Summary: Tenth lesson in a series on Revival influenced by Rick Atchley. This was the closing lesson and is a summary of lessons covered and no covered.
REVIVAL: JUST THE BEGINNING
INTRODUCTION: Today we bring to a close our Sunday morning series on Revival. I hope and pray that you have gained as much from it as I have. It has been exciting, at least for me, to examine some of the Revivals from the Bible and learn life-lessons for spiritual growth and see the awesome nature of God as He returned to His people time and time again when they desperately and honestly sought Him with an audacious faith. I am also quite humbled by the response many of you have voiced in one fashion or the other. You have told me that this study has brought you closer to God, strengthened your faith, encouraged you to study the Word more and to prayer more passionately and more often. These are the results that revival brings within the life of those who seek Him with an honest and sincere faith. And that is why Revival is so important. In fact Revival is the single more important aspect of Christian living because it is the return of the power and presence of God to the lives of His people, and every one who intends to keep a living, active relationship with God needs Revival on almost a daily basis. Let me explain it this way: Revival is what a heart that seeks God yearns for.
There is a story told about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. They went on a camping trip and one evening as they were laying there looking up at the sky Holmes said, "Watson, look up. What do you see?" Watson said, "I see 1000’s of stars." Holmes asked, "What do you suppose that means?" So wanting to impress Sherlock, Watson put on his thinking cap and said, "Well I suppose it means that of all the planets and suns and moons in the universe we are truly the most blessed to have the ability to live here and induce theorems in a world full of criminal injustice. And I suppose it means that we must truly be small in the eyes of a God that can make all this and must struggle each day to use the gifts of the senses we have been blessed with. And I suppose that in the very least it means in the meteorological sense that we are going to have nice weather. And what does it mean to you Sherlock?" Sherlock Holmes replied, "Well to me it means someone has stolen our tent." It is like the old adage, "Can’t see the forest for the trees." Sometimes that is the way it is Revival. We see it and want the results of it, but do not comprehend the path to it. Folks, there are many steps along the path that leads to Revival. Each of the revivals we studied gave us some of the steps that lead to the return of God.
I. REVIVALS STUDIED
A. The Revival that took place under the leadership of Moses at the foot of Mt. Sinai in Exodus 32-33 taught us that there must be passionate, powerful prayers offered to God. And when that type of prayer-life becomes a reality God will return to His people.
B. The Revival that took place under the prophet Samuel in I Samuel 4 – 7 taught us that God cannot be kept in a box, rather He must be put to work in our lives. And when He is afforded a working place in our hearts and lives He will bring us the victories over evil we so desperately need.
C. The Revival that the prophet Elijah led in I Kings 16-18 taught us that sometimes it takes Hard Prayers – asking for God to forcefully humble sinful people, Hard Preaching – challenging the lifestyle and beliefs of sinful people and Hard Prescriptions – getting rid of whatever dishonors God, to bring about the return of God to His people.
D. In our last lesson we studied the Revival under a man named Asa, the King of Judah and from that story we learned that revival will come when we become fully committed to relying upon the power of God, to taking bold action to please God, and to repairing the things that matter to God.
E. Unfortunately those are only some of the lessons we need to learn about the path to Revival. There are other Revivals in the Bible that we have not been able to study.
II. REVIVALS NOT STUDIED
A. In Joshua 6-8 we read of the Revival that took place under the leadership of Joshua. After the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness the Israelites cross the Jordan River and enter the promise land. Their first battle was at the heavily fortified city of Jericho and you remember the story. When they did what God told them to, in the manner in which He had instructed, the walls came tumbling down and they thoroughly defeated the inhabitants of that city.