A Gift of Repentance

Posted Apr 27, 2012 by Adrian Ebens in Newsletters


Feature Article

Dear maranathamedia subscriber

I recently had the opportunity to take part in something that gave me and those with me a taste of good things to come. I attended a camp meeting not far from Melbourne, Australia and had the opportunity to listen to heart felt preaching and participate in sweet fellowship. It was during one of the presentations that a conviction pressed itself upon me.

Brother Howard Williams from Restoration Ministries presented to us the truth that when the apostolic church preached and ministered that it did not only do so with words but with power. See Acts 4:33 as an example. Brother Howard gave us something to reflect upon as he spoke of the power of God providing a witness to the truth of God. The natural question that arose from this presentation is why does this power not reside with us in its fulness? Many of us have tasted the joyful truth of the only Begotten Son of God and yet behind this are many difficulties, trials, struggles, conflicts, division and sorrow.

Brother Howard graciously and openly confessed that in presenting such a message only with words could result in condemnation of what he was saying, but I understood what he was trying to say and that we should exmaine what gifts should be available to the followers of Christ when they present the truth of the Gospel.

Brother Howard suggested that prayer and fasting were needed in order that we might understand and receive the witness of power to the truth. As I listened, my mind began to reflect on my own experience and the experience of my church. I thought about my error with regard to the Trinity and the full scale apostasy that is currently taking place in the church. I thought about many events that had taken place where some of those who embraced the truth reacted harshly towards the church and in several cases severed their connection with the church. I thought about the conflicts that existed at many levels for those who had embraced the truth of God and His Son and then I thought about the way I had presented my convictions with regard to approaching and appealing to the church. I thought about how I had pressed others hard at times without giving them room to move. I felt a growing sadness as I thought on these things and that despite the fellowship there were still people in that room who felt uneasy about me and I saw that I had played a part in that situation occuring.

Brother Howard mentioned the need for a witness to the truth several times. As I sat there reflecting, a thought came to me, Adrian, I want you to be a witness to the truth. I want you to tell your brethren where you have failed and played a part in the present difficulites. At first I felt rather awkward. I did not want to interupt Howard or draw needless attention to myself. The thought pressed into my mind a second time and I felt it was something I had to do. I raised my hand and asked Howard if I might be a witness. He graciously invited me to come to the front and share what was on my heart.

I told the people that I had come to the meeting with many uncertainties as to how I would be received and that I recognised that with all the difficutlies I had faced with the church, that I had pressed some of my friends to follow a certain course and that I had acted wrongly at times. I apologised to the group and once again apologised for teaching the error of the Trinity. There was a stillness in the air that grew into a warmth. Howard asked if any others would like to pray. One brother began to pray with a heartfelt conviction, a prayer asking for forgiveness, then another and another. Tears were shed and confessions made and all the while the warmth in our hearts grew and grew.

I listened to several heartfelt prayers. Hearts were being touched and a gift of repentance was granted to the people present. I then heard a little child pray and it touched my heart. A simple childlike prayer that trusted in our Heavenly Father. As I listened to that little boy I was reminded of the words, "unless you become as little children..." We all felt a bond of unity and a spirit of love come amongst us as we tasted the joy of heaven. The prayer session lasted maybe half and hour but the joy was abundant. One dear older sister with whom there had been tensions, came to me after the meeting and we just embraced and felt all that tension drain away. I heard several comment that they had not experienced a meeting like this in many, many years. A witness to the truth had come to God's people and it was a gift of repentance.

Though this series of events our Father showed us that the way forward is through the path of repentance. Let us wait in Jerusalem and sigh and cry for the things that are done and how we all as a people have failed to walk in the light that was given us in the beginning. Now is not the time for sharp accusations and striving amongst ourselves. Now is the time to pray the prayer of Daniel.

Dan 9:15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
Dan 9:19 ?O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

The greatest witness to the truth at this time will be a witness to our human weakness and human wisdom that has failed us. The greatest witness will be the laying of the glory of man in the dust and for Christ and Him crucifed to be raised above all other things.

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?Said the angel, "Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no." It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His darling Son to die for them.? EW 127 (1882)