Summary: As we look at this tremendous verse I want us to consider three great secrets of spiritual awakenings.
THE SECRET OF REVIVAL
Over the centuries God has sent periods of great spiritual awakening to His people. History records several great awakening’s in the United States. The last such awakening on a large scale took place in 1904-05. It began in Wales when a man by the name of Evan Roberts began to pray, "Oh God, bend me." Revival came and the country of Wales was affected deeply. Coal mines experienced stoppages of work because the mules could not understand the new vocabulary of the miners. Policemen formed quartets to sing in churches. Bars and taverns went bankrupt for lack of business. Churches of all denominations grew by leaps and bounds.
Soon the revival came to America and spread from church to church. A church in Kentucky baptized nearly 1000 people in just a few months. The pastor died from overwork. Atlantic City had a population of around 50,000 at that time. When the revival was over, only fifty unconverted adults remained in the city.
Since the awakening of 1904-1905, there have been a number of awakenings on a small scale. One thinks of the Shantung revival in China that prepared the believers for the onslaught of communism. Asbury College and Seminary experienced a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the 1960’s. That revival spread to a number of colleges and churches in the United States.
In 1972-73 a revival almost came to Meridian, Mississippi when the Holy Spirit began working in the lives of young people. However, the youth were not given proper guidance by the church and the revival soon died. In fact, many pastors and church leaders were critical of the revival. As a result the moving of the Holy Spirit was quenched and things went back to normal.
Now in the first decade of the 21st century the church of Jesus Christ stands in desperate need for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Churches, even entire denominations are divided. Coldness and apathy rules the day. Pastors and lay people alike are discouraged and almost ready to give up. New religious ideas from the East seem to be taking over. The church desperately needs a move of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual awakenings have taken place in the past. Can it happen today?
While we must recognize the sovereignty of God in sending spiritual awakenings, I believe that II Chronicles 7:14 offers us tremendous hope for a great awakening in these days.
It was during the joyous time of dedication of the temple that God spoke to King Solomon. In verses 17-22 God gave Solomon some words of warning if the people turn away from Him. However, in verse 14, we discover God’s wonderful provision for revival. As we look at this tremendous verse I want us to consider three great secrets of spiritual awakenings.
I. SPIRITUAL AWAKENING MUST BEGIN WITH GOD’S PEOPLE
"If my people who are called by My name...." The promise is given to God’s people. It is not given to the government, to wall street, to education, to Hollywood, etc., but to the true church of Jesus Christ, ie., to true believers. It begins in the lives of people who are related to God personally.
In the Old Testament, revival always came when God’s people turned from their sin and began to seek after the Lord with all their heart. Yes, revival always affected society, but it began with God’s People.
In the New Testament, the promise of the Spirit was given to God’s people. The Spirit was not given to the world but to believers. The Christ rejecting world cannot know the Holy Spirit.
John 7:37-39 says, "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
Revival will not begin in Washington or in Moscow. It will begin when God’s people earnestly seek His face.
Hebrew history records many ups and downs spiritually. A great period of prosperity would often be followed by decline and apathy. Idolatry would set in and ungodliness would rule the day. God would withhold His blessings. Then when things seemed to be beyond hope, God would raise up a prophet to preach to the people. People would begin to seek the Lord and God would pour out His Spirit once more, and revival would come to the people. I believe that God is moving people today to seek His face.
II. SPIRITUAL AWAKENING MUST FOLLOW GOD’S PLAN