Revive us again!
One only needs to see the moral decay in our society to know that we are in desperate need of a revival. Even statistics that points to how Americans report their religious identity and church attendance points to the need for revival in America. In an article published by Pew Research on October 17,2019, statistics show that 65% of Christians describe themselves as Christian. That’s 12% lower than the previous decade. Twenty-six percent describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” That’s an increase of 17% from 2009. Church attendance (pre-COVID) was also declining. Fifty-four percent of American attend church only a few times a year. Forty-five percent reported attending monthly.
What do the statistics look like by generation? Of those born between 1928-1945, 85% report they are Christian. Of those born between 1946-1964, 76% report they are Christian. But for those born between 1981-1996, only 49% report they are Christian. As the rate of Christianity declines, the rate of moral decay is on the rise. It is time for God’s people to cry out with desperate and sincere hearts, “Revive us again!”
Symptoms that indicate revival is needed
We are all inflected with the disease of sin. And when revival is needed, the root problem is sin. Like any other disease, symptoms occur when the disease is present. When revival is needed, there are symptoms that begin to manifest in our life and our nation.
How many of the following symptoms are in your life? How many are evident in our nation?
- Complacency – satisfaction with the status quo. You’ve come little more than a “seat-warmer” at church.
- A narrow spiritual vision – Lack of concern for the lost and the suffering in the world. If you have your “get out of hell” card then all is good but don’t ask you to share the gospel with someone on their way to hell.
- Hypocrisy – Hiding, excusing or covering up secret sins. You’ll point your finger at others’ sins while not admitting your own. In fact, at church, you look like a deeply spiritual Christian and no one knows the sins you harbor, except for God.
- Unforgiveness – You hold on to grudges and have an unforgiving spirit. Rather than seeing others as sinners just like you, you puff yourself up in pride and haughtiness and refuse to forgive others choosing to hang on to your anger bitterness, resentment, and hurt.
- Pride – a prideful heart says, “look at me!” It wants all the recognition and glory that belongs to God. A prideful heart wants others to see how “spiritual” you are, like the Pharisees in the Bible.
- Animosity toward other Christians – it doesn’t matter the reason. You just don’t like them and you refuse to love your neighbor.
- Backslidden – You’ve grown lukewarm in your relationship with God. It is no longer a priority. You’ve stopped reading your Bible, pray only in a crisis, not attending church regularly and you’ve made other things or people in life a higher priority than God.
Will You not revive us again?
Our heat’s cry should echo that of the psalmist in Psalm 85:5-6: “Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us Your faithful love, Lord, and give us Your salvation.”
What does revival mean?
Revival means drawing near to God with the expectation of Him drawing near to us. Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive.” Revival happens when we seek the Lord and call to Him confessing our sins. With a heart of repentance, we abandon our way of sin and return to God who freely forgives. We are then restored to a right relationship with Him.
When we experience revival in our lives, our desires will change from self-centered to God centered. As a result, we hunger for righteousness, worship, and opportunities to serve God. We will leave behind our old way of life and begin living in a way that honors and glorifies God.
When revival happens, the people of God will return to the house of God. Serving God will not be a burden, but a joyful expectation and opportunity to express our love for God. When we sing our praise, the name of Christ will be exalted and they entire community will hear us. There would be no more silent bodies during the music part of our church services. When revival happens, there will many a pair of pants that will need patches on the knees from the hours spent in prayer.
We need revival because the people of God have grown lukewarm
Revival is needed whenever the people of God have grown lukewarm. In Revelation 3:15-16 Jesus says to the church at Laodicea, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.” Would Jesus find you and your church in the same lukewarm state as Laodicea?
It can happen with ease and occurs in a short period of time. But it does give some warning signs before it arrives. Too often, though, because the signs are subtle, they are easily ignored. And if they are ignored, the arrival into our hearts of the greatest spiritual danger facing us will certainly come. The result will be a damaged testimony for the Lord Jesus and a shipwrecked spiritual life that has run aground on the joyless shoals of worldliness, discontent, and dissatisfaction.
