Bethel Church Senior Pastor Bill Johnson has highlighted the need for revival across the United States, warning that the “spirit of insanity” perpetrated by Satan is actively fighting to silence the message of the Gospel.
Speaking at Bethel Music’s third annual "Heaven Come" conference in Los Angeles, Johnson said there are “very few places in the world that have as significant of a revival history” as Southern California.
He told attendees about various revival movements over past decades, such as the Azuza Street Revival in the early 1900s and the late Rev. Billy Graham, who launched his global ministry at the Big Tent Revival almost 70 years ago.
“The Lord pays attention to the cries, the prayers, the lives that were poured out 30 years ago, 40 years ago in this area to make a mark,” Johnson said.
But something “tragic” happened, the pastor said: “the move of God that was released here was not sustained,” he said, “and anytime the house is clean and swept and it's not occupied, the enemy that was driven from the place comes back seven times worse.”
“Today,” he continued, “in the place of the spirit of revelation stands a spirit of insanity that is now being embraced as the message of truth. And it grows in the absence of a ‘yes’ from a sold-out people.”
Johnson said that while he loves corporate gatherings, he believes true evangelism happens when believers live out the Gospel at work, on the streets, and in everyday life.
“And I believe the Lord has brought us together because we share a conviction in our heart for what we want God to do,” he told thousands gathered at the Microsoft Theater. “I'm so thankful that Jesus is returning. I don't want anyone to misunderstand me, but the hope of the world is not the return of Christ. It's the power of the Gospel, unadulterated, declared by [believers].”
The Gospel truth “changes a life without power,” Johnson emphasized.
“It's not a philosophy,” he said of Christianity. “It's not a group that we joined because we agree philosophically. It is something we become a part of because the actual spirit that raised Jesus from the dead took up residence in us and did so with a purpose of demonstrating the power of resurrection as we confront the impossibilities of life.”
“This,” he said, “is the assignment of every believer ... remove the lies, remove the disappointment and you find out … we are alive for such a time as this."
The world today is “aching for a solution,” Johnson argued, constantly looking for an antidote to issues like cancer, addiction, and economic crisis.
“How do we get a generation to be free of addiction and all these kinds of things? You and I have access to the secret places of God, the secret things of God, where He's already announced to us it is his good pleasure to give us the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. It's already written in your inheritance,” he said.
The Redding, Calif., pastor pointed out that the “entire ambition” of Scripture is to “get the people of God to accurately represent who He is.”
“This is the invitation for every single believer,” he said, adding: “I can see the heart of God over this part of the land.”
“The spirit of God is in us, and He wants out,” Johnson declared. “This spirit of God longs to reveal who Jesus is, and He longs to do it through a people who have said 'yes.'”
"Restore us a place of revival," he concluded. "Restore us as a people of revival ... I’m going to ask you to upgrade your 'yes' to God."
The "Heaven Come" conference was held May 23-25 and was hosted by Bethel Music co-founders and worship pastors Brian and Jenn Johnson.
The goal of the conference is to “see Heaven invade Earth,” according to the event website.
“We believe that a moment in God’s presence can cause a reaction in the heart that will shift the course of your life,” it says, in part. “A surrendered life that is destined to shape the course of history. His will is healing, prophecy, miracles and intimacy. Through worship, dynamic teaching and personal ministry, our prayer is that together we will have a fresh revelation of His nature and display the possibility of the impossible through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In addition to Johnson, featured speakers included Steven Furtick, Christine Caine, Robert Madu, Kris Vallotton, and Lindy Conant-Cofer. There will be another Bethel's Heaven Come conference meeting in Dallas, Texas, at the end of August.