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Repent, Return, Recover
Gen. Deborah Green
P RAISE GOD! Welcome to Battle Cry Sounding/Battle Cry Pounding; and thank God, the Lord is still giving the Battle Cry—in the sense that He's giving us time to do battle against sin, to do battle against iniquity, to do battle against darkness, and to do battle against self; that is that we can come forth in Repentance Revolution unto the Lord.
Now, the name of today's message is: “Repent, Return, and Recover.” IF YOU WANT TO RECOVER FROM THE EFFECTS OF SIN, THEN FIRST OF ALL YOU HAVE TO REPENT, AND SECONDARILY, YOU HAVE TO RETURN TO THE LORD, AND THIRDLY, YOU WILL KNOW THE BENEFITS OF THOSE TWO ACTIONS IN THE SENSE THAT YOU WILL RECOVER from the debilitated state that sin has put you in.
Now, even the world understands that there is a recovery process, and some of these Bible sellers—hockers that make money off of everything in misusing the Word of God—they have what they call “Recovery Bible.” They do! They actually sell Recovery Bibles, and they like to sell them to groups. In some churches, they have “recovery meetings” for people who have been addicted, for people who are still addicted, for people who are alcoholic, drug-addicted, sex offenders, and that kind of thing; they have what they call “recovery courses.”
But, the real thing that we need more than recovery is REPENTANCE, because true recovery does not come if we do not have the foundation of deep repentance unto God, and being willing to continue in repentance in the fact that we face our multiplied transgressions, and TURN from the wickedness of the same.
Now, it's one thing for me to say “I'm sorry,” but it's another thing for me to PROVE that I'm SORRY. And when we will enter into godly repentance, what that means is that we no longer want to offend God, we no longer want to grieve God, we no longer want to murder the truth in our lives, but we want to love, respect, and obey the Living God; and we want to partake of His life, rather than put Him to death.
Now, when I disobey the Lord, or you disobey the Lord, basically what we're saying is “You don't rule me.” WELL, IF GOD'S NOT RULING YOU, THEN HOW CAN YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE WITH GOD FOREVER IN ETERNITY? See, we take this thing of rebellion far too lightly, and it's because we live in a land that is ruled by pride, and rebellion, and stubbornness against God, that we think somehow, it's ok. It's not ok.
You go over the Word of God, and you'll find that again, and again, and again that God utterly exterminated the rebels. He utterly exterminated them because they were such a grief to Him. And we've grown so casual in our so-called 'Christianity,' that we think, “Well, I know the Lord doesn't want me to do this, but it's ok.” Hey, if the Lord doesn't want you to do it, you'd better not do it because God could take your life while you are doing it, and that could be your condemnation.
Now, I heard from someone here not too long ago, and they were saying, “All you do…” (referring to my husband and I) “All you do is bring forth condemnation.” And I took that to the Lord and He said: “NO, IT'S THEIR OWN SINFUL STATE THAT'S BRINGING FORTH CONDEMNATION.” Because if we want to judge the servants of God who are declaring the righteousness of God, and say that they are condemning us, it's OUR OWN SINS that are condemning us.
If we are violating the righteousness of God, if we are walking in a standard that is not right before God, then we deeply, deeply need Repentance Revolution in our lives. And we need to realize, that if we do not repent, if we do not turn from the wicked way, if we do not walk uprightly, then we are the ones who have condemned ourselves, because God gives the call, and He gives the opportunity to repent no matter how horrid your sins may be.
Now, let's go to Acts, chapter 3, and we're going to read here about a call that was put out by Peter and John unto the Jews—the followers (so-called) of God, the people of God. See, this is a very good depiction of the fact that a people can be highly religious, but not at all righteous. AND THEY CAN BE HIGHLY RELIGIOUS AND RESIST REPENTANCE.
Why? Because RELIGION IS REBELLION against God, and religion is man's invention, and men love their own inventions more than the Will or the Way of the Living God! It's true; they love to doctor Him up, they love to alter Him, they love to make Him palatable unto them, they love to have it their way, and not His way; it's true. So, what do they do? They invent religion.
I was telling my husband the other day, “Isn't it utterly stupid how God—through Jesus Christ the Lord—did away with the Old Testament priesthood, and here comes the Catholic church and reestablishes the priesthood with all the religious regalia, rigamarole, and exhibition that does absolutely nothing except freeze you in a religious mold whereby you think you're ok because you can do your routine?”
IT'S NOT A RELIGIOUS ROUTINE; IT'S WHERE WE KEEP OUR HEARTS THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE. Because I can be perfect at my routine, but my heart can be miles away from what I'm doing.
