Summary: What it takes for a real revival to occur
Intro: we live in a society that wants everything in life to be easy. There are many books called 12 easy steps to a happy marriage, 10 easy steps to financial success, 8 easy steps to getting in shape. I am sure for some people it is easy, but in most cases life if very difficult, and only as someone gets desperate will they reach the goals they want to achieve. Revival is a word used at every church, but revival doesn’t come in a five easy step manual, it only comes as people get desperate. In the 2nd chapter of Joel we find steps to a true revival from God, and none of them are easy.
Desperate Measures for Desperate People
Background: in this chapter we see a very desperate situation. Locust and other insects have swarmed to such a degree there is nothing green left. All the crops are gone and the people of God are facing famine. In our world today things are getting desperate, people are hurting, people are fearful and people are overwhelmed with the trials of life. God will send a revival, but it won’t come easy.
I. Cry Out To God—v.12—God demands humility before revival. Sackcloth and ashes were a sign of humility before God. In a true revival pride must fall, the people must cry out in desperation for God to move.
· God knows the difference between lip service and true sincerity from the heart. He wants there to be a crying out to God. It is a sign of surrender, it is a sign of dependence.
· Fasting—getting serious with God. It is saying, God I want you more than anything else in my life. True revival comes with a giving things up for God.
· Mourning—grieved over sin in our lives, weeping over the lack of God’s power, wanting to see God move in greater measure than ever before in our church, community and nation.
Ill) Evan Roberts—Welsh Revival—God woke him up at 1:00 am. Every
Day, he prayed till 5:00 a.m. for weeks, then a great revival broke out
That touched the whole nation.
II. Repent of Sins—v.13—for there to be a true revival there must be
Change, a returning to God. I read about the Ulster revival of 1920 where a man stood and confessed stealing tools from the local factory. So many repented in those services the company had to build new sheds to house all the returned equipment. That is true revival, repentance is a complete turn around, turning away from sin, and turning completely to God.
· If there is no change in people’s hearts, then there has not been true revival. A few years back I heard about a certain revival taking place, but everything was excitement based, but no real change.
· Revival isn’t a four day event with a flaming evangelist, revival is a dynamic change in the life of the church.
· Barna reports that there is no substantial difference in the standards of people inside the church and outside. The same moral issues that plague our society, plague the church. He further states, if there is no major differences seen, then there can be no great value placed on church involvement.
III. Reconnection—2:15 another key to a true revival is reconnection with other believers. As people become inconsistent in their walk
With God, they will become inconsistent in their walk with others.
True revival takes place when people value relationship in the church. When people buy in to the vision and goals of reaching their community for Christ.
· One value of church attendance is accountability-when someone is out on their own, they can become an island to themselves. Christian fellowship is important because it can keep things in focus. We may become like the elderly couple who called the t.v. repairman about their picture being distorted, only to find out they were wearing each others glasses. When they put on the right glasses the picture was fine.
· Correction, Instruction, Reproof—most of us do not have the capacity to correct our own behavior. As iron sharpens iron, so do our brothers and sisters help us in our walk with God.
· Encouragement—in this world you will receive very little support and encouragement in your walk with God. So it is essential to stay active and connected to the rest of the body of Christ.
IV. Purify Your Life—15b—the final step in bringing true revival is sanctification or purging. It is the removing of things so that God can pour out His blessings in our lives. God constantly demanded Israel to remove things that were hindering them in their walk with God. For true revival to take place in any life or church, God will demand a cleansing.