I love the book “Radical” by David Platt. He knows the purpose of the church. He was a missionary and is now a pastor of a large church in Birmingham, AL. He wrote a simple little book and now millionaires who have read it are radically changing their lives. They found out that what they had was not just for them, and now things are changing so rapidly—millions and millions of dollars are being pumped into the kingdom—miracles are happening and lives are being radically transformed. They got a hold of the revelation of what Jesus was trying to tell us in Luke 12:16-21. Those millionaires will tell you for the first time in their lives they’re free.
Look at Romans 1 Vs. 12—it’s really a byproduct of what Paul is telling us to do in Vs. 11—”that is that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me…..” In other words, when we do Vs. 11, it creates Vs. 12. When we come together as a church body, there will be a spiritual deposit that oozes out of our lives and ends up strengthening one another.
The main point of my message is in Vs. 13. Remember that this is an Apostolic Father and he says, “I would not have you ignorant…” This statement reveals one of Paul’s strongest desires for the church: that the church or Christians not be ignorant of the things of God. And this statement is a father’s statement, which he expressed over and over again throughout that verse of scripture. Finally he commands it: “Brethren, be not ignorant.” I think it was a theme. It was not only a desire but a declaration: You cannot allow yourself to be ignorant. And in most of these scriptures it was dealing with the principles and purpose of God for our lives.
Here’s where I’m heading with this: many times as Christians we embrace certain elements of the Christian faith but stay conveniently ignorant of others. We stay willfully ignorant of them so that, in many cases, we sear our consciences from the leading of the Holy Spirit in those areas. The Apostle Peter tells us that in the last days there will be those in our ranks that are not really serious about the things of God—they want the blessing of God, but they’re more interested in pursuing their own desires, and for this Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:5: “…and because of this they are willfully ignorant.” What did Paul and Peter mean when they used the word ignorant? Ignorant comes from the root word “to ignore”. It means to ignore through disinclination. Paul was not just talking about the lack of knowledge; he was talking about staying ignorant of certain things on purpose. In other words, there were things in their lives they were purposefully ignoring.
I have tried my best for 20 years to represent 40 billion people in the earth that are still waiting, but not everyone wants to hear the message or see the reality of their suffering. The recent tornadoes in the Southeast, particularly in Alabama, brought this kind of suffering home. When it’s right here, you can’t ignore it any more. You can’t be willfully ignorant when you have bodies lying in the street, whole blocks leveled—it comes home to roost. If it doesn’t touch us in a special way, something is wrong.
But every day 80,000 people are marching off the edge, going into hell…
I look at Hollywood and it blows my mind how some celebrities will do concerts and raise millions to save a beached baby whale while at the same time they sponsor the slaughtering of millions of babies through abortion. They’re willing to spend millions of dollars to save a few pelicans from the oil spill but they applaud the killing of the unborn. That is so blatantly wrong that we may find it to be repulsive. But we must be very careful that God doesn’t say to us: “You’re trying to pull that splinter out, but the oak tree is in your eye,” because in many ways, are we doing something very similar.
Instead of prioritizing our lives, our time, talents and treasure to help reach the estimated 80,000 people that are dying every day and going to hell, we spend more on our pets, on chewing gum, on Starbuck’s, on entertainment, on cable TV, on toys and even on trash bags to throw out all the stuff we don’t want any more than we’re spending on reaching the lost. And Jesus has empowered us to do it under His anointing. See, we can have such a double standard.
If we’re going to be the salt of the earth, we can’t be pointing fingers at Hollywood because they won’t stand up for the right thing. Especially when we’re living a comfortable life and staying willfully ignorant to the very fact that it’s because of what we’re doing that souls are going to hell. It’s very easy not to look at that.
This is the reason that Paul, as an apostolic father, takes us through this exercise: so we understand that the anointing has come to set us free from ourselves and from the world. Why? It’s all leading up to verse 14: “I am a debtor, both to the Greek and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel also to you here that are at Rome.” In the Amplified translation Paul says: “I have an obligation to discharge, a duty to perform and a debt to pay.” Because of what Paul received freely from Christ, he learned that he had this incredible revelation of his own indebtedness to the goodness of God—first, to a God that loves him; second, to a world that needs him.” That’s what the anointing comes to do: to set us free from ourselves so that we can live for God and live for others.
We are not blind to what God is trying to show us, but sometimes we’re willfully ignorant. If we can work on shutting these things out of our minds, we can talk ourselves into thinking that it’s okay. A familiar verse that we’ve heard for years is Joel 2:1. Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain.” I believe that God’s been speaking this verse into the church for the last 30 years. He didn’t tell us to blow the trumpet into the porn shops, bars, casinos and other like places. He said to blow it in Zion. He’s calling His people to come after Him, but what did we do? We took it and made a song out of it. Let’s not be willfully ignorant.
God’s calling the church back to Himself. I don’t believe He’s calling us to revival. I don’t proclaim to be a prophet, but I believe this is one of the most serious times in history for the American church. We are at a crossroads right now. I believe that God’s been speaking things for years and it’s going to get louder and louder and there’s going to be a choice. I believe that God’s bringing us into a new season and it’s not just going to be a touch of the Spirit but a whole new reformation in the American church that is just as powerful and just as impacting as the reformation that was created by Martin Luther in the 14th century. He had no understanding of what he was releasing in the Spirit on the day he nailed that paper on the door of the Wittenberg Church. There was persecution because of it.
We are in an hour right now that God wants to do something in the American church that we haven’t even fathomed. But it’s going to take men and women of great courage and boldness. We can’t set our standard by what we see around us because the standard has been lowered so much. This is the hour for us to rise up and take the trumpet in our hands, because there’s an awakening God wants to bring to the American Church. Thank God for what He’s doing around the world but I want my nation shaken. God is not done with America. And I can tell you that though in some ways we have slipped back and are not leading the parade any more, the world still looks at the American Church as a spiritual father because in most cases we birthed them. Paul admonished the churches that even though they may not want to hear him, he prayed for them, labored over them and carried them in his heart. There will have to be spiritual leaders in this hour who will rise up and say: “We will not stay the same. We’re not going to build on talents, gifts and thrills but on the anointing of God. God is going to be released in this place.”
There’s a spiritual endowment that sets us free from carnal behavior and aligns our lives to God’s purposes with such strength, that everything else starts to look repulsive. He’s looking for those who will allow him to place the trumpet in their hands. God’s looking for our hearts—hearts that are after Him. When you get really hungry, you get real. If we will give Him our hearts, He’ll put the trumpet in our hands.