Revive me according to Thy Word.
INTRODUCTION - The following is an assortment of quotes and notes saved over the years all in some way related to REVIVAL. They are not structured or in any specific order, but are provided in hopes that they may spur you on to begin to intercede daily for revival for yourself, your small group, your church, your nation, the world. We are experiencing a time of ever increasing spiritual darkness in America and are in great, grave need of a mighty move of God on our land. So Father we pray simply and yet sincerely "Revive us according to Thy Word." (Psalm 119:25).
Note: No attempt has been made to attribute these notes to specific sources (other than specific quotes, etc) as they were randomly accumulated over many years and there was never an intention to publish them any wider. So if you see something that you think should be credited to someone, please email me and they will be credited. Thank you.
Tozer said "Revival will come when prayer is no longer used as a substitute for obedience." [1Sa15:22,23]
There will be No Revival
Leonard Ravenhill "In revival God is not concerned about filling empty churches, He is concerned about filling empty hearts."
Send a revival, O Christ, my Lord,
Let it go over the land and sea;
Send it according to Thy dear Word,
And let it begin in me.
Lord, send a revival,
and let it begin in me.
O Lord, how we need a revival!
Please let it begin in me.
O God, may I seek You and serve You
With love and humility.
The need of my heart is revival,
More trusting in God's precious Word,
More grace as I show forth His praises,
And serve my adorable Lord.
Here's a little survey:
1). How many of you know we NEED a revival?
Almost everyone raises their hands here. The knowledge of this fact hardly takes scholarship or devotion.
2). How many of you WANT a revival?
Again, a majority opinion in church groups. And in the 80's so did around 80% of the country according to George Gallup Jr. Even the lost know we need a revival!
3). How many of you know WHAT a revival is?
The number drops off alarmingly now. Here is something we all want, we all know we need, but we don't have a clue what it is!
4). How many of you have ever EXPERIENCED a real revival?
And here, very few if any, ever respond. "Another generation arose that did not know the mighty works of the Lord". (Jdg 2:10-read comment)
EVAN ROBERTS TESTIMONY--WELSH REVIVAL:
The seven o'clock meeting was devoted to asking and answering questions. Rev. W. W. Lewis conducted. At the close Rev. Seth Joshua prayed, and said during his prayer, 'Lord, do this, and this, and this, etc., and bend us.' He did not say, 'O Lord, bend us.' It was the Spirit that put the emphasis for me on 'Bend us.' 'That is what you need,' said the Spirit to me. And as I went out I prayed, 'O Lord, bend me.'"On the way to the nine o'clock meeting Rev. Seth Joshua remarked, 'We are going to have a wonderful meeting today.' To this I replied, 'I feel myself almost bursting.'" The meeting having been opened was handed over to the Spirit. I was conscious that I would have to pray. As one and the other prayed, I put the question to the Spirit, 'Shall I pray now?' 'Wait a while,' said He. When others prayed I felt a living force come into my bosom. I held my breath, and my legs shivered, and after every prayer I asked, 'Shall I now?' The living force grew and grew, and I was almost bursting. And instantly some one ended his prayer my bosom boiling. I would have burst if I had not prayed. What boiled me was that verse, 'God commending His love.' I fell on my knees with my arms over the seat in front of me, and the tears and perspiration flowed freely. I thought blood was gushing forth. For about two minutes it was fearful. I cried, 'Bend me! Bend me! Bend us! . . .' What bent me was God commending His love (Ro5:8), and I not seeing anything in it to commend. After I was bent a wave of peace came over me, and the audience sang, 'I hear thy welcome voice.' And as they sang I thought of the bending at the judgment Day, and I was filled with compassion forthose who would be bent on that day, and I wept.Henceforth the salvation of souls became the burden of my heart. From that time I was on fire with a desire to go through all Wales, and if it were possible I was willing to pay God to allow me to go. A plan was agreed upon, and eight of us were to go through Wales, and I was to pay all expenses."
In other parts of South Wales crowded and enthusiastic services are being held, and everywhere large numbers of inquirers are announced. At the Tabernacle in Cardiff a gang of gamblers has been broken up by the revival, and twelve of them have yielded to Christ. One of the Welsh hymns sung most fervently at all the services says -
Gone is the morn, it's getting late,
But open still is mercy's gate.
And in at that gate hundreds are still flocking. A well-dressed shop assistant staggered to the front and asked a minister to pray for him. As soon as he found the Lord he got up and shouted out in Welsh, "Is mother here?" When he was told she was at the back of the chapel, he called out, "Mother, I've had to give in at last. I tried to refuse, but I was compelled." And so the glorious work goes on.
- 10 Things You Should Know about the Welsh Revival - Sam Storms
- 1904–1905 Welsh revival - Wikipedia
- The Story of the Welsh Revival - Revival Library
PASSAGES THAT MENTION REVIVE OR REVIVAL - Surprisingly, there are not that many occurrences in the Bible. Most are in Psalm 119 every verse dealing in some way with the Word of God.
THOUGHT - Do you think there is any association between personal revival and personal time in the pure milk of God's Word (1 Pe 2:2)? As you have surely surmised, that is a rhetorical question! Of course there is an association, and in fact they are intimately related - read especially Ps 119:25, Ps 119:50, Ps 119:93, Ps 119:107, Ps 119:149, Ps 119:154, Ps 119:156. If God seems distance and you feel dry in your spiritual life and are in need of the times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord (For ultimately His Presence is the essence of revival) then purpose in your heart over the next few days are weeks to meditate on (even memorize) the passages in Psalm 119 that link revival with intake of God's Word, beseeching God that from our "innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ (Jn 7:38). I'm not speaking of a "second experience" but a renewal of that first love exhilarating experience we all remember when we were first born again. (cf Rev 2:4-5), and then waiting on the Lord in humble expectation for Him to answer in His perfect timing and His good and acceptable and perfect will in Christ. God's will for our life is revival, because when we are spiritually revived, the aroma of Christ is bountiful and the Light of Jesus is clear and bright and the Father is glorified as Jesus alluded to in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven." “Therefore repent (CONFESS ANY KNOWN SIN. SEPARATE FROM AND "KILL" ANY SECRET SIN, ANY "PET" SIN YOU HAVE BEEN "TOYING" WITH) and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19+)
- Ezra 9:8 But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 “For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
- Psalms 69:32 The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God, let your heart revive.
- Psalms 71:20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
- Psalms 80:18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
- Psalms 85:6 Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?
- Psalms 119:25 Daleth. My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
- Psalms 119:37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.
- Psalms 119:40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.
- Psalms 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.
- Psalms 119:88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
- Psalms 119:93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.
- Psalms 119:107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
- Psalms 119:149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances.
- Psalms 119:154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.
- Psalms 119:156 Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances.
- Psalms 119:159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.
- Psalms 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
- Psalms 143:11 For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.
- Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
- Hosea 6:2 “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.
- Habakkuk 3:2 LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.
NOTE: Similar to preceding "THOUGHT"
IN NEED OF REVIVAL? Most of us frequently are if we are being honest. When somebody told Billy Sunday that revivals weren’t necessary because they didn’t last, the evangelist replied, “A bath doesn’t last, but it’s good to have one occasionally.” So then, where do you think we could go to find the answer to the question of how we might experience revival? You might be surprised to discover that the best place is Psalm 119 which has more than 1/3 of all the uses of the word “revive” in the Bible.
- Ps 119:25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
- Ps 119:37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.
- Ps 119:40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.
- Ps 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.
- Ps 119:88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
- Ps 119:93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.
- Ps 119:107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
- Ps 119:149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances.
- Ps 119:154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.
- Ps 119:156 Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances.
- Ps 119:159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.
As you observe those passages, do you think there is any association between personal revival and personal time in the pure milk of God's Word (1 Pe 2:2)? As you have surmised, that is a rhetorical question! Of course there is an association, and in fact they are intimately related - read especially Ps 119:25, Ps 119:50, Ps 119:93, Ps 119:107, Ps 119:149, Ps 119:154, Ps 119:156. C H Spurgeon said "If we want revival, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God."
If God seems distant and you feel dry in your spiritual life and are in need of the times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord (For ultimately His Presence is the essence of revival) then purpose in your heart (Da 1:8) over the next few days or weeks to meditate on (even memorize) the passages in Psalm 119 that link revival with intake of God's Word, beseeching God that from our "innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ (Jn 7:38). I am speaking of a renewal of that exhilarating experience when we first fell in love with Jesus when His Spirit birthed us into the Kingdom of God (cf Rev 2:4-5).
“Therefore repent (Confess any known sin. Separate and “kill” any secret sin you have been trifling with) and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19)
"Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jer 33:3) And then “wait for the LORD and you will gain (literally exchange your weakness for His strength – 2 Cor 12:9) new strength and will mount up with wings like eagles, will run and not get tired, and will walk and not become weary,” (Isa 40:31) “for thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isa 57:15)
God's will for our life is revival, for when we are spiritually revived, the aroma of Christ is evident (2 Cor 2:14-16) and the Light of Jesus (Jn 8:12) is clear and bright and the Father is glorified as Jesus called for in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify (give a proper opinion of) your Father Who is in heaven."
And so we see that the "secret" to personal revival is simply to "re-Bible!" Let me suggest that instead of reading a larger portion of Scripture (as in most reading plans where too often it is in one ear and out the other), you take smaller "bites" of Scripture, giving yourself a chance to chew on the passages as you would a bite of select prime rib. And then you will be more likely to ponder that passage as you go throughout your day.
Send a revival, O Christ, my Lord,
Let it go over the land and sea;
Send it according to Thy dear Word,
And let it begin in me.
May God "revive His work in the midst of the years." (Hab 3:2) and may our prayer frequently be "Revive me according to Your Word." (Ps 119:25) In Jesus' Name. Amen
Play (and pray) this modern hymn Revive Me Again -
''An old-fashioned revival is the medicine for these times. Such a revival is not a momentary outburst of excitement, not a temporary manipulated stir, not a mere reformation, but a real awakening, a profound and awful conviction of sin by the eternal Spirit of God. For such a revival we ought to pray w. our whole souls; pray like Jacob, till the day dawns and the blessing comes; pray like Elijah, till the answer by fire comes, till heaven is unlocked and pours out its treasures.'' E. M. Bounds
Sammy Tippitt - REVIVAL OF THE SOUL "My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Thy word" (Ps.119:25).
Throughout the ages, the great revivals of Christianity have been directly related to the ministry of the Word of God. As wonderful as is music of praise, it will not produce a great spiritual or moral revival. It's pleasant to have creative means of worship in our churches and personal lives. However, there's no substitute for the ministry of the Scriptures. They have the ability to revive the weak and sickly saint. They turn the focus of the Christian away from defeat and point him to the victory of the conquering Christ. On many occasions in my personal walk with God, I've been discouraged and defeated. But I only have to be still and meditate on the Scriptures to discover the One who's able to revive the heavy heart. The Scriptures have the ability to shine forth the glory of God in places where His light has grown dim. Spiritual renewal comes to the individual, church, or community that is open to the light of God's Word.
John Piper - Revival happens when we see God majestic in holiness, and when we see ourselves, disobedient dust. Brokenness, repentance, unspeakable joy of forgiveness, a "taste for the magnificence of God," a hunger for his holiness -- to see it more and to live it more: that's revival. And it comes from seeing God. (Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord of Hosts)
John Phillips on Ps 119:25 - "My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken Thou me according to Thy word." We don't know what it was that so prostrated the psalmist before God. It may have been an overwhelming sense of his own guilt (guilt will do that). And that, after all, is the first function of God's Word-to expose guilt. The Holy Spirit's first work in the soul is to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come.
There can be little doubt that the psalmist was in the grip of deep depression. He was flat on his face in the dust. He had come to the end of himself and his own resources.
At this point our society would advise us to see a psychiatrist, seek professional help. There may be times when a Christian psychologist can help, but that was not the solution the psalmist discovered.
Sometimes when people go to a psychiatrist, they are put into group therapy and encouraged to let it all "hang out." They are to talk openly about their problems to others, who have problems too. Everybody comments on the problems, criticizing hangups, attitudes, personality traits, weaknesses, and shortcomings. All that is supposed to help.
The psalmist makes a different suggestion. He says to the Lord, "Quicken Thou me." He was going to air his problems all right, but he was going to take them to the Lord. He was going to seek a counselor-the counsel of the Word of God. There are very few problems in this life that cannot be solved by a thorough-going, honest exposure of one's life to the Scriptures. To do that is the greatest therapy in the world.
The psalmist asked God to "quicken him," that is, to put new life into him. What he needed was a stiff dose of Scripture, taken with a mixture of faith, every day. Try it. Read your Bible consistently. Say with Samuel, "Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth." The Bible is a book of people and principles. Sooner or later, God will confront us in the pages of His Book with the basic cause of our problem and with His inspired, infallible solution to that problem. The psalmist had discovered the best way of all to handle depression.
But we must be prepared. The Bible will not hedge or redefine sin. It will put its finger unerringly on the sin question, frequently at the root of other problems of life (Exploring Psalms)
Herbert Lockyer - "Quicken thou me according to thy word." Psalm 119:25
Here the Psalmist is pleading the promise of revival. While the word "quicken" is used of life being given to the dead, it also implies God's power to raise up and cheer all who languish. And what is revival but God's quickening of His own! He finds them cleaving to the dust and touches them. As branches of the Vine, they trail on the ground where the sun, rain and air cannot benefit them. But when His Spirit is abroad in revival blessing, the trailing, dust-covered branches are raised to a trellis where, fully exposed to atmospheric conditions, they can become fruitful. Then it must not be forgotten that all revival comes through the medium of the Word. A revival that is not according to God's revealed will, is not a heaven-sent one. The Lord deliver us from a Bible-less, and therefore spurious, revival!
Octavius Winslow - 3 devotionals on Psalm 119:25
"I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word." Psalm 119:25
Ah! how many whose eye scans this page may take up and breathe David's words. You feel a deadness, a dullness, and an earthliness in spiritual enjoyments, and duties, and privileges, in which your whole soul should be all life, all fervor, all love. You are low where you ought to be elevated; you grovel where you ought to soar; you cleave to the earth where you ought to be embracing the heavens. Your thoughts are low; your affections are low; your feelings are low; your spirits are low; and you seem almost ready to question the existence of the life of God in your soul.
But even in this sad and depressed state may there not be something cheering, encouraging, hopeful? There was evidently in David's–"My soul cleaves unto the dust: quicken me." This was the cheering, encouraging, hopeful feature in the Psalmists's case–his breathing after the requickening of the Divine life of his soul. Here was that which marked him a man of God. It was a living man complaining of his deadness, and breathing after more life. It was a heaven-born soul lamenting its earthliness, and panting after more of heaven. It was a spiritual man mourning over his carnality, and praying for more spirituality. It is not the prayer of one conscious of the low state of His soul, and yet satisfied with that state.
"I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word." Perhaps no expression is more familiar to the ear, and no acknowledgment is more frequently on the lips of religious professors, than this. And yet where is the accompanying effort to rise above it? Where is the putting on of the armor? Where is the conflict? Where is the effort to emerge from the dust, to break away from the enthrallment, and soar into a higher and purer region? Alas! many from whose lips smoothly glides the humiliating confession still embrace the dust, and seem to love the dust, and never stretch their pinions to rise above it. But let us study closely this lesson of David's experience, that while deep lamentation filled his heart, and an honest confession breathed from his lips, there was also a breathing, a panting of soul, after a higher and a better state. He seemed to say–"Lord, I am prostrate, but I long to rise; I am fettered, but I struggle to be free; my soul cleaves to the dust, but quicken me!" Similar to this was the state of the Church, so graphically depicted by Solomon in his Song–"I sleep, but my heart wakes."
JULY 24. "Revive me." Psalm 119:25
This prayer implies what, alas! is so needful in many, a revival of soul. It is a putting of the Lord's hand a second time to the work of grace in the heart. "When you are converted," said our Lord to Peter, "strengthen your brethren." What! had not Peter already been converted? Most truly. But; although a regenerate man, he had so relapsed in grace as to need a re-conversion. Our Lord's meaning, then, obviously is, "When you are restored, recovered, re-quickened, then strengthen your brethren." How many religious professors stand in need of a fresh baptism (filling) of the Holy Spirit! You, perhaps, my reader, are one. Where is the spiritual vigor you once displayed? where the spiritual joy you once possessed? where the unclouded hope you once indulged? where the humble walk with God you once maintained? where the fragrance that once breathed around you? Alas! your soul cleaves to the dust; and you need the re-converting grace, the renewed baptism (filling) of the Spirit. "Revive me" is your prayer.
A clearer manifestation of Divine life in the soul is not the least blessing contained in this prayer for quickening. How little realization enters into the religion of many! There is the full credence of the judgment to the truth; a conversing about religion, the ministry, and the Church. But where is felt the realizing power, the earth-fading, heaven-attracting power, of vital godliness into the soul? Dear reader, the hour that will bring your religious profession, your religious creed, your religious notions, to the test, is at hand; and the great question in that awful moment will be, "Am I ready to die?–have I in my soul the life of God?–am I born of the Spirit?–have I a living Christ in my now failing, dying heart?"
But what a prayer is this in view of a scene and a scrutiny so solemn: "Revive me, Lord, quicken Your work in my soul, and strengthen that which You have wrought in me. The love that congeals, the faith that trembles, the hope that fluctuates, the joy that droops; inspire with new life, new energy, new power! It is of little moment what others think of me; Lord, You know my soul cleaves to the dust. There is in my heart more of earth than of heaven; more of self than of Christ; more of the creature than of God. You know me in secret–how my grace wanes, how my affections chill, how seldom my closet is visited, how much my Bible is neglected, how insipid to my taste the means of grace, and how irksome and vapid are all spiritual duties and privileges. Lord, stir up Yourself to the revivifying of my soul; quicken, oh, revive me in Your ways. Enlarge my heart, that I may run the way of Your commandments."
JULY 25. "I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word." Psalm 119:25
The argument with which this holy petition is urged is most powerful and prevalent. According to the promise of the word, and the instrumentality of the word. Both are engaged to quicken the soul. The promise is most precious: "I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely; for my anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine." This precious promise to quicken and revive you, to shed the dews of His grace upon your soul, thus moistening and nourishing the roots and fibers and fruits of the new and heavenly life within you, God stands ready to fulfill in your holy and happy experience. "I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon." Christ is our dew: the dew of His love, the dew of His grace, the dew of His Spirit, is prepared, silent and unseen, but effectual and vivifying–to fall upon the renewed powers of your nature–reviving the work of God in your soul.
But by the instrumentality of the word, the Lord quickens the soul. The word of Christ is "spirit and life," therefore it is a quickening word. "This is my comfort in my affliction; for Your word has quickened me." Again, "I will never forget Your precepts; for with them You have quickened me." Therefore did Jesus pray to His Father in behalf of His Church, "Sanctify them through Your truth." Thus does the word quicken. We are here constrained to suggest an inquiry–May not the prevalent decay of spiritual life in the Church of God–the low standard of spirituality–the alarming growth of soul-destroying error–the startling discovery which some modern teachers appear to have stumbled upon, that doctrines which the Church of Christ has always received as revealed truth, which councils have authorized, and which creeds have embodied, and which the sanctified intellects of master-spirits–the Anakims and the Shamgars of polemic divinity and divine philosophy of past ages–have contended for and maintained, are not found in the Bible, but are the visionary dogmata of a by-gone age–we say, may not these prevalent evils be mainly attributable to the contempt thrown upon the word of God? We verily and solemnly believe it to be so.
We need to be constantly reminded that the great regenerator and emancipator of the world is the Bible–that nothing short of this disturbs the spiritual death which universally prevails, and that nothing short of this will free the human mind from the shackles of error and superstition which enslave at this moment nearly two-thirds of the human race. This "sword of the Spirit"–like that of Goliath, "there is none like it"–has overcome popery and infidelity, and, unimpaired by the conflict, it is ready to overcome them yet again. Oh, that in this day of sad departure from the word of God, we may rally round the Bible in closer and more united phalanx! Firm in the belief of its divinity, strong in the conviction of its potency, may we go forth in the great conflict of truth and error, wielding no weapon but the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." In all our spiritual relapses, too, may the word of the Lord quicken us. May it, like a mighty lever, raise our soul from the dust to which it so much cleaves.
James Smith - Often, very often, have we to cry out from bitter experience, "My soul cleaves unto the dust; quicken me according unto Your Word!" Psalm 119:25
"My soul cleaves unto the dust!" Psalm 119:25
How common is this complaint of the true Christian!
What is the world? DUST! Its pleasures, profits, employments, honors—all dust! That is, they are . . .
beneath an immortal soul,
unsuitable to a child of God. Yet . . .
our thoughts are filled with them,
our affections are entangled by them, and
our graces are weakened through them.
Worldlings are at home in the DUST—they appear to be satisfied with it!
But the Christian, when he cleaves to it most—is not at home, and cannot be satisfied with it. This is a mercy.
My soul, rouse yourself from your lethargy; arise and shake off the dust of the world—and put on your beautiful garments! It is beneath your dignity to lie there in the dust! Treat the things of time as they deserve!
Heaven is your home!
Holiness is your element!
The King of kings is your husband!
Glory is your eternal portion!
Earth is but a wilderness through which you have to pass; a lodging-place for a few days. "Arise and depart—for this is not your rest, because it is polluted!"
Quickening Spirit, daily quicken my soul!
James Smith - "Wilt Thou not revive us again?" Ps. 85:6
1. THE NEED OF REVIVAL. The need is apparent wherever there is Coldness, Languidness, and Fruitless-ness.
2. THE SOURCE OF REVIVAL. "Thou." It is God, the Spirit, that quickeneth. No artificial appliances will bring a revival in Nature.
3. THE MEANS OF REVIVAL. "Wilt Thou not?" The fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much. James 5:17; Ps. 65:9; Isa. 40:28.
4. THE SUBJECTS OF REVIVAL. "Us." It is a personal need.
5. THE EFFECT OF REVIVAL. "That Thy people may rejoice in Thee."
John Gill - O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment; either according to his word of promise, or according to his manner and wonted method he used towards his people; see Ps 119:25; This is a prayer, not for the first work of quickening grace, or the first implantation of a principle of spiritual life, which the psalmist had had an experience of; but for the reviving of the work and principle in him, that he might be refreshed and comforted, and be animated and stirred up to a lively exercise of grace and performance of duty: finding himself in dead and lifeless frames, and not able to quicken himself.
J D Watson on Ps 119:25 - In the Psalms, especially 119, chāyāh is often rendered "quicken" or "quickened" in the AV. In Psalm 119:25, for example, David prays, "Quicken thou me according to thy word." While some modern translations reflect the basic meanings "live" and "be alive," as in "preserve my life" (NIV) and "give me life" (ESV), such renderings miss the true point. This word also speaks of reviving someone, as in reviving them from sickness or discouragement, and it is that idea in view in David's prayer. Only God can revive us from despair. It will not come from self-determination, will power, psychological technique, or clever cliché. It will come only from God's Word working in our heart and mind.
C H Spurgeon on Ps 119:25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
“I feel heavy, unhappy, dull: ‘My soul cleaveth unto the dust.’ Or I feel worldly, lethargic, lifeless: ‘My soul cleaveth unto the dust.’ There is nothing but the power of new life that can separate me from that dust: ‘ Quicken thou me according to thy word.’” Divine life is the great cure for most spiritual evils. When a man has vigorous life in his constitution, he throws off many diseases; and when the soul is full of spiritual life, it masters a great number of evils. “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.” That is good pleading, — “according to thy promise, for thou hast promised to quicken me. It is the nature of thy Word to be quick and quickening; therefore, Lord, ‘quicken thou me according to thy word.’”
My soul cleaveth unto the dust: “It sticks to it as though it were glued to it; my soul cannot be lifted up, at least by myself, out of its sadness, and its earthiness.” The psalmist was not one who could boast of perfection. He had to lament that the earth which was in him by nature, made even his soul cleave to mother earth. He did not like it; he was not content that it should be so, and therefore he breathed this prayer:— Quicken thou me according to thy word. “Lord, there is nothing but life that can bring me up out of the dust, for death lurks in the dust, and the dust tends to death. Put life into me, Lord; thy life, the divine life. Thou hast promised to do this; therefore, do it, Lord, ‘according to thy word.’ ” That is a prayer which is always sure to succeed, for it is based upon the promise of God. Hath the Lord promised anything? Then he will surely perform it; and you cannot use a better argument in prayer than to say to him, “Do as thou hast said;” or, as the psalmist puts it, “Quicken thou me according to thy word.”
Spurgeon - REVIVAL—Absence and Presence of.
The decline of a revival is a great testing season. It discovers the true believers by chilling the false. A frosty night or two suffices to nip all the exotic plants of a garden; but the hardy shrubs, the true natives of the soil, live on even in the severest cold. Converts raised in the hot-bed of excitement soon droop and die if the spiritual temperature of the church falls below summer heat: what are these worth compared with the hardy children of divine grace, whose inward life will continue in enduring vigour when all around is dead! Yet we do not desire to see the revival spirit droop among us, for even the evergreens of our garden delight in a warmer season, for then they send forth their shoots and clothe themselves with new leaves; and thus it will be seen that the best of the saints are all the better for the holy glow of the "times of refreshing."
REVIVAL the Holy Spirit
To raise a revival by suppressing truth, is dealing deceitfully; it is a pious fraud, and our Lord wants no profit which might be supposed to come by such a transaction.
Perhaps we imagine that if we could only get up a revival, we should easily secure large additions to the church? Is it worthwhile to get up a revival? Are not all true revivals to be got down?
Revivals, if they are genuine, do not always come the moment we whistle for them. Try and whistle for the wind, and see if it will come.
Now one sign of a true revival, and indeed an essential part of it, is the increased activity of God’s labourers.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth,” is a truth well calculated to hide pride from man.
That was a very good remark from Dr. McDonald, the apostle of the North. He said, in reference to his experience of revivals, that the real success, he always found, was in inverse proportion to the excitement; that is to say, that the more permanent the revival was the less of noise there was about it, and the more there was of mere carnal stir, the less there was of God and his grace.
“Lord, if this is our work, end it; if it is man’s work, break it down; but if it be thy work, revive it.”
J VERNON McGEE: My friend, let’s be very candid and very matter-of-fact and very direct. I believe we could have a revival today, but first there must be a return to the Word of God to find out what God wants us to do. Then I believe there will be and there must be a total commitment to God on the part of God’s people (ED: THIS COMES ABOUT BY DEPENDENCE ON THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO PROVIDE THE DESIRE AND THE POWER FOR THIS KIND OF COMMITMENT! Php 2:13NLT+). There can be none of this half-hearted service which we see. There can be none of this business of trying to go with the world and trying to go with God (cf Mt 6:24+, 1 Ki 18:21). It is impossible to do both. There must be a clear-cut dedication of heart and life to God. When that takes place, the Spirit of God is free to move.
Robert Morgan - What do I mean by revival? I’m not talking about a week of meetings in a local church. The term “revival” refers to a special movement of God in which His church is dramatically refocused and revitalized, with ensuing conviction and conversion among sinners.
Bible scholars tell us there are sixteen different revivals described for us in the Bible, and the greatest book in the Bible on the subject of revival is 2 Chronicles. This Old Testament record gives us the biblical formula for revival, and then describes for us five different revivals under five different Old Testament kings. The formula for revival is found in the words spoken by the Lord on the occasion of the dedication of the long-anticipated Temple. In the first part of chapter 7, Solomon and all of Israel dedicated this imposing edifice, and the last half of the chapter records God’s response:
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.
The rest of 2 Chronicles illustrates this for us by describing a series of five revivals that swept over the nation of Judah. We don’t have time to look at all five revivals this morning, but I’d like to briefly glance at the fifth and final revival, one that occurred under King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34-35. Because of time, we’ll just look at chapter 34, and leave the rest of the story for our more extended study next year. The story begins in 2 Chronicles, chapter 34, and we notice the first characteristic of biblical revivals: Biblical Revivals Come Just in the Nick of Time. (Click for full sermon Staying Revived in a Dying World - 2 Chronicles 7:1-22)
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 (Includes nice illustrations) - Robert Morgan
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 The Real Enemies Of Revival - Alan Carr
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 How To Make A Great Church Even Greater - Alan Carr
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 God's Recipe For Power In the Church - Alan Carr
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 God's Method For Real Revival - Alan Carr
- 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 The IF of Thanksgiving - Mike Minnix
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 Only if or if Only? - Frank Kirksey
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 Revival - The Key to Survival - David Dewitt (discusses the great Welsh revival)
- 2 Chronicles 29 Hezekiah - Revival Times - Charles Stanley
Fire in Your Heart is a story of revival that will stir your soul. Evangelist Sammy Tippit has preached throughout Eastern Europe, including Russia and has seen thousands of people in those countries find peace in Jesus Christ, despite persecution, oppression, and dwindling educational and job opportunities. Spiritual awakening has touched millions in Africa, South America, Korea, and Eastern Europe. Why, then, have Western Christians, the people who worked so hard to send Christianity eastward, become lukewarm? How can we regain the passion we once felt? Fire in Your Heart will gently show you the way to personal revival, using Scripture, history, and the experiences of men and women from communist Eastern Europe. Note that when links open, you will need to scroll down the page for the text.
- Chapter 1 - A Vision of Awakening
Let God send the fire of His Spirit here, and the minister will be more and more lost in his Master. You will come to think less of the speaker and more of the truth spoken… Let God but send down the fire, and the biggest sinners in the neighborhood will be converted; those who live in the dens of infamy will be changed; the drunkard will forsake his cups, the swearer will repent of his blasphemy, the debauched will leave their lusts- Dry bones be raised and clothed afresh, And hearts of stone be turned to flesh.--Charles H. Spurgeon ...
- Chapter 2 - The Necessity of Prayer and Awakening
There scarcely was a single person in the town, old or young, left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world…and the work of conversion was carried out in a most astonishing manner and increased more and more; souls did as it were come by flocks to Jesus Christ. …This work of God as it was carried on, and the number of saints multiplied, soon made a glorious alteration in the town, so that in 1735 the town seemed full of the presence of God: it never was so full of love, nor joy, and yet so full of distress as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God's presence in almost every house…God's day was a delight. The congregation was alive in God's service, in tears while the Word was preached; some weeping for sorrow and distress, others for joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors. --Jonathan Edwards...
- Chapter 4 - Power for Witnessing
And oh, how I loved my Savior Christ then! I would have given all I had for Him! How I felt towards sinners that day! Lad that I was, I wanted to preach, and- Tell to sinners round, What a dear Savior I had found. --Charles Haddon Spurgeon...
- Chapter 5 - Motivation for witnessing
The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present. They increase more and more and rise higher till an outlet is given. The longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course when once it is let loose. --Jonathan Edwards...
- Chapter 6 - Holiness - The Root of His Grace
Every man by his own natural will hates God. But when he is turned to the Lord by evangelical repentance, then his will is changed; then his conscience, now hardened and benumbed, shall be quickened and weakened; then his hard heart shall be melted, and his unruly affections shall be crucified. Thus, by that repentance, the whole soul will be changed, he will have new inclinations, new desires, and new habits. --George Whitfield...
- Chapter 7- Humility - The Soil of Grace
Paul was also branded by humility. Moths could not corrupt this God-given robe. He never fished for praise with humility's bait, but in the long line of sinners put himself first (where we would have put him last). What a heart's ease is the virtue of humility - the great joy of having nothing to lose! Having no opinion of himself, Paul feared no fall. He might have swaggered in the richly embroidered robes of the chancellor of a Hebrew school. But in the adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, he shines with more luster. Leonard Ravenhill
Let every day be a day of humility; condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their kindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowliest offices of the lowliest of mankind. William Law...
- Chapter 9 - Overcoming Apathy
I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls to Christ. While I was asleep I dreamed of these things, and when I awoke, the first thing I thought of was this great work. All my desire was for the conversion of the heathen and all my hope was in God. David Brainerd...
- Chapter 10 - Hindrances to Awakening
When … Rowland Taylor, rector of Hadleigh, in Suffolk was stripped to his shirt and ready for the stake, he said with a loud voice, "Good people, I have taught you nothing but God's Holy Word, and those lessons that I have taken out of the Bible: and I am come hither to seal it with my blood." He then knelt down and prayed, a poor woman of the parish insisting, in spite of every effort to prevent her, in kneeling down with him. After this, he was chained to the stake, and repeating the 51st Psalm, and crying to God, "Merciful Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, receive my soul into Thy hands," stood quietly amidst the flames without crying or moving, till one of the guards dashed out his brains with a halberd. And so then this good old Suffolk incumbent passed away.- J.C. Ryle...
- Chapter 11 - True Worship - The Product of Awakening
Psalms are sweet for every age, and they create a bond of unity when the whole people raise their voice in one choir.' -Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
He who despises music, as do all the fanatics, does not please me. Music is a gift of God, not a gift of men . . . After theology, I accord to music the highest place and greatest honour. -Martin Luther...
James Smith - HEZEKIAH; Or, FEATURES OF A REVIVAL. 2 Chronicles 28, 29.
Lamennais says, "Faith demands action, not tears; it demands of us the power of sacrifice—sole origin of our salvation; it seeks Christians capable of saying, 'We will die for this;' above all, Christians capable of saying, 'We will live tor this.' " The man who can truthfully say, "To me to live is Christ," is revealing Christianity in its sublimest form. Ritual and dogma may have their place, but if the individual life does not manifest itself in bringing glory to God and eternal blessing into the lives of sinful men, they are clouds without water. Hezekiah's revival work was the outcome of his own faith in the Living God— the faith which works by love. We shall try and find some helpful lessons here. We observe some—
I. Evidences that a Revival was Needed.
1. Holy Things are Cut in Pieces. "Ahaz... cut in pieces the vessels of the House of God" (chapter 28:24). These sacred things which had been so useful in the House and service of God became the objects of the wrath and hatred of those who despised Him, whose instruments they were. All those who are seeking to cast discredit upon the books of the Bible are, in their own way, attempting to "cut in pieces the vessels of the House of God." These sixty-six books, which compose the Bible, are so many vessels needed in the House of God for the work of the ministry. Every servant of God is also a vessel in His House, and the ungodly still try, with the sharp tongue of scorn and calumny, to cut their testimony in pieces.
2. The Way of Access is Closed. "He shut up the doors of the House of the Lord" (v. 24). It is surely a sign that a revival is needed when men seek to block the way of others from worshiping God. Ahaz denied Jehovah, then sought to shut others out from the acknowledging of Him as God. There are doors in the temple of every man's heart that may be closed to his own loss and destruction. The door of communion with God may be shut by our love of, and delight in, the things which He hates. Our own unfitness is as a self-closed door. The door of Divine love and light may be closed by our own pride and prejudice. The door of faith and prayer is shut up by the unbelief of our own hearts.
3. The Light of Testimony is Quenched. "They put out the lamps" (chapter 29:7). The lamps of God, aflame with the holy oil, became unbearable to those who loved the darkness of falsehood rather than the light of truth. The Christian's testimony for God is as a flame kindled and sustained by the oil of the Holy Spirit. When this is "put out," it is an insult to God and a grieving of that Spirit, whose character and mission is to make us as a flame of fire. It was a sad experience the foolish virgins had when their lamps went out. It is even the work of the world, the flesh, and the devil to put out the lamp of truth, and to quench the light of testimony, that the darkness of death and desertion may settle down in the House (Church) of God.
4. The Offering of Incense is Given Up. "They have not burned incense" (v. 7). When the lamp of testimony has been put out, the offering up of the incense of prayer and adoration will speedily cease. These two are vitally connected—they live or die together. Testimony for God will be but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals where the sweet incense of believing prayer is awanting.
5. There is a General Departing from the Worship of God. "Out fathers have forsaken Him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs" (v. 6). There is great need for a revival when the multitude turn their backs upon the House of God. Of course we do not wonder at many turning away their faces from God's House when the doors are shut up and the lamps out. Polished stones, carved wood, and all sorts of material finery have no attractions for a soul hungering for the Bread of Life. But there are many who turn their backs upon God's provision because they prefer the broken cisterns of their own hewing. To turn the back on God is to turn the face to destruction.
II. Evidences that a Revival had Come. There was—
1. A Personal Consecration. "Hezekiah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (chapter 29:2). He began by getting himself put right in the eyes of the Lord. It is one thing to pray for a revival, it is quite another to yield ourselves definitely to God, that His will and work may be done in us and by us. A coming shower of blessing is sure to be heralded by drops falling on some individual soul. Seek to be that soul by personal consecration.
2. The Opening of Closed Doors. "He opened the doors of the House of the Lord" (v. 3). Every avenue of the soul that has been closed through indifference and unbelief will be immediately thrown open, and the light of God's truth will have free access to the heart, which should be the House of the Lord. "Clear the darkened windows, and let the blessed sunshine in." All revival comes from the presence of the Lord, who waits outside the closed door, saying, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear, and open, I will come in."
3. A Casting Out of the Unclean. "Sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the house... and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place" (v. 5). "And the priests went into the inner part, and brought out all the impurity" (v. 16). It is an unmistakable evidence that the power of God's Spirit is moving mightily when His servants take to the work of cleansing the inner part. Out of the heart are the issues of life. If God the Spirit is to dwell in us, the inner sanctuary of the life must be purged of all that is unfitting in His presence. The common Levites had no power to deal with those abominations that were in the inner parts of the temple, the priests had to go in and bring them out to the court, before the Levites could remove them (v. 16). There are evils and hindrances to the work and worship of God that can be seen and dealt with only by those who have had the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Others, like the Levites, may see the sinfulness of certain things, when they have been pointed out, and put them away. "Cleanse You me from secret faults" (Psalm 19:12).
4. Realization of their True Position before God. "The Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister unto Him, and that you should be His ministers, and burn incense" (v. 11, R.V.). A revolution is certain when God's people realize their true relationship to Him as chosen ones.
(1) They are chosen by the Lord—called by His grace.
(2) They are chosen to stand before Him—to wait before Him, and to receive His Word.
(3) Chosen to minister unto Him—to do all in His Name and for His glory. "You are not your own."
(4) Chosen to be His ministers—to carry His Word and will to others.
(5) Chosen to burn incense—to offer unto God the sweet incense of intercessory prayer. You know your calling, brethren; are you walking worthy of it?
OBEDIENCE (ENABLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT - see Php 2:12+ = our responsibility and Php 2:13NLT+ = God's provision of desire and power) IS DOING EXACTLY
- what I'm told to do,
- when I am told to do it
- with the right heart attitude.
The first time God prompts your heart & you refuse to obey, your revived life begins to dry up. Beware!
To delay is to disobey.
To maintain the fire of revival in your heart, you must be committed to absolute obedience (in continual reliance on the Spirit indicating our continual need to be filled with the Holy Spirit - Eph 5:18+)
The closer you are to God, the faster you will obey.
As you read this note, is God prompting your heart to take a step of obedience regarding which you are hesitating and even about to put off? Beware! Read Jesus' warning...
Revelation 2:4-5+ But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember (present imperative) from where you have fallen, and repent (aorist imperative) and do (aorist imperative) the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent. (WHAT CALL IS REPEATED?)
Comment - Note the three commands. In our own strength we cannot obey Jesus' call for personal revival (remembering, repenting, doing) unless we rely on the Holy Spirit. See discussion of the Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands
REVIVAL DOES NOT BEGIN IN A THEOLOGY. IT BEGINS IN A THEOPHANY.
To renew your love for Christ,
review Christ's love for you.
We need revival ...
- when we do not love Him as we once did.
- when earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
- when we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.
- when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.
- when we have little or no desire to pray.
- when we put people into leadership positions in our churches who do not meet scriptural qualifications.
- when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
- when we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.
- when we make little effort to witness to the lost.
- when we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.
- when we do not tremble at the Word of God.
- when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.
- when God's people are more concerned about their jobs and their careers, than about the Kingdom of God.
- when our church services are predictable and "business as usual."
- when believers can be at odds with each other and not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.
- when Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.
- when our marriages are co-existing rather than full of the love of Christ.
- when our children are growing up to adopt worldly values, secular philosophies and ungodly lifestyles.
- when we are more concerned about our children's education, and their athletic activities than about the condition of their souls.
- when sin in the church is pushed under the carpet.
- when known sin is not dealt with through the Biblical process of discipline and restoration.
- when we tolerate "little" sins of gossip, a critical spirit and lack of love.
- when we watch things on television and movies that are not holy.
- when our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.
- when our prayers lack fervency.
- when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
- when we aren't seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God.
- when we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our own sin and the sins of others.
- when we are bored with worship.
- when we have to be entertained to be drawn to church.
- when we don't long for the company and fellowship of God's people.
- when our giving is measured and calculated, rather than extravagant and sacrificial.
- when we are not seeing lost people drawn to Jesus on a regular basis.
- when we aren't exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.
- when we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
- when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors, business associated and acquaintances who are lost and without Christ.
- when the lost world around us doesn't know or care that we exist.
- when we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.
- when the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages and the church.
- when we are blind to the extent of our need and don't think we need revival.
The fact that the blessings didn’t last is no argument against times of revival and refreshing. When somebody told Billy Sunday that revivals weren’t necessary because they didn’t last, the evangelist replied, “A bath doesn’t last, but it’s good to have one occasionally.” A nation that is built on spiritual and moral principles must have frequent times of renewal or the foundations will crumble.
The response of worship is expressed as AN INNER ATTITUDE, a willingness to serve, to obey, like Paul when he was arrested by Christ on the Damascus Road (on his way to arrest Christians) who exclaimed "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?...'' (ACTS 22:10). That's the natural response of falling down before the Lord Jesus Christ. REVIVAL is more than entertainment. REVIVAL is when you come into a fresh awareness of Who God is and there is a freshness of your SURRENDER to Him. It's not seeing people getting saved. People getting saved is the result of REVIVED Christians. A man does not come into the church and motivate people to serve if they have not recognized Who He is and have fallen down before Him. We do ''church'' really well, but TRUE CHRISTIANITY is a foreign language to us. Christianity is much more than what you do in a building. Christianity is an ATTITUDE towards God that so overwhelms you that His word dictates to you your whole pattern of behavior. from latrís (n.f.), one hired. To serve, in a religious sense to worship God (Mt 4:10; Lu 1:74}
Jonah records the account of the greatest revival of history.Nineveh's Revival was short-lived not necessarily because of the insincerity of the people, but because they failed to pass on their new found knowledge of God and it only took 150 years for that to happen!!! America is a little over 250 years old and the same thing is occurring here.!
No awakening or revival of the church has ever occurred apart from strong preaching of God’s holiness and the corresponding call for believers to forsake sin and return to the Lord’s standards of purity and righteousness. No church that tolerates known sin in its membership will have spiritual growth or effective evangelism. In spite of that truth, however, such tolerance is standard in the church today-at all levels.
Welsh Revival of 1904 -- In an eyewitness report of the great Welsh revival of 1904, G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “The horses are terribly puzzled. A manager said to me. ‘The haulers are some of the very lowest. They have driven their horses by obscenity and kicks. Now they can hardly persuade the horses to start working, because there is no obscenity and no kicks.’”
Hugh Thomsen Kerr put the emphasis correctly: “We are not to preach sociology, but salvation; not economics, but evangelism; not reform, but redemption; not culture, but conversion; not progress, but pardon; not a new social order, but a new birth; not revolution, but regeneration; not renovation, but revival; not resuscitation, but resurrection; not a new organization, but a new creation; not democracy, but the Gospel; not civilization, but Christ; we are ambassadors, not diplomats.”
It is impressive that Epaphras prayed for believers in three different cities. We are fortunate today if church members pray for their own pastor and church, let alone believers in other places! Perhaps one reason that revival tarries is because we do not pray fervently for one another.
It is one thing to learn the Truth about personal revival and victorious living but it is quite another to take up our cross daily and walk the narrow road of renunciation of the old self, the old Adam that screams out for satisfaction by the passing pleasures of this world (Heb 11:25, 1 Jn 2:17).
TOZER: "all of us who love our Lord Jesus Christ are facing such great changes in this period before the return of Christ that we are going to have to recall and have back upon us the kind of spiritual revival that will eventuate in a new moral power, in a new spirit of willing separation and heart purity, and a new bestowing of the enablings of the Spirit of God."
When F. B. Meyer was pastoring Christ Church in London, Charles Spurgeon was preaching at Metropolitan Tabernacle, and G. Campbell Morgan was at Westminster Chapel. Meyer said, “I find in my own ministry that supposing I pray for my own little flock, ‘God bless me, God fill my pews, God send my a revival,” I miss the blessing; but as I pray for my big brother, Mr. Spurgeon, on the right-hand side of my church, ‘God bless him’; or my other big brother, Campbell Morgan, on the other side of my church, ‘God bless him’; I am sure to get a blessing without praying for it, for the overflow of their cups fills my little bucket.”
In 1746, about six years after the Great Awakening, in which Jonathan Edwards was the primary instrument of God to preach the Gospel and bring about the greatest revival in American history thus far, Edwards wrote A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections. He wrote it to deal with a problem not unlike one we face today: the matter of evidence for true conversion. Many people want the blessings of salvation, especially eternal security, but no more. In the explosive drama of the Great Awakening, it seemed as though conversions were occurring in great numbers. However, it didn’t take long to realize that some people claimed conversions that were not real. While various excesses and heightened emotional experiences were common, scores of people didn’t demonstrate any evidence in their lives to verify their claim to know and love Jesus Christ, which led critics to attack the Great Awakening, contending it was nothing but a big emotional bath without any true conversions.
As the Puritans used to say, "There is much insensibility to divine things among Christians." This is why we need revival. And this is what revival is. Revival is not first the conversion of the lost. Revival is first the answer to Paul's prayer in 2Th3:5, "May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God." When the Lord takes hold of the hearts of his people and directs them into the love of God, they experience the outpouring of the love of God through the Holy Spirit. When that happens to lots of people in the same place at the same time, we call it revival.
The well-known Greek scholar Frederic Godet called Romans "the cathedral of the Christian faith" and wrote "the Reformation was undoubtedly the work of the Epistle to the Romans…and the probability is that every great spiritual revival in the church will be connected as effect and cause with a deeper understanding of this book." ne cannot say what might happen if Christians undertake an intensive study of this epistle. What happened to Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley, which left a mark on the world, could happen to us today. So, let the reader beware. Do not begin a serious study of this epistle unless you are willing to bear the consequences.
Revival Quotes - from Complete Gathered Gold - highly recommended resources (digital versions are available from Logos and Wordsearch)
I believe nothing so distinctly causes the people of God in any generation to ‘stand in awe’ as when they hear of the great works of God in awakening his people powerfully. John H. Armstrong
A revival may produce noise, but it does not consist of it. The real thing is a wholehearted obedience. Ernest Baker
Man can no more organize revival than he can dictate to the wind. John Blanchard
Revival cannot be planned. It is a divine interruption. John Blanchard
It is easier to speak about revival than to set about it. Horatius Bonar
Revival is the exchange of the form of godliness for its living power. John Bonar
Evangelism is man working for God; revival is God working in a sovereign way on man’s behalf. F. Carlton Booth
While revivals do not last, the effects of revival always endure. F. Carlton Booth
Revival is not the top blowing off but the bottom falling out. Darrell Bridges
A revival of religion … consists in new spiritual life imparted to the dead and in new spiritual health imparted to the living. James Buchanan
In our biblical desire for revival, we must refuse to seek any experience which proposes to eliminate our natural weakness. Walter Chantry
No true revival has ever fed the ego of man, or encouraged superficiality. Bob Cotton
When God is about to do a great work, he pours out a spirit of supplication. Jonathan Edwards
When God visits his church according to his promises, effects follow that make people shout, ‘This is the finger of God!’ John Elias
It is misguided to think that God will revive a people who find no time to commune with him from the heart. Jim Faucett
Every revival that ever came in the history of the world, or in the history of the church, laid great emphasis on the holiness of God. Billy Graham
It may seem mysterious that God should permit a work of his own holy and blessed Spirit to be accompanied, marred and perverted by errors and abuses. But so it has been from the beginning Ashbel Green
A revival is a work of God’s Spirit among his own people. Vance Havner
Sunday morning Christianity is the greatest hindrance to true revival. Vance Havner
There never was a real revival that did not produce heartburn and hallelujahs. Vance Havner
Revival is God rending the heavens and coming down upon his people. Vance Havner
Revival is not going down the street with a big drum; it is going back to Calvary with a big sob. Roy Hession
In every period when God has awakened his people, the gospel of justification has come to the fore. Robert M. Horn
An indispensable sign of true revival is that the Word of God grows mightily and prevails—it spreads widely and grows in power. Erroll Hulse
The chief mark of authentic revival is enduring repentance. Erroll Hulse
Revival is a sovereign act of God upon the church whereby he intervenes to lift the situation completely out of human hands and works in extraordinary power. Geoffrey R. King
A revival never needs to be advertised, it always advertises itself. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
You cannot stop a revival any more than you can start it. It is altogether in the hands of God. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Revival is a series of new beginnings. David McKee
Revive thy work, O Lord,
Thy mighty arm make bare;
Speak with the voice that wakes the dead
And make thy people hear.
You can have evangelism without revival, but you cannot have revival without evangelism. Brian Mills
We ought to be so living that when God begins his great triumphant march we shall fall in with the first battalion, and have part in the first victories. G. Campbell Morgan
In any biblical revival the norm is heightened; it is not suspended while another type of Christianity is introduced. lain H. Murray
The characteristic of a revival is that a profound consciousness of sin is produced in many persons at the same time by an awareness of God. lain H. Murray
Revival is not some emotion or worked-up excitement; it is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God. Stephen Olford
Waiting for general revival is no excuse for not enjoying personal revival. Stephen Olford
The best definition of revival is ‘times of refreshing … from the presence of the Lord’. J. Edwin Orr
Revival means the work of God restoring to a … church, in a manner out of the ordinary, those standards which the New Testament sets forth as being entirely ordinary. J. I. Packer
The devil keeps step with God, and when revival comes it is always a mixed work, hard to identify just because so much error, fanaticism and disorder are mixed up in it. J. I. Packer
Revival is the inrush of God’s Spirit into a body which threatens to become a corpse. D. M. Paton
True revival has always begun with and resulted in separation. Vernon Patterson
Revival is never the end of the church’s problems, nor is it intended to be … but better the problems of life than of death! Derek Prime
The most important motive for prayer for revival is the glory of God. Derek Prime
There is no revival possible in any fellowship without a price being paid. Alan Redpath
A revival out of balance is soon a revival out of power. Richard Owen Roberts
Revival is the extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit producing extraordinary results. Richard Owen Roberts
A revival is from God or it is no revival at all. Wilbur M. Smith
It is a revival of scriptural knowledge, of vital godliness and of practical obedience. William B. Sprague
Christian men should never speak of ‘getting up a revival’. Where are you going to get it up from? C. H. Spurgeon
Divine omnipotence is the doctrine of a revival. C. H. Spurgeon
God is more willing to give revival than we are to receive it. Erlo Stegan
You can pray until dooms-day for revival, but you will never get it without repentance and confession of sin in the Christian life. Erlo Stegan
The true spirit of revival eludes the grasp of the organizer and the advertiser. It cannot be created by machinery nor promoted by printer’s ink. James A. Stewart
To prepare our hearts for revival is to prepare for heaven, so that in a true sense we can say that preparation for revival is revival. William Still
It is useless for large companies of believers to spend long hours begging God to send revival. Unless we intend to reform we may as well not pray. A. W. Tozer
They tell me a revival is only temporary; so is a bath, but it does you good. Billy Sunday
By definition, revival is not meant to last, though it can pass sooner than intended on account of Christians quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit. H. N. J. Waite
There is nothing in the whole scene of religion that is of the order of revival. H. N. J. Waite
Revival is divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing himself to man in awful holiness and irresistible power. Arthur Wallis
In one sense, Pentecost can never happen again. In another sense, it may always be happening, since we live in the age of the Spirit. Arthur Skevington Wood
It may be said that revivals thrive on the Word and the Word is exalted in revivals. Arthur Skevington Wood
Revival is a sad necessity. Arthur Skevington Wood
Revival is not an earthly concoction; it is a heavenly creation. Arthur Skevington Wood
Revival is not something we have and must seek to keep, but something we lack and must plead to receive. Arthur Skevington Wood
Revival makes the ideal real within the church of God. Arthur Skevington Wood
The greatest hindrance to revival is pride amongst the Lord’s people. Arthur Skevington Wood
Joshua 5:14 He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?”
Oh, how we all need a renewed (or maybe even first-time) awareness of His glory.
''There is a dangerous absence of awe and worship in our assemblies today. We are boasting about standing on our own feet, instead of being broken and falling at His feet." (Anonymous)
For years Evan Roberts prayed:''Bend me! Bend me!'''God answered finally in the form of the GREAT WELSH REVIVAL!!!
We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.:
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.
All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who has taken our sins,
And has cleansed every stain.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.
2 Kings 23:3 The king (JOSIAH) stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant.
Parallel passage - 2 Chronicles 34:33 And Josiah removed all the abominations from all the lands belonging to the sons of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God. Throughout his lifetime they did not turn from following the Lord God of their fathers.
