David Smithers was our wonderfully anointed speaker during the week of revival history in our DTS. His teaching quickly began to expand my religious viewpoint as he dismantled the church structure prevalent in Western culture. While stressing the critical point that we must have an authentic love for the church (just as Christ maintains a ferocious love for His bride), he also reproved the Westernized structure which prefers the refuge of church traditions and large congregations over the intractable prospect of a decentralized body of Christ.
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” [John 2:17]
The customs of Judaism allowed for places of business to operate within the temple, selling sacrificial livestock to pilgrims and exchanging their foreign coins for Hebrew currency. When Jesus entered the temple, He became swollen with a zealous rage, not at the sight of church business which was commonplace in this day, but at the discovery that they had relegated the court of the Gentiles into a “robber’s den.” This was the place designated for strangers and foreigners, but it was given over to the temple business and now there was no room in His Father’s house for a Gentile to find his rest.
Jesus made a whip and used it to redecorate the place. He rearranged the furniture the way He likes it by cleansing the temple of its exclusionary vice. The blind and the lame knew spontaneously that they were welcome and at last had hope for healing, and the children came in shouting, “Hosanna!” The temple was finally functioning the way it was always supposed to.
In the same way, Jesus wants to refurbish the modern definition of “church.” When we’re too focused on what we want (the church program), then we’re setting up tables in the wrong part of the house and we limit the capacity of what God wants to do.
The modern church service puts a cap on the Holy Spirit bottle by not giving Him room to express Himself. When Jesus showed up in the temple He wrecked the place. This enraged the Pharisees and upset their religion of order, and unfortunately, a similar spirit is alive in the church even 2000 years later. Throughout history, we haven’t allowed God to renovate our houses of worship because we’ve been afraid of the mess.
The formula for revival of the church is found in Acts. We often dial-up our expectations to big spaces and dial down expectations for the prayer meeting, yet all of Christianity marked its beginning in an upper room. It’s time we adjust faith according to Scripture. After all, Jesus turned half the world upside down through 12 ordinary men.
Revival within a sleeping church will come when Jesus blows the roof off the house. All we need to do is hand over the keys.