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Lent Season of Renewal

Lent

This message is a part of our Lent series focused on Repentance, Renewal, and Revival.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.

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This has been an incredible beginning of the year for our church, we’ve had so many first time guest so far in 2019 and several have come back again and again, and that’s just wonderful because that’s the reason we made this shift to go to 2 services.  Thank you, you’ve helped make this extra effort on the part of our volunteers worth it.  If that’s you, I want to tell you 2 things this morning as we get into the message.

  1. Master the art of showing up.

The work that the Lord does in us is a process.

That can be discouraging at first because we want everything to be fixed now. It is encouraging later because we realize that God is forever committed to our progress or Sanctification.

God is fully committed to our sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification

Jesus’ prayer
John 17:17 

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

1. Master the art of showing up.

2. Today’s message may be less direct.

Today’s message is all about renewal, and if you are new in your relationship with Christ, renewal is probably what you need, because it’s still new. It would be like a young couple getting married and 1 week after the wedding they call all of their friends and say come back to the church this Saturday, we are going to renew our vows… That might be odd, or out of place.

However, if the young couple a week into their marriage went to a ceremony where a couple that had been married 50 years were renewing their vows, there would probably be something to learn… In fact, more than ever watching that would be important. So even if you’re new and this message isn’t directly applicable to where you are at, hopefully it’s applicable to where you’ll be at. So more than ever it’s important…

Last week we saw that Lent is a season of repentance, today we’ll see that Lent is a season of Renewal.

In Spring, the trees come alive, the plants bud up from the ground, and everything is reborn. Last week we talked about seeds going into the ground and coming up as a plant, crossing that line from seed to plant, and the idea there was one of seeds that come forth in the spring and bring harvest…. They were annual plants… What about those of us that would be considered perennials… the plants that are planted once and come back after every cold spell, every winter, they endure, the trees that withstand season after season… They also spring to new life in this season, they are not replanted, but they are reborn… What happens for most of them is they go dormant.

In gardening, the term “dormancy” refers to a perennial plant’s state of temporary metabolic inactivity or minimal activity. Plants generally go dormant in response to adverse growing conditions, such as when trees or perennial garden plants go dormant during the cold winter months, or when turfgrass goes dormant in a lawn during a period of intense heat or drought. It’s important to remember that plants don’t die at this time, but are simply in suspended animation.  While the outer leaves and above-ground foliage may die back in a dormant plant, life still lurks in the roots and core of the perennial plant. –  Marie Iannotti

The Spruce  – https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-dormancy-1403075

There is no growth during dormancy, only conservation.

Dormancy is triggered by the cold and the dark- less warmth and less light triggers this dormancy.

I believe some of you are dormant in your spiritual journey. Your walk with Jesus has grown cold and withdrawn. My fear is you’re not dormant, my hope is that there’s still some life that lurks in the roots and the core.

Indications of dormancy:

Being unmoved by what used to challenge us.

David did not go to battle with his warriors… David was the one who couldn’t stand by as a boy while the armies stood on the valley’s edge and look at each other… David was the one that took on a giant while everyone watched, now he’s content to sit back and stay at home while his mighty warriors go to war.

Later, David is unmoved by news of the loss of several of his mighty warriors.
Joab his general is worried that David will be angry about how many mighty men have died…

Because that used to fire him up, now it’s collateral damage.

Crossing lines we never imagined we’d cross.

David slept with Bathsheba, then had her husband murdered.

Developing the skill of covering our tracks.

Bringing Uriah home, getting Uriah drunk, having Uriah carry his own death sentence to Joab, the political speech he gives after the defeat about the sword killing whom it may…

There is no end to the ingenuity our guilt produces.

Judging others harshly while giving ourselves free pass.

Nathan tells the story of a man’s only lamb being stolen… 2 Sam 12 David wants to have the lamb thief killed. David has had a man killed, but now he wants to bring swift judgement upon a thief?

 

The dormancy is ended when the plant is subject to more light and more warmth. As the days get longer and the temperature rises, the dormancy is ended. God brings the light and the heat in the form of His prophet Nathan.

Everyone needs a Nathan in their life.