When Josiah died it appears that evil rose up again and the so-called "revival" (more accurately "reformation") also died. 2Ch 34:33 supports this conclusion of reformation but not true revival. ''All" the Israelites had been on this road before but in both cases when the ''leader'' (Moses, Joshua) died & was "out of sight", their promise to God were "out of mind" & they broke the solemn oath they had made! (Ex 19:8 Jos 24:21-24).
True God breathed REVIVAL is a special season of heart searching when many believers simultaneously experience a deep, Holy Spirit conviction of sin. It results in their confession and renunciation of sin (sometimes publicly). It culminates in a renewal of their dedication to the Lord. And the whole experience often bears fruit in the salvation of sinners. Even though great spiritual awakenings have occurred from time to time, they have not come in fulfillment of any Bible promise relating to them. There is no "revival formula" prescribed for us in the Scriptures. In fact, you will not find the word revival anywhere in the New Testament. Even though revivals are a historical reality,they are not a biblical certainty. Revival is not the calculated result of bringing into play a combination of religious exercises. Instead, it is a blessing that the God of grace, in keeping with His all-wise purposes, may send upon believers in times of deep spiritual need. But it cannot hurt to cry out "Oh God send a Christ exalting, Word centered, Spirit empowered revival to America, in Jesus' Name. Amen." (8/3/2019)
O Breath of Life, come sweeping through us,
Revive Thy church with life and power;
O Breath of Life, come, cleanse, renew us,
And fit Thy church to meet this hour.
--Bessie Porter Head
Send a revival, O Christ, my Lord,
Let it go over the land and sea;
Send it according to Thy dear Word,
And let it begin in me.
2 Kings 23:22 (DURING KING JOSIAH'S PERSONAL REVIVAL CALLING THE NATION BACK TO THE "BOOK OF THE LAW") Surely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah.
It is remarkable that, except for the Passover feast held under the brief revival of Hezekiah a century earlier (2Ch 30:1-18), there is no mention of any Passover observance in either the northern or southern kingdom since the days of Samuel some 500 years before (2 Ch 35:18). Yet the Passover had been ordained by God as an everlasting ordinance to be kept each year for a memorial, to keep alive the memory of the divine deliverance (Ex 12:24-27). Whether Israel's neglect of the Passover was a cause or an effect of their recurring national apostasy, it certainly highlighted it, illustrating the vital importance of keeping alive the true understanding of our origins, whether of the world as a whole (Ex 20:8-11) or of one's nation and family. It is possible, however, that the Passover custom had been retained as a ritualistic observance of tradition, even if its spiritual significance had been forgotten. When the rediscovered Scriptures (2 Ki 22:8 KING JOSIAH'S REIGN) were found to describe its origin and meaning, the result was a true Passover celebration.
W A Criswell commenting on 2 Chr 29:1-3 says that the events in Hezekiah's day mark "the beginning of the most extended account of any revival in biblical history (2 Chr 29:1-31:21 - See Our Daily Bread Devotional - Continuing To Trust), with the exception of the one which started on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Periods of repentance and revival were numerous in the times of the judges (Jdg. 2:16). There were numerous other occasions of large-scale revivals described in the O.T., including the revival at Mount Sinai under Moses (Ex 32-34), at Mizpah under Samuel (1 Sa 7:1ff), on Mount Carmel under Elijah (1 Ki 19:1ff), in Judah under Asa (2 Chr. 15:1ff), in Nineveh under Jonah (Jon. 3:1ff), in Judah under young King Josiah (2 Chr. 34; 35), and the postexilic revival under Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 9; 10; Neh. 8-10)." (Believer's Study Bible)
Leonard Ravenhill, “There are three persons living in each of us: the one we think we are, the one other people think we are, and the one God knows we are.....“The Church right now has more fashion than passion, is more pathetic than prophetic, is more superficial than supernatural....The Gospel is not an old, old story, freshly told. It is a fire in the Spirit, fed by the flame of Immortal Love; and woe unto us, if, through our negligence to stir up the Gift of God which is within us, that fire burns low.” (Why Revival Tarries)
- The Price of Revival by Leonard Ravenhill - 1 hr 21 minutes audio
- Revival Forum Interview by Leonard Ravenhill - 58 min audio
Six characteristics of worship among those who have experienced revival:
1). A FRESH KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, and the revived need an expression of worship for the true and living God. Handel wrote Messiah in 24 days w/o leaving his house, even his food often being untouched. Once his servant found him weeping as he wrote ''Hallelujah Chorus''. Handel cried ''I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself!''
2). THE ONLY MOTIVE OF TRUE WORSHIP IS THE GLORY OF GOD. When revival comes, there is but one purpose in our music: the promotion of the glory of God.
3). KEEN AWARENESS THAT GOD HIMSELF IS THE CHIEF AUDIENCE OF OUR WORSHIP. In a church that has experienced awakening, many times the congregation sings w/o hymnbooks. They are not caught up w. the intricacy of their music but w. the simplicity of its message. They lift their heads and bellow their songs toward heaven. It becomes clear to Whom they are singing. Music is a vehicle that transports what is on the heart of man to the throne of God.
4). PARTICIPATION-ORIENTED RATHER THAN PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED: True worship is always a people's movement.
5). THE WORSHIP IS HAMMERED OUT OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE: when God is truly your Hiding Place when you are afraid, our song has a different ring to it and is an expression of what we have experienced of Him and His sufficiency. ''Because Handel lived fully w. his heart, his suffering was deep, but out of it came his great music.'' H.G. Spafford's family (except his wife) went down w. a French steamer and he wrote ''When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea bilows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.''
6). THE QUALITY OF PUBLIC WORSHIP IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE QUALITY OF OUR PRIVATE WORSHIP: revival grows out of hearts that seek God and when those hearts find God, there is a joy explosion and a new song reigns. The fruit of the awakened church is her worship of the true and living God, in Spirit and in Truth, truth that God Himself is the object of our worship.
The purpose of Christian music is NOT entertainment but WORSHIP. True worship will bypass neither the intellect nor the will. True worship involves MIND, WILL, and EMOTIONS. We need to be like Handel when the Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742. A nobleman complimented the composer on the great entertainment of the Messiah. Handel replied,''My Lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wished to make them better.''
We could experience one of the greatest revivals of all time if we would learn to worship bc it is for that purpose we were created.
Vance Havner defined REVIVAL as "a work of God's Spirit among His own people...what we call revival is simply New Testament Christianity, the saints getting back to normal!''
Martyn Lloyd-Jones - "The essence of revival is that the Holy Spirit comes down upon a number of people together; upon a whole church, a number of churches, districts or perhaps a whole country. It is a visitation or outpouring of the Holy Spirit - God has come down among them."
True revival is marked by powerful and often widespread outpourings of the Spirit. Many times preaching has to cease because the hearers were prostrate or because the voice of the preacher was drowned by cries for mercy. "The Holy Spirit FELL ON all them which heard the Word." (Acts 10:44)
Jonathan Edwards son-in-law David Brainherd who prayed in the snow until it melted around him and was stained by his blood as he coughed away his life with T.B. prevailed in prayer for revival among the American Indians. Before he died he describes in his journal how it finally began in 1745:
"The power of God seemed to descend on the assembly 'like a rushing mighty wind' and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent . . . Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarce one was able to withstand the shock of the astonishing operation."
Brian Edwards - Someone has described revival as 'the top blowing off' and that is very true. But the top does not blow off before the bottom has fallen out." (Revival: A People Saturated With God p.130)
Arthur Wallis in his classic study "In The Day Of Thy Power" points out the word is determined by its usage. It had historical consistency of meaning up until recent years, where (especially in America) it began to take on a lesser, more limited sense.Nevertheless, he says:
"Numerous writings on the subject preserved confirm that revival is Divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in aweful holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programmes abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord...working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner."
J. Edwin Orr, a prolific writer and eminent authority of both scholarship and experience in the subject defined a spiritual awakening as "a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the Church of Christ and its related community." It may significantly change an individual, a group of believers, a congregation, a city, a country or even eventually the world but it accomplishes "the reviving of the Church, the awakening of the masses and the movement of uninstructed peoples towards the Christian faith; the revived church by many or few is moved to engage in evangelism, teaching and social action."
A.W. Tozer defined revival as that which "changes the moral climate of a community."
Revival is essentially manifestation of God; it has the stamp of Deity on it which even the unregenerate and uninitiated are quick to recognize. Duncan Campbell described it as a "community saturated with God." Revival must of necessity make an impact on the community and this is one means by which we may distinguish it from the more usual operations of the Holy Spirit." (Wallis,op. cit.) John Dawson points out that the community of the twentieth century is different from that of previous ages; modern communities are "linked vocational villages of communication" not necessarily geographically connected. A revival in the 18th Century affected your neighbor who probably lived next door; a revival that affects your neighbor in the Twentieth Century may touch neighbors in touch with you who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away, and are linked not by geographic location but by common vocation and communication. Revival is what the church first experiences; evangelism is then what she engages in. Revival is periodic; evangelism is continuous. Revival cannot last; evangelism must not stop. Do we want a revival? Do we really? James Burns writing in "Revival, Their Laws and Leaders" said in 1909: "To the church, a revival means humiliation, a bitter knowledge of unworthiness and an open and humiliating confession of sin on the part of her minsters and people. It is not the easy and glorious thing many think it to be, who imagine it fills pews and reinstates the church in power and authority. "It comes to scorch before it heals; it comes to condemn ministers and people for their unfaithful witness, for their selfish living, for their neglect of the cross, and to call them to daily renunciation, to an evangelical poverty and to a deep and daily consecration. That is why a revival has ever been unpopular with large numbers within the church. Because it says nothing to them of power such as they have learned to love, or of ease, or of success; it accuses them of sin, it tells them they are dead, it calls them to awake, to renounce the world and to follow Christ."
"The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, a thirst, a living thirst for a knowledge of the living God and a longing and a burning desire to see Him acting,
manifesting himself and his power, rising and scattering his enemies . . . The thirst for God and longing for the exhibition of His glory are the essential preliminaries." D.M. Lloyd-Jones: Revival pp.90-91)
SUDDENNESS "and suddenly there came . . ." Acts 2:2.
Revival is a Divine attack on society. In revival God's work may be sudden and unexpected; often even believers are caught unawares, while fear and astonishment grip unbelievers hearts: "There was nothing, humanly speaking to account for what happened" noted Joseph Kemp of Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh in 1905. "Quite suddenly, upon one and another came an overwhelming sense of the reality and awfulness of His Presence and of eternal things. Life, death and eternity seemed suddenly laid bare."
Revival is God springing a convicting surprise on His creation: "I have declared the former things from of old; yea they went forth out of My mouth and I shewed them; SUDDENLY I did them and they came to pass, and new things do I declare; before they SPRING FORTH I tell you of them." (Isa 42:9; 2 Chron.29:36)
"The effect of the sudden working of the Spirit in revival is very striking in the conviction of sinners. Often without any preparatory concern or even thought for spiritual things, a sinner will be suddenly seized with overwhelming conviction of sin."
(Acts 3:19 - "seasons of refreshing . . . from the presence of the Lord") . . . "a movement bears this mark of spontaneity when men cannot account for what has taken place in terms of personalities, organizations, meetings, preachings, or any other consecrated activity; and when the work continues unabated without any human control. As soon as a movement becomes controlled or organized, it has ceased to be spontaneous - it is no longer a revival. The course of the 1904 revival has been outlined thus: "God began to work; then the Devil began to work in opposition; then God began to work all the harder; then man began to work and the revival came to an end."
The spirit of revival is the consciousness of God. Men were "pricked in their heart" (Acts 3:7) "fear came on every soul" (v.43) "The effects of such manifestations of God are twofold; men are made aware both of His power and His holiness. This manifestation . . . was intensely personal.". . . It is God moving in power and holiness toward you; God coming for you, and calling your name! "Here is an outstanding feature of revival; it is easy to see why it results in overwhelming conviction both among the saved and the lost whenever there is unjudged sin . . . At such times man is not only conscious God is there; but that He is there, it seems to deal with him alone, until he is oblivious of all but his own soul in the agonizing grip of a holy God. If these facts are bourne in mind, the extraordinary effects of past revivals will not seem incredible. The ruthless logic of Jonathan Edwards famous discourse "Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God" could not have produced the effect it did had not God been in the midst.""When they went into the meeting house the appearance of the assembly was thoughtless and vain; the people scarcely conducted themselves with common decency." recorded Trumbull, but goes on to describe the effects of the sermon: "the assembly appeared bowed with an awful conviction of their sin and danger. There was such a breathing of distress and weeping that the preacher was obliged to speak to the people and desire silence that he might be heard." Conant says, "Many of the hearers were seen unconsciously holding themselves up against the pillars and the sides of the pews as though they already felt themselves sliding into the pit."
This overwhelming sense of God bringing deep conviction of sin is perhaps theoutstanding feature of true revival. Its manifestation is not always the same; to cleansed hearts it is heaven; to convicted hearts it is Hell.
Spurgeon noted "If you read the story of the Reformation, or the later story . . . of Whitefield and Wesley, you are struck with the singular spirit that went with the preachers. The world said they were mad; the caricaturists drew them as being fanatical beyond all endurance; but there it was, their zeal was their power. Of course the world scoffed at that of which it was afraid. The world fears enthusiasm, the sacred enthusiasm kindled by the thought of the ruin of men and by the desire to pluck the firebrands from the flame, the enthusiasm which believes in the Holy Ghost, which believes God is still present with His church to do wonders.""Dislike of enthusiasm," said D.M.Lloyd-Jones "is to quench the Spirit. Those . . . familiar with the history of the Church and in particular the history of revivals will know this charge of enthusiasm is one always brought against people most active in a period of revival. (Revival op. cit p.72)
SEVEN ''REVIVALS'' IN THE OT:
Dr. Wilbur Smith notes seven "outstanding revivals" in the Old Testament in addition to the one under Jonah.
1) In Jacob's household (Gen. 35:1-15);
2). Under Asa (2 Chron.15:1ff);
3). Jehoash (2 Kings 11,12; 2 Chron 23,24);
4. Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4-7; 2 Chron. 29:31)
5). Josiah (2 Kings 22,23; 2 Chron. 34,35)
6&7). Two revivals after the Exile under Zerubbabel (Ezra 5,6) in which Haggai and Zechariah play a prominent part and finally in Nehemiah's time in which Ezra was the outstanding figure (Neh.9:9; 12:44-47)
NINE CHARACTERISTICS OF THESE REVIVALS:
(1) They occurred in a day of deep moral darkness and national depression
(2) They began in the heart of one consecrated servant of God who became the energizing power behind it, the agent used of God to quicken and lead the nation back to faith in and obedience to Him
(3) Each revival rested on the Word of God and most were the result of preaching and proclaiming God's law with power
(4) All resulted in a return to the worship of Jehovah
(5) Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed
(6) In each revival there was a recorded separation from sin.
(7) In every revival they returned to offering blood sacrifices
(8) Almost all recorded show restored great joy and gladness
(9) Each revival was followed by a period of great national prosperity.
The Greek equivalent of the OT word for revive is only used five times in the NT. "Why is it not more of a N.T. word? For the simple reason that New Testament Christianity IS revived Christianity." (Spurgeon On Revival: Eric W. Hayden). This Greek word-- anazo is used for the restoration of the prodigal son (Luke 15:24 and also for the deadly effect of sin (Ro 7:9).
The primary aim is to lead souls to repentance . . . There is so much emphasis today on believing,receiving, deciding and so on and so little on the vital step of repenting . . . the men dealt faithfully with the question of sin that the conscience might be aroused."
"It was a precept of Wesley to his evangelists in unfolding their message to speak first in general of the love of God to man; then with all possible energy so as to search the conscience to its depths, to preach the law of holiness; and then, and not till then, to uplift the glories of the gospel of pardon and of life. Intentionally or not, his directions follow the lines of the epistle to Romans."
Bishop Hadley Moule on Romans - John Nelson records of Wesley at Moorfields, "His countenance struck such an awful dread upon me before I heard him speak that it made my heart beat like the pendulum of a clock; and when he did speak, I thought his whole discourse was aimed at me." (Wesley, Pollock p.154)
STORY OF JOHN WESLEY
In the 30 years following the outpouring of the Spirit on the Moravian congregation at Herrnhut (1727) their evangelists, with a motto of "To win for the Lamb that was slain the reward of His suffering" had carried the gospel not only to nearly every country in Europe but also to many pagan races in North and South America, Asia and Africa. Dr. Warnek, German historian of Protestant Missions wrote "This small church in 20 years called into being more missions than the whole evangelical church has done in two centuries."
If there is no revival of righteousness, there is no revival at all. It is characteristic of revivals that sins long hindering blessing are exposed, confessed and forgiven; relationships wrecked by pride, envy and evil-speaking are wonderfully restored" . . .Jonathan Edwards wrote - "Abundance has been lately done making up differences,confessing faults one to another and making restitution; probably more within these two years than in the thirty years before."The cycle of change and decay, of reformation and apostasy, the record of any nation with a godly heritage that follows the pattern of Israel's four-fold collapse:
Israel forgot GOD
Israel forgot God's LAWS
Israel made up NEW gods
Israel made up NEW LAWS
Psalm 119:37-note Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Thy ways.
Spurgeon - He had prayed about his heart, and one would have thought that the eyes would so surely have been influenced by the heart that there was no need to make them the objects of a special petition; but our author is resolved to make assurance doubly sure. If the eyes do not see, perhaps the heart may not desire: at any rate, one door of temptation is closed when we do not even look at the painted bauble. Sin first entered man's mind by the eye, and it is still a favourite gate for the incoming of Satan's allurements: hence the need of a double watch upon that portal. The prayer is not so much that the eyes may be shut as "turned away"; for we need to have them open, but directed to right objects. Perhaps we are now gazing upon folly, we need to have our eyes turned away; and if we are beholding heavenly things we shall be wise to beg that our eyes may be kept away from vanity. Why should we look on vanity? - it melts away as a vapour. Why not look upon things eternal? Sin is vanity, unjust gain is vanity, self conceit is vanity, and, indeed, all that is not of God comes under the same head. From all this we must turn away. It is a proof of the sense of weakness felt by the Psalmist and of his entire dependence upon God that he even asks to have his eyes turned for him; he meant not to make himself passive, but he intended to set forth his own utter helplessness apart from the grace of God. For fear he should forget himself and gaze with a lingering longing upon forbidden objects, he entreats the Lord speedily to make him turn away his eyes, hurrying him off from so dangerous a parley with iniquity. If we are kept from looking on vanity we shall be preserved from loving iniquity.
Give me so much life that dead vanity may have no power over me. Enable me to travel so swiftly in the road to heaven that I may not stop long enough within sight of vanity to be fascinated thereby. The prayer indicates our greatest need, - more life in our obedience. It shows the preserving power of increased life to keep us from the evils which are around us, and it, also, tells us where that increased life must come from, namely, from the Lord alone. Vitality is the cure of vanity. When the heart is full of grace the eyes will be cleansed from impurity. On the other hand, if we would be full of life as to the things of God we must keep ourselves apart from sin and folly, or the eyes will soon captivate the mind, and, like Samson, who could slay his thousands, we may ourselves be overcome through the lusts which enter by the eye.
Comment: Did you note the association of prayer and revival and prayer for our eyes!
"The concealing and the neglect of certain truths and certain aspects of Christian truth has always been the chief characteristic of every period of declension in the long history of the Christian church . . . No revival has ever been known in the history of churches which deny or ignore certain essential truths . . . And without a single exception it is the rediscovery of these cardinal doctrines that has led to revival." (Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "Revival" pp.33,35)
The German who started it all was Nikolas Count Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, a Moravian of unlikely name, who established a community called Herrnhut ("The Lords Watch") in 1727. It almost wasn't! Division and argument nearly destroyed the work until repentance, forgiveness and a prayer-meeting were established to hold it together. This went on for an even more unlikely duration - for 100 years, 24 hours a day! Even children wept and prayed with power before God. In 1732, these Moravians sent out their first missionaries. Two kinds of teams left - to win the lost and to win the church. By 1792 they mobilized over 300 such radicals. Their motto was "To win for the Lamb that was slain the reward of His suffering". One such team bumped into an unsaved Anglican missionary. Born 17th of June, 1703, and now 32 he was on board a ship to America. In contrast to the English, the Moravians never complained when struck or pushed and showed a "great seriousness."Sunday evening January 18, 1736 in a deck service during a storm, a wave broke over the deck of the Simmonds, split the main sail in pieces and covered the decks. "A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sang on." The would-be missionary asked one of them afterwards "Were you not afraid?" He answered "I thank God no." "But were not your woman and children afraid?" "Our woman and children are not afraid to die." ("Journals"; Vol. 1 Bicentenary Edition, London 1938, p.143) After landing in America, the wondering Anglican asked one of the Moravian pastors (a Mr. August Spangenberg) advice with regard to his own conduct, and received the most embarrassing question any minister can be asked in reply. He recalled: He said, "Do you know Jesus Christ?" I paused and said "I know He is the Savior of the world." "True," he replied, "but do you know He has saved you?" I answered, "I hope He has died to save me." He only added - "Do you know yourself?" I said, "I do." But I fear they were vain words." (Journals, op. cit. p.151) Jan 24th 1738, on the Samuel's homeward voyage after an utter failure in Georgia as a missionary, the crestfallen English minister recorded in his diary "I went to America to convert the Indians; but oh, who shall convert me? . . . I have a fair summer religion; I can talk well . . . and believe myself while no danger is near. But let death stare me in the face and my spirit is troubled, nor can I say to die is gain." Feb. 1st, the day he landed, he wrote "It is now two years and four months since I left my native country in order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature of Christianity; but what have I learned of myself in the meantime? Why, what I least suspected; that I who went to America to convert others was never myself converted to God! I am not mad, though I thus speak; but I speak the words of truth and soberness." (Journals, op cit. p.148) A prominent Bishop said of him: "If he was not a good Christian when he went to Georgia then God help the majority of those who call themselves Christians!" Thus began his pilgrimage out of self-seeking righteousness involving conferences with other Moravians like Peter Bohler, much prayer and study of the Scripture that finally ended three months later in a little Aldersgate prayer meeting, listening to Luther's "Preface to Romans" on Wednesday May 24th, 1738. He records: "About a quarter to nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death." (pp. 475-476) He woke next morning with: "Jesus, Master" in his heart and in his mouth. That Spring the man who would change England's history began a spiritual society at the Fetter Lane Moravian Chapel, the pattern of all later societies. That winter he visited the Moravians in Germany; on his return he began aggressive measures on home heathenism following his friend Whitefield's example. Thus began the ministry of a man who rose daily at 4.00 a.m. and was preaching at 5.00 so working men could attend services; who during the next fifty-two years from 1739 to 1791 travelled 250,000 miles, mostly on horseback, and preached over 40,000 sermons. "Never," says Ryle, "did any man have so many irons in the fire at one time and yet succeed in keeping so many hot." (J.C. Ryle, "Christian Leaders Of The 18th Century" 1885, p.78) To unite his people in one body; give everyone something to do - make each consider his neighbor and seek his edification; call out latent talent and utilize it - in his words to keep "all at it and always at it" were his aims and objects.In those years, travelling some 25 miles a day (over ten circuits of the globe on horseback) he wrote 233 books, on all sorts of subjects including home health remedies (Primitive Medicine, in use for almost 200 years) and one of the earliest texts on electricity! A contemporary remarked that those who knew his travels wondered he had time to write and those who know his writings wondered he had time to travel. "Leisure and I have taken leave of one another. I propose to be busy as long as I live, if my health is so long indulged me." "Lord let me not live to be useless" he prayed after seeing a once-active and useful man now old, enfeebled and slow of speech. (Ryle, op. cit. p.84) His rule for Christian living: "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can as long as ever you can!" Things the most opposite and unlike, petty and trifling, thoroughly spiritual and secular all alike are mastered by an omnivorous mind, finding time for all and giving directions about all. One day he is condensing old divinity, publishing fifty volumes of theology called the "Christian Library" and writing a complete commentary on the whole Bible.
He is composing with his brother hymns that live to this day; or is "drawing up minute directions to his preachers, forbidding them to shout, scream and preach too long, insisting on their reading regularly lest their sermons become threadbare, requiring them not to drink spirits and charging them to get up early in the morning". Another day we find him calmly reviewing the current literature of the day and criticizing all the new books with cool and shrewd remarks as if he had nothing else to do. Like Napoleon, nothing seems too small or great for his mind to attend to; like Calvin he writes as if he had nothing to do but write, (over 5,000 tracts & pamphlets) preaches as if he had nothing to do but preach and administers as if he had nothing to do but administer." (Ryle, op. cit. p.85) He preached for sixty-five years, dying finally at eighty-eight, his last words "The best of all, God is with us" and the first words of the hymn "I'll praise My maker while I've breath; And when my voice is lost in death; Praise shall employ my noblest powers". About 10:00 in the morning he said, "Farewell"; then without a groan, he fell asleep in Christ. He left behind him 750 preachers in England and 350 in America; 76,968 Methodists in England and 57,621 in America; by 1957, 40 million world-wide. He was ninth child of at least 13 children, (three sons and ten daughters). With his brother Charles, a songwriter of some 9,000 hymns and poems including "And Can It Be" and "Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing" and other evangelist friends and followers he moved all England, and eventually touched the world.
Vance Havner - "Revive Us Again"
"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?"—Psalm 85:6.
The greatest need of America is an old-fashioned, heaven-born, God-sent revival. Throughout the history of the Church, when clouds have hung lowest, when sin has seemed blackest and faith has been weakest, there have always been a faithful few who have not sold out to the devil nor bowed the knee to Baal, who have feared the Lord and thought upon His Name and have not forsaken the assembling of themselves together. These have besought the Lord to revive His work in the midst of the years, and in the midst of the fears and tears, and in wrath to remember mercy. God has always answered such supplication, filling each heart with His love, rekindling each soul with Fire from above.
Certainly it is high time that we prayed once more: "Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?" America has been a land of revivals. It was conceived in revival. Its foundations were laid by men who came out of the Puritan and Pietist revivals in England and on the Continent. In those early days, when hardship gave way to prosperity and men drifted away from God, the faithful few besought heaven and God sent the Great Awakening through the terrific preaching of Jonathan Edwards and the seraphic evangelism of George Whitefield. Spirituality flourished, the churches filled, and there was a preacher for every two thousand of our three million people.
But along came the French and Indian wars and the Revolution and brought the usual spiritual setback. Infidelity raised its head: Bolingbroke poisoned England; Voltaire corrupted France. Thomas Paine spread the deadly virus in America, until, as it has been said, "Our people had discovered that there could be a church without a pope, a land without a king and were on the point of deciding that there could be a world without a God." But, once again, the godly remnant prayed; God's people humbled themselves, and sought His face and turned from their wicked ways, and God heard from heaven, forgave their sin and healed their land. He answered with the Great Revival of 1800; shook Yale with Timothy Dwight; raised up Asbury and McKendree and James McGready, the Baptists in Kentucky, Peter Cartwright and the Methodist camp meetings. He followed it with wave after wave under Nettleton, Knapp and Finney.
The Great Revival lasted until 1842. Then prosperity set in again. Many thought the Golden Age had arrived. But, instead, came the Great Panic in 1857: banks failed, business closed its doors, railroads went into bankruptcy, everything came to a standstill. Once again, God had His pinch of salt in the earth. Believers prayed, "Revive us again," and, in answer, the Fulton Street prayer meetings set off a wave of prayer meetings all over the country that crossed the ocean and swept multitudes into the Kingdom of God. But war followed upon the heels of revival, and the blood of brothers flowed across the Mason and Dixon's Line; the Civil War debauched and demoralized the country, but the Lord heard His people again and raised up Dwight L. Moody. He defeated the devil with the Pentecostal power poured upon this rugged shoe salesman from Boston and followed His victory with Torrey and Chapman and Sunday. Then came another avalanche of blood and tears in 1914. Once again, the land has been corrupted and has had a moral and spiritual setback. BUT THIS TIME THERE HAS BEEN NO REVIVAL. The same conditions prevail today on a larger and worse scale than existed before the Great Revival. Then France had corrupted the world with atheism; today it is Russia. Then it was Hume and Voltaire and Tom Paine; today it is a motley mob of would-be intellectuals who follow in their train, not nearly as brilliant but a numerous aggregation of fools who rush in where angels fear to tread. Once again, the land has had a taste of prosperity and, as usual, has gone crazy. We live in a steam-heated, warm-bath era, more interested in the Here and Now than in preparing for the By and By. Instead of fleeing the City of Destruction, we are out to clean it up.
Surely today, the faithful few need to plead with the prayer of our forefathers, "Wilt thou not revive us again?" But, alas, little interest is shown by the Church in the need or possibility of revival. Since the World War, evangelism has become more and more unpopular. Prayer meetings have been supplanted by pep meetings. The social Gospel, religious education and training in Kingdom work have become the watchwords of the denominations. Revivals have fallen into disrepute, partly because of erratic, money-grabbing evangelists, but more because the Church is now trying to do by professionalism and propaganda what once she did by power and prayer and the preaching of Christ crucified.
Broadly speaking, the professing Church is divided into three groups: the Modernists, who have exchanged substance for shadow, preaching a denatured Gospel with the supernatural extracted, spraying with the rose water of a false optimism an ungodly world, vainly calling the righteous to repentance; the Denominationalists, who too often have forgotten the Person in zeal over a Program, lost in an ocean of statistics, born in revival fires, but now living in smoke; the Fundamentalists, most of whom are doctrinally sound, but many of whom are so busy castigating the leaven of the Sadducees that they themselves are smitten with the leaven of the Pharisees. Only a real revival can meet such a situation.
Will we have another revival? Yes, if the Lord tarries, and provided we meet the conditions. There is nothing accidental, hit-or-miss, magical about revivals. We have all the elements of revival in the words of the Psalmist, "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?"
First, we have the Revival Prayer, for the verse is a supplication. A revival is a work of God, it cannot be stirred up by efforts of the flesh. It is not by might nor by power but by His Spirit. Church experts have planned dozens of ways to break up the Rip van Winkle slumbers of the saints and breathe into Sardis the breath of life. We have heard the slogan, "Every pastor his own evangelist." There have been house-to-house evangelism and Sunday-school evangelism, and many other diverse kinds of evangelism have been planned and practiced. Bernard Shaw said, "Americans have the best filing systems in the world,—but no American can ever find a letter!" So we have the best plans for revival in the world—but no revival!
Here, as elsewhere, "you can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed." Our prayer must be, "Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old" (Lamentations 5:21). We are never truly turned to God until God turns us. It is His supernatural work, but the fact that men have prayed for revival and received it proves that God will turn His people in answer to fervent, effectual prayer.
Next, we have the Revival People, the people who are to be revived: "Wilt thou not revive US again: that THY PEOPLE may rejoice in thee?" A revival is God's work among God's people and we shall have revival when God's people pay the price. When born-again believers stop petty bickerings over nonessentials and go to their knees in old-fashioned, beseeching prayer we shall have revival. When Christians wear out more carpets around family altars than around dressing tables we shall have revival. When fathers stay home from the club, and mothers from bridge, and the children from the dance, and the car is left in the garage long enough to cool, and the radio is shut off long enough to tune in on God, we shall have revival. When Jacob buries his false gods under the oaks at Shechem, and Achan's wedge of gold is laid out before the Lord, we shall have revival. When preachers seek fresh anointing of Pentecostal fire, cut out pulpit essays and preach from the Bible with the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, we shall have revival. When churches quit trying to hold together by picnics and programs and get back from one discord to "one accord" and from the supper room to the Upper Room, we shall have revival. When backslidden Christians seek the lost joy of salvation, the upholding of God's free Spirit, then transgressors shall be taught God's ways and sinners shall be converted.
There must be conviction of sin in the Church, confession of sin by the Church, conversion from the self-life to the Christ-life, for only when we are converted can we strengthen the brethren. There must be absolute surrender to God's will, fresh filling of the Spirit and a new walk in holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. I do not know what form the next revival will take, but I do know that it will require an unusual charge of Divine Dynamite to blast out the smug complacency of this generation. Perhaps God may raise up another Finney, some human firebrand upon whom the mantle of the prophets has fallen, who shall come forth from the solitude, bringing a flaming message saturated with Power; who shall preach sin and redemption, judgment and repentance, those grand old themes of another day, when men did not play at preaching and sinners fell from their seats before the mighty two-edged Sword!
AGAIN, we have in our verse the REVIVAL PRODUCT—Joy: "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people MAY REJOICE in thee?" Habakkuk prayed, "O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years," and ended his book rejoicing in the God of his salvation. Revival brings rejoicing. When Christians pass from sentence prayers to learn prevailing supplication; when God's people go back to Bethel and dwell there; when the Bible becomes more important than bridge, and the house of God more attractive than the theatre,—rejoicing is sure to follow. If ever God's people needed to rejoice, it is today. The amens and hallelujahs have gone from most churches. There has been substituted in some the artificial enthusiasm of human "pep," more suitable to a football game—a fake and counterfeit joy by which dying churches try to whistle their way past the graveyard. Sunday morning dignity, in other places, has supplanted supernatural delight, the saintly have given way to the sanctimonious. We cannot really sing, "Hallelujah, Thine the glory" until first we have truly sung, "Revive us again." Only real revival can restore lost joy. It is said that in 1799, if one passed through the Northwest, he could hear on every side only swearing and obscenity, the songs of drunkards, the blasphemy of infidels in every village and hamlet. But in 1801 one could hear on every hand the Gospel being preached to multitudes, songs of praise to God all along the highways, prayers in the woods and groves. The Great Revival had come! If this land is to be spared wreck and ruin, there must be another such visitation of God among His people: a visitation in revival.
Notice, finally, in our verse the Revival Purpose—rejoicing in the Lord: "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice IN THEE?" Not that God's people may rejoice in their big preacher or their great church, nor even in additions to their church; not that they may rejoice in denominational pride, nor in the report they sent to headquarters, nor even in how many demons were cast out. God is the One Object of our rejoicing. Any revival that does not center in the Lord, that does not exalt and magnify Him, that does not draw Christians to know the Lord Jesus Christ better and sinners to receive Him is a false revival. When our expectation is from Him, our joy will be in Him. And any revival that finds its climax anywhere but at His feet is not a Scriptural revival.
God help us to get low in the dust and pray like our forefathers, "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" Psalm 85:6.
Adrian Rogers - Ps 85:6 The Sign of Revival
Now I've talked to you about the source of revival. "Wilt thou not revive us again"? I've talked to you about the subjects of revival. "Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?" Now let me talk to you for a few moments before we go about the sign of revival.
What is true revival? It is rejoicing in God. Not rejoicing in things, not rejoicing in privileges, not vaunting ourselves in pride, but rejoicing in God. You see, revival comes in three stages. First of all, there's a time of weeping, and we have plenty to weep about, beginning with the coldness of our own heart, the ineptitude of our churches, the weakness of our prayers, the lostness of our neighbors and children. Revival begins with a time of weeping. And then, it continues with a time of reaping. When you have genuine revival, souls come to Jesus in multiplied numbers, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of souls will come to Jesus Christ, gold grain to be laid at His feet if we have genuine revival. Don't you want to see an end-time harvest? Don't you want to see millions swept into the kingdom? Revival is a time of weeping. It is a time of reaping.
And then, it is a time of rejoicing—"that thy people might rejoice in thee."
