Summary: We have to seek God to recieve the downpour of His presence
Receiving the Downpour
September 16, 2007
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.