NO REVIVAL WITHOUT REPENTANCE
By Terry Somerville
Total Change Ministries
There have been many prophecies about a coming move of God that will eclipse all previous ones. Most discussions revolve around the glory and presence of God moving in the land. The desire for revival is at an all time high.
Though much is being said and done, it seems to be mostly prophetic activity. The one basic ingredient that is lacking, and seldom spoken of, is true repentance. This requires a total breaking down of the heart, otherwise we naturally go along in "Christian selfishness", with all our activity oriented to ourself.
I'm more burdened than ever before over sin in the Body of Christ. In ministry times I find most Christians seem to be seeking a blessing in the meetings. The prayers revolve around their needs and not God's hearts desire. They experience the power and presence of God, yet leave with unyielded lives. Many Christians know there are issues between them and the Lord and are willing to leave them unchanged. Sometimes if I bring up the state of their heart during ministry they will say "God will change my heart". In the midst of all the Christian activity there's no sense of God's desire for true righteousness.
Out in the community as I work I encounter people who are warm to Jesus, but see the church as irrelevant, or worse.... Today's church seems to be very much like Isaiah described.
Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: as (if they were) a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near unto God...........yet on the day of their fasting, they do as they please (Isaiah 58:2-3)
Here are some of the issues I see standing between us and revival.
1. Power Without Repentance
The church has confused experiencing the presence of God vs a heart being right with God. It is possible for the heart to be unyielded yet still experience the anointing on the natural man! Yet most think if the Holy Spirit comes on them with His power their hearts must be right. The love of God has come with such power over the last number of years and yet I saw many entering in who remained in sin. I asked God about it and the Holy Spirit spoke to me. "I'm sending my love because I want to capture their hearts." Has it worked?
Jesus warned those who have anointing but work iniquity. How many there are in the church today!
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matt 7:22,23
2. A Back to front Gospel - a problem we have created!
The gospel most Christians believe goes like this.
a) believe in Jesus
b) ask Him to forgive your sins and come into your life
c) He will change you.
The gospel the bible teaches is
a) repent and believe first (change your life)
b) God will forgive your sin and come into your life
c) Walk with Him in newness of life
The gospel has a clear condition of turning from sin first, and genuinely entering into a righteous life. It seems most of the church is missing this. NO this is not salvation by works, this is repentance! We are forgiven and saved from sin because of the cross. Our righteousness cannot save us. But it is required! From Genesis to Revelation! Look at the gospel the church preached.
Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;
3. Confession is Not repentance
Here is another common error. Being sorry at the altar and asking God to forgive is NOT repentance. It is confessing sin. We have mixed this up. To confess our sins is simply to acknowledge the truth about our condition and ask God to forgive us. Repentance is a genuine turning from the heart which "bears fruit befitting repentance".
4. Genuine Conversion Results in A Holy Life
Away with this garbage of continuing in sin but saying we are "immune" because of Christ. Sins power to reign is actually gone from us because of the cross. (Romans 6) Because of this we are warned not to live in sin. We choose!
Can we imagine the judgment day, and on this side is one who sinned not knowing Christ, and on the other is a Christian who continues in the same sin as the first man. Will the Lord be unjust? Will the cross be a mockery? Or does the Lord expect real righteousness to be the reward of His suffering?
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7,8
5. The Changed Heart is Man's Responsibility, But God's Activity
Most Christians are waiting for the Lord to change their hearts. God is waiting for us to "rend our hearts" and to "make for ourself a new heart"
Joel 2:12 Yet even now, saith Jehovah, turn ye unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto Jehovah your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Cast away from you all your transgressions, wherein ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31
This is the same Ezekiel who says the Lord will give a new heart and a new spirit. How is it possible? Does the new heart come from God or us? It is both Here is an example
There is a man with sickness unto death. He goes to the doctor who gives him medicine. He takes it and is well. What made him well? The man did because he went to the doctor, the doctor did because he treated the man, and the medicine did as well because it killed the disease. The new heart is our responsibility, but we have left out that part out of the gospel. It must be returned for revival preaching to work.
New Heart Ingredients
a) Conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment by the Holy Spirit. Only this will break into the deep levels needed for repentance. This requires praying Christians and righteous preaching. Surely if the Lord is anointing us with power for healing He will bring this clear promise of the Spirit.
He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment; John 16:8
b) The true condition of the selfish motives of our life are seen, and wrestled down. As Finney said "the fountains of sin must be broken up". If believing the gospel is only head knowledge about Christ, it is doubtful conversion ever took place! It must be a matter of the heart. For out of the heart springs all the issues of life!
c) The Holy Spirit enters in and God pours His own love into our heart!This is the point! The Love of God Himself is put into our heart. The same love that motivated Jesus becomes the motivation of our hearts. (John 17:26 Rom. 5:5) Check it out. When the revivalists broke through they had a radical filling with Gods love!
Here are Finney's own words
"No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. The waves came over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, 'I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.' I said, 'Lord, I cannot bear any more;' yet I had no fear of death."
Yes, we need a mighty revival. As I check out the old time revivals and go right back to the preaching of the bible I see a common denominator. The preaching of the righteous demands of a Holy God, accompanied by mighty convictions of the Holy Spirit. This produces deep conversions and holy, power filled living. This, and ONLY this, impacts and changes the community with the Kingdom of God.
Right now we are living in a time of theories. "Revival this, Kingdom that, Prophetic this, Apostolic whatever. " The world is longing for the revival we need!
Source: Terry Somerville