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The Power of Reformation – Week 15 / April 6th
“……the Holy Spirit indicating this, that they way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.” Hebrews 9:8
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.” Hebrews 9:11
Reformation is that work of the Holy Spirit whereby God’s purpose in the world is improved upon. This is biblical reformation because it gives voice to the biblical process of reformation. Jesus, we are told by our text brought in a time of reformation in that, what was hitherto a shadow, seen in the Temple Ritual, became a concrete fact by His death.
Reformation is also that work of the Holy Spirit whereby what was lost to the church by neglect and apostasy is recovered. The supreme historical example of this is Luther’s reformation of the 16th century. Also, the now famous Azusa Street revival (1906) restored to the Church the truth of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Restoration Movement of England, in the nineteenth century, restored the truth of Israel’s modern day recovery from the four ends of the earth to the Church.
It is evident then that biblically there are a number of divine instruments that empower Reformation.
The first of which is: The Holy Spirit
Our text above clearly refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in renewal or Reformation. Luther was empowered by the Holy Spirit as he dared to take on the Catholic Church and its huge temporal power. Today, we need to find a new relationship with the Holy Spirit if we are going to confront the world with Jesus’ truth. Our reception of Him is conditional upon three factors:
1. That we thirst for God. (John 7:37)
2. That we seek to obey God in all things. (Acts 5:32)
3. That we are willing to go. (Acts 1:4-8)
Many Christians have a weak encounter with the Holy Spirit because they have no thirst for God, are not obedient to His will and have no intention of going into the world with a message of His redeeming love.
Secondly, a new wave of Reformation will only overwhelm us when we are prepared to:
Saturate ourselves with the Word of God.
The Bible states that we must:
1. Rightly divide it! (2Timothy 2:15)
2. Know its times and seasons of fulfillment. (1 Thessalonians 5:1)
3. Know its parameters. (2 Peter 3:14-16)
Thirdly Reformation will come:
When we align ourselves with God’s purpose for Israel Israel has not as yet appropriated biblical reformation in that she has yet to embrace “the good things to come” in Jesus. However, this having been said, a process of reformation is under way in that, as witnessed to by all the Prophets, the Jews have returned to Zion from the four corners of the earth. This remarkable restoration is evidence of a very powerful Reformation that is impacting our world. It will in fact have grave and very blessed implications for the world. So then, Israel’s reformation:
Is by the will of God.
God Himself has “blinded her in part” and God Himself will open her eyes! (Romans 11:25-26)
Is by the purpose of God.
Her blinding in part has opened the door for Gentiles to join the family of God, or as Paul puts it, the “commonwealth of Israel.” Biblical reformation has come to us by Israel’s unbelief. (Romans 11:28-30)
Finally Israel’s reformation:
Is by the testing of God.
Given that Israel’s blinding in part has brought God’s love and grace in Christ to us (Romans 11:30) we should be careful how we relate to the Jewish people since our salvation constitutes “their spiritual things.” (Romans 15:27) True love for Christ will impact our hearts with a true love for Israel. Paul says that we should not despise the Jewish people or treat them with arrogance. (Romans 11:17-23) God is testing our characters and sadly history affirms that we have mostly failed!
In the end we must recognize that true reformation is upon us because God has promised to save Israel and bring to the whole world the final triumph of Christ. The Church must itself undergo a Reformation that will enable it to see the unfolding purpose of God in Israel and flow with it. Failure in this regard will disconnect much of the modern Church from experiencing one of the greatest acts of Reformation in history.
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries