Ric Vargas

Pastor at Bethany Fellowship in Long Island, NY

My story is maybe a little different from all the others that have gathered for this 40thanniversary of Pinecrest Bible Training Center. I came here to go to the high school that was here when I was 16 in 1974.  I got saved on these grounds. I came here not knowing anything.  I came right off the street from a life at that young of drugs, alcohol and roaming America with my thumb out. After I was kicked out of two high schools my parents in there desperation drove me twelve hours from their home in suburban Michigan to a small bible school that was way in the woods of Upstate New York. Thinking, hoping, that maybe this school with its emphasis on a personal intimate knowledge of God, and a place where God moved freely as He willed would change me, but in their heart they were also thinking that I was only getting a ride halfway to New York City where I went I would come to the point of no return. And after they dropped me off their parting words to Gerry Buscher the principal of Pinecrest Christian High School at that time were: If you can keep him you are doing better than anyone else has ever done. I’m sure Gerry did not quite know what to think when he heard those words

It was a few days before the 1974 Labor Day Convention that I spent walking Pinecrest’s woods crying and crying and crying, and just simply saying: “God can you help me?” — That was it, that was all I could muster up to pray.  At that time I was not at all sure that was even possible. But God in His great grace answered the cry of my heart and shortly thereafter His grace came to me, and He began to open my eyes to the Gospel.

I am greatly indebted to Gerry Buscher and my High School teachers and bible school teachers back then, and the bible school students that showed great patience to a sixteen year old student who didn’t know nothing. — Who loved me, who prayed for me, who talked to me. Some of those very people that taught me and carried me in those days are here presently in this meeting, and some of them have gone on to be with the Lord. To all of those I just want to say thank you, thank you for all you did for me.

So it is a great privilege and honor to be here at this time representing the handful of kids, teenagers just like myself that came here to go to high school and were so met and so touch in those days.  There was a deep spiritual mark that was made on those that were here in those days – even on myself as a sixteen year old kid.

The thing that so marked me and that has kept me for the 30 years since those days is what I want to speak about to you this morning. The thing that so gripped me back then though the school in those days was in a great revival with, filled with wonderful worship, and hours of dancing before the Lord and many other great spiritual manifestations.  The thing that so gripped me in those days was that there was a word here. And though I didn’t understand all that was contained in that word at sixteen, I knew at that time that, that word was doing a work deep in me. And since that time that word that was spoken, has never let me go.

I heard words in this place from men that made a great impact upon my life, not only the teachers but we were privileged to hear from the men and women that came through here.  Like Brother Roy Jacobsen, Sergio Valore, Paul Sexton, men who were real prophets not because they gave you a personal word and could tell you whether you liked a Grande Latte with cream or not. But because as they opened the scriptures and a word come out from them, a word, that would effect those that had an ear to hear. Through my bible school teachers and these men a word came unto me, and through the years it has been that word that has kept me. That that word that I heard carried in it life, and that life has been forming, working, creating and increasing in me to this day. I am greatly indebted to this school for that. I am indebted for having heard a word then, God’s word.

I remember when Brother Paul Sexton was here, I might have been eighteen at that time.  I working in the Print Shop developing film and standing out in the hallway in front of the darkroom waiting for some film to develop when Brother Sexton walked up to me to speak a word of encouragement to me. And as he spoke I mustered up all the courage I could to ask him a question, he was a man of God,  that had been a pastor for probably over 40 years by that point. And I asked him, Brother Sexton –You know you say things when you are young that are just crazy.  And I said Brother Sexton If you there’s anything different in your life that you could do, what would you do?   And without hesitation, without thinking about it, without stammering he looked at me and said: I would have read God’s word more. That is what he said to me. And I was astounded that a man like him that was so filled with the word of God and that had so much in God, would answer that question in such a way.

With those words in mind from Brother Paul Sexton we are going to speak now about God’s word, and the Word of The Lord.  We’re going to speak about The Voice of The Lord.

We are living in a time when revival has been preached, taught, and prophesied to be the cure all for the church.  So that within the church there has been crated this drive fro revival, this longing for revival, this great anticipation for anything that looks like or smells like revival. So that preachers teachers prophets and God’s sheep spend a great deal of energy ever seeking for and ever running after these elusive revivals. It has come to the place that in the populist church of this day that revival has captured our whole interest and fascination. So much so that when we look at the condition of the church when we look at the condition of the earth we have only one though, that if we only had revival that would cure everything. We have been falsely led to believe that revival is the one answer that will cure everything in the church and the world, we have been falsely led to believe that with revival that we ourselves will be made all well again.

In my brief years as a student and in the ministry I have lived through several so called revivals.  Of course today what was once called great revivals or great awakenings somehow does not quite match up to what we see and hear in this day and hour, so men have renamed revival instead calling them renewals,  or refreshings, or an outpouring, or a soaking. That is because there has been a realization of many, that once they tasted of these so called revivals over the last twenty years — that somehow these so-called moves of the Spirit are not quite doing what they are supposed to do, in the area of transforming lives and bringing people into a deeper and closer relationship with God.  So that has been some realization that these recent events are not exactly revival — so now instead we have been calling these events something less, something else, something to help legitimize them, and make them acceptable on their own empty merits.

Recently I have been gripped with some thoughts about all these goings on about revivals breaking out here and there, thoughts that just won’t leave me. And it is a sense that these recent revivals have been as it were one grand carousel. So that we in the church have been riding on this grand carousel with its painted ponies going up and down, and up and down, so that with these revivals we have been going up and down in our experience, so that in the church young and old have been sucked in with the hope that in doing this that we will somehow lay hold on that golden ring of The Glory of The Lord on one of our turns around the carousel ride.

Whether we have been seeking it for healing, for gifts, for ministry, or just to see and be a part of some supernatural experience we have gone and climbed onto this grand carousel. This grand carousel with all its exciting lights and all the music that just keeps playing on and on all the while trying to convince it vast number of patrons that each time you climb aboard, and with each time you go around once aboard that all of this is new and fresh, while in reality we have been are going up and down, and up and down while getting no place in our lives spiritually, and all the time getting no closer to God.

And that has been where we and the church have been in this present day. As we have sought out, grasped after and run to these elusive revivals wherever and whenever we have heard of it from men, we have become seekers not of God, and not of His word but seekers after this ever elusive revival ring of Glory.

O let me go just one more time around, I almost grabbed that golden ring. It was just out of my reach this time, but I’m sure that I will get it on that next time around, Soplay that music one more time.

Well I want you to know that I have refused to ride that grand carousel. I have refused to ride the ride, because that has never been God’s answer. That has never been God’s answer. This morning I would like us to look at what the scriptures have to say. I want us to look at what has been God’s answer in the scriptures in Israel and the church’s greatest hour of need, in peoples hour of darkness, in peoples hour of failure. We need to see that regardless of the age and the circumstances, that God’s answer has always been the same. So that from the very beginning even in the garden when man fell because of sin God’s answer has been steadfast, and unchanging.

From the first time we see God’s answer in the garden in the book of Genesis it will follow through the rest of the entire bible. So that if we had two weeks, if we had an entire month, I could stand up here and preach and show you every occasion where the answer that God sent was the same.

When man fell in the garden and man’s greatest need fell upon God to resolve the answer that He sent was not revival, the answer was “And man heard the voice of the Lord walking in the cool of the day in the garden. It was a voice that was needed, a word that was sent to man. God sent a word to be the answer, to answer man’s sinful state and condition.

And from that point on first interpretation — hermeneutics – whatever, I didn’t make it thought that part of bible school. But when you supposedly see something in scripture for the first time, the meaning given there helps you to understand the meaning of that word, or phrase, or symbol the rest of the way through the rest of the bible.

So here we see God’s answer. God’s answer was: the voice of the Lord walking.  God coming to where man was, coming to man’s sinful condition, coming to man’s fallenestate — with a word. And that voice that was walking in the garden, it was a type of the word that was made flesh that would one day walk amongst us, that would finally be the answer that man would need to cure him of his sin sick lost estate.

My question today is: is it revival or is it revelation that we need? Make no mistake there is a big difference between the two. When we look in the word of God we see that revelation has always been God’s answer, not revival but revelation. A revelation of God,  in the form of His word, coming into the midst of a people.

The book of Revelation was written at least a generation after the early church’s inception, and in one generation there had already been a decline, a retreat, a falling away. In one generation there was already a decline setting in. And John the last remaining Apostle at age 90, that was taken out of the way and imprisoned in the island prison of Patmos. And it is there that John receives this revelation of Jesus Christ in the opening chapter of the book of Revelation.

In chapter one when John hears and I love this, what does John hear?  John hears a voice. A voice comes to John – that is going to be God’s answer for the decline of the early church. God sends a voice to John. And the bible says that when John heard the voice he turned to look at the voice, and when he turns to respond to the voice he sees this incredible vision of Christ from His hair down to His feet. And Jesus begins to tell John to write to the seven churches that are scattered throughout Asia Minor.  And what is interesting is that the conditions of these churches, that while each was condition was unique the answer that God gave to them was the same. Surely if revival was the answer God would have instructed these seven churches that were wounded, corrupted, sinful, that they only needed revival. But I want you to see here that  God’sanswer was not if you just get into a revival you’ll be all better.

God’s answer to the seven churches instead was a fresh revelation of The Lamb of God. To each of these churches Jesus Christ gave a unique message, a unique message that addressed their unique condition in that local church. He addressed the unique conditions but to each one He gave the same answer, a fresh word that revealed, that lifted up, that glorified Jesus Christ in their midst.

If you go through each of these letters, each letter is a portion of the revelation of Jesus Christ that John the Apostle saw in chapter one when he turned to look at the voice. And so we see that God’s answer to the early church was defined as God sending forth a fresh word that reveals Jesus Christ. That is always the answer. It is a voice that must come forth in those times of darkness, those times of corruption, those times when sin began to arise in their midst, and that is why Jesus Christ tells the churches: He (Individually) that hath an ear let him (Individually) hear. If the church is to survive, if the church is to go one it is necessary and vital for individuals in that church to have the ability to hear what God is saying, to hear what The Spirit is saying, so that they might be able to attempt to address the present condition in which we live. Not just globally, not just in the corporate Christ but in each of our unique locations where we come from. There is a word that God has to address our present condition. And with that word comes a revelation of Jesus Christ Himself.

We can continue going around and round chasing revival or this great ministry or that great so called prophet or we can agree with what God’s answer is, and hear for ourselves, and partake for ourselves of the voice of God, this word of the Lord, this revelation of Jesus Christ.

In recent years there this term has appeared on the present scene, this new term has emerged and it is called: Alternative Medicine. In alternative medicine anything is seemingly acceptable, they can stick you with pins and needles, they can treat you with magnets, they can use low doses of electricity, magic stones and magic beads that are supposed to carry some kind of energy or the power ward off bad karma and the like. At many levels Alternative Medicine is for those who would turn away true physicians and true doctors, and go out on their own diagnosing themselves and then seeking all manner of remedies many which are steeped in Eastern Mysticism, New Age superstition, age old folk lore, age old folk remedies, and snake oil salesmen.

This move to Alternative Medicine is occurring in this very day also in the church. We have chosen an alternative remedy (Revival) from what the great physician would give us. We have tried alternative means (Seeking after so called great ministries, and so called great prophets). We have tried alternative ways of bringing a healing to ourselves, by self diagnosis, and seeking after the alternative medicine of revival, the alternate medicine and folk medications and folk remedies of so called great ministries, and so called great prophets, and we have done this also in our local churches and in the corporate body of Christ. And Jeremiah lived in that day of Alternative Medicine and of it he says: The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved. We have not been healed, we have not been delivered, — Nothing in our heart and soul has changed. All of the visitations all of the renewals, all of the refreshing, all of the soaking, of the carpet time, all of the rivers, after hearing, sitting under and taking all of their medications and remedies – We are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people, am I hurt, I am black, astonishment has taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?

I want to give a couple of examples in scripture of what I am talking about, beginning in 1 Kings 19  We all are all familiar with this passage  where the prophet Elijah finds himself in a day of great discouragement, loneliness, despondency, and wondering what went wrong. Here after this great revival fire of God that fell on Mount Carmel and Elijah has slain the prophets of Baal he probably thought for sure, now if anything is going to change the condition of Israel – this is it!  I mean to witness such a manifestation on Carmel, the revival fires of God falling, surely if anything were to bring change that would be it.  But no sooner then the fires died down instead of great national repentance and change Elijah hears these words – if your not dead by tomorrow . . .

So Elijah runs and flees for his life and hid in a cave on mount Horeb the Mount of God.  We are all familiar with this story, where these unusual manifestations take place. This fire, this wind, this earthquake all take place before the prophet. But what is amazing is though these thing occurred right before Elijah’s eyes, these wondrous,  unusual and powerful spiritual manifestations, but they do not touch the heart and soul of this discouraged and despondent servant of the Lord.  We all have been taught to think that if we could just see a miracle everything would be ok.  Well here on Mount Horeb Elijah saw three of them, and not one of them, and not all three together touched what was going on deep within him. It wasn’t until that still small voice – It wasn’t until that word came, that Elijah responded in a way that he wrapped his face in his mantle. Its that word that energizes, its that word that convicts and challenges, its that word that addressed Elijah’s condition, its that word that commissions him again, its that word that puts hope in him again, its that word that enables Elijah to finish the call that is upon his life.

Its that still small voice, that voice that broke Elijah. That voice that caused him to hide, for he knew that it was God Himself that was drawing nigh.  The major difference between fire wind and earthquake and that voice that brought that response from Elijah is this: A voice implies a person. That was the difference. When that voice came Elijah knew that God Himself had drawn nigh. The person of God was there in Elijah’s presence. He was in the presence of the God who speaks. It was the word that came into Elijah to move forward and to move onward in the call that was upon his life.

In the book of 1 Samuel it was a voice that broke in upon one of Israel’s darkest hours when Eli and his evil and corrupt sons were reigning over the flock of God. Beginning in chapter two we read of the horrible description describing the condition of the leadership of the church in that day. The word of God describes Eli’s sons in this way; They knew not The Lord.  That describes also the day in which we are living. We are living in the day when much of the church leadership — does not know The Lord.  But what was God’s answer? God’s answer was a voice that began to come to a young man, even to a child; Samuel. God’s answer for that horrible condition, God’s answer for that horrible day, God’s answer for that day in which the leadership was utterly corrupt, when the leadership was vile, when the leadership was in sin, when the leadership did not know God; God’s answer was the same. A voice began to speak unto Samuel. And this voice of the Lord, This word of God began to awaken his ear,  began to awaken his understanding, began to awaken Samuel, and it came in Israel’s darkest hour.  And this word was going to be the beginning and the ushering in of God’s ultimate purpose, a kingdom was to emerge in the midst of that darkness.  And this had been God’s answer throughout Israel’s History.

God testified Himself: Did not I rise up early sending you prophets. At every major junction of Israel’s history, in their darkest hour it was a word that He sent them. It was always a word that He sent in their midst. That was the answer. And that is still the answer for us in this day.

The Scriptures declare: He sent forth His word – and it what? – it healed them. And if there’s going to be a healing, if there is going to be a recovery, if there is going to be a restoration, if there is going to be a wholeness and if there is going to be a return unto the Lord individually and corporately its going to come by the same way. Its going to be a word that He will send that will heal us.  That’s His way. That is the way of The Lord.

Isn’t it interesting in the book of Genesis that in the life of Isaac, when he was an old man and Jacob came to get his birthright, did you ever wonder why Isaac is deceived, Isaac was deceived because he failed to heed the voice of the Lord.  The word of God declares that Isaac did not heed the voice of the Lord concerning his sons but instead he judged by what he was feeling.  He was a man that was motivated by his feelings. This feels right. This feels like it might be the Lord. This feels — and all the while there was a voice there. So that if Isaac would have listened to the voice he would not have been blinded by God If he would have heeded that voice, his earthly and carnal feelings would not have deceived him. I wonder how many Isaacs are there in the church today, that walk in such deception, whom God has made blind, so that they stumble even in the noon day.

Those of you that know Pinecrest, know the teachings of this place and should be very familiar with this verse in the Song of Solomon. The woman searching for the one whose heart she desires says:  Behold the voice of my beloved, lo he comes. It was a voice that she knew, it was that voice that was walking in her midst that she heard, Itwas the voice of her beloved coming unto her.

Psalm 95 is a Psalm to encourage worship. And the first part of the Psalm is an encouragement for us to worship, based upon an understanding of God and His Greatness and His Kingdom and His Creation. He’s challenging us to worship with joyfulness and noise and thanksgiving and on and on. And then the Psalm seems to take a turn and you wonder now what happened?  But actually this part of the Psalm is a call to worship also. The first part of the Psalm is a challenge for us to worship God for His greatness and His deeds, the second part of the Psalm is also a challenge for us to worship God that we are hearing His Voice.

David states in Psalm 95:7 For He is our God and we are the people of His Pasture and the sheep of His Hand.  Today, today if you will hear His Voice, harden not your heart as in the provocation in the wilderness, in the day of temptation in the wilderness. When your fathers tempted Me and proved Me and saw My works 40 years. Long was I grieved with this generation. He said they were a people that err in their heart and not know My ways. To whom I sware in My wrath they should not enter into My rest.  Now David here is still speaking of  worship, but he’s admonishing us and giving the church a warning that worship is more than shouting, singing, dancing and feeling good in the glow of God’s presence. David here is declaring that true worship contains hearing God’s voice. True worship contains our listening, and our receiving from that voice. And David then something remarkable because before He gets to the point we read in verse seven, where he begins to describe God, God who is a king, God who is great, God who is creator. He says He is our Godin verse seven and then he talks about the relational aspect of the Great Shepherd and His sheep. He says: And we are the people of His Pasture and the sheep of His Hand.

And then David goes into the aspect of the voice, the word that was come, based upon a relationship, a unique relationship with God who is almighty and yet a God who is caring. Based upon a God who is our Great Shepherd, and yet He feeds and protects, and preserves and leads and guides His sheep individually and corporately. And then if that is not enough to get us to understand what kind of God this is; David goes further and he says: We are the sheep of His Hand.  Now that is tremendous.  Because what David is eluding to here is this: Sister Louise grew up on a farm may identify with this; if you have a farmer of anything, even of a cat or a dog. My definition of farming is very broad. My wife would be grieved in me saying that. But there are occasions where a cow or a lamb or a dog or a cat or whatever gives birth and the mother dies. That happens. Well the farmer with a cow or a horse, the shepherd with this little lamb, the little girl who has this kitten, a decision must be made. This creature will not live without its mother. So the farmer or the owner has to make a decision. The decision is will feed and nurse this creature with my own hand that it may live. And that is what the psalmist is describing here. We are the sheep of His hand.

We were a people that would have perished had He not had mercy upon us. Like the lamb without a mother, like the calf without its mother, like a kitten or a dog without its mother and if someone would not have fed and cared for him by hand that animal would have perished. And God is saying here: That is what I have done for you. When you were lost alone and perishing, when you were going to die, when there was no one that could help you, when there was no one that could save you,  and there was certain death hanging over you. I came Myself and with My own hand I fed you and cared for you.  I gave you life. And that is what the psalmist is wanting us to understand, that this is the kind of God we have. He is the kind of God that has fed us with His Own hand. And then he says: On that basis because that is the kind of God we have – hear His Voice. Listen to His words. And don’t harden your heart. Sounds almost impossible doesn’t it? The possibility that I could harden my heart towards The One that saved me, and yet in church history this hardening of the heart, this not listening,this lack of hearing is borne out time and again. In all reality we often do bite the hand of God that feeds us.

Genesis 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Psalm 78:40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!

Psalm 95:10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways.

In Scripture we see that there is a grief that is in God, a grief that is in the heart of God as He relives over and over in history a people that were found by Him, redeemed by him and sustained by Him, a people that received a mighty miraculous deliverance from where they were perishing and languishing. That He took them unto Himself, and kept them, and fed them, and preserved them and yet despite all of this, there was still something that was within them that would not hear that voice. There was something still within this people that would not hear His word.  Did you know that there are consequences for not hearing the voice of God in scripture? Did you know that there are consequences for not hearing His word throughout the word of God?

