The Anabaptist Vision

I never get tired of hearing the testimonies of the grace of God in the lives of people. I was thinking of all the testimonies that I had heard. We live here in Lancaster County, a very religious place and area. Yet, I keep hearing these brother’s and sister’s testimonies of their drinking, drugs, smoking and cursing, and I am sitting here thinking, that’s my testimony! I grew up out in the world – a heathen and an atheist, with no hope, with no light, with no understanding at all. But here, you are all growing up in this very religious community, and look what the flesh does if there’s no new birth there. Although you put a beard, and a black hat, and a certain kind of clothes on it, it’s the same thing; it still does the same thing, doesn’t it?

I thought of these testimonies, and I thought, “Those little stories were lived out thousands of times by the early Anabaptists just like that!” They had wrestled their way through the will of God. When their peace left them, they so longed for it again, that they found themselves coming to that place of fresh obedience and yieldedness; and God’s grace was there. This was lived out thousands of times among the Anabaptists. How my heart thrills that there are people today that are wrestling through the same things. And praise God, they are finding the same grace that they found back there nearly 500 years ago! Now here it is today, the same way.

I also thought about evangelism, and I just want to remind us that there are dozens and dozens more just like the testimonies that we heard. They are here, they are there, they are in that house, and on that farm, and in that woodworking shop, and over there hanging their clothes on the line, and all those things are going on inside of them just like they were going on inside of these like we have heard! They are there; they are the elect of God. God is drawing them. They are searching these things out. They don’t know what to do, and they are looking for answers! Wouldn’t it be a blessing if we could just be the person that dropped by that one day, when they were hanging their clothes out on the line, and asked them that one question that opened up the door for all kinds of other things? I am telling you, they are there.

We will not be satisfied any longer with a few little conversions, and then everything just kind of dies down and goes back to the way that it was.  That’s the way it has been for the last 25 years that I remember in this county. But no longer is it going to be that way. We are not going to settle back down! We are not just going to go back to business as usual! We are going to get busy for God. We are going to get out there, and overcome our fears, and talk to people in our community! And blessed be God, if there are tent meetings a year from now, I hope that there are another 20 who can give their testimony! Let’s do it.

I have the blessed challenge of finishing this series entitled “Christ in Early Anabaptism”. I don’t want this just to be a teaching that we can get some historical facts and information on. But I trust God will give me grace to bring the teachings and the historical facts to bear upon our hearts. May God give a prophetic spirit that is more than just historical facts, but rather that God would challenge us deeply in our own hearts and lives. That has been my prayer.

The title of this message is “The Anabaptist Vision”. The Scripture uses this word “vision” in two different ways. Number one, a “supernatural seeing”, something like Ezekiel when he saw the glory of God there in Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 2, and a few other places in Ezekiel. There are many places in the Bible where there was a “supernatural seeing”. I have never seen one myself, but I believe in those supernatural visions that God gives from time to time. But there is also another word “vision” in the Scriptures, which means “a Spirit-born revealing of the mind and will of God.” A Spirit-born, or birthed-revealing of the mind and will of God, and in this message I am using it in the second way.

The prophet Noah received a “revelation of the mind and will of God” about judgment, by a flood upon the earth. And because he had a vision of what God was going to do, “he was moved with fear, and built an ark, to the saving of his household!” Oh, that God would put a vision in our hearts that we would also be moved with fear, to the building of an ark, to the saving of our own household! That’s what Noah did. Noah was a man who walked with God. God spoke to him, and God revealed to Noah His mind and His will. Noah, with that vision, was moved over a period of time of nearly 120 years, and he built an ark to the saving of his household. Proverbs 29:18 says these words, “Where there is no vision, {that is a “Spirit-born revealing of the mind and will of God”} the people perish.” Did you get that, brothers and sisters?

In the days of Eli and his wicked sons, Samuel was still a boy, just growing up and learning to hear the voice of God. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 3:1, “that the Word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” It was a sad day in the life of Israel. Eli had lost his way with God. He did not restrain his two sons. They were bringing all kinds of wickedness into the temple of God, and the Word of God was precious in those days. Do you know why it was precious? Because there was no open vision, there was no revealing of the mind and will of God by the Spirit of God in those days. And as we read a little farther there in 1 Samuel 3 and 4, that God did raise up young Samuel to be a prophet. And the Bible says “that the Lord let none of His words fall to the ground.” He was a man of vision, a beautiful man of vision.

