GOD’S METHOD FOR REAL REVIVAL
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NASB)
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
I suppose no other passage in the Bible has been used more often to preach about revival than this verse. That is because it is a revival verse. You will to whom the verse is addressed: “My people, called by My Name!”. God is speaking to people who have identified themselves with Him and His work. He is speaking to people that we would call saved.
This verse was given to Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. God had warned the people that their disobedience to His Word and commands would bring with it dire consequences, v. 13, for their land. Now, He sets forth the conditions necessary to reverse His judgment and to being revival.
I just want to point out God’s Method For Real Revival. This is not a recipe! But, if the conditions are all met God’s way, then the stage will be set for real revival.
Friends, we need a revival! This verse tells us how to go about getting one. Notice with me God’s Method For Real Revival.
I. REAL REVIVAL DEMANDS REAL REQUIREMENTS
(Illustration – Before revival can ever become a reality, the people of God must meet the four demands mentioned in this verse. Meeting these four demands does not guarantee that revival will happen, but it does create an atmosphere in which it becomes possible and far more likely.)
A. A Call To Preparation (P) – Humility – This word has the idea of being “under another”. One of the things God’s people must do is remember Who is Lord! When we humble ourselves to the Lord, we are acknowledging His Lordship and headship in our lives. We are admitting our weakness and reaching out for His power. We are saying I can’t, but you can! (Illustration. This is the picture seen in Joshua 5:13-15. Joshua is told to remove his shoe. This was an ancient way of symbolizing the relinquishing of control to another. It was a way of saying “I can’t, but you can.” It is also seen in Ruth 4:5-8.) Those who willingly humble themselves under the hand of the Lord open their lives to His blessings – Matt. 23:12; James 4:6; James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6. Please note that our humility is to be voluntary! If we do not humble ourselves, there may come a day when the Lord will do it for us. His methods are not always the most pleasant!
B. A Call To Prayer (P) – Prayer – This word means just what it says – pray! It is, in essence, humility in action. The praying person sees his own inability and recognizes God’s ability. This causes him to come before the Lord to seek the help he needs. Prayer is an essential ingredient in the mystery of revival! In fact, our praying may seem weak, but it will yield far more fruit than the effort demands!
(Ill. “Pastor John Ramsey had grown accustomed to someone providing him with a rose boutonniere every Sunday. That routine took on dramatic new meaning when a young boy approached him after the service and politely asked if he could have the little rose. Ramsey knew the flower was destined for the trash so he offered it to the boy and asked what he planned to do with the used rose. The little guy replied, “Sir, I’m going to give it to my granny. My parents got divorced last year. I was living with my mother, but when she got married again she wanted me to live with my father. I lived with him for a while, but he said I couldn’t stay so he sent me to live with my grandmother. She is so good to me. She cooks for me and takes care of me. She has been so good to me that I want to give that pretty flower to her for loving me.” Ramsey said tears filled his eyes as he listened to the little boy. He then told the compassionate boy, “You can’t have this flower because it’s not enough.” He pointed to the large spray of fresh flowers at the altar and said, “Please take those flowers to your granny because she deserves the very best.” The little boy lit up with excitement and said, “What a wonderful day! I asked for one flower but got a beautiful bouquet.” Our approach to God is not unlike what took place that day with this child and Pastor Ramsey. We come in our pain, seeking a small response to our situation, but God points to a greater answer and invites us to take that instead.”)
Therefore, let us determine that we will pray for revival! Pray in your homes, in your cars, at you jobs, in the prayer rooms, in the altars. Let us determine that we will take every moment of life as an opportunity to pray! James 4:2; John 14:13-14; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thes. 5:17. More could be said about prayer, but instead of talking about it, we should just do it!
C. A Call To Passion (P) – Devotion – The third requirement is that of “seeking His face”. This word means to “desire something earnestly”. This idea here is that we come to the place where God is the number one priority and desire of our heart! That is, nothing in life is more important, more precious or more needful to us than having God and all He has to offer.
(Illustration. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180) said – “The true worth of a man is to be measured by the objects he pursues.” What has your attention this day? Whatever it is, that is your priority! It is, in effect, your God! May we determine that we will “have no other gods before Him.” May we determine that our love for Him will drive us to pursue Him with every fiber of our beings. When we do, we open the door to His best just a little bit wider.)
(Ill. A.W. Tozer said, “If we yearned after God even as much as a cow yearns for her calf, we would be the worshiping and effective believers God wants us to be. If we longed for God as a bride looks forward to the return of her husband, we would be a far greater force for God than we are now.”)
One of the problems with the modern church is that we have ceased to desire God. Often we have many pursuits in life and are so fragmented in our devotions that we have no place for a first place (the Lord) in our lives. May that attitude die the death it has long deserved! May the people of God once again fall in love with God to the point that He becomes the focus and the driving force of all of life!