1 Samuel 4:21 –The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken —

What was the purpose of God that He had the Ark of the Covenant created? Why did He place it in the middle of the camp of Israel in the wilderness? Have we missed the purpose of that ark, that ark that had fire at night, and a pillar of cloud by day, that ark that had a presence in it?  What was the purpose of that ark? What was the real reason behind it? In Exodus 25:22 it is clear: That My presence is in your midst He says.  I am in your midst for this purpose that from that presence I might commune with you. So that I might commune with you.  That from that presence My voice might be heard. That from that presence I might speak. That from that presence My word might come forth. So that I might commune with you.  In all to many churches and ministries there is a presence that has been made with lights and music and other things of man, but there has been no voice, there has been no word, there has been no communion with the King of Kings and The Lord of Lords. And is not because the glory has departed, is it not because the Glory has been taken away, because the corrupt sons of Eli that knew the Lord not sought to parade around that Ark for their own personal gain?

Look now in Numbers 7:89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with Him then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat.

Here again we see there was a voice, that was speaking to Moses from the mercy seat. Even the arks own name declares its true purpose. Was it not called the ark of the testimony? It is the ark that speaks, it is the ark that is testifying, it is the ark that is witnessing, it is the ark that is declaring, it is the ark that is revealing.  Many in this hour say I can not hear God, many say in this day O if I could hear the voice of the Lord. Is it that God does not want to speak? Is it that God has ceased from speaking? Or is it a condition that has made His people dull of hearing, dull to the point that there is no open vision. Dull because the ark was taken because of the abuse and misuse of it by a corrupt and predatory ministry.

Go now to Psalm 81 God here begins to relive again the grief that we were looking at in Psalm 95.  Psalm 81:8 As you read this I want you to try to capture the heart of God as He is delivering this.  He says: Hear O my people and I will testify unto thee, O Israel If you will harken unto Me.  This verse is important, it is a pivotal verse to what follows. Here, I will testify.

Do you think that the things we are speaking of are limited only under the Old Testament, that this was only how the old economy of God was operated? Of course not. Jesus is very clear in the New Testament when He begins to describe to the disciples the person of the Holy Spirit and the purpose of the Holy Spirit.

John 16:13 However when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Jesus said there is going to be this one that is going to come. And what was The Holy Spirit going to do? He’s going to testify, He is going to speak. This is exactly what this Psalm says. Hear Me, Hear Me O Israel and I will testify unto you. And this Holy Spirit that we have received, has been given so that there would be within us a witness. If, we will hear His voice.  This indwelling Holy Spirit is to be a witness and a testimony confirming Christ, and that is to be going on within us daily. – Today if you will hear His voice . . . God’s answer is: The person of the Holy Spirit, who desires to bring the revelation of Jesus Christ to bear upon our lives on a daily basis.

However what has occurred in the church in recent decades is that we have relegated the person of The Holy Spirit to merely some wonderful power whereby we are strangely warmed, we’ve merely relegated The Holy Spirit into some miraculous entity of demonstration and gifts and operations that function according to our own will and at our own pleasure. And by this we have grieved Him, and not allowed Him to do that which He came to do. That is to testify of Jesus Christ. The person, the work and the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to testify of The Son. He is not some great carousel to be used for our own pleasure and entertainment.

And God says in this Psalm 81:8-9 — If you will hear me if you will let me testify – there shall be no strange god be in thee, neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

There will be no need for you to look elsewhere. You will have no need to look to another source, to look to the next revival, to look to the next visitation, to look to the next outpouring. There will be nothing within you to look anywhere else; because I will be speaking in your midst. That is what He is saying. And that’s why God gives this verse this description and this answer to His people. God’s answer is: I will testify, I will speak, I will bring a word. That is God’s answer.That is why we find in the book of Amos that famous passage that tells us:

Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.

We have gone round and round this land seeking out every prophet and his interpretation of whether we are in judgment or judgment is coming or that we are in blessing. We’ve gone all through this — round and round and round. And what have we received? We have received the wind. Emptiness, and futility that has led us no where, that causes no growth, that causes no turning, and that causes no change. And we have not been saved.

But the scripture is clear that judgment must begin at the house of God.

Ezekiel 9:4-7 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

God says in the book of Amos that the judgment I’m going to send is going to be a famine for the hearing of the word of God.  And then the prophet Amos describes what that will be like because of that famine. Because there is a famine of hearing, Amos describes that because of it the young men and virgins shall run to and fro.They’ll be going here and they’ll be going there longing to drink longing to satisfy longing to find the answer to meet the need only His word can bring. To those who haven’t noticed, I have news for you. We’re there. We are living in the famine of God’s word Amos prophesied of, and we have men and women and young and old running to and fro in this nation and around the world seeking the word of the Lord.

David continues in Psalm 81:11 He reminds Israel of their deliverance. And then David declares the word of the Lord: But My people would not hearken unto Myvoice. And Israel would have none of Me.  Here’s another translation of that verse. Israel did not want Me around.  God in this verse is equating His presence with His word. They did not want me around. What He is implying here is that they loved His presence and His acts but they did not want My word. How true these words are also of this generation.

What God is saying here is: By virtue that you’re hearing my voice, that means that I am in your midst. Right? By virtue of that fact that you are hearing my voice that means that I am in your midst. And all through scripture we find this to be so. The proof of His presence is that His voice is there. The evidence of His presence is in direct relationship with His word.

What we have witnessed in recent years is the utter bypassing of the word of God and then yet thinking that God is here, God is with us, God is in our midst. But the truth is you can not separate God’s word and God’s voice from His Presence.

