I. Introduction (Psalm 85:6)
A. Do you wish to be an instrument in the hands of God, or a tool in the hands of the devil? There is truly, no middle ground. Do you want to see God’s power at work through you? Do you long for your prayers to be answered? If you do, then the barrier of sin between you and God must be demolished and a lifestyle of holiness and love for God renewed. Every believer had it when they were born again – that special day that Jesus became Lord and Saviour of their soul! But sin, sneaks up on us, and slays us!
B. If you are a Christian, you are pardoned, forgiven and placed eternally in Christ. But, Christians often allow sin to clutter up their lives, and block their path between them and their Lord. To be restored, something big must take place. It is called personal revival.
C. In this message, I’m going to share with you five ways to experience personal revival as we prepare for the Lord to not only move in our hearts, but thoroughly change our lives!
II. Message – Preparing for Revival
A. The Meaning of ‘Revival’:
1. The contemporary concept of revival is anything but true. In Biblical terms:
a. Revival is not a scheduled series of meetings. That is not revival.
b. It is not an evangelistic effort that a church puts out.
c. It is not securing an outside preacher to lead in the attempt to stir things up spiritually amongst the believers here.
d. It is not publicity and special events and good preaching and heart-warming singing and fervent appeals for the lost to be saved.
e. It is not decisions nor additions to the church, nor even renewed enthusiasm by cold believers.
f. No. It is much more than any of that. Those are our efforts, but they are not revival.
g. Some, or even all of the above may be present and yet true revival still be absent!
2. Revival is:
a. A sovereign work of God among His people (thus the prophet prays, “Revive Thy work,” Hab. 3:2).
b. It is an invasion of fresh spiritual life when there was only deadness (Lu. 15:24),
c. It is a turning back of God’s people unto Himself (Lam. 5:21)
d. It is an outpouring of His Spirit upon His wilting vineyard (Isa. 32:15)
e. It is an extraordinary work of God producing extraordinary results among both backslidden believers, as well as dead, careless sinners.
B. The Need for Revival – how to tell that you need a Spiritual Revival
1. Dullness and Apathy towards God and spiritual things (Mt 13:15)
2. Hardness towards authority and rebukes (Pr 6:23; 15:32)
3. Empty of God’s Power and Presence in your life (Dt 28:23)
4. Addiction to sins and an easy target for the devil – no real freedom (1Cor 3:1-3)
C. The Purpose of Revival.
1. To restore a Christian to his peak performance – like reviving a old car, or rescuing a person was drowned and reviving them
2. To replace the works of the flesh with the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:19-21; and Gal 5:22,23)
3. To bring true unity into a Church
4. To save our homes and our community from the judgment of God (Hab 3:2)
D. The Cost of Revival is Personal Loss.
1. Loss of time – spending it praying, instead of only playing
2. Loss of sleep – praying whenever the Lord wants you to
3. Loss of pride – spend time confessing and agreeing with God how cold you are spiritually
4. Loss of food – fasting
5. Loss of control – yielding to God’s will, no matter what it may be
6. Loss of anything that might block God’s work in your life
7. Oh the need for prayer, real prayer by God’s people!
a. Selfless prayer (no mention of what you may need, only that it is a reviving of your heart and soul)!
b. Earnest prayer – strong determination!
c. Holy prayer – the dumping and cleansing of this Temple so that true, honest, prayer can take place in a clean Temple
8. “The Bible and the record of history reveal that there has never been such a thing as a prayer-less revival.” Dr. Louis L. King
9. “The Church is dying on its feet because it is not living on its knees.” Leonard Ravenhill
10. “When God is about to do a mighty new thing He always sets His people praying.” Jonathan Edwards
E. How to Prepare for Revival
1. The first step in revival is Personal Evaluation (2Cor 13:5; Rev 2 & 3) – take Spiritual Inventory
a. “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” God wants to save, and revive! (Isaiah 59:1)
b. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
c. Look at yourself like GOD sees you (Psalm 139:23,24)
d. Look at your sin and see it like God sees it – an abomination, filthy, wicked
e. Look at your efforts for the Lord and see them for what they really are
f. Check your attitudes and see if Christ is in your thoughts, or lust, and hatred and revenge, and pride and impatience, and bitterness, and stubbornness
2. The next step toward experiencing personal revival is to Repent of every known sin. (Revelation 2:5; Isaiah 55:6,7).
a. Revival is always the Lord’s work, but true repentance is always our duty!
b. It is necessary to fully repent of all known sin against God. Get on your knees before Him and empty yourself before Him. Pull everything out of your pockets, your sleeves, your hidden places, your secrets, your heart, and your soul!
c. Those sins that readily come to mind, repent of them, then ask God to bring to your mind sins that you commit that you may not even be aware of. Ask God to reveal any other sin you are not aware of.
d. All Scripture and Revival history shows that a true Revival begins with “Deep Repentance”. And in our personal lives, it so often begins with making a “list” – literally – of ANY sin or compromise or “cloud” that is in our life – and confessing those sins to God with real sorrow and repentance. Any person who cannot make a ‘LIST’ like that – and spend time confessing their sins before God (-And forsaking them!) – is not really serious about becoming ‘Revived’. This is the first place to start.
3. Step #3 is Grieving – start getting upset over your sins, and getting sorry to God for hurting Him most of all (Psalm 51:3,4)
a. You may not grieve over your sins at first, but the more you look at yourself, and see yourself for who and what you really are, THEN you will start to grieve… so allow it
b. If you start to cry, stay awhile and cry as long as you need
4. Step #4 on your way to personal revival is to Forsake all questionable habits and activities. “For whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
a. What kinds of habits do you have that are sin? Are you in the habit of using foul and vulgar language? Are you addicted to food, or lust, or sleep, or drugs, or drink?
b. Ask God to clean up your mouth. Ask Him to help you get free of a drug addiction. BEG Him!
c. Ask Him to help you keep food and sex in the proper perspective, and to help you stay clear of things that so easily beset you, and ruin you like the TV, and like bad friends, and like rock music!
d. Decide those sins and you are parting ways from now on!
e. It is called rooting out the roots of sin in your life
1) Of the love of anger – bitterness (Heb 12:15)
2) Of the love of flesh (Heb 12:16) – lust
3) Of the love of the world (Heb 12:16) – profane is worldliness
4) Of the love of pleasure – apathy towards spiritual things (Heb 2:1)
5) Of the love of money (1Tim 6:10) – coveteousness
5. Step #5 on your way to personal revival is to Make Right any wrongs between yourself and others (Mark 11:25)
a. This is where you replace all the things that you have rooted out with good seed
b. Do you need to apologize to someone in your family? There may be something between you and a family member that goes back many, many years. That may be the one thing, the one piece of business you need to take care of in order to experience personal revival. Seek their forgiveness. Offer your forgiveness! NEBVER hold a grudge more than 12 hours! Period!
c. After a day, it’s not even important any more who was right or who was wrong. In fact, you probably can’t even remember the details of what happened any more. So isn’t it time to make things right?
6. Step #6 involves Worship (Mt 8:2; 9:18; 15:22-25). Seal all that effort with time in prayer and praise to God
a. How long has it been since you got away from everything and everyone and spent time with God in prayer? Maybe that’s why you’re not experiencing joy and satisfaction and fulfilment in your life. You’ve gotten to the point where you don’t have a quiet time any more. You don’t spend time in prayer and you rarely ever open your Bible during the week.
b. Ask God to help you renew your commit to prayer and Bible reading.
c. Beg God to help you keep the freshness and sweetness of Christ full in your life!
d. Come away to your prayer closet every day.
1) Let all else be set aside for a season.
2) Deal with yourself for now. Think not even of the other brethren and their collective need for a fresh touch.
3) Let your appeal be built solely upon His mercy
4) Wrestle alone with God for the needed blessing. Plea back passages like these:
a) “Lord, revive Thy world in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2).
b) “Revive us, and we will call upon Thy name. O Lord of hosts, restore us; cause Thy face to shine upon us, and we will be saved” (Ps. 80:18-19).
c) “Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee” (Ps. 85:6).
d) “For the sake of Thy name, O Lord, revive me” (Ps. 143:10).
e) “Restore us to Thee, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old” (Lam. 5:21).
f) “Oh, that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down that the mountains might quake at Thy presence” (Isa. 64: 1).
7. Final Thing – Anticipate! Believe (Mark 11:24)! Wait Expectantly like a groom does for the bride to come!
a. Revival comes – again, not when the guest preacher arrives, but when God personally shows up, and is allowed to do His work in our hearts and lives and homes, and minds!
b. I am hungry for God to work in my life – I hit a wall, and can only do so much, and find it is nothing compared to what needs to get done for Christ. I find myself struggling with sin and the devil, and I yearn to defeat Him and every stronghold he attempts to set up in my life and home!
c. I look forward to a church passionate about living for Jesus Christ, and walking faithfully with Him in prayer every day, and in His word, every day!
d. I will not see what is stopping us, but rather focus on what I must do so that God can conquer our hardest hearts, and our biggest problems!
A. Revival preparation is not a formula. I have given you seven steps, but it is more than just seven things to DO. It is an attitude! It is a looking up to God, praying to God, staying at it until revival comes!
B. Revival preparation is not a formula. It is an attitude! It is a looking up to God, praying to God, staying at it until revival comes!
C. But it won’t come until we work through the following seven steps and prepare ourselves for revival from the Lord!
D. Revival comes from God
E. Do we really want it?
F. You and I need to do our part
1. Personal Evaluation – taking Spiritual Inventory
2. Repent of every known sin. Turn away from it. Hate it, and let go of it – too much of our bondage in our life is self retained!
3. Grieve – start getting upset over your sins, and getting sorry to God for hurting Him most of all
4. Forsake all questionable habits and activities.
5. Make Right any wrongs between yourself and others.
6. Worship the Lord Jesus. Seal all that effort with time in prayer and praise to God
7. Anticipate! Believe! Wait Expectantly like a groom does for the bride to come!
G. I want to be revived! I want to be changed, made over again as I let go of every part of my life!
H. Let’s strive for that for which is most important. With brokenness, let’s take our place at His feet. Let’s let God again take His place of splendour among His people. With a zeal for His glory to be revealed, and a yearning for the gospel to advance, let’s prepare for Revival . . . starting now.
By Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland