Seven Steps to Real Revival
TEXT: Isaiah 6:1-8
TOPIC: Seven Steps to Real Revival
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, March 22, 2009
We find ourselves in the middle of two preparations as a church. On the one hand we are focused upon missions, and our North American Missions Emphasis. In just a few weeks, in fact Easter Sunday, we will collect our Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions. This certainly is an important focus and we’re excited about our role in supporting missions.
But in the coming weeks we will also be talking about “revival.” With the approaching of our Howard Allen Revival scheduled to begin on April 19th, our church is also preparing for revival. And my, how we need revival! But not just any revival, but real revival!
The last thing we really need is just another meeting to attend. We need a real revival experience. I’m talking about the kind of revival that takes place when God makes bare His arm and intervenes in the affairs of men. I’m talking about the kind of revival that occurs when God steps on the scene and men and human instrumentality are forced to move out of the way.
The question needs to be asked, “What does it take to experience a real revival?” First, I truly believe we have to trust in the sovereignty of God. God is the God of revival. The Psalmist said, “Lord, will You not revive us again?” If revival comes, God must choose to send it. Secondly, we must also look to the faithfulness of God’s people. According to history, when God’s people humble themselves before God, confess their sins, and begin to obey His commandments, God always responds with what is known as revival.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If 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. (KJV)
Listen to me dear church. We need revival! But if revival is to come to FB-CP, it will not be because of our Preacher, or our Musician. Real revival becomes a reality when God’s people take the necessary steps toward experiencing revival.
Isaiah 6 records for us one of the most amazing descriptions for personal and national revival ever written. Within the first 9 verses we discover the seven steps to real revival! (READ ISAIAH 6:1-9)
I. THE FIRST STEP IS CONTEMPLATION, Isaiah 6:1-4
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
A. God Before the Prophet
He was seated on a throne, He was high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple .
1. When did God appear to Isaiah? At a time of great emotional distress. The throne of Israel was empty. Uzziah was not only a good king, but he was also a relative and close friend of the prophet’s.
2. Where was Isaiah when God appeared to him? Isaiah was in the temple. So it is that we most often contemplate the need for God in our lives. That’s why it is so important to do all we can to influence our friends and loved ones who do not know the Lord or have fallend away from Him to come to our revival services. If we can get them here, we will trust the Lord to work on their hearts as they, like Isaiah, contemplate His Holiness.
II. THE SECOND STEP IS CONVICTION, Isaiah 6:5 “woe is me”
5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips,
and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”
A. The Prophet Before God
1. When Isaiah saw God, he saw himself. He saw himself as a sinner. For the first time Isaiah saw himself as a sinner in the presence of an awesome and holy God. Some believe this to be Isaiah’s real salvation experience. Isaiah was a lost preacher.
2. He also saw those around him as sinners as well. Real revival brings a recognition of one’s personal sins, but it also opens our eyes to the sins of others around us.
III. THE THIRD STEP IS CONFESSION, Isaiah 6:5 “I am undone” (ruined, NIV)
A. Confession is Personal, “woe is me”
B. Confession is Specific, “I am a man of unclean lips”
When real revival comes it is no longer “boy, you really told them today, preacher!” But it becomes “the Lord really spoke to me today.” In real revival, people are no longer interested in confession everyone else’s sins. They care only about their own sins.
In real revival, it is never “him or her, or them or they.” But it is always me, and my and I. Like the old negro spiritual, we sing “it’s not my brother, it’s not my sister, but it’s me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”
One of the great revivals of this decade occurred in the heart of Texas. It began on January 22, Sunday service when a Howard Payne student came forward during the invitation at Coggins Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas. This young college student, with tears streaming down his face, read from Joel about God’s judgement. The student shared his burden for his classmates’ spiritual lives. An older lady from the church joined him at the altar, and she expressed sorrow over hers and the congregation’s lack of prayer for the community.
The pastor described what happened as unexplainable. “People flooded the altar to pray, and that continued through the Sunday School hour.” The church continued to witness three-and-half-hour worship services with 45-minute invitations.
The results included a deep level of confession, repentance and forgiveness of sins, along with the restoration of many broken relationships had spread into the Brownwood community and beyond, including Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Seminary. Frequent conversions and baptisms of young people were also reported.
The confession of personal sin is essential by God’s people if we are to experience real revival.
IV. THE FOURTH STEP IS CLEANSING, Isaiah 6:6-7
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
A. God doesn’t leave Isaiah in his sinful state and aren’t you glad.
Complete cleansing always follows sincere confession.
Fire is symbolic of cleansing. And notice it is the very part of Isaiah’s sinfulness that God cleanses. God knows our deepest, darkest sins. Even though He knows our sins, He loves us. He loves you, and regardless of what you’ve done, where you’ve been, God will forgive you and cleanse you if you confess your sins. He will give you a brand new start.
V. THE FIFTH STEP IS CHALLENGE, Isaiah 6:8 “Whom shall I send, …who will go?”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?”
Immediately there is an opportunity for service. When real revival comes, God’s people will be willing to respond to God’s challenges.
VI. THE SIXTH STEP IS CONSECRATION, Isaiah 6:8 “Here am I, send me”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Isaiah answered the call and dedicated himself to God. A former alcoholic and drug abuser who gave his life to Christ called himself “an old garbage can.” But now he’s “God’s old garbage can.”
Isaiah dedicated himself to the Lord’s service. God is more concerned about your availability than He is your ability. God never asks us to do anything that He does not equip us to do. God will never send you to do a job without your tools.
VII. THE SEVENTH STEP IS COMMISSION, Isaiah 6:9
And He said, “Go, and tell this people:
A. “Go and tell”
B. Matthew 28:18-20
Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV)
C. John 20:21
John 20:21 Then said Jesus: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (KJV)
John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 1:1044.