What follows is our last sermon at the church we were pastoring. They finally threw us out without any money to our name and set the example that Christians in this country can be as vicious as some Christians in other countries.
We are going top start withMark 1:15 where Jesus said “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
Now I have touched on this passage before and stated that this was Jesus’ first message in his ministry according to Mark. But what I didn’t mention is the fact that Jesus went to his own people first. He did not by pass them in favor of reaching the Gentile audience. He went to the people who already had the law and the prophets; who had the temple, the priests and religious leaders; who had the sacrifices and God’s instructions.
There are two reasons for this. One, God’s peoplein spite of all that they had still were disobedient to God and they needed to be called back to holiness. And Two, God does not pour out his spirit on unbelievers.. HE gives his spirit to those who are his and who live according to his ways.Then, in turn, God’s people go out and minister to the rest of the world.Jesus told us that we cannot put new wine into old wineskins thus the unbeliever cannot receive God’s spirit until they have been made new creatuires. GOD’s people also need this renewal.
This renewal is often called revival and I am going to talk about revival today and why it does not take place in the church even thoughso many people pry for it to come to their community
#1. Not Everyone is of One Accord
When the day of Pentecost [a]had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting (ACTS 2 :1 & 2)
BUT sadly in today’s church everyone is not of one accord. In the west revival is on the minds of many believers but they want it to happen to the other person or the non-believer in their neighborhood. They fell comfortable and happy with their spiritual lives and involvement so they do not feel like they need a renewal or be revived.
Or some in the west think that they will repent when they see the other person repent first, but that is not biblical teaching. the Bible tells us to make our calling and election sure thus we must focus on clearing our lives of sin, removing our beams from our eyes before we deal with others. Revival doesn’t come because people are too busy pointing their fingers at everyone else instead of becoming holy as God wants them to be.
Then people in the church decide to use secular culture to respond to supposed offenses which is also not a biblical instruction. In Korea many westerners claimed that their Korean co-workers were making many mistakes and doing things wrong. They brought a lot of problems upon themselves because they failed to see that what was wrong in their culture was not wrong in the Korean one.Christians have this same problem as well as they respond to supposed offenses according to their earthly culture, instead of the culture they now belong to– God’s kingdom.
Christians are to follow Jesus’ teaching in dealing with cultural violations, they are not to use the teachings of their secular culture. The reason for this is because God does not want his people to sin in their response to the offenses committed by others. Does this mean we do not use cultural devices in our lives? Of course nopt but when we do , we use them according to God’s way, following God’s instructions so that we remain sinless and blameless. We have no permission to sin and disobey God when dealing with others.
#2. They Fail to Remain Biblically Correct
Many in the west fail to achieve their desire for revival because they fail to remain under biblically correct teaching. Acts 2: 42 tells us:
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and [ao]to prayer.
The new believers did nopt pursue their own ideas or seek different interpretations or follow after false teaching. They stayed with the truth and learned it over everything else.There is one problem I had with Billy Graham and his philosophy of having representatives from all religious faiths take part in his crusades. He allowed new believers to be fed false teaching and be led away from the truth because he allowed false teachers and churches to get some of the new converts.
This is not to be done. We do not allow false teachers to participate in our outreach to others. We bring the people the truth and keep them in it so that they will not leave the straight and narrow. This is why we instruct believers to not respond in the secular cultural way but show them what they must do biblically. We do not teach people that it is okay to leave the straight and narrow path to respond to alleged offenses.
Does this mean we let offenders get away with their deeds? No, it means that we handle them God’s way so that resentment or division does not arise in the church.We want to bring true repentance and apologies so that restoration is done and the people get back to doing things God’s way.
#3. People do not DO Good Works
In today’s church there are many people who do good works but it is usually done rarely and does not necessarily bring the people’s attention to God. If wew read through the book of Acts we will find many passages telling us that the early church continuously performed signs and wonders not only to their fellow believers but to the population in general. The people saw that Jesus and God were real and they wanted to be part of that group who expewrienced Jesus on a personal level.
Good works is not done out of duty but because one loves God and wants to bring God to the lives of all people. Good worksare not done to gain salvation but because one has salvation one does good works.
#4. Because People Want to Look Good to God
People want to look good to God and say see we are doing what you want and they do not want revival for the glory of God.They do not speak the words of God. Acts 4 29 and 31 tells us
29 And [v]now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence,
1 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Too often when we speak God’s words it is for our own or our church’s benefit and not for God or his glory. We use our own strength not God’s holiness, we use our might not God’s spirit.
Revival has no chance when we do that. When we follow God’s way and obey his teaching then God will add to the church and bring revival.Acts 2: 46-47 tells us
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread [as]from house to house, they were taking their [at]meals together with gladness and [au]sincerity of heart,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding [av]to their number day by day those who were being saved
The apostles and early church spoke with God’s boldness and they were rewarded for their obedience. If the church today does this then we hope that their reward will be so abundant that they cannot handle the result and are overwhelmed by the number of responders to the gospel.
Revival comes to the church first. God’s spirit comes to the church first, we need to be ready for this outpouring and obey god in all areas of our lives.