Daring to Dream at Dusk Print E-mail

The internationally acclaimed evangelist Billy Graham has said; “What the world needs is an apostolic revival.” May I add, there can not truly be an apostolic revival without apostolic doctrine, values, and attitudes.

This letter is dedicated to those who have not given up on the promise of apostolic revival. Apostolic in terms of what the apostles held onto dearly; their doctrine, miracles, soul salvation, attitudes, and joyful hope of the return of their beloved Lord Jesus Christ. For others who have become impatient, who question the supremacy of the apostles’ doctrine, who feel it is really not that important; pray about it one more time. It is not too late to dream…even at dusk.

“I have a dream.” One has to admit there is something catching about that statement. Why? Because man was made to dream. Created in the image of God, mankind has the potential to create and conquer; he has the God-given gift to visualize and take dominion. When someone asked Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mt. Everest why he did it, he said, “Because it was there.”

Every step of progress, every great invention, began with someone’s dream. From the voyage of Columbus, the first airplane, to walking on the moon; someone visualized it first.

Following the recent death of one of America’s most famous politicians, the media played again and again a video clip of him speaking at his party’s national convention, saying, “the dream lives on;” that statement will be his legacy.

Martin Luther King, challenged and changed the racial and social tone of this nation with his famous speech. Who can forget that moment in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., when Dr. King uttered the words, “I have a dream”?

One of the most prominent characters of the Old Testament, mightily used by God to preserve Israel; Joseph’s destiny was charted by a dream.

God wants to save His people in the midst of this “untoward generation;” deliverance cannot come unless we are preserved long enough to be delivered. “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18). It can be said, “Where there is no people, the vision will perish.” God needs people who dream.

A dream in its truest form is a vision at night…during sleep. The world is sleeping. Jesus challenged us to work while it is day, because the darkest night is coming when no man can work. (Read John 9:4). The world cries for leadership; people who have a noble vision, believe it, and pursue it until it becomes reality.

As the sun surely sets into this dispensation’s horizon, and dusk prevails, it is not too late to dream, in fact, we must! The Lord has not forsaken us in this hour; but, has reserved awesome promises for the twilight era. Looking into the last days, Daniel prophesied, “…the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). There is special favor reserved for those who know Him. Many know about Him, but how many really know Him?

It was imperative that the apostle Peter knew, without a doubt, who Christ really was before he could be commissioned to fulfill his destiny. Jesus asked, “But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-19).

The 91st Psalm promises, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” I have a dream that finally, the people who know who Jesus is, will stop debating doctrine and just declare it! Apostle Paul declared; “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16). Even among revivalist, oftentimes more emphasis is put on “revival” than on Jesus! A debate only reinforces resistance. The truth of one true God is indisputable. Why argue, quarrel, and be contentious? State the truth and move on!

Emanuel Swedenborg, who lived in the 18th century, said by many to be the most intelligent man who ever lived, and reputed to have read every major book available in his life-time; himself a scientist, philosopher, and theologian, stated: “There is a word that angels cannot utter,…‘gods’.”

I dream of the day when the “people who do know their God,” against the darkening background of world chaos, even at dusk, become so secure in their revelation and so favored by Him that they boldly proclaim, “what saith the Lord;” thereby provoking sincere souls to enlightenment sufficient to earnestly seek Christ. Jesus said; “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mathew 5:16).

Thomas called Jesus, “My Lord, and my God,” and was not reproved nor corrected. Jesus said, “…for if you believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). The Jews were ready to stone Jesus, saying; “…because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:33). The Jews were infuriated that Jesus implied that He was God in the flesh. The Jews got it! They could not accept it, and they crucified Him.

None said it better than my good friend, the late British theologian, Dr. Bert Dearden; “Jesus, in the Old Testament concealed, in the New Testament revealed. At Sinai, the revelation demanded a sacrifice; at Calvary, the sacrifice demanded a revelation.” I dream of a time, when greater than ever before, the people who know His word will speak the word with such anointed, faith-filled authority, that God readily bestows His special favor upon them. Jesus promised; “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). I dream of the day when Christians will not have to surf TV to find some popularly acclaimed theological specialist, who alleges the ability to direct them to God’s abundance; but, rather they have their own supply of faith, their own oil in their own lamps!

