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REPENTANCE, REVIVAL, AND THE FEAR OF GOD Декабрь 29, 2011

Posted by Alyosha Kolodiy in Blogs, Трибуна братства - The brotherhood tribune, Today's Devotional.
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«Now, therefore, says the Lord, Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord God,  for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness;  and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent,  and leave a blessing behind Him» (Joel 2:12-14).

We all want to see the glorious manifestation of God’s incomparable  glory. We all are crying out for the latter rain. Some believe it is  already here, although I personally disagree.      We are all very fond  of preaching about the massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and about  God’s manifested blessings and healings. However, I perceive a lack of  understanding in many of these messages. We are tickling the people’s  ears, but omitting significant truths. God is a God of order. He has  established a pattern for all things, which includes the experience of  revival and holy outpourings. We  must  understand and follow these prescribed methods if we desire the real and authentic blessings of God.

#1) REVERENCE FOR GOD

There must be a restoration of the fear of the Lord! There must be a  return to humility and reverence. For too long I have seen the people of  God offering up what might be called «strange fire». In other words, we  have profaned the name of the Lord by building up our own ministries,  apart from the call of God; we have spent an inordinate amount of our  time and energies propagating our own agendas and tagging them with  God’s name, rather than serving Him and His ordained will humbly and  gratefully. We have maligned and vitiated the name of God by calling  ourselves Christians and living lives that are antithetical to Christ.  Worse yet, we justify ourselves in the midst of it!

We also preach grandly of the love of Christ, yet ignore the radical call He gives to holiness. We say that we belong to God, yet act as though we do not! Keith Green sang once of this, singing, «You speak of grace and My love so sweet; how you thrive on milk but reject My meat».  We do not honor God when we offer only half of who He is! YES, God is  love! Most certainly! But God is also HOLY! We must present a balanced view of our King and Redeemer. Amen?      «By those who come near Me, I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified» (Leviticus 10:3).

      «Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,  let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence  and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire» (Hebrews 12:28-29).

     II.) REPENTANCE

True repentance comes from understanding who God is, and who we are in  the light of that. When we see the grandeur and perfection of God; His  holiness brightly displayed to our senses, an awareness of our  sinfulness comes to the fore. Isaiah cried out, «Woe is me. I am  undone». Peter begged the Lord to leave him for he saw His uncleanness  and sin before God. Paul saw himself as the chief of sinners. The  Scriptures declare that no flesh shall glory in His presence (I Corinthians 1:29). All that does not honor God will be exposed and brought to the light.  Thus, when we are truly in His presence, an awareness of these things is  brought to bear. With that awareness we may see godly sorrow leading to  repentance. Very simply, repentance (from the Greek word «metanoia») is  a compunction (for guilt) and involves a reformation, that is, a  reversal of direction. Biblically, it means turning from our own selfish ways (once they have been exposed and we recognize them), and turning to God’s ways.     True repentance is not something done merely on an external level. It is not changing our habits to look more godly. It is an actual reformation of our hearts!  This is why, in the verse quoted at the onset, the Lord tells us to  rend our hearts, not our garments. He is not interested in a public  display of righteousness, or in our religious acts. In fact, apart from  true godliness of heart, He despises our religious shows. One  has only to read the Scriptures to gather that clear fact (e.g., Isaiah  58; Isaiah 1:10-20; Amos 5:18-27).     The truth is, God sees behind our  actions to our very motives. He sees that while we worship Him with our  lips and religious piety, our hearts are far from Him. This evidences a  lack of the fear of the Lord. The results are grievous and, if abide  unrepented of, disastrous. For these reasons, repentance is paramount.  True repentance restores that relationship with the Father which sin  separates. True repentance will renew the Holy Lord’s favor upon us,  that He may bless us and cause us to abound in favor and glory.    

 III.) THE LATTER RAIN/OUTPOURING

God commands us to keep His commandments and to obey His Word. He does  so specifically for two reasons. The first is that obedience is the  evidence of true faith. it is not what saves us-only the perfect Blood of the Lord Jesus does. But the evidence (or living proof) of our faith is confirmed in our obedience (James 2:14-26).     Secondly, by keeping God’s commandments, He is able to bless us, keep us, and be gracious towards us (Deuteronomy 6:40; Isaiah 30:18).     The  latter rains/outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon the earth is  predicated on our godly fear and repentance. Notice that before Joel  delivers that awesome prophecy (Joel 2:28-32), which began at the inception of the early church (Acts 2),  Joel first apprises the people of their sins, and calls for solemn  repentance, weeping, mourning, fasting and prayer. Following their  return from exile, the Israelites had rejoiced and gloried in their  newfound freedom. They celebrated God with great fervor, as they began the restoration of the Temple of God (Ezra 3:8-13). I stress the word «began». They got only as far as the foundation  before trials beset them, frustration and weariness and other emotions  set in. Soon, they abandoned the idea of restoring God’s house and  focused on their own lives and personal security. Before long, the will  of God was forgotten and life returned as usual (Haggai 1:2-9). Yes, «church services» were held, but God was no longer truly reverenced in those services, nor in their hearts. For these reasons, the rains of revival and blessing could not come. God «withheld the dew and earth’s fruit» (Haggai 1:10-11). All their labors were vain and fruitless. The expected glory of God and  its subsequent blessings didn’t come. The outpouring was withheld  because God was not reverenced and because their hearts were not  repentant. God had to send them prophets to awaken them from their  spiritual slumber, encourage them to get right with God, and return to  His designed will for them. May He do the same with us today! For then  will we see the glorious power of God shake the earth. Then will we see  His kingdom (alive in us), taking hold of the earth, and filling it with  His glory as the waters cover the earth. Then will the latter rains  coming, watering the seeds of His Word, fertilizing men’s hearts, and  giving birth to a harvest of souls never before seen in history. Then  will His hand release the floods of glory, blessing, healing, and deliverance we all are so much wanting to see!

May this word encourage you to seek the Lord, search your own heart  and, thereby, result in a refreshing rain of revival in your own lives,  that may carry into all the world, just as we are longing for it to be,  and just as God has ordained it to be! Blessings upon you, beloved, and  Godspeed!!

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