I thought I would begin with some pandemic humor today…We need to lighten up with this whole issue….folks are getting too hyped up….
Well, A fellow told me that this is the first year he’s not going to Hawaii because of the pandemic, usually hedoesn’t go because he can’t afford it….
I don’t know anyone who is excited about having to wear masks everywhere. But it sure makes it easier if you’re a ventriloquist….
And then there’s the minister, wearing a mask, who threw holy water on some folks, and they received a blessing in disguise…. OK…..
The message I want to share with you today is titled “The Pathway To Revival” (Prayer) Lord, Jesus, I ask that you would watch over your word to perform it, and may we receive it, in Your mighty name. Amen
Jesus, in talking about the signs of the last days, says in
Matthew 24: 10-12, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold”
If you break it down… this sign of the end times, says that Many will depart from faith. Many will betray one another. Many will hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up. Many will be deceived. There will be lawlessness. Many people’s love will grow cold” (feel the chill) We can see all of that happening….
But the good news is that another sign of the end times is…Joel 2:27 And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, (the revival that began in Israel, will fall again on Israel and go out through the world) I am the Lord your God, and none else; and My people shall never be ashamed. 28 “And it shall come to pass in the last days,that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions29 and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit”.
A diamond shines it’s brightest against a black background and in the midst of the darkness, the diamond of revival will shine it’s brightest! And the Father wants His diamond of revival to brighten up the whole earth with it’s brilliance!
We see here in Joel’s prophecy that a great worldwide revival is one of the signs of the return of the Lord.
Whenever an Old Testament King made his appearance, he would send his entourage before him. When folks saw the entourage, which consisted of elaborate banners, His servants and family, lavishly adorned, and a display of his wealth and his splendor, then they knew the king would be appearing soon. Psalm 96:6 “Splendor and majesty go before Him; strength and beauty fill His sanctuary.7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength”.
The final great revival, will be the ingathering, the final harvest of the souls of the earth’s population, the final call before the rapture, so that those who have not believed, might be saved and change their eternal destination. And those who have become distracted and lured away by the things of life can make their return to the great family of believers. it’s closer than we think….
If you believe as I do, that all the signs point to the reality, that we are living in the last days of the church on the earth. Believe it and receive it…
Then just as God’s glory came to rest upon the tabernacle in the wilderness, as they went from Egypt to the promised land, so likewise the glory of God will come to visibly rest upon the church as it prepares to make it’s exit from this world and to the realms of heaven. It’s like giving us heaven to go to heaven in….
After the joint revival services had concluded in one area, the three pastors were discussing the results with one another. The Methodist minister said, "The revival worked out great for us! We gained four new families.” The Baptist preacher said, "We did better than that! We gained six new families." The Presbyterian pastor said, "Well, we did even better than that! We got rid of our 10 biggest trouble makers!". Revival brings many changes to the status quo…..
Joel 2:23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, (believers)And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain (revival) faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you as well-- The former rain, And the latter rain (end time revival) in the first month.24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat (seeds of the gospel), And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil (the Spirit’s outpouring).
I believe that the revival which took place on the day of Pentecostal outpouring in Jerusalem and which became the birthing of the New Testament church, will break out again in that holy city, and become a signal flare, of the worldwide end time revival outbreak of the Glory of the Lord, before the appearing of the Lord….
2 Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
The entire plan of redemption aims to restore the image of God in man. This is a transformation that comes about by focusing on and seeking after Christ.
Revival is about God’s glory, and the revelation of that glory comes in a level of intensity and prevalence, that creates it’s own transformative atmosphere… and miracles, begin to occur as the norm instead of the unusual….
I believe there is a scripture which is a beautiful description of revival….
Ephesians 1:18-22 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the Hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,
according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power,
and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,"
Every believer, in the power of the Spirit, is a walking revival lightening rod, waiting to catch the lightning strike of God’s glory.
