Summary: A Revival preparation message.
WHAT WILL PREVENT REVIVAL?
INTRO: If I told you there was something you could do that would guarantee revival, each of you would want to know what it was so that you could do it. If it cost money, you would be willing to pay for it to have a successful revival. Well, there is something that will guarantee success in revival, and each of us can afford it. If we will apply what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 6:1-18 to our lives, REVIVAL WILL COME. What will prevent revival from coming to our lives and to our church? There are three things:
I. KNOWN SIN (vv. 1-2).
In this passage Paul is showing the Christians that their new lives in no way encourages sin. He asks a question that each of us must face. Are we to continue in sin?
ILLUS: James Carter (preacher) tells the following: “My wife’s nephew was five or six years old when the family gathered at the lake for a July 4th celebration. Always a big fisherman, this nephew was on the pier when lunchtime came. When called to lunch, he reluctantly approached the house. As he reached the front door, his aunt said: ‘Wash your hands. It’s time for lunch.’ He replied: ‘Why? I haven’t touched anything dead.’”
Many of us feel the same way about repentance toward God. Until the time that we have done something gross and dirty and obviously wrong we see little need for repentance. To our way of thinking, repentance is for the person whose hands are fouled by the stench of death, the corruption of theft, the pollution of lies, or the destruction of greed. Little do we realize that we, too, need an attitude of repentance toward God.
When we have had a change in our relationship with God, we are to have a change in our life style. When we harbor known sins in our lives, they become a barrier between God and us, and this barrier prevents revival. The way to break down that barrier is to acknowledge that sin, and repent of it. Then we are clearing the way for revival in our lives. When revival comes in our lives it comes in the church.
II. UNREGENERATE HEART (vv. 6-7; 14).
The dictionary defines unregenerate as:
1. Not turned to the love of God.
2. Not disposed to reform or repent.
3. Stubborn and hardened.
This kind of attitude is a real hindrance to revival. The person who doesn’t want to repent of his sin will never repent of his sin. Paul says that sin no longer has dominion over us. Flip Wilson’s saying, “The devil made me do it” is untrue.
ILLUS: Have you ever pricked a callus on your hand? If you have you know that it has no feeling. It is hard, dead skin. Calluses develop—they do not just happen.
A calloused heart does not just happen either. We allow callouses of our heart to develop when we do not take proper care of our spiritual lives. When we refuse to repent of sin we become the slave of sin. It has control of us. WHEN WE REFUSE TO REPENT OF SIN, WE BECOME THE PERSON WHO IS PREVENTING REVIVAL IN OUR CHURCH.
III. CONTINUED REBELLION (vv. 16-18).
Paul instructs us that we become the servants of the one we choose to follow. Even though we may have a repentant heart, and confess our sin, it is also possible to be in rebellion to God and continue to remain in sin.
ILLUS: A lobster loses its protective shell at certain periods of its life. When the loss comes, the lobster seeks shelter, perhaps in the crevice of a rock. There the lobster waits until a new shell has had time to grow. Once the new shell has grown strong, the lobster launches out of its shelter to become a fighter once again.
Whenever we notice a weak area in our Christian walk—an area in which we tend to fall—we might do well to back off and seek the protection of God.
Satan doesn’t leave us alone just because we confess our sins to God. He is constantly trying to get us to rebel against God. This continued rebellion will prevent revival from taking place in our lives and our church.
CONC: You now have the formula that will guarantee success in revival. As you can see, it costs something, but the cost is worth the results. Are you willing to pay the price for revival to come to your life and to our church? Are you serious about wanting revival to come? If you are, you will cause it to happen.