Never has there been a time in our history when revival and spiritual renewal are more needed.
We Live in a Time when FAMILIES ARE FAILING.
The divorce rate is staggering, parenting is left to society, children are abused and unwanted.
Adultery, pre-marital sex, even homosexuality are considered normal.
We Live in a Time when GOVERNMENT IS SCANDALOUS.
We hardly even raise an eyebrow when hearing of another scandal in Washington.
We no longer look to our government for leadership, but with a suspicious eye.
We Live in a Time when VIOLENCE IS RAMPANT.
Every 10 seconds a crime is committed in a u s school.
Over 6,000 teachers are threatened with bodily injury, every school day.
Four million women are battered by their partners every year.
Nearly 1,500 women are beaten to death every year in the U.S. alone: (Another death occurs every 6 hours.)
Worst of all we Live in a Time when CHURCHES ARE IRRELEVANT.
Many mainline churches and denominations no longer believe the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God.
The gospel has been watered down to a mere social program.
Would anyone doubt that we are in desperate need of revival?
Today, if you were to hear someone say, "we need a revival"
What thoughts would come to your mind?
What does the word revival mean to you?
If you were to ask many today, you would probably get this answer:
AIt is a series of meetings where we bring lost friends to hear the Gospel preached.@
To understand what a revival is, we must look at the word itself:
Webster=s dictionary says revival means:
To restore from a depressed, inactive, state: to activate, to set into motion, or to renew.
In Christian terms, it is an awakening among God=s people.
G. Campbell Morgan said:
Revival is the reanimation of the life of the believer.
He goes on to say: there can only be revival where there is life to revive.
In other words, only someone who was once made alive in Christ can experience revival.
Christmas Evans (a famous Welsh preacher) Says:
Revival is God bending down to the dying embers of a fire that are just about to go out and breathing into it, until it bursts again into flame.
I believe that revival brings about change.
When revival comes, it changes our talk, our walk, our giving, our marriage, our family, our worship.
Revival changes everything: .....
Lives, churches, cities and nations.
Before it is through, it will change the world for Jesus Christ.
Peter calls for revival in
Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that TIMES OF REFRESHING MAY COME ...
Since revival means to come back to life.
We must admit that we are dead or at least close to it!
In fact, revival can only come when we admit that we are dead and far away from God.
Let me ask you: Are you in need of revival today?
Peter tells us that judgment must begin with the family of God I Pet 4:17
Before we will see change around us and in our own life, you and me, Christian, must get on our face before God.
We must cry out to the Lord in humility and ask Him to change us!
If we want to see our mate changed, our family transformed, our son or daughter brought to Christ?...
...then we must ask God to give us personal revival.
Think about it, how long has it been since the Lord really visited your home or our Church?
When was the last time you really felt the spirit of God moving in your life?
Like the people of Isaiah's day we have fallen away.
Therefore we must turn back to God and pray as the people prayed in Ps 85:6
"Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in You?"
Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
AI dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite (repentant one) and lowly of spirit. In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
Young=s says to revive the heart of the one who is bruised!! Explain verse!
What must we do to be revived?
We must evaluate our condition: realizing just how far we have drifted.
And then we must take responsibility for our actions.
The problems we are facing in our life are not the preachers fault, they are not the fault of other family members nor someone else in Church.
They are our fault.
And the sooner we take personal responsibility for our own sin the sooner we will have the results we are looking for.
True revival begins when we recognize that WE are the problem, and that WE are in disparate need of repentance.
Repentance is the first step towards revival.
We could say: Repentance brings revival.
There is no doubt, that many other ingredients are needed for revival:
But none are more needed than repentance.
Repentance in a non-Christian brings him to God.
Repentance in the Christian=s life bring him back to God.
We see that repentance has always been a key factor in bringing about change.
John the Baptist came preaching repentance, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Jesus came to establish that Kingdom and tells us repentance is a essential.
Twice in Luke 13 Jesus says, I tell you, nay! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
In Acts 2, Peter preached a moving sermon about the fact that Jesus was the Son of God -- the expected savior...
that He had come to build His Church and His Kingdom.
By the time Peter was finished, his audience was so convinced and convicted of their sin that they cried out: what must we do to be saved?
Peter later in Acts 3:19 commands us to Repent and turn to God, so that our sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
He also speaks of God's patience with us
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Peter tells us that God is not slow in keeping His promise about His coming.
He is waiting patiently: why?
Paul, Acts 17:30, told the non-Christians: In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but NOW he commands all people everywhere to repent,
No one can doubt that repentance is necessary.
So let's now define what it means and what it is.
What does it mean to repent?
It might help us to see what repentance is NOT before we look at what it is!
Repentance is not just believing in God.
Its true, our faith in God should lead us to repentance.
We know that biblical faith includes repentance.
But repentance does not stop with just believing God.
James (2:19) tells us the demons believe and tremble.... but we know that they have not repented!
So repentance is not just believing.
Neither is Repentance merely confession of guilt.
Pharaoh said I have sinned, but he did not repent!
He continued to hold the Israelite nation in cruel bondage.
King Saul, said, I have sinned, but went right on with his efforts to kill David.
Saying, I have sinned or admitting our guilt, is not all there is to repentance.
Furthermore, repentance is not even remorse or sorrow.
Listen to Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:9 I am happy, NOT because you were made sorry, BUT because your sorrow led you to repentance.
For you became sorrowful as God intended. Godly sorrow BRINGS repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
This verse teaches that there are two kinds of sorrow, Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.
Worldly remorse is self-centered sorrow over the painful consequences of sin.
This is the type of sorrow is experienced by those in the jail and in prison.
They are not sorry about wrongdoing or offending God, but are simply sorry they were caught.
Perhaps the best example of a false repentance through worldly sorrow is that of Judas.
Matthew 27:3-5 records his sorrow over betraying Jesus.
But it was a worldly sorrow, a sorrow that led to death: it was not true repentance.
Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is not just sorrow because we have been found out, but sorrow that we have failed God.
Further still, we see that:
Repentance is neither political reform.
For instance, we may decide to reform for reasons other than Godly sorrow.
A man reforms because his wife threatens to leave him.
Someone joins a Church because a rich aunt threatens to leave them out of her will.
This is not repentance... It's mere reformation.
I read of a preacher who baptized a man and after his baptism the man said, now maybe my wife will stop nagging me.
Was this Biblical repentance?
No, it was only political reform.
It was only a change to impress someone else.
Its true, repentance includes reforming, but that's not the whole of repentance.
You see genuine BIBLICAL repentance demands proper motive.
It means Changing for the right reason!
Last, repentance is not just becoming religious.
One may be a very religious person but never truly repent of their sins.
The Pharisees were like that, and John the Baptist frankly called them a brood of vipers, Matt 3:7.
We have seen what repentance is NOT, let's see if we can determine what Biblical repentance really is.
Webster says repentance is:
To remember with sorrow, to feel remorse for sin.
To feel such regret and sorrow that one changes his mind.
To feel sorrow and remorse for sin, enough to change one's ways.
In the Greek, repentance literally means, a change of mind...
...but it is a change of mind that results in a change of direction.
Repentance is a conscious turning from sin, self and Satan and turning back to God.
We have a scriptural definition of repentance in Joel 2.12-14... Allow me to read it for you,
Even now, declares the LORD, RETURN to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing...
Notice that Joel is really describing the way to have a revival.
He says return to the Lord with weeping, mourning and fasting.
The Hebrew word for mourning here is used to describe morning for the dead.
It is the word used to describe Jacob's mourning the loss of Joseph when he thought he had been killed by wild animals.
This is not shedding crocodile tears, but showing genuine sorrow over our sin.
Joel is saying that revival comes through having a change of heart:
...which is just what repentance is!!
Joel says don't tear your garments -- tear your hearts.
Remember when Jesus told the Jewish leaders that He was the Son of God, they tore their clothes...
When they should have torn their hearts in repentance.
You see, genuine repentance has to do with the heart.
It is an internal work, not external.
In the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus said, Blessed are they that mourn....
or Blessed are Those who have a torn heart because of their sins.
Thirdly, Joel says return to the Lord and bring Him offerings.
In other words, stop heading in the direction your going and return.
Revival begins with repentance and repentance begins by returning.
Repentance is a turning from doing what we want to do C to doing what God would have us do.
Repentance is turning from obvious sin to God to do His will.
Repentance is making Jesus both Lord and King of our lives.
So Joel tell us that genuine repentance is a change of heart that is so strong that it results in a changed life.
This my friend is beginning of revival.
Let me close by saying:
Repentance is not a one time act, it is an attitude, a heart condition.
It is part of our daily walk with God.
Repentance is having a broken and repentant heart.
It is being poor in spirit and mourning over our sins.
It is being humble enough to acknowledge our sins and willing enough to confess and forsake them.
It is agreeing with God that we have failed Him in a big way and a determination to get back on track!!
This one verse sums up what I=ve been trying to say all morning!
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and PRAY and SEEK My face and TURN from their wicked ways ... then we will hear from heaven - He will forgive our sins and He will heal our land.
If God has spoken to you about your need to make things right and you would like us as a congregation to hold you accountable...
Would you during our invitation song come forward...?