Three Warning Signs of a Lukewarm heart
Warning sign #1: Neglecting the Bible
The first warning sign that our hearts are growing spiritually lukewarm is when time in our Bibles to seek the Lord Jesus is not a daily discipline of delight, but a hit and miss, rushed, or easily ignored. Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). And Jesus told us, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Matthew 4:4). The first indication a lukewarm heart is starting to take hold in us is neglect of the Bible.
Warning sign #2: No desire for prayer
A second warning sign that our hearts are growing spiritually lukewarm is our prayer lives. Prayer is God’s gift of communication from Him in order for us to know and experience Him. Prayer should be a priority and pleasure in the Christian. When it is not, a lukewarm heart is starting to settle in. Prayer is the lifeblood of the Christian life. If we find ourselves neglecting time alone with God in prayer, lacking desire and practice of prayer with other Christians, and don’t have a growing desire for prayer, a lukewarm heart is growing within us. Soon, prayer will simply be a mechanical, mindless exercise offered over meals and at bedtime, never bringing us to encounters with the Lord.
Warning sign #3: Lack of faithfulness to our churches
The final warning sign a lukewarm heart is happening in us will be our attitude and faithfulness to our churches. For the healthy Christian, the Lord’s Day is the height of the week. It should be looked upon with anticipation, expectation, and preparation. Think about it. Our Lord’s Days are family gatherings to worship, hear from the Lord through His preached Word and be a foretaste of heaven. If we can easily prioritize and substitute worldly events over faithful attendance to the Lord in His house on His day, a chilling of the heart is occurring.
Revival is Intentional
If we want to see a revival in our own hearts and in our nation, we must be intentionally pursuing God. Until we have deep desire to know God – not just know about Him, but a knowing that comes from experiencing Him at work in our lives – we will not see a revival.
Think for a moment about a child who wants a new toy. The child will ask his parents over and over again. It doesn’t matter of they say no 100 times. The child will ask again with the hopes that on the 101st time they will say yes. If we pray for revival, we cannot grow weary in praying. In Matthew 7:7, Jesus said, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
Can a child truly want a new toy more than we want to see revival? Why do we ask God to send a revival once and then walk away? Keep asking. Keep searching. And keep knocking, and the door to revival in our nation will be opened.
Revival is Personal
We can pray for revival in America and we should. However, what we really need to pray is for God to send a revival into each one of us – individually. Why? Because revival is experienced individually. It is an awakening within ourselves to who God is. It is a longing to be close to Him and follow His Word. When you desire to see His name glorified, you are desiring revival. When you seek to know God more intimately, deeply, and personally, you are seeking revival. And when your heart is burdened by sin and the moral decay of our nation, you are burdened for revival. When you ask the Lord to fan the flames within your own heart, you are asking for revival.
We need to examine ourselves. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless you fail the test.” We need to see ourselves as we are — as God sees us. We need to be honest and repentant as we acknowledge God for who He is. And we need to see sin for what it is. It’s time we cultivate an earnest desire to be revived! It’s time we stop playing church and get on our knees as we humbly pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways.
Revival Cannot Occur Without:
We must understand that revival comes from God. We will not experience revival without a spontaneous outpouring of the presence and power of God in our lives that changes our heart and brings us to repentance and obedience. Revival cannot occur without a hunger for God and the things of God. Before there is revival, we must develop humility and a readiness to forgive others. We must also develop a desire to see souls saved and to see lives changed for God’s gory – including our own. If we want to see a revival, we need to have a desire to see dead things brought back to life, such as relationships, finances, dreams, and emotions.
More than anything else, revival cannot occur without us spending time in the presence of God. Once you have experienced His presence, you will never be the same. The true sign that revival has come is that the people of God long for and linger in the presence of God. When we spend time in His presence, there comes a desperate cry for revival that comes from deep within us and can’t help to come out and be heard by the ears of God.
Prayers that move God into action begin with confession of sin and humble repentance. They are consistent until God answers. And they are confident and expectant that God will act. If you are burdened to see God send a revival in our nation, join us and cry out to God as the psalmist did in Psalm 85:5-7:
Will You be angry with us forever? And will You prolong Your anger for all generations?
Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your faithful love, Lord, and give us Your salvation.
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