Summary: This sermon is an application of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to the Canadian church in 2005.
OH GO D REVIVE US!
23 January 2005
Audio reading of Psalm 51 (NIV)
Read 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
Revive Us O Lord (slide)
This morning I want us to examine one specific verse in The Bible, one specific concept. That concept is the topic of revival.
For some of you the word revival may conjure up the idea of revival meetings, a series of gatherings where the gospel is preaching and where many people may come to faith in Christ Jesus. Or perhaps you may think of meetings where people’s emotions are whipped up and strange things happen. But that is not what I want to talk to you about this morning.
Rather I want to speak you about revival in the sense that it deals specifically with Christians, believers, people who have already made some form of commitment to Christ Jesus, people who may have been followers of Christ for a few or many years.
Now revival may be defined as a renewed conviction of sin and repentance followed by an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is a surrendering of our will so that we may do God’s will.
Revival can be one of the most spiritually painful experiences a Christian can undergo because revival literally means to bring back to life something that is dead or dying. It is pretty hard to admit that our faith, our love for Christ, for his people is dead or dying, yet some of us, perhaps more than we realize, that is the truth.
Revival is like a complete overhaul of a vehicle, the rebuilding of a house from the foundation up. Revival is a face to face meeting with God, a God who is holy, righteous, powerful, a God who is to be feared.
Let me begin this morning by giving you some background to this verse in Chronicles. King Solomon, son of King David had just dedicated to God the temple in Jerusalem. Surprisingly in the sixth chapter King Solomon seems to act as a prophet, a person chosen by God to warn the people of what lay ahead for them.
In this case he warns the Israelites that they will sin and turn away God, doing as they please in rebellion against Him. And that God in response to their sin will allow them to be defeated in battle, he will bring famine, plagues and so on to the people of Israel. And then King Solomon indicates that when they pray to God, confessing His name as their God, turning away from their sins, then God will hear them from heaven and will forgive their sin and bring healing to their nation.
It seems rather simple, the Israelites obey God, He blesses them; the Israelites disobey God, he brings curses on them, not with the intention of destroying them, but rather to restore them into right relationship with Him. Unfortunately we know from the history of Israel that even though God disciplined the people they did not repent, did not turn away from their sin for long and eventually disaster and destruction came because of their continuing disobedience and rebellion against God.
Now let us take a look at this verse concerning revival.
1. IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY NAME
If my people who are called by my name. God spoke to the people of Israel. He addressed them as people who called Him their father. They claimed to be the children of God, whose lives were to correspond to His word, His commands. They were to be recognized as distinctive, different, set apart as a nation. A people belonging to God who had a distinctive religion, customs and habits. And God says to them IF my people who are called by my name. In other words IF indicates there is a choice to be made. The Israelites were given two option. They could either serve God and as a result be blessed or choose to serve other gods and be cursed as a result.
He was offering them life, peace, prosperity, if they obeyed Him. Or if they refused, they would suffer the consequences of their choices, that is death, war, poverty and misery. So the Israelites were faced with a choice, God’s will or theirs.
Likewise we today, as the children of God, those of us who are born again through the sacrifice of God’s son Jesus Christ are confronted with the reality of making a decision with our lives. Are we going to choose life in Christ and obey His commands or are we going to choose to live our own lives and pay the price?
Because we too must be distinctive as God’s people, not so much by our outward religion, customs and habits as by our lives. Rather by what we say and don’t say, what we do and what we don’t do, demonstrating practically the love of God in every area of our lives. As the Apostle James said, “… I will show my faith by what I do.” (James 2:18)