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Our Strategy for Restoration - The Book of Revelation
Week 42, 2017
This week we continue our study of Revelation 12.
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
"For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time" (Revelation 12:11-12).
Here we are given the ultimate strategy for overcoming:
1) The blood of the Lamb
2) Our testimony
3) We do not live in fear of death
How much do we believe in the power of the blood of the Lamb? I was once asked by a council of leaders in the body of Christ to oversee the restoration of a high profile evangelist. I knew I was supposed to do this, so I accepted. Then many of the leaders came to me separately and tried to impose their standards and guidelines on the restoration. I welcomed their input until I realized that what virtually every one of them was suggesting limited the power of the cross to redeem and restore. They wanted to inject their opinions in place of the power of God. Let me explain.
These leaders would place limits on the power of the cross by placing their own time limits on the process. I asked them where they got these guidelines, if they could give me examples in Scripture, and they could not. It was based on their opinion of what needed to be accomplished, some of which I doubted they could have lived up to themselves. As I dug deeper, I found that the severity of the process they wanted implemented depended more on the level of embarrassment endured by the body of Christ because of this fall than on what was needed to get this brother to repent, be healed, and strengthened against this type of failure again. Restoration is not about punishment—it is about getting the person to repent, be healed, and restored.
This was illuminating and alarming. Later, a person shared with me that they had followed many who publicly attacked this evangelist and condemned him for his failure. They had all either fell themselves, were divorced, or passed away. I am not saying this to shame anyone, and being on the other side I may have been guilty of the same thing. I am sharing this for the education and protection of those tempted to be presumptuous in limiting the power of the cross to redeem and restore. That is often a more serious transgression than what those who need restoration may be guilty of. The more influence we have as leaders or teachers, the stricter the judgment we can expect, as James wrote.
It is high level presumption for us to exalt our opinions to determine how long it will take the power of the cross to do something. If we determine a certain process should take three years, or five years, what are we basing this on? As Peter said, “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (see II Peter 3:8). One thing this means is that the Lord can do in one day what we think should take a thousand years. He can also take a thousand years to do what we think should be done in a day. Timing is in the hands of the Lord.
I asked some of those who approached me with what I thought were unbiblical opinions about this restoration process if they thought denying the Lord was worse than what this evangelist had done. They all concurred that denying the Lord was worse. I would then ask why the Lord restored Peter so fast and exalted him to the pinnacle of leadership in the church in just a few weeks when they wanted to take something less serious and stretch it into years.
We are told in Galatians 6:1, “If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (NKJV). This could have been translated “if any man is caught in any trespass….” That’s pretty much all encompassing. We also see here that “the spiritual” should be able to restore anyone who is caught in any trespass. Nothing is beyond the power of the cross to redeem and fully restore.
next week 43