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 carefully.
(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 instruments. 
(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 Joseph..." 
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 Jesus Christ.
(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 returns...
Chad Taylor
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