Sunday, February 1, 2015

Reaping the Harvest

            It always amazes me that we as pastors get up in the pulpits every week and bring the same Word every time.  Gods Word hasn't changed but the Voice of the Lord changes all the time.  He will use anyone and anything in which to convey His will and purposes for us.  John the Baptist was a Voice in the Wilderness, Jesus was the Word of God made flesh voicing Gods will.  We today, have the ability to become the Voice of God in the earth.  It really just depends on what you are saying and who you are saying it to that determines if its your voice or Gods. 

God is generally saying three things at any given time to three distinct people groups. 

God is speaking to you

God is speaking to the Church

God is speaking to the World

God says one thing to the world and a different thing to the Church.  We have know who He is talking to when we hear His voice or we could misuse the word of the Lord.  He is telling the world it is unstable, be afraid.  This is not what He is saying to the Church.  He is saying Arise my beloved and be one as We are one.  Repent!  Carry the banner of My glory and fulfill your calling.  Imagine if His servants got the messages crossed.  This is why we hear so mean in the church today are teaching we are going to be destroyed.  They are hearing the Word of the Lord, but telling it to the wrong people group.  God is telling the world there is no hope without Him. 

What God is saying to you is always a confirming word that will aid the Church in its mission to bring the gospel to all.  Now the word itself maybe corrective sometimes, but Gods purpose and heart is for repentance.  Repentance can be misunderstood if we aren't careful and can be taken as we need to ask for forgiveness for our past sin.  While this is an similar in nature it does not fully reveal the truth nature of repentance.  We see that King Saul, misunderstands Gods true nature at Gilgal when he tries to reason with Samuel on Gods appreciation for sacrifice.  Saul gives a Im sorrythinking it will be ok with God without ever addressing the state of his heart in dealing with how he thinks.  This shows us a picture of a unchanged heart. (1 Samuel 15)

Have you ever heard someone say Well, Id do it againwhen it involved a bad decision?  They haven't realized they were wrong for thinking, feeling, or acting in a certain way.  They justify their reasons as good enough and think oh well, God will forgive me.  This is Sauls approach that cost him the kingdom.  The reason is because God sees that type of heart as rebellious and arrogant.  Lets read it together:

 1 Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied:
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.


We sometimes unknowingly, can be in rebellion to the Word of God.  This can be fixed easily by repentance.  This word means to turn from whats been done wrong and immediately begin doing right.  I dont know for sure, but I could imagine that God would have forgiven Saul if he would have had the right heart that didn't justify his actions, but would have admitted his sin for the right reasons and righted the wrong himself.  We see him admitting guilt, but why?  He was worried about losing his position in the peoples eyes.  True repentance comes when we admit to ourselves and God that we have done wrong and are in need of forgiveness.  This affords us the motivation needed to change and start a new path.  It doesn't mean we are immediately restored, but without repentance there can be no restoration.  

God is speaking Restoration to the you today.  His heart is, has, and will be for us to restore and be restored.  The Cross epitomizes the restoration of all things.  In a single act, God was able to reconcile the world and heaven back to Himself.  It shows us that restoration comes at a price, but thankfully, God has already paid it.  We as believers are called to be bring restoration to all that will accept it.  To those who don't believe, we are to offer the gospel message.  Jesus died, was buried, and rose to life for us.  This is the primary message of the Gospel showing restoration.

There is another message of restoration that God deals with in our lives.  Its how to have it when you find yourself robbed of life, health, wealth, and relationship. 

The biggest mistake we can make when it comes to restoration is to think that we aren't in need of God.

Isaiah 9:10 The bricks have fallen down,
But we will rebuild with hewn stones;
The sycamores are cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.

Arrogance is a direct affront to God.  He resists the proud.  This passage shows the heart of the people who think they aren't in need of Gods help.  They use the word, weto show they have enough.  The new testament illustrates this in the book of Revelation with Johns letter to the Laodicean Church.  

I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. (Rev. 3:15-19)

Here is one of the most misused scriptures in the bible.  In 60 A.D. after an earthquake, the city rebuild itself without any assistance from Rome.  The city boasted of its wealth from trade and the black woolmade from its sheep needing of nothing except water.  This water had to be ducted in from miles away and in doing so, became tepid.  Hierapolis, a competitive city for trade, was known for hot water springs used in healing, while Colossae, a sister city, had nature cold waters that were refreshing.  Lukewarm water was only used at the time to induce vomiting.  Jesus was not saying that He would rather them be bad than lukewarm, but rather be good for something instead of good for nothing.

