New Wine for New Wineskins March 2019

By , March 1, 2019 8:57 pm

Revival Now, And If Not Why Not?

Luke 6: 46

46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

NLT

46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?

The Message

46-47 “Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.

The following words were spoken at the dedication of Solomon’s temple:

2 Chronicles 7: 14 – 16

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.15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”

Jesus – the one who is greater than Solomon – said “I will build my church” but he wasn’t talking about a physical building.

1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20

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? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

2 Corinthians 6: 16 – 18

16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Ephesians 2: 19 – 22

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

It is interesting that the LORD began his promise to Solomon with the two-letter, one-syllable word, ”If”.  It is interesting because there are people who don’t think the word “if” is part of God’s vocabulary.  In their reasoning God is sovereign and so surely God doesn’t have to use words like “if” – surely God can do what he wants. And of course he absolutely can, but God in his sovereignty sovereignly decided that in his dealings with man he would give man personal responsibility, and so he has limited himself in his dealings with man and he doesn’t do anything until man does something first. He does say something, but He doesn’t do anything.


According to Romans 12: 3 God has given us faith – faith which is activated through hearing and becomes effective by applying what God says. The word “if” in this instance is used to introduce a conditional clause. When man begins to apply what God has said, then God acts. But we always retain the right to choose between life or death, and blessing or curse.  When we exercise our personal responsibility and choose life and blessing God in his sovereignty responds accordingly.  Jesus said to a man one day, “Let it be to you according to your faith.”

If we choose the life and blessing that flows from applying what he says then we can have life and blessing, and if we choose the death and curse that results from refusing to apply what he says then we can have death and curse.

In the second generation of mankind God reinforced the words he had given to the first generation to protect them but which they had ignored with devastating consequences.

Genesis 4: 6 – 7

6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

And so, in 2 Chronicles 7: 14 God uses the word “if” – introducing a conditional clause – and He says,  “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.”

When will God hear from heaven, forgive his people’s sins and heal their land? As soon as his people respond positively to his word. He goes on in verses 15 and 16 and He says “Now”.

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified (set apart) this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes (My attention) and My heart (My concern) will be there perpetually.”

When something is perpetual it lasts forever – it is continuous and uninterrupted.

And so surely we can have revival now if we want it, and if not why not?

The Lord has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13: 5) He is saying, “I will be with you perpetually.

Remember the church of Laodicea? He was there, but he was outside of the church knocking, and there was nothing he could do for them until he was readmitted and given his place among them.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray….”

humblekana’ – bend the knee

Philippians 2: 5 – 11

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Every knee should [AMP adds “must”] bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
We often know what we should do but we somehow are arrogant enough to assume that we can avoid doing what we know we should do and still avoid the consequences.

But why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do the things which I say.

In this year of worship in spirit and truth it is essential that we note the order here – bend the knee and confess. Humble yourself and pray and seek [baqash – search out in worship] My face.

 

 

Prayer is not a one-way street. We need to be ready to apply the answer and to do what he says. Worship in spirit and truth is evidenced in how we respond to what he says.

Luke 6: 46 – 49

46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it [hears my sayings and does them]. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

God said something else to Solomon, and it is also the first word of the good news of the kingdom.
He said, “You’ve got to turn from your wicked ways.” Repentance is a “turning” – it is a 180-degree turnaround. Repentance is about walking away from death and walking into life, it is about walking out of darkness and walking into light, it is about walking out from under the power and dominion of satan and walking into the kingdom of God, it is about walking out of sickness and walking into health, it is about walking out of bondage and oppression and walking into deliverance and freedom, it is about walking out of anxiety and walking into peace, it is about walking out of poverty and walking into prosperity, it is about walking out of fear and torment and walking into faith that works through love, it is about walking out of religious formality and tradition and walking into revival.

Revival now, and if not why not?

When God says, “If My people will turn” that is what He is talking about.

Romans 2: 4

4…. the goodness of God leads you to repentance

The revelation of His goodness is what causes us to turn – to abandon the death and the darkness and to choose to live in his goodness.

I have noticed something recently as I have listened to people’s words.  It is the words that we speak that ultimately reveal what we believe. I think I have learned something that is a key to why there are very few people living in revival now.

Revival now, and if not why not?

I have noticed every day over the past while when I ask people how they are doing they
reply, “not bad.” Some say, “not too bad.”  Then they ask me, “How are you?” and I reply, ”good” or “really good.

So what is the difference? I have come to the conclusion that “not bad” is the confession of survival, whereas “good” is the confession of revival.

Moses went up the mountain alone to meet with God because the people didn’t really want to get too close to God. They had no burning desire to know him personally or intimately but they wanted Moses to be able to tell them that God was on their side so that every day they could live in the “not bad” of survival.

Moses however was very different and so he was not content with the “not bad” of survival. He wanted to experience the “good” of revival – he said, “I want to see your glory, I want to experience the manifestation of your goodness, your presence is the most important thing to me.

Did God refuse his request? Absolutely not.

Exodus 33: 15 – 23

15 Then he [Moses] said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” 17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” 18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” 19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

To whom will he be gracious and on who will he have compassion?  Those who choose life and blessing.

20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

There are many of God’s people who are content to make do with survival, just as long as they can say, “not bad” or “not too bad”. And then when a crisis hits they try to pray and access God’s grace and provision.  “Lord, Lord” they say, but they have not been choosing life and blessing by hearing and applying what he says on a daily basis, and they haven’t made  his presence their number one priority. They haven’t been seeking his face in worship, they haven’t been bending the knee, and they haven’t been acknowledging his Lordship in spirit and truth by hearing and doing what he says, and so they have chosen their own way instead of his way. And whenever we choose our own way over his way it leads to death and the curse instead of life and blessing.

But when we stop our unbelieving thoughts that are articulated in our “not bad” words of survival and we begin to pursue his presence and to believe in his goodness and in the fullness of His provision, then we are ready to see what he says. Because God says “Revival now.” He doesn’t say “Revival in five years.” He doesn’t say “Revival in ten years.” He doesn’t say “Revival in forty years.” He doesn’t say “Revival in seventy years.” He doesn’t say “Revival when you pray harder or with more intensity or sing God is good all the time with more volume.” He says “Revival now!

Revival now, and if not why not?

As soon as His people refuse to do life without his presence and choose to believe in his goodness they walk into revival, and as long as they continue to love his presence and to believe in his goodness they continue to walk in revival – perpetual revival.

Now,” he says, “My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.

What has happened? What has changed that God now says that he will give attention to the prayers of his people? His people’s attitude has changed and so their prayers have changed.

Hebrews 11: 6

6 Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him

Because he is Lord we should choose to hear and to do what he says.

In the first chapter of Romans we read of people who exchange the truth of God for a lie and so they are “filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.”

Paul then goes on to say that although these people are aware of the righteous judgement of God and that those practising these things deserve to die, yet they continue to do them and also approve of others who do the same things.

Reading on into Romans chapter 2 the spotlight turns toward the church. “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things….and do you think this, O man, you who judge those practising such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgement of God?

For years I puzzled over this. Does this mean that the church is full of people whose lives are still like those included in this list?  As I sought revelation and wisdom from the Lord I believe he gave me the answer from the next verse of Romans chapter 2: “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

I believe that what the Lord showed me is that we are inexcusable when we despise the riches of his goodness and when we reject His provision for sin, for sickness, for oppression, etc, and when we choose the “not bad” of survival rather than the “good” of revival. That is when we fall into the same category as the sexually immoral, the murderers, the deceivers, the backbiters, and the haters of God.

Psalm 14: 1

1 The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’.

If we stop regarding his presence as our number one priority and no longer access the goodness of God that is available to us all the time, it is then that we exchange the truth of God for a lie – the lie that as long as things are “not bad” we can stop depending on the provision he has made for all of our needs – our daily bread.

When struggling with temptation if we neglect the way of escape that he has provided we are saying that there is no God who is able to deliver us out of every temptation and to establish us in the reality of his righteousness. When in the midst of a physical attack we forget that he has provided healing….and so what we are really saying is “There is no God who in his goodness has provided healing for me,” we are saying there is no God who has made provision to heal the sick every time, all the time. Or if we are in financial straits and we say, “There’s no help for me” what we are really saying is, “There is no God who supplies seed to the sower and bread to the eater, there is no God who has always provided for the righteous and has never left his seed to beg for bread.

It’s time to repent of our wicked ways – our neglect of God’s goodness. We are talking about revival now because our God is the God of the now – he is the great I AM.

Revival now, and if not why not?

2 Corinthians 6: 1 – 2

1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says:“In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Jesus said that he has come so that we may have life and have it more abundantly – a super-abundance, an excess, an overflow, a surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, more than sufficient life – a never ending, continual, perpetual overflow of life.

If we are born again then we have been revived. The Holy Spirit has opened up a cry on the inside of us, “Abba, Father!” So how can we say that we don’t have revival now?

To “revive” means to “bring back to consciousness, or life, or strength” so how can we say that we need this when it has already been done?

Ephesians 2: 1, 4 – 6

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins….
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

So much talk and energy that is expended in “praying for revival” is just a distraction because all we need to do is walk in who we already are, and to walk in what God has already done in Christ. The life that we now enjoy is not the natural life that we had before we were born again – we now have a supernatural life, resurrection life, a revived life. We died with Christ and have been raised again with Him to walk in newness of life – resurrection life.

Paul said it this way:

Galatians 2: 20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Our new life is not inferior to our past life, it is superior – it is eternal life, it is everlasting life.

We have the privilege if we choose it to search out God’s face in worship, to pray and to hear from him, and to apply what we hear, and to experience his goodness and the fullness of his provision in every area of our lives.

Speak the language of revival, not survival, and don’t be tempted to adopt the language of survival just so that you fit in. We are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind – so that our new thoughts become new words that become new actions [ways].

Often we try and “humble ourselves” in the wrong way. We think of “humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God” as grovelling in the dirt with a “worm” mentality. But the person who is truly humble is the one who is completely submitted to God’s will for their life, the person who thankfully and gratefully accepts who they are in Christ with all the privileges, and who walks in the abundance of God’s provision every day. Sometimes people think that if they declare who they are in Christ they will become proud but when the Bible says to “humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand” it means you can come boldly into the presence of God just as a child runs to his father.

God resists the proud but some folks are so proud of being “humble” that they never receive anything from God who “….gives grace to the humble.” Where do we get this grace?

Hebrews 4: 16

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

God will always be God and he will always be our Father and we will always be his children. Very often in the Bible when you see people coming into the presence of God they fall on their faces. God is so awesome that falling down in his presence is a very natural reaction but God doesn’t stand on their heads and rub their faces in the dirt just so that He can remind them of who he is. He says, “Get up!” or he lifts them up.

Sometimes we thought that if we could just bury our faces in the carpet a bit deeper, then maybe, just maybe we could be acceptable to God. But God lifts us up – he says, “Get up, I want to pour My life into you, and I want to bless you so that you can go into the world and be a blessing!”

Revival now, and if not why not?

2 Chronicles 7: 15

15 “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”

God said this at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, but we no longer have to wait until we go to worship God in a temple building.  According to 1 Corinthians 3: 9, 16 – 17 and 6: 19 – 20 we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and so now God says, “My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21: 22) He said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11: 9 – 10) He said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name I will do it” (John 14: 13 – 14)

He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you…ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16: 23 – 24)

God says, “In this temple” – that’s you and me as we go about our daily lives, among our family and community, and in the workplace – and God says, “My ears will be attentive to prayer made in this place.” We can pray the prayer of faith – “God, Your Word says this – I believe Your Word is Your will – let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!” And God will reply, “Yes! All of My promises are in Christ yes, and in Him amen – and you are in Christ, so yes – and amen, let it be done according to My Word!”

Too often prayers have been hindered because we prayed wrong! We prayed, “If it be your will…”
but God says, “Have you not read, have you not heard what My will is? My Word is My will – you can pray My Word!”

Some people don’t live by faith – they live by “if- faith”. God’s Word is settled – He has categorically stated, “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm 89: 34)

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4: 4)

We have to learn that our life comes from hearing and applying the Word of God. The Greek word rhema is used here in contrast to logos. Logos is the message; rhema is the communication of the message. Logos is the Bible in its entirety; rhema is a verse from the Bible.  A good example of the distinction between logos and rhema is found in Ephesians 6: 17 – “Take…the sword of the Spirit which is the word (rhema) of God.” Here the reference is not to the Scripture as a whole, but to a particular portion which the believer wields as a sword in his time of need. We need to hear what God is saying to us in any given situation and act on it.

Then, and only then will we walk in revival now, and we will walk in it perpetually. Otherwise, we will be like a dog chasing his tail, or like Israel in the wilderness – wandering aimlessly for forty years, every so often passing the entrance to the Promised Land, but failing to enter in. God says, “If My people…will turn…then…” When is then? Now! How long will now last? Perpetually!

Be blessed as you walk in Revival now!

 
And if not, why not?

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