04-30-08 - Seeds of Revival - 1 Kings 18.36-46 - NSB
TBKC – Bible Reader’s Companion – JFB – MacArthur Study Bible – Believer’s Bible Commentary -
Is this the wrong time to seek revival?
Revival is where the people of God are reminded of the presence or the reality of God and they once worship Him for who He is.
In 1 Kings here we see that God revealed himself by sending fire from heaven.
Revival may be a revealing of God to His people. That is to say that in revival we may not see thousands of people coming to know the Lord for the first time but as the people of God come back to God then the Lord is revealed to the people around.
What happens in revival today is the same thing that happened in Elijah’s time.
That is to say that When the people saw what God was doing in the revival then they were compelled to acknowledge the Lord as the one real God.
Tonight we are going to be looking at 1 Kings 18 – Please go ahead and turn there.
I think that we are safe in saying that Christians are in need of revival.
All Christians could use a revival in their life.
All Christians would do well to return to their first love.
All Christians would benefit from remembering the wonder of it all.
Because the truth of the matter is that there is a drought going on in Christianity.
Last year we experienced a drought in our water tables here and I believe that this year we are 3 or 4 inches below normal.
What we need is not there – and there is a drought in Christianity.
The ground needs water.
Churches need revival.
In the time of Elijah, 3 years of drought had drained the land of its vitality.
Spiritual drought in the church drains the church of its vitality.
The church becomes satisfied with the status quo.
If one person gets saved, we thank God for that.
If five people get saved, that is very exciting.
The reason why 5 people getting saved is such a standout event is that five people are not getting saved every week. It is an unusual event for most churches.
In the middle of a drought, even a brief shower is gets people’s attention.
There were many churches last year who did not baptize one single soul.
There is a spiritual drought in Christianity and what God’s people need is the refreshing rain of revival.
I have already confessed to you on Sunday night that I do not understand God’s ways and how He is working in this church but it has caused me to open my eyes to search the heavens for the seeds of revival.
And it has caused me to ask:
Why Don’t’ Christians Have Revival?
The first reason is that –
CHRISTIANS DO NOT HAVE REVIVAL BECAUSE THEY DO NOT PRAY FOR REVIVAL.
We talk about it and I believe we would welcome it but do we pray for it?
We pray –
We pray for a lot of things.
Sometimes we pray amiss
Sometimes we try and pray with sin in our life
Sometimes we pray but there is no faith in our prayer.
Our prayers a re mechanical and cold and we go through motions.
We pray for the finances and we pray for the weather and we pray for aunt Sallie and we pray for uncle John and we pray for uncle John and we pray for everything but we do not pray for revival.
In our text, the reason that the rains came was that Elijah prayed.
The people had given themselves over to the worship of Baal.
As a result the people were in a drought and had been for three years.
But now at a great demonstration of the power of God, Elijah has prayed and God has heard his prayer.
He has prayed so that the refreshing waters would again come to the people who were parched.
Look at how he prayed -
Elijah did not pray with the theatrics that the false priests prayed with.
He did not cut himself and cry and flail around as the prophets of Baal were doing.
He simply spoke to God.
He prayed out loud for all of those who were there to hear for he wanted to be sure that they understood what was about to happen was because of the one true God.
If revival was going to come, it was going to come from God and not from Elijah.
If revival is going to come to Christians, to churches, to us, then it is going to come from God and not from us.
We cannot jump and shout our way into revival. We cannot cut ourselves and carry on with all of the antics that these false priests were offering up that day from morning to noon and from noon to evening.
Their efforts did not result in revival.
What Elijah was demonstrating by his audible prayer was that he had been obedient to pray – but the power was in God, not in Elijah.
And when he prayed, something happened (v. 38)
The fire of the Lord fell.
And then the people fell on their faces.
When things started to happen that was the time that Elijah called on the people to act.
Listen to this – When things started happening that was the time that Elijah called on the people to act.
I look at what God is doing around us and wonder if this is not the time for us to act.
I do not mean that we should be rounding up false prophets and priests and killing them but we sure could take the things in our life that need to be done away with or put to death and deal with them
In the middle of God working a work in our church this may be the ideal time for us to act on what God has called us to do.
Without a doubt we are seeing the power of God.
Maybe now is the time to renew our efforts at visiting the sick.
At sending cards to those who are shut in.
To rededicate ourselves to giving
And to ask the Lord to send the refreshing revival that all churches are in need of.
CHRISTIANS DO NOT HAVE REVIVAL BECAUSE THEY DO NOT EXPECT IT.
