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Summary: Experience Revival by thinking "out of the box." A study of the revival of Samuel. When we decide to live for God then the glory will return.

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Revival–Light the Fire!

# 3 in series

Out of the Box

(The Revival of Samuel)

1 Samuel 4–7


There is a popular children’s show on the Disney Channel called Out of the Box. The theme song is one of those songs that, once you’ve heard it, sticks in your mind all day. It ends with the words, “Out of the box, it’s really up to you what comes out of the box.”

In the business world the new catch phrase is “thinking outside the box.” It is a challenge to go beyond the ordinary and do something extraordinary.

The church today is stuck in the box. Our focus has shifted from people to pews, from saving souls to Sunday assemblies. Today when you mention Christianity most people immediately think of the worship assembly. As long as we continue with this mentality we are stuck in the box without hope of growing beyond.

A prank that’s as old as most of us here today is to call up a store and ask, “Yes, do you have Prince Albert in a box?” When the clerk answers in the affirmative then you respond, “Well, you’d better let him out before he suffocates.”

If we want to experience revival in the church, if we want this family of God to grow then we must let God out of the box and back into our lives before we suffocate. Like the theme song from the Disney show, Revival, it’s really up to you what comes out of the box!

Samuel and the Israelites had an experience similar to the one facing us today.

• The Israelites were losing a war to the Philistines like we are fighting a war against Satan.

• The Israelites’ answer was, “Bring us God in a box.” Our answer is “We all need to go to the box (church).”

• The Israelites’ answer brought them defeat, not Victory. Our answer will lead us to defeat unless we decide to change.

Even in a time when “the word of the Lord was rare.” (1 Sam. 3:1) Samuel led the people in Revival. We can learn from the mistakes of Israel and move on to Revival!

I. Relying on the Box

A. Israel’s answer to defeat was God in a box. 1 Sam. 4:3

1. By bringing in the ark they thought they had secured the presence of God.

2. Their focus was on personal success and not on glorifying God.

B. Our answer to Satan has been faith in a box.

1. Listen to our vocabulary: “Do you want to go to church?”

2. We have associated our success with the box.

3. We speak of “going to church” instead of “being a church.”

II. Where has the Glory gone?

A. With the ark gone the glory was gone from Israel. 1 Sam. 4:12–22

1. Israel’s hope was gone without the ark.

2. The sad reality is that it was a false hope. God was never really with them.

B. When people put God in a box then they lose the glory.

1. We associate the glory with “the box” (church building).

2. We see religion as a “fix” instead of a way of life.

C. The result of putting God in a box is that the glory is taken away from God.

1. We blame a decline in attendance on “the box.”

2. Maybe the “box” is broke and needs to be fixed.

III. When we decide to live for God, the glory will return.

A. The revival of Samuel shows that God lives where he is glorified.

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