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The Midnight Cry:
A Prophetic Witness to the Church Today

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10
Are You Resistant to Change?

When Jesus moves His prophets to instruct and correct, how do you respond? Do you listen? Do you even recognise when He does so? Half the Church does not, and half will pay dearly for their resistance to change! In the true story which follows, when Jesus appeared in vision to a prophet, the rest of the Church was unaware of His awesome presence. That's why they needed to heed the prophet's words! Will you?


One characteristic of a true Christian is the willingness to seek truth and change to seek what is right and live by it. Paul stated succinctly that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Rom 8:14). This implies that if we are truly following God, we will constantly be on the move, spiritually speaking. We will not be standing still. Like Abraham (Gen 12:1), who was told to leave his kith and kin, to leave his homeland and what he was used to, we must also move on.

Tragically, however, there are many Christians who have no desire to seek new truth, nor do they possess the willingness to change if new truth is presented to them. They are not being led by the Spirit of God to the extent they should be. They are quite content to stay put; they are content with what they have.

They think their spiritual state is fine. They think they have all they need. What they don't realise is the danger in what they cannot perceive their own blindness to their spiritual inadequacies and lack of spiritual inertia.


Spiritual Complacency Is Rife!

In our work as a prophetic ministry we have seen this all too often. Laodicea is so prevalent today! Wherever you care to look in the spiritual arena, Laodicea is to be seen, true to the prophetic words of our Saviour recorded 19 centuries ago.

Laodiceans think they are spiritually rich, have acquired great spiritual wealth and do not need anything more. They do not receive correction, because they do not think they need it. They are complacent, self-satisfied and totally oblivious to the fact that there is much they still need to learn (Rev 3:16,17). They have a great need to change!

Not only Laodicea, but the Sardis element is prevalent in the Church as well. She is so unaware of her need of reform. She lives on her past but does not perceive that she has retrogressed spiritually. She desperately needs to wake up! What little spirituality she still has is about to die (Rev 3:2).

God can only live in us when we are willing to be corrected. If we resist His correction, we will kill the process of change which He is encouraging in us. The Master Potter can only mould the vessels who are pliable in His hands. He cannot do anything with those who will not comply with His will.

To those who resist Him, God will send His prophets. They don't always come with long hair or with a rough demeanour as did some of the Old Testament prophets. God can use anyone at times to fulfil such a role, if He so desires. If you need a personal word of correction, it is possible for God to bring this to you through anyone in the vicinity who is open to God's spiritual prompting.

When a big move of God is underfoot, however, He raises up a voice to do His bidding. Prophets of God do not choose their 'vocation'. They are trained through life's experiences and assigned the task by the Almighty. It is not always a job to be relished! Most prophets of God receive opposition and rejection for faithfully administering their function. Many are martyred!

How do you respond to the words of a prophet? When correction comes via another, what do you do?

The reaction of most is to dismiss the words via the prophet as those of a crank or as unjustified criticism. Often they are regarded with resentment. Some people exhibit distrust, suspicion, disdain or ridicule towards the man who has to convey God's words. Sadly, we have seen this all too often. Such individuals do not consider that the corrective words are for their benefit, nor do they consider that the correction does not originate with the person who delivers it.

I am glad to say that not all recipients react negatively. Some have the humility to receive the words even if they are not palatable and ponder them carefully, as Mary did the words of the angel who came to deliver the startling news that she was to give birth to the Son of God! (Luke 2:19.) Such a humble meditative response ought to be the reaction of all of God's children.

God never speaks without good reason!


Jesus Appears!

The biggest obstacle for most in receiving the words of a prophet result from the absence of a close relationship with God. Those who resist or reject a prophet's words lack the humility to receive them. Because they are not walking humbly with their God (Micah 6:8), they are not open to correction. They are not meek and teachable. They might think they are and this is the irony of Laodicea's tragic condition, she is blind to her actual impoverishment. Such people think they are humble, but they have a false humility and form of worship (Col 2:18). When a prophet is sent to convey God's corrective words, they resent him and get offended when God uses him to point out what they need to change!

This happened when we were called upon to go to a meeting in a prominent major church in the south of England. God spoke to my son, Richard, and told us to attend a specific meeting at which a well-known American evangelist was to speak. We had no idea what was in store. We didn't go to the meeting expecting what was to come. We went to learn from the speaker. (In fact, I had great admiration for this man. He has a prominent ministry and is well respected and widely influential in charismatic circles. He has even founded a Bible College to train others.)

Had we known what was to follow, we would have been nervous about the whole episode. God only tells us what is necessary or expedient for us to know. As it was, we went with positive anticipation, expecting to learn and gain spiritually from the experience.

As the meeting progressed, the evangelist delivered his sermon. He has an excellent speaking voice, a commanding manner and delivery, and a fluent style. He is interesting to listen to. I was listening attentively, when I received the word "arrogance" in my mind. I thought about it for a minute and then dismissed the word, thinking "No, he couldn't be arrogant!" I didn't want to be critical. Then it came again! This time it was stronger than before. I thought again, "No, I don't want to believe he is arrogant. He is a man of God, doing his job." Yet, I could perceive from what I was hearing in his message, that he was arrogant. He was constantly talking about himself, his spirituality, his family, his upbringing, how good he was!

Just as I had begun to accept this word of knowledge from Jesus, something else occurred, which we never expected. Richard was sitting two seats away from me, closer to the aisle. Jesus appeared to him in vision and told him to get up out of his seat and go over to the speaker. (This was in front of a packed auditorium of about 1,000 people. Humanly, Richard did not want to do this. He was only 17 at the time, and relatively shy.)

