What price revival? Last week as we were driving through the SW Tasmanian wilderness, with signal dropping in and out, mostly out, I heard Kenny prophesying revival, and then Ps Josh taking about how we are in the last days. For years we have prayed for revival, but I started to wonder if we really understand what we are actually praying for.
REVIVAL V RESUSCITATION
You might be sitting here saying, I have the life of Christ in me, and I want revival. That’s good. If you have no life, you can’t revive it, you have to resuscitate it. But if you have life, you can revive that life, meaning to bring back an active or flourishing state.
Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
If you are alive, if you have ever accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, and if you can hear my voice, you are eligible for revival this morning. Kenny mentioned last week that sound waves are converted by tiny bones in your ears into electrical impulses, which we interpret as sound. I’m praying that today you hear what I say and that the Spirit coverts it into revival.
THE PRICE OF REVIVAL
What is the price of a revival? What would it cost us to see revival in our city, our area, our lives? What did Moses have to pay? What did Samuel have to pay? What did David or Elijah? Isaiah? Hezekiah? Joshua have to pay? What price did Peter and Paul and Luther and Wesley and Whitefield and Spurgeon and Moody and Billy Sunday or Billy Graham have to pay?
Each of us has to pay the same price—exactly the same price. There is no difference. There never will be any difference. God has never changed His terms. Revival is not on special just because of COVID! Power is costly. The most expensive power in all the world is the power of Pentecost. The price might be high—but I believe we can and should pay it. Here is how. 5 Ps.
1. PERSONAL DEVOTION
We must have a personal devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will study the biographies of the great men I mentioned, you will find that they were characterised by one outstanding attitude. They were in love with the Lord Jesus Christ.
They were not perfect. They stumbled and fell at times, they doubted and struggled with sin. If we repent, God deals with that sin, but He is looking for something far deeper and more important to Him. King David was an adulterer, a murderer, a spectacular sinner, but God blessed him as Israel’s greatest king because,
Acts 13:22 (ESV) (1 Samuel 13:14)
And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
You and I must fall in love with Jesus. Passion and devotion to Christ will take care of the sin problem in our lives. If we love Jesus we will hate the Devil, hate the world, and hate sin. If we really love Jesus, anything that might put a shadow between Him and us will be a horrible offence to us.
DEDICATION OR NEGOTIATION
I talk to so many Christians who ask me, “Can I be a Christian and do such and such? Can I be a Christian and have sex outside of marriage? Be gay? Make money a certain way? Be angry or not forgive some great wrong done to me?” What they are asking is, can I compromise and get away with it. Can I do what I want and still expect God to bless me.
It’s the wrong question! The question is not what bargain price can I knock God down to. If should be “Lord I give up everything for You, no holding back!”
2 Samuel 24:24 (ESV)
But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.”
We’ve got to stop trying to bargain God’s revival down to suit our budget.
I like the Ferrari LaFerrari. With a price tag of $1.4 million US, over $2 million AUD. I see it, I like it and I want it, or so I say. But I can’t afford it. Hang on, if I sold my home, all my investments, my super, my cars, my furniture, at least one of my children and possibly a kidney or two, I could possibly afford it. Fact it, the price is too high for me.
Everyone says they love the Lord, but can you honestly say you love Him more than life itself? More than anything or anyone in your life? Personal devotion to Jesus—not in word only, but with all our hearts, with all our souls. There must be a passionate devotion that will wake us in the night, that will be with us in the day, that will beset us on every hand, at home and abroad.
Can we say with the Psalmist
Psalms 73:25-26 (ESV)
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Can we say with Paul,
Philippians 3:8 (ESV)
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
2. PASSION FOR SOULS
The second price of a revival is a passion for the souls of men. Not just compassion, not just being moved in heart or feeling sorry for people, but a real, genuine, pay any cost commitment to saving souls. A passion that gives us no rest nor peace until we give the best of our thought, the best of our talents, the best of our time, the best of our efforts to seeking out the lost for the Saviour. Paul said,
Romans 9:2-3 (ESV)
that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,
He didn’t just have a passing feeling for the lost of his people. The Greek for sorrow is LYPÉ which speaks of a heaviness, and anguish is ODYNÉ, which is a consuming grief or pain. When you look at your friends, your family, the people in the streets of our community, do you have an agonising anguish for them? Does it even affect you at all?
Psalms 126:5-6 (ESV)
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Do you weep for the lost? Is reaching people for Jesus something that drives you, or even moves you? We call them the unsaved, the unchurched, non Christians, but the lost are lost. They face eternity without Jesus, unless we, you and I get serious about reaching the lost for Christ.
