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Women Who Win

 

Revival Killers

 

As women have shared in the promotion of Revival in the New Testament, they have also played a major role in its demotion. How pathetic to note that the first problem in the bubbling baby church had a woman behind it! Let us glean the New Testament for Revival Killers whereby we may be exhorted.

1. Covetousness

The first sin that cancerated the revival in the book of Acts was the love of money. It had a beautiful cloak of ‘sacrifice.’

“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet... Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5:1-10).

Oh, what a terrible thing that would have been in the sight of the Lord, to deserve such a terrible death blow! First of all, it was the love of money. The soul and the spirit were not cut asunder. The spirit said ‘give’; but the soul said, ‘live.’ The final compromise was ‘give and live.’ The result – death! “She who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.” It is death in life!

Secondly, it was agreeing with her husband to “test the Spirit of the Lord,” A wife’s responsibility in such situations is to avert God’s curse upon the family. Sapphira proved to be Eve’s sister in being death to her husband rather than life. She forgot that they were “heirs together of the gracious gift of life” and slipped into eternal death with him.

Thirdly, it was hypocrisy. The truth of the whole matter was that they wanted to sell “all” and get a good name like anyone else. When everybody else was sacrificing they did not want to be the black sheep. What would others think? They too wanted to sacrifice. Unfortunately only the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. They gave in to the suggestion of the flesh to hit two mangoes with one stone; kept back something for them, hoping at the same time to earn a name in public. The fatal blow struck when Sapphira pronounced her “Yes” with her mouth when it was truly ‘No’ in heart. Many a Doctor Jekyll who occupies the front pew under neon lights is verily Mr. Hyde walking in the shadows prowling to prey on our revival!

Fourthly, it was lie. She was a consecrated believer, willing to sacrifice, but with a little covetousness. “Satan filled their heart” to lie to the Holy Spirit. A small breech allows Satan to come in and fill you. An old proverb says that it needs nine lies to cover one. Eventhough it was a lie to the apostle, God saw it as a lie to Himself. “You have not lied to men, but to God.” Sin against God’s leaders is sin against God Himself. Beware!


What a true saying is it that the love of money is the root of all evil! It led her to be partner to her husband’s sin, to test the Spirit of the Lord, to hypocrisy, to tell lies and finally death! How a little covetousness plus a large offering can lead to your death in the midst of a revival! “The young men came in, and, finding her dead, carried and her out and buried her beside her husband.” If you are not careful to weed out covetousness from your life, the younger generation will lay you aside and be witnesses of the revival of which you ought to have been a partaker.

2. Murmuring

Murmuring is probably the next worst offender. There were some widows in the growing church who felt neglected. Their murmuring crept up to higher levels and finally reached the apostles’ ear, who then set it right.

“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food ” (Acts 6:1).

When God has chosen us to be one among thousands in a revival band, legitimately we feel neglected when no personal attention is paid to us. The problem for the women was just their daily needs; whereas for the apostles it was enormous. The women could have easily comforted themselves if they had understood that it was they who should pray and help the apostles rather than vice versa. Another point of grievance was that they developed an inferiority complex before the Hebrews. They started to compare themselves with the other group. After all, was it not their fault to have secluded themselves as “their” widows after coming under the common roof of the church?


This happens very much in today’s situation. When the revival fire is blazing at the centre, the peripheries start smoking. Because we feel too far away from the revival, too forgotten and too insignificant. We expect encouragement and appreciation. But how about the ones who shoulder greater responsibilities? Is it not our duty to appreciate and encourage them and strengthen their hands? Caste, creed, colour and cash feelings creep in. We feel some are unduly attended to at our cost. Beloved, let us not deprive ourselves of the joy of the Lord by murmuring, believing the lies of the devil. Unless every small bit is aflame, the revival fire will be marred by smoke.

3. Resistance

Revival never comes as an expected shower in the forecast site. It is a miracle from heaven that comes through the most unexpected man in the most unexpected way to the most unexpected place. Unbelievable things could happen.

Read Acts 13:49,50. The Jews are waiting for the Messiah to come and deliver them. They are praying for Jesus, the King of the Jews to be born. But here comes a small bald man, just a visiting preacher in their synagogue, teaching them that this Jesus had already been born in a manger, died on a cross and resurrected from a tomb. Can this be their King? He invites the Gentiles also to hear the gospel and accept this Messiah! Blasphemy, they think. This can never be possible. How can they sit side by side with the Gentiles? Ridiculous. When Messiah comes He will give them back the Jewish kingdom and drive out the Gentiles. All old fashioned ideas are thwarted now by this preacher. Looks like he is quoting all the Old Testament Scripture to support his own pet theory. This must somehow be put down before it spreads far and wide.

It was too much for them. They simply could not swallow it. And the “God fearing women of high standing,” raised persecution and expelled them out of their coasts. How sadly they missed the visitation of the Lord!

Beloved, God is moving one more time on the earth. Things which we do not understand are happening. Let us bow down our heads and say, “Move in me, oh precious Lord.” Let us not be too dogmatic about our dogmas. God can bypass our intellect. He is a God of novelties. He says, “Behold, I will do a new thing.” Let us take the advice of Gamaliel: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men ... Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:35-39).

When the wind of God blows through the windows of your churches or prayer rooms or fellowships and you are stunned and prompted to shut it out – refrain, lest you be fighting against God!

4. Adultery

Paul was shocked to receive reports from his Corinthian congregation that there was adultery in the church and that “commonly.” The pride of the church would not allow them to humble themselves before God and repent for this deed. May be he was a leading figure in the fellowship or a big shot contributing a good sum. Paul dealt with that man (1 Cor 5:1).

My question is, what was this married woman doing when the fellow in the fellowship was flirting with her? It was not
rape certainly, but both parties were wholeheartedly involved in the affair. Women should realise that they are 50% responsible if not more. Our dress, manners, conduct and even small gestures affect the holiness of the church. What influence do we exert in our assembly? Women are duped by the devil to believe that they are victims rather than instruments of immorality and infidelity. But the Bible holds both equally responsible. “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die, both the man who lay with the woman and the woman” (Dt 22:22; Lev 20:11).

This does not curb our freedom of movement in any way. As Paul admonishes Timothy we must treat the men as brothers “with absolute purity” (1 Tim 5:1,2). It is as much freedom as with sons and brothers but as much purity as God!

A study of the history of revivals will clearly tell us that adultery has been the devil’s trap for God’s people. Balaam knew this weak point of man and utilised women for the downfall of the nation of Israel. It is a trap in the sense it is not seen easily before we fall into it and escape is difficult. Let us not become instruments of the devil to extinguish a revival. A few hints will help you cross over this hurdle.

(a) Recognise the moment you are tempted and avoid personal or free chats with him; no, not even a casual passing personal remark to stimulate his thoughts.

(b) Appearance, status (married or single) or age is no bar to the sin of lust leading to adultery.

(c) Never be afraid of offending the other party by keeping away from him in movements or conversation. Harden the
tender corner in your heart for him. Is it a loveless attitude? No. This is the real love which is holy and unblameable before God.

(d) You may have to forego certain things by avoiding him; but it is still worth it. Remember, NO LOSS IS GREATER THAN THE LOSS OF HOLINESS.

(e) If you find you are losing ground, confiding your problem in your husband gives you additional protection.

Let us acknowledge our weak frame and guard ourselves against the wiles of the wicked foe.

5. Authority over men

Women’s Lib is good as long as the liberation is within the boundary of the Word of God. During the time of Christ, He found women bound by Jewish customs and trodden down by men. They were dumped in a corner and not given a place in society. Christ honored them, liberated them and gave them the right place in society. This “neither-male-nor-female” principle when taught in the church was misconstrued by some women, who raised themselves up to the status which Christ gave them, and not stopping with that, continued to climb further; so much so they were clamouring in the church, asking, arguing and usurping authority over men.

This liberation beyond bounds has a very damaging effect on a revival. The woman’s protection is the man and if she is not under the umbrella of a man’s teaching or government she is exposed to the deceptions of the devil. The problem started in the garden of Eden when the first woman sneaked out of the umbrella to decide for her husband. The devil was cunning enough not to go to the man who would have made a wiser decision. Eve was deceived downright. Death entered the life of man and so revival or restoration became a necessity. As revival flourishes, seducing spirits and doctrines of devils will also abound. For our own safety and for the upkeep of the revival we must subject ourselves to the leadership of the church or fellowship. It is not for us to decide doctrinal issues or adamantly argue over the man at home.

“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to enquire about something they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (1 Cor 14:34,35). “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner ... The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons…” (1 Tim 2:11-14; 4:1).

On the other hand many women go to the other extreme of not taking any part in the services or studies. But the Bible gives us enough freedom to manifest the gifts of the Spirit. Certainly the Father would not like His daughters to be mum while the sons are actively participating.

Beloved sister, don’t be always looking for appreciation. All that you can hope to receive from the world is discouragement. The world will refuse to recognise your gifts and talents. The only majority neglected in the world is women. So pull on, push on. The church has lost many a genius because some ‘she’ thought it was not right for her to
contribute to the congregation. Do not be afraid of making mistakes; be ready to correct yourself when exhorted and always keep yourself where God has placed you. Strike a balance and let the revival flow.

6. Divisions

Finally, we find women hindering revival by allowing divisions among themselves, Paul pleads with them to be of one mind. “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord” (Phil 4:2). He could not even picture them together in his mind and implore both together. But he implores Euodia first and then implores Syntyche. We may assume Paul pleaded with them in person. Then after he left Philippi he heard that the division continued and attempted peace treaty once again through his letters. It was no ordinary division because it came to the notice of the chief apostle demanding his intervention, the elders having obviously failed.

It is easy to hold on to our petty views and sacrifice unity in the name of “separation.” But it needs maturity and deeper consecration and humility to sacrifice our own petty views for the preservation of unity. These little foxes of divisions gather momentum as one group joins this sister and another that sister, until they become one big fox which devours the revival. Let us be accomodative and united that God may bless us not with sporadic bursts of revivals but with a continuous flowing one which will sweep across the world!


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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