Summary: This series of messages was part of the preparation for our SAW (Spiritual Awakening Weekend). May it be used by others.
The Need for an Awakening
Aiming At an Awakening - #2 of 12
* There is a story about Billy Graham when he was young in the ministry. He was in this unfamiliar city and was going to preach. He was there that day and wanted to mail a letter but he couldn't find the Post Office. On his way he saw this kid & asked him "Hey little boy," he said "do you know where the Post Office is?" And the boy said "I sure do." He told him how to get there so Billy thanked him & then said "Hey I am preaching this evening at First Baptist Church. If you come I will tell you how to get to heaven." The little boy said "I don't think I am going to come, you don't even know how to get to the Post Office."
* Candidly, as funny as that might be, Dr. Graham has indeed pointed millions into the Kingdom. After a half-century of ministry, Dr. Graham was asked this question: “What is the greatest need in our churches today?”
* Before I give you HIS answer let me offer that different people give many different answers for this question. Some say that the greatest need of the church is to be relevant or the church must take up more social issues or we need sound preaching or we need to see the holiness of God. Dr. Graham said, “The greatest need in the church today is Spiritual Revival or Spiritual Awakening.”
* But we have a problem. Most of us see that the country is in need of revival, that the church is in need of a revival, but the average person doesn’t see HIS need.
* For the next five weeks I am calling on you to look at you! We are given to thinking about how badly ‘others’ need this. It’s time for us to stop thinking, “If they’d been here preacher, you’d a got’em!” Candidly, you are here and bluntly, “I don’t ‘got’em’, but God does.” Just like the ole spiritual says, “It’s not my brother, it’s not my sister, but it’s ME, O Lord!” You might fool all of the people some of the time or some of the people all the time, but make no mistake – you fool God none of the time because HE KNOWS! If HE knows, it will serve us well to ‘know’ as well.
* So let’s begin with a ‘Needs’ Test to see if you might be in need of an Awakening;
Do you feel like the fire that once burned in your heart for Him has dimmed or died?
Do you feel burned out?
Is serving God a chore or bore?
Has your passion or desire to see people come to Christ diminished?
Do you have secret sins in your life (that no one would ever guess)?
Have you lost the joy and wonder of it all?
* See those questions and know for sure that if any of those questions hit home with you, then it is YOU who needs a Spiritual Awakening, Renewal, and Revival.
* The prophet who comes to my mind is Isaiah. Turn to Chapter 5 and let’s review. If we simply scan this chapter (vs 8ff), we get the sense that God’s judgment is coming on God’s people.
* It is in this environment that we pick up our reading in Chapter 6 (text).
* “In the year King Uzziah died” – this event is important because Uzziah had reigned 52 years in Judah. He was the patriarch of the nation of Judah. Taking the throne at 16 and receiving counsel (early in life) from Zechariah (a man full of God) Uzziah was an extremely successful and powerful King. After the death of Zechariah, his heart became filled up with pride so much so that he thought he was above God’s law. (Power does that to men). He sinned and God sent judgment by giving Uzziah leprosy. His last years were spent in isolation. But he was still KING! When the King dies, things change.
* Americans have little understanding of this truth because we change Presidents & little changes. But when a King dies – things are different.
* In the land of Kings, Emperors, Despots, and Rulers, the death of the leader means vulnerability for the people. It can also mean opportunity for the better.
* It was at this pivotal moment in history that Isaiah gets a fresh word from God. He has just been given words of judgment to record. Can you imagine his mindset as he penned the last word of Chapter 5? And then Uzziah dies?
* Let’s put our hands on a principle: Before there can be a spiritual awakening, something or someone may have to die. You don’t like the sound of this? Well, let’s dig into the rest of our text & see how this develops. (Read verses 1-4)