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SF992 - Fresh Encounter

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FRESH ENCOUNTER
God’s Pattern for Revival and Spiritual Awakening


! An Invitation to a Fresh Encounter

Introduction

What do you think is the church’s greatest need?

2 Chronicles 26:1-5; 16-21

Uzziah was a popular and powerful king in Judah.  He reigned fifty-two years (792-740 BC).  His downfall came when he rebelled against God, and in his pride, usurped the role of the priest.

Following Uzziah’s death, Isaiah realized the spiritual crisis that faced the people of God.  Troubled by Israel’s sin, he went to temple to worship.  We find his worship experience recorded in Isaiah 6:1-9.

In the temple, Isaiah experienced a fresh encounter with God!  Notice what happened…

God revealed His holiness.

Isaiah became dreadfully aware of his sinfulness.

Isaiah confessed his sin in deep repentance.

God forgave Isaiah, removed his guilt, and cleansed him.

God announced that He had a mission for which He needed a messenger.

Isaiah, in his renewed state, quickly volunteered, “Here am I!  Send me.”

God commissioned Isaiah to “Go, and tell this people…”

1A.      God is at Work

Dark days and desperate times

Every mighty movement of God has been preceded by terrible conditions, a heart cry for revival, and a sweeping movement in united, concerted, extraordinary prayer.

Wickedness and perversions are multiplying.

The problem is not with the darkness but with the light.  We face growing spiritual darkness because the light is not shining brightly.  Jesus said that we were to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).

God has not forgotten His people.

Isaiah 49:14-16  But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me." 15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. 16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.


God’s people are praying.

Prayer groups - world-wide

God is moving His people to pray and seek Him and He has promised to hear.

Isaiah 49:8-9 Thus says the LORD: "In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,' To those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.' "They shall feed along the roads, And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.

2A.      God’s Purpose:  His Glory

Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

What is the chief end of man?  A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.  (Westminster Shorter Catechism).

God created you to glorify Him!

Isaiah 43:6-7 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!'  Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth -- 7 Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."

God is most glorified when we love and delight in Him.

Mark 12:29-30 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.

We love God because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.

We delight in God when He is our one source of joy and pleasure.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

God not only wants individuals to glorify Him, He wants churches to glorify Him.

Love for God will result in love for others.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."


3A.      Sin Brings Discipline

We tend to depart from God especially in good times.

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

When we move out of fellowship with God, He will discipline us.

Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."

God disciplines us because He loves us.

God’s discipline is an invitation for us to return to Him.

Many Christians and churches have grown so familiar with sin and with living apart from the intimacy with God that they do not realize how far away from Him they are living.

4A.      God’s Plumb Line

Amos 7:7-8  Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. 8 And the LORD said to me, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said: "Behold, I am setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.

God holds a plumb line beside His people, so we can see how far we have departed.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa - poor foundation

Our foundation is our love relationship with God - Love equals Obedience.

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.

5A.      God’s Invitation:  Return to Your First Love

Revelation 2:4-7 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

The primary reason we need revival is that we have left our first love - God!

Failure to repent is fatal.

The extent we fail to return, we will miss out on the abundant life God intends for us.


Application

How many of you sense a hunger or need for a fresh encounter with God?

Romans 3:11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Do not start this study unless you mean business with God.

God judges much more severely those who sin with knowledge and truth.


! Experiencing God in Revival and Spiritual Awakening

Psalm 85:6

Introduction

The word revival has a variety of meanings for Christians.

For some, it means a series of meetings in the spring and fall.

In recent history, it has come to describe a time of evangelistic services.

Many confuse revival with spiritual awakening; they are distinct works of God.

1A.      Experiencing Revival

Revival for God’s people.

What is genuine revival?

Ø      The word revival is a compound word:  re meaning “again” and vive meaning “to live.”

Ø      Thus revive means “to live again, to come or be brought back to life, health or vitality.”

Ø      Revival occurs when God restores spiritual health and vitality to His people.

Ø      Revival requires a change of heart and a change of character.

Revival under King Asa (2 Chronicles 14-15)

Asa’s spiritual heritage

Asa was the great-great-grandson of King David.  His father King Abijah, trusted the Lord and led the people to obey the Lord.  Asa was brought up to serve the Lord.

Asa faithfully served the Lord when he became king (2 Chronicles 14:2-4).

The Lord blessed and prospered Asa.

Asa and Israel depart from God, and God disciplines His people (15:1-7)

Ø      They were without the true God (15:3).

Ø      They suffered a famine of the word of God (15:3).

Ø      Crime increased (15:5).

Ø      Nations and cities were at war with one another (15:6).

Asa and Israel return to God (15:8-15)

Ø      Asa removed the idols (substitutes for God) and repaired the altar (15:8).

Ø      Asa called all the people together (15:9-10).

Ø      They worshipped the Lord and sought Him with their whole heart (15:11-12).

Ø      The call to return was very serious (15:13).

Ø      They experienced great joy after they had repented.

Revival is a sovereign act of God!


2A.      Spiritual Awakening

What is Spiritual Awakening?

