“Before I travelled to the West I had absolutely no idea that so many churches were spiritually asleep. I presumed the Western church was strong and vibrant because it had brought the gospel to my country with such incredible faith and tenacity. Many missionaries had shown a powerful example to us by laying down their lives for the sake of Jesus.
On some occasions I’ve struggled while speaking in Western churches. There seems to be something missing that leaves me feeling terrible inside. Many meetings are cold and lack the fire and presence of God that we have in China. in the West many Christians have an abundance of material possessions, yet they live in a backslidden state. they have silver and gold, but they don’t rise up and walk in Jesus’ name. In China we have no possessions to hold us down, so there’s nothing preventing us from moving out for the Lord. The Chinese church is like Peter at the Beautiful Gate. When he saw the crippled beggar he said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!’ Acts 3:6.
In a similar way, I pray that God might use the Chinese church to help the Western church rise up and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s almost impossible for the church in China to go to sleep in its present situation. There’s always something to keep us on the run, and its very difficult to sleep while you’re running. If persecution stops, I fear we’ll become complacent and fall asleep.
When I’m in the West I see all the mighty church buildings and all the expensive equipment, plush carpets and state-of-the-art sound systems. I can assure the Western church with absolute certainty that you don’t need any more church buildings. Church buildings will never bring the revival you seek… Jesus truly stated, ‘A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ Luke 12:15
The first thing needed for revival to return to your churches is the Word of the Lord. God’s Word is missing. Sure, there are many preachers and thousands of tapes and videos of Bible teaching, but so little contains the sharp truth of God’s Word. It’s the truth that will set you free. Not only is knowledge of God’s word missing, but obedience to that Word. There’s not much action taking place. You can never really know the Scriptures until you’re willing to be changed by them.
All genuine revivals of the Lord result in believers responding with action and soul winning. When God truly moves in your heart you cannot remain silent. There will be a fire in your bones, like Jeremiah, who said, “His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
Furthermore, it’s only when we step out in obedience and share the gospel with people that we come to know God’s blessing in every area of our lives. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote to his co-worker Philemon, ‘I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.’ Philemon v.6.
Multitudes of church members in the West are satisfied with giving their minimum to God, not their maximum. I’ve watched men and women during offering time in church. They open their fat wallets and search for the smallest amount they can give. This type of attitude will never do! Jesus gave His whole life for us, and we give as little of our lives, time, and money as we can back to God. What a disgrace! Repent!
Just because you have a church building doesn’t necessarily mean Jesus is with you. He is not welcome in many churches today. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus said, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.’ Often this verse is used as an invitation for salvation, but actually the context Jesus was speaking in was very different. He was standing outside the door of the church in Laodicea, knocking to get in!
Of course, not all Western churches are asleep! Of all the strong churches I have visited in the West I’ve noticed one thing they all have in common: a strong and sacrificial commitment to missions among unreached nations. I’m not talking just about local outreach, or even attempts to start churches in other cities in your nation. I’m talking about a heart to establish God’s kingdom in the most gospel starved and spiritually dark areas of the world, where nobody has ever heard the name of Jesus.
The Great Commission has not changed. There are many churches trying to create a heaven here on earth, but until the Western church obeys the Great Commission and takes the gospel to the ends of the earth, people are just playing with God and are not really serious about the truth. Many churches look beautiful on the outside, but are dead where it counts, on the inside. If you truly want to see God move, the two main things you must do is learn the Word of God and have the obedience to do what God tells you to do… If you do these things you will see revival. Are you willing to give your all to God and to his service? ‘Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.’ Daniel 12:3
Many Christians have also asked me why miracles and signs and wonders are so prevalent in China, but not so evident in the West. In the West you have so much. You have insurance for everything. In a way, you don’t need God. When my father was dying of stomach cancer, we sold everything we had to try to cure him. When everything was gone we had no hope but God. We turned to Him in desperation and saw Him mercifully answer our prayers and heal my father. We reasoned that if God could do that then he could do anything, so our faith grew and we’ve seen many miracles.
In China, the greatest miracles we see are not the healings or other things, but lives transformed by the gospel. We believe we’re not called to follow signs and wonders but instead the signs and wonders follow us when the gospel is preached. We don’t keep our eyes on the signs and wonders; we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. (John 6:29-33)
Every house church pastor in China is ready to lay down his life for the gospel. When we live this way, we’ll see God do great things by His grace.”
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon