In the Time of His Visitation
February 10, 2008
(For printable version click here.)
I am asking you to pay attention to me this morning, please. You really need to pay attention to me. It really is not me that is sharing with you, because the Lord is speaking to you as a congregation.
I am afraid to preach at times because I believe that we are preaching the word of God. If what God has given to me is His word then we are living in very serious times. As people hear the word of God, it does not make any difference if they believe it or not. Do you understand that?
Brother Emeka got up here and said something that maybe we did not like, or were not comfortable with, but if he was speaking in the spirit of God then there is a responsibility and a liability that comes to us that hear it. It really makes no difference if we believe it. It really makes no difference if I like the sister or the brother. It makes no difference. It makes no difference how close I am or how far away I am. It makes no difference how familiar I might be with them. You have a responsibility to assess, to determine, and to be aware of the moving of the Holy Ghost in the individuals that are around you.
I have been in association with people for many years and we walk side by side and we walk through many different circumstances. I see their flesh and they see my flesh, but I also hear God in many of the things that they say. I have that responsibility. I also see God in some of the things they do; some of the things they do and some of the things they say convict me. Now if I allow my position of personal perspective, if I allow my position of familiarity to usurp my spirit of discernment, then I am in trouble because God is not going to take in account my humanness. Do you hear me? God is not going to take in account my disposition or my likes or dislikes.
What God is going to take account of is the fact that He has given to me a spiritual inheritance, spiritual ears and spiritual eyes through what is known as the Holy Ghost. Isn’t that what the Bible says? I don’t believe that I am preaching out of my own intellect or out of my own understanding, because what the Bible says is that God is going to send the spirit of truth. Isn’t that what He said? He called it the Comforter (John 15:26). I am still looking for the “comforting” effects, especially in lieu of the message that I have on my heart today.
I believe that there is a responsibility that we have in hearing the word of the Lord. Do you remember the situation when the prophet Jeremiah came to the King of Israel and King Nebuchadnezzar came up to attack them? Do you remember the word of the Lord? “Do not resist. Do not fight. Surrender yourselves and you will live” (Jeremiah 27:11). I don’t think they liked that word, did they? What happened to the prophet that got up to resist Jeremiah? He said, “No, that is not so, it shall not be so with you; you are the apple of God’s eye and God will protect you.” (I am paraphrasing.) I guess you could call them “dueling prophets.” Jeremiah said, “Because you are not resisting me, but you are resisting God, you shall not live to see the salvation of the Lord.” Within a year, the man was dead (Jeremiah 28:15-17)
Has God changed? I ask you, has God changed? Is His disposition different? Is His position or His desire different? Is His objective different? Is He going to treat us any differently than how He treated all of Israel and all of mankind? Absolutely not! It says that when God is going to rise up in this last day, it says He is going to rise up in His wrath, He is going to rise up in His anger and He is going to smite and to deal with the unrighteous. To the degree that I am unrighteous there is going to be a judgment coming against me, especially if I hear something in the spirit and I do not heed it.
I was very recently down in West Palm Beach and I was sitting down with a friend of mine. He is a very gracious man. I love him dearly. I said to him, “I am very concerned for you. I am very concerned for your family, because I believe that destruction is coming to the United States of America.” I am not saying this just on the basis of the message concerning the year 2008. I can tell you at least four prophets that have prophesied for the last 30 years of the destruction that is coming to the United States. Some of those prophets I knew personally. Brother C. L. Moore came to my home. He found me out in the middle of an almond orchard. I had a little group of six to eight people, maybe ten, at the most, that were meeting in my home. I don’t know how the man found me tucked away in a little farming community. He prophesied the destruction in my living room. He told me of the vision and the dream that he had of the destruction of the United States. So I said to my friend, “I am very concerned.” I did not know the man, A. A. Allen, personally but I have read and heard many things about his life. Although he was a man of flesh and had his problems, I believe that there is enough credible evidence to validate the position of the man and his ministry and the gift of God that was working within him. He prophesied of the destruction of the United States. So, I said to this friend of mine, “It is one thing for me to know that if destruction came and you were taken, if you had told me that God told you not to move, then I could say ‘yeah and amen.’ But it is another thing if you do not have that word from God and if you have no knowledge concerning the issue, or you have not spent the time necessary to delve into the mind of God so that you might know what His will is for your life. If something came and I spoke not to you of my concern, then there is something accredited to my spiritual account and there is going to be a grief and a sorrow that I will feel because of that situation. So, therefore, I am speaking to you in love. I am not trying to scare you or to push you out or to get you to do this or to do that. But I want you to tell me what God is telling you about your situation.”
