Kissing for Revival

Posted on 08/24/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
    With Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
    Lift my hands and raise my voice

You set my feet to dancing
    You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice!

WE BRING THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE

We bring the sacrifice of praise
    into the house of the Lord
We bring the sacrifice of praise
    into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to You
    the sacrifices of thanksgiving
And we offer up to You
    the sacrifices of joy

I ADORE YOU

Father, I adore you
Lay my life before you
How I love you

Spirit...
Jesus...


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Today's message is titled, "Kissing for Revival." Hopefully if your mind was somewhere else, I now have your full attention. "Kissing for Revival."

Before we read our main text for today from Psalm chapter 85, let's jump to verse 10, which says, "Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed," and in verse 6 the writer asks God, "Will you not revive us again?"

Time and time again throughout the Old Testament, the people of God strayed away from him and were handed over to their enemies. And when they repented and cried out to him, God restored them.

But that doesn't end with the Old Testament, nor is it a trait that is found in the children of Israel alone. We've seen ebs and tides in the Church as early as the writings of the New Testament.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus warns the Church to return to their first love, to remove sin, to turn from the religion of man and turn back to God.

Today we see a mass exodus in the Church from truth and from seeking God on his terms rather than ours.

But that doesn't end with the New Testament, nor is it a trait that is found in the corporate Body of Christ alone. We see our own relationships with God wax and wane. All of us need to draw closer to God, and some of us need to return to him today.

Let's read Psalm chapter 85, and then we'll contemplate what God might be speaking to us through it today.

Psalm 85

 1 LORD, You have been favorable to Your land;
         You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.
 2 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people;
         You have covered all their sin.  Selah 
 3 You have taken away all Your wrath;
         You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.
        
 4 Restore us, O God of our salvation,
         And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
 5 Will You be angry with us forever?
         Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
 6 Will You not revive us again,
         That Your people may rejoice in You?
 7 Show us Your mercy, LORD,
         And grant us Your salvation.
        
 8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak,
         For He will speak peace
         To His people and to His saints;
         But let them not turn back to folly.
 9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
         That glory may dwell in our land.
        
 10 Mercy and truth have met together;
         Righteousness and peace have kissed.
 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth,
         And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
 12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good;
         And our land will yield its increase.
 13 Righteousness will go before Him,
         And shall make His footsteps our pathway.


The first thing I'd like to point out here isn't found in the text itself, but in the authorship. This is credited as a Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Now, Korah is known for leading a rebellion against Moses. He and his followers believed that the office of the incense-burning priest should not be confined to Aaron alone, but that all people were holy, every single one of them.

If Korah had lived today, he would have simply started his own church, probably his own denomination. But since there was one place where the presence of God dwelt and sacrifices were made, he formed a rebellion instead.

First Samuel 15:23 says that "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." Just suppose Korah had been right. I believe the ground still would have opened up and swallowed them, fire would have still come down from heaven and burned them, and a plague would have still swept through the camp, for they were rebelling against the authority God had put in place.

Moses challenged Korah and his followers to meet together with Moses and Aaron at the doorway of the tent of meeting to burn incense, allowing God to show his will on the matter.

Of course we know what happened, the earth opened up and swallowed their followers and all their belongings, and fire came down and consumed those who burned the incense.

Do you suppose they believed they were about to see revival break out in the camp, as they broke free from the opression of the rule of Moses and allowed all the people of God to burn incence before the Lord?

I'm sure they did. It sounds really good to say, "You are not any less holy than those who minister before the Lord, and you are being opressed by a leader who is usurping power and keeping you from serving God!"

But arguing the fact that they were mistaken would be missing the point here. The biggest problem, the one that got them killed, was that they were in rebellion against the authority God had placed over them. And as we read, rebellion is like witchcraft. Witches and warlocks cannot enter into the manifest presence of God without either repentance or consequence.

So Korah and his followers were destroyed, and a plague of which almost fifteen thousand people died swept through the camp.

