When I say the church in America is in a mess, that’s not an oversimplification, and it’s certainly not some allegorical statement. We are literally in a mess. From false prophets to woke agendas, the church has fallen prey to all manner of unbiblical foolishness. We’ve jumped on every church growth bandwagon imaginable, and with each passing decade, the body of Christ in this nation has drifted further and further from biblical truth.
Sound doctrine and true Holy Spirit power have become so foreign to this generation that we have blatantly humanized God, deified man and willingly glorified sin. We have to stop screaming love and acceptance while God Himself is screaming, abomination and unholiness.
The church is being called into a season of deep repentance and humility. The glory of God is rising among a righteous remnant of people who are tired of status-quo Christianity—men and women who long for true integrity of heart, boldness of speech and the unction to break free from religious bondage.
What has gotten us to where we are, will not get us to where God wants us to go.
It is important to recognize the power of desperation. Desperation for deliverance and for the Word of God. For that, I want to take a look at the book of Jeremiah, which is one of the strangest theological books in the entire Bible.
Jeremiah was called by the Lord at age 15 to preach for 40+ years to a nation that did not give one flip of a wooden nickel about anything he said. Only a handful of people were true-blue converts of the message Jeremiah had to preach, and that message was not a casual “just come to the Lord and all your dreams will be fulfilled” kind of message. He preached a message of deep repentance and thundered out the truth of the Word to a rebellious group of people that sat there bug-eyed and hard-hearted and refused to listen.
For more than four decades Jeremiah smashed strongholds, fought devils and called the people away from the bondage of iniquity and idolatry. In Jeremiah 8, he’s still in the introduction of his lifelong sermon of repentance. Here’s a man who was thrown into a miry pit—not just a prison with “three hots and a cot,” but a literal pit of mud and stench—on two occasions for preaching the Word. Later in the narrative we see Jeremiah become so discouraged that he said, “O Lord, you have deceived me,” (Jer. 20:7, ESV). Have you ever felt deceived by God? Have you ever felt like God gave you a promise and it didn’t come to pass when you thought it should?
Jeremiah eventually got so discouraged that he was tempted to walk away from the things of God, “but his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay,” (20:9). No matter how rebellious the people were, no matter how discouraged he became, he couldn’t quit because the Word of God was boiling and stirring in him. And it wouldn’t let him go.
Jeremiah was one of the few true prophets left in the southern kingdom of Judah after the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. The king was a fleshly puppet. The priests had corrupted themselves. The prophets had polluted themselves because they were all about the money. Their ministry was no longer about the manifested glory of God or the truth. It was about being seen by men instead of being exalted by God and used for the glory of His message. They cared about the manifestation of their own lives, not the manifestation of the power of God.
In Jeremiah 8, something happened that I’ve read more than a hundred times, but for some reason I never caught it until we got a glimpse of what God was teaching us on this journey of deliverance. We see that the wise men began to be ashamed of the Word of the Lord. In response, God said, “I’m going to kill all of you.” That’s what He means when He says, “I’m going to give your wives to others and your land to those that shall inherit it.” (See verse 10.) He said, “I’m going to judge you and wipe you off the face of the earth. You’ve been rebellious far too long, and you’ve been preaching something that is not true. And because of that, My people have no healing.”
Beyond The Article With Pastor Greg Locke
This seems like such a strange place to talk about deliverance; but watch closely. Those who knew the truth—the prophets and the priests—were responsible to share the truth, but they did not. Thus, they were under the judgment of God, as are so many of the false prophets of our day. Why? Verse 11 gives us the answer (KJV): “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Notice that word slightly. The phrase “the daughter of my people” is generational terminology. God is saying that Jeremiah’s generation had been healed somewhat by the message, and it mirrors exactly what we are living right now in the American church. When the manifested power of God begins to explode in our midst, we try to explain it away because it doesn’t fit the denominational narrative of how we were raised. It doesn’t go through the lens of how we were taught to read the Bible.
This is the most disparaging remark that could be said of these people: “They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly.” The priests gave the people just enough to keep them coming. They cranked up the music just enough to get the people bopping and jamming. They prayed just enough prayers not to make the people too uncomfortable. They preached just long enough to make the people feel like they had been to a motivational pop psychology meeting—so they could walk in the doors feeling one way and walk out feeling better about themselves, never learning anything about the glory of God.
