The prophet Isaiah foresaw the ministry of our Redeemer. In Isaiah 61:1-3, that ministry is foretold as if through the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
In the sermon on the Mount, our Lord Jesus proclaimed,
Matthew 5:4 ESV "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
That is the essence of the Gospel - the good news - that if you mourn over your sins, Jesus will give you comfort and joy.
In Corinth, there was a brother who committed an act of immorality. The Church rightfully disciplined the erring brother and disfellowshipped him. That action of removing him from the church body caused the brother to realize how wicked his behavior was. He sorrowed over his sin. In 2 Corinthians 2:6-7,11, Paul instructs the congregation to accept back the repentant brother and comfort him before his sorrow became destructive:
2 Corinthians 2:6-7 ESV (6) For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, (7) so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
We are called to walk in the joy of the Lord. Sometimes when a Christian sins he/she needs to be removed from the fellowship for their good and for the good of the body. But the removal is not for condemnation but for restoration. Once they have repented then it is our job to seek to restore them back into fellowship and seek to help them to be restored in the JOY OF THE LORD. Those who mourn over their sin will be comforted.
True change will never be a change until we have changed.
Have you been around Christians who spend a lot of time trying to convince you how mature they are, how much they love God, or how much they have repented from "the stuff" in their lives? Our Lord Jesus Christ said...
True maturity, true love, true repentance is birthed from time with the Father.
John 7:28 ESV So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know.
John 8:28-29 ESV So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. (29) And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him."
In these Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ revealed both His deity and that He was taught from the heavenly Father. He was also showing the importance of us having quality time with the Father, and that the Father is the source of our identity. “He spoke what the Father taught Him.” We learn through teaching or observation.
This type of learning requires interaction or quality fellowship. Quality fellowship is more than shaking someone's hand on Sunday morning in a quick greeting. Men, if you have been married for any amount of time you may have heard your wife share that she needed not just time in the living room where everyone was staring at a TV, but she desires face-to-face quality time. The same is true with the Father. He wants more than a group of Christians in a room together staring at whoever is on the platform. True quality fellowship takes face-to-face quality time.
FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FATHER:
When a believer takes time to fellowship with his heavenly Father, he will find his identity confirmed and endorsed in the Father. There will be a new confidence and boldness.
A Christian in deep fellowship with God will never stay the same. There will always be a change towards Christ-likeness in word, deed, and thought. When we change, we don't need to go about telling people we have changed - People will notice that themselves.
Though change may mean different things to different people, when embraced, it will always give glory to God. True change will never be a change until we change.
REWARD #2 Turning from evil
The rewards of developing the fear of the Lord are emphasized throughout Scripture. Having the fear of God gives strength to turn away (truly repent) from evil.
I have people tell me all the time that they have repented of such-and-such sin, only to have them fall back into it in the matter of a short time. The problem was that they did not really repent, but confessed.
The word "confession" means to come in agreement with. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of a sin and we confess it, we are coming in agreement with the Holy Spirit that we had unconfessed sin in our lives we needed to deal with. When we confess our sins to the Father we are not telling Him something He does not know. When we confess we are coming in agreement with what He knows and has revealed to our heart.
The same is true about a spiritual truth we read from Scripture. When we confess that we are a royal priesthood, an overcomer, and a child of the King we are not confessing what originated with us. We are confessing or agreeing what the Word of God has already said about us.
But repentance is different. To truly say we have repented means we have made an about face and headed away from the sin and to the opposite, which is what God says in His Word. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of heart, which results in a change of behavior.
The greatest asset to true Biblical repentance is having the fear of God. The fear of God causes to hate the sin within us the way the Father hates it. One of the problems among many believers is that they have a love/hate relationship their sin. I have been in to many services when the preacher will mention a sin he does and then makes a joke about it. This si especially true when it comes to gluttony. The issue is that the sin is either nor really regarded as sin or there is no fear of God concerning it.
Proverbs 16:6 KJV By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Proverbs 8:13 KJV The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Proverbs 14:16 KJV A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.