(10/16) By now, many of you know that there is a quote that haunts my mind and soul. It is not a Bible quote, but a President’s quote. It is from Thomas Jefferson on the subject of slavery. It is on panel 3 of his memorial and comes from his notes on the state of Virginia. "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their
only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever…."
These are my sentiments exactly. For the last 3 months we have looked at the Wrath of God from Romans 1. When a nation intentionally suppresses truth and calls evil good and good evil. We have only the wrath of God to look forward to. But, there is hope. We have been looking at the Prescription for Revival that our God gave to us from 2 Chronicles
The text is an answer from God to Solomon. It assumes that people will turn away from God and that God will discipline them severely. But why? Because he loves them! Remember Hebrews 12:5-6, "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked
by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."
Or the words of our Blessed Lord to the Church at Laodicea, (Rev. 3:19) 19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent."
While God is angry with sinners and will judge them, He still loves His creation and wants them to repent and follow Him. This is true of countries, and of Churches as we saw in Revelation 2-3, and in our homes and in our personal lives. The Formula for Revival remains the same for all. Let’s stand and read 2 Chronicles 7:12-20.
In the 1990’s Henry Blackaby and Claude King, (authors of Experiencing God), wrote another book called Fresh Encounter in which they gave 7 phases that have to occur in order to have a Revival that leads to a Spiritual Awakening.
1. God is on Mission to redeem a lost world. He calls a people into relationship with Himself and accomplishes His work through them.
2. God’s people tend to depart from Him, turning to substitutes for His presence, His purposes, and His ways.
3. God disciplines His people because he loves them.
4. God’s people cry out to Him for help.
5. God calls His people to return to Him and repent.
6. God revives His repentant people by restoring them to a right relationship with Himself.
7. God exalts His Son Jesus among the people and draws the lost to saving faith in Him.
The United States of America has gone from a nation that was based on the Bible to a nation that suppresses the truth of the Bible. We have an election coming up that has turned into a mockery of what this nation was intended to be. Someone commented that the candidates are like a couple going through a divorce and we are the children they both want
custody of. "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever…."
Yet, God loves America. And He loves your family, and He loves you. America can change and be a great country again, but only if God’s people wake up. Someone said, "the problem is not global warming, its Christian cooling." We can have a Revival and we can have a Spiritual Awakening but only if God’s people wake up. Romans 13:11, Paul said, And do
this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Our Hope – is in the prescription that God has given us, "If my people who are called by my name." We have a choice and an action we can take if we want to be healed and forgiven.
Our Humility, "Will Humble Themselves," Our hope depends on our humility. We as God’s people must be willing to bow before God. He is God and we are not. This is His world not ours. He is Sovereign and we are His servants. It is His will and not ours that is to be done.
Our Help will come when we pray. I believe this is a prayer of introspection that leads to a prayer of confession of our sins and our complacency. It is a prayer that unites us with our family and our church family, that leads us to intercede for our country and our family and results in …. There has never been nor ever will be a Revival without
concerted, united, intense times of prayer. America’s last great revival was in 1904-1905. This was the headline of the Denver Post. An Entire City Paused For Prayer - Denver Post/January 20, 1905
"For two hours at midday all Denver was held in a spell. The marts of trade were deserted between noon and two o'clock this afternoon, and all worldly affairs were forgotten, and the entire city was given over to meditation of higher things. The spirit of the Almighty pervaded every nook. Going to and coming from the great meetings, the thousands of
men and women radiated this Spirit which filled them, and the clear Colorado sunshine was made brighter by the reflected glow of the light of God shining from happy faces. Seldom has such a remarkable sight been witnessed - an entire great city, in the middle of a busy weekday, bowing before the throne of heaven and asking and receiving the blessing of the King of the
Our Hunger, "And Seek my Face," We want to draw close to God and feel His favor and manifest presence in our midst. We long to know God intimately, personally. And that leads us to
Our Holiness. "And turn from their wicked ways," Having confessed our sins, we intentionally turn away from them and seek to be set apart to God. We don’t just stop sinning we turn to God to seek and do His will.
This is Our Heeding, "Then I will hear from heaven," Only if we are willing to follow God’s prescription will He hear from heaven; that is, with the intent to act on our behalf. I hope that you saw last week that God is not interested in halfhearted religion. He wants His children to be all in. It’s all or nothing.
Our Heeding will result in Our Healing. I will forgive their sins and heal their land. Revival and Healing are what God does. And it begins with the people of God.
Notice the three things that this text mentions. God hears, God Forgives our Sins, and God brings healing to our land. Blackaby said that, #6, "God revives His repentant people by restoring them to a right relationship with Himself."
God Hears. Last week we saw that when we reject God’s wisdom, ask Him with wrong motives, harbor sin in our hearts, set up idols in our hearts, close our ears and hearts to the poor, when we aren’t forgiving others, when we doubt God’s ability or desire to answer us, when we aren’t loving our wives or respecting our husbands, God doesn’t hear with the
intent of acting on our behalf. But when we follow the prescription of 2 Chronicles 7:14, God hears and begins to act favorably towards us. I John 5:14-15, 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of
God Forgives. That is, He no longer holds us responsible to pay for our sins. He releases us from our debt. We know that he can do that because Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe. Sin had left a Crimson Stain, He washed it white as snow. In the Old Testament they were looking forward to the time when God make the ultimate sacrifice for sin. We look
back and know that when Jesus died on that cross, all of our sins were paid for-all of them.
God Heals Our Land. How so? Look back at verse 13, "When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people. God warned in Leviticus 26 that if the people of God forsook their covenant relationship with God, He would discipline them with disease, and drought, and beasts, and famine, and
invasion by enemies, and even removal from their land. I also believe that the natural disasters that have been hammering our country these last 15 years are part of God’s discipline to get our attention. The racial tensions in our nation will continue until God’s people humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. Turn and Look at Isaiah
57:15ff. (cp. Hosea 14; Joel 2:18-32).
God said. Zech. 1:3, Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Return to Me," says the Lord of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the Lord of hosts. (With Mercy, Peace, Grace, and Blessings) cp. Malachi 3:7
Joel 2:13, So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
And then after God Revives or reinvigorates, and breathes new life into His Church, He begins to work through His people to bring an awakening to the nation.
Jeremiah 24:7, "Then, I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."
Look at Ezekiel 36:22-38, Underline or highlight what God does. ("I will…")
God’s people are changed and then God’s people begin to be the change that the nation needs. We become the salt and light that our Lord desires us to be.
In Jerusalem, 120 met together to pray, and the Holy Spirit came down took up residence in them and the results shook the world. Blackaby said that, #7, "God exalts His Son Jesus among the people and draws the lost to saving faith in Him.
Turn to Acts 2. From 120 came 3000 people saved and filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and then multiplied thousands came to Christ. They became the change the world needed.
What happened to and through them?
They Continued Steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine (v. 42), which were the teachings they received from Jesus. They didn’t just meet for Bible study or hear a sermon. They determined to put the teachings into action in their lives.
They Continued Steadfastly in Fellowship (v. 42). Not just having coffee and cookies, but involved in sharing in each other’s lives. This was our desire for small groups, People caring for each other, and serving God together. Sharing in each other’s lives, sharing things, and sharing joys and griefs together.
They Continued Steadfastly in Breaking of Bread (v. 42). Most believe this is referring to regularly taking communion together as a symbol of their worship and unity. But it may include new and renewed hospitality as Christians ate their meals and shared their food together and as a result celebrated their faith in Jesus together.
They Continued Steadfastly in Prayers (v. 42). I doubt seriously if their prayers were trite. Turn over for a minute and look at Acts 4:24-31. The place shook. I want that don’t you? Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit came and we began to pray as His ambassadors using His name, for His glory, He would answer our prayers. Prayers for boldness,
Prayers for accomplishing great things for God’s glory. Prayers for lost souls.
They Attempted Great Things for God (v.43). They believed that God would glorify Himself through them if they sought to help people for God’s glory. Un-explainable things, miraculous things happen as God works through His people to accomplish His plan for His glory. The result was an immense reverence for God (called fear).
They were Generous in Giving (v.45). God worked through His people to take care of the poor and needy. Perhaps taking care of the family of God and then anyone who had need. Paul would later write, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good
to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Gal. 6:9-10 cp. Acts 4:32-35)
They Met Together Regularly with Humility to Worship. (46-47a). It was by meeting regularly that they could be involved encouraging and helping each other and to worship God.
