Preparation for the Rain

Pastor Keith Williams

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Matthew 25:1-4
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Heavenly Father, I thank you and I praise you for your word. I thank you, Father God that your word is living. I thank you Father God that your word does not return unto you void but it accomplishes in our life that which you so please. Father God I thank you that we can praise you this morning, I that you that we can fellowship this morning. I thank you, Father God that we can receive of your word this morning.Father, I thank you that in a few moments Father we’re going to receive the Lord’s supper. And I ask that you just bless each and every part of this service and this time. Give us ears to hear this morning and a heart to receive. Father, I thank you Father, so humbly I thank you, Father, for the opportunity to be able to share your gospel this morning. Use me as a mouthpiece to speak your word. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Last week God spoke to us on sending a rain. We went to 1 Kings and talked about Elijah when he told Ahab “I hear an abundance of rain” If you go to the first of that chapter God tells Elijah, “I’m sending the rain”. It hadn’t rained in 3 and a half years, Elijah prayed and the rain quit. IT hadn’t rained in three and a half years, and so God told Elijah that it’s time for the rain. We brought out that Elijah went to Ahab and he says, “I hear an abundance of rain.” He spoke by faith what God had told him. Then Elijah went up on the mountain and he prayed. He prayed. He prayed until a cloud formed over the sea. He did not stop praying. He prayed until he saw something happen.
Brothers and sisters so many times in our prayer life we stop short of seeing the hand of God start moving. And he expected it to happen. Why pray if there’s no expectation that God’s going to answer your prayer? Elijah expected the rain to come, he prayed for it and he expected it. He kept sending his servant back to look over the sea. Until that 7th time, when his servant was probably saying, “Man you’re crazy. Get up and look for yourself.” But he went up and saw a little cloud forming over the sea the size of his hand. You know it didn’t take days from then, it didn’t take months from then, it didn’t even take hours from then. He told his servant to go tell Ahab to get down, get his chariot ready, get in it, get down because the rain was coming. And before he could even get off the mountain it says the sky turned back, the wind blew, and it rained. Brothers and sisters the rain is coming.
The rain is coming. The rain is coming. What we experienced this morning This is the beginning, and like I said last week, it’s not going to be a drizzle. It’s going to be an abundance of rain. An abundance of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. An abundance of the presence of God here in our lives. It starts in you. It’s not in this building, it’s in you. There’s going to be an abundance of rain. There’s going to be the presence of God. It is coming. But we need to speak by faith what God has told us in his word. What God has put in our heart and shown us. We need not to falter in it. We need not to teeter totter back and forth just because we don’t see it. The Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). So you need to speak out what God has confirmed and told you and showed you within his word. Elijah spoke what God had said. It hadn’t come yet, it wasn’t there. But he didn’t give up. He spoke it by faith to Ahab. He spoke it by faith to Ahab. And then he went and prayed.
Brothers and sisters find your closet. Find your closet. You need prayer time. You need it you can’t live without it. I’ve tried. I get dry, I get hungry, I get thirsty. I get to starving and being malnourished if I don’t find my prayer closet. You need your prayer, you need your prayer closet. The Bible says you have not because you what? Ask not. (James 4:2). You need that time in prayer. And then when you pray for it, don’t get up and say it might happen, it could happen, if God wills.
I don’t like that statement, ‘if God wills’ ‘if it’s His will he’ll do it’. Brothers and sisters if it says it in His word it’s God’s will. If He says ‘By the stripes of Jesus you are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5) it’s His will for you to walk in healing. If He says that you have authority over the enemy (Luke 10:19) it’s His will that you walk in freedom. It’s His will that you live in peace. It’s God’s will that you have a blessing. In Deuteronomy, it says that you will be blessed and everything that you set your hand to if you hearken unto the voice of God (Deut 18:2, Deut 18:8). If it says in the Bible it’s the will of God. Don’t doubt it. If God speaks it to your heart. If the Holy Spirit impresses it upon your heart then take it, go with it, believe it, expect it to take place. If there’s no expectation then there’s doubt, and doubt will smother out your prayer.

