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Anticipating Revival

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josh
Joshua 4:21–24 ESV
And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever ().
Background - Wilderness…pick up stones…God who had parted Red Sea stops the Jordan River for them to cross.
Stones are a reminder to to them of why they are in the Promised Land…why they are in the Kingdom…how they got to be God’s people…God did it. God gathered them together…God freed them from slavery…God put them in the place where they will now live…and this was a reminder to them…but why?
Joshua 4:24 ESV
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
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2 reasons…so that they may fear the Lord.
Personal conviction and remembrance of what God had done for them and how much He loves them…personally…that they would love and fear Him and live for Him.
And so all of the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty…how would that happen…through them and the way they live and speak of the Lord…in the midst of all of the people of the earth.
Here God did something unusual, something strange, something marvellous and miraculous. He had delivered His cosen people, Isreal, from all from their enemies, the Egyptians—he divided the Red Sea and they went through on dry land. And here they were, they had been in the wilderness for forty years, and there, on the other side of the Jordan River, was promised land of Canaan, the place they were looking for, and longing for, the land of blessing, the land flowing with milk and honey. And they had been wandering in the wilderness!
I would remind you again that this very question of the need of revival is of vital importance to the Christian Church, and the minds and prayers of Christian people throughout the world should be channelled and directed into the matter of this urgent need. I am going to quote some words by Albert Barnes, a famous expositor in the last century, because they seem to me to put this thing so perfectly. He wrote like this:
That day which shall convince the great body of professing Christians of the reality and desirableness of revivals will constitute a new era in the history of religion and will precede manifestations of power like that of Pentecost.
The greatest problem confronting us in the Church today is that the vast majority of professing Christians are not convinced of the ‘reality and the desirableness of revivals’. As I have pointed out, this is a subject that has scarcely been mentioned. Men and women have been so busy in other directions that they have not even thought of it, still less prayed urgently for it. And yet, as Albert Barnes says, it is surely most important that we should do so and therefore, anything that is going to help us to do it is of the greatest value, and one of the best aids that I know of in this respect is to consider the story of the great revivals of the past.
I am certain that that is absolutely right! The greatest problem confronting us in the Church today is that the vast majority of professing Christians are not convinced of the ‘reality and the desirableness of revivals’. As I have pointed out, this is a subject that has scarcely been mentioned. Men and women have been so busy in other directions that they have not even thought of it, still less prayed urgently for it. And yet, as Albert Barnes says, it is surely most important that we should do so and therefore, anything that is going to help us to do it is of the greatest value, and one of the best aids that I know of in this respect is to consider the story of the great revivals of the past.
Here God did something unusual, something strange, something marvellous and miraculous. He had delivered His cosen people, Isreal, from all from their enemies, the Egyptians—he divided the Red Sea and they went through on dry land. And here they were, they had been in the wilderness for forty years, and there, on the other side of the Jordan River, was promised land of Canaan, the place they were looking for, and longing for, the land of blessing, the land flowing with milk and honey. And they had been wandering in the wilderness!
That is why, in this centenary year, we are reminding ourselves of what happened in 1859, that wonderful year in the history of God’s people.
But let us be clear about this. We are not interested in all this merely from the historical standpoint. Our interest must never be merely an antiquarian interest. There is no point in reading about revivals just for the sake of reading the history in the stories. No, our motive and our interest must be to read and to study and to consider what has happened in the past, in order that we may discover the great principles that underly this matter, in order, in other words, that we may discover what it is that we should be seeking and praying for in our own day and generation. It should be a utilitarian, rather than an antiquarian interest and motive, that should govern us. In other words, I suggest that we should make use of everything that we can find which tells us about a hundred years ago, in exactly the same way as God intended the Children of Israel to use the twelve stones that he commanded them to take out of the middle of the river of Jordan and to set up at Gilgal.
Now I am calling your attention to this interesting incident because it does seem to me to be speaking very directly to us at this present hour. Here God did something unusual, something strange, something marvellous and miraculous. He had delivered the Children of Israel first of all from their enemies, the Egyptians—he divided the Red Sea and they went through on dry land. And here they were, they had been in the wilderness for forty years, and there, on the other side of the river of Jordan, lay the promised land of Canaan, the place they were looking for, and longing for, the land of blessing, the land flowing with milk and honey. What a contrast to the wilderness!
Yes, but how could they go through the river? And the answer was that God divided the waters of Jordan, and they went through—again on dry ground. And God, you remember, gave this commandment to Joshua, and Joshua in turn gave it to the people. Take out, he said, twelve stones from the very spot where the priests stood as they held the Ark. Take out twelve stones and then set them up there in Gilgal.
Why? The reason is given here in our text.
To remember…to remind them what God had already done for them so they would live in a way to show the world how powerful God is.
Not only that…but also to remind them of something God had done before…parting the Red Sea…in other words…God is mighty and He can do it again.
So let me tell you about something God has done before us.
Let me tell you about a Revival in Northern Ireland...
1859…why would we want to know about this…hearing of the 1859 revival is comparable to these twelve stones that are there at Gilgal. To create in us this same question, ‘What do these stones mean?’
Now it seems to me that our remembering of the 1859 revival is comparable to these twelve stones that are there at Gilgal. Our position is this, and my whole business, as we study this subject, is, in a sense, just to create in you this very question, ‘What mean these stones?’ What is all this that you are talking about? What are these books and pamphlets? What are these meetings? What is this thing? We know nothing about it. As the Jewish Children in their day were going to ask, ‘What mean these stones?’, so I trust that the main outcome of our study will be to lead the men and women of our day to ask, ‘What is this and what is its relevance to us?’
Or what does revival mean? What does it look like?
What is all this revival that we are talking about?
The 1859 Ulster revival was a revival in Northern Ireland that began in a small town called Kells. This is a small town that even today has about 2000 people.
[1][2]
in County Antrim. In late 1857, through the encouragement of the minister of Connor Presbyterian Church, John Hamilton Moore, four recent converts began meeting in the Kells National Schoolhouse for prayer and Bible study.[3] 1 January 1858 saw the first person converted as a direct result of the prayer meeting, and by the end of 1858 the attendance was around fifty. By Spring 1859 there were 16 prayer meetings in the parish.[4] The revival spread to Ahoghill in March 1859 and then to Ballymena.[5] which spread to the rest of the United Kingdom. It
In late 1857, four believers began meeting in the Kells Schoolhouse for prayer and Bible study.
With the conviction in in the heart of one of the men...
“You need to do something more for God. Could you not gather at least six of your neighbours and spend time with them reading and searching the Word of God?
In response James McQuilkin, Jeremiah Meneely, Robert Carlisle and John Wallace began meeting in a school in Kells. They met beginning in September 1857 through a long and cold winter. As they read and meditated upon the Scripture their hearts began to burn with an unquenchable fire from heaven.
They began to believed deeply in the sovereignty of God, the sufficiency of the Holy Scripture and the power of Holy Spirit. They studied the Word and prayed for three months before there were any visible results. Then two more men joined their group and then on New Years Day, 1858, the first conversion took place as a result of that meeting. By the end of 1858, about 50 were taking part in the weekly meeting.
In response James McQuilkin, Jeremiah Meneely, Robert Carlisle and John Wallace began a weekly prayer meeting in an old school house near Kells. They met every Friday night from September 1857 through the long and cold winter. As they read and meditated upon the Scripture their hearts began to burn with an unquenchable fire from heaven, which set all Ulster ablaze for God.
The revival spread then to nearby towns in March 1859 and then eventually to the rest of the United Kingdom.
The revival spread to nearby Ahoghill in March 1859 and then eventually to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Although the revival started with laymen in a small town, nearby preachers soon got involved.
Our Sabbath services are continuous, from nine in the morning until ten at night. We are engaged from nine to twelve in prayer meetings for the young, from twelve to two in public service, from two to four in prayer meetings, from five to eight in the evening service, and finally in our evening prayer meeting.[7]
Christian Historian recently commented that the 1859 revival "made a greater impact spiritually on Ireland, than anything since the days of St. Patrick." That revival which started with just a few "normal” people who lived for Jesus by the power of the Spirit for the glory of God in a small town of just a couple thousand people...has been estimated to have produced 100,000 born again believers and who knows how many more over the next few generations after.
And so we ask?
Psalm 85:6 ESV
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
J. Edwin Orr suggested that the 1859 revival "made a greater impact spiritually on Ireland, than anything else known since the days of St. Patrick."[8] According to Ian Paisley, the revival explains why Northern Ireland is much more religiously conservative than the rest of the UK or Europe.[2]
So back to our verses.
So let us continue with our consideration of these verses. The thing that strikes us at once, of course, is that it is most extraordinary that this kind of thing should be necessary. Would you not have thought that with an event like this in their history, there would be no need to remind any generation of the Children of Israel of this? They are so remarkable, these two incidents, the crossing of the Red Sea and the River Jordan, they are such outstanding events that you would have thought that there would never be any need to remind people in some visible, external, objective way of such things. Yet God gave the commandment because he knows human nature so well, and what he knows about us is that it is simply astonishing to notice how easily we can forget. Even a memorable event like this could soon be forgotten, could be blotted right out of the minds and the consciousness of subsequent generations of the Children of Israel. So, ‘Put up the stones,’ says God, so that they will be a reminder, the people will be arrested, they will say, ‘What are these stones about? What does this mean?’, and then the answer will be given to them.
Like the people of God at the Jordan River we need reminders of what our God has done before.
The first thing I want us to think about is that reminders are necessary.
You would think that with an event like this in their history, the temporary drying up of the Jordan River for them to cross on dry land...there would be no need to remind them of this?
God had done two remarkable things for His people...the crossing of the Red Sea and the Jordan, they are such outstanding events in the History of the World that you would have thought that there would never be a need to remind people.
Yet God gave the commandment because he knows us humans so well…he knows how easily we can forget.
So, ‘Put up the stones,’ says God, so that they will be a reminder, the people will say, ‘What are these stones about? What does this mean?’, and then the answer will be given to them.
We need reminders because without them we will begin to live in a way that does not show how powerful God is…we will forget that we have a God that can part the Red Sea.
There is nothing more transient than reputation, in that sense. But it is not only true of great men, it is true of great events. Some of the most outstanding events of history are soon forgotten. A generation arises that forgets all about the sacrifices of its forefathers, who may have fought even unto death for some great principle or for some great liberty. Generations arise that know nothing about it and are really not interested in it at all. They take all the fruits and all the benefits, and they never trouble even to ask, ‘How is it that these things have ever come to us?’ Now, that is human nature, is it not? What is the cause of this and, particularly, what is the cause of this in the realm of religion? Why does it become possible that generations will arise that will even forget a thing like this so that God has to give his commandment about these stones? Let me briefly suggest some answers to this.
We become absorbed with ourselves and our fear for and love of the Lord diminishes.
We become so busy doing what we are doing…that we forget what God has done and don’t see what He is doing…and without reminders…we may miss it.
Because without reminders and without living in a way that relys totally on God’s provision…for Him to part the Jordan for us…we become absorbed with ourselves, and with our own particular time and generation, and with our own activities. We become so busy doing what we are doing…that we forget what God has done and don’t see what Hie is doing…and without reminders…we may miss it.
And in doing to our lives become small. We lose vision for the Kingdom and worry only about our own little kingdoms.
This even creeps into our reading and our studying of the Bible. We go to the Bible as a book which is going to help us with our problems.
This even creeps into our reading and our studying of the Bible. We go to the Bible as a book which is going to help us with our problems.
We go to the Bible saying to ourselves, ‘I am going to read the Bible because I want to see what God has done; I am going read my Bible in order for it to answer my questions’? But, the Bible is not a book that only answers my little questions and tells me various things that I may want to know; the Bible is the record of the activity of God, the manifestations of God, God’s mighty acts and deeds…a reminder of how mighty our God is.
That is why I am so in love with the way we read the Bible here…we don’t get to pick and choose what we want to get out of the Bible…we just open up and see what God would have to say to us today…and we also don’t get the luxury of skipping hard topics.
Which is why we need to go to our Bibles (like these twelve stones) for reminders of what the Lord has done so we will live in a way that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that we may fear the LORD your God forever.
So what if we went to our Bibles and instead of first asking…what does this mean for me…we would ask…what did God do? What does this mean for His Kingdom…and for the Kingdom growing…what does this mean for His glory in my community…and then what does this mean for me?
Also, remember this need for reminder is something we do every week…it is commanded that we do so often right?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.The acts of God. But I am afraid we do not read the Bible like that any longer, do we? We want just a little word to help us. We want a nice little thought to start the day. We just want something before we offer up our brief and hurried prayer before we rush off. Beautiful thoughts. Do not misunderstand me. I am going to say a thing that can be grievously misunderstood. I verily believe that the main trouble of most evangelical people today is that they read their Bibles too devotionally, which means, I say, subjectively. And this mighty panorama of the acts of the living God is something that we seem to be unaware of and the result is that we need to be reminded of what God has done. It is all here for us, but we pass by, we do not notice, so we must put up some stones, some memorial, something to arrest attention.
This is a principle which you find in many places in the Bible. Look at the communion service, for example. The principle is exactly the same. We are so dull and so stupid as the result of sin, that we might even forget this, the death of the Son of God for us and his agony and his shame and all that he endured on the cross. And his eternal love for us, we ould even forget that. So the Lord himself ordained and commanded that we should meet together and break bread and drink wine: ‘This do in remembrance of me.’ It is the setting up of the stones in Gilgal once more. We are such, and we suffer so much from this felt spiritual lethargy, that we need objectivememorials, we constantly need tangible reminders, something outside ourselves that will lead us to ask, ‘What does this table mean?’ ‘What mean these stones?’ God condescends to our weakness, and our lethargy and our stupidity by providing us with external memorials of his almighty acts and deeds. And so it is that I, for one, thank God for 1959. Simply because it happens to be a hundred years away from 1859. You notice that I am holding on to this point and I am doing so for this reason. This is our eighth consideration of this question of revival and if I have not hitherto succeeded in rousing you to ask—‘What means it?’—if there has not arisen in you this new interest and curiosity, it has all been in vain. It is not enough just to study all this and to be aware of something. Are we really becoming concerned as to what it all is? What does all this record mean? And I hope to show that the real and complete answer is given in these verses at the end of . It is all here. God, you see, has given his own explanation, and I have nothing to do but to hold it before you.
And this need for reminder is something we do every week…is commanded upon us often right?
Jesus Himself has commanded to us that we should meet together and break bread and drink wine…why?
‘This do in remembrance of me.’
It is the setting up of the stones in Gilgal.
We constantly need tangible reminders, something outside ourselves that will lead us to ask, ‘What does this table mean?’ What does this bread mean...‘What do these stones mean?’
God knows our weakness and in His mercy provides us reminders of his power and sovereignty and grace…of His love for us in His acts and deeds.
So what do we need to remember? What are reminders reminding us of?
First and foremost, it means that we are reminded of facts. ‘What mean these stones?’ Subsequent generations are going to ask that question. They will be going along casually, perhaps out on a walk or on a journey, and suddenly they will see these twelve stones and they will say, ‘What is the meaning of this?’
We are reminded of facts. ‘What are these stones?’ Future generations are going to ask the question. They will be walking along on a walk or on a journey, and see these twelve stones and they say, ‘What is this?’
And the reply, ‘These stones are here as a reminder of something that happened.’
History. Facts.
For us what is the meaning of the bread and wine?
First the fact—that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate and the fact that He rose again…and the fact that He ascended into heaven and is right now ruling the universe. Remember.
We are in the Kingdom…the promised land because of what God did.
Facts! Crossing the Red Sea, crossing Jordan, God’s sovereignty God’s power…we are in the promised land because of what God did.
And also why it is important for us to know facts like what God did in little Ulster Ireland in 1859…this revival was so much fact that it was reported in the newspapers. Newspapers are not often interested in spiritual matters in small towns, but they were reporting what happened in 1859.
And it is exactly the same with what we are celebrating this year. It is a simple actual fact of history that something amazing and wonderful happened a hundred years ago. Something literally took place in 1859 which was so much fact that it even began to be reported in the newspapers. And they very rarely report anything unless it is political. The only sermons they are interested in are sermons that introduce politics in some shape or form. They are not interested in spiritual matters, but they were actually reporting what happened in 1859. It became front page news. That was phenomenal! Facts. Acts. Something that belongs solidly to the realm of history.
What else does the text tell us…we remember these things because they are not only to happen once.
Verse 22

then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.

I want to emphasis a point. God whats us to remember His power so we can trust Him do act powerfully again…in us…in our generation.
I want to emphasise that point. What happened in 1859 is only one in a great series. It is but one example, but one illustration of something that has been happening periodically in the history of the Christian Church right through the running centuries. It is one example of what we call ‘revival’, a ‘revival’ of religion, and it is only one example. There have been many others.
What happened in 1859 is only one of many Revivals since the ascension of Christ.
Times of Revival have been happening periodically in the history of the Church since Pentecost.
There are times of Spiritual dryness and deadness…when people begin to forget…and live as though God is absent...followed by great times of Revival
And as you read the history of every one of them, that they share certain things in common. They have the same general characteristics. So we should remember.
Let me just give you a few illustrations in passing. Long before even the Protestant Reformation, there was quite a religious revival in this country associated with the name of John Wycliffe and the Lollards. That was a revival, as definitely as what happened in 1859. Then, of course, the same thing happened on the continent of Europe with that great man John Huss. There in Moravia, what is now called Czechoslovakia, there was a real revival, associated with his name, and God used him as an instrument and as a channel. It was an amazing movement of the Spirit of God. They had it amongst the Waldensians in Northern Italy. It was a real revival. It happened with that great man called John Tauler,* who was actually a priest and a preacher in the Roman Catholic Church. The Spirit of God came upon him and it lead to a revival in his area. It was the same thing exactly.
It happened in America three hundred years ago, in the great awakening associated with the names of George Whitefield and Johnathon Edwards the Wesleys and many, many others. You find it again at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. And then there was this notable, remarkable event which took place from 1857 to 1859 in America, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Sweden and in other parts of the world.
Let us never forget that this was a revival as well as a reformation. We must not think of that as being merely a theological movement. It was that, but in addition there was a revival, the Spirit of God was shed abroad and people were listening to preaching. Preaching and the reading of the Bible were of supreme importance. That is a religious awakening. And that is what we mean by revival. You find it in the seventeenth century, and you have it, in an amazing manner, two hundred years ago, in the great Evangelical awakening associated with the names of Whitefield and the Wesleys and many, many others. You find it again at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. And then there was this notable, remarkable event which took place from 1857 to 1859 in America, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Sweden and in other parts of the world.
Then, of course, there was the Protestant Reformation. Let us never forget that this was a revival as well as a reformation. We must not think of that as being merely a theological movement. It was that, but in addition there was a revival, the Spirit of God was shed abroad and people were listening to preaching. Preaching and the reading of the Bible were of supreme importance. That is a religious awakening. And that is what we mean by revival. You find it in the seventeenth century, and you have it, in an amazing manner, two hundred years ago, in the great Evangelical awakening associated with the names of Whitefield and the Wesleys and many, many others. You find it again at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. And then there was this notable, remarkable event which took place from 1857 to 1859 in America, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Sweden and in other parts of the world.
God moved at Jordan, said Joshua, exactly as he did before, at the Red Sea. Certain characteristics are common to these acts of God, no matter the of time, no matter the country, in spite of everything else…certain things hold true also of all Revivals.
This, then, is only one in a series of events that have been happening throughout the long history of the Christian Church. And you will find, as you read the stories of every one of them, that they share certain things in common. They have the same general characteristics. God moved at Jordan, said Joshua, exactly as he did before, at the Red Sea. Certain general characteristics are common to all these experiences, in spite of time, in spite of country, in spite of civilisation, in spite of everything else.
So what are they? First...
What is revival? We can define it, as
A period of increased Spiritual power and God’s activity in the life of a church (sometimes very small) that then spreads to surrounding believers and then unbelievers to convert increasing numbers to Christ.
So by definition, a revival is something that happens first where?
In believers…in the Church and among Christian people…revivals start in believers. This is true by definition.
It is revival; something is revived and when you say that, you mean that there is something present that has got some life. But the life was beginning to droop, or had become almost dead, and from the outside it seemed there was not much sign of life or activity. Those looking on from the outside would not say…wow look at how alive and bold that person or Church is for Jesus. Outsiders could be in the presence of that person or watch that church and barely notice there is spiritual life…the Power of the Spirit and the glorious activity of God is minimal or absent compared to how powerful God truly is.
Revival means awakening, stimulating the life, bringing it to the surface again. It happens first in the people of God, and among believing people and it is only secondly, because of the revival of God’s people…causes new live in unbelievers outside also.
The whole essence of a revival is that it is something that happens to the Church, to the people inside first.
Let me show you the difference.
An evangelistic campaign is the Church deciding to do something with respect to those who are outside. A revival is not the Church deciding to do something and doing it. It is something that is done to the Church, something that happens to the Church. That then leads to evangelism.
The whole essence of a revival is that it is something that happens to the Church, to the people inside first.
So then, what is it that happens? What is this? What mean these stones? What happened a hundred years ago in these various countries? The best way of answering that question is to say that it is in a sense a repetition of the day of Pentecost. It is something happening to the Church, that inevitably and almost instinctively makes one look back and think again of what happened on the day of Pentecost as recorded in . Let me give you some of the general characteristics.
What is it that happens? What do these stones mean?
The best way of answering that question is to say that it is in a sense a repetition…of a reminder we are given in ...a reminder of the day of Pentecost. Revivals are something happening to the Church, that instinctively makes us look back and remember what happened on the day of Pentecost in .
So with that let me give you some of the general characteristics.
1. The essence of a revival is that the Holy Spirit revives or comes down upon a number of people together.
That is what is meant by revival.
It begins with a visitation of the Holy Spirit, or another term—an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The people are conscious of something happening…something has changed..for some it is as if something has suddenly come down upon them.
The Spirit of God has descended into their midst, God has come down they know He is among them. They become more aware of his presence and of his power. Remember this starts in God’s people gathering together. Suddenly they are more aware of his presence, they are aware of the awesomeness of God. The Holy Spirit literally seems to be in some of the meetings and taking charge, and manifesting his power and guiding them, and leading them, and directing them. That is the first essence of revival. The mission and activity is obviously beyond the power of the people involved.
And what does that mean?
2. God’s people begin to have an awareness of spiritual things and a clearer view of the Spiritual battle happening around them.
The next effect is that the people present begin to have an awareness of spiritual things and clearer view of the Spirtual Kingdom around them.
Now again I am still talking about believers, suddenly more conscious of God’s presence and of His power, and spiritual things become more of their reality.
Even if they have heard all these things before, they may have heard them a thousand times…or even read Bible verses many times before but what they say now is this:
‘You know, I am seeing things differently...this whole thing is about living my life for Jesus by the power of the Spirit is suddenly becoming more clear to me. Some things in the Bible that I was familiar with…I am understanding on a deeper Spiritual level…some words seem to stand out in big letters. Even verses I knew before. I am starting to see people differently…those in the church with greater love and mission together…those outside the church in greater need and a more desperate situation without Jesus. Even many who think they are saved I now see as Spiritually lifeless. I am seeing it all in a way that I had never had before or like I did when I first was saved.’
That is what those in a Revival begin say.
The Holy Spirit enlightens the mind and understanding. They begin not only to see these things clearly but to feel their power.
What are the specific things of which they become so aware?
--First and foremost, the glory and the holiness and sovereignty of God.
Holy fear of the Lord and a new vision for His glory.
Have you ever noticed, as you read your Bible, the effect on people as they suddenly realized the presence and glory and the holiness and sovereignty of God?
Like Job, they put their hands on their mouths when they hear God say “Where were you when I laid the earths foundations?”
Or like Isaiah they say, ‘Woe is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.’
Or like Moses when God says “I am who I am and I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy?
Why…what changed?
They have just had a realization of glory and the holiness and sovereignty of God.
That always happens in a revival.
There is a newfound joy right alongside a newfound serious among people who have already been believers.
Because of awe, this reverence, holy fear, the consciousness of God in His glory and holiness and sovereignty and power.
---Interestingly this also leads to a greater awareness of sin.
It leads men and women to feel exactly what they are without Jesus and the power of His Spirit...unclean and unworthy like filthy rags.
They begin better understanding the words, ‘God have mercy, on me, a sinner.’
The holiness of God, their own sinfulness and they realize they have never done anything to deserve salvation.
Before, they thought they had done at least something, now they see that it is nothing—useless.
Therefore they cast themselves upon the love and mercy and compassion the of God who saved them.
Therefore they cast themselves upon the love and mercy and compassion of God.
It always happens in the Bible. Read the accounts for yourselves.
Whichever one you read, you will always find it. The convicting work of the Spirit who has taken charge of the situation.
Some people within a revival who are saved even for a short time begin to question their own salvation…because of awareness.
Then they are given a clear view of the love of God and of the gospel of Jesus Christ and especially of the meaning of his death upon the cross.
It becomes real for them personally.
It becomes an individual and a personal matter: ‘He died for me, even my sins are forgiven’, and next...
3. Peace comes into their hearts; a new joy enters into them and they are lost in love and praise of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Next...this now becomes for them the passion of their lives…the thing about them that directs all other things.
One thing absorbs them. If they meet anyone they talk about it at once, everybody in the church is talking about it, it is the main topic of conversation, it is the thing that absorbs all their interest.
4. It changes the way they live individually and as a church.
Because...the Spirit works in them so these verses become realities in their lives.
John 3:30 ESV
He must increase, but I must decrease.”
And...
Mark 12:30 ESV
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
And...
Philippians 1:21 ESV
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Phil
So together this becomes a reality:
John 17:21–22 ESV
that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
John 17
They desire to be together now and to talk about these things and so they get together, and they can’t wait for meeting together.
They desire to be together now and to talk about these things and so they get together, and they can’t wait for meeting together.
They begin to praise God more, and more publically.
And to sing differently to his glory.
And then they begin to pray differently together.
5. Then they begin to truly desire for other people to experienced this movement of the Spirit of God.
And then they desire for other people to experienced this movement of the Spirit of God. At the same time it leads them to have a great concern about others who are outside and who do not know these things.
This leads them to have a great concern about and a different love for others who are outside and who do not know these things.
Right here I need to remind you...I am giving you a synopsis of what you read in the books about revival…and in the biblical accounts…you decide for yourself if this is happening to us…and to you.
Back to the sermon...
They begin to get a concern for the members of their own family, husband, wife, father, mother, children, brother, sister, who do not know…and even worse do not know that they do not know because they think they know.
So they tell them about it, not from guilt but because they feel they have to. There is a new passion driving them. They talk about it to people, to friends and to everybody, and they begin to pray for them.
6. They pray a lot.
Prayer is also an obvious feature of every revival, prayer in meetings, intercession for one another hour after hour.
And different prayer...praying for people by name and prayer ..and not only that…praying that they themselves would be the one to do God’s work in other peoples lives…prayer with a new sense of urgency and power.
7. The Spirit begins to move in a new and fresh way.
There are different accounts of the Spirit moving in different ways in different revivals…but it always happens…gifts and power come upon the people.
8. Worship meetings change.
Notice..all of this revival…has been a revival…of believers.
So now...finally, after a while, hearing of all this and seeing the change in people they have known for so long, and hearing the gospel from them…and seeing the Spirit move...
Others who are outside begin to join...and to say, ‘What is this?’
