Wednesday, 18 July 2018

O On the edge of revival

The restoration of justice

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Pre-Revival Night – Dordrecht, The Netherlands – September 2nd, 2016

Love and grace. That’s what it’s all about, according to the majority of the churches today. Some even wonder how we can say something else, having a ministry called “LoveUnlimited”. The fact is that we never claim that God’s love and grace are not true or not available. They are very true. It is the whole reason why the Father has send His precious Son to the world. But what we do claim is that love and grace are not the complete picture. 

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Romans 5:7-11

The remarkable way God showed His love to us became visible through the life, ministry and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Even though we were still sinners. Even though we were still considered enemies of God. He offered us the Way, which is Jesus. However, the question is if we’re automatically forgiven or not? The Word makes it clear that we have to make decisions in our lives. This is a process that will continue for the rest of our lives. The ‘once saved, always saved’ theory is simply a lie. It suggests that we are forgiven for every sin we’re about to do, without any responsibility from our side. The Word of God makes it very clear that we do have a responsibility. The biggest problem God has with humanity is not only the sin itself, but also the denial of it and the ignorance. More than that, it makes God angry.

I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
Hosea 5:14-15

Reading these verses, what makes God angry? The fact that they refused to call their sins a sin. They justified their selves. For such people, there is no rescue. When we commit sin, knowingly or unknowingly, we always give legal ground to the enemy. Where the enemy has legal ground, God cannot bless us until the legal ground is taken away, until His righteousness has been restored. God understands that we can fall for sin. He even acknowledges in His Word how easy it is to fall for it. This is not a matter of taking a huge unbearable burden of sin upon you, this is about walking in the Light and acknowledging and confessing our sins. Righteous people can fall as well, but they get up. They don’t justify their sins, they confess them. This is an attitude of the heart. An attitude like “I don’t want to commit sin, but if I do, I’ll get up again”. When we say we have no sin, God cannot and will not forgive us. When we say we have no sin, Jesus does not live in us. But when we admit our sins and confess them, we are forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. He is an expert in dealing with sin.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:6-10

Now why is all of this so important, when we talk about revival? One of the fruits of a true revival is restoration. But God always starts at the root. We talk about love and grace as if we understand it. We talk about it as if our churches are filled with it. But the reality is otherwise. In most cases love and grace are just empty words with no meaning. People come to our churches and as long as they’re a member, they have the illusion of being loved. True love only becomes visible when it gets hard. What about that leader that fell for adultery? If he or she acknowledged and confessed the sin, then why are we still judgmental? Why is that suddenly a reason not to love? When King David came to the acknowledgment and confession of his sin, he acted accordingly and God restored him completely, without taking away his position or anointing. It’s a different case when people do not acknowledge and confess their sins, or when they want to continue in it, but those who truly repent in their hearts can and will be used by God. It is only religion that speaks of weeks or years of ‘repentance’. Look at how fast God was able to restore David, because of the attitude of his heart. Other than that, what about those who leave our churches? They can walk away, never to be heard from again, without any of us looking after them, searching for them or calling them. They’re just gone. Just like that. These are precious souls, precious human lives. The way we deal with people, especially in their times of weakness, says more about us then about them. These are the moments when love needs to become visible, not just in the moments where all seems to be well. These are just two of many examples. 

In God’s Kingdom there can’t be grace without justice. There can’t be love without justice. If there is no justice, there is no grace and no love. God is grace and God is love, but the foundation He is sitting on is righteousness and justice. Somehow we have forgotten that along the way. The fact that Jesus gave His life for us does not mean that God has built Himself a different throne.

Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Psalm 97:2

When we begin to ask God for revival, He always works from the inside out. Starting in our hearts, then in our churches and families, then in our cities, then in our areas etc. But it starts with us. We know that His aim is to make His love visible through us, to a world in need. That love is founded on righteousness and justice. Grace is founded on righteousness and justice. Without these things, grace and love cannot exist. He is a holy God. Again, this does not mean that we have to carry a burden of sin with us. It just means we have to honest about it. The difference between God and the enemy is that God exposes sin, so that we can acknowledge and confess it, while the enemy will accuse us, in his attempt to get us condemned. The difference lies in the motivation behind it. God, Who want to save us for eternity, satan, who want us to burn in hell with him.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
Revelation 12:10

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
John 16:8

When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment, His aim is to restore us. By restoration I mean the most far reaching form of restoration, to the person He intended us to be when He created mankind. In a way you could say that this is the integration process of the citizens of Heaven. The more we learn here, the less we have to learn when we enter the kingdom of Heaven. The main purpose of the Holy Spirit is always to convict the world (literally: “to expose”) of sin, righteousness and judgment. When we ask God for revival, He wants to revive us first. That starts with the main purpose of the Holy Spirit. 

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19

The name of our ministry, LoveUnlimited, was based upon these verses. Love is the ultimate aim. Love like you cannot imagine yet. But as you can see, it can be comprehended. So there will be a point where you will be able to ‘get it’. But these verses start with “For this reason…”. So the question is: “For what reason?”. In verse 5 it says: “as it has now been revealed by the Spirit”. What does the Spirit reveal? Sin, righteousness and judgment. To make us feel guilty? No. To make us confess and acknowledge our sins, so that God can restore us on every area of our lives. To make us aware of God’s righteousness and to make us aware of the judgment that is coming.

