Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Prayer for Revival

Passage Isaiah 64:1-12.  
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people. Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins. Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

When did you last hear anyone praying for revival, praying that God might open the windows of heaven and pour out his Spirit? When did you last pray for that yourself? I suggest seriously that we are neglecting this almost entirely. We are guilty of forgetting the authority of the Holy Spirit. . . . When God sends revival he can do more in a single day than in fifty years of all our organization. That is the verdict of sheer history which emerges clearly from the long story of the Church. (Martin Lloyd-Jones)

What is revival?
We can define it as a period of unusual blessing and activity in the life of the Christian Church. Primarily, of course, and by definition, a revival is something that happens first in the Church and amongst Christian people, amongst believers. That, I repeat, is true by definition. It is revival; something is revived and when you say that, you mean that there is something present that has life. But the life was beginning to wane, to droop, and had become almost moribund; and some people said, “That is dead, that is finished,” because they could not see much sign of life and activity. Revival means awakening, stimulating the life, bringing it to the surface again. It happens primarily in the Church of God, amongst believing people, and it is only secondly something that affects those that are outside also. Now this is a most important point because this definition helps us  to differentiate, once and for all, between a revival and an evangelistic campaign. (David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival, 99)

Having had this remarkable definition of what revival is, I would us to discover some essential features of revival in the chapter that we read. There are four that I can point out to you:
1.      In revival the Lord makes His presence and power known, suddenly and dramatically (vv. 1-3)
Here is a prayer for God to not just open the heavens, but to rend the heavens and come down quickly. Here is a call for God to intervene in the most unusual way. Here is a prayer for God to cause the mountains to quake at His presence just as He did in Sinai. To kindle fire. To cause the water to boil. To make His name known to His enemies. To move mightily and powerfully that the nations might tremble at His presence. Here is a prayer for God to do awesome things as He did in the past when He created and put everything else in place.
Who prayed that God may create the universe? None, yet God did these things that we did not look for. Who prayed that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit may come up with the covenant of grace? Who prayed to be chosen of the Father before the foundation of the earth? Who prayed that God may send His only Son on earth to die for the sins of His people? Who prayed that the Holy Spirit may apply redemption in us? The answers to all these questions, is NONE. God did things that are eternal wonderful that we did not look for. God has acted in the most powerful way in the past. God has shown Himself, the most powerful God. Would He do it again in our time? Yes He would, if we pray.
We ought to pray that God may reveal Himself dramatically especially in our time when so many people have been held ransom by the deception of the enemy. Millions upon millions of people have been swallowed by the heresies of our day. They wallow in the mire of false teaching and deride in it. False teachers are multiplying by the day. Counterfeit churches are mushrooming by the hour. Synagogues of Satan are springing up every minute. May the Lord come down and stop this madness. May the Lord come to aid.
These explosion of heresy is the reason why we should call down to come dramatically so that He may cause everyone to stop and behold Him. They have come with what is regarded by those gullible people as power. We should pray that God may respond by power.
Revivals are marked by a sense of the nearness of the presence of God. His power is felt in a remarkable way – like the way He revealed Himself to the children of Israel to their salvation and to the Egyptians to their damnation. It has been reported that during the Great Awakening in America in the 18th century, that the presence of God was so powerfully felt that no dog dared move his tongue! (Derek Thomas)

2.      In revival there is great sense of the fear of God, leading to repentance and humility (vv.2, 5a-7)
Mountains quake at the presence of God, will mere men not tremble? If inanimate things like mountains have such a great fear of God that they quake at His presence, how much more the redeemed of the Lord who have been born, not just once but twice? How much more those who have been given the life of the Son of God? May the fear of God be seen in our lives more than ever.
God is angry at sin. We live in a world of sin and wickedness. We read, “Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we been a long time, and shall we be saved?" Here is someone who has known of the wrath of God. He understands that God’s wrath is only seen by those who have sinned. This causes him to own up His sins before the wrath of God is vented on Him. It is so real that he wonders if He can be saved at all. This is true I prefer to put it in the words of Jonathan Edwards, that American preacher who preached in Enfield, Connecticut, Sinners in the hands of an Angry God:
There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong, when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty in subduing a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the number of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and a vast multitude of God’s enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces.
They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind: or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we find crawling on us; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that anything hangs by: thus easy is it for God when he pleases, to cast his enemies into hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?
Revival is particularly marked by a genuine humility and repentance. Looking at the state of affairs now, you would know that there is a great deal of insensitivity to the things of God. There is a remarkable hardening happening. So much wickedness and people are taking glory in it. Consider the sexual pervasion of our day – I keep on cleaning junk mail from men who are seeking to defraud me. They say that they have huge chunks of money that stole from their governments that they want to share with me. Since they know that like poles attract and birds of a feather flock together, they hope that they will excite covetousness on their prey and then defraud them. On the other hand, there are flocks of women who send mails to ask if I can play harlot with them. I clean them as swiftly as I can lest I be washed in this flood of dissipation. I don’t want to be drawn into the debauchery and lewdness of our day, so I delete them permanently.
Brothers and sisters, do not be drawn into this perdition that is taking root before our eyes. Homosexuality and bestiality – all these have always been there and the Lord tells of them. These are those that He has given up to their own sensuality and immorality. To the hardness of their hearts and the darkness of their minds.
But even as I bring this message to you, it is my prayer that you who is unconverted, you are not saved, you are not sure that you are headed to heaven, I would like you to know that you are in a terrible danger. You have heard the case of every one out of Christ. That for you a world of misery, a place of that lake of burning brimstone, is reserved for you. That there is a dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; that there are unquenchable flames where worm does not die. Yes I want you to know that there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor anything to take hold of, there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only
the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up. Unless you be in Christ you stand to lose all including your very soul. And my plea is that you may learn to repent like this man .

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