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Wake Up: Pursuing Personal Revival Last week I ask you to consider the historical context for revival. The church has always had a need for reforming movements.

Here are some things we observed:

God always has a people who hunger and thirst for revival and reformation.

Every organization, denomination, and local church needs renewal and revival from time to time. Revival is corporate.

Every individual Christfollower will experience times of spiritual dryness and the only answer for survival is to confess your state and seek God proactively. Revival is personal.

In most cases historically when God was about to bring about change and renewal it was the church that opposed it with the most force.

The church universal and the Church of the Nazarene in the USA and Canada are both desperately in need of revival. Numbers alone bear this out with declining memberships and more importantly churches that are plateaued or declining in record numbers.

Today, once again, I am making an appeal for personal revival in our lives and an appeal for our church. Not the church down the street or across town or the denomination we happen to be a part of. I am deeply concerned about us and I am asking for some people to join me in crying out to God personally and as a church.

In Isaiah 64 the writer is crying out for revival. He is asking for God to revisit His people. He is remembering what it was like when God came in the past and walked among them. He is passionate. He is hungry for God. He is desperate. Listen to these words and try to imagine the desperation in the mind and heart of the writer.

Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble.

Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And O how the mountains quaked.”

For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! You welcome those who gladly do good,
who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly.

We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.

And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Don’t be so angry with us, LORD. Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people.

Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin.

The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed. After all this, LORD, must you still

refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?” Isaiah 64:1-11 NLT


Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote the following answers to the question: When do we need revival.
Consider these evidences of the need for revival:

•    when we do not love Him as we once did.
•    when earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
•    when we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.
•    when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings.
•    when we have little or no desire for prayer.
•    when we would rather make money than give money.
•    when we put people into leadership positions in our churches who do not meet scriptural qualifications.
•    when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
•    when we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.
•    when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.
•    when God's people are more concerned about their jobs and their careers, than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salvation of the lost.
•    when believers can be at odds with each other and not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.
•    when our marriages are co-existing rather than full of the love of Christ.
•    when our children are growing up to adopt worldly values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles.
•    when we are more concerned about our children's education and their athletic activities than about the condition of their souls. 
•    when we tolerate "little" sins of gossip, a critical spirit, and lack of love.
•    when we will watch things on television and movies that are not holy.
•    when our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.
•    when our prayers are empty words designed to impress others.
•    when our prayers lack fervency.
•    when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
•    when we aren't seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God.
•    when we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over sin
•    when we are content to live with explainable, ordinary Christianity and church services.
•    when we are bored with worship.
•    when we start fitting into and adapting to the world, rather than calling the world to adapt to God's standards of holiness.
•    when people have to be begged to give and to serve in the church.
•    when our giving is measured and calculated, rather than extravagant and sacrificial.
•    when we aren't seeing unchurched people drawn to Christ on a regular basis.
•    when we aren't exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.
•    when we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
•    when we are unmoved by the fact that 2.5 billion people in this world have never heard the name of Jesus.
•    when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors, business associates, and acquaintances who are lost and without Christ.
•    when we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us because of our faith.
•    when we are blind to the extent of our need and don't think we need revival.

Now let’s look at four things that must happen for revival to happen in your life and in the church:

Pursuing Personal Revival with Passion

Do you want personal revival?

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to reconnect with God in a dynamic way?

Are you willing to start this week?

A. There must be an intense desire: An Anguish

Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!

The language used by the writer Isaiah is one of desperation. Revival only comes into our lives one way and that is when we recognize and embrace our need.

Isaiah had his own personal revival in chapter six. He saw God, he saw himself and his sin, he confessed and he was purified with fire. Then he saw others. It is the easiest thing in the world for us to become entangled in the cares of this life to the point that we ignore our relationship with Christ. This leads to lukewarmness and apathy.

Jesus said that He would rather us be hot or cold but not lukewarm. In fact in Revelation 3 He clearly states that lukewarmness would cause Him to throw up. We are admonished in Revelation 2 to remember our “first love.” The bible uses many metaphors to remind us of our need. We read about fallow or hard ground and stony hearts.

The context and nuance of this opening line is one of anguish and hunger.

B. There must be a confession and change in our life and lifestyle: An Amendment

You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly.

We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.


Sin has always been an issue. It is the thing that always drags people away from God. Many of the modern and even post modern teachers of today leave you thinking that leaving you in sin is the best that Christ salvation can do for you. Do you really believe that? Do you really want to limit the power of God in your life to your human frailties?

Are you willing to believe that a Sovereign and all powerful God saves us but doesn’t give us enough power in our lives to overcome the sins that destroy us?

We are called to confession and we are called to a change in our lives. What would your life look like if you took seriously the things that you are doing that you know you shouldn’t be doing? What would happen if you gained a godly view of your life and really cared about it because God cares?

Would you confess anything? Would you fall on your knees and seek God? Would you stay there until He came and cleansed you and changed you?

C. There must be prayers of intercession: An Altar

Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.

There is an interesting connection to chapter 63 of Isaiah. You can track the intensity of his prayer. Let’s look at Isaiah 63:15 and verses 17,18.

LORD, look down from heaven; look from your holy, glorious home, and see us. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now?
 