Ok, Acts chapter 3, beginning in verse 12, and I'm reading from the Amplified version. Well, let's go with verse 11, and it says, “Now while he [still] firmly…” and this is talking about a fellow who was crippled from his birth, that he was carried along, that he was laid each day at the gate of the temple, and that he was basically just a beggar, because that was all he could be, because he could not function on his own, he had no strength to walk, or to work, or to take care of himself in any other way than to plead for charitable gifts for all that went in through that gate.
But, he was supernaturally healed in the name of Jesus because Peter said: “Silver and gold,” in verse 6, “I do not have; but what I do have, that I give to you: in [the use of] the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” So, in other words, he gave the command to walk to this cripple, then he extended his hand and basically pulled the cripple up, and he was healed. And so it says, “And at once his feet and ankle bones became strong and steady.” Did you know that many times we have to OBEY THE INITIAL COMMAND that God will give through His servants unto us, or by His Spirit unto us, in order for us to become strong and steady.
Now, are you hearing me? I mean we can be laid up on a bed of affliction thinking we'll never live again, or recover, or be able to get off that bed, and God can say: “Roll over, put your feet on the floor and stand up,” and we can find every excuse why we can't do that! This guy was born a cripple, he didn't know what it was to walk, he didn't know what it was to stand on his feet and have them able to hold him, or his legs support the weight of his body; he didn't know what any of that felt like. But Peter gave him that command, and he said, “WALK,” extended his hand to him, got him up, and it says that his feet and his ankle bones and all that became what? “They became strong and steady.”
So you see, it takes obedience on our part to receive miracles. We think, “Oh, a miracle is just God's supposed to give me these miracles, and I don't have to do anything, and all of a sudden one day God's going to put the walk in my feet!” But, you know what? You're going to have to get on your feet! You're going to have to get up and get on your feet in order to experience that miracle.
I've told you the old story about the guy that prays for God to give him a job, and give him a job, and give him a job; he doesn't go to an employment agency, he doesn't even look in the paper at the want-ads, he doesn't even make one telephone call, he doesn't try to give out any kind of resume, and he doesn't make any kind of effort at all to get a job! Then he moans, and he groans, and he says, “God won't even give me a job!” Well, you didn't even open the door that you could get a job, you didn't even look for a job, and you didn't even put in an application for a job!
SEE FOLKS, WE'VE GOT TO DO WHAT GOD WANTS US TO DO IN ORDER FOR HIM TO DO WHAT HE WANTS TO DO TOWARDS US IN MERCY. Now that's the truth of it. So anyway, these Jews were beholding this great miracle that Jesus effectuated through His servants, Peter and John, towards this cripple.
Ok, so it was a demonstration that God was equipping the same power that was found in Jesus, He was equipping the apostles with that power that the name of the Lord could be carried on, and in His name, that men would be healed and brought forth; praise God.
So, in other words, just because they did away with Jesus, they did not do away with the will and the way of God. So, going on, “And leaping forth,” it says: “he stood and began to walk, and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking about and praising God, And they recognized him as the man who usually sat [begging] for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement (bewilderment, consternation) over what had occurred to him.”
In other words, it just simply was a MIRACLE: it was no rehabilitative therapy, and it was no recovery course in the sense of “This is how you take one step….” It was simply obedience; obedience, and the miracle was manifest to all.
Then it goes on and it says: “Now while he [still] firmly clung to Peter and John, all the people in utmost amazement ran together and crowded around them in the covered porch (walk) called Solomon's. And Peter, seeing it, answered the people, You men of Israel, why are you so surprised and wondering at this? Why do you keep staring at us, as though by our [own individual] power or [active] piety we had made this man [able] to walk? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified His Servant and Son Jesus [doing Him this honor], Whom you indeed delivered up and denied and rejected and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to let Him go.”
So, in other words, what he's doing is he's using this opportunity of the manifestation of this great miracle, and their wonderment at the same; he's using this very opportunity to NAME TO THEM THEIR HORRID SINS, the crimes that they are guilty of committing against God, and against God's precious Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.
So he's not just saying: “Oh, did you guys like that miracle? Now, give me your offering and we'll have more of these miracle meetings and bring all your sick, and bring all your cripples.” No, he is not promoting his kingdom; he is promoting and standing for the righteousness of God.
And, you know, when you call people to repent, and when you, yourself know true repentance, it's because YOU'VE SEEN YOUR OWN UGLINESS IN THE LIGHT OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, and it's because you want others to likewise see their criminality in the light of God. In other words, wherein they have offended the Lord that they can repent, that they are no longer branded as criminals, but they are found accepted in the beloved.
So, he's not there basking in the great miracle power that God used him to reveal. He's saying: “Hey, don't look at us. You'd better look to Jesus—the One that you rejected, the One that you put to death, the One that you wanted to see utterly destroyed—who was, and is, the One that God the Father sent to you.”
So, he's not covering their sin. He's using this opportunity of the revelation of the great miracle power that is found through Jesus Christ the Lord. He's using it as an opportunity to call them to repent. Because if they don't repent, they will ALL PERISH; and he's giving them the call at this time, rather than accepting and basking in their praise, their adoration, their attributing supernatural power to him, and his companion.
He's saying: “Huh-uh, don't play those games because you guys are wrong, and you guys are criminal, and you guys are violators, and you guys are sinners in the eyes of God—because you have rejected the very One that God the Father sent you. And because you rejected Him, you need, desperately need to repent.”
“You men of Israel, why are you so surprised and wondering at this? Why do you keep staring at us, as though by our [own individual] power or [active] piety we had made this man [able] to walk? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified His Servant and Son Jesus [doing Him this honor], Whom you indeed delivered up and denied and rejected and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to let Him go.”
In other words, they're saying here, “The ruler was going to let him go, was going to give him pardon, was going to give Him freedom, and YOU DEMANDED that He be put to death.” So basically, what is he saying? He's saying: “You’re a murderer. You are murderers! What you did was so wrong in the eyes of God because you put to death the very One that God had sent to redeem you.”
Then going on it says, “But you denied and rejected and disowned the Pure and Holy, the Just and Blameless One, and demanded [the pardon of] a murderer to be granted to you. But you killed the very Source (the Author) of life, Whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” So, what do we have there? We have an indictment given unto them for their sins, for their transgressions, for their hatred for the Son of God, for their violation of the Son of God, for their giving themselves over to wickedness, to corruption, to evil, to desiring to see the Son of God put to death in order that they could cover their sins.
Do you think that self is not the enemy of God? Look at this. And do you think that religion is not rebellion against God? Look at this: here these highly religious ones were demanding of Pilate that he let go a man that was guilty and put to death a man that was innocent. And the man that they choose to put to death was the chosen One of God, the One whom God the Father had ordained, had purposed, and brought forth to bring redemption unto the sons of men. And there they were so religious and rebellious by that religiosity, that they were rejecting whole-heartedly the Son of God.
Did you know we can be guilty of that? God can come to us through one of His servants, He can come to us by His Spirit, He can come to us through His Word—His written Word. Oh, there's a big trend now where people are saying: “We don't need the Bible.” In other words, “We do not need the recorded Word of God because we're so spiritual we know it all.” I'm not that spiritual. I really love my Bible, and I like to be able to refer to the Bible, and I get endless confirmation of what God is speaking in Spirit. So, for me, I'm an old fuddy-duddy, and I'm keeping the Bible. But what I'm saying is that we can get so religiously proud that we can think that we don't need the guidelines of God.
Now, you never find once in all the things that the Jews received from God where God dictated to them they were to murder their Messiah. You don't find it. That came from their own evil hearts, and that came because THEY WERE SO HIGHLY RELIGIOUS THAT THEY HATED RIGHTEOUSNESS. Because why? It revealed the sin in their lives, and they did not want to repent; they did not want to be right with God. They wanted their own way.
And what is today's church doing? The very same thing: they don't want to repent, they don't want to return, they don't want to recover from their sin, but they want to maintain their own way, they want to have it THEIR WAY and think they are all right with God. Were these Jews all right with God? No. What did Peter say to them? What was the indictment against them? It said: “You killed the very Source (the Author) of life, Whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.”
So, he's not saying, “You're innocent.” He's saying, “YOU'RE GUILTY,” plain and simple. And for those of you that say, “Well, you're just speaking evil of the Jews.” Huh-uh, here's Peter, a Jew, declaring to the Jews, “You killed Him.” I didn't make that declaration; he did. And he did it under the unction of the Holy Ghost/the Holy Spirit, so it was a true indictment from God.
And then going on it says, “And His name, through and by faith in His name, has made this man whom you see and recognize well and strong. [Yes] the faith which is through and by Him [Jesus] has given the man this perfect soundness [of body] before all of you. And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance [not aware of what you were doing], as did your rulers also. Thus has God fulfilled what He foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ (the Messiah) should undergo ill treatment and be afflicted and suffer.”
So then, he comes with the call—very evident, very plain, very blunt and to the point—and he says, “So repent. SO REPENT!” He doesn't say, “Go kill a bird, or a calf, or a goat, or sheep, or something and give an offering.” He said “REPENT.” Repent. What is the offering that we're meant to give unto God? It's true repentance.
It's not, you know, like my husband said he saw this video and it was a T.D. Jakes' thing and some guy says, “I'm going to give a million dollars” and old fat T.D. acts like he's going to faint over the offering; sicko! That is not an offering or a receiving of an offering acceptable unto God. WHAT GOD DESIRES IS THE OFFERING THAT IS FOUND WELL-PLEASING, THAT IS TRUE REPENTANCE.
“Well, sister Deborah, how am I going to build my mega-church if I don't get offerings?” You don't need to build a mega-church. You need to hit your knees, you need to face your sins, you need to repent, and turn from your highly religious, wicked ways, and return to the lamb of God: repent, return, and recover. RECOVER YOUR RIGHT SIGHT AGAIN, RECOVER YOUR RIGHT MIND AGAIN, RECOVER THE DAYS WHEN YOU ONCE KNEW GOD IN THE FEAR OF HIM, WHEN YOU WANTED TO PLEASE HIM, WHEN YOU WANTED TO RESPECT HIM before you became a money-grabbing, filth-sucking, sodomite-loving dumb-dumb. Huh, Mr. Churchy Church? You know, all your building amounts to nothing before God—except your own condemnation—because you're a rebel.
And then it says: “So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.”
So what is it that we need, what is it that the dictate is, what is it that the command that was given then, and the same command is relevant unto this day? WE NEED TO REPENT, WE NEED TO RETURN, AND WE NEED TO RECOVER FROM THE EFFECTS OF OUR TRANSGRESSION. And there's no way that we can do any of that if we will not enter into the presence of the Lord.
If we want to do it our way, if we want to have our little conferences, and our little concerts, and our little teaching displays, and we want to have all these guest speakers, and we won't bow down and humble ourselves, and we won't repent unto God, and pull down the presence of God into our lives, if we won't admit to God that we're failures, that we're sinners, that we're transgressors, that we're religious rebels, that we're violators, then we will never know what it is to experience true repentance, what it is to return to the Lord, and what it is to recover from the corruption, from the damage, from the sickness, from the perversion, form the violation of sin. And we'll go on in our religious fakery, we'll go on in our mockery, and we'll go on in our gross pretension: “Hey, I'm ok, I go to such and such church.” You might as well say, “I go to such and such Hell-bound ministry,” because that's where you're headed.
Look, God has a way. If we don't do it His way, we lose; if we don't obey God, IF WE DON'T WALK IN THE WAY THAT GOD ORDAINS, IF WE TRY TO DO IT OUR WAY, WE LOSE! Like He said, “You were so perverse, so intent on doing it your way that you wanted a killer released to you, and you KILLED the very One God the Father sent to you!”
Did you know we can be so blinded that we violate God, that we offend God, that we murder the very truth that God wants to give us that would set us free, that would cause us to be in right-standing and we despise it, we hate it, we spit upon it, we seek to beat it, and kill it that it has no bearing in our lives?
We can be as blood-guilty as they were BLOOD-GUILTY, and MULTITUDES ARE in this generation. Why? Because they are refusing the call to repent, they are refusing the call to return unto the Lord, and they will never recover from the effects of their sin. Because if we keep sin alive, that sin will kill us. And if you keep idols in your life, those idols will rise up and strangle you, and the very thing that you have loved more than God, will be the very thing that causes you to go to Hell.
So, he's telling them the truth. He said, “You need to repent, you need to return, and you need to recover.” And we don't recover unless we are in the presence of God. We don't recover by sitting around and talking about all of our past sins. WE RECOVER BY ABIDING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD and letting the Son [sun] shine upon our souls, and dry up the pools of wickedness, and darkness, and iniquity that are there as a consequence of our self-idolatry, as a consequence of our addiction to pleasure, and sensuality, and greed, and lust of all kinds. We don't recover on our own. We don't recover with a bunch of other losers. We only recover as we abide in the presence of the Living God.
And then it says, “And that He may send [to you] the Christ (the Messiah), Who before was designated and appointed for you—even Jesus, Whom heaven must receive [and retain] until the time for the complete restoration of all that God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets for ages past [from the most ancient time in the memory of man]. Thus Moses said to the forefathers, The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethren as [He raised up] me; Him you shall listen to and understand by hearing and heed in all things whatever He tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to and understand by hearing and heed that Prophet shall be utterly exterminated from among the people.”
So what is he saying? He's saying, “IF YOU DON'T LISTEN TO JESUS, IF YOU DON'T RESPECT JESUS, IF YOU DON'T HEAR JESUS, IF YOU DON'T OBEY JESUS, IF YOU DON'T REPENT UNTO JESUS, RETURN UNTO JESUS, AND RECOVER BY THE POWER OF JESUS, YOU WILL BE UTTERLY EXTERMINATED.” Amen.