By Francis Frangipane
is not God who hinders the healing of our land. Rather it is our
apathy, our own unbelief, that keeps us from grasping the potential
offered in the Gospel of Christ! Do not marvel when I say entire cities
can be saved. The Scripture tells us that nations will come to our light
and kings to the brightness of our rising! (Isaiah 60:1-3)
All We Lack is Christlikeness!
then began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were
done, because they did not repent" (Matt. 11:20). Jesus has a word to
say, not only to us as individuals, but to entire cities as well. In
anger He rebuked Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum (Matt. 11:21); with
tears, He cried out to Jerusalem (Luke 13:34). If He expected cities to
repent in the first century, He expects cities today to repent as well.
was in this very context of reproving cities, however, that Jesus made a
statement which unveiled the scope of God's redemptive power. Listen to
His rebuke, but also to its hidden promise. He said, "For if the
miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they
would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes" (Matt. 11:21).
and Sidon were Gentile cities known for their debauchery and sin. Yet,
Jesus said that His life, revealed in power, can bring even the vilest
of cities, places which ought to be destroyed, to "sackcloth and
ashes." The strategy, therefore, to win our cities is for the church to
reveal Christ's life in power. Yes, the revelation of Christ in us as
individuals, and the power of Christ displayed corporately through us,
can turn our worst cities back toward God!
cities are ripe for revival. What hinders the turning of the people's
hearts? Part of the answer lies with the church, with our sins of
self-righteousness, indifference and unbelief. The Lord said if His
people would humble themselves and pray, seek His face and turn from
evil, He would then heal their land (see 2 Chron. 7:14). The future does
not belong to the world; it belongs to the transformed church. Indeed,
let us never forget: God "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4).
With this in mind, Paul taught that entreaties and prayers should be
made on behalf of all men, "for kings and all who are in authority" (1
Tim. 2:1-4). The sacrifice of Christ provides for the salvation of all men. Heaven waits only for the church to act.
may say, "But, that was then. Our cities are worse. They are beyond
redemption." Not so. Jesus continued His rebuke of cities, saying, "If
the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have
remained to this day" (Matt. 11:23). Amazingly, when Christ is
manifested in power, Jesus said even Sodom could find repentance!
have heard many ministers compare Los Angeles or New York to Sodom.
Good. These cities have seen hell, now let the church show them heaven.
They need to see Jesus revealed in His church. The promise of Christ is
that even Sodom could repent in the atmosphere and revelation of
Christ's power. If there is hope for Sodom, there is hope for your city as well!
The Obstruction to Revival: Complacency
we picture cities, we tend to see skylines and factories, streets and
schools. Jesus, however, sees people. He beholds husbands arguing with
wives while their children tremble in fear. He sees drugs being sold on
playgrounds and teenagers having abortions. He suffers at the bedside of
the infirm. The heart of Christ grieves with the loneliness of the
elderly and identifies with the struggles of the handicapped.
Yes, the eyes of the Lord probe the spirit and humanity
of the city. From His eternal perspective, He also beholds the most
terrible event known to man. He sees the overwhelming horror, the utter
despair an unsaved person experiences as he realizes he is, indeed, dead
and going to hell. And, in the midst of it all, He sees the
church---His church, purchased at the cost of His own precious
blood---sitting comfortably and amused, remote control in hand, watching
Jesus does not have a problem with the
hot or cold dimensions of life. It is the lukewarm that He will spew
from His mouth (Rev. 3:15-16). What stopped the cities of Chorazin,
Bethsaida and Capernaum---communities that already had the blessing of
Christ's healing---from embracing ongoing renewal? They assumed Christ's love was given only to enrich them. All they saw were the rewards of Christ without understanding His requirements.
church today is frighteningly similar in attitude to these ancient
cities. The majority of the first century saints gave their lives to
Christ with the full knowledge they would face persecution, suffering
and, possibly, death for their faith. Such was the character and vision
of the church in the first century.
The main emphasis
of much of our Christianity, however, is to help believers become
"normal." So much of our contemporary teaching keeps alive the very
nature Jesus calls us to crucify! We need to reevaluate our preaching.
Are we preaching the cross and the call to follow Jesus? What are we
training our people to become?
Please hear me, the Father's goal is not merely to bless us, but to transform us into the image of His Son! He desires to use us to turn our cities back to Him. But God has made no provision for the healing of our land apart from us becoming Christlike!
Once we realize this vital truth, we shall return to the source of New
Testament Christianity, and our cities will have hope for redemption.
When the church demonstrates the love and power of Christ, repentance
and revival can occur even in a place like Sodom.
forgive us for our unbelief and apathy. You have promised that even
Sodom would come to You at the revelation of Your character and power.
Transform us, Lord Jesus, for the sake of your glory and the renewal of