Spiritual awakening is when people turn to Christ for salvation in large numbers (or in a high percentage of the population).

In a spiritual awakening, people’s lives change radically.

Ø      Bars and taverns close for lack of business.

Ø      Police enforcement personnel face a drop in work due to decreases in crime.

Ø      Businesses receive money and merchandise from thieves, employees, and shoplifters who are seeking to return stolen goods.

Ø      Christians and churches begin serious efforts at helping the poor and needy in the community through orphanages, rescues missions, and other needs-based ministries.

Ø      Laws change or are enacted to protect the oppressed and to uphold justice.

Ø      Reconciliation takes place between races and ethnic groups.

Ø      Foul language is replaced by civil and wholesome talk.

Ø      Evil practices cease and often are outlawed.

Ø      Private and public acts of immorality decrease dramatically.

Ø      Marriages are restored and family life strengthened.

Spiritual awakening follows and is dependant upon revival!

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

We are to …

Ø      Humble ourselves

Ø      Pray

Ø      Cry out to God and seek His face

Ø      Turn from our wicked ways

Ø      And fall deeply in love with Jesus again!

2 Peter 2:20-21 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Ø      You cannot encounter God and say no without becoming hardened in heart.


Spiritual awakening at Pentecost

God’s people had departed from Him.

For over four hundred years, there had been no word from God.

Temple worship had become an action of the head rather than a response of the heart.

Jesus came preaching repentance, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

The disciples experienced revival during the days following Jesus’ resurrection.

Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

John 21:15-19 – Jesus renews Peter.

God sends spiritual awakening.

He empowers the church to preach the gospel (Acts 2:1-12).

God uses His people to draw men to Himself (Acts 2:36-38, 41).

God continued His work of spiritual awakening through His obedient people (Acts 2:42-47).

Acts 4:4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Acts 5:14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,

Acts 6:7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 9:31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

Acts 9:42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.

Acts 13:48, 52 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed….  52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Acts 19:17-20 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.


! Revivals in the Bible

Introduction

God knows that His people will depart from their fellowship with Him.  Therefore, in the Old Testament, He provided for regular times for corporate renewal and revival.  These times of renewal were called holy convocations or sacred assemblies.  They were times to:

Ø      Demonstrate obedience to God and His commands and decrees

Ø      Remember God’s provisions for His people

Ø      Acknowledge God’s ownership of all one’s resources (time and material)

Ø      Offer sacrifice

Ø      Recognize God in His holiness

Ø      Confess and repent of personal and corporate sin

Ø      Renew fellowship and the covenant with God

1A.      Biblical Foundations for Revival Services

1B.      Scheduled times for revival (Leviticus 23; Numbers 28-29)

Ø      First day of the Feast of the Passover (15th day of the first month)

Ø      Seventh day of the Feast of the Passover (21st day of the first month)

Ø      Feast of the Firstfruits (Pentecost – 50 days after Passover)

Ø      Feast of Trumpets (First day of the seventh month)

Ø      Day of Atonement (Tenth day of the seventh month)

Ø      First day of the Feast of Tabernacles (15th day of the seventh month)

Ø      Eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles (22nd day of the seventh month)

It is God’s desire that His people renew their relationship with Him on a regular basis.

2B.      New Testament Assemblies

The term “sacred assembly” does not appear in the New Testament.  However, there are at least two events in the New Testament that appear to fulfill the requirements:

Pentecost (Acts 2)

The result of Pentecost was a spirit-filled, empowered church and a spiritual awakening.

Peter’s Deliverance (Acts 12)

It took place during Passover Week (Feast of Unleavened Bread), specifically on the last day of Passover (the seventh day) which is a regularly scheduled day of sacred assembly.


3B.      Applications for our day

Regular times for renewal

We need to look for days on the Christian calendar to set aside as days for sacred assemblies.

The Lord’s Day

The Lord’s Day ought to be kept holy to the Lord and used as a day to do good (Matthew 12:12).

We need to avoid self-indulgent pleasure seeking, and when possible, regular work on the Lord’s Day (Genesis 2:1-3)

The Lord’s Day provides a time to examine the past week, confess any unconfessed sin, and return to seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing.  This should also be a day of celebration and festival.  It should be a day for ministry to the needy, a day wholly dedicated to the Lord!

Sacrifice and offering

Because of prosperity, we have forgotten the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).

Because of greed and disobedience, many Christians are robbing God.  For this reason, many Christians and churches are unknowingly living under the curse and wrath of God as idolaters (Malachi 3:6-12; Ephesians 5:5-6).

Gathering the people

Churches need to ask the Lord to show them ways to summon the people together and return to the Lord.

God’s judgment

Leaders need to be able to identify expressions of God’s discipline and judgment!

Sacred assemblies (like the one called in Joel 1-2 in response to judgment) ought to be the exception.

4B.      Lessons from Biblical revivals

1.         Revivals begin with leaders.

2.         Revival often came after God’s people experienced severe discipline and judgment or after they were warned of coming judgment.

