Faithlife Sermons

Recognize the Situation

Revival Means  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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All the pieces were there, but revival was held back. Why? There was a lack of repentance.

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Introduction
We stand in the middle of a war like never before. The enemy realizes that his days are numbered. He is desperate. He is shows no regard for life. He shows no regard for care. He does not want to you. He wants to maim you. He wants to steal your joy, life, and ministry. He wants to you destroy you, your family, and your church. He wants to you kill you. We must recognize our situation.
If we are going to win this battle for this generation, we must recognize the situation at hand and begin to once again be people of the Word, begin once again to be people of prayer, and once again be a people at the altar and a people of repentance, on our knees, face to the ground, with broken hearts over our spiritual condition and recognizing the situation, our situation, a situation that demands repentance and demands revival.
Background Passage | 1 Samuel 4-7
Focus Passage | 1 Samuel 7:1-15
Opening Passage | 1 Samuel 7:1-2
1 Samuel 7:1–2 ESV
And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

The Stage was Set, but No Activity was Had (vv.1-2)

The stage was set. God had already revealed Himself to be faithful and true.
Israel begins fighting with the Philistine army and find themselves defeated and even worse, lose the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 4). After the Philistines take the Ark captive, they place in the house of their god, Dagan. God proves Himself to be true faithful and true by showing He is greater than Dagon. The Ashdodites come to their temple for worship the morning after placing the Ark in Dagon’s house and find that the idol of Dagon is face first on the ground. They pick up the idol and place it back in position. The come in the next day and find that Dagon is once again on the floor with this head and hands severed from his torso (1 Samuel 5). God is faithful and true. Following Dagon’s humiliation, the lord of the Philistines get together and decide they will send the Ark down the road to Gath and Ekron. God sends a plague of tumors, boils, and rats on the young and old men alike of the city. We find that no one in Ekron wanted anything to do with the Ark for the fear of the Lord had came over the entire city (1 Samuel 5).
After seven months, the Philistines call their priests and diviners and ask what are to do about this. They decide to add gifts to the Ark that represent the plagues that came upon their cities and decide to attach the ark to two milk cows and send it down the road. They say, if it goes toward Beth-shemesh, then God has judged us. If it goes away from the the territory of the Israelites, then we know it was just by chance. As God would sovereignly have it, the cow goes towards Beth-shemesh and comes to the town of Kiriath-jearim and would be held at the house of a man named Abinadab, who would consecrate his son, Eleazar, to watch over the ark of the Lord (1 Samuel 6). God proved Himself to be faithful and true. Just as He was faithful and true then, He is still today.

1. All that was needed for revival was there

The people were there, the men of Kiriath-jearim, the man of God was there, they consecrated…Eleazar,’ and the presence of God was there, to have charge of the ark of the LORD.’ Not only was all that was needed for revival there, it had been there for years, a long time passed, some twenty years.

2. Despite all that was needed being there, revival was not there

The people of God lamented, they found themselves in gut churning anguish due to their condition and situation. The people were begging God to do something, yet he would not.God is not a genie in a bottle. You do not just rub the magic bottle and poof, get three wishes from God granted. God is available to move, but only under circumstances that He stipulates and that will bring Him honor and glory. The people may have been people of God. The preacher may have been a preacher of God. The presence of God may have been there, but God was not moving. Sad but true, an honest assessment of the church within America today would bring about the same stage of affairs. All the pieces are in play, but there is no activity. God refuses to move, but why? What was missing? If God was there, His man was there, and His people were there, what was missing? The self-same need for the church of God today, REPENTANCE!

The Missing Piece was Repentance (v.3)

1 Samuel 7:3 ESV
And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
The key for God to move within the nation of Israel, is the same key that we need for revival today as individuals and as the church. What is needed for revival? You ask. I’m glad you asked, because I will gladly tell you. We find within our text that revival is conditional. The prophet Samuel, addressing the house of Israel, states, If you.
You cannot not just schedule a couple of Sunday services and experience revival. You cannot schedule revival. Revival is very much conditional. For revival to take place, the people of God, not the lost, the people of God must bend the knee, seek the face of God, and repent of their sin.
2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
As we look through the Scripture, we find a Biblical picture of repentance and what that entails...

Within repentance, we find...

1. Within repentance, we find a return to God - ‘…returning unto the Lord...’

We are to return to God with our whole being, with all your heart.’ We must learn to seek God while He may be found.
Isaiah 55:6 ESV
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
James 4:8 ESV
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

2. Within repentance, we find a removal of idols - ‘…then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you...’

3. Within repentance, we find a restoration of the altar

Romans 12:1 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

4. Within repentance, we find a resolve to serve

Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
If, if, we repent, God will move and send revival.

Repentance in action leads to revival (vv.4-6)

1 Samuel 7:4–6 ESV
So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only. Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
The nation of Israel, upon reflection of their situation and being advised on what was needed to see revival, responded in obedience. How did they reveal their obedience?

1. The nation of Israel confessed

They confessed their sin - ‘…We have sinned...’
They confessed who they sinned against - ‘…sinned against the Lord...’

2. The nation of Israel repented - ‘So the people Israel put away the Baals and Ashtaroth...’

3. The nation of Israel rebuilt their altars - ‘…drew water, and poured it out before the Lord...’

4. The nation of Israel mourned - ‘…and fasted on that day...’

5. The nation of Israel was bathed in prayer - ‘…Then Samuel said, Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you...’

What we need for the church and nation is for prayer warriors to be standing in the gap and interceding on behold of a sleepy and stiff necked church. Let not our testimony be as the testimony of Ezekiel against the people of Israel and Judah.
Ezekiel 22:30 ESV
And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.
As one seeks revival, they must understand that revival does not come easy.

Revival will not come easy (vv.7-13)

As we read the text before us, we see the enemy of the nation of Israel is not willing to back down from its aggression and the we also observe the weakness of Israel. May we understand that the enemy may attack, but God is on our side.
When the church of God seeks revival, let it be known...

1. The enemy will attack - ‘...the lords of the philistines went up against Israel...’

1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
When he does, we have no need to be afraid, they were afraid of the Philistines. What do we have to fear but fear itself. Let us remember that if God is for us who can be against us (Romans 8:31). Praise God, as Paul told young Timothy, you do not have be timid. For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

2. Never cease praying - ‘...the people of Israel said to Samuel, Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us...’

3. God will provide victory

The same God that delivered the Israelites out of the hand of the Egyptians, was now delivering them out of the hands of the Philistines, and the men of Israel...pursued the Philistines and struck them. The same God that gave them strength in the wilderness, was once again giving them strength in this battle, But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. The same God that did this for Israel in their time of need, still brings victory today no matter the struggle. We must remember that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

4. Remember the source of victory - ‘…Then Samuel took a stone and set it up...and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us...’

Finally, we must understand what is truly at the heart of revival…What revival is about.

Restoration is at the heart of revival (v.14)

1 Samuel 7:14 ESV
The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

1. God will restore what the enemy stole - ‘The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel...’

2. God will restore the peace that was stolen - ‘There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites’

Conclusion
I cannot speak for you, but as for me and my house, we need revival. We need feeding, uplifting, and restoration. What about you? Do you seek revival? Do you seek a closer walk with God? I do, and I can only hope that you do too. If that’s you, and you are willing to say I need revival, I challenge you. I challenge you to come to this altar and join me, here in front of God and his bride, and bend the knee and pray for revival. What’s it going to take church? What’s it going to be church? Do we want revival or now? It starts with individuals like me and like you, falling before God and calling on His holy name.
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