True Revival

Posted on 08/17/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


*** today, among other things, we pray for these public requests ***


Pray GOD brings me my soulmate now.This is all i think about every waking moment,for 13 years...TORMENT
   -Phil


PLEASE, PRAY FOR KATARINA AND HER NEBOJSA, their COMPLETE RECONCILIATION, conversation, agreement about THEIR FUTURE AND MARRIAGE –That they continue conversation about MARRIAGE AND BRING IT TO FULFILLING AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - Prayer can influence and FORMING THINGS –That God WORK ON HIM to understand THAT FEELINGS ARE NOT TO RUN FROM THEM, but built a future and life -AND PUT HIS EFFORT AND STRENGTH IN THAT - he said, and knows what he promised - so that they continue those conversations - and FOR MARRIAGE to happen during the year –Thank you in her name And for MY PERSONAL NEED - LOVE AND MARRIAGE - That God BRING ASAP, A RIGHT MAN FOR ME - appropriate, enthusiastic, intelligent, man of God, after these much waiting… And time is just passing... PLEASE, SUPPORT ME ALSO IN PRAYER FOR GOD'S PLAN, PROTECTION, LEADING, BLESSINGS, LOVE AND MARRIAGE! Thank you in advance Sister from Belgrade, Marina
   –Marina

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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SING A NEW SONG

Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth
Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth

For God is great
and greatly to be praised
God is great
and greatly to be praised

MIGHTY IS OUR GOD

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Might is our Lord
Ruler of everything

His name is higher,
higher than any other name
His power is greater,
for he has created everything


TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE

To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb

Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever
Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever

*** Listen to the audio to hear the introduction to today's message ***


Today's message is titled "True Revival." We've heard a lot about revival for many years. Revivals come and go. We hear about tent revivals, worship revivals, healing revivals. But what does revival really mean?

We hear about seeking for revival, praying for revival, being hungry for revival, preparing for revival. But how does revival really come?

Let's search the Holy Scriptures today so we can know the truth. After all, isn't revival important? Isn't it something we need?

We see church after church turn aside from sound doctrine and embrace lies and deceptions from hell. We see scandals not only in the secular world, but in the church as well. We not only stand by while millions of babies are murdered, but some of us even defend the satanic laws that defend the rights of murderers and claim that their innocent victims are not really human beings.

We see political correctness choke out the Word of God and the true Gospel of Christ, and even many of our preachers and teachers have taken the way of falsehood by tickling itching ears and seeking to make us feel good, instead of boldly demonstrating the true love of God by exposing our depravity and holding up a standard of righteousness and purity.

Yes, brothers and sisters, we most certainly do need revival. So the question we need answered today is not "do we need revival," but "what is revival," and "how does revival come."


So what is revival? If you were to ask the dictionary, you'd hear definitions like this:

An awakening, in a church or community, of interest in and care for matters relating to personal religion.

-or-

An evangelistic service or a series of services for the purpose of effecting a religious awakening: to hold a revival.

Of course that doesn't really help us understand true revival, does it?

Lots of people have an awakening to matters relating to personal religion; maybe Christianity, or Catholicism, or Bhudism, or Islaam.

And lots of people hold series of services for the purpose of effecting a religious awakening; but does it bring true revival?

The word revival itself simply means to bring something back to life. As far as a Biblical definition is concerned, we don't see things or events or movements refered to in Scripture as revivals.

But there are passages which talk about things that were once alive, then had died, being brought back to life.

In Ezekiel chapter 37, we read about the valley of dry bones. As Ezekiel obeyed God and spoke the Word of the Lord, those bones were clothed with flesh, and then God breathed life into them, raising them into a great army.

In verse one Ezekiel writes, "The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones." And at the end of this spiritual experience, God tells Ezekiel that this is symbolic of Israel.

In verse 11 we read this:

11. Then he said unto me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off from our people.'
Therefore prophesy and say unto them, 'Thus says the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

If revival was ever talked about in the Bible, this certainly would be one of those times, wouldn't you agree? The people of God, dry and without hope. And God says to them, "O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel."

Do we need this kind of revival today? Maybe there are some of us here today who feel empty and dry. You don't have life, you don't have joy, and you don't have any living hope. But God wants to open your grave, and cause you to come up out of your grave, and bring you into the land of the living where you have joy and life and purpose and hope.