3.         Many revivals occurred at times scheduled for revival or for covenant renewal.

4.         All God’s people were expected to attend these scheduled meetings

5.         Leaders gave clear guidance to the people about revival.

Ø      Remember what God had done for them in the past

Ø      Express worship and praise with rejoicing

Ø      Offer offerings and sacrifices

Ø      Renewing and affirming their covenant with God as His holy people


6.         Revivals began with worship

After repentance, the joy of worship and praise was great.  These are the fruits of revival.  The difficulty of repentance and refining must come first - then comes joy.

7.         The Scriptures were a vital part of the revival experience.

The Scriptures must have a central place, but whom we seek in revival is the Lord Himself.

8.         The leaders and the people confessed and repented of their sin and the sins of their fathers before them.

9.         The people demonstrated their repentance by removing idols, cleansing places of worship, and changing their ways.

10.       The people did all these things wholeheartedly with joy.

11.       God responded by cleansing, forgiving restoring, and blessing His repentant people.

T.W. Hunt – Observations about Biblical revivals

Ø      Most were preceded by high wickedness

Ø      Most were attended by multiple leadership

Ø      They spread from the high officials downward

Ø      Previously established divine criteria were restored

Ø      They were attended by great love of the written Word of God

Ø      Worship, especially as expressed in the great Jewish festivals, had a primary place.  It was worship from the heart.

Ø      The temple and the people were purified.

“The scriptural evidence indicates that if established leaders will not assume their God-given responsibility in revival, then God will produce new leaders in a major social upheaval.”

2A.      Revivals in Scripture

A revival under Samuel

Israel departs from God and God disciplines them (1 Samuel 4:3)

They substitute the ark for the presence of God.

The Philistines capture the ark and kill Eli’s two sons.

After seven months, the Philistines return the ark, but it was another twenty years before the Israelites return to God.

Israel returns to God (1 Samuel 7:3-13)

Samuel calls the nation to repentance (1 Samuel 7:3-9)

God forgives and delivers Israel (1 Samuel 7:10-13)


Revival under Hezekiah

The condition that calls for revival (2 Chronicles 28:19-24)

Ø      Revival comes in times of great spiritual darkness (Isaiah 1:4-20).

Ø      The doors of the house of the Lord were shut.

The openness that begins the revival (2 Chronicles 29:1-3)

Ø      He opened the doors and repaired it.

Ø      We are like the temple; body – outer court, soul – inner court, spirit – Holy of Holies.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Ø      We must open the door to God.

Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

The preparation required of the leaders (29:4-15)

Ø      Sanctify – set apart to the Lord.

Ø      Began with the spiritual leaders – the leaders set the ceiling for what God does in the church.  They must be clean before the Lord and walking close with Him.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

The worship that accompanies awakening (29:21-30)

Ø      Sacrifices – pictured Christ and His forgiveness.

Ø      The worship becomes real – we are created to worship; focus on God.

The stewardship that evidences awakening (29:31-35)

Ø      Generosity pours out.

Ø      The things of God come first.

The suddenness of the awakening (29:36)

Ø      God moves suddenly – not worked up by men.

Additional examples of revival and spiritual awakening in Scripture

Revival under Josiah and Hilkiah (2 Chronicles 34:21-33)

Revival under Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:1-9:3)

Spiritual Awakening in Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-9)

Jacob leads his family to repent (Genesis 34-35)

Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16-46)

Jehoshaphat points the people to the Lord in time of crisis (2 Chronicles 20)

Reforms under Jehoiada and Joash (2 Chronicles 23-24)

Joel calls a sacred assembly (Joel 1-2)

Ezra dealt with the sin of intermarriage (Ezra 9-10)

Nehemiah’s reforms (Nehemiah 13)

Application

1.   What is the most unusual fact you have encountered in the revivals we studied about?

2.   What was the role of spiritual leaders in these revivals?

3.   What are some of the common elements you see in these revivals?

4.   Why is worship an important element in revival?

5.   Why was the reading of the Law (Scripture) so important?

6.   What are some evidences that people have genuinely repented?

7.   What are some of the fruits of revival?


! An Overview of God’s Pattern

2 Chronicles 7:14

Introduction

Revival Principles

When God moves mightily, He does not expect His followers to sit still.

God is not looking for more activity.  He is looking for a greater quality of relationship.

Do not ask a question that you are not willing to tarry for the answer.

Definitions

Revival is a return to spiritual health after a period of spiritual decline into sin and broken fellowship with God.

Spiritual Awakening is when large numbers of people (or large percentage) experiencing new birth in a short period of time.

1A.      God is on Mission to Redeem the Lost

John 5:17, 19-20 But Jesus answered them, My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

God allows us to join Him.

He is looking for a people through whom He can redeem a lost world.

2A.      God Chooses a People - Who were not a People (Exodus 19:3-5)

God does not bring you to a place, He brings you to Himself (19:3-4).

We are called to obey Him fully (19:5).

God always calls for a corporate response.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God’s promise is to bless when we confess.

When God deals with us, it is because of the eternal destiny of a lost world is in His heart.

Notice God’s Pattern

He fills us.

He calls us.

He sends us.


