Revival and Reformation Pt 16

{Preached last night at Heritage Presbyterian Church. Listen Here}

Revival and Reformation Pt 16
2 Chronicles 15

Thank you, Lord God, that your Scriptures have been preserved through fire, decay, destruction, and time. Thank you that though nations and nasty people have tried to erase your holy Word it still remains long after they have vanished. So Lord, help us to not only appreciate the Scriptures – as at a distance, but this very day to be touched by your Book for our good and your honor, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

What is the desire of your heart? What exactly do you seek and search for with all of your life energies? To answer these two questions is to show where your loyalties lie… Henry Scougal once said: “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love” (“The Life of God in the Soul of Man,” 62). This is what the Spirit-directed editors of 1 and 2 Chronicles are trying to press home on God’s people throughout the ages as they relate these historical events. Their desire was for the church to be reformed by realigning her loyalties, to readjust the “object” of her “love,” by coming under the Reforming Word of Yahweh.

A.  The principle – v. 2: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3.12-13).
B.  Historical reminder and illustration – v. 3-6
C.  Word of encouragement – v. 7 (1 Corinthians 15.58 and Matthew 25.13-30)
D.  Response to the Word – v. 8-19. 
{1} Corporate Reformation (the outgrowth of Asa’s reforming heart) v. 8-15:
Remodeled v. 8; Augmented v. 9; Revived v. 10-15 (esp. 12b, 15). 
{2} Household reformation (also an aspect of Asa’s reforming heart) – v. 16
{3} Limits and Loyalty – v. 17-19

Seeking the LORD – 14.2-5, & 7; 15.12-18. This is the key phrase describing Asa and his reforming heart and reforming action, “he Sought Yahweh.” It’s used something like 8 times in chapter 14-15. Not just personal or private, but also corporate and household
{1} To turn toward Yahweh – changing allegiances – a turning away from evil: 14.4.For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: "Seek me and live” (Amos 5:4). “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7).
{2} Removing all idolizing distractions (discarding all competitors – no matter the family connections!). “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple”
(Luke 14:26-27).
{3} Genuine prayer. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer.29:12-13).  
{4} No room for a half-hearted puttering search for God. We must dive in like we would in a good marriage: with wholehearted eagerness (2 Chron. 15.15). In other words, it’s the Norm of Loyalties – 14.2, 15.2, 17 and 16.9 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels(Mark 8:34-38).

And this is where “Decent people” go astray. In their minds, decent people don’t really do anything to get their god angry with them, because they’re – well – really just decent, clean-cut, upstanding, no ring-around-the-collar, no-dirt-behind-the-ears kind of people. And in their perception, God-as-they-understand-him/it couldn’t dare get mad at decent people? Right?! But friends, it’s a matter of loyalties. Where is your heart? As a decent fellow, if I’m married, but my heart isn’t wholly with my wife (having crossed my fingers during my wedding vows) – you would call me (rightly) what: an adulterer, but for sure a scallywag and a scoundrel. As a decent guy, if I’m in the military but not loyal to my country, what would you call me? Traitor, turncoat or defector, right?! As a decent man, if I’m not singularly loyal to Holy God, what does that make me? Tolerant, open-minded, charitable, sensible; right? No, I’m breaking faith – or as James puts it when writing to faith-breaking believers: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

Seek the Lord, my friends; seek the Lord whole hog! “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love” (“The Life of God in the Soul of Man,” 62).

{5} But ultimately, you are seeking him who has first sought out you: Parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin. Or something St. Augustine once wrote in his Confessions (11.2) that through Christ, “you sought us when we were not seeking you, but sought us that we might seek you.” Also, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:10 & 19   


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