By Robert Wurtz II
THE NEXT GREAT AWAKENING
(Part 1 Confession of Sin)
Multitudes of Christians today are asleep to their own personal spiritual condition. They are content with their walk with him as if they were in no real need to be revived. Many point to the horrible sins of our nation and the Church, but never stop to see their own spiritual state. They are in a deep slumber. And when God begins to awaken the people, they will become keenly conscious of their lukewarm or even backslidden state. Some will fall on their faces before God and begin to confess their sins and apathy. They will forsake the paths of their own will and suddenly be consumed with glorifying God. They will morn the lost years while they sat back and watched the multitudes dropping down into hell. They will grieve their own worldliness that supplanted their former godliness.
A person who has awakened out of his or her own spiritual sleep is in a different STATE OF MIND than the slumbering Christian. They are very sensitive to the conditions of the world around them. They become like Lot who was vexed from day to day with the unlawful deeds of wicked people. They find it difficult to RELAX while so much wickedness is going on around them. The words of the angels that visited Sodom seem to echo in their sub conscious minds over and over again, "Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!" (Genesis 19:14 NKJV) They see others who just sit by as though the Church and nation were in great revival as being like Lot's son in laws who thought the angels were joking.
The First Waking Moments
When the Spirit of God comes upon a person the first thing they will be conscious of is their own personal sin. They will see themselves as God sees them and will begin to mourn over their own condition. A sense of carelessness for their own reputation and dignity will sweep over them. They will begin to openly confess they have sinned to those that have been effected. They will take responsibility for their part and portion for the backslidden state of God's people. They will begin to contact those whom they have wronged and reconcile with enemies. This is what happened to the people who heard John the Baptist preach. The people responded to his message by being baptized and confessing their sins (Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5). This is brokeness. This is self-denial. This is genuine humility. This is what God requires. They knew that God does not accept it when people sin publicly and repent privately. They refuse to insult God with such behavior after so embarrassing Him. Such was the effect on the people that John Baptised that later in Acts there were still found people serving the Lord who had been baptized after John's baptism. The Pharisee's on the other hand saw no need to admit they had sinned or be baptized. No matter how Jesus showed them their sins they would not acknowledge them. Beloved there is more hope for a reprobate than people like that. The religious folk refused to humble themselves and cry out to God for forgiveness. They are too proud to confess they had sinned. They kept on as though they were right with God when all the while they were right on the brink of being judged in the worst way in their entire history. Sadly, even after the Temple was destroyed and the City of Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina, the proud Pharisees did not submit to God or acknowledge their sin. They simply hardened themselves and the nation in that unrepentance by establishing Rabbinic Judaism. Pride is the obstacle to repentance and revival. So long as you keep telling yourself that everyone else needs to repent and confess there will never be a move of God among this people.
The Path to Humility
Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble (James 4:6; I Peter 5:5). The scripture is filled with commandments to humble ourselves before the Lord. (James 4:10; I Peter 5:6). Many believe that this simply means to bow down or kneel and pray. It actually means to bring yourself low in your own eyes and in the eyes of others. It means to have a right perspective on your TRUE condition before God and men. It requires that you examine your own life in light of God's word. It means to deny yourself. It means to cease concerning yourself for your own reputation.
This is the opposite of what is promoted in our day. Many are jockeying for position in this world's race to be the latest and greatest. They seek the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43). Their whole life is built on what other people think about them. This one fact alone is a great obstacle to people genuinely selling out and following Christ. It is simply too great of a price to pay. They value the praise of men over the glory of God. Many refuse to allow Christ to live and reign in their life in any real and meaningful way. They profess that they know God but in works they deny him being abominable, disobedient, and to every good work reprobate (Titus 1:16). They draw near unto God with their mouth and honor Him with their lips, but their heart is far from Him. Christ said to deny yourself (Luke 9:23). But many have denied Christ through their disobedience. Through their evil deeds they deny Christ before men and He denies them before His heavenly Father (II Timothy 2:12). We must deny ourselves. Humility begins when you take yourself off the throne of your life and exalt Christ to His rightful place. Humility is when you're more concerned about embarrassing God than being embarrassed yourself.
