The word restoration as defined by Webster’s dictionary is, “the act or process of returning something to its original condition; the act of bringing back something that existed before; the act of returning something that was stolen or taken.” Yesterday I restored our plastic deck chairs. I fixed the broken parts and then I sanded a little and wiped them down with Varsol and then painted them. The paint I had used for plastic as it turns out breaks down in the sun and comes off on your hands and clothes so this is regular event though I have not done them for a while. From a distance and by squinting a little, they look brand new but they are still old and they still are the same chairs we bought in the beginning. The coat of paint just makes them nice but they are still a little fragile and when I sit on them they groan a bit.
                Obviously this blog is not about a couple of deck chairs but the church and how God will restore us. 1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” As always the word of God gives us clarity and hope. Jeremiah then talks about the hope we have of being restored. Jeremiah 33:1 “While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” God then said, 5 I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness. 6 “‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. 7 I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. 8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. 9 Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’ 10 “This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.”
                Yes with my own hands I restored my deck chairs. They are okay but not great. On the other hand I have seen houses and cars restored that leave you speechless and all by human hands. It really is amazing what the mind of a human can accomplish but bare in mind that everything they build comes from God’s creation. I read a story one time that said, “One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him. The scientist walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you. We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost?" God listened very patiently and kindly to the man. After the scientist was done talking, God said, "Very well, how about this? Let's say we have a man-making contest." To which the scientist replied, "Okay, great!" But, God added, "Now, we're going to do this just like I did with Adam." The scientist said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and grabbed a handful of dirt. God looked at him and said, "No! Go get your own dirt." Yes, man thinks they are really quite something and these days so does the church. As man has proved time and time again, they can build amazing things. Deuteronomy 31:29 “For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” As you can see from this virus, even though man thinks they have it all figured and out and don’t need God, it didn’t take much to shut the world down.
                I am always intrigued with the moon which means God’s promise to David is still in effect. It was beautiful this evening. I was just speaking about what our hands can make and if you go to NASA’s Spot the Station they will give you sighting times (London Ontario) like April 6th, at 8:32pm for 4 minutes and April 8th at 8:34 for 3 minutes. They also tell you where to look. They say, “Watch the International Space Station pass overhead from several thousand worldwide locations. It is the third brightest object in the sky and easy to spot if you know when to look up. Visible to the naked eye, it looks like a fast-moving plane only much higher and traveling thousands of miles an hour faster!” That is amazing but man is still trying to find the end of the universe. Speaking of God’s creation, on April 7th will be another super moon, the largest of the year, meaning it is the closest to the earth. So here we are in a global pandemic and the moon moved in a little closer to remind us that God, the creator of the universe is in control. Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” One article said, “It will be visible from moonrise on Tuesday, April 7 until moonset the following morning on Wednesday, April 8, and is expected to peak at 100 percent illumination at 10:35am EDT. Over one-third of the human population on earth is in lockdown but fear not, (the moon) will be visible to the majority of people.” Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Another article said, “April’s full moon is known as the Paschal Moon (“paschal” meaning “relating to Passover / Easter”) by the Christian church, which uses it to determine the date of Easter. Traditionally, Easter is held on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox. Since the spring equinox occurred on March 20, and the Super Pink Moon falls on April 7, Easter Sunday will be held on April 12.”
                This year Easter and Passover fall at the same time with Passover starting on April 9th, 2020. This upcoming week is a reminder that not only were we freed from Egypt as the Jews celebrate but also from Babylon as Jeremiah prophesied. At the time, the Lord had decreed disaster on them for their disobedience so Jeremiah had to give them this message. Jeremiah 14:9 “For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in this place. 10 “When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’ 14 “However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.” Jeremiah 23:7 “So then, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” Disaster came on them for their disobedience but along with their desolation came the promise to restore them.
                Then Jesus the light of the world came as our Savior but the Jews rejected him and still do. So then we Gentiles were given hope. Isaiah 42:6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 49:6 “He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Then Paul said Acts 13:46 “Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.” Paul was told Acts 26:17 “I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
                There is a pattern of disobedience here but we also see God by grace save His people. He saved them from Egypt and then Babylon and then God sent His son Jesus to save everyone, not just his own people but would save the Gentiles too. The Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah and killed him. Even though Jesus rose from the dead and walked among them, nothing has changed as they still reject the Messiah. I was reading a Jewish website that gave reasons why Jesus was not the Messiah. They say, “Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies. What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God.” They then go on to list all their reasons why Jesus is not the Messiah. The Gentiles then accepted the word of God and believed. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.” But Paul said Galatians 1:6 “ I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” The church has turned away ever since Paul said that, just like the Jews. The Gentiles now even believe the same as the Jews. We have the dispensationalists teaching the very same things as the Jews who do not believe in Jesus. They are both waiting for the perfection of the Messianic Kingdom (1000 year reign) but that kingdom is already here.
