Turn and be filled

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Ac 2:38)

If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you. (Pr 1:23)

I have been pondering the connection between repentance (or turning) and being filled with the Holy Spirit. I like the word "turning" for repentance. Repentance is more than just being sorry, it is more than even resolving to not do something again. It is a turning around from going one way to go a completely different way. It is proactive and not passive, it is positive and not negative. It involves the presence of a new direction and not just the absence of the old.

The way Jesus described repentance was radical, it involved words like, "If your right eye causes you to sin gouge it out and throw it away!" It is not just putting a sticky plaster over our sin, but laying an axe to the root of the tree. It's not just dealing with it as a one-off either - "gouge out the source of the sin", but make sure it doesn't come back - "throw it away!"

Paul has an equally radical approach: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them... when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light." Sin delights to hide in secret. It's enticing lie is, "no one will know". It is a creature of the darkness. The best way to deal with it is to turn the light on - to allow no secret place for it to hide. To make yourself open and accountable.

Repentance then is a turning from anything that is darkness and making active progress down the path that is light. The best way to repent is not to beat yourself up for what you did in the past, but to press ahead to lay hold of what Christ has for you in the future. It is not just a one off response to the Lord when we get saved, but an ongoing adjustment we make whenever we see anything that does not measure up when we look in the mirror that is the word.

And what is God's response to genuine repentance?... a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit!

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. (Ac 3:19-21)


SLW said...

For those of us who genuinely long for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this is a refreshingly clear directive. I suppose it could be seen as a tangential application of Jesus new wine/new wineskin teaching. It also reinforces something Mark Hadfield said a few days ago. I guess God is trying to make a point!

Chris HH said...

That Mark is a clever chap! ;-)

Keri Jones, our apostle, said "God never says anything to a man in isolation. If a word is from God it will be confirmed by other parts of the body." The Spirit speaks to the church.

I've stopped being surprised when other men of God arrive at the same revelation without any lateral communication. As you say it is one of the sure signs that some vertical communication is going on.

carl said...


This is to old fashioned. You will never grow an ultra hip mega church like this.

The goal is to get people to stick around and make a "decision" to become a "Christ follower."

If you make people think that they have to change or that "Christ following" will require something from them, then you will never be able to get on the conference circuit or sell books.

Remember, there are bookstore jobs in the balance here.

Akinola said...

A clean break with the past and a sight set on the goal of the high calling in Christ Jesus, that what the Kingdom adventure is all about.

Great post.

AmeriKan said...

Chris, this is Gospel at its best. "If any man be in Christ, old things are passed away and, behold, all things are become new." This cannot happen without genuine repentance.

Maybe God is speaking to many of us. Repentance, brokenness, to turn and walk in freedom, precedes revival and a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God. The Upper Room must have seen great repentance.

Thankyou Chris.

AmeriKan said...

Chris, I liked the "ongoing adjustment" part. Too often after our initial salvation experience of major repentance proportions, we slip into the easychair mode of Christian living. And we forget this is a daily experience of checks and balances between us (our inner man) and the Holy Spirit. This is the only way true Christian growth can take place and we be able to live in unity with the brethren.

This "turning and turning" is what will bring us back to the feet of Jesus and we will see how much we need Him every day.

Chris, as Carl said, tongue in cheek, "you'll never grow a mega church with this." But in retrospect, this is exactly what Jesus did and birthed the church. Inwardly, I believe this is the message men are crying for today.
This turning will bring lasting change and God's Holy spirit presence.

megroocam said...

I just wanted to send a thank you for your post on Amos. I am a h/s mom from Alaska USA and was looking up the meaning of the three sins and 4 sins talked about in the beginning. My kids and I were all a bit stumped. Your blog looks like a place we'll be spending alot of time! Thanks again for your study of the Word.
Tandy Sue Hogate

Chris HH said...

Thank you, Tandy, for your kind comments. I'm glad to have been of help.