And then comes the rule of King David, and Psalm chapter 85 was penned by worshipers of the lineage of Korah. And they write for themselves and all the people of God, "Restore us, O God of our salvation... Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you?"

Just as you and I bear the mark of the nature of sin from our forefather Adam, so these Psalmists bore the mark of the memory of their forefather Korah. But just as you and I have the choice to redeem our name by returning to the Lord our God, so these Worshipers returned to the truth that the people were not all holy, but God was holy; and they redeemed their name and their nation by humbling themselves before God and crying out for mercy, restoration, and revival.


Let's take each part of Psalm chapter 85 and see how it speaks to us today.

Psalm chapter 85, starting with verse 1.

 1 LORD, You have been favorable to Your land;
         You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.
 2 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people;
         You have covered all their sin.  Selah 
 3 You have taken away all Your wrath;
         You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.

First, we see that God has been favorable to his land and has brought back the captivity of Jacob. Jesus told us that those who sin are a slave to sin, and Scripture tells us that we were freed from sin to serve righteousness.

Jesus has set us free from sin. He has brought us out of the land of Egypt. And in verse two we read, "You have forgiven the iniquity of your people; you have covered all their sin." Because of the blood Jesus shed at Calvery, our sins are forgiven! And it is that cleansing blood of the Lamb of God that covers all our sin.

Verse three says, "You have taken away all your wrath; you have turned from the fierceness of your anger." The wrath of God against our sin was poured out on Jesus, as Jesus became sin for us, all our sin, hanging on the cross, beaten and bleeding, bearing the wrath of God in our place. Yes, Jesus has taken away the wrath of God from those who trust in him and turn from their sins to follow the True and Living God.

So in these first three verses, the stage is set. We see that God has brought us out of captivity to sin, has forgiven our iniquity and covered our sin, and Jesus has saved us from the wrath of God by taking that sin upon himself on the cross.

Then starting in verse four, we read this:

4 Restore us, O God of our salvation,
         And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
 5 Will You be angry with us forever?
         Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

So we see that even though God had set them free, forgiven them, covered their sin, and saved us from his wrath, there had been a falling away. They needed restoration to that place in which they were living under the favor, forgiveness, and mercy of God.

And they ask, "Will you prolong your anger to all generations?" Sometimes we may be tempted to think that we don't have to bear the spiritual consequences of the sins of others. But elsewhere in Scripture we read that the sins of the fathers are passed to the third and fourth generation.

How many of the things with which we struggle were passed down to us? And how much judgment has been passed down with them? This inheritance is by no means an excuse. We should instead rise up and proclaim, "This is the end of the line! The curse stops here!"

So you inherited a bad temper from your father or grandfather. And if you choose to submit to that temper and sin with it, you accept the judgment of God upon that sin.

But instead, you should make your generation the generation in which curses and the sins of your fathers are broken off your life and are rooted out of your heart, so the wrath of God will not also pass from past generations, and so you will pass righteousness and favor to future generations.

Verse six:

 6 Will You not revive us again,
         That Your people may rejoice in You?
 7 Show us Your mercy, LORD,
         And grant us Your salvation.

This is a prayer for revival. In verse four, they pray for restoration. Now, in verse six, they pray for revival.

Just look at the walk of Paul, Peter, John, and the other early followers of Jesus. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and became extraordinary examples of purity, holiness, humility, boldness, and refusal to walk in the flesh and in sin, instead walking in the spirit and in righteousness.

Then there are the days of the reformation, and great leaders who once again walked in the Spirit of God and lived holy and blameless lives.

Looking around us today, we tend to forget that such a thing is possible. We buy into the deception that we can't be free from willful sin, and we shouldn't think that we can walk in completely holiness and righteousness.

But when talking about the advocacy we have with the father in Jesus, the New Testament writer states, "I write these things that you may not sin... And IF anyone sins, we have an advocate with the father."

Of course our works can't save us. But if we continue in sin after being set free from it, we are counting the blood of Jesus as a common thing.

