Monday, December 21, 2015
Saturday, March 28, 2015
How many of you would agree that there is a need for revival in America? How about the state of Missouri? How about the Lake of the Ozarks area? How about in your own personal life?
Let's look at three questions about Revival.
1. What it is and what it is not?
2. How does it come about?
3. What are the results?
We need to first look at the definition of Revive and Rivival.
verb re·vive \ri-ˈvīv\
: to make (someone or something) strong, healthy, or active again
: to become strong, healthy, or active again
: to return to consciousness or life : become active or flourishing again
: to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state : bring back
: to renew in the mind or memory
Now let’s look at Revival
noun re·viv·al \ri-ˈvī-vəl\
: a period in which something becomes popular again after a long period of time
: the growth of something or an increase in the activity of something after a long period of no growth or activity
: the showing of a play, a movie, etc., to the public usually many years after it was last shown : a new production of an old show
: renewed attention to or interest in something
: a new presentation or publication of something old
: a period of renewed religious interest (2) : an often highly emotional evangelistic meeting or series of meetings
: restoration of force, validity, or effect
Revival then is an event where something or someone is being renewed, restored and made stronger. It can happen in a church meeting but most often it does not.
Let’s keep in mind these two definitions as we answer the questions:
How does Revival come about?
2. What are the results of true Revival?
So how does Revival come about? We have all seen the signs or heard radio ads about a Revival meeting being held at such and such church or location. Some of us may have attended one of these meetings and heard a sermon of Fire and Brimstone.
That reminds me of a story about a couple of guys who were contracted to paint an old country church. They under estimated the amount of paint they needed so they decided to paint the front and the side facing the parking lot with a good coat of paint but they would thin down the paint as they painted the other two sides.
As they painted they laughed between themselves about how no one would know they had thinned the paint because both the back and side were shaded by large trees.
They were nearing the end of the job and day and with the last stroke they stepped back to admire what they had accomplished.
What they did not know was the pastor had been in the bell tower the whole time listening and watching their work. With a booming voice he yelled, “Repaint you thinners and thin no more!”
Often at the Revival meetings the pastor yells, “Repent you sinners and sin no more.” Then goes into a message of how sinners are going to hell and you had better repent because tonight could be your last night. Of course there is a bit of truth in that but I think if we look at how Jesus approached sin we just might see a different method.
Sin cuts us off from God, not because he turns from us but because we have turned from him and to things that are not life giving but are life suckers.
On our farm we snip the little runners that come up at the base of our plants. They are called suckers because they suck nutrition from the main plant keeping it from producing a better fruit. Sin is anything that falls outside of God’s will for us and it sucks the strength out of our relationship with him.
Sin can be something as big as adultery or as small as calling the driver who cut you off an idiot.
Turn with me to Matthew 9: 12-13 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In Luke 13: 4-5 Jesus did say: Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Each and every one of us at some point in our Christian walk and probably more often than we care to admit are in need of repentance. Our sins have turned us from God and we miss out on the blessings he has for us. Revival then is the event where someone is being renewed, restored and made stronger. It begins not with some preacher shaming you into repentance but it begins when the sinner expresses a heart felt repentance.
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance and the key for us is to know how He did that. Let’s look at one example.
Early one morning Jesus went to the temple and as people gathered around him he began to teach them. The commotion could be heard throughout the temple as a group of men, belonging to the scribes and Pharisees, came pushing a woman into the courtyard. She was shoved down at her knees in front of Jesus and they shouted how she was caught in adultery. Her face turned toward the ground in shame as they quoted from the Law of Moses how she should be stoned. Some stood there with stones in their hands. Jesus bent down as he quietly listened to them and began to write in the dust with his finger. When they were done he wrote some more then stood and looked at the leaders of the group and then around at all of the men. The men continued to press him to answer about what he had to say about what the Law of Moses said about stoning those caught in adultery he looked at them and said, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” He then bent down and wrote some more words in the dirt. As his words and the words he had written in the dirt sunk in the rocks began to fall from men’s hands and they turned and left. After they had all left Jesus stood, looked down at the woman and asked “woman where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?” “No one, Lord.” She answered. This is not in scripture but I imagine he reached his hand out to help her up and as she stood he says, “neither do I condemn you” and with kindness in his eyes says “now go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
Too often the church, that is the body of Christ, heaps shame instead of mercy on those caught in sin. In my mind it would seem important for us to follow Jesus example in dealing with the sin of others. Jesus was more focused on leading one to repentance than condemning them.
Yelling at people and telling them that they are going to hell scares people into a fake, short-term repentance not a lasting one. What really leads us to a long-term repentance is found in Romans 2: 1-4 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
In 2 Peter 3: 9 we are told: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
It looks as though God is more interested in restoring, reviving and strengthening his relationship with us than he is in punishing and condemning us for our sins. Make no mistake about it God hates sin but He hates it not because we do it but because it breaks the relationship we have with Him.
In John 16: 8 we are told that the Holy Spirit is the one who will convict he world concerning sin. Although we are called out of this world we are still here and so that verse is for us as well. Notice the Holy Spirit convicts not condemns us. It is through the kindness of the Lord that we are lead to repentance. Let’s be clear God might use a man to stir us but we are lead to repentance not by that man but by the Holy Spirit.
Now let’s answer the third question: What are the results of a repentance that leads to revival?
When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin we are moved by his kindness to repent from our heart. We respond as we would when any close relationship is broken and then renewed. We are broken, we might be moved emotionally and as we repent our brokenness is replaced with joy by the restoration of our relationship with God. Our life is revived. Our faith strengthened. Our effectiveness in sharing the gospel is restored.
Revival then is the restoration of something lost because of our sin, it comes about by the kindness of our Lord which leads us to repent and it results in us turning around and moving towards God. We then become instruments of God’s peace and love in the world.
How do we apply what we just heard?
Temple – Holy of Holies:
Every year at the Day of Atonement one of the priests of Israel would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood from the sacrifices on the Mercy Seat.
In 1 Corinthians 3: 16 we are told we are the Temple of God and that the Holy Spirit is in our midst. The heart of the temple was the Holy of Holies so our hearts could represent the Holy of Holies with the Mercy Seat there in. So repentance is done in the Temple and Holy of Holies.
Often at the tent revivals people are told to come to alter and repent.
In James 5: 16 we are told to confess one to another so that is also valid and it helps to have an accountability partner who you can do that with.
Did this speak to anyone today?
Posted by Larry Clark at 9:32 AM