Summary: true satisfaction can only come from a right relationship with God through Jesus
Searching for Satisfaction
August 7, 2005
The year was 1734 and the place was a small village in Massachusetts called North Hampton. One minister became deeply concerned with the trials and problems facing the church throughout New England. To say the spiritual state of the church was in shambles would have been an understatement. So this one minister committed himself to seeking more and more of God.
The problems in the church were great because the church had become an institution of compromise. In 1662, the church began what was called the Half Way Covenant and allowed the parents, who were not saved, to have their children baptized. These children, if they never testified to salvation, were given membership in the church and were only denied the Lord’s Supper, eventually that was even allowed.
This sounds like no big deal but it created major problems within the church because within a few decades, the majority of those on the church rolls were part of the Half Way Covenant. These were people who had never experienced salvation through Christ. The people began to place their faith in church membership, instead of faith in Christ, to gain a place in Heaven.
In all of this, one minister knew something had to be done and so he sought the guidance of God through earnest prayer. He felt compelled to preach a series of messages on justification by faith alone and began these messages in the fall of 1734. The minister was Jonathan Edwards and as part of this series of messages he delivered the message that broke revival: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
Edwards swept away the hope of heaven for the unsaved and proclaimed that faith in Jesus alone was key to finding saving grace. This led to a series of conversions that sparked an outpouring of revival that America had never seen before or since. The revival is now called the First Great Awakening and would last for nearly thirty years with results that would shape the course of American history.
The results of the Revival
• 25 to 50 thousand came to Christ during this time. If this same thing were to happen in America today there would be over 25 million won to Christ. What would our nation be like if 25 million people got genuinely saved?
• The cause of missions was advanced specifically with American Indians.
• A new movement of religious liberty was created with the goal of having a church free of government control.
• There was a new form of ministry developed to reach large numbers of people called the traveling evangelist.
• The revival gave a new unity to the colonies and forged the foundation of an American nation. This revival more than any other factor paved the way for the Revolutionary War and American Independence.
Our nation and our church is in a desperate need for a new revolution. We are in need of a mighty outpouring of God’s spirit. We need that which only God can give but the sad thing is that we settle for far less than what God wants to do.
The church of today is not much different from that of Edwards day. Casual Christianity has become the standard for most denominations and is continuing to rise. In fact a recent Gallop Poll saw little difference between the behavior of churched and unchurched people on a wide range of issues including lying, cheating and stealing.