Wake Up and Get Ready
Summary: A new Great Awakening already is beginning and spiritual activity is escalating, as is the conflict between the godly and ungodly kingdoms.
American society is increasingly polarized and opposition to Christianity and biblical values is growing. Christian organizations are being accused of hatred and intolerance, and considered terrorist threats. LGBT groups are increasingly hostile to Christian values. They’re pressing for revocation of tax exempt status for any group (such as Boy Scouts of America) that adheres to such values, pushing for sexual tolerance and training in schools. There’s pressure to remove all traces of Christianity from culture, including public prayers, crosses and names of holidays.
Many church denominations are abandoning fundamental doctrines, compromising the gospel and drifting with the secular tide. Many Christians are indistinguishable from non-Christians and have reduced their relationship with God to a religious routine — cultural Christianity. The number of Christians who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God is declining. As a result of gradual and continuous compromise, Christians are thinking like the world and embracing cultural changes.
Now, in an era of widespread spiritual weakness and indifference among Christians, our spiritual enemy is pressing the offensive and oppressing anyone who stands for God. We won’t appease him by making small concessions; instead, we must set boundaries and not compromise. Satan’s strategy is to wipe out every vestige of the body of Christ and claim sole possession of the earth. But there’s light on the horizon.
America experienced two Great Awakenings, in early 1700s and early 1800s. In both cases, the church had become spiritually asleep and ineffective, but God moved on ordinary people who cried out to him for a transformation. He honored their prayers by helping them purify themselves and giving them opportunities to present the powerful truth of the gospel to those who desperately needed it. A few of those people became well-known for their preaching, teaching, music or the churches and ministries they started. But there were thousands of people actively engaged in the awakenings whose names weren’t recorded in our history. They were ordinary people like you and me.
Another Awakening is beginning now in ordinary people scattered across our nation and around the world, and it will grow into a major spiritual movement. Expect it to be greater in size and impact than previous awakenings and even the great movements of the twentieth century, because this will be the last “big push” before the Lord returns.
The gospel is a message to individuals and it changes individual lives. Even when large crowds turn to the Lord, the repentant crowd is merely a collection of individuals who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Even when God uses a group of people, the group is effective because each person chooses to participate.
God always works with us one-on-one and it’s always his intent to work through every believer, not a select few. It’s his Spirit within us who does the work, provides the direction and produces the results. There will be few “big names” in the new Awakening because God’s focus will be on ordinary people influencing their worlds in everyday life.
The new Great Awakening already is beginning and spiritual activity is escalating among both the godly and ungodly, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The conflict between the kingdoms is increasing rapidly and openly; “open” in the sense that everyone will be aware of it and involved. This is a spiritual conflict, not intellectual, physical, social or political, though it will affect all these realms and more.
There are perilous times ahead. The spiritual war will escalate rapidly and there will be open conflicts in the streets; not with guns or brute physical force, but authority opposed to rebellion, true power opposed to hostility. The ungodly will demand politically correct “tolerance” and viciously attack those who stand true to their convictions, especially biblical convictions of a righteous God, absolute truth and the contrast between good and evil.
A great persecution will arise unlike anything in recent American history. It will be as intense as the conflict related to slavery, but it will affect every people group because it will be a spiritual conflict. It’ll become evident in every aspect of our society and culture. Civil discussions will become impossible in areas where powers of darkness have the greatest influence. Even the public media will reflect hostility toward Christians — news reporting, music, the Internet, commercial advertisements and more. The evil assaults will take some lives, destroy property and demand acceptance of the vilest forms of evil. The protests of the 1960s and 1970s will seem tame in comparison. We’ll see open hostility to every form of morality and righteousness, a demonically-inspired revulsion against God and his people. The dark side will be hostile and use every evil tactic to belittle the saints and try to destroy their influence, but God’s people will turn from the world’s ways and be victorious.
God will use the enemy’s worst efforts to produce the best results in the saints. They’ll be repulsed by sin and all of its expressions, and will turn to God with all their hearts. Even the spiritually immature saints will engage in the conflict and will grow stronger and more mature. They’ll identify unrighteousness and its results in every part of society. They’ll grow in authority and use it to take down the principalities and powers of evil. Even those who seem least likely will be victorious over sin in their lives and the culture around them. Entire regions of righteousness will develop in our nation, just as there will be regions of absolute depravity. In most areas, however, spiritual conflict will be continuous as citizens of the two kingdoms interact in their normal daily activities.
