Posts Tagged ‘true repentance’

The 2016 elections have become a media circus of insults, lies, and mudslinging that the modern world has not seen before. According to politifact.com, not one of the leading candidates have been completely honest.

Donald Trump has taken many political pundits by surprise and has left the Republican Party scratching its head and wondering why he is leading the pack. Others are wondering how someone who is under a federal probe can still be so popular with Democratic voters. Some have even stated that this year’s elections could mean the destruction of our political process and the end of our constitutional freedoms.

So how did this happen?

When the Israelites wanted a king like other nations had, they were rejecting their unique, set-apart position as God’s people. The nation whose God was to be the Lord alone was envious of the nations who followed false gods. (1 Samuel 8:4)

The prophet Samuel answered the people and said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:11-18)

But the people no longer wanted to be ruled by God and they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (v. 19-20) And God’s people suffered great calamities for years afterward because of their decision.

It should be no surprise then, I suppose, that the powers of government have always been expanded under this same faulty way of thinking. Think of almost anything now provided by government today, (which is almost everything) and you will quickly realize that it could easily have been provided without government intervention!

God warned the Israelites that being ruled by a man would be costly both in goods and in freedom. Government is a very expensive item: you must pay for the bureaucrats who are always very wasteful, and you must give up the freedom to make your own choices, which is also very wasteful of human initiative and talent. God also pointed out that there is a point of no return on having government rule rather than God. There will come a time, God says in vs. 18, “when you will cry out for relief from the king whom you have chosen for yourselves. But the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

This is happening now! 

But it wasn’t always this way. A tiny band of religious outcasts who founded this country hit upon a formula for success that went way beyond what they could have imagined and established a nation that became the best example of civil, economic and religious liberty that the world has ever known.

Although not all the signers of the Constitution, the Declaration Of Independence and the Bill of Rights may have been Christians, they were wise enough to follow the example of those religious outcasts and use God’s rules as a blueprint for true freedom and liberty.

Sadly, it took less than 100 years for corruption to creep into our government of and by the people. Today we no longer want to be ruled by God, but like Israel of old we say,  “No! Let there be a government rule over us, that we may be like all other nations, and that our government leaders may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

So how can we apply these same foundational truths that brought our founding fathers liberty and freedom today? By turning from our wicked ways and turn back to God with a truly repentant heart; and realize that it is God alone who judges. And it is He who decides who will rise and who will fall. (Psalm 75:7; Daniel 2:21;1 Samuel 2:7)

I only pray that it’s not too late.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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.…”But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’” (2 Chronicles 7: 13-22)

http://www.monumentalmovie.com

Last year I posted an article on revival. (https://word-from-the-street.com/2013/04/29/an-open-appeal-for-revival-part-i-of-iii/ ) Sadly, things have become progressively worse since then. Anyone who reads a local newspaper or watches the evening news will have to admit to the fact that America is in deep trouble.

America used to be the greatest nation in the world. That is no longer true. Washington has become so corrupt and dysfunctional that we are no longer, “the land of the free and home of the brave”, but we have become instead, the land of deceit and home of depraved.

The republicans blame the democrats and the democrats blame the republicans for the ills of our country, and each side believes that they have the solution to get our country back on track. But the truth is that, Government is not a solution to our problem―government IS the problem. This sediment was spoken by Ronald Reagan during his inaugural speech January 20, 1981.

But our leaders are only a mirror of the people they lead. The real reason that America has lost its influence on the world is because we have forgotten God. Just as Israel of old, we too, have forgotten God and replaced Him with our own golden calf. We have bowed down to the idols of humanism, secularism, and government control, and we have reaped the rewards of our actions.

We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security. We’ve given up the security of family values and replaced them with immoral ideas and attitudes. We’ve traded the value of honest work for enslavery to a bureaucratic government system of relief. Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against. Our children have become uncontrollable beasts who murder without conscience. Pornography has been piped into our homes for us and our children to view at the push of a button on the remote control. Those who were designed and appointed to help us and be examples for us; from the local minister on up to the President, have fallen and have led us to the brink of destruction.

In his book, “Why Revival Tarries” Leonard Ravenhill writes: “The only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it! That is our problem. We have become too comfortable, too lazy, too apathetic and too indifferent. In other words, we are neither hot nor cold, but, like the Laodicean church, are simply lukewarm, and we deserve to be spewed out of the Lord’s mouth.”

America was once a great nation because it was founded on absolute principles based on God’s Word, the Bible. We, a nation that is sick, near to death, is in need of intensive spiritual attention that will only come by returning to God, our Creator. We need a true revival that only comes from a true repentance of the Church.
Repentance means more than just being sorry. Someone once said that the road to destruction will be paved with the souls of the sorrowful. I’m sure that all of the fallen angels are sorry now that they followed Satan in his failed revolt against God.

There are two types of sorrow. There is worldly sorrow; like when someone is sorry they got caught, but not for their actions. This person tends to complain about the consequences of their sin but never takes responsibility for the act itself. And there is godly sorrow―when someone is truly sorry for their actions and the nature of the act itself and also takes responsibility for the consequences of their sin. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (II Cor. 7:10)

King David shows us through the Psalms how godly sorrow works repentance to salvation. Whenever he was reminded of his sin he realized that his actions separated himself from his God whom he loved very much, which led him to a true repentance of his actions. He knew that what he was doing had hurt God and he turned away from his sin and turned back to God for forgiveness. (See Ps. 32 & 51)

Repentance, like everything else involving revival, is only brought about by the Spirit of God. It is God’s Spirit that convicts us of our sin. It is God’s Spirit that breaks our heart over our sins. And it is by God’s Spirit that we are brought into God’s presence through repentance and experience His mercy and forgiveness.

Results of true repentance will be a new life washed clean by the Spirit of God. The person repentant of sin will no longer be pleasing only themselves, but will strive to please God and others. Those things that were once important to the flesh will no longer matter as much. Those who truly repent will work at making a better home, a better workplace, a better community, and a better world.

All of the excuses and all of the reasons why the Church today is not experiencing power and revival within and without can be combated by one word. REPENT!

We must come to God now and acknowledge our sin to him. We are in critical condition and are in need of reviving by the Spirit of God through his son Jesus, the Messiah. Call on the name of Jesus now! Surrender yourself to him and receive his forgiveness and mercy.

Until the Church repents of her sins and turn from her wickedness, we will never witness the healing of our land:

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters, they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward…Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land, but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 1:4, 18-20)

This has nothing to do with those outside the Church. This is only directed at those inside the Church-those who profess to be followers of Jesus.

 
A pastor by the name of John Pavlovitz recently wrote an article on his blog entitled, “If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent”.  http://johnpavlovitz.com/2014/09/17/if-i-have-gay-children-four-promises-from-a-christian-pastorparent/

In the article he suggests that as Christian parents, we should accept our homosexual children as “okay”. This is what is wrong with the PC church today! If my kids told me that they thought that they were gay- yes, I would still love them as I always will, no matter what. But I would be honest and tell them that it is sin. I would pray for my children as they struggled with this, but I would NEVER accept it as being okay any more than I would accept adultery, lust or pedophilia as okay. That not only goes against God’s Law, but would give my children a false sense of salvation!

One cannot live as an unrepentant homosexual and be a follower of Jesus any more than an unrepentant pedophile can. Many have been taught that repentance means to “turn from sin”. Others believe that repentance means to be “sorry for your sins”. But neither is completely accurate. The full biblical definition of repentance is to change our heart and mind about sin that results in a change of action.

Repentance and faith are very closely related. Trying to separate the two is like trying to separate water and oil.  It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who he is and what he has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance, it is still a change of heart and mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejecting God and His commandments to faith in Jesus our Messiah.

Sexual sin has become rampant in our world and is glorified in movies and television. Sadly, the Church is not immune from its temptations. But  Jesus and the apostles were never politically correct when it came to addressing sin in the Church. Read how the Apostle Paul dealt with sexual sin within the Church: “I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother… It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1Cor. 5:1; 12-13 NLT) As Christians, our lives should be a reflection of Jesus himself. And with so many in the world watching us we should be even more careful to watch what we’re doing.