Speaking of revival and its grand carousel — there may be a lot of emotion and there, there may be a lot of excitement there,  there may be a lot of brightly colored lights,  and there may be a lot of music; but if His word is not there He is not there.

The New Testament is very clear on this point, that the word was made flesh. That God revealed fully and completely His voice, and demonstrated that voice in its entirety in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. And God said: His only begotten Son that He sent to the earth, that voice that He sent fully in the flesh, God said He was the outshining of the Glory, that Jesus Christ was the fullness of the Glory of God. So that there was nothing else to look for one Jesus Christ was made manifest because He had sent the fullness of His Glory in The Word that was made flesh.

And yet with this final revelation of God’s voice: Psalm 81:11 My people would not listen to My voice. And yet with this final revelation of His word, My people didn’t want My voice, My people did not want My word, — because they did not want Me around. Do not think that this was only an Old Covenant, wilderness thing, these same attitudes, these same words have also been over and over and over again a New Covenant Churchianity thing as well.

John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

John 6:60-66 Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this, said, Thisis an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.

Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.

Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Hebrews 4:7 Again, He limiteth (His words not to) a certain day, saying in David, today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand (Outside) at the door, (Of your revival filled church, of your fellowship that is filled with all manner of doctrine and traditions, of your soul that is steeped in religious activity) and knock: if any man (Through the music and lights of the grand carousel that they are riding) hear my voice, (And can cease their riding round and round) and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

Many read this passage in Revelation 3:20 as if it is part of some romantic song Christ is singing, a song that tells us that little or nothing is required of them. These have been taken in gross deception that God gave this passage to the church to tell them not to worry, everything is A-OK so that they can just fall back into their state of spiritual stupor, and slumber unto eternal death.

God over and over again in Scripture warns His people, He sends His Voice, He sends forth His Word, and even accompanied with great signs and wonders – His people, His flock, the Sheep of His hand – Harden their heart, and receive not His voice, and reject Him and in so doing they bring great consequences upon themselves individually, upon the whole of their household, upon the whole of those of their town, their hamlet, their city, and even their nation.  Over and over in Scripture and even in the New Testament we see what occurs to those that would reject and turn away from God.

Likewise in the rejection of Psalm 81:11 a horrible verse follows. Psalm 81:12 So I gave them up unto their own heart’s lust and they walked in their own council. I gave them what they wanted. They didn’t want Me, so they can have what they wanted. And I gave them up (And over) to their own lusts. I gave them up (And over) to their own (Darkened) wisdom. I gave them up if you will to their own (Darkened)discernment. Not My discernment.  For they walked after their own council. Psalm 81:13 O that My people had harkened unto Me. Can you hear God here? Can you hear His disappointment? O that My people – not the heathen, not the gentiles, O that My people had harkened unto Me. And Israel had walked in My ways. O what I would have done for them He says.

The Scripture is clear in the New Testament. What is implied here is played out in the New Testament again and again. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11Because they did not receive a love for the truth that they might be saved, (That they might be healed, that they might be delivered) God sent them strong delusion.  Or I gave them up to their own hearts desires. These very things are carried over to the New Testament, these principles that God has set forth in the Scriptures.

2 Peter 1, We see Peter in his final years here as an old man. He is writing this epistle declaring that he is just going to put them in remembrance. 2 Peter 1:15 Peter said Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

He continues in verses 16 and 17 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This was the voice Peter says we heard.

I want us to go to the book of Matthew because it is the mount of transfiguration that Peter is alluding to in 1 Peter 1:15-17 that he wanted to put the whole of the church in remembrance of both then unto the end of the age at the time of Christ’s return. This is how important Peter deemed his having heard God’s voice.

Matthew 17:1-3 After six days Jesus taketh Peter James and John his brother and taketh them up to a high mountain and was transfigured before them and His face did shine as the sun and his raiment was white as the light and behold there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.

This is would have been quite a sight. We would all have to agree that seeing Jesus shining like the sun and Moses and Elijah showing up, would have to have been one amazing spiritual manifestation. That is quite a supernatural experience. But notice what follows. It didn’t change Peter, did it? Here Peter is standing there in the presence of Jesus shining like the sun and Moses and Elijah are there; and all of this had no effect on Peter. Standing there in the visible Glory of God, standing there in the greatest single revelation of God up till that time in the word of God. Peter didn’t scream, Peter didn’t shout, Peter didn’t fall on his face like a dead man, what did Peter do? He simply shrugged his shoulders and said you know this is great. How about if we get to work, you know, start now. John there’s some wood over there, and if we get to it I’ll be we can at least get the foundation built today. It’ll be a good start so that we can live here in this tremendous visitation of God.  Why would we ever leave here? This is just the greatest and Peter just keeps going on and on about this building plan of his. I can just see it John, three tabernacles, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah.  I know we are not expert carpenters but, but if Jesus would come and help us I know we could do this. After all we have the man power, we have the will power and by God we’ll just set up these three tabernacles. Jesus is just so lucky that we are here with Him.

