Summary: When do the people of God need revival?
“If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
Today we begin a series of messages based on 2 Chronicle 7:14, God’s promise concerning revival. In fact, in this promise from God, we are given a “Road to Revival” by which we can see renewal come to the hearts and lives of God’s people and spiritual awakening come to those who do not yet know Christ.
These two terms that are often used together - “Revival” and “Spiritual Awakening.” Revival refers to believers recognizing afresh their need of God; while Spiritual Awakening refers to unbelievers recognizing for the first time their need of God. Understandably, revival precedes spiritual awakening. Believers must be right with God and live right before men before unbelievers will be moved to get right with God.
Therefore, the Road to Revival begins with those who are the recipients of revival, who are described in this verse as “My people, who are called by my name.” Let’s reflect on three thoughts reflected in this phrase, “My people, who are called by my name.”
1. We have a relationship to cherish - “My people”
Through faith in Christ, we have become somebody special! We have become children of God! We who have Christ as our Savior now have God as our Father! We have a special relationship with God!
“‘Father’ is the most significant name of the God of the Bible. It is the name that sets Christianity apart from all the other religions of the world. Other religions invite us to worship their gods, allahs, creators, or metaphysical forces, but Christianity invites us to believe in a Son and to enter into an intimate family relationship with a loving Father. Jesus, the Son of God, came so that we could meet His Father, be adopted into the family of God, and relate to the almighty God of the universe in an intimate, personal, concrete way as sons and daughters.” - Mary A. Kassian
The fact that we are the children of God is something which we should cherish!
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” - 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
But sometimes God’s people forget who they are. When we forget who we are, we lower ourselves to the world’s level; we accept things into our lives which we otherwise wouldn’t; and we live in such a way that is inconsistent with our family heritage.
It has been said that it is expected that a son will resemble his father. Even so, we who are the sons and daughters of God should seek to resemble our heavenly Father. When the world looks at you and me; when they look at the members of our church family; do they notice a “family resemblance?” Oh may the privilege of being a child of God be accompanied by a passion to live like a child of God! The kind of passion displayed by the Apostle Paul, who said:
“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
A devoted follower of Socrates asked him the best way to acquire knowledge. Socrates responded by leading him to a river and plunging him beneath the surface. The man
struggled to free himself, but Socrates kept his head submerged. Finally, after much effort, the man was able to break loose and emerge from the water. Socrates then asked, “When you thought you were drowning, what one thing did you want most of all?” Still gasping for breath, the man exclaimed, “I wanted air!” The philosopher wisely commented, “When you want knowledge as much as you wanted air, then you will get it!”
That’s the kind of passion you and I should have to live like a child of God, and when revival comes, that’s the kind of passion that will consume God’s children!
2. We have a reputation to uphold - “who are called by my name”
Ford motor company once had the slogan, “The quality goes in before the name goes on.” They understood something that we as God’s people need to understand today.
As those who have taken upon ourselves the name “Christian” we have also taken on an obligation to uphold the reputation of that name.