The book of Hebrews states this very clearly. Hebrews 10:26-31

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people."
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Isn't that a bit frightening? It's certainly not one of my favorite passages... "If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries."

But that's what the Bible says. And it's not the Word of God that needs to change; rather, it's our perception of life that needs to line up with Scripture.

Then in First John chapter one, verses eight through ten, we read this:

1 John 1:8-10

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

How do these two passages fit together? I believe the distinction is found in the word "willful." Hebrew 10:26 says, "If we sin WILLFULLY after we have received the knowledge of the truth."

Am I without sin? Certainly not. Once I think I have overcome all the sin in my life, the Holy Spirit just turns up the heat and brings more junk to the surface. And then he works in me, pointing it out to me and giving me the power to battle with and overcome that sin, as I'm transformed into another level of the glory of the image of Christ.

But if I hang on to that sin, and instead of fighting it, I choose to keep on walking in it, then I'm on very dangerous ground, and I'm bringing the wrath of God upon myself.


Back to Psalm chapter 85. In verse 8 we read,

 8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak,
         For He will speak peace
         To His people and to His saints;
         But let them not turn back to folly.

We need to make sure we don't turn back to those things from which Jesus has set us free. Then we will walk in peace, as we walk in what he speaks. Verse nine:

 9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
         That glory may dwell in our land.

Did you experience a bit of fear when we read that if we willfully continue sinning, "There is no longer any sacrifice for sin, but fearful expectation of judgment?" Good. We need a little bit of Godly fear. We need to be afraid to compromise with sin and abuse the grace of God and treat the blood of Jesus as a common thing.

And this says that his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. The fear of the Lord will bring salvation from sin and from the wrath of God upon that sin, and the result will be that glory will dwell in our land.

We call for the glory to come down, "God, send your glory!" But our fear of God consists of some type of undefined reverence for the big cosmic teddy bear in the sky.

Do you want to see the glory of God? It won't show up as long as we're lacking in the fear of the Lord so much that we don't take our willful sins seriously.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus warns one of the Churches about what will come about if they continue to, quote, "tollerate that woman Jezebel," in the church. How many Jezebels do we tollerate in the name of peace and unity? We'd better make sure we are not connected to her in any form or fashion when the wrath of God falls.

And both will come. To some, it will be the glory of God. To others, it will be the wrath of God. Which one you see is totally up to you.


Verse ten:
        
 10 Mercy and truth have met together;
         Righteousness and peace have kissed.

What are mercy and truth? Truth is not only the truth of the Word and the Law of God, but also of our disobedience to it. And mercy is what God pours out upon us, opening the way for us to enter the path of righteousness.

So these two that should be in opposition to eachother meet together, the truth of our disobedience to God and worthiness of eternal judgment meeting with the incredible mercy of God by which he made a way for us to be reconciled to him.

Then it says that righteousness and peace have kissed. Sometimes when we think of righteousness and holiness, we associate it with a hard legalism, lacking peace. But righteousness and peace have kissed. They are intimately aquainted. And the righteousness that comes through Jesus is a righteousness of peace.

What does the Scripture say? "The kingdom of God is not food or drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." The path of righteousness is not one of turmoil, but of peace. The way of holiness is not one of drudgery, but of joy. And it's because we walk in it not by the strivings of the flesh, but by the Spirit of the Living God.

Verse 11:

 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth,
         And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
 12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good;
         And our land will yield its increase.

So truth, righteousness, blessings, and all that is good, are gifts from God. They will come to those who return to God and fear him, choosing to walk in his Spirit and in his ways.

And finally, verse 13:

 13 Righteousness will go before Him,
         And shall make His footsteps our pathway.


The ministry team can come to the front now.


Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway. Righteousness will go before who? Before "Him," with a capital "H". Righteousness will go before Jesus, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.

John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Lord, calling people to return to God and to repent and return to righteousness. And both the life Jesus lived and the written Word of God left everlasting footprints, so that those footsteps are our pathway.

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