Spiritual Renewal – SelfGrowth. How does spiritual renewal come? Paul’s idea of being a living sacrifice (Rom. 12) is another way of describing this idea of calling and practice.
Were all for revival out there, but when it gets too close to home, we begin to get a bit nervous. Revival also implies change.
That threatens us because, even if were not doing real well spiritually, we tend to get comfortable with the predictable. See full list on bible. But I suggest that we all are in constant need of continuing spiritual renewal.
Like silver exposed to the elements, we grow tarnished and dull spiritually. Thus we constantly need renewal or revival. But we need it not only individually, but corporately, as Gods people.
It always in Gods people confessing and forsaking sin, of an increase of the conversion of sinners, and of great joy in the Lord.
It is from first to last a work of God. But at the same time, there are conditions we can meet as His people so that if He should choose to move in a mighty way, His power would not be hindered. We can see three important factors of spiritual renewal in the revival that happened under the good king Hezekiah (Chron. 29): Dont misunderstand: Im not saying that we should ignore pressing problems. They demand our attention and we would be negligent not to attend to them.
But I am arguing that Hezekiahs example shows us that the most pressing need in a time of need is to renew our commitment to the Lord. Only after we have done that are we free to seek His mind on how to deal with the pressing problem. Often the very reason God sends the problem is to get us to stop and get our priorities back in line.
Once weve done that, He often deals with the problem in ways we never could have, even if we had put all our efforts into solving it. Hezekiah could have looked around and thought, Things are grim. My father shut down the temple. He lost a lot of our territory to other nations.
And were under the thumb of Tiglath-Pileser. He could have grown very depressed and have been paralyzed into doing nothing. But instead he committed himself to follow the Lord.
He rallied the priests to re-open the temple for worship.
He called the nation back to God. And as soon as God breaks into any situation, the darkness is dispelled by the light of His presence. It applies to our nation at this time.
We see sin abounding. People are flaunting their degradation. Religious liberties are being taken from us. But if we, as Gods people, will commit ourselves fully to Him, there is hope!
If God will break into the church and nation with His light, there is no limit to what can happen. It also applies to you personally. Perhaps youre in a hopeless, discouraging situation. Youve given every ounce of your effort to trying to deal with it, all to no avail. But can you conceive of any problem that is too big for God?
If God breaks through into your situation, there is hope. The main thing is that we renew our commitment to Him. Adoniram Judson, the great pioneer missionary to Burma, was suffering from fever in a stinking, rat-infested prison. He had seen little fruit for his years of hard work and sacrifice. He had gone through many setbacks and hardships.
A letter from a friend arrived which aske Judson, hows the outlook? He replie The outlook is as bright as the promises of God. Commitment to God brings hope into the darkest of situations. Undergirding Hezekiahs reforms is an understanding of what the Law of Moses prescribed and a commitment to follow that completely. He knew what was clean and unclean (29:5).
Again, we can only understand how radical this was for Hezekiah if we remember his background and the spiritual climate he grew up in. His father was an abusive, self-centered man who had burned some of Hezekiahs brothers to death by offering them to the pagan go Molech! Ahaz had set up idol worship throughout the whole country. Hezekiah easily could have been a rebellious, angry young man, mad at Go mad at his abusive father, just going with the evil current of his day.
He had to make a commitment to go against the evil ways of his father (29:6) and to follow Gods Word even when it ran counter to the evil customs being practiced. Sometimes people come to church and leave mumbling, I didnt get anything out of it. The point is , Did the Lord get anything out of you?
Did you come to draw near and offer to the Lord a joyous, reverent thank offering because of His grace shown to you through the blood of Christ? John Wesley sai Give me 1men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but Go and I will shake the world. To understand this story, you have to remember the previous chapter and the dismal spiritual situation in Judah under the wicked King Ahaz, Hezekiahs father.
He began by introducing idol worship alongside the worship of God and ended by closing the doors of the Temple, sacrificing to the gods of Damascus, and establishing centers of idol worship in every Judean town. Because of Ahazs apostasy, the Lord stirred up enemies against him from every side. That held him at a distance long enough for him to polish off the northern kingdom of Israel and their neighbor to the north, Syria.