So this week I titled my message Preparation for the Rain. We need to be ready. We need to be ready for the outpouring of God’s Spirit. If you’re not ready for it then you will miss out on it. There has to be a readiness. There has to be a spoken word by faith. There has to be a prayer upon your knees. There has to be an expectation that has come and there has to be an expectation to receive it. There has to be a readiness, there has to be a preparation, to receive it.
Acts 1:13-14 says “13And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Phillip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers.” Acts chapter 2, this is what happened because they were what? They were prepared through prayer and obedience. They did what Jesus told them they waited in Jerusalem, they went into the upper room. They were getting prepared to receive whatever. You know Jesus told them I will send the comforter, I’ll send the Holy Spirit to you. They didn’t know who the Holy Spirit was, or how it would affect them or what it would be. But they went and they prayed and in their prayer there came preparation. There came preparation.
Acts 2:1-4 says “1When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire and one sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Brothers and sisters, there’s an outpouring, there’s a rain that’s coming. The Holy Spirit is being poured out and is going to be poured out. Even in more abundance of rain each and every day. The rain will get heavier, the rain will come and it will fill us. The Holy Spirit is being poured out but you have to be prepared to receive it.
You can’t live tomorrow like you’re living today. You can’t live today like you lived yesterday. I want there to be a change in me every day. I want there to be a newness every day. I want to see an outpouring every day. I want my cup to be so full that when I go to work that every one of my coworkers, everyone that I come into contact with is affected by the water, is affected by the outpouring of the Spirit. We need to have preparation. We need to be ready for what God is wanting to do. Before the wind came, before the tongues came they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They prepared to receive it no matter what it was. They didn’t know what was going to happen. They didn’t know the wind was going to blow. They didn’t know the Holy Spirit was going to set upon them like fire. They didn’t know that when they opened their mouths they would speak other tongues.
I can remember when I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was 15 years old living in El Paso, Texas, going to the First Assembly of God Church. I don’t know about you, how you were raised, but I was raised in church all my life. I’ve been going to church since I was born. I don’t know nothing else but church. And I love it. I can’t hardly stand to be gone. I’m going on vacation and believe me, my thoughts will be here on Sunday. I’ll be wondering about what’s happening, and what’s being spoken, and who’s there. And I’ll be in prayer for you. But my thoughts will still be there. I love church. I love to be in church. I can remember when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I was 15 years old, I wasn’t seeking it. You know why I was at the altar that night? Because my momma says “You go to the altar.” Not because I wanted to be but because my momma said when the altar call comes we all go to the altar. No matter what. We didn’t sleep in church either. You slept in church you got a big ol’ pinch. My momma had the longest arms of anybody. There were four kids and she could reach all the way to the fourth one and grab a wad of skin. You didn’t sleep in church, you sat up and listened to the preacher. And it hurt. And when she pinched you, you didn’t scream or cry either cause then daddy got into it, and that wasn’t any fun either. I had great parents. But they were strict.
It was because my mom and dad brought me to church. It’s because my mom and dad had taught me the Word of God and I learned the stories in Sunday School. It’s because my mom and dad made me go to the altar that I stand before you today. But I wasn’t expecting the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t asking for it, I wasn’t praying for it. I knew about it, my mom and dad spoke in tongues and were filled with the Holy Spirit. I went to the Assembly of God church. This church here is a faith believing Bible believing, Bible preaching, tongue-talking, Holy Ghost church, it is.
Me and my older sister, we went up. I don’t know how long we were there, but all of a sudden the Spirit of God hit me. I opened up my mouth, I didn’t even try to open my mouth. The Holy Spirit just opened it up for me. And it just started coming out. I couldn’t stop it. It just started coming out, it was just one syllable. But it just started coming and I couldn’t stop. We were the last ones to leave the altar that Sunday night. Paster came up and said “God done something good to you,” and gave me a hug and I started speaking in tongues. I went home and laid down in my bunk bed, I was on the top bunk my brother was on the bottom. I was on my bunk bed and I started speaking in tongues. I couldn’t shut it off. That’s the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That’s the rain that’s going to come. That’s the rain that Jesus Christ, God is sending. He’s sending his angel with the rain. And I’ll tell you what the enemy cannot stop the rain of God. And it’s coming. But we need to be prepared. We need to be prepared to receive what God is about to do. Some of us He’s already started it. Brothers and sisters if you’ve got a hunger that you cannot fulfill, if you just can’t get enough of God then God’s already started pouring out in your life. If you don’t then it’s starting. Get down on your knees. Get prepared.

There are two types of rain that I want to look at this morning.

