Summary: The first of a multi-part series based on Rick Atchley’s series Revive Us Again.
REVIVE US AGAIN
INTRODUCTION: I love that song "Revive Us Again" Sometimes we ought to start that in the middle of one of my sermons when some of us get kinda drowsy. Speaking of drowsy, there is a story I want to share with you. One particular Sunday a preacher was preaching a powerful sermon on hell and how terrible hell would be. In the congregation there was this one fellow who fell asleep every Sunday. The preacher came to a point where he pounded the pulpit to emphasize how bad hell was, and said if anyone wants to go to hell let him stand up right now. Well the only part that the sleeping guy heard was the "stand up right now part" so he did! He stood there for a few moments and looked around, then he said" Well preacher, I don’t know what we just voted on, but it looks like you and me are the only ones for it."
One thing that has always perplexed me is why we sometimes talk about church and worship as if it were exhausting, as if it would make us tired to do it. People say all the time, "I’m just too tired to go to church." The implication is that church would just wear us out. It would make us more exhausted. We never say, "I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m gonna go to church to get fired up, to get re-energized." But it seems to me that is what we ought to do! An opportunity to praise God ought to get us excited and fired up. King David said in Psalm 28:7. I think we can all think of times like that, when our hearts leapt for joy, when our hearts were aflame for God. But you know, a fire must be refueled or it will go out. Let’s look at another passage together. Psalm 85:6,7. Maybe this morning you need God to re-light a fire in your soul that’s getting a bit cold. What you need, maybe what we need, is revival. That is what we are going to talk about this Fall. What is it when God sends revival? First let me tell you what it isn’t!
I. REVIVAL IS NOT A SET OF CHURCH MEETINGS.
A. A lot of us grew up saying that our church is going to have a revival on such and such date. It is part of the year’s schedule, like VBS, or a retreat. But that is not revival. It’s a good thing to do, but it isn’t revival.
1. Revival is not a crusade either. Now, I love a good evangelistic effort. After all it is part of what we ought to be doing as God’s people, but it is not a revival. Revival is not even church growth. You see a church can be growing but not have revival because revival implies spiritual declension and lethargy.
2. The very word says that something is alive but is about to die. It is struggling with life and needs to be awakened. If you’re not a Christian you don’t need revival, you need regeneration. But if you are a Christian there is a good chance that during the course of your Christian life your gonna need a few revivals.
B. I came across something interesting the other day. Some of you can remember when the church would have two week long meetings. I didn’t know why that was until I found out that often the first week was just for revival. The emphasis was to get the church back on fire for God and then the second week they would focus on evangelism.
1. But somehow we decided that going to church for two weeks was too much so we cut it down to one week and went straight to evangelism. When that became too much, we just cut it down to two or three nights. And when that didn’t bear any fruit we quit doing it at all.
2. Well maybe it wasn’t fruitful because we were trying to do evangelism before we had revival. You see when I read the book of Acts, I think that should be the norm for the church, revival then evangelism. Nowadays I think that at times God’s church is so subnormal that normal seems abnormal.
3. Think about it for a few moments. Sometimes we have become so accustomed to subnormal that if normal ever showed up it would seem abnormal to us. As a result, I think that in a very real sense God’s church is like a sleeping giant. And Satan’s motto is to let sleeping saints sleep. Therefore, in order for the church to function as the body of Christ, God has to bring revival to his church.