Summary: It can happen again, and here’s the ingredients to fire our people up again! Outline: The Man, The Message, The Miracles. Powerpoint at website.
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I’m a student of church history…and some of the most fascinating stories you can read are about the occurrences of Great City-wide Revivals! [shake entire city for God]
For example, 200+ years ago, preacher named Charles Finney conducted Revivals in the NE part of the US. These were large crusades during a time of revival in the US. On one occasion in Rochester, NY, over 100,000 came to Christ…the entire city was shaken for God!
Then there was the great Welsh Revival at the turn of the 20th C. It all started in a small room/teen meeting in a small church…spiritual fire fell on a youth meeting and historians say could only be compared to the day of Pentecost! The young people were weeping and crying out to God to make a difference in their lives so they could make a difference in the world. Their fire spread to the adults who carried it throughout their city, and eventually throughout the country of Wales…and the ripple effect was felt around the world!
The Bible records the revival in the city of Nineveh—Jonah, at first reluctant but then eagerly went after a 3 day stay at the “Fish Innerd Motel.” [speaking of having a revival in Wales [whales!]
He went and preached a message of judgment and the Bible says the entire city repented, beginning with the king right down to the least of the people!
We have a similar thing happening here in Acts 8. The man, Philip, went to preach in the region of Samaria, and the entire city was moved heavenward in a great revival.
How about “The Great Decatur Revival of the year 200_?” We need that kind of revival that would shake our city!
I’m not talking about one of these temporary, counterfeit revivals that touch only the emotions…
I’m talking about a revival where Christians genuinely get right with God, and lost people get saved in great numbers, where marriages are restored, alcoholics are delivered, and rebellious teens are brought to their knees, where liars become truthful, thieves are made honest, prostitutes are made pure, adulterous men made faithful…
…an old-fashioned, soul-saving, sin-erasing, devil-chasing revival!
Would you like to see that in Decatur? Where liquor stores would have to close for lack of business/night clubs/drug dealers have to move elsewhere!
You read about that kind of revival from the days of the ministry of Billy Sunday…where many were saved, tho’ not all, but all were affected!
And Acts 8 should make us hungry for it right here!
Let me show you 3 things in these verses about City-Wide Revival:
1. The Man
v. 5 Ch. 6 tells us this Philip is one of the original 7 deacons. By ch. 8 he’s an effective evangelist. [not the apostle Philip!]
Revival CAN start w/ just 1 person! [willing to pay the price/hungry for God to do something awesome!]
1 person can realize it only takes a spark to start a roaring blaze!
In the 1800s Gypsy Smith was a great revivalist. When asked how to have revival he said, “go home, lock yourself in your room, draw a circle around yourself w/ chalk, and ask God to start a great revival w/in that circle! When God has answered your prayer the revival will be underway!”
A further detail about the Welsh Revival—acc’d to historian Thomas Rayner, it all started in that testimony meeting in a youth group…one little girl was so nervous she could barely speak, but she stood up and shared one sentence: “O, I do love Jesus”…that’s when it all started, God gripped hearts and the rest is history! It was just a little spark, but grew into a wildfire!
Do you believe it could happen today? God is no respecter of persons…He’s the same yesterday, today, forever, and I for one believe it can happen today!
Another great revival started in England, but spread to Scotland and Ireland under D.L. Moody. Here’s how it started, acc’d to Moody’s son, who wrote his biography:
On vacation, he was preaching for a pastor named Lessey in London on a Sunday am. He was to be there that night as well. But the am service was so cold, dry, and dead, and the people were so unresponsive, he dreaded going back that night!
But when he got there that night, it was packed w/ more than in the morning, the spirit was electric, all were excited…he preached and gave invitation to stand if you want to become a Christian, and dozens stood! He thought they might have misunderstood, asked them to sit back down…said, if you’re really serious, then meet w/ me in the “inquiry room” after the service [dozens showed up w/ some lined up out in the hallway!]