Summary: We need to clear up the confusion over the too oftne used term - revival and discover what it really is and how we will know it if it happens.
1. WHAT REVIVAL IS NOT:
A. A series of evangelistic meetings held at the church or under a tent, or anywhere.
B. A great weekend, great week, great month of seeing people come to know the Lord in larger than normal numbers.
C. Just feeling good about how the church is doing right now.
2. WHAT IS REVIVAL?
A. How The Bible Defines Revival:
(1) In the Old Testament, revival is best defined by looking at the word, chalaph. It is a military term that pictures a person, or military unit that is completely surrounded by the enemy, and has no way of escape. In the moment of greatest despair, God intervenes and rescues them completely.
(2) In the New Testament, revival is best described by the word, egeiro, which means "to awaken from sleep". The idea is that the Christian has lulled off to sleep in his devotion and commitment to the Lord, and God intervenes in his life & awakens him, thus "spiritual awakening". Read Romans 12:2 (quickview)
B. How The Bible Describes Revival:
"If My people who are called by My name..." - believers, the church. God always brings "revival" to the church - then takes it on the road to an unbelieving world.
"will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways..." - God chooses to work in the midst of brokeness, not strength. If we were wise enough, spiritual enough, strong enough to make revival happen, it would have happened over and over again by now.
"then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" - ONLY after brokeness and admitting our sin before God and even before other Christians will God bring revival. God will:
The establishment of the church
The coming of the Holy Spirit in power.
3000+ saved in one day
"fear came upon them"
They took care of each other's needs
3. Have We Seen This Happen In History? YES!
A. Old Testament:
(1) Moses at the burning bush
(2) Moses & Israel at Mt Sinai
(3) Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem
B. New Testament:
(1) John the Baptist
(2) Jesus' first 2½ years
(1) First Great Awakening: began in New England, spread along the coast, then to England (early - mid 1700's).
(2) Second Great Awakening in New England and down the coast, to England again in early 1800's.
(3) Global revival, which culminated in the China "Shantung Revival" in the early 1900's
(4) The "Jesus Movement" in the 1960's, which led to things such as:
Lay Renewal Movement
Contemporary Christian music
(5) The short revival in 1995, which began in Brownwood, Texas at Coggin Ave Baptist Church & Howard Payne University, then spread to dozens of colleges (including Southwestern Seminary in Ft Worth) all across the US.
D. Are we seeing the beginnings of revival here at our church?
(1) Not if we are content with building new buildings
(2) Not if we are content with "business as usual"
(3) Not if we are content with our current walk with God
(4) We will see God bring revival if we will
Seek God's face
Turn from our wicked ways