Summary: Revival in the church starts with believers who understand the true purpose of the church - evangelism of the lost!
A. REVIVAL is defined as a reawakening of religious fervor; a resurgence, or renewal, of commitment and purpose.
B. It has been suggested that the church is “flat”, and in desperate need of revival. We won’t debate that point tonight, we will assume we can agree on that
C. Many have asked, “why doesn’t revival happen?” “Why doesn’t God bring it to the church?”
D. I would like to suggest tonight that perhaps we are the reason revival doesn’t come…the premise of my argument is that we are responsible for revival in the church
E. Our lack of revival has two causes:
01. We have lost sight of our purpose (spiritual destiny)
02. We suffer from a lack of activity (spiritual atrophy)
(a) These two are interconnected; without a clear sense of direction (i.e. purpose), we will gradually reduce our pace until we stop altogether
F. When we understand the PURPOSE of the church, we act appropriately, seeking the maximum benefit from the gift we have been given.
G. Christ taught us very clearly through His disciples what the purpose of the church was – the church was to be a church of action.
01. As we take action according to our purpose, we CREATE REVIVAL IN THE CHURCH
H. Let’s consider our text of the evening; turn with me to Matthew 28: 16-20 and we will rediscover the purpose of the church – FOUR ACTIONS THAT CREATE REVIVAL
01. Read Matthew 28: 16-20
A. Following the death and resurrection of Jesus (forgive me for jumping ahead this close to Easter), the disciples were instructed to meet Jesus at Galilee (Mt.28:10)
B. The eleven disciples (Judas had committed suicide by this time)go to meet Him there (v.16)
C. Despite listening to Jesus teaching for 3 ½ years, they longed for what to do next
01. They needed guidance – they were stunned by all that they had heard and seen, and welcomed Jesus’ admonition to them
02. It was in these last words of Jesus, they FIND THEIR PURPOSE
A rich man was determined to give his mother a birthday present that would outshine all others.
He read of a magnificent bird that had: (1) a vocabulary of 4000 words, (2) could speak in numerous languages and (3) sing 3 operatic arias.
He immediately bought the bird for $50,000 and had it delivered to his mother.
The next day he phoned to see if she had received the bird.
"What did you think of the bird?" he asked.
She replied, "It was delicious."
His mother didn’t understand the purpose of her gift
3. Four Steps to Creating Revival
A. Step One – “GO” (verb)
01. Purpose begins with action; God’s work is not accomplished when we stand still
02. Go therefore, go “because of” the power I have given you (v. 18)
(a) The power available to the disciples is available to us
03. How often do we think of God’s work as something “others” are called to do?
(a) “I don’t have the gift of (insert word here)”, that is for someone else to do
(b) The psalmist says “I shall not want”; this means I will not be deficient in anything.
04. With this assurance, we can take action in confidence; we will stand in need of nothing, be deficient in nothing, claiming the power of Jesus as we move around and about those who are still lost.
05. Jesus knew the disciples would fear their new assignment; so He reminds them of the power He has, and tells them TO GO…and waste no time doing it. This applies in 2002!
B. Step Two – “Make disciples of all nations” (verb)
01. Another action word; “make disciples of” OR “gather disciples from” all nations
(a) Defined as a follower of Christ, adherent to His commands, submissive to His will
(b) “Nations” refers to Gentiles, to whom the Gospel had not been shared (10:5-7)
(c) Their purpose? Go and make others what you have been made into (give it away)
02. This is how we share our faith; this is how the church will grow
(a) It may not come from large scale evangelistic meetings
(b) It may not come from revival meetings
(c) It may only come through personal, one-on-one evangelism
(i) People respond to our message differently than they used to – have you noticed?
(ii) Our method may have to change to met the times (method, not message)
C. Step Three – “Baptize them” (verb)
01. Another action word; are you noticing a trend here?
02. Why baptism? To announce with an outward expression an inward confession
(a) I am a follower of Christ; committed to His purpose, submissive to His guidance
(b) A public confession; e.g. celebrities are “taking a stand, coming out of the closet” (Rosie O’Donnell announced her homosexuality on national TV this week)