Signs Will Follow Believers
How To Have Signs Following You--The Believer
THE LESSON THAT JONAH DID NOT LEARN
Awful tales have come to us concerning China, Egypt, Sudan and many other nations. It is reported that tens-of-millions have been killed there and many more Christians are scheduled to die. We hear that they chain people down, pullout their tongues with wirepliers; that they pullout the finger nails and toe nails of their victims. Other reports say people are buried alive, strung on bayonets, or left to freeze to death. What would you do if God would send you there as a missionary? What would you do if God would tell you to preach a message of judgment to those people? Would you go, or make an excuse?
The Lord called Jonah to go to a nation just as wicked. They did all these wicked things, and more! The Ninevehites were ripe for judgment. The death penalty was pronounced on about two million people by the Lord Himself. There were one hundred and twenty thousand infants (Jonah 4:11). History tells us that men grew so wicked that they put people upon sharp poles; then let them sit on those sharp poles and die in sight of the public!
JONAH WAS A PREACHER WHO HAD RACE PREJUDICE
He seemed to think no one could be saved except those people in his own church, or his own nationality. He looked down on other races. Evidently he refused to go to Nineveh because he knew God was merciful and long suffering. He knew God would be quick to forgive and change His mind. He knew that God had mercy, love, and compassion. He knew that the Lord loved ALL races and ALL people. He did not want the Lord to be interested in some other denomination, or another nation. "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry . And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country ? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil." That is to Jonah's credit; for many preachers do not seem to know that God is so merciful. The fact remains that Jonah fled from the call of duty to the foreign mission field, because he did not love the other races.
JONAH WAS ONLY INTERESTED IN HIS OWN PEOPLE
He cared only for his own nationality, his own denomination. That is human nature. Every man without God is prejudiced to his own denomination and his own race. It takes the love of God to reach all races in all parts of the universe. Recently I met a pastor who told me that he had one hundred in his church and that was all he wanted. He said that was enough to take care of him and his wife. He said one hundred people were all he could take care of. So he stopped having revivals. The early church did not do that. The more spiritual it became the more it grew and multiplied. God wants the church to grow. Some of the people will become strong enough to take care of the others. A real church will have a burden and a plan for the unreached people. The Lord is still saying, "Go ye therefore, and teach ALL nations." The Lord did not love only one group or one denomination or one race. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We don't have any monopoly on the Lord. No race, or denomiation has any more right to Him than another. Jonah would rather die than see people saved who would join another church which was not his own. "Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live" (4:3). He would rather go down to the bottom of the ocean and drown. He would rather be lost forever. One mother would rather die than see her daughter belong to a different church than she was brought up in. So blinded by prejudice are some people! Some mothers would rather their children be lost and go to 2 hell forever than see them go to another denomination. They would rather break up the home of their children and cause a separation than see their children change churches after they marry. A certain mother would rather her daughter become a harlot than to go to an old fashioned altar and be genuinely born again. It seems that I hear Jonah saying, "Lord, if I go over there you will save them. They are too wicked to be saved. They are against us; they are not our friends. They lean toward Communism. Why are you interested in them ? Let them live their own life. Don't bother them. If they don't come to the light then it will not be so hard for them in hell. There are plenty of people in our own country that need God. Why not help them ? Let the people from that country evangelize their own nation. We have our own problems. We are the chosen people of the Lord. We will be saved and rule over that nation during the Millennial Age. They will have a chance then. We are the sheep nation; they are the goat nation. They will be lost anyway. What is to be will be if it never is. That is about the words Jonah was saying. He was reasoning against going to another race to preach. He loved his own race. But it sounds like many people in America, who claim to be interested in the people who are lost at home. But the fact remains that Jesus says, "Go ye into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to EVERY creature."
PEOPLE GO DOWN BECAUSE THEIR CHURCH IS ISOLATED
They shut themselves off from other people and build denominational fences. Soon they think they are better than other churches and other races. That is when they go down. They go down spiritually. They have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. They will not have a ministry with signs following. They will not have a ministry that delivers the oppressed. The heaven over them is brass. They are cursed with a curse. Droughts, floods, crop failures, and disease follow. They go down physically. Pestilence and all kinds of afflictions overtake them. (Deut. 28) . Jonah was cast overboard at his own request. He would rather die than to give up his national pride; than to accept the fact that all races are equal in God's sight ; than to believe that God loves all races and all denominations; than to believe that God so loved the world ; than to be willing for a revival to break out in another church across the country ; than to mix with people of another race ! Rather than love all people today, some folk would rather have a civil war, mob violence, rebellion, or bloodshed. They don't want to give up their national pride and race-hatred.
Some folk think they will be saved because they live in America, or because they are a Jew. Unless a man is born of the Spirit he cannot enter heaven (Jn. 3). Millions of people in this country are against foreigners of all kinds. They are race-haters; they are bound by prejudice. Suppose we put all foreigners out of the country. We would have no one left except the American Indians! God loves all races the same. One is not above another. This nation was founded that all races would be equal. The races should love each other. We should all detest any group, organization, or society that would try to sow discord and divide races, and make them hate each other. We have Communist inspired groups that try to divide capital and labor, Protestants and Catholics, White and Colored, Jews and Gentiles; Methodists and Baptists; or to do anyway they can, to divide and conquer; yet many people are too blind to see it!
JONAH RAN AWAY FROM THE CALL OF DUTY
Instead of going on a missionary journey he went on a vacation. He went on a pleasure trip down to another country; a sightseeing trip around the country, out of God's will. He wanted to broaden his education, but it was the wrong kind of learning; it was a costly education. On this trip he learned obedience by the things he suffered (Heb 5:8). The preachers who care nothing for the people; the people who are only interested in going on a sightseeing trip around the world, will soon run into a storm at sea. They are headed for trouble! "And the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken."
JONAH WENT TOWARD TARSHISH ON THE SHIP
The ships that go toward Tarshish run into storms. They seldom return; they are usually destroyed. Tarshish is a land of apes. An ape is filthy, nasty and dirty. It has filthy habits. It is one of the most vulgar kinds of animals. It is silly; too foolish to be in your company. You are like the people you keep company with. Birds of a feather flock together. If you run out of God's presence and go down toward Tarshish you will soon become silly, foolish and filthy in your thinking. You will take up filthy habits that nothing but an ape will indulge. Your mind and actions will soon become as vulgar as an ape.
There are also peacocks in Tarshish. A peacock is a proud bird. It is out for pride, show and fame; it is stiff, starchy, and "stuck-up." It holds itself away from all other birds, because it is high-minded and highheaded. That is the condition of the people that go down to Tarshish. That is the spirit that is behind them. They become rebellious, stubborn, proud, and worldly. Tarshish was the Paris and Hollywood of that day. There they had movie stars full of the lust of the world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." There was also gold and silver in Tarshish. Jonah was more interested in money than he was in souls. That has been the downfall of many modern ministers in our day. Money has kept them away from the harvest fields, and replaced the love for souls. "Once in three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory , and apes, and peacocks." (1 Kings 10:22).
JONAH LEFT THE PRESENCE OF GOD
He went down toward Tarshish. He went down to Joppa. (Jonah 1:3). He went down to the seaside; He went down into a ship; every step was a downward step. Everyone who leaves God's presence goes down. They go down morally; they go down spiritually; they go down physically and financially. Their reputation and character go down. Samson went down to Gaza. Naomi went down into the land of Moab; The prodigal son went down into a far country . A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jerico and fell among thieves. Thousands of men and women have left God's presence and gone down. They need a lift. Cain went out of the presence of God and went down. "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain." (Jude 11).
JONAH LEFT THE PRESENCE OF GOD, AND PAID THE FARE THEREOF
The fare is costly when you leave God's presence. The fare is costly when you go on the Tarshish road. The fare is costly when you go down. Like the prodigal son he was away from friends; away from God's people of prayer; away from church and home; away from those folk who could help and understand. This was a costly vacation; a costly sightseeing trip. It cost him something more precious than money! How many people go down while they are on a vacation? It is a place, many times, to miss church, omit your prayer life, and lose out with the Lord. They spend their money for pleasures that soon flee away. They spend their hard earned money for wine, women, and song. They return home with an empty soul, empty heart and an empty purse. They usually let a pew stay empty at their church, which they once treasured highly! ". . . so he paid the fare thereof and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." (Jonah 1 :3).
JONAH WAS OVERTAKEN BY A STORM AT SEA
In the lonely sea of disobedience there is plenty of trouble. There is rebellion and ruin; there is despair and distress; there is despondency and disgrace; there is disease and death: there is poverty; there are hospital bills and doctor bills; there are funeral expenses and frustration! In this sea of rebellion there is cancer, tumor, ulcers, and heart failure. Camping near, there are suicide spirits, insanitv, and murder demons. This ocean is a stormy place to be, "there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken."
JONAH WAS FOUND IN THE SHIP FAST ASLEEP
Just because you can sleep does not prove that you are in God's will. It does not mean that you will always be at ease; that you will never be discovered; that your sins will never find you out; that God is not still on your trail; that He is pleased with the direction in which you are going; that you will continue to get by with your rebellion. Too many people today are at ease in Zion; too many ministers neglect their call of duty to carry the gospel to all people, regardless of race, creed, or color. They are going down. God is on their trail. They can't out run the Lord. He is everywhere ! Too many are unconcerned. How shall they escape if they neglect this great salvation ? "What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, and call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not."
JONAH WAS THROWN OVERBOARD
It is not always the man at the wheel that causes the storm. It may be the man at the back seat of the church, asleep spiritually, that is hindering the revival. It may be the man who stayed at home that is causing all the trouble. There may be a golden wedge hidden somewhere under the stuff. When one member suffers we all must suffer with that one. There is a remedy. It is not God's will for the whole works to be stopped because one person throws a "monkey-wrench" into the machinery . It may be the "sleeper" that is causing all the trouble. It may be that member who is at home watching television or listening to the radio, or visiting with his relatives.
The storm did not cease until they decided to throw away all the excess baggage. When they threw off the deadweight the backslidden preacher went with it! That is all we are if we get away from God--excess baggage. The salt that has lost its savour is good for nothing but to be trodden under foot. A preacher that has lost the anointing is good for nothing but to be thrown overboard. When the church throws out the excess baggage that it is creeping along with, then the load will be lighter; the storm will cease; the revival will begin! The church should get on its knees and use the power that God has given, and turn the one over to Satan who gets in the way, and does not intend to straighten up and do better. (I Cor. 5 :5). Then the church will roll on! That will be better than legislation, elections, and church trials.
JONAH WENT INTO CAPTIVITY
There he goes! his Bible, hymn book, guitar, briefcase and all! The waves cover him up. He is going down. He thought he had gone down as far as he could go; but now he goes farther down! Many disobedient backsliding souls think they have had enough trouble. They have made several steps downward; but now they are going farther down! There is another step downward. Jonah goes down, down, down. There is darkness, gloominess, loneliness and sadness. Blackness and darkness of night awaits the soul that is rebellious; the soul that does not love all people enough to preach the gospeI to every creature. They are going down, down, down. They are going down spiritually; they are going down physically; they are going down morally. When the Children of Israel went into captivity they learned a lesson. They learned that God was dealing with all nationalities. If God lets us go into captivity under another rule we may have a mighty shaking revival. I am not praying for that to take place. I hope people awaken and pray without that. But some folk won't pray much until they get into a prison camp, have hot lead poured into their ears, or be sentenced to hard labor . God used Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, the Three Hebrew Children, Nehemiah, Ezra, and many of the prophets after they were taken into captivity. They were carried away into many countries.
