Day 19 Sacred Season 2015
DAY 19. 27th June Repentance, Saved from fire : Joel 2:3-5; 12-17; 28-32 Pastor Andy Collins , Newtown Mission
âEven now,â declares the Lord, âreturn to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourningâ¦ I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; (Joel 2:30-32 NIV)
Basis of Union, Paragraph 3: In raising him to live and reign, God confirmed and completed the witness which Jesus bore to God on earth, reasserted claim over the whole of creation, pardoned sinners, and made in Jesus a representative beginning of a new order of righteousness and love. To God in Christ all people are called to respond in faith.
One of my roles at Newtown Mission is Household Pastor. We are blessed to have eight households here. Over the years, we have had to paint and repaint these properties. Iâve learnt something about what constitutes a bad paintjob: when the painters cut corners, we usually end up having people complain that the paint is peeling off the walls again. Itâs costly, inconvenient and unnecessary if the job is done right the first time. Usually there are two common problemsâ¦
Firstly, instead of scraping all the old paint off the walls and ceilings, the painters simply remove the obviously flaky bits, and then simply paint over the top. It looks great for a little while, sometimes even years. But soon enough, the paint starts flaking again because all the old, dry paint buried underneath that wasnât removed starts to come away from the wall.
Secondly, quite often the walls or ceilings develop holes as the material that makes them starts breaking down, or get wet. They often contain lots of dust. The way that you deal with this is also hard work. You have to remove all the rot before you try and repaint. If you donât, then it wonât be long before the rot once again shows. In fact, even if you try and paint over the rot, it still shows if you look hard enough.
Interestingly, as I reflect on the history of Israel, I see similarities. Instead of humbly coming to God with repentant hearts, stripped of all pride, they do one of two things. They continue to go through the motions: they sing the songs, read the Scriptures, offer their sacrifices, but itâs all dry underneath. They are walking in disobedience and this detached sort of worship life never pleases God. Nothing short of their broken, humble, contrite hearts will please God. Then their worship will be pleasing!
Or they have simply let bad stuff in, and everything has started rotting. Idol worship, false doctrines, and worldly ideas that actually eat away at the blessed community God wanted to establish if they had obediently followed His commands and trusted Him at His word. Their survival depends on nothing short of removing these foul practices and beliefs.
How little things have changed for the Church in the last 2000 years! We too can be just as guilty of simply going through the motions, and our worship life becomes dry. Or we allow worldly ideas and anti-Christian influences in that stop the blessings of God flowing.
Into the dry and corrupted worship life of Israel, as into our own, God speaksâ¦ Come back to Me, your first Love. In humility, allow your hearts to break for your lukewarmness and disobedience. In response, God says, blessings will flow from His very throneroom. Such is the impact of our repentance on God, that He is moved to transform Creation itself as a result.
When it comes to removing old paint from a car, scraping takes far too long. Whatâs needed is a scorching flame, then that old paint just burns away! Similarly, when we come to God with humble, repentant hearts, He provides the fire that removes the dryness and the rot. Itâs a messy, risky process, but the result? Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
May we have the humility and courage to individually and corporately search ourselves for any dryness or rot, and allow the Lordâs fire to consume these things. May we be stripped back to unique communities that allow His blessings to flow afresh. May He once again show wonders in the heavens and on the Earth!
Prayer: Father God, too often we get so side-tracked! Rather than keeping our faith and worship fresh, it gets dry and we go through the motions. And rather than taking You at Your word, and finding our peace in You alone, we seek to find answers and comfort in the world around us. We pray for the courage and humility to return to You, our First Love, with the promise and expectancy that You long to perform still more signs and wonders through Your church that will resonate through the heavens and the earth. In Jesusâ powerful name we pray! AMEN.
Pray for: Unitingworld partner – United Church in Papua New Guinea
Admission of Ministers committee