Summary: We all need reviving at different seasons of our lives. God has given us a picture of what this means through His people Israel.
This morning I want us to look at what true revival is.
Revival – It comes from the root word revive which means to recover that which was lost, to repair that which was broken and to restore that which was taken.
There are many pictures in the Word of God of times of revival. In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lost eternal life but God revived it by giving a promise that the seed of a woman would bruise the serpents head. Also in the book of Genesis, because of mankind’s wickedness their relationship with God was broken. But God found a man by the name of Noah who would survive the judgment of God and revive that relationship. In the book of Judges there are seven different stories of times of revival as God’s people would loose their freedom and He would revive it. My question for us this morning is… What does it take to experience a true revival? Now I’m not talking about a series of services when a visiting minister, such as we just had comes and preaches God’s Word. I’m not talking about an emotional feeling that comes and goes like the wind. What I’m talking about is a move of God in a person that transitions them from death to life. I’m talking about something that could happen in a moment’s notice where God comes in and recovers that which has been lost and repairs that which has been broken and restores that which has been taken. The revival that I’m talking about is the kind that the Psalmist understood when he sang…
Psalms 138:7 (NKJV)
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
I’m speaking about a life-changing encounter with God that causes me to refocus my vision and regain my spiritual composure. An encounter that causes me to see myself as God sees me… fearfully and wonderfully made. A vessel created to bear His image and to carry His Spirit. An encounter that awakens the sleeping call of God in my life. An encounter that jars my memory and takes me back to the moment that God bought me with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, filled me with His Holy Spirit, stamped me with His stamp of approval and anointed me with His holy oil. I’m talking about the kind of revival that causes me to get my priorities strait. A revival that reminds me that I am not my own but I belong to Him and I need to be about the Father’s business. An encounter that revives His Word within me and reminds me of His grace, mercy, love and power. A revival that breathes new life into a dying soul and revives the song of the heart.
Now, how do I receive that kind of a revival? If you would, turn with me please to Ezra 9:8-9. Israel had been living in captivity for seventy years, exiled to the land of Babylon. The King of Persia has released the Jews to go back and rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the House of God. Ezra is a scribe, an expert in the Law of God, who comes to Jerusalem several years after they begin rebuilding. He has come to teach them and remind them of the ways of God. In verse 8 of this chapter he is praying to the Lord, asking for forgiveness and thanking God for what He has done for Israel. Listen to what he says…
Ezra 9:8-9 (NKJV)
8 And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.
9 For we were slaves.
The first step to revival is recognizing bondage.
• It doesn’t take long to look around us and see folks that are in bondage. We see those who are in bondage to addictions such as drugs, alcohol, sexual perversions and so on.
But there are other bondages that are less recognizable that God’s children are walking around in and instead of looking around us, we must look at our own selves and ask the question… Am I in bondage? Let me help us out here this morning because no one wants to see themselves as being in bondage. Let’s examine ourselves this way… Do I have joy? Do I have peace? Do I have faith? Do I have hope? Do I have assurance? Do I have a sense of worth? If I do not have peace then I am under the bondage of dread. If I do not have joy then I am under the bondage of sorrow. If I do not have faith then I am under the bondage of doubt. If I do not have hope then I am under the bondage of despair. If I don have assurance then I am under the bondage of worry. If I have no sense of worth then I am under the bondage of shame. Can I tell you that God gives us joy and God gives us peace and God gives us faith and God gives us hope and God gives us assurance and God gives us a sense of worth. And if any of these things are missing in our lives then we are living under bondage and we are not free to live the way that God has called us and created us to live.