OUR GREATEST NEED
I have the awesome opportunity of meeting each Friday with a group of Pastors who are not only truly men of God, but have a hunger to see the Church of Jesus Christ rise up and be all that God intends it to be in the 21st century.
About 2 years ago one of the men asked the question “where will the Christian church be in 10 years time in our town”? We have come up with numerous responses since that time, but we don’t feel we have answered the question. The reality is the average age in the churches in our area is 70+ years, meaning that in 10 years time, most congregations will have closed unless something dramatic happened.
I read a statement last week by a man called Stephen Olford, born of Christian Brethren Missionary parents in Africa, educated in the U.K. and Pastored there for a number of years until he moved to the U.S. and Pastored a large Baptist church in New York. Billy Graham has stated” no one has had a greater influence on my life that Stephen Olford”.
This is the statement that has really challenged my heart.
IT IS MY CONVICTION THAT WE ARE NEVER GOING TO HAVE A REVIVAL UNTIL GOD HAS BROUGHT THE CHURCH TO THE POINT OF DESPERATION.
I immediately zeroed in on the word desperation, and thought that’s it, we have got to get desperate, but as I read it again I realise Olford was saying that God has to bring us to that place of desperation. We see the spiritual lack all around us but it is not making us desperate. Only last Friday, we talked about the role of the evil one to deceive God’s people. He is deceiving some Christians to live immoral unworthy lives, but predominately he seems to be deceiving people to be passive,and unconcerned, convincing them, this is the way it has to be in the last days etc. Paul’s teaching in Eph. 6 tells us we need to PUT on the whole armour of God so we will recognise the tricks and schemes of the enemy. Each of those 7 pieces of armour are essential if we are going to stand and be victorious in these days.
BUT HOW DO WE LET GOD MAKE US DESPERATE ?
My favourite scripture in James is “We have not because we ask not” WE MUST ASK.
Let us look at Psalm 85.
The Psalmist cries out in verse 6 “Will you not revive us again”?
R.A. Torrey said” I have a theory, and I believe it to be true, that there is not a church or chapel, or mission on earth , where you cannot have revival, provided there is a nucleas of people who will hold onto God until it comes”.
Charles Finney said, Revival is no more a miracle than a crop of wheat, in any community a revival can be secured from heaven, when heroic souls enter the conflict, determined to win or die, or if needs be to win and die”.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS THAT LEAD TO SUCH A REVIVAL?
We must confess our need of revival
- In our lives
- In our local church
- In the church world at large.
In Psalm 85 v.7 The Psalmist expresses DESPERATION “show us your mercy”.
WE MUST ADMIT THE POSSIBILITY OF REVIVAL.
6 times in verses 1-4 The Psalmist reminds God of His mighty acts
He is favourable
He gives forgiveness
He covers their sin
He takes away His wrath
He ceases being angry
He is a God of restoration
HISTORY AND THE PROMISES OF GOD PROVE THAT REVIVAL IS POSSIBLE TODAY.
In history for example there has been the:
The Korean revival
The Hebrides Islands Revival
The Great Awakening in the U.S.
And the list goes on.
We all know these classic revival scriptures.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people”
Jeremiah 3.3 “Call unto me”
Malachi 3:10 God wants to open the windows of heaven.
WE MUST RECOGNISE THE SOURCE OF REVIVAL IT IS GOD ALONE.
It is not worked up, it is sent down.
ALL REVIVALS HAVE THEIR BASIS IN DESPERATE prayer
PSALM 143 SPELLS OUT THE KIND OF HEART THAT GETS ANSWERS TO PRAYER
- A broken heart vv.1-4
- A thirsty heart v.6
- A DESPERATE heart v.7
- A Listening heart v.8a
- An intelligent heart b.8b
- A trusting heart v.9
- A teachable heart v.10a
- A submissive heart v.10b
- A zealous heart v.11
- An obedient heart v.12b
I would encourage you to meditate on each of these 10 keys, let them become revelation to your heart.
IN PRAYER WE FIND RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR FATHER
Reverence Is. 57:15
Reality (not being a hypocrite)
Reliance Heb. 11:6
Reward (now and in the future)
Lord help us to remove all the obstacles of sin in our lives, like disobedience, unbelief, unconcern, pride, prayerlessness.
Henry Varley said ”The world has yet to see what God can do with a man who is fully surrendered to Him. D.L.Moody said, “By God’s grace I will be that man”.
This is a personal matter, “Will you Lord make ME DESPERATE, and revive ME again.
(sadly, we know the tendency of fire is to go out !!!!!!!)
WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT (back to Psalm 85)
- V.7 Salvation
- V.8 Peace
- V.9 Glory
- V.10 harmony
- V.11 Truth will increase
- Genuine increase.
I am not desperate but I DESPERATELY want to be.
LORD MAKE ME DESPERATE.
Would you be so kind as to slowly mediate on all these verses, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. The above may not be the whole answer to our great need of revival, but it sure answers a lot of questions.
If you feel there are other keys we need to consider, or there are things above that need clarification, please respond to this blog and talk to me.