Summary: God brings revival into people when they have their hearts prepared through involvement with prayer and the Word of God.
A. On a bright and clear morning in July of 1982, two amateur prospectors were dredging for gold in a cold California river.
1. Mike Astle was in the river and had on a wet suit to protect him from the icy water, while his friend Dave Burgess stood nearby on the riverside supervising the machinery that brought up the sediment as Mike guided the suction hose over the river bottom.
2. Suddenly, both men heard something that sounded like a distant thunder, and both men turned and looked toward the sound.
3. Crashing out of the thicket was a huge boulder that had rolled down the mountain side.
4. Before Dave could get out of the way, the boulder struck him in the chest, knocked him backward into the river, and pinned him in a sitting position with the boulder resting squarely on his legs.
5. His head was three inches below the surface – Dave groped toward the air and sunlight only inches from his face.
6. Mike quickly did everything he could to move the boulder, including using a crowbar under the stone, but it just sank into the soft sand and gravel.
7. Mike turned off the noisy dredger and called for help. Other prospectors working nearby came running to help, but they could not move the boulder.
8. One man who had been a volunteer life-saver for more than a decade started doing underwater mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
9. Using the dredger and other equipment, the group finally freed Dave, but he had been underwater for 15 minutes and had no pulse.
10. By doing CPR and mouth-to-mouth on Dave, they were able to get his heart going, and an ambulance arrived and rushed him to the hospital.
11. Two days later, hobbling on crutches, Dave Burgess left the hospital and today he is completely recovered, except for occasional soreness in his left hip.
12. This true story stands as an example of our ability to bring back to life someone who was near death.
B. Every year, many people have near death experiences and are revived from the brink of death.
1. Unfortunately, not everyone can be revived.
2. And what is true physically, is also true spiritually.
3. Every year, many people almost die spiritually, but are revived from the brink of spiritual death.
4. But unfortunately, many people who slip into spiritual death cannot or will not be revived.
C. For the last few months, we have been studying the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
1. As we have studied those books, one thing has become very clear – God’s people were in need of restoring and renewing.
2. The Jewish remnant was in need of revival.
3. After 70 years in captivity, God had allowed them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild.
4. And the first thing they rebuilt was the temple – it was completed in 520 B.C.
5. About 60 years after the rebuilding of the temple, Ezra arrived on the scene and began to rebuild the spiritual life of God’s people.
6. Then 13 years after that, Nehemiah arrived on the scene and inspired the people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem – that task was completed in just 52 days.