By Pastor Mitch Horton | February 2005 | Posted in • Archives | (0) Comments
In last month’s issue, I began discussing the importance of properly preparing ourselves for the changes that are taking place in our world. Difficult times are predicted just prior to the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. (See Matthew 24: 4-8; Mark 13: 3-8; Luke 21: 7-11) And I believe that we are now in the time period just prior to the Tribulation.
We also have the promise from God’s Word that just when darkness or difficult times cover the earth, God will arise through His people! His GLORY, or His manifest presence will rise up in His people, and there will be a tremendous move of the Holy Spirit (See Isaiah 60: 1-3; Joel 2:28-32).
There is a parallel in scripture between a fresh move of God among His people and repentance! The doctrine of “repentance from dead works” (See Hebrews 6:1) has been neglected in our day, and God is seeking to restore this lost truth to us! John the Baptist, who was called to prepare God’s people for the ministry of Jesus, preached a message of repentance to the Jewish race. (See Matthew 3: 1-12) He was getting their hearts ready for the fresh work that God wanted to do in their lives. And today, God is seeking to get us ready for the fresh manifestations of His presence that He wants to pour out on the world through us!
Perhaps Peter best described what occurs when God’s people walk in repentance: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:9) Although we must repent to be saved from our sins, repentance is also an experience to be carried into the everyday lifestyle of a believer! Repentance creates an atmosphere in our lives for “times of refreshing” from the Lord.
“For the Christian, repentance allows the process of conviction to produce personal change as we are daily transformed into the image of Christ.”
The word repent means: a change of mind or purpose; a turning away from sin or (for the believer) disobedience, and a turning back to God; a godly sorrow for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. It leads to a deepening in our relationship with the Lord. Repentance is a change of heart and mind, which leads to a change of purpose and lifestyle.
To say it again, yes, we must repent before we receive salvation from sin. “.But now God commands men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30), “.testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:19), “.The goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4), “.not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) But repentance as a part of our lifestyle should follow us through our entire lifetime!
Jesus spoke to the church in Revelation 1-3 and frequently called them to repentance. To the church at Ephesus He charged, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4) To the church at Pergamas He encouraged, “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Revelation 2:16) To the church at Sardis He admonished, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.” (Revelation 3:3) And to the lukewarm Laodecian church He advised, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3: 20) Repentance allows the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to blow upon the life of the believer.
For the Christian, repentance allows the process of conviction to produce personal change as we are daily transformed into the image of Christ. Repentance allows us to die with Christ. That is, it allows us to challenge the flesh and its constant desire to hinder our walk with God, and helps us to say NO to carnal desires. If you are struggling with temptation to sin in some area of life, applying repentance to that area will help you resist by producing a deep desire within you to alter the behavior. It will give you the ability to walk away from habits that have bound you! And with repentance comes a fresh manifestation of God’s presence as you honor the Holy Spirit by obeying the Word!
To repent, we must first of all admit or own the sin or weakness of the flesh with which we are dealing. To own it means that we must admit that this thing is a real issue with us, and that it is no one’s issue but our own. The issue is not there because this or that happened, or because of anything someone else said or did. It’s just there, and we admit it before the Lord. We don’t blame-shift; we choose to take responsibility for it.
We then take the matter before the Lord in prayer. There in that private place, we tell Him how this issue affects us, what our flesh wants to do, and simply ask Him to forgive us of any thought or desire to yield to the sin or to the weakness of the flesh. I personally have learned to tell God everything I think, feel, desire, wish, etc., about everything that concerns me! It’s amazing how the power of an issue is broken from your life when you tell God everything about it and how it affects you.
“An attitude of repentance keeps the door open for the Lord to deal with us about ANY area of life that He wants to talk to us about.”
Then, in prayer, make a consecration before God to CHOOSE to resist this sin or flesh weakness every time it challenges you. End this private time with God with thanksgiving and praise for His help and aid (Psalm 46:1), and thank Him for setting you free from even the desire for the thing!
An attitude of repentance keeps the door open for the Lord to deal with us about ANY area of life that He wants to talk to us about. Are we not often blind to our own shortcomings and needs? Psalm 90:8 reads: “Our secret heart and its sins, which we would so like to conceal even from ourselves, you have set in the revealing light of your countenance.” It is a work of the Holy Spirit in us that produces the desire to change, and the ability to change.
Walking in repentance keeps us open to the nudge of the Holy Spirit throughout daily life. It means that you are ready in a moment’s notice to make a needed change as your loving Father directs you and speaks to you. It means keeping a sensitive ear to His Word, to the voice of conscience, and to promptings of the Holy Spirit. I will leave you with a wonderful prayer that I encourage you to pray on a regular basis. It will enable you to live a lifestyle of repentance, and will keep you open for the “times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord.”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Post a Comment: