Pastor Jim Sanderbeck
March 29, 2022
Greek Word = Egiro (Eg – i´ – ro)
Definition: to waken, arouse, lift up, rise, take up
Over the past 3 months particularly, Holy Spirit has released upon me a burden for those church communities who are without a pastor, for Christians who have not stepped under the government of God and are without spiritual covering, and for those individual Christians lacking in the zeal necessary for them to rise above the great concerns we face in the spiritual realm and natural world today. I feel like Nehemiah and I come into agreement with his prayer for this critical season.
Neh 1:3 They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.” 4) When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (NASB)
Churches in the US are closing at alarming rates and attendance is diminishing to the degree that sustaining properties is not feasible. Only 47% of professing Christians regularly attend church. [Gallup – March 2021] I have seen those who profess Christ as the savior of their souls but have lifeless eyes and countenances of fear and despair. There is a tremendous lack of Biblical foundation in the lives of many Christians and the understanding and operational power of the Holy Spirit is not at all observable in most. I have seen the lack of worship, prayer, discipline and study that should make up the daily life of every believer. The Body of Christ is much like those crumbled walls and burned gates. About this, I ask myself and I ask God “why is that? How can it be?” It seems to me that the church needs awakened, and in the awakening, transformed into the church that Jesus promised to build.
Matt. 18….. And this truth of who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church—my legislative assembly, and the power of death will not be able to overpower it! (TPT Bible)
I believe there are many reasons for this dilapidated condition—none of which is acceptable to God. For the most part, it reduces down to 2 glaring concerns and I am going to choose my vocabulary very carefully. 1.) The individual believer has not taken personal responsibility for pursuing those things that bring them past the salvation experience of eternal life through Jesus Christ to pursue the experience of the fulness of life in Christ. To put it simply: Jesus may be Savior, but He is not Lord. 2.) The institutional church has not done an adequate job to disciple the believers who have been entrusted to them by God for the nurturing of their spiritual development. Again, simply put: The institutional church has built on its buildings, programs and traditions (I.e. religion) and missed the foundational truth of bringing life to people through Jesus (I.e. relationship).
Having said that, there is no productive reason, at this point in the timeline of world current events, to “cry over spilled milk.” We are directed in Romans 13:11,14 & 14:1 to let past practices go and live loving others.
Rom 13:11 To live like this [loving others as yourself] is all the more urgent, for time is running out and you know it is a strategic hour in human history. It is time for us to wake up! For our full salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Rom 13:14 Instead fully immerse yourselves into the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, and don’t waste even a moment’s thought on your former identity to awaken its selfish desires.
Rom 14:1 Offer an open hand of fellowship to welcome every true believer, even though their faith may be weak and immature. And refuse to engage in debates with them concerning nothing more than opinions. (TPT)
The Scriptures are very clear about God’s discipline for failed leadership responsibilities. The Scriptures are very clear that it is our responsibility to grow in spiritual matters so that we are able to disciple ourselves and others to maturity in Christ. Therefore, the greater concern currently is for us to discern where we are on God’s timeline, and inquire of God how we are to adjust and advance.
STEP 1: The core of what I believe is at least one current directive from heaven—IT IS TIME TO AWAKEN. Jesus, speaking about the time between His absence and His return, taught this parable:
Mar 13:34 “It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert.
Mar 13:35 “Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—
Mar 13:36 in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep.
Mar 13:37 “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!'” (NASB)
Without an awakening, the promises that can assist both the believer and the non-believer in dealing with the fears, temptations and intimidations of the hour will elude you altogether. Personally, I believe the Great Awakening (as some call it) has already begun. Oh, you don’t read or hear about it from the deceptive media of today. But, if you look deeper and beyond the news outlets, you will learn about the tens of thousands internationally who are running to the altars of salvation accompanied by water and Spirit baptisms. Without looking deeper, you will miss the incredible displays of the healing and delivering power of God that is changing the conditions of many who are crying out in need—yes, here, now, in the USA. Surprised?
My passion and compassion for those who are slumbering in this hour is similar to the compassion that Jesus demonstrated as He lamented over Jerusalem (Luke 13:34-35 & 19:43-44). My passion for those who are spiritually ill-equipped for life today is like that of Nehemiah who passionately lamented over Jerusalem and, in spite of evil opposition, acted to rebuild the broken-down walls and gates of the city.
Neh 2:13 So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon’s Well and on to the Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire.
Neh 2:17 Then I said to them,[the Jewish officials] “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” 18 I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work.
Neh 2:20 So I answered them and said to them, [those enemies who didn’t want the walls rebuilt] “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.” (NASB)
If you are in a place where there is no spiritual life and that is something you are craving, you have 2 choices: WAKE UP & 1.) change the environment or 2.) leave that dessert and find an oasis. If you are in a position to bring about change that will provide life and vitality to the spiritual community you attend in this hour of unrighteous social and political conduct, please do so quickly. Draw upon every resource you have. If you are not able to bring the change or if you are feeling oppressed, confused and empty, fearful or lost, then quickly find an oasis where, like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4: 1-45), you can get water that springs up to give eternal life. This is not a season to waste time where traditions nullify God’s power and presence. I encourage everyone to give up the lethargy of spiritual stagnation and get to a place of freshness and vitality that can provide you with the release you need. It is time to AWAKEN!!