Blessed are the people to whom God reveals, by his Spirit, a clear and open vision of His heart. A vision of His will, a vision of what He wants to do, and brothers and sisters, if there is anything we stand in need of, it is that very thing! We greatly need, and should be longing for, the Spirit of God to reveal to our own hearts, the mind and will of God, for our lives. We are men, we have wives, we have children, and we are leaders in churches! We need a Spirit-born revelation of the mind and will of God, and the Bible calls that a “vision”. Without a vision the people perish, but with a vision the people prosper. The Scripture says in the book of Ezra, in the days that Haggai and Zechariah were prophesying, that the people prospered, because there was a Spirit-born vision in the hearts of the people of what God wanted to do!  Brothers and sisters, we need that.

I believe that God has been doing this for some of us. The vision has been getting very clear about what God wants, and it’s been exciting to contemplate the future. We have been walking about Zion, and it has been refreshing and challenging, just like the Scriptures tell us. To walk about Zion, go around about her, tell the towers thereof, mark well her bulwarks, so that you can tell the generation to come, what God was like in days gone by.

And that’s what I have been doing in these messages.  When I have had an opportunity, I have been telling you what God was like in days gone by! But I am also going to tell you that this God is our God! Our God , who did those things for the early Anabaptists 500 years ago, our same God lives today, and He wants to do the same thing in your heart and life! Whether it be family, whether it be in your personal life, whether it be in your church, whether it be in your neighborhood, God has not changed!! He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever!” Hallelujah! Do we believe that, brothers and sisters? That our God is a mighty God? That He is the eternal self-existent One, and beside Him there is no other God? That God who breathed out on those early Anabaptists is still alive and well today. What are we going to do with the fact that He is?

The early Anabaptists had a vision. That is a Spirit-born revealing of the mind and the will of God. And because they had that vision they prospered like few have ever prospered. None of us would doubt that. But we are promised the same kind of spiritual prosperity. God wants to do the same things for us. He is not a respecter of persons.  He did not respect those people in a special way back there, and He does not respect us in our day in 2009. God is not that way.  He is not a respecter of persons or peoples. We are promised the same kind of spiritual prosperity if we will walk in this vision today.

In my studies of Zion I have gazed backward on Christian history many, many times. There is one thing that I have noticed again and again, and that is when God wants to do something, He starts with a man, or a few men, and He infuses and inflames them with a revelation of His will. That’s called a “vision”. With that vision, and in that vision, the joy of seeing God’s will that’s going to come, fills up the heart. The faith, which is the witness that God will do what He said He will do, comes right along with the vision. The grace to walk it out in everyday life is imparted right with the vision. And the prayer burden to pray it through is laid upon the heart as the vision is imparted to the heart. And lastly, that warrior-like spirit to persevere and see that vision prove to the end is also imparted. And that’s where you get warriors in the kingdom of God!

This is what happened in the days of the Reformation when a few men bowed their hearts to a Spirit-born vision from God-of what He really wanted to do. Like one of the writers wrote, “Zwingli and Luther started the Reformation, but the early Anabaptists finished it.” I have to agree with him after I have spent all this time studying it. They started it, but the early Anabaptists finished it off!

In Acts 2:16 is where we are going to read. We are beginning here with Peter’s sermon, where he is trying to explain to all of these that have come gathering around, why it seems like these men are drunk in the middle of the day, at 9 o’clock a.m. Peter says it this way in Acts 2:16, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” And I don’t know who said it, but I liked what he said – “Is this that which was spoken by the prophet Joel?” Now Peter looked at what he was seeing there, and what was happening, and he said to the people, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” But the question is, is this that?  Good question, amen? He goes on to say, “And it shall come to pass that in the last days,” saith God, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and my handmaidens I will pour out in those days my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” That is from the mind and will of God in the power of the Holy Ghost.

What a beautiful picture it is, as we look here in the book of Acts, and realize that that is exactly what happened in the streets of Jerusalem. The people were filled with the Holy Ghost, the sons were filled with the Holy Ghost, the daughters were filled with the Holy Ghost, the servants were filled with the Holy Ghost, the handmaidens were filled with the Holy Ghost, and they all prophesied! Speaking forth the mind and will of God in the power of the Holy Ghost is what they did. Yes, that was this “which was spoken by the prophet Joel”. But brothers and sisters, what we have been looking at, as we have been looking at the early Anabaptists, I would say that that is also this “which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” The same thing happened all over again!

And bless God, I believe if we do some digging around and searching here and there, you would find out that it didn’t just happen in 1500. It happens time and time again. Wherever there is a group of people whose hearts are so set upon God, that they would look to Him and believe Him for His promises upon their own hearts and lives. If they are willing to walk in obedience to that which God shows them, you see the same thing happening again. But this that we have been looking at through all of these messages, is that which the prophet Joel prophesied about, all over again. Common people filled with the Holy Ghost, going everywhere teaching and preaching the Word of God– that was early Anabaptism. Amen?

This prophetic promise still stands today. We are still living in this age where these things are offered to the people of God. I want to say this- these early Anabaptists, theirs was not an “Anabaptist” vision, it was an “apostolic” vision. And I think we need to make sure that we keep our focus in the right place. If all we are going to do is go back 500 years, that is not far enough. Because what God did for the early Anabaptists is exactly what God did in the early Church, and that’s what God wants to do in this area where we live. He wants to do the same thing! He has not changed a bit. We are focusing on the Anabaptists because they were a people who found the grace to live this out even as we read it here in the Scriptures. Oh, may God make us a people like that also!

They had a vision. It was a vision to return to apostolic primitive Christianity. It was a vision to follow Jesus Christ in true discipleship. That was their vision. They didn’t have a vision to reform the old Church, but to restore it to its original state, and there is a big difference between reforming something and restoring it. But you know, we want to help this thing along and change a few things here and there.  No, that is not the vision the Anabaptists had. They looked at it and realized this whole thing is off the foundation- tear it down and start all over! Now I don’t believe we are in that place, that you need to tear it down and start all over, but there may be a few stones that need to be thrown out. But that was their vision- to return to a clear presentation of the Gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ- one that changes people’s lives. Oh, God, bring us there also!

Their vision was to return to kingdom living that removes the question mark. Oh, that God would grant such a work in our hearts, that we so live in His kingdom, that there is no question mark about who we are, because there was no question mark on those brothers and sisters in those days. They had a vision to return to kingdom living that would remove the question marks!

They had a vision to return to a people who were in the world, but not of the world. That was their vision. They were not ready to run to some mountain somewhere and hide in a hut somewhere like a hermit; that wasn’t their vision. They knew that God had left them to live in the world, but yet not let the world infect them with its evil! Praise God, they found the grace to do it! In such a beautiful way! This has been an example to us in all of these messages.

And lastly, they had a vision to return to apostolic soldiering. I don’t believe the apostle Paul was just using illustrations about soldiering, when he wrote about being a soldier. He knew what war was all about: to return to apostolic soldiering, to fight in a different kind of war, with different kinds of weapons, and different rules completely. Brothers and sisters, do you realize there is a war going on? It’s going on every day, but the rules are different. We need to find out what the rules are so we can get in there and get going! We need to find out what the weapons are, so we can learn how to use them, because there is a war going on.

But the rules are different. The way up is down.  That’s a very different rule for war. The battle is fought on your knees. That’s a very different rule of war. Love your enemies. Be sheep in the midst of wolves. Suffering defenselessly is the way you overcome. Using spiritual weapons will do things that no one else can do. You win by dying-dying to self and your own will. These are the rules of the war. Those Anabaptist brothers and sisters learned those rules very well, and they proved them out, and look what happened. Like one of the authorities back then said, “I don’t know what to do- the more I kill them, the more they multiply!” That’s right, that’s exactly right! This was a different kind of war they were fighting. You win by dying to self. You overcome your sin by this dying. You overcome your sin, and you get victory, and you can fight in this war. It’s a spiritual war.

