How many of you would agree that there is a need for revival in America? How about the state of Missouri? How about the Lake of the Ozarks area? How about in your own personal life?
In Luke 13: 4-5 Jesus did say: Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance and the key for us is to know how He did that. Let’s look at one example.
Early one morning Jesus went to the temple and as people gathered around him he began to teach them. The commotion could be heard throughout the temple as a group of men, belonging to the scribes and Pharisees, came pushing a woman into the courtyard. She was shoved down at her knees in front of Jesus and they shouted how she was caught in adultery. Her face turned toward the ground in shame as they quoted from the Law of Moses how she should be stoned. Some stood there with stones in their hands. Jesus bent down as he quietly listened to them and began to write in the dust with his finger. When they were done he wrote some more then stood and looked at the leaders of the group and then around at all of the men. The men continued to press him to answer about what he had to say about what the Law of Moses said about stoning those caught in adultery he looked at them and said, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” He then bent down and wrote some more words in the dirt. As his words and the words he had written in the dirt sunk in the rocks began to fall from men’s hands and they turned and left. After they had all left Jesus stood, looked down at the woman and asked “woman where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?” “No one, Lord.” She answered. This is not in scripture but I imagine he reached his hand out to help her up and as she stood he says, “neither do I condemn you” and with kindness in his eyes says “now go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
Too often the church, that is the body of Christ, heaps shame instead of mercy on those caught in sin. In my mind it would seem important for us to follow Jesus example in dealing with the sin of others. Jesus was more focused on leading one to repentance than condemning them.
In 2 Peter 3: 9 we are told: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
It looks as though God is more interested in restoring, reviving and strengthening his relationship with us than he is in punishing and condemning us for our sins. Make no mistake about it God hates sin but He hates it not because we do it but because it breaks the relationship we have with Him.
In John 16: 8 we are told that the Holy Spirit is the one who will convict he world concerning sin. Although we are called out of this world we are still here and so that verse is for us as well. Notice the Holy Spirit convicts not condemns us. It is through the kindness of the Lord that we are lead to repentance. Let’s be clear God might use a man to stir us but we are lead to repentance not by that man but by the Holy Spirit.
Now let’s answer the third question: What are the results of a repentance that leads to revival?
When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin we are moved by his kindness to repent from our heart. We respond as we would when any close relationship is broken and then renewed. We are broken, we might be moved emotionally and as we repent our brokenness is replaced with joy by the restoration of our relationship with God. Our life is revived. Our faith strengthened. Our effectiveness in sharing the gospel is restored.
Revival then is the restoration of something lost because of our sin, it comes about by the kindness of our Lord which leads us to repent and it results in us turning around and moving towards God. We then become instruments of God’s peace and love in the world.
How do we apply what we just heard?
Temple – Holy of Holies:
Every year at the Day of Atonement one of the priests of Israel would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood from the sacrifices on the Mercy Seat.
In 1 Corinthians 3: 16 we are told we are the Temple of God and that the Holy Spirit is in our midst. The heart of the temple was the Holy of Holies so our hearts could represent the Holy of Holies with the Mercy Seat there in. So repentance is done in the Temple and Holy of Holies.
Often at the tent revivals people are told to come to alter and repent.
In James 5: 16 we are told to confess one to another so that is also valid and it helps to have an accountability partner who you can do that with.
Did this speak to anyone today?