Cleansing Rain

Genesis 6:17 says “And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.” Genesis 7:21 “And all the flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.” All in whose nostrils was the breath of the Spirit of Life, all that was on dry land died. There’s a cleansing rain. There are things in our life that need to be washed away. That needs to be cleansed. We have desires, we have habits, that need to go away. That we need to be set free from in order to receive the rain that’s coming. Brothers and sisters, there has to be a cleansing rain, there has to be a washing rain. A rain that’s totally setting you free.
Here we have Noah, Noah prepared for the rain. 120 years he worked on that arc. He built a boat. And I guarantee you he preached to his friends and neighbors he preached to everyone that was mocking him and laughed at him. He was telling everyone to get prepared. God is sending a cleansing rain. He’s going to wipe out and cleanse the earth. There’s a cleansing rain. But I want to tell you that at the end of every cleansing rain there is new life. Noah sent out a dove, he sent him out. The first one returned back with nothing. You know it rained 40 days and 40 nights. But it didn’t just rain. That’s quite a belly gusher if it covers the entire earth in 40 days and 40 nights. It says that He opened up the earth and the springs came forth and the rains came down. And every mountaintop, and Everest or whatever the highest mountain top there is God covered it. Nothing, not a plant, not a tree, not a person, not an animal survived it, except Noah. Why? Because Noah prepared the arc. He prepared his heart. He was ready for the rain.
Brothers and sisters, in our preparation, there needs to be a cleansing. You cannot receive the rain of God if there’s clutterness in you. If you’ve got it filled with the worries of this world if you’ve got it filled with habits that are not of God. If you’ve got it filled with whatever, you will miss out on the rain. Or maybe you’ll get a partial rain and won’t get the whole thing. You need to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse whatever is within you.
The bible says he’s coming back for a bride without spot or wrinkle. Without any kind of dirt. It will be a pure, righteous bride. So there’s a cleansing rain that takes place within.There’s a cleansing rain. There are things we need to get cleansed. We have to prepare by wanting to change. How many of you want to change? Every hand ought to go up. Are you happy and satisfied with the way your life is? I’m not. There’s got to be more. I love what God has done in my life. I love what God did this morning. But there’s more. There’s gotta be more. I need to get to a point of where I want to change.
I need to believe like Noah. Noah believed what God told him. “I’m going to cleanse the earth, I’m going to send cleansing flood waters upon the earth. You prepare an arc because you have been found righteous before Me. And your generations too.” He didn’t say just Noah was found righteous before Him, He said, “All your generations have been too.” Don’t you know that it hurt Noah? Yeah, he brought his sons and his daughters-in-law with him but to stand out there when God sealed that door and hear the cries of his friends. And hear the cries of his brothers, and sisters, and aunts, and uncles and everybody banging and crying once the rain started.
You know the earth had never experienced rain before then? It was always watered by a mist that came up from the earth. Dew, watered by dew. And by the rivers and the creeks and the sea. It never had experienced rain before that day. That’s one reason why they probably thought Noah was crazy. What’s rain? There has to be a preparation, there’s a cleansing rain, a preparation that needs to be made.

A Growing Rain

There is a growing rain. There is a former rain and a latter rain. In the Middle East, their growing seasons are different than ours. Their growing season is actually in our winter. When we’re having winter over here they’re growing their crops. So that’s their growing season. So the former rain is the first rain of the growing season. It’s the autumn rain. It’s the autumn rain. It was essential to have that rain for the germination of the seed and the growing of the young plants. Joel 2:23 says “And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you – the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” See right there, an abundance. Because not only is there going to be a former rain but there’s a latter rain and He’s going to mix them together. He says “I’m going to bring them in one month. I’m going to bring a former, I’m going to bring a latter. There’s going to be an abundance of rain.”
There’s a growing rain. The former rain was needed for the seed that they had planted, they prepared the fields to receive the rain. They plowed them, they disc them, they weeded them, they got them ready, they got the rocks out. They did whatever it took to get that field ready and then they planted seed. And then they waited for the rain. They needed that former rain, they needed that autumn rain. We need spring rain. The reason we need spring rain is because it makes everything grow. Hallelujah, you need a spring rain. You need the spring rain to water the seed of God within your heart because then there comes growth.
And you know it’s so pretty when it rains and when the grass turns green and the trees start to leaf out. About the time we get to Texas next week the wildflowers ought to start growing. And there are fields, and fields, and fields of purple flowers. It’s so pretty down there where my mom and dad live, down by Austin in the hill country. We drive around just to look at the flowers. Because it’s pretty. But it comes because of the spring rain. And if they have a dry season and don’t get the spring rain the wildflowers don’t come. So we need a spring rain.
And then there’s a latter rain. And the latter rain is to finish off or mature the crops. The latter rain that He will send. The latter rain is the spring rain. The rain that fell late in the growing season allowed crops to reach their maturity. You know the bible says that you are to produce fruit. The fruit of the Spirit. You are supposed to produce that fruit. And you know what that’s for? That’s for people to pick off that fruit, gather that harvest, gather that fruit. And they’re supposed to be blessed by your fruit. You’re to produce fruit. Brothers and sisters if you don’t have a latter rain you’re going to wither, you’re going to die and you’re not going to produce fruit.
I can remember living in Nebraska for 17 years. Corn, they like corn in Nebraska. Big corn state. Where we lived was right in the middle of all the corn. As far as you could see there were hills and hills of corn. But you could always tell the dry land corn from the irrigated corn. The irrigated corn was about 6 ft tall, green as it could be. And it produced more than one ear of corn. So most of them went to irrigation because there was much more money in irrigated corn than dryland corn. But the dryland corn, normally it was about 5 feet tall. Normally by the end of the summer there wasn’t much there left but a stalk, especially if there was no rain.
It didn’t produce, it didn’t mature. When it would come in and it started to produce it would get some ears on it but they would never grow. The irrigated corn, the corn that got water, was large and the dry land corn was a little shorter and smaller around. Brothers and sisters, you need a latter rain to finish off the fruit, to finish off the crops, the harvest. If you want a good harvest you need a latter rain. We need to be prepared for the latter rain. We need to get ready for the latter rain. We need to get ready for the harvest. We need to get ready for the harvest because there is going to be a harvest in the church. Brothers and sisters Jesus says “Look around, My fields are white with harvest.” (John 4:35) He just needs the laborers.

So we need a cleansing rain, we need a growing rain. And we need to be prepared for both. Prepare yourself for the rain, by your prayer closet, by your meditation and study of God’s word. By your testimony, sharing the word of God. Feeding the poor, clothing the naked. By being so hungry for change and for God’s presence.
You know how God is going to fill this church? Look around, you see the empty chairs? One of these days they’re all going to be filled. But He’s not going to fill the church by supernatural means. In other words, He’s not going to go out there into the community Himself and come down and say “You need to go to Way of the Cross”. I mean God could. He could speak to anybody. He could tell anybody where to go. If you’re listening. He’s going to fill this church by you and me. He’s going to fill this church by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
When the outpouring of the Holy Spirit fills your heart, fills your life to overflowing, when your cup, as David says “My cup runneth over” (Psalm 23:5), when your cup starts to run over it’s going to affect the children you’ve been praying for on your knees for many many years. It’s going to affect your grandchildren. It’s going to affect your parents. It’s going to affect your neighbors. It’s going to affect your friends at school, your friends at work, your coworkers. It’s going to run over and it’s going to affect the person you meet down at Walmart. It’s going to affect the person you meet at Smith’s. It’s going to affect the person you meet at the gas pump. When the Spirit of God has filled your cup and it’s running over it’s going to affect those that you come in contact with and when it affects them they’re going to want the same thing you’ve got and they’re going to come where they can get it.
When you share your testimony, when you share your life with somebody it’s going to bring them to God and it’s going to bring them where they can meet Jesus Christ. And brothers and sisters, the outpouring, the rain is starting. And it’s starting right now in your hearts this morning. In our lives, in this church, in this community, in Riverton, in Fremont County. The rain is coming, the rain is falling. The rain of the Holy Spirit, the rain of Jesus Christ, the rain that God is sending has started. We need to be prepared. Speak it, pray for it, expect it, and be prepared to receive it.
If you go out into a rain without an umbrella you’re going to get wet. But if you hear the forecast and they say it’s going to rain today, I take my umbrella with me. That way if it does, I don’t get wet. If I hear the weather report and they say it’s going to be 10 degrees out today I take my coat. I prepare myself for whatever’s out there. We need to be prepared for the rain of God that’s coming.

The rain is coming. And it’s coming on you and me. It’s coming on whoever is hungry for it. The rain is coming. Amen? Are you ready for it? Do you want it? Then let’s believe it brothers, sisters. Let’s speak it. Let’s pray for it. Let’s expect it. And hallelujah, get your Bible out, get in your prayer closet, and get ready for it. Cause it will be a rain that you could not even imagine. You could try to imagine it, you could try to see what it’s going to be, what I’m speaking about, what God’s going to do. But brothers and sisters there’s no way that your human mind can imagine an outpouring of God’s Spirit. But it’s going to be great.
It’s going to be great. I can’t wait. I’m excited. I’m excited. I was up here praying last night and I got up about 2:00 to go home and I walked in this auditorium and I just started praying. I prayed about 10 minutes and the presence of God was so great. I didn’t even want to go home and go to bed. I just wanted to keep continuing to be filled. Continuing to be filled. I wanted more. My body said I needed to but my spirit wanted to stay in the presence of God. I was hungry. Are you hungry?
Prepare your life, prepare your heart. Prepare for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It’s coming. We don’t know what it’s going to be like. Neither did the disciples on the day of pentecost. But they were ready to receive it, no matter what happened. They didn’t care what God did. They were ready for it. They wanted it. They desired it. That’s why they were praying. That’s why they were in one accord.

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