Peter and the other apostles were seeking for Christ to take His earthly kingdom and upon the mount when Christ was clothed with the Shekina Glory of God and Moses and Elijah appeared beside him. Peter voicing the thoughts of the other disciples with him determined to do what they could for the effort and that was to build three tabernacles, three shelters so that Jesus, Elijah and Moses “stay” would be the best that could be afforded for the time being until presumably Christ Moses and Elijah would descend the mount, present themselves in Jerusalem before the Priest at the Temple and Rabbis at the Sanhedrin, restore the throne of David with Christ on it,  and then proceed to cast out the Roman and other gentile rulers from Israel, and cause Israel to rule once more over the gentile nations. This is what Peter and the Apostles and Disciples vision was concerning Jesus Christ and that all of them were to become officers and rulers of that earthly government.

Had this been today Peter James and John would have built a revival center there and called it The Kingdom Revival Center. So that forever there would be pilgrimages to this great spiritual sight, there would be miracle tours, miracle services, transfiguration sessions, and all kinds of teaching and doctrine on transfiguration giving and transfiguration tithing so that you could enter the Kingdom.

One last point Peter James and John understood by spiritual revelation that Christ had been transfigured, — no man had to teach them this. Peter James and John understood by the Spirit that standing there before them was Moses, that he alive and really conversing with Christ – no man had to teach them this either, and Peter James and John understood by the Spirit that Elijah was also standing before them, alive as well, and conversing with Christ. – They saw and understood these things never having seen anyone transfigured by the Shekina Glory of God, never having seen Moses or Elijah. So we can not make out Peter James and John to have been complete dullards or spiritual novices. On the manifestation that they saw before there eyes all three Apostles got an A+ that day on the mount. They had indeed seen something, they had had vision,  theyhad revelation  – and at this juncture everything when wrong when Peter James and John proceeded to interpret on their own run the meaning of all that they had seen and heard.

All too many are guilty of this very thing in this hour and hour. Peter’s sin here is that he did not wait upon the word, Peter’s sin here is that he did not wait upon the heavenly vision, Peter’s sin here is he did not wait for God to confirm His word and speak the meaning of the things that they saw and heard.  Thus this visitation upon the mount of transfiguration that God had given to Peter James and John was on the verge of being diverted, it was on the verge of being corrupted, it was on the verge of being perverted when Peter sought to lay his hand to the ark, and alter what was occurring to suit the corrupted lens that Peter peered through.  As Peter James and John were going to make all that they heard and saw align with, and conform to their own perverse doctrines and traditions of men concerning the coming earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ.

In essence what we see here has occurred throughout the history of revival. As what God began in the Spirit man has sought to perfect it in the flesh by making it into man’s own corrupt image and likeness.

But God here would have none of this and intervened and His appearance, His Glory and His voice caused it to be that Peter James and John could not minister in the flesh. That they could not take Jesus and make Him into Ishmael – And God’s voice, god’s word here brought forth a level of revelation that pierced Peter James and John’s very souls and spirits. They were arrested and their visions of corruption and all that they were going to do to help God were forever vaporized in that instant of time.

Can you just imagine how it would have been there, and to have seen that? The lesson here is one that has evaded most Spirit-filled believers. The lesson of the mount of transfiguration is that there is no guarantee that a supernatural experience, no matter how great, no matter how mighty, no matter how much of the Glory of God is there, that it is going to change you.  It happened to Peter James and John on the mount of transfiguration, it happened to Aaron and all the priests and elders of Israelbefore the tabernacle of Moses, and it happened to those in the early church that had seen Jesus and the Apostles and had heard their testimony. And it happened to the seven churches of Revelation. We have had very naïve ideas about Spirituality, serving the Lord, and what God desires in His Church and His bride. Thank God that the Lord is coming in His voice, thank God the Lord is coming in His word to clean all of this up.

Matthew 17:5 And while Peter yet spake  — God had to cut him off.  And while Peter was still speaking God had to pull the hook on him and drag him off the stage. And while he yet spake a bright cloud overshadowed them and behold — a voice came out of the cloud. Which said this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him. Verse six And when the disciples heard the voice, when they heard that message, when they heard that word, what happened?  They fell on their faces — It effected them.

The transfiguration of Jesus, with Moses and Elijah showing up did not effect them, but when that voice came, when that voice came bringing a revelation This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased – Hear Ye Him! He is The One that you must hear. He is The One that will testify. He is the one that you must focus on. He is the one that you must adore, because I adore Him, — Hear Him!

Peter James and John not only fell prostrate on the ground, but they realized how foolish they had been to think that what God had wanted was three tabernacles to commemorate the experience.

What God wanted up on that mount was a people that would hearken unto Him.  God was clear was He not? Under the Old Covenant He said There is going to come a prophet Moses like unto you. It was Jesus. God’s answer was a word. A word that would come, a word that would penetrate, a word that would cleanse, a word that would purify, a word that would bring life, a word that would bring direction, a word that would make the crooked straight, a word that would bring down the high, and exalt the low.

The word of the Lord came to John the Apostle also. A word came, God’s answer was a word.  We need to see and understand that it has always been His word.  The Apostle John records this same incident or at least he alludes to it in his epistle.

I John 1:1 That which we have seen, that which we have heard – I am sure that John is alluding to the Mount of Transfiguration in this epistle just as Peter did. Wuestsays: It is this way that which we have seen that which we have heard which and is still ringing in our ears.

I can honestly say there’s a word that I received in this place thirty years ago that is still ringing in my ears. God’s answer for our condition is not revival, but it is revelation. It is a word that will come, a word that He will send in His mercy.

Prophetic ministry to me is the mercy of God. What I know, what has transpired in my life, and what has occurred in many of the lives of those that are here today is that we were privileged to hear a voice, to hear a word our of the mouths of prophets from a generation ago that the so called prophets today can not hold a candle to.

The word of these famed and much exalted prophets in the land today are not like the voice, the word, that God gripped many of us with here all those years ago.  May God in His mercy send men with such a voice and men with a word again.  May God in His mercy allow this younger generation to hear a voice, to hear a word that will apprehend them, will grip them, that will shape them. And will enable them in turn to be His voice and word in the land.

In Isaiah 66:1 Isaiah gives one of his final statements, a clear and powerful word to those of his day as well as ours. Thus saith the Lord heaven is my throne the earth is my footstool where is the house that you build unto me and where is my place of rest? Isaiah describes the grandeur and the greatness of God. A God that is over all His creation, a God that fills heaven and earth. Where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?  And The Lord here enquires where is it that you possibly think I should live? Or what kind of a structure do you possibly think I could squeeze myself into? For all those things that ye have made – have flunked.Isaiah 66:2 To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite heart. And what? The man that trembles at my word — will I dwell with. This is what God is looking for. This is where He will dwell. This is where He will manifest Himself. This is where His presence will abide.

Remember that in Scripture that God has said that His presence and His word can not be separated. So here we see that the man that trembles at My word will know My Presence.  The man that is poor and broken, the man that has become fully and totally dependant upon The Lord, the man that has no longer has resources on his own, the man that has no strength, that has no ability, that has nothing on his own; and is contrite, and is convinced of it, he that trembles at my word, he it is that will know My Presence.

Elijah covered his face with his mantle at the voice of The Lord. A man who responds rightly to my word – that is what I am looking for.  That is where you will find me.

In the book of Joshua God spoke of a new day, of a possessing, of a coming into, of a taking, but notice with these promises the Lord gave an admonition as well. Joshua 1:7-8 Only be thou strong, and very courageous Not so that you can fight the enemy. Notice the context here. Be strong and very courageous that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you.  Turn not from it from the right hand or to the left that thou mayest prosper withersoeverthou goest. This book of the Law – My word shall not depart of thy mouth but thou shalt meditate therein day and night – God is declaring here that My word and your relationship to My word is pivotal and key (To your relationship and standing with me and) to your coming into what I have for you. That thou mayest observe to do all that is written therein for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

God was asking His instrument Joshua: Will you tremble at my word? Will Myvoice as it has been revealed in the word be enough?  Will My word be your everything, and be your all? Is the Lord asking anything less of us in this hour? So as you seek to come into the land for your inheritance, as you seek to come into your place that God has called you to, your success or failure will hinge upon His word, His word finding a resting place in you, His voice finding a habitation in your life.

Jesus when He taught His disciples to pray did He say: Give us this day our spiritual manifestation. No, that wasn’t quite what He said. No He said when you pray, pray like this: Father give us this day – Today if you will hear His voice.  That’s what you find in The Lord’s prayer. Father give us this day. By praying this you are saying Lord today, I want to hear what You are saying.  That is what you are saying. Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart. When you pray, pray this way: Father give us this day our daily bread — that word that you have for me today.  Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Father. He is not sustained merely by the outward. But He lives by that word that is forever proceeding from the mouth of the Father. That is how we live. That is how we obtain eternal life one day at a time.

When we feel that the church needs reviving because she is dead, we need His word.  Because man lives by the reception of His word.  Jesus said there is coming a day when the dead will hear my voice.  Didn’t He say that? You will hear a word from Me and that word from Me will quicken them and make them alive again. That is not only a principal of that great day when He shall return with a shout from heaven and shall proclaim and release all those that are in the grave. But it is a principal that He who is the resurrection and the life that those that feel like they are dead from their hearing a word from Him will revive them. And quicken them, and make them alive again.

And until we get off the carousel we will be in no position to hear that voice. He longs to speak to His people. The Spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ. That very prophetic Spirit, that which is inside you and I through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is endeavoring to speak of Him, is endeavoring to declare Him, is endeavoring to lead us and guide us into all truth.   The challenge today is not on the ability of God to speak to this people, but that this people would hear God’s voice, and do all that is recorded in His word.

Father we would ask your forgiveness this morning for choosing alternative means. Of self-diagnosing our condition and not allowing the great physician to not only not give His diagnosis but to give us His one and only remedy.

Father I am grateful, grateful for the word, Lord that was declared through and in this place. And Lord I am asking that there will yet come a word. There will yet be a voice you will raise up and use to heal the condition of the daughters of Zion.

Father we ask this morning that there will be deep working in all of us. And Lord that we will be a people that will hearken unto your word. A people that will love your word. A people that will long for your voice. And Lord help us, help us to give Jesus who is The One the proper place in our individual lives, in our gatherings, in our local churches, and throughout your body.

Lord come, come with your answer, the way you did come in the very beginning with man’s fall. Come with your voice again. Let that voice walk in our midst again. Let that voice recover us, let that voice recommission us. Let that voice heal us. Let that voice do what it can only do in our lives. To your glory and honor – Amen