At Ease in Zion
By Chad Taylor
"Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you
who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to
whom the people of Israel come... (Amos 6:1)
I write the message below with a deep resolve in my
spirit. I have heard the Lord say over and over this past 60 days,
"The church is about to cross the line in their
conferencing and gatherings, they are about to cross the line of
offense." I have felt a fear of the Lord as I would
contemplate these things. In light of this I was reminded this morning
of Amos 6:1-7. Take to heart these words and let them bring conviction
and revelation to your spirit. Even go as far as to pause and pray
before you even read the following lines and ask the Lord to reveal His
heart and passion to you right now. Amos prophesied during a time of
great prosperity in Israel. The people interpreted prosperity as a
blessing from God, which in Amos' day and much like today, was not entirely
true. God still desired for, "justice to run down like water,
and righteousness like a mighty stream..."
Amos means, "Burden-Bearer." Amos was
burdened with the brokenness of God's heart for the land, and he articulated
this in his prophesies and exhortations. Gods' burden is still the
same today. His burden and passion for the lost and dying that plague
our cities and streets. As long as we say to ourselves, "I am
beyond reproach, there is nothing wrong with the way I am doing
things..." as Israel did then, we will never be broken and
contrite enough to allow the Lord to grieve our hearts for the lost and
unsaved, the backslider and the prodigal, and usher in the revival that God
so desires to bring. Read the portion of scripture below
(V.1) "Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost
nation, to whom the people of Israel come...
(V.4) You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge
on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.
You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical
(V.6-7) You drink wine by the bowlful and use the
finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
Therefore you will be the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging
shall end..." (NIV)
The word complacent from the Webster's view means: "Self-satisfied,
or content, exhibiting self-satisfaction..." It is so easy
in our conferences and meetings to grow satisfied with what is taking place,
not realizing their is a whole world outside our doors in dire desperate
need of God's love. The church meeting is not the end to God's
display of glory, but only the beginning. In order that we
can begin to demonstrate this scripture to the world, "freely
you have received, freely give..." A world that is at times even
suicidal and at the edge of eternity, in a great valley of decision
fluctuating between heaven and hell. Yet at the door of most
conferences is a vanguard of obstacles keeping the world out, they are met
with registration tables and signs letting them know that without a
registration fee they cannot enter. Can you imagine in one of Jesus'
meetings the disciples going around the crowd checking registrations and
receipts to make sure everyone was paid up at the annual Beatitudes
Conference in Jerusalem?! Of course not! So how do we get away
with this kind of practice today?
We are about to cross the line of offense if we
do not start opening the doors and exhibiting what Christ instructed so long
ago, "Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a
luncheon or dinner (conference), do not invite your friends, your brothers
or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back
and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the
poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although
they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the
righteous." (Luke 14:12-14 - parenthesis mine). Revival is
hidden in this portion of scripture, "But when you give a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, and lame, the blind, and you will be
blessed... That blessing is revival.
(V.6) "You drink wine by the
bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of
This scripture speaks in direct reference to much what is
happening today. We are in danger of doing this every time the Lord
begins to pour out His anointing and presence. The danger is this,
that we begin to drink the wine or anointing by the bowlful and
never pour it out to the ones that are really in need of it; the lost and
wounded of humanity, lying still at the side of the road left for dead by
the world. They are in ruins and we are not GRIEVED over their ruin!
That is the sin and offense to God, that we are not grieved or moved by
their hurt or pain as He was. That we do not weep as He wept over
His city and peers. In all of our conferencing and meetings we have
lost the brokenness and contriteness of Christ, and in so doing we have
grieved His Holy Spirit. There in one element that brings more joy
into Heaven, when one soul is saved.
(V.1) "...and to you who feel
secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the
people of Israel come..."
One more point of grievance and warning from the Lord in
reference to the scripture above is this, we must be very careful in these
days of exploits and miracles not to put our confidence and faith in men and
women that may be at the forefront of some spiritual movement or revival.
If we start to speak more about them than we do Christ Himself, and people
start to flock to a man or woman and not His Spirit, we are in danger of
judgment on our ministries and meetings. We must at all cost, lift
up the name of Jesus, it is only when we lift HIM UP that all men will be
drawn to His wells of salvation and healing. We must learn from some
of the great healing ministries of the past, that shined so brightly for a
moment, but then were swallowed up by their pride and self-promotion and led
many astray. And as leaders and pastors, we must exercise the same
wisdom in our promotion of our conferences and meetings, we must be very
careful not to over promote a man or woman and their name or ministry
because in the end it will only make others feel inferior and less and
grieve the Holy Spirit. I am guilty of this, that is the reason I have
such an urgency to write what I am writing, that we do not continue down
this road of error and miss God's best for our cities and churches.
This approach to ministry is NOT the Spirit of Christ, it is the flesh, and
we must begin to discern between the two more carefully.
(V.7) "Therefore you will be the
first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging shall end..."
The ultimate judgment is that the Spirit of God lifts
from our meetings and conferences and we are left with only a glow of the
former glory. Sure minor healing will occur, the Lord will never
ignore a person's faith. But the shekinah glory of God has left.
His manifest presence that causes the hardest heart to melt and be saved in
the meetings, will become a self-satisfied and content group of
Christians that are not broken for the ruin of Joseph. Sure there will
always be prophecy and minor miracles that keep us going from meeting to
meeting, but is it the glory of God that Jesus displayed, or the apostles in
Acts, that caused thousands in one meeting to be added to the church?
Should we be satisfied then when no souls are remembered in the records of
Heaven at out meetings and conferences? Never! Then
let's set our hearts and prayers to this subject of souls then and never let
another opportunity elude us that we could impact our city and world for
(V.4) "You strum away on your
harps like David and improvise on musical instruments..."
Another caution I have heard from the Lord is this; that
we do not allow anointed worship and anointed worship leaders to take the
place of genuine revival. It is so easy to get lost in the bliss of
worship and let down our standard for revival and a sincere spiritual
awakening in our city or church. Good worship does not equate the
glory of God! The sure sign that the lasting presence of God is
in your midst is when the lost are being saved and hearts are bound up that
were broken, that prison doors of abuse and addiction are flying open and
the captives are being set free. We can get lost in worship and all
the while the lost are going to hell all around us and we are
oblivious to their terrifying state! This is deception at its most
highest level, that we can be pursuing God and His presence and never really
discover the key to His heart and the secret of revival, the lost...
In closing I would say this, we must seriously look at
our conferences and meetings, are they reaching the city? Are the lost
being saved? Or rather is it the same Christians time and time again
coming to the altar and never being altered enough to go out from
the meeting and give away what they have been receiving "by the
bowlful" week after week? Is the moral and spiritual climate
of our city being changed? Are the criminal activity and statistics
going down? Is the number of young ladies standing in line at the
abortion clinic lessening? Is anything changing in our immediate
surroundings and city? These are questions we must ask
ourselves. Or forever pay the price for our negligence.
When Philip "conferenced" in Samaria "there
was great joy in that city..." (Acts 8:8). The entire
city was changed! This is the goal of the prize of the up-ward call in
Christ Jesus we must all strive for, we cannot afford to fall into the same
trap as Israel did so long ago, to become, "Self-satisfied, or
content, exhibiting self-satisfaction..." But to the
contrary we must be transformed broken and moved by the condition of our
streets and cities and do something about it! Incorporating the lost
and the outcast into our conferences, meetings, and church services.
With God's grace and power we can experience above and beyond what we can
even think or ask. 2001 will be marked not by a selfish satisfied
church, but a radical One moving and shaping the destiny of cities and
nations. Only this kind of Church will welcome Christ when He