Elijah fully expected rain.
He repaired (the altar)
He prepared (the sacrifice)
And then he prayed – CER – Check the sequence and make sure that the “then” here is in the right order.
On the one side there was the man of God who was expecting the rain to come and on the other hand were the naysayers and the unbelievers who did not believe that it would happen.
You may be the only one expecting revival.
But do not let that discourage you.
A few weeks ago I told you that this should be a place of expectation.
We should give of ourselves and our money with expectation of what God is going to do.
When you faithfully ask God to revive you and to revive His people, ask with expectation.
How do I know that Elijah had expectation?
Elijah sent his servant to look for the rain.
He told (v. 41) Ahab to get up and eat and drink for their was the sound of abundant rain.
Even before the rain was there, the prophet told Ahab to celebrate God’s sending of refreshment.
Did you catch that?
Celebration ahead of the coming rain.
You mean, begin to celebrate and thank God for the revival even before the revival comes?
Yes. That is expectation.
That is faith – the evidence of things not seen and the substance of things hoped for.
No one else heard the rain and no one else saw the rain cloud but Elijah was expecting the refreshing waters that were coming from God.
What are we looking for in the church?
We are thrilled with the way that things are going but is there more that God wants us to have?
Now is the time to pray with expectation.
Elijah kept sending his servant back because there was an expectation.
Do we dare expect the blessings of God?
Do we dare to expect revival?
We should be excited about what God is doing but we should not be content.
The best is yet to come.
How many of you have ever been hang gliding?
That walk up to the edge of the ramp is exciting but the hang glider pilot is not content with that because he knows that in one more step there is something far greater than that.
Although we would think that the time to pray for revival is when things are going badly, it may be that the time to pray for our church to take that next step is when things are going well.
Christians do not have revival because they do not pray for it.
They do not expect it.
CHRISTIANS DO NOT HAVE REVIVAL BECAUSE THEY DO NOT RECOGNIZE IT
Elijah told the servant to look for the rain – And while the man was looking, Elijah was praying.
Everything was ready for the blessing from God
The people had acknowledged Jehovah God
They had acted on what God had told them to do.
Men were praying and men were looking with expectation.
They had seen the power of God.
They once again praised Him and now as a result the blessing was on the horizon.
What happened in that place that could happen in our churches today?
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Now, at first the blessing of God was not recognized.
The servant went out to look for what was being prayed for
What did he see?
Clear skies and calm seas.
Just because a revival starts small does not mean that a revival has not started.
And so on the 7th time, the servant saw what God had promised.
It was a small cloud but it stood out because it was so different from the clear sky around it.
We see the seeds of revival in the things that are going on because they are in stark contrast to the business as usual rut that the church has fallen into..
In other words, against a background of complacency and lethargy there can easily be seen a movement that starts in the people of God.
Let us pray with expectation that 5 people baptized one Sunday become 5 people being baptize regularly.
The cloud was small but it was enough for Elijah to recognize that God’s promise of refreshment was coming.
Can we see revival in the distance?
Revival may start small. We may be witnessing the seeds of revival.
At first the cloud that Elijah’s servant saw was as small as a hand but soon the sky grew dark and the winds began to blow and was (what the Bible calls) a great rain.
Whatever happens here we want God to be the One who is glorified
When this revival (refreshment) came it was a big blow for the detractors of God.
Revival in the church is a slap in the face of Satan.
As God is glorified and the false gods that we have in our life are done away with.
The power and the revival were from God but the prayer and the expectation and the recognition were from those who sought his face and on their lips was the request for revival.
It will confound most people when we tell them that things are going great --- so we Are praying for revival.
But I believe it is exactly the right time.
We have walked up to the edge of God’s blessing in a Great and Mighty way.
Let’s pray that we will take the next step.
Pray for revival
Look for the signs of revival – they may already be here.
Don’t think there is not a need for revival when we may be standing in the presence of the seeds of revival.
When I was in the Kings teens youth group here we used to sing that song that says:
“It only take a spark to get a fire going.
And soon all those around, will warm up to it’s glowing.”
When the people’s hearts were turned to God – then the fire of the Lord fell.
But, it was AFTER the people had turned back to God and it was AFTER the sacrifice had been consumed that Elijah told Ahab that there was the sound of rain coming to the parched land.
In verse 46, we see Elijah running. You know what? I think that he ran without getting hot or tired. Do you know why? He was running in the rain of refreshment sent from God. A revival of the land had spurred him on.