The following message was preached in our central Florida church. What was planned for a Sunday morning service turned out to be a three part message. God blessed us with a powerful altar service, and many lives were forever touched by the Spirit of God.
Sunday, April 6, 2008 am Service
1 When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. 3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. 4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
The saints of God are often found weeping and in tears while performing our duties and living our lives. When we weep and shed tears of godly sorrow in the midst of life, we are sowing to the Spirit of God, and will reap good things from His hands. We may sow in tears, but will reap in joy. We won’t always mourn and shed tears; God will one day wipe all tears from our eyes. What a day that will be!
It is a good thing to both have and show joy in the presence of the Lord. When the Lord does the miraculous in our lives, it is important to allow ourselves to be filled with laughter and sing with shouts of joy. I believe we have become too quiet in our worship and praise; it’s time for the church to wake up and magnify the Lord with all our hearts.
There are many kinds of tears shed in our lives, and I want to look at some of them today.
1. Tears of sorrow or suffering. II Kings 20:1-11 Here is a story regarding a godly king who was told something that had to be quite unnerving: “get your house in order; you are going to die.” Can you imagine the impact that would have on you? He is the king, and to be told his house wasn’t in order must have been a shock to him.
Hezekiah did what we should all do when sorrow or suffering comes knocking at our door; we should turn our faces to the wall and pray, crying before Almighty God. The king reminded the Lord how he had lived his life before Him in truth and with a perfect heart. Hezekiah also reminded the Lord how he had done those things which were good and right in God’s presence. Would you be able to answer God the same way Hezekiah did?
Through his tears, Hezekiah heard Isaiah the prophet say how the Lord would add fifteen years to his life. God heard the king’s prayers and answered them before the prophet could get out the door. Let me tell you, tears from the heart are seeds that produce results in the sight of God.
2. Tears of joy. Genesis 33:1-17 This is a beautiful story, filled with great joy. Jacob and Esau had been separated for a long time, but they were about to meet one another for the first time in many years. They would meet on the road to Seir.
(Genesis 33:4, KJV) And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.
Paul, in writing to Timothy, made it clear that he remembered his young convert night and day in his prayers. He wrote of Timothy’s tears and the fact they would see each other; Paul would be filled with joy.
II Tim 1:3-4 3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
3. Tears of compassion. John 11:33-36 This, to me, is one of the most beautiful stories in all the Word of God. We have all heard it many times, but it should still be fresh and real to us as we see how tender and compassionate the Lord is.
Jesus never did try to hide His humanity; even those who would ultimately reject Him knew His unequaled compassion.
(Isaiah 53:3, KJV) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Heb 4:15-16 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
(Romans 12:15, KJV) Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Do you shed tears of compassion?
4. Tears of desperation. Esther 4:1-3 The story of Esther is one of the most beautiful in the entire Bible. It’s a story about what a person can do through prayer, fasting and determination to fulfill the call of God.
Here we find one of the king’s favored counselors, Haman, who has plotted to destroy all the Jews throughout the land. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, has found out about this insidious plot, and he began to be very upset about the matter. He tore his clothes, put on sackcloth with ashes and cried out with a loud voice in the streets of the city. Image for a moment how this would have appeared to the citizens of that royal city.
He also did something which was not lawful: he came before the king’s gate in this desperate state.
DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES.
The story continues with Esther risking her life by presenting herself before the king unannounced. She didn’t go before the king without spending much time in preparation, though. She answered Mordecai by commanding all the Jews who were in Shushan to fast for three days, night and day; she and her maids would fast, too.
5. Tears of travail. Jeremiah 9:1, 18 It is clear from the text how much the weeping prophet loved his people. Many people show little concern for the plight of others, but Jeremiah is a shining example of a true saint of God. You can tell Jeremiah was in distress over his people’s apparent lack of love toward God. When those around us turn away from God, it is time to travail before the Lord with tears and concern.
The Apostle Paul, writing in Heb 5:5-10, describes how Jesus prayed with strong crying and tears to the Father in order to be saved from death, but gladly obeyed in order to save us from sin.
In order to see the agony Jesus went through for us, we need only to look at Mark 14:32-42. Here we find Jesus in the garden as He prayed the Father would let the horrible cup of suffering pass from Him. Jesus would say to the Father, “not my will, but Your will be done.”
6. Tears of repentance. Joel 2:12-13, 15-17 The Lord is calling the people to repentance, but not just an outward show. It’s easy to put on a big smile in front of your friends when things are going well; it’s another thing entirely when we have to get down to business and truly repent before the all-seeing eyes of God. The Lord expects us to repent from our hearts. He is more interested in your hearts than the clothes you wear on your backs.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to see genuine tears in the house of God again. We have been silent for too long; it’s time to weep between the porch and the altar with a song in our hearts and joy on our lips. Let there be
Tears in the House of God!