Tag Archives: Word

5 Reasons for a Revival Meeting

Five Reasons For a Revival Meeting

Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Psalm 85:6

We need revival.  Every Christian needs the renewal, refreshment, and revitalization of commitment, perspective, and a deeper fellowship with God. Notice this study from several years ago:

“The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago recently released its finding from the first comprehensive study of spiritual beliefs in the former Soviet Union since the fall of communism. Among the most interesting findings is the large percentage of conversions from atheism. Twenty-two percent of the population at large said they were once atheists but now believe in God. Andrew Greeley, a sociologist at the University of Chicago, wrote a report on the findings and titled it “God Is Alive and Well and Living in Moscow” Greeley said, “It would seem, at least at first glance, to demonstrate that after the most serious attempt to obliterate religion in human history, they are experiencing the most dramatic religious revival in human history.””

The word Revive (Chayah) means to “restore life, make alive.”   Some believers have been saved for a while and have and lost the fire and joy of their salvation. Some go through the motions of Christianity while drying up spiritually inside.  Others do not even go through the motions anymore.

Backsliders today were in need of revival yesterday, but tragically, they neglected it.  That does not have to be the case!  Embrace your life in Christ.  Have hope for a closer walk with God today!

Evangelist and friend, Dr. Rich Flanders identified 4 ideas that hinder Revival in his book “Back to Normal.”   He said:

  1. “Let’s define revival from history.”
  2. “Let’s improve the plan of salvation.”
  3. “Let’s not talk too much about the Holy Spirit.”
  4. “Let’s get in touch with this new generation.”

Those are definite ways to hinder revival and we could do those things purposefully – or accidentally, if we not think about it.

When Paul wrote to the local churches he expressed that, many times he found hope, encouragement, and refreshment in their testimony and steadfastness.  Their walk with Jesus renewed Paul’s joy.  If you are living in revival, you will encourage others too!

2 Corinthians 7:13 says, “Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.”  Again in 2 Timothy 1:16, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:”

Evangelist Gypsy Smith, was asked what the secret of revival is. He said, “Go home. Take a piece of chalk. Draw a circle around yourself. Then pray, ‘O Lord, revive everything inside this circle.’”  Put yourself in that circle today and ask the Lord for revival in your own heart and life.

King David lost his joy.  Following his selfish sins with Bathsheba, the cover up and murder of Uriah, he confesses to God in Psalm 51:12, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”  If you do not have an inner, long-lasting happiness and satisfaction in Jesus, you can have it restored in your life today – through revival.

Here are 5 areas affected by personal revival…

  1. Your Heart. Ephesians 4:23 speaks, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

Now, my perception of self-shifts from being selfish to being Biblically accurate.  My emotions are controlled.  I am not easily offended.  Where I may have been depressed, now I am thinking of God and others.  Where I may have been discouraged, I find my self-worth in Jesus.  It could be that I was defiant to rules, authority, or leadership; now I am submissive to the Holy Spirit.  Bitterness is not allowed to take root because I deal with disappointment on a daily basis.  My anger is under the control of God.  My relationship with God is primary, and my relationship with others is prioritized.  Like Mark 12:30 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

2. Your Hope. Philemon 1:20 encourages, “Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.”

Paul anticipated, expected refreshing, and change for better when hearing about Onesimus and Philemon.  We can have the same confident expectation of the Lord.  God can change us!  If we are not willing to admit our sin, wrong thinking, or guilt, then hope for change is diminished.  That is the beauty of confession of sin.  Sin is something that can be repented of and then a change in life and action can take root.

Sin does not need to control you – you have hope for change following confession.   I no longer need to drown in the sea of temptations, the Lord will deliver me.  Revival brings about this hope for change.

Bible hope comes from God.  Observe 2 Thessalonians 2:16, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.”

Our hope is also in Christ.  Our hope is not money, personality, ability, or other men – our hope is found in Jesus Himself.   1 Timothy 1:1 says, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.”

