Revival of the Heart

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Revival of the Heart

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I. The Introduction

This morning I want to talk to you about Revival....we are holding revival services this week at this sweet church....at it’s best, it’s meant to fire people up....hopefully to see some saved....but at it’s WORST, it’s just a few church meetings where you leave and talk about whether you liked the preacher or not on the way to get supper....I’m going to start off right now, Brother Ray....folks if you came to these meetings for ME…to just hear what I have to say....you’re here for the wrong reason. That’s not what revival is about…you see Revival is about your heart and who it belongs to....
The word revival literally means to “regain life”....think about that just a second....the word RE-gain....gain means to attain or to have....the prefix “re” means “again”.....to that means to Have AGAIN…that means that whatever revival is, it means that you are getting something back that you once had…for all of our hope that we see some get saved this week, that’s not the purpose of revival....the purpose of revival is to see a re-commitment of the church of Christ back TO Him. So that means this is for YOU friend....it’s going to have to be a change in YOU....where is that FIRE we used to have church? Where is that ZEAL.....that commitment? Where is that childlike awe and wander you used to have about God?
Do you want that back church? Do you want it back? ASK for it!
The question is NOT when is God going to revive us....HE is ALWAYS there....always has been. Hasn’t changed a lick....that’s not the question....the question is: Will YOU BE revived? Will you submit yourself to teaching this week....and the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Will you allow yourself to be transformed into something that is more Christlike than you have ever been, will you make that commitment this week? Come here EXPECTING.....come here HUNGERING.....THIRSTING for the Lord....for instruction…for righteousness....and if you can get out of your own way....the Lord is going work on your heart and mind…I can promise you that....and it starts right here <hold up your Bible>....with His Word....and since that’s where it starts....that’s where WE will start this morning.
Scripture: …Please stand with me.....holy, perfect, sufficient and inerrant Word of God....
Nehemiah 9:1–3 NASB95
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.
<pray>
Thank you and you may be seated.
A young girl became a Christian in an exciting revival at her church and was baptized the closing Sunday morning. That afternoon she ran through the house singing and dancing. Her sour grandfather rebuked her with these words, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You just joined the church and you’re singing and dancing on the Lord’s Day!” Crushed by her grandfather’s attitude, the little girl went out to the barn, climbed up on the corral fence, and observed an old mule standing there with a sad, droopy face and bleary eyes. As she reached over and patted the mule sympathetically, she said, “Don’t cry, ole mule. I guess you’ve got the same kind of religion that Grandpa has!” Unfortunately, some people have about as much fun loving God as that old man in that story and about as much excitement as that old mule.
Looking at this Scripture in Nehemiah...Here we have a massive revival taking place among the people of God....They are doing all of the right things....they are submitting themselves totally to God....and if Israel knew how to do one thing, it was to repent and be revived....why? Because the other thing they were good at was messing up and getting out of step with Him…does that sound familiar? Amen? It sounds like myself....I’m really good at disappointing God....THAT s why I need revival....I need my heart checked and myself put back in gear.
Here’s FOUR things I know for sure today:
o We need revival today. - we have become desperately comfortable....and desperately self-reliant....so we feel like we don’t “need” God. “Self-help books”
o But the revival we need first in the heart of each individual. - Revival does not start with this group....it starts in the heart of each person....so you have to allow your heart to be worked on....to be broken, if need be....and to be restored by Christ. That is where change takes place.
o The heart is a delicate and vulnerable spiritual instrument - it is delicate....it is easy to break....it can be influenced by both good and evil. It is very much at the mercy of what it is exposed to....if you expose it to Good, it will be filled with good....if you expose it to bad, that is what you will produce. The Bible says that out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart....if your heart is wicked, your speech will be too. And that leads me to number 4:
o Handled or influenced improperly, can do much damage to the Christian life: Our hearts control our speech and actions, and they are feed through our senses…our eyes, ears, and experiences. Are you seeing things you shouldn’t? Are you hearing thinks you shouldn’t? Are you going places you shouldn’t? Those things affect your heart, don’t think that they won’t....treat your heart with care.
That is why we are give armor to protect it ()
- It is what drives our emotions and motivations
- It is the very thing that needs to change to trust Christ for Salvation –
Romans 10:9–10 NASB95
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
What happened here in needs to happen to the church today....and it doesn’t start with this congregation, friend, it starts with YOU…will YOU do these things and be revived? In order to do that, let’s look at what God’s people, the Nation of Israel did in order that they might be revived:
What happened here in needs to happen to the church today.
There must be Preparation for Revival
Th
Body
There must be Submission to Revival
Real Revival Produces Real Results