As he obeyed the word, Jesus stood behind the preacher, tapping him on the shoulder, saying repeatedly, "Here I am!" Richard was prompted to interrupt the man and tell him of Jesus' imminent presence behind him.

Of course, all this took place in the spiritual realm and only Richard was permitted to see it. Everyone else, including the preacher, was unaware of what Richard saw.

Instead of stopping to consider what the young man had come to the front to say, the speaker arrogantly asserted his authority, saying "I'm speaking! Don't interrupt. We'll speak to you later." And that was the problem! He was speaking. It wasn't Jesus speaking through the preacher. Jesus was not being glorified in that meeting. He was not the One who was being extolled. Christ was not being lifted up. He was not the One to whom people were being made to look. The minister was hogging the 'show' and drawing the audience's attention towards himself, instead of toward our Saviour.

Richard was whisked off by some dutiful officials to an ante-room where he was curtly interrogated and told off for his 'insubordinate' and 'silly' actions. He was carefully observed after that, lest he interrupt the meeting further. But there was no need. Jesus had said what He wanted to say, and His input had been rejected!

Laodicea shuts the door on Christ. He is unable to come in. All He can do is stand at the door and knock (Rev 3:20).

The next day I wrote a letter to this evangelist explaining in detail what had transpired and why. I stated that I had not wanted to believe he was arrogant, but that God had shown me he was and that he needed to humble himself not before me, but before God. (I am a nobody and will continue to be a nobody. If God wishes to use me for His purposes, then so be it. But I certainly didn't consider myself anything by comparison with the man to whom I had been sent. His abilities and 'charisma' far outshone my own.)

I received no acknowledgement or reply to my letter.


Half the Church Will Not Heed!

No-one likes correction. You don't and I don't. But if we are to live with God for eternity, we had better be prepared to be corrected, because there is much we all have to change to bring us into line with God's ideal. He wants us to become like Him in every way. The Bride must prepare for her imminent wedding and so must get rid of those spots, blemishes and wrinkles that disfigure her appearance before the heavenly Groom.

Few, it seems, really take the biblical warnings seriously.

Five of the virgins are wise, but five are foolish (Matt 25:2). From the vantage point of our own experience, it would seem that the Church is split down the middle. Half are willing to listen and learn; half are not.

If a prophet is told to convey something to you, God has considered it so important that He has moved another person specifically to bring it to your attention. It behoves you to take heed! He is not playing games! This life is not a game of hide and seek, but a spiritual preparation for those who will be with God for the rest of time!

When Jesus sends a prophet to you, if you receive that prophet, you receive Him (Matt 10:40). If you listen to the words of a prophet even if you don't understand his words at the time God will give you a prophet's reward (v 41). Do you know what that is? It is the value of the prophet's message. You will understand it. God will open your mind to what He is conveying.

If you resent another for giving you correction, if you are not humble enough to receive it, you won't understand what God is trying to give you. You will be blinded by your own spiritual inadequacies that you don't want to admit to. You will reject God's words for you and continue on down the path of spiritual mediocrity which will lead to oblivion if you do not repent.

It is imperative never to look to the prophet the man himself. Look past the human packaging which God decides to use. Listen to the words which are from God. Seek Him for the understanding and for the will to change.


By Rejecting A Prophet's Words You Reject The One Who Sends Him!

In the past few years, God has brought across our path many people whom God was finding it impossible to correct by the normal channels (through their own Bible study and circumstances in life.) Almost without exception, all turned against us. It began by first resisting the words God spoke through us for their benefit. They did not want to face up to their own problems and weaknesses, or do what God told them to do. They refused to accept that God was actually saying things to us that He was not saying to them (or so they thought they had simply refused to hear Him previously).

Lacking humility and meekness, they resisted any correction, preferring to continue on in their idolatry, rather than submit every area of their lives to God. They soon started to resent us for being used by God. Their resistance turned into rejection, and their feelings of resentment in some cases exploded into outright venom and hatred. They refused to see that they needed to change. As a result, the inexorable process of apostasy set in. It didn't occur overnight, but encroached gradually, little by little, day by day, until darkness eventually totally swallowed up what light they had. They severed their connections and wanted to have no more to do with us, asserting that we were of the devil and that they were the ones on the paths of righteousness. This is the depth to which Satan will delude and trap any who do not submit to the loving correction of God. They become totally blinded and pulled into the bottomless pit of spiritual darkness.

These were friends 'brothers and sisters' with whom we had willingly shared whatever we possessed. They stayed in our home, enjoyed our fellowship, and benefited from our hospitality and generosity. When in need, we had given them money and provisions, and helped them in whatever way we could even when we had little ourselves. Yet they turned on us like Judas (Ps 41:9). All because they resisted God's loving correction!

God will have none in His family whom He cannot rule. If you do not submit to the words of His prophets, you won't submit to Him either.

Many Christians have the mistaken impression that if the biblical prophets were alive today, they would be listened to. They surmise that if Abraham, Moses or Elijah were to speak and correct them, they would heed their words.

Not so! A person who cannot be ruled does not listen to correction, regardless of the source from which it comes. If a person rose from the dead, that would make no difference to those who are destined to destruction. They have a resistant spirit which they refuse to humble before God.

In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man thought that if his errant brothers could hear the testimony of a person brought back from death, they would heed his message of repentance. But he was wrong.

If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead (Luke 16:31).

Their stubborn hearts preclude an acceptable response. Jesus warned us to take heed to our spirit. "I tell you the truth, " He said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 18:3).

Will you heed the words of the prophets? Will you change? Now is your day of salvation.

Malcolm B. Heap
(This article first appeared in Awake! Awake! 2-10, August 1994.)

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