The Time for Repentance is Now!
In the second chapter of Revelation, Jesus praised the church of Ephesus for their perseverance in the midst of persecution, for staying true to the Word of God and opposing false teachers, and for standing strong in the name of Jesus. On the outside, the church of Ephesus looked like the perfect church. However, Jesus knew they had a deadly deficiency in their midst.
Jesus told the church of Ephesus that they are guilty of a great sin, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4). They began their ministry with passion and love toward Jesus. Yet, somehow through the years, their labor of love for the Lord slipped into the tedious traditions of the church. Jesus warned them and called them into repentance of their improper motivations of service. Just as so many churches today have replaced their passion for programs and their zeal for the name of Jesus for self notoriety, the church of Ephesus fell from being a church with a driving passion for Jesus to a church coasting along in autopilot.
Jesus told them that they needed to repent. Similar to God’s warning to Solomon, Jesus warned the church of Emphasis that if they did not repent, there would be serious consequences to pay. However, if they chose to repent by turning back to their zeal and love of Him, God’s glorious hand of blessing would remain upon them. God always gives us a choice. Clearly, His heart is for us to choose loving devotion to Him.
Stop and ask yourself right now, “Why do I serve God?” Is it out of a natural overflow of the love you have toward Jesus? If not, you stand in need of repentance! How can so many people who sit in churches Sunday after Sunday not serve the Lord? The answer is simple; it is due to the fact that they don’t love Jesus. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will obey Me.” Put simply, the church that refuses to serve the Lord is a church that does not love the Lord. Jesus did not say “If you obey me you will demonstrate your love for Me”; that is legalism. His heart is that we serve Him out of the overflow of love we have for Him with gladness and gratitude.
Solomon, along with the nation of Israel, sought God out with their whole heart in total surrender to His Majesty and glory. God saw their heart-led motivations and, therefore, blessed them with His presence and anointing, assuring Solomon with His words, “I have heard your prayer.” The warning of II Chronicles 7:14 is simple: When you see these signs of spiritual drought, the destruction of the devourer, and the plagues and pestilence “remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5).
As God told Solomon to pay attention to the signs around him, we must understand that the physical signs of drought, devastation, and pestilence are merely signs that God’s hand of blessing has been removed. We must also understand that in the Old Testament God dealt with His people in a physical way. Today through the New Covenant that is found only in Christ, God deals with His people in the spirit. (See John 4:24). In the Old Testament God’s people went into physical war; today we are in a spiritual war. Nonetheless, we see physical results of this spiritual war.
Today, America is obviously in a deep spiritual drought. Our churches are dry and void of life, passion, and power. This opens the door wide for the devourer, Satan himself, to come in and destroy churches, families, and entire communities. The community where I pastor has had years of church fights and splits that have left a spiritual void laying out the welcome mat for the devourer to come in and destroy. Today, our community is full of the pestilence of drugs, violence, and immoral sexuality that is just as devastating if not more devastating, than any pestilence this world has ever seen. These are all physical evidences of spiritual battles. They are all signs that something has gone drastically wrong, and Satan is winning the battle for souls.
As I look at the church today, I see signs of spiritual drought that is drowning our world in spiritual devastation. We have allowed the devourer to come in and bring devastating pestilence upon the very world God created and loves. We see it in preachers with no passion, deacons who are not dedicated, congregations clutching for control, churches who won’t console the contrite, and the word of God wavered by the ways of man. Our churches have become lodges and social clubs with privileged membership unwelcoming to the stranger. Pastors have become hirelings to do the work that no one else is willing to do “After all, that’s what we pay the preacher for.” The pulpit has become a place where a polluted gospel is preached as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Dare we say that we are sinners, and there is a place called hell reserved for those who refuse to repent? If the preacher were to preach the truths of hell, would it really matter? Even if we know our neighbor is hell-bound, do we really care, or at least care enough, to actually do anything about it? We fuss and complain about the wickedness of the world; yet, we hold the very keys to loose the power of God into this world. We have not lost that power; we have surrendered that power to the fleshly desires of man seeking glory for self rather than for God. The signs of spiritual drought are crying out before us, and God has given us the solution. However, we must accept the challenge God has given by doing things His way. We must repent and return to our first love, Jesus!
Day 8 Prayer Guide
- Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
- Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
- Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
- Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
- Ask yourself why you serve God. If it’s not out of love, repent.
- Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
- Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
- Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
- Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
- Pray that the church as a whole would return to their first love.
- Pray that the people of God would be passionately in love with Jesus.
- Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
- Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
- Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
- Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
- Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
- Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
- Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
- Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
- Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.