 

This is not meant to condemn or judge any type of music, but to get to the heart of Christian music and its purpose.

I believe that God anoints who He wills regardless of their spiritual walk. Before King David was anointed king of Israel God instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul as king. (1Sam. 10:1) Saul was an unspiritual man who became very spiritual only when the Spirit of the LORD came upon him. Saul prophesied without ever really being called as a prophet. This shows us that someone can receive a gift from the Holy Spirit without really being spiritual. (1 Sam 10: 6-12)

Years ago four young men from Liverpool, England were anointed to play music and write songs that forever changed popular music. I believe that God anointed them, but left it up to them how they would use that anointing. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Beatles used their anointing to glorify God instead of themselves? We would probably be singing very different songs in churches today.

Steve Camp, writing in his “107 Theses, A Call For Reformation In The Contemporary Christian Music Industry:” said,  “Those of us who are privileged to represent our Lord Jesus in the arts should be galvanized by mission, not by ambition; by mandate, not by accolades; by love for the Master, not by the allurements of this world.”

I too, have been saved from the depravity of my heart, and without the grace of God through His son, the Lord Jesus, I was desperately wicked and eternally condemned. Early in my own musical journey I used to write songs that represented only the wickedness in me and the world. My motives were corrupt and my actions were far from being godly. My thirst for popularity made my heart prideful, judgmental and callused. But the Lord, out of His infinite grace and love, broke me down by His Spirit to bring true repentance in my own life. And it’s that life of repentance, which drives me to speak with conviction on this issue.

I believe that music is a powerful tool from the God that He intended to be used for worship, praise, encouragement, edification, admonishing, and exhorting God’s people to holiness. But I fear that compromise has invaded Christian music through years of skewed doctrine and secular living.

I recognize that there are many godly men and women who love the Lord that work to glorify God with their talent. But the crux of the matter is that the overall nature of “Christian Music” has dramatically shifted. The Apostle Paul warns… “It takes only a little leaven to leaven the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6) When sin is tolerated it ultimately permeates and corrupts the entire Church like a cancer. What is pure today will inevitably be polluted tomorrow if we do not “purge out the old leaven…” (v.7)

In the past several years there has been a subtle (and not so subtle) drifting away from Christ-centered music to “Christian-crossover” music. Sadly this has resulted in various visible manifestations of spiritual problems where many may unknowingly find themselves on a slippery slope sliding away from the Church, the Scriptures, and ultimately, the Savior.

During the “Jesus Movement” in the 1970’s Christian music unashamedly declared Jesus Christ as Lord. But as Christian Music grew in popularity, several generic titles began filtering out the name of God in songs to the point that it’s now hard to distinguish between Christian and secular songs.

This Biblical illiteracy has diminished the Christian culture into unintelligible chatter that is accepted as spiritual truth. We have gone from ‘dying to self’, to ‘serving self’. The object of Christian music is no longer Christ, but our self-esteem; the goal is no longer holiness, but our happiness; and the source of our faith is no longer the Scriptures, but our experience. I believe modern Christian music played a large part in producing a generation of people that “feel” their God, but do not “know” their God.

When Martin Luther stood at Wittenberg’s Door in the year 1517, he called for reformation of the Roman Church. Now, almost five centuries later, it is time to sound the alarm in our generation-this time, to call the Christian Musician back to the supremacy, sufficiency and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

A genuine revival is surely needed today, but that would be almost impossible given the current environment of the Church. Why? Because true revival is marked by repentance; and true repentance demands that Christian lives’ be consistent with Biblical truth that brings glory to God. These are serious times brothers and sisters, and it calls for real answers. This is not a time for proclaiming a diluted message to a dying world. It is a time to be girded with the belt of truth, standing firm in the gospel of peace, raising high our shield of faith, guarded with the helmet of salvation, to wield the sword of the Spirit with a surgeon’s precision, and praying always with all perseverance for all the saints in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

There is no greater song to proclaim  to a sin sick world than the saving grace of Jesus Christ, yet many Christian musicians feel content to sing about the chaff of this world. Many Christian musicians have been lead to believe that they should not use their talents to proclaim the gospel in secular venues because this would only offend some of their audience. Even though the purpose of Christian music was never meant to evangelize the lost; what an opportunity we have to share our faith with those who may never step inside of a church building! We shouldn’t negotiate the time and place to share the gospel (2 Tim 4:1-2) no matter what kind of capital is at stake–and that really is the issue here. We are to be in the world but not of it. And this is our greatest challenge. We are called to be salt and light in the world and be faithful witnesses of God’s mercy, love, and grace to the lost and dying. (Matthew 5:13-16) Yes, we should cultivate personal relationships with unbelievers, love our neighbor and our enemy; but let’s be careful not to be a friend of the world and thus make ourselves an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

I believe it is time for us fall on our faces before our Holy God, repent of our sin and return to our First Love! With lives enveloped in His grace, let us provoke one another to love and good works. With undivided hearts may we leave the ‘prodigal pigpen’ of the world and return to the safety of the Father’s love. Let us commit to prayer and fasting, seeking the Lord’s will with a broken, contrite and obedient heart. Let us be students of His Word being filled daily with His Spirit. Let us come away from an industry that has all but abandoned Christ; and by God’s grace, show the world (and the Church) what it really means to be… a ministry. Doing His work; His way; according to His Word; by His Holy Spirit.

It is time to be pounding on Wittenberg’s Door again! I pray that we come together to make history- to make Christian Music…truly Christian again.

What Scripture says:

  • We must purpose to keep personal relationships more important than business deals; family more valuable than ministry; and faith more precious than money. The struggle is maintaining an eternal perspective in these situations. (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:1-5; 1 Peter 3:7-11; Romans 12:1-2)
  • All our works, both musical and written, must produce a high view of God with our chief aim being to glorify God. (Psalm 29:1-2; Jeremiah 9:23-24)
  • We must refuse to make money a prerequisite for ministry. (Matthew 10:8; 1 Timothy 6:5)
  • We must not fail to glorify God publicly. And not just with our lips, but also in our private lives. (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7-9)
  • God cannot be glorified where sin openly entertained. (Psalm 5:4)
  • We fail to glorify God when we strut our accomplishments on a stage thinking our own hand has provided for us and our own hand has promoted us. (Job 41:34; Daniel 4:28-37; James 4:6)
  • We must glorify God rather than praise the messenger through awards and accolades.  (Isaiah 42:8; Psalm 115:1)
  • We must strive to please God rather than to please men. (Galatians 10: 1-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4)
  • We fail to glorify God when we speak and sing of the things of the world, but fail to proclaim the Gospel. (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8;)
  • Take a step of faith. Come away from the current music industry model and begin to build an authentic Christian Music Ministry again. (Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38)

An important message in closing

One of my blog followers reminded me the other day that my worth does not reside in my relationship status or how many twitter followers I may or may not have. No amount of friends or fans or how many books I may or may not sell will be factored into my worth. My worth has been sealed, secured and already delivered.

The fact is that without Christ I have no future. Whatever satisfaction may be found in gloating and arrogant pride ceases to serve a purpose when I leave this life. What have I left behind? What is my worth now? Gratefully, since my worth has been securely fastened in the arms of Christ, my relationship with him, at my death, only grows stronger.

If you know the Lord, then stop valuing yourself with outward things and understand that no matter what happens in the end, if the creator of heaven and earth has valued you. Well, that speaks for itself.

Keith Green was a man known for his uncompromising Christian stance. He gave his life to Jesus in 1975 and was “sold out” for the Lord right from the very start. Keith’s energy and passion for reaching people through music and ministry was unprecedented, and lives around the world are still being changed through his ministry. On July 28, 1982, at the age of 28, Keith and two of his young children were killed in a small plane crash. Although Keith had a very well-known ministry he considered himself first and foremost a servant of Jesus. He often said that when he died, he only wanted to be remembered as having been worthy to bear the name “Christian”.

Run to the Battle by Steve Camp

True Believers byPhil Keaggy