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Good evening everyone. It's a privilege and a delight to be here with you again for the Easter Convention here in Bangor. I've been looking forward prayerfully in anticipation of sharing fellowship with you all again. I have many special memories of two years ago here, and we do trust that we will know the Lord's presence, as you already have been during this Convention - and that the Lord will come near. I do believe I have a message from the Lord for this series of meetings, and we pray that He will come and meet with us.
I want you to turn with me in your Bibles to Isaiah chapter 6, and it would help as well if you turned also to 2 Chronicles 26. Our reading will be taken from Isaiah chapter 6. Now before we read the scriptures - get the portion there, get it marked - maybe we could stand, if you can stand, could we stand together for prayer? Let's all stand. Now, I would request that you pray now, and I want you to pray for yourself - could you do that? Would you pray that God would speak to you tonight and meet you? We want to pray corporately, do pray for me, I could do with that, and we want to pray for one another, but I would ask you just now as we come to God's word: would you ask God to speak to you tonight?
Father, we come to Your Holy Word, and we thank You that You are our Abba Father. We hallow Your name, but we thank You for the Spirit of Your Son rising up within our hearts, crying 'Abba'. We thank You for the witness that we are children of God, and Lord, we need to feel Your nearness tonight. Lord, deliver us from conceptualism, and help us to know You as You are to be known - the great 'I AM'. Lord, we pray that as we come to the written word tonight, we will experience fellowship with the Living Word. We ask now for the blessed Holy Spirit to come and presence Himself with us. Lord, we long to hear from heaven; Lord, we long to hear the voice that wakes the dead. We thank You for everything that has happened already tonight, and we praise You for your grace and mercy that has been testified to - but, Lord, each of us individually needs a fresh touch, a fresh revelation and experience of God. So, Lord, we pray that we will know that tonight, that heaven will open above us and blessings will be outpoured upon us, and, Lord, that we will be changed tonight, that there will be a seismic shift in the spiritual realm this evening so that we, individually and collectively - and dare we even ask it, even nationally - will be changed forever! So, come, we pray, in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ we ask it. Amen.
I believe I have been led of God to bring to you over the three main sessions I will be preaching, a series under the heading 'Something Old, Something New'. We're going to read here in verse 1 of Isaiah chapter 6: "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!'. And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts'. Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged'. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'".
Isaiah the prophet was a man who learned to let go of the old in order to receive the new. King Uzziah of Judah had a long and distinguished reign. It's described for us in 2 Chronicles 26, if you want to turn to it, it's also found in 2 Kings 15, where he is called 'Azariah'. In his biography we find that he began to reign at the age of 16 years old. He reigned a total of 52 years, and generally speaking we could summarise him as being a good king. In 2 Kings 15:3, we read: 'He did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done'. Here in 2 Chronicles 26, if you look at verse 5, it says: 'He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper'. He was a great ruler. We also find that he was a mighty military leader and strategist. He led the nation in victories over their archenemies the Philistines, and indeed over all surrounding neighbour nations.
So Uzziah was a strong King, and he was also a modern man. He was a developer, he engaged in many building projects, and he was renowned for his innovation. If you look at verse 8 of 2 Chronicles 26, you see: 'Also the Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah. His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong'. But, as with any son of Adam, Uzziah had his flaws. Of course, success often highlights our human flaws. You've heard the adage: 'A full cup requires a steady hand', and success for any of us is hard to carry without it contaminating us with pride. It was the same for Uzziah. If you go to verse 15 of this chapter, we read: 'And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skilful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones'. Now notice this: 'So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvellously helped till he became strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense'.
Look at that phrase at the end of verse 15, 'he was marvellously helped'. Now that, in the Hebrew language, is a special Hebrew word, and it really has the meaning which is equivalent to the New Testament concept of the enabling work of the Spirit. It's the sense in the term in Romans 8:26, 'likewise the Spirit helps our weaknesses' - the same meaning. Uzziah was marvellously helped by God, but he was puffed up in his pride and he forgot who got him to where he was. We read that he violated a principle in Israel that no King should also be a priest. You see the offices of prophet, priest, and King were never to be combined in one man until the Messiah would come who fulfils all three. So we might well say Uzziah had a true Messiah complex. God had helped him, but he got too big for his boots.
We see the consequences of his pride, verse 17: 'So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD; valiant men. And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, 'It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honour from the LORD God'. Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. Then Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land'.
What a consequence of his pride! Now, I'm led to believe that leprosy never breaks out on the forehead first. So why, in this case, did this happen? Well, this is where his pride came from - literally it was 'head-swell' for Uzziah. A man whom God had marvellously helped by the Holy Spirit's unction, but now he is proud. Also I don't think it's insignificant to realise that the High Priest wore on his mitre, right there on his forehead, words that read 'Holiness unto the Lord'. Holiness was to adorn God's house.
So here was this great, we might say godly King, and he has a tragic end. The potential among God's people, Israel and Judah, was dejection and utter despair at this giant, this elder statesman, socially, civilly and spiritually - he has fallen! You see this is a principle I want you to see tonight, and indeed through each session I will be preaching: the old had to die in order for the new to be born. It appears that the people, even this prophet Isaiah, got their eyes on the King, Uzziah, and their eyes off the Lord, off His special enabling marvellous help - or, to put it in a New Testament way, they got themselves fixated on the form, but began to deny the power of godliness.
So, as with any substitute, any idol, God removes it. Only when God removed Uzziah did Isaiah see the Lord high and lifted up. This is a tendency with God's people in every generation: God blesses them, God helps them marvellously, and then there is a movement is birthed or founded. Then that movement becomes empty, institutionalised, and essentially a monument - historically speaking - a form without the power, and God's people make the mistake of moving on. This was always the case, and if we go way back to Shiloh in the Old Testament, in the period of the Judges, we see there that God established His work. Shiloh was where the altar was, it was where God spoke to Samuel. Shiloh represented the Almighty; Eli, the High Priest was there, and Hophni and Phinehas were the ministers of the sanctuary - but we see how defiled this house of God had become, because Hophni and Phinehas, we are told, committed adultery and fornication in the very house of God with the women of Israel.
There was so much defilement in Shiloh that God was brought to the point where He said: 'I can't put up with this any more. This no longer represents who I am, what I stand for. I am finished with Shiloh. It is beyond redemption'. Sadly Eli, the High Priest, was blind to the condition of the house of God. God had written 'Ichabod' across it, 'the glory has departed'. God told him: 'Do not pray for this, do not resurrect it, do not revive it, it does not represent Me any more. I am moving out, I'm going to do a new thing'. And God did a new thing: a new house, it would be a temple in Jerusalem, it was called the Lord's house and His presence would be there. It would represent Him as He is in His glory and character. In fact, you remember, when they dedicated the Temple the glory was so dense that the ministers couldn't even stand in the presence of God. God's altar would be there, it would be a house of prayer - but then the cycle is repeated. The decay sets in again, and we see in Jeremiah's day that the great prophet stands at the gate of the Lord's house, and he cries: 'Mend your ways and I will cause you to dwell in this place'. 'I will not take the Temple off you if you repent'. The people protest: 'The Temple of the Lord! The Temple of the Lord!' - read chapter 7 of Jeremiah. They were appealing to their traditions, to their leadership, their priesthood, to their building, to their history: 'This represents You, Jehovah!'.
If you were to read Jeremiah 7 verse 12, God says: 'Go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel'. Later down: 'Therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh'. 'Look to Shiloh! What I did to them I will do to your Temple'. God told Jeremiah not to pray for that generation - you look at the book, it's there! Three times God told Jeremiah: 'Do not pray for them, it's over! They no longer represent Me, I need something new'.
Then of course, in Jesus' day, in Matthew 24, what essentially is the same Temple in a sense, representing the same way, the disciples are overawed by the magnificence of the wonderful spectacle it was - the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus has to say to them: 'Do you see this? There shall not be left one stone upon another! This house shall be left desolate to this people, for they did not know the day of their visitation'. Then in Acts chapter 2, God did a new thing.
I want to ask you tonight: do you think God cannot do this today? Do you not think He can do this to our denominations? To our organisations? Well, I think He is doing it! I believe it with all my heart. It is my persuasion that much of the church, particularly in our land, has become idolatrously wedded to something old. I believe we are hindering God doing something new. Now listen: God will do it anyway. You won't stop God! He is doing it - the question is: will you be a part of it, or will you miss it? There is a principle here running right throughout Scripture, listen: the old has to die, and has to be allowed to die, for the new to be born. Out of Uzziah's death came Isaiah's commission, his recommission as a prophet. Do you know what our problem is? We won't let the old die out - in fact, some of us think that we are called by God to resuscitate the old. Indeed, the concept of revival for many is nothing more, I believe, than a nostalgic romanticism about how things used to be done, the good old days, or 'old-time religion'; rather than a genuine longing for God to do something in our day and for our generation that is fresh from the Spirit of Almighty God.
I want to ask you tonight: are you ready, and are you willing for God to do a new thing? Are you positioning yourself for God's new thing, or are you obsessed with preserving or reviving the old? The old has to die if it's getting in the way of God. Isaiah had to die to his earthly allegiance, and become awakened to a vision of the King of Kings. He had to die to a worldly kingdom, and be born to the kingdom of heaven. Many of us need to die to idolatrous substitutes that we have as Christians. So many good things can take the place of God on the shrine of our hearts, and His purposes for His will in our lives. We are building denominational kingdoms, we are running after significance in education, we are bowing down to idols of doctrinal persuasion, we are obsessed with religious ritual and practice. Not all those things are necessarily wrong, but the problem is: if our heart-affections are attached to those things, they will lead us in opposite directions than of God's will for our lives and our useful effectiveness for Him. If we stubbornly persist, God will force our hand and He will allow the demise of our idol if it is eclipsing His glory.
I talk sometimes to people in the work of God, and they say to me: 'The devil is hindering us' - and often I think to myself, 'No, I think it's God. I think it's God'. The risen Lord Jesus appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos and gave messages to the seven churches in Asia, and two of them are noteworthy in this regard - Ephesus and Pergamos. Ephesus in chapter 2, verse 5 of Revelation, Jesus says: 'Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent'. Jesus was taking away the light from the witness of that church because they wouldn't repent. Pergamos, chapter 2:16: 'Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them' - Jesus coming and fighting against people in the church? Yes!
Are you here tonight, and you're involved in the work of God, maybe involved in the Faith Mission, maybe it's just in your own personal Christian experience: do you feel like you are beating a busted drum? You know that expression, don't you? Do you ever feel like that? Flogging a dead horse, breathing into a corpse - could it be, could it be that some of us are trying to keep alive something that God wants dead? Something that no longer represents Him, no longer reflects His glory, or His character, or His will and purposes? Do you want God to do something new? I ask you tonight, do we not need God to do something new? Does the church in Ulster, does the church in Ireland and the United Kingdom reveal the nature of God as He is? Does it represent the character of Jesus Christ, the Son? I mean, is this the best that the Holy Spirit can do?
We have to allow God to put to death whatever He wants. This was Isaiah's preparation for many new things that God was going to do through him in the nation. I want you to turn with me to Isaiah chapter 43 verse 16: 'Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick): 'Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert''.
Now, thank God for the past. We need our Christian heritage, we need that link with our history - and the past can teach us. But God's word is very clear that the past must not bind us, and we must always be looking forward to what God is yet to do - that's what verse 18 means: 'Remember not the former things'. Verses 16-18 are referring to the exodus acts of God, what is being remembered in Judaism as we speak at this Passover season, when God delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and bondage, took them through the salvation of the Red Sea, and eventually into the promised land through the blood of the lamb. The Jews remember this constantly. What God's prophet was saying to the people was: 'I want you presently, today, to live in My power which was displayed in the past. I want you now to live in the reality of the exodus acts of Almighty God'.
Look at verse 19: 'Behold, I will do a new thing' - that probably should be better rendered 'I am going to do a new thing'. The children of God were now in another captivity in Babylon, and God is saying: 'I'm going to perform another deliverance patterned on the exodus. It will sprout out, it shall spring forth, verse 19, like a seed which has germinated, it's time has come!'. He asks the question: 'Do you not see it?', and the inference that He is making is, 'You can't miss it!'. Yet the people of God were missing it, and often do miss what is going on in the kingdom of God - why? Because they are looking backward, they got a crick in their neck to what happened yesteryear, and they don't see what God is doing at this very moment. The emphasis of the prophet here is: 'You're in danger of missing what God is doing, and what God is about to break out, because you're focusing your attention on the past!'. They celebrated God's power in the past, but they relegated God's power to the past! God was asking them: 'Do you want to see what I am doing now?'.
I believe - and there is a lesson for us all to learn here tonight - that God is always doing something. He that comes to God was believe that He is - I think there's a sense that that means that He is active, that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Even when it looks as if God is doing nothing, that there is a veritable spiritual wilderness and desert around us, we must believe that He is doing something, even in comparison with the past. The prophet Habakkuk said to the people of God in his day: 'Look around you, Habakkuk', replied the Lord, 'among the nations, and see and be astonished and astounded, for I am putting into effect a work in your days such that you would not believe it if you were told it'. Do you know what it was in Habakkuk's day? God was raising up the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, to judge His own people. Now that was unexpected, wasn't it, that God would judge His people for their wickedness by using an even more wicked nation like the Babylonians? Incidentally, Paul the apostle quotes that verse from Habakkuk in Acts chapter 13, we read of him speaking it at the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, and he applies it to God rejecting - momentarily - the Jewish people, and turning to the Gentiles, leaving the Jews in their blindness because of their unbelief. He did something that the Judaic mind, the Hebrew consciousness, could never have conceived of, and they could have turned up a thousand scriptures to contradict God turning to the Gentiles with grace - He did a work in their day, and they couldn't believe it even though they were told it.
God is working today. 'My Father has been working', Jesus said, 'until now, and I have been working' - God is always working, but listen: if we are preoccupied with how God did it years ago, we may miss it now. Now I want to leave you with three things as I close tonight on how to position yourself for God's new thing. Very briefly: how to position yourself for God's new thing. One: you need to be Christ-centred. That should be elementary, shouldn't it, to the Christian church? But sadly it is not. We need to revive the emphasis that He is the way, He is the truth, He is the life - nothing else, no one else. Truth does not belong to a system, truth does not belong to a religion, it does not belong to a denomination, it does not belong to a dogmatic persuasion - truth is a Person! Jesus! Boy, if our land needs to hear anything, it's that: it's all about how you're related to the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the truth. It's all about His Lordship, that you've bowed the knee and you've surrendered your all to the Lord Jesus Christ. It's all about Jesus on the throne - and, by the way, in John chapter 12 and verse 41, John tells us that Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus Christ in His glory, and he spoke of Jesus sitting on the throne, His train filling the Temple, he bowed to Jesus as Lord in Isaiah chapter 6!
Of course, the second half of Isaiah's prophecy is all about Jesus. As a modern song puts it: 'Jesus at the centre of it all' - that's what it should be, Jesus at the centre of His church. Isaiah had to bow the knee, and he had to surrender some idols in his life. By the way, Isaiah has been called the Shakespeare of the Old Testament, and I'm not a Hebrew scholar but I'm told that his Hebrew surpasses the rest of the Hebrew in the Old Testament. He was poetic, a great orator, but you notice when he has a fresh revelation of the One who is the truth - what is it he pleads? His very strength becomes his weakness, he says: 'I'm a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips'. He takes even his strengths to the foot of the cross, and that angelic creature has to take a bloody coal from off the altar and cleanse his lips, cleanse his strengths to be consecrated to Him. We need to be Christ-centred again. To position ourselves for God's new thing, we've got to get rid of all these sectarian denominational idols - they've got to go! They don't represent God, they are not where He is. He's not into earthly kingdoms: 'This is My Beloved Son, hear Him'.
Secondly, we need to have kingdom vision to see the Father's will on earth as it is in heaven. 'After this manner pray ye, Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven' - that whatever God has already bound, and willed to be bound in heaven, should be bound on earth; whenever God has willed should be loosed in heaven, should be loosed on earth; that we would see His kingdom come in mighty spiritual blessing. Of course, Isaiah's prophecy is all about Christ's kingdom - it's not about Uzziah's, it dies at the very beginning.
I remember hearing, some of you might have been there, Jim Cymbala who wrote the book 'Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire' and several others - I heard him in Belfast a year or two ago at the King's Hall. He told how he went into ministry at first, and an old godly man gave him a bit of advice. He said: 'You will meet all sorts of people in your ministry, but here's a couple of them. You will meet church people, and those are the people who, their church is the best church out of all the churches, and maybe their denomination is the best, the strongest, the most biblical, the most sound denomination - you will meet those people: 'You've got to come to our church'. Then you will meet pastor people, and their pastor is the best pastor there has ever been. He's great at visiting and, boy, you want to hear his preaching! Pastor people'. He says, 'Then you will meet kingdom people'. Are you kingdom orientated? Have you got kingdom vision? That's what we need if we're going to be open to what God is doing. If we're going to be open to what God is doing in the Roman Catholic community, and what God wants to do, we've got to have kingdom vision, and we've got to get Christ-centred.
Thirdly, we need to be willing to change as God leads. Now don't fall off your pew! I know that's like swearing in church at times, to use the word 'change' - it's a dirty word, isn't it? Maybe already - you've heard about a still small voice - maybe you've heard another voice saying to you tonight: 'Boy, this preacher, we thought he was dodgy after the first time he was here, but now we know it! This is dangerous talk! Really dangerous talk!'. No, listen: what is dangerous is the stagnation of creeping death that is in our churches, in our lives, and in our homes!
I know the only thing that likes change is a wet baby, and people say to me: 'Oh, the Lord changes not', but you're not the Lord. Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying tonight, and please don't misinterpret or misquote me. I'm not suggesting that we sell the truth: 'Buy the truth and sell it not'. I'm not talking about change for change's sake. The church is plagued by gimmicks and skits, and foolish fleshly plans and strategies and programmes. What I am saying is: woe betide us if God tells us to change, and we don't listen to Him; or we're deaf and we're blind because we are idolatrously wedded to something that is old. Yes, the new thing will be a rediscovery of the old past, it will be the same old truths, but it will come in a new way! It's right that desperate times need desperate measures, that was always the case, it will always be the case. Who am I to remind you that we need to be radical - how radical, I was thinking about this just down there, how radical was the Faith Mission at its origination? How radical! They lived by faith, that was unheard of largely. Women preached - I mean, how far back are we going here? - women were preaching! They emphasised the baptism of the Holy Spirit - radical, because that's what was needed! The Salvation Army were radical, because that's what God needed. The Methodists were radical, and we need something radical! We need something new.
Well, can I ask you - and I will ask you over and over again in these sessions - when it comes, and I think it is probably already here, springing forth here and there; but when it comes in front of your nose, will you get with it or will you oppose it? Vance Havner once said: 'Sunday morning Christianity is the greatest hindrance to true revival'. There is so much in that statement. The way we do it, the way we have done it, and Martyn Lloyd Jones was no extremist but he said: 'Fancy upsetting the clock-like mechanical perfection of a great service with an outpouring of the Spirit, the thing is unthinkable!'.
'Let it come, oh Lord, we pray Thee,
Let the showers of blessing fall.
We are awaiting and expecting,
'Tis fire we want, for fire we need.
Send the fire!'
Let us pray. Now, in the quietness, please let's be still in the presence of God. I want to address you individually, and I want to ask you tonight: do you personally need something new? I'm going to tell you, I need something new every day, I need a word from God every day - I'm disappointed when I don't get it, because man shall not live by bread alone, but every word of God is my daily bread. I need to hear from God every day to keep me going. But you know you need something drastic for your Christianity. You know that something needs to happen. Or maybe you're here, and you've been kidding yourself, you've been holding on to a pseudo-Christianity, a semblance of some form, some confession, but there is no life, there is no reality to it - and you know that deep down. Do you need to come to the foot of the cross like Isaiah? Do you need to have your idols die, and God cause them to crumble so that you might see Christ? Do you need to fall at the foot of the cross tonight, and even confess what you thought were your strengths - your pride, your pride of doctrine? You know, pride is the evangelical sin if ever there was one - and I have battleship loads of it. Do you need to confess that tonight? Do you need to confess other struggles that are idols that have gotten in the way of you knowing a revelation of the glory of Christ in your life, cleansing from off of the altar? You might hear the voice of the Lord to you tonight: 'Who will go? Who will go for Us?', and your retort could be, 'Here am I, with all my pride, with all my brokenness, with all my arrogance, with all my deficiency; here am I, Lord; here am I, I give You myself, send me, fill me, cleanse me'.
Is there anyone here tonight just where you are, whether in the gallery or down here below, you would stand to your feet and say: 'Lord, here I am, I want a new thing in my life, I need a new thing in my life, I need a new revelation of Jesus'? Is there anyone just now who would stand to their feet to have dealings with God, and publicly acknowledge their need? God bless you. Are there any just in this quietness, stand to your feet for a new thing.
Are there any who have been involved in the work of God in some form or other, and I know some of you will struggle with what I have shared tonight and in subsequent occasions - that's OK, at least you're listening! But some of you here know what I'm saying is true, and you know it's from God, and you know that your church, your denomination, your organisation, your group, whatever it is: you need something new, and you need it drastically. Some of you here, even for our land, you know we need something new. Would you stand to your feet if you're ready to position yourself for it? To be Christ-centred, to have kingdom vision, and to be ready to change - whatever that change might mean, as long as it's God asking you to do it, you will do it. Stand to your feet.
Now, you just deal with the Lord, just yourself. Whatever it is, if you need to confess sin, if you need to repent, if you need to renounce any idolatry that there has been - you talk to the Lord there. Do you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Have you ever been filled with the Holy Spirit? Come and ask Him, so many of us are operating in the flesh - it's our thing, it's our kingdom, it's our work. The Holy Spirit is brooding over us tonight, and we want to allow Him to have His way in our lives. You bring to Him, even if you're sitting, you bring to Him your need.
In just a moment we're going to sing our closing hymn, but let us pray: Blessed Father, we thank You for Your heart that is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. We have the flavour of Christ tonight, and His walk and His witness on this earth, and surely He was a new thing. Lord, we want to be part of what He is doing today, now. We don't want to be serving the memory of bygone eras. Lord, our people are going to hell in their hundreds of thousands, and we need something new! O God, we cry to You tonight: will You not open the windows of heaven, pour out a blessing. We bless what You're already doing, we might not understand it, we may not be able to just compute everything that You do - but, Lord, we are not You! We don't have to put our imprimatur on it, or our seal of approval. We thank You, Lord, that You can bless those who we don't agree with. O God, we just pray that You will come, that You will come and meet us again, and You will forgive us. We repent, Lord, we repent of our sins as Your people, we repent of taking refuge in our traditions, in our doctrines, in our rituals, in our buildings, in our movements, in our little petty empires. Lord, we repent! We would demolish them, and we would pull them down tonight, and say: 'Lord, lift high the cross! Come suddenly to Your Temple again, Lord, and do a new thing, let it spring forth'. O God, we cry: make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, and come and revive us again that Your people may rejoice in Thee. Meet each one that has acknowledged their need tonight, O come Holy Spirit, and touch all our lives - in Jesus' mighty name we pray, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at the Faith Mission Easter Convention in Bangor, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the first recording in his 'Something Old, Something New' series, entitled "Isaiah's Day" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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