Christians can lose hope from time to time.  We lose hope when we focus on now instead of tomorrow.   Problems can be BIG, but God is BIGGER.  Today may be terrible, but tomorrow is much better!  Don’t let fear, anxiety, and worry define your life.  Look to Jesus. Titus 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

3. Your Help. Psalm 138:7 teaches, Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

God is our help in times of trouble. II Corinthians 4:8-10 says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”  Notice the contrast of terrible situations with the deliverance and helping hand of the Lord in those verses..

When it seems “all hope is lost” find help in Jesus.  Call out to Him.  Pray to God the Father in Jesus’ name.   Help is found in prayer.  Hebrews 4:16 emphatically states, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

4. Your Healing. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a common verse preached concerning revival. Please read it again: “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.”

Humility, praying, turning to God and turning from sin are all active parts of repentance and true revival.  We cannot be healed until the need for healing is admitted.  A relationship cannot be restored until a confession of the need of restoration is made.  A marriage cannot be mended until contrition of sin, bitterness, or resentment is expressed.  A renewal of commitment to Bible reading, prayer, church participation, and witnessing cannot be made until a confession of those things being lacking is made.  Simply put- you cannot fix what is not believed to be broken.

Let revival begin the healing process in every part of your life.

5. Your Honor. Romans 8:6-8 admonishes: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

It is possible for a Christian to live like a “dead man” for a short time.  To have a fleshly, or carnal mind is living against God and that brings about death.  Some Christians are decaying from the inside out because they have loved their sin more than Jesus.

In contrast, Life and peace come about from a life yielded to the Holy Spirit.  This is a person who is developing, and growing in the Lord and is “spiritually minded.”

If you find yourself struggling with your flesh, being quick to anger in your heart and mind, or are not able to overcome the temptation to live after your human nature, you need revival.  Come back to the first things that you learned when you were saved.  Determine with God’s help, that the renewed, refreshed life in Jesus is something that you will ask, seek, and find each day.  With all the honor of your being commit to glorify and honor the Lord.

The Wilton Baptist Church covenant is a good summary of the Christian life.  While these expectations are the goals we have committed to, there will be times that we sin, deviate from theses principles or do wrong.  It is not the letter of the law, but the spirit of the life that really counts.  I may not live up to these concepts perfectly, but “I am trying to.”  With God’s grace, have an attitude of “I will do the best I can and when I mess up, I will confess it, seek forgiveness, and keep moving forward for and with Jesus.”

“Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of our Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.”

“We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.”

“We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to Biblically educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from worldly amusements; to be free from all oath-bound secret societies and partnerships with unbelievers; to abstain from the use of tobacco in any form, narcotic drugs, or intoxicating drink as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.”

“We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure reconciliation without delay.”

“We moreover engage that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.”

When the Revival Meetings comes, the tv and media players, and cell phones are turned off, the Bible is opened, and we ask the Spirit of God to work. We put ourselves in a place to allow the Lord to work in our lives.  Time is set aside and specified for a special working of God in our lives.

These are five good reasons to have a revival meeting.  I trust you will pray and plan to be here at Wilton Baptist for our revival meetings. Discover the HOPE and Christian life that God has for you at revival meeting.

Outside of the Apostle Paul and Jesus Himself, some preachers would say that C.H. Spurgeon was the greatest preacher who ever lived.  He said: “A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or day-dawn without light.”

What a good thought.  Find the joy of your salvation.  Discover the hope that revival brings.  Develop the attitude and mind of Christ that spiritual renewal brings with it.

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Prayer Changes Us

Prayer Changes Us

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  John 15:7

“A fifth grade boy who had heard a sermon on persistence in prayer was praying by himself in his room one night. As his dad passed his door, he heard the boy praying over and over again, “Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo.” The next day, the dad asked his son what he was doing. The boy replied that he had given the wrong answer on a test for the capital of Mexico, and he was praying that Tokyo would become the capital of Mexico.”

Some people pray trying to “fix” a situation or change the way things are.  What if prayer changed us more than the situation?  It is very possible. Observe.

