Be careful what you try to stamp out!

Matthew 13:27-29 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.

In the late 1800s, an awakening in South Africa led by Andrew Murray was a powerful move of God. Studying that revival yields essential insights concerning the events occurring now throughout the United States. As the spirit of God began to move in Cape Town, Murray compared the SA revival with past experiences of revivals in Europe. He decided that the intense “emotionalism” was a false experience of God and charged in to break up the meeting. Stepping out of the church, he encountered his father standing and weeping. His father rebuked Andrew, “How dare you stop something that I have prayed to happen for 30 years!”

The rebuke cut Andrew so deeply that he refused to preach for months. He sat in the back of the church, repentant, and contrite until finally, the elders of his church picked him up and carried him into the pulpit. He preached with great anointing and led the South African Awakening, during which over 5 million came to the Lord.

When God moves, many things begin to occur such that misinterpretation and profound misunderstanding inevitably accompany His purposes and work. We see this in the Lord’s ministry as His very presence drove demons into manifestation; [Luke 4:33-34].

We also have numerous examples of unusual activity and manifestations that God produced upon His servants in the Old Testament era.

The wondrous move of the Spirit in our time can also produce deep affect upon human souls, emotions that many may find excessive or even unendurable. Then, of course, there is the flesh, the sinful nature, which may respond in ways that have nothing of God in them. A revival, therefore, is an extremely complex social experience that lends itself to presumption on the part of those who are prone to take offense for one reason or another. And finally, the enemy himself will almost certainly move in to produce excesses and corrupt expressions to counterfeit and contaminate what God is doing. Therefore, we need to be very careful NOT to paint these moves with a “broad brush.” We need to wait to examine the fruit.

The parable of the weeds and the wheat is useful here. The great revivalist George Whitfield interpreted this passage during the first great awakening saying, “If you try to stamp out the wildfire and remove what is false, you will equally and simultaneously remove what is real.”

Our solution is simple: focus upon what is real and genuine by asking the Holy Spirit for discernment. If possible, go yourself and talk with people who’ve been there or have some first-hand experience; discern the character and trustworthiness of the witnesses. And pray! If ever there was a need for God to move in this world….(you finish the sentence)…

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