Summary: If we are to have genuine revival with the power of God flowing through us we must first have broken hearts – broken over our personal sin, the sins of the saints, and the sin of the world.
INTRODUCTION: Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity, the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and "the center of a person; the place to which God turns." (Fan the Flame, J. Stowell, Moody, 1986, p. 13) If we are to have genuine revival with the power of God flowing through us we must first have broken hearts – broken over our personal sin, the sins of the saints, and the sin of the world.
I. We need Broken Hearts over our Individual Sins
A. A little girl in London held up her broken wrist and said, "Look, Mommy, my hand is bent the wrong way!" There were no tears in her eyes. She felt no pain whatever. That was when she was four years old. When she was six, her parents noticed that she was walking with a limp. A doctor discovered that the girl had a fractured thigh. Still she felt no pain. Today the girl is much older. She is careful now, but occasionally looks at blisters and burns on her hands and wonders, "How did this happen?" She is insensitive to pain! Medical specialists are baffled by her case. She has a condition known as ganglineuropathy. There is another insensitiveness which is deadlier and more dangerous – insensitivity to sin! Paul said of people with this problem: they had "their consciences seared as with a hot iron" (1 Tim 4:2)
B. Hebrews 3:7-8 MKJV Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness"
C. In our churches today there is too much emphasis on ceremony and style, "feeling good", being moved and not enough genuine brokenness of heart.
D. Psalms 51:17 MKJV The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. (Hebrew – shâbar and dâkâh - literally "a collapsed heart that is broken into pieces and crushed")
E. Psalms 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
F. Luke 22:61-62 MKJV And the Lord turned and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, before the cock crows, you shall deny Me three times. And Peter went out and wept bitterly.
G. On September 29, 1904, Evan Roberts heard a tremendous sermon delivered by Seth Joshua in which Joshua repeated the words "Lord, bend us! Lord, bend us!" The Spirit of God used that simple statement to break Evan Roberts’ heart. The following Monday night 17 young people in his Bible class responded after hearing Roberts tell them: "You must put away all unconfessed sin; you must put away any doubtful habit; you must obey the Spirit promptly; and you must confess Christ publicly." God’s Spirit was poured out upon His servant and the effects were felt throughout the Principality of Wales. One hundred thousand were converted within six months. Eventually that revival touched England, Ireland, the United States--especially Kentucky. It leaped across the Pacific to India. It had an effect in South Africa, and was preparatory to all missionary work in South America. But the key was that Evan Roberts first had to be broken. Such brokenness before God brings revival. – Stephen Olford
II. We need Broken Hearts over Backsliding Believers
A. 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 Paraphrased Everywhere it is reported that there is sexual misconduct among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the unsaved, one having an affair with his stepmother. And you are so puffed up and full of pride that it hasn’t fazed you (grieved), Shouldn’t this break your hearts? Shouldn’t it bring you to your knees in tears? Shouldn’t this person and his conduct be confronted and dealt with?
B. We ought to love the institution of the church so greatly that when any part of the body of Christ is weakened through backsliding that our hearts are broken. We need to care enough to correct those who fall into sin.
C. Galatians 6:1 NKJV Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
D. In his retirement, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Because Jefferson trusted that students would take their studies seriously, the code of discipline was lax. Unfortunately, his trust proved misplaced when the misbehavior of students led to a riot in which professors who tried to restore order were attacked. The following day a meeting was held between the university’s board, of which Jefferson was a member, and defiant students. Jefferson began by saying, "This is one of the most painful events of my life," was overcome by emotion, and burst into tears. Another board member asked the rioters to come forward and give their names. Nearly every one did. Later, one of them said, "It was not Mr. Jefferson’s words, but his tears." Today in the Word, March 29, 1993.