“When Man Repents, God Relents.”
Last week, I was sitting in a bright yellow waiting room, waiting for my Ford Taurus to get an oil change. While I was there, a minister that had fallen into sin a few years ago was on television. I couldn’t help but watch, interested to hear his heart. This was the second time I had seen him on TV since his moral failure and every time I have seen him, he states that he has gone through extensive therapy, heavy counseling and has finished the restoration process.
He is still married to his wife and finds himself struggling with thoughts of homosexuality to this day. Concerning his failure he states the classic line, “No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.” Homosexuality is not a mistake. A mistake is when you forget to close the refrigerator door or forget to take out the trash. This was a gradual hardening of the heart that led to such a moral decline. A heart that has no conviction for lusting for a passing stranger is in a bad state, but a heart that enters a continual affair, with a man is a heart that is need of a deeper work of the Spirit, especially because he was a minister of the gospel (James 3.1). The red flag for me was that I never heard him mention the word repentance or the power of God in his life to overcome, or most importantly the blood of Jesus. Nor did he mention taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ or anything about putting off the old man and putting on the new (2 Cor. 10.5;Romans 13.14). Is this horrible mindset alive in other Christians living in America? Is there forgiveness without repentance? Read these words from William Booth’s prophecy one hundred years ago.
“The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, “salvation” without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.”
Notice in the middle, General Booth speaks of, “forgiveness without repentance.” I believe in forgiveness and reconciliation to all no matter what social class or level of wickedness they come from. But there is a difference between what we have seen in this pastor and the repentance seen in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke chapter 15).
For those of us who are not familiar with the parable, there are two sons. The younger of the two said to his father, father, “give me my portion of goods; my inheritance, I am entitled to the money that is to come to me” (paraphrased).
The word of God states that not many days after that, the younger son gathered all his things together, took his journey into a far country and wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all of his substance, there arose a mighty famine in the land and he began to be in want. His situation got so bad that he went and joined himself to a citizen or joined himself to a total stranger of that country; and he was sent into the citizen’s fields to feed pigs.
Here is a young man who was once rich and now is in poverty. On top of that, there rose a mighty famine. Things have gotten so bad that he had to join himself to a citizen of that land. The word, “join“ here means, “to cleave to or to be glued together.” It has the same meaning as when a man joins himself to a woman in marriage.
At this point the young man hits rock bottom longing to fill his stomach with the food that the pigs were eating. In the proceeding verse, it states that the young man starts to come to his senses and he begins to remember his Father and his Father’s house. He asks himself, “Why am I here starving to death?”
I believe a lot of individuals, especially the young, are starving to death, maybe not from a physical hunger but for the Word of the Lord. They are wondering, “Are there any absolutes in life?” There are absolutes in life. It is the word of God.
In the book of Amos, it describes that there will come a day when there will be will be a famine not of food or of thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord. America is at this point.
This young man heard the words of his Father and he didn’t cry out, “Father I have made a mistake” or “nobody is perfect.” He cried out, “I have sinned” and “I have sinned against God.” Not the church. Not his family. But, “I have sinned against heaven and against God.”
Notice the same response from David in Psalm 51, “against You and You only have I sinned.”
At this very point the restoration process began and the young man was restored to his Father’s house and he was clothed in his right mind.
Now, back to the anonymous preacher, not once during the interview did this pastor state that he sinned against God or against heaven. He did not, at all, seem to be concerned about his relationship with Jesus. How do I know that? Well, he didn’t mention Him once. He spoke like a man who was only sorry because he got caught. I know this because; his sorrow didn’t cast him upon the blood of Jesus, but on a “restoration” process. My friend, this is worldly sorrow, which leads to death.
To the individual that is reading this, ask yourself, with a sincere heart, “Have I truly repented of my sins and turned to God?” Do I really know Jesus? Do I really have a relationship with Jesus, not just with a church or a religion? Jesus states that He is the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through Him (John 14.6). Jesus is the door. Now I charge you, to walk through Him, but before you do, make sure you COMPLETELY close the door to your past.
