Summary: There are some conditions in the life of the individual Christian or church that indicate the crucial need for revival.
Conditions That Make Revival Crucial
Text: Ps.85: 6
Intro: There are probably few Christians attending church regularly, who are unfamiliar with II Chron.7: 14, which says:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
That verse embodies what is usually thought of as the principles and promises of revival. In those relatively brief words, we find a most vivid definition of revival. You may have heard them over and over throughout your life; but they are no less true today than the day you first heard them.
However, it isn’t the principles and promises of revival I am concerned with today, but the precursor of it. You see, real revival stems from an acute sense of spiritual neediness. In that sense it is somewhat like salvation. One cannot acquire what he doesn’t yet realize he needs.
If ever we needed to realize how needy we are before God, it is now. If ever we needed to ask the question, “Wilt thou not revive us again?” it is now.
I want to talk about some spiritual conditions in the life of a Christian or a church that indicates the need for revival. May we be willing to let the Holy Spirit of God examine our hearts today.
Theme: The need for revival becomes crucial when:
I. OUR HEART IS CROWDED
A. Worldly Affections Can Crowd Our Heart.
1. It’s awfully easy to allow the things of this life to crowd Jesus off the throne of our heart.
II Tim.2: 4a “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life…”
II Tim.4: 10a “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…”
2. We are to keep the things of God as our main focus.
Col.3: 2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
I John 2: 15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
NOTE: One of the greatest problems among God’s people in our day isn’t so much that of committing gross sin, as it is that of plain ole worldliness of attitude and action.
The Bible defines worldliness by centering morality where we intuitively know it should be. Worldliness is the lust of the flesh (a passion for sensual satisfaction), the lust of the eyes (an inordinate desire for the finer things of life), and the pride of life (self-satisfaction in who we are, what we have, and what we have done). Worldliness, then, is a preoccupation with ease and affluence. It elevates creature comfort to the point of idolatry; large salaries and comfortable life-styles become necessities of life.
Worldliness is reading magazines about people who live hedonistic lives and spend too much money on themselves and wanting to be like them. But more importantly, worldliness is simply pride and selfishness in disguises. It’s being resentful when someone snubs us or patronizes us or shows off. It means smarting under every slight, challenging every word spoken against us, cringing when another is preferred before us. Worldliness is harboring grudges, nursing grievance, and wallowing in self-pity. These are the ways in which we are most like the world.
Dave Roper, The Strength of a Man, quoted in Family Survival in the American Jungle, Steve Farrar, 1991, Multnomah Press, p. 68.
B. Wrong Associations Can Crowd Our Heart.
Prov.1: 10 “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path.”
Prov.4: 14 “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.”
NOTE: Christians are to be world changers, not changed by the world.
Some years ago, musicians noted that errand boys in a certain part of London all whistled out of tune as they went about their work. It was talked about and someone suggested that it was because the bells of Westminster were slightly out of tune. Something had gone wrong with the chimes and they were discordant. The boys did not know there was anything wrong with the peals, and quite unconsciously they had copied their pitch.
So we tend to copy the people with whom we associate; we borrow thoughts from the books we read and the programs to which we listen, almost without knowing it. God has given us His Word which is the absolute pitch of life and living. If we learn to sing by it, we shall easily detect the false in all of the music of the world.