God's people prayed after they were carried away into all nations. The people of God went everywhere preaching the gospel after there arose persecution in the church. (Acts 8:1). They then learned that God was trying to win all people; that He loved races other than their own. They then carried the gospel to the people of other races. They became interested in someone else beside their own relatives and own denomination. God grant that we wake up and carry the gospel to every creature, even without another war, a revolution, or great persecutions. Let's stir ourselves, before God stirs us! "And Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights."
THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO JONAH THE SECOND TIME
Do you appreciate the fact that the Lord will give people another chance, even after they have lost the love for the sinners and other races, and turned to selfish, natural love for their own race? One minister described Jonah like this: "When the whale swallowed Jonah he found himself in a very dark room. He felt all around, but could not find his way. Soon he reached into his pocket for some matches. After striking one he found an altar. There he knelt beside that altar and prayed to the Lord. He was so in earnest he began to beat on that altar! The altar happened to be the whale's liver. As Jonah pounded on that whale's liver it made the whale sick! Jonah kept hitting that altar as he grew more in earnest. Soon the whale became so sick that he began to vomit. He became so sick that he stuck out his tongue on the shore. He threw up everything in his stomach. Jonah and all! Jonah walked out, using the tongue for a gang-plank." I don't know how it happened; but it happened! A selfish preacher, that is not interested in carrying the gospel to all the world, will make anyone sick. He smells bad to everybody if he is only interested in his own race and own group; if he builds a fence around his own isolated group and fails to carry the gospel to every creature. The church is likely to get sick at its stomach and throw him up! A church that stops giving--a church that grows so self-centered that it is not interested in the people of other races and other groups--is already sick and ready to die. Its members may send their dollars to Africa, but many of them hate the Africans next door. I went to hold a revival for one minister, but found that he was not trying to obey God's command and carry the gospel to "every creature" as Jesus commanded us to. He said, "I don't need to advertise. I am not interested in anyone coming to this revival except my own members. I'd rather outsiders wouldn't come." Do you think I ever went back to him for a meeting ? NO. Even a sinner will love his own. One pastor's wife made the remark, "My husband and I raised up this church for our own special benefit and we don't want anyone else bothering it." They must have raised it up for their benefit; it looks like they did not have anyone else in mind. They did not seem to be obeying the command, "Go into ALL the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
JONAH SOON BECAME WILLING TO PREACH TO ANOTHER RACE
He promised the Lord that he would preach to people who were not members of his own denomination. He was willing to help those people he had never seen. He was then willing to go beyond the walls of his own church. When I married I told my wife I loved her better than I loved my mother. But when I was called to preach, and she refused to go, I said, "I'll give up my business; I'll give up my home; if it is necessary; I will give up my wife. I was willing to give up everything in order to help those people I had never seen, never met, and those people who were not related to me; those people who were not of my race. When I became willing to go my wife went with me. I am saying that the love of God will reach beyond all natural love; beyond our kinsfolk, our denomination, or our own race. Any natural person will pray for his own family; it takes the love of God to pray for other denominations and other colors. Some folk will spend forty years, every day, praying for the members of their own family, telling the Lord all their names, where they have moved, and the new additions to the family; they have no time left to pray for the poor people of other families, other chuches, or other nations. If you are in self you will pray a selfish prayer.
Jonah prayed through instead of getting through praying. He went down the "gang-plank" and hit the ground running! He must have run so fast that his clothes dried in a hurry! He ran through the city for three days, delivering the message God had given him. It was not a sermon he had practiced for twenty years. It was a new message direct from God! It had effect. Signs followed, because he became willing to carry the gospel to other races. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . And these signs shall follow them that believe. . ."
SIGNS FOLLOWED AND THE LORD WORKED WITH HIM
The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. When Peter came back to the Lord and asked what he must do, it was the same as God told him to do before he went astray. When Jonah came back to the Lord and asked what he must do, it was the same job as he ran away from. When you become willing to do what God wants you to do, it will be the same as He has already instructed you to do, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
He loves one race or one church as well as He loves another. If you have Him you will love all the people of the world. You will have no respect to persons. The Lord worked with them with signs following. The Lord will work with us if we work with Him. Jonah had a city-wide revival. He had a nation-wide revival! The effect of it is still reaching out, telling people of all races that God is merciful to all that call upon Him, regardless of race or color.
The Ninevehites all fasted, from the king to the cattle. The fast was called by the leader of the government. What would happen if our president called a three day period of fasting and praying and required that all people shut down their business and pray? The love of God would come into our hearts for all people of all nations!
The people of Nineveh did not merely have a church-joining, hand-shaking, card-signing revival. They didn't merely come into a church on decision or confession ; they prayed through and moved the heart of God. They did not spend all their time building their denominations, telling how they had grown, how strong they were, taking members in, or having socials and suppers. They humbled themselves and confessed their sins. The Lord heard from heaven and forgave their sins and healed their land! Supper rooms became upper rooms. Play rooms became prayer rooms. Kneeology took the place of the doxology. There was a city-wide revival. It was not confined to one little church. All groups were cooperating. This revival made the headlines; it made the national news; it made world news; The good news is still being told. It is still being written that the Lord is merciful to ALL that call upon Him, regardless of race or color! God dropped them a handful on purpose. We recently returned from a trip to some of the remote countries of the universe. God loves every race.
