Friday, 14 December 2018

O On the edge of revival

The era of judgments

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Pre-Revival Night – Dordrecht, The Netherlands - September 16th, 2016

In the previous study we’ve talked about the restoration of justice. Not the most popular topic in these days, but once you see where it leads, you are more than happy to accept it. In our search for revival, this is a step that cannot be skipped. If we do skip it, nothing will happen. When you start to build a new house, you always start with the foundation. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of that foundation. From God’s point of view, the foundation is His justice. I’m not necessarily talking about condemnation. We know that grace is available to each and every person who is in Jesus Christ. But neither condemnation nor grace are God’s complete justice. They are a part of it. One of both, condemnation or grace, is the conclusion of the court case. It’s the verdict, not the entire picture. There will always be a court case, with the Lord Jesus Christ as our Judge. Even if we already know that the verdict is grace. The word grace has become such a cheap word in today’s churches. It has been robbed of its true meaning. It has been used as an excuse for sin. Even worse, it has been used as an excuse not to change and not to allow change to happen. We need to learn how God values righteousness and judgment. Without His revelation about these two things, we are never able to value grace. And then we’re just talking about the final judgment, but that’s not all. 

When we’re talking about judgment, most assume that that is something for the end. For the moment when we arrive before His presence, after we’ve left this earth. The fact is that that is the final judgment, showing that that judgment is the last in a series of judgments. God’s judgment’s already began and they will increase in intensity as we approach the conclusion of this era. Grace doesn’t mean that judgment will be left out. It just means that we, the followers of Jesus Christ, have a way out, so that we can have a different outcome of our court case. Jesus never said that He came to replace His justice with just grace. Instead, He came to bring judgment.

Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.
John 12:31-32

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.” Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
John 9:39-41

While reading these verses, and knowing the character of our Jesus, we can see a clear motivation for the judgments that He allows to come over the earth, over nations, over areas, over Churches and over life’s of people. These motivations are:

  1. To draw all people to Himself
  2. To make the spiritually blind see
  3. To make those who claim to see spiritually blind

The last point, to make those who claim to see spiritually blind, talks about the religious people. About those who justify their selves. People who think and believe they are doing well, and who justify their sins, don’t need a Savior. Therefore, they will remain under judgment. So what is the most important aim of the judgments of Jesus? To make it clear that something is wrong and that something needs to change. The next aim is that those who are under one or more judgments are going to search God for answers, so that He can restore them. After all, the Holy Spirit came to show us what sin, righteousness and judgment are. The judgments are meant to get our attention. When He has our attention, He is more than happy to reveal what is wrong. That’s where His grace takes over. These judgments are not for the end. They are happening now, all over the world. His judgments will continue to take place, until the final judgment comes. A clear example of judgments in these days, instead of just at the end, can be found in Corinthians. 

For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:29-32

In these days, some people are still afraid to participate in the Lord’s supper, because of these verses. But His judgment is not limited to the Lord’s supper, although this is a great example. What is happening here? These verses do not talk about people without sin. Otherwise there would be no need for judging. It’s the same as in our natural world. As long as you’re a law abiding citizen, nobody will start a court case against you. But when we commit sin, we are in violation. At the same moment our enemy, satan, will immediately start to accuse us before the throne of God. When we truly are in violation with the Word of God, he has a point and he has legal ground. The only righteous thing that God can do next is to judge. Not according to the accusations, but according to His Own Word. What happens next is up to us, for we have the ‘extra option’, which is grace. 

To judge ourselves simply means to search our hearts and actions, and to come to the acknowledgment and confession of every sin that may be there. This is not about feeling guilty or to take up a burden of shame. It is about admitting that something is wrong and in violation with the Word of God. The word repentance means changing the way we think. According to what? According to Jesus Christ and according to sin. In order to receive grace, we have to accept Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah and as the Son of God. We also have to acknowledge and admit each and every sin that the Holy Spirit is convincing us of. This basically means that we admit before God that we are guilty of sin and that we are in need of His forgiveness and grace. That is what it means to judge ourselves. When we do that, the Word of God says that He will not only forgive us, but that He will also cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We may feel ashamed to admit the sins that are in our life. We may feel guilty or extremely guilty. But ignoring is never an option. The shame and guilt will go away. Both can seem like a huge mountain that cannot be overcome, but that is just by appearance. The love and grace of God are so extremely huge. And His grace is new every morning. When we align ourselves with His Word and His will, there is unlimited grace. He will take the shame and guilt away from us. He will restore us in every possible way. 

Then there is the part where it speaks about not judging ourselves. That is the exact opposite of what I’ve just described. It means we’re justifying ourselves and our sins. It means that we pretend that everything is alright and that we did nothing wrong, even though we committed sin. Not only for the people around us, but even worse, we also choose to believe the lie that we did nothing wrong. Another scenario, and just as bad, is when we do admit and confess with our mouths, while our hearts are not in it. Those are the scenario’s where we are about to sin and where we say in our hearts that we will ask for forgiveness later, while willingly and knowingly choosing to continue. I’m not talking about those who are bounded by sin and in need for deliverance, but those who rather choose for the desires of the flesh, then to do the will of the Father. By doing so, they willingly and knowingly choose to believe a lie. When the Bible says that we have to judge ourselves, it means that we have to judge with our hearts first, before we confess with our mouths. God will always search our hearts to see if that which we speak with our mouths matches with what lives inside our hearts. When that is the case, our confessions and prayers are heard. When that is not the case, our confessions and prayers have no meaning to God. They are worthless. A waste of time. God will do nothing with those confessions and prayers, for we have not really judged ourselves in our hearts. This is what the Bible means with the verses about the Lord’s supper.