I long to see in this congregation, in my own heart, in your heart, our hearts a burning, blazing, emotional, passionate love for the Lord Jesus Christ, where we rejoice in God. There's no greater joy, no higher joy. That's the sign of revival.
John 4:14 Showers Of Blessing By David C. McCasland
- Read: Psalm 85:1-13
- Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? —Psalm 85:6
When it rains, most people go inside to avoid getting wet. But I remember a summer day in Texas when people ran outside their offices and homes to stand in a downpour. Some shouted, others danced, and everyone was happy. After months of scorching temperatures and crippling drought, the sheer joy of a life-giving rain made getting soaked a pleasure.
Just as a physical drought teaches us that there is no substitute for rain, a time of spiritual dryness burns into us the truth that we cannot live without God’s renewing Spirit. Hymn writer Daniel W. Whittle expressed his longing for spiritual revival in these words:
“Showers of blessing,
showers of blessing we need;
mercy drops round us are falling,
but for the showers we plead.”
During times of spiritual dryness, when we long for a sense of the presence and power of God, we echo the psalmist’s prayer: “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (Psalm 85:6-7).
The spiritual refreshing we crave comes only from above. Christ alone can satisfy our spiritual thirst with the “living water” He promised to all who come to Him (John 4:14). —D C MacCasland
I reached for God's hand full of blessings,
Because I was needy and sad;
And, oh, what a shower He gave me
From all the rich treasure He had!
Only Christ the living water can quench our spiritual thirst.
Vance Havner - Revive Us Again—but Not Now!
- Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8.
John the Baptist demanded real evidence of a change of heart. We live in an "epidemic" of so-called revivals the year round, but most church members weather them without repentance or the fruits thereof, renunciation and restitution. Most revivals begin with two or three sermons to the church and pass quickly into a drive for "prospects" and new church members, leaving the church quite unscathed.
We need a new John the Baptist putting the ax to the root, not the fruit, of the tree; calling for conviction-born repentance among Christians, a change of mind, godly sorrow, and confession and renunciation of sin, for he that "confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy"; and for restitution wherever possible—a straightening out of old accounts such as Zacchæus made.
This is revival—not just singing, "Revive Us Again," with no intention whatever of paying the price now!
2 Chronicles 7:1-14 Our Moral Compass
August 4, 2009 — by Dennis Fisher
If My people . . . turn from their wicked ways, then I will . . . forgive their sin and heal their land. —2 Chronicles 7:14
When Abraham Lincoln was introduced to author Harriet Beecher Stowe, he reportedly said that she was “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”
Although President Lincoln’s comment wasn’t entirely serious, Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was instrumental in abolishing slavery in the US. Its graphic depiction of racism and the injustice of slavery helped lead to the start of civil war. Ultimately, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves “shall be free.” Thus, Stowe’s novel helped to change a nation’s moral compass.
Centuries earlier, King Solomon was told about what would change the moral compass of God’s people Israel. It was to start with humility and confession. The Lord told Solomon:
“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” (2 Chr 7:14).
As a Christian community, we should first take an inventory of our own personal lives. As we humbly seek God in prayer and repentance of sin, changes begin in our lives. God may then use us to change a nation’s moral compass.
Revive us again,
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. —O'Connell
Mender of Broken Hearts
Max I. Reich tells of passing a repairing shop in the window of which was a sign reading: "We mend everything except broken hearts." Brother Reich stepped back and entered the store, and when a beautiful young Jewess came forward to serve him he said: "I saw your sign, and want to ask what you do with people who have broken hearts." "Oh!" she said: "We send them to the hospital." "You are a Jewess, are you not?" Did you ever read Isaiah 57:15? 'For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.' And," continued Mr. Reich, "there was also He who read Isaiah 61:1, in his home-town synagogue at Nazareth. The verse contains the words 'He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.' And," said Mr. Reich, "the Messiah added, 'This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.'" (Luke 4:21). —Rev. Max I. Reich
The Doctor Noticed the Change
During the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905, a village doctor remarked to a friend, "Well, the revival is doing me good anyway." "Do you mean that you have more patients?" his friend inquired. "Not at all," the doctor answered; "but £23 due to me, which I had written off my books as hopelessly bad debts, have been paid to me since the revival began."—From Stories of Great Revivals, by Henry Johnson
Dr. R. A. Torrey's Prescription:
"I can give a prescription that will bring a revival to any church or community or any city on earth.
"First, let a few Christians (they need not be many) get thoroughly right with God themselves. This is the prime essential. If this is not done, the rest that I am to say will come to nothing.
"Second, let them bind themselves together in a prayer group to pray for a revival until God opens the heavens and comes down.
"Third, let them put themselves at the disposal of God for Him to use as He sees fit in winning others to Christ. That is all!
"This is sure to bring a revival to any church or community. I have given this prescription around the world. It has been taken by many churches and many communities, and in no instance has it ever failed; and it cannot fail!" —Gospel Herald
The Right Start
The great revival under Jonathan Edwards, in the eighteenth century, began with his famous call to prayer. The marvelous work of grace among the Indians under Brainerd had its origin in the days and nights that Brainerd spent before God in prayer for an enduement of power from on high for his work. A most remarkable and widespread display of God's reviving power was that which broke out at Rochester, N. Y., under the labors of Charles Finney. It not only spread through New England but to Great Britain as well. Mr. Finney attributed the power of this work to the spirit of prayer that prevailed. The great revival of 1859 in the United States began in prayer and was carried on by prayer more than anything else. "Most revivals," writes Dr. Cuyler, "have humble beginnings, and the fire starts in a few warm hearts. Never despise the day of small things. During my own long ministry nearly every work of grace had a small beginning... a humble meeting in a private home... a group gathered for Bible study by Mr. Moody in our mission chapel... a meeting of young people in my home." —Alliance Weekly
Birth of the Welsh Revival
The world still feels the influence of the great Welsh Revival which flamed across the tiny country of Wales at the beginning of this century. But few remember just how this mighty spiritual movement began:
A Christian Endeavor meeting was in progress in a small town in Wales when a timid young Welsh girl arose. She was so nervous that she could utter only one short sentence: "O, I do love Jesus!" Then she sat down. The Lord used that earnest testimony to fulfill His own divine purpose. Spiritual fire came down on that young people's meeting, even akin to Pentecost. Quickly it spread through that Church, then through the little town, and on through the whole of Wales. Its influence was soon felt all around the world. —Thomas DeCourcy Rayner
Prayer for Revival
"Humbly now, O Lord, I pray
Send revival here today.
All my coldness, all my sin,
All my doubtings deep within;
Forgive them, Lord, and cleanse away;
Oh, send revival here today!
"Humbly, Lord, I ask of Thee,
Send this awakening through me;
Emptied out of self and pride,
Thy light no longer will I hide.
And, or dear Lord, use me, I pray,
To bring revival here today!"
Mrs. Charles Bell—Moody Monthly
If all the sleeping folk will wake up,
And all the lukewarm folk will fire up,
And all the dishonest folk will confess up,
And all the disgruntled folk will sweeten up,
And all the discouraged folk will cheer up,
And all the depressed folk will look up,
And all the estranged folk will make up,
And all the gossipers will shut up,
And all the dry bones will shake up,
And all the true soldiers will stand up,
And all the church members will pray up,
Then you can have a revival.
The Price of Revivals
A short while before Dr. J. B. Chapman passed away, he was addressing a gathering of preachers, when he said, "We have reached the place where one man plays a handsaw and another gives a 'Life's Story,' gathering a big crowd and we call that a revival. No! that is not a revival; that is a farce. Tears, sweat, and blood are the price of a revival, and some of us are not willing to pay the price." —Herald of Holiness
Warren Wiersbe - Ps. 85:1 The Revival People
Read Psalm 85:1-13
"Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?" (Psalm 85:6). This prayer has been set to music in the song "Revive Us Again," and it's a prayer we need to pray. Who needs revival? Unsaved people can't be revived because they never had life to begin with. The unsaved person is dead in trespasses and sins. But Christians, through faith in Jesus Christ, have been raised from the dead. We've been given eternal, abundant life. Unfortunately, sometimes we turn away from the Lord and lose that spiritual vibrancy. We don't lose our salvation, but we lose the joy of our salvation, its power and the overflowing blessings we give each other. God's people are the revival people. We desperately need to be revived. The psalmist cries out to God for new life. Someone has said that our church services start at eleven o'clock sharp and end at twelve o'clock dull. How we need the breath of God to blow upon us! How we need His life to touch us!
What is the revival purpose? A. W. Tozer used to say, "It's difficult to get Christians to attend any meeting where God is the only center of attraction." We have to have entertainment, food and all sorts of distractions. But the psalmist wants God's people to rejoice in Him alone.
God's people should live with a vibrancy that comes from the joy of their salvation. Does your life still sparkle as it did when you came to know the Lord? Pray that He will revive the Church. And pray that your testimony will bless others and glorify the Lord
"Do Not Stem Revival's Tide!"
"Has my brother ought against me?
Have I wronged him in the past?
Have I harbored unkind mem'ries?
Have I false aspersions cast?
Have I treated him with coldness?
Passed him by—the other side?
Then, forgive me, oh! my brother,
Do not stem Revival's Tide."
Breaking up Things for Christ
I was in revival services in Amarillo, Texas, years ago in a little Baptist church. A contractor got converted. He was building two houses, and had two big crews of men. We were having morning services at ten o'clock. Do you know what he did? He went around to these houses and said to all those carpenters, plumbers, and painters. "Boys, we are having a meeting down at the church." Then he said some good things about the preacher, and said: "I want you to hear him. I will tell you what we will do. Nobody will work on my job here from ten to eleven o'clock. We are all going down to the church on my time." One man said: "I do not care to go to church. I'll stay here and work." "No," the converted man said, "nobody is going to work on my job while the preacher is down in my church trying to have a revival. We are all going down there." So they came in their overalls, and some of them got converted. You know if you really break up a business or break up a roof—if you really go to breaking up things for Jesus—you can have a revival.—Sword of the Lord
Newspapermen went down from London to report at first hand the marvelous happenings of the great Welsh Revival at the turn of the century. On their arrival in Wales one of them asked a policeman where the Welsh Revival was. Drawing himself to his full height he laid his hand over his heart and proudly proclaimed: "Gentlemen, the Welsh revival is inside this uniform!" He had caught the holy fire.—Power
Subtraction Sometimes Important, Also
When I talk about blessing I not only mean additions, but subtractions, too. A pastor came to one of his fellow pastors and said, "We've had a revival in our church." The other man replied, "That's good. How many were added to your church?" "None were added, but ten were subtracted." That's spiritual prosperity. It may mean subtraction. If some of our churches had the unconverted deacons subtracted, revival would come.—Moody Monthly
How to Bring Revival
Gipsy Smith was once asked how to start a revival. He answered: "Go home, lock yourself in your room, kneel down in the middle of your floor. Draw a chalk mark all around yourself and ask God to start the revival inside that chalk mark. When He has answered your prayer, the revival will be on." —Missionary Worker
Revive Me (Ps. 138:7)
My love is cold, my faith is small,
My zeal is lacking, doubts appall,
My footsteps falter, oft I stray,
And weakness marks me for its prey.
God of Revival, hear my plea,
Empower, endue, revive e'en me.
Revive Us (Ps. 85:6)
With all Thine own, in Jesus' Name,
We would confess our common shame,
And humbly bow before Thy face,
To seek Thy pardoning, cleansing grace.
God of Revival, God of love,
Refresh, revive us from above.
Revive Thy Work (Hab. 3:2)
Thy workers' hearts are filled with dread;
Thy lost are left, Thy sheep unfed;
Thine enemies Thy work defy,
And things are weak, ready to die.
God of Revival, now we pray,
Visit Thy work in this our day.
They Shall Revive (Hos. 14:7)
Oh, for Thy Spirit's quickening breath!
Reviving from the sleep of death.
Oh, for Thy mighty, ancient power!
Arousing us this very hour.
God of Revival, Thee we praise,
For signs of blessing in our days.
Warren Wiersbe - Revive Us Again Read Psalm 80:14-19
Look at two important words in Psalm 80. One is return. "Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; look down from heaven and see, and visit this vine" (Psalm 80:14). The other word is revive. "Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name" (Psalm 80:18).
God had departed from His people. He had planted this vine, the nation of Israel, in the land of Canaan. He had cast out the other nations to make room for Israel. The vine took root and began to bear fruit. But the people of Israel began to sin against the Lord. Instead of being distinctively separate, they began to imitate the other nations and visit their altars and participate in their sacrifices. So God said, "If that's the way you want it, you can have it." God left His people. The word Ichabod means "the glory has departed" (1 Sam. 4:21).
Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb 13:5). God will never take away His presence, but He will take away His power and His blessing. If necessary, He will withhold that extra anointing He wants to give us. Psalm 80:18-19 are a prayer for revival: "Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; cause your face to shine, and we shall be saved!"
God will never leave you, but there are times when He may need to withhold His power and blessing because of sin in your life. Are you in need of God's restoration? He hears the prayer of revival. Ask Him to clean your heart and then pray Asaph's prayer.
Adrian Rogers - Wilt thou not revive us again?" Now, notice the subject of revival. "Wilt thou not revive us again?" Who? Let me ask a question: Where is the problem in America? It is not in Hollywood. It is not in the pornography shop. It is not with the liquor dealer and the beer baron. It is not with the backroom politicians. Do you want me to tell you where the problem in America is? It is right here in this room—"Wilt thou not revive us again?"—with God's people. God says, in 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." God looks to His people to repent. You know, as I know, that our churches are filled with "moral worldings" who are living double lives and singing "God Bless America" with crocodile tears in their eyes. But, God says that when we are humble and when we are holy, we will be heard and we will be healed. God will heal our land, and we can take God at His word. "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?"
What is revival? First of all, it is a time of weeping when we are broken for our sins.
Secondly, it becomes a time of weeping when thousands of people come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and then it becomes a time of rejoicing. We rejoice in Him—in God. We're not asking for a revival for America's sake or for our sakes, that we might have bigger buildings, and greener lawns, and finer parties, and healthier kids—no, that we might rejoice in God. So many of us are seeking God's hand rather than seeking God's face. But, revival is the smile of God—the blessings of God upon us. America needs revival. America is sick, ladies and gentlemen. But, there is a God in Heaven, and as long as there is a God in Heaven, I refuse to give up hope. Now, if we can't have revival in the world, then let's have revival in America. And, if we can't have revival in America, then let's have revival in Memphis. And, if we can't have revival in Memphis, then let's have revival in Bellevue. And, if we can't have revival in Bellevue, then let's have revival in the choir. And, if we can have revival in the choir, then let's have revival in your family. And, if we can't have revival in your family, then let's have revival in you. And, say, "Oh God, begin a revival." God is a gracious God, and we need to pray the prayer of a patriot: "Oh God, wilt thou not revive thy people? Revive us, oh God, that thy people may rejoice in thee." (from A Miracle for America).
During the reigns of David and Solomon, the people enjoyed their inheritance and served the Lord faithfully. But after the kingdom divided, Israel and Judah both decayed spiritually (except for occasional interludes of revival) and ended up in bondage: Assyria defeated Israel, and Babylon conquered Judah. It was then that God disciplined His people outside their land. It was as though He were saying, “You have polluted My land with your idols, so I will put you in a land that is addicted to idols. Get your fill of it! After you have been away from your land for seventy years, maybe you will learn to appreciate what I gave you.” God permitted a remnant to return to the land, rebuild the city and the temple, and restore the nation; but it never became a great power again.
Pinpointing Prayer By Henry G. Bosch |
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. —James 5:16
If we want specific answers to our prayers, we must make definite, individual, personalized requests.
Too many of our prayers are filled with sweeping generalizations that seek God’s blessings. Effective, fervent prayer, however, focuses on specific requests. If we pinpoint our prayers, we will have reason to praise God for particular answers!
Some years ago a young girl was very sick and not expected to recover. Because of her love for Jesus, she was troubled that she had not been able to do more for Him in her short life. Her pastor suggested that she make a list of people in their little town who needed Christ and pray that they might put their faith in Him. She took his advice, made a list, and prayed often for each person.
Some time later God began to stir a revival in the village. The girl heard of the people who were coming to Christ and prayed even more. As she heard reports, she checked off the names of those who had been led to the Lord.
After the girl died, a prayer list with the names of 56 people was found under her pillow. All had put their faith in Christ—the last one on the night before her death.
Such is the power of definite, specific, fervent prayer. Do you have a prayer list? (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, lay some soul upon my heart
And love that soul through me,
And may I nobly do my part
To win that soul for Thee!
Make it a point to pinpoint your prayers.
Exodus 17:10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
AND JOSHUA DID AS MOSES TOLD HIM (see Joshua 1:7-8, 11:15, 11:12): Don't go by this phrase too quickly. Meditate on the cross references above and ponder the significance of what Moses is recording about Joshua's character. Obedience is the "secret" for success & blessing in the spiritual life & in (spiritual) warfare. Are you being defeated by your "spiritual enemies" (whether the world, the flesh = indwelling SIN NATURE inherited from Adam or the devil)? If so, then consider praying the prayer of David, the man after God's own heart (Ps 139:23-24, Ps 51:10-12). Revival & renewal begins with reflection & repentance. The writer of Hebrews warns us of the passing pleasures (Heb 11:24) & subtle deceit of our indwelling SIN nature (Heb 3:12-13, cf Song 2:15) so let us seek the times of refreshing (Acts 3:19-20) and be diligent to enter His rest (Heb 4:11-13). Victory for the Christian today is not found in individual ingenuity but an INDIVIDUAL, our "obedient Joshua" (our Jesus, compare Heb 5:8-9, 1 John 5:4-5) and our victory in Christ is contingent upon walking in the light (1 Jn 1:6-8 cf Col 1:12,13, 2 Co7:1, 1 Jn 2:28, 3:2-3, 2 Pe 3:11,14), being surrendered to the Commander-in-chief's will (Ro 12:1-2, cf 1 Cor 6:19-20, Lu 22:42, John 4:34, 5:30).
