Summary: Right now the world wide Church is in need of a Revival - a revival that will usher in the Kingdom of God. This sermon talks about the three basic characteristics that God gives in individuals that brings about a great revival in the community.
Text: II Chronicles 7:14
1857 - Jeremiah Lamphere, 46 year - New York City. a burden for the lost - in July 1857 - passing tracts and talking but no success - Then burdened to prayer - invited anyone to pray from 12 to 1 on Wednesday - hundreds and hundreds of fliers and posters everywhere he could. Wednesday day came and at Noon nobody showed up. For 30 minutes prayed by himself – then 5 people came - next week 20 - next week between 30 and 40 people came. – then met everyday – servants of God came - "We need to start this at our churches” – 6 months - over 5000 prayer groups meeting everyday in N.Y. Soon the word spread all over the country. Prayer meetings were started in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Washington D.C. In fact President Franklin Pierce started going almost every day to a noonday prayer meeting. By 1859 some 15,000 cities in America were having prayer meetings everyday at noon and thousands were brought to Christ.
The great thing about this revival is that there is not a famous preacher associated with it. It was all started by one wanting to pray.
Just like the word trinity, you won’t find the word revival in the Bible. Yet in both cases we know what they mean, and the Bible describes them over and over again.
Revival can be described as a season during which God works in the hearts of men in a deeper and powerful way, as a result of which beleivers are revived, unbelievers are saved whilst others view the gospel with respect.
In short, revival is when God shows up. But God has already given the criteria for this. This is found in:
2Ch 7:14 if my people, who 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
It has been the heart’s cry of every true believer, like us, that the Lord would heal this country, that this country would turn to the Lord – At one point or another, we have beseeched our God that He would move through this land. Right? Yes, here in this verse, God gives us the characteristics of a revival.
I am going to share with you 3 basic characteristics of a Revival.
I. REVIVAL IS CHARACTERIZED BY BROKENNESS
“… If my people… shall humble themselves…”
Humility is emptying of ourselves at the feet of our Lord.
Brokenness comes from recognising our own weakness, that we cannot do anything unless God does it. Looking around we see people are totally lost and depraved and we also see that no matter what we do, nothing is happening… then comes the brokenness.. a sense of desperation…
“God, I can’t do anything that can make a difference, only You”
“… If my people will humble themselves…”
Humility is intentional… it is the surrendering of self to the Lord.
The modern world lays lots of emphasis on “Self” – Self confidence, Self reliance, self- sufficient, self, self, self… selfie…
Earlier, we used to get dressed up and go to a photo shop or studio to take a picture. I still remember the time when we took a family picture in 1979. We still have that photo. Later on, the camera became popular… we used to click away pictures of everything, whenever we go out, ask others to take photos of us when we were in a group… But now… What do we have…
“SELFIE” – The social media is filled with selfies – There are accessories that are created to take good selfies.
Infact the world has placed such importance on this that the Oxford dictionary has officially included this word recently.
But the church has to be different.
When John the Baptist said, “He must increase, I must decrease” – he meant that I, me myself, the feeling of ego that I have in me, the self in me, must decrease… and He must increase…
Galatians 2:20 says, “It is no longer I that lives, but Christ lives in me…” – I should be surrendered, the me in me should be humbled.
The brokenness that says, Lord, there is nothing that I can do, but you alone… with tears streaming down, a heart that cries in desperation for God to intervene in the history of this nation… that is humbleness…
The first characteristic of a revival is Brokenness – If my people humble themselves…
II. REVIVAL IS CHARACTERIZED BY URGENCY
D.L.Moody evagelist from Chicago, - vacation in England – invited to preach by a church – He wrote in his journal that they were the deadest crowd he had ever seen. But he had promised to go back that night and preach. He went anyway and a revival broke out. He cancelled his vacation and preached 10 nights. Hundreds accepted the Lord. What happened? – Mary Ann Adelard, 80 + year old, an almost invalid widow, heard about Moody, read his sermons in a newspaper and started to pray with a sense of urgency for revival in that church, everyday for many many months.