  1. When we pray the will or Word of God, we are “in tune” with God’s plan.
  2. When we pray for the will of God, we are asking for more than merely what we think is best.
  3. When we pray in the will of God, we are demonstrating faith and confidence that “His way is best.”
  4. When we pray the Word of God, we are allowing His presence in us to be more evident.
  5. When we pray in God’s will, we are able to rest, have peace, and totally rely on His working it out. All the while, the practice of prayer is also changing us.

While pray does “change things” – it can also change us!

 

 

 

 

 

We All Start Somewhere

We all Start Somewhere

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:                  1 Peter 2:2

John Maxwell tells this astute story: “A group of tourists visiting a picturesque village walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked him, “Were any great men born in this village?” The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.”

Whether you have been saved 4 days, 4 months, 4 years, or 44 years, the Lord has called you to be a “Growing Christian.”  We all start at the same place in our relationship to God.  When we are “born again,” at the moment of our believing in the Gospel, we start a new, spiritual life.

The Bible is what new and old Christians are nurtured with.  The more we read and apply, hear and change, study and implement, the more we grow to be like Jesus.  None of us are born “great.”  We are born to serve a “great God!”

One sad truth in Christianity is that some believers never grow up spiritually.  This has been a problem since the start of the church.  The letters to the churches that Paul wrote were in many cases to help the young churches to grow up in their faith. From lustful desires to hateful relationships, the early church needed to grow.

When we do not desire the Word like a baby desires milk, we do not grow like we should.  Examples include:

  • Continuing to be Stubborn in Spirit.
  • Consistently Rebellious in Heart.
  • Contentment in Judging Others.
  • Complaining to Feel Better.
  • Character Assignations of Others.
  • Charging into a Talk with Anger.

Brethren, if you are behaving like the points above, you have some areas to grow up in.  It could be that you think yourself to have “arrived” but you may not give as much value or as much of a lasting testimony to the work of God in your life.  Your behavior is reflecting who you really are.  Your “being” is still in childhood. Feeding on the desires of the flesh and the pride of life need to be exchanged for feeding on the Word of God.  You can do better than being a “Big Baby.”  God can help you grow out of spiritual infanthood.

You got to eat. We must consistently read, study, hear, and apply the Bible to our lives. Decide to grow up in Jesus by consuming more of the Word today.

Salvation is the start to a lifetime of growing and becoming more like Jesus.  Don’t’ just start.  Start and finish.  We do not “arrive” until we get to Heaven. Give grace to others along the way.  Decide to be more like Jesus. Then. Be. Like. Him.

 

 

 

 

When God’s Word Grows

When God’s Word Grows

 “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”  Acts 12:24

People were being saved. Lives were changed. The church was overcoming intense persecution.  More people were saved.  Many were added to the church.  Church leaders were imprisoned.  The Lord led several jail breaks.  In Acts chapter 12, Peter is released from jail by the Lord and walks to a church prayer meeting in the upper room at Mark’s mothers house.  Rhoda answered the door and did not believe it – Peter was supposed to be in jail.  The Lord did a miracle in this escape.  So many miracles are accounted for in the Book of Acts.

When the Bible says: “The Word of God Grew” it does not mean that their “Bible” was getting bigger.  While the entire Bible was not yet committed to parchment, it does not mean new books of the Bible were being written.  It means two things:  The number of Christians increased and the level of discipleship increased in each believer.  Consider how we as Christians are responsible to put ourselves in a place where we see the Word of God growing in our lives.

More People.  Many churches and individual Christians settle on the idea that spiritual growth is exclusive of numerical growth, but that is not correct thinking.  When the Word grew in the book of Acts, more people were saved and numbers of more people were added to the local church.  Avoid spiritualizing the lack of visitors at church, or the lack of people being saved as a “sign of the times” or a lack of spiritual interest on the part of others.  It could be we do not see the church grow because we do not care that it grows, do not think that it can grow or in selfishness do not want it to grow. May the Lord grow His word in our hearts so that we in response live it and give in and the yield can be an increase in the numbers of people attending church.

