Summary: Revival is waiting to break out in your church.
February 8, 2004
Title: We Want More
God has placed it heavily on my heart to begin praying once again for revival in this church. The wind of the Holy Spirit is beginning to fan a flame in my heart once again to see it happen. I now that many of you are with me on this. Last Sunday night I spoke to you about revival, especially about the manifestations of revival. But what is revival? J.I. Packer in his book, Your Father Loves You, says, “Revival is the visitation of God which brings to life Christians who have been sleeping and restores a deep sense of God’s near presence and holiness. Thence springs a vivid sense of sin and a profound exercise of heart in repentance, praise, and love, with an evangelistic outflow. Each revival movement has its own distinctive features, but the pattern is the same every time.
First God comes. On New Year’s Eve 1739, John Wesley, George Whitefield, and some of their friends held a "love feast" which became a watch night of prayer to see the New Year in. At about 3 a.m., Wesley wrote, "the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground." Revival always begins with a restoration of the sense of the closeness of the Holy One.
Second, the gospel is loved as never before. The sense of God’s nearness creates an overwhelming awareness of one’s own sins and sinfulness, and so the power of the cleansing blood of Christ is greatly appreciated.
Then repentance deepens. In the Ulster revival in the 1920s shipyard workers brought back so many stolen tools that new sheds had to be built to house the recovered property! Repentance results in restitution.
Finally, the Spirit works fast: godliness multiplies, Christians mature, converts appear. Paul was at Thessalonica for less than three weeks, but God worked quickly and Paul left a virile church behind him.
As in so many cases in our Christian walk, there are cycles that take place. As we mature in our faith, we should become hungrier for the things of God. As we become hungry and begin to steadfastly bombard heaven with prayer, we can expect God to send revival. When revival comes, people are saved, they mature in their faith, they become hungry and pray and the cycle continues.
One of the main problems is that we often lose the fire of revival and it is replaced by the spirit of complacency; we are just happy where we are with what we have. We want to look at what the writer of Hebrews has to say about that today. As we study you will begin to see that we are expected to continually move forward in our faith.
I. A PLACE TO START. (1-2)
A. Elementary Principles. The author has just finished writing about those elementary principles. He has said that, “You have come to need milk and not solid food… but solid food belongs to those who are of full age… and have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” This book was written to Jewish Christians. These Jews understood what the author has written about, the basics of faith, by understanding them in the light of Jewish tradition. When they came to the Lord, they understood about faith, repentance, baptism, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. All of those things were part of their Jewish heritage. The difference is that for the Jew, these things are all just part of the religious ritual that takes place in temple worship. But because they used the same words or phrases does not in any way make the meaning the same.