                There is perfect peace already, they just wanted a different kind of peace and refused to accept God’s plan. Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” There is the already the temple; we are not waiting for it to be built again though they might try. Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” The kingdom is already here; repent and believe the good news. Mark 1:14 “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Matthew 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
                This past Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. Psalm 118:26 “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 118:22 “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!” Mark 11:9 “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
                Jesus came to free us but as the Jews have rejected the Messiah, the Gentiles have rebelled against Jesus by going their own way. I talked about this rebellion last Sunday, April 5, 2020. This rebellion brought on the abomination that causes desolation causing the church to be decimated and is now a heap of rubble. 1 Kings 9:8 “This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?” And yes right now the world is scoffing at the church. I shared about Kenneth Copeland shouting at the virus and then last Sunday he was blowing at it. “I blow — the wind of God … on you,” he continued. “You are destroyed forever, and you’ll never be back.” The week before He said it was dead at 12:00 pm March 29, 2020. Where is the discernment? This is what I wanted to show you from the comments section. Some responded, “And that's why kids, you should never do drugs or religion;” “That is the way those churches should look like all the time, empty.” “The look of profound insanity.” “Just in case you are wondering ... if you give this person money, you’re stupid.” Yes I know I’m picking on poor Kenneth but he is just the tip of the iceberg. We have false prophets, apostles, preachers, teachers and evangelists all proclaiming the word of the Lord yet God says Jeremiah 23:21 “I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.”
                He can blow and shout all he wants just like the prophets of Baal did in 1 Kings 18:26 “Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” Then Elijah stepped forward 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” At the beginning when 1 Kings 18:21 “Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him. But the people said nothing.” This is the condition the church is in and not just the charismatics. The power they think they have is not God and the rest of the church seems content to sit in a dimly lit room, comfortably numb. Pastors and priest preach their own version of the word of God yet seem unaware that there is more. We have been called to do as Jesus did and defeat the work of the devil. A how to cope in this world message doesn’t defeat him. Meanwhile the church has already been defeated.
                We have been defeated because we have rejected His words, the word of life and changed these words and replaced them with our own. We created cathedrals and mega churches but there is no power, they are just whitewashed walls and sepulchers. What you are about to read is not just for the likes of Copeland but to the whole church who proclaims their own words in the form of doctrines and theology. This also applies to the church gurus and their plans to grow the church. There already is a plan in place, we don’t need how to books. This applies to books like the purpose driven church / life and other how to manuals out there. This applies to Leadership Conferences like the one Bill Hybels started. “He started the Global Leadership Summit (hosted by the WCA) in 1995 as an annual training event for church, ministry and other leaders to sharpen their skills.” Why after the chaos at Willow Creek do these even continue? For 2020 they say “Join us in a movement of more than 420,000 people learning together in 124 countries this year.” So no it is not just the charismatics bringing the word of the Lord into disrepute. Ezekiel 13:1 “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken? 8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” 13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.”’ This is why the Pharisees were furious when Jesus said Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”
                Across the whole church there is no power so we must repent and return to God so we will be restored once again. The church did not repair the walls but covered them with whitewash. So we plead with God to Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” By pleading with God means we are seeking Him. And by seeking Him we have been promised to find Him. And by finding Him means that we will be restored to our original condition and the church will rise up and go to the ends of the earth just as Jesus said we would. We will be given a new heart Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh,” and our teachers will be hidden no more. Isaiah 30:19 “People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” We will go in the authority of His name and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
                Jeremiah told us there would be joy and gladness again. "the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.” So even though the church has fallen God has given us a promise to rebuild David’s fallen tent. As I have said before; just look around and you will see the desolation of the church. I have given you examples from charismatics and non-charismatics. There is no power in the church but there will be once again as promised by God. In the same chapter where the fire fell from heaven, Elijah 1 Kings 18:41 “said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” 44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” Right above this verse describes how the church should be. James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
                God freed Israel from Egypt, he then freed them from Babylon and then God sent His son to free the world but the world has rejected Him and so has the church. Our only hope is in the Lord. Psalm 130:1 “Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; 2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. 3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. 5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 7 Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. 8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” Lamentations 5:21 “Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old.”