Greater Maturity. Spirit growth is a goal in each Christians life.  Becoming more like Jesus is what the Christian life is all about.  Philippians 2:5 says imperatively: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Developing the mind of Christ happens when we not only read through the Bible, but let the Bible get through us.  To think, speak, and act like Jesus is a natural progression for a spiritualy focused person.  Each day we are striving to be more like Him.  This can only happen as we read the Word, hear the Word preached, and practice living the Word.

Bible reading and Bible study can change your life.  There was a man named William McPherson who read through the Bible faithfully.  The American Bible Society reports: “He was the superintendent for a stone quarry when a blast severely injured him. He lost his eyesight and both hands in the explosion. He was determined to read the Bible, and learned to read raised letters with the tip of his tongue. It is said that he read through the Bible four times in this manner.”  The Word grew in his life.

For some of us when God’s Word grows in us, we will go to church more often.  Others will read the Bible more frequently.  Some will step up to a teaching or support role in the church.  There are many needs in a local church for Christians who are continuing their spiritual growth.  If you have arrived spiritually, please do not apply for a position. Churches need people who are consistently allowing God’s Word to grow in their lives.

No matter what may happen to you in the coming days, you can rely on God’s Word to help you.  Persecution, trouble, health issues, job loss, loved ones hurting – no matter what – the Bible will help you get through it.  The miracle for us today is the same as it was back then.  We will not see jail doors open or the laying on of hands for healing, but we can see the miracle of people being saved, lives and families being changed, and new people coming to church.  We can see the Word of God multiplied in our lives and in the lives of those around us as we decide to be more like Jesus each day.

When God’s Word grows, it includes more people developing greater maturity in allowing the Word to shape their mind to be like Christ.

 

 

Uncovering the Mysteries of the Bible

Uncovering the Mysteries of the Bible

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  Matthew 13:10-11

We all tend to enjoy “mysteries.”  From playing “Clue” to possibly watching Colombo, many readers like to uncover the facts and solve a mystery.  The New Testament speaks at least 14 times about “mysteries.”  In order to understand the mysteries, the first mention of it, in the Gospels, must be understood.  The Mysteries of the Kingdom of God can be understood!  The “mysteries” of the New Testament were not previously understood by Old Testament Saints.  The Lord reveals these mysteries to the Christians who are searching for the answers in the Word.

Recently I drove by a modern castle about 30 minutes from where we live in upstate, New York.  This huge house did not have a large wall around it, but it would have looked great if it did.  Near Lexington Kentucky, there is a beautiful castle that someone lives in as a residence.  I have driven by many times.

Imagine a giant door to a castle.  Perhaps a European styled castle.  What is on the other side of the door?  Who is on the inside of the wall?  How can I get into this place?  Heaven is a wonder place where Jesus is today!  How can I go there?  Then as a Christian, how can I have access to God and know more about God?

The Kingdom of Heaven has one door, one entrance, and one key that unlocks the door so a person can go in.

Mysteries in the Bible are Understood when we know the following three truths:

Jesus is the Door.  Matthew 13:10-17 is the first time “mystery” is mentioned and it is in direct correlation to the first parable Jesus gives about the Farmer planting the seed of the Word of God.

John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

To Understand God, You Must Know Jesus. Jesus was talking, but the people were not listening.  He was in front of them, but they did not see Him.  People who refuse Jesus are blind and deaf when it comes to the parables that Jesus taught.  The parables had clear earthly illustrations in them.  At the same time, they contained a Heavenly or spiritual meaning.  A person who does not believe Jesus may think of a parable as a good story or merely entertainment.  Hearing the parable, the still do not heat the real message.

There is a Penalty for Refusing Jesus.  These people who refused to believe Jesus and hear His message could not understand His teaching.  In fact, the curse on a person who is given the truth and refuses it is that they will not understand.  Being left in the dark is not a good place to be if you are a detective!

The Door that needs opened to understand the mystery of the Kingdom is Jesus.  The comprehension and understanding of any of the other mysteries depends on what you do with Jesus.  Believe or not believe.

