The Price and Power of Revival
INTRODUCTION: For 12 Sunday mornings through-out this year we have been examining the Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. In the verses 16-26 we saw a contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit with the final challenge given in verse 25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Then in light of this we touched on the conclusion with the message, “Time for Revival.” Now we want to conclude that thought with this message, “The Price and Power of Revival,” which we so desperately need, not only in our nation but also in our homes and in our churches.
In Psalms 85:6 the Psalmist cries out to God with a heart burdened for himself and for the people of God – "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?"
Apart from a transforming work of the Spirit of God, our society can expect to see multiplied, intensified consequences of our personal and national rejection of God. Without revival there is no hope.
Have you ever wondered why we need a revival? Listen carefully. We need revival:
When we have lost our first love and our sense of needing God.
When our earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
When we would rather watch TV and read secular books or magazines than read the Bible.
When church dinners and church music concerts are better attended than prayer meetings and preaching services.
When we have little or no desire for prayer, or our prayers lack fervency, and our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
When our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
When we have truth in our heads, but we're not practicing it in our lives.
When believers are at odds with each other, and do not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.
When God’s people get together with other believers and the conversation is primarily about the news, weather, and sports, rather than the Lord.
When church services must be predictable and "business as usual" and our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.
When Christian husbands and wives are not praying together and our marriage is coexisting rather than full of the love of Christ.
When our children are adopting worldly values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles.
When we are more concerned about our children's education and their athletic activities than about the condition of their souls.
When we tolerate "little" sins of gossip, a critical spirit or bitterness, and lack of love.
When we are bored with worship and people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.
When we start fitting into and adapting to the world standards of dress and music.
When our giving is measured and calculated, rather than extravagant and sacrificial.
When we aren't exercising faith and trusting God for the impossible.
When we are unmoved by the fact that 2.5 billion people in this world have never heard the name of Jesus.
When we are unmoved by the thought of friends, business associates, and acquaintances who are lost without Christ.
In reading that comprehensive list today, I would say that we need a revival.
The secular world is frantically seeking solutions through bigger prisons, social reform and legislation. They are hoping that a particular candidate, with an agreeable party platform will be the answer.
The church is desperately trying to solve the problem through modern means. I call it clowning around with Spiritual truth in hopes that will be the answer. Spiritually speaking, I am fearful for the next generation.
If what I see in the Christian world today continues, and unless the Lord comes, I predict that 25 years from now the Fundamental Bible believing Church will again be meeting in homes and in secret.
Unless God does a work in our hearts today among the adults of the Green Street Baptist Chapel, in 20 years the next generation of teenagers and children will not see or know the MIGHTY POWER OF GOD.
The word "REVIVAL" comes from two Latin words, "RE" which means "AGAIN" and "VIVO" which means "TO LIVE." Put together, “REVIVAL” means "TO LIVE AGAIN."
A REVIVAL is not the church deciding to do something and doing it. It is something that is DONE to the church, something that HAPPENS to the church.
A revival is really heaven sent. People can produce evangelistic campaigns, but they cannot and never have produced a revival.
A REVIVAL by definition "is the mighty act of a sovereign God. It is as independent as that. People can do nothing. God and God alone does it."
Not only can people not produce revival, they cannot even explain it, and that itself is important. If you can explain what is happening in a church, apart from this sovereign act of God, it is not a revival.
A revival is something which, when it happens, leads people to say, as did those perplexed people in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, "What meaneth this?" So then, what is it that happens?
In order to answer that question we must go back to the book of Acts and again to the day of Pentecost. As you study Acts 2 and the following chapters on the early church, we must ask,
Is there any reason why the Church today, especially our church, cannot equal the church at Pentecost? What did the early church have that we do not possess today?
So what moved the early Church? Someone said, "Revivals do not begin happily with everyone having a good time. They start with humbleness in prayer and with a broken and contrite heat." You and I will never meet God in revival, until we first meet Him in brokenness. How can we know if our hearts are PROUD or BROKEN?
