For many of us who yearn for revival and a Gospel-centred church, the questions include these:
Revival of what?
What is the Gospel?
The late David Wilkerson taught that THE WORST counterfeit gospel out there is the hyper-grace gospel which says in effect you can come to Jesus; His blood will cleanse you of your sins; it’s now all finished – you are “saved”. One preacher preached about answered prayer, “it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, it’s what kind of person God is that counts.” You can just relax in the knowledge that you have made your “decision” for the Lord.
Now there may be some applicability in these statements for the non-believer who has never encountered the Lord. Indeed, none of us come on the basis of our own virtues, and God will answer the prayer of the most hardened sinner in order to prove to him or her His overwhelming love for them. But, in the words of David Wilkerson, God wants us to not only come TO the cross, He wants us to go THROUGH the cross, and live the kind of life described in the New Testament. Jesus cried out on the cross “it is finished!” Many preachers preach that “it is finished” – when you have made that magic decision, the transaction is complete and your place in heaven is secured. But the truth is that, while for Jesus it was finished on Calvary’s cross, for the believer it is NOT finished – we have to pick up our cross and follow Him
This metaphor speaks of holiness, and obedience of the believer to God. Personal holiness of life is non-optional in the New Testament. Much of the writing is on this very topic. I have started to compile a list of scriptures proving that this is the thrust of the New testament writings. Here is where I’m up to so far:
Mat 3:7-10 Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mat 4:7 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [c]is at hand.”
Mat 4:21 “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Mat 6:3-4 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you [a]openly.
Mat 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them
Mat 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Mat 28:19-20… make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [d]
Mat 26:40-45…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’………….. ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
Rom 2:5-16 But in accordance with your hardness and your [a]impenitent heart you are [b]treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the [c]Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
2 Peter 1:4 …exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the [c]corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control [d]perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither [e]barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Pet 2:6-11 condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed.
2Pet 3:10-14 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be [d]burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
1Joh 1:3-4 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that [a]your joy may be full.
1 John 1:6-7 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.
1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
1 John 2:9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:29 you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him
1 John 3: 6-11 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,….
1 John 3:22-24 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave [f]us commandment. 24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Rev 2:2-6 “I know your works, your labor, your[b]patience, and that you cannot [c]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
Rev 2:9, 13, 19, 3:1, 8, 15 “I know your works,”……………He who overcomes…..
Rev 19:7-8 the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Rev 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before [c]God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second [d]death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:7 He who overcomes [d]shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Rev 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. “
Rev 22:14 “Blessed are those who [g]do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life”