Summary: A look at how to kindle the fire of revival in church. Covers some basic history, definitions of revival, and a challenge to be a revival church.
Kindling the Fire of Revival
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Prov 28:18)
1) ILLUS. / Revival Defined
a. A visiting preacher was concerned when he began the first night of a revival meeting and noticed all of the men wearing guns. Although rattled, he did the best he could with his sermon. When finished, his anxieties heightened as several of the men approached with their guns drawn. In panic, he turned to the chairman of the deacons, sitting next to him. The deacon calmed his fears: "Don’t you worry. They ain’t coming after you. They’re looking for whoever invited you to preach." This brings up an important point…
b. Revival Is Not
i. A series of evangelistic meetings held at the church or under a tent, or anywhere.
ii. A great weekend, great week, great month of seeing people come to know the Lord in larger than normal numbers.
iii. Just feeling good about how the church is doing right now.
c. Revival IS - Biblical Definition
i. In the Old Testament, revival is best defined by looking at the word, chalaph. It is a military term that pictures a person, or military unit that is completely surrounded by the enemy, and has no way of escape. In Israel’s moments of greatest despair, God intervened and rescued them.
ii. In the New Testament, revival is best described by the word, egeiro, which means "to awaken from sleep". The idea is that the Christian has fallen asleep in his devotion and commitment to the Lord, and God intervenes in his life & awakens him, thus "spiritual awakening".
2) Highlights of the History of Revival
a. The Early Church in Acts, 3k came to Christ, 5k more
b. Jonathan Edwards, 1735, Congregational Church, Northampton, MA – Sparked the First Great Awakeing in America
c. John Wesley, 1739, Fetter Lane Meeting – called on God to help them live lives of holiness and effective service. @ 60
d. George Whitfield, 1739, stood on a hill and preached on the beatitudes to about 100 coal miners. Soon 30k coal-miners, roughnecks were meeting in the snow to hear the 23 year old Minister of England.
e. Jeremiah Lanphier – NY Small Attendance Weekly Noon Prayer Meeting 1857 – 1 Month it was daily – with @ 250, 6 months FP of Newspapers – 6k +! 8 months – 50k of New York’s then pop. 800k were NEW converts! Charles Finney was a preacher here – in many New England towns you could NOT find an unconverted adult! - That’s over 6% of the population. In Johnson County that would be 8,000 new believers in 8 months! In the state of Texas it would mean 1.3 million new believers in 8 months!
f. 1857 – Ulster Revival – Four Irishmen were meeting weekly for prayer. This is noted as the beginning of the Ulster Revival of 1859 which had brought over 100k new converts into Irish churches.
g. Shantung Revival – China –early 1900s – small handfuls of missionaries meeting for prayer – Millions Brought to Christ
h. 20th Century – (Not really in the same class, however…)
i. Azusa Street Revival - Pentecostalism born!
ii. Asbury College in 1970 – Chapel Service
iii. Jesus Movement of the 1970s – 100k+
iv. Jesus Film – hard to benchmark
i. Baptist Pastor R.G. Lee - “If all the sleeping folk will wake up, If all the lukewarm folk will fire up, If all the dishonest folk will confess up, If all the disgruntled folk will cheer up, If all the estranged folk will make up, If all the gossipers will shut up, If all true soldiers will stand up, If all the dry bones will shake up, If all the church members will pray up... Then we can have a revival!”
3) Sparks of Revival
a. New Believers / Baptisms / New Staff
b. New Energy / Guilt / Vision / Dreams
i. My Dream – Not another 2000 years! The time for Revival is NOW!
ii. Let’s Look at Four Types of Kindling 2 Chronicles points out & God’s response once we have a fire going… Revival can be a Reality
I. Humble Themselves (Humility)
A) What does this mean?
i. Note easy to do.
ii. Not Prideful
iii. Allowing others to be successful
i. Pastor, I have a besetting sin, and I want your help. I come to church on Sunday and can’t help thinking I’m the prettiest girl in the congregation. I know I ought not think that, but I can’t help it. I want you to help me with it." The pastor replied, "Mary, don’t worry about it. In your case it’s not a sin. It’s just a horrible mistake."
ii. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. – Phillippians 2:3