by Pat Franklin
The evangelist Peter Brandon (88) is visiting the church we attend in England, and told us of two revivals he has witnessed in his long career as a fisher of men.
He was speaking on Luke chapter 5, when the fishing nets were so full that they were in danger of breaking. That day the crowds had been pressing in on Jesus. In the Old Testament, people could not get near to God. In the New Testament, people thronged to Jesus.
On the 'fishing' theme, Peter Brandon talked about 'washing the nets' and told of a revival that broke out in Madison, Scotland - because the nets (the people's souls) were thoroughly washed beforehand!
He said when he was young he was invited to preach there, but after two weeks of preaching, no one had come to faith in Jesus. Then one night a leader of the church asked his members to stay behind. 'We all prayed for an hour 40 minutes and then a 12 year old boy got up weeping, and prayed for forgiveness for a specific sin.
'Then a brother got up and said: "It's not the boy; it's the tobacco; give me deliverance, Lord!' (He was delivered of tobacco addiction that night.)
'Another man got up and said: "It's my bitterness (stopping the Holy Spirit)."
'Then it poured out. When I heard some of the sins being confessed, I thought some things should have been confessed privately.
'Then about 1-2am God showed me I was a Pharisee, criticizing what He was doing there. I saw myself, phylacteries wide, tassels long...it was like being in a state of vomiting; everything just poured out.
'Halfway through all this, I was only conscious of being before God. There were men on the floor weeping...
'We were washing the nets and God was cleansing us. About 4am we started praising God. I never heard praise like it. The sisters were radiant.
'That night I preached...and eight men shot to the front and cried out to God for mercy. Those men were gloriously saved. The mission went on for three months and God moved in power. There was such conviction of sin, people were knocking on doors at 2am.'
Peter said that every time the church becomes claustrophobic, it becomes barren - that we have to move out of our church buildings and go to people; we have to launch out into the deep.
'We need an ambition, a goal. Are we just coming together to preach to ourselves? When God sees us planning for future evangelism, He will bless us. We need to keep it simple, to stay humble. He is the Lord of the harvest; He knows where the fish are!'
He warned that you could turn a gospel meeting into a game, and people who responded would not go on in faith. 'There must be:
- Conviction of sin
- Enlightenment by the Holy Spirit
- The person must make Jesus Savior and Lord
And he spoke of one Church of England (Episcopalian) minister of a church in the west of England who came to him privately, got on his knees and was born again that night. 'He saw a mighty revival in his church.'
And Peter gave out a challenge: 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a time of net washing and then let down the net (the gospel message)?'
He spoke of another revival he witnessed in Cowdenbeath near Falkirk, Scotland. Before he got there the miners held prayer times at the church, coming straight from the mines. Peter could see the marks of their tears on the seats of the chairs where they had been kneeling to pray. They were praying for forgiveness of their own sins. He said when he got there and began preaching, he had to stop halfway through and just worshipped the Lord.
'The Tuesday night came and it was so crowded that people couldn't get in; some of them went into the boiler room. One man in leadership in a Presbyterian church said he was not saved and could someone help him.
'There was an open air march and the miners were talking to people along the way.
'Then after three weeks, I found myself saying: "The devil has raised his head and got a victory." I didn't know why I said it.
'Six months later in another place we were holding a tent meeting and a young man who had come to help got a telegram. He started weeping. He said: 'You know the night you said the devil raised his head? There were two elders who would not get right with each other. They refused to humble themselves before the Lord and now they have both died.'
'God could have broken out in great power, but those two men would not say sorry to each other.
'May God give you a time of net washing, and may the devil be defeated!'
At the end of that session, Peter Brandon prayed: 'Lord, we have talked holy fire today. We pray for a washing of the net so that we may all be clean before you. Save us from the breaking of the net or the sinking of the boat, and may Satan not get a victory. Defeat him, Lord! May there be a humbling among us.'
In another teaching session Peter spoke of some Christians being 'personal fishers' like the apostle Andrew, who is never shown preaching in public in scripture, and of 'public fishers' like the apostle Peter, who spoke on the feast of Pentecost, and saw 3,000 people saved.
He also spoke of 'mending the nets' by resolving personal differences in our churches.
Peter and his late wife Gwen had a tent mission and after the first twenty years she queried whether they should continue in the same way. They prayed and believe that God revealed to them that what concerned Him was that they maintained a consistent witness.
So in 1955 they developed their three-year plan. When they were invited to come to an area, they would ask the local church to send letters out saying that the local members wanted to help local people in any way they could. Then it was followed up with a visit, each person taking twenty houses and asking the Lord to give them one or two souls from that number who would come to faith in Christ.
This was followed up with a few very simple tracts answering crucial questions:
- Can I rely on the Bible?
- Who is God?
- What is wrong with the world?
- Who is Jesus Christ?
- Why did Jesus have to die?
- Did Jesus really rise again?
- Where is Jesus now?
- Can Jesus be known now?
There were also two books available for people, one on repentence and one on faith.
In the second year, a few people started to come to the church. Peter and Gwen held home meetings, very short with no singing, just explaining the basics of Christianity, which so few people understand today. There were meetings for women in the morning and afternoon and in the evening for men.
By the end of the second year, some people were coming to the gospel meeting.
Peter said one woman had asked him - why did Jesus have to shed His blood? When her children did something wrong, she did not require their blood!
Peter replied that parents could forgive their kids anything, but if their child grew up and committed a serious crime, he or she had to face the court, and the judge could not just forgive some serious crime. There were penalties. Jesus perfectly satisfied divine justice when He shed His blood for our sins.
*** Will anyone out there will take Peter Brandon's message to heart? Is anyone out there concerned that people are heading for hell? Is anyone prepared to humble themselves and 'wash the net' by praying for forgiveness? Everyone would like to see revival, but who is ready to 'wash the nets' and bare his or her entire soul before God? We will do it one day, like it or not, when ALL must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Best to do it now, when it can do some good! As a new Christian in 1981 I was told to 'keep short accounts with God' by asking forgiveness as soon as I did anything that offended the Lord. If we all did this, would we start seeing souls saved?
To hear Peter Brandon's entire message you can order the CDs from our church at this link http://www.yeshuaspeople.com/
And to see Peter on youtube, put his name in Google.
* Note: since this article was posted, Peter has gone to be with the Lord. What a stupendous reward he must have up there! He came to lunch at our house once, and we will sit at a heavenly table one day, and though I am totally unworthy, it is a certainty.