Revive Us Again!

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Revive Us Again!

Psalm 85:1-13

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 20, 2013

*Anybody paying the least bit of attention knows that we need revival in our hearts and in our homes. We need true, spiritual revival all over our nation. But what does that mean?

*In the Old Testament revival means "to have life, sustain life, live forever or to make alive." The word picture is a person or army completely surrounded by the enemy, with no way to escape. Then in the time of greatest despair, God intervened and rescued them completely. But that rescue was almost always needed because of sin.

*Today, as much as ever before, we need to be rescued from the influence and the consequence of sin. Our nation is in so much trouble today simply because of sin. One way or another, all of our problems go back to sin: People stubbornly rejecting the God of the Bible and His righteous ways.

*But Christians, we know that the problem is not just other people's sin. The problem is our own sin. Most of us need revival in our own hearts and lives. I know I do.

*Revival today is first and foremost about Christians personally getting right with God. Phil Dyar asks Christians, "When do we need revival?"

*We need revival.

-When church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.

-When we do not love Jesus as we once did.

-When we would rather watch TV than read the Bible and pray.

-When we have time for recreation and sports, but not for Bible study and prayer.

*We need revival.

-When we seldom think thoughts of eternity.

-When we make little effort to witness to the lost.

-When we are unmoved by the fact over 2 billion people in the world have never heard the name of Jesus.

*We need revival.

-When our Christianity is joyless and dry.

-When we are bored with worship.

-When believers can be at odds with each other and not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.

*We need revival.

-When we know the truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.

-When we would rather make money than give money.

-When people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.

-When the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages, and the church. (1)

*What is true today was also true thousands of years ago when this Psalm was written. We need revival over and over again. So we sing and we pray, "Revive us again, Lord! And Psalm 85 gives us the foundation for our prayers.

1. First: Revive us again, Lord, because we are inspired by Your history.

*In vs. 1-3, the Psalm writer looked back to the great things our God has done. He looked back for strength, encouragement and inspiration. He looked back and began to praise God:

1. Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.

2. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah

3. You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.

*This man was looking back at the great things God had done for His people. David did the same thing when He was about to face the giant Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17:32-37, David said this to King Saul:

32. "Let no man's heart fail because of him (the giant); your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.''

33. And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.''

34. But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,

35. I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.

36. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.''

37. Moreover David said, "The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. . .''

*Christians: All of us can also look back at the great things God has done. We can look into His Word and see many examples of His great help. We can look back at the great things God has done in our own lives. And we can feed our faith on wonderful stories of God touching other lives, sending revival, healing, deliverance and salvation.

*In 1910, there was a revival meeting in Texas led by Mordecai Ham. One night in the worship service there was a man who had killed four men. Before that night, he never dreamed that God could care for him. But during that service, he was touched by the good news about Jesus Christ. That man was so overjoyed by the love and mercy of God that he stood up & shouted: "Saved! -- Saved! -- Saved!"

*Jack Schofield was leading music for that revival. And he was so moved by that joyful outburst that he used those words in the hymn he wrote the next day:

-"I've found a Friend, who is all to me,

-His love is ever true;

-I love to tell how He lifted me

-And what His grace can do for you.

-When poor and needy and all alone,

-In love He said to me,

-'Come unto Me and I'll lead you home,

-To live with Me eternally.'

*Saved by His power divine,

-Saved to new life sublime!

-Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,

-For I'm saved, saved, saved!" (2)

*God has done countless great things like that. And He's not through yet! Revive us again, Lord, because we are inspired by Your history.

2. And revive us, because we deserve the heat of Your anger.

*The Psalmist first looked back at God's greatness. Then in vs. 4-7 he began to look around his world, and look within his own heart. He did not like what he saw, so he cried out to God:

4. Restore us ("Turn us" the KJV says.) Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your anger toward us to cease.

5. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

6. Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?

7. Show us Your mercy, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation.

*This Psalmist cried out to the Lord with a passionate, heartfelt prayer. He cried out for God's mercy, salvation and revival. He cried out because he realized that we have sinned and deserve the wrath of Almighty God.

*Are you aware of your sin? The Prophet Daniel is one of the great heroes of the Old Testament. In His Word, God does not say one negative thing about Daniel. He was one of the best of the best. But when he prayed in Daniel 9, the prophet was very aware of his sin. Please listen to part of Daniel's prayer:

4. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,

5. we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.

6. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.

8. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

9. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.

19. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.''

*Daniel was very aware of his own sin. So was the Apostle Paul. In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul said: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

*Daniel, Paul and all of the heroes of our faith were very aware of their sinfulness. But what about us? We too need passionate, heartfelt prayers of confession and repentance. We need to cry out to God for ourselves and others, that the Lord would turn our hearts to Him.

*Greg Buchner asks:

-"Have you known the agony of not doing the right thing?

-Have you ever thought, 'I ought to do this or that' only to forget all about it?

-Have you ever promised yourself that you'll never say something or do something only to blurt it out or do it anyway?

-Have you ever thought 'I can't change -- I'll always act like this'?

-Have you fallen into the trap of comparing yourself to others?

-Have you ever thought, 'At least I'm not like that guy down the street'?

-Have you consoled yourself about your failures and shortcomings by making a list of the obviously huge sins of others?

-In the middle of comparing yourself to others have you ever thrown your hands up in despair and said, 'I really am no good'?

