Summary: We are scouring the pages of the Bible for a series of encounters between ordinary people and God. These encounters are called visitations and they are almost always following a crisis of some kind. There’s a crisis, an extraordinary time when people seek God, and there’s a visitation.
The Aim of This Series
Today, we begin a series designed to show you what happens when God shows up. I am really excited about this series and I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Over the course of this fall sermon series, we are scouring the pages of the Bible for a series of encounters between ordinary people and God. These encounters are called visitations and they are almost always following a crisis of some kind. There’s a crisis, an extraordinary time when people seek God, and there’s a visitation.
As a younger man, I began to study the experiences of other believers in what are known as spiritual awakenings. Many of you may not be aware that times of spiritual awakening are a big part of our American history. Now, spiritual awakening is replete with remarkable, attention-grabbing stories.
In the early part of the 1900s, in the country known as Wales, a spiritual awakening broke out in force. The impact wasn’t felt inside the church only but outside the church as well – many taverns went bankrupt because so many people were converted and gave up drinking. Crime so diminished as a result of the Welsh Revival, that judges were presented with “white gloves” signifying there were no cases of murder, assault, robbery, or rape. Some police officers were unemployed because of the moral and spiritual change evident throughout the nation. And the more you read about stories like this, the more you lean in.
Personally, I have a hunger for our church to experience the presence of God in this way. Today, I want you to see God doesn’t withhold His presence from us but He longs to show Himself.
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:12-23)
What is an Awakening?
Why Do I Need an Awakening?
How to Experience Personal Revival
Really, God wants you to experience His presence and He’s there for your asking.
1. What is an Awakening?
An awakening or a revival is a time when sleepy Christians wake up…
… when nominal Christians convert to Christ…
… and even when non-Christians come to faith in Christ.
This is accompanied by an increase in the conviction of sin, …an increase in the consciousness of God’s mercy and our unworthiness. You see, a revival is the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit (I’m not speaking of signs and wonders) when the Spirit convicts of sin, brings assurance of salvation, and makes the sense of Jesus Christ intensely real.
Now, the mention of the words revival or awakening will make some Christians light with excitement while others will roll their eyes with suspicion. Yes, I understand where you’re coming from. Yet, I have a desire for an awakening to come because there is an increase in God-consciousness. I seek a revival not for the glitz that often makes such efforts feel phony, but for the individual and church-wide renewal we all need.