Summary: To experience revival, God’s people must repent.
We’ve looked to God promise concerning revival in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (READ TEXT). In this promise about revival, we learn about four requirements for revival. We have thought about what it means to humble ourselves before God, pray for revival, and seek God’s face. Now, let’s consider requirement four - turning from our wicked ways.
If we are going to experience revival, we must turn from those things, those experiences, those associations, those ways which have drawn us away from God. Since revival is a returning of God’s people back to Him; it makes sense that we must turn from all that has been allowed to come between us and our Lord.
What is described here is repentance. In his book, “No Shining Splendor,” John Hunter seeks to identify the things missing from the church today whose absence has caused the church’s testimony to be diminished. In the chapter, “The Missing word,” he argues that the word “repentance” is missing from the vocabulary of modern Christians.
Christians today desperately need to understand that one cannot walk away from God and walk with God at the same time! To walk with God necessitates a willingness to turn around and turn away from some things for the sake of walking with the One who has redeemed us.
A boy who got his hand caught inside an expensive vase. His upset parents applied soap suds and cooking oil, without success. When they seemed ready to break the vase as the only way to release the hand, the frightened boy cried, “Would it help if I let go of the penny I’m holding?”
Too many Christians today are insisting on holding on to insignificant things at the expense of that which is of eternal value - our love relationship with God. When that happens, we are walking in wicked ways rather than walking in God’s ways, and we are in need of revival! The only solution is repentance - a turning away from that which has drawn us away from God and a turning around to walk with God. Let’s think today about repentance and revival.
1. God gives us the chance to repent.
“It hurts when God has to PRY things out of our hand!” - Corrie Ten Boom
When God’s people go astray, God, in His love for His people, will discipline them - He will seek to pray out of our hands whatever has come between us and Him.
A boy’s toy boat went out of reach on a pond one day and started floating away. A man started throwing rocks at the boat and the boy became horrified at what might happen. But then he realized that the rocks were going over the boat and making ripples that finally pushed the boat back to shore and into the boy’s hands.
Many times, when we stray away from God, it appears that he is throwing rocks at us. But He is really using the ripples to bring us back to Him.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” - Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)
We make a mistake when we always attribute difficulty to the devil - as though we are never in need of correction and always in the right.
Often, the difficulties we encounter are designed by God to reveal areas of disobedience and bring us back to Him. The fact is when we go astray, we can expect God to discipline us to get our attention.
But how can I tell is adversity is God’s discipline in my life, the devil’s harassment, or simply a consequence of our living in a sinful, imperfect world? Simple. God will identify the issues in our life that need to be dealt with in our relationship with Him if we ask. The purpose of God’s discipline is always to lead us to make right what is wrong in our lives! His discipline is always for the purpose of giving us a chance to repent.
When God disciplines His people, He does so in two primary ways:
A. He allows us to experience the consequences of our actions.
“A man reaps what he sows.” - Galatians 6:7b (NIV)
When we refuse to say to God, “Your will be done,” He then says to us, “O.K. Your will be done!”
“You’ve been whining to GOD, ‘We want meat; give us meat. We had a better life in Egypt.’ GOD has heard your whining and he’s going to give you meat. You’re going to eat meat.
And it’s not just for a day that you’ll eat meat, and not two days, or five or ten or twenty, but for a whole month. You’re going to eat meat until it’s coming out your nostrils. You’re going to be so sick of meat that you’ll throw up at the mere mention of it. And here’s why: Because you have rejected GOD who is right here among you, whining to his face, ‘Oh, why did we ever have to leave Egypt?’” - Numbers 11:18b-20 (The Message)