But feeding the monster only made him stronger, and now he was threatening Judah. The Assyrian army was known for its brutality and awesome power. If they overran Judah, thousands would be slaughtere families would be torn apart, people would be hauled into captivity as slaves, and the worship of God among His people would be a thing of the past. If you were Hezekiah, taking the leadership of a nation under those conditions, what would be your first priority?
In light of this desperate historical setting, the words of verse take on heightened significance: In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. Then he calls the priests and Levites and charges them to consecrate themselves (first) and the Lords house (second) (29:5) to reverse the awful conditions introduced by his father. He shares with them what is in his heart, namely, to make a covenant with the Lord God (29:10), and repeats his charge to them, Do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him to minister to Him (29:11).
Hezekiahs first priority in the face of a national crisis was to call the nation and its leaders back to the proper commitment to God. We can learn several things from his example: Renewed commitment to God and His Word always reveals areas of our lives that have been displeasing to God. Thus the second element in spiritual renewal is cleansing.
Note that reform or renewal always starts with the person and moves outward to the church (29: consecrate yourselves and consecrate the house of the Lord). Many of these priests had fallen into unfaithfulness and idolatry, so they had to deal with their own sin before they could begin the process of cleansing the temple. God cant use you to impact others for Christ until you cleanse yourself from defilement. But, thank Go if were willing to clean up our lives, even if it takes a while to shovel it all out, He will restore us and use us again for His purpose! When you face a crisis, the natural human response is to focus on the crisis.
If youve lost your job, your first priority is to focus on finding another job. If your marriage is in trouble, focus on your marriage. If your teenager is rebellious, focus on dealing with your teenager.
Down through history, God has broken into the worst of situations to bring hope and light when, humanly speaking, things are hopeless. At the time of the Reformation, spiritual conditions were abysmal. The Roman Catholic church was corrupt beyond description. Through these men and many others, the good news that Christ died for sinners and that His forgiveness and eternal life are a free gift to all who will trust in Him began to be proclaimed.
Hope broke into a darkene hopeless situation! The same thing happened during the English revival in the 18th century with the Wesleys and George Whitefield. Some historians argue that England would have faced a bloody revolution similar to that in France if that revival had not taken place.
A radical commitment to Gods Word means that even though you had angry, abusive, self-centered parents, you confront your own anger, abusiveness, and self-centeredness so that it doesnt continue in your family. Even though your parents worshipped gods of their own making, whether money or pleasure, you worship the living God in accordance with His Word of truth. The burnt offering pictured consecration. It was offered up totally to the Lord ( the worshiper did not eat any of it) and represents the surrender and holiness demanded of those who have received Gods forgiveness. Our response to His mercy in becoming our sin offering should be to give ourselves completely to HiI urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Go to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to Go which is your spiritual service of worship (Rom.
12:1). The thank offering pictured devotion. These were voluntary offerings expressing love and gratitude for Gods many blessings.
The author to the Hebrews refers to this when he writes, Through (Christ) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to Go that is , the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. I love verse 36: Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly. God prepared it (He is the sovereign cause of revival), but it happened suddenly! Christians are to be overflowing with gratitude (Col. 2:7).
There was a joyous spontaneity to the whole thing. The birth of our Savior had been prepared from ages past, and yet suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God. In Acts we read that suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind and yet this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel hundreds of years before! Prepared by Go but it happened suddenly.
When the Bible speaks of renewal, it sometimes refers to the physical renewal—rest—that is required for our bodies to continue functioning at their best. From a Soul overview, renewal means waking up the heart to divine love , humor and right discrimination between the virtues and vices of life. Divine neutral love is the roadmap to a peaceful heart. We, as Soul, were created to be happy spiritual beings. We were created to be spiritually free.
Church, religion, etc. The result of spiritual renewal is consistent, Christ-like, joy-filled living. Now that we know the steps to spiritual renewal, are we willing to take. While all of the following elements may not be present in each instance, for.
Down through the centuries, Gods people have gone through cycles where His Word has been neglected and the spiritual condition of His people deteriorates. In His grace, God sends renewal. Inevitably, one of the main marks of such renewal is a renewed emphasis on Gods Word.
Amons son, Josiah, began to seek the Lord when he was and to institute spiritual reforms. Then Hilkiah the priest found a copy of Gods law and Josiah called the nation to repentance (Chron. 34:14). Priests were the only ones with access to it, and most of them were ignorant of its contents.
John Wycliffe and William Tyndale labored to get the Bible translated into common English. Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. The Reformation theme, sola scriptura, renewed Gods people. The same thing was true of the great Puritan revivals in England and America during the 16th and 17th centuries.
For Puritanism was, above all else, a Bible movement. To the Puritan the Bible was in truth the most precious possession that this world affords. His deepest conviction was that reverence for God means reverence for Scripture, and serving God means obeying Scripture.
Intense veneration for Scripture, as the living word of the living Go and a devoted concern to know and do all that it prescribes, was Puritanisms hallmark. The people gathered and asked Ezra to bring the book (scroll) of the Law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel (8:1). They read from it publicly from dawn until noon! Kidner (p.
104) refutes the liberal view, that the Pentateuch ( the five books of Moses) was the creation of a recent redactor who pieced together the older materials. He says that what Ezra read from was obviously not a new manifesto, but rather the foundation articles of the faith, laid down at the exodus. Also, this law had full divine authority.
The phase translate which the Lord had given to Moses is literally commanded Moses. As Kidner observes, one does not tamper with material that one would describe in such terms. The people recognized and respected the fact that God had given this material to Moses, and therefore it was His authoritative word to them. Copies of the Law of Moses were probably somewhat rare, and many of the Jews may never have heard it read before. Even in the New Testament, Paul instructs Timothy to give attention in church meetings to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching (Tim.
4:13). Until the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the Bible had to be copied by han and often there would only be one copy in a city, often chained to the pulpit. Since people were often illiterate, the Bible had to be read publicly for the common people to know what it says.
God could have communicated with us in some form other than writing. But He chose to put it in written form. That means that for people to know God and His message of salvation, at least one person in the group, and preferably many, have to learn to read and study.
I would argue that the strength of a church will be in direct proportion to the number of people in that church who read and study Gods written Word. We live in a culture where almost all of us know how to read. Those who cant read or cant read well can readily learn how. We have multiple translations of the Bible in our language.
For the good of your soul I would challenge you to read and reread the Bible all the days of your life. If you want spiritual renewal , it will come through Gods Word. If you have never done so, Id encourage you to read through the entire Bible in the New Year. For spiritual renewal , Gods people must read His Word. Having ears that work does not guarantee that we really hear.
Although God made us with two ears that we cannot close and one mouth that we can (which ought to teach us something!), we sometimes close off our minds so that we do not really hear what is being sai even though we did hear the sounds of the words. Anyone who is married has had that experience. In the same way, it is possible to hear the Bible read or preached and not hear a thing. Thats why Jesus often sai He who has ears to hear, let him hear (Mark 4: 23).
Your mind was elsewhere. If the Bible contains the very words that God Himself is saying to us, then it certainly behooves us to listen reverently to what He is saying! Attentiveness stems from reverence. If we maintain our reverence for God and that fact that He is speaking to us through His Wor we will pay attention to what He says.
If we forget that this is the Word of the living God to us, our minds will wander to other things. I realize that preachers can sometimes be boring. But if I lose your attention, direct your mind to the text of Scripture and ask the Lord to open it to your heart. You can make all sorts of interesting points, but if you are not accurately reflecting what the passage is teaching, you are not teaching the Bible rightly.
Sometimes Jesus seemed to be deliberately obscure, especially in His parables, to hide the truth from scoffers. But usually the job of a Bible teacher is to communicate the truth clearly and simply. He said that even though he had more than doctors and magistrates in his church, when he preached he spoke to the young people, children, and servants.
