Waiting on the move of God

I want to read again a few verses from the Epistle of James in the 5th Chapter from verse 7. Where James says …
“Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
“Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” James 5, 7-11

A Greek church father known as Clement, born about A.D. 150, informs us that James and his brother Jude were farmers. This explains why James so often uses illustrations from a farmer’s life. He speaks, for instance, of the rain of seedtime, and the rain of ripening harvest. The first, fell in Judea about the middle of October, after the seed was sown, and the second toward the end of April, when the ears were filling and ripening for harvest. Without those two rains the earth would have been unfruitful.
The Bible clearly shows us that at the end time a period of great refreshing and revival will fall on the Church, – we call it the “Latter rains”. The fact that these “latter rains” are yet to fall gives me a great confidence in believing that the Church is yet to witness revival, a final great harvesting of souls, before the husbandman (our Blessed Lord Jesus) returns for the precious fruit of the earth, even though the world will concurrently grow more wicked, defiant and deserving of his judgment.

My Sermon then today entitled
“Waiting on the move of God” shall consider,
The Promise of God Concerning Revival
The Purpose of God Concerning Revival
The Patience of God Concerning Revival

James says: “The farmer…being patient…until [the earth] receives the early and the late rain.” It is both interesting and instructive to observe that God has promised the “early and latter rain” in terms of physical fulfilment. When the children of Israel were about to enter the land of Canaan, God said through Moses: “I will give you the rain of your land in its due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil” Deut 11,1-14 It is clear from this passage, and a number of others, that the harvest was dependent upon the rain, and that the rain was promised by God, contingent upon obedience.

When the nation followed God, there was rain, harvest and plenty. When there was departure from the way of righteousness, then there was drought, famine and distress. We are all familiar with the story of Elijah who was commanded to pray that it might not rain, and we read in James, chapter five: “For three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heavens gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit” (vv. 17-18). Thus God taught His people that His purpose for them was “the early and the latter rain” – if only they would be obedient to His Word. So I am excited right now about the promise of these “latter rains” of Revival, and Refreshing to Gods Church, – the body of Christ worldwide.

But what had been true in the physical life of God’s ancient people had been equally true in the spiritual life of all His people, both Jews and Gentiles. The promise of “early and latter rain” has a spiritual fulfilment – “The farmer waits…until [the earth] receives the early and the late rain.” During Old Testament times the rain of revival fell again and again during periods of spiritual awakening and renewal throughout the history of the Jews. But when we come into the New Testament, it can be shown that Pentecost was the historical and spiritual commencement of the fall of the “early rain.” Indeed, such was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in those days that in little more than thirty years the whole of the then civilized world was evangelised for Christ and the ground prepared for this final harvest.

Since then the rains of blessing has not entirely ceased. Like the occasional showers that continue to fall from October through to the latter rain of April, in Palestine, there have been downpours of revival throughout the history of the Church. Yet right now we await the final outpouring, “the latter rain of God” It is evident from our text that this is going to precede the coming of the Lord and, therefore, coincide with the final harvest. The Lord Jesus explained in the parable of the tares that “the harvest is the end of the world” Matt 13:39-41 And then He will come with His sickle to reap the precious fruit of the earth.
(Revelation 14, 14-16)

If this is so, then before our Saviour returns we must expect the promised rain of harvest. Oh that it might fall upon us soon!
If we believe that God’s promise concerning the second advent of His Son must and will be fulfilled, we must also believe that He will honour His promise concerning “the latter rain” of revival.
And what a promise that is! Then let us consider ….

The Purpose of God Concerning Revival

The purpose of God in revival is to hasten the day of the crowning harvest – “The farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth.” The Holy Scriptures and the story of revivals show that the greatest harvest periods in history have always coincided with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That there is a great harvest to reap is beyond dispute. The Lord himself, in His own day said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest” Matt. 9:37-38 and again: “Do…not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest.’ I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white unto harvest” John 4:35

If these words of our Blessed Lord carried a sense of urgency about them two thousand years ago, what about today? With the shrinkage of the globe, the population explosion, and the advanced methods of communicating the gospel? The only lack, the vital lack, is the pouring out of the Spirit in revival. Without it, our efforts, however modern, scientific or advanced, are of little real value.

God’s purpose in revival is to hasten the crowning harvest and also to hasten the day of the coming husbandman – “for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” The Apostle Peter expresses the same thought when he exhorts believers to “look for and hasten the coming of the day of God” 2 Peter 3:12. It is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit in the believer to make him homesick for heaven. The Apostle Paul puts it this way: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” 2 Cor 3:18

The more the Holy Spirit fills and transforms us, the more we become like Jesus and the more we long for heaven!
If the early rain is necessary for the germination of the seed, the latter rain is needful for fruit bearing. I believe with all my heart that there are significant changes ahead for all of us. We know that God is shaking the world and the Church, and the results of such a shaking will have far reaching effects and impact the way in which we not only sow the seed, but harvest the crop? I speak of course about the Spiritual Harvest, for I believe that just as the ground gives a natural increase to the seed, God will give a supernatural increase in the days ahead to the “Word” sown in His name! In my Spirit I can see many of our empty Churches being filled again. When the Church experience this season of revival, this great downpour from God, we will see transforming changes taking place with amazing speed and rapidity. Mark my words.

Now then, let us focus on what I am calling …
The Patience of God Concerning Revival
Our text reads;
“Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it…You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” The quality of patience is a divine virtue. The word signifies long-suffering and suggests brave endurance during affliction and the refusal to give way under it, even under pressure.
Patience is that holy self-restraint which enables the sufferer to refrain from hasty retaliation. Patience has nothing whatsoever to do with indifference, apathy or stoicism. Since God has promised and purposed revival, He patiently waits for it, regardless of the circumstances in the world and conditions in
the Church. The believer is to exercise similar patience.

In fact, where there is no patience for revival there is usually no prayer for revival, and therefore no faith in God’s promise and purpose in revival. So then James draws attention to the patience of God in order that the believer might emulate extended patience – “You also be patient. (he says) establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” God is patient; the Lord Jesus is patient; the Holy Spirit is patient; the prophets of old were patient. Concerning the latter, James says, “As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

There is hardly a prophet in the Old Testament who was not in some way an “example of suffering, affliction and patience.” Stephen, in his defence before the religious leaders of his day, asked his accusers this question: “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” Acts 7:52 and
Jesus said: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” Matthew 5:11-12
Perhaps the prophet that James had in mind, above all others, was Jeremiah – who later became known as the weeping Prophet.

Professor R.V.G. Tasker says of him:
“This hypersensitive, warm-hearted patriot, compelled to proclaim a succession of divine messages to his countrymen that were unpopular because they were of necessity pessimistic, who was so sympathetic towards the sufferings of others, was himself
beaten, put in the stocks, imprisoned in a dungeon, and thrown into a cistern by the very men whom he would gladly have saved if such salvation had been possible, from the doom that awaited them. Jeremiahs life was one of almost perpetual physical and spiritual suffering, yet his demeanour throughout was such that, of all the historical characters of the Old Testament, he was the one who most foreshadowed JESUS who, when He was reviled, reviled not again, and who suffered for man’s salvation the physical and spiritual agony of the cross.”

Then, of course, James mentions Job. The word “patience” used of him is not the same as the word employed in the previous verses. It is a term which implies “constancy and endurance.”
What a familiar story is Job’s record of constancy, endurance and steadfastness! To quote Professor Tasker once again:

{“It is not so much the self-restraint of Job under affliction, leading him to be patient with others, that is here emphasized, for Job was very far from showing patience in this sense with his so-called comforters. What Job did, however, display in a marked degree was the determination to endure whatever might fall to his lot without losing faith in God. He believed even when he could not understand.

“When blow after blow had fallen upon him in rapid succession Job cried out, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’ Job; 1:21 His reply to his wife when she invited him to curse God and die was, ‘Thou speaketh as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ Job;2:10 To ‘the physicians of no value’ Job;13:4 who posed as his friends, Jobs answer was, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him’ Job 13:15. He was convinced that his witness was in heaven and his record with the Most High God, and he knew that his Redeemer was alive!

“The end of the matter was the complete vindication of Job by his Maker. Not only were his material possessions and his worldly prosperity restored to him, but he was granted a fuller understanding of the mystery of the divine purpose, and a more direct experience of the majesty and sovereignty of Almighty God. He became capable of a greater and deeper penitence. ‘I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear,’ he says, ‘but now mine eye seeth Thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes’ Job;42:5-6 So it was that ‘the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning’ Job;42:12 The God whose severity Job had for so long experienced, as his character was tested in the furnace of affliction, in the end showed Himself to be, in the words of the Psalmist quoted by James, very pitiful, and of tender mercy” Psalm 103:8}

What a call to patience this is! But before we move from this point it is important that we should note the manner in which we are to emulate extended patience. James exhorts us, “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” The twofold secret of maintained patience is intercession and expectation. The word for “establish” in the Greek (sterizo) is the same as that which is used for bolstering or holding up of Moses’ hands. (in Exodus 17:12) Patience for revival can only be bolstered up by prayer. Then there is the spirit of expectation which should characterize every truly born-again soul,
for the Apostle Peter reminds us that we are “begotten…unto a [living] hope” 1 Peter 1:3

If we have that hope and believe God’s promise, we can patiently wait for the glorious fulfilments of revival and the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are to emulate extended patience – as seen in God Himself and as reproduced in the saints who have left us
“an example of suffering and patience.”

But the patience of God is also designed to prompt and support our patience – Our text reads; “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Judge standeth at the door.” The word “grudge” means to grumble, murmur, or complain. Under the pressure of opposition, persecution and trials we can soon exhaust our patience – unless we are drawing freely on the resources of God. At such times as these we fall victim to the sin and the spirit of grumbling, murmuring and complaining. We blame God for not answering our prayers for revival, and then we criticize one another for being hindrances to such blessing, without recognizing that we are all under condemnation ourselves. The Word says that to grumble is to be condemned. Let us never forget that “the Judge is standing at the door.” He hears and knows everything; and when He comes He will judge everything. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that every one of us may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” 2 Cor 5:10
Let us see to it then that we never exhaust our patience and become a grumbling people. For unbelief and grumbling the children of Israel were all barred (apart from two men) from the promised land of blessing. You see it is possible to be bypassed by revival even when it does come! I can only pray that God will save us, or spare us from such a tragedy!

Now this final word

In consideration that we are waiting now on the move of God,
we have observed that “the latter rain” of revival suggests to us the promise, purpose and patience of God concerning his next move of Blessing. God is never in a hurry, nor is He forced by our eager anticipation and expectation of His moves.
God always has His Plans, His Purposes and His Timing.
The only thing I know for sure, {as I believe Christians all over the world know at this Hour}, is that the next move is Gods?

A Lutheran bishop tells of visiting a Parish Church in California and finding a stirring red and orange banner on the wall. which said “Come Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!” it declared in words printed under a picture of a burning fire. The bishop was also interested in the sign directly underneath the banner which said: “Fire extinguisher.”

God truly wants to send the “Fire” of Revival and Renewal into our Churches, but first of all He must remove those who could so easily extinguish that fire, those who are determined to pour “cold water” on every vision that God gives. The only water we want is the “latter rains of God”.

May Almighty God grant us all a fresh vision for the coming Glory, and the crowning Day of the Churches Harvest. Amen