Summary: God is not interested in us visiting places we cannot inhabit or possess. This timely message examines the level of living that God wants for us. God’s goal is more than repentance and reival.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
I am convinced that we need to come an understanding that God is not interested in us having revival if your definition is a series of services that interrupts our already overwhelmed and overtaxed schedule that we either enjoy or endure and then go back to normal. Nothing more than bump on our calendar. He wants more for us than that because He is not interested in us visiting places that we cannot and are unable to possess. He doesn’t want us to just have visitation; He wants us to experience and live in a habitation. So I believe that He is preparing us for what He has prepared for us!
Why I want to talk to you about God’s Goals. We must discover what He has for us. We can’t get to that level until we first understand what that level is and how to get there. Join me in Acts 3:19-21 and Joel 2.
II. Repent – Joel 2:12-13, 16-17
Prior to every great spiritual awakening and habitation there must first come repentance. Jonah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist all called first for repentance. God is a God of order. You have to operate according to His order. He is not obligated to inhabit what He has not built. His plan always starts at repentance.
Do we need to repent?
• When Christians are unloving and unforgiving we need to repent
• Christians are gossips and gluttons.
• We are more interested in possessions and pleasure than in spiritual riches and pleasing God.
• When we dishonor our parents and divorce our mates.
• When we are self-absorbed and self-promoting.
• When we are cantankerous and contentious.
• When we use profanity and pornography.
• When we can sin and do so without blushing we need to repent.
True revival always starts here!
As one man said, “We often have a tinted view of revival as a time of glory and joy and swelling numbers queuing to enter the churches. That is only part of the story. Before the glory and joy, there is conviction; and that begins with the people of God. There are tears of godly sorrow. There are wrongs to put right, secret things...to be thrown out, and bad relationships, hidden for years, to be repaired openly. If we are not prepared for this, we had better not pray for revival.”
God’s goal for us can only be reached by starting here. Notice in Joel 2 the depth of repentance. Repentance is not some short 2 minute quick stop at the altar where we flippantly say “I’m sorry.” The Word describes repentance as a painful process in which we rend our hearts and not our garments. It is not a surface thing or an outward show. If we desire to reach God’s goal for our life and church we must begin to live a lifestyle of repentance. Where we are daily involved in a change of mind, a change of life, a change in the way we walk, talk, and behave.
Some have come and cried but have not changed. There can be no revival until old things have passed away and all things are new. This is not just an emotional outburst that cleanses our conscience. No we need to plumb the depths of what repentance is. We need to go back to Joel 1:16-17 that give us a revelation of our condition. It is time to realize the depths of our depravity and condition. It is time to spend some time weeping between the porch and the altar. It is time to deal ruthlessly with sin.
Some of you may be wondering how others can stand and declare that we are in revival when you don’t see it or feel it. Perhaps you have rent your garments and have forgotten to rend your heart. Repentance will lead us to God’s goal. It positions us for the next level.
Repentance is not the end. We don’t get right and then sit down. This is just the beginning. The launching pad. The catalyst. We must start here but we can not stop here! We must go forward. If we repent the Acts promises us that the next thing that will happen is that God will send us seasons of refreshment!
II. Refreshing – Joel 2:19-20, 22
We will know we have truly repented when we begin to see the signs of refreshing in our lives and in our body!