The Bible is the Entrance.  This is the idea of a Door Frame or threshold.  Mark 4:10-13 indicates that what a person believes about the Bible makes a big difference.  In fact, without the Word, we would now know how to be saved. 

A person can enter if: the Bible is the Authority and the Bible is trusted.  Then the Door can be opened.  In this parable, the Seed of the Word of God receives various responses.  Each response is indicative of the condition of a human heart.

Why Then Do Some Fall Away?  It seems that come allow the Word to entire their life then fall away.  Why?

  • Some were not believers to begin with. The seed is on the “way side.”  Mark 4:15 tells how Satan steals the seed of the Word.
  • Some have big troubles that come and are not rooted. Mark 4:16-17
    • They are happy for a moment then fade away.
    • They have no “depth” in their Christianity.
    • There are many shallow Christians. Bible reading, prayer, witnessing, church attendance are the start of depth.  Most are unfaithful in this.
    • These uprooted are not in the Bible so the deeper things of God are unknown to them.
  • Some Have Temptations that are Powerful. Mark 4:18-19
    • The cares of this world.
    • Riches and money.
    • The lust for stuff.
    • These things choke out the Word. These are too busy for the things of God.
    • They are not focused on the Lord and His Word so they do not understand the deeper things of the Kingdom of God.
  • Some grow in the Things of God. Mark 4:20
    • They accept the Word.
    • They let the Word grow.
    • They see fruit in their life.

Our Response to God’s Word is what reveals His mysteries to us.

Radio preacher J Vernon McGee said: “If a man wants to know the Word of God, he can know it. He who wants to know the truth can know it. But you can shut your ears to it. There are multitudes of so-called broadminded people who shut their ears to the Word of God. If you don’t want to hear it, you won’t hear it, my friend. Not only would you fail to hear it, but you wouldn’t understand it if you did hear it. You must have the kind of ear that wants to hear the Word of God.”

Faith is the Key in Luke 8:9-18.

Jesus said in Mathew 16:17 “… Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  Since eternal life is a spiritual proposition, it cannot be attained or understood in mere physical terms.

What is Required to Enter the Kingdom?  What is needed to Open the Door and Go Through the Entrance?  Faith!  Faith in Jesus and His Gospel is what is needed!  Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

What is Required to Know Jesus and Understand the Word? Faith! Hebrews 11:6 declares, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

This concept concerning faith is thoughtfully captures in this old song:

“Prayer is the key to Heaven,
But faith unlocks the door;
Words are so easily spoken,
But prayer without faith
Is like a boat without an oar.

Have faith when you speak to the Master,
That’s all he asks you for;
Prayer is the key to Heaven,
But faith unlocks the door.”

The Mysteries of the Kingdom of God can be understood!   The mystery is this: the truth is in plain sight, but some do not understand it because of a lack of faith…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Back on Track

Getting Back on Track

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.  Psalm 119:67

Every day it occurs; a vehicle or some form of transportation leaves its intended course.  The result is a crash, with many of these wrecks being deadly to the human passengers.   A car goes off the road, a train derails off the tracks, a ship or airplane goes off course.   Whenever the vehicle goes off of its intended path and direction there is damage, and trouble.  The loss of life, cleanup, and expenses are enormous.  The same is true concerning the path we take in our lives.  When we get off the path, we need help getting back on!  Going off God’s intended path for us is damaging, costly, and hurtful for us as well.  The Lord has given us clear directions for right and wrong, for Christian living as opposed to worldly living.

In the verse above you will notice the Psalm writer went astray and then affliction came along that got his attention.  In fact, after the affliction, he was better able to obey God’s Word.  Affliction has to do with distress, and difficult events that severely affect a person.  It would seem like all affliction is bad, but sometimes affliction can work out for the good!  Later on in the Psalm 119:71 he says: It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The Lord allowed or sent the affliction to His servant so that the person wondering astray could get back on track.  What a wonderful God we have, Who is willing to help us get back on the right path.  May the Lord help us to learn from the moments of life we are given, (those abounding moments and those affliction moments), and grow closer to the Lord and to get back on or continue on the path that He would have us to go.