1.1.5 悔改（二）– 罪的根部 （悖逆）
There is a real story regarding an aviation accident; a plane was flying from Asia to the United States encountered a cyclone in the air. The plane was too turbulent and hit a bird, the oxygen masks fell from the ceiling while the plane fell rapidly down from the sky. The captain announced on the intercom, “Please prepare paper and pens. There are about 3 minutes to write your will.”
A worship leader from my former church, who happened to be on that plane, said that his mind was blank, and he was sweating profusely. He couldn't write a single line. The only thing on his conscience was to confess all the sins he had committed on earth so that he could go to heaven. The plane landed safely in the end but during that time he found out 3 minutes was not enough to confess the sins he had committed during his life. If I was put in that situation, I also feel that 3 minutes is not enough to confess all my sins. Do you think 3 minutes is enough for you?
Repentance is a topic I like very much. Looking back on my experience over the years, how did I change from my unclean lifestyle (that was before I met God) into today, a servant (child) of God. While on my journey of faith, I have learned many lessons. Thinking back to what I have done, what I have said, the criticism, my gossip, etc.
My life full of bad deeds is like what Paul said, "I am the chief among all sinners."
Before I don't understand, I think Paul is too humble. It turns out the more I walk in the kingdom of God, the deeper this feeling is and the more I can understand this sentence.
When I came before God, I asked the Lord, ‘what do you want me to share about this topic?’ Suddenly, God reminded me of an old dream he once gave me: I wore a black silk dress, the name of that dress is humility and submission, I was standing in front of many people, surrounded. They all wanted to touch my exposed skin, hands, feet, neck, legs, if someone touches my sleeves, they will quickly lift it up, to touch my skin under the dress. As soon as they touched it, their bodies were healed immediately. No matter what kind of disease; cancer, depression, even a dead person, when my skin touches them, even the dead would be resurrected instantly. God made me stand there to be touched by others.
(Finally, I understood the interpretation of this dream: the testimony in me, the testimony of my life can heal people. It is not by dress, even though I wear a dress of humility and obedience. Once your inner life is revealed, it can touch other’s hearts)
God's intention is for me to share my weaknesses and testimonies about my old lifestyle and its problems, so that His name may be glorified.
It is difficult for us to change a bad habit by ourselves as Paul said in Romans 7:18-20 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Christ looks forward to returning to see a clean, spotless bride, not a dirty, shamed, divided bride. But how holy must the church—that is, us—be before the Lord comes back to meet us? How far must we recover before Christ returns? Does the purity of the bride come from the bride herself or her groom? The first chapter of Ephesians makes it very clear that the perfect church is eternal, and our perfection is not of ourselves, but through the work of Christ.
For example, in my front lawn and backyard lawn, there are many dandelion and bramble weeds, usually they have long, thin roots entangled in the turf, entangled inextricably. In spring, they will crowd the entire lawn, and the autumn wind blows their seeds all over my lawn. So, how do I deal with them? When the weeds bloom, you must pull them out, only removing the flowers and the leaves will not stop the problem. Once they are extracted, the weeds will grow new shoots in the place where they were cut off, unless they are uprooted, Otherwise, it will be endless, and the breeze will blow the seeds and more weeds will grow again in the next year. This is called the “weed effect”. Another treatment is to re-plow the entire field and replant with new turf.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. God is pruning us today, removing everything that is not in agreement with his character. The Holy Spirit reveals the problems of our life, including the flaws in our character. When the cause of sin in our life is exposed, we alone cannot pull out the root, God will use revelation and the environment to completely extract the poison in our hearts. Therefore, everyone should rise, thank the brothers and sisters around you and thank your surroundings. They are an essential tool that cannot be overlooked to help you get rid of the poisonous roots in your life.
(1) God uses revelation and the environment to completely remove the root of poison in our hearts.
In my life, I have secretly talked and judged people behind their backs, for example, listening to sermons. It happened around 2006, when our family was still living in a two-bedroom apartment which was shared with others. Once, I stepped into my closet, closed the door, and prayed on my knees. I suddenly lost all sense of time but heard the conversation of several voices. At first, I thought it was the neighbor next door who was talking, but after thinking about it, I was wrong. Because the voices were speaking Chinese, and the neighbors were Iranian couples, the conversation was as clear as someone talking next to the door.
At first there were only two voices. One of them asked the other, "Hey! Where are you from?"
The second voice replied, "I'm from so-and-so church (A real church, in Toronto)." Then the first voice asked again, "What do you see?"
Hearing this, I realized that these two were not human, so I calmed down and went into the spirit, only to see that they were two male angels without wings. They were wearing white clothes with gold belts, one of them was leaning against the window of my house, and another suddenly flew in from the sky and stood on the other side of the windowsill.
The angel who had just flown began to tell the angel what he had seen and heard in that church. At this time, another angel flew in and landed next to the window, he had radiant gold hair, topped head to toe with white clothes, a gold belt on his waist. He was holding a booklet in his hand and a pen and put one foot on the windowsill. Without entering the room, he asked the first angel who spoke, "What did you learn from so-and-so (the real name, who I know) “What did you see man do at his home? What did he do?” The first angel told him about everything that happened that day while the third angel took notes on his booklet. Since I knew the man whom this angel was serving, and knew some personal information about him, I could not help but tremble on my knees when I heard with my own ears the events of his life being recounted.
After that conversation, I couldn't tell which angel was speaking, I heard two angels ask the angel holding the booklet: "Did you go to meet the angel of a certain church?"
"What happened inside?" The angels seem to be very familiar with the people they serve.
I heard them mention the names of many churches, including Chinese and English churches. Some churches I knew and could account that those events were currently happening, while some of churches were unknown to me. They exchanged messages about what had happened to such-and-such church, what such-and-such person had done to offend the Lord, and what was so-and-so’s weakness in church.
I listened there for over 20 minutes, during this I came to realized that the booklet mentioned by the Lord in the Bible is real. Every word we say and everything we do will be recorded in heaven. Therefore, we should not underestimate those who are immature in the Spirit for they will have messengers by their side, who will come before the Father, day and night. (Matthew 18:10-11) "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels go always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
This is an enlightening revelation for me. The first thing I must do is to repent that I used to sit in the church judge the speaker, judge others around me, and criticize so-and-so in my heart. (Matthew 12:36-37) "But I say unto you. That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
This matter has completely pulled out the poisonous roots of my life because I used to judge and talk about people behind their backs. Now, whenever I see a weakness in other people’s life, or something that offends people or God, I will first pray and ask God: ‘Am I called to speak to the other party about their errors?’ If I am not an outlet to warn the other party, I will be very careful not to touch this part, because I know that the Lord has his own authority. He is the father and master of that person. I have no right to control God’s servants.
(Romans 14:1) "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” (Romans 14:4) "Who art thou that judges another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." We need revelation from God to teach us how to extract the evil root of sin.
(2) So how shall we deal with our sins and which parts should we deal with? To deal with sin, we must deal with the root.
Referring to Cain, (Genesis 4:6) “The Lord said unto Cain, why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?” (Genesis 4:7) “If thou do well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou does not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him.” ‘Sins’ means many wrongdoings, while ‘sin’ refers to the root of sin, just like a dandelion root. Although the leaves, fruits and flowers are removed in the first year, they will grow back in the second year if you do not remove the roots. ALL the wrong things in our life that are not in line with God have roots. Many times, when we come before God, we do not deal with the root, but only deal with the fruit.
Just like confessing your sin and repenting are two different things.
Confession of sin is more likely and easier than repentance, we express our apologies, our debts and our guilt about the offences that have occurred, sorry to God, our regret, our chagrin, our pleas for forgiveness.
First (John 1:9) says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We are cleansed by God’s grace, but the root (cause) of that sin is still there, and it will make people commit it again.
The ability to repent, however, needs power which is received from God. Repentance is not just an expression of remorse for sin or sorrow, but a solution to the root cause. We need to turn back towards God, back to His presence and additionally we must allow God to do operations in our lives, whether major or minor.
Repentance in Greek means ‘change of mind or renewal of mind.’ It symbolizes that your whole system of your mind will be changed.
We must turn our eyes away from the fruits of corruption, admit the level of sin, and take these roots seriously. Corruption does not happen naturally, nor does it happen from nothing without a cause. What is the relation between the root and the fruit of sin?
It is because that we choose not to let the truth of God be accepted into our cognition and reject the will of God from our belief system. The choice mentioned here is not to wait for something to happen and then act, but to make up your mind to truly allow God’s will into our life.
Among all my cognitions, I choose things related to God and God’s will. As long as I know what God’s heart desires, no matter how big the price I have to pay in the future, I will make up my mind to do it. For me, there is no room for debate, there is no way to negotiate, no need to have any second thoughts!
After that, what I need to do is I have to pray for myself so that I can fully surrender to God, instead of praying for Him to change into my plans.
God's part is a whole different level of dealing with sin.
This kind of repentance is completely different from me simply asking to forgive my arrogance, my slander, my false rumors and my envy and hatred towards others. But to go before God and ask Him to forgive me for my rebellion and disobedience, my dishonor to Him and for treating God as my equal, not my king. There is a core topic here which has a key question, ‘who is my boss, who is my true Lord?'
In a company, it is very clear that if a boss gives instructions, either you will follow his instructions or you quit the job. This is a very simple logic; obey those in command. Unfortunately, we believers sometime have difficulties doing so.
1. God's will, I can't do it, it's impossible for me. If you think that God’s will is impossible, I will ask you, ‘who is the Lord?’ —we know that nothing is impossible for God. God’s will concerns nothing about your ability, it’s about Him.
2. Some people don’t bother to care about God’s will; I have my own freedom. I will do whatever I feel is safe and quick to bear fruit, or I don’t want to wait for God’s purpose because I feel impatient, I just want to act quickly.
Most of our problems are not the fruit of a series of sins, we have not honored Him as our Lord, which is the root. If he is our Lord, then God's will should be fully implemented in our life. We know that everything in the universe works under Him. What exactly does he want to do in terms of specific things? It's not about our abilities, it's not about our opinions, our convenience or our thoughts and ideas.
The focus of repentance is not to deal with a single thing, not to deal with individual specific sins, but to deal with a core, which is "sin itself"—the sin of rebellion: knowing what to do but choosing not to do it. It is that I do not honor God as God - I don't know God.
James 4:17: “Therefor to him that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Knowing what is right and what to do, but choosing not to do it, the Bible says that they are guilty of sin.
Confessing sin is: “I’m sorry, Lord, you also know that I often cannot help sinning. Next time even if I face difficulties, since I know Your will, I will not do it again.
And repentance is: “Lord, I'm so sorry, I've been trying to dominate my life in my own way, according to my own will, according to my own way; I'm the master of my life, but today, I repent of my previous rebellion against God. Today, God, you are my Lord, and I belong to you.
3. Dealing with rebellion – not following God’s will (When my views are inconsistent with God’s, this is a type of rebellion. Does this refresh your view of sin?) In the final analysis, it is the root of rebellion.
Once, God gave me a task to announce to two mature prophets God's judgment, discipline, and punishment on them. They were two international, globally revered prophets, and apostles. God chose me to be an outlet to reveal His will and discipline to them.
For me, this is indeed a big and difficult matter. I clearly received dreams from God, and the words I was supposed to give was confirmed. But I couldn’t get out, I kept asking the Lord, ‘why me? I can’t do something like this, God, have you thought about the consequences? How devastating is it to the ministry’s relationship?’ I was trembling at that time, and I had no clue who I could confer to about this matter. My old wounds came back to complain about me, thinking that I would soon be met with retaliation from the ministry. All kinds of negative thoughts and emotions came into my head, and I was struggling a lot. My mindset was low, and I believed I was at a dead end, I thought I might break the relationship between me and the two prophets because of this incident.
I couldn't agree, so one day I came to God's mercy seat, and I made my decision. I told God, ‘I will not go, I cannot do it. Send someone else to do your will’, the second I finished talking with God, I left the mercy seat before he could respond me. That is how I thought this matter should end.
After a few days, someone came to me and told me that I had sinned against God in a certain matter, but he didn’t know what it was. As a person willing to be humble, I went to God and prayed to discover where I had offended Him. I carefully reviewed each period of time, but still didn’t know what it was! A couple days later, someone came to me again and said the same thing. I was in so much pain, so I came before God again. This time I decided to fast and seek Him, but still didn’t understand where I had offended Him. Until the third time, God had mercy on me, and during an early morning prayer, I finally saw how I had done wrong; I didn’t follow God’s instructions on this matter and didn’t respect His will.