“Repentance must be a change of mind that produces a change of conduct and ends in salvation. Have you forsaken your sins? Or are you still practicing them? If so, you are still a sinner. You may have changed your mind, but if you have not changed your conduct, it is not Godly repentance…False repentance is the sorrow of the world; sorrow for sin arising from worldly considerations and motives connected with the present life.” (Charles Finney, “You Can Be Holy”)
“Jesus doesn’t save you in your sins but from your sins.” (Dr. Michael L. Brown, “How Saved Are We?”)
“You say, “When so and so preached, I got saved.” Well, what are you saved from? Are you saved from lying? Are you saved from cheating? Are you saved from lust? Are you saved from rebellion against your parents? Come on! What are you saved from?” (Leonard Ravenhill, Audio Messages)
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: Charles Finney, homosexuality, How Saved Are We, Leonard Ravenhill, minister, repentance, television
Jesus Christ is perfect theology. (Bill Johnson, youtube video, “Bringing Heaven to Earth”)
What is wrong with a Christian who possesses no spirit of prayer? No power with God? He is an infidel. (Charles Finney, “Power from on High” Chapter, the Spirit of Prayer)
The training of the disciples was the presence of Christ. (Andrew Murray, “The Secret of Christianity”)
The Gospel always gives life to the receiver and death to the giver. (Jackie Pulinger, youtube video “Go”)
It is our privilege and duty to live above innocent amusements. (Charles Finney, “Power from on High” chapter Innocent Amusements)
Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. The less joy you have the more entertainment you need. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
The more man reaches for material things on the outside the more he points to his bankruptcy on the inside. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
I would rather feel contrition of heart then be able to define it. (Thomas A. Kempis, “The Imitation of Christ”)
If a commission from an earthly king is considered and honor. How can a commission from a heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? (David Livingston)
The only thing that pleases God is what He does Himself. (Robert Gladstone, audio message “In the Light of Eternity”)
Anti-Christ is not only that which is opposed to Christ, but that which is seeking to be something like Him, yet not Him. (Art Katz, audio message “And they Crucified Him”)
Nothing is more likely to lead to error or heresy than the focus on part rather than the whole. (David Ravenhill, audio message “Worship”)
The idolatrous religions are those that give you a small measure of religious satisfaction yet allow you to retain the Lordship of your own life. (Art Katz, audio message “And They Crucified Him”)
Beloved, for the sake of a lost and dying world, pay any price, get God’s power and set the prisoners free. (John G. Lake, Dr. Michael L. Brown told me that was his favorite quote)
There are a thousand parts of our hearts that need softening a thousand times a day. (Smith Wigglesworth, “The Wigglesworth standard”)
We will get to doctrinal differences once we have exhausted the riches of Jesus Christ. (Frank Viola, audio message “Essential Ingredients”)
Now is the time where we either seize the moment or look back with ever lasting shame that we missed it. (Dr. Michael L. Brown, audio message, “Holy Desperation”)
Can you sit and watch t.v. while your family goes to hell? (David Wilkerson, audio message “A Call to Anguish”)
If God removed His Spirit from the Church today 90 percent of church activities would continue on. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
Why do you call me Lord but do not do what I say? (Jesus Christ, Luke 6.46)
One of these days we will get sick and tired of the spiritual bankruptcy that we live in and the joke that our lives often are and we will get serious with God. (Dr. Michael L. Brown, audio message “John G. Lake” Giants of the Faith series)
Never let the means of worship eclipse the object of worship. (David Ravenhill, audio message “Worship”)
You want to know how to know Christ? Put everything else away and go after Him. (Robert Gladstone, audio message “Crucified with Christ”)
As the earthly tabernacle was the copy of the heavenly so the Christian is to be the copy of the Christ. (David Popovici, text message 11.06.09)
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is determined by one principle alone; total loss of self. (Watchman Nee)
You can go to hell with the “gifts of the Spirit” but not the fruit of the Spirit. (David Popovici, phone conversation 11.10.09)
Never assume someone is right with God. (Stephen L. Hill, Revival 1999)
Christ’s cross is Christ’s way to Christ’s crown. (William Penn, No Cross No Crown)
Anyone who is not bowed down beneath the cross has yet to see it. (Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Eveneing Devotional)
We have substituted organizing for agonizing and equipment for endowment. (Leonard Ravenhill, audio messages)
