I think this transcript may go down in history as the shortest of Rob Rufus's yet! Normally Rob tends to average at one hour of glorious preaching. I chose this short message because I do progressively want to add the older material from City Church International as the blog continues to grow. This prayer meeting was of course just after the awful tsunami which wrecked much of the South-East of Asia and many of Rob's comments are wonderfully encouraging and up-lifting. It isn't a full sermon - but it demands a place on the blog!
"We do not want this night to be just human sympathy being poured out or a mood of morbidity but an up-tempo mood of faith that God is working in the nations and no matter how small we may appear in our own eyes - God is working in the nations and wants to work through our prayers as we co-administrate with the Holy Spirit the agendas of God into the nations of the world. So I want to read 3 or 4 Scriptures and they may look a bit heartless or insensative to the human suffering that's going on because there is some terrible suffering going on in our planet right now.
But we have to look at Scripture and lift our faith to what God is doing in the nations in these days. So our prayer is for the kingdom to break in and we are going to pray that all the relief gets through and God works miracles with medical supplies and water but the ultimate thing we are praying for is that the nations will be in awe of God and will be shaken out of complacency, shaken out of unbelief, shaken out of the belief that God is a push-button pleasure machine or He is their little puppet or they can make a god in their own image. God is wanting the nations to turn to Him at this time.
I really believe that we are living in the end day events - whether you believe that is 100 years, 25 years, 5 months or 5 days - I still believe we are in the last days and in Acts 2 when the Spirit of God was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, Peter said; "This is that which Joel the prophet spoke about - in the last days I will pour out My Spirit on all people". Not just on the Church but all peoples and all flesh. If that was the beginning of the last days then we have got to be at least 2, 000 years into the last days right now! We can say we are pretty much in the last of the last days.
It has never happened where God has poured out His Spirit on all people's on the earth - only select people but we are coming into a time when God will pour out His Spirit on all the nations of the world.
(Isaiah 2) - This is just setting a prophetic foundation to pray. (Isaiah 2:2) - He is alerting us that this is something to do with the last days.
"Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it".
In prophetic language "mountains" refer to "nations" and the holy nation of God is the "mountain of the Lord" and it will be chief among the nations and all the nations will start streaming to the mountain of the Lord. It speaks about the mountain of the Lord which is the Church - the people of God - they will be administrating the grace and the peace of God into nations that are being shaken in these end-day events. If you go on to (v11) - this is hard for some Christians to understand because we know God is love and God is a loving God and it is hard to preach some things like this when we know how loving God is. But Romans 11:22 says; "Consider the sterness and the kindness of God" and we need to know that God has authority and Lordship - He is the King! The nations are in rebellion to Him because of arrogance and making idols of gods they want to worship rather than the God who is uniquely Creator of the heavens and the earth and it says;
"The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of man brought low. The Lord alone will be exalted in that day - the Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty for all that is exalted, and they will be humbled. For all the cedars of Lebanon - tall and lofty and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the high hills - every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading ship and every stately vessel, the arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of man humbled. The Lord alone will be exalted in that day and the idols will totally disappear. Men will flee to caves in the rocks and holes in the ground - the dread of the Lord and the splendour of His majesty when He rises to shake the earth and He will throw away to the rodents and bats, the idols of silver and idols of gold which they made to worship, and will flee to the cabins and the rocks and the overhanging crags from the dread of the Lord and the splendour of His majesty when He rises to shake the earth".
In this context, the Bible says; "Stop trusting in man who is but a breath in His nostrils - of what account is he?".
God is going to bring the Church out in the midst of great shaking - a Church not based on human energy, human plans but a Church full of the Spirit and the power and the glory of God - in the midst of shakings.
Just two other Scriptures - Haggai chapter 5. It is very exciting to pray into the nations at a time like this! People need to understand that God is not a semi-senile, insecure Santa Claus - He is going to wrap up history with the nations coming and bowing their knee and honouring Him as King. It says here in Haggai 2:8;
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty. 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."
I think in times of shaking when God restores the Church into the fullness of glory and grace and pronounce peace in that place, people in the middle of shaking are going to look for places where there is peace and where the Presence and power and glory of God is - they are going to want that and they will come to a place where there is peace.
Where it says; "the glory of the latter house will be greater than the former house" - there is two Old Testament fulfillments. Primarily he is talking about the glory of the Old Covenant house - the temple - having a lesser glory than the latter day house - which is the Church. We will see that right now in our last Scripture which is Hebrews 12 - there is a lot of other Scriptures. "In the times of the shaking there will be a great ingathering" - "The nations will come to the mountain of the Lord". Let's read from (v26);
"At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."
God wants the nations as His inheritance - it says in Psalm 2; "Ask of Me and I will give the nations to you as your inheritance" - referring to a Messianic promise - Jesus Christ was asking for the nations and now we are in Him asking; "Give us the nations that we may present them to Jesus". "In the middle of these shakings oh God - remember mercy". Let a spirit of grace and power and conviction and of sin, righteousness and judgement open the heavens oh God and remove some from the false gospel that gives false promises and pacifies people and if you just come to Jesus, He will make your life so happy and He will give you a little crutch and enhance your life.
So people come to the kingdom with selfish motives saying; "You are criminals standing before a Holy God sentenced to a judgement you deserve". The wrath of God is not some temper tantrum but it is the only appropriate attitude that a perfect, living, holy God can do to millions who live daily in rebellion and scorn and mock His Name and make up their own God and own religions and yet mercy and forgiveness come to those that repent and acknowledge their rebellion against God.
The Gospel isn't "Come to Jesus for a bit of happiness" - the Gospel is; "Planet Earth - you are in rebellion, turn around and humble yourself for you face certain judgement and the King of Glory will come in His mercy and His grace and forgive you and love you and make you into a new creation and bring you into the Kingdom of heaven where you can be grateful to live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken while the nations around us are shaking".
So we see as we are preaching the Gospel around the world - millions are being saved but I believe God has such a loving heart that He wants to see literally billions come into the kingdom of heaven before the end of history is wrapped up.
I do believe this with all my heart - that there will be more people in heaven than there will be in hell because there are more people alive collectively right now than have ever lived collectively from the beginning of time up till now and so in this hour God is shaking the nations and pouring out His Spirit on all flesh and He will reap the harvest because He wants all men to be saved and doesn't want any to perish - the love of God wants everyone to be saved.
You can go to the nations and beg and plead but many will not respond but the shakings of God are going to bring down the arrogant and the proud down and throw the idols away and turn to the living God and great signs and wonders will manifest in these great shakings.
We are alive on the planet right now to partner with God and see His purposes manifest in the earth. We are not to be asleep and just caught up in business but we have be awakened and ready that the gospel of the Kingdom will go into all nations and then the end will come. That's what we are about. Our work is a facility and we go there as agents of the Kingdom into our work - a daily alert to the seasons and times that we are living in.
We are not to be preserving our lives right now but to be investing our lives seeing conversion of the ages as God sums up history in His eternal plan to bring the nations to worship the living God.