May 22, 2019
Our homes need revival. Our churches need revival. This nation needs revival. The world needs Jesus! No military power can bring revival. No economic upturn brings revival. And no election can bring revival.
Revival is the sovereign work of Almighty God.
In Isaiah 64, God’s people had been carried into captivity, His work was in disrepair, and His people were dispirited, much like believers today.
The Church has been carried into captivity by the world, the flesh and the devil. Christians are discouraged. Many have no hope for revival. They don’t believe revival is possible!
I want to tell you, revival is not only possible; it is inevitable when God’s people get right with God.
Why is there no revival?
Friend, if we were to get all of these matters changed, it still would not be revival.
These aren’t the reasons for no revival. They are the result of no revival.
What is revival? Revival is when God comes down.
Oh, that Thou [Almighty God] would rend the heavens, that Thou would come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence. (Isa. 64:1)
Revival is meeting with Almighty God. Most of us seek God because we want Him to do something for our church, our family, our nation. But we’re seeking God’s hand and not His face. Our heart needs to yearn for God. We should be saying, “O God, will You come down?”
God loves to come down.
If you study the record of the church in modern history, you’ll see from time to time, in place to place, God has come down.
I want God to come down upon the church. Don’t get the idea America has to be changed before we can have revival. You, my friend, can have revival. You can have personal revival. You can have revival in your Sunday school class. You can have revival in your family. You can have revival whenever and wherever—you can be a one-person revival.
THE PRESENCE PRODUCING REVIVAL: GOD HIMSELF
When God comes down, things will happen.
Mountains will melt.
…that the mountains might flow down in Thy presence. As when the melting fire burneth…. (v. 1-2a)
Mountains of pride, bigotry and indifference—obstacles to God’s work—will melt away. Nothing can stop the revival fire of Almighty God! Don’t insult God by saying there are too many mountains, too many obstacles. When He comes down, mountains melt.
Sinners will shake.
…To make Thy name known to Thine adversaries…That the nations may tremble at Thy presence!...Thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at Thy presence. (v. 2b-3)
When the lost see something they can’t explain, Holy Spirit conviction falls and sinners begin to shake.
If we have revival in America, late-night comedians will not make fun and mock the holy things of Almighty God. The lascivious will shake in the presence of God. The unsaved will cry out for mercy.
The Righteous will rejoice.
For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways…. (v. 4-5a)
God wants to meet with you. God wants to come down. And when He does, church will not be a bore. God’s people will have joy unspeakable and full of glory. The righteous will rejoice. I long to see that. I want my children to see that. I want God to meet with His people so they’ll know this incredible joy.
So what stands in the way of this outpouring?
PROBLEMS PREVENTING REVIVAL
1. We are corrupted by our sins.
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (v. 6)
We dress in self-righteousness, come to church, and look around in haughtiness and pride. We try to cover ourselves with the very thing that defiles and condemns us. Our “righteousness” is a filthy rag in His sight.
…and we all do fade as a leaf… (v. 6)
When leaves begin to turn yellow and brown, they fade and fall. On the trees they’re looking good, but the wind comes and they’re on the ground! So often I’ve seen people dressed in the rags of self-righteousness, but let the wind blow, let them have some family problems, some financial reversal, some difficulty, and they’re blown away.
2. We are complacent in our sins.
And there is no one who calls on Thy name, who stirs himself up to take hold of Thee….. (v. 7)
Have you stirred yourself up to take hold of God? Or are you simply a Sunday morning bench warmer, believing you’ve done God a wild favor just by going? Is there a yearning, burning, longing for revival in your heart? If you get serious, God will send revival.
To the saints who’ve been chloroformed by the spirit of this age, Dr. R. A. Torrey said,
“I have a theory…that there is not a church, chapel, or mission on earth where you cannot have revival, provided there is a little nucleus of faithful people who will hold onto God until He comes down. First, let a few Christians—there need not be many—get thoroughly right with God themselves. This is the prime essential. If this is not done, the rest, I’m sorry to say, cannot be done, and it will come to nothing. Second, let them bind themselves together to pray for revival until God opens the heavens and comes down. Third, let them put themselves at the disposal of God to use them as He sees fit in winning others to Christ. That’s all. This is sure to bring revival in 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.”
Get right with God. Band together and pray. Put yourself at God’s disposal. This is the message of Isaiah 64.
You say, “Well, that’s so simple.” That’s true. It’s simple. The problem is, the Church is complacent. There is none “who stirs himself up.”
Oh, friend, do what Dr. Torrey says and get right with God. If we don’t, one day we’ll wish we had.
3. We are consumed by our sins.
“…for Thou has hid Thy face from us and hast consumed us because of our iniquities.” (v. 7)
Our sins are eating us alive. God turns His face away from us. We have no protection. We can sing “God Bless America,” but it’s hollow, because God has taken down His hedge of protection.
HOW CAN WE HAVE REVIVAL?
How do we seek God’s face? Prayer precedes revival.
1. Pray and Remember God’s sovereignty
But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; We are the clay, Thou our potter, and we all are the work of Thy hand. (v. 8)
We must believe that God is God. Recognize the sovereignty of God. God doesn’t want “a place” in your life. God doesn’t want prominence in your life. He demands and deserves pre-eminence. “Lord, You are sovereign. I’m the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will. You are King!”
2. Pray and Remember God’s mercy
Be not furious, O Lord, neither remember iniquity forever; behold, see, we beseech Thee, we are all Thy people. (v. 9)
Pray, “O God, have mercy. Don’t keep your anger forever. Lord, we need You. We want You. We must have You.”
God wants to extend mercy. He had much rather forgive sin than punish sin. But God cannot put away our sin by forgiving it unless we put it away by forsaking it. The problem is, so often we’re not willing to repent. We want God’s mercy, but prayer without repentance is a religious farce, a smokescreen.
3. Pray and Respect God’s glory
Isaiah continues in 10-12:
Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised Thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.
Wilt Thou refrain Thyself for these things, O Lord? Wilt Thou hold Thy peace, and afflict us very sore?
Isaiah is saying,
“O God, we remember the glory. We remember when You spoke to us from Your sacred temple. Our fathers have told us about it. What a glorious time it was! O God, we want Your glory again! O God, show us Your face, show us Your glory!”
THIS IS REVIVAL: WHEN GOD COMES DOWN
Maybe you haven’t been willing to stir yourself up.
Maybe you’re dressed in your rags of self-righteousness.
Maybe you’re satisfied with where you are.
Maybe you’re a dying leaf and don’t even know it.
But if you will seek God, He is waiting, leaning over the battlements of heaven. We don’t have to persuade God to send revival, only permit Him to do so.
Do you really want to see revival?