Summary: A sermon I preached the Sunday before our annual revival. There is a need for the church to be revived, but revival ought not to last only a week.
Preparing for Revival
One week from today we begin our revival. Every year we bring in an evangelist to preach our revival, however I wonder if it ever works. The sermons are usually fantastic as we do our best to bring in powerful communicators of the Word of God. The problem isn’t too low of an attendance although it is the more the merrier. I have heard rumors of a time when revivals were much different than they are now. I have heard of time where revivals lasts a few weeks long, where all sorts of people from the community would come and participate, where there was a great excitement, where lives were changed, people were converted, sins were repented of and communities were literally transformed. I heard a rumor of a time many, many years ago when this building was so filled with people during a revival when Clarence Greenleaf was here that people were sitting outside the windows. If that is the case, then what is the problem today? Perhaps it is partly because of apathy and hard heartedness. We have people that come and sit through the revival services because that is what they are supposed to do, but they never allow the Word to penetrate into their hearts. Perhaps it is partly because of an unwillingness to give up a lifestyle of sin among some people. Perhaps it is because of pride and arrogance which refuses to admit that one has been headed in the wrong direction.
One particular Sunday a preacher was preaching a powerful sermon on hell and how terrible hell would be. In the congregation there was this one fellow who fell asleep every Sunday. The preacher came to a point where he pounded the pulpit to emphasize how bad hell was, and said if anyone wants to go to hell let him stand up right now. Well the only part that the sleeping guy heard was the "stand up right now part" so he did! He stood there for a few moments and looked around, then he said" Well preacher, I don’t know what we just voted, but it looks like you and I are the only ones for it.”
Revival time is an exciting time, and my plea this morning is that we not let another revival come and go without us being revived. Let us this year intentionally put ourselves in the way of the Word of God. Let us make our hearts fashionable to what is going to be said. Let us take what is said as God’s Word delivered to us. Let this revival be a time of examination of our lives and a time of building upon our faith. The point I am trying to make is that a revival attitude is contagious. I challenge you to come to revival services with a renewed sense of passion and excitement. Let us see how that fire may catch on. If you are anything like me, then throughout the year it becomes easy to lose some of your fire, zeal and passion. Maybe you look at where you are now and you wonder where the excitement has gone. This revival can be a time of rekindling your fire.
At the entrance of one of the great manufacturing plants in America is a sign that reads, “If you are like a wheelbarrow - going no farther than you are pushed - you need not apply for work here!” In spiritual endeavor, too, one must always manifest personal initiative and zeal and be willing to go the second mile