Revive Us – Holy Spirit

Revive Us – Holy Spirit

Revival is a spiritual reawakening, waking us up to something we’ve been neglecting. The “re” in revival means we’ve been awake once, but have fallen asleep so we need reawakened. Jesus said, “For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Matthew 26:40-41

We Christians are bound to mess up, to fall asleep, to get distracted in this big, crazy world. We tend to have seasons in our lives when we get comfortable, complacent to the world around us, and then distant from God. We know He’s there, we still think He’s great, but He’s not on the forefront of our minds. As common as that may be, it’s not okay. We need revival, something to open our eyes back up to what we are missing and neglecting. And that something is the Holy Spirit.

Revival starts by the Holy Spirit creating an awareness in us that something is missing or wrong in our life. In turn, the person responds from the heart, acknowledging their need. Then, in a powerful way, the Holy Spirit draws back the veil that the world has cast over the truth, allowing us now to fully see ourselves in comparison to God’s holiness, bringing a great awe of who God is and His truly amazing grace.

Over the last month as we’ve been leading up to the Revival on the Farm, we’ve been defining what revival means and its effects on individuals and communities. Though the word ‘revival’ isn’t found in the Bible, there are many scriptural accounts of significant outpourings of God’s Spirit on His people, times of spiritual reform, times of awakening in the spiritual lives of God’s people. These accounts show us how we might experience this same revival in our lives and in our church today.

WORD OF GOD

So far, we’ve talked about getting into the Word of God and how the Word is the primary way God speaks to us. Without it, not only do we miss great opportunities for God to speak to us, we also don’t learn God’s ways. In order to know God and His God’s will for our lives, we have to read His Word, study it, memorize it, know it. And above all, do what it says.

If you are a follower of Jesus, if you call yourself a Christian, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, you need to be in the Bible every single day. Imagine eating only on Sunday and going with nothing except water the other six days every week. You might survive, but you certainly aren’t going to be very healthy.

When King Josiah in 2 Kings 22 found the Book of Law, God’s Word, he was overwhelmed by God’s holiness and immediately shared that holiness with the people. And with the reading of God’s Word to all the people, returning to God’s Word after it had been hidden for at least 57 years, revival literally began.

The Word of God should cause us, like Josiah, to take action immediately and reform our lives and bring them into harmony with God’s will. Today, many people own Bibles, but few are actually affected by the truths found in it, mostly because we don’t open the book.

So I asked you to read Psalm 119 that week. And in almost every one of the 176 verses, the writer talks about the Word of God, the His commands, decrees, instructions, law, regulations. And in verse 9, the writer asks how do we stay pure in a contaminated environment, recognizing that we can’t do it on our own. And the next line is “by reading God’s Word.”

When we devote ourselves to Scripture, we will experience a revival of faith in our lives.

PRAYER

We also talked about prayer and how God’s Word and Prayer go hand in hand, as that is the primary way for us to have a two-way conversation with God, to be connected with Him.

Nehemiah’s commitment to prayer enabled him and the returned exiles to have the faith and perseverance to rebuild Jerusalem and renew their city. The entire book of Nehemiah is saturated with prayer, just like his life was. And just the same, prayer has to saturate our lives and churches if we want to experience revival.

REPENTANCE

Then we talked about repentance. And who better to hear from about repentance than John the Baptist whose role was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. He preached to large crowds of people that the Messiah was coming, in fact, He’s here so now is the time to repent, get straight with God.

God’s desire is that we repent and turn away from the sins we’ve committed, as well as the burdens of sin and guilt that weigh us down. You don’t have to be defined by the worst things you’ve ever done. And you don’t have to be tomorrow who you were yesterday. God wants to forgive you. Hence why He sent His son, Jesus to suffer and die to redeem you.

Transformation within ourselves and in the communities must include a sincere turning from sin and repenting. Repenting is confessing that we’ve done wrong. Simply put, it’s an apology. It’s then turning from the wrong to do better, aiming this time at the target. Repenting reconciles us back to God and allows our relationship with God to grow.

HOLY SPIRIT

When John the Baptist was preaching, he said in Matthew 3:11:

11 “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

Last, but certainly not least, we must consider the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit’s presence in any revival movement—locally or globally, in the heart, your home or in the community. None of this can be done without the Holy Spirit. And that’s okay because Jesus promised the Holy Spirit just before His arrest and death.

John 14:15-17

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

When we speak of the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God, we are speaking of God’s active work in our daily lives. It’s God’s way of leading us, guiding us, forming and shaping us. It’s God’s power and presence to comfort and encourage us. The Spirit is the voice of God whispering, wooing, and motioning us. And in listening to this voice and being shaped by this power, we find that we become revived.

The Holy Spirit is in both the Old and New Testaments. However, among the key differences between the Old Testament and New Testament understandings of the Holy Spirit is that most often in the Old Testament, the Spirit’s work is in the leaders of Israel. Where is in the New Testament, Joel’s words are fulfilled, and it’s the ordinary people who receive God’s Spirit.

The arrival of the Holy Spirit in the disciples is recorded in the book of Acts as taking place during the Festival of the First Harvest, which we know as Pentecost. This was the start of the harvest season and was one of three annual festivals that God required all the Jews to gather in Jerusalem for.

Passover was another of the three festivals, and like at Passover, thousands and thousands of Jews from many nations, with many different languages, were already gathered when the Holy Spirit arrived.

And something else interesting to know is that this was just 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection (during Passover), 10 days after He ascended to Heaven and told the disciples to made disciples baptizing and teaching them everything He taught them.

Acts 2:1-21

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

5 At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!…. 10 And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.

13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”

14 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. 15 These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. 16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: (Joel 2:28-32)

17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,

‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit

even on my servants—men and women alike—

and they will prophesy.

19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below—

blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

20 The sun will become dark,

and the moon will turn blood red

before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.

21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord

will be saved.’

Not everything mentioned in Joel 2 was happening that particular morning. The “last days” are all the days between Christ’s first and second comings and is another way of saying from now on.

I love this image of the Spirit: A rushing, violent wind comes in a very powerful way! And there’s a connection between this image and the creation story in Genesis. In the creation story, God breathed into the man and woman filling them and giving them life. Here God breathes upon the followers (over them) and fills them and makes them new.

Remember on Mount Sinai, when God gave the 10 Commandments. He came down on the top of the mountain in the form of fire to confirm the power of the law. But no one could get close to Him. He was on the top of the mountain and the people were huddled at the bottom.

But at Pentecost, God comes in the form of fire again, this time spreading out on all the disciples. Confirming the power of the Holy Spirit has arrived for everyone and you can be near Him. In fact, He now lives inside of you!

Remember that famous curtain that hung in the temple that was torn at Jesus’ death to show that you can now go straight to God. There’s nothing standing in between you and Him. Here God is again saying, I’m coming to you. There is nothing going to keep God from you and you from God.

And He’s also symbolling that He wants us to spread what He’s giving us. And that’s what Peter and the others do. The speech Peter gave, in today’s terms, went viral – given to an international audience. And it’s very likely that the Jews who responded to Peter’s message returned to their homelands with the Good News and spread it like wild fire.

See how God always has a plan way greater than what we can make. For instance, in the book of Acts when Paul and the other messengers were out spreading the word, there were often cities that already had a few believers in them. How? Because they were the ones at Pentecost when this great miracle happened.

In fact, 3,000 people became believers that first day. And now the celebration was not only of crops, but of…new believers. This should be the pattern in our lives too. That when we are on fire for God, people see it. But first we have to ignite the fire. We have to change ourselves.

The evidence of revival is changed lives. Believers are once again spending time in prayer, reading and obeying God’s Word. There’s confession of sin and repentance. Believers begin to powerfully use their spiritual gifts. True Christian revival is life-giving for everyone touched by it.

I think many Christians live Spirit-deficient lives, a bit like someone who is sleep deprived, or oxygen deprived. As a result, our spiritual lives are weak, and we continue to try living the Christian life by our own power and wisdom, but it just doesn’t work. Then we get frustrated and give up.

But when recognize that it’s not by our power that we will change or be revived in a way to change this world, and we listen to the voice of the Spirit and open ourselves to the Spirit’s work, something miraculous happens.

The real ‘event’ of the Pentecost is the empowerment the disciples had by the Holy Spirit.

Luke goes on to describe the new community of believers that forms as a result of the Holy Spirit’s arrival.

Acts 2:41-47

41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. 42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

An extraordinary transformation of the people takes place when true revival happens. It changes how we live, work, and relate. It changes everything. And the gifts of the Holy Spirit are never private. The Spirit’s presence in the lives of men and women always affects others and many times whole communities.