…we should represent religion as it really is-as living above the world, as consisting in a heavenly mind, as that which gives an enjoyment so spiritual and heavenly as to render the low pursuits and joys of worldly men disagreeable and repulsive. (Charles Finney, Power from on High, chapter Innocent Amusements)
It is so hard to see when my eyes are on me. (Keith Green, song “I Pledge My Head to Heaven)
Humility is the blossom of which death to self is the perfect fruit. (Andrew Murray, Humility chapter Humility and Death to Self)
It is a sad stumbling block to the unsaved to see professing Christians seeking pleasure or happiness from this world. (Charles Finney, Power from on High, chapter Innocent Amusements)
Give therefore place for Christ and deny entrance to all others. (Thomas A. Kempis, Imitation of Christ)
We slander God by our very eagerness to work for Him without knowing Him. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
The problem with Christians is not that they don’t love Jesus, it is that they don’t love only Jesus. “Solomon, loved the Lord but…”(Eric Gilmour)
Every seemingly small compromise serves to remove us that much further from the Spirit of Truth until the holy dove departs, and we go on, not even realizing that He has left. (Art Katz, The Spirit of Truth)
The lack of obedience in our lives breaks down our praying…Disobedient living produces extremely poor praying. Disobedience shuts the door of the prayer closet. It bars the way to the Holy of Holies. No man can pray-really pray-who does not obey. (E. M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, Prayer and Full Surrender)
Do not we rest in our day too much on the arm of the flesh? Cannot the same wonders be done now as of old? Do not the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth still to show Himself strong on behalf of those who put their trust in Him? Oh, that God would give me more practical faith in Him! Where is the Lord God of Elijah? He is waiting for Elijah to call on Him. (James Gilmour)
Be sure to look to your secret duty; keep that up whatever you do. The soul cannot prosper in the neglect of it…It is secret trading that enriches the Christian. Let prayer be the key of the morning and the bolt at night. The best way to fight against sin is to fight it on our knees. (Philip Henry)
the unalterable basis of an open heaven is a grave, and a crisis at which you come to an end of your own self-life. It is the crisis of real experimental identification with Christ in His death, not now for your sins, but as you. Your open heaven depends on that. (T. Austin Sparks, “The School of Christ”)
God can depend on consecrated men. God can afford to commit Himself to those who have fully committed themselves to Him in prayer. He who gives all to God will get all from God. Having given all to God, he can claim all that God has for him…The prayer life and the consecrated life are intimate companions. They are Siamese twins, inseparable. Prayer enters into every phase of a consecrated life. A prayerless life that claims consecration is a misnomer, false, counterfeit. Consecration is really the setting apart of oneself to a life of prayer. It means not only to pray, but to pray habitually, and to pray more effectively.
It is the consecrated man who accomplishes most by his praying. God must hear the an wholly given up to Him. God cannot deny the requests of the man who has renounced all claims to himself and who has wholly dedicated himself to God and His service. This act of the consecrated man puts him on praying ground and pleading terms with God. It puts him in reach of God in prayer. It places him where he can get a hold of God, and where he can influence God to do things that He would not otherwise do. (E.M. Bounds, “Essentials of Prayer” chapter Prayer and consecration)
Christianity is not a change of life but an exchange of life.(Eric Gilmour)
Christian, what have you to do with sin? Has it not cost you enough already? Burnt child, will you continue to play with fire? When you have already been between the jaws of the lion, will you step into his den a second time? Have you not had enough of the old serpent? He poisoned you once. Will you play near the hole of the viper and put your hand upon the cobra’s den a second time? Oh do not be so foolish! Did sin ever give you any real pleasure? Did you find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to your old drudgery and wear the chain again. But sin never did give you what it promised to bestow. Rather, it deluded you with lies. Do not be snared again. Be free and let the remembrance of your ancient bondage forbid you to enter the net again. Sin is contrary to the designs of eternal love. God desires your purity and holiness. Do not oppose the purpose of your Lord. Christians can never sin cheaply. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer and brings darkness over the soul. Therefore, do not be the slave of sin. (Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening)
“We know one thing about a man heading down the road with a cross. He is
not coming back.”