LORD, why have you allowed us to turn from your path?Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession.


How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it.

Desire will give way to duty and the serious seeker for personal revival will become an intercessor.

Richard Foster, in his book “Celebration of Discipline” says “To pray is to change. Prayer in the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ…. …James says: ‘You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions’ (James 4:3). To ask ‘rightly’ involves transformed passions, total renewal. In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He loves. Progressively we are taught to see things from His point of view.”

Isaiah wrote:

Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. . . .

Do you have an altar in your life? I am not talking about a piece of wood at the front of a church. Jesus never had one of those. I am talking about a place where you commune with God. A place where occasionally you are so overwhelmed with His presence that you don’t have anything to say. You just recognize the presence of God for who He is and what He is.

God is calling us to prayer. He is calling us to somehow cut through our easy lives and the stuff that distracts us to refocus on Him and prioritize our lives around what matters to Him.

D. There must be faith: An Awakening

Isaiah spared no words when he described by faith what it would look like when God showed up again. Look at the creative language he uses:

How the mountains would quake in your presence! As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble.

Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And O how the mountains quaked.”

For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!


Are you hungry for a spiritual change? Are you today wishing that things would or could be different?

Charles Finney noted this about obedience and sacrifice, “Revival is nothing more or less than a new obedience to God!”

In the 1700s, the First Great Awakening came to an end because of the influx of rationalistic thinking from Europe in the form of literature. Revival waned because books containing the philosophy of the Enlightenment were disbursed on the college campuses by the ton. Books containing rationalistic principles which mocked the Bible, such as Thomas Paine's Age of Reason, were given out to the students for a few pennies. If the students wouldn't buy them they would be given to them for free.

Dr. Timothy Dwight, then the President of Yale College, described the literature as "the dregs of humanity vomited on us ... the whole mass of pollution emptied on this country."

The effect on U.S. colleges was disastrous. Students looking for an excuse to rebel against Christianity embraced rationalism. Bible colleges became centers of skepticism. Students formed societies calling themselves by the names of the French philosophers of the Enlightenment. In radical movements, similar to the 1960s, students took control of entire campuses. Students held mock communion services. One group forced the resignation of a Bible college president. Another group attempted to blow up a campus building.

But God had a surprise in store. Timothy Dwight, the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, became the president of Yale in 1795. Under his administration the whole moral and religious atmosphere of the college was changed for the better.

He met the students on their own ground and in a series of frank discussions in the classrooms treated subjects such as "The Nature and Danger of Infidel Philosophy," "Is the Bible the Word of God?" He gave a notable series of lectures in which he grappled with the principles of deism and materialism. Soon he had the admiration of the students and in 1802 a revival began in which a third of the student body professed conversion, to be followed at frequent intervals by other awakenings.

Dartmouth, Williams and Amherst colleges experienced similar spiritual awakenings while the movement spread to other parts of the United States. The "Infidel Movement" was checked and the resulting awakening became the impulse for the founding of numerous academies and colleges.

In 1904 a young ministerial student named Evan Roberts, began to feel that God was sending an urgent message that He was going to pour out a mighty spirit of revival on Wales, which is now a part of Great Britain. Roberts began attending various revival meetings and during one he was deeply moved by the Spirit. As he prayed at the altar he cried out to God, “Bend me o Lord!” This was a complete and total surrender of his will to God’s will.

Roberts soon returned to his home church to preach the message of revival but his pastor was reluctant to allow him to speak. In a compromise, the pastor announced that Roberts would be speaking following the regular prayer meeting and any who wished to stay were welcome. Only 17 people stayed to hear Evan speak and most of them were teenagers and young adults.

Evan Roberts spoke in that church for nearly two hours with a simple 4 point message that he was convinced could help God bring revival.

1. Confess all known sin to God
2. Deal with and get rid of any “doubtful” area of your life
3. Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly
4. Confess Christ publicly

When Roberts was finished speaking all 17 young people were at the altar on their knees crying out to God. They prayed until 2am that night and it was the beginning of one of the greatest movements of God in all history. By the end of the week, over 60 people were won to Christ and over the course of the next year and a half revival swept through the nation of Wales. Over 1,000,000 people were led to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

The revival was so great that the national culture changed dramatically.

• A rage of bankruptcies took place - All of the taverns and liquor stores went out of business
• Work at the coal mines was brought to a near standstill - The mules who pulled the wagons were so accustomed to hearing foul language from the workers that after the men were saved the mules no longer recognized their voices or commands
• The entire police force was dismissed for almost 18 months due to a complete lack of crime
• One of the few court cases that was actually brought before a judge was unusual. The defendant came into the court and admitted his guilt, the judge led the man to Christ and the jury closed the case by singing a hymn.

The revival eventually made its way across the Atlantic and swept through parts of New York and New Jersey. There was even a daily column in the New York Times called “Today’s Converts” that listed those who were being saved.

The bottom line is we need personal revival. You need it. Some of you have spent the last thirty minutes thinking of somebody else in the church or in your family that really needed this message but I have news for you. If you did that, you need it worse than anyone!
Are you hungry? Are you willing?

Will you make this your prayer? “Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!”

2008/05/04