We had a tremendous service Monday night in Ellisville that ended in a great response in the altar and a wonderful altar service last night too. It has started me thinking again about how important it is to respond to the Word of God.
I have stressed the importance of the altar service for all of our years of evangelism. Looking back over the blog the last 18 months, I have had several altar services with 100% participation. I am absolutely thrilled with that!
If you have heard me preach very much in the last 14+ years then you have heard me ask for "100% response in the altar service by every one that is physically able."
I am always pleading with people in revival services to respond to the preaching of God's word by coming to the altar to pray. It seems like the message is finally getting through and I am happy about that.
Preaching has always been an important part of Christian worship.
I Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
If preaching is important then responding to the preaching is important too.
When is the last time you got up out of your seat and responded to your Pastor's preaching? Do you run for the drinking fountain, grab the nearest baby or ease out to be the first one to the buffet or McDonald's?
Try turning away from the door and going the other direction. Try spending some time praying with others about the Word of God you just heard. You will be amazed how God will work in your life and the lives of your family when you take preaching to heart every time.
Make a habit of contributing to 100% response to preaching, 100% of the time. I know God will respond to you as well. He always does.
I say this next statement over and over and over. I have Never seen a revival with lasting results in the lives of the people AND empty altars. Empty and neglected altars Never result in real lasting revival.
I understand that not everyone is physically able to come forward. Not everyone that is able to come forward can physically kneel at the altar. That is not the point. God blesses those that respond as they are able. God honors those that honor His Word enough to pray about it.
Let me clarify something. It is not the brilliance of my preaching or the cleverness of my phrasing or the emotion of my plea that I am asking folks to acknowledge. None of those things will matter ten minutes after the sermon even IF they were present in the sermon, which is doubtful.
What is worth acknowledging, accepting and responding to is the Word of God! The Word of God will speak to every person in every pew and in every situation of their life. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God and faith will demand some type of acknowledgement. Preaching of the Word of God demands a response.
I realize that altar services have been out of style in many churches for decades. Walking the aisle and kneeling at an altar is too country, too simple, too spiritually immature and completely unnecessary in some people's view. Besides they can pray while seated in their comfortable pew or when they get home.
Preachers want to be relevant and in step with other churches. They do not want to be seen as pushing people for a response.
But churches that incorporate an altar service at the end of the sermon and stress its importance, still see people's lives totally and radically changed. Men and women are saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Ghost, healed, uplifted and encouraged when they respond by faith to the preaching in the altar.
Churches that avoid altar services also avoid talking of such experiences and changes in lives.
It is evident to me that they are not receiving the same blessings while sitting in their pew or praying about the sermon when they get home. I believe that once they exit the door of the church without responding to the preaching the wicked foul of the air is likely to pluck that seed out of their heart. Mark 4:4,15
Preaching demands a response. God's Word demands a response. Are we too spiritual to spend a few moments joining with the saints to pray about what we have heard?
Are we too proud or lazy or stubborn to humble our hearts when God has been speaking to us? Are we too carnally minded to hear and acknowledge God is speaking to our hearts?
"Wait, preacher," you say. "If God was speaking in my church I would respond. I would get right down on my knees and ask Him to help me hear His Word and do His Word."
But preaching IS God speaking.
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
God is speaking to us today through preaching.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Wow! That is a perfect description of our attitude today. Our world is so wise and prideful in our own wisdom. We are caught up in what we know and the next big thing we can learn.
But God sends a preacher equipped with nothing but the Word of God, preaching the cross and the world can be saved through that preacher's message! Praise God! The world thinks preaching is foolish. The modern church may think it is foolish as well. But unto us that are saved, preaching is the power of God.
It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Believing the preaching demands a response!
Most of the time I am asking for 100% response from those that are physically able and I receive about 50% response instead. I am thrilled when 70-80% of the people come to the altar in response to my preaching. Most of the time I am ready for the rapture when all but a handful of people come to the altar to pray.
The 100% response I have received several times the last 18 months has thrilled and inspired me! I will keep on asking. I will keep on pleading. I believe the end result is worth it.
Thank you for reading today.