Summary: A description of, definition of, and a directive for real church revival.
Intro. I’ve entitled this message, "What Every Church Needs". A little boy went to church with his father one morning. That night before he went to bed he knelt down and said his prayers. He said, "God, we had a great time at church today. Wish you would have been there. All to often this is the case. We go to Church but the presence of God is not evident. We need revival. Isaiah chapter 64 is a plea from the great prophet for revival among the people of God. In this text we see three very key facts about revival. We see what revival is, what revival looks like, what we can do to hasten it.
I. A DEFINITION OF REVIVAL (V1)
Isaiah cries out to God, "Oh that thou wouldst rend the Heavens and come down." He was proclaiming this prophecy to God’s people who would be in bondage in Babylon 120 years later. They were in exile. The Temple, God’s house had been trodden under foot by the Babylonians. They were carried away captive. Because the people were shallow, their ears were burning to hear the false prophets. In bondage, shallow, no sense of the presence of God. Sound familiar?
Isaiah cried out on their behalf to God, "Oh that thou would rip open the heavens and come down...and visit your people." This is revival. Now Isaiah didn’t have theological problems. He knew that God was everywhere. He knew that God sat on the circle of the universe, that no temple could house his presence. He was pleading with God to manifest His presence among His people, make Himself known, make Himself real again.
We need to experience the presence of God in our services again. We need to be like Jacob and cry out," surely the Lord was in this place and we knew it not." All to often our services are dry and ritualistic, there’s no presence, no life.
Revival is the presence of God among His people once again.
This is revival’s definition. Not a slick haired evangelist from out of down, but a divine visitation.
II. A DESCRIPTION OF REVIVAL (1,2)
What happens when God does make His presence known? Isaiah describes three things that happen in verses 1 and 2.
1) A Shaking---He says, "mountains would tremble before you". When God shows up things are shaken up. When God gave the law at Sinai the earth quaked. When Christ returns the bible says that the stars are going to be shaken out of the heaven. When he stands to judge the earth mountains will be leveled. God shakes things up when He shows up. Here Isaiah says mountains are shaken at His presence.
As I studied this passage I thought, "What are mountains?" A mountain is a large earthen fixture that you and I can do nothing about. When people are asked why they climb mountains all they can say is "because it is there." It can’t be moved. You might just as well climb it.
We have mountains in the church and in our lives. Have you ever heard the expression, "We’ve always done it this way". Those mountains get shaken up when God visits the church in revival. How about those mountains in your life? How about those things you dont want to change or dont think you could ever change? God shakes them up and turns us and our churches upside down. This is why many don’t want revival. They would rather play church than have God visit the church and shake them up. Shake us up God, shake us up for our own good and your glory!
2) There is fire---Isaiah says, "As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil." God is spoken of in the bible as being a "consuming fire". What is the significance of fire.
a) Judgment--When God judged in the bible he judge often by fire. Sodom and Ghommora were destroyed by fire. The complainers of the Old Testament were consumed by fire, the prophets of Baal, etc... When God shows up in revival there is a great since of our sin and failure. Sin is judged and repented of. There is great judgment of sin and repentance among God’s people when the fire of revival comes upon a church.
b) Refining---Jesus in Malachi is referred to as the Messenger of the covenant who is like unto a refiners fire, and he will purify the sons of Levi. The fire of God is a refining fire, it consumes the dross. When God shows up little things are confronted in our lives and taken care of. Once careless Christians begin to be concerned about even the slightest of inconsistencies as God’s presence refines.
c) The Holy Spirit is Fire--John the Baptist said, one will come after me who will "baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire". The Holy Spirit’s ministry is equated to fire in the Bible. Paul said we can quench the fire of the Holy Spirit. When revival comes the Holy Spirit blazes upon God’s people, for He is the presence of God in the Church. He renews passion for Christ and people. He makes worship come alive, and He empowers witness. Blaze Spirit Blaze set our hearts on fire.