As we went to nations in Europe, Asia, and Africa the most touching thing is to know that God loves everyone of those people. He will hear their cries. We saw teeming thousands of people healed, saved, and filled with the Holy Spirit. They did not join my church. They are not my members; but God heard their cries!
THE JONAH KIND OF REVIVAL IS A DELIVERANCE REVIVAL
Not only is the Lord interested in saving souls, but He is interested in saving lives. Jesus came to save men's lives (Luke 9 :56). The people of Nineveh met the conditions by true repentance. It was not just a dry eyed profession. The Lord was moved with compassion. His mercy, which endureth to all generations, was extended to some of the most wicked people on earth. Why? It was because they were not self righteous, as many races are today. They confessed. They did not justify themselves. They did not think they were above other races. There was a supernatural intervention; there was a wholesale forgiveness. There was a chain reaction of miracles. There was a double cure. There was amove of God's Spirit. God forgave them freely. "His mercy endureth forever."
JONAH DID NOT FORGIVE OR FORGET
Many people are like Jonah. God forgives some people tonight and manifests His power through them, but you may remember what they did last week. Suddenly Jonah became struck again with national pride and racial discrimination. The old man resurrected. He remembered how wicked those people had been. He remembered that he wouldn't receive any members out of that revival. They were not the class of people that he would have accepted into his church.
In one town we saw many different denominations receive the Holy Spirit Baptism. Several doctors and nurses were filled with the Spirit. As I started to receive members into the church the pastor came along and told me who he wanted to be members of his fine, expensive church, and who he did not want. He said that he wanted the doctors and nurses, but one man and woman he did not want, because they had been living together without being married. "Yes, but they are married now," I said. They both have the Holy Spirit and are just as clean as anyone in your church." He did not want them. He wanted to segregate the people. He said that he did not believe in segregation; but he did; and he practiced it. He only wanted certain hand picked people as members. The "lower class" he did not want.
Racial discrimination caused Jonah to become angry. He "swelled up" and became mad. He did not want to live near those "foreigners." So he built a shelter off to himself. He separated himself from the people, from their fellowship and friendship. He was like many professing preachers today; they do not live on the level with the people. They go to a high class hotel; they eat better food and sleep in better beds, using the people's money to pay for it. Jonah would not "defile himself" by living on the level with the natives. He felt himself better than the other race. He practiced racial discrimination and segregation. He sat in the shade. "So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow."
JONAH WOULD RATHER DIE THAN TO ASSOCIATE WITH, AND LOVE, OTHER RACES
He would rather drown in the ocean. He now asked the Lord to let him die. The same old spirit that he was delivered from hit him. He yielded to it again. He said, "Lord, I told you." I can almost hear Jonah saying, "Lord, you are partial; that is a larger revival than we have ever had in our own nation. Let me die. I don't want to live. You think more of those wops than you do of your own people." That is the way of many people today.
Like the prodigal son they become jealous because men go across the sea and have revivals greater than they do in this country. Those people humble themselves; they are not stuck up with racial pride. They are quick to repent. That is why God can bless them and forgive them. That is why He heals them by the thousands. Jonah did not believe in equality of the races. He did not believe that God loved all people of all denominations, and will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. Some matches will not strike anywhere except on their own box. I like a match that will strike anywhere.
Some so-called Christians will not pray except in their own church. They will give in the offering in their church, but they are tight-wads when they go to a revival of another denomination. They have been taught to do that. I don't have any confidence in a member that can pray for people to be saved in their own church, but sit back and laugh and talk in a tent or auditorium. A real Christian will pray anywhere. He will shout in an open air meeting, tent, or auditorium if his shouting is real in his own church. A real Christian will shout anywhere. If you testify in your church and sit like a stump when you have a chance to testify on the street, you have church religion-denominational indoctrination instead of salvation!
JONAH'S SHELTER WAS TAKEN AWAY
God did not compromise with him. He will not compromise with us. He will still bless everybody that comes to Him in faith, regardless if you never bless them. Jonah did not appreciate his shelter. He thought more of the house he built than he did those poor dying people. So the Lord took his house away. If the Lord takes away from you everything that hinders you from carrying the gospel to all races and all people he may take your church, your home, and your family. He may take your job. Do you think more of your job, your home, your car, your family, or your church, than you do those poor, dying people in India, or those Africans near your door, or those people down on the street, or those people in the open air meeting or gospel tent in your community ? Then you may not keep that shelter and that job.
The Lord gave Jonah the shelter in the first place. So He took it away. He had a right to do so. The Lord prepared a little worm and cut Jonah's shelter from over his head. The Lord gave you your home and your job. If you hold yourself above people of other churches or other races the Lord may bring you down. It may not be a worm. It need not be a storm, an atomic bomb, or a bloody war. It may only be a germ. Jonah was away from the sea. A whale could not get him any more for despising races and other people. But it did not need to be a big thing like a whale. Because of his prejudice the little worm took his shelter from his head. One man cursed the Lord and asked Him to strike him dead, or send a cyclone or a bolt of lightning and kill him. The Lord did neither. Then a little spider bit him and he died. Don't let your racial prejudice cause you to despise people. The last time we heard from Jonah he was not delivered from the race hatred. It may be that one of the most successful preachers in Bible times died a segregationist. "Therefore, now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. . . And the Lord prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah. . . So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning arose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered."
GOD PREPARED AN EAST WIND
Notice God prepared a big fish. He prepared a gourd; He prepared a worm; then He prepared an east wind. The east wind brought judgment. When God turns loose an east wind on all the people who are so prejudiced that they think God loves no one but them, they are going to be sorry! Jonah was mad enough to die. Many people in this country are mad enough to die. They would rather argue and debate and hate other people than to preach the gospel to EVERY creature. Jonah was sorry for the gourd; but he was not sorry for the teeming thousands of foreigners. He wanted them destroyed.