Truly the story of the wedding of Galilee where Jesus turned the water into wine, makes a statement which we should be encouraged and inspired by….The master of ceremonies tasted the miracle wine and declared…
John 2:10 "You have saved the best for last!" – Don’t judge what’s coming by what may have been. He’s saving the best for last! The Trinity desires to use us as instruments in the earth to operate through us and do His good pleasure. We are the containers and He does the pouring….Having said that…. We cannot use the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit to get what we want or need. The Holy Spirit is desiring to flow through you, not just to you. I challenge you to go an entire day without saying “Me” or “I”….. We are told that everything we need is a byproduct of seeking His face and His desire. Seek first the kingdom and all these things shall be added….
Whenever you talk about God’s DNA (His Divine Nature and Attributes)- you are describing His holiness, His love, His compassion, His grace, His justice, His integrity, His wisdom, and His mercy - that's all about God's glory revealed. As the people of God get hungry and thirsty for the Word of God and the glory of God, the Spirit of God transforms them to take on the nature of the Son of God.
God’s Glory, I've learned, is what God is all about, it’s in His very essence.
Revival will not come because of more knowledge, but by more kneeling… Revival will not come because of more giving, but by holy living… Revival will not come because of better preaching about it, but because of every believer showing it through acts of loving kindness….When we are willing to sacrifice our desires, risk our comfort, go where we’ve never gone, and do what we’ve never done….
In Jesus’ words, we have come to, “Not my will but thine be done”!
Revival will come when we repair and restore our Altars…1 Kings 18:30 “And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down”
Has there been a time when you searched the scriptures more than you do now… It’s time to rebuild the altars…. Has there been a time when you shared the message of Christ more than you do now….It’s time to rebuild the altars.
Revival begins with a personal pledge….When a bride and groom stand before the minister, they make some very binding and permanent vows … promises that are meant to last forever. What gives them the confidence that they can fulfill these vows, is that they have a strong love and a deep sense of commitment to one another. In the same way, when we make our vows as a believer, we understand that this means “In sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity, in the sunshine and the rain, good and bad times.” …. We need to renew our vows which we made to the Lord.. Keep it fresh…. God’s familyof believers will have many of the same highs and lows of any earthly family, but if we love Jesus and commit to love who He loves (that would be everyone), our journey will be a transformative experience that will survive any trial and any adversity.
G Campbell Morgan said, “Revival cannot be organized, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again”
Charles Spurgeon said, “A genuine revival without the joy of the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or sunrise without any light”.
And last, Brian Edwards said, “In revival, the minds of people are concentrated upon things of eternity, and there is an awareness that nothing else really matters”.
Just as a forest fire is hard to contain, as we have seen in California, so it is with revival. Holy Spirit will find the ways and the means and the people…. In Acts chapter 8, Philip who was a deacon in the New Testament church, had been ministering with great results in Samaria. Souls were being saved, bodies healed, and many were delivered. Philip heard two promptings from heaven. First he listened to an angel’s direction to leave the Samaritan revival and go to a specific place in the desert. Once there, Philip heard the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit tell him to go and minister, to an Ethiopian official who was traveling through the desert. Philip obeyed, led the man to Jesus Christ, and revival came to the nation of Ethiopia…The next person you introduce to Christ could be that person….
Isaiah 40:3 “For (we are) the voice of him that cries outin the wilderness, Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God”.
Revival is like landing an airplane, it can’t land just anywhere. It needs a prepared, surface to land on.
Often, a plane will circle for a long period before landing. I believe revival is circling, and waiting and wanting to bring us something wonderful, but the runway, isn’t ready yet for it to land, so it keeps circling. God is constantly circling in our lives and our situations, but we must commit ourselves to be the runway that the Spirit needs to land on. Our lives need to be prepared for revival to land….
This was the cry of David’s heart in Psalms 85:6 “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”
Isaiah actually gives instruction for preparing the runway for the Spirit of Revival to land on… Isaiah 40:3-5 “The voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
First, Isaiah says, EVERY VALLEY SHALL BE EXALTED… A Valley Is A Low Place. it may be some area of failure. It may be some hardship you are experiencing. It may be financial, It may be marital or relational. It may be something in your past. It might be your physical health. But God is waiting and ready to fill our valley places…and raise it to a higher level…
Next, it says EVERY MOUNTAIN SHALL BE MADE LOW…Scripture tells us to cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…..That could be a habit? Self will? Wrong priorities? Bitterness? A wounded spirit? unforgivenessPrayerlessness, the cares of life, or focusing too much on the external instead of the internal. Mountains that need to be brought down level.
Next…THE CROOKED WILL BE MADE STRAIGHT….We all deal with misplaced priorities which get things all twisted and crooked. Revival and the glory of God is more important than many things which take us in the wrong direction and often take us to a dead end. They take us where we never intended to go, they keep us longer than we wanted to stay, cost us more than we ever wanted to spend, and make it hard for us to find our way back again. The hurrider I go the behinder I get! Last, it says THE ROUGH PLACES ARE MADE PLAIN. This is about letting the Lord smoothout your marriage, the home environment, your attitude at work, your messed up finances, and smoothing out your tongue or your confession.
God made it very plain in Joshua 24:15 “If serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve..” We will all serve someone or something… choose who will you serve and we are choosing every day. Speaking of preparing the way of the lord, One pastor was describing to his denominational overseer, why his church needed revival. He said it’s the Tate family…that’s holding back revival. “We have old man Dic-Tate who wants to run everything, while Uncle Ro-Tate tries to change everything. There's sister Agi-Tate who stirs up plenty of trouble, with help from her husband, Irri-Tate. Whenever new projects are suggested, Hesi-Tate and his wife, Vege-Tate, want to wait until next year. Then there is Aunt Imi-Tate, who wants our church to be like all the others. Devas-Tate provides the voice of doom, while Poten-Tate wants to be a big shot. Our homes need revival. Our churches need revival. This nation and the world need revival. But no man can bring revival, because it is the sovereign work of Almighty God in the heart and life.
Revival is the return of the people of God to the Word of God in the house of God, by the power of God, according to the plan of God, under the direction of God, so they may receive the blessings of God.
Hear the cry of Isaiah….Isaiah 64:1 “Oh, that you [Almighty God] would rend the heavens, that you would come down, and that the mountains might shake at Your presence”. Revival is a personal revelation to every believer, which is amplified by the power of agreement and unity, until it is an overwhelming force which cannot be stopped by any power of this earth.
We should all be encouraged in knowing that according to the promises of God’s word, the book of Joel assures us that revival is inevitable and non-negotiable God has set it in stone. It’s coming, the only question is, who will be part of it, and who will watch it pass them by….
The apostle Paul adds, 2 Timothy 1:12 “For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep all that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
I would like us to close with the pledge to God, which is based on the pledge Ruth made in Ruth 1:15. She made her pledge and she kept it every day….
“May I not depart from you, or turn back from following after you, for where you lead, that is where I desire to be and who you love I will love and how you serve is how I want to serve. Your people shall be my people, and your will shall be my desire. The Lord witness between us, as I consecrate my abilities, my time and my life to You Lord Jesus.”
Lord we draw close to you, we return to the passion and the deep desire for more of you. Let your spirit rise up within us as heaven calls us upward and away from all those things which weigh us down and press upon us. Release us from those things that have tried to control our lives. In the Name of Jesus and by Your blood, wecommand the messages of self defeat to be lifted off. Wecommand depression, self pity, fear, poverty, shame, resentment, anger, unforgiveness, dullness of hearing, confusion, bareness, and hopelessness to leave now in Jesus name. Lord, Allow a free spirit of praise and worship to rise within our souls and bring us to a higher place. Renew our hearts and set a fire within us to desireyou above everything else.. Give us singleness of vision,as we commit ourselves to the total victory which You have purchased for us on the cross and by Your resurrection.
In Jesus’ mighty name… Amen