D. A Call To Purity (P) – Repentance – The phrase “turn from their wicked ways” is self explanatory! God wants His people to stop their sinning! We are to examine our lives, identify anything that does not please the Lord or line up with His Bible, and we are to eliminate that from our lives! It sounds harder than it is, because as we humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, our sin will become increasingly clear.
(Ill. Gordon MacDonald offers the following thoughts on repentance, “Repentance is not basically a religious word. It comes from a culture where people were essentially nomadic and lived in a world with no maps or street signs. It’s easy to get lost walking through the desert. You become aware that the country side is strange. You finally say to yourself, I’m going in the wrong direction. That’s the first act of repentance. The second act of repentance is to go in an alternate direction. It implies that you not only do this but you admit it to your companions.”)
We do not like words like repentance. They have the tendency to make us feel as though our lives are lacking in some area or the other. The fact is, before revival can come to a people, that people must be clean! They must be practicing repentance at every level. This is God’s command, Isa. 55:7; Eze. 18:31; Acts 17:30.
Friends, we might as well acknowledge the truth that we are guilty, 1 John 1:8-10. That is, after all, the first step in getting right with God!
(Ill. This was the command to the church at Ephesus, Rev. 2:1-7, and it is still God’s will for you and me today!)
II. REAL REVIVAL PROVIDES (P) REAL REWARDS
(Illustration. If we will meet the requirements, then we create an atmosphere in which we can experience some tremendous spiritual rewards from the hand of the Lord.)
A. God Will Hear Us – Sin hinders prayer, Psa. 66:18. However, when sin is taken care of, prayer can flow unhindered to and from the throne of God! There is no more powerful force in the world than an unhindered prayer life! Why? Because it has the ear of God and is used by Him to accomplish His will upon the earth. Ill. Luke 11:2.
B. God Will Help Us – God also promises to “forgive our sins”. This means that not only is the prayer line restored, but it means that we can be in close fellowship with Him. Nothing in this world compares with being able to have close communion with God Almighty! The ability to come into His presence, to worship Him, to sense His power, His peace, His joy and His presence is priceless! (Note: If you have allowed a cancer of sin to grow in your life, you need to know that it can be cut out and destroyed. If you will come before the Lord and deal with your sin His way, He will respond in forgiveness and restoration, 1 John 1:9. Like the Prodigal Son, you will find that your Father will receive you and restore you through His amazing grace, Luke 15:11-24.
C. God Will Heal Us – This great verse was given to Israel. They were warned that their sins would be answered by the Lord through drought. This would devastate their land and their population. However, the Lord’s promise to them is that repentance equals rain. If they will honor Him, He will honor them! If they will open their hearts, He will in turn open the heavens. In a sense, we are in the same situation today. Our homes, communities and nation have been devastated through a drought of spiritual blessings and power. If God’s children will come back to Him in genuine repentance and faith, we will see our nation impacted for and by the glory of God. We need that kind of revival!
III. REAL REVIVAL YIELDS REAL RESULTS
A. Notice that the condition and the promise are given to “God’s people”. However, when the refreshing comes it would reach the entire nation. The implication is clear: Genuine revival affects those revived and all those around them!
B. If we, as a people, experience a true move of God in revival, we will see God’s power touch this world in a tremendous way! Revival in our hearts and church will create a spiritual dynamic that will impact our homes, our communities, our schools, our neighbors, our nation and our world for the glory of God!
C. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of seeing what sin is doing to our homes, our churches and our nation! Would you pray to God that His people would get a real vision of what He could do for us and through us in revival. Would you pray to God that we would pay the price to see that take place! If real revival ever came to our lives, we would never be the same! It would change us and everything we touch too! (Illustration. It might be any type of need you can think of, but real revival can remedy that need through the power of God. He promises to “heal YOUR land”.)
Revival is a real possibility!
However, while genuine revival is always sovereign in its origin, we can create an atmosphere where it becomes more likely. In that atmosphere, while genuine revival is not a guaranteed event, at least on a corporate level, it will become a reality on a personal level!
The key word in this verse is the word “If”. Everything hinges on us being in that place that God desires for us to abide in. If we will meet the requirements on our end, we can be sure that God will move on His end.
Revival will happen to us as individuals “if”. Are you willing to consider a few questions before you leave today?
1. Are you His people? If not you can be!
2. Are you willing to come before Him, humble yourself, pray, seek His face and turn from your wicked ways?
3. Are you willing to be and do whatever it takes to see real revival coming into your life, your church, your family, your community and your nation?
If the Lord has spoken to your heart today about your need for personal revival, or the need for revival in our church, please come before Him right now and get about the business of meeting the requirements!