Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Revival

Kevin DeYoung on what revival looks like:
The year is roughly 640 B.C. Judah is in bad shape. After some good years with King Hezekiah, the nation has gone down hill in a big way with fifty-five years under the wicked Manasseh. The next two years under King Amon were hardly better: “And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done. He walked in all the way in which his father walked and served the idols that his father served and worshiped them” (2 Kings 21:20-21).

The country looked bleak. God’s people were languishing. There wasn’t a lot to cheer about.

But God, by a sovereign, surprising work of his Spirit, brought reformation and breathed new life into his people. The God-given renewal in Judah, like all true revival, was marked by several distinguishing characteristics. Let me mention five.

The first and most important mark is a rediscovery of the Word of God (2 Kings 22:1-2, 8-10). Can you imagine this scene? Someone on your church staff comes up from the boiler room, “Pastor, you are not going to believe this. I found a Bible down there! Remember hundreds of years ago when we used to read the Bible. Well, I found one! And I have to tell you, I think we’re in big trouble. I’ve been looking at God’s commandments for us, and we are way off.” ....

The second mark of true revival is a restored sense of the fear of God (2 Kings 22:11-17). Here’s something to put on your prayer list: “Lord, help me fear you more than I fear people.” ....

The third mark of true revival is a return to God through confession and repentance (2 Kings 22:18-20). A broken heart and a contrite spirit God will not despise. .... True repentance is an about-face–a turning away from the ugliness of sin and running to God for mercy. ....

The fourth mark of true revival is renewed spiritual commitment and accountability (2 Kings 23:1-3). .... When God brought revival, his people began to say to each other, “It’s time to ante up. Time to recommit.” There was more than an individual experience of refreshment. There was a public, corporate commitment to godliness. ....

And finally, true revival is marked by a reformation of true piety (2 Kings 23:21-25). When revival comes to a church or community, piety is reformed. People start to live like they profess. Instead of blending in with their cultural surroundings, God’s people stand out. They return to God and reform their ways. They pursue faithfulness to the word, not the fashions of the world. .... [more]
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