Whether we judge ourselves in our hearts or not, from the outside everything may seem just fine, for nobody can see what lives in our hearts, but God alone. Some have received the gift to see the hearts of people by the power of the Holy Spirit, but most people don’t have that. How can you tell if something is wrong or not? By the fruits. In the case of the Lord’s supper it becomes the clearest. When we do not judge ourselves, then God has no choice but to judge us. The Word mentions three fruits of what happens when people do not judge their selves and where the judgment of God takes over. These fruits are very shocking:

  1. People become weak
  2. People become sick
  3. People die

Those are not the fruits of the final judgment. Those are the fruits of here and now. God is not into politics. God is not into appearances. He just wants honesty and righteousness. Looking back at the churches where I have been, I never really heard someone mentioning this as the reason why people can be weak, sick or dying. But this is very real. All it takes is just being honest in our hearts and making the choice to admit that our sins are sins and in contrary to the Word of God, followed by the confession with our mouth.

Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.
Psalm 10:12-14

Struggles, pain, weakness and sickness can be indicators of something. It doesn’t always have to be caused by sin, but it is a very real possibility. We should always pay attention and explore the possibility. The judgments of God are not limited to the Lord’s supper. I just mentioned that as one of the many examples of God’s judgments in the here and now. He judges over each and every area in our lives and in the churches. He does require an account. Remember, His aim is never to condemn us. That is not what He wants to do. He also does not want to see us suffer under the consequences of our sins. But He will allow the consequences to happen in our lives, when we do not judge ourselves. Remember, Jesus said that His judgments are meant to draw the people to Him, to make those who are spiritually blind see and to make those who claim to see spiritually blind. His end goal is our complete and utter restoration. He will use all means available to achieve that goal, including judgments. His judgments are also not limited to just our lives and churches. He is the judge of everything and His judgments are going over the entire world, growing in intensity, while we’re approaching the conclusion of this eon.

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:25-29

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Haggai 2:6-9

Yes, these parts of the Bible do speak about these times and the judgments of God will come over the earth. Everything that can be shaken, will be shaken and there is a lot that can be shaken. So many people are working so hard to save the environment and to maintain this earth, but the fact is that everything in this current environment and on this earth is subject to corruption. It cannot be saved. Only people can be saved. Everything else will pass away. Some things cannot be avoided. The judgments of God, and the removal of the things that can be shaken, are things that cannot be avoided. His righteousness shall prevail. So His judgments are coming over the earth, over our nations, over our cities, over our Churches and over our lives and we’re right in the middle of it.

In order to restore people and to give everyone the option to be saved, healed, delivered and restored, God’s righteousness must be restored first. His righteousness is the foundation of everything and not something to be taken lightly. Without it we’ll have none of these things. Without it revival will never happen. Without it revival is completely ruled out. As I said earlier, there are only two options to restore God’s righteousness. The first is by His judgments, the second is by His grace. His judgments will come over each and every area where sin is ignored or even approved. Nothing will be excluded. His grace will come over each and every area where we admit and confess sin, with our hearts and mouths. So what happens to us, to our Churches, to our cities and to our nation, basically depends on us. Even when His judgments are coming over us, it still is meant as a wake-up call. It means something is wrong and in need of our attention. Especially in this era, His judgments will not become less. They will increase. The storms will come, exactly like Jesus said they would come. If you think that the situation in this world is going to become easier, then think again. That will never happen again. It will become worse and worse, until it reaches the following point.

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Revelation 6:12-17

As we approach the end, it will only become darker. Difficult times are ahead but in the midst of all that, we can stand. The worse and darker it becomes, the brighter our lights can shine. It may seem like there is no hope left, as we see the judgments increasing, but that is far from the truth. There is still a lot of hope left. More than that, a world in need is waiting for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed. Especially in hard times, people are going to search for answers. That’s the moment where we need to be available. God will never do for us what we can do for ourselves. He will save, heal, deliver and restore us. But He will never make us admit and confess sin. He will just show us that something is wrong. He will convince us of sin, but we need to take the action to decide to admit and confess these sins. That is our responsibility. For our lives, for our families, for our Churches and for every area we have authority over. God will hold us accountable for it.

The more judgments are coming over the earth, the more God is trying to draw people to Himself. That is the aim of His judgments. To wake people up! To make those who are blind see and to make those who claim to see blind. That is not a bad thing. The bad thing is the reason why the judgments are taking place. At the moment we start to long for revival, I believe it brings joy to God’s heart. If we really go after it, it will always start with us, in our own hearts. From there it goes to our churches. Our lives and churches will be held against the Light of God, until every iniquity becomes visible. Then we have an option. To ignore everything God reveals, or to humble ourselves and to confess our sins. At the moment we choose to humble ourselves and to confess our sins, we are back in line with the Word of God. Then He will restore us. Then His power is being released. Then He can really use us to reach a world in need. Make no mistake, many people long for God, but they also long for realness. 

One of the major causes why people left the Church, is because of the lack of realness. In many churches, weakness is not shown; it is hidden behind a façade. We need to come at the point where all facades are torn down and where every weakness, shortcoming and sin becomes visible. We need to understand that people look to us as an example of what the Christian life should be. If they can’t see how we deal with our weaknesses, shortcomings and sins, where else should they learn it? The Church needs to become a safe environment again to confess sins, without being judged by brothers and sisters in Christ. Judgment is only meant for those: 

  1. Who do not yet see their sins
  2. Who did not confess their sins yet
  3. Who refuse to repent

It was and is never meant to judge those who admit and confess their sins and who come to us in their moments of weakness. If we use judgment on those people, we use it as a system of punishment, and grace is far from us. The Church always needs to be a safe environment, where people are standing next to you, willing to help you overcome, through the power of Jesus Christ. Then a church can grow. Only when we’re honest, humble and meek to one another.

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