Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Repentance for Us All

II Cor.7: 8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

The word translated “repentance” in the Greek is “metanoia” which means to change your mind. Meta = change and noia = mind or to think. It means to change one’s thinking or change one’s mind. So when we repent our minds are changed, and if our behavior does not change than we have not repented. And the only way we can change our minds and bring them into alignment with Christ is by prayer, God’s Word, and beseeching the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Only then can true repentance be experienced in our hearts and minds and lives.

We are living amidst a great spiritual war. What we can see are the residual effects, but the battle rages in the unseen world. Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled with each passing day, and the church that bears His name continues to slide into apostasy while most orthodox churches walk in spiritual lethargy. Yes we are seeing nation rise up against nation and wars and rumors of wars, but that is just God’s way to warn and encourage us. We must not get involved in all the machinations of man as he attempts to sculpt out a worldwide utopia. Our calling is and always will be the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ

We believers in the west stand in desperate need of a massive and life shaking awakening that is completely of God’s Spirit and is in no way a contrivance of man. We have steadily left our first love and in order to minimize that falling away in our own minds we have set our sights on uncovering heretics and false teachers. And hiding behind that which is necessary, we ourselves have fallen prey to our own fleshly lusts and spiritual lethargy. But no one can see their own spiritual need without the ministry of God’s Spirit, and that ministry cannot be effective without a diligent, relentless, and heart breaking season of prayer. And that kind of prayer is not accomplished in a day.

The first question that must be asked is do we really desire an awakening or are we satisfied and content with our spiritual life as it now stands? Or do we admit to some needed tweaking that perhaps changes things a little? Or are we open to anything and everything the Spirit would expose? And therein lies the battle and the great hindrance. Before we can be changed and then be empowered by God’s Spirit we need to come out from complacency or even denial and admit we stand in great need of a change from the inside out. But our flesh warns us against such a drastic and ill conceived adventure.

And so without being able to overcome the spiritual inertia which keeps us immobile we remain the same day after day. We are very adept at shining the light of discernment and correction at the Rick Warrens and Joel Osteens of the evangelical world, but we have little energy to shine that same light upon ourselves. Imagine for a moment that there were no Warrens and no Osteens. Imagine that there was no emergent church and no seeker churches. Imagine every church was doctrinally orthodox. Imagine the church that you believe is a true church and imagine every church was like that one. Now tell me, how much affect would that kind of church have in this culture?

Imagine every believer prayed as much as you. Imagine every believer read the Word as much as you. Imagine every believer spoke the way you do and spent money the way you do. Imagine every believer witnessed the way you do and loved sinners the way you do. Imagine every believer lived his life just as you do. Would that scenario shine the light of Christ so dramatically that the kingdom of darkness had to either repent and believe or place us in jail? Let us not pretend or worse yet lie to ourselves. We have all been affected by this culture and we all need a mighty cleansing of the Spirit that washes away the sleep from our eyes. And it all must begin with repentance.

Matt.17: 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

The kind of repentance that brings forth spiritual power can only be summoned through fasting and prayer. Could our Lord be any more clear? And with that open teaching can we describe the church and its members as being passionate about fasting and prayer? How about us as individual followers of Jesus? Are we consumed with fasting and prayer? And yet we scream and caterwaul about this liberal and this law and this gay agenda and yet we are not even willing to follow the prescription given clearly by the One we say we follow.

Where are the church wide calls emanating from the leadership for days of fastings and consecutive nights of searching intercessory prayer? So who are we kidding? Our brand of Christianity is a redundant and innocuous practice that is mostly designed to minister to ourselves and nod among ourselves as we complain about the deteriorating moral climate all around us. “Tsk,tsk, how awful things are getting.” And that is pretty much the extent of our concern, a shallow and meaningless regurgitation of the obvious. The situation is desperate but we are not.

To suggest that this is the way to follow Jesus is preposterous and an insult to the Word of God and to His Spirit. I have watched as mothers and fathers sacrifice time and effort in order to support their children in Little League or Pop Warner football or in many other activities. They will buy their children all kinds of equipment and they will drive them to and from practice and attend every game and wash their uniforms and take them to sporting goods stores and willfully and cheerfully do all that is necessary to help them in their hobby of choice. Yes, they are fully committed.

