As we look forward to our Revival next week, I can’t help but think about what “Revival” really is. In fact I’m devoting the next two Sunday morning sermons to the topic of “Biblical Revival.” And it may seem strange to say, but Revival is something only God can do.
Throughout the course of Church History there have been several “Revivals” so to speak. The early 1900’s saw a period of “Revival” in Wales, in which many were saved and many more who were already saved were drawn into a deeper relationship with God. Colonial America experienced the “Great Awakening” and then the “2nd Great Awakening” both times of widespread “Revival” again resulting in changed lives. We might even look at Pentecost (Acts 2) as a time of “Revival” as the promised Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early Church. But in every one of these instances, as well as every case of true, Biblical, Revival--one thing is always the same. God decides whether to “pour it out” or not.
With that said, the question can be asked: If Revival is completely God’s work, then what should WE, as Christians do? I think there are several things we can do to put ourselves in a position to have a special season with God, and I’ll talk more about them on Sunday morning. But here is a “sneak preview” from James 4:7-10.….
First we must SUBMIT TO GOD. Obviously we do this first at salvation. All MUST BOW THE KNEE to the Lord Jesus Christ, or they’ll perish. But submission is a lifelong process. We must recognize God’s absolute sovereign right over our lives and fall at His feet as a slave. Many are too prideful to do that. Some are too lazy to do that. Others just don’t realize the necessity of doing that. But a lack of submission to God is why some American churches act more like an Elk’s Lodge than a House of God. Christians MUST SUBMIT TO GOD…….or they will NEVER see God bring “Revival.”
Secondly we must RESIST THE DEVIL. Oftentimes the reason we don’t experience a deep walk with God is because we are too entangled in sin. While sin will always be a battle in this fallen world, ask yourself if you’re “fighting the good fight” or simply “giving in” and asking God to forgive after you’ve enjoyed a little “feeding of the fleshly nature.” GOD WON’T BRING REVIVAL TO CHRISTIANS ENJOYING THEIR SIN!
Third, we must draw near to God. This has to do with NOT ONLY submitting to His authority, but daily walking in communion with Him. “Drawing near” is something that takes a little work on our part. “Drawing near” means spending time prayerfully in His Word. “Drawing near” means spending time asking for God’s direction and His Spirit to work more fully in your life. AND GOD WON’T BRING REVIVAL TO CHRISTIANS WHO ARE NOT DRAWING NEAR TO HIM!
Fourth, we must TURN FROM SIN. Not just “resist the devil” but also “put to death the deeds of our sinful flesh” (see blog on Mortifying Sin under recent posts). Purify our hearts and cleanse our hands, by the power of the Holy Spirit (and by the practice of self-discipline--see 1 Tim. 4:7-8).
Fifth and finally, we must be “broken people.” We must mourn over sin in our lives AND SIN IN OTHER’S LIVES. We must weep as we look out upon a world in which our LORD is NOT receiving the GLORY HE DESERVES-----AND we must LONG to see that change. GOD WILL NOT BRING REVIVAL TO CHRISTIANS WHO ARE NOT BROKEN!
Sunday morning (Sept. 3), I’m going to preach about these things. Revival is something only GOD can do. I can’t guarantee it, neither can you, neither can Tim Smith. But I CAN tell you what type of Christian God WON’T bless. If we as individual Christians (and thus as a united Church) will seek to avoid what God says avoid--and do what God says do--then we’ll put ourselves in a position to see Him do mighty things in our life, in our church, in our town, and ultimately in our world. Of course it all begins with YOU. Thank God for the HONOR and PRIVILEDGE of coming to HIS HOUSE on Sunday morning--and come ready to worship, seek His face, and prepare your heart for what He may choose to do for you and through you, and maybe even to you.