Summary: How revival changes a church and how that church can change the world.
A CHURCH TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Sermon Three: Touch the World by Revival
A month ago I preached to you that our church could change the world by greater faith and vision.
Then the following week I preached a sermon on ten world- changing ways to pray.
Today, I am going to preach on how revival changes a church and how that church can change the world. To do that, let me remind you what I call a revival. A revival is when “God pours His presence on His people.” The greatest thing about revival is when God invades a church, or His people with His presence. Revival is when God shows up to do wonderful things for His people. That’s what I want to happen to Thomas Road Baptist Church. I want God to come in and take over.
There are 3 verses I want to share with you on revival.
“. . . when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
“. . . I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17).
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14).
Let me explain a revival by telling you what is not a revival. Not everything that describes itself as a revival, is a revival.
First, revival is not an evangelistic crusade, although many times an evangelistic crusade can turn into revival.
Second, a revival is not just a church meeting. Some of the great revivals of the past have not been held in churches.
Third, revival is not just a feeling of excitement of the Lord. We get excited about many things, but excitement is not a revival if God is not the thing that gets us excited.
B. CHURCHES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD THROUGH REVIVAL
1. The Congregational Church, Northhampton, Massachusetts. Jonathan Edwards pastored this church in the 1700s that contained many unsaved people. In colonial days, it was important to join the church. Therefore, through a program called “the halfway covenant,” unsaved people were given membership in a church. They enjoyed the benefits of a church without committing themselves to its doctrine or becoming converted.
Jonathan Edwards fasted and prayed for three days, it was an absolute fast with no food or water. He wanted the unsaved in his church to be converted. Around 4:00 on Sunday afternoon, Edwards began to choke and gag; and violated his fast by drinking water. He was not supposed to end his fast until sundown on Sunday. That evening he went into the pulpit, a broken man. With a lantern in one hand and a manuscript in another, he read the sermon, “Sinner In The Hands of An Angry God.” The power of God fell on that sermon and men grabbed the pillars for fear of slipping into Hell.
Parts of that sermon were powerful and graphic. Jonathan Edwards said, “You are a worm, hanging over the precipice of Hell. The flames are licking at the spider web, and at any moment you may drop into eternal damnation.” As members felt they were dangling over Hell, they cried out in repentance. That evening the First Great Awakening began in Massachusetts, and spread throughout the 13 colonies. Later Edwards wrote a pamphlet entitled The Surprising Work of God in Northhampton to report the revival. Just as colonies experienced revival to be ready for the Revolutionary War and the formation of the United States of America in 1776, I want Thomas Road Baptist Church to experience revival and influence America.