ARE WE READY FOR REVIVAL?
INTRO: Revival is within our grasp, but in order for revival to come to our church, we must let go of our sins and ask God for His forgiveness. We can then expect Him to bring revival. The Psalmist tells us what we must do to be ready for revival. If we will do three things, revival will come.
I. WE ARE READY FOR REVIVAL WHEN WE HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE (vv. 1-12).
The Psalmist is aware of the power and presence of God in all areas of his life. There is nothing that can be hidden from Him. There is nothing that He does not know, and no place where the Psalmist can go that He is not found.
God has analyzed the Psalmist and knows him first hand. He knows his every movement. He knows his every thought. He knows his every habit. Before he even speaks it, God knows his mind.
ILLUS: We haven’t hit bottom yet! When a nation cuts itself away from its spiritual and moral moorings, it has no fixed reference point by which to judge whether or not it is progressing or declining. We are like the man who jumped off the World Trade Center without a parachute. When he passed the 50th floor a window washer shouted out, “How’s it going?”
The jumper answered, “So far, so good!”
That we do not perceive ourselves careening recklessly into a head-on collision with the natural effects of our sin and God’s judgment should not be a source of comfort. It only means that we haven’t hit the bottom yet.
As we approach revival, have we become aware of the discovery that the Psalmist made? Have we realized that we can hide nothing from God? Is there some sin (however small) that you have refused to confess to God? Is your hand stuck in the candy jar? That one sin could prevent revival.
II. WE ARE READY WHEN WE THINK ONLY OF JESUS (vv. 17-18).
The Psalmist feels the closeness of God so much that he cannot do anything without thinking the deep things of God. God is so close to him that he overpowers the Psalmist in his troubles.
The Psalmist spends his waking hours in meditation about God. He thinks only of God. He doesn’t have time for sinful thinking, or selfish thinking.
ILLUS: Susan Hull illustrates the importance of God’s always being available in prayer! My boss is a public affairs manager who is called at all hours of the day to solve various problems for clients. But as a Naval Reservist, he was summoned to the Persian Gulf War for an extended time, leaving me to explain that he was serving his country half way around the world and therefore could not be reached. Most callers understood, but one was indignant. “Can he be paged?” the man inquired.
“I don’t think you understand,” I said in my most patient voice. “He’s serving on a ship in a war zone.”
“I see,” the man said. “Do you think he will be calling in for messages?”
Isn’t it great that God is always available to hear our prayers, no matter what’s going on in the world?
When we have allowed God to control our thinking, we are moving a step closer to revival. When we shut Him out of our thoughts each day, it is no wonder we fall into sin. We must bring our hearts and thoughts into tune with Him. We must be on His wavelength, not He on ours.
III. WE ARE READY WHEN WE ASK GOD TO CONTROL OUR LIVES (vv. 23-24).
The Psalmist was aware that the only way he could win over his enemy was to be completely controlled by God. He prays for God to search and cleanse his life.
The Psalmist hated sin and those who were against God. That is the only way we will overcome our enemy.
When will revival come to us? When we do the same thing. When we ask God to cleanse our lives and give him complete control. Then revival will come.
ILLUS: A group of men were carrying on a friendly conversation. One of them remarked that he had learned to be especially careful about small things. “Would you believe,” he said, “that a little thing like a pair of socks changed the entire course of my life?”
“I can hardly believe that,” replied another man.
“Well, it’s true! Once I planned to take a trip with some of my friends on a canal boat, but two days before we intended to leave, I injured my foot while chopping wood. It was only a small cut, but the blue dye in the homemade socks I wore poisoned the wound, and I was compelled to stay at home. While my friends were on their journey, a powerful preacher came to our town to hold revival meetings. Since I didn’t have anything else to do, I decided to attend. The message touched me deeply, and as a result, I surrendered my heart to the Lord.
“Afterward I saw that I needed to change my life in many ways. New desires and purposes took hold of me. I determined also to seek an education, for I trusted that this would enable me to life more usefully for the Lord.”
The man who made these comments was a former President of the United States — James A. Garfield!
CONC: QUOTE 1 JOHN 1:9. Ask each person to write on a piece of paper: 1. The sin which he wishes to have forgiven. 2. The name of the person(s) whom he wishes to settle a difference. 3. Bad attitudes in life over which he wishes a victory.
READ PROVERBS 28:13 and have each person place their pieces of paper in a trash can at the front of the church. HAVE SOMEONE TAKE THEM OUTSIDE AND BURN THEM! Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”