PROUD PEOPLE focus on the failures of others; they have a critical, fault-finding spirit. But BROKEN PEOPLE are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.
PROUD PEOPLE have to prove that they are right; but BROKEN PEOPLE are willing to yield the right to be right.
PROUD PEOPLE have a desire to be recognized and appreciated. But BROKEN PEOPLE have a sense of their own unworthiness and are thrilled that God would use them at all.
PROUD PEOPLE are too quick to blame others for their problems. But BROKEN PEOPLE are quick to see where they were wrong in a situation.
PROUD PEOPLE are quick to take offense, but BROKEN PEOPLE are quick to forgive and overlook offenses.
PROUD PEOPLE wait for others to come to ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding or conflict in a relationship. But BROKEN PEOPLE take the initiative to be reconciled when there is a conflict.
PROUD PEOPLE compare themselves to others and think they are doing all right. They don't think they have anything to repent of. But BROKEN PEOPLE compare themselves to the HOLINESS of God; they feel a desperate need for His mercy.
PROUD PEOPLE don't think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does! But BROKEN PEOPLE continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God.
So where does revival begin? I believe it begins when we not only get right with God, but we also get right before God in prayer.
In Acts 1:14 after the ascension of Christ back to heaven, we find 120 people gathered in the upper room together in prayer. By the way, research indicates that this was a TEN DAY PRAYER MEETING!
Then in Acts 2:1 notice the result. The spirit of God came down and filled the house in answer to prayer. When the Spirit of God fills the house and fills the occupants of the house, "THAT'S A REVIVAL."
Any revivals of any magnitude have always begun in prayer. It doesn't take multitudes of praying people. It may take only one or two who have an agony of soul to go to the prayer closet believing God for a great work and desiring it for His glory.
The spirit of prayer cannot be in harmony with the spirit of entertainment. The early believers believed in unction from on high and not entertainment from men. One of the very sad features that characterizes much that goes under the name of evangelism today is the craze for entertainment.
My friend we are not in the entertainment business; we are in the business of praying and preaching. Someone said this,
"We're either going to have to have the spirit of prayer or the spirit of entertainment. If our churches would discard the entertainment business and cease to make God's house a house of merchandise, a house of play things, and make His house a house of prayer, and commit ourselves to earnest, prevailing prayer, then the REVIVAL STREAM would begin to flow from the throne of God."
You may be thinking, Pastor, how would we recognize REVIVAL if it came? Good question! We can find the answer from the results of Pentecost found in Acts 2:42-47.
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (43) And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. (44) And all that believed were together, and had all things common; (45) And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (46) And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (47) Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
HERE ARE NINE OUTCOMES OF REVIVAL:
FIRST: There was a tremendous hunger for the Word of God to be read, understood, believed and obeyed. Notice 2:42, "they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine."
SECOND: There was a genuine fear of God in the hearts of those both inside and outside the church. Notice 2:43, "Fear came upon every soul." No longer would professing Christians feel comfortable giving God a couple of hours on Sunday morning, and then "shelving" Him for the rest of the week.
THIRD: There were supernatural demonstrations of the presence and power of God. Notice 2:43, "many wonders and signs were done by the apostles."
People hardened by the gospel would turn to Christ.
Families would be restored.
Christians involved in sinful habits would find themselves set free from bondage. We would see the power of God released to heal broken minds and souls.
Believers would find their lifestyles dramatically changed.
The Surrounding Area would come to see the House of God on fire. Why? Because the church has become passionately in love with Jesus.
The best advertising campaign that any church can create is fire in the pulpit and a blaze in the pew.
FOURTH: They witnessed an outpouring of love and giving from the heart of God's people to meet the needs of others. Notice 2:45, "and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need."
FIFTH: Daily fellowship took place for the purpose of learning, accountability, purity, and growth. Notice 2:46 "continuing daily with one accord."
SIXTH: Christians were characterized by JOY and single-minded devotion to Christ as the supreme "Love of their life." Notice 2:46, "with gladness and singleness of heart." "Revival is nothing more than the church falling in love with Jesus all over again."
SEVENTH: God's people expressed their devotion in both personal and corporate worship. Notice 2:47, "praising God." Our motive would no longer be to "feel good" or be emotionally "stirred," but to glorify God and magnify His holy name.
EIGHTH: As the standard of God's holiness was revived, believers would be known in their communities as men and women of impeccable character and unquestionable integrity. Notice 2:47, "and having favor with all the people."
NINTH: On a regular basis, the Lord would add new believers to His body. Notice 2:47, "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." God's people would be involved in the greatest ministry of all – soul winning.
As I study the early church in these opening chapters of Acts, I find that those believers put the power of God through the Holy Spirit before influence.
The early church men were not men of influence, rather they were men of power.
These men did not compromise or accommodate the devil, nor were they tolerant in order to accommodate.
They did not "soft-pedal;" they declared.
Someone said, "This is what our age needs, not an easy-moving message, the sort of thing that makes the hearer feel nice inside, but a message profoundly disturbing. We have been far too afraid of disturbing people, but the Holy Spirit will have nothing to do with a message or with a minister who is afraid of disturbing. Calvary was anything but nice to look at, blood-soaked beams of wood, a bruised and bleeding body, not nice to look upon. But then Jesus was not dealing with a nice thing; He was dealing with the sin of the world, and that is what we are called upon to deal with today. Soft and easy words, soft-pedaling will never meet the need."
So what is the prescription for REVIVAL? We find the answer to that in a well-used Old Testament passage found in II Chronicles 7:14 where we read,
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
In thinking through this verse, I once again came upon Dr. R.A. Torrey’s simple, three-point prescription as to how to have revival. Dr. Torrey in his own words said,
"I have given this prescription around the word. It has been taken by many churches and many communities and in no instance has it ever failed, it cannot fail."
Here is the simple, three-point prescription as to how to have REVIVAL.
First: Let a few Christians get thoroughly right with God themselves. This is the prime essential. If this in not done, the rest I am going to say, will come to nothing.
Second: Let them bind themselves together in prayer groups to pray for revival until God opens the heavens and comes down.
Third: Let them put themselves at the disposal of God, for Him to use them as He sees fit in the winning of the lost to Christ.
Now before I bring this message to a close and with it a challenge, let’s one more time notice the passage in Galatians 5:16-25 that was the foundation for this series of messages on the “Fruit of the Spirit.”
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (18) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
So what are you going to do about a revival of the “Walk in the Spirit” and where do we start?
Perhaps the hardest thing for any Christian is to get thoroughly right with God.
Perhaps the next hardest thing to do is to GET OFF YOUR CUSHIONED PEW AND MAKE THE FIRST MOVE.
Why not come down the aisle this morning and say, "I don't know about anybody else, but as for me I am going to get right with God.
Why not sing this song?
Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,
Naught of this world's delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure,
Jesus is mine; there's nothing between.
DO WE REALLY WANT TO SEE A HEAVEN SENT REVIVAL? Are we at the point of Habakkuk 3:2, "Lord. I have heard thy speech, and was afraid; O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years…"
Do we really want to see what the Psalmist’s heart-felt desire was in Psalm 63: 1-2, "O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee; 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 GLORY, as I have seen thee in the sanctuary."
The way to REVIVAL begins with REPENTANCE AND PRAYER. Repentance begins with humbling ourselves and turning from our wicked ways.
How is that done? It is done through "confessing our sins unto the one who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
WHAT SINS DO YOU NEED TO CONFESS in this service THAT YOU HAVE BEEN HOLDING ON TO? Where have you been walking in the flesh that needs to be dealt with? Isn't it time that we get THOROUGHLY RIGHT WITH GOD? A full and complete surrender is the price of blessing; it is the price of revival!
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “The Price and Power of Revival” 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.”
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