New Wine for New Wineskins January 2013

By , January 1, 2013 1:38 pm

The Repentance Revelation

One of the things that I believe the Lord is saying about 2013 is that it is to be a year of superabundant grace.  That is not to say that every year is not a year when superabundant grace is available, but rather that in 2013 there will be more people accessing more of his grace, because there will be more people recognising just how much they need it.

The word of God says that we live by faith that accesses and draws into our lives the grace of God which brings salvation with all of its benefits including healing, deliverance, and prosperity.

The Greek word charis which is translated grace comes from the same root as chara (joy), and chairo (to rejoice), and signifies unmerited favour, undeserved blessing, and a free gift.

Some attempts have been made to help our understanding of grace by creating acronyms of the word and coming up with statements like Gifts Received At Christ’s Expense, or God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense.  These statements are pretty accurate but like most acronyms they don’t necessarily say it all.

God’s unmerited favour is the expression of his unconditional love.  He doesn’t just love in word but in action.

Matthew 7: 11

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

It would appear that our heavenly Father delights in and experiences great joy in giving good gifts to his children.  Jesus clearly stated that there is joy among the angels in heaven when one sinner repents.  I guess that he is telling us that when Daddy is happy, everybody’s happy!

Since grace is accessed by faith, and faith in the word of God is usually preceded by repentance it is also vital that we have a proper understanding of repentance.  There are a lot of people who seem to think that repentance has been sidelined by many in the church in these days, but it is possible that those who believe that simply have a traditional rather than a scriptural definition of what repentance actually is.  To be honest, I probably fitted into that category myself until a few years ago.

If we are to experience superabundant grace in 2013 – grace that is accessed by faith that is preceded by repentance – then I believe that it is important that we receive what I call the repentance revelation.  I guarantee that if you receive this revelation then you will never again accept second best in any aspect of your life and experience.

Hebrews 5: 12 – 6: 1

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil…1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God…

There are two things that the Lord spoke to me recently that are relevant to this subject.  The first thing he said was, “It is time to rebuild the church from the ground up”, and the second was, “Take my people from the milk of revival to the meat of responsibility”.

The most important part of any building is its foundation.  If the foundation is wrong then the building will be unstable.  Jesus said that he will build his church on the solid rock of the revelation of who he is (He is Lord), and the gates of hell (or as the Amplified Bible puts it, the powers of the infernal region) shall not be able to hold out against it.  Jesus also said that those who call him Lord and hear what he says and apply it in their lives build on solid rock and become storm-proof.

In Matthew 6 Jesus taught us how to pray.  When we say, “hallowed be your name” we are saying, “Yes, Lord – your kingdom come, your will be done”!

Let me ask you a question.  Do you want to live in the Father’s perfect will, or are you content to live in his permissive will?

Romans 12: 1 – 2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (true and proper worship – NIV). And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

His perfect will is revealed in his word and we can live in it when we choose to live by faith that accesses the grace that is made freely available to us.  Sadly, many of God’s children live more according to fate than faith and so they experience his permissive will where he allows them the freedom to choose death instead of life and the curse in place of blessing.  The great tragedy that results from that is that many then attribute the bad stuff that happens to them to the “sovereign will” of God.

Hebrews 6: 1

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God…

The first principle of kingdom living is “repentance from dead works and faith towards God”.  The word “repentance” can evoke all kinds of negative emotional responses that tend toward feelings of guilt and shame, but every action that God’s word invites us to engage in is positive rather than negative.  The work of the Cross accomplished the miracle of turning every negative into a positive.

repentmetanoeo – a decision that results in a change of mind, which in turn leads to a change of purpose and action.

Repentance is not saying, “I am sorry” but “I have changed”.  Repentance is actually the fruit of the sorrow we feel in regards to our failure to walk in the perfect will of God for our lives, and even that sorrow is positive in that it leads to the positive step of repentance that in turn leads to a life lived in the perfect will of God as we turn our faith towards him and access his grace!

2 Corinthians 7: 10

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death

Anyone who has struggled with any kind of addiction or has been closely associated with an addict knows that very often after a period of indulgence of their particular addiction there follows a period of remorse and statements of “never again!

How many people have experienced these times of remorse or what the Bible calls “worldly sorrow” and yet have gone back again to their addiction and have even, in the case of substance abuse, ended up dead through an accidental overdose?

Godly sorrow leads to the next step which is a positive decision to no longer live in the permissive will of God as a slave to the dictates of circumstance, but to turn around and embrace the perfect will of God as the way to overcome by faith in every circumstance and situation as we access the fullness of the riches of his grace.

