Blake Allen, Student Pastor, LHBC
3 “Write to the angel of the church in Sardis: Thus says the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. 2 Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before my God. 3 Remember, then, what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come upon you. 4 But you have a few people in Sardis who have not defiled their clothes, and they will walk with me in white, because they are worthy. 5 “In the same way, the one who conquers will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Ever heard of Billy Graham? This American evangelist was on fire for God. He used this man to bring revival to thousands of people. Have you ever heard of The First Great Awakening? Okay, maybe you missed The First Great Awakening. How about The Second Great Awakening? Don’t worry, if you missed the first two, there was also the Third Great Awakening. These significant historical events were used by God to bring about revival which swept across the American colonies. Evangelicalism was birthed out of the Great Awakening movements. It was characterized by gospel proclamation, transformation, a high view of Bible, the redemptive work of Christ Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
These are fascinating stories to read about. But can I be honest? I am tired of just read stories like this in a book. I want to see it happen with my own eyes. How often do we read about revivals more than we experience revival? This is a sad reality for the Bible shows stories of God breathing a fresh wind of new life into his people. In preparing the Jonah 3 sermon, I was reminded of a simple truth: revival starts with the church way before it makes its way into the community.
Jonah needed to be personally revived from his own Pit before revival took place at Nineveh. Revival starts with God’s people. We must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. We must call on the name of the Lord to be rescued. We must call on the name of the Lord in our trials. We must confess to the Lord our sins and struggles. We must commit ourselves to the Lord each and every day.
Revival is often a misunderstood term. It is not an event a church puts on in the community. It is a fresh encounter with God himself. It is spiritual recessitation. Scripture speaks of revival as a restorative work of the Holy Spirit. It is an “awakening” in the sense that we recognize just how great God is and how sinful we are. We come to our senses of our need for Him. And this spiritual awakening leads to spiritual flourishing. Here are a couple of examples:
The valley of dry bones is a story about God reviving a spiritually dead nation. This lifeless nation receives new life from the life giver.
The church in Sardis in Revelation 3 was a spiritually dead church in need of spiritual revival. Though they thought they were alive, Jesus said it was dead. He then calls them to repent and continue to do the works of God.
I believe God wants to take what was once dying churches and breathe new life into it. But it all begins with prayer. When you look into revival history you begin to notice a common denominator: prayer. Prayer meeting turned into revival meetings. Sins were confessed, people were restored, needs were met, praises were sung, hope was given, evangelism took place, the communities were reached, etc. But it starts with us, the church.
Revival starts with God’s people seeking Him in prayer, submitting to Him, and living as witnesses for His kingdom. God is ready to do a work in your life and in this community. I pray we will see revival take place. Are you tired of just reading about it? Pray with me that the Lord will breathe a fresh wind of new life in our homes, in our churches, and in our world.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, we come before you asking you to pour out your Spirit anew. Help us to turn from sin and be filled by your Spirit. Revive us again. Revive our worship. Revive our homes. Revive our churches. Revive our community. Revive our nation. Revive our world. Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.