Summary: A sermon on the subject of revival designed to prepare the church for an upcoming revival meeting.
What is revival? This is a good question for us to ask in light of our upcoming revival meeting. Some say that a revival is exactly that: a meeting, one that we have in either the Spring or the Fall. Some are scheduled for a weekend, some for half a week, or, though it is rare nowadays, an entire week. During this time, we meet a lot, preach a lot, pray a lot, sing a lot, visit a lot, fellowship a lot, eat a lot, and if we are blessed, we baptize a lot. Well, although revival will indeed involve these things, it would do well for us to examine what the Bible says about the subject of revival.
What is revival? I think that as we look to David’s request in Psalm 85:6, we will discover some truths that will help us better understand just what revival is. After all, you’ve got to know what you’re aiming at if you’re going to hit the target!
1. The Need of Revival - “Again”
Revival is something that we will always be in need of. No matter how mature we are in the faith, no matter how victorious a Christian life we lead, we will never get to the place where we do not need a fresh touch from God. This is what revival is all about. It is not just a time to reach the lost and restore the wayward, but it is a time to refresh the faithful.
It is for this reason that we must regularly schedule what we have come to commonly refer to as “revival meetings.” We will always be in need for a fresh touch from God; and such meetings are intended to be times we set aside for the purpose of seeking a fresh touch from Him.
Too many churches seem to have lost this idea today. They either see revival meetings as merely another “part of the program,” or they have discontinued holding such meetings altogether. We have seen revival meetings here in the United States go from being scheduled for two weeks, to one week, to half a week, to a weekend, to even “one day revivals.” There was a time, however, when churches scheduled “protracted meetings” wherein they met until it seemed God had touched and sufficiently refreshed His people and then they would meet for the purpose of presenting the Gospel to the lost in their community.
Some object to holding such meetings because they
complain that the effects of a good revival never seem to last. I have notice, however, that the effects of a good bath never seem to last either, but that doesn’t keep people from taking a bath every now and then.
Likewise, a fresh touch from God is always something that God’s people will be in need of. Therefore, it is right an Biblical to set aside times for seeking a fresh touch from the Lord. Because revival is
always something God’s people will need, it is good and right to set aside times for that purpose.
2. The Source of Revival - “You”
Who is the “you” that David is addressing? It is none other than God, Himself. You see, the source of revival is not the preacher, the program, or the promotion. The source of revival is God.
Henry Morehouse, an evangelist of years gone by, was greatly used of God to bring souls to Christ. He preached with great power in revivals in England and America. In one of his meetings, however, everything was at a standstill. He gave himself to earnest prayer. "0 God," he implored, "why am I not preaching with unction and power? Why are the people so unresponsive? Why are souls not being saved?"
God gave him the answer to his questions as he walked down a street. On a billboard he read some flattering words about himself: "Hear the most famous of all British preachers: Henry Morehouse!" God seemed to say to him, "That’s why there is no revival." He went immediately to those in charge of the meeting and said, "No wonder we can’t have a revival. No wonder the Holy Spirit cannot work. You have advertised me as the greatest this and the greatest that. The Spirit is grieved because we have not magnified the Lord Jesus Christ, and ascribed all glory to His mighty name. He is the wonderful One. I am only a voice saying, ’Behold the Lamb of God!’"
As we look forward to the revival meeting we have scheduled to begin next week, we need to realize that our guest speaker will not arrive with revival in his pocket. No, he does not bring revival, only God does.
3. The Subjects of Revival - “Us”
Where does revival take place? It takes place in the hearts of God’s people. Therefore, if revival is going to take place among us, I must be primarily concerned with revival taking place in me.