James 5:20 (ESV)
let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
We need to get serious about souls. This generation is responsible for this generation of souls, and we need to spend less time trying to compromise with them and more time trying to call them to Christ. Spurgeon once said, “If you have no wish for others to be saved, then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that!”
Let’s get real. Let’s genuinely have a passion for the souls of the lost around us. God is deadly serious about our responsibilities as believers for the souls of those around us.
Ezekiel 33:7-9 (ESV)
“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
We have to swallow our fear, and our pride, and share the good news that people can repent and be set free from sin and have eternal life.
3. PRESSING INTO THE WORD
If you say you’re a believer and that you want revival, and you are not pressing into God’s Word, you’re a hypocrite. The Word comes from Greek HYPOKRITIS, meaning an actor, and it referred to wearing a mask for acting. If you claim to be a Christian yet neglect the Word of God, you’re like an actor, performing a part, but it’s not real. Jesus said of the Pharisees,
Matthew 15:7-9 (ESV)
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Without pressing into the Word of God, we miss connecting with Him, miss the point and miss the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Psalms 119:18 (ESV)
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Is the Bible a dynamic, wondrous thing or a dust collector? Do you seek God in His Word, or just seek His blessing over what you’ve decided you want to do?
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
God’s Word divides soul and spirit. What does that mean? The soul is your mind, will and emotions, PSYCHÉ in the Greek, but the Spirit is PNEUMA in Greek, the part of you that is connected to His Holy Spirit. This verse says it discerns (KRITIKOS) which means judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The Greek for intentions is ENNOIA, which means the intent or moral understanding behind an action. Let’s summarise… The Bible, reading it, obeying it, hiding it in your heart, building your life upon it, enables you to sort out what God wants for your life from your intellect, your emotions and your will.
Want to live a victorious Christian life? Press unto the Word of God.
4. PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER
The forth price that we must pay for this revival that God wants is persistent intercession, personal and corporate. We have a full house on a Sunday morning at Ignite, but only 30-40 at the prayer meeting, and this shows where we are at as a church. If we truly want revival, we need to get serious about prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We must literally saturate our towns with prayers. If I were to ask you the question “Do you believe God answers prayer?” you would answer immediately, “I surely do.” Do you? Do you believe God answers prayer? How do you know? Has someone told you? Do you know it “secondhand”? Have you ever tested the truth of the statement? Has God ever answered prayer for you in a mighty, miraculous way?
We see miracles every week at Ignite. If you want to see miracles, hang around here, because they are common place, and we love it. Come to ENCOUNTER Prayer and praise nights and see God do more and more miracles.
We have to pray passionately, not offer religious shopping lists to God. If you find your prayers boring, chances are God does too. When we pray together, we build each other up and prayer becomes exciting, especially when you start to see answers.
5. PENITENCE AND REPENTANCE
God established the price for revival with King Solomon, and it hasn’t changed. He’s not having a revival fire sale, He is not negotiating and He won’t bargain.
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.
The final ingredient missing for revival is repentance, for our own sins and the sins of our people. Not just the feeling of remorse, but
Acts 3:19-20 (ESV)
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
Times of refreshing ANAPSYXIS, literally means revival. It means recovery of breath. It means the restoration of life. Repentance leads to revival.
NAME YOUR PRICE!
If you want something bad enough, you’ll pay any price for it. Any price. Personal devotion, passion for souls, pressing into the Word, persistence in prayer and true repentance… Any price.
Will you join me today in promising, right now before the Lord, that you will pay any price to see true revival come to our lives, our church and our community? Will you lay before Him your house and car, your job, your career, your talents. Will you give to Him your family, your loved ones, your neighbours, your hopes and dreams for the future? Will you lay aside any sin, any dream, any desire, repent and seek His face?
Revivals happen when people are desperate enough. The Welsh revival in 1904 saw a whole nation turn to Christ. Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, countless others have seen revivals. We’ve seen it at Toronto, Brownsville, other places.
I have travelled with Bill Newman and seen true revival first hand in NE India, in Magalayah State. In 1907 missionaries came to this part of India carrying the seeds of the Welsh revival. 100 years to the day the Holy Spirit hit the place and we saw full blown revival in this region, amongst the Welsh Presbyterians. Every church, every denomination, in every town, full to capacity 7 nights a week.
But we need to see it happen here. How? By being desperate enough, by wanting it for our people in our time, and wanting it with all of our hearts.
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.
Will you be that man, that woman? Will you stand in the gap for your people?
If you truly want to see revival, I’m going to invite you to stand with me here at the front.