Sound teaching must be accurate and clear. But also it must be applied to life. As you study the Word personally and if you ever teach it, your aim should be to answer the question, So what ? If I do not procure the edification of those who hear me, I am a sacrilege, profaning Gods Word. John Calvin did not view theology as an end in itself.
The Word of God is not to teach us to prattle, not to make us eloquent and subtle and I know not what. You cannot teach the Bible accurately, clearly, and with proper application to life if you just read a text and say whatever pops into your mind at the moment. If they had to devote themselves to the task of preaching, how much more do we!
Thus for spiritual renewal , Gods people must read His Wor reverently hear His Wor and the Word must be taught. Knowledge apart from obedience leads to pride (Cor. 8:1). Our aim, as Calvin put it, should always be to transform our lives by Scripture. There are five responses here: The people wept when they heard and understood Gods Word (8:9), because they realized how much they had sinned against God.
We will see this in more detail in chapter 9. But the fact is , the more the light of Gods holy Word shines into our hearts, the more we will see areas where we do not conform to His righteousness. Swindoll says, attitude. The couple who benefited had teachable hearts. The other man did not.
What was the difference? Some people come to church with reverence for God and His Wor saying, Go teach me! I want to know You more! They profit from the teaching. They are ready to respond to the Word.
Others come to the same service with sin in their hearts that they dont want to deal with. It comes when responsive hearts read and reverently hear Gods Word faithfully proclaimed. The people in our text were both attentive and reverent when Gods Word was read to them. They were not worshiping the actual scroll that Ezra held in his han but rather the God who had given the words of that scroll to Moses and through Moses to them. Scholars debate the meaning of the word translating (NASB).
Some say that since many of the people spoke Aramaic, the biblical Hebrew had to be translated into Aramaic. But probably the sense of the NIV is correct, that the teachers made the reading of Scripture clear and gave the meaning. Probably Ezra would read a section and then his assistants, perhaps in smaller groups, would expound on that section to make the meaning clear to the people. But the ones who are taught also must be committed to the Word.
In the church this means that those who are not gifted in the area of teaching take on other necessary ministry tasks so that those who teach can study and prepare. In other words, there must be a division of labor according to spiritual gifts. You see this principle in Nehemiah 8. Until now, Nehemiah has been in the forefront. He was a gifted administrator who could organize and mobilize people to get the wall built.
But when it came time to teach the Wor he took a back seat to Ezra, who was skilled in the law of Moses, who had set his heart to study it, practice it, and teach it (Ezra 7: 10). These two men illustrate beautifully the principle of team ministry. But as the week progresse he saw that couple change as they listened to the teaching of Gods Word. The husband hung on every word.
The wife had her Bible open and followed the messages closely. At the end of the week, this couple came up to Swindoll and his wife and sai We want you to know that this week has been a 180-degree turnaround experience for us. When we came, we were ready to separate. Were going back stronger than we have ever been in our marriage. But that joyous news was dampened by another familys response.
Purple is the color Catholics recognize as the regal color of a perfect soul. Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Shrove Tuesday is the day of feasting and celebration before the penitential season of Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. In some cultures the whole season before Lent is called Carnival. And what He does in the natural world He also does in the spiritual realm. The last great spiritual awakening in America was the Jesus movement, which took place about years ago.
All around us each day, we face the negative side of life staring us in the face. Gas prices take us prisoner and a failing economy, devastating weather conditions, even television and movies saturate us with negativity. It was in the nineteenth century that Cotton Mather first used the word to describe a great awakening in the early Americas. And the clear conscience resulting from genuine repentance can be a springboard to personal awakening, spiritual renewal , and growth. Without this clear conscience, it is not possible to move forward in a vibrant walk with God.
Ultimately, I believe our need for spiritual nourishment or renewal is tied to our desire to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves — we want to sense our oneness with the Divine or the universe. The word is used in various senses: (1) of material things, e. Vegan,Vegetarian Tees and Tote Bags.