Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
Revival, God Let It Start With Me. Acts 8:1-8
I love to look back at church history. I especially love reading about those Great Revivals, where entire cities were turned upside down in the Name of Jesus!
Some 200+ years ago a preacher named Charles Finney conducted Revivals in the North Eastern part of the US. These were large crusades during a time of revival in the US. On one occasion in Rochester, NY, over 100,000 came to Christ…the entire city was set on fire for God!
Then there was the great Welsh Revival at the turn of the 20th C. It all started in a small room where the teens were meeting in a small church. Spiritual fire fell on a youth meeting and historians say that it could only be compared to the day of Pentecost! The young people were weeping and crying out to God to make a difference in their lives so they could make a difference in the world. Their fire spread to the adults who carried it throughout their city, and eventually throughout the country of Wales…and the ripple effect was felt around the world!
The Bible records the revival that happened in the city of Nineveh.
At first Jonah was reluctant but eventually went and preached a message of judgment and the Bible says the entire city repented, beginning with the king right down to the least of the people!
We have a similar thing happening here in Acts chapter 8. The man, Philip, went to preach in the region of Samaria, and the entire city saw a great revival.
Now I don’t know about you but I believe this county needs that kind of revival.
We need a revival that will set all of Florence County on fire for God!
I’m not talking about one of these temporary, make-believe revivals where the only thing that gets touched are the sensations of a handful of emotion filled people.
I’m talking about a revival where Christians genuinely get right with God, where lost people get saved in great numbers, where marriages are restored, alcoholics and drug addicts are delivered, where rebellious teens are brought to their knees, where liars become truthful, thieves are made honest, prostitutes are made pure and adulterers are made faithful!
I’m talking about an old-fashioned, soul-saving, sin-erasing, devil-chasing revival! That’s what I want to see!
Would you like to see that in Florence? A revival where the liquor stores would have to close for lack of business. A revival that causes the night clubs and the drug dealers have to move elsewhere!
That kind of revival happened in the days of Billy Sunday as many were saved. Not all were saved, but all were affected!
Acts chapter 8 should make us hungry for revival in our own hometown!
Let me show you 3 things in these verses about this kind of revival:
1. The Man, One Man One Spark: Philip
If we look back to Chapter 6 we see that Philip is one of the original 7 deacons.
By the time we get to chapter 8 he’s an effective evangelist and just like Stephen, Philip is NOT an Apostle nor is he the pastor of any church!
Did you know that it only takes 1 person to start the revival fires burning!
If you are willing to pay the price and if you are hungry for God to do something awesome, God can bring revival to an entire city through you!
It only takes a single and tiny spark to start a roaring blaze!
In the 1800s Gypsy Smith, a great revivalist was asked how to have revival. He said, “Go home, lock yourself in your room, draw a circle around yourself with chalk, and ask God to start a great revival within that circle!
When God has answered your prayer the revival will be underway!”
According to historian Thomas Rayner, the Welsh Revival started with the testimony meeting in a youth group. We are told that one little girl who was so nervous she could barely speak, stood up and shared one sentence: “O, I do love Jesus” and that’s when it all started, God gripped hearts and the rest is history!
It was just a little spark, but that tiny Flame grew into a wildfire of revival!
Let me ask you something. Do you believe this kind of revival can happen today?
IF God is no respecter of persons and IF He’s the same yesterday, today, forever, and I for one believe that He is then I must believe that kind of revival can still happen today!
Another great revival started in England, but spread to Scotland and Ireland under D.L. Moody. Here’s how it started, according to Moody’s son, who wrote his biography:
While on vacation, Moody was preaching for a pastor named Lessey in London on a Sunday morning. He was to be there that night as well but the morning service was so cold, dry, and dead, and the people were so unresponsive, he dreaded going back that night!