In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, heaven and earth were together. Earth was a beautiful garden where God and humans existed together. Then sin entered the picture. Because Adam and Eve decided they wanted to do things their own way rather than following God’s instructions, heaven and earth were separated. This was not a surprise to God. God knew this would happen. God designed humans in a way that requires us to learn to trust God. All of history, since the Garden of Eden, has been designed by God as a teaching tool to help us understand the importance of trusting God. This enormous learning experience will end when Jesus returns and heaven and earth are once again united.
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” Revelation 21:1 (NIV)
The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly when this will happen. We do know that we need to prepare for this event by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. By placing our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are granted eternal life in the new heaven and earth. Those of us who are followers of Jesus are waiting patiently for His return. As we wait, we continue to follow His command to love one another and to spread the gospel message around the world. But is that all there is for us to do? Or is there something more that Jesus is waiting for? Are we waiting for Jesus to return or is He waiting for us to complete our mission?
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
The world we live in has so disguised the gospel message there are still many who do not believe. There are many who have not yet “come to repentance.” Is Jesus waiting for a great revival where millions turn to Him for salvation? If so, how might that come about? We are in a battle here in this world for the hearts of “everyone.” Our enemy has become so sophisticated, our efforts to overcome his distraction have grown weak and ineffective.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
I believe revival is possible when we all stand together against the “powers of this dark world.” But we can’t go into battle without first being properly equipped. We need tools and strategies that will work in today’s world. Handing out Bible tracts and knocking on people’s doors is not going to bring revival in today’s world. We need church leaders who are dedicated to a bold vision to overcome the deception of the enemy.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)
Jesus wants your church to “equip his people for works of service.” Is your church doing that or are you just there to worship God? Revival can come when we all get equipped and go to work serving others. Churches need to do a better job equipping and providing opportunities to serve – not opportunities to serve at church – but opportunities to serve unbelievers so that they may come to know Christ. When the Christian church as a whole focuses on equipping and serving on a grand scale – that’s when revival will take hold.
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