*Left to ourselves, we cannot make all the changes we need to make. On our own we cannot keep on doing all that we should do. Let's face it: Our lives are beyond our control. Without help, we often will fail to do the right thing." (3)

*So we must cry out to the Lord for the help we need.

4. Turn us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your anger toward us to cease.

5. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

6. Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?

7. Show us Your mercy, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation.

*Revive us again Lord, because we deserve the heat of Your anger.

3. And revive us, because we are open to hear from You.

*This Psalm writer was certainly open to hear what the Lord had to say. In vs. 8 he declared: "I will hear what God the Lord will speak, For He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly."

*We must be open to hear what God wants to say to us. Seven times in the Book of Revelation, Jesus cried out: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Will God speak to us? -- Of course He will. God will surely speak to us through His Word. But do we really want to hear Him?

*Vsevolod Lytkin really wanted to hear from God. When I heard his story, he was serving the Lord as a pastor in Siberia, but Vse was raised in the home of atheists. His parents were Communist professors at one of the universities in the Old Soviet Union. During his teen years, Vse began to struggle with many spiritual questions. When the Communists told him there was no God, he began to doubt them. So he began to search for reading material where he might find the answers.

*The only books on religion at his local library were atheistic. But they often quoted verses from the Bible to mock or refute them. Vse's greatest discovery was a set of encyclopedias on atheism. It was filled with Bible verses, and he copied every one of them by hand. God spoke to Vse through those verses, and before long he trusted in Jesus and asked God to forgive his sins. (4)

*God surely spoke to Vse, and He will surely speak to us. But we must be willing to hear what God has to say to us. Revive us again Lord, because we are open to hear from You.

4. And revive us, because no one can help us like You.

*In vs. 9&10 the Psalmist was looking to the Lord to find the help he desperately needed. And he gave this testimony:

9. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.

10. Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

*That fear he talked about in vs. 9 is the right kind of fear: Giving humble reverence to Almighty God. God's salvation is near to anyone who will turn to Him in humble reverence. But His salvation is only near, because in vs. 10, "Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other."

*"Mercy and truth have met together." The certain truth is that we richly deserve the wrath of God. Where could this truth meet together with the mercy we desperately need from God? -- Only on the cross of Jesus Christ!

*"Righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Where could God's unreachable righteousness draw close enough to kiss us with everlasting peace? -- Only on the cross of Jesus Christ! Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for all of our sins. Jesus died so that we could live forever by trusting in our Risen Savior.

*Thank God for the cross of Jesus Christ! And thank God that Jesus rose again from the dead! Now the Risen Lord will give His abundant, eternal life to anyone who will trust in Him. Surely we can trust Jesus to give us both His salvation, and the revival we need. No one can help us like Jesus Christ! Revive us again Lord, because no one can help us like You.

5. And revive us, because You are our sure hope for the future.

*In vs. 11-13, the Psalm writer began to look forward to a most hopeful future:

11. Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12. Yes, the Lord will give what is good; And our land will yield its increase.

13. Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway.

*There is no real hope without Jesus Christ. But we can surely hope in God's goodness and truth. We can hope that He will send revival to our souls, our families, and our nation.

*During the depression days of 1932, a small group of Christian businessmen got greatly concerned about the spiritual and moral decay in their city: Charlotte, North Carolina. They believed that the situation called for an all-out evangelistic effort. And they asked the ministerial association to hold a crusade, but the preachers turned them down.

*They were disappointed, but still felt that God wanted to do something big. Not knowing what else to do, they decided to call for a day of prayer. All who could were asked to come to a quiet, wooded spot on the outskirts of Charlotte and spend the day waiting on the Lord.

*Twenty-nine people responded to that first invitation. As they fasted and prayed, their faith grew stronger. They prayed that God would send a revival to their city, that it would spread over the state, and out to the ends of the earth. They were so blessed by the prayer meeting that they held more in the following months.

*Two of those prayer meetings were held on Frank Graham's dairy farm. He shared the businessmen's concern for revival. And Frank was specially burdened for one of his own children: A teenage boy who needed to come to grips with God. After much prayer, much work and many set-backs, the Charlotte Crusade began two years later. Mordecai Ham was also the preacher in that revival, and many people were saved.

*One evening, two teenage boys walked into the open tent door. They looked around for a moment, and didn't see any seats, so they turned around to leave. But there was an usher behind them who asked, "What's the matter boys?"

*When they told him, he took them by the arm and said, "Follow me. I'll find you a couple of seats." And he did. The next night those two boys came back, and the next. Before the week was over, the two boys walked down the aisle and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

*One of those teenagers was Frank Graham's son, Billy Graham. What great things happened after that! My Aunt and Uncle were both saved at a Billy Graham Crusade, along with thousands and thousands of other people. (5)

*And God's not through yet! Let's ask God to do it again! Let's hope that He will. Let's pray that He will revive us again!

(1) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "When Do We Need Revival?" by Phil Dyar - Psalm 85:6

(2) "Leadership Journal" - Fall 1988, p. 33 - Source: "Stories for Preachers and Teachers" by Raymond McHenry.

(3) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "The True Vine" by Greg Buchner - John 15:1-8 - Feb. 23, 2003

(4) SermonCentral illustration Contributed by: Clark Frailey

(5) Leadership, Nov. 1995, p. 2 (Found in "Stories for Preachers and Teachers" by Raymond McHenry)

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