Now I believe that we can learn some things from this passage about true revival.

First of all, we see that it is God's will to bring his people who are dry and empty back to life. This doesn't mean he will stop our suffering, or keep us from going through the valley, or snatch us up into a spiritual high from which we never come down.

But sometimes it just seems as though we're barren and dry. We just can't seem to get up and fight the battle. And this isn't God's will for us. Jesus came to bring us life in great abundance. So yes, it most certainly is God's will and desire to bring true revival.


Now, when Ezekiel was taken in the spirit to this valley of dry bones, it was a valley of scattered dry bones. As a literal prophecy, this represents the people of Israel, who would be scattered across the globe.

Ezekiel 37:7-8 says,

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

In recent years, we have seen the beginning of a coming back together of these scattered bones, as Jews return to their homeland. Sinews and flesh have formed on them, as they formed into a nation.

Are the spiritual Jews fairing as well as the physical Jews? Are we, the Church, coming together and being formed into a spiritual nation? Or are we seeing the opposite happen, as we divide and seperate, with our spiritual flesh rotting as the birds of the air, the principalities and powers, and the doctrines of demons and of man, devour us?


Time and time again throughout Scripture, God allowed his people to be conquored by their enemies, be taken into captivity, and ultimately be scattered over the face of the earth, because they turned away from him and his laws.

And when they turned back to him and humbled themselves and repented of their wickedness and sought him with all their hearts, he gave them victory over their enemies and his blessings returned to them.


In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, God says this:

13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.


Now, most of just hear verse 14, "If my people who are called by my name," but it's very interesting that this is preceeded by verse 13 which says, "When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or I command the locusts to devour the land, or I send pestilence among my people..."

This doesn't sound like God was trying to bless his people but the enemy was getting in the way, or their faith wasn't strong enough, or they didn't want it badly enough. Rather, God himself stopped the rain and brought the devouring locusts and sent the pestilence. And not on the world, but on his own people!

Maybe the enemy is attacking you and you need to do spiritual warfare. But when we go through a dry time in which we are devoured and have pestilence in our lives, it may not necessarily be the enemy. It just might be God.

So much for winning some type of award from a council of churches for uplifting preaching! But it's in the Word of God, and it's the truth.


But what about the world? What about the great outbreak of sin and Godlessness we see around us today? Those things we are hoping a revival meeting or some type of movement is going to solve?

Let's read a few verses from Romans chapter 1, starting with verse 18.

Romans 1:18-32

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.


Now wait just a minute... This says, "Although they KNEW GOD..." They knew God? And in verse 32 it says, "Knowing the righteous judgment of God, that whose who practice such things are deserving of death..." Does the world know this today?

Could this possibly be refering to times in which we knew the truth but chose to drift away from it? Of course this is talking about the knowledge of God that comes from what he has made, stripping away all excuses. But today, we seem to not even notice the testimony of God that is all around us.

I've talked with a disturbing number of those who claim to be Christians who do not seem to understand what could possibly be wrong with homosexual activity, or impure thoughts. Many genuinely believe that David and Jonathan of the Bible were gay lovers, or that Jesus was romantically involved.

Could this be the result of years of abusing God's patience, mercy, and grace?

Starting in verse 21 we read,

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Do we actively seek to Glorify God? Or do we seek to make ourselves happy and make ourselves feel good and seek to have our own needs and desires fulfilled?

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

How often do we hear people talk about God as though he is like them? Maybe you've heard people say things such as, "I don't believe a loving God would send people to hell," or "God knows I'm only human, and he will overlook my sin."

Friends, God is not like us. Any similarities between us come from the fact that we originally were created in his image, and because his Spirit is changing us who believe from glory to glory into the image of Jesus.

But God is not like us. And if we serve a God who makes sense to us and is defined by our idea of what is right and wrong, and what is loving and good, then we are worhiping a God we have created after our own image.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves

Don't buy into the lie that God will always just be waiting around with open arms, waiting for us to wander as long as we like, and waiting for us to come back to him when we feel like it and in the way that is comfortable for us.

Perhaps you know the truth today, you realize deep down that even the tiniest compromise with the world is not acceptible. I urge you to walk in that truth, for if you are turning a deaf ear to that which you do not wish to be true, you just might find some day that God has turned you over to your own dillusions, and you can no longer discern right from wrong, or truth from soul-damning deception.