The war-mongers today begin a race war and try to get us to hate races so much that we would give our life fighting them. Suppose the nation would spend as much on sending ministers to other nations as it spends on guns and planes. We would evangelize the world! An east wind may bring pestilence, disease, droughts, and poverty. It may bring funerals; it may bring us to our knees! Many proud, "stuck-up," starchy, ugly, Americans, who think no one can be saved but their own race, or own church, are going to learn their lesson as did Jonah. For God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. Many of us don't want to be on the equal with other people. "Doest thou well to be angry?" (Jonah 4 :9).
THE WORD OF THE LORD IS COMING TO YOU THE SECOND TIME
You may also look again toward the temple. There is a land of new beginnings for you. I know a man who was called to Africa four years ago. He was so interested in his own church, own race, and own denomination that he neglected that call. He was busy here. He had a break-down and became unable to hold campaigns here in the states. After being off the field for years he finally promised the Lord that he would go anywhere and do anything. As he was waiting upon the Lord he was given another dream. It was the same as the dream he had four years ago. The Lord still wanted him to do the same thing. He now has a love for all races and all denominations. He is now interested in people other than his own race and own organization.
Arise and go! Make another start! God will go with you. Do as Jonah. Hit the road running! You have gone down. You have been swallowed up. You are looking again. God is delivering you. You are returning to the place where you left Him! It is the same call! God is going with you. He will confirm the Word with signs following, because you are now willing to carry the gospel to EVERY CREATURE! May God help you!
PHILIP KNEW HIS LESSON WELL. PHILIP WAS NOT AN APOSTLE, YET SIGNS FOLLOWED
He was Christ's servant. The Bible does not even declare that he was a deacon. But he was no doubt qualitied to be one. He was of good report and full of the Holy Ghost. He had a burden for souls. He was looking for an open door and found one. He kept his tools sharp and God gave him work to do in the harvest. Many preachers stand waiting for a church to open, or for an invitation to hold a revival. Many others are waiting until they get a degree. But Philip did not wait. He went down to Samaria and preached Christ to them (Acts 8). He did not wait for people to come to him; he went to them. Philip loved people other than his own group. He believed that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish. Philip loved people of another races.
The Samaritans were a hated race. They were looked down on by the Jews. The Jews had no dealings with them. They believed and practiced segregation. They called them halfbreeds, and converts of lions. It was true that when they had failed God a few years before, that God sent lions into the country and attacked them. This drove them to prayer and caused them to be religious. If we won't go to people of all races the Lord sends the lions. The Jews treated the Samaritans as many people of another color are treated in our country. They were looked down on as an inferior race, as servants and beggars. The Samaritans could not come to their churches or clubs. The Jews had respect to persons and sinned.
PHILIP WENT AGAINST PUBLIC OPINION
He believed in the command that Jesus gave, to carry the gospel to EVERY CREATURE. He believed that the signs would follow his ministry if he ministered to all people (Mark 16 :15-18). He believed what Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach ALL nations. . . teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you." He believed that if he were willing to go to ALL people and ALL races, the signs would follow him; the same signs that followed the apostles.
Some people say that only the apostles had the power of God in their meetings tor miracles. Philip was not an apostle. Ananias was not an apostle. Yet he laid hands on Paul and saw him healed of blind eyes, and filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 9).
WE NEED THE PHILIP KIND OF REVIVAL
He had a revival of healing the sick and casting out devils. The people were set free from the spirits of bondage. There was great joy in the city. People were not "joined again" but they were born again. Men and women can't stay saved unless they are delivered from the devils that cause them to commit sin. Why try to destroy the web and not kill the spider? The reason the people in Philip's revival were filled with the Holy Ghost was they were first emptied out. That is the only way America will ever have a revival. A revival will not come to our nation by shaking hands, signing cards, being baptized, joining a church, or attending a school. All these things are good, but no substitute for being delivered from demons. The Lord said that we should go into the highways and hedges and bring in the blind, halt, and lame; we must invite them to the marriage supper. We are living in that day. A real deliverance revival ministers to all denominations and all nationalities.
WHAT PROMPTED PHILIP TO GO TO SAMARIA?
"Philip, why did you go to that mixed race?" Because he was full of the Holy Ghost and fire."Why did you not first get our permission and special papers? Don't you know that they are a low class of people?" "The Lord said for us to carry the gospel to all people." "Yes, but they don't believe like we believe. They have false doctrine." "They did not preach to me. I preached our doctrine to them." Are you going to stay with them and build a tabernacle?" "I have the go-ye. I must be going to all people." Aren't you afraid that you will ruin your reputation? "The servant is not greater than his Lord. Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took on Himself the form of a servant, and He believed in carrying the gospel to the Samaritans." (John 4 :9).
PHILIP STAYED AT A PLACE UNTIL THE LORD MOVED HIM
He was not hired and he could not be fired! How long will you be here Philip? "I don't know. I may leave any day. I feel the Spirit urging me on." Where are you going from here? "I'll go wherever the Spirit of God carries me." Philip, you have had a success. You can get any church to pastor now. "I can't be still. I must go and tell all people." Are you going to ask the people to join a church ? "Sure, if it is a church that believes in healing the sick and casting out devils." Do you believe the Holy Ghost is for all people? "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and unto all that are afar off." (Acts 2).
AN ANGEL OF THE LORD SPOKE TO PHILIP
Some modern ministers don't believe stories about angels. They are careful not to recommend ministers who see angels. But an angel spoke to Philip and told him what to do. Then Philip was found near Gaza. God sends angels to visit men who are interested in carrying the message to every race and to all people. An angel encamps around the man who fears God enough to obey His command to go to all people. The angel of the Lord delivers men today!
PHILIP JOINED HIMSELF TO A CHARIOT
Many people join themselves to a church. They are joined so hard and fast that they don't hear the voice of the Lord to go to all people. Join Christ. Join a chariot. Win some one of another race--another denomination. There was an Ethiopian in that chariot. Many people would have walked a long way around that man of another race. That man was not of Philip's nationality; he did not belong to his denomination or his organization, or his club. But Philip had the Spirit of God that made him interested in all people. He walked up and began to minister to the strange man. Many people are waiting for a call to work for the Lord, but they are not interested in ministering to the man across the street. Philip went against ethics, policies, and denominational practices. Philip did not preach ethics, politics, creeds, hospitals, psychology, or clubs. He went up to the chariot and preached Christ. Signs followed!
PHILIP PREACHED TO ONE MAN
How can you preach to a big crowd if you are not willing to preach to one man who is in need? Philip was not better than His Lord who ministered to one person, a woman of another race. One missionary told us that he was in a certain country to build a church for his denomination. That was fine, but his main concern should have been to preach Christ to hungry souls. The Lord is pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh. You can't fence this revival in with a denominational fence. It will jump the fence and spread to all people!
THE PHILIP KIND OF REVIVAL IS A LASTING REVIVAL
Someone said, "Your revivals are good, but they don't last." A bath does not last either. You need another one occasionally. Philip could have become a presiding elder, or held a big office, but he had to go and preach to one man. The results are yet lasting. That one man carried the message back to his own country . This man happened to be the minister to the queen from Ethiopia. Philip held no office that we know of, but a million saints will march into heaven with him, who have been influenced by the Philip kind of revival. They will not be from just one church, but from all churches and all races!
PHILIP HAD THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY
The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10). Philip preached Christ unto the people. In heaven the creatures are busy praising Christ and exalting His name. If I ever get to heaven I may get a harp and a crown, but I want to throw them at Jesus' feet and for the first ten thousand years say, "You are worthy ." People say, "There are so many ways I don't know which is right." But Jesus said, "I am the way." (John 14:6). If you pray until you find Jesus you can sing the song, "I have found the way ." The way is so plain that a fool or a wayfaring man need not err therein. (Isa. 35:8) . There in heaven I see people from all races. They are praising the Christ which Philip preached; they are saying: "Thou art worthy to take the book... for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."
PETER WAS TAUGHT HIS LESSON
He went through the school of practical experience three years. His instructor was the Master Teacher. He was taught through object lessons. Peter was anxious for Jesus to restore the Kingdom of Israel. He wanted to help rule over all the peoples of the world. He wanted to be the greatest (Luke 9:46). He couldn't understand that Jesus had a purpose and a plan to bring into His Kingdom all races. It seemed that Peter marveled each time that Jesus ministered to a Gentile.
PETER WANTED TO BUILD THREE TABERNACLES
He wanted to build one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. I suppose he would like to have formed a corporation and lived on the mountain top. He wouldn't have accepted anyone except his own "chosen few." He would have made it a closed corporation. But wait! A voice spoke from heaven! "This is my beloved Son: hear Him." (Luke 9:35). What is the Son saying. He is saying, "We must go to the cities beyond us and preach there also." Far too many people today, instead of praying, "Thy kingdom come," are praying, "My kingdom come." They want to build for themselves a kingdom, so they can shut certain ones in, or shut others out. But wait! Who opens? He is the Door. He opens and no man shuts. To you who want to build a little kingdom of your own, and shut certain ones out, and certain ones in, listen! What is God saying to you ? Hear Him: If you want the signs to follow your ministry hear Him: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to EVERY creature."
PETER STILL COULD NOT UNDERSTAND THE LESSON
He had seen Jesus deliver all people; not His own race, but all that came unto Him (Matt. 8:16-17). He heard Jesus preach that famous sermon from the text, John 3 :16, the golden text. God so loved the world. . . that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish. Yet Peter had the fighting spirit and cut off a man's ear. But Jesus loves all people. He healed his enemy. He prayed for the ones who crucified Him, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." No doubt this prayer was answered; for even the Centurion said, "Truly this was the Son of God." That is a better confession than most of the Jews had.
Peter and the others were filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost; yet they were not right on all their doctrine. They still thought that we could not have the Holy Ghost. Just because you have the Holy Ghost that is no proof that you are right when you believe in shutting out the minor groups and races, and building denominational walls that shut certain people out. When you build a fence you fence out more people than you fence in.
In one country there are three hundred thousand Methodists with the Pentecostal experience. There are two hundred thousand Italians filled with the Holy Ghost. The Methodists say the Italians have a bogus experience. The Italians say the Methodists' experience is not real. God have mercy on their poor souls! They don't say they believe in segregation, but they certainly practice it! Jesus does not want His body divided like that.
One of the worst things is to accuse someone operating under the power of the devil, especially if the motive is purely to get and hold members by running down the other groups. You are like a politician, who runs on the other fellow's demerits instead of his own merits. You are like the Pharisees who accused Jesus of operating under the power of the devil. Jesus told them they were bordering on the unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:32). Just because you have the Holy Ghost that is no proof you are right in all you believe. The Holy Ghost has set teachers in the Church to remain there until we reach perfection. If we were perfect already we would need no pastors or teachers (Eph. 4). The teachers are to lead us on to perfection. Then Jesus will come for us. If you are looking for a perfect church remember. it won't be perfect after you join it.
