During worship Sunday, I saw a map of the United States covered with random dark and light spots and the parable of the lost son came to mind.
Then He [Jesus] said:” A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. ‘ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
” But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ‘
” And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son. ‘
” But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. ‘ And they began to be merry.
” Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf. ‘
” But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him. ‘
” And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found. ‘”
– Luke 15:11-32
The dark patches in the map are like the prodigal son, the lost, while the light patches are the older son, the saved. The word is about a great revival that I believe is coming soon, when the Holy Spirit will move in unprecedented way bringing many who are now lost into the Kingdom. Many believers now feel a great expectancy, a great longing for His coming that will soon bear fruit. The body is with child, and the child is revival.
I saw the map zoom in, gradually revealing within each spot more light and dark spots, and within each of those, more spots, and I realized that the real significance of the word was at the level of the individual. I was struck by the glory of how a move so wide in scope would play out uniquely in each individual impacted and saved by it.
A time is coming when fire will come to the dark places, an outpouring of the Spirit, bringing many to salvation, the prodigal coming home to the father. God will save many, and just as in the parable, He will seem to favor the new believers, blessing them beyond what the existing church has received.
And the question arose: How will the existing church respond? The question came with a warning. If we hold judgments against the lost, if we hold any belief that we are somehow more loved than the lost, more spiritually aware or in any way more important to the Lord than the lost, we will to that extent respond to the coming awakening with jealousy, criticism and opposition. We will be in danger of resisting the work of the Lord.
During the sermon, pastor Darren read from Hebrews 11. And as I was still dwelling on what I had received, verse 39 struck me, in that these Old Testament saints had the kind of faith to be willing to work for blessings that were to be received by others and not themselves.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
– Heb 11:39-40
There is no seniority in the Kingdom. The first will be last and the last will be first.
The sense I had was that now is the time to deal with judgments that will lead us to oppose Him in the coming harvest. We need to be ready to decrease while others increase.
The warning this word represents seemed to me profoundly important. It came with an urgency that I believe needs to be heeded and shared. So I plan to pray about my own heart, and I will ask Him for the grace to work for Him without reward or recognition, for the sake of others. I know it’s not in me apart from His grace.
If we submit to Him, He will be with us wherever we go.
- December 28, 2014