Verse 28 says, "God gave them over to a debased mind." Turn your whole life with your whole heart to follow after the absolute truth without the slightest hint of compromise while you still have the mind to do so.


Let's go back for just a minute to the valley of dry bones. Ezekiel spoke the Word of the Lord, and the bones came together, and flesh and skin formed upon them. But it says in verse eight that there was no breath in them. They were still dead.

Once again Ezekiel proclaimed the Word of the Lord, and in verse nine of Ezekiel 37, we read...

Ezekiel 37:9-10

9 Also He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."'"
10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

So by the Word of the Lord, they were brought into their place. And by the spirit of the Lord, they were brought to life and became an exceedingly great army.

The Bible tells us that Israel will some day accept Jesus as the Messiah. They are coming together now, and are being made into a people once again. And the Word of the Lord will come to pass which has been spoken over them, and they will spiritually come to life.

What about us? What about spiritual Israel? Will we first of all hear the Word of the Lord and come together again, with the truth of the Word of God as our sinews and skin?

I believe we will, even if it takes great persecution and self-earned spiritual drought and pestilence sent to us by God. We just might need to see a great falling away, as God turns us over to a reprobate mind in response to our insistance on creating God in our own image and turning our attention to the created rather than the Creator.

But true revival will come to the Body of Christ.


What do you think the Bible means when it says, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways"? Does it mean that we have a prayer meeting and talk about humility and change?

That's certainly not a bad thing to do, and corporate repentance and seeking God is certainly a vital part of the picture. But I believe that implicit within this promise is a focus on the individual -- on you, and on me.

For people to do something, each person within that group of people must do that something. If we pray, "God, send revival!" but we do not personally humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God's face, and turn from our own wicked ways, aren't we missing the point?

Revival is not falling under the power of God. Revival is not miracles. Revival is not healings. Revival is not an outpouring of the supernatural. Revival is not seeing the altar full of lost sinners being born again.

These things may very well come as a RESULT of revival. But if we're simply seeking the manifestations instead of seeking to humble ourselves, pray and seek God's face, and turn from every single one of even our must subtly wicked ways, then all that other stuff really isn't going to do you a bit of good.

Praise God when he heals someone! Praise God when he pours out his Holy Spirit! Praise God when the altar is full of lost sinners coming home!

But God have mercy on us if we think that being part of that means we are part of a revival. Even demons can heal. Strong emotion can inspire someone to faint or scream and jump up and down. The creative human mind can speak unintelligable words.

And just remember that God can speak through a donkey if the prophet will not speak his Word. Even if God does work through you to minister to someone else does not mean that you are experiencing revival.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23,

21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

You see, it's not how religious we look, or how loudly we praise, or how much we speak in tongues, or how many people God heals through us. Rather, it's whether we do the will of God, humbling ourselves, praying and seeking after his face, repenting and turning from our own ways.

How about the time God came down to Mount Sinai? Would we say we're having revival if God came down and covered a mountain where we were having a church meeting? But in that revival, God ordered that whoever touched the mountain was to be stoned to death or shot with an arrow. Yikes.

How about the time the Ark of the Covenant was being brought back to God's people, and the priests headed toward the city carrying the very presence of God. Wow, that was certainly a time of great revival! Right? But don't forget the man who, when the cart carrying the Ark was about to fall over and he reached out to steady it, he was struck dead by God because things weren't being done as God had commanded.

Or how about the early days of the Church, in which just Peter's shadow could fall on someone as he walked by, and they would be healed? Wouldn't we say we're in the middle of a great revival? And yet when Annanias and Saphirah came to put money in the offering, they were struck dead by God because they had falsehood in their hearts.

What we tend to call revival is often just the moving of God, and the manifestation of his presence. And when this happens, we'd better hope and pray we are personally revived, because sin cannot stand in the true presence of God. It will be dealt with one way or another.

So we can take something very important home with us from these examples today.

First, revival is something personal. It's bringing ourselves low, humbling ourselves before God and in our own estimation, praying and seeking earnestly after the face of God, and repenting of our sins, and living lives of repentance and humility.

Second, the presence and manifestation of the presence of God are not revival. Rather, God, in his mercy, will often hold back his presence because we have not made ourselves ready for it.

