The following is the transcript of the last part of a three part message delivered at the European Vineyard pastors conference in 1998.

REVIVAL

So this brings me to how one understands revivals.

    Revivals are simply breakthroughs of the power of the future world into the present. They are eschatological events. They are times when the end of the age draws near. Now this is a little bit of a strange one. But what that means is that periods in between revivals are periods where the nearness of the powers of the age to come have receded. So instead of seeing the relationship between this age and the next age purely chronologically we need to understand the relationship much more existentially.

    And that is why revivals always produce Adventism. People living in revivals are convinced they are the last generation. They are convinced the Second Coming is going to happen in a few weeks or a few months or a few years. The Irvingites believed that. The early Pentecostals believed that. And if you moved around some of the people around Paul Cain and this latest understanding of this current move of the Holy Spirit, you hear people saying "This is the last great move of the Holy Spirit". Every time there is a revival the end of the age draws near and there is a sense of immediacy that it is here, that it is hanging over us.

    Now, their revelation is correct. But their language is wrong. Because the nearness of the end of the world can recede again after that. I think what may be correct is that as we go forward chronologically towards the final day when it is going to happen, perhaps the frequency of the invasions go up. So I do think the twentieth century has seen shorter gaps between outpourings of the Holy Spirit in previous centuries. I think the graph is going up like this (he demonstrates). I don't see anything in Scripture to say that, but that is what I think Church history tells us. So these interventions of the powers of the future world happen in the history of the Bible, but it looks to me as though the interventions are happening more frequently.

KINGDOM TEACHINGS MISUNDERSTOOD

    So, to bring this to a close now, I want to deal with a number of issues that are clarified by the teaching of the Kingdom. There are going to be five of them. Let me emphasise once again that it is understanding the "already" and the "not yet", the tension that we are already in the Kingdom but we are not yet in the Kingdom. It is all here, but it is all still to come. It is consummation but it is not fulfilment.

1. Triumphalism

    The first thing that this relates is the issue of Triumphalism. If you lose the "already" and the "not yet" you go to one extreme or the other. You either emphasise that it is all here already or you go to the other extreme of saying that it is all in the future. The truth is that it is all in the future and it is all here already. And if you lose that you start misconstruing, not the balance of the New Testament (you remember last night's sermon) but the fact that both extremes are true at the same time.

    Remember that part? Remember that quote about Calvinism and Armenianism? It is not the middle, it is both at the same time. Now actually the basis of all of that is the teaching on the Kingdom of God. So in terms of triumphalism you get one type of Christian down through the ages that gets into over-realised eschatology: It is all here now. So Wesley taught perfection, that when you have the Pentecost experience you are perfected in love and after that you don't sin any more, you just make mistakes. And Wesley wrote a book called "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection" that is neither plain nor perfect. He was confused. But, you see, he was confused because he was living in a revival.

    You get the other side of it that is the whole suffering and defeat tradition. "In this body we groan and we groan and we groan..."

    And, of course, they are both texts in Scripture. So the Church is continually going through the mistake of being over-triumphalistic or negative.

    The whole faith message is really a problem of over-realised eschatology. It is all here now. There is a church in Cape Town, a kind of faith church. And you know that song by David Ruis, "We will dance in the streets that are golden"? There is a line in it, "We will go to a much better place". Well, because of that line they wouldn't sing that song because, they said, "That's defeatist." We ARE living in a much better place now; it has to be all triumphant now.

    You see, we are victorious. You can never admit that you are having a bad time in that form of spirituality, because you must be triumphant all the time. Kicking the Devil in the teeth and taking the place for God and... "Praise the Lord!!!" I find people like that really exhausting to be with. (laughter)

    But what you need to learn from them is, don't get into the other extreme of the people who are always suffering for Jesus. They are painful to be with. One crowd is exhausting to be with, the other crowd is painful to be with. So Paul puts this together by saying you have in you the old man (that's not your father!) and the new man, the old age and the new age. You have two ages co-existing in you at the same time. And the tension that we experience as Christians is not some psychological problem we have got.

    Although you may have some psychological problems (laughter), it is an eschatological problem. And let me tell you, it is never going to go away until the future age finally comes in full consummation. And so the bitter-sweet reality of being a Christian is that you live as a victorious failure (laughter) and you always will be so until the Kingdom finally comes. You live in ecstatic sadness (laughter). Listen to the language of Paul in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 6:

8 through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

    And it is never going to get anything other than that, let me tell you. You will always be thinking that you are in revival and backslidden at the same time.

