Revival – A Genuine Repentance
Introduction: In the opening to our last message we made three statements.
First: Nowhere is the absence of God's presence more conspicuous and tragic than in the church.
Second: The world is unimpressed, and even repulsed, by "Christianity" that is lifeless and powerless.
Third: Someone said, "We have no right to be believed, so long as we can be explained!"
For the most part, I believe we would agree that we need a great spiritual awakening in our country.
Iniquity abounds, and the love of many has waxed cold.
Our churches are full of those who name the name of Christ, yet give no sign of spiritual life.
The children in our churches are wondering IF GOD IS REAL.
Even in this church, I wonder if there is a HEARTCRY that is hungering and thirsting for an old-fashioned REVIVAL, “TO SEE THE POWER AND GLORY OF OUR GOD again in the sanctuary."
If we are going to have REVIVAL, it will require divine intervention. For two weeks now, I have repeated I Kings 18, "We may build the altar and prepare the sacrifice, but God alone can send the fire."
By Revival I do not mean scheduled meetings. One frequently sees signs reading: REVIVAL – ONE WEEK ONLY or REVIVAL EVERY NIGHT EXCEPT SATURDAY. These signs indicate that special meetings are being held.
By Revival I do not mean a series of evangelistic meetings. As significant and important as evangelism is, such labors cannot be called revival. Evangelism is work men do for Christ in reaching the lost. Revival is work Christ does for men.
By Revival I do not mean an emotional religious service where there is special music and hell-fire preaching.
REVIVAL is NOT the ORDINARY RESULTS of ORDINARY WORK. Revival is always EXTRAORDINARY. Someone said,
"Despite the tremendous amount of activity found in religious circles today, there is a very real sense in which the church itself is like a sleeping giant. All the good that the church is accomplishing throughout the world is nothing in comparison with the good that needs to be accomplished. The furry of religious activity, has yet to awaken the church. We have a lot of good works, but what we need is something only God can produce and that is REVIVAL."
Revivals are not explosions; they are spiritual awakenings
Habakkuk 3:2, "O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, REVIVE thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy."
Psalm 85:6, "Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may REJOICE in Thee."
For Revival to come there must be PRAYER. Revival begins with the prayers of desperate Christians, who are tired and weary of "cold mechanical services before God." Those who know anything of the history of revivals know they have been traced to special times of prayer.
“HEAVEN SENT REVIVAL." begins with GENUINE PRAYER.
“HEAVEN SENT REVIVAL." continues with GENUINE REPENTANCE.
Before there can be GENUINE REVIVAL there must be a calling of the church to GENUINE REPENTANCE. Repentance has been called "the bedrock of Christianity." The failure of the 21st century church to understand and embrace this Biblical concept has robbed us of the "POWER AND GLORY of GOD in our midst." The REVIVAL for which we are begging God must be BIRTHED in GENUINE PRAYER and in GENUINE REPENTANCE.
The last COMMAND of our Lord to the church is the Great Commission found in Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”
However the Lord's last WORD to the church is "REPENT." This was given to us in Revelation 2-3 where we discover that five of the seven churches where admonished to repent.
In Revelation 2:1-7, to the church at Ephesus Christ said in verses 4-5, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and REPENT, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
In Revelation 2:12-17 to the church at Pergamos Christ said in verse 12, “REPENT; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
In Revelation 2:18-29 to the church at Thyatria Christ said in verse 22, “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they REPENT of their deeds.”
In Revelation 3:1-6 to the church at Sardis Christ said in verse 3, “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and REPENT. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
In Revelation 3:14-22 to the church at Laodicea Christ said in verse 19, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and REPENT.”
The Lord's message to all five of these churches was "REPENT." The Lord’s message to our church and our membership today is the same message, "REPENT."
Now REPENTANCE is not PENANCE. Don’t confuse the two. Listen to this statement.
"REPENTANCE is a change of mind about SIN and SELF and the SAVIOUR. With a broken and contrite heart, it is a turning from SIN and SELF to the SAVIOUR. It is not just a change of opinion; it is a change of one's inner attitude. It is being willing not only that God should take away sins by forgiving them; it is being willing to put them away by forsaking them."
Question, Are you ready to deal with known sin in your Life? I did not say in your family’s life or in those around you. I am asking whether or not you are ready to deal with the sin in your Life?
Is it a sin of omission?
Is it a sin of commission?
Is it a sin of disposition?
Is it a sin of the mind, such as an evil habit?
Is it neglect of the Bible, or prayer and church?
Is it a fighting spirit, or a spirit of hate?
