Summary: Song “Revive Us Again”. Many times I’ve wanted to start in the middle of one of my sermons. Story of guy falling asleep, Preacher on hell, how terrible hell would be. Got to point in lesson, pounded his pulpit to emphasize how bad hell was, and said, “In
Song “Revive Us Again”. Many times I’ve wanted to start in the middle of one of my sermons. Story of guy falling asleep, Preacher on hell, how terrible hell would be. Got to point in lesson, pounded his pulpit to emphasize how bad hell was, and said, “In fact, if anybody really wants to go to hell, let him stand up right now!” Well that groggy guy, all he heard was “Stand up right now!” part. And so he did. Church was shocked. He looked around and finally said, “Well preacher. I don’t know what we just voted for but it looks like you and me are the only ones for it.”
Something has always perplexed me how we have talked about church and about worship as being exhausting. As if it would make us tired to do it. You hear people say, “Oh, I’m just so tired. I’m too tired to go to church.” The implication is that church would just wear me out. Church would just make me more exhausted. You never hear people say, “I’m so worn out, so I’m going to go to church to get fired up. I’m going to church to get re-energized and re-animated.” But it seems to me that’s what it ought to do. That an oppty to worship and praise God should get us excited and fired up. David said in Psalm 28:7. “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him, and I’m helped. My heart leaps for joy. And I will give thanks to Him in song.”
I think we can all think of times when our hearts leaped for joy like that. When our hearts were aflame for God. But you know that a fire must be re-fueled or it will go out. Look at another Psalm 85:6, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you.” Maybe this morning you need God to re-light a fire this morning that’s getting a little cold. Maybe what you need, maybe what we need is revival. That’s what we’re going to talk about this fall.
II. WHAT IS REVIVAL?
What is it when God sends revival. Let me tell what it isn’t first:
1) Revival isn’t a set of “CHURCH MEETINGS”. Growing up we had VBS, church retreats and this is when we’re going to have our revival. That’s not revival. It’s a good thing to do. But that’s not revival.
2) Revival is not an “EVANGELISTIC CRUSADE”. That’s not really revival, a church can be growing and not experience revival. Revival implies spiritual declintion and lethergy. In short, revival is for Christians. The very word says something that is alive, but about to die, needs to come back alive before it’s too late. If you’re not a Christian, you don’t need revival, you need regeneration. If you’re not a Christian, the Bible says your dead in your sins and transgressions and you need to come to life. But if you are a Christian, there’s a good chance during the course of your life that you’re going to need a few revivals.
Some of you remember days we had two week long meetings. Reason for doing that? First week for revival, get the church back on fire for God. Second week focus on evangelism. Decided two weeks was too much, cut down to one week and went right to evangelism. Too much, cut it to three nights. Then when we had no fruit so we stopped doing it at all. Maybe it wasn’t fruitful because we tried to do evangelism before we had revival.
You see, when I read the book of Acts I think that’s suppose to be the norm for the church. I think sometimes God’s church is so sub-normal, that normal seems abnormal. Go home this afternoon and think about it. That sometimes we’ve gotten so used to sub-normal, that if normal ever showed up it would seem abnormal to us. I think there is a very real sense that God’s church is like a sleeping giant. And Satan’s motto is, “Let sleeping saints lie”. And so God has to revive His church.
So what is revival? “Revival is experienced when God visits His people to awaken them spiritually.” Rich Atchley When God visits. It’s not something man does. We sang it this morning, “Revive us again. Fill each heart with your love. May each soul be rekindled.” with what? “With fire from above.” Revival happens when God visits His people and He wakes them up spiritually.
One of the most famous revivals of this century was the Wells Revival. 100,000 people came to Christ in 5 months. They had to start closing down bars because no one was going to them. So many miners got converted to Christ, and the mules could only work when they were cussed. Mules didn’t know what to do. There has been many records of this throughout history where God comes to wake up his church. You know what they said about the Wells Revival? They described it this way: “The churches are full of people. And the people are full of God.” The best definition of revival is found in the Bible in Acts 3:19 where Peter says, “Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” That’s what revival is. It’s a time of refreshing that comes from the Lord and wakes his people back up. It rekindles the fire of the Holy Spirit in their souls.