(A.W. Tozer, The Best of Tozer)
“Sensuality is the greatest hindrance in the world to Martyrdom. To face
martyrdom, a Christian must first have crucified lesser affections. He who
is overcome by little degrees of pain will hardly consent to lose his life.”
(Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living)
“God will forgive you but time will never forgive you.”
“We say, “Just confess the Lord and you are in!”
He says, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom.”
We say, “Just pray this prayer and it’s done.”
He says, “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, take up his
cross and follow me.”
We say, “Just come to the alter it will only take a minute!”
He says “make every effort to enter through the narrow door.”
Who do you think is right?”
(Doctor Michael Brown, “How Saved Are We?”)
Any “revelation” from Scripture that doesn’t lead me to an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ, only makes me more religious and equips me to argue with those who disagree. (Bill Johnson, audio messages)
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: A.W. Tozer, bill johnson, Charles Finney, Charles Spurgeon, John G. Lake, Keith Green, smith wigglesworth, Watchman Nee
A couple of days ago, atheists from around the country celebrated “Blasphemy Day”. As one website encouraged them to: “…admit to committing blasphemy against all gods. Religion is mythology. Gods are lies. Preachers are liars (yes, all of them), and anyone who believes in magic men in the sky are fools. Please take a moment to commit blasphemy today. Change your status message on Facebook or MySpace to something blasphemous. Wear an atheist pin. Come out of the closet a little more. Make it known… and make it loud.”
Whenever I witness to these blasphemous types (which I have done quite a bit recently), I can’t help but wonder if they will be able to retain their arrogant confidence when facing the rising fog of death as it draws them in to the darkness of an eternity without hope.
You see, death seems to have a way of bringing a solemn hush to the pretentious profanities of self-confident blasphemers. In those final hours and minutes of life, courage cannot be found in the fading flower of the mind and body. Excuses, justifications and intellectual arguments are all exposed as cheap covers, for a deep-seated fear of the grave, that cannot offer one ounce of consolation or power over it.
Thomas Paine was a blasphemous, smug deist. He was known to describe the Gospel as a “fabulous invention”. But his last words were “What a fool I have been. Oh God help me, for I cannot bear to be left alone!”
Voltaire was another deist, infamous for his contempt of the Bible. But on his death bed he exclaimed: “I am abandoned by God and man!”. “Oh Jesus Christ! Oh Jesus Christ!”
Robert Ingersoll’s Father was a Presbyterian preacher who had even filled the pulpit of Charles Finney. But Robert rejected the faith of his father and became a famous proponent of agnosticism and humanism. On his deathbed he cried, “God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul from Hell if there be a Hell.”
Sir Thomas Scott said upon his deathbed: “Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.”
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, the French statesman, as he was dying, asked to be drugged, “that I may not think of eternity and what is to come”
Contrast these experiences with the last words of evangelist D.L. Moody. “Earth is receding, Heaven is descending, God is calling and I am going home. Is this death? Why it is not bad, it is glorious. This is my coronation day”.
Or the words of Stephen as he was being stoned: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God…”
When a storm is approaching, many animals will nervously burrow and dig for shelter under the ground. But the eagle is not afraid. He simply spreads his wings, and effortlessly rides the thermals high above the storm. He looks down at it from above and laughs mockingly.
My friend, when a man has Christ, he has wings. He need not be afraid of death, for when it comes, he will soar above it and taunt it with the words of Paul the Apostle:
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:55-57)
Posted in News, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: atheist, blasphemy day, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, death, deist, faith, Gabriel Riqueti, Jesus, MySpace, Sir Thomas Scott, soul, the bible, Thomas Paine
In Charles Finney’s account of his baptism into the Holy Spirit, he said, “As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. …He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet. …I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears…”
I think that this description is characteristic of a genuine Holy Spirit encounter…our love for and revelation of the Son will grow and blossom. I don’t understand people who have “revivals” and conferences where they are obsessed with the Holy Spirit, but don’t even acknowledge Jesus. They sing songs about glory, power, anointing and never mention the name of Jesus. They talk about angels and miracles, visions, encounters and third Heaven experiences, but never talk about Jesus. How can this be? The Holy Spirit does not come to speak of Himself…He points away from himself to another – Jesus!
John 16:13,14 says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF…HE SHALL GLORIFY ME: for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you.”
It is impossible to have a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit and not have an encounter with Jesus. If you ever see this happening be very careful, because while there are many spirits in the world, there is only ONE HOLY SPIRIT!
In Genesis Chapter 24 we read the story of Abraham sending his servant Eliazar to find a wife for His son; Isaac. It is Eliazar who brings Isaac and Rebekah, his bride, together. In this story we see so many types. Abraham is a type of God the Father. Isaac is a type of Jesus. Eliazar is a type of the Holy Spirit, and Rebekah is a type of the Church. There are many spiritual truths that can be drawn out of this story, but there is one that jumped out at me as I just read this verse recently.
Even though Rebekah had never seen Isaac, she seemed to love him greatly. She chose to leave her father, mother and family to be with him. As soon as she saw Isaac, she jumped off her camel and went to meet him. When they met face to face there was an instantaneous bonding between them. There were no dates, no courting, no prenuptial agreements or arrangements…they went straight to the honeymoon.
How is it that Rebekah loved Isaac even though she had never seen him? I think you can blame this on Eliazer. I think that from the moment he met Rebekah, he began to talk about his master and brag about him telling Rebekah how wonderful he was, how handsome, kind and gentle. On the entire camel ride back to the south country, Eliazer told Rebekah stories about Isaac and described him in detail. Rebekah was infatuated with this incredible man and could not wait to meet him face to face.
1Peter. 1:8 says, “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…”
Verse 53 says that Eliazer, “…brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold and raiment and gave them to Rebekah…” These gifts that Eliazer lavished on Rebekah are types of the gifts of the Spirit. They were not Eliazer’s, they were Isaac’s and were a sign of Isaac’s love. Of course they made Rebekah look beautiful as well, but the real purpose was to cause Rebekah to fall more in love with her groom…and it worked! When the Holy Spirit is moving and the Gifts of the Spirit are in operation we can expect to find people falling more in love with Jesus.
But consider this: what if Eliazer had flirted with Rebekah and tried to attract her with is own charm? What if Eliazer had given her his own gifts and told stories about his own life to win her over? What if Rebekah had become infatuated with and fallen in love with Eliazer instead of Isaac? He would have been a wicked, unfaithful and seductive servant.
Paul warns us that in the last days there will also be “seducing spirits” in operation. A seducing spirit is one that would seek to divert attention from Jesus and unto itself. Where people love the gifts more than the groom there are seductive spirits in operation. Where people seek manifestations more than “the man,” there are seductive spirits at work. Any time Jesus is not the main focus, the supreme attraction, the ultimate fascination, the crowning prize and the preeminent desire – WATCH OUT! The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with it!
The Holy Spirit will always speak about JESUS, reveal JESUS, exalt JESUS, promote JESUS and magnify JESUS…nothing else and nothing less than JESUS!
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeded from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: Abraham, Charles Finney, Church, conference, Genesis, Holy Spirit, Isaac, Jesus, Paul, Rebekah, Revival