As we’ve pressed into this journey of deliverance at Global Vision and everywhere we preach, I’ve discovered that my eyes had been purposely closed to things I refused to take notice of because of the discomfort they brought. And like the people of Jeremiah’s day, most believers today have experienced a degree of deliverance—slightly. They have a degree of sanctification—slightly. People have walked the aisle, signed a card and prayed a prayer, but they’ve only been set free slightly because they’re still in bondage to their past. You will never be delivered from what is attacking you and oppressing you until you get desperate for the deliverance you need from God.
Not Supposed to Be Natural
We’ve raised a generation of fortune-cookie Christians who are looking for a Jesus that gives them whatever they want. If the Bible says we can be filled with joy and filled with peace and filled with power, then why do we come to church and feel so distracted? It’s because we’re filled with things we want in the flesh. It’s because we’ve been healed slightly.
People say, “Oh, we’re saved by the grace of God,” but some of you are addicted to pornography because you’ve only been healed slightly. “I’ve got victory in Jesus”—but you can’t get away from the bottle because you’ve been healed slightly. The Bible says, in effect, “The priests and prophets gave them just enough truth to get out of some trouble, but they were only healed slightly.” And that’s where we are in the church today. We have just enough truth to feel a little better—at times—but we’re still in bondage and we still have strongholds. The church has only been healed slightly because most aren’t desperate for the things of God and dead religion has taken His place at the altar. That’s why people can come to church, hear a good message, make a glorious decision and—though they might feel better in the moment—still go home unchanged. Without desperation, they’re only healed slightly.
Even though the Holy Spirit indwells the holy of holies in our body, there are still demonizing spirits that try to destroy the work of the Spirit within us. The church in America is in a floundering mess: Sicknesses that could be healed. Children that could be set free. Marriages that could be restored. Strongholds like addictions and bondages that could be demolished. Religion that could be shattered—all with a proper understanding of what the Bible truly says about each. It’s a supernatural work of a supernatural God through a supernatural book. It’s not supposed to be natural, and that’s why it bothers us.
So we cry “peace, peace,” but there is no peace. We say “everything’s good” while the Father’s house is burning to the ground. We as the church just stay in our sin. We stay in our rebellion. We stay in our lust. We stay in our addiction. We stay bound up in the strongholds of the enemy’s making. The devil has a foothold in your life, and the things you’re struggling with need to be renounced in the name of Jesus. You need to get desperate for deliverance!
The fulfillment of Joel 2 began on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, and it is still being fulfilled to this day. This degree of outpouring will not go away until the sun is darkened and the moon is turned into blood on that great and terrible day of the Lord (v. 31). We know that Pentecost is still flowing today in the church because this “great and terrible day” has yet to arrive. This outpouring out of God’s Spirit on “all flesh” will continue all the way to the end of days when the greatest harvesting revival on the planet is going to take place. These are those days.
In Joel 2, the prophet tells us that from Pentecost to the end times—now—whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered. The parallel reference to this prophecy in Acts 2 reads, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (v. 21, emphasis added), so salvation is deliverance. The promise of this great revival is not one of bigger crowds but of greater deliverance of God’s people—the remnant who are desperate enough to call on Jesus’ name with purpose, no longer seeking deliverance slightly but in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
This passage in Joel has been in the Bible all along—through all my days in seminary and all my days of preaching—but I just didn’t have the spiritual capacity to accept its deepest meaning until now. As Joel reveals, this last-days deliverance shall be in Zion and Jerusalem, “and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” For this we know the remnant church will be marked by deliverance.
I’ve been known as a preacher who is baptized in boldness, and as our people at Global Vision have proven, this sort of courage is contagious. We are a remnant church. There is no doubt about that. If we can stand so boldly in life and in death in the face of this buck-wild culture, shouldn’t we be equally as bold if not bolder with the truth of the Word of God when it comes across our eyes and gets planted in our hearts and minds? The answer is yes. We are submitting to the Word of God. We’re desperate for it. When the Word of God and a supernatural experience meet and God confirms His Word to the hearts of His children, they simply obey. These are the markers of the remnant people who are called by God in these last of the last days.
Pastor Greg Locke is the founder of Locke Media and Global Vision Press. He is also the founding and lead pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. He is the author of four #1 best-selling books, including the three-book Spiritual Warfare series, and his newest book which released before Labor Day, Cast It Out. Pastor Locke and his wife, Taisha, share six kids and one very blessed grandchild.