Judges 2:1+ - Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you,
Bochim means mourning or weeping (Bochim - Holman Bible Dictionary; Bochim - Wikipedia). Do you see the picture of the cost that comes when you choose to begin to entertain sin in your life, becoming partially obedient (that subtle, nominal Christianity that's invaded America) and you move from the place OF VICTORY, THE PLACE OF BLESSING to THE PLACE OF MOURNING, TO THE PLACE OF WEEPING. Have you been at Gilgal in your life, only to move to Bochim and God had to come back to you again and bring you out of it? THAT'S WHAT REVIVAL IS ALL ABOUT. Watch out for that MOMENT YOU CHOOSE TO MOVE FROM GILGAL...BE ALERT...BE SOBER. God says in Jdg 2:1 that He will never break His covenant despite their unfaithfulness.
Judges 4:1+ Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died
Israel as portrayed in the Book of Judges illustrates the difference between “religious reformation” and “spiritual re - vival.” Reformation temporarily changes outward conduct while revival alters inward character. When Ehud removed the idols and commanded the people to worship only Jehovah, they obeyed him; but when that constraint was removed, the people obeyed their own desires (cf Jdg 21:25).
Deuteronomy 32:35 ‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’
JONATHAN EDWARDS didn't forget about the righteous wrath of God and presented one of the most powerful sermons ever given in July, 1841 at Enfield, Mass, entitled "SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD":
O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment....Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock. . . There are the black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind; otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor"
He was by all accounts never a spellbinding speaker, and he did not wish to be. All of his sermons were delivered in the same calm fashion—but with penetrating force. For three days Edwards had not eaten a mouthful of food: for three nights he had not closed his eyes in sleep. Over and over again, he had been saying to God, “Give me New England! Give me New England!” and when he arose from his knees, and made his way into the pulpit they say that he looked as if he had been gazing straight into the face of God. They say that before he opened his lips to speak, conviction fell upon his audience.
When the congregation at Enfield could not control themselves as they listened to Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and Edwards could not be heard for the commotion, he stopped and requested that they be quiet to hear the rest of the sermon, and refrain from weeping and crying out! Edwards had the manuscript held up so close to his face that they could not see his face. He went on and on until the people in that crowded church were moved almost beyond control. One man sprang up, rushed down the aisle and cried, “Mr. Edwards, have mercy!”
Others caught hold of the backs of pews lest they should slip into the pit. Most thought that the day of judgment had dawned on them. The power of that sermon is still felt in the United States today.
However, the secret of that sermon’s power is known to few Christians. Some believers in that vicinity of Enfield, Mass., had become alarmed that, while God was blessing other places, He should in anger pass them by. And so they met on the evening before the sermon—and spent that whole night in agonizing prayer. The rest is history.
Edwards has often been portrayed as a hell-fire and brimstone preacher because of this sermon. Unfortunately, most people only think of this one sermon when they think of Edwards. But, as the historian Sydney Ahlstrom pointed out, Edwards, who wrote over 1,000 sermons, wrote less than a dozen of this type. Rather than gleefully picturing the doom of sinners, as English teachers often have portrayed him, Edwards would shudder to think that any of his hearers might not heed his warnings about eternal damnation:
O Sinner! Consider the danger you are in!
’Tis a great Furnace of Wrath, a wide and bottomless Pit, full of the Fire of Wrath … !
Controversy arose between Edwards and his congregation when he sought to restrict admission to Communion to only those who could give satisfactory evidence of conversion. In 1750 he was dismissed from his charge at Northampton and the following year resettled in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he led the small Stockbridge church and served as teacher and missionary to the Housatonnoc Indians who resided in the vicinity. In 1758 he reluctantly assumed duties as president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) but died a month later (March 22, 1758) at age 55 of a smallpox inoculation.
In 1734 Edwards preached two sermons on the subject of justification, which caused a spiritual awakening among his and neighboring congregations. News of the revival spread as far as Britain and elicited from Edwards a written account of the events that was published in 1737 as A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. In it Edwards interpreted the revival as a genuine work of God’s redemptive grace among the people of New England. Three years later, during the first Great Awakening, Edwards wrote two influential works in defense of the revival that established him as the leading theologian of the movement. The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God was published in 1741 and set forth a theological defense of the revival, explicating and defending it as authentic by distinguishing “true signs” of religious experience from “false signs.” In 1743 this work was expanded and published as Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival. In addition to answering the critics of the revival, here Edwards also stressed the aberrant nature of religious experience in order to temper revival enthusiasts. Edwards’ most mature analysis of religious experience, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, was published in 1746, several years after the revival was spent.
The work is divided into three parts. The first defines the nature of religious experience as a matter primarily of the heart, stating that true religion is seated in the affections or inclinations. The second identifies and examines those manifestations that are not sure signs of true religion. The third, which takes up nearly three quarters of the Treatise, describes twelve marks that arise from a genuine religious conversion. True religion is essentially a changed heart that manifests itself in Christian practice. Edwards’ position was attacked by Charles Chauncey, minister of the First Church of Boston, in his sermons “The Late Religious Commotions in New England Considered” and “Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion.” These sum up the position taken by the critics of Edwards and the revival.
Edwards’ emphasis on visible religion eventually placed him in conflict with his congregation at Northampton. By limiting church membership and participation in Communion to only those who professed their Christian faith as founded upon a definite religious experience, he reversed the position instituted by his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, who had eliminated tests for Communion. In A Humble Inquiry Concerning Qualifications for Communion, published in 1749, Edwards set forth in characteristically explicit terms his position, which led to his dismissal in 1750.
Edwards lived with a sense of the imminency of Christ's return as shown by this entry: "It is not unlikely that this Work of God’s Spirit, so extraordinary and wonderful, is the Dawning, or at least a Prelude of that glorious Work of God, so often foretold in Scripture, which, in the Progress and Issue of it, shall renew the World of Mankind … And there are many things that make it probable that this Work will begin in America. "
The problem— Ps 119:25 “I am completely discouraged—I lie in the dust. Revive me by your Word” (LB).
A. Discouragement—“I am completely discouraged—I lie in the dust.” Everyone becomes discouraged, but don’t remain discouraged! Discouragement is Satan’s favorite tool to destroy Christians.
B. Desire—“Revive me by your Word.” In plain words, “Give me new life!” To get it, one need but wait upon God—Isa. 40:31.
A Story of God's Care Ruth 2
In 1858 a Sunday School teacher, Mr. Kimball, led a Boston shoe clerk to give his life to Jesus Christ. The clerk was Dwight L. Moody who became an evangelist. In 1879 while Moody was preaching in England the heart of a pastor named F.B. Meyer was set on fire, who later came to an American college campus to preach. Under his preaching a student by the name of Wilbur Chapman was saved. He engaged in YMCA work and employed a former baseball player named Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work. Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina. Because the revival stirred the hearts of many, some 30 business men wanted to devote a day of prayer for Charlotte. In May of 1934 a farmer lent the men some land to use for their prayer meeting. The leader of the business men, Vernon Patterson prayed, "Out of Charlotte the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth." The business men then called for another evangelistic meeting asking Mordecai Ham, a fiery Southern evangelist who shattered the complacency of church-going Charlotte. The farmer who lent his land for the prayer meeting was Franklin Graham and his son Billy became a Christian during the meeting. Who would have ever dreamed or imagined that because a Sunday School teacher told a young man about Jesus it would turn out the likes of Billy Graham.
“Quicken thou me according to thy word.”—Psalm 119:25.
YOU will frequently find David uttering this petition; it is a favourite prayer of his: “Quicken thou me, O Lord!” And, as David was like the rest of us—indeed, his experience is the mirror of the experience of all believers—you may depend upon it we have all great need to pray as he did: “Quicken thou me, O Lord!” If he felt a coldness and deadness frequently stealing over him, so do we. Did he find it hard to endure such a wretched state, so ought we also to loathe and abhor it. And as he cried to the strong for strength, and knew that quickening must come from God, we ought to know—I trust we do know—the same resource under the same necessity. Therefore let it be our prayer now, and let the like prayer be repeated often:—“Quicken thou me, O Lord, according to thy word.”
How are we to understand this quickening? It means, of course, making alive, keeping alive, and giving more life,—in a word, enlivening. He was alive: he was a spiritual man, or else he would not have asked for life; for dead men never pray, “Quicken me.” It is a sign that there is life already when a man is able to say, “Give me life, O Lord!” This is not the prayer of the unconverted; it is the prayer of a man who is already regenerate, and has the love of God in his soul: “Quicken thou me, O Lord, according to thy word.” Quickening, of course, comes to us at first by regeneration. It is then that we receive spiritual life; and as there is no natural life in the world except that of which God is the author, so assuredly in the new world there is no spiritual life except that which God has created. The first quickening is that which comes upon us when we begin to feel our need of a Saviour, when we begin to perceive the preciousness of that Saviour, and when with a feeble finger we touch the hem of the Saviour’s garment: then are we quickened into newness of life. But that spiritual life needs every day to be kept alive. It is like the life of a fire, which must be fed with fuel and supported with air. It is like our natural life, which needs food to sustain it, and needs to breathe the atmosphere in order to its continuance. We are as much creatures of God’s power in our continuing to live as in our commencing to live; and, spiritually, we owe as much to divine grace that we remain believers as that we became believers. As soon as we get spiritual life, this prayer is most proper as a sacred instinct, “Lord, continue this life in my soul, continue to quicken me; for, if thou dost not, I have no life in myself apart from thee, and I should die were I severed from thee, as doth a branch when severed from the vine. Continue therefore, good Lord, to quicken me.”
Obviously, too, some special invigoration and excitement of life must here be implied. The trees all through the winter are alive. Their substance is in them when they cast their leaves. The vitality is not extinct, though our poet of “The Seasons” does sing—
“How dead the vegetable kingdom lies:
How dumb the tuneful choir!”
A divine act of power secretly maintains the life, hidden away till the spring-time comes. Then the chains of frost are broken, the genial warmth begins to light upon the sealed buds, the sap flows, and the trees in their reviving tints and bursting buds give such promise of returning foliage and flower that in a very special sense they may be said to be quickened. As soon as the sap begins to rise, the buds swell, the leaves unwrap themselves, and the concealed flowers gradually open: a quickening comes over what was alive, and what had been kept alive all through its dreary, wintry time. So, beloved, you see, first of all, God gives us life, then he maintains life, and then at times and seasons (would to God they were more frequent, and even without intermission!) he gives vigour to that life, so that it becomes more manifest and mighty; and then it is that in a conspicuous manner the quickening is seen. I would to God that he would lead some poor sinner to pray in the very first sense of the word: “Lord, quicken me; give me life:” it would be a sign that life was coming. I would that every Christian would incessantly pray the prayer in the second sense: “Quicken me, Lord”—that is, “Continually keep me faithful and true to thy word.” And then, thirdly, I would that we would all go on to the third sense, and say, “Lord, inspirit me, revive me, lift me up unto a higher life, fill me with more of thy Holy Spirit, and so make me more truthful and more like thine ever living Son Jesus, who hath life in himself.”
Having thus introduced to you the prayer, I would use the psalm to explain it—to explain, rather, the experience which commends the prayer to our constant use.
First, brethren, I would assign some reasons why you need quickening; secondly, I would point out some motives to seek it; thirdly, we shall mention some ways in which it is wrought; and fourthly, we will suggest pleas, such as the psalmist used, for obtaining it.
I. THERE ARE MANY REASONS WHY WE SHOULD SEEK QUICKENING.
You cannot overlook that confessed in the text—because of the deadening influence of this world: “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.” We are surrounded with dust. We are associated with dust. The best and brightest things that are in this world are made of dust; and as for ourselves, although we have within us a new and higher life that has no fraternity with the dust, there is an old life belonging to us which is brother to the dust—which saith to the worm, “Thou art my sister.” “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return,” is true of every one of us. Yet, beloved, we cannot feed on the dust; that shall be the serpent’s meat, it may not be ours. The new life in us craves for something higher, but the old nature tries to be contented with dust. It clings to it; the dust cleaves to it, and it cleaves to the dust. You know how the care and cross, the work and worry of a busy day will often damp your ardour in prayer and disqualify your thoughts for devout meditation. You cannot think much of treasure laid up in heaven if you think a great deal of this world’s goods. Riches are often a dangerous incumbrance to those who seek after righteousness; they steal the heart away from God. Matthew Henry, in his own racy style, warns us that the care in getting, the fear in keeping, the temptation in using, the guilt in abusing, the sorrow in losing, and the responsibility of giving account for gold and silver, houses, and lands, accumulate a heavy burden for him to bear who would have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man. And yet if you have but little of this world’s wealth you will find poverty a trying ordeal. The cares of poverty, like those of property, often break the calm repose which our faith ought to enjoy. If things go smoothly with you in business, then those smooth, deceitful streams bear you away from God; and, if they go roughly with you, then in the deep and in the storm you are too apt to forget the Lord or to murmur against his providence. There is nothing in this world to help a Christian; it is all against him. The world holds us to itself as tightly as it can: it acts like bird-lime to us. When we would mount on the wings of eagles we are often like the eagle that you see in the gardens where they keep such creatures: there is a chain to our foot, and we cannot rise. Our soul cleaveth to the dust. Now, as this is the case, and as you cannot get out of the world, do pray that you may rise superior to its influence. You men of business, you heads of families, you who guide and you who follow, you who are sociable and you who are solitary, all of you must still be in the world and mix with men of the world, therefore cry to God, yea, cry mightily, “Lord, deliver us from the deadening influence of the world in which we live! Quicken us, we beseech thee, from day to day!”
A second reason for our need of quickening lies in the influence of vanity—of that which is actually sinful. Refer to the thirty-seventh verse:—“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.” As we go about in the world we see a great deal of that which is injurious to us. The sins of others leave some kind of stain upon the conscience. I question whether you can read a newspaper and scan the story of a murder or a robbery, or survey with more distant glance in any book of history the sin of your fellow men, without being in a degree injured therewith. Much of vanity and sin we are compelled to see in our daily callings; we do not merely read of profanity but we hear the oath. You enter into a railway carriage, and you cannot always avoid hearing conversation which is the reverse of pure: you go into your house, and, unless you are happily situated so that all are Christians, there will be a great deal of which you cannot approve, and which can be of no benefit to your soul. Besides, the whole world runneth after its own idols: men seek each man his own, and not the things of Christ, and all these things are vanity. “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, all is vanity.” Our eyes are often fascinated by the glitter and the glare of these vanities. The world puts on a very beauteous complexion; she attires her head and paints her face like Jezebel, and it is not always easy, like Jehu, to detest her, and to say, “Fling her down, and let the dogs consume her.” We have nought to do with this vain world. We are not citizens of this land. But, truly, Madam Bubble, as Bunyan calls her, with her purse and her person, continually presenting herself, is enough to make even Standfast himself to stagger, and he need to fall on his knees, and cry, “Quicken me, O Lord, and turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.” There is thus a second good reason why we should seek for quickening.
Sometimes we shall have need to cry for quickening because we are surrounded by deceivers. Turn to the eighty-seventh and eighty-eighth verses:—“They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.” If you are often assailed by foes, and if those foes happen to be the men of your own household, if they jeer at your faith, if they make a jest of holiness on purpose to pain you, you will need a great deal of grace not to be ruffled. To be a dove always, to be a dove in the midst of ravens: to be a lamb always, to be a lamb in the midst of wolves, is not so easy. He must have much spiritual life who shall be able, wisely and discreetly, to behave himself in the midst of those who lie in wait to entrap him in every word that he says. Remember how David acted in the court of Saul, when Saul eyed him. Unsullied purity is the safest policy. Though Saul eyed David he could not see any fault or rake up any charge that he could bring against him. Oh that all of you young people, especially those of you who are subjected to scorn and contempt because of your fidelity to Christ, may be doubly girt with grace,—may you be, indeed, quickened to the full spiritual life, that you may stand the test of persecution and reproach, of suspicion and disparagement, of misrepresentation and slander, which is sure to come upon you. Do not pray to be rid of the grievance: rather rejoice that you are counted worthy to suffer shame for your Saviour’s sake. You may pray if you like that the distress may be lightened, because your strength is small; you may pray that your flight be not in the winter; but do not make that the special object of your petition. Rather pray for grace to endure it. Pray for life, spiritual life, that you may throw it off. I suppose that, in order to prevent disease, it is a good thing to remove the cause of the disease, and take away everything that produces ill savours in the air; but the sure thing is for the man himself to be vigorous as to his own life. I have no doubt many die in moderately healthy localities because they have no stamina, they are constitutionally weak, while the young man who is in robust health, may even pass through a pestiferous district, and be for hours in the midst of miasma, without falling a prey to its deadly influence, simply because the life that is in him resists the malaria. Your business, dear friend, if you live in the midst of those that are set on fire by hell, who pour out venom against you, is to pray,—“Lord, quicken me that I may have so much spiritual life that these deleterious influences may not be ruinous to me. Deliver me from them when it is thy will; but meanwhile let me have such a full tide of life that I may be able to endure what I must encounter without being injured thereby.”
Another reason for seeking quickening will be found in the hundred and seventh verse: “I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.” In seasons of affliction we are very apt to fall into a dark, cold, dead state of mind. We have known persons in poverty—I have often been sorely pained by it, when members of this church who have become very poor, have given over attendance at the house of God. I could understand their reasons far better than I could appreciate them. Their pride was doubtless wounded, because they could not dress as they used to do, though I am sure nobody here thinks any better of you for dressing yourselves in fine clothes. I do not think so much of you myself. As they could not dress quite so well they felt they could not mix as they did with some with whom they were once equal in circumstances. So they have gone out of the way. It is a sad thing when they do so. I am much saddened by it. I hope none of you ever will. You ought to think that you will be more welcome at the house of God when you are in trouble than you ever were before; and if you lose your earthly possessions, it is all the more reason why you should seek to hold the faster to the riches which are above. If you are in pain, too, that kind of affliction has a great tendency to distract the mind. Who can think when the brow is throbbing? Who can be calm when every vein becomes a road for the hot feet of pain to travel on? It is not easy. Well now, we have reason, when we feel weak, when we feel that the mind is suffering in sympathy with the body, to cry, “Lord, let grace triumph over nature. Let thy Spirit have power—thy blessed comforting Spirit—to lift me up above the weight which now is laid upon me, that I may glory in tribulation also, because the power of God doth rest upon me.” You look upon a weight as a heavy matter which keeps you down, but mechanics know how to make a weight raise you. A little adjustment of ropes and pulleys and such like contrivances, and the weight shall lift you up. And the Lord knows how to make our afflictions minister to our quickening, as we shall have to show you directly; but in themselves they deaden us. They do not assist, but rather hinder; and so, whenever they come, then is the time for us to pray with especial emphasis, “Quicken thou me, O Lord, according to thy word.” Thus have I endeavoured to show you from the psalm itself some of the reasons why we need quickening.
II. Now, let us pass on to describe SOME OF THE MOTIVES FOR SEEKING QUICKENING. They are very many.
Seek it because of what you are. You are a Christian, and therefore already alive unto God. Life seeks more life; it is its natural tendency. If there is life in a tree it seeks to put forth its branches; and when it has had its spring shoot, you will notice that it then begins to seek for its midsummer shoot; and when the midsummer shoot is over, the tree always has an eye to the shooting of the next spring; and before the old leaves go there is every preparation made for the new leaves. Life is always aiming at more life. It a law of nature. There is a propagation continually progressing in which life develops and multiplies itself. Now, if thou hast the life implanted by the Holy Ghost thou wilt long for more. If thou dost not long to have more life, it surely must be because thou hast no life. The living man will be sure to cry to God that he may have life more abundantly.
The next motive is not only because of what you are, but because of what you ought to be. Here is a question for you: I will leave you to answer it: “What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” We like sometimes to work out a problem. There is one to solve. Draw a picture, if you can, of what you ought to be. I will tell you, if you draw that picture exactly, what it will be like. It will be like Jesus Christ. That is the answer to this question—“What manner of persons ought we to be?” Now Christ was full of life. Although he did not strive or cry, or lift up his voice, or cause it to be heard in the streets by way of seeking after popular notoriety, yet what life was in him. He was brimful of life. There was nothing stagnant, indifferent, or purposeless in any of his actions or in all his career. Why, the life of Christ was so full that it seemed to flow out, even on to his garments, so that when they touched his garments virtue went out of him. How full must he have been of the living force—the inward power! O beloved, we ought so to be. As we are redeemed, as we are quickened by Christ, as we are members of his body, as we belong to him, we ought to reckon ourselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God by Jesus Christ. Above all men that live, the Christian ought to live at the most vigorous rate. We have a race to run; we must not creep and crawl, or we shall not win the prize. We have a battle to fight; should we sheath our sword, put off our armour, and go to sleep, how can we overcome our enemies? We have an agony to endure, according to his power that worketh in us mightily, and there cannot be this resisting unto blood, striving against sin, unless all our passions be aroused and all our powers be stirred for the wondrous inward strife. We ought to ask for quickening because of what we ought to be.
Then, we ought to ask for quickening because of what we shall be. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Brother, you are to be a pure spirit in heaven: be spiritual now. Brother, you are to sing among the angels; rehearse the music now. Brother, you are to see his face that is as the sun that shineth in its strength: let not your eyes be sealed with dust now. Let them be clear, as clear as they can be in this misty atmosphere of earth. Brother, you are to sit upon the throne with Christ, for he saith, “As I have overcome, and have sat down with my Father upon his throne, so also shall you sit with me upon my throne”: see where you are to be, and behave yourself accordingly. You cannot maintain the dignity of your high calling, or your heavenly destiny, unless you have an abundance of spiritual life, wherefore pray, “Quicken thou me, O Lord.”
Now, to come back to the psalmist’s own confessions and reflections; he gives us another motive for seeking this in the eighty-eighth verse: “Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.” We want quickening in order to obedience. If our life decays, then the power of sin will get the mastery over us. We cannot go in the way of obedience and punctuality and scrupulous care and inward heartiness, unless we are daily quickened. I am sure you want to be holy, brothers and sisters. I am sure you do. Well, then, pray, “Quicken me.” There is no such thing as dead holiness, it must be living holiness, and you must be made alive in order to be obedient, for there is no such thing as dead obedience. Up to the altar of God they brought birds, and they brought beasts, but they never brought fish; and why? Because, they could not bring fish alive there, and there must be no sacrifice presented to God but that which hath life. Ask for life, that thou mayest have obedience.
Look at the one hundred and seventh verse and you have another reason for seeking quickening, because it will be your comfort. “I am afflicted very much: quicken thou me, O Lord, according to thy word;” or, better still, at the fiftieth verse, “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” Do you want comforting? Get quickening: do not so much ask the Lord to give you sweet promises, as to give you inward life, for in life there is always light. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” As the light is the life, the life is the light; and when you get the life on God within your soul, you will get the comfort of God. I urge you to seek quickening, then, if you are under any distress, because it will be the readiest means of your finding consolation in it.
Look also at the eighty-seventh and the eighty-eighth verses, to which we have already referred, and you will see that we ought to seek quickening as the best security against attacks of enemies. We need not examine how we can meet the foe, or with what argument we can refute his sophistries, or with what weapons we can overthrow him. “Quicken thou me, O Lord,” is still the prayer, even though they threaten to consume us from off the face of the earth. We have but to keep close to the precepts of God and pray for quickening, and we shall be “more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
The use of the word “quicken” will be seen in the ninety-third verse. “I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.” We are always in danger of forgetting God’s precepts; but to invigorate our memories, and to fortify our hearts, we must get quickening. Nothing can make a man so secure of walking rightly, and defying all the attacks of his enemies, as the reception of spiritual life. The young man can only cleanse his way by taking heed to it according to God’s word; but he cannot take heed to his way if he is not alive in the way. Life is the great thing. Look at a pool of water when it stands still—how it becomes mantled over with weed, how stagnant and defiled it is: but give it vent, and let it run down yonder brook among the stones; let it leap in little cascades on its way down to the river. It is alive now, and see how pure it gets, refining as it goes, dropping all the filthiness it had accumulated before, becoming itself sweeter and clearer, because of life. So it must be with us. We must have life; we shall forget God’s precept else, and lose the purity of life, unless quickening be given to us abundantly.
If I wanted some one thrilling motive to rouse the reluctant, I would resort to this—the terrible consequences of losing spiritual life: I do not mean the effect of losing it altogether, but of lacking it in its manifest display. Alas that it should be so easy to give obvious illustrations! But I could tell you of many congregations and churches where there is no more evidence of vitality, growth, increase, than if they were all dead. I do not say that there is no spiritual life, but there is none in the sense in which I am using the term. They have fallen into a dead sleep, and the members of the church are cold, apathetic, spiritless. Life among them is at the lowest ebb. You cannot be sure they breathe; breathe—I mean—a breath of prayer. Some of them have not been to a prayer-meeting they could not tell when, do not know when they ever did go; and when they attend Sabbath services not a few of them literally sleep, and the rest of them sleep with their eyes open. The minister dozing, dreaming, snoring, talking in his sleep—that is what his preaching is like. There is plenty of preaching like that—an inarticulate snoring of the everlasting gospel. The preacher, perhaps, reads, or else he repeats what he has laboriously committed to memory, and says it as a school-boy does his lesson, and he is glad when it is over: for he considers that preaching twice on a Sunday wears him out, dear man! And well it may, as he does it. It wears his people out as well. They have no enterprise, the surrounding neighbourhood is not evangelized by them, they do not increase, they do not think of increasing, in fact, they get fewer as the good people go home to heaven. Any attempt to do anything there would be looked upon as “an innovation”: yet they do something, they have a disturbance every now and then. They hold what they call a “church meeting,” which means in their case a spiritual bear-garden, in which they show their life, and one minister is driven away and another and another—not that it is a fit place for anybody to desire to go to, you know, for there is very little to be had except abuse; but still that is the style of the thing, and there are hundreds of churches in England in that condition. O that the Lord would quicken them! May this place be reduced to ashes, and may the congregation be scattered to the four winds of heaven, sooner than it should become a huge mausoleum, a catacomb, of which it may be said “the dead are there.” Ah, it is ill to have “the means of grace” without the grace of the means, to have a name to live and to be dead. God save us from it. Take heed to yourselves; some of the members of this church, I fear, are getting into that condition; yet not, I trow, you that are present this evening. You would not, most likely, have been here on such a wet night as this if you had not some care for the things of God, but I refer to those that are not here. When you get home tell them so; tell them what I have said about it, and then perhaps they will say, “Well, if the pastor always speaks severely of those who are not there we had better go, so as to escape his strictures.”
III. Now let us mention briefly SOME OF THE WAYS BY WHICH THIS QUICKENING MAY BE WROUGHT IN US.
Of course the Lord himself must do it. In prayer it must be sought, because by his power it must be wrought. The prayer is, “Quicken thou me, O Lord, according to thy word.” He does not expect the quickening from any but a divine source. Whence can life come but from the ever living God? How can we expect that we should get life if while we seek the gratuity we totally forget the divine energy of him who alone can bestow it? In the thirty-seventh verse we are told how the Lord often quickens his people, namely, by turning off their eyes from beholding vanity. “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.” The Lord sometimes takes the vanity away of which we made our idol; or else he takes us away from the idol, and does not permit us to find any contentment in it. Oh, it is half the battle to be weaned from the creature. It is half the battle, I say, to get the eyes off the vanity, for then you are likely to get your eyes turned upon your God. May he be graciously pleased to quicken some of you in that way.
In the fiftieth verse we find that God quickens his people by his word. “Thy word hath quickened me.” And the part of the word which he often blesses to this end is remarkable, for, in the ninety-third verse, it is written, “I will never forget thy precepts; for with them thou hast quickened me.” Promises are quickening, doctrines are quickening, but David says, “Thy precepts—with them thou hast quickened me.” If we preach frequently and earnestly the precepts of our Lord there are hearers who will complain and say, “The minister is getting legal.” Nay, brethren, it is you that are getting dead, for when you are alive you will love God’s precepts, and those precepts will quicken you. “But they pain me,” says one. That is often how people are quickened. While a person is drowning, we have heard that his sensations are often really delightful; but when he is fished out of the water, as soon as ever he begins to recover life, the blood begins to tingle in the veins, and the pain is intense. The pain of returning life is something terrible. Well, so it is with God’s precepts when he quickens us with them. These precepts pain us because they show us our shortcoming, expose to us our faultiness and humble us. Brother, that is the way to be quickened. When you are numbed, you know that is next door to being dead; but when that numbed flesh of yours begins to come to life again,—you have felt it, you must have felt it—when the blood begins to circulate by the rubbing, a sharp pain is excited in the part that was numbed and painless before. Be thankful for the pain that is an index of life. “I love thy precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me.” May the Lord apply a text of Scripture to your soul with power, or let him send a word from the minister as he speaks in Jehovah’s name with a divine force, and you will soon feel the effect. Though you appeared to be dead, you will start up and begin to live again. Have not you found it so full often? Have you not often found great revivings come to your sinking spirit? Pray the Lord to make his word always thus vivifying and inspiriting to you.
In the hundred and seventh verse we have another means of quickening which God frequently uses, namely, affliction. “I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy word.” God frequently employs adversity as a black poker to stir us up that the flame of devotion may be brighter. When you observe the fire in your sitting room getting dull and going out, you do not always put more coals on, but you stir it; and sometimes affliction does that for us. It stirs us and makes the life which was languishing to burst forth briskly. Be thankful if God stirs your fire.
Then, again, this quickening is sometimes wrought in us by means of divine comfort, as in the fiftieth verse:—“This is my comfort, for thy word hath quickened me.” The great flush of comfort, the sudden inflow of supreme joy, when you were much depressed—this has greatly cheered and invigorated you; at least I know it has often been so with me. When very despondent and sad at heart, I have felt a soft stream, as though it were the Gulf-stream with its warm, genial temperature, flowing into my soul, melting all the icebergs that had gathered round my heart, and I have wondered what it was. How has my gratitude turned to my gracious God and found sweet expression in that hymn—
“Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart,
Dissolved by thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.”
You will often have proved, I doubt not, how God uses the comfort of his Spirit to quicken his children.
IV. Our last point is to enquire WHERE ARE OUR PLEAS WHEN WE COME BEFORE GOD TO ASK FOR QUICKENING?
What arguments shall we use? Well, brethren, use first the argument of your necessity. Whatever that necessity is, particularize it, as David does in the hundred and seventh verse:—“I am afflicted very much; quicken me.” Or take our text, “My soul cleaveth to the dust, quicken me.” Plead thus your necessities. Your wants shall be the argument for the oil and wine. Your emaciation and your hunger shall be the argument for a festival. Show the Lord what you are and where you are. Confess it before him, and this shall be good pleading. Also plead, if it be in your power to do so, the earnest desire that God has kindled in you. Read the fortieth verse:—“Behold I have longed for thy precepts; quicken me in thy righteousness.” This is as much as to say, “Lord, thou hast given me great longings after thee. Thou gavest me these cravings: wilt thou not satisfy them? Dost thou torture me with the miseries of Tantalus? Dost thou grieve me with a thirst which thou wilt not gratify? Hast thou given me a hunger for the bread of heaven only for the sake of torturing me?” Beloved, if you have got a desire, you may depend upon it the desire of the righteous shall be granted. God does not excite the appetite without providing the aliment. If he makes you hunger and thirst after righteousness, recollect the promise, “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” They shall not have merely a little, a crumb or two to stay their stomachs, but they shall be filled. Go and plead that before God. “I have longed after thy precepts; quicken thou me in thy righteousness,” There is the second plea.
And then you may find a third in the very righteousness of God, as we have seen in the fortieth verse. Appeal to his righteousness. Do I see you start back abashed? Do I hear you say, “Oh no; I could not appeal to that, for the righteousness of God must condemn me.” Stop a minute. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Why, the justice of God is on the side of the man who has received God’s promise, because it were unjust of God to break it. He will not alter the thing that has gone out of his mouth. The Lord has given his word for it, that he will give his people life. The very fact of his having made them live at all is the proof that he means to continue to make them live. Go and plead it, then. Say—“in thy righteousness, oh Lord, quicken me.” David is very often harping upon that string. As I showed you in the reading, he twice appeals to God’s judgment, or his justice, that he would quicken him.
Another, and a very sweet plea is that of God’s lovingkindness. Read the eighty-eighth verse:—“Quicken me after thy lovingkindness.” Look at the hundred and forty-ninth:—“Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment.” And so again in the hundred and fifty-sixth:—“Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy judgments. “Thou pitying God, give me more life. O thou who wiliest not the death of any, give me more life. O thou that lovest as a father loves, give me more life. O thou who hast graven me upon the palms of thy hands, quicken me; quicken me, I beseech thee.” Are they not blessed pledges to lay hold on—his lovingkindness and his tender mercies? With such promises you will be sure to prevail.
And then what a comprehensive plea, is that of our text:—“Quicken thou me according to thy word.” You have it in the twenty-fifth verse, and you have it in the hundred and seventh. He pleads the word of God. What that word was that David had to appeal to, it would rather puzzle me to tell you. His Bible was not so large nor near so full as ours. I do not find any promise of quickening before David’s time. Perhaps, a special promise had been given to him, or, at any rate, the promise is virtually in the Pentateuch: but certainly to us there is abundant testimony to be found in the word of God, for our Lord Jesus Christ himself has told us—“Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but it shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” “I give unto my sheep eternal life.” The Son of man hath come not only that we might have life, but that we might have it more abundantly. Plead the promises, brother; plead the promises; and, as you plead them before the Lord, you may rest quite certain that God will be as good as his word; and, if you can plead the promise the promise will be surely fulfilled to you.
Beloved in Christ, do tenderly watch over your spiritual life, or otherwise you are hypocrites when you pray “quicken me.” Take heed lest you neglect the food of your souls. Do not go where your life would be in danger. Do not seek worldly company, do not indulge in worldly amusements. Keep out of all the deadening influences of the world as much as ever you can. Have you ever seen the Grotto del Cane near Naples? It has a deadly gas at the bottom of it, and they take a dog and throw him in, and when they drag him up again the dog looks as if he were dead; but by aid of a fresh water bath he comes round again. As they thus kill the poor dog half a dozen times a day, I do not envy him his experience. Indeed, I rather think if I were that dog I would lose no time in seeking another master. Yet there are some professing Christians that will go into bad company—get into the bad gas of temptation—and then they go and hear a sermon and get back their spiritual life again. I would advise you not to be like that poor dog, but to keep out of harm’s way. If you have life do your best to maintain it, and do not run the risk of suspended animation.
Knowing the worth and joy of life yourself, pray very earnestly that God would give it to others. Look on the dead in sin, but not with stony eyes. Look on them with tears. Even if I knew that my hearers must be lost, I would pray God to help me to weep over them, because our Saviour’s tears over Jerusalem, you remember, were accompanied with a distinct indication that Jerusalem would be destroyed. “Oh, that thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which make for thy peace! But now are they hid from thine eyes.” Still he wept. We have no such terrible knowledge about the destiny of any man. We look hopefully upon you unconverted people, and we exhort you because we expect you to believe in Jesus. We sincerely trust that yet you will be saved, and therefore we pray for you in hope. May the Lord in infinite mercy lead you to feel for yourselves, and pray for yourselves.—“Quicken thou me.” Do you feel that prayer welling up from your soul? Does it rise from your heart? Then, already, there is something of spiritual life there. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt have life, for he who said, “He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” said also, “he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” God give you that living faith which is the token of the life divine. To him be glory for ever and ever! Amen.