Open Heavens: Friday April 14, 2017; Change your ways


Memory Verse:
Matthew 3:8
Bring forth therefore, fruits meet for repentance

Read:
Acts 3:13-19

13“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14“But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
16“And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
17“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.
18“But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
19“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord

Bible in One Year:


Leviticus 26; Leviticus 27

Jeremiah 13:15-27

Hymn: I have decided to follow Jesus (see hymn here)



Message:

Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, hypocrisy has been a character trait of mankind. For this reason, God has continuously reached out to man with the message of living a changed life.
The Mosaic Law was all about making the Israelites live a life that conforms to God's expectation. At different points in time, when they erred from the Mosaic Law, God still sent prophets to them with the message of change. One of such prophets was Ezekiel. Speaking through him, the Lord demanded that His people repent and change from their hypocritical ways (Ezekiel 14:6)

"Therefore say to the people of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!

The Lord also spoke through Prophet Ezekiel about the change of life He would bring about by  the regeneration of human spirit through Christ (Ezekiel 36:25-27).



When this prophesy was to be fulfilled, the Lord sent John the Baptist to preach the baptism of repentance.
However, John discovered that some people were just coming religiously for baptism without any intention of changing their ways, and he had this to say to them:

"8“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;
9and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. "
Matthew 3:8-9

The apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ also had the message of change forming the central theme of the gospel they preached. In spite of the demonstration of power of the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders, the apostles did not mince words in declaring heaven's demand for a change of life to the people of their day.
Peter in Acts 3:19 boldly declared thus:

19Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away,

It is sad, however, that many modern-day preachers have deleted the message of change from their sermons because they would not want to be offensive to modern minds. What such preachers fail to realise is that the message of change is the only hope for the world. The message of change brings repentance, and repentance brings times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. I therefore beseech you to effect the necessary changes befitting of a Christian pilgrim in your life today. Remember, tomorrow may be too late!

Prayer Point:

Father, grant me the grace to change my crooked ways, and give me the strength of character to walk with You on the straight and narrow path all the days of my life.

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