By Dr. Richard Ing
An amazing thing happened when I was in the Philippines in July. The Lord spoke to me about a coming revival three years before and I wanted to help unite the churches in preparation for it. With my partner, Pastor Mauro Goze, we mapped out a strategy to form an association of churches, and appoint leaders in every region, province, municipality and district. We planned to bring humanitarian aid and help the churches financially. We reasoned that we could conduct a series of large conventions all over the Philippines and push for a month-long series of crusades all over the nation. That should trigger off a revival, we hoped.
We met with different pastors’ groups in the Laguna area and spoke of unity and strategy for revival. Then we went to Dagupan and did the same. The overall reaction was good, as many signed up. But on the way back to our mission house a few days later, God suddenly spoke to me. He said, “Give Me the glory! I don’t need associations and pastors’ organizations, or networking or conventions or crusades. I don’t need man’s strategies or plans. All I am looking for is one man or one woman to stand in the gap.” I wept and asked God to forgive me. God does not need our good works and plans to accomplish His goals. All He needs is people willing to obey Him.God is about to pour out the spirit of Elijah the prophet upon a few obedient servants, who will go out as did John the Baptist, as one crying in the wilderness, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand... Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”
Mal. 4:5. God will open doors and touch the hearts of the people. He doesn’t need networking or associations. God is calling His people to repentance.
THE CHURCH IS MISSING ITMany so-called Christians have never really repented. Yet, repentance is essential to salvation. Ac. 2:38;3:19. Maria Woodworth-Etter, in her book entitled ADairy of Signs and Wonders, claims that fifty percent of church-going Christians are not really saved. People who have been going to church for 20 or 30 years have never really repented and been “born again”. Sunday School teachers, music leaders, etc. found out that they were not really saved. All they did was go through a sinner’s prayer and blithely repeat after their friend, “I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me my sins.” There were no tears, conviction, sorrow or true repentance. Countless Christians are sick and die before their time because their un-repented-of sins bring curses to them. Many find their walk dry and stale and struggle to hang on to their faith with little or no anointing or direct revelation from God and a faith that is only intellectual. Yes, God is merciful and full of grace, but the church needs to repent.
As John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:7,8, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:....” What are fruits meet for repentance - the evidences of true repentance? In 2 Corinthians 7:8-11, the apostle Paul had earlier chastened the saints in Corinth in a previous letter to them. In verse 9, he says, “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Some may feel sorry over being caught with hand in cookie jar, or are about to be punished, or embarrassed. But that is not godly sorrow. Crocodile tears do not lead to repentance. Repentance means to “change your mind and heart about sinning, to reform or reverse our way of thinking andPaul says in verse 11, ”For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness itwrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge. In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” So, what are the evidences of true repentance? Paul says: carefulness, clearing of self, indignation, fear, vehement desire, zeal and revenge.
acting, to turn around.” You can feel bad about your sins and weep over it, but until you have determined not to sin again and to change, you have not yet reached true repentance.
True repentance makes one careful of his behavior in the future. He becomes sensitive to what is right and what is wrong. He never wants to sin intentionally and is careful. On a trip to Fiji a few years ago, a young lady related how she was transported to heaven by two angels one night at a prayer meeting. She was slain in the Spirit for seven hours. At one point, the angel said to her, “You’re a thief!” “I’m not a thief.” “Yes, you are.” Suddenly, the angel gave her a vision of her “borrowing” a can of sardines from her pastor’s cupboard when no one was around. The next day, she bought a new can and replaced the one she took. “You’re a thief!” the angel repeated. Then she had a vision of “borrowing” someone’s slippers at a Bible meeting when she went to the store down the block. Next, the angel showed her “borrowing” someone’s soap when she forgot her own soap at a camp. “You never asked permission and the can of sardines was not the same can,” the angel said, “Repent!” When the your lady returned to earth, she was very careful about not “borrowing” things and about not sinning.True repentance brings a desire to clear oneself and to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. It brings a desire to bring restitution, to extricate oneself from lies and to stand before God as a righteous servant without spot, blemish or wrinkle. True repentance changes the mind and heart.
One becomes indignant and even angry at sin and at oneself for allowing the flesh, the world or Satan to deceive you into sinning. One rises up against sin and refuses to allow it. True repentance brings a realization and fear of judgment, a deep awe and respect for God and a distrust of self and one’s ability to walk in obedience without the help of the Holy Spirit.
A zeal for righteousness and for the things of God follows repentance. Repentance causes one to desire the things of God even more and to crave fellowship with God, read the Bible and obey His will. Revenge against sin and the devil results in a conscious and active fight against anything evil, not only in oneself, but in the world and others. It speaks out against unrighteousness and tries to be holy. Revenge against sin is walking in the other direction.There is much to repent of. The Church has turned its back against God. A recent survey of both evangelical and pentecostal churches reveals that 75% of Christians don’t believe there is a devil or evil spirits. About 45% don’t believe that Jesus lived a sinless life or was born of a virgin. Over 60% don’t believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Most think it is just a collection of stories for guidance. Instead of Christianizing the world, Christians have become like the world. Just as many Christians divorce as non-Christians. Almost as many Christians undergo abortions, are addicted to drugs, commit fornication and adultery and love pornography as non-Christians. We have become complacent and compromising and are no longer a light to the world. The salt has lost its savor.
Perhaps 75% of the people in the world live in poverty. Yet, Christians in America live in luxury and plenty. The Bible says to feed the poor and care for the widows. Repent!- for yourself, for the Church Universal and for America!
However statistics show that only 3%-5% of all monies collected by the Church are used to fund foreign missions. Much less is used to help the poor.
Most of our monies are used to construct buildings and maintain them. Much of the money sent overseas is also used to build physical structures and
maintain them. We have become lukewarm. What will we tell God?