Even David, the man after God’s own heart, the warrior king of Israel, the poet and psalmist, even God’s anointed one needed a Nathan in his life. Nathan is most known for 2 messages he brings to David. Both of them bad news. Now, that’s not all Nathan did, but its the two pivotal moments.  The most pivotal moments may be when the prophet of God, messenger of God delivers bad news… Nathan delivers the message of the Lord and the light and heat of it eradicate David’s cover up, his dormancy, and his pride.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. – Louis Brandeis

David is convicted of his sin. He recognizes his sin, he repents, and as he feels the consequences of his actions, David writes a poem.

Psalm 51:1-12, 16-17

1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Lent is a season of renewal because we bask in the light and heat of the death of Christ. Christ’s resurrection is an occasion of hope, but his death is an occasion on guilt- Jesus died on the cross because of our sin! Jesus died on the cross because- to use the words of Nathan- I am the man, you are the man…

David said in verse

3: I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

David’s sin is before him and his sinful nature,

his propensity to do the wrong thing is clear.

Because of our nature, it’s is our natural inclination to sin. To be selfish, to do the wrong thing.

The Christian life is not a life of coasting, because of the natural pull of gravity, because of the natural pull of doing the wrong thing, if there’s no growth, the conservation can only last so long.

If you were on a flight and the pilot announced that one engine was failing, you’d know that you were in trouble because the planes ability to fly is dependent upon thrust- without the thrust, without forward movement the plane’s natural propensity is to fall.

If we lay dormant, if we remain unmoved, if there is no movement, no renewal, no push of the Spirit, our propensity is to fall to the earth and do the wrong thing.

David doesn’t fight this by bearing down, or by getting serious, or by trying harder, instead he confesses his sin and welcomes the work of the Lord back into his life.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

At the end of the song he event says, what you want from me God is not religious practice, not religious observance, but you want a submissive spirit, a submissive and open heart.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Really quick I want to share with you a formula that I heard Steve Carter share about David.

Events + Response = Outcome

David was a part of some awful events, he did a lot wrong, but the one thing he got right to God’s truth was his response.

What separated David from most was not his actions or the events of his life, but his responses to God. – Steve Carter

Here’s the key, how you respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, as it touches on sins- sins of apathy, sins of anger, that’s what welcomes God’s outcome.
God gives us the choice.

God gives us the ability to accept or reject his working in our lives.

We can choose to welcome God in or shut him out.

Jesus told a story to His followers in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 12.

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a farmer who planted wheat in a field, but an enemy comes in the night and cast the seed of weeds into the wind over his field, scattering weeds among his field.

As the plants begin to pop up the workers come to the farmer and say, look someone has sown weeds in with our wheat, do you want us to pluck them all up?
The farmer knows there’s a good chance that the wheat will be dug up with the weeds, that there will no doubt be errors because at this stage, the difference between wheat and weed is barely distinguishable. He says, no we will wait until closer to harvest when the wheat brings forth fruit, because then it will be clear.

The difference between a Weed and the Wheat, is in the light and heat of summer the Wheat produces harvest and a Weed does not.

If seasons of revival and renewal bring about no movement in you, no repentance in you, no conviction of sin, you are no wheat, you are a weed. – You are not dormant, you are dead.

The difference between dormancy and death is the presence of the Spirit. David sang, take not thy Holy Spirit from me!

The Holy Spirit was still with David, that’s why he felt this conviction of his sin, that’s why he felt his transgression, why it was ever before Him…

When was the last time you repented of sin?

When was the last time you confessed your sin to God?

When was the last time you asked God to forgive you?

When was the last time your sin bothered you?

In 1984 an Avianca Airlines jet crashed in Spain. Investigators studying the accident made an eerie discovery. The “black box” cockpit recorders revealed that several minutes before impact a shrill, computer-synthesized voice from the plane’s automatic warning system told the crew repeatedly in English, “Pull up! Pull up!”

The pilot, evidently thinking the system was malfunctioning, snapped, “Shut up, Gringo!” and switched the system off.

Minutes later the plane plowed into the side of a mountain. Everyone on board died.

We have perfected silencing the conscience…

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Faith Free Will Baptist Church
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