Repentance is a one hundred and eighty degree turnaround from living a life that separated us from a true relationship with our heavenly Father – a life that was either devoted to reckless self-discovery or religious moral conformity, but either way caused to miss out on the goodness of God that is always in his heart to share with us, and even to lavish upon us.

In the amazing story that Jesus told of the father and his two lost sons, one chose the path of self-discovery and the other chose the route of moral conformity but both missed the joy of sonship on their journey.  As far as we are told, only the younger son repented and turned his life around and walked into the experience of his Father’s grace – the unmerited favour that is the expression of his unconditional love.  The older son refused to enter into the fullness of grace and instead demanded his rights based on what he believed he deserved as a result of his religious observance and moral conformity.  The older son remained lost.  This must have been a shocking revelation to those who first heard Jesus share this account and it can still be shocking to anyone who is trusting in their own works of righteousness, or the rightness of their particular strain of religious observance or church polity (even though they might not recognise that is what they are doing).

Repentance begins the turn and faith completes the turn.

faithpistis – the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God and all that he says.

The Greek word for believepisteuo – is the verb form of pistis and means “to trust in, have faith in, be fully convinced of, acknowledge, rely on”.

John 5: 24

“Most assuredly (truly), I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

For many repentance has been a turning from that has been incomplete in that there has been a lack of revelation concerning what there is to turn to!  For a lot of us repentance was turn or burn with no clue where to go from there, and so after our initial zeal to forsake sin we slid back either to a life of renewed self-discovery or a hotchpotch of moral conformity that fitted with our brand of religious churchianity.  Whichever one we ended up in they were both wrong and left us missing out again on the perfect will of our perfect Father (who is, after all, partial to a bit of music and dancing).

Believe me, I have experienced more than my fair share of that religious stuff, while all the time hearing at base level the pleading of my heavenly Father to come in and join the celebration that he has organised for all those who I and my friends would deem unworthy!

Hebrews 6 tells us where to turn to.  Faith towards God.  Jesus said that faith (that comes by hearing his word) causes us to pass from death to life!  That’s a big step!

Romans 1: 17 (AMP)

17 For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.

Because of a lack of revelation of what it means to have faith towards God there has been a continued emphasis on a skewed understanding of repentance that has often put the church in a spin.

Faith simply accepts what God is freely giving on the basis that we have been accepted by him and that he longs to give us all things that pertain to enjoying life (in all of its fullness) and godliness (2 Peter 1: 3).  Faith is never about performance or competition.  The works that accompany faith are simply freely giving what has been freely received with the same level of acceptance of others that has been extended to us.  Jesus said that we should love one another as he has loved us (John 13: 34).

Faith accepts our heavenly Father’s patronage and protection as a foregone conclusion, and yet it never takes these things for granted because faith is born out of relationship and so it is active in maintaining and developing that relationship.

1 John 4: 16

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Galatians 5: 6 (AMP)

6 For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (any kind of religious cocktail we can dream up or formulate) counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

1 John 4: 19

We love Him because He first loved us.

Our relationship with our heavenly Father (unlike the two sons in the parable) is not outworked through self-discovery or moral conformity, or even something in between, but begins when we simply accept his grace – his unmerited favour that is the expression of his unconditional love.  The  younger son was restored when he accepted his Father’s love and did nothing more in return but learn to love his Father back.

We are blessed to have an elder brother – Jesus – who is nothing like the one in the story.  He is not opposing our restoration as sons but is advocating it.  He is not upset about our return – he is leading the celebration.  Sadly, those who claim to represent him aren’t always as accepting and behave more like the older brother in the story – demanding proof of true repentance that usually means seeing the returnees suffer humiliation and having them immediately placed on probation.

Romans 2: 4

4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

AMP

4 Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s goodness and kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?

Listen to how Jesus began his ministry.

Mark 1: 15

““The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Jesus came preaching the good news of God’s goodness and so faith towards God is “inward confidence, assurance, trust and reliance in God and all that he says”.  It is to be fully convinced concerning the goodness of God.

The “repentance revelation” is the revelation of God’s goodness!  The more you meditate on the information of God’s goodness the more revelation you get, resulting in more transformation of your life as you become the proof of God’s good, acceptable and perfect will and become more and more conformed to the image of his son.

Psalm 73: 1

Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart.

Matthew 5: 8

Blessed (makarios – happy, joyful, supremely blessed, empowered to prosper) are the pure in heart, for they shall see (receive revelation of) God.