    Now the good news is, remember the stone that fell from Heaven, pulverised the image and covered the world? The good news is that the powers of the age to come that have come into you are going to beat up the old age in new and triumph in you. So it is getting better and better. Let the good times roll on. ("Amens" and sounds of approval from the audience) But don't think that the tension is going to go away. And therefore don't be too dismayed in the times between the moments of glory. Don't be too dismayed. Some people back home are so worried that the Toronto thing has waned, asking themselves, "Did we do something wrong?"

    If you understand the Kingdom you mustn't worry. The next wave is coming. I have lived through four or five moves of the Holy Spirit: the charismatic renewal soon after my conversion; then the Jesus people revival; then when John Wimber and Lonnie Frisbee came to South Africa we had - boy! - we had such fun. And now this current move of the Holy Spirit. And, indeed, we think, "Oh, no! We've lost it!" No, no, no! We haven't lost it. We live continually in losing it and getting it again. The Kingdom keeps on breaking through but it doesn't come permanently because that will only happen... when it comes permanently! But the Kingdom is continually coming.

2. Cessationism and healing

    The next issue is the issue of cessationism relative to healing. And this is what John Wimber approached so very well in his writings. Evangelicals have the idea that the apostolic age was the age when these things happened, and now we are living in some other kind of dispensation. The truth is that the last days began at Pentecost and we will be in the last days until the last days. And healing takes place with the coming of the Kingdom. So in these last days healings take place.

    But the Last Day has not come yet, so often healings don't take place. So when healings do take place it is the sign that the powers of the future world are present. And when they don't take place it is telling us that the future has not happened yet. Because in the future world there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more crying, no more sadness. And the fact that sometimes you pray for the sick and they get healed and sometimes you pray and they don't get healed has got nothing to do with whether they are good people or bad people, whether they are mediocre, whether their faith is good or their faith is bad. It may have something to do with that sometimes, but it is really to do with the mystery that it's here but it is not yet here. Their views on healing misconstrue their understanding of the Kingdom.

3. Dispensationalism.

    Thirdly the whole issue of dispensationalism. All the different theories about the second coming. You get all these books with the charts and there is the pretrib (?) and the midtrib (?) and the endtrib (?) and there are these last seven years, and this and that is going to happen. It is very confusing. There is no basis for that in Scripture whatsoever.

    In Scripture there are no other dispensations than two - this world and the next world. And the future age has come and the future age has not yet come. There are no further sub-divisions into this and that and that. And it really helps with a lot of complication if you really understand that. Künig, by the way, is very good at that. The fact that the last days began from the day of Pentecost onwards and that we are living in that reality.

4. Revivalist elitism

    This understanding is also important for the danger of revivalist elitism. And this is our temptation. Because as a movement we have been born in a revival and continue to experience revival phenomena. And it is a little bit like this thing of Adventism that I was describing earlier. We are living in the last days and we will be living in the last days until the last days. There is no special generation that is going to come about before the last days because we are already in the last days. So you get these people who talk about an "Elijah generation" and the "manifested sons of God" teaching and that "this is the last revival" and "this is a special group of people who are into the end."

    No! We have been into the end since Pentecost and there is no new thing other than the "new thing" that Isaiah spoke about, which is the future world invading the present. And that has been here since Pentecost and it is continually coming through every revival and will eventually come. And that is all there is. Now there may be a build-up of the frequency of the comings of the invasions, interventions of the Kingdom of God (I think that). But there is no special time that is going to be different for anybody before the final hour and every generation that has ever lived in Church history has had the possibility of experiencing everything that anybody will experience before the Second Coming.

5. Millennialism

    And then also millennial issues. People get all into pre-millennialism and post-millennialism and I am not going to tell you what I believe. I think it is all going to pan out in the end. As they say, I am a pan-millennialist. (laughter) But if you look at the different views, the danger of them is that the one view can be world denying and the other view over world-affirming. Let me explain what I mean by that.

    The rapturous idea is "Press the button and I am going to be raptured. I am going to leave this world. This world is doomed, can't be helped. Get people saved and let them wait for the rapture." And that is all you have got to do. No social justice, no leavening of society with salt, with the light; no this-worldly implications of the coming of the Kingdom.

    The problem with post-millennialism can be over-realised eschatology. We are not only going to convert people, we are going to convert the Government, we are going to convert the arts, we are going to convert literature, we are going to rule the universities, we are going to rule the politicians. You know, that whole thing of kind of Restorationist, Reconstructionist idea that is over-realised eschatology. The truth is that this world is doomed. No society in this world, prior to the Second Coming will ever become a Utopia. It is all revolutionary idealists... Sorry!

KINGDOM TEACHINGS UNDERSTOOD

    But the truth is that the Kingdom of God can come and so hit a nation and so change its culture in history that a lot of the future becomes present. Understanding the "already" and the "not yet" gives you a very good plumbline on keeping the tension - not the balance, but the tension - of all these. And if you have got the essence of understanding the Kingdom all these issues - and a lot of other ones that I haven't mentioned - you can apply it as a litmus test, as a plumbline. And you will always smell out people who are misconstruing the nature of eschatological tension, of the "already" and the "not yet".

THE KINGDOM COMMISSION

    Now I want to end on this note. I want to come back to this trigger, this commission, this announcement that we have to make. What triggers this intervention? It is Jesus announcing the presence of the Kingdom. It is the disciples going out and saying, "The Kingdom is at hand". And therefore healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons.

    Once you have got that it must change your world view. And the problem with Western people is that we tend to think chronologically. We have lost the sense that the future is pregnant around us at any minute. That is a Hebrew understanding, it is a prophetic understanding. The veil has been torn. It is all around us at any moment. So it makes your world view open to the supernatural, open to anything at any time. And I really think... I mean, if anything changed in me in the last few years when we had this powerful move of the Holy Spirit it is knowing that you never know what is going to happen. You know, you go to a meeting and you think it's just business as usual and then - Wow! God just arrives. And it is not always linked to your state of readiness. The Kingdom is just hovering over us all of the time and all of a sudden, wham! The manifest presence of God comes.

    So any moment when you are praying all by yourself you can be taken to Heaven in an experience. You know, sometimes you pray and it is just dry and you read your Bible and other times you are all by yourself and you get nuked. God comes down. In meetings, you can have meetings where someone just says something. And when you look back there is no reason why their having said that made it happen. You can be sitting in a restaurant and somebody just says something and the next thing you all cry and you are just with God.

    And in local churches, you know, why did that happen? You see, this is where the Church growth thing just doesn't get it. There is this church where they had none of the recipes right. And the next thing you know, they are double the size. What happened? Well, nobody really knows. But the Kingdom came. The best thing you can do is to get your congregation to live in expectation and in openness.

    And nations... The history of revival has shown that there have been times in history where the nearness of the future world has drawn so close to nations that whole communities, the value system of nations for fifty years (!)... If you look at the relationship between the revival with Johnathan Edwards and the Founding Fathers of the Constitution of the United States and the whole foundation of that culture, it was a prolonged period. That is why Johnathan Edwards thought - listen! - that the Kingdom of God would come to America. And he believed that the Millennium was going to come to America. He became an Adventist. A Calvinist became an Adventist! Why? Because it was such a visitation. It changed the whole nation.

OUR RESPONSE

    And so we have to do two things.

1. Pray for the coming of the Kingdom

    We have to pray a very old prayer: "Thy Kingdom come" (murmurs of approval). "Come to this people, come to this nation. And because we have seen... Lord I have heard of your faith. I know what you have done before. I know what you can do now. And I know that we are actually approaching the end of the age, in fact it is heating up." So our expectation of the measure of what is going to happen should be getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And we pray that prayer, "Come Holy Spirit. Let your Kingdom come".

2. Announce the Kingdom

    And the other thing we must be doing is making an announcement.

CONCLUSION

    Now if it is alright, I would just like to take a few minutes. As those prophecies were coming earlier on I was actually getting the same thing and I felt God telling me that I need to pray for those who preach. I would like to just do that for a while. Now I don't want a whole lot of men only to stand. If you are somebody who preaches, who speaks at meetings - a man or a woman, whoever you are - but you in your ministry frequently have the opportunity to make the announcement that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, I want you to be prayed for. And so those of you in that situation, won't you stand up.

    I think that there is a measure of impartation that the Lord wants you to receive. I felt the Lord tell me to say certain things over you, to charge you. You are going to pray before you preach and you are going to pray saying, "Let your Kingdom come". And you are going to get to meetings in a state of expectation. And whenever you preach - it doesn't matter what language you are going to use - you are going to tell people that God is drawing near, that his Kingdom is here. You are going to announce to them the coming of the Kingdom. So let's pray.

FINAL PRAYER

    Lord, I ask you to become present now in your sovereignty. And I ask you to come now, Lord, and commission these who are yours, who preach your word. And, Lord, let your Kingdom come upon them. Let the authority to announce the Kingdom of God, let your fire come upon them, in the Name of Jesus. Let the Kingdom of God come, Lord, to these people. Let impartation and authority settle upon them in Jesus' Name.


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