Did it ever occur to you why Jesus told Peter, "Get behind me Satan"? Peter wanted Jesus to set up a Kingdom on the earth for his group, not regarding any other groups, or all the races of the world. Jesus wanted to die for the sins of ALL the world. (John 3:16). It was the trick of the devil to obsess Peter to be interested in his group only. It is likewise the trick of the devil to obsess you with the idea that your group is all God is interested in; Satan tries to get you to be isolated and separated from all other Christians, trying to make you believe that you are "God's chosen few." No one denomination has all the truth. Most all practice segregation in one way or another.
GOD REVEALED THIS TRUTH TO PETER AT PENTECOST
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Peter arose and preached to the crowd. This is what he said: " And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon ALL FLESH. . ." Then not to leave us in doubt about the matter he added, "For the promise is unto YOU, and to your children, and to ALl.. that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Those who are afar off means not only the Jews, but the Gentiles also. But after saying such tremendous truths by the anointing of the Spirit it was still hard for Peter to overcome tradition and racial prejudice, and to see what God was doing. God used him to administer the Holy Ghost to the Samaritans, but still he did not want to give up his idea of segregation (Acts 8).
Like some of us he could not hear the voice of the Lord while he was awake. Finally the Lord let him go off into a trance. He fasted and prayed for a season. While he was in a trance, on top of the house, the Lord instructed him. Yet he could not understand that God loves all people alike. He had just preached a sermon a few days before. As he came under a heavy anointing he spoke these words: . " And in thy seed shall ALL THE KINDREDS OF THE EARTH be blessed." Yet there on top of the house he could not understand how God could bless people other than his own race and own denomination. Sure Peter had the Holy Ghost, but he still did not believe that I could receive the Holy Ghost. He was wrong! Because I have this glorious experience!
Each group in one revival thought their doctrine was right and the other group was wrong. They all shouted the victory. They wondered how the other group could receive a blessing without joining their meeting house. But God is larger than one group or one meeting house. I let them come on each night and receive a big blessing. Then their leader could never tell them that one group was right and all the others were of the devil.
PETER RECEIVES THE REVELATION OF GOD
It was hard for him to acknowledge after GOD showed it to him. Tradition is a strong force. It makes the Word of God of none effect in some people's lives. GOD saw Peter was about to slip back into tradition. The Lord let a sheet drop down from heaven and showed Peter. But he was wanting to believe something else. It is hard to show a man something when he does not want to believe it. In this sheet was all manner of creeping things. Peter was told to slay and eat. Peter told the Lord that He was wrong. He tried to set the Lord right on His way of thinking. He was not able to accept such a revelation! Three times the Lord did this. Peter refused to believe. The Lord was patient with Peter and kept blessing him. God is patient with many people who practice segregation today. He keeps blessing them, but the fact that He blesses them does not prove that they are right in building fences between Christians and dividing the Body of Christ.
Then God gave Peter a word of knowledge and told him there were three men at the gate seeking him. God was working on both ends of the line. He strictly instructed Peter and said, "Go, nothing doubting'." It is hard for some folk to receive a revelation, especially when it is against their denominational tradition, when it is against public opinion, when it is contrary to their creeds and rituals, when it is beyond the Sunday morning message. For Peter it took fasting, praying, lying prostrate in a trance, and hung'er, before he could see that all races were equal in God's sight. With some folk today it may take long hours of discipline, hunger, fasting, praving, and a long period of time; God is patient, but God is telling you to go, nothing doubting. He is actually interested in all races, in other groups as much as He is in your little "chosen few". God worked on both ends of the line. It was proved. Signs followed when Peter went. If you will go to EVERY CREATURE God has promised that the signs will follow. God will work with you, for He loves all people.
Why did you go to that group and preach ? Because, if I get a chance I will carry the gospel to all races, the people on the street, even the people in the night clubs, dance halls, theatres, and beer joints. Someone must warn them. They don't come to church. God did not say for us to sit in one place twenty years and expect them to come to us, and then come to the Judgment thinking we did our duty. God is saying, "Go, preach this gospel to EVERY CREATURE, and the signs will follow. I will work with you."
PETER ACTUALLY SAW THAT GOD COULD USE OTHER GROUPS
When he saw that God had given the word of knowledge to a Gentile, showing him the location of the house, to whom the house belonged, and his name, he began to believe. The spiritual gifts in operation help make a believer out of people who think you belong to the wrong church. They see that God can work with all people; this breaks down their prejudice and segregation. We can't put the Lord in a straightjacket and force Him to work only in one certain organization. You cannot legislate the power of God. He will work anywhere He chooses. Finally Peter confessed what God had revealed to Him. "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: "But in EVERY NATION he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Acts 10:34-35). That is a tremendous truth! But not many people acknowledge it. We can equally say, "In every denomination he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him." If we have respect of persons we commit sin. (James 26 2:9).
Some people can break the speed limit, run a stop sign, and get by with several things if they belong to the first church. It depends on WHO breaks the law as to how much the judge fines them. One day there will be a judge that will look at each individual and not what he belongs to. Everyone will be the same in His sight. When Cornelius told Peter what the angel had shown him he accepted it as the words of God. Peter did not call it fortune-telling or mind over matter, or mental telepathy. He perceived that God was showing him that all races were equal, that his church was not the only one going to heaven. He was no longer anxious to call what God had cleansed, unclean. With him there was one class. All of God's people were clean.
But with some people there are several classes of Christians, some clean and some unclean. Some full-bloods and some halfbreeds or cross-breeds. They measure them by their church books. God said by their fruit you shall know them, and not by their church house. When someone is healed in your church you will shout about it. If someone is healed in another denomination, or in a theater, are you glad about it? Do you shout as high? Can you shout in an auditorium, where all denominations meet?
THE SIGNS FOLLOWED PETER'S PREACHING
Brother, if you confess what Peter did, and practice what you confess, the signs will follow your ministry . When Peter confessed this truth he was set free from fear and prejudice. Others were set free and even filled with the Holy Ghost while Peter was preaching! In a revival in one section of the country some preachers did not think the people received a "genuine experience" of the Holy Ghost because they were not run through their "cookie cutter." They said, "They did not tarry long enough. We did not receive it that easily. They won't keep it, because it happened too suddenly. They were not baptized our way. So they took them to their church and ran them through the "third degree," taught them to tarry and beg, baptized them their way, had them take certain vows, and then pronounced them with the "genuine". They are doubtbuilders instead of faith-builders.
Peter heard these people speaking in tongues . . . because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues and glorify God." He did not say, "they have the Holy Ghost for they joined my church or were baptized my way." They received the Holy Ghost before they joined Peter's church, before they went through the third degree, before they were baptized, BEFORE they changed all their doctrine. Then they began to be taught after they were baptized with the Spirit. We counted eleven different denominations receiving the Holy Ghost in one revival. Who were we that we could withstand God?
PETER KNEW THEY HAD THE HOL Y GHOST
It was not because they learned another creed, Peter did not say, "You have a bogus experience because you belong to another race; because you have not joined my church, because you are not baptized; He knew they had the like precious gift as his church ( Acts 11:17). Peter was brought on the carpet for going to another denomination to preach. But it was not to learn their doctrine, it was to preach his. If his doctrine was good in his church it was good anywhere.
A few days ago a minister in a fine church sent me word that he wanted me to come for a meeting (with strings attached). He said, "My people are a higher class of people than other Pentecostal groups. They don't raise their hands when they worship the Lord. They are the quiet type. I don't want them associated with any other groups from these other churches. I don't want any other group attending this revival." It almost made me sick at my stomach! I believe it might make a whale sick. He was as bad as Jonah, who thought his group was the main line, and all other groups were off-brands.
THE BRETHREN CONTENDED WITH PETER
He almost lost his papers for preaching to another denomination. "And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, "Thou wentest into men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." Peter related the experience, from beginning to end, to the official board. Then Peter said, after he had related the matter, "For as much then as God gave them the LIKE GIFT as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I that I could withstand God?"
The brethren no doubt said something like this, "Brother Peter, we cannot recommend you unless you . . ." Peter related his revelation. God stuck with Peter and saw him come out victorious! But after this revelation it was hard for Peter in later years to break loose from the "brethren." He held to his tradition rather than to his revelation. He was still proud of his race. It was hard for him to see that all people were equal in God's sight. Therefore, God set him aside on the shelf. We don't hear much from him in the latter part of the Book of Acts. God used another fellow who would carry the message to all people. You may not be used forever with signs following if you fail to carry the gospel to the poor as well as the rich; to the unbeaten path as well as those who have had this message before. Peter still leaned toward segregation.
Paul said, "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, if thou being a Jew, liveth after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Gal. 2:11-14). Not only Peter but many of the disciples, as well as the main leader, James, leaned toward segregation. This did not prove that they were sinners. It proved that human nature is ever the same. The old nature wants to exalt itself above other groups, and put itself as the leader and God's favorite.
It is an object lesson to us, not to see who can be the greatest, but to be servants of all and love all people of all races. If we want God's favor, and His blessings, and His signs following our ministry we must carry the gospel to EVERY CREATURE. It is not right that one group should hear the gospel twice until all groups have heard it once. While one group has heard the gospel several times each week for forty years, there are millions untold. What does Jesus think about you and me if we remain in one place and fail to obey His command to evangelize the world in our generation?
AMERICA IS A LAND OF BIBLES . . . But it has almost no Bible knowledge. A recent survey given to 1156 High School students showed only 1 in every 39 students could name 3 books written by Paul. Only 1 in 38 students could name 3 Old Testament prophets! Only 1 in 8 students could name as many as 3 of the Ten Commandments. 53% of the American people cannot name one of the Four Gospels. A Bible placement test was given at Westminster College, New Wilmington, Penn., recently to incoming students. All but 12 of these students had been regular attendants in Sunday School all of their lives. 281 students who took the test, 79% failed to identify Matthew as the tax collector who became a disciple. 74% could not name the father of Joseph and his brethern. 70% could not name the book which records the history of the early Christian church following the ascension of Christ. 65% failed to identify Solomon as the famous wise man of the Old Testament. 60% could not name a single parable of Jesus. An appalling: lack of Bible knowledge!
Why is this true?
It is because the Bible is upon the shelf and not in the head and heart! In one year how many hours does one spend in actual Bible study? Jews spend 325 hours. The Catholics spend 200 hours. The Protestants spend 25 hours--a year! Consistent Bible study is the most urgent need in the world today. Is there an answer? What can we do? How can we increase Bible knowledge? How can we eliminate Bible ignorance?
God has given the answer. I believe it is the greatest discovery in the field of religious education. It can revolutionize the Bible study habits of the nation! The Faith Bible Institute is a plan of practical Bible study within the reach of every person. And best of all, Faith Bible Institute is ABSOLUTELY FREE! It is a scripture searching study, an instruction method, a learning plan which opens the door to renewed and abiding interest in God's Holy Word, makes the Bible a living personality, the home a classroom, the parents teachers of God's word, strengthens individual witnessing, brings to the masses a practical working knowledge of great Bible truths,opens a Bible understanding, and makes the Bible come alive in your soul. Email a request for more info to: WalkingPreacher@yahoo.com. For more info Click Here Now.