If you had a chance to read the Pentecostal Evangel last week you read the powerful testimonies of multiple dozens of churches experiencing the fanning of revival's fire. From Maryville, WA to Cedar Rapids, IA, from Pensacola, FL to Salt Lake City, UT, millions of souls have been saved, delivered, and transformed. Revival is the desire of the soul. Even with numerous reports of Sovereign moves of God reviving churches and bringing people to repentance, the cry for it will not go away.
The cry continues and the need is evident. If you are close to a person bound to alcohol, whether neighbor or relative, you have seen the need. Do you know of one trapped in the sin of homosexuality? Mormonism? The Occult? Have you witnessed the break-up of a family? Do you know of a husband who beats his wife without mercy? Does your very soul demand to be renewed? If you do, then you know the need…
In the province of Wales in 1904, 27 year old Evan Roberts was burdened to pray fervently for 100,000 souls to come to Christ. Soon, the flame of revival burned in the hearts of hundreds of tough minded coal miners, who threw down their picks and came to Christ. Roberts was soon tagged as the revivalist as the unprecedented evangelistic success spread into the whole of the nation of Great Britain. It became known as the Welsh Revival, a heaven born, Sovereign move of God, sweeping by best calculations, 100,000 souls into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Interestingly, seventy years later in 1974, an average of 85 churches closes in Great Britain each year. It is reported that an abundance of church furnishings are made available to commercial enterprises. Christening fonts are being used as bird baths, carved screens are in service as restaurant decorations, pews are being made into garden seats, and stained glass windows are serving as business and household ornaments. It is a sad commentary...
Still, revival's cry refuses to be silenced. It declines invitation to go away. It aches for the delay of God's hand of judgement & the release of His favor and grace.
King Hezekiah was a man who cried for national revival in the southern kingdom of Judah. He was intent to restore the devotion of his people to God that the Lord's judgement would cease and His favor rest. For this reason he turned the attention of his people to the sealed doors of the forsaken temple of Jerusalem. His account is given for our instruction and remembrance. It is preserved in the Scriptures, serving as an example for us to learn from and follow in similar times. His legacy is given in v. 2-3 with a link to David. We do well to learn from the passage. It is a stunning analogy to the keys that unlock personal and corporate revival.
The temple of Jerusalem was long linked to the nation's relationship with God. It was the sole place where they could meet with Him to hear His word and to worship Him. The temple is key to understand their relationship with God - 2 Chronicles 2:4-7. The condition of the temple reflected the condition of their hearts. Like a gauge, it measured them woefully short in true devotion. It was time for renewed devotion. It was time to open the doors of revival!
Theme: The door to true revival is opened with renewed devotion to the Lord.
1 The Door of Revival opens because of Preparation - Repentance (4-14)
Hezekiah knowing the condition of his nation turned to the Levites of the nation - those in charge of temple worship and functions. Performing the temple duties, they were pivotal figures in the nations' participation in true worship, yet a closed temple rendered their influence and ministry insignificant and powerless. They had abandoned their position, which led the nation into sacred devotion to the Lord. The Levitical priests are an OT representation of true believers.
The NT role of the believer is priestly. 1 Peter 2:5, 7 - you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. NT priests declare His praises - a testimony leading others to Christ.
Hezekiah's charge to the priests and Levites is found in v.5: Now sanctify yourselves… It was a call to action in the temple, but it first required internal cleansing. The sanctifying of the priest involved ritual washings, which purified them to serve.
Cleansing is necessary in true repentance. It begins with the confession of sin leading to the Father's forgiveness and turning from judgement. James 5:16 - Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. Confession is the acknowledging of our sin. It results from a heart that longs to remove the barriers of sin and draw near to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 7:10 - For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation… Hezekiah gathered the priests to let them know that revival could only begin with their cleansing. The same is true of us. Have we failed in our responsibility? We must get clean.