Repentance, Revival, & Restoration

The following is from a series of emails about a plan for Repentance, Revival, and Restoration in Grants Pass. The names of the participants have been left out for privacy concerns. The emails were presented as a sermon

 

As a child I was taught what was commonly referred to as the, “Three “R’s,” reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. Those were considered the fundamentals necessary for a good life. Today I think we need the, “Three R’s” more than ever. Only this time they are Repentance, Revival, and Restoration! And these will lead to a good life even more than before.

 

Repentance is the beginning of a new and better life for individuals and for nations as well. But only if that repentance is a genuine sorrow for the bad conduct in the life of that individual or nation. If that sorrow is genuine then it is expected that changes will follow and bad conduct will be changed to good conduct. That change in conduct can be called revival because it leads to more and better life. Bad conduct is sinful conduct and we know the wages of sin is death.  Therefore what was dead because of bad conduct is revived when that conduct is changed. When repentance and revival are working then restoration follows.

 

Now sin is what separates us from God. So it follows that we need to seek God to overcome sin. If it were not for God and His book, the Bible, we would not and could not know right from wrong. Everyone would be free to proclaim his own sense of right or wrong. That is what is happening in the United States today. If it were not for the incredible love God has shown us we would be totally lost. But love us He does. So much so that He sent His Son to pay our debt on a cross and thereby opened the door for us to receive eternal life. What is the requirement? Believe! Believe in His Son, Jesus the Christ. Repent and be baptized. Follow the Son of God and repentance, revival, and restoration will certainly be yours.

 

Let me set the stage as to where America is today in terms of her relationship with God.

  1. Adultery is commonplace and not particularly scorned.
  2. Fornication is even more commonplace and often encouraged openly or implicitly.
  3. Many schools are teaching ungodly values.
  4. Abortion is common and normalized.
  5. Homosexuality is considered an “Alternate lifestyle.”
  6. Nearly anything with Christian overtones is considered inappropriate for the public forum.
  7. Pornography is big time business.
  8. Justice is commonly subverted on the flimsiest of grounds.
  9. Divorce is common and requires nothing more than a declaration of “Irreconcilable differences.”
  10. Gambling is not only approved by many states, but is commonly a state run business.
  11. Abuse of Alcohol and Drugs is a problem of epidemic proportions.
  12. Too many churches fail to condemn these very things for fear of appearing insensitive or judgmental. Social programs and attendance often trump the life saving but “Harsh” message of the Gospel. Pastors that do speak out run the risk of losing not only congregants but also tax breaks.

 

Each and every item in the list is sufficient for an individual to be condemned. When a nation not only does these things en masse but justifies them as well, then that nation is endangered and needs to embrace the three R’s of repentance, revival, and restoration.

 

This is an appeal to you to help yourself, your family, your community, and your nation by determining to live the three R’s in your own life and sharing the need with all others as well.

I am committing myself to seeing restoration in our community. I agree with a phrase I have heard, “If it’s to be, let it begin with me.” Ok, that’s a good start. Now let’s go get the rest of the community on board!

 

I am submitting a preliminary plan for consideration by all of you, pastors and church leaders. I want to discuss this at the next COV meeting. I am looking for a great deal of discussion and exchange of ideas. But, I expect we can quickly leave the preparatory stages and move on to powerful actions that will accomplish the goal of, “Repentance, Revival, and Restoration” to our beautiful valley. If we can achieve our goals here then why can’t they be achieved throughout the nation? God has chosen you and he expects you to be a mighty force doing His work. We may be working but we are not accomplishing nearly enough. Perhaps it’s because we are not united, as we should be. Perhaps it’s because we are overly protective of our own turf. Perhaps we need to realize that there is only one church and that we need to start acting like one church!

 

Here is the preliminary plan. I am sure we can make it much better if we all put our hearts and heads together.

  1. There are 52 weeks in a year and at least 52 churches in town. Let’s get each of 52 churches to take responsibility for one of those weeks. Let the other 51 churches support whichever church has the responsibility for a particular week.
  2. Let the theme for the project be, “The three R’s – Repentance, Revival, & Restoration.”
  3. Let the message be honest, direct, and loving.
  4. Let us be wise as serpents but innocent as doves.
  5. Let us utilize all means available to us, sermons, newspapers, radio, TV, Internet, posters, banners across 6th and 7th streets, mailings, and flyers.
  6. Let us work the message down to its essential elements in such a way that it is easily expressed and easily comprehended.
  7. Let us make sure that each church is prepared to follow up each inquiry and not gain ground just to lose it later.
  8. Let us be prepared to take our success to other areas and help them to do the same thing we will have done.

 

On the next page is a table that could serve as a means to track each church and each medium for each week of the project. To the left is the week number and across the top is the medium to be used. When all the cells are filled in with a Church taking responsibility we will be ready for a one-year media blitz backed up by a church ready to lead. That Church is not my denomination or yours but the one Church established by Jesus, the Body of Christ. Well, brothers and sisters are you ready? Let me know what you think and whether or not you will join in this effort. We can do this! Will we? We will need to get together and figure out how we can best distribute the cost and effort. But first let me see how many will sign on. Send me an email with a simple, “Yes, count me in” or “Sorry but you can count me out.” Pass this around to others that might want to help.

 

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Ralph Orton, Pastor, Church of God 7th Day

pastor@sabbathfellowshipofgrantspass.org

541-479-2440

 

 


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Dear Pastor Ralph,

You certainly have hit many of the major hot buttons for repentance, but we must remember only God can change hearts. I am not suggesting that God does not use His saints to accomplish His will or even that you have not prayed about this, Pastor Ralph, but if we all do not invite our Dear Lord to  direct us, whatever we plan might not be "His Way".

 

I am reminded of this by the following from Psalms 127:1, "Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain" (NKJV).

 

I strongly suggest we all unite in prayer first; if just 30 churches united in prayer with each taking just one different day and praying 24 hrs. for "godly sorrow" (2 Cor  7:10) for 30 days, for example, we would have a whole month covered in  united prayer, 24/7. We would be of "one accord". This would be sweet incense to our Dear Holy Father in heaven and I am sure the Holy Spirit would move us in the way He wants for "His good purpose." And if nothing happens, we continue praying for another 30 days...and continue until it does.

 

1 Thessalonians 5 is one of the passages in the Bible that gives us guidance for these "end times". Verse 17 directs us to "pray without ceasing". I have yet to see the church united and praying without ceasing. That is not to say many are not praying. We are. But we are not doing it united and with "one accord".

 

Maybe there is another way to unite us in prayer and I know I am preaching to the choir here, but I believe if we do not have prayer central to our plans, we "labor in vain".

 

Hope this helps.

 

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Your Brother

 

Dear Brother in Christ:

Thanks for your response and help. You are right; we need a great deal of prayer to have success. You are also right when you indicate the Lord must be the author of any works done in His name and for Him. It would be folly to think we could bring about repentance, revival, and restoration without Him. Having said that please consider the following.

*   James 2:15-17 RSV) If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, {16} and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? {17} So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

The point I am trying to make here is that it is good to pray in faith but when we have prayed the prayer of faith it is time for us to get off of our knees and begin to work!  Also consider the story of Jonah.

*   (Mat 12:41 RSV)  The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Jonah was used by God to bring men to repentance. Do you think He could perhaps use us?

*   (Mark 6:12 RSV)  So they went out and preached that men should repent.

These were the disciples that Jesus was talking to. I believe we are disciples too. Shouldn't we also be preaching repentance?

*   (Acts 8:29-31 NIV)  The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." {30} Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. {31} "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

We will pray that the Spirit will guide us and let us know how to proceed. What would have happened if Philip had not done as He had been told? Without a teacher the people will not be taught. Let us be teachers. Notice that Philip had to go to the man. It was not the man that went to Philip. It was Jonah that went to the people of Nineveh, not the people of Nineveh that went to Jonah. There is work that needs to be done, let us go to the people and do it.

 

Let me end by reiterating my agreement with you for the need to pray. I even agree we must pray without ceasing. So when we meet we will pray. When we begin each endeavor we will pray. When each step is completed we will pray. In other words we will pray without ceasing.

 

Brother, please pray about what I am saying and see if God won't give you the confirmation you need. We are only three but we can be many more if we step out in faith and help others to see the vision we see. I fear time is short and maybe it's too late. That is not my concern. My concern is that we give it our best try. We may not turn everyone around but we can turn at least some around with God's help. And who knows, maybe it's not too late. How will we know if we don't try?

 

God bless you Brother. You are a dear Brother and I appreciate the work you are doing.

 

Yours in Christ,

Ralph

 

Dear Pastor Ralph,

Certainly as you hear the voice of God, as did Jonah and Philip, you must act. And prayerfully, I hope the other churches do too. We may be only three but God can do marvelous things with small numbers, as we know from the Bible.

 

What has our other Brother said about this calling? I would like to get his input too.

 

With you in Christ Jesus,

Your Brother in Christ