Summary: Revival for the streets of America
America’s Need for Revival
Introduction: Christians should individually be involved in the political process and churches like ours should take biblical stands on the moral issues of our day. But the answer to our nation’s problems is not the advancing of a particular political agenda or the dominance of a particular political party. Our root problems are spiritual and only a revival can reverse the moral tide of our country. The term revival refers to a special movement of God in which His church is dramatically refocused and revitalized with ensuing conviction and conversion among sinners. 2 Chronicles is the greatest book in the Bible on the subject of revival. It gives us a plan for revival and then it describes five different revivals under five different Old Testament kings.
1. The Plan of Revival (2 Chr. 7:14). At the dedication of the temple in 2 Chronicles 7, the Lord issued a seven-point plan for revival. There are four things for us to do, and three things God can do. As His people, we must (1) humble ourselves; (2) pray; (3) turn from our wicked ways; and (4) seek His face. If we obey those four commands, then God will fulfill these three promises. He will: (1) hear from heaven; (2) forgive our sins; and (3) heal our land.
2. The Pattern for Revival. The rest of 2 Chronicles describes a series of revivals that swept over Judah. Since we don’t have time to study these in depth today, let’s focus on the one that occurred under King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34. Here we learn:
A. Biblical Revivals Come Just in the Nick of Time (v. 1). "Josiah was eight years old when he became king." Why so young? Because his father and grandfather were among the wicked men in the Bible. His father was so evil that his own servants conspired to kill him. (See the conditions in chapter 33.) Our world and our nation are in nearly the same shape today, but at just such a time, God sends revival.
B. Revival Often Begins in the Heart of a Single Individual (vv.1, 2). Josiah’s father and grandfather were evil, and the royal court was corrupt. Josiah was eight years old and surrounded by wicked advisors, yet God gave him an upright heart. Even as a child, he sought the Lord. Verses 37 describe him as a sixteen-year-old. Teenagers have started many of the great revivals in history. When God gets hold of a group of teens, He can use them to change the world. Many revivals have started on college campuses. The eyes of the Lord range to and fro throughout the earth, seeking someone whose heart is loyal toward Him. He is looking for someone--perhaps a young person--to stand in the gap and build up the hedge against the land. Revival begins in the heart of one person fully devoted to the Lord. Will it be you?
C. Revival Involves Pulling Down Idols (vv. 37). This young man, Josiah, waged a one-man war against idolatry in his kingdom. Anything that comes before the Lord Jesus in our lives is an idol. Revival begins when we make up our minds we’re going to wage war against the idols that are robbing us of our affection for the Lord.
D. Revival Releases Renewed Resources (vv. 813). The people began supporting the work of God financially; and the money was used to repair and renovate the temple, which had become dilapidated. In many places, today’s Christians are the wealthiest generation of believers to live on earth. God has given us these resources to finance His evangelistic vision at the end of history. But according to the Barna Group, only 6 percent of born-again Christians in America tithe. Revival Unleashes the Power of the Word of God (vv. 1428). As they repaired the temple, they rediscovered the Scriptures, and the power of the Word of God was unleashed. The rediscovery of the Book of the Law sparked an awakening and a revival that changed the course of a nation and the story of history. (vv. 2933.)
If we study the chronology carefully, we realize that it was during this revival that Daniel the prophet was saved. He was a product of the revival times of Josiah; and so were his compatriots, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Revival is God’s way of launching a new generation of worker into His kingdom. One man said that during a time of revival, the church can accomplish in a few weeks or a few months the work that otherwise would take years and years.