Restoration has to come from and through God.

The second biggest mistake we can make in restoration is when it comes to naming who has robbed us.  We can take many paths and point many fingers, but only one will lead to our restoration.  Lets look at the Word of God and see if we can find a roadmap to restoration. 

Isaiah 42:22 But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, Restore!

In this passage, God is lamenting over His people who have been taken captive.  They are pretty bad off, but God is more concerned with what He is hearingSilence.  No one is saying anything to Him about it.  Prayers are not going up to Him.  Its like the people have become use to the troubles they are in or they dont think God cares about it or even worse, God wants them to suffer.  This is why so of Gods children today sit in darkness.  We think its just life, or someone has wronged us, or God wants us suffer, or we made our mess and have to just live with it.  God is looking for us to come to Him and claim His word, naming the enemy who has robbed us.

            Naming the True Thief
Paul says that we do not wrestle with fresh and blood.  We need to stop blaming others for our problems.  We are not at war with others even if they are at war with us. The Word says do good to your enemies, love them. 
While we may have gotten ourselves into situations that have cost us, we are not the enemy that robs from us.  We are to repent, meaning to look into the future and see ourselves not continuing in our sin.  This will often times cause us more trouble in the moment when the enemy realizes it has lost its hold on our lives.  We can blame ourselves seeing something that God does not see, our sin.  Its covered by the blood of Christ.  Stop blaming yourself.  It doesn't bring restoration. 
God is always getting blamed by seemingly humble christians.  We don't understand Gods being and in doing so think He wants to eternally punish us for our sin.  This isn't the case.  God doesn't want to punish anyone.  That includes the unbelievers.  This is why He made a way through His Son.  It is we who punish ourselves by not receiving this free gift of grace. 
Its Satan who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  God gave His Son to bring life.  We cant say the devil made me do it.  Don't misunderstand me, we all have a choice and God judges even those who have not heard the gospel by their conscience which convicts them.  Sin is and will alway be a choice, but we can choose Jesus who covers our sins and destroys Satans power over us. 

Did you know that God is a Judge?  Not just that, but a righteous Judge that has a law He wrote and enforces.  If we are going to break free from the bondage we are in, we need to know God and His Word.  Lets read what He has to say in Exodus.

Exodus 22:7 “If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the mans house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double.

God will make the enemy pay back double

Theres the key.  We have to correctly name the enemy in our lives.  Its not your husband, wife, brother, father, mother, employer, pastor, president etc.  Its the demonic powers that seek to capture you in bondage and keep you tided up in misery.  Break free from those chains by repenting and going boldly into the thrown room naming the enemy.  When we do this, Gods word says the enemy will repay double.  This is the Word of the Lord; Theres coming double for your Trouble.  

This is why we see Job doubly bless at the end, because God tells Job to stop blaming himself and God for his troubles.  Satan is the thief.  The same it true today. 

If youre doing wrong and dont know it, read the Word and ask godly people to be honest with you about your life.  This is why we need accountability, because sometimes we don't know we are doing wrong, or are deceived, thinking we are doing right.  Those the hardest people when it comes to repentance, those who think they are doing right.  If you are doing wrong, thinking oh well, God will forgive meSTOP IT!  God says its rebellion and is like unto witchcraft.  Repent truly and wholly.  God will forgive the person who comes with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  Be like David, against You alone have I sinned OLord.

Repentance sets the stage for Restoration.  Be reconciled to both God and others.  This life is too short to go through it hurt, angry, lonely, and wrong.  We will close with this scripture on restoration.

Psalm 126 Zions Restoration
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
The Lord has done great things for them.
3 The Lord had done great things for us;
we were joyful.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like watercourses in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with shouts of joy.
6 Though one goes along weeping,
carrying the bag of seed,
he will surely come back with shouts of joy,
carrying his sheaves.

  Restoration is a Dream Come True
  Restoration is a Source of Joy
  Restoration is Hope For the Lost
  Restoration Releases Revival
  Restoration Ushers in the Harvest

There is a point to God wanting repentance.  Its so He can restore us to Himself and each other, but restoration has a purpose as well.  Its there to spark revival.  When we see Restoration, it brings a revival in our hearts.  These are more just a set of terms and words, but also have an order to them. 

  Revival starts with Repentance
  Revival ends with a Harvest

We Repent, God Restores, Revival ensues, the Harvest is Reaped