3A.      God’s People Depart (Judges 2:10-17)

We tend to forget what God has done for us (2:10).

We provoke God with our unfaithfulness (2:11-12).

God disciplines us when we forsake Him (2:13-17).

Why do we depart?  (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)

Our hearts shift (30:17).

Jeremiah 2:6 Neither did they say, 'Where is the LORD, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and pits, Through a land of drought and the shadow of death, Through a land that no one crossed And where no one dwelt?'

We are disobedient (30:17).

We are drawn away to idols (30:17).

4A.      God Disciplines His People

Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."

Motivated by love

God’s discipline is progressive.

God’s discipline confirms our relationship.

5A.      God’s People Cry Out

We need to be able to identify God’s discipline.

Do not mistake God’s discipline for spiritual warfare.

Always assume when bad things happen, it is God’s discipline.

6A.      God Calls His People to Repent and Return to Him or Perish

God’s word is a plumb line in our lives.

Amos 7:7 Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.

The plumb line shows us how much we have moved.

God calls us to remember and repent.

Revelation 2:5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent.


7A.      God Revives His Repentant People by Restoring The to a Right Relationship with Him.

Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."

Return to our original place and purpose.

Do all that He says!

8A.      Spiritual Awakening will Follow

2 Chronicles 7:14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

We must first return.

Too long we have prayed for the harvest and neglected the laborers.

Then we will reap!

Application

Discussion Questions

1.         Read Judges 2:14.  Who are some of the “plunderers” or raiders God may use in our day to discipline His people?

2.         In which of the seven phases in God’s pattern for revival and spiritual awakening do you sense you (and your church) are in? 

Prayer Triplets

Pray for one another specifically.

Pray for the church - that we will be the kind of church God could use.

Pray without ceasing.


! God is on Mission in Our World

1 Peter 2:9

Introduction

Phase 1:  God is on mission to redeem a lost world.  God calls His people into a relationship with Him, and He accomplishes His work through them.

Phase 7:  God exalts His Son Jesus in His people and draws the lost to saving faith in Him.

Overview

Since Adam & Eve, people have chosen to sin.

Because of our sin, our relationship with God is broken.

God is on mission to bring people back into a right relationship with Him through His Son.

He has chosen to work through people - first Abraham, then Israel, and now the church.

Summary Statements

God’s greatest desire for us is that we bring glory to Him and love Him with all our being.

This pure and intimate love relationship prepares us for eternity.

Sin causes a broken relationship with God.

God has provided redemption through Jesus Christ.

The focus of the Scriptures is on God and His activity.

God chose and called His people because of His love.

Every believer is a priest.

We are Christ’s ambassadors and God’s fellow workers.

Our motivation for this work is the love of Christ.

When God works through us, we will bear fruit for the Kingdom.

1A.      Perfect Creation and a Broken Relationship

Mankind was created for a love relationship with God.

God’s evaluation of his creation

Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

God’s greatest desire for us is that we love and glorify Him with all our entire being.

Matthew 22:36-38 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the first and great commandment.


The goal of eternal life to know Christ.

John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Ø      Time is our opportunity get to know Him.

Sin broke mankind’s relationship with God.

God warns mankind about sin.

Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Adam and Eve willfully choose sin.

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Sin produces fear and separation in mankind.

Genesis 3:8-10 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."

Sin continues to separate us from God.

Genesis 3:22-23 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" -- 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned --

2A.      God Provides Redemption

We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

We are sinners by nature.

Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

We are sinners by choice.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We are sinners by practice.

Romans 3:12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."


God provides salvation through Jesus Christ.

We are condemned because we are sinners.

John 3:17-18 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God chose to redeem us.

Ephesians 1:4-8 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

3A.      God Chooses A People

God calls Abraham

God is the focus of activity.

Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

God promises to work through Abraham to redeem the world

God’s covenant with Israel

God calls Israel to Himself.

Exodus 19:3-6 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. 5 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."


God chooses Israel because of His love.

Deuteronomy 7:6-9 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 "The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 "but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

4A.      God’s Royal Priesthood

In Christ, God established a new covenant with a new Israel - the church.

1 Peter 2:10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

We are God’s chosen people.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Chosen Generation - God chose us!

Royal priesthood - each one is a priest and together we are a priesthood.

Holy Nation - We are to be holy, “set apart for God’s exclusive use”

Belonging to God - We belong to God and one another.

5A.      God’s Fellow Workers

Our purpose

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.

God is reconciling (restoring to a right relationship) the world to Himself through Jesus Christ.

God has chosen to use as ambassadors of the Good News.

Our power

We are called to produce fruit.

John 15:8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

The fruit we are to produce is eternal.

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

We are called to do great things.

John 14:12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

It is God who does the work

John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do no.t speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Application

Discussion Questions:

1.         What does “redemption” mean?

2.         What does “reconciliation” mean?

3.         What does “dead in sin:” mean?

4.         What does “workers together with God” mean?

5.         Are you living daily like you can do nothing apart from God?


! God’s People Tend to Depart

Hebrews 3:12-13

Introduction

Phase 2:  God’s people tend to depart from Him, turning to substitutes for His presence, purposes, and ways.

