Last week we talked about taking this time to be spiritually introspective and lamenting about the desolation the church finds itself in today. Since the church is made up of you and I, we are a good place to start. If we don’t understand the desolation of the church and how desperate we should be, then there will be no repentance. But if we humble ourselves before God and admit how destitute we really are, Psalm 102:17 tells us “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.” Jeremiah lamented in Lamentations 1:3 Judah has gone into exile. 5 Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe. 8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. 16 “This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed. 17 Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The Lord has decreed for Jacob that his neighbors become his foes; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them.” He also said Lamentations 2:7 “The Lord has rejected his altar and abandoned his sanctuary. He has given the walls of her palaces into the hands of the enemy; they have raised a shout in the house of the Lord as on the day of an appointed festival. 14 The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Jeremiah 23:20 “The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. 30 Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 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.” Our admission to our destitution is the first to step to repentance.
In today’s church this very thing you just read is happening. Hosea 4:1 “Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. 7 The more priests there were, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful. 8 They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. 9 And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.” Jeremiah also describes the church today when he said Jeremiah 7:1 “Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.” Stephen also described this stubbornness when he said, Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” The same can also be said of the church today and because of this great rebellion, the church is in tribulation and satan rules the land. We have talked about this abomination that causes desolation and this is where the church today finds itself. Ezekiel 15:7 “I will set my face against them. Although they have come out of the fire, the fire will yet consume them. And when I set my face against them, you will know that I am the Lord. 8 I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 5:11 “I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 12 A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword. 13 “Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal. 14 “I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by. 15 You will be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke. I the Lord have spoken.” God said to Solomon 2 Chronicles 7:19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” But there is hope! Solomon said 1 Kings 8:23 “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today. 25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.” Please notice the verse, “if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully.”
God gave David a promise to love forever. David was told 2 Samuel 7:11 “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” Many in the church only read part of this verse. They say God will never take His love away period but fail to see the promised remnant. Solomon lost his kingdom, all of Israel including the remnant went into desolation and captivity and were vomited from the land just as they were told would happen but because God loves us He brought the remnant back to the Promised Land just as He will restore the church. Jeremiah 33:6 “‘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. “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.” 17 For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18 nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’” 19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’”
So because of this everlasting promise to David, we have great hope. Yes there is hope in this chaotic world we live in, yet we must turn from our wickedness. Yes we have read this verse alot and no it is not talking about people outside the church. 2 Chronicles 7:12 “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” The verse goes on to give warning for disobedience. 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name.” The church has followed other gods and now is in desolation, uprooted and rejected. The church has rebelled against the word of God by going their own way. Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. My people do not know the requirements of the Lord.”
Now lets look at a scenario of repentance but know as you read this there is a strong resistance to repentance. satan knows how the kingdom is built and what will happen if God’s people turn back to Him. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. 4 I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God. 5 So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.” Revelation 16:8 “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.”
With that backdrop picture this scenario. As you may recall Jonah was sent by God to tell the great city of Nineveh to repent. Jonah 1:1 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. Jonah 4:11 “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Jonah 3:1 “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.”
Most in today’s church including leaders cannot tell their right hand from their left. We have churches full of people following blindly the imaginations, dreams, and visions of their teachers / prophets. It is important to understand that this next passage is happening in the church today and no not just in charismatic circles. This passage also describes the church. 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.”’ 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” Yes these teachers will tell you these false teachers will come in the future but there are already standing behind the pulpits now.
Today we have churches filled with the deceived and delusional because of this great rebellion towards the word of God. Yes every group will tell you they are the way, truth and life but that is not the case as there is no power and their words do not line up with God’s. Remember that the counterfeit gospel looks very similar to the truth. (read Proverbs 9) So picture with me Jonah making a house call to your home. He knocks on the door and says, “Forty more days and Nineveh (your home) will be overthrown,” and then walks away. This is what God told him to say. So you hear these words and you have a choice to make. You are at church (when that was happening) and in walks Jonah who suddenly says, “Forty more days and Nineveh (your church) will be overthrown,” and walks away. You may be a denominational leader in the midst of your yearly conference and in walks Jonah who says, “Forty more days and Nineveh (your denomination) will be overthrown,” and walks away. You may ask who is this guy? What God and on and on the questions could go but there are not question, there are only two answers; obey or disobey. The people of Nineveh Jonah 3:5 “believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” Scripture makes it clear that by believing God we will then see His word come alive and the kingdom of God come near.
Let me respond for most. The door would be slammed, the ushers or security would quickly escort Jonah out of the building and the big wigs would say who does he think he is, don’t you know who we are. I would hope that the true response would be to repent but today’s church doesn’t focus on true repentance, the turning away from our wickedness. While they want you to turn away, they are more interested in you becoming part of what they are doing. A person repents and joins a church and adopts all their particular beliefs. I would say that most will not repent. Let’s say Jonah went to Joel Osteen and said repent or to John MacArthur and said repent or to Pope Francis and said repent, what do you honestly think the answer would be. The answer is actually no and here is why. Jonah has already asked the question and the most have rejected the truth. Jesus has already told us to repent and the church still refuses to turn away from their wickedness. Luke 11:29 “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.” Jesus called Peter Son of Jonah. Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” If we would turn away from ourselves and obey, God would do amazing things. Jonah after repenting said Jonah 2:7 “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Peter did deny Jesus three times and Matthew 26:75 “then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” But Peter also obeyed and was in the upper room at Pentecost and from that time on he fearlessly proclaimed the gospel and saw the power of God at work in his life and those around him. Jonah saw a great city repent even though he wasn’t happy about it.
Our only hope is Jesus Christ but because we have turned away from our hope, we have paid a severe price which is why we must repent. John the Baptist came preaching, Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Matthew 4:17 “Jesus then began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” Then after Pentecost Peter said, Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The refusal in today’s church is why the kingdom doesn’t come near and why we do not do as Jesus did. The kingdom has been available since Pentecost. The reason it is not here is not that it is coming in the future Millennium; it comes when we repent. If we refuse to repent from our wicked ways we do not see it nor will we see eternal life. Jesus said, Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” While there are many baptizing with water, there is no power. They will tell you that you have been filled with the Holy Spirit but the kingdom has not come near because they have not truly repented or they have repented into another gospel. We also have as Paul said Acts 19:2 “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” Even for the charismatics who think they are filled with the Holy Spirit because they speak in a blabbering tongue, they must truly repent from their wickedness in order to see all the true gifts in operation, not satan masquerading as an angel of light.
Repentance is the key to the kingdom of God. Without repentance the kingdom will not come near. Without out the kingdom coming near, we have what we see now; a powerless church with our enemies prevailing against us. Yes Jesus said to Peter, Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” If the rock is a different rock, you then have a different church and Hades will overcome it, so we must repent from our wicked ways. Here are two examples of repentance. A son Luke 15:13 “squandered his wealth in wild living. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! (famine in the land –kind of like today when everyone thinks the world will continue as it has) 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.” “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” We see another description of repentance in Ezekiel 33:12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’ 13 If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done. 14 And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right— 15 if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. 16 None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live. 17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it. 19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so. 20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”
God does not want to see the death of the wicked. Ezekiel 33:11 “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?” 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” These days on the Jewish calendar are called the Ten Days of Awe or Days of Repentance, which then end this evening with Yom Kippur. One site described this time as “a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur. One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the concept that G-d has "books" that he writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. These books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter G-d's decree. The actions that change the decree are "teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah," repentance, prayer, good deeds (usually, charity). These "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur. This concept of writing in books is the source of the common greeting during this time is "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year." Think about Jonah’s proclamation “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Now obviously this is the Jewish perspective and a veil remains over them, the very ones who deny Jesus as our Messiah and King who sits on David’s throne but the repentance part is accurate but our repentance must be to Jesus. Repentance is not a ritual. If we do not repent, the kingdom will not come near nor will we spend eternity with God. I am not sure to be honest how serious most Jews take this time or if it is like most things and have become very ritualistic. Some probably take it about as serious as the church takes repentance today but the Day of Judgment is coming. Matthew 11:20 “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Romans 2:5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.”
If we the church refuses to repent and continues to be stubborn, we will face the wrath of God. Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life. John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If Jesus is the only way and you have been saved into a false gospel, you will not have eternal life. This is why it is so important to test the spirits. We must follow God’s commands for the church so we will not be deceived. Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Turning from our wicked ways means turning away from our own ways. While many say they follow, by their own words they are condemned. Jesus said Matthew 12:36 “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” Titus 1:10 “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.” 2 John 1:7 “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”
Today most churches will continue in their own ways. If you are a Catholic, Baptist Reformed, Pentecostal, Methodist, Brethren and so on whatever offshoot there is, you believe you have found the truth but there is only one way not many. There is only one King, one kingdom and there is no confusion about it. The church is confused but not the bible. In fact if the Holy Spirit were truly guiding we would have this. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” We would not have all this end time confusion / false teaching. Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ezekiel 37:24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.” The Jews and many Christians have a problem with the peace Jesus ushered into the world. While they are waiting for world peace they miss, 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.” Hebrews 13:20 “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Jesus has made all things new yet the Jews and the church have rejected this to go their own way. This is what Jesus has done for us. Revelation 21:1 “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Everything was supposed to have been made new and the kingdom of God was supposed to come near and the church was supposed to continue in the power of the Holy Spirit. But man went their own way and developed their own church by their own hands and became powerless. They added to and subtracted form scripture to please themselves. 1 Peter 1:18 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” As Daniel saw Daniel 8:13 “the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?” Daniel 8:11 “It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” We desperately need God defeat this enemy just as He defeated Babylon. This is why we must solemnly assemble in repentance. Malachi 3:16 “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. 17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Jeremiah 50:4 “In those days, at that time,” declares the Lord, “the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God. 5 They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten. 6 “My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. 7 “Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away. The first to devour them was the king of Assyria; the last to crush their bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” 18 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria. 31 “See, I am against you, you arrogant one,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty, “for your day has come, the time for you to be punished. 32 The arrogant one will stumble and fall and no one will help her up.” Isaiah 21:9 “Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: ‘Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!’” Revelation 14:8 “A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” Revelation 18:10 “Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!”
The end of this reign by satan is coming to an end. The church has been in rebellion and God has turned His face from shining on us and we are powerless and in desolation. Millions have died not knowing the truth. Jesus warned us not to be deceived yet the church went their own way and now there is just a remnant left. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Isaiah 1:9 “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.” Isaiah 63:18 “For a little while your people possessed your holy place, but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary.” When the people of Nineveh heard what was going to happen they feared for their lives. The church today has no fear of God and refuses to repent. But just in case you have looked around at the chaos called church and have wondered how we will get through this pandemic or you read Jeremiah and saw that the church looks very similar to Israel who refused to listen, there is hope because Jonah 2:9 “ But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Isaiah 12:1 “In that day you will say: “I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. 2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.”
The good news is that God does not want us to perish. Isaiah 30:8 “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! 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!” Isaiah 10:20 “In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 21 A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.” Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.” Isaiah 40:3 “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Matthew 3:3 “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Isaiah 37:31 “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.” Amos 9:11 “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter— I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be.” Micah 2:12 “I will surely gather all of you, Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. 13 The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the Lord at their head.”
We must repent of our wicked ways before the living God if we want to part of His kingdom. I realize this is almost unfathomable to think about due to the desolation of the church but so it was unfathomable to think a wicked city like Nineveh would repent at God’s words from Jonah. Just like the son in the parable the church needs to return to our father. He realized he needed to return to His father, as the famine was severe. Today there is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Don’t wait till it gets worse than it already is to turn back to God. Like the father of the prodigal son, God wants to celebrate our homecoming. Luke 15:22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” God wants to bless us abundantly with more than we can even comprehend but we must follow Him. Jesus said Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Mark 10:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
If you are honest with yourself and during your spiritual introspection and believe in your heart that the church you see around you is the church Jesus is the head of then stop here but if you believe there is more, keep reading. God said to Moses. Exodus 34:10 “Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” God wants us to have the land. Once again the work of satan will be destroyed and the church will go out to the ends of the earth in power and nothing will prevail against it. Just as Joshua was told, God will do the same for us. Joshua 1:3 “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. (the world now) 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” It was suppose to be 1 John 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 12:10 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah.” And once again will be!
We are given these directives in Revelation. To the church in Ephesus. Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” To the church in Sardis Revelation 3:2 “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” 2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. As Peter said 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” So repent!
We are told that those who have gone before us have not stayed true to God’s word. 2 Kings 22:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” Hezekiah told the Levites 2 Chronicles 29:5 “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. 6 Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 7 They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” Then he said to the people of Israel 2 Chronicles 30:6 “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
Just as Israel needed to listen, the church today must repent and turn from its wickedness. In the past I have held a service called a Sacred / Solemn Assembly. The purpose was to solely focus on God. “Sacred / Solemn Assembly is a divinely-initiated gathering of the people of God in a spirit of humility, brokenness and repentance with the express purpose of seeking the face of God for corporate cleansing and forgiveness. (Today we are also focusing on individual cleansing.)
Two Primary Emphases in the Solemn Assembly Service:
• The awesomeness, righteousness and holiness of our Saviour.
• The awfulness, repulsiveness and hideousness of our sin. (Turn from our wickedness)
This took place many times in scripture but this passage sums this assembly up.
Joel 2:12-17 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. 16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. 17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?” The service then went through scriptures and a time of confession and song. I have included the scriptures used in the service at the end of this.
This time this is not a service but something to do individually before God. We do not have to be in the same room to do this. God is listening and watching. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” God said Malachi 3:7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” I do understand that most in the church will say “‘How are we to return?” “How are we robbing you?” Most churchgoers today don’t believe there is anything wrong within their church or their lives for that matter but the trumpet is sounding. Sure most think there is a lot wrong in other churches but the church as a whole has fallen and we all must return to God’s word. As the pandemic has exposed; the church is powerless. Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur and I know that is Jewish but we can still come before God and repent. Leviticus 23:26 “The Lord said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.” 13 Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. 15 Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.”
Everything changed with Jesus except repentance. Romans 3:25 “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Hebrews 2:17 “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Romans 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Jesus began to preach Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near. No longer is there a day once a year to come before God in repentance but any day can be that day. Repent so that the kingdom will come near. At this point the unrepentant church is an enemy of God.
Yesterday there was a prayer march in Washington, D.C, lead by Franklin Graham. He said “his calling the country to prayer is in part because of the deep divisions over many issues. These divides have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread loss of jobs due to state lockdowns and enforced closure of businesses.” (obviously he doesn’t believe the severity of the pandemic by gathering they say over 50,000 people) He said “God and His ways have been removed from government, schools, and in society more broadly when the country needs more, not less of Him, he said, adding that the United States is "crumbling." "I don't see our nation able to go much further unless we repent and call upon the name of Almighty God," By coming [to the march] we are participating in something that is bigger than us, and we are going directly to the throne of grace, calling upon the name of God, asking for His favor, His help, and I hope that these Christian voices, these prayers will shake the city. And not just shake the city but shake the country. And it can happen.""I just sense there is something moving in our country. I don't believe that our country is going to be spared from God's judgment. We are not a Christian nation. We are a secular nation and the secularists are wanting to strip God out of everything," he said.” He is right that God is about to move but not in the way he thinks.
Now I want you to see the last part of his comments. He said "Maybe this election could possibly slow that down," he added, "but we know there's going to be a one-world system one day. We know that people aren't going to be able to buy, sell, or trade unless they have the mark of the Antichrist. (He’s talking about the so-called tribulation) We know that there will be a great war." He added: "We see God's judgment coming against this earth for the rejection of His Son and we see the Lord Jesus Christ coming back triumphant to establish a new Heaven and a new Earth. (Millennium) We know how the last chapters of history are written." He says this assuming this is the standard belief of the church but it is not. Actually this makes him a false teacher because this is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ezekiel 13:6 “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.” Yes these ideas make for entertaining movies but not biblically sound doctrine but doctrines of demons. He is teaching another gospel. So I ask why would God listen to the prayers of a people who refuse to turn from their wicked ways. Franklin Graham should lead the march himself repenting for his wickedness before God for promoting false gospels. A prayer march in the guise of a protest is not right. Isaiah 1:4 “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! “ Gathering to pray without repenting from our wicked ways is pointless. Yes the nation is not a Christian nation because God is not in the church nor is the power of the Holy Spirit. The church should be more concerned with the lack of God’s presence in the church than they are with the lack of presence of God in the government. If the church was the true church, we would have sped up His coming. 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” Meanwhile churches are rebelling against the government as if it is their fault. The church is behaving just like all the protestors protesting around the world. That is not who we are called to be. Jesus said Luke 24:46 “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Peter said Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Today we continue to live in a corrupt generation. No not the world around us but the church. Everyone goes their own way, teach their own doctrines and then expect God to bless their rebellion. Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Without repentance we will not see the kingdom of God come near. When the kingdom does comes near once again the church will look like the one Jesus is the head of. Matthew 11:4 “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
Take the time to pray through this verses Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Revelation 3:2 “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.” Isaiah 30:18 “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”
I have included some of the scriptures from the Sacred / Solemn Assembly service. Pray through these verses with a repentant heart and wait for God to bless you with His compassion and grace. As we wait believe that the power form on High will return. Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Collect: Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You, and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Christ our Lord. You said “Return to me, and I will return to you,” so we wait for the time of Your favor. Amen.
Confession: Let us draw near to God and confess our sin in the truth of the Spirit.
We confess our rejection of Your word. We confess with shame our slowness to learn of You, our failure to follow You and our reluctance to bear the cross for You. We confess the poverty of our worship, our neglect of fellowship and of the means of grace. We confess our lack of faith and trust and belief. We confess our hesitating witness for Christ, our evasion of responsibilities in our service our imperfect stewardship of your gifts.
Have mercy on us, Lord
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Prayer: Lord open our minds and hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we may hear and rejoice in the true gospel of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Please turn your face back to us. Amen.
Confession through the Word:
Ezra 9:6 “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.”
1 Samuel 6:7 “We have sinned against the Lord.”
Nehemiah 1:5-6 “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.”
Nehemiah 1:7 “We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.”
Nehemiah 1:8-9 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.”
Psalm 80:3 “Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
Nehemiah 1:11 “Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favour in the presence of this man.”
Psalm 80:4-5 “How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smoulder against the prayers of your people? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.”
Jeremiah 14:7 “Although our sins testify against us, do something, Lord, for the sake of your name. For we have often rebelled; we have sinned against you.”
Psalm 80:7 “Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
Daniel 9:4-5 “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.”
Psalm 80:14 “Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine.”
Daniel 9:7-8 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you.”
Psalm 80:18-19 “Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. 19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
Isaiah 64:5-6 “You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
Isaiah 64:7 “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.”
Daniel 9:9-11 “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.”
Daniel 9:13 “Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favour of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.”
Psalm 85:4-7 “Restore us again, God our Saviour, and put away your displeasure toward us. 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.”
Psalm 90:13 “Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.”
Daniel 9:17-19 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Jeremiah 14:20 “We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord, and the guilt of our ancestors; we have indeed sinned against you.”
Isaiah 64:1-2 “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!”
Habakkuk 3:2 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.”