Summary: Three ingredients present in every revival.
Let’s open our Bibles to John chapter 4 this morning. And as you’re turning I want to say this morning that one of the saddest things about the church today, and by church I mean the universal church of which we are a part, one of the saddest things about the church is its total ineffectiveness in the world today. By and large we are a church that lacks power, and lacks the presence of God Himself. The church today looks so much like the world, acts no different than the world, has its hobbies and its habits and entertainment just like the world that we are making no impact whatsoever. The world doesn’t give us a second look, and we’re not even making them uncomfortable.
See the church is like Lot today. Remember Lot? He had become so integrated into Sodom and Gomorrah that they didn’t pay any attention to him whatsoever. When it came time for God to pour out His judgment and Lot warned them they thought he was mocking. He had no influence with them because he had become just like them. That’s the church today.
We’re far more concerned about our comfort, our toys, our “down time”, our homes and cars than we are about a world that is lost and dying and going to hell. We are described in Haggai chapter 1 where God says:9 "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the Lord Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” See they were more interested in their own activities, paneling the walls of their house, while the temple of God lay in ruins. I say to you this morning the church of God lies in ruins today while we are all concerned about our own interests.
See, the church today doesn’t cry over people dying in their sin, they cry over time they have to give up and go to church, or time spent ministering to others when we could have been doing what we want to do. And that just shows that we are void of Holy Spirit power and God-given priorities today.
But you read about revivals of the past and you read about God’s presence descending on people in power, people flocking to churches in droves, people falling on their knees before a holy God and begging for mercy. For instance, In Wales in 1743 God’s presence came so powerfully among His people that one writer said, “this is so incredible that you can’t hardly believe it unless you see it for yourself. Their singing and praying is so full of God. They are a God-saturated people. Oh how my soul burned with love when I was among them. They fall almost as dead by the power of the Word, and they continue weeping for joy, having found their Messiah. Some of them are crying under a sense of their own wickedness, some of them are in the pangs of the new birth. All are lifting up holy hands with hearts filled with God, filled with joy.”
But today the church has so little of the presence of God, so little of the power of God that we can’t even make an impact on our neighbors and friends; we are not even leaving a dent in the society in which we live. We are weak, impotent, powerless.
And what is the remedy for our condition today? Is there any hope? What will fix a powerless, indifferent, apathetic, and luke-warm church? I don’t believe anything can fix us except an extraordinary visit of God to His people. If God comes, we will turn from our apathy, if God falls upon us we will fall on our knees and we will hate our former idols of complacency and comfort and ease, and we will weep over our indifference and turn to Christ with a passion. Then we will begin to make an impact in this world, as we share testimonies of lives truly changed, then will people see God’s presence is with us. Then the lost will begin to cry out for mercy because they see God working in the church and they want what we have.
Well today’s passage of Scripture gives an insight into a revival that happened just like that, and I want to learn the lessons of the passage with you and more importantly I want to ask God to repeat today what He did back then in Samaria.
The context of the passage is that Jesus had just spoken with a Samaritan woman, and in the encounter they had He had quenched her thirst and satisfied her desires and longings, as only Jesus can do. And while He was speaking with her, His disciples had gone into town to buy food and had now come back, just in time to witness an event that was nothing short of a revival. Let’s notice how this revival started: