My prayer for the new year is that our nation’s revival will begin in 2010. My concern is that I don’t think most churches in America have a clue as to how that is to happen. I pray through the power of the Holy Spirit I can bring some clarity to the confusion. Let me begin by sharing with you a quote from Leonard Ravenhill:
“This is a plea for the return of the supernatural; but I must also give this a word of explanation. For a decade, all over this land there has been a ministry of the miraculous (more or less), and thank God for all who honor Him and remain faithful. But having said that, here is a plea for sane thinking and a spiritual evaluation of the evangelistic field. To a large degree, have we not substituted seeing for hearing? In Acts, Philip the evangelist could have transferred the Ethiopian eunuch to a city seething with revival fever where the eunuch could have seen ‘the lame leap like an hart and the tongue of the dumb sing.’ Instead, he pitched right into the Word of the living God, and beginning at the same Scripture preached unto him Jesus. We need the miraculous but we also need Christ-centered teaching. Our crucified, exalted Christ must have preeminence over all other slants of truth, for while the Church is languishing, the world is perishing. ‘Awake, awake, put on strength, 0 arm of the Lord…’ (Isaiah 51:9)”
Therein in lies the stumbling block to revival in America’s churches; a lack of Christ-centered teaching and the failure of preachers and Christian leaders giving Christ preeminence “over all other slants of truth.” It has been years since our church leaders have given Christ preeminence. And so it must begin.
Revival is God visiting us. So if corporate revival is to come to the church, the church must prepare for God’s arrival in the way John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry to begin:
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight.”’ Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Matthew 3:1-6)
What is the most overlooked part of that passage? John himself. John was in a right relationship with God BEFORE he began preaching repentance. John himself experienced a personal revival before he expected anyone else to come to repentance. Repentance always comes before revival because revival means restoring a dead life; there can be no revival of a dead, lost soul.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
We have many preachers who need to get saved before they can preach on revival and expect the church to respond. And then we need saved preachers reviving their relationships with the Lord Jesus Christ in a real and personal way before they can preach on revival and expect the church to respond.
What about you dear brother or sister in Christ? How are you to experience revival? You must pitch “right into the Word of the living God” before you can ever expect your own personal revival much less one in your church.
So where should a stray saint begin? Think for a moment of the most famous character in the Bible who sinned horribly and openly until God through a word from the Prophet Nathan brought him to repentance. That’s right…King David. What did David have to say about repentance? Well, he wrote a whole psalm about it and that is what I want to leave you with it this morning. I want you to read it in its totality without an eye on the topic of repentance or any “theological tidbit” in mind. Read God’s holy word and let it be planted in the fallow fields of your hollow heart. I’ve removed the verse numbers from this psalm because I don’t want you distracted by the verses; I want you disturbed by its entirety.
May its reading be as a few drops of cool water on your parched tongue. We will dissect it beginning on Monday. Please remember to go to church tomorrow.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.” (Psalm 51)
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers