Summary: Revival comes from the heart first, so the heart needs constant vigilance to keep it close to God.
Griffith Baptist Church – 11/16/08
Text: Nehemiah 9:1-3
Key verse: Nehemiah 9 – All Verses
Premise: Revival comes from the heart first, so the heart needs constant vigilance to keep it close to God.
A young girl became a Christian in an exciting revival at her church and was baptized the closing Sunday morning. That afternoon she ran through the house singing and dancing. Her sour grandfather rebuked her with these words, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You just joined the church and you’re singing and dancing on the Lord’s Day!” Crushed by her grandfather’s attitude, the little girl went out to the barn, climbed up on the corral fence, and observed an old mule standing there with a sad, droopy face and bleary eyes. As she reached over and patted the mule sympathetically, she said, “Don’t cry, ole mule. I guess you’ve got the same kind of religion that Grandpa has!”
Here we have a massive revival taking place among the people of God.
o We need revival today.
o But the revival we need first in the heart of each individual.
o The heart is a delicate and vulnerable spiritual instrument
o Handled or influenced improperly, can do much damage to the Christian life
That is why we are give armor to protect it (Eph. 6)
It is what drives our emotions and motivations
It is the very thing that needs to change to trust Christ for Salvation – Romans 10:9-10 - 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
What happened here in Nehemiah 9:1-3 needs to happen to the church today.
1. Preparation For Revival – 9:1
A. What happens prior to a revival of the heart?
B. They Fasted
i. Abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion. Here it is used in conjunction with repentance.
a. This is a sacrifice of convenience and comfort
b. Today, we may even fast something other than food
c. The whole idea is sacrificing to seek the face of God. God knows we are serious when we give up something of value in exchange for His response of blessing.
ii. We have plenty of feasting in our churches today but seldom any fasting. Most people today are not about to curb their fleshly appetites in anything in order to be able to do the work of God better. Feasting is not wrong in itself – God ordained a number of religious feasts for the Jews, but all feasting and no fasting reveals spiritual problems just as all playing (which is about all that some church camps are) and no praying and preaching says we need revival. We are so interested in feasting today that in some churches you cannot even conduct a Sunday School class without coffee and donuts. Such accompaniments to a Sunday School class will not contribute to a disciplined study of God’s Word . . . (John Butler, Nehemiah, The Wall Builder, pp. 227-228)
C. They Humbled themselves (with sackcloth’s, and earth upon them.)
i. This is what the sackcloth and ashes were for, the evidence of repentance.
ii. They had been arrogant in the past and have realized their sin against God
a. If we do not learn humility, we will learn humiliation
b. Revival cannot happen without humility
iii. Much of what goes on in today’s churches are driven by pride.
a. This is why so many get offended so easily; they serve from pride, not from a humble spirit.
b. 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
iv. Is this why, today:
a. Altars are empty?
b. Hearts are cold to conviction?
c. Christians are harsh and uncaring toward one another?
d. So many have a “it’s my way or the highway” attitude?
e. Souls are not being saved and added to the church?
f. There is no power and passion in and for God’s work?
2. Conduct of Revival – 9:2
A. What is evidence of a heart that is experiencing revival?
B. Separation (separated themselves from all strangers)
i. They separated themselves from those that did not worship God.
ii. Ephesians 5:11 - And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
iii. The need for revival always comes when the world and the flesh get into us to much.