Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Evidences of renewal
Diḇre haYamim Bet/ 2 Chronicles 29:16-36
Shalom to you all, I do so love being able to be together and it is such a joy to be able to worship together offering up a praise offering of thanksgiving unto יהוה our Elohim. In Romiyim/Romans 12 we are told to be transformed by the renewing of our minds – something we all hear often as we continue to pursue a life set-apart unto יהוה, and we also know that this renewing or renewal is also a matter of the innermost parts or rather a matter of the heart. It is out of the overflow of the heart that a man speaks says יהושע in Luqas/Luke 6:45. Mishlĕ/Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man reckons in his life so he is, or as the KJV translates, as he thinks in his heart so he is. Dawiḏ cried out unto יהוה in Tehillim/Psalm 51:10 for Elohim to create in him a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within him. And being spiritually renewed is not something that lends itself to secrecy that no one will know about it – there is generally, in fact there is always evidences that surface from within revealing that renewal is in fact taking place. Tonight I want us to look at a few pieces of evidence, if you will, of a renewed heart and mind and spirit in a message called, “Am I being renewed? – Evidences of renewal – can I see them?” For the evidence that does come through in our lives is a great aspect of the joy of יהוה coming through. We are going to look at the evidences we see of true renewal that takes place in individuals and within a community of a Covenant people from which we can learn some great insight that will teach us, reproof us, correct us and train us in righteousness by the word of יהוה. In order to do that, please turn with me to Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 29 (Read)
The passage in focus is from verses 16-36 but I wanted to read the whole chapter to get the picture of what is really going on here! The outline of this chapter as well as the following 2 chapters is about Ḥizqiyahu/Hezekiah succeeds Aḥaz as king and reopens the Temple, the priests and the Lĕwites purify themselves and the Temple, Passover is celebrated. Ḥizqiyahu reorganises the priesthood and requires the people to obey the Torah of יהוה by supporting the priesthood – that in a nutshell is chapters 29-31. However as we look at chapter 29 tonight and more specifically verses 16-36, I want us to see evidences of change. That is evidences that a renewal is taking place within the hearts of the people. And so with that in mind let us look briefly at 5 pieces of evidence or rather 5 evidences of renewal – evidences that I should be able to see in my life and the life of the assembly – showing that in fact we are being renewed by the Truth of walking in obedience to His Torah! 5 evidences of a spiritual renewal:
1 – SPIRIT OF REPENTANCE
Repentance is a word we all know and a concept that we all hopefully understand. However, there is at times very little evidence in the body of Messiah of true repentance – why is that? Well, humanly speaking, the majority of mankind tends to simply not turn away from or turn their backs on something that is wrong yet they like doing or actually even love it – a walking in the flesh and chasing its desires – which many of us have been found out to be guilty of I am sure! When walking in the flesh there will always be a strong pull toward sin, which may I remind you is ‘lawlessness’ or better put, ‘Torahlessness’. When walking in the flesh we are in fact unable to submit to the Torah, and this is where the need for repentance is critical in changing our walk from the flesh to walking in the spirit. Now generally in all of us there is a pull from the heart, which according to Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) is deceitful above all things, toward sin – some obviously more than others! Most people think that the ‘fun’ of life is in the ‘sin’ due to the strong worldly influence and pull on the heart. To repent is to simply turn away from sin, which again I remind you is lawlessness, and turn away from those things that we may even have liked and choose to forsake them in turning to obedience in walking in Messiah – for most this is not a nice message and they simply choose to ignore it and therefore can never find renewal – why? Because they do not want to stop that which they like, even though they know what they are doing is wrong or perhaps do not think that it is wrong yet know that it is not in line with the Word or simply do not take the time to see if what they do is actually in line with the Word and would rather plead ignorance for the pleasure of self! It is kind of like little children and sweets – we know that sugar is not good for them, yet they love it – big children too may I remind you! And if one persists in consuming large quantities in increasing measure they will end up overweight, have bad teeth and even develop some serious heart and health issues that can be detrimental. It may taste good to the mouth yet is bad for the body – it may taste good for now yet have long term effects. Now hear me out here, I am not cancelling out sweets, just simply using an example to press home the point that sin is detrimental to us and some may think that a little sin in harmless at the time, yet sin is not sweets!!! Sin is not something you can burn off; it must be repented of, turned away from!!! The spirit of repentance is like going on a strict fixed diet from sin – turning away from and refusing those very things that we thought were sweet little treats and for a season felt good yet realising that they actually kill and destroy the soul – the wages of sin is death!
In verses 16-19 we see that the temple needed to be cleansed – it had been defiled and was no longer in use for that which it was built for. All the detestable and uncleanness that was found was brought out and everything had to be cleansed and set-apart for use in the Temple of יהוה. This was a mark of a spiritual renewal that was sweeping through the Covenant people of Elohim, where there was a common desire to clean up their lives and return to obedience and turn away from the defilements of their fathers; this was a deep cleansing that begun right in the Temple of Elohim with the earnest desire to walk set-apart lives unto יהוה.
The picture we see here is that it begins in the heart – in the inner most chambers of our soul. Yes we must repent to be renewed, but when we are renewed we will willingly repent. Repentance is and on-going daily process as we clean up all the junk that has been deposited in our lives through generations of doctrines and vain traditions of men!
The daily renewing of our minds will transform us and cause us to turn away from sin, which is… lawlessness and be renewed, cleansed and set-apart once again for good use, fit for service in the body of Messiah as we were designed to.
Repentance is the door to renewal and repentance takes humility, prayer and a seeking of the truth… This concept sounds familiar doesn’t it? Yes, is Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 7:14, a verse we all know we are told by יהוה that “If MY people, who are called by MY Name”… oh how I love your Name יהוה – it is all about His Name! “… will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn form their evil ways, then…”. We know the rest, what I am trying to show you is that repentance will never happen until a person humbles themselves, that is loses the pride of their sin, and will truly pray and seek the face of יהוה! When the mirror of the Word reveals sin or lawlessness in our lives, do we see the evidence of renewal by a spirit of repentance and are transformed? Repentance is evidence of renewal!
2 – SPIRT OF GIVING
In verses 20-24 we see the leaders and people giving huge sacrificial sin offerings unto יהוה, and in fact a little further on in verses 32-33 we are given the amounts of the ascending offerings given by those whose hearts were moved to. A renewed heart is evidenced in giving – just think about it 70 bulls, 100 rams, 200 lambs – all for ascending offerings unto יהוה. Verse 33 tells us that the set-apart gifts were 600 bulls and 3000 sheep!!! Listen this was so much that there was not enough priests to do the slaughtering that the Lĕwites came and helped!!! This people were a generous people – why? Because their hearts had been renewed!!! Perhaps it is better to look at it in this way as they gave with the right heart – they gave what was required, desired and inspired! What certainly matters is what is required – obedience reveals the heart and expresses love toward Elohim and others – the Torah has requirements that must be met and this is where it begins – with obedience – and do not forget that He writes His Torah upon our hearts! יהוה makes it very clear what is required – tithing is a requirement, yet we find too many today debating themselves out of it through lame excuses, and are actually revealing what is really in or rather what is not in their heart! Listen, He has cleansed us from all unrighteousness and set us apart for service, and chosen us – we can then as His chosen beloved show that by doing what is required!
The desired is simply to give above and beyond the required, in fact we may even say that in a renewed heart the required is a desired required – for we desire to do what pleases Him, and that is to walk by faith in loving obedience! But the desire to give grows increasingly in a renewed heart as it seeks to satisfy any need where required that goes beyond the required – specific needs in the body – desiring in the hearts of all that there is no lack at all within the body. If there is a need then it should be distributed as the desired giving begins to take place in increasing measure. This is certainly evidence of a renewal taking place within a community of believers and so as the need arises so too the desire to meet that need at all costs – this is what the Acts assembly we so often speak about was like!!!
The inspired giving paints a picture of consistency, faithfulness and steadfast commitment to obedience in doing what is required and desired. A renewed inspired heart says this – “I will do the required and the desired.” For some this is very evident in their lives revealing truly that there is evidence of renewal, while others battle somewhat in this area. Let us be honest, whenever speaking about giving there are always at least two diverse opinions that are voiced and reactions that are seen. Some will say yes, I agree and understand it – the Word has truly renewed my heart and mind, while others may grumble and groan about it saying that that is all the focus is and all that is ever spoken about, which is so far from the truth it is ridiculous, while the majority will simply remain silent – why is that?