I was listening to Brother David Wilkerson and the message that he was preaching called In One Hour. In one hour the world will be turned upside down. In one hour, but in all of that what he was preaching, there was a confidence that he had as far as God was concerned, that he knew where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to be doing. Then there is no grief, there is no sorrow, and there is no place of disappointment.
Have you ever heard of untimely death? You know, I believe it. I believe that there is a power that has been given into our hands. I tell you, I am scared of the word of God at times. I am afraid of the seriousness pertaining to His word. There is such a thing in the Bible that is called untimely death and some of those situations are very pertinent to you and I as we face certain situations in light of the message that we have received from God concerning the hour in which we live.
You know, the end of the world is somewhat of an imminent gospel, as is the imminent return of Jesus Christ. There was some admonishment, I don’t know as to the fact of the end of the world, but all of the disciples were preaching and teaching about what our attitudes should be in light of the fact that we are coming to the end of the world. It has been 2,000 years and the world that ends may be your world or my world or it could be our worlds collectively. Don’t you understand? There is a timeframe in God that God gives every man ample time to repent. Hallelujah.
Do you remember the story of Jesus and Mary and Martha? I was talking with my wife again this morning. We have some very good conversations. We were talking about Mary and Martha. I believe Mary and Martha, in one sense, represent a spirit ministering to the church. It is not that Mary was better than Martha or that Martha was better than Mary. It means that all men, all souls in the church are on the same plane and have decisions to make that have either blessings or consequences. Do you understand? It wasn’t saying that Mary wasn’t diligent in what she was doing. We have this tendency of thinking that Mary was just kind of flitting around; sitting at the Master’s side and Martha was busy, busy, busy doing all the other things. Some of that may be true, I don’t know. But it is more indicative of a spirit that ministers in the church to the minds of the congregation as a whole. Do you hear me? Because the Bible says that Mary chose (Luke 10:42). It doesn’t mean that she wasn’t busy. It doesn’t mean that she wasn’t doing anything. It says that in the time frame of Mary’s visitation, Mary chose to be in a different place. Do you hear me? Mary chose to be doing a different thing. Mary chose and God said that Mary had chosen the right position. “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Now I am using this in reference. If you think that I am taking it out of context, I guess that will be a problem for you, but I don’t believe that I am. But I believe that it is apropos. I believe that it is very pertinent. There is a time of visitation. There is a time when God comes for a specific reason, for a specific purpose. There is a certain time frame when He comes. Do you hear me?
Paul had a time frame for his visitation. It was on the road to Damascus. What if Paul would have fluffed it off? What if he would have said, “I fell off of my horse and hit my head and I am having a hallucination.” He would have missed his time of visitation. Thank God that Paul did not miss his time of visitation.
There was a time of visitation with regard to Lazarus. Do you know why Jesus waited another day? Was it just so Lazarus could die? Well, maybe that was part of it, but there was a point of visitation where He came into that set of circumstances to do the thing that needed to be done. Hallelujah. In spite of her position of unbelief, He did what needed to be done. He said to Martha, “You are not listening! You are not hearing! You are not cognizant or conscious of the fact of what I am saying to you as an individual. Now is the time of your visitation! Now is the time when you are going to see the manifestation of the glory of god, if you can believe it!” Hallelujah. (John 11:21-26)
There was something that preempted the ministry of God in the earth, right after the miracle of the wine. He went up to Jerusalem and there He saw many in the temple and they were the changers of money. Some of them were selling the sheep. Some of them were selling the goats. The Bible says He made a cord, sort of like a cat-of-nine, I think. He made a whip of small cords and went into the temple and drove them out. Hallelujah. There is something of that spirit of zeal that was in Him. He had a zeal for the Father’s house (John 2:14-17).
Whose house are we? Are we merchandising the gospel? Not that we are selling the gospel. What are we doing with the gospel that we have? And what is the gospel that you possess? I have not been able to get out of John 12. I think it is a very pertinent word, because we are coming into the time that we believe will be the manifestation of the sons of God. Do you believe that? Well, having a zeal for the Father’s house is also something that is very pertinent.