You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
Psalm 97:10-11

Do you want grace and love? That is an excellent desire and completely in line with the will of God. It makes God happy when we have that desire and when we go after it. But if we want it to last, it needs to be built upon the foundation of righteousness and justice. One of the many assumptions today is that there is no need to specifically confess sins, for Jesus dealt with it already. That is a major and classical mistake. Jesus dealt with the consequences of sin, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to deal with our sins. We have to come to the point of acknowledgment and confession. We don’t have to carry around the burden of our sins, but it has to be brought into the Light of Christ.

For most of our lives we have heard about the coming day of judgment. I heard that several times in church. But let me give you a revelation here. There is no day of judgment. There will never be a day of judgment. I can understand why everybody thinks there will be a day of judgment, because almost every Bible translation does mention it. The word they translated as ‘day’ comes from the Greek word ‘hemera’ (Strong G2250), which can be translated as ‘day’, but also as ‘time’ in general. The fact that we’re not talking about just one day becomes more clear in 1 Corinthians 4:5, where it speaks about a season of judgment, which comes from the Greek word ‘kairos’ (strong G2540). It is therefore more likely that we’re talking about an eon of judgment. An eon is the highest possible form of time indication. There are days, weeks, years, decades, centuries, era’s and then you have eon’s. An eon is such a huge amount of time that we don’t know how long it takes. We just know that it contains several era’s. Only God knows the measure of it, but it’s huge. The Word of God doesn’t speak about the day of judgment, but about more than that. It is a classical mistake to believe that the judgment of God will be over in just one day. That will never happen. Jesus Christ will judge each and every human being. Everyone. Nobody is excluded. 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Romans 14:10-12

This is an extremely serious matter. God doesn’t take sin lightly. He doesn’t take righteousness lightly and He doesn’t take justice lightly. Jesus Christ will judge all of us and His judgment will be fair, just and thorough. Nothing will be left out. Nothing will be forgotten. However, it doesn’t mean that those who are in Christ will be condemned. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1

Jesus took our punishment. That part is finished but only for those who are in Christ and who walk according to the Spirit. It doesn’t say ‘for those who are Christian’. It says ‘for those who are in Christ’. That talks about the people who really lived their lives for Jesus and who made Him the first priority in their lives, even if they did that with many mistakes. The judgment will take place based upon the heart and character. But even those who are in Christ will appear before the judgment seat of Christ. It will not be a condemnation, but we will be held accountable for each and every thing we did and for each and every word we spoke. That’s how God values righteousness and judgment. The court case of your life might take as long as your life itself. He will surely take His time for it.

In this life we have the choice and opportunity to acknowledge and confess our sins. Those who are in Christ do not have to be worried of condemnation if they forgot to confess some sins. Jesus Christ looks at the attitude of our hearts. If there is a true desire to live for Him, even though we fall for sin, He will forgive us. But every sin needs to be confessed. Every sin that is not confessed in our life, will be brought up during the court case of our life. All the sins that are not confessed during our life, need to be confessed at that moment (1 Corinthians 11:31) in the presence of Jesus Christ, all the angels, all the saints etc. Nothing can remain hidden at that moment. But in this life we also have the opportunity to confess our sins. All the sins that we confess and acknowledge during our lifetime, will not only be forgiven, they will also never be brought up again. All the sins that we confess during our lifetime will be eternally erased from all the books of Heaven. Jesus will not mention it anymore, not even during the court case of your life because it is dealt with. Therefore it really pays to confess our sins now, then to do it in the presence of everyone, during the court case of your life. 

Do you see how serious this is to God? We’ve just spoken about the personal lives now. How much more attention will He give to the church? To the church leaders? There will also be a case in regard to each and every church. We will be held accountable. We have the responsibility for our towns, area’s and even our nation. What will we do with that responsibility? When we talk about revival, we talk about bringing back to life. That starts with the restoration of justice. That is the foundation where everything else, including love and grace, is built on. There is no love without justice. There is no grace without justice. Both cannot exist without justice. So when you see justice lacking in a nation, in a city or in a church, then you know that love and grace are lacking as well.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
2 Timothy 3:1-5

What does it say about love here? Men will be unloving. And besides that men will be many other things. All these fruits are visible today including in the church. Not in every church, but unfortunately in many churches. They speak about God, about signs and miracles, about holiness, but they have no fruits. They deny the power. They try to achieve it on their own strength by doing good deeds. It’s a change that is just temporary. When it gets hard, they fall. Only the Holy Spirit can and will make the Word of God alive in us. Only that will cause real change. The real change is the power of the gospel, the power of Jesus Christ. That is the form of change that lasts. So when we go after revival, when we want to be brought back to life, in the way that can be seen in the Word of God, then we need to be prepared to deal with sin, righteousness and judgment. That’s where it all starts and from there it will go to restoration. God will always start with the root of each problem. He will never start restoring when the cause of the problem is still intact. Once again, that leaves us with a choice. He will never do what we don’t want. We have to choose it. We have to allow Him to start this work in us and in our churches. Then the restoration can come.

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