Then I began to see the spirit of rebellion and standing there, mocking me. This greatly challenged my cognition, that I had my own thoughts and opinions on this matter. But am I not free? Haven’t I already made it clear to God, I never thought it was a sin? When my views are inconsistent with God’s, this is a kind of rebellion. Does this refresh your views on sin?
The root of sin is rebellion, and all sin itself has only one core—the sin of rebellion. I did not honor God as my Lord, all I thought about was my face, my self-esteem, the development of my ministry, and my relationship with others. God told me that I had sinned against him in this and that I was not doing his will.
Let us pray a repentance prayer, “Lord, please forgive me, forgive me for expressing some personal opinions that are against your will. You have very obviously told me what to do, but I still talk back to you and stiffen my neck. Forgive me for doing things of my own will, please be my true Lord today, from now on, your will and thoughts are my thoughts. We pray this in Jesus’s holy name. Amen” This is a completely different level of repentance. The action to return to Christ.
A life of repentance is that I am no longer the master of my personal life, I no longer have the right to choose, I do not belong to myself, but to the Lord. Now that we know what the main thing is, even if the environment is difficult, faced with threats, or seems to have no other options and outlets, we will choose to do everything according to the Lord's will.
Only a decision has been made—Lord, there is only You and You alone. Only a serious commitment can such a person become a vessel to witness God's deeds to the nations.
If God’s word has come, but we still choose not to act according to His word, and still stay in our safe environment, do you know what God is revealing in this situation? God is letting you know that you are not letting God be your Lord.
Afterwards, I did what God wanted me to do, pronouncing God's judgment onto the prophets.
After doing these things, I was still shaking all over, and my trauma came back to complain, making me think that I would soon encounter retaliation. It is true that they (the two prophets) ignored me the next year, and by the third year my lies and doubt was overcoming me.
But God moved in them and four years later, both prophets repented to the Lord, and I have received two sincere apologies, additionally they have gained respect for me.
When my views are inconsistent with God’s, this is a type of rebellion. When we encounter difficult things, we would always want to step back and choose a safer option. It is difficult to die to the old self and surrender to God, let alone martyrdom. Therefore, dear ones, just now I mentioned a very deep level of repentance. Each of us needs to come before God and ask ourselves, ‘is Jesus Christ my Lord in every aspect?’
If you find that there is a particular problem in your life for a long time, or it has appeared at least three times, we must get rid of it before it grows to become entangled with our personality and service work. Because the longer the delay, the more difficult the problem becomes. If we are willing to accept God's rectification, we may become honorable vessels; otherwise, once the spiritual poisonous weed grows, it will destroy our spiritual life and service in the future. This is also the "root of the problem" that has caused the failure of many great preachers.
When we choose not to do God's will, how will God treat us? He allows us to get into a corrupt mind, then we produce fruit that is totally not in line with God's will, unless we turn around. If we do not deal with it, the next punishment will be facing the danger that God will revoke our position/office in the Body of Christ, just like separating sheep from goats, good fish from bad fish, wheat from tares Some good examples are (Matthew 25:32 ~33, 13, 29~30, 47~48)
Sin separates us from God, so God cannot listen to our prayers. But simultaneously God is actively seeking for those who He can hear. Who can stand between the breach?
[Isaiah 59:1] "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:" [Isaiah 59:2] " But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3] 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.4] 4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
The question I used to think about a lot in the past is what puts many Christian families in trouble and difficult circumstances. Doesn't God have the power to remove these troubles? He can do it if you really know His power. God didn’t give us suffering, but He didn't remove the disaster from their lives, why? Is it because He doesn't love us? No, He always gives us the best. Therefore, we must come before God and ask a question, ‘what does God want?’ In fact, there is only one core concerning all of this, what is God’s will, who is He trying to teach on this matter?
Who is obstructing God's will? Unless we wake up, sometimes, when we act with good intentions, we are thwarting the will of God.
【James 4:17】“If anyone knows what is good to do and does not do it, he sins.” Anyone who knows what is right to do, and they choose not to do it, is his sin. When any of us knows God’s will, but still chooses not to do it, to God that is sin, and is related to the root of sin. This is what Jesus paid a price to pull us out of. When we choose to entrust our lives to God, the first thing we surrender is our original rebellion.