One of the most remarkable Fox TV documentaries ever, recently detailed the conversion of a young man, the son of the founder of Hamas, the most violent, radical Islamic fundamentalist group planning jihad against Israel and the USA. He told of being witnessed to by a youthful Christian tourist in the old section of Jerusalem and the message of Christ’s gospel changed his life. He described his conversion being so dramatic that he was now willing to risk his life in order to tell everyone about the power of the gospel to change. He described his father, serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison, weeping when he witnessed to him. The young man proceeded to say that millions of Muslims were spiritually hungry, but did not know where to find the answer.

There is a worldwide crisis that only the Gospel of Christ can solve! Instead of being the “salt of the earth,” the luke-warm, indifferent, worldly church frustrates angels, grieves God, and provokes the hearts of the lost to hardness. Apostle Paul warned of “…another gospel, which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7).

“An unholy church! It is useless to the world, and of no esteem among men. It is an abomination, hell’s laughter, heaven’s abhorrence. The worst evils which have ever come upon the world have been brought upon her by an unholy church.” – C.H. Spurgeon

“The church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose.” - C.S. Lewis

“We manufacture atheists with mundane Christianity.” – Robert Wurtz II

We must be about our Father’s business. There is an inexhaustible market for our product, the Gospel of Christ; it must be presented in the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost, fully adorned in the lovely cloak of biblical truth.

“We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man’s fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war.” – C. H. Spurgeon

From the radical Islamic to the dedicated communist; from the millionaire on Wall Street to the Hollywood star; from the uttermost to the guttermost; the inner-man knows he needs a Savior: like millions of Muslims, these may not know where to look; some turn to substance addictions, more money, endless pleasures, decadent morality; but, they continue to search.

Globally, the human race knows something needs to change: we witnessed this phenomenon in the U.S. election in 2008, when the winning candidate rode a populist wave into the presidency, offering “change”. Jesus offered real change. Over seventy times in the gospels he commanded “repentance”. Repentance is simply the first step in “change”. I dream of a return to repentance preaching in America’s pulpits, powerful messages not limited to the stifling negative oppression of “you can’t do this, and you can’t do that.” Repentance must not be viewed as oppression, but the first step towards deliverance. May God help us articulate, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

Apostle Peter was given the keys to the kingdom. Keys unlock both prison doors and treasure chests. People who are oppressed by sin, who are captives and depressed, do not want to change from one oppression to another; from the bondage of Satan to the bondage of religion. I dream that God’s ministers will preach “repentance” as a glorious first step towards a new life; an expression of godly sorrow for sin, a turning away from, and a total repudiation of ugly sin is a must. “Sin” still has, and will always have, the “hiss of the serpent”. We rightfully preach, being saved from “hell”; with at least equal fervor, we must preach, being saved from “sin”.

One must sadly acknowledge that among many progressive Christians today, repentance preaching is viewed as “so yesterday, and old fashioned.” I dream of a generation of preachers who are not deceived by the “new age” philosophy that repentance is a relic of legalism and has no place in the modern church. Apostle Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel, knowing it was the power of God unto salvation. Repentance is inseparable from the Gospel; it clears the way to God and opens the door to the treasury of the New Birth.

“The last words of Jesus to the church, were ‘repent!’” – Leonard Ravenhill

Some people do not like to hear much about repentance; but I think it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I would desire to die preaching repentance, and if out of the pulpit I would desire to die practicing it.” – Matthew Henry

Share with me the dream of God’s people taking their rightful place in the big picture of His plan and purpose. Our Lord said, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).

We are laborers with Him. We are His witnesses. Apostle Paul asked the question, “…how can they hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:14)? God has chosen us to carry forth the “Great Commission” to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ.

Who will dispute that our land is not polluted? The Lord Himself accuses His own people, who do not seek Him diligently, for being enablers of the wickedness thereof.

Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry?

Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die?

Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand?

Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned? – Leonard Ravenhill

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth.” – John Wesley

I agree with the apostle Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God unto salvation...” (Romans 1:16). I dream that the day will soon come in America and in Western Europe as it is already in much of the third world, where every believer becomes a witness. We, in the first world are so engrossed with our toys, hobbies, and pleasures, that the gospel has taken a secondary role in our lives. We fit God and the church in wherever it is convenient. The modern church has created a “god and religion” in their own image. An image that permits the church to go unchallenged. They dwell in the comfort zone. They are upset when it is suggested to take up their cross, forsake worldly pleasures and make sacrifices. Anything that disagrees with their delusion is dismissed as “legalism.” Multitudes have been deceived that the easy “grace-life” is sufficient; they know not the agony of anguish over lost souls, nor the ecstasy of the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. There are those who will take issue with this; but, in your heart, you know that I am right.

