Tag Archives: Righteousness

The Kind of Revival We Need

 (Worship Meditation … April of 2014)

 … Now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within His holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery.  For we are slaves, yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us His steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Jerusalem. … The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. … You who seek the Lord, let your hearts revive. … You who made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again.  From the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. … Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? … Thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:  “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” … O Lord, I have heard the report of You, and Your work, O Lord, do I fear.  In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known.  In wrath remember mercy.  [Ezra 9:8-9; Psalms 19:7; 69:32; 71:20; 85:6; Isaiah 57:15; Habakkuk 3:2]

I mentioned before that this year, some of the most conservative evangelical pastors in Lawrence are giving attention to the topic of revival, agreeing on this basic and obvious point, that if we do not know what revival really is, then it is hard to know what we are asking for, it will be impossible to recognize if the Lord has said “yes” to our cries, and (shall we humbly admit together that, maybe) if we find out what revival really is, we may not want it (full strength)?!

That should have occurred to us, as Bible Christians, because in the Holy Scriptures, there are a number of encounters between the holy God and impure humans, and we know how those meetings turn out!  Far from being a happy and pleasant experience ~ an adding of a bit more joy and power to an otherwise good life … it is quite devastating in a way that is ultimately necessary, enlivening, saving, killing, healing, sanctifying, and strengthening.

The more famous saying is, “Be careful when you pray for patience” (because God will send trials).  So here, take care as you pray for revival, for it will truly disrupt your world and life as you know it.  That said, we must prove to be true disciples, who will declare to Jesus Himself as He asks if there are other options we would like to explore:  “No, for You alone have the words of eternal life!”  That gets to the real meaning of revival, with the root “viv” à life, from what was dead.

So please join me and us, in praying for this life, this revival, not blindly but sincerely, asking like David for that one thing, to know God’s presence, even if it burns away all that used to matter.  God is free to send, or to withhold, His special seasons of revival and renewal, but in the history of revivals recorded in the Bible or after, no revival came without genuine repentance on the part of God’s people, for their own failings first.  Then seek the Lord, according to His word.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

In [the true Shepherd’s] days, Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely.  This is the name by which He will be called:  “The Lord our Righteousness.” … Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. … I count all things loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [that I may] be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depending on faith. … How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to Your word.  With my whole heart I seek You.  Let me not wander from Your commands.  I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  [Jeremiah 23:6Matthew 6:33Philippians 3:8-9;Psalm 119:9-11]

Please keep praying for this congregation’s Kids Club and the covenant children who are benefiting from your commissioning of our Children’s Ministry Leaders for several years now.  In the first year the children considered simplified catechisms about the basic gospel message.  In this second year we have sampled the fruit of the Spirit (from Galatians 5) & now the spiritual armor (from Ephesians 6).  We are learning about all six armor parts and how we put them on (through prayer):  the Helmet of Salvationthe Breastplate of Righteousnessthe Belt of Truthfeet shod with the Readiness of the Gospel of Peace (whew!), the Shield of Faith, and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Though we are instructed to obediently put these on, we see them in the first place as gifts of grace from our Savior Jesus Christ, who bought them for all of His people at great expense (His own blood).  Jesus defeated Satan, but these armor pieces help us to “Win Against Sin” every day (that’s the goal)!

Recently we learned about the Breastplate of Righteousness; this involved simple principles which we believe even some adults can understand!  “Righteousness” involves being completely right or good before God, as He defines it (that is, perfectly perfect)!  Nobody here (among the mere humans in this room) is that or achieves that.  This sad reality matches what Scripture tells us, then, that we begin our lives as enemies of the holy God.  Far from having God’s help to “Win Against Sin,” we ourselves were actively fighting against the all-powerful God, who always wins against all of His foes.

So we are doomed, unless God in His mercy works a rescue plan:  He does!  This involves His perfect Son (Jesus) becoming a man, living a perfectly righteous life (proving Himself to be God’s Friend, not His enemy), but then still paying the penalty which God’s people deserve for their rebellion, their sin nature, and their many individual sins.  Once finished (and it is … our full release and debt paid for), the Lord our Righteousness (Yahweh Tsidkenu is one of the many names God announces for Himself) supplies all of His people with His own Breastplate of Righteousness (or we might even regard it that Jesus Himself covers us, in the fullness of His resurrected life).

A breastplate provides covering for the chest area, making a hard barrier against weapons that would otherwise pierce the heart and lungs (etc.).  So this covering is a matter of life and death.  In the first place, this breastplate (which is the righteousness of Christ, OR the righteous Christ) covers us from the holy wrath of God the Father.  One fascinating feature of this particular breastplate model (which has a reflective surface) is that what God would see is Himself!  But that old fight is over, done, and finished … behind us for those who are adopted by God, but not a thing for us to forget.  Our happy union with the perfect God depends upon Jesus Christ.  Then the Breastplate of Righteousness becomes that protection against Satan and his dark forces, to help us Win Against Sin in daily battles.

  • But on Day 1 … I forgot to put on any breastplate.  So I was pretty much toast.  Sin won that day.
  • So on Day 2 … I remembered my breastplate … and I do mean MINE!  It was way too thin (like Saran wrap)!  Sin won again.
  • So on Day 3 … pain was a good teacher, so I put on Christ’s righteousness.  But Satan is clever, and he worked all day to remind me of my sins, weaknesses, and failures (past and present).  Dropping my guard (that is, switching out Christ’s armor-plating for my plastic wrap!), sin won again.
  • So on Day 4 … we taught the kids to truly battle against the world, the flesh, the devil … and sin … pointing one and all (especially the self) to the natural, achieved, proven, expensive righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We are more than conquerors … eternally and daily … through Him!