Judges 2:11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals;

God’s People Tend to Depart - Three Steps…

1A.      Our Hearts Begin to Shift From Loving God Fully (Deuteronomy 30:11-20)

Serving and obeying God is not impossible (30:11-14).

It is within our reach (30:11-13).

God’s Word is near us (30:14).

We are commanded to: (30:15-16)

Love the Lord

Walk in His ways

Keep His commands

Turning away from God always begins in our hearts (30:17-18).

Turning begins in the heart - small, simple things. (30:17)

Ends in destruction (30:18)

We will choose our path (30:19-20).

This may not be a one-time choice.

This is not salvation, this is sanctification.

We are to…

Ø      Love the Lord

Ø      Listen to His voice

Ø      Hold fast to Him


2A.      We Disobey God (Deuteronomy 30:17-18)

It is impossible to love God and not obey Him

John 14:15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me…

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word… 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words…

The problem is not obedience, the problem is love.  Love will always obey.

Our obedience will demonstrate our love for God.

Do you love others as Christ loves you?

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Do you forgive others so that you may be forgiven?

Mark 11:25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

Are you known as a praying person?

Luke 19:46 saying to them, It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer…'

Do you tithe and practice justice, mercy, and faith?

Matthew 23:23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe… and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Are you actively going to make disciples of the nations, even those around your community?  Are you teaching them to practice all Christ commanded?

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.

Are you witnessing about Christ to the world in power of His Spirit?

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Are you displaying unity with other believers in your church, with other churches, and with Christians in other denominations?

John 17:23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.


3A.      We Turn to Idols (substitutes for God) (Jeremiah 2:2-13)

Anytime we turn to anyone or anything when we should turn to God, we make that person or thing an idol of the heart.

Common idols

Sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:5)

Impurity (Ephesians 5:5)

Greed (Ephesians 5:5)

Trusting in man/flesh or the help of others (Jeremiah 17:5)

Ritual worship and following the teachings of man (Matthew 15:8-9)

Love and devotion to mammon or money (Matthew 6:24)

Relationships with other people (Matthew 10:37)

Self (Luke 9:23-24)

Bible study that doesn’t go from head knowledge to Christ Himself (John 5:39-40)

Materialism, things of the world (1 John 2:15)

Career, job, or work (“what he… does”) (1 John 2:16)

Substitutes for God (Deuteronomy 8:11-17)

Substitutes for God’s presence (Matthew 15:8-9)

We depend on methods and materials rather than God’s Spirit.

We look to emotionalism and pageantry instead of God.

We no longer have a quiet time with God.

Substitutes for God’s Purposes

We allow baptism and the Lord’s Supper to become nothing more that rituals.

We seek to deepen the “fellowship” at the cost of evangelism.

We become self-centered and stop ministering to others.

We do not continue to mature in our faith.

We are not seeing to incorporate others into the membership of the church.

We no longer seek to glorify God in all we do.

Substitutes for God’s Ways

We walk by sight not by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).

We affirm self when God says we are to deny self (Luke 9:23).

We exalt self, when God says humble yourself.

We try to save our life, when God says lose your life.

We try to manipulate people to serve, when it says pray for Him to call forth laborers.

We trust in man and his ways instead of God (Jeremiah 17:5).


Application

Where is your Heart?

Matthew 15:8-9 These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

How is your Obedience?

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.

Who is your God?

Deuteronomy 30:17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,

God’s solution

Revelation 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent.


! God Disciplines His People in Love

Hebrews 12:5-6

Introduction

Phase 3:  God disciplines His people out of His love for them.

Phase 4:  God’s people cry out to Him for help.

Summary Statements

God is perfect love.  He proved His love once for all on Calvary.

God is just.  His judgements are always right and fair.

God is holy and pure.  He cannot tolerate sin.

We need to develop a healthy fear of our Holy God.

God knows we are missing out on the life for which He created us.  Because of His love, God disciplines His people when we depart from Him and sin against Him,

Final judgements usually come after prolonged periods of sin without repentance.

God’s desire is to correct us so that we will return to Him.

When we do not judge ourselves and repent, He judges us.  God’s disciplines will increase until He gets our attention.

God is merciful and patient.

1A.      God’s Nature

1B.      God is Changeless.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I do not change…

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

2B.      God is Compassionate.

God is perfect love

1 John 4:8-9 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

God is gracious and merciful.

Jonah 4:2 …I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.

God is patient.

Nehemiah 9:31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You are God, gracious and merciful.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.


3B.      God is Consistent

In His Holiness

Isaiah 5:16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.

In His Justice

Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight -- That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Romans 2:5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God

Psalm 9:7-8 But the LORD shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. 8 He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness

In His Righteousness

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.

Psalm 33:4-5 For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth. 5 He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

2A.      God’s Purpose in Discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11)

1B.      God is motivated by His love for us (12:5-6).

True discipline is an act of love!

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

2B.      God will only discipline His children (12:7-8).

No discipline - no relationship

3B.      God’s discipline is for our own good (12:9-11).

Hosea 11:4 I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.

