Summary: A look at why so many churches/Christians lack God’s power in their lives, and how it can be restored. Suitable for revival service.
RESTORING POWER TO THE CHURCH
Last night Gladys watched a college basketball game. I guess that means March madness is here. I heard this past week that these basketball playoff games are going to cost us big. According to analysts, American business will lose as much as $3 billion over this three-week period, both from lost productivity and drain on computer resources.
It’s amazing how costly it can be when people take their eyes off the ball at work. It’s even more costly when people take their eyes off the ball in life. When we allow ourselves to be distracted from God, from life’s ultimate goals; we lose valuable time and we lose victories we might have otherwise experienced.
Sadly, the Bible records many examples of that happening to God’s people. This morning I would like us to look together in the book of 1 Samuel, as we see together how to restore power to the church.
Let me tell you, Israel suffered a terrible loss that day. Israel had 30,000 soldiers killed in one day. They had another 4000 killed the day before. 2 priests, the sons of the high priest, were killed in the battle, and the arc of God was captured by the Philistines.
When the news got back to the high priest, he fell over and died. His daughter-in-law went into premature labor, and with her dying breaths named her son “Ichabod” saying, “The glory has departed from Israel.” Did you hear that? “The glory has departed from Israel!” What haunting words.
My friend, Israel isn’t the only place that has seen the glory of God depart. Across this nation there are countless churches that have seen the power and the glory of God depart. Some of them know it, and others don’t. Some churches are living on memories of what used to be. Some Christians are as well.
***ASK “Let me ask you something. Do you believe Jesus healed the sick? … Do you believe opened eyes? … Do you believe Jesus changed lives? … Do you believe Jesus restored families? … Do you believe Jesus delivered people from bondage? … Then why don’t we see more of that happening in the church, in this church, today? Turn with me please to John 14:12.
- Read John 14:12-14
This is what Jesus promises, but we don’t see much of it in the church today. So all around us there are people in our community, in our country looking at the churches, looking at Christians and saying, “Where is the glory? Where is the power? You claim your Jesus can help me. You claim your God can change lives. You claim your God is powerful. Then where is the change? Where is the power? Where is the glory?”
In the first century, people complained that the Christians were “turning the world, upside down.” Now, most won’t even turn the other cheek. Where is the glory? Sadly, for many churches and even more Christians, the glory is gone. So the question facing us is, “How do we get that power back in our lives? How do we restore the power to the church? I believe there are several steps we must take if we want to see God work miraculously in our lives and in our church again.
I. TO SEE POWER AGAIN WE MUST LOOK FOR THE CAUSE
We must look for the cause. A number of years ago, a friend of mine was vacuuming at the seminary I attended in Memphis, when her vacuum suddenly shut off. She looked at it for a moment, and then started to follow the power cord around the corner to where it was plugged in. Before she reached the plug, the vacuum came back on and she started working. A minute later, it happened again. This time, before it started working again, she caught me peeking around the corner with the plug in my hand. I’m glad I was faster than she was.
My friends, if something is not working, if there is no power, there must be a reason. In Israel, there were several.
1. Some Priests were out for themselves
They weren’t worried about serving God. They weren’t interested in helping the people. They were only concerned about what they could get. …
2. Some People Faked Spirituality
They were having sex in the doorway of God’s house. They pretended to be doing God’s business. They pretended to be going to God’s house to worship, but they were engaged in immorality. They faked their spirituality. … They were pretending …
3. Some put family before God
My friends, we just finished studying “A Biblical Portrait of Marriage.” I just finished preaching a series on the home and family. Your family is important. Your spouse, your children, parents, and grandchild need to be a priority in your life. But, they can never come before your personal relationship with God. Listen to what the Bible says: