Summary: Faith, boldness, effective, witness, change
A FINAL WORD:
Unlimited Opportunity for Every Christian.
1 Tim. 6:12 (p841) June 19,2011
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses"
When does true revival take place? Many of us grew up in churches where we scheduled revival meetings...1 sometimes 2 weeks where a special speaker would come in and challenge our church to wake up, to rekindle the fire we once had...and many times people would have a re awaking with their faith..
There have been great revivals in history...
The term GREAT AWAKENING is used to refer to a period of religious revival in American religious history. Historians and theologians identify three waves of increased religious enthusiasm occurring between the early 18th century and the late 20th century. Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, a jump in evangelical church membership and the formation of new religious movements and denominations.
True revivals...genuine awakenings...happen when God's people come of of their slumber...In America's history religious revivals came about during the darkest times and god's people began to shine again.
The Apostle Paul is dealing with a church that has become worldly in its leadership and its lifestyle...Timothy,his son in the faith is the minister of this church in Ephesus...its to Timothy that Paul write when he says Fight the good fight of faith...
There is a philosophy that has weakened this church...its crept into its leadership and its doctrine...Hermes what Paul says....
1 Timothy 6: 3-11 ( 841)
This church has begin to think and operate just like the world...many of its leaders have become more concerned about money and influence instead of Godliness...some have wandered from the faith...the result has been con traverses and farewells, envy, strife, gossip evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind...Satan has robbed their minds of the truth...
That's why Paul tell Timothy...but you man of Man of God...flee from all this...and as you run from this philosophy pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness...fight for it! That's the apostles remedy for revival...timothy was charged to pursue it.
And when Paul wrote to the Ephesians as a group of believers he tells them.
"Wake up, O sleeper rise from the dead."and Christ will shine on you." Be careful, then how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil" Eph 5:14-16
Church it is my firm belief that
I WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ROAR LIKE NO OTHER TIME.
Elton Trueblood wrote an amazing book called "The Company of the Committed" and he makes an important statement in it.
"The test of the vitality of a religion is to be seen in its effect upon culture"
Christ has called us to be light that penetrates the darkness....He has told us to be SALT that penetrates the darkness...He has told us to be SALT that is influencing our world.
And maybe you've missed many of those opportunities...maybe you've allowed your vitality to wane...We all have.
The point is that no matter how late it is in your christian life, no matter how little you've been involved, no matter how many opportunities you've missed....god will make it possible for you to do meaningful things...If you wake up, Christ will Shine! And that's revival.
Did you know Jesus spoke to the same church Paul spoke to...the same church Timothy ministered at...It's the first of 7 churches mentioned in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation...Jesus tells the Ephesians...
"You have forsaken your first love. Remember the heights from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first" (Rev 2: 4,5)
It wasn't too late...there was still an unlimited opportunity for the Ephesians to shine...but they had to change directions (repent) they had to return to loving Jesus first...and doing the things that kept that love a priority.
Did they? History tell us no...it's important to remember.
II ONCE YOUVE GONE TO SLEEP IT'S HARD TO WAKE UP
[I remember having my angioplasty after I had my heart attack...one of the best friends Greg Bowan came into see me right before it...Greg and I were doing a Senior High week of camp together when my heart attack interrupted it...when Greg came in I knew he was there and waited to talk to him, but they had me sedated that I first couldn't open my eyes...I couldn't talk to him....I was just way to sleepy.
And that's what happens to us when we start to go to sleep in our faith...once we've started to drift off it's had to wake up...its gets really comfortable....its relaxing...I don't have to fight the good fight if I'm sleeping spiritually...and Satan loves to keep us drowsy and we are surrounded by people who say....No....No...what your doing is normal and fine. don't rock the boat.