A fellow named Daniel Hamilton left me a link on one of his comments. It has videos of the preaching of one B.H. Clendennen.
Excellent preaching. Completely based in the traditions of men.
Listen, my friends, Jesus did not raise up a church that is a building. He did not raise up a church that is a series of meetings, no matter how good the preacher is at those meetings.
He hates your pews!!!
And your revival preaching isn’t much better.
In the church, leaders can have confidence that every one of the people of God is going to be growing until they enter the grave (Php. 1:6). The grace of God will be coming to them, and they will be blossoming like a branch on a healthy vine.
That is not the product of individual relationships with Christ. A hand is never joined directly to the head.
John 15 is not talking about individual relationships with Christ. It is not talking about revival. It is talking about the Church because today, unlike 2,000 years ago, Christ is a many-membered body (1 Cor. 12:12), not an individual man walking the earth.
In the church, John 15 happens. Branches just grow on their own due to being attached to the vine.
In revival-preaching religions John 15 doesn’t happen. Whether a preacher is preaching regularly or not, lots of members of that organization–I don’t care to call it a church–are not growing. If there is no preacher preaching revival, then almost all of the members will fall away.
Not so in the church. The church is a family of individuals joined to one another by their birth into a heavenly life, mediated by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God unites them as though they were one body, and they live one life together.
They care for one another. There are no “visiting” members. Their members have given up their own lives to be a part of this one new life which is the church of God.
In that place, where no one calls anything their own, but they have all things in common (Acts 4:32; but by this I do not mean enforced communism, but a lack of care about possessions and a great care about one another)–in that place, there is “great grace” (Acts 4:33).
In that place, life flows to the branches whether there is revival preaching or not. Let there be a B.H. Clendennen, a Leonard Ravenhill, an Evan Roberts … or let there not be. Because life flows from Christ into the body, the blood circulates through it, and the members are so joined that if you pinch one another will cry ouch–because of this, each member grows.
Oh, yes, there are exceptions, but look how Christ described those exceptions:
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away. (Jn. 15:2)
Why is such a branch taken away? Because it is that branch’s fault that it is not bearing fruit. Grace and life always flow to every member of the church–where there is a church as I’ve described it. If a branch is not bearing fruit, it is because that branch is resisting the grace of God.
I do not speak here from Bible interpretation but from real experience. In the church there is a power that is unknown to the preachers of revival. It is unknown to the attenders of Christian clubs. It is unknown to denominational Christians clinging to brilliantly-devised doctrines.
What I’ve described here I’ve seen happen, repeatedly, and now it is my ongoing experience at Rose Creek Village.
So, listen to Mr. Clendennen’s preaching. It’s inspiring. Be inspired.
If, however, you wish to continue in the faith, join yourself to the body of Christ. Repent of your denomination and your pew-sitting. Find a brother and act like he’s a brother. Find a sister and act like she’s a sister. Promise one another that you are bound for life, that you will never make a decision alone again, but that you will together seek the wisdom that is present where two or more are gathered in his name.
Obtain the learning that is promised only to the local church, the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15), the anointing given to a plural you (1 Jn. 2:19,27). This alone will provide for the saints a revival, a life, that will cause them–across the board–to continue to the end.