Revived and Alive

As a kid growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, when I heard our church was “going to have revival,” I thought how great that was because that meant good dinners at church and nights of staying up late.  Sadly for many of the adult Christians in my childhood church, revival meant the same thing to them.  Even more sad, is for many the idea of revival has not changed.
 
I want to ask you to consider your understanding of revival, and what would it mean for you and JFBC (or whatever church you attend) to “have revival?”  Read what Dr. Martin Loyd Jones says revival is for a church and Christian.
A revival is a miracle. It is a miraculous, exceptional phenomenon. It is the hand of the Lord, and it is mighty. A revival, in other words, is something that can only be explained as the direct action and intervention of God. It was God alone who could divide the Red Sea. It was God alone who could divide the waters of the river of Jordan. These were miracles. Hence the reminder of God’s unique action of the mighty acts of God. And revivals belong to that category‚Ķ . These events belong to the order of things that men cannot produce. Men can produce evangelistic campaigns, but they cannot and never have produced a revival. (Revival, 1987)
 
Nothing, not meetings, nor anyone, not a preacher, revives a church.  God breathed live into each and every Christian and church to begin with, so obviously, He is the only one who can do it again.
 
There are certainly actions, however, that God seeks from a person or group of people needing his fresh touch of revival.  Then, upon His timing and based on His Sovereignty, He rushes in with the breath of revival, calling the person or people, much like Jesus did Lazarus, to come forth.  It is a spiritual picture of what Ezekiel describes in Chapter 37, of God and the valley of dry bones.  Listen as God speaks to your heart, “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.” (v.5)
 
Question of reflection: What are some actions God is dealing with you about doing as He seeks to revive your heart?  Some to consider:
 
  • Repentance  
In our Sermon Series on Jonah we saw God’s Divine discipline and Divine Pursuit of Jonah through the storm and the fish was for the sole purpose of leading him to repent of his disobedience to God’s call to go to people dying in sin.  His own sin kept him from seeing or caring about their condition.
Leonard Ravenhill says that the primary reason people and churches do not experience revival is because of un-confessed sin.  Like Jonah, our view of God as the Holy and Perfect One He is becomes obstructed by our selfish sin. That is why carnal Christian living is so dangerous. You and I have to go through those crisis events in order for God to lead us to repent.
 
  • Prayer
In the beginning of Acts we see the birth of the church happen after a time of waiting. The actions of the people while waiting were the catalyst for God’s moving of the Holy Spirit.  They prayed until something happened.
 
Why would a movement of God be any different in the church today.  We have to PUSH, or pray until something happens.
 
I read a great article on why the church should pray for revival.  I am sharing the link here: Why the Church should Pray for Revival but let me highlight some of the points.
 
1. Praying for revival means we are praying for God’s power.
The power to do what only God can do.  Move mountains of obstacles previously unmoved.  Change cities and communities previously unreceptive to Him.
 
2. Praying for revival means we are praying for God to bring a Great Awakening to His people who slumber and are complacent
 
3. Praying for revival means we are praying for God to save people who are far from Him and to use us in doing it.
 
Read the article to see what we learn when praying and some other great insights.
 
  • Giving away their gift (telling others how to receive God’s gift of salvation)
God’s people have to get back in the right with God and get right with His will of sharing with others the gift they received from Him.
 
That’s how one church I read about experienced a revival.  The young pastor arrived to a group of 10 people who decided they did not want to be dead.  Together they began going door to door again taking the gospel to the people who needed it.  One reason for that was because they were evidence of the fact that the people who needed it were not coming to them.  In two short years after that decision, this small rural church planted another church only a few miles away.  The results were saved souls, and it motivated other, much larger churches to do the same.
 
We need to remember that revival changes peoples lives for all of eternity.
 
Here is the link to Sunday’s Sermon. Revived and Alive Listen to it again or for the first time as you contemplate your personal need for revival, and please pray for God to bring revival to JFBC.