"The secret to Revival"
Hebrews 12:1. A great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Each of these men have handed us the torch to run the race for God Himself. They are cheering us on to run with endurance, letting nothing hold us or keep us from the goal. We know the witnesses they're talking about is Hebrews 11. Abraham, Moses, David, SAMSON'S EVEN IN THERE (thank God for His mercies!), Samuel, and a host of others. These guys were not superheros. They were ordinary men like us. James 5:17 even talks of Elijah as a man of like passions as we are. Acts 14, after performing miracles before the men of Lystra, Paul rebukes them for worshiping him by saying "Guys, what are you nuts! We're humans like you are! Quit it". So even Paul is telling us, I'm just a human like everyone else. Yet what was the secret to their walk with God? How did these men and women subdue kingdoms, close the mouths of lions, obtain promises, escape the sword, go from weakness to strength, receive the dead back, etc etc. How did the others go through torture, imprisonment, chains, wanderings, afflictions, mockings, etc.? They knew their God! Yes it was faith, but what is faith but an inner knowing that your covenant God is faithful. How do you trust but by getting to knowledge in the One you trust? John 17:3 "This is eternal life that they may KNOW You, the only true God.." Eternal life is not just something you get at an altar call. It is the beginning of entering into a life of knowing the Maker of heaven and earth. These men in Hebrews 11 knew Him. They heard His voice, they walked with Him and they saw Him move on their behalf. Many of them saw the glory of God more than anyone in history. And Jesus makes the emphasis in Matthew 13 that the prophets of old desire what WE have TODAY. What is it we have? The New Covenant walk with Christ. We have the glory of God within us instead of a cloud or an ark. What is the very weapon of Satan but to stop knowing Christ and trusting Him? And all these men testify that their God is faithful and they made it to the end. That is what Hebrews 12:1 teaches us. Because these guys made, you can make it! In fact we have an even stronger reason to know we'll make it - Jesus lives and moves within our very being. But verse 2 tells us the goal in doing so, "looking unto JESUS" Not looking unto the saints of old, for they are just examples of people who looked to Jesus. The problem today in much of the modern day church is we worship men who are dust and vapor like we are. We praise them, build artifacts to them, and get so caught up in the past we forget the God of TODAY. The only reason they are what they are is Jesus. He is the Source of life and strength to every man. We must learn from history. Israel's biggest mistake in Old Testament was idol worship, which literally means image worship. We have many images all over in America today - pastors, singers, musicians, churches, buildings, etc. Eph 5:3 tells us covetousness (the desire for more) is idolatry. This is what Satan has used to deceive much of the modern day church because the moment our eyes and hearts are gazed on Jesus, it's over for his kingdom! Once we are set ablaze with a single eye for Christ, for His glory and for the life to come, it will spread like wildfire. That was the secret of the early church. We're not called to be a Moses or an Elijah or an Apostle Paul. We're called to be who God has made us to be, yet totally sold out to Jesus. Run the race! Fix your eyes on Jesus! Remember we are just passing through this life. It's a vapor, a shadow, a fading flower. It will come and go in no time. It will be worth it in the end. Runners running for the olympics train day and night for that big day. They go through strict discipline and beat their body into subjection for the race. How much more us for eternal life?