It produces life and holiness.

Discipline is painful.

Ø      No pain, no gain!


3A.      God’s Disciplines and Judgments Explained

1B.      Two kinds of judgement

Eternal judgment

Rulings that separate God’s people to heaven and all others to hell for eternity

Romans 14:10, 12 …For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ….12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Temporal judgment

Correction and punishment that occur in this lifetime

2B.      Two kinds of temporal judgement

Remedial judgment

Discipline or judgement intended to correct us and point us back to a right relationship with God.

Ø      The discipline of the immoral man in Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)

Ø      The discipline was effective (2 Corinthians 2:5-11; 7:8-13)

Final Judgment

Judgment or punishment which ends life or usefulness because of prolonged rebellion or severe sin.

Ø      Final judgment on Ananias and Sapphira  (Acts 5:1-5) 

3B.      Truths about God’s judgments

Judgment should begin with the people of God.

1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Every deed, including hidden things, will be judged.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

Jesus came to bring judgment.

John 9:39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind."

God’s judgments are always right, true, and fair.

Revelation 16:7 And I heard another from the altar saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."

God’s discipline is progressive (Leviticus 26:14-33).


4A.      God’s Disciplines and Judgments Examined

1B.      Examples of God’s disciplines and judgments

Natural disasters

Earthquake, volcano, hurricane, tornado, flood, fire, drought, hail, famine, insect plague, and attack of wild animals

Disease

Plague, wasting disease, fever, and leprosy

Human conflict or trouble

War, attack or defeat by an enemy, being taking into captivity or bondage, being ruled by those who hate, victim of crime, victim of immorality, bloodshed, increase in wickedness, broken human relationships, economic collapse

Whenever these things happen, God may be using them to discipline or judge a people.

Remember, no one is truly innocent.

2B.      Ways God disciplines

God may refuse to hear our prayers (Isaiah 59:2).

God may withdraw the awareness of His presence (Psalm 13:1).

God may send a famine of hearing a word from the Lord (Amos 8:11-12).

God may remove the hedge of protection from us and those we love (Isaiah 5:5-6).

God may allow us to reap the full consequences of our own sinful behavior (Romans 1:24-31).

God may destroy or remove (Luke 19:43-33).

Application

As a result of God’s discipline, God’s people will cry out to Him for help.  That is the goal of God’s discipline.

Discussion Questions:

1.         How is discipline a display of God’s love?

2.         How can a person know whether something bad is a discipline from God or not?

3.         How can a Christian distinguish between godly discipline and spiritual warfare?  How important is it to know the difference?

4.         In what ways, if any, do you sense that you or your church is being disciplined by God?


! God Calls His People to Repent

Malachi 3:7

Introduction

Phase 5:  God calls His people to repent and return to Him or perish.

When God’s people have sinned, He offers two choices…

Repent or Perish.

Repentance is required before we can experience the forgiveness and healing of revival!

To repent, we must change our minds, hearts, and wills.

Summary Statements

There is a connection between our sin and what is happening to us.

God wants His people to return to a love relationship with Him.

God’s discipline, turning to substitutes, and/or failure to obey God indicates a spiritual problem.  These all indicate that our hearts have shifted.

Sin is serious, and we must treat it as we would a serious wound.

Pride may be the first and greatest barrier to revival.

God looks not only on our outward actions; He also looks on our hearts.

After repentance, joy returns to worship.

1A.      God’s Call to Repentance

1B.      We need to make the connection between our sin and what is happening to us.  (2 Chronicle 6:24, 26, 28, 36-39)

God judges His people through…

Ø      Defeat by an enemy

Ø      Natural disasters; drought, famine, blight, mildew, insect plagues

Ø      Illness and plagues

He judges us because we sin against Him.

God’s discipline is progressive.

2B.      We need to understand and meet God’s requirements for revival (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

1.                  Humble yourselves

2.                  Pray

3.                  Seek God’s face

4.                  Turn from your wicked ways

God promises to hear, forgive and heal.


3B.      We know we need revival when the following are true.

1.                  God’s discipline indicates a sin problem.

2.                  We have turned to or accepted substitutes for God indicating a spiritual problem.

3.                  We disobey or fail to obey God’s commands.

These indicate our hearts have shifted and our love relationship with God is not right.

4B.      By the time we respond to His call, God already has everything planned for revival (Jeremiah 29:4, 11-14).

God has planned for our best.

God simply requires that we call on Him (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

2A.      God’s Requirements for Repentance

Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed.  (Thomas Watson)

1B.      We must recognize the seriousness of sin (Jeremiah 6:13-16).

Sin is serious, and we must treat it as we would a serious wound.

2B.      True repentance means change.

You can’t repent and remain the same.

Ezekiel 8:18 "Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them."

Why our prayers seem powerless

Isaiah 1:15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

A change of mind

Metaknowa” a total change of mind

Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.

To “confess” means to agree with God about my sin.  To no longer make rationalizations about my sin, no more excuses about why I sin.

A change of emotions

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

The “sorrow of the world” is sorrow for the consequences our sins produce.


