Summary: Revival is needed because we are lacking in three areas.
Famine in the Land
July 19, 2005
Why do you want revival? Why does your church want revival? I believe that the answer to your question is going to determine whether God answers your prayer. Are you praying with the right agenda? Our church attendance starts falling off, so we talk about needing revival. People aren’t sharing the gospel with their friends, so they must need revival. Church members may be living in open sin or tolerating it in the lives of others. We need revival, but folk, if that’s why we want revival then perhaps it will not come. You see, when we pray like that we’re really praying that God would fix the symptoms of our problems. What we really want is better attendance or offerings or for people to come to Sunday School.
But the problem in our churches is not that people aren’t coming. That’s not the problem. The problem is not that you don’t read your Bible. It is not that you won’t love your wife. The problem is not sexual immorality in town. If you’re holding grudges, failing to forgive, withholding mercy, being mean and hateful and backbiting or gossiping, you’ve got a problem alright, but those aren’t the problems; they’re only symptoms of the real problem. I don’t mean to undermine the importance of these things. When I am bleeding I need it to stop, but blood is only a symptom that I’ve been cut.
Do you know why we need revival? We need revival because there’s a famine in our land for the glory and the greatness of God. Your greatest need is not church growth; not more money; not enthusiasm; not motivation. Your greatest need is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ: a genuine, life-changing, intimate and dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. I don’t care whether you’re lost or saved; you need a relationship with Jesus Christ. The people “out there” don’t know they’re starving for God’s greatness. They don’t know they’re starving for His holiness. They don’t know they’re starving for His righteousness, for His presence, for His purpose and for His power. They’re literally starving to death and don’t know it.
Now it’s one thing for the people “out there” to be starving for the glory and greatness of God. It’s a whole other thing for God’s own people to be starving for it. Our very own people are starving for God, and that is why we need revival. It must begin here. He is the Bread of Life for the starving soul. He is the Living Water who can quench the thirsty soul, and when you and I eat and drink from the well of a deep relationship with Him then all those other symptoms I mentioned will begin to be corrected.
People don’t come to church because they’re starving. People don’t love their families because they’re starving. You don’t read your Bibles because you’re starving. We’re living in a time when spirituality is at an all time high. It’s on television, on the radio, in print, on the Internet, in the book stores, and everywhere else you turn. The problem is that it’s not the spirituality of the Bible and the only thing that is going to change what is going on “out there” is a change in here as you address the famine that is taking place right here in our own churches. Brothers and sisters, there’s a famine in the land today.
The trouble I’m talking about has to do with the lack of spiritual vitality among God’s people and a great love and zeal for knowing the Lord Jesus Christ and living for Him! In the book Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill said, “People who are not praying are straying; and preachers who are not praying are playing…We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers, lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”
What has happened to us? What has happened to God’s people? You look around our churches and our men are bored to death. The ladies are exhausted. We’ve traded the Christ of the Bible for some effeminate, Mr. Rogers wimp, then we tell our men to be like Him and our women to follow after Him, and then we come together and wonder why more people aren’t excited about the whole thing. Folk, where are the dynamic changes of life that were witnessed in the book of Acts? Where are the great numbers of people being saved and getting right with God?
God’s not interested in filling up your empty pews or filling up our empty churches. What He wants is to fill up eyes that have no vision. He wants to fill empty hearts that have no passion and empty wills that have no purpose. There’s a famine in the land today – people are starving – we are starving and do not know it. I’d like for you to read with me the words of Joel 1:8-20, then I’m going to give you three things we are lacking today and what we must do about it.