Summary: God’s words through the Prophet Isaiah give us a glimpse at what is necessary if true revival is going to come to Christ’s Church.
What is Revival? Maybe a better question would be, "Why are we here this morning when there are many other places which most of us could be?’ That final statement may give us a clue: where we could be. Revival must first and foremost be a conscience decision on our part to accept spiritual renewal from God.
Hopefully what we do today will lead us into that experience. We need to battle the stagnation and complacency of everyday life, and everyday church...and claim the excitement and enthusiasm, which God desires, for our lives.
Often I’m afraid we don’t think that we can have that in church. We feel the need to be restrained and conservative. Too many of our churches can be characterized by the example of a small boy’s innocent misunderstanding one Sunday:
He was standing in the foyer of the church looking at a large bronze plaque filled with names. The Pastor walked up to the little boy and the young man asked, "who are all those people?" The Pastor replied, "those names son are all people who died in the Service. "To which the boy quite innocently replied, "which one, morning or evening?"
Many churches are in just such a state. Our people are dying while God remains faithful waiting for us to return to Him.
WHAT THEN IS REVIVAL?
Text: Isaiah 40:1-5
I. REVIVAL IS A CLEARING PROCESS (40:3)
“…prepare the way…in the wilderness…”
The first thing we must realize is that we must clear some stuff out of our lives. Each of us are different and the type of clearing we need will also be different. I’m originally from the state of Oregon and grew up in a state heavily influenced by the logging industry. Sometimes in the forest trees were thinned out to provide a greater availability of growth for other trees. Sometimes however loggers would clear cut an entire area. Everything was taken and then new seed was laid.
Where you are is between you and God, but I am confident that there is not a single one of us that couldn’t at least use some trimming in our lives.
How do you accomplish this clearing process?
1. Remove the Rubble of Sin
We need to deal with the sin in our lives. Sin is the one thing, which separates us from God. If we want revival to come, for the Lord to dwell in our lives, we must Remove the Sin. Often the biggest problem we have with the rubble is owning up to the fact that it’s there in the first place.
Two brothers had been particularly rambunctious one afternoon and in the process had broken a lamp in the living room. Neither, of course, was about to admit guilt in the event. As their mother put them into bed she gave them one last opportunity to confess; "When I say my prayers tonight I’m going to ask God to let me know which one of your broke the lamp. Wouldn’t you like to tell me before I ask God?" One of the boys quickly replied, "No let’s wait and see what God says!"
We are often in that very position. We know that there is rubble in our lives but we figure we can let it stay, not confess it until we have to. The problem with that is that until we Remove the Rubble Sin, we can never...
2. Rebuild the Roadway of Righteousness
If you have unconfessed sin in your life, not only can you not have revival; you can not have true fellowship with Christ. When you do open yourself up through this clearing process however, the roadway of righteousness, a renewed relationship is built and fellowship restored.
Open your mind and your heart right now. Remove the Rubble Sin and Rebuild the Roadway of Righteousness between you and God.
What Is Revival?
II. REVIVAL IS A LIFTING PROCESS (40:4)
“…every valley…raised up…”
God doesn’t want you to be down. How many days do we go through with our lip dragging on the ground looking like Neanderthal man? God never designed man to be bound by circumstance. In fact just the opposite is true: God created man to control his circumstances. That is why God put mankind in charge in the garden. Adam and Eve were to rule over, have dominion over the circumstances of their lives. The problem came when they chose to allow circumstance to direct instead of God.
Even in disobedience God desired to lift them up. God didn’t abandon them and condemn them to a state of lowly existence. He promised that he would lift them up.
There are two prominent areas of life that I believe God wants to lift each of us up today:
1. He wants us to refocus our attitude