I would have liked to walk with Jesus on this earth. I would have liked to have that natural experience. Maybe that makes me a little more secular than you, I don’t know. But I would have liked to have that experience of walking with Him on this earth. At 12 years of age He had a spiritual awareness, He had a revelation of His omnipotence. What would some of these 12-year-olds do if you put total and complete control into their hands? At 12 years old, He had the revelation of His omnipotence, and the revelation of His omnipresence. He had that revelation! His parents found Him in the temple discussing the things of God and they said, “Son, don’t you know that your father and I were worried and concerned and we couldn’t find you?” What astounds me, what blows my mind is that it says that He submitted Himself to them. In His position of righteousness, His position of knowledge and understanding, He was subject unto them (Luke 2:46-51). My goodness. Can you imagine the revelation or the understanding that was ministered in the midst of that place? Hallelujah.
I want to share concerning when Jesus was upbraiding the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He was saying, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” He says a number of woes here in Matthew 23, beginning in verse 13. He was talking to the church. It would do us well to read the admonition or rebuke that He was bringing to the church. He goes through a number of, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Verse 14, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Verse 15, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Verse16, Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Do you think they were getting the point? I think they were too enamored with their position of self-perspective. I don’t think the situation has changed very much. I don’t think the situation has changed very drastically from that time. How many of you know that history has a way of revolving around and repeating itself? And in repeating itself, the magnitude of the thing that is being repeated gets bigger, gets bigger, gets bigger and more diabolical. We call it the fullness of times.
So He goes through a bunch of these, “Woe unto yous,” and I think He is talking to the church. Hallelujah. If you want to put a marker there and turn with me over to Ezekiel 34, you will find another indictment, but it is a little more specific this time. He starts out in verse 1, And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, prophesy against… You see, the coming of the Son of man was not only to establish a point of reference to righteousness. One of the purposes to establishing that point was to bring correction to the church. Hallelujah. It was to bring correction to the congregation, both the ministry that might be in the congregation and the ministry of the congregation. He deals with both of those in chapter 34. Do you hear me? First he deals with the ministry, because the shepherd has a responsibility to the sheep. But as the tabernacle shows us, the sheep have a responsibility to the ministry. Hello! Isn’t that what the tabernacle shows us? That doesn’t mean that ministry criticizes or critiques the wrongness of the congregation, nor does the congregation criticize and critique the ministry of all those little faults. It means that we help one another maintain our position of righteousness and integrity concerning God and our relationship both horizontally as well as vertically.
We are in jeopardy. Do you hear me? We are in jeopardy of falling under judgment and not grace. God said to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 11:26, Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. Now, was God cursing them? NO! God wasn’t cursing them. God knew that if you went in opposition to the fact of what He was prescribing and what He knew to be good for you, there was going to be a consequence. “Shari, do not go outside without a coat, because it is cold outside.” A blessing if you wear it and a curse if you don’t. If you wear it, you are safeguarded and you are shielded from chilling temperatures and your body is going to maintain its integrity. If you don’t wear it, your body is going to lose its safeguard or its shield. A blessing and a curse. Well, we can say, “This has all been done away with in Christ.” No, it hasn’t. It was fulfilled in Christ and to the degree that Christ is in us and to the degree that Christ is allowed His position of pre-eminence, we are also fulfilling it. If God tells me to walk outside without a coat, or to go into a lake that is freezing to baptize, I can do it, BUT I HAVE TO BE IN CHRIST! I can’t be outside of Christ!
We have to have awareness in the spirit of God. If there is a certain message going forth, there is a certain responsibility that we have. There is a certain place we need to be. There is an onus upon us with regard to where we are, who we want to be and what it is that we want to achieve as far as God is concerned at the end of the day.
He said, “Son of man, prophesy.” Can you imagine that? He was telling a man to prophesy against His church. Not only against the church, but He was telling a man to prophesy against the ministry that was in the church.
Oh I suppose that you can say, “Oh, that ministry. It is all their fault that I am in the shape that I am in,” or, “It is all their fault that we are in the mess that we are in,” or, “If they would have been doing what they were supposed to be doing, everything would be all right.” Well, for those of you who are thinking like that, go over to verse 17, And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?
My God! I think the church is guilty as charged. Listen to what Jesus said. Turn with me back to Matthew 23 if you would, and in verse 29. This is after He goes through all of the “Woe unto you” and the “blind” and the “fools” declaring and marking. You know, I can go down through this list and God help me, I can find some of the attributes that He is talking about in my soul. Of course, you are probably purer than I am. Matthew 23:29, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous. Boy! How many times did God have to say it? What is He talking about when He talks about trampling the good pasture and muddying the drinking water? What is He saying? Do you know what He is talking about? He is talking about the fact that you sit here, you hear the revelation, you feel the unction, you feel the anointing you feel the conviction and you go out there and you do something contrary. You demonstrate something that is totally out of line with and absolutely not in context with the revelation that you have received.
Go to John 12. You know how you read something and you read something and all of a sudden you go, “What does that mean?” Let’s begin at verse 19 to get the context, The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. 20And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:Among whom? Well, they must have been in affiliation and association with the disciples. Would you not assume that from the context of it all? It says they came at least amongst the congregation. Verse 21,The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Look at the progression. …we would see Jesus. Evidently Philip didn’t have what was needed. It says in verse 22, Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. Maybe there is strength in numbers. Maybe he needed a little moral support. I don’t know. Why didn’t he just go to Jesus? But it says that Philip went to Andrew and then Andrew and Philip went to Jesus. I wonder if Philip was behind Andrew. “Yeah. We’ll go up. I’ll be right behind you!”
…we would see Jesus. “We want to see Jesus!” What are people seeing with regard to your position, your place? Are you muddying the waters? Have you trampled down the pastures? Now that you are fed and have received some momentary relief? Your belly is full and what are you manifesting? What is your position? They said, …we would see Jesus. So they took him to Jesus. Verse 23, And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
Go with me back to Matthew 23, back to the scribes and the Pharisees who represent the ministry that is in the body. This is not just the five-fold ministry that I am talking about today. Verse 29, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, Oh yes. They loved them now that they were dead, didn’t they? Build the tombs, – probably very ornate and very nicely decorated. It says that they garnished the sepulchres of the righteous, “Oh, we love them now that they are dead and we can no longer hear their voices crying out.”
But Jesus said in verse 35, That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. The blood of Abel spoke from the ground. How much more the voice of those that were slain in the service of God.
Verse 30, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Oh, my goodness. 31Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? They were just as guilty in their timeframe because they did not recognize the position or the place of their visitation.
The scripture says in John regarding their unbelief concerning Lazarus, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Then it says in Matthew 23:37, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! They did not recognize the day of their visitation. Do I want to be guilty of not recognizing the position or the place of my visitation? Oh God, help me. I would that I will not find myself in that type of situation. Hallelujah. We have a responsibility. We have a responsibility.
I brought a message to this congregation at the admonition of God. I don’t know if any of you even remember what it was. I was woken up one morning out of a sleep. My goodness. And God said, “Warn the church! Warn the church!”
You know, in Jamaica they say, “There is a hurricane coming.” What do they do? They buy the boards. They get the nails. They start lashing everything down that can be blown away, nailing up anything and everything that can be broken. I would wager to say that 95% of you did not even remember. Does that mean that it isn’t going to happen? Does that mean that you are not going to feel the effects of it? I think it is a time of rending hearts and not garments (Joel 2:13). I think it is the time for self-examination. In the same chapter, Matthew 23:35, it says that Zacharias was in the temple doing his service unto the Lord and it says, “You slew him between the porch and the altar” (Matthew 23:35).
Do you know that it came to my attention that people who are Christians, who are blood-bought, who are under the covering of God, are praying or moving in a manner against other Christians, looking for their demise or their failure? Do you know that? I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! I cannot believe it! I cannot believe it! But God said it is true. God said it is true. I said, “It cannot be true! It cannot be true!” God said it is true.
May God help us. We need some self-examination. I said, “NOT EXAMINING EACH OTHER!” We need some self-examination. SELF-EXAMINATION!
When God came to me and revealed the situation, I refused to believe it. I wrestled with God and I wrestled with God because I could not believe that someone who is Blood-bought and under the auspices of the Holy Ghost and moving under the authority of this word could do that to another brother. I could not believe it. Oh, I can believe in confrontations or disagreements, but working actively against someone? I’m saying, “God have mercy!” Do you understand? Because if I believe that someone is in the will of God and you are working against that person, then you are working against God. As the prophet prophesied against the prophet, the judgment will come upon the one who prophesied out of context and out of the will of God. God, have mercy! I cried out, “God, have mercy! God, have mercy!”
Not only that, I would even say to God, “If it were possible, God, let it be that I could be accursed and that they could be saved. If it were possible, God.” It is a serious hour. You need to be cognizant of the eyes of God that run to and fro throughout the whole earth (II Chronicles 16:9). God bless you.