Prepare and Press In

rodney howard browne

It is interesting to note that Jesus spent thirty years

of His life preparing for three and a half years of

ministry. Today people go to Bible seminaries and

prepare three years for thirty years of ministry. There

must come preparation.

 

You are always in continuous preparation for the

next phase of what God has for your life. I know in my

own life that even after the encounter I had with the Lord

in July of 1979 until the present, I am still in preparation

for what God has for my life and ministry. I am not

satisfied with what we are doing and I know that there is

more that is available. I want to push higher and deeper

into the things of God.

 

Smith Wigglesworth said that the only thing that

he was satisfied about was the fact that he was

dissatisfied. We don’t ever want to get to the place of

lethargy and complacency, satisfied with where we are.

Otherwise we will never press in to what God has for our

life and ministry.

 

Dissatisfaction with where you are now will cause

you to arise and press in to what God has told you to do.

It is time to get off your blessed assurance and start acting

upon the Word of God. Start doing whatever your hands

find to do and then the anointing will increase.

 

Different Kinds of Anointings

 

We see that in the Word of God there are different

kinds or types of anointings given to man. Ephesians 4:7

says, “But unto every one of us is given grace according

to the measure of the gift of Christ.” The word grace

means enablement, ability, or anointing. We have already

seen in chapter one that the anointing is the supernatural

equipment to get the job done.

 

In Luke 4:18, 19 Jesus said, “The Spirit of the

Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach

the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,

to preach deliverance to the captives, and

recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that

are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

 

There Is an Anointing to Preach

 

Any preacher will tell you that the anointing to

preach is like a fire shut up in your bones. You can’t get

rid of it. When the message burns deep in your heart, it

has to come out and it does so with great power.

I think the greatest characteristic about preaching

is the unction by which the message is delivered. Some

think that shouting is preaching. Well, you might get

excited and shout when God’s power fails on you ¾ I

know that I do ¾ but it really has to do with the unction

to preach. God anoints your tongue and makes it as “the

pen of a ready writer” (Psalm 45:1). You begin to speak

as an oracle of God.

 

The scripture also says, “Is not my word like as a

fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the

rock into pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). God’s Word, when

preached under an anointing, will bring conviction and

bring a change in the lives of the hearers. Sermons are not

meant to be enjoyed; they am meant to be adhered to.

 

Reprove, Rebuke, and Exhort

 

The Apostle Paul, in speaking to Timothy, said,

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;

reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and

doctrine” (Second Timothy 4:2). I want you to notice he

says, reprove – which means to admonish or to advise.

Then he says, rebuke – which means to reprimand; and

then, exhort ( which means to encourage, to urge.

 

Two-thirds of preaching is reproving and

rebuking and one-third is exhorting. One of the problems

we have in the Church today is that many preachers

would rather preach around an issue than address the

issue. The Bible says in the last days, men would “heap to

themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall

turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned

unto fables” (Second Timothy 4:3, 4).

 

The Art of Persuasion

 

If we study the ministry of Charles Grandison

Finney, we find that he was not only criticized because of

the manifestations in his meetings, but also because of his

method of preaching. When he spoke about sinners,

instead of saying, “they,” he would say, “you.” He would

speak about hell in such a way that people would be

shaken in their seats. In every message he forced a

decision.

 

The art of preaching is not so much homiletics

(three points and a poem), but rather the ability to bring

people to the point of a decision. King Agrippa said to

Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”

(Acts 26:28).

 

Charles Finney was a lawyer prior to entering the

ministry. When he entered the ministry, he used his

ability to take a subject and present it as a legal case. He

would preach as though he were standing in front of a

jury and needed to convince them. At the end, he would

demand a decision from them.

 

This was his success in the ministry during an age

when there was no radio, television, or amplifiers and

microphones. He won about five hundred thousand

people to Jesus. It is said of his converts that about 85

percent stayed true in their faith. In comparison to

modern-day evangelism, we find this figure is extremely

high.

 

My Name Is Written Down

book_of_life

The disciples came to Jesus after He had sent them

out to minister. They were so excited, they were jumping

up and down. “O, Jesus, isn’t it wonderful? Demons are

subject to us through Your name. We’ve been casting out

devils and you know what, they listen to us.”

 

Jesus said, in effect, “So what. I beheld Satan as

lightening fall from heaven. He’s defeated. Don’t rejoice

over the fact that demons are subject to you, but rejoice

over the fact that your name is written sown in the Lamb’s

Book of Life.” (See Luke 10:17-20).

 

My name is written down in the Lamb’s Book of

Life! My name may not be down in Who’s Who in the

Zoo. My name may not be down on this roll and that roll

and the bank roll. But my name is written down “when the

roll is called up yonder.” And I’m going to be there!

 

I’m part of the family of God. I’ve been bought

with a price. I’ve been brought out of darkness into light.

I’m an ambassador from the kingdom of heaven. I have my

passport made out. My visa’s stamped in the blood of

Jesus. I have first-class air tickets. I’m sitting on Rapture

Airlines. The flight attendant is serving me living water,

and new wine, and heaven’s bread. That’s something to get

excited about.

 

We don’t serve a dead God. We don’t serve a God

who’s deaf. We don’t serve a God who’s blind. We don’t

serve a God who has no power. Our God is still God. He’s

the same God of Moses and Elijah and Daniel. And He’s

alive in 1992. He wants to manifest Himself in 1992.

Too much importance has been placed on what

church you belong to. “Well, I’m of Paul and I’m of

Apollos,” we say. “We have a 5,000-seat church and a

thousand-voice choir. And you should see our deacons.

They can deke like no other dekes. Our elders can eld like

no other. Our church board is one of the boardest boards in

the city. We’ve got an orchestra. And have you heard our

pipe organ?” Well, who cares?

 

It doesn’t matter what church you belong to. It

matters what family you belong to. You are in either one

of two families. You’re either in the family of the devil or

you’re in the family of God.

 

To be born again is not confirmation. “I’ve been

through confirmation, Brother Rodney.” Well, wonderful.

 

Have you been born again? Jesus never said, “Ye must be

confirmed.” Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”

“Well, Brother Rodney, I’ve been to catechism.”

You can’t “ism” it any other way. Have you been born

again?

 

“Well, Brother Rodney, we joined the church. We

filled in a membership.” Jesus never said, “Ye must fill in

a church membership. Ye must put thy name on the roll.”

He said, “Ye must be born again.”

 

“Well, Brother Rodney, we’ve been baptized in

water.” You can live under water till you get webbed feet.

But I’m telling you right now Jesus didn’t say, “Go under

water.” He said, “Ye must be born again.”

 

“Well, Brother Rodney, we had some water

sprinkled on our head.” You can have water sprinkled on

your head until you grow like a plant. He didn’t say, “Ye

must get water sprinkled on your head.” He said, “Ye must

be born again.”

 

“Well, Brother Rodney, we take communion.

Every week we have the Holy Sacrament.” You can

swallow grape juice or wine and wafers three times a day.

He didn’t say, “Ye must take communion.” He said, “Ye

must be born again.”

 

“Well, Brother Rodney, we observe religious duties.

We go to church regularly every Sunday morning and

 

Sunday night. We’re on every church committee.” He

didn’t say, “Ye must observe religious duties.” He said,

“Ye must be born again.”

 

You see, some people’s idea of the new birth is

adhering to what their father did and what their grandfather

did. But God has no grandchildren. Each one of us must

be born again for ourselves.

 

Many people have only an intellectual conception

of the Lord Jesus Christ. “I believe in Jesus,” they will say.

But is He your Lord and Savior? “Well, I believe in Him.”

Have you been born again? “Well, I believe Jesus, you

know. I believe in God.” The devil believes in Jesus. The

devil believes in God.

 

Even some of the worst sinners believe in God and

the Bible. When they get into a crisis situation, you’d be

amazed at what comes out of their mouth – the Bible.

They’ll quote anything they can think of. They get in a

motor car with a friend and he’s doing 120 miles an hour,

they start quoting scripture. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I

shall not want.” But that won’t save them. Jesus said, “Ye

must be born again.”

 

“Well, Brother Rodney, I’m a moral person,” some

will say, “If God is God how can all the good people in the

world, go to hell?” Because Jesus said, “Ye must be born

again.”

 

“But look at Brother Joe Blow. He was a good

man. He didn’t rob from anybody. He wouldn’t even hurt

a flea. Do you know that if he found a bug in his house,

he’d go and pick it up and nicely put it out. What a moral

man. What a man of high standing in the community.

Fifty years of marriage to the same woman. His children –

one is a doctor, the other one’s a lawyer. They were all

well respected. Do you mean to say he’s going to hell?

Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”

 

You can’t be born again until you realize your need

to be born again. And you can’t realize your need to be

born again until you come face to face with the Lord Jesus.

The Bible says there is a way that seems right to man but

the end thereof is death (Proverbs 14:12). We have plenty

of cultured, refined, moral people, but unless they are born

again, they’re going to split hell wide open.

 

There is a Heaven to Gain and a Hell to Shun

There was a certain rich man,

which was clothed in purple and fine

linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

And there was a certain beggar

named Lazarus, which was laid at his

gate, full of sores,

 

And desiring to be fed with the

crumbs which fell from the rich man’s

table: more-over the dogs came and

licked his sores.

 

And it came to pass, that the

beggar died, and was carried by the

angles into Abraham’s bosom: the rich

man also died, and was buried;

 

And in hell he lift up his eyes,

being in torments, and seeth Abraham

afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

 

And he cried and said, Father

Abraham, have mercy on me, and send

Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his

finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I

am tormented in this flame.

 

But Abraham said, Son, remember

that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy

good things, and likewise Lazarus evil

things: but now he is comforted and thou

art tormented.

 

And beside all this, between us and

you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they

which would pass from hence to you

cannot; neither can they pass to us, that

would come from thence.