The Community Wanted What These Christians Had (v.47) And a Spiritual awakening occurred. (cp. 4:4; 5:14; 6:1) People were drawn to Jesus. God exalts His Son Jesus among the people and draws the lost to saving faith in Him. People wanted what the church had because these people were not just being religious, they were following and imitating their Lord
Then the Missionary Movement began, first to Judea, and Galilee, then Samaria, and then to the world. Opposition came to the church, as it will from the religious community and from the government, but instead of stifling the church it caused the church to grow and spread throughout the world. This has been repeated in each of America’s Great
Awakenings and Revivals, the last of which occurred 110 years ago. Hundreds, and thousands, and millions of people are drawn to Jesus, because God’s people humbled themselves and prayed and sought God’s face and turned from their wicked ways and found forgiveness and healing with God.
Before the Iron Curtain came down in 1989, Billy Graham was granted access to the Soviet Union. Preaching in mostly state churches, Billy Graham, never the less, preached the gospel unapologetically, He shared the gospel in the Kremlin or wherever he was. But, because he did not speak out about abused human rights and confront the communist about the
restrained religious liberty, he was publicly criticized. One man accused Mr. Graham of setting the evangelical church in Russia, back 50 years.
Mr. Graham lowered his head and said, "I am deeply ashamed, all my life and ministry I have been trying to set the church back 2000 years."
The point of these messages is simply this, America won’t change until God’s people begin to be God’s people. When God’s church begins to be the church again, and humbles themselves, and prays in earnest, and seeks God’s face and favor again, and turns from its sins and idols, God will begin to move by His Holy Spirit to use His people to begin the
change they want to see in their nation. It can begin in your home, with a few friends, or it can begin in a closet by yourself, or it can begin in a church, "…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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Who is willing to be the one who will humble himself or herself and pray
Who will seek God’s face
Who is willing to turn completely with no reservations from sin and self and turn to God
Who is willing to say, "It has to begin somewhere, let it begin with me." And, "if I am the only one, I will be the one who will follow Jesus, no matter what."
Maybe you are one, who is willing to repent of your sins and selfishness, and receive the love and grace and forgiveness of Jesus and submit to Him as your Lord today. Maybe you need to pray a prayer similar to this one.
I am a sinner, I have been self-focused, and I am sorry. I don’t want to continue my life like that. Today I want to turn away from that and turn to you. I believe you love me. I believe that Jesus died on a cross to pay my full penalty for my sins. I also believe that He rose again 3 days later to show me that my sins were paid for and if I follow Him
I will live forever with Him. That is what I want. From this day and on, I will follow Jesus as my Savior, my Lord, and my friend. Thank you for being patient with me and thank you for loving me so much.
In Jesus’ name, I pray it be so, Amen
If any of these messages have encouraged you, or if you have any questions please let me know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. And I promise, I will never ask you for money, nor place you on any mailing list.
The Role of Prayer in Spiritual Awakening
(From J. Edwin Orr- Prayer Conference in Dallas Texas 1976,)
That movement lasted for a generation (the Revival of 1858-1860), but at the turn of the century there was need of awakening again. A general movement of prayer began, with special prayer meetings at Moody Bible Institute, at Keswick Conventions in England, and places as far apart as Melbourne, Wonsan in Korea, and the Nigari Hills of India. So all
around the world believers were praying that there might be another great awakening in the twentieth century.
* * *
In the revival of 1905, I read of a young man who became a famous professor, Kenneth Scott Latourette. He reported that, at Yale in 1905, 25% of the student body were enrolled in prayer meetings and in Bible study.
As far as churches were concerned, the ministers of Atlantic City reported that of a population of fifty thousand there were only fifty adults left unconverted.
Take Portland in Oregon: two hundred and forty major stores closed from 11 to 2 each day to enable people to attend prayer meetings, signing an agreement so that no one would cheat and stay open.
Take First Baptist Church of Paducah in Kentucky: the pastor, an old man, Dr J. J. Cheek, took a thousand members in two months and died of overwork, the Southern Baptists saying, ‘a glorious ending to a devoted ministry.’
That is what was happening in the United States in 1905. But how did it begin?
* * *
Most people have heard of the Welsh Revival which started in 1904. It began as a movement of prayer.
Seth Joshua, the Presbyterian evangelist, came to Newcastle Emlyn College where a former coal miner, Evan Roberts aged 26, was studying for the ministry. The students were so moved that they asked if they could attend Joshua’s next campaign nearby. So they cancelled classes to go to Blaenanerch where Seth Joshua prayed publicly, ‘O God, bend us.’
Evan Roberts went forward where he prayed with great agony, ‘O God, bend me.’
Upon his return he could not concentrate on his studies. He went to the principal of his college and explained, ‘I keep hearing a voice that tells me I must go home and speak to our young people in my home church. Principal Phillips, is that the voice of the devil or the voice of the Spirit?’
Principal Phillips answered wisely, ‘The devil never gives orders like that. You can have a week off.’
So he went back home to Loughor and announced to the pastor, ‘I’ve come to preach.’
The pastor was not at all convinced, but asked, ‘How about speaking at the prayer meeting on Monday?’
He did not even let him speak to the prayer meeting, but told the praying people, ‘Our young brother, Evan Roberts, feels he has a message for you if you care to wait.’
Seventeen people waited behind, and were impressed with the directness of the young man’s words.
Evan Roberts told his fellow members, ‘I have a message for you from God.
* You must confess any known sin to God and put any wrong done to others right.
* Second, you must put away any doubtful habit.
* Third, you must obey the Spirit promptly.
* Finally, you must confess your faith in Christ publicly.’
By ten o’clock all seventeen had responded. The pastor was so pleased that he asked, ‘How about your speaking at the mission service tomorrow night? Midweek service Wednesday night?’
He preached all week, and was asked to stay another week. Then the break came.
Suddenly the dull ecclesiastical columns in the Welsh papers changed:
‘Great crowds of people drawn to Loughor.’
The main road between Llanelly and Swansea on which the church was situated was packed with people trying to get into the church. Shopkeepers closed early to find a place in the big church.
Now the news was out. A reporter was sent down and he described vividly what he saw: a strange meeting which closed at 4.25 in the morning, and even then people did not seem willing to go home. There was a very British summary: ‘I felt that this was no ordinary gathering.’
Next day, every grocery shop in that industrial valley was emptied of groceries by people attending the meetings, and on Sunday every church was filled.
The movement went like a tidal wave over Wales, in five months there being a hundred thousand people converted throughout the country. Five years later, Dr J. V. Morgan wrote a book to debunk the revival, his main criticism being that, of a hundred thousand joining the churches in five months of excitement, after five years only seventy-five thousand
still stood in the membership of those churches!
The social impact was astounding. For example, judges were presented with white gloves, not a case to try; no robberies, no burglaries, no rapes, no murders, and no embezzlements, nothing. District councils held emergency meetings to discuss what to do with the police now that they were unemployed. In one place the sergeant of police was sent for and
asked, ‘What do you do with your time?’
He replied, ‘Before the revival, we had two main jobs, to prevent crime and to control crowds, as at football games. Since the revival started there is practically no crime. So we just go with the crowds.’
A councillor asked, ‘What does that mean?’
The sergeant replied, ‘You know where the crowds are. They are packing out the churches.’
‘But how does that affect the police?’
He was told, ‘We have seventeen police in our station, but we have three quartets, and if any church wants a quartet to sing, they simply call the police station.’
As the revival swept Wales, drunkenness was cut in half. There was a wave of bankruptcies, but nearly all taverns. There was even a slowdown in the mines, for so many Welsh coal miners were converted and stopped using bad language that the horses that dragged the coal trucks in the mines could not understand what was being said to them.
That revival also affected sexual moral standards. I had discovered through the figures given by British government experts that in Radnorshire and Merionethshire, the illegitimate birth rate had dropped 44% within a year of the beginning of the revival.
The revival swept Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, North America, Australasia, Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Chile.
As always, it began through a movement of prayer.
What do we mean by extraordinary prayer? We share ordinary prayer in regular worship services, before meals, and the like. But when people are found getting up at six in the morning to pray, or having a half night of prayer until midnight, or giving up their lunch time to pray at noonday prayer meetings, that is extraordinary prayer. It must be united
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman