We could soon be carried away with the excitement and enthusiasm that led to the dawn of a New Millennium. Caution is needed. Worldwide, great plans and festivities were planned. Yet underlying all the euphoria there was fear, folly, and frustration. While the world is on a collision course with the Almighty, we pause and ponder the greatness, goodness, and grace of our God, and like Bunyan we can say, “It is grace abounding to the chief of sinners.” We bless our God that we are not left to the philosophies and ideas of men, but have our feet planted firmly on the impregnable rock, the eternal Word of God, with its abiding and everlasting principles. While we know not what the future holds, we know He holds the future. We commence the dawn of this new millennium with confession, thanksgiving, praise, and worship. We turn to the time-honored mandate, the Word of God, for strength, comfort, and encouragement. Let us consider the mandate from a fourfold viewpoint and capitalize on four vital bulwarks in the midst of a wavering, insecure, and crumbling society.
a) A REVIVAL in evangelism. Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields for they are white already to harvest (John 4:35). Can there be a revival in last days before the coming of the Lord? Are we not living in remnant testimony? Can we not be content with the status quo? Beloved brethren, such thinking will produce the armchair syndrome, with the quip: “It is the sign of the times.” If we don’t expect, we won’t get. May the New Millennium commence with the assemblies in confession before God and a crying out for REVIVAL! This must begin with us. The people perish for lack of vision! Is there not a need to see young men raised up in early life, and sent forth to carry the torch of gospel truth to a needy and desperate world? The Lord raise up and thrust forth broken and burdened workers. This would be a great blessing to the testimony. The costs will be great, the commendation will be greater (1 Timo-thy 2:4,5). “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:29).
Revival was the watchword of the saints in a bygone day,
When hearts were glowing brightly, they gathered oft to pray;
While the world was held in darkness, and sinners marched to hell
These holy saints cried to their God, to anoint their lips to tell,
To tell, the wondrous story of God’s redeeming grace
And sound the silver trumpet to a guilty human race.
In those days of great revival, sinners often cried out for fear,
Lest judgment fell upon them, they felt God’s wrath was near,
But in their deep conviction the lifeline of the blood,
Was offered freely to them, right from the Word of God,
And many trusted Jesus, who for them did bleed and die,
Instead of weeping, wailing, their songs went up on high.
Lord, send again revival, a breath from heaven above,
Let all the saints before Thee bow with heart and soul to God,
And with sincere confession lay hold on grace divine,
To wrestle to the midnight hour for all of humankind,
Then we will see revival, again come to our land
The Holy Ghost revival among His faithful band.
b) REESTABLISHING the precious truth of “gathering unto His Name” (Matt 18:20). This truth has been handed down with a great price tag. There is the fear, brethren and sisters, we are letting it slip from us. While we have advanced in the fields of prophecy, history, and theology, this basic Spirit-revealed truth of the uniqueness of the assembly is often forgotten. “Back to the Book” is surely a clarion call to us for the new millennium. The simplicity and value of the apostles’ doctrine should be to the forefront. We have not only the Magnet (Christ) to attract, but also the Mandate (Word) to practice. If we want to attract others to Christ, we must live Christ to attract. We should shun hardness or harshness, and exhibit the gentleness and loveliness of Christ and be marked by forgiveness, care and love for one another, “lest Satan take advantage” and take us away from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3). A fresh appreciation of the place of His Name will cause others to inquire and “come and see”.
He called me to His Peerless Name, and I followed Him outside,
The names and systems of this world that had Him crucified,
And here I find a resting-place from all the world’s false ways,
A calm retreat among the saints, it’s mine to end of days.
c) A RESTORATIVE ministry. Embarking upon the new millennium in testimony we should have a deep Spirit-begotten desire to see RESTORATION among the Lord’s beloved people. This of ten-neglected area of Christian responsibility should be rekindled in our hearts again. Some who once were useful among us are swallowed up in the world with its many allurements. No wonder we read of Paul’s tears; he was touched for others. We need shepherds to bring them home again. A look inward to the human heart will enable us to evaluate the potential within our own hearts. To recover the sheep of the Lord’s pasture should be of prime importance in this new millennium. How rewarding when the backslider returns. What a goal to have before us, remembering that our God is the God of restoration. This is one of the priorities in the mandate (Acts 20:19, 28-3: Matt 18:13).
He restoreth my soul, when it has gone astray,
The broken vessel He maketh once more,
And instead of throwing the pieces away
He worketh again, the clay to restore.
Much patience He takes o’er His erring child,
For He loves them in spite of their fall.
He seeks them and calls them back to Himself
And forgives them, His blood covers all.
d) The REKINDLING of the Hope of His RETURN. May the Holy Spirit rekindle and revive the RETURN of the Lord for His redeemed. Blessed hope! Lord, revive this in reality! We know it will happen, but to live in the expectancy of it is another story This is a most practical truth. The following questions are searching: How would He find me? Would bitterness reside in my heart? Would I be found living for self? Would I be engaged in things unscriptural? Would I be embarrassed? Or, would Christ be enthroned in my heart? Would my life be on the altar for God? All for God? Would the stigma of the cross so fill the heart that I could sing in truth:
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spread o’er His body on the tree,
Then I am dead to all the world
And all the world is dead to me.
Beloved, we are going onward, upward, and homeward. Let this new millennium in the world’s history be marked by these spiritual qualities. We raise our “Ebenezer” and trust Him for all that’s to come. Maranatha! We look upward and press onward. May this new millennium be marked by spiritual adjustments.
We listen for the shout from high,
That will call His own away,
From a world of tears and sorrow,
To the realms of perfect day.
In a moment we shall be transported
To behold our Savior’s face,
Then praise Him for redeeming blood,
And sing amazing grace.
Until we hear that blessed voice,
Lord, give us strength to say,
Take my heart, my life, my all,
Hold o’er my will full sway.