So they come in, and the Spirit works…and if they were sleepy believers who had never experienced God in this way....they go through the same experience.
And then this is how you see many…unbelievers…sometimes in the thousands are converted.
It happens in the church…then in other sleepy believers who are awakened…then people are converted to Christ.
There have been times when whole neighbourhood seems to be full of the Holy Spirit. He seems to be everywhere. People are not only born again in meetings, some are converted at work, in school, in the street and at parks.
Some are awakened in the middle of the night.
Nobody has spoken to them at that exact moment—but the Spirit of God is acting…and something that was preached or gospel that was spoken to them…hits them in that moment.
The Spirit is filling the lives of all the people.
That is what happens in revival.
Yiu get this weord mix of conviction through preaching and speaking of the truth...and great joy because ofthe power ofthe Spirit and revelation of God’s grace.
Some are crying and agonizing over own sin and the lost people around them...while others are praising God and singing about their great salvation.
A new fear of the Lord, and great love and thanksgiving and praise.
Some are crying and agonising over sin and the lost, while others are praising God and singing for their great salvation.
Let me end with one of the greatest definitions ever written of what is true of a town when there is a revival or a visitation of the Spirit of God.
A revival, in a way is like experiencing times or days of heaven upon earth.
It was written by Jonathan Edwards about his little town of Northampton in Massachusetts in America in 1735.
Let me give you one of the greatest definitions ever written of what is true of a town when there is such a revival or a visitation of the Spirit of God. It was written by Jonathan Edwards about the little town of Northampton in Massachusetts in 1735.
This work of the Spirit soon made a glorious alteration in the town. So that in the Spring and Summer following it seemed, that is to say the town, seemed to be full of the presence of God. It never was so full of love nor so full of joy and yet so full of distress and urgency as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God’s presence in almost every house. It was a time of joy in families on account of salvation being brought to them by a sovereign and Holy God. Parents rejoicing over their children as newly born again, husbands over their wives and wives over their husbands. The doings of God were then seen in His church. God’s day was a delight to experience. Our public assemblies were then beautiful. The congregation was alive in God’s service. Everyone earnestly intent on the public worship. Every hearer eager to drink in the words of the pastor as they came from his mouth. The assembly in general were from time to time in tears while the Word was preached. Some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbours.
I have given you a rough outline of what happens in a revival.
There, then, I have given you a rough outline of what happens in revival. ‘What mean these stones?’ Well, that is exactly what happened a hundred years ago in all those different countries. It was the work of God—these visitations of the Spirit of God. Do you know about these things? Are you interested? Are you concerned? Are you moved? Do you not begin to see that if only this happened today, it would solve our problems? This is God visiting his people. Days of heaven on earth, the presidency of the Holy Spirit in the Church, life abundant given to God’s people without measure. I trust that we have already seen and felt something that creates within us not only the desire to say, ‘What is that fervour? Oh that we might know it. Oh, that it might happen to us’, but also that we might feel it to such an extent that we begin to plead with God to have pity and to have mercy and to visit us in that way with his great salvation.[1]
It is the work of God—revivals of the people of God by the Spirit of God.
It is the work of God—these revivals of the people of God by the Spirit of God.
Revival is God visiting his people.
God’s people truly living for Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God.
Now…turn to us...a short application...
I believe that we have seen and felt and experience something that has created within us the question...‘What is happening?
Or maybe more clearly…the conviction that something is happening…the Spirit is moving.
My application is 3 fold...
May we pray big…because God plansaer better than ours and He will do even more than we ask…but we need to ask.
If you believe revival is called for and even happening…ask the question that started the revival in that small town in Ireland...what is God asking of you?
Remember why revival happens
Why?
h that we might know it. Oh, that it might happen to us’, but also that we might feel it to such an extent that we begin to plead with God to have pity and to have mercy and to visit us in that way with his great salvation.[1]
Why?
[1] Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1987). Revival (pp. 92–104). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.
Joshua 4:24 ESV
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
And...
Acts 2:47 ESV
praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
God’s people living for Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God...
For the glory of God
...the salvation of souls.
Amen!
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