Thought people might find my sermon notes useful…..
A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson
How many churches do you know that when you walk into them that the Holy Spirit is so strong that your sins are bought up before you with the loving grace of God?
How many churches you been to lately that you hear a word come forth and it burns in your soul, you know it comes from heaven, you know it comes from the heart of God?
Whatever happened to anguish in the house of God? In the ministry?
It’s a word you don’t hear in this pampered age.
Anguish means extreme pain and distress. It makes you feel extreme pain because of conditions in you or around you.
It’s the agony of God’s heart.
We have become so passive that our awakenings last a short time, and in those short times we promise God we will never return to our passivity and its not long, weeks or months and we are back, and this time we slip further back than when we started.
We say ‘This time God you have touched me for life’ ‘I’ll never be the same.’ And its like fireworks, aloud bang a lot of noise and then it dies.
All true passion is born out of anguish. All true passion for Christ comes out of a baptism of anguish.
In scripture when God wanted to restore a city he would find a praying man and take him into the rivers of anguish. He would share his own anguish to what God saw of his people.
In Nehemiah Jerusalem is in ruins, it’s wasted and is in iniquity. They made their people slaves; the High priest was in league with a reprobate….
How does God restore it? Our situation is worse!! Christians are addicted to all kinds of things…even down to main stream tv programmes that are filth! And we still lift our hands and praise when we come into God’s house and don’t think anything of it.
We say the right things, sing the right songs but our hearts aren’t right
Nehemiah 1:1-4- All they could see was ruin and despair. V4 God found a praying man and took him into anguish.
1:6-7 Nehemiah was actually a righteous man but he confessed as one of the people of Israel.
This wasn’t just a flash of emotion or burst of concern. Nehemiah broke down and wept, and mourned and prayed night and day.
Why didn’t the other men with Nehemiah have a word or pray? Because they didn’t have anguish.
Does it matter to you today that the church is now married to the world? That there is coldness in the world? That people are falling into passivity and going to churches to hear smooth message no longer wanting to hear wrath or correction?
Does it matter about the Jerusalem that’s in our hearts? Blind to lukewarmness?
Blindness is the last recognised thing to a child of God!
Some of you have lost your fight. All the devil wants to do is get the fight out of you! So you won’t labour in prayer anymore, you won’t weep before God anymore, you can sit and watch television while your family go to hell!
Little by little are you changing are you losing the love of God? The love of Christ?
Where’s the anguish, where’s the tears, where’s the mourning? Where’s the getting up in the middle of the night to pray? Where’s the confessing of your sins?
When Nehemiah heard the state of the city he never asked why! He didn’t ask why, like we do today!
God allows things to happen- Daniel 9:5-14!!!
There a difference between anguish and concern. Concern is an interest in things like a need, something that gets your attention. You can get emotional.
You can tie yourself to a cause, you can get excited about it, you can talk about it, you can go public about it, you can advertise it, you can support it, organise it, put a lot of effort into it. If it’s not born in anguish then its flesh!
Where are the Sunday school teacher who weep cause they know the one’s that aren’t listening?
A true prayer life begins at the place of anguish. A place where lifetime decisions are made!
If you’ve set your heart to prayer, God’s going to come and share His heart with you. And there’s pain in His heart, He’s going to show you the condition of His church, He’s going to show you the condition of your own heart and then He’s going to ask you a question- What is it to you?
And that anguished servant has to make a decision, you either decide you can’t handle this, ‘I just want to be an ordinary Christian, I don’t want this kind of burden’ ‘I don’t want to have to weep over my family, I’ll just take it by faith’ or you go with God and you let Him speak to you and give you a word of direction.
Nehemiah came out with a Word from God that nobody could reject and he bought the city, the nation to its knees- Nehemiah 8
You either walk away and go back to your passivity, or you begin to cry out ‘Lord, your name is being blasphemed, the Holy Spirit’s being mocked….’
Nehemiah wept and mourned and fasted and THEN went. If he hadn’t of the walls would never have been rebuilt
Anything you try to do without this baptism of anguish, is gonna falter and fall, its not gonna work.
Out of this baptism of anguish comes a marvellous thing that happens to those willing to submit it. It’s the instant prompt/ knowing of God’s voice. INSTANT! If you don’t have a history of prayer, if you don’t have a willingness to share God’s heart, you get it by asking for it.
Ask God to know His heart, when you seek His face and you allow Him to melt and break you, out of that experience (see God hasn’t called us to live in anguish) This is a birth of something. You come out with this instant knowing of God’s voice.
Nehemiah had been fasting and mourning and weeping and it left a mark on his countenance and the King saw it – Nehemiah 2:2
When the King saw Nehemiah and asked him why he was so sad, he didn’t have time then to go and get a word from God and spend three days praying and fasting, he had to have an answer instantly.
Nehemiah instantly prayed and instantly knew what to say.
There are going to be times when you don’t know what to do and you don’t have time to run to the closet. You have to hear his voice, ‘This is the way, walk in it’ Instant!
The servant who willing takes on the mantle of God’s pain is the only servant who has the authority and the right to hold God to His covenant promises.
Only those who know His Heart and have allowed him to bring healing, and have said they needed to change. When we set out heart to seek God only then can hold God to His covenant promises.
Nehemiah 1:8-9 Nehemiah holds God to his covenant.
When you allow God to lead you into this place, beyond concern, beyond emotion, and you set your heart, then you have every right to hold God to His promises.
We have a church full of diagnostic experts, who can tell you whats wrong with the Church, and they are coming out with statistics and polls. But you won’t hear one word about anguish, tears or brokenness.
Why did God share his anguished heart with Nehemiah? Because Nehemiah was a praying man.
Nehemiah could have refused. But he didn’t.
There are troubling times coming. But He is calling people to a baptism of anguish.
It’s getting late and it’s getting serious.
Do you want your loved one’s saved or are you spending hours in front of the tv or internet?