 

Then he said, I pray thee

therefore, father, that thou wouldst send

him to my father’s house:

 

For I have five brethren; that he

may testify unto them, lest they also come

into this place of torment.

Abraham saith unto him, They

have Moses and the prophets; let them

hear them.

 

And he said, Nay, father

Abraham: but if one went unto them

from the dead, they will repent.

And he said unto him, If they hear

not Moses and the prophets, neither will

they be persuaded, though one rose from

the dead.

Luke 16:19-31

 

This was not a parable. Jesus said, “There was a

rich man.” This actually happened. The rich man, who had

never begged in his whole life, died and he went down to

hell. Lazarus was the beggar who had nothing. All he

could do was eat the scraps from the rich man’s table. He

died and was carried into Abraham’s bosom.

 

The rich man was in torment. This tells me that hell

is a place of torment and that heaven is a place of rest and

peace. The earth is the only hell that the child of God will

ever know; the earth is the only heaven the sinner will ever

know.

 

The Bible says it’s appointed unto man (…once to

die, but after that the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). There are

people who are committing suicide and they’re thinking

that they’re going to end their life and go into blessing and

peace. They go from the frying pad into the fire. They go

straight into hell, a place of eternal damnation and eternal

torment.

 

Did you know they’re trying to pass laws in the

state of California where it’s illegal for a preacher to preach

on hell because he’s causing duress on people’s emotional

state? They’re trying to pass laws in this country where it’s

illegal to preach the gospel and bring people to a place of

decision.

 

If they ever pass that law, they’re going to have to

lock the door and throw away the key on me, because I am

not going to quit preaching the truth of the Gospel of the

Lord Jesus Christ. I’m going to tell people there’s a heaven

to gain and a hell to shun. Hell wasn’t made for man. Hell

wasn’t made fro God’s people. Hell was made for the devil

and his angels.

 

Those who are in hell right now – given the

opportunity – would want to come out because of the

torment. But if you told the, “When you come out, you just

accept Jesus,” they would turn Jesus down. That’s why

they must go to a lost eternity. It’s not because God wants

to keep them there, but because they do not want to accept

Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

 

The rich man said, “If you would send someone out

to talk to my five brothers, they would believe.” Abraham

said, “They have Moses and the prophets. They didn’t

believe them, why are they going to believe someone back

from the dead?”

 

The rich man never begged in this life. Lazarus

begged in this life. But the rich man became a beggar in

the life to come. I’d rather be a beggar in this life and not

beg in the life to come, than be someone who does not beg

in this life but must beg in eternal life. He was begging for

a drop of water to cool his tongue. He was begging that

Abraham would send somebody to go and speak to his

brothers. But even someone from the dead would not

convince some people of their need to be born again.

 

My schoolmates used to mock me and say, “You’ve

wasted your whole life serving God. You don’t run to the

parties, you don’t get drunk like us.”

 

I said, “First of all, I don’t want to do that because I

love Jesus and I’m having great fun anyway. But let’s say,

just for argument’s sake, that there is no God. Let’s say

there is no eternity. When I die and you die, we’ve lost

nothing.

 

“But what if there is a God and there is a heaven

and a hell? When I die, I’m going straight to be with the

Lord. What will you do when you stand before the

Almighty God? What will you say the? God will take you

back to this day when you and I were talking face to face

and you told me it’s a bunch of hogwash. You’ll spend the

rest of eternity in hell realizing the opportunities you’ve

missed.”

 

Hell is a place of torment. The people there are

going to see the missed opportunities they had to accept

Jesus.

 

I shudder to think of people who have come to our

meetings and stormed out because they didn’t want to

accept Jesus as Savior. In hell they will remember and say,

“O God, if only, if only, if only.” The reason they have to

go there is not because God wants to punish people but

because they do not want to accept Jesus Christ as their

Lord and Savior.

 

There’s only one way to God. The new birth is

through one door and that’s Jesus Christ. The new birth is

not through Mohammed. The new birth is not through

Buddha. The new birth is not through Confucius.

 

The difference between Jesus Christ and Buddha

and Mohammed and Confucius is you can go to Buddha’s

grave today and it’s full. You can go to Mohammed’s

grave today and it’s full. You can go to Confucius’ grave

today – it’s also full.

 

But the grave of the Lord Jesus Christ is empty! He

is risen. The stone is rolled away. That’s what makes

Christianity different from every other cult and every other

religion. Jesus Christ is alive. He is risen! If He hadn’t

risen, Christianity would be like every other cult. But He

rose from the dead.

 

Jesus rose and He’s coming back again. When He

left the earth, the angels said the same Jesus you’re seeing

go now is coming back (Acts 1:11).

 

If You Were Arrested for Being a Christian

The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a

new creature: old things are passed away” (Second

Corinthians 5:17). But if you look at some Christians,

there’s no telling that they’ve passed from death unto life.

 

I heard one preacher ask, “If you were arrested for

being a Christian, would there be enough evidence against

your life to convict you?” Some Christians would get off

on probation. Others would get life sentences without the

chance of parole.