Monday, October 31, 2022

Met Antonios (el-Souri): Pastoral Concerns: Revival

 Arabic original here.

Pastoral Concerns: Revival

"That the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:29)

The Church is the people of God and the New Israel. She is the new creation in Christ Jesus the incarnate Son of God. Every member in the body of Christ shares what belongs to Christ from God the Father "For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me" (John 17:8). Jesus gave us the commandment that is from the Father and this commandment is the path of eternal life for the believer: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).

Revival is the believer's repentance, his return to the Church, that is, to his life as a member in the body of Christ. Every member in the body has a role and the roles of the members compliment each other in coordinating the building-up of the body, so that all may be in the fullness of the stature of Christ.

The baptized Christian acquires three attributes from Christ the Lord, because in baptism he puts on Christ and so becomes one anointed for God, that is, a king, a prophet and a priest. Revival is our living our sonship to God in the attributes of the only-begotten incarnate Son which we have been given on the day we were born from the baptismal font.

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"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

The role of the believer is to "proclaim the virtues" of the One who has enlightened his life with the truth that is in divine love. The virtues are none other than the attributes of God which the believer must live by the power of the One who raised him up from the old man to life in the true new man, the New Adam.

One who does not revive constantly from oldness to newness and from death to life by living in the new humanity that is in Christ Jesus risen from the dead and glorified at the right hand of the Father does not belong to Christ.

The believing Christian cannot but be in constant, continuous revival because he is a child of the divine commandment and constantly moves forward in renewing the mind, thought and heart, reaching toward Christ by emptying himself of everything that is attached to something other than Him in order to remain chaste and faithful to the divine Bridegroom.

A person revives and becomes an evangelist of truth and life when his mind and heart are changed and when his life and priorities are turned around. His purpose with everything comes to be that God be glorified because the glory of God is the life of man according to the image of Christ. A revivalist is one who combats his passions, uncovers them, lays them bare and fights them in order for his nature to be purified and liberated from any other nature contrary to the man Jesus Christ.

Therefore, revival is a movement of prophecy that starts in the heart "to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). That is, to destroy the idols that possess man and to build him up as a temple of God's Word.

There is no revival without the divine word being sown in the heart and without it being watered with the tears of repentance that are from the grace of the Holy Spirit. The word is not sown in earth that is not good or on cultivated earth. The earth must be cleansed, tilled and everything in it must be removed. This is repentance.

Thus the revival starts with repentance, that is, with self-knowledge, and self-knowledge is achieved by familiarity with the divine word, which is "living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

The spirit of prophecy flows out upon those who are in Christ in the Holy Spirit and therefore it purifies one upon whom it is poured out, first so that he may see by the uncreated light his true reality and know the path that he must follow and die to everything that is not from Jesus in order to seek Jesus in every soul that breathes. There is no revival without prayer "without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), that is, without mad devotion to God.

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Beloved children, we are all called to be in the image of Christ and to live by His Spirit, because if we follow another path, we lose our salvation since at that point we are living for ourselves, "for 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Revival is for us to know the Lord through our knowing His mind first, that is, through our being inspired by His word and being nourished by it to fullness. Then we enter through the mystery of the word into the mystery of the Spirit and become speakers of the word of the Spirit, which purifies us and creates us anew in the birth of constant repentance until God Himself speaks in us and we become His word to the world, which does not come back to Him empty, but accomplished what pleases Him and prospers in the thing for which He sends it (cf. Isaiah 55:11). "Seek the Lord while He may be found,call upon Him while He is near..." (Isiah 55:6).


Metropolitan of Zahle, Baalbek and their Dependencies

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