Summary: It is important if we, as the church, ever plan or desire to see revival break forth in our church, that we make preparation prior to a series of meetings. Revival should always begin before a scheduled series of meetings and continue long after. (Compiled using resources from Sermon Central)
Preparing for Revival
Joel 2:12 – 18
I always love reading “Top Ten” lists or seeing shows that present a “Top Ten” list of either funny videos, silly decisions or actions of people, so on so forth. In preparation for this message, I came across a top ten list that I found quite comical and I believe is a good way to start off this morning’s message. It is entitled “Top 10 Ways You Know You’re In A Bad Church.”
10. The church bus has gun racks.
9. The church staff consists of Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor and Socio-pastor.
8. The Bible they use is the "Dr. Seuss Version."
7. There’s an ATM machine in the lobby.
6. The choir wears leather robes.
5. Worship services are BYOB
4. There’s no cover charge, but communion is a two-drink minimum.
3. Karaoke Worship Time
2. Ushers ask, "Sleeping or non-sleeping?"
1. The only song the organist knows is "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."
I’m so thankful Grace Baptist is nowhere close to this list, but I could certainly see the gun rack in the church bus happening in a few churches in this county. Seriously though, we may not have gotten as bad as this list would indicate, but I believe there is room for improvement. God has great plans for the church. He has plans to bring about excitement about the things of God. He has plans to draw near to us to allow us to experience his presence. And as we approach our upcoming revival, I believe it is important that we begin to prepare ourselves spiritually now for a move of God if we intend for Him to show up and certainly if we desire to see people saved.
In the book of Joel, there are a few passages pertaining to revival, but we will look at one in particular. This prophecy is in regards to end time prior to the occurrence of the Battle of Armageddon. It is directed towards the Israelite people and shows us that there will be a time prior to the second advent of Christ that the Israelite people realize that Christ was who He said He was, will repent of their error, regret the crucifixion and turn to Christ. The prophecy tells of a time of great famine where the people will be truly desperate. While this may not seem like much of a set of verses to refer to in terms of revival, I believe we can draw some things from this that can genuinely help prepare us to have a successful revival if we look into the words from the prophet Joel.
12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
14 Who knoweth [if] he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; [even] a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where [is] their God?
18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
As we look at this passage, you may be wondering what it has to do with revival. Revival can be simply defined like this: Revival is when God shows up and shows off. In this passage, God gives the people of Israel this promise. He says in verse 18, “Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” Mostly, we think of jealousy as a bad thing, but it is not bad when the Lord is jealous for us. It means that God will have an intense desire and earnest enthusiasm to be with us. In other words, God will really want to be right here with us and will want to bless us. Isn’t that what revival is about?
Now that we have discovered God’s promise that he will be jealous for us and heal our land, we have to take a look at one little word in that promise. It is the word “then”. The promise starts with this tiny little word which means that we have to do something before this promise will go into effect. What do we have to do? That’s what we are going to take a look at this morning. We are going to take a look at what we have to do to receive the blessing of revival.