But why is that not the case when it comes to following Jesus? In light of the colossal difference in importance between baseball and eternity, should there not be a remarkable and undeniable difference in the level of commitment between those two issues? Why is the practice of Christianity so less important in time and sacrifice than is the practice of baseball? We have succumbed to the dictates and allurements of the culture, and the culture and the Spirit are completely at odds with one another.

But as it pertains to repentance let us not assume that it can be assigned doctrinal status without a forceful power within our lives. And just to repeat the word in a short prayer is no more repentance than reciting the rosary. Because of the spiritual situation we find ourselves in, the repentance of which I speak must be a vigorous and forceful journey which seeks to die to everything that is not of Christ and resurrect everything that bears His Spirit. What is needed is a sharp turn around which begins with a painful inventory of all our beliefs and practices with everything on the table. This is no easy task since we have been comfortable for so long. We have become entrenched.

And as is the natural inclination of the flesh, we have embraced certain beliefs and practices and used them as comforting diversions which have shielded us from any substantive evaluation, to say nothing of repentance, concerning our own powerless situation. In a clever and self serving pattern the church can hold up the practices of the immoral in our culture and with that create an unspoken atmosphere that we ourselves are following hard after Christ. In fact, the church embraces and defends a capitalist culture which showers us with any number of luxuries we do not need and also practices a lifestyle of enormous waste. Our lives are filled with entertainment from a myriad of sources and a constant planning for more. And yet, in the midst of that egregious consumerism we have the audacity to shake our moral fists at the kingdom of the spiritually dead.

So who bears the weight of responsibility before God? To whom much is given, much is required. And when the Spirit uses the word “much” He is not speaking of material gifts. When God graciously shows grace and favor, and when the Spirit illuminates the heart to understanding God’s Word, much will be required of those people. We have legions of Bibles and translations. We have the Bible on CD and on iTunes. We have a Christian bookstore in every town with rows of commentaries and Bible dictionaries and Greek word studies. And yet what good do they do when you can travel to some third world countries and see people who have one worn out Bible but who live such a humble and Christlike life that it indicts us all?

Yes, it is time for all of us to repent. Until then we will continue to be swept downstream by the current of this hedonistic culture.


Anonymous said...


Things that are noticeable about the outspoken church is that it does not give the impression it is a repentant church. Repentance is supposed to bring humility and laying down pride. The world doesn't see much of that these days because church leaders show no shame. And when they teach, they never weep, or teach with heartfelt sorrow. They are always teaching on ways to succeed or on pointing out other sinners' transgressions.

Christian leaders, in the church or in leadership positions, can have extra-marital affairs and repent, but then expect the community to reward them and re-elect them. Fallen pastors demand they remain in their television ministries and to minister. Christian leaders who have fallen to temptations don't just repent, step back, and remain in quiet servitude, but they demand their spotlight old jobs back and expect all to trust them. They don't seem to understand that God will forgive them, but they must be replaced because they were entrusted once and can never really be effective to the masses. David sinned and was forgiven, but he couldn't build the temple, and Moses hit the rock twice instead of once, and was not able to enter the Promised Land.

I believe the church has adopted this attitude that they can do no wrong. They are exceptional. They are in the most glorious nation on earth. They have everything and that means they are favored. They can sin against the innocent, repent, and still remain in the spotlight, taking on the mantle of prophet. They can say that they serve the God of the bible, yet, slander, and character assassinate people. They never publicly repent, and they never publicly admit fault. They smile, use sarcasm, denounce, boast, and stamp their feet and demand their carnal rights.

If the world sees this as the average character of a christian, they will turn away. And what is written here by Bro. Rick is true. Repentance bears fruit, and if there is no fruit of change - no one believes a word we say.

Reine Gnade said...

Anonymous 4:17 PM

Thank you for your post. I've posted the verses regarding Mose striking the rock twice.

Numbers 20

7 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
8 “Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”

9 So Moses took the rod from before the LORD, just as He had commanded him; 10 and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen

rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 13 Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the LORD, and He proved Himself holy among them.

Moses didn't heed God, for God commanded
him to speak to the rock. Our spiritual rock is Lord Jesus Christ and out of Him flow gracious living waters. We are not to srike out at Christ but to humbly speak to Him with a grateful thankful heart.