Who are the pure in heart?  The word here for pure – katharos – is the same word Jesus uses in

John 15: 3

3 You are already clean (katharos) because of the word which I have spoken to you.

In the KJV it says, “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

When God says you are clean – you are clean!  Are you hearing this?  When God says you are clean – you are clean!  Regardless of what religion says, or what tradition says, or what a preacher might say.  This is a kingdom reality!

There was a kingdom invasion in a barn in Barvas on the Isle of Lewis in 1949 when some men who had been gathering there to pray regularly over a period of time received this revelation.  One young man showed up for the prayer meeting on a particular night and told the others that he had been reading from Psalm 24.  He quoted verses 3 and 4, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” and continued, “All of our prayers are just so much humbug unless we address ourselves to this question.  Are our hands clean?  Are our hearts pure?”  The answer came from heaven as the Spirit of God swept into that barn and all of the men went down under the power of God.  What was God’s answer to their question,  “Now…you are already clean…

Sadly, even though many good things were accomplished and experienced, this kingdom invasion was downgraded to revival status as God’s people reverted to their default understanding of his ways, which was limited by the theology they were programmed with and the historical experience of their forefathers.  Once again, the word of God was brought down to the level of man’s experience rather than allowing man’s experience to advance and come up to the level of God’s word.

John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, and said that there was one coming after him who would not baptise with water, but with the Holy Spirit.  This new covenant baptism is not just about forgiveness of sin, but about the obliteration and complete removal of sin and its devastating effects.  It is about death and resurrection and a new life that is dead to sin and alive to God.

Colossians 2: 11 – 15

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Romans 6: 8 – 14

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

This is about moving from the milk of revival to the meat of responsibility.  Paul had to move the disciples he found at Ephesus from John’s baptism to Jesus’ baptism before the kingdom could come in that city and impact that whole region of Asia Minor.

Remember – the repentance revelation is the revelation of God’s goodness.  The bad has gone and the good has come.  So what does the word of God say about the goodness of God?

Exodus 33: 18 – 19; 34: 5 – 6

18 And he (Moses) said, “Please, show me Your glory.” 19 Then He (the LORD) said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you….5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth…

God’s goodness proclaims the name of the LORD!  All of God’s covenant names proclaim his goodness!  None more so than the names “Father” or “Jesus”.  He is abounding in goodness!

Psalm 16: 2

“O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.”

His goodness manifests in us as we proclaim that he is Lord in our lives!

Psalm 23: 6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Every day we experience his goodness.  God is good all the time!

Psalm 31: 19 – 20

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Great goodness is laid up and prepared for those who trust (believe and have faith) in him!

Psalm 34: 8

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Have you ever been afraid to taste something for the first time incase it is no good.  Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Psalm 52: 1

….The goodness of God endures continually.

God is good all the time!

Romans 2: 4

4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Don’t despise God’s goodness – it is the repentance revelation!  If you despise God’s goodness you will become judgmental and critical and you will find yourself being judged with the same measure you use in judging others.

Romans 11: 22

22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

Continue in his goodness.  There is no way forward or upward into the fulfillment of all of his promises aside from continuing to trust in his goodness.  Remember – when we reject his perfect will we fall back into his permissive will.  He allows us the freedom to choose our own destiny over the plans that he has for us which are always for good and never for evil.  Jesus said to continue in his word – the word of his goodness.

Galatians 5: 22

22 …the fruit of the Spirit is…goodness…

The fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives is God’s character.  It’s not just for us.  We can become a demonstration for others of God’s goodness.  Someone asked me the other day as I reached out in a practical way with the goodness of God, “Why do you care?

It’s not that unbelievers don’t believe anything.  They actually believe a lie concerning the purpose of their existence and the goodness of God.

Sin and unbelief (the Bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin, and Jesus defined sin as unbelief in John 16) entered the world through the first man and woman believing a lie concerning the goodness of God, a lie against his character – a lie that implied that God was holding out on them.

Psalm 84: 11

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Adam and Eve exchanged the truth of God for a lie.  The lie was that God was keeping something good from them, whereas the truth was that God was keeping them from something bad – death!

James 1: 17

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.

We are the lights.  Just like with Jesus, the life of God in us the light of men.

Matthew 5: 16

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

So that they might be drawn to him in repentance!

God is good all the time, and so he always wants the best for everyone!  Remember what the father said concerning his son that had returned home – “Bring out the best robe…

John 3: 16 (AMP)

16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son (his very best), so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

So who does he have the best for?  Who does he want to experience his goodness?  Everyone!