I thought about our precious Jesus. He is our example. I thought about those beautiful words there in the book of Revelation, where they were searching everywhere. They searched in Heaven, and they searched on the earth, and they looked everywhere for a man who was worthy to open the book and loose the seals thereof, and they could not find anyone. Then John, giving his testimony, says, “I wept much.” Then one of the elders stopped him and said, “Weep not, John, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed; He will open the book.” Now, if you could picture yourselves being there with John that day, in that revelation, I would imagine that he would have turned his head to look for a lion! How many of you would look for a lion if someone told you those words? The Lion of the tribe of Judah – He hath prevailed! John turned to see a lion, and behold, he saw a Lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the Throne.

Oh, brothers and sisters, that is how you prevail in this war- just like our Lamb commander. These early Anabaptists, they had a vision to restore apostolic soldiery.

I don’t believe in fighting in a physical war. But bless God, I do believe in fighting! I believe in fighting this spiritual war.  I believe in suffering. I believe in being a man, bless God, for the Lord. I believe that’s one of the things that is missing- if we could somehow get a glimpse of that, and realize it. Get a vision of what God wants us to be. Oh, that God would raise up hundreds and hundreds of soldiers that are willing to pay the price and get in the war! I wonder what would happen. Beloved, they had a vision, they had a Spirit-born revelation of the mind and will of God, and that vision was so clear in their hearts that it would not be dimmed, no matter what hell threw against them! It was so clear- they had such a fire and desire burning in their heart, it would not be quenched, no matter what happened to them. They had a destiny that would not be denied. They set their hearts on doing the will of God. They saw eternity. They saw the other side. They saw Heaven. They saw a martyr’s crown. All those things consumed them! They saw their destiny, and it was way beyond anything in this world, and they would not be denied. Oh, brothers and sisters,God is also calling us to the very same. It has not changed. We are not just studying some history about some people. This is the Word of God. And we still live in the same age that those men and women lived in. It is the age of the out- pouring of the Spirit of God. What are we waiting for?

Now it’s our turn. What is our vision? That’s a good question to ask ourselves. What is your vision now that it’s your turn? What do you see with the eyes of your heart? What is consuming your heart even as you are reading this- what is your vision? Maybe we need to face some painful realities- what we are, and what we have. Brothers and sisters, what we are, and what we have, is the fruit of our vision for the last number of years. What you are, and what you have, is the fruit of your personal vision. What do you have in your hand? What has been driving you? What has been consuming my heart, my life, my time, my focus, my mental capacities- what vision do I have? That would be a good question to ask ourselves.

Let me prove you with a hard question. Something that I noticed as I was studying the early Anabaptists: there was a lot happening in Europe, and the Spirit of God was working in many, many different places all at the same time. And it happened pretty often that the Anabaptists would discover a little group of believers here or there, that they didn’t know about. And when they discovered those things, there was a bit of a dialogue between them. As they talked a little bit, maybe this group would say, “Well, brethren, can we sit down and confer together? Let’s spend a few days together and see if we be brethren.” They did that. It was a common practice among them. So they would  spend a few days, living together, fellowshipping, visiting, walking together, sharing their hearts, opening up the Bible together, looking at real life in light of the Bible. And at the end of how ever many days they spent together, sometimes those early Anabaptist leaders would say, “I don’t think we are brethren. You don’t believe the Trinity, you don’t believe this, you don’t believe that, I don’t think we are brethren.” But other times they would say, “We be brethren,” and the right hand of fellowship was given. That’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Let me ask you this question. What do you think they would say if a few of them dropped in on us? What do you think they would say if they walked with us for a few days, and they sat in our houses, and they saw how we lived, and we sat and opened up the Bible, and all of those things? What do you think they would say to us? I found that question rather probing, as I pondered it and prayed about it. Do you think that they would probably think that we are pretty worldly? They would no doubt think we are pretty worldly minded. Do you think they would be shocked by our wealth? What do you think they would do as they saw the whole family gather around the computer, to see the latest news cut from CNN? What do you think they would think and say of all of our fun and games? What about our houses, our expensive cars, the hours of time we fritter away? How about our big meals here in Lancaster County, what do you think they would say?! Would we even want them around? Would we write them off as weird and extreme? What would they do if after two weeks, or what would we do if after two weeks they said, “We are not sure about you, let’s just wait a couple of months, and we will drop in for a visit again.” What would our response be? Would we start justifying ourselves? Would we start explaining it all away? Would we start scrapping all of the things that they said or what they believed? And here we are, sitting in our nice, comfortable complacency again.

This is a good question for us to ponder since we have been looking at these brethren for all of these messages. It is good to bring this thing down home. I guess the question is this: have we lost our vision? Have we been blinded by the “good life” and lost our vision? We don’t see very clearly what God wants to do in His people in this our day. Have we lost our vision?

You might think, “Brother, what do you think you are doing? Things have been going on very nicely here for 250 years; don’t rock the boat now!” Yes, I know they have been going on nicely for 250 years. Turn with me to Revelation 3. I want to read this for our edification and for the challenge of our own hearts. These are the words that Jesus spoke unto the church of the Laodiceans. Revelation 3:14 says, “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works,” {and we all know very clearly that God also knows our works}, “I know thy works that thou are neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm”{right in the middle}, “ and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” These are pretty strong words to a complacent Anabaptist community, aren’t they?

Let’s read a little farther, and read why they are lukewarm. Let’s read why Christ is saying, “I am going to spue thee out of my mouth.” He says, “Because thou saith, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and you knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” That’s why I am going to spew you out of my mouth- because you are not seeing right, Church of Laodiceans. You have an eye disease. You have a disease in your eyes and you can’t see right. It is all the prosperity that has brought this disease into your eyes that you can’t see right! Although you are poor, and wretched, and blind, and naked, you think that you have need of nothing.

I have trembled a few times in my 26 years that I have lived in this county. I have heard people say almost these very words, not realizing what they are saying. I heard one preacher preach a sermon against pietism. I don’t agree with pietism, but in the midst of his sermon against pietism, he started talking about revival. He said to the people very boldly, with a smile, “We are revival, we are revival.” He then gave his reasons: we believe in nonconformity, we believe in separation of Church and State, we believe in nonresistance, and he went down the list. “We are revival,” he said. I trembled when I heard those words! I thought, “Oh, my friend, what a word you just said!”  But we are the Anabaptists!  Listen- God is able to raise up children of these stones out here in this field. It’s not enough to have a heritage. God has no grandchildren, or great-great-grandchildren either. Every generation has the responsibility to pass on a lively faith to the next! Every generation has that responsibility. We are rich, we are increased with goods, and we have need of nothing! What a commentary of the place where we live. Have we lost our vision?

God said to the Laodiceans, “I want to give you some counsel. I counsel thee to buy of Me.” “Buy of Me,” God said! “Buy of Me gold tried in the fire,” {that’s where the Anabaptists got their gold, by the way,} “that thou mayest be rich! And buy of Me white raiment that thou mayest be clothed.” {And the Anabaptists knew where to get their white raiment. Multitudes of them shall be gathered around the Throne some day in white raiment because they died and shed their blood for their dear Lord Jesus.} “That thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” Some day you are going to stand before God- that’s what God was saying to the Laodiceans. And if you don’t get busy and start buying from Me, the shame of your nakedness is going to appear. And the last word of counsel to them was, “Anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” That’s what God said to the Laodiceans. It was the Church that He said it to. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Repentance the way we heard about in the earlier messages: a turning from and a turning to, is what God is calling us to.

And lastly, in Revelation 3:20, God says, Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice,” {Notice he says “voice”, if any man hear my voice! When was the last time you heard His voice? Oh, what a beautiful sound!} “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me!” That’s Christ Jesus’ promise to us. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” What a reward that will be! “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Have we lost our vision? God is telling us how we can get ourselves back into that place where a Spirit-born revelation of the mind and will of God can come into our heart again.

Years and years ago, perhaps in the 1800s, there were some leaders sitting around a table talking to Napoleon one day. They were talking about all of the countries that Napoleon and his great French army had overcome. Someone said, “Sir Napoleon, what about China? Let’s take China!”

Sir Napoleon sat for a moment and didn’t say anything for long enough that he had everyone’s attention. Then when they were all listening to see what he was going to say, he said these words. “China is a sleeping giant, let him alone.” Those were some real words of wisdom that Napoleon spoke that day. Yes, China was a giant and he knew it. It had more population than any other place in the world.  It was a very industrious country, but it was a sleeping country, and he said, “China is a sleeping giant.”

