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.
2. Ebenezer Baptist Church, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Pastor Bill McCleod, invited evangelists Ralph and Lou Sutera, for special meetings. Because God’s Spirit visited the church, they moved to the largest evangelical church in town, then had to move to the largest United church in town, and ended up securing the 2,000 seat civic auditorium. The revival began on October 13, 1973; many of the meetings went on until four or five o’clock in the morning. The revival continued for over seven weeks, called the Canadian Prairie Revival. There is still now an organization called the Canadian Revival Fellowship. A Southern Baptist missionary pastor, Henry Blackaby, was part of that revival and later wrote the book, Experiencing God, which has influenced the entire Southern Baptist Convention today. Just as this church influenced Western Canada, I want Thomas Road Baptist Church to influence America.
3. John Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland. John Calvin attempted to create a model Christian city and a model Christian church in contrast to the corrupt church and city of Rome. While I am not a five-point Calvinist, I salute the great impact that Calvin made on the world. With his high view of the sovereignty of God, his great commitment to word-for-word inerrancy of Scripture, his understanding of the total depravity of man, and his unashamed support for the blood atonement of Jesus Christ; Calvin’s anointed scholarship produced men who went around the world teaching the Reformed view that has become the foundation of the great Presbyterian church. Truly, the Geneva church was a church that influenced the world theologically. I want Thomas Road Baptist Church to influence the world, both theologically and experientially through revival.