Revival. We all want it, we all pray earnestly for it. We think in human terms and try to implement the best programs and tools, and study and acquire volumes of knowledge about it, yet we never seem to achieve any progress.
But what really is the key to church and country revival? We go back to Jesus Christ on the Cross. My young pastor said these declaration : "we have more than enough of theory, what we need is to lead the church to more of Jesus Christ."
Awesome revelation from the Spirit of God! The Book of Revelation came to mind as he spoke about his passion and heart desire - "Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your First Love (Christ). Revelation 2:5
I am more than sure God will help him and there will be a revival here in our province. But already the enemy is at work and is sowing seeds of conflict, intrigue, and factions. In my 20 years as a Christian, I have been witness to how the minions of Satan work .
When the church is about to grow and many are getting saved through the Word, Satan will not just stand by watching. He is always one-step ahead and he can use the most unlikely people in the church itself. He likes seeing Christians shoot each other and have them diverted from the work of the Gospel by useless finger-pointing, fault finding and backstabbing. He is so deceptive he can inject Hate and Discord and make people do his work for him. Thus, Revival is hindered and churches are stagnant.
One other thing I have witnessed God do. Whenever He shakes the church to cleanse it, He starts with the sanctuary. ( Ezekiel 9:6b) Men can put themselves in position in church but God removes those who transgress and those who mar their calling.
For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ( Hebrews 10:30-31 NIV) "It is a dreadful thing to fall in the hands of an angry God." ("Sinners Before an Angry God"-Jonathan Edwards).
ISAIAH 57: 14- 21 tells us the way to Revival. It starts with us, with REPENTANCE.
"And it will be said: 'Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of My people.'
For this is what the high and lofty One says-
He Who lives forever, whose name is Holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. I will not accuse forever nor will I always be angry
for then the spirit of man would grow faint before Me."
GOD'S PROMISE -ISAIAH 57:18-21
"I have seen his ways but I will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
creating praise on the lips of the mourners of Israel.
'Peace, peace to those who are far and near,' says the LORD.
"I will heal them."
But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest,
whose ways cast up mire and mud.
"There is no peace," says my God, " for the wicked."
Then in chapter 58-- God deals with TRUE FASTING. Most churches "fast and pray" for revival but in their hearts the blocks remain.
"Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high."
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cord of the yoke,(forgiveness) to set the oppressed free and break every yoke ? (salvation and deliverance ) Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (restoration of sinners, guidance of the new, impart and feeding on the Word of Truth) v.6-7
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk
and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
THEN your light will rise in the darkness
and your night will become like the noonday."
(verse 9b- 10)
RESULTS OF GENUINE REPENTANCE -- REVIVAL
"The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called a Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets and Dwellings."
ISAIAH 58: 11-12
Let us all humble ourselves before God. Nothing is hidden from Him and all of us have sinned.
Salvation is not a one-time act of repentance, it is a lifestyle of genuine continuous turn-away from ANY sin. We cannot stand before God and worship Him in spirit and truth if we hide in our hearts some bitterness, pride, envy, or hate.
"The arrogant cannot stand in Your Presence;
You hate all who do wrong."
You destroy all who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men, the LORD abhors." (PSALM 5:5-6)
God is Sovereign LORD. Let us not regard Him as an "absent" King Who does not know what is going on. The church is His and He will bring the people He wants to be in it, we cannot refuse them entry because we have a leadership position and we think we have the power to choose who goes in or who goes out. Salvation is not for the righteous, it is for the sinners.
Some people exercise control and manipulation inside a church... because they can -they are in leadership position, they have power.
Such is a grave misconception and God deals severely with all who use power as a means to oppress. Let us always remember the Gospel is a ministry of Reconciliation and not condemnation. The 3 leadership steps to take when dealing with an erring member is in Matthew 18:15-17.
1.) CONFRONTATION (verse 15) - to make the sinner realize his sin, confess and repent. This is also done for the purpose of verifying if the charges are true or not.
2.) PROOF (verse 16) -presentation of witnesses (two or three) to validate the charge. This is also done to allow the member time to reform.
3.) RECOURSE - (verse 17-18) If the matter is unresolved, the remedy is to treat the member "as a pagan." In the Corinthian passages, the remedy was to "expel the immoral brother" but to restore him later after he has repented (2 Corinthians 2:7-9).
Church discipline is not a club to beat down a Christian till he is black and blue. The purpose of confrontation and discipline is CORRECTION and RESTORATION ("Healing the Wounded- The Costly Love of Church Discipline" - by John White and Ken Blue)
Let us all learn from the restoration of the Apostle Peter, who denied the LORD Himself three times. Jesus Christ Himself shows us how. We must be careful lest the Eternal God we serve deal with us with the measure we use.
Humility is the key to Revival. We cannot do it, only God can. "You save the humble and bring low those whose eyes are haughty." (Psalm 18:27)
Let us ask God for forgiveness because we all sinned. Only then can we have true lasting revival. The Gospel is our responsibility. We have eaten the Bread of Life and from us come Living Water, we are called to share that to the hungry and the thirsty.
"From everyone who has been given much, much is demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48b)
Create in me a pure heart, Oh God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from Your Presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation
and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways
and sinners will turn back to You."
All rights reserved ~~~Cynthia Buhain-Baello~~~09.27.13