Now everyone knows you don’t wake a sleeping giant. Or you will have you hands full very fast. This analogy is powerful. By the way, the giant has awakened, and the nations of the world are beginning to tremble. Since then that giant woke up, sat up, stood up, and shook himself! And the rest of the world is trembling- and they should, by the way. Napoleon knew these things. If I can just tie this analogy together with our subject. Anabaptism is a sleeping giant! It is a sleeping giant, and satan knows its history! Satan knows its size. Satan knows it’s potential. Satan remembers what happened when those twelve men got on their knees in that room and Gelassenheit- surrendered everything to God. Satan knows what those twelve men did! And satan would say to all of his evil demons, which run to and fro working out his will on this earth, “Sh-sh-h, let him sleep. Those people are a sleeping giant. Leave them in their proud complacencyLet them pride themselves over their heritage, even though they are anemic. Let them sleepLeave them in their gluttony and their greedLet them sleep on in their wealth and their luxuryLet them enjoy their fine farms and their fine houses, but let them alone. Because if that giant ever wakes up, you had better look out! Sh-sh-h, let them sleep. Let them be satisfied to be a tourist attraction instead of the salt of the earth. Let the world come and make movies about them. Let them be known for their quaint, little lifestyles- no problem. But don’t wake them up!”

The truth of the matter is, that giant is going to wake up. I promise you he will wake up! I just pray that he will wake up sooner, rather than later. But he is going to wake up. Troubled times are coming. Everywhere I go, I ask this question: How many of you believe persecution is coming to our land, and soon? The staggering point is, we believe that, but it’s not moving us to action! And it is coming! And it’s coming sooner than you think!

The Spirit of God seems to be brooding over the Anabaptist peoples all around the country, and around the world. It seems like the Spirit of God is hovering over the Anabaptist people groups. The Mennonites, the Amish, the German Baptists, the Hutterites, the Old Colony Mennonites, and who knows how many other ones there are. There are others also. The Spirit of God is brooding over these people, and I believe it’s God in His mercy, giving us a chance to wake up and prepare! I am telling you, this giant will wake up. I only pray that he will wake up sooner rather than later. Because the sooner we wake up, the more prepared we will be to shed our blood, like those who went on before us. We are going to get to shed our blood. Are you ready to shed your blood? Persecution is coming- you wait! You baptize a few of them in blood again, and that giant is going to wake up, sit up, stand up, and shake himself. And when he does, look out!

I believe that most of the Anabaptist people are not going to compromise. There is something in them that will not let them.  Today many are not ready to face the baptism of blood. I guarantee you, when it comes face to face with it; they are going to find what they need! My encouragement is: let’s find what we need now. Why must we wait until they throw us in a prison? Let’s wake up now. But I think the departing Mennonites will compromise, because they have been compromising one after another, after another. I wonder how many “Yea hath God said?” sessions they have been through in the last 20 or 30 years. Those will compromise. I don’t believe the others are going to. I believe they will shake themselves, and wake up, and realize what is going on.  I believe they will fall on their face like their forefathers did, and get through to God! Why can’t we do it nowWhy must we wait until they take the plate away from us, to fast? We are going to fast someday. I mean, big-time fasting. Why must we wait until they take our Bibles away for us to treasure our Bibles?! That giant is going to wake up, sit up, and start prophesying again!

I love the illustration that Peter Hoover put in his book on Anabaptism that I read. He used the illustration of Samson, in relating to the Anabaptist people. He gave all the examples of what a powerful man Samson was as long as his hair was uncut. Then he explained how Samson, through compromise, lost his hair.  Because of that compromise he lost his power, but in the end his hair grew back, and he stood up again and destroyed the Philistines. I like that illustration.

