and notably, each and every time Jesus speaks these words, He is addressing Christians who are living inside the country of Turkey and specifically those areas facing growing threats from ISIS today.
Well, what is the Spirit saying to the Church? There is a great harvest of souls coming to the earth in these days the likes of which the world has never seen.
We must consider bold, Holy Spirit led mass evangelism as the answer to the current world need. We must prepare ourselves and prepare others. While people will be coming to Christ all over the world they will also be coming to Jesus in our world. The harvest is plentiful, only the laborers are few. How can you become a laborer? What is there for you to do?
in the Church for this world harvest plan to have its greatest success.
Everyone is called ‘to go’ on some level even if only called to go next door or to work or school, to the hospital or nursing home, to support a local evangelistic outreach or a sidewalk Sunday school - Therefore everyone needs to be prepared.
This morning I want to close by helping prepare you to lead someone to Christ. God will make their heart ready. All you will need to do is to make a clear presentation of the Gospel. How can you make that clear presentation? Glad you asked! Here is an easy, simple, and well proven way – it is called:
The Roman Road to Salvation
Take your Bible or the note pad in your phone, Ipad, or computer – or if necessary just write it down on the back of a piece of paper for the moment and transfer it to your phone or Bible later. Ready:
1. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
2. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. Romans 10:13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
The whole world is experiencing trouble and God is ramping up the Church for a dynamic harvest of souls.
In the current increased persecution of Christians in China, the underground Church of China is seeing an unprecedented 29,000 people being born again each day. God will not be outdone!
Where sin does abound, grace does much more abound.
Two Sundays from now I have invited a pastor and friend from Pakistan, another country dealing with the problems of terrorism and radical ideology, to share a few words with us during our second service.
As well, I want to thank you on behalf of those persecuted and displaced brothers and sisters in Christ from Syria and Iraq who are now living as refugees in Jordan and Turkey. You helped them greatly this week with so many of their immediate needs including safe housing, food, medical and pastoral attention for those recovering from being shot, beaten, raped, and horribly traumatized by the ongoing deeds of a world gone mad. They asked only for your prayers for them, their families, and especially for the souls of their persecutors.
May God bless these courageous saints, protect them, encourage them, and meet their every need, and may their persecutors come to know the saving grace of our Lord and Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.