The contrast between the kingdoms will be evident everywhere, and it’ll be obvious to everyone who belongs to each kingdom, because each will be like his Father. There will no longer be any uncommitted, non-spiritual people.
The nation’s destiny is now sealed, but individual believers will rise to spiritual greatness by serving people who are desperate and sharing the kingdom with those who are receptive. There will be a spiritual swell of righteousness — a spiritual revival — followed by a nationwide plunge into depravity as the wicked become even more so. People will plunge into every form of depravity they can imagine. Violence, abuse, perversion and every form of evil will seem to be out of control. But God’s people will revolt against evil in their own lives and yearn for righteousness. They’ll become like God the Father and the world will hate them.
American society will become increasingly dangerous. But the best days are still ahead for the true church, those of us who center our lives on God and serve him with our entire being. We’ll see him in operation as we’ve always wanted. Miracles will become commonplace and the extraordinary will become typical among believers. God is about to do a new thing, which will include miracles that have never been seen before throughout human history. We’ll do even greater things than Jesus did because he’s with the Father interceding in our behalf.
We will share our material goods to help others and God will multiply what we have. We’ll be filled with absolute joy as we give away our possessions and food and other necessities. When circumstances deteriorate and God’s blessings increase, scriptures we’ve known for years but never taken seriously will suddenly come alive. We’ll absolutely flourish in the gifts and abilities God gave us and fulfill our destinies in every glorious detail. Those who understand these things and turn to him, not holding anything back, will discover the utter greatness of who he is and what he’ll do through them.
There is nothing passive about God’s kingdom and passivity isn’t a valued trait. Scripture refers to the “zeal of the Lord” because he’s intensely passionate about righteousness and restoring his people. He’s developing his nature in us and we will discover his zeal as we become zealous far beyond what we think is possible. As we see the depths of perversion and corruption sin produces, we’ll embrace holiness with an intensity that will astound even the angels around God’s throne. When we see the full reality of sin, we’ll adamantly reject it because we’ve experienced him. We’ll see the sheer danger and foolishness of flirting with sin. We’ll praise him for his grace that brought us out of its destruction.
Passivism is the result of spiritual slumber or dullness. As people become more aware of God and begin seeing the spiritual pollution in society, they will have to embrace either godliness or godlessness. Spiritual passivity and neutrality will no longer be possible.
Maybe these things terrify you because you believe you could never survive such conditions. In reality, none of us could on our own. But God placed his Holy Spirit within us to teach us, develop us, equip us, lead us and produce the results we need. If we properly prepare ourselves and rely on our heavenly Father and his Spirit within us, we cannot fail. The Holy Spirit will show us what to do and it likely will include the following.
We must read the Bible regularly and ask God to teach us how it applies to our lives. We must realize the world system thinks the opposite of what God does and is hostile toward him, and that we have thought like the world long enough. As we read the Bible, we can expect to discover changes we need to make in the way we think — including our attitudes, values, standards and priorities. We should consciously and deliberately conform our thinking to what scripture says, which is the essence of repentance.
We must realize that Jesus became human to die in our place for our sins, making it possible for us to become God’s children. We should acknowledge God as our loving Father and decide to trust his love for us. We can invite him to use us any way he chooses.
We should learn to humble ourselves and love people the way God loves them. We can choose to associate with Christians who want to serve God and be alert to the negative impact non-Christians and worldly Christians have on us.
This isn’t impossible. It’s what God wants because it’s the best for us and he’ll produce the results if we’ll make the effort.
We have nothing to be afraid of, because Jesus won the battle on the cross. The enemy will viciously attack us, but he’s already defeated and is desperately trying to regain control. God’s only allowing him to demonstrate the destructiveness of sin and the need for righteous judgment.
To some it may appear Satan is winning, but Jesus has already defeated him and will arrive on the scene to totally impose the victory. Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Premier of all authorities. He did it all and will soon declare it all. No one can effectively challenge or dispute him.
Even those who have declared their right to live as they please will kneel before him and confess he is Lord. Everyone who demands the freedom to indulge in evil will acknowledge righteousness is the only acceptable option. They will experience the eternal torment designed for Satan and his angels, knowing their sentence is right and the result of their own free choices.
Until then, we must strive to persuade people with the good news that Jesus died for them and they still have time to receive the gift of salvation. We’ll become mighty activists declaring the freedom of righteousness versus the bondage of sin.