So what shall we do? Men and brethren, what shall we do?! May I suggest to you that it’s time to change our lifestyles? It is time to change our lifestyles. Some time ago I was in another state preaching, and it was Sunday night after a whole week of meetings. I was preaching out of the book of Romans, chapter 8, on walking in the Spirit instead of walking in the flesh. We read about walking after the prompting of the Spirit of God instead of walking after the promptings of this flesh of mine. I put the standard where the Bible said it’s supposed to be. God did plan for us to walk with Him every day!  After I finished preaching for an hour, I gave an invitation, and some people responded. But one person came up to me on the side and said, “I need to talk to you. I think you are putting the standard way too high.” That’s what he said! I thought, “Well, this is going to be interesting!” I said, “Oh?” He said, “I listened to what you were saying, and if I do what you are saying, I have to change my life!” I thought, “I think he got it!” That’s what I was trying to tell him. What he meant by that was his farm, and all of his money, and all the things he was doing, and all the hours he was spending on his tractors, and all those things, he has to change all that, to walk with God. I did tell him just that, gently. I said, “Brother, maybe you need to change those things. Walking with God is at the top. If you can’t walk with God and do all of those things, then give them up!”

We need to change our lifestyles. It is called repentance. But I thought I would put a different flavor on it- “change our lifestyle.” It’s called repentance. Let’s just be real honest- if we go away from all that God is doing, and all the words that we have been reading, and the beautiful moving of God’s Spirit upon our own hearts, and we are no different two weeks from now, then this didn’t mean a thing. God wants us to repent– change the priorities of our life. Some of us need to sell our houses. Some of us need to get rid of that fancy car. Some of us need to lose 50 pounds. Some of us need to go see our neighbors. Some of us need to forget about our retirement programs. There is no retirement, bless God! There is no discharge from this war! That’s what it says in Ecclesiastes. Some of us need to “retire” into full-time Christian work, amen?! Do that for the last 20 years of your life, praise God! Don’t be figuring out how you can make another $100,000 before you can’t walk anymore. Why don’t you give God the last 10 or 15 years of your life? If we have that long. We need to change our lifestyles. We need to repent.

Some of us need to go see our neighbors, and then go again. Weeping and pleading with them! We need to sit down with our neighbor and say, “I am concerned about your soul.” Do you realize what would happen if everyone in this tent would do that just once? It would shake this whole county. There are probably a 1,000 people here tonight. Then, if you did it the next week with a different neighbor, whoa! I believe that God is calling us to do just that.

What about you young people? Do you realize how old most of these early Anabaptists were?  They were 17,18,19,20 years old. There is account after account of young men 19 and 20 years old, kneeling before the brethren, and being commissioned to preach the Gospel in the villages beyond where they were. They were sent out, two by two, and most of those young men didn’t live for six months- and they did that when they were 19 and 20 years old. And we are making daisy chains while the world goes to hell! Playing ball! Please don’t misunderstand me. It is okay for little children to play games. I’m not against that. But it is time to enlist, young menYoung ladies, it’s time to enlist. Don’t you see, young people? Don’t you see the vision? Don’t you see the souls? Don’t you see they are going to hell? Don’t you see that you have what they need? Don’t you see? Are you blind? We desperately need to fast and pray for this county.

I beg you, to go back to your churches, and gather up a group of brothers and sisters that are willing to get together, and fast and pray for this county. Not once, but again, and again, and again. Do you realize what would happen if a group like this would all go back and start a prayer meeting, and begin to sigh and cry before the Lord with fasting and prayer? Do you know what would happen? God would work! I know he would work! God would save souls- real souls- souls that are going to hell, whose blood is on our hands. God would save souls! Let’s do it!

You may say, “Brother Denny, don’t rock the boat!” That’s what the Reformers told the Anabaptists- “Look, you have some radical ideas here, but just settle down a bit- we need you.” We have been settling down a bit long enough! It’s time to rock the boatIt’s time to shake the bush until the skunks run out! “Oh, brother, you are going to make trouble everywhere!” I don’t think so. I think if you go forth on your knees, it is not going to make trouble. I believe the people will listen to you. If you go forth on your knees, if you go forth in humility and brokenness, if you go forth in sincerity of heart, God will use it. The Anabaptist vision, do you see it? What a beautiful people, Song of Solomon says, “terrible as an army with banners.” Do you see the vision? God wants us to receive it into our hearts, and God wants us to get serious with HIM. Maybe you are thinking, “This guy is wrong- he is really off!” Don’t write me off too quickly. Get alone with God for a few hours and ask HIM. Perhaps you are not seeing clearly. Get alone with God, that is my plea to you.

One thought on “The Anabaptist Vision

  1. Hello there! This blog post could not be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

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