THE LOST

Some lost folks can be extremely wicked and incredibly awkward.  The world and religious church might say that the best thing to do is to leave them alone or avoid them.  But God’s best is way better than that, because his thoughts and his ways are higher than our thoughts and ways.  His perfect will is that none perish but that all come to repentance through the revelation of his goodness.  Jesus went looking for the lost, and so should we.

If people reject him then his permissive will allows them to go to hell, but if they accept and receive his love the door is opened to his perfect will and the experience of his best in salvation, healing, and deliverance.

Don’t ever accept second best as being God’s perfect will!  Always choose life over death, and blessing over curse!

THE SICK / TERMINALLY ILL

The world and religious church might say that the best thing would be for them to die quickly without too much suffering.  But God’s best is something higher!  His best is healing!  Don’t ever accept second best as being God’s perfect will!  Always choose life over death, and blessing over curse!

His heart is towards everyone – that they might experience his best!  He wants to see the oppressed delivered, the poor prospered, the addicted set free, etc, etc.

Remember kingdom principle number one.  You have to die in order to live.  You have to die to second best.  The word of God calls that repentance.  When you die to second best you can live in the best.  Scripture calls that faith towards God.

That is why Romans 12: 1 exhorts us to become divine oxymorons and lay down our lives as living sacrifices, so that we prove God’s good, acceptable and perfect will for our lives.

We become the living proof of God’s goodness, so that people can see that what he has done for us he desires to do for everyone.

Can you receive the repentance revelation that there is something good to turn to?  Meditate on the revelation of God’s goodness and you will never again accept second best  as God’s perfect will for you, or for your family, or for your community, or for anyone else.

For a long time now there has been a shift in the way church people talk, and so you will hear preachers and believers say things like Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.  And so it is supposed to be, but how often is that just semantics and so the relationship is still outworked in a religious way?  How much of the supposed relationship is still ritual and rote?

When was the last time you were really bowled over by something that took place in your relationship with God to the point of being completely gobsmacked, astounded and amazed and where the joy and delight and awe and pleasure overflowed you and brought you to a place of spontaneous expression of praise and worship?

Can you remember the last time you had an epiphany where your relationship with the Lord shifted up a gear and your whole understanding of God’s purposes changed and became clearer as some old clingy religious thing fell off and a brand new dimension of relationship opened up as a result?

In my wife and I’s relationship with each other there were times when I could sense or would experience a sudden emotional response from Catriona and she would say, “My bubble just burst…” meaning that something I had done or said had caused her to express her love and admiration for me in a spontaneous way.  Do you know how often I have longed to hear these words? (She said it quite recently, actually).  Do you think maybe our Father in heaven longs to hear that our bubble has burst?  When was the last time that happened for you? Has it ever happened?

1 Peter 7: 8 (AMP)

8 Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.

A while back I discovered what I call my “joy tongue”, and so whenever I use it there is an outbreak of joy and laughter.  I don’t have to wait until I feel the joy before I use it – I use it and I feel the joy.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and the use of our tongue is in our power.  I don’t have to wait for another “laughter revival” because I can just take responsibility to release the joy that is already on the inside of me.

Hebrews 12: 1 – 2 (AMP)

“…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]…”

Let us never lose our fascination with Jesus and his amazing grace that empowers us to live supernaturally naturally and naturally supernaturally.  Let his and our Father’s love for us and all mankind fire our passion to love him and to live for him, and to see his goodness and his unmerited favour that is the expression of his unconditional love turn many to him in restored relationship as sons and daughters who experience his best.

The Lord said to me, “Rebuild the church from the ground up…”  Jesus – full of grace and truth – is the foundation that has already been laid and so what about the walls?

Isaiah  60: 17 – 19

17 “Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver, instead of wood, bronze,
and instead of stones, iron. I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. 18 Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. 19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.

The walls are salvation.  I am looking forward to this coming year of 2013 – a year of superabundant grace – as many people turn and accept the grace of God (the unmerited favour that is the expression of his unconditional love) and experience his best in righteousness, healing, deliverance, and prosperity.  The gates are praise.  The testimony of God’s goodness will arise as praise and create a gateway into the earth for more of his kingdom to come and his perfect will to be done on earth as it has already been decreed and provided for in heaven.  I am believing for the fullness of Psalm 24 to be fulfilled as the King of Glory comes through the gates of praise!

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

Do you have the repentance revelation?  Have you turned from self-discovery or moral conformity to the goodness of God; from sin to righteousness; from sickness to healing; from oppression to freedom; from poverty to prosperity?

Release your testimony of God’s goodness everywhere you go this year and see multitudes of people drawn to him.

Let 2013 be a year of superabundant grace!

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