1. There must be Preparation for Revival – 9:1

What happens prior to a revival of the heart? - in this case, the people of God prepared themselves for it in a number of ways…I’ll show you what I mean:
A. They Fasted
i. Abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion. Here it is used in conjunction with repentance.
a. This is a sacrifice of convenience and comfort
b. Today, we may even fast something other than food…social media....television....Netflix....Wal-Mart....giving up SOMETHING to show God commitment.
c. The whole idea is sacrificing to seek the face of God. God knows we are serious when we give up something of value in exchange for His response of blessing.
ILL: You know, we have plenty of feasting in our churches today but seldom any fasting. Most people today are not about to curb their fleshly appetites in anything in order to be able to do the work of God better. Feasting is not wrong in itself – God ordained a number of religious feasts for the Jews and it allows for frequent fellowship among God’s people, but all feasting and no fasting reveals spiritual problems just as all playing and no praying and preaching says we need revival.”
B. They Humbled themselves (with sackcloth’s, and earth upon them.)
B. They Humbled themselves (with sackcloth’s, and earth upon them.)
i. This is what the sackcloth and ashes were for, the evidence of repentance....the evidence of humility - “to be made low” - how do you make yourself lower than to put yourself under dirt?
ii. They had been arrogant in the past and have realized their sin against God…That is the first step....After we allow ourselves to be in a position where we are prepared for revival, the next step is to be broken....I’m not telling you to go into a deep, dark depression....but if you don’t feel bad about your sin anymore just because God has “forgiven” you, then something is wrong friend....we must learn to humble ourselves and put our obedience to HIM first, before our wants.
a. Here is a fact for you: If we do not learn humility, we will learn humiliation....God will not put up with a haughty, puffed up soul.
b. Here’s another fact: Revival cannot happen without humility…not “maybe not”....it WON’T....because humility means that you are putting God first instead of yourself.
iii. Much of what goes on in today’s churches are driven by pride....Pride is the opposite of humility. Humility is to put yourself and your own wants below that of others....Pride is to be under the illusion that only your wants matter.
a. This is why so many get offended so easily; they serve from pride, not from a humble spirit.
b. – 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.
iv. Is this why, today:
a. Altars are empty?
b. Hearts are cold to conviction?
c. Christians are harsh and uncaring toward one another?
d. So many have a “it’s my way or the highway” attitude?
e. Souls are not being saved and added to the church?
f. There is no power and passion in and for God’s work?

2. There must be Submission to Revival – 9:2

A. What is evidence of a heart that is experiencing revival? This has to do with your conduct....your behavior...
B. Separation (separated themselves from all strangers)
i. They separated themselves from those that did not worship God.
ii. - And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
iii. The need for revival always comes when the world and the flesh get into us to much.
a. It affects our service
b. It affects our motivation
c. It affects our feelings towards others
iv. When our affections lean more toward the world instead of God, it is time for revival.
C. Confession (stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.)
i. The people felt the weight of their sin and poured their hearts out to God
ii. There is a release in the confession of sin - Prussian king Frederick the Great was once touring a Berlin prison. The prisoners fell on their knees before him to proclaim their innocence—except for one man, who remained silent. Frederick called to him, “Why are you here?”
“Armed robbery, Your Majesty,” was the reply.
“And are you guilty?”
“Yes indeed, Your Majesty, I deserve my punishment.”
Frederick then summoned the jailer and ordered him, “Release this guilty wretch at once. I will not have him kept in this prison where he will corrupt all the fine innocent people who occupy it.” Today in the Word, December 4, 1992
iii. Principles of confession:
a. In order for confession to be right it must be sincere.
b. Confession involves repentance, or else it is just empty words
c. God is always more anxious to forgive than we are to be forgiven.

3. Real Revival Produces Real Results – 9:3

A. What is the product of a heart revived? The product....the fruits must be real. They must be visible and to an extent tangible.
B. Reading of God’s Word (they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God)
i. Zeal – What else would account for standing for hours to hear God’s Word?
ii. The Word of God reveals sin
a. It is the mirror of our lives
b. A man was sitting at a stop light. The lady in front of him was going through papers on the seat of her car, and when the light changed to green she did not obey its command - a green light is a commandment - NOT a suggestion. When the light turned to red, and she had still not moved, He began (with his windows up) screaming and beating on his steering wheel. His expressions of distress were interrupted by a policeman, gun drawn, tapping on his window. Against his protestations of, "You can’t arrest me for hollering in my car," the officer ordered him into the back seat of his patrol car. After about two hours in a holding cell, the arresting officer advised him he was free to go. He said, "I knew you couldn’t arrest me for what I was yelling in my own car. You haven’t heard the last of this." The officer replied, "I didn’t arrest you for shouting in your car. I was directly behind you at the light. I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, and I said to myself, "What a jerk. But there is nothing I can do to him for throwing a fit in his own car. Then I noticed the ’Cross’ hanging from your rear view mirror, the Jesus is Coming Soon’ bumper sticker, and the Fish symbol, and I thought you must have stolen the car." (He could have used the mirror of God’s Word)
c. - 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
C. Worship (worshipped the LORD their God.)
i. A heart full of God cannot help but worship
ii. A PARAMEDIC was asked on a local Dallas TV talk-show program: “What was your most unusual and challenging 911 call?” “Recently,” paramedic began, we got a call from that big white CHURCH on 11th and Walnut. A frantic usher was very concerned that during their WORSHIP service an elderly man PASSED out in a pew and appeared to be dead. The usher could find no PULSE and there was no noticeable BREATHING.” “What was so unusual and demanding about this particular call?” the interviewer asked. “Well,” the paramedic said, “we carried out four guys before we found the one who was dead.”
iii. Worship is not deadness, it is a living and vibrant expression of our love for God and reverence for Him.
iv. Some thoughts concerning worship:
a. Do not come to church to be prepared for worship; already be prepared for worship when you come to church.
• It is not the job of church to get you motivated and excited about worshipping
• If you don’t come already prepared to worship, then you will not be moved to worship when you are here.
• Don’t confuse emotional worship with real worship
• Real worship involves two things: spirit and truth
 Spirit – regenerated; spirit-filled.
 Truth – based on God’s Word; honesty and sincerity (not a put-on show)
b. Worshipping God is more than an activity, it is a lifestyle
c. Worship keeps us focused on God and His will above our own.
Conclusion:
The life of a church and individuals is in constant danger of becoming dull and unresponsive.
The problem is, with most Christians, they are so settled in their Christian life that they mistake deadness for conviction.
Is there unconfessed sin in your life?
Have you humbled yourself lately before God and asked Him to search you and try you?
Do you live and yearn for God and His Word?
Does your desire to come to church pull you to it or do you find yourself pulling away from it?
What does your worship consist of and is it real?
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