Summary: The United States of America needs revival for survival
“Revival for Survival!”
I am interrupting my 4 week series in Luke 15 for this Sunday because I want to speak to you about the need for revival in America and in our church. America has seen amazing technological advancements during the past fifty years, but during the same period we have witnessed an alarming moral decline. America was founded as a haven for people seeking liberty to practice their faith without persecution. I wonder what George Washington’s or Benjamin Franklin’s reactions would be if they could ride a time machine from 1776 to 2011. What would they think of our depraved culture and our huge federal bureaucracy? We all know where America has been but where do you think we are heading?
Alexander Fraser Tytler (1748-1813), a Scottish jurist and professor at the University of Edinburgh, wrote the following in “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic” (1801): “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with a result that democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:
(1) From bondage to spiritual faith (2) From spiritual faith to great courage
(3) From great courage to liberty (4) From liberty to abundance (5) From abundance to selfishness (6) From selfishness to complacency (7) From complacency to apathy (8) From apathy to dependency (9) From dependency to bondage.”
Where do you think our nation is on the list? I’d say we are somewhere between #7 and #8. You cannot escape the truth that God not only holds individuals accountable, He also holds nations accountable to His Word. I believe America needs a spiritual awakening–a revival. But I don’t think it’s just a nice option; I believe America needs revival for survival! The key to any spiritual awakening is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Solomon just completed a beautiful new temple, which took seven years to build (ours only took year and a half). Over 160,000 workers were involved in the construction (we had around 80). The temple contained several tons of pure gold (estimated cost today’s is $500 million).
In Chapter 6, they had dedication services and after Solomon prayed, the fire of God fell and consumed the burnt offering. The Shekinah glory of God was thick like smoke—so thick the priests could not even enter the temple. They had a weeklong dedication celebration. Things were going great—the people had never been happier—offerings were huge. But it is exactly at this point God spoke in Chapter 7. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Things are wonderful here—more people are joining, being saved and attending than ever before in our history. But just like Israel, God is speaking to us today. Listen carefully to His words to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:11-20.
God is speaking to me, to you, to our church. I believe He is speaking to America. At the time God spoke those words, Israel was the leading world superpower. Even Egypt’s Queen of Sheba came to see the glory of Israel. But those of you who know Old Testament history know within about 275 years of this warning, the nation of Israel became so corrupt and depraved, they fell to the Assyrians. A few years later, the Babylonians destroyed the nation of Judah along with Jerusalem and the temple. America stands as the military world leader but we also lead the world in divorce, violence and pornography. That’s why I believe we need revival for survival. In this message, I want to simply answer three questions about revival.
I. WHAT IS TRUE REVIVAL?
It’s a word most of you have heard all your lives. The church I grew up in had a revival every spring and fall. These were meetings where some guest preacher and guest musician came in and lead weeklong services. But most of these were simply “meetings” and not true revivals. Let me share with you
(A.) the definition of revival. Our word comes from two Latin phrases, re, which means “again” and vivere, which means “to live.” So, basically it means to “live again.” If a person suffers a heart attack, CPR can often be used to “revive” that person. Let me give you a good definition within a spiritual context: Revival is “restoring spiritual vitality to a lifeless person, family, church or nation.” Every word is important. It is something that is restored. If you’ve never “had spiritual vitality” there’s no way you can “get it again.” Spiritual vitality means “spiritual zeal, excitement, enthusiasm and fervor.” If you’ve never been that way before, you don’t need a re-vival, you need a “vival!” A lifeless person is someone who has lost their zeal and their spiritual life and is dull, dead and despondent. Have you ever been more excited about Jesus or more faithful to Jesus than you are at this moment? If you answer “yes” you need a revival.