“There is a fire coming. Already its flames are seen flickering on the horizon. There is a fire coming – the alarm is sounding and the cry is going forth! There is something different about this fire. It is unlike any fire ever encountered before. There is nothing in our fire-fighting arsenal with which we can stop or quench this blaze!
No fire department can stop it! No amount of water or chemical solvent will put this fire out! It is an all-consuming fire. Nothing can or will stand in its way! Its flames bring men to their knees in terror.
It is the fire of God come to bring judgment and revival! Judgment is coming upon those who will not heed His voice and turn from their wicked self-seeking destructive ways. Revival to those who, with sincere hearts, will turn to God with all that is within them, forsaking the world and all that it has to offer!
It is a purifying fire, testing, cleansing and shaping the hearts and lives of those that are called to be the Bride of Christ.”
Cryptic words? Perhaps, and yet we are seeing the judgment of God already at work within the Church.
Today we are seeing churches rise and fall at a staggering rate. We have seen more church splits in the past ten years than we have seen in the previous hundred years. We are seeing confusion abound in the Body of Christ and men and women of God scrambling to find the answer to all the problems they are facing.
We are seeing, as never before, a mixed gospel message being preached from the pulpits bringing a dulling of the senses to the masses. Divorce and carnality abound in most churches today, with a pampering of the flesh the main theology of many of our shepherds.
These things are a sign-post in the ever increasing prophetic picture of the end of this age. And yet for all that, God is on the scene and at work within us. He is bringing the Body of Christ to a place of maturity in Him that has seldom been experienced before.
Is it any wonder that the enemy of our souls would be trying everything in his arsenal to thwart what the Holy Spirit is doing within the church? Believe me, the enemy of the Gospel will not give up without a struggle!
Sensing that his demise is at hand Satan is on the rampage. Suicide, murder, abortion, wars, disease, drugs, divorce, anger, self-centeredness, pornography to name but a few of his schemes, are all on the increase. He is determined to destroy as many as he can before the return of Jesus Christ.
This is not a time for the body of Christ to despair, but instead to dig in, to entrench itself in the Word of God and the Love of God. At the appointed time, the “Captain of the Host” will give us all our marching orders and we will move forward to defeat the enemy we are facing. Until that moment, we are being groomed and trained so that we become transformed into the image of Christ.
The Spirit of God is coming back for a Bride that is without spot and without blemish. The perfecting or maturing of our faith is being accomplished in us as we acknowledge and submit to the correction and the admonition of the LORD. We will be a Holy people! We must be if we are to be positioned to enter in to this next season of God!
It is time for the people of God to submit to the chastening of our Heavenly Father that we might be changed into His image. The people of God have an imperative from the throne; we are to be a separate people, Holy as He is holy. The LORD is wooing us and calling us to become a separated people. We have a choice to make in this day and this hour.
Are we going to heed the voice of the Spirit, or are we going to continue on in our own self-seeking ways?
Church, we can no longer flirt with the things of this world! We must walk by the standard that the Word of God sets for us. We are to be holy! How do we become a people that are separate and holy?
- How do we become the Bride of Christ that we’ve been called to be?
- What steps or measures are required to develop in the grace and knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ?
- How do we walk in the Glory as He walks in the Glory?
The answer to all of these questions is a simple as it is profound; Jesus Christ, our sacrificial lamb came to restore us to relationship with God the Father. Our focus in this day and this hour must be on abiding in Him.
We must come to know Him as never before. This last day’s church is only going to overcome through that abiding relationship. Many today are sensing the call of the Spirit to a deeper relationship with the LORD.
Our hearts yearn and cry out for intimacy, little realizing that true communion with the LORD is achieved only through diligence and determination. It is one thing for me to say that I want to know Him; it is quite another to walk out that desire in a practical way.
As the Spirit of God woos us we must of necessity respond in some manner. then should we respond to the calling of the Spirit of the LORD to press in? The answer is found in a familiar parable of Christ in Mathew 13.
Here we find a man finding a pearl of great price. Pearls were considered by ancients to be among the most precious of gems and were highly esteemed ornaments.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it,” Matthew 13:45-46.
The greatest treasure one will ever obtain in this life is an abiding relationship with the Father. When we come to understand that relationship with God is the most precious thing that this life has to offer we are on our way to becoming acquainted with the LORD.
I am not just talking about salvation. Salvation is something Jesus purchased for us on the cross two thousand years ago. No, I am talking about an experience subsequent to salvation, that of truly knowing Him.
Those who heed the call of the Spirit of God in this day and this hour must be willing to lay down everything else that is dear to them in this life. This relationship that the Spirit is calling us to is so far removed from what most of us have experienced before that it will become the most exciting and transforming walk we could ever have imagined.
To have an intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe; to walk with Him and talk with Him face to face; to know His heart and to have His perspective; to dwell with Him in the Holy of Holies. This is the call of the Spirit today.
This is what awaits those who will choose to know Him. But friends, we must make a choice. I’ve heard it said and I well believe it that as we make the choice, He’ll make the change.
To know Jesus and to become like Him is not something that happens by chance. It is a choice we make, a decision based upon an informed concept of who He is and what He is calling us to.
We have a part to play in the transforming process. We make the choice to be transformed and changed and the LORD brings about that change in us by our being obedient to correction and transforming power of His Spirit.
We are His bride in the making. The Bride Is To Make Herself Ready In what way is the Bride to make herself ready? In the following scriptures we will look at a different aspect of our “bride-ship,” one most of us have never been aware of and yet one of the most important aspects of that “bride-ship.”
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints,”Revelation 19:7-9.
“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and He saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then the king said to His servants, bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen,”Matthew 22:11-14.
An interesting fact about scripture is that the called are always referred to as saved people. The very word translated church means the called out ones. If you were to look up the references concerning called, calling, call, etc., you will find they refer to saved people.
We must also understand that there is a difference between the divine nature and Christian character. The divine nature of which we are partakers (2 Peter 1:4), the new creation, salvation, or new life that experience of salvation, is a free gift.
“For God so loved the world that He gave,”John 3:16.
We become recipients of the new life and new nature by faith in the finished work of Christ for us. We become babes in Christ by a new birth – a gift of God. We neither merit it nor can we earn it.
We receive it as a token of His love, grace and mercy. Because this new life is not fully developed in the individual, we are called babes in Christ, and we must grow up in Him.
The untold possibilities latent in the new creation are too vast to cover completely in this book. We must understand that it is the desire of the Holy Spirit to develop within us the personality and life of Jesus, transforming each individual into a unique representation of Christ.
It is for this reason He has baptized us in the Spirit and introduced us more fully into the life of the Spirit, that by His ministry and our cooperation He can lead the yielded heart into fuller and deeper revelation of Christ and His purposes. The desire of God and the purpose of salvation are not merely to get a person saved and land them in heaven.
Man’s salvation is not unto heaven. That is given to us as a place after death.
Salvation is unto conformity to God, His image and His likeness. Understand, Heaven is a condition before it is a location!
Even if you consider heaven in purely material terms, as golden streets and mansions, etc., your power to enjoy, understand, and correctly fellowship there is first determined by condition. The disciples were very concerned about a material kingdom, which will eventually come, but Christ corrected them and placed emphasis where it belonged, then as well as now.
“The Kingdom of God is within you,” Luke 17:21.
Heaven is never spoken of as the goal of the Christian life; instead, the goal is perfection of Christian character, and it is clearly taught by Christ.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,”Matthew 5:48.
The work of the Spirit of God today is the conforming, moulding, and shaping of the individual into the likeness and image of God.
He is after Christian character!
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestine to be conformed to the image of His Son,”Romans 8:9.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the LORD, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD,”2 Corinthians 3:18.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, (new birth, salvation) and it doth not yet appear what we shall be…. (The fuller development and growth of character)” 1 John 3:2.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” Ephesians 4:13.
Here is where many Christians fail and lose sight of their objective by becoming so enamored of the process and or mechanism of trying to obtain this fullness. They become absorbed in the process and seemingly rest there and are defeated, not because they did not “do” but they did not relate the “do” with the objective. And what is the objective?
Christian character! We must realize right now; Christian character is never given as a gift! It is a process.
Righteousness is imputed to us upon the basis of His redemptive work, but never Christian Character – this is a product of training, overcoming, discipline, trial, hardship, brokenness and intensive spiritual living.
None of us can ever work to earn our salvation, but we can apply ourselves and learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the forming and building of Christ-like character. The LORD keeps the goal of Christ-like character in mind even when we fail to do so, and He leads us through a thousand experiences to develop in us a manifestation of His life.
Conformity to Christ is the purpose of every test and trial in our lives. It is not, as some would have you believe, because God is angry with you.
No, God is for you and He loves you with an everlasting love. He is for you no matter where you might find yourself at this present moment. We cannot earn salvation; but by His grace we can overcome so we can become Christ-like in life and character.
As we progress, let us keep this distinction in mind and not deceive ourselves by thinking that because we have had certain genuine experiences, such as salvation, the Baptism in the Spirit, etc., that any one or all can in themselves give us character.
These are but a series of experiences through which the Holy Spirit leads each hungry heart in its quest for truth. These experiences are open doors through which we pass.
We must surrender to the purpose of each crisis – yield to the Holy Spirit and be taught and walk in the Spirit that we might possess our inheritance, which is Christ-like character.
For His glory,
~ Bruce Allen
Dr. Bruce Allen, is the founder of Still Waters International Ministries, PO Box 1001 Chewelah WA, 99109 United States. It is Bruce’s passion to see the Body of Christ awaken to their destiny in this hour by equipping them to hear God’s voice and access the reality of the supernatural in every day life.