A growing number of ministers have been writing to me in recent months, telling of their concern for parishioners who are simply giving up. One minister wrote, "I see my church members trying so hard to cope with problems in their marriages and pressures in their personal lives. Just when it seems victory is within reach, they stumble and fall. Good, honest Christians are so often overwhelmed by guilt and condemnation, it causes despair. And when they can't live up to their own expectations - when they fall back into sin and get involved - they decide to give up.
I feel so ashamed of myself when I think back over my early ministry — because I condemned so many sincere people. I meant well, and often my zeal was honest and well-meaning. But how many people I brought under terrible condemnation because they didn't conform to my ideas of holiness!
Christians are strange creatures. They travel the world, preaching the love of Jesus and His forgiveness for any and all sin. They tell the heathen, the addict, the alcoholic, the prostitute - "Come to Christ and be forgiven. He forgave your sins at the Cross - so come and receive forgiveness and healing for all your hurts. You can have peace and be free of guilt." As a result sinners, who have been guilty of every conceivable kind of dark and evil deed, gladly come to Christ and are instantly forgiven and delivered from their guilt.
We have declared war on suicide, and already we have witnessed many great victories. A few months ago, in a newsletter, I told how God promped me to preach about suicide in every crusade we conduct.
When God first prompted me to speak out on the subject of suicide, I was incredulous. I argued, "How can I preach on such a morbid subject in city-wide crusades? Only a small percentage of the audience would relate to such a message! People might think I was making too much of the problem."
Jesus ordered His disciples into a boat that was headed for a collision. The Bible says He "constrained them to get into a ship..." It was headed for troubled waters; it would be tossed about like a bobbing cork; the disciples would be thrust into a mini-Titanic experience - and Jesus knew it all the time.
"And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away" (Mat 14:22).
Get ready now to blow the lid off your theology. Be prepared to see Jesus in an entirely new light. Did you know we have been coming at our problems from the wrong end? We have been so preoccupied with our own problems, we have not even entertained the thought that our Lord has a problem, too. And if we can understand His problem, we will soon get to the root of our own.
The Holy Spirit has been prompting me to speak out about suicide. At first, I rebelled against preaching about such a morbid subject, but there was no way I could shake off the urgency to warn young people about the horror of self-destruction. Consequently, for the past few weeks I have been preaching about suicide in all our city-wide crusades.
The mission of Jesus Christ was not only to redeem and baptize believers with the Holy Ghost, but to also separate, purge, and winnow the wheat from the chaff. What a terrible aspect of His mission — to separate and destroy the corrupt seed and prepare it for burning.
The church has experienced a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There has been a great ingathering of people from all religions and walks of life. God's holy floor is full and overflowing with a copious harvest. In fact, those whitened fields have been yielding a record harvest.
There is a media blitz aimed at the destruction of the Christian home. Satan is out to wreck every marriage, to break up every Christian couple and destroy the God-ordained concept of "faithful...till death do us part."