The topic of giving really cuts deep into the heart and some allow the renewal to take place while others simply do not and as a result harbour resentment and jealousy, defiling a heart that is to be cleansed and renewed and filled with overflowing joy! When יהוה cleanses and renews the heart, it becomes His, and so too becomes a giving heart and a consistent one too.
He has given us our life, His Word, Elohim gave His only Son – He keeps on giving. And what does He ask of us? To give – to give unto Him our all, all that we are and all that we do and all that we hope to be – this is sacrificial giving. Your life is not your own! We give Him our heart, we surrender all to Him and then become good stewards of that which is His! Remember it is He who gives and takes away, and if our hearts have no evidence of renewal in giving He may just take that which He has freely given! To be truly renewed carries the evidence of giving that is inspired to give the required and greatly desired. That is why Sha’ul says give not under compulsion by according to you heart – is your heart renewed and inspired? For when it is it gives above and beyond with great joy and pleasure and demonstrates your complete trust in Him. Give Him your all! Let the evidence of renewal be clearly seen in you!
3 – SPIRIT OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Verses 25-30 carry such great illustration of a renewed heart, evidenced in their praise and worship. Just picture the scene for a moment – they cleansed, they gave and now they praised. It is a little of a reminder of the picture we see back in chapter 5 of this book when Shelomoh (Solomon) dedicated the Temple and there were 120 priests blowing trumpets – can you imagine the sound… let us go there and read of it:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 5:12-14 “and the Lĕwite singers, all those of Asaph and Hĕman and Yeduthun, with their sons and their brothers, stood at the east end of the altar, dressed in white linen, having cymbals and harps and lyres, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets. 13 Then it came to be, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking יהוה, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets, and with cymbals, and with instruments of song, and giving praise to יהוה, “For He is good, for His kindness is everlasting,” that the house, the House of יהוה, was filled with a cloud, 14 and the priests were unable to stand and perform the service because of the cloud, for the esteem of יהוה filled the House of Elohim.”
Wow!!! Now back to our passage for tonight we see here again this awesome sound of praise being offered up in overflowing joy! Whoever believes that יהוה should be praised in silence – well these two pictures and many more I might add, may just be a little surprising or even frightening for them! Let it be known that יהוה is to be praised!!!!!
And let me also remind you that the focus is not on the music or the instruments or the style or how long we stand or even how many songs we may sing – these things are all secondary, important yes but secondary, to the ONE whom we are worshipping!!! A renewed heart is ready to praise I want to tell you – a renewed heart is not fussed about whether they can keep the tune or even know all the words – a renewed heart is ready to praise!!! Evidence of this in the body is that when we come together to worship and praise the Almighty, the position of our bodies, what we may sing or what instruments are played will not be the sole focus of our hearts – the spirit of praise and worship is to come and offer up to Him our total and complete attention and focus. We may find ourselves sitting, kneeling or standing, clapping, dancing or with hands raised high, or even on our face in humility and repentance – that is ok for the evidence of a renewal taking place is the uninhibited and devoted worship and praise unto Him in a direct response to our faith and the very renewal thereof! True evidence of renewal is our corporate worship and praise that is directed completely toward יהוה. Oh how I love to praise Your Name יהוה!
4 – SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
In verse 31 Ḥizqiyahu says to the people – “Now that you have ordained yourselves to יהוה, come near and bring slaughterings and thank offering into the house of יהוה." Other translations write, “Now that you have consecrated yourself…”, and in the Hebrew it in essence gives the meaning of saying, listen now that you have filled your hand to יהוה, that is given yourself fully to the service of יהוה, come near with thanksgiving offerings. This is such a powerful statement here by Ḥizqiyahu. If I was to ask a large group of believers or even we here as a small group tonight, “Who of you are truly thankful?” I am sure that the majority would quickly put up there hand and respond very positively, but yet sometimes there is that temptation to look around at other people’s reactions and in your mind say something like, “they are not thankful”, in a very judgemental way thinking to yourself, “If they, or he or she, were thankful they wouldn’t grumble and moan and groan and complain and criticise everything!”
People will know when you are thankful and when you are not and you do not care who knows it or not, you will be bitter and negative. We must realise that we cannot hide whether we are thankful or not – spending enough time with someone and they will know whether you are or not and vice versa. Thankfulness from the heart is seen and permeates into every area of your life – thankfulness removes that smug look on your face - you all know what I am talking about! Thankfulness takes away the sharp bite in your comments from the side-lines and will remove the harshness of your attitude!
You know it is truly a joy and a whole lot of fun to be around a thankful person as it is very contagious – in a good way! This world we live in and the society we are in daily has a very ungrateful and thankless attitude and it is rare to hear words like, ‘good job, thank you for what you have done.’ A thankful heart is evidence of renewal and shines a very bright light in a dark world! Let your light shine in thanksgiving unto יהוה for we are told “in everything give thanks” – and so let your light shine. Is there evidence of a renewed heart in your life or is it hard to be thankful always?
5 – SPIRIT OF AWARENESS
By this I mean that we begin to be aware of His indwelling presence and the work that He is doing in our lives. When we come together as an assembly in worship – we are the body of Messiah that comes together and I ask you, ‘are you aware of His presence?’ He says that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name there He is – His presence makes this place of gathering a set-apart place – are you aware of it? Or do you bring in all your stinky laundry and attitudes that you have picked up on your journey. Before entering in to His presence the priests would wash their hands and feet, signifying that they are washing of the dirt they may have picked up in their walk and in their actions. Before you come here, are your hands and feet cleansed and ready aware of His magnificent presence? Verse 36 tells us that the people rejoiced that Elohim had prepared them, because it came about suddenly. They knew by what had happened and what was going on that they were in His presence – these events could not have been manufactured – this was Him and His presence and they were very aware of it. Evidence of renewal will bring about in you awareness, not only of His presence here with us right now and whenever we gather together, but the awareness of His indwelling Ruach HaQodesh (Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim) in your everyday walk. It is when you are aware of His presence, aware that He is with you wherever you go, with you walking and talking and guiding you in every area of your life. Think about it – His still small yet very powerful voice that guides you, especially when you are off trying to do your own thing in satisfying the flesh!
To put it plainly – If I do not want to hear His voice and do things my own way then I am walking in the flesh and do not want to walk in the spirit. When I walk in the spirit I put to death the misdeeds of the flesh because of my awareness of His ever indwelling presence and I therefore freely submit to his leading me according to the pattern of His word for it is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path directing my every step. Obedience to His Word is evidenced by my awareness of His presence – recognising that my body is a temple of His Spirit and that I walk according to the Spirit and do not take lightly His magnificent presence in my life!!!
Spiritual renewal is not something that can be programmed. It is when we submit to יהוה and are transformed daily by the renewing of our minds, allowing His Word to wash us and cleanse us and renew a right spirit within us that the evidence of this renewal will become more apparent and visible. It begins with repentance that leads to giving that leads to praise and worship that leads to thanksgiving, equipping us with the awareness of His presence in our lives. These are 5 pieces of evidence of a renewal – evidence that I am being renewed and that this spiritual renewal is pure and true. I ask you tonight, ‘do you have evidence of renewal?’
In answering the message tonight “Am I being renewed – is there evidence of renewal – can I see them?” What do you see? Is the spirit of repentance, giving, praise and worship, thanksgiving and awareness of His presence evident in your life or are the evidences lacking? As HE is rebuilding us as a people may we too rejoice that it is He who prepares us and that it comes about suddenly! It is time to fully restore the ruins – cleanse out the defilement in our hearts left by generations gone by and once again walk truly set-apart as a people unto יהוה, walking in repentance and giving everything that is required and beyond – after all we are His and He is a jealous EL who will not share us with any other false mighty ones. May repentance and giving begin to stir in us a true spirit of praise and thanksgiving in our hearts being ever aware of His very presence in which those of old could not dwell, yet by the Blood of יהושע, we may dwell in Him.
Oh may my life have evidence of a renewed heart and mind and spirit in You יהושע our Saviour and King.
Let us praise Him – and go out and lived daily renewed lives bringing esteem to Him. This passage is such a wonderful passage, clearly showing us just what the renewal of His Word, His Love and His presence will bring about in our lives – may it truly be seen, aměn!
יהוה bless you and guard you, יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour, יהוה lift up His face toward you and give you peace!