Godly sorrow is when we realize our sin breaks God’s heart and then it breaks our heart.  We must mourn over our sin and experience brokenness.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

Anytime there is flippancy about sin, repentance hasn’t taken place in our lives.

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart -- These, O God, You will not despise.

A change in direction

If you keep going back to the sin, then you have not truly been broken over your sin and repented.  You will have a new desire takes place when you truly repent.  You will have a hunger in your heart to walk with the Father.

3B.      True repentance is granted by God

Repentance requires radical action!

True repentance is not generated by the flesh.  It is granted by God.

2 Timothy 2:25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."

Anytime our love for the Lord grows cold, a change is needed.

God commands us to repent!

Acts 17:30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

4B.      True repentance is often missed.

Some repent in outward actions and not in the heart.

Our love of sin remains.

Psalm 51:16-17 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart -- These, O God, You will not despise.

Joel 2:13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.

Our heart must be broken over our sin!


Some repent for fear of consequences instead of hatred of sin.

Ezekiel 36:31 "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations.

Some repent to please others instead of God.

Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight -- That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Some repent so generally that it is not real repentance - Real repentance is real specific!

Some repent of some things but not others.

Psalm 119:128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

Revelation 3:19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Ø      “Zealous” means to desire eagerly.

5B.      True repentance is a way of life.

Be aware of anything that is in my life that causes me to go away form God.

I need to learn to recognize sin when it comes.

6B.      True repentance is both private and corporate.

Private/personal sin should be repented of privately.

Corporate sin involves the church universal and local:

Ø      Divorce, apathy, complacency, lack of love for the lost, immodest dress, not seeking straying sheep, not having the anointing of God on lessons and sermon, worldly habits and actions.

7B.      True Repentance is Both Vertical and Horizontal

Vertical – all sin is an affront to God!

Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight -- That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Horizontal – when our sin has wronged others, we must ask for their forgiveness.

Rule of confession:  confession only goes as far as the effects and knowledge of your sin.

8B.      True repentance results in joy.

Psalm 85:6 Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?

Nehemiah 8:17 So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness.

3A.      Barriers to Repentance

1B.      We do not think we need to repent.

Revelation 3:17 Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked --

2B.      We think that it is easy to repent.

We think that it is nothing more than saying a prayer and asking God to forgive us.

3B.      We presume upon God’s mercy.

Because of God’s great mercy, we presume that we may go on in sin and that God will forgive us whenever we wish.

4B.      We think that repentance is too difficult.

Repentance is seen as a tedious thing that requires much effort.  We “would rather go sleeping to hell than weeping to heaven: (Thomas Watson).

5B.      We love our sin.

Delighting in sin hardens the heart,  True repentance requires that we grieve over our sin.

6B.      We believe that repentance will rob us of our joy.

We confuse happiness and fun with joy.

“It does not crucify but clarify our joy” (Watson).

Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

“Repentance does not take away a Christian’s music but raises it a note higher and makes it sweeter.” (Watson)

7B.      We believe that we cannot be forgiven.

We must remember that mercy rejoices over justice.  God’s anger is not so hot but mercy can cool it, nor so sharp but mercy can sweeten it.

8B.      We fear what men may think and say about us.

9B.      Love of the world.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Application

Is God disciplining you?  Your family?  Your church?

Ask God if there are any idols of the heart that must be put away.

Pray through David’s prayer of repentance in Psalm 51.  Repent and return to your love relationship with the Lord.  What fruit of repentance does He want you to show?


! God Revives His Repentant People

Ephesians 3:20-21

Introduction

Phase 6:  God revives his repentant people by restoring them to a right relationship with Himself.

Phase 7:  God exalts His Son Jesus in his people and draws the lost to saving faith in Him.

Summary Statements

Individuals and churches cannot continue to do business as usual when God is calling them to revival.

Repentance is the ultimate requirement.  Without repentance, revival will not take place.

The way to know if we have returned is to see if God has returned to us.

Spiritual awakening is a by-product of God’s people getting their hearts right with Him.

1A.      Revival Is A God’s Work

1B.      When God comes in revival, He comes as a refiner’s fire.

Malachi 3:1-2, 5 Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, Says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire And like launderer's soap… 5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien -- Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts.

2B.      When God comes in revival, He comes in judgment.

Luke 3:16-17 John answered, saying to all, I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."

3B.      When God comes in revival, You cannot remain neutral.

You must either obey Him or suffer the consequences of rebellion.

Jeremiah 8:5-7 Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, They refuse to return. 6 I listened and heard, But they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, Saying, 'What have I done?' Everyone turned to his own course, As the horse rushes into the battle. 7 "Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.

4B.      Revival is a sovereign act of God.

Psalm 85:4-7 Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your anger toward us to cease. 5 Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? 6 Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? 7 Show us Your mercy, LORD, And grant us Your salvation.

Ø      We cannot cause a revival to take place.

Ø      God wants us revived more than we do.

Ø      God is the one who causes us to want to be revived.

2A.      The Role of Prayer in Revival

1B.      Great prayer movements have preceded every great revival in history.

However, not every prayer movement has resulted in revival.

2B.      Prayer is not just a religious activity.

Prayer is a relationship with God.  We pray because God has initiated a relationship with us.

3B.      Prayer alone is not the key to revival.

Without repentance, revival will not take place!

4B.      Prayer is a relationship with God through which we respond to Him, come near to Him, and find Him.

3A.      How to Know when Revival has Come

1B.      We know we have returned to God if God has returned to us.

Malachi 3:7Return to Me, and I will return to you, Says the LORD of hosts…

If you are still missing out on His presence and power, you have not yet met God’s requirements.

If you are still the same, whatever you have done, you have not encountered God.

2B.      Revival will bring about radical changes in your life.

Your character will change.

Your heart will change.

Your love for Christ will change.

Your obedience to Christ will change.

Jeremiah 24:7 'Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

4A.      Possible Objections to Revival

1B.      Some will discount the truth of the Old Testament, saying, “God is not like that anymore.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2B.      Some are offended to think of God as a God of discipline and judgment.

Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

3B.      Some refuse to deal openly with sin in the church.

Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

4B.      Some choose to rely on human wisdom and reason even when it is in direct opposition to God’s Word.

Romans 3:4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar….

Application

Seek personal revival.  Meditate on the following passages:

Psalm 139:1-4; 23-24 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether….23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

Ask the Lord to encourage you to remain faithful in pursuing revival until He returns with revival to your church.

Pray for a willingness on the part of the church members to join together in repenting and returning to the Lord.

Ask the Lord to reveal anything in your life that might be a hindrance to revival.

Pray for the various denominations in your community that God would send revival on all of them.  Pray that pastors and leaders would begin praying together for revival.


! Spiritual Leadership in Times of Revival and Awakening

Introduction

God has always placed leaders among His people to guide and minister to them.  In the Scriptures, we see that God typically works through leaders to call His people back to Him. 

The Bible gives us several keys to understanding what a leader is from God’s perspective.  In Deuteronomy 34:5, Moses is called “the servant of the Lord.”  The pattern throughout Scripture is that God is Lord and Master and men are servants.  In the New Testament, the leaders referred to themselves as “servants” and “bond-slaves” of Jesus Christ. 

Leaders are expected to “stand in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30-31) for God’s people, and we are told that teachers and leaders will be held to a higher standard than other believers (James 3:1).

In Matthew 10, Jesus gave instructions to His twelve disciples to prepare them for the mission He was about to send them on.  In this text, Jesus sets forth fourteen qualities of spiritual leaders God is calling on for His redemptive mission in our day.

1A.      A Sense of Urgency (Matthew 9:35-37)

You must share Jesus’ urgency and compassion for His sheep who have no shepherd.

2A.      A Person of Genuine and Intense Prayer (Matthew 9:38)

Prayer must be a priority!

You must know how to pray for laborers.

You must trust God to answer our prayers.

3A.      Unconditional Relationship to Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:1)

Luke 6:46 But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?

You must have and intimate love relationship with Jesus as the Sovereign Lord of our lives.

4A.      Awareness of Accountability to God

John 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

5A.      Clear Demonstration of Spiritual Authority (Matthew 10:1, 8)

Spiritual authority comes from Jesus Christ, who has the full measure of God within Him.

Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

No crisis will ever get out of the control of the heavenly Father!


6A.      Absolute Faith, Trust, and Confidence in God (Matthew 10:9-10)

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Psalm 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

7A.      God-Given Sense of Direction (Matthew 10:5-7, 11-16)

Recognize that every step of your life is ordered by God!

8A.      Clearly Committed to the Cost Involved (Mathew 10:17-23)

Following Jesus will always be very costly.

You must never try to please men but rather deliver the message from God.

9A.      Absolutely God-Oriented (Matthew 10:26-31)

God will be very intimate with His leaders.  Nothing will escape His knowledge.  The God who controls all of history will take care of you.  You need never be afraid of men or the opinions of men.

10A.    A Servant Life Patterned After The Lord Jesus (Matthew 10:24-26)

Don’t go to the books of worldly men to determine how you should lead.

A spiritual leader will share in the ridicule and sufferings of His Lord.

Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

Pray through Isaiah 53, before you answer the question, “Are you willing to suffer as He suffered?”

11A.    An Open Witness To Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32-33)

You must display a lifestyle in which Christ openly displays Himself before a watching world.

1 Corinthians 2:2, 4-5 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified… 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Can you describe your life and ministry as a “demonstration of the Spirit’s power?”

12A.    Willing to Risk for the Kingdom (Matthew 10:34-36)

Are you willing to risk all, including your very life, to deliver the message obediently?

13A.    Wholehearted Love For God and His Son Jesus (Matthew 10:37-39)

Your love for Christ must exceed all other affections.

The will of God is the cross.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

14A.    Lives Life with Unmistakable Identity with Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:40-42)

Everything you do will be with the realization that you are the hands and feet of Jesus!

Application

What kind of relationship will a spiritual leader have with Christ?

What are some of the costs a spiritual leader must be willing to pay?

What are some of the things a spiritual leader will do in obedience to the Lord’s command?

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