Hearts Ready For Revival
I Corinthians 1:25-31
The passage of Scripture that I have chosen for tonight’s message may at first glance seem a bit strange and even out of place with the subject of this message but Lord willing by the time we close here tonight you will see that connection. This is not a message that came easy as I had a lot of material that I felt would be important yet I had to condense or the point and meaning behind this message would be missed. At times this week, this message went through many changes, revisions, Scripture changes, etc but the core theme was always the same and that is how can we as a church and as God’s people have hearts ready for revival.
Next week at this time, most of us will just be getting home from the close of day one of what will be our 5th Annual Spring Revival with Dr. John Hamblin. And the one question that has been burning in my heart and in my mind is this; are we ready, am I ready? Ready for true, heaven sent, God given revival. Going even a step further, do we even know what true, heaven sent, God given revival is? Do we know how to obtain it? Folks, these all are questions that you must ask yourself; questions that I must ask myself! Since these meetings have been announced, have we been praying like we ought for God to work? Have I? If you haven’t, may I encourage you start tonight, this week for God to work?
At the start of preparation for this message, the following thought came to my mind regarding our upcoming revival meetings and it is this; revival is about much more than the preacher, planning, or promotion! True revival comes about only with the prayer and pleading of God’s people for God to do a work!
A prayer of Habakkuk; revive thy work. Habakkuk 3:1-2
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Psalm 85:6
Only God can send revival. Though the context here in these two verses likely speaks of a national reviving of Israel, there is application to spiritual revival today. Only God can send revival and when God sends revival, His people rejoice!
As we continue on into this message, keep that in mind. Revival is about much more than the preacher, planning, or promotion! True revival comes about only with the prayer and pleading of God’s people for God to do a work!
I Corinthians 1:25-31
I know what some you are thinking or were thinking as we read our text; what on earth does this passage have to do with revival? I thought the very same thing as I read it. But as I read it and studied it, I saw the connection and it is very simply this; God through the Apostle Paul was teaching the Corinthian church and the Corinthian believers that Salvation is of God and God alone! There is nothing in this world that can save us from our sins! There is nothing in this world that we can do to save ourselves! The reason for that is seen in verse 29- That no flesh should glory in his presence. See folks, it was Christ and Christ alone who as verse 30 says gave us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption when He saved us and because of that we glory in Him verse 31 says not ourselves! God has providentially prevented us from claiming any glory in our salvation. It all belongs to Him. We were of no estate when He saved us. To God therefore be the glory.
And guess what? The same is true of revival! True revival is of and comes from God and God alone! Habakkuk 3:1-2 (Revive THY Work, It’s God’s Work NOT OURS!) Psalm 85:6 (Wilt THOU NOT Revive Us Again?) As with salvation, there is nothing in this world we can do ourselves to generate revival! There is nothing in this world that can bring true revival apart from God! Why? Again, so He receives the Glory, not us! So that we can Glory in what He has done among His people! The only thing we can do is pray and plead with God to do a work, to send true revival! And folks, for that to happen, there are some things that we must know, understand, and even do in our prayer and pleading regarding revival; true Heaven sent, God given revival!
The contemporary concept of revival is anything but true. In Biblical terms: revival is not a scheduled series of meetings. That is not revival. It is not an evangelistic effort that a church puts out. It is not securing an outside preacher to lead in the attempt to stir things up spiritually amongst the believers here. It is not publicity and special events and good preaching and heart-warming singing and fervent appeals for the lost to be saved. It is not decisions nor additions to the church, nor even renewed enthusiasm by cold believers. No. It is much more than any of that.
Those are our efforts, but they are not revival. Some, or even all of the above may be present and yet true revival still be absent! Mark it down folks, Revival cannot be organized, subsidized, or advertised.
True, Heaven sent, God given revival is: a sovereign work of God among His people (thus the prophet prays, “Revive Thy work,” in Hab. 3:2). It is an invasion of fresh spiritual life when there was only deadness. It is a turning back of God’s people unto Himself. It is an outpouring of His Spirit. It is an extraordinary work of God producing extraordinary results among both backslidden believers and lost sinners.
See folks, the purpose of revival is not for God to fill the pews or empty church buildings. No, rather revival God’s way is to fill empty hearts, to fill empty lives, and to fill empty eyes that have no vision. Empty hearts that have no passion. And empty wills that have no purpose.
The purpose of revival is very simply to revitalize, restore, and recover that which has become sick, weak, or apathetic. That’s the purpose of revival; to awaken, revive the Christian that has become sick, weak, or apathetic in their faith and towards God and the things of God!
So, we come back to our opening question; how do we have hearts ready for revival?
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12
Notice the phase; break up your fallow ground. What is fallow ground? Fallow ground is ground that had been fruitful, and then it has been ploughed over, and no seed has been sown in it, and therefore it has become unproductive. We need revival when as Christians, we become unproductive in the Kingdom of God! So, how do we break up our fallow ground and become productive Christians once again? The verse continues here in Hosea.
Notice that next phrase; for it is time to seek the Lord. And this right here folks, is how we have hearts ready for revival! By seeking God! Now folks when I say and when this verse says seek God, it does not mean and is not talking about the five minute prayers we pray in the morning and at night before bed! No, this type of seeking God will be costly if we truly want revival! And that cost will be a personal lost!
It will mean a loss of time; spending it praying, instead of only playing. It will mean a loss of sleep; praying whenever the Lord wants you to. It will mean a loss of pride by spending time confessing and agreeing with God how cold you are spiritually. It could be loss of food from fasting. A loss of control; yielding to God’s will, no matter what it may be. A loss of anything that might block God’s work in your life. This is what it means to seek God! Now and only now can we see how to have hearts ready for revival! As we get ready to close here tonight, allow me to quickly give you six things to do when seeking God in preparation for revival.
1. Personal Evaluation – Take Spiritual Inventory
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? II Corinthians 13:5
2. Keep Short Sin Accounts – Repent of Every Known Sin
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7
3. Forsake All Questionable Habits/Activities
Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22
4. Forgive One Another
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
5. Worship God
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24
6. Anticipate – Believe!
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24
I close with this; “Revival – God’s Way” by Estelle Gifford Jackson:
The key to revival folks is not in the preacher, planning, or promotion! We can have everything down pat when it comes to that and still not have revival! The key to revival is the prayer and pleading of God’s people for God to do a mighty work in our midst! Revival preparation is not a formula. It is a looking up to God, praying to God, and staying at it until revival comes!
But it won’t come until we prepare ourselves for revival from the Lord! Remember, revival comes from God! The question is, do we really want it? If so, you and I need to do our part as God’s people and that is to pray and plead!
Next Sunday, Dr. Hamblin will stand behind this pulpit. Let’s seek not to just have it be another church service. Let’s seek and strive to be revived, changed, and made over again as we look to see souls saved, lived changed, and the Gospel and cause of Christ advanced! You want revival? Pray and plead!