Summary: We do not see God but we can see the evidence He is working in our life. Here they are.
How Do We Know God is Working In Us
If you happen to go to the EDSA Shrine (the site where the first successful People Power revolution in the Philippines took place) you will find written into the base of the Shrine the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14. Who was responsible for placing it there, I don’t know. How come they did that, considering that it was to Mary to whom the religious leaders of this country attribute the bloodless revolution of 1986, I also don’t know. But that is exactly the same words we were claiming during that time in our prayers for peace for our country. It is also the verse that Christians usually quote when seeking for a revival.
This verse tells us four things about revival:
1. Revival is for God’s people or God’s children only. Sinners don’t need revival because they are “dead in trespasses and sins.” There is nothing to revive.
2. God is the source of a genuine revival. He alone chooses when and where to display His refreshing. It is not a “program” that we marked in our calendars and then for three nights hold it in an auditorium.
3. Revival comes when certain conditions are met. But these conditions are not something that we can fake. It is still up to God to place the conditions for revival to happen.
4. We need revival when wickedness and sin has become a life-threatening disease in our life as Christians. Sin can deaden our senses that we no longer feel guilt. Sin can blind our spiritual eyes that we no longer see the truth. Sin can harden our hearts that we are no longer able to love God. Sin can distort our reason that we no longer know what is right and what is wrong.
Usually, sin at this stage already affects others.
Going back to our text, we see that true revival is happening when the following changes are taking place:
A. THERE’S A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE TOWARD THE WORD OF GOD
1. The people requested that the Word of God be read to them (8:1). This is a sure sign of revival when the people themselves are asking for the Word! (cp. Amos 8:11-13 & 2 Timothy 4:2)
2. They reverence the Word of God (v.5 – “Ezra opened the Book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up.” Not only that, v.3 says, “…all the people listened attentively…”
Illust: A young sex offender became a Christian soon after his imprisonment. His life was so completely revolutionized the officials informed the judge who had sentenced him. Impressed with the change, the judge said to him, “If you are willing to go through thirty days of special therapy at the hospital I will forgive your ten-year sentence.” Excitedly the new believer packed his few belongings and went out to the hospital. One of the doctors noticed his bible. “You can’t have that here. We are not running a church. This is therapy and we don’t want you leaning on a false props.” The young man answered, “If I can’t have my Bible I won’t come.” He went back to jail. He won’t give up his bible for 30 days. My guess is that there are some here who have not opened his Bible for more than 30 days.
3. The Word of God was also explained to them. (8:8) It is not enough that we hear the Word. Someone whom God commissioned must teach it to God’s people. That’s why God gave the church Pastor-Teachers (Eph. 4:11). All of you have the responsibility to pray for me as your pastor that every time I preach the Word, God will bless it.
a. Truth must be understood. Words have no effect until it is understood. However it is pleasing to the ears, however great the delivery of sermons is, until it is understood it will have no effect on the hearers.
b. Truth must convict. (8:9)
c. Truth must be applied. (8:13-17 cp. Acts 2:14, 37)
B. THERE’S A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD (v.6)
It is one of worship.
Two aspects of worship are expressed by the words, “He blessed the Lord, the great God.”
1. It recognizes the fact that God is sovereign. When David exulted, “I will bless the Lord at all times,” he meant, I will bend the knee before God in every situation of life. “God, you’re in control of all circumstances and I bless you for it.”