Confess and God Will Show Up
Declension in the Christian religion does not come about because the Saints are guiltless. EVERYONE is guilty of something. Even Daniel the prophet confessed his sins. Here we read, 'While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill- while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.' (Daniel 9:20-21 NIV) He was confessing his sin AND the sin of his people. But he had an excellent spirit. What kind of spirit do we have that need no confession? Similarly in Ezra 10 we find him in an awful state over his sin and the sin of the people. Again we read, 'Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.' In Joel 1 and 2 the priest are told to weep between the porch and the altar. Weep for what? Their obedience? Nay, their gross disobedience and it was to start with the priests. In Nehemiah's day they really took this serious. Nehemiah chapter 9 begins saying, 'Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.' If you are ever going to get close to God you are going to have to acknowledge your transgressions. You may have kept all the commandments from your youth, but you are still in need of grace. The Pharisee's saw themselves as needing no repentance before the Lord. Have you confessed your part and portion or responsibility for the spiritual state of our church, the Church, our city and nation? There will never be a genuine revival in our land until that starts happening on a wholesale level. God will simply say, 'Alright- have it your way!' And the Church will watch itself be surrounded by an arrogant, militant paganism. More heads will be cut off and blood will run in our streets until fear grips the people. The Nation as a whole will tilt the scales a few degrees towards liberalism and it will be open season on the Church. Why? They will get what they deserve. The Lord will reward them according to their deeds.
Confess and Live
Declension comes when sin is in the camp. When the land needs to be healed sin has been its disease. The first step in ever seeing healing come to any person or church or nation is confession of sin. This implies recognition and admission of guilt. America did not reach the gutter because the Church was being the light of the world or the salt of the earth. If individuals are not being salt and light it is because they are sinning. All that live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution- and that persecution comes from the effects of our life on peoples hearts who refuse to turn to God. Why not just confess, repent, and live?
Confess and Then Pray
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16 NIV)
We have been willing to pray for one another, but who can say they confess to one another? The passage says confess and pray. The King James version translates the word as 'faults,' likely because of the confusion caused by papal abuses in the Catholic church, but the Greek word hamartia (ham-ar-tee'-ah is the common word for sin (Nestle Aland). Matthew Henry comments on this passage saying, 'But the confession here required is that of Christians to one another, and not, as the papists would have it, to a priest. Where persons have injured one another, acts of injustice must be confessed to those against whom they have been committed. Where persons have tempted one another to sin or have consented in the same evil actions, there they ought mutually to blame themselves and excite each other to repentance. Where crimes are of a public nature, and have done any public mischief, there they ought to be more publicly confessed, so as may best reach to all who are concerned. And sometimes it may be well to confess our faults to some prudent minister or praying friend, that he may help us to plead with God for mercy and pardon. But then we are not to think that James puts us upon telling every thing that we are conscious is amiss in ourselves or in one another; but so far as confession is necessary to our reconciliation with such as are at variance with us, or for gaining information in any point of conscience and making our own spirits quiet and easy, so far we should be ready to confess our faults.' (end of quote) Is it necessary to disclose the details of the sin? Not necessarily. General terms of acknowledgment of sin are what are required. It would be folly to disclose unnecessary details and perhaps incite others to sin or wreck havoc on innocent people; but general acknowledgment of sin is required.
I Have Sinned Against the Lord
In an atmosphere where people refuse to repent and acknowledge their sin- God is not present. Acknowledge your sin and shortcomings and God will show up. He is waiting. Who can say they are without some fault? So much of the Church and nation is in shambles. Surely someone has quilt. Will you repent and acknowledge before God your part and portion even as the prophets of old did? Maybe Jeremiah said it best when he penned these words, 'Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.' (Jeremiah 3:23-25) Does that describe us? Will we acknowledge our transgression? Will we go on doing what we do so well and refuse to turn to God? Why not just confess, repent, and live? Why should we perish?