INTRO: Those of you who have known me for many years probably realize that one of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 119. When I sit with my Bible on my lap, I have often turned to this great psalm. Just