Proverbs 28:13 says, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
Then in I John 1:9 again we read, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
The churches of Revelation 2-3 needed TIME OUT to TUNE UP. They needed a spiritual examination by the Lord calling them to REPENTANCE.
In studying these messages, we make some amazing discoveries. For one thing every one of the five churches that were bidden to REPENT, every church that needed a REVIVAL, was a PROSPEROUS and SUCCESSFUL church.
Looking at the churches at Ephesus or Pergamos or Thyatria or Sardis or Laodicea, we would say, "These churches do not need a REVIVAL. They are busy and progressive; why disturb them? They may have their faults but what church is there that doesn't have any problems?" Yet our Lord calls for these to REPENT or ELSE!
On the other hand, while looking at the churches at Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-11, and the church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13, we might say they needed REVIVAL. Why? Because they were POOR and PERSECUTED. Yet for these churches our Lord had NO word of REBUKE and NO call to REPENTANCE.
These messages in Revelation cover every kind of church situation today. Let’s find which picture in this gallery fits the Green Street Baptist Chapel. We may be a composite, a combination of two or more, but somewhere we are here. We would do well to question ourselves:
Is our church like the Ephesus church in 2:1 – orthodox and busy, but without love?
Is our church like the Pergamos church in 2:12 – a worldly church, tolerating what it ought to condemn?
Is our church like the Thyatira church in 2:18 – allowing false teachers to lead people astray?
Is our church like the Sardis church in 3:1 – known as a live church, but dead in the sight of God?
Is our church like the Laodicea church in 3:14 – neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm?
All these churches needed to REPENT. They needed REVIVAL. At the end of these messages we find our Lord saying in Revelation 3:20, "If any man…" A church is made up of people, YOU and ME. After all, churches reflect their members. Question – can you see yourself in one of these churches?
Someone said, "What kind of church would this church be, if every member were just like me?"
The Ephesian Christians were orthodox and hardworking people who were into almost every activity of the church. They took a powerful stand against false doctrine to contend for the faith. But there was no LOVE in their heart. Again in verse 4 we read, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” They had lost their need for God.
The Pergamos and Thyatira Christians were broad-minded and tolerant people who never took a stand against worldliness or false doctrine. The status quo was fine with them because their church rolls were loaded with people who loved the world and the things in it. Their gods were the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
To me, it is appalling how little some church members really know of what they profess to believe. Are you one of these?
"Some members do not know what they believe, others do not believe what they say they believe, and many do not practice what they believe."
Before we can have REVIVAL, we must renounce EVIL, whether in DOCTRINE or DEED.
The Sardis Christians had the name of their church on a sign, but the congregation inside the church was dead. These believers attended a lot of meetings and were involved in a whirl of religious activities, but they were spiritually dead. These people mistook PERFORMANCE for Spiritual reality.
The lukewarm Laodicean Christians were comfortable in their religious surroundings. They appeared to have nice facilities, plenty of money, and all that was needed for religious activities. But they just sat and listened without responding to any invitation. “They were too COLD to BOIL and too WARM to FREEZE!”
Going back to the first church mentioned in Revelation 2:1-7, the church at Ephesus, we find a positive church with a lot of pluses. Notice again the list from verses 2-3,
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.”
Aside from all the pluses, the Lord discovered a deadly danger creeping into their lives. This busy, separated, sacrificing church really suffered from "heart trouble." In verse 4, we are told they had abandoned their first love.
They were outwardly WARM yet inwardly COLD. Day after day they went through the RIGHT ROUTINE, and said the RIGHT WORDS. They were scripturally sound in doctrine and practice, yet their inward problem was their heart.
Someone said this, "To be aware of a time when Jesus meant more; or your DEVOTION to Jesus Christ was of a greater degree or your DEDICATION involved a greater commitment, to say it WAS and NOW is NOT is to SAY you have changed." If that is a description of you, my friends, you need REPENTENCE.
Here is what I believe is the underlying cause of losing our first love. IT IS LOSING OUR SENSE OF NEEDING GOD. Let me repeat that, IT IS LOSING OUR SENSE OF NEEDING GOD. Our need for God and His love for us was the very motivation that brought us to Calvary. But often, after God begins to fulfill our needs, we forget that we need Him. Many of us would do well to say, “Lord I remember. The fire has died out, and I need to again sing this simple song of love:
There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear, The sweetest name on earth.
Oh, How I love Jesus, Because He first loved Me!”
The Bible shows that God demands repentance from sin and dead works – two separate areas.
Number 1: There is repentance from sin. In Ezekiel 18:30 we read, "Repent, and turn yourselves from all transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin." Let's make this personal. Ask yourselves each of these questions:
Am I willing to say, "Lord, everything I know to be sin, I am willing to give it all up for Your sake."
Am I willing to call my wrongful acts sins, rather than characterizing them as weaknesses, flaws or personality traits?
Am I more grieved over how my sin has offended a HOLY GOD (in repentance), than I am over the consequences that I have reaped for my sin (in remorse)?
Am I willing to accept personal responsibility for my actions, without pointing the finger of blame at anyone else?
Am I willing to take whatever steps may be necessary to make complete restitution for my sin?
Am I willing, if necessary, to confess my sin publicly before men, as well as privately before God?
Are there any specific sins in my life of which I have never truly repented? Am I willing to repent of those sins here and now?
Number 2: There is repentance from dead works. In Hebrews 9:14 we read, "How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Let's again make this personal as you think through these questions.
Is my profession of faith a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my love for Christ cold and in need of repentance?
Is my worship a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my giving a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my prayer life a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my praise singing a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my service for God a dead work in need of repentance?
Is my public ministry a dead work in need of repentance?
Do I serve in the ENERGY of the FLESH rather than in the POWER of the SPIRIT? If I do, then is this dead work in need of repentance?
The message to the churches in Revelation ends with this statement from the Lord in Revelation 3:20, "Behold I stand at the door and knock." This is not Christ standing at the door of a sinner's heart, but rather the Lord at the door of the church.
It is Christians who hinder REVIVAL by keeping the Lord outside the church door.
Notice the verse says, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door…" The Lord is waiting for one man to open the door. One man can start a revival. The big question today is not, "IS GOD SPEAKING?" but "ARE YOU LISTENING?"
The cry in the great 1904 Welsh REVIVAL was "Bend the church, and save the world." The word "bend" in Welsh conveys the meaning of submission to God, and the taking away of resistance to His will.
Mr. Robert Evans used to say, "When the churches are aroused to their duty, men of the world will be swept into the kingdom. A whole church on its knees is irresistible."
He went on to say, "We cannot justly expect sinners to be saved, and our places of worship to be filled by those from the outside, until we ourselves get right with God; and this can only be done by an absolute surrender of our whole lives to Jesus Christ."
You and I must humble ourselves and get right with God, in order for Him to SEND THE FIRE OF REVIVAL.
There must be NO HYPOCRISY in our lives. "Is there any sin in your past or present that you have not confessed to God?" If there is, then on your knees you must do so at once. Your PAST must be put away, your PRESENT must be right. THANKS TO CALVARY, there is FORGIVENESS. THANKS TO CALVARY the windows of Heaven can be opened again with the FIRE FROM HEAVEN.
REVIVAL is indeed an extraordinary movement of the HOLY SPIRIT producing extra ordinary results. May the God of REVIVAL deliver us from CONTENTMENT with the ORDINARY while He stands ready to do the EXTRAORDINARY!
Oh, if we could only feel and know the cry of the Psalmist in Psalms 63:1-2,
"O God, thou art my God,… my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is, To see THY POWER AND THY GLORY, as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary."
May I encourage you and your family to get behind this ministry in daily PRAYER FOR REVIVAL?
"As long as God is on His throne, revival is as possible as the sun rising tomorrow morning."
In Psalms 85:6 we again read "Wilt Thou not revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?"
Again, the hymn emplores:
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love.
May each soul be rekindled
With FIRE from above.
Hallelujah, Thine the glory;
Hallelujah, Thine the glory;
Revive us again!
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “Revival – A Genuine Repentance” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
Copy write permission: Because the “Weekly SERMON” will be reproduced into other formats, PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING: The “Weekly SERMON” in its original form, without any changes, may be copied and re-transmitted by electronic mail, and copies may be printed for individual or ministry purposes, provided that such copying, re-transmission, printing, or other use is not for profit or other commercial purpose. Any copying, re-transmission, distribution, printing, or other use of the “Weekly SERMON” must set forth in full the heading that is given before each “Weekly SERMON.” Any other request for use, please contact Bible Baptist Ministries at pdmikBBM@aol.com or by phone at 570.829.5216.
PS: In order to access the Weekly SERMON, please click the link to Weekly Sermon Library, where you will be able to choose: Plain Text (TXT), Microsoft Word document (DOC), Microsoft Word 2007 document (DOCX), Rich Text (RTF), Web Page (HTML) or PDF (Portable Document Format), any of the format(s) you desire. After you decide on the appropriate format(s) you may then print a copy of the Weekly SERMON, save it to a file on your computer, or download it and save it to a disk for future use. Your use of this material is meant to be flexible.