Summary: We have to seek God to recieve the downpour of His presence

Receiving the Downpour

Romans 1:18-23, 2 Chronicles 29

September 16, 2007

Morning Service

This message was inspired by John Maxwell’s Revial the Key to Survival series and James MacDonald’s book Downpour. Some material has been used from both sources


We have been experiencing a drought through these past few months. The rainfall totals have been well under normal and we see the effects of it all around us. The ground is dry and cracked. Dust seems to fly most of the time when the ground is disturbed. Grass that should be green is sort of brown and dried out. The trees are already losing their leaves due to the dryness. Crops seem sometimes withered in the fields decreasing the yields.

There are a lot of people who are dealing with the results of the physical drought. Even more people are experiencing a drought of another kind. We see a spiritual drought of epic proportions. Sadly, we must admit that this is even true within the walls of the church.

Hosea tells us that God will come to us like rain. The winter rains bring a cleansing and the spring rains come to bring new life. However, we are often are either not willing or able to receive God’s downpour when it comes.

What keeps us from receiving what God has for us? What stops us from getting the downpour that God promised us in Hosea? What hinders God’s work in our personal lives? Sin and a lack of repentance

An Understanding of sin

What is sin?

Every choice to do wrong, every choice to leave the good undone, every wrong attitude perpetuated and promoted in my life is a choice to push God away- and it’s called sin. James MacDonald

Make no mistake sin is a choice. Paul gives us several principles of sin and its effects on people in Romans 1. Notice what happens when people choose sin over God

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:18-23

My conscience accuses me

Look again at verse 19. God makes the truth of right and wrong plain. God has placed within every person a conscience. This is the ability to know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. No one can say that they don’t know things that are wrong.

Conscience is not enough

1.) Conscience is conditioned by what you know

2.) Conscience is conditioned by what you do

My Creator convicts me

Not only are we given a conscience but we are also given conviction. Look at verse 20. God makes His will known to us through His own working within our hearts. There is no excuse for the Christian to walk in the ways of sin. Why? God makes His desire for their life known to them.

When we do wrong God brings about conviction through the work of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that we far too often, refuse to listen. Stop blaming your family. Stop blaming your friends. Stop blaming the church. The choice is yours to listen and yours alone.

My mind is destroyed

Look again at verse 21. Our minds are affected by sin. Paul says that our thinking become futile. The word futile means pointless. Our minds become so filled with the garbage of sin that we can no longer think effectively.

What happens is that when we start to make sin a habitual part of our life, we start to reason it away. Our mind no longer functions as God meant for it to. We are then left in the bind of sin.

What is the solution to the problem? What do we need to do? The answer is repent.

An understanding of repentance

Repentance is one of the main messages that we find weaved throughout the scriptures. The New Testament mentions repentance over 50 times. We see it in the message of John the Baptist: repent and be baptized. Mark records the first message of Jesus: repent for the Kingdom of God is near.

The church of today has taught that repentance applies to the sinners outside of the church walls. Those people need to repent but there is a great deal of repentance that needs to take place within the church walls. Most of those references to repentance in the New Testament is in the context of believers. Over and over again we are called to repent.

The word, repent, means to change the mind. The New Testament teaches that repentance is a continual process and our part is in a willingness to change any time that God reveals something that needs to change.

Problems in our understanding of repentance

1. The appeal of modern evangelism

The focus of modern evangelism is to enlist new people instead of people coming to repentance. The message of the gospel must first be bad news by being a means of conviction and then good news in the forgiveness of sin.

We want people to make quick decisions for Christ and add them as some number on the conversion line of church stats. The problem with this is that there is no real repentance. Many people want the blessings of heaven without the needed change that must take place.

2. The unwillingness or inability to accept responsibility for sin

Our society does not accept the existence of sin and therefore, there is no need to repent. Christians want to candy coat the reality of sin in their lives and make it something less than what it really is. We want to make church cozy and comfortable and ignore our own sin.

Every choice to do wrong, every choice to leave the good undone, every wrong attitude perpetuated and promoted in my life is a choice to push God away- and it’s called sin. James MacDonald

When you make a choice that draws you away from God call it what it is. Stop making excuses because there are none and they don’t hold water with God anyway. Take responsibility for your choices and attitudes. Take responsibility for your sin.

3. Sin has been erased from the social agenda

Society has removed sin from the agenda of social concern. Personal responsibility is a thing of the past. There is always someone or something to blame. We are experts at passing the buck. We run from responsibility.

2 Chronicles 30 gives us a glimpse of the steps needed to experience revival through repentance.

There is a challenge (v. 9)

9 If you return to the LORD, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back 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."

Hezekiah was leading a revival marked by repentance. The phrase: If you return to the LORD, puts the decision in our hands. There are benefits when we return to God. The key word there is if.

The challenge that is laid out here is that we must take the first step back toward. Why do we have to make the first step? We are the ones who took the first step away from God. God didn’t move, He is same yesterday, today and forever. Since we stepped away from God, we are the ones who have to step back to God.

There is a choice (v. 10-11)

10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but the people scorned and ridiculed them. 11 Nevertheless, some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

Just as the people rejected the messengers so long ago, there is a choice. God will never make you do what you need to do. He leaves the choice to you. Notice that there were some that responded to the message but there were others who did not. Revival is never forced on anyone, it is a choice. Always has been and always will be.

There is a change (v. 11)

11 Nevertheless, some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

Notice that there must be a change to experience revival. These men humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. Repentance is at the heart of this. Repentance is a changing of the mind. When we seek God and change our mind, turn back to Him, something extraordinary happens. God then responds and changes our heart.

There is cause to celebrate (v 20)

20 And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing, while the Levites and priests sang to the LORD every day, accompanied by the LORD’s instruments of praise. 22 Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the LORD. For the seven days they ate their assigned portion and offered fellowship offerings and praised the LORD, the God of their fathers.

When God’s people returned to Him, He moved and worked in their lives. When God’s people returned to Him, there was enlightenment. When God’s people returned to Him, there was encouragement. All were causes of great celebration. When repentance brings revival there is reason to rejoice.


Cartoon: Woman went to the doctor. What can I do to make me feel better without giving up what makes me feel so awful.

Over and over through this message I have talked about making a choice. This morning you have a choice to make. You can seek personal revival through getting thoroughly right with God or you can live in your status quo.