A crisis is coming to the church. In fact, it's the church that must initiate it.
Matthew 26:73-75 says, "After a while those who stood by came to Peter and said, 'Surely you also are one of them, for your accent betrays you.' Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and he swore, 'I do not know the Man.' Then immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken, 'Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.' Then he went out and wept bitterly."
He Invoked a Curse on Himself
From the Life Application Commentary: "While Peter may have hoped to seem a natural part of the group by joining in the conversation, instead he revealed, by his speech, that he did not belong there. This was too much for Peter, so he decided to make the strongest denial he could think of by denying with an oath, 'I don't know the man.' Peter was swearing that he did not know Jesus and was invoking a curse on himself if his words were untrue. He was saying, in effect, 'May God strike me dead if I am lying.'"
Peter was running for his life. In the church today the prevailing focus is on our experience and the affirmation and protection of our lives and lifestyles. People go to church to enhance their lives. When their lives, or even their lifestyles, are threatened, people will begin to run for their lives. They will run to safety.
This clear and extreme denial of Christ will invoke a curse.
Jesus was so indignant about this type of reaction that he dealt with Peter in fierce fashion before this event even unfolded:
Matthew 16:21-23 says, "From that time on, Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day. Then Peter took Him and began rebuking Him, saying, 'Far be it from You, Lord! This shall not happen to You.' But He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things that are of God, but those that are of men.'"
Peter denied the cross, and Jesus rebuked Satan who was working through Peter (who Jesus had just identified as the rock, the CHURCH!). He made the point clear: Peter was mindful of thing things of man and not the things of God. Jesus then said:
Matthew 16:24-25 says, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."
A Crisis of the Cross
Apostles and prophets must step into their positions of authority and release a great crisis to the church. This is a necessary crisis as it will result in the true, abundant life of multiplied millions. The offensive, bloody cross must return to the church—and now.
When Jesus was hailed as King at the Triumphal Entry, the masses converged. The focus was self. They wanted Jesus to save them, make their lives better. They were crying out, "Hosanna!" which means, "save us now!"
So, Jesus complied. The only way to save the ones he loved was to face death on the cross. Yet, the rooster crowed and the crowds scattered and turned on Jesus. His closest friends ran for their lives. One cursed himself in his denial. Another betrayed Jesus and hung himself.
Yes, it's time not to snack on some bread and grape juice, but to eat his flesh and drink his blood.
When the cross is introduced in its full, bloody force again in the church, we will watch this drama unfold another time. People will flee from the church when focus changes from personal freedom to personal cost. Betrayal will skyrocket. Fear will grip those who haven't surrendered all.
Where will you be when the cock crows?
Generations Must Come to the Cross
Everybody ran for their lives but mom and son, Mary and John (along with Mary Magdalene) remained. The generations converged.
John 19:26-27 says, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.'"
Luke 1:17 says, "And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
The elder generation must refuse to run. The younger generation must refuse to run. We must converge around the threatening, offensive cross of love. When we do, the harvest will come. The world is watching. The thief was watching and surrendered to the love that could only be revealed at the cross as the two generations deeply loved Jesus together:
Luke 23:43 says, "Jesus said to him, 'Truly, I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'"
Any movement that doesn't take place at the cross is a false movement. This is one reason I'm so troubled by some events, certain unity movements in a city, pastors meetings, etc. If a pastor isn't fully ready to resign his mission, to lose his salary, to surrender his sheep, to shut his church down, I have little interest in meeting. The cross demands everything. When pastors of a city gather around the cross and don't focus on personal gain, revival will be at hand. Yes, many will be offended, but the Harvest will flood in!
False Love and False Grace
The false love and false grace doctrines must be exposed. These belief systems are causing hell to continue to expand at an unprecedented pace.
These beliefs are centered around self. The focus is our benefits instead of cross of Christ and instead of the harvest.
I've heard it said that we as Christians no longer have to confess our sins. False grace.
Recently, I was challenged to focus on love and to redefine certain scriptural interpretations to make them more favorable to the homosexual community. False love.
Ignoring God's holiness and justice in our lives does not equal grace. Tolerance does not equal love.
True love and true grace are found at the cross of Christ. God's intolerance of sin resulted in the death of his Son. There is no way he has suddenly become tolerant of those sins today.
Mark 8:34 says, "When He had called the people to Him, with His disciples, He said to them, 'If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.'"
Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in hell one day.
This is what God spoke to me after my life-transforming encounter with the forces of hell 21 years ago.
The false grace/false love messages are resulting in entire church congregations unwittingly buying a ticket to hell, all while they lift their hands and worship Jesus and read their Bibles and pay their tithes. They have an imaginary salvation.
Jesus told five out of seven churches of believers in Revelation that they were lost, on the way to destruction. A total of 5 out of 7 professing Christians were hell-bound! It's horrific yet easy to believe that this ratio may be accurate in our churches today!
Leaders will most certainly be held accountable for this silent slaughter of God's children.
It's time to speak plainly about the truths of scripture, the severity of the hour and the mandate of obedience. Heaven and hell lie in the balance.
Ephesians 5:4-6 says, "Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse joking, which are not fitting. Instead, give thanks. For this you know, that no sexually immoral or impure person, or one who is greedy, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience."
The passage goes on to say ...
Ephesians 5:10-11 says, "(P)roving what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them."
We must discern, and then expose darkness. We must not become so focused on pleasure and enjoyment, especially as Christians. In fact, we can't be primarily focused on being entertained in the name of God. We must take up our crosses, discern what is pleasing to God (not to us) and expose darkness!
Check out this verse regarding focus on self:
Romans 2:8-9 says,"But to those who are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, will be tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man who does evil, to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile."
This is the risk the false grace/false love movement presents. This is the fruit.
Watch what happens when true grace is in the equation:
Acts 4:32-35 says,"All the believers were of one heart and one soul, and no one said that what he possessed was his own. But to them all things were in common. With great power the apostles testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. There was no one among them who lacked, for all those who were owners of land or houses sold them, and brought the income from what was sold, and placed it at the apostles' feet. And it was distributed to each according to his need."
So, we see those in the church had great grace! Does that mean God's judgment and holiness is no more? No way. Check out a couple of people who also had great grace on their lives:
Acts 5:1-11 says,"Now a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. He kept back part of the proceeds with his wife's knowledge, and brought a part of it and placed it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to deceive the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, was it not your own? And when it was sold, was it not under your authority? Why have you conceived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to men, but to God.' On hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came on all those who heard these things. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, 'Tell me whether you sold the land for this amount?' She said, 'Yes, for that much.' Peter said to her, 'How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.' At once she fell down at his feet and died. Upon entering, the young men found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear came on the entire church and on all those who heard these things."
Their disobedience in a season of great grace resulted in great judgment. And, then, fear hit the church.
We need this fear of the Lord again!
If we are to avoid a repeat of this, we must renounce the false grace/false love messages and sound the alarm of holiness and death to self!
When the cock crows, will you be running for your life as you curse yourself or will you be at the foot of the cross as the blood of Jesus pours out over you?
Will you be using God for personal gain and experience his judgment or will you embrace the fear of the Lord?
A crisis of the cross is coming to the church again.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer and revival focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John's mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel, etc.) that hinder an extreme, sold-out level of true worship.
For the original article, visit johnburton.net.
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