So carefully consider whether what you are seeking is revival, or the presence and glory of God. There's nothing wrong with asking God to let us see his glory. There's nothing wrong with operating in the gifts of the Spirit. There's certainly nothing wrong with seeing the lost come to repentance.

But it is vital that each one of us has a personal revival. We need to truly come back to the Lord. We need to repent of creating God in our own image, the way we think he should be. And we need to repent of our pride, and of our seeking to please our own selves more than pleasing God.


Next time you turn on your TV and hear a preacher talking about how we need to love ourselves, and how our self-esteem is too low, and how we need to have self-confidence and self-worth, you would do well to change the channel, or turn it off and spend some time in prayer, praise, and the Word.

Personal revival won't come by raising our self-esteem. Whether we have low self-esteem or are puffed up in pride, either way our focus is in the wrong place. Both of these conditions are a side-effect of a life that is centered around and focused upon the wrong thing: ME.

Instead, we need to raise our God-esteem. We need to boast in Christ, and make him the center of our lives and the foundation of our identity. This is true humility, knowing the greatness of God well enough to realize that in ourselves, we are insignificant, not worthy of either pride or self-loathing, for both of these require more attention than we deserve.

But God thinks about us all the time. And those thoughts are so full of love, that they motivated him to send his Son, and they motivated Jesus to willingly die for our sins, so that we could be made right with God.

That is the great exchange. And as part of that exchange, we give up focusing on our own selves, battling with our own self-image and self-worth, and instead we focus upon Jesus, making pleasing him our passion. God is already focusing on you. He'll take care of you. You just seek his Kingdom and his Righteousness, and he will take care of the rest.


God wants to revive us. This may require that we be broken. This may require that we become barren and dry. This may require that everything we have and all we hold dear is stripped away from us.

Revival is not about feeling good and seeing great things happen. No, TRUE revival is about becoming small next to his greatness, emptying ourselves of all we think is so magnificent, laying all our attachments, our obsessions, our prejudices, our ambitions, and even our callings, at his feet, then taking hold of those feet and refusing to let go.

True revival is about cleansing, purification, humility, repentance, and allowing ourselves to be stripped of all we hold dear, and then seeking after the face of God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our strength.

Do you want to see God move in a mighty way? Then seek true revival. Get on your knees. Fast and pray. Crucify your flesh with its carnal desires. And get serious about getting out all the junk so you can come into contact with our holy and perfect God.


I'd like to ask the ministry team to come stand at the front now.


Do you want revival? Then embrace the truth. Truth is a vital part of true revival. For revival in the valley of dry bones, Ezekiel had to speak the Word of God. For revival as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the city, the people had to know the truth of how God wanted it transported. For revival in Second Chronicles, the people of God had to humble themselves and pray, and repent, knowing of necessity the truth about what pleases and displeases God. For revival in Annanias and Saphirah, they would have to had turned to truth and abandoned their falsehood.

And the truth is that, even though God loves to bless his people, the revival we need to see in our time is not one of financial prosperity, miracles, healings, or signs and wonders. Those things will come when and how God determines as we obey him.

But the revival we desperately need is one of getting serious with God, more serious than we are about taking our next breath. And God will not raise us up from our valley of dry bones as a great, jolly country club who rules the world. Rather, he will raise us up as a great army, to war in the spirit and go out and make a difference in our land; as it says in Ezekiel 37:10, "and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army."


Stand to your feet, and move out of your seats into the isle, and let's dedicate ourselves to true revival right here and right now.

Come to the front, and as we gather at the altar, let's put our focus in the right place.

Lord God, we cry out to you now! We are dry and thirsty, disjointed and without life. We are so comfortable in our grave yard, lounging in our valley of dry bones. We need to hear your Word, so that we are brought together, united by your truth. And we need for you to breathe upon us, and bring us back to life!

And as this service comes to an end, this time at the altar of seeking you will continue. Lord, we MUST humble ourselves and seek your face, because we can't do this in our own strength.

Right now we repent of our sin, and we turn from our wicked way! Reveal to us any wickedness in us, so we can walk in your way of righteousness, and keep our eyes upon you.


If you need to go, you're free to do so, and I urge you to continue this time of humble repentance as soon as you can; but if you can stay, please do. We'll have a time of fellowship in a little while in the room to your left, but for now, come and dedicate yourselves to true revival.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, or need prayer or ministry for any other reason, instant message someone on the ministry team.