Let us dream of an historic 21st century awakening, and reach for it with all of our might!

Keep me Lord from fainting, in this fierce fight,

When the foe is rising, Clothe me with thy might. – Evan Roberts

Our Lord did not merely suggest that men be born again, he commanded it; “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The term “new birth” is more than a symbolic expression describing a religious conversion, it is proof that a miraculous change has occurred. There are dramatic and distinct differences between the old and new man!

In real life we acknowledge passports, drivers license, marriage license, credit card numbers, social security numbers; there must exist proof that a covenant has been made, a contract exists, and a binding agreement has been entered into. The “new birth” is sealed with the act of obedience; turning away from sin, water baptism, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost; “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5); thus, the Savior and the saved have entered into covenant. God says, “I will, if you will.”

We do not want God limited to mere symbols, rituals and traditions; we need real things: the old man to become new, the sick body to be healed; “we want God to be there!” In fact, the Creator put on His “work clothes” and came in the form of man... Jesus… Immanuel… “God with us”. How can we witness to a cynical world unless they see evidence, “works that glorify the Father?”

What would happen to the good order of society if all business, all relationships were decided on the basis of symbols, or as some would say, “spiritualized;” no passports, no licenses, no binding covenants? How far could one travel if when boarding a plane without a ticket, he told the agent, “just take my word for it, I paid up front.” Could a traveler enter a foreign country without a passport, saying, “just look at me, can’t you see that I am who I say that I am?”

Water baptism is an act of obedience to a literal command. In the tabernacle, a type of the church age, the commandment was given, “…they shall wash with water, that they die not” (Exodus 30:20). Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Peter, the man with the keys, on the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church age, when asked, “what must we do?” he answered; “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and unto your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).

What right does anyone, any denomination, or any preacher, no matter how famous, to say that water baptism is only symbolic, and can be, or not be, administered. There is absolutely no biblical grounds to justify such an omission.

“Good men are afraid of the guilt of omissions.” – Matthew Henry

During the early 1960’s, I remember as a Bible college student discussing with my classmates the phenomenon of the Holy Ghost baptism then being poured out upon souls in all denominations, and we concluded that this was the fulfilled promise of God given to Joel; “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh…” (Joel 2:28). Likewise, I dream of a day when worldwide, among believers everywhere, water baptism is boldly declared and repentant hearts submit to the Bible formula without debate or doubt; thus, fulfilling Matthew 28:19, understanding that the “name” clearly implied is “Jesus”. Surely the disciples understood it, because when it came time to baptize; Peter baptized the new Jewish converts in the name of “Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38); he baptized the Samaritans in the name of the “Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16); the Gentiles (Acts 10:48), were baptized in the name of the “Lord” and Christians already baptized by John, were re-baptized in the name of the “Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:3-5).

Page 83, Hastings Dictionary of the Bible reads; “It must be acknowledged that the three-fold name of Matthew 28:19 does not appear to have been used by the primitive church, but rather in the name of ‘Jesus’.”

The early church understood that the name of the Son was “Jesus,” (Matthew 1:21); that the Son came in the Father’s name, (John 5:43). They also knew that the Holy Ghost was the spirit of Christ and would come in Jesus’ name, (John 14:26).

Faussets Bible Encyclopedia, page 359, states; “The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘Jehovah Salvation’.”

Paul declared; “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” ( Galatians 3:27 ). The Lamsa translation, taken from the Aramaic language, spoken by Christ and the early church, says it this way; “For those who have been baptized in the name of Christ have been clothed with Christ.”

Peter stated, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Can you imagine the unity in the face of Islam, creeping socialism, Satanism, and sin: think of the power that would come upon the Christian church when the name of the Lord is exalted in all things by truly enlightened believers, desperate for a breakthrough in desperate times? The prophet Zechariah foretold the day when; “…the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zech. 14:9).

Joel prophesied; “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh…” (Joel 2:28). On the day of Pentecost when the multitudes heard the believers speaking in unknown tongues in the upper room, when asked, “What meaneth this,” Peter answered, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17).

When asked by the multitudes, whose hearts were touched, “what shall we do,” Peter, the man with the keys, answered, “Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Peter continued; “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” (Acts 2:39). Thus, we can only conclude that the Holy Ghost outpouring on the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy of Joel.

Isaiah prophesied, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear” (Isaiah 28:11, 12). Our Lord Jesus fulfilled the prophecy, saying; “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Indeed the “rest” promised by God through Isaiah, was fulfilled in Christ, when the believers were baptized with the Holy Ghost. Jesus said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17).

The writer of the Acts of the Apostles quoted Jesus, saying; “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

I dream of a day, soon to come, when all spirit-filled people will take the Holy Ghost baptism seriously, not a toy for their amusement; enough of the creepy mis-use of the greatest gift ever given to mankind, purchased by nothing less than the blood of the Lamb of God. Church… worship… the Christ-life… is more than a weird concoction of some kind of a religious version of “roller-derby, pro-wrestling, and American idol; topped off with a generous helping of cliques, mind control, and church-politics.” The Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was amazing, not amusing!

“Get rid of this bunkum about the ‘carnal Christian’. Forget it! If you are carnal, you are not saved.” – Leonard Ravenhill

“We are playing church. We are so busy trying to be relevant to the world that we have become just like the world….AND the world is not impressed.” – Nancy Leigh DeMoss

“Lastly—are not the church in their present state, a standing, public, perpetual denial of the gospel? Do they not stand out before the world, as a living, unanswerable contradiction of the gospel; and do more to harden sinners and lead them into a spirit of caviling and infidelity, than all the efforts of professed infidels from the beginning of the world to the present day?” – Charles Finney

In reality, the Holy Ghost baptism is for rest, refreshment, comfort, and empowerment over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Furthermore, it is the special anointing to enable us to fulfill the commandment to preach the Gospel throughout the world to every soul, leading them to Christ.

After the early church merged into apostasy, it spread the mingled message of Rome/Babylon throughout Europe, ushering in the Dark Ages, and eventually planting its nefarious doctrines in Asia and Africa. Spanish conquistadors spread the same throughout the new world, the western hemisphere. Since the Reformation, Protestant denominations have worked tirelessly to make converts worldwide, all the while unwittingly holding onto major components of “mystery Babylon.” Today, the planet is covered with war, strife, violence, terror, disease, economic chaos, political confusion, and worldwide uncertainty. The very conditions exist that were prophesied would precede the second coming of Jesus Christ, “distress of nations, with perplexity” (Luke 21:25).

“If the church would only awaken to her responsibility of intercession, we could well evangelize the world in a short time. It is not God’s plan that the world be merely evangelized ultimately. It should be evangelized in every generation. There should be a constant gospel witness in every corner of the world so that no sinner need close his eyes in death without hearing the gospel, the good news of salvation through Christ.” – T. A. Hegre

Please share with me the dream of a revived, revitalized, reformed, New Testament Church going forth in “power and demonstration” to reach this judgment-bound, untoward generation with truth, healing, deliverance and salvation. No more showmanship, tricks, gimmicks, and performances.

“A popular evangelist reaches your emotions. A true prophet reaches your conscience.” – Leonard Ravenhill

“Actors speak of things imaginary as if they were real, while you preachers too often speak of things real as if they were imaginary.” – Thomas Betterton

It is not futile to hold onto the righteous dream of an end-time army of holy believers, who hate sin, even as David hated every “false way” (Psalm 119:104), and who despise “lukewarmness” as much as it sickens our Lord Jesus; “So then because thou art lukewarm , and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

As much as God hates murder, thievery, immorality, He never threatens to vomit them out of His mouth. Of all the categories of sin, only lukewarmness is specifically named to literally make our Lord sick enough to vomit!

“God uses people. God uses people to perform His work. He does not send angels. Angels weep over it, but God does not use angels to accomplish His purposes. He uses burdened, broken-hearted, weeping men and women.” – David Wilkerson

It is no fantasy to believe that a worldwide church will emerge in the last days of this fated dispensation, consumed with the zeal of His house; who live day and night with an insatiable hunger for apostolic revival, miracles, signs and wonders, empowered to reach the lost with the full salvation message of the Gospel of Christ. A people whose mission is likened to the prophet Amos, “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12). When all is said and done, that is our destiny; that is why our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, to lead mankind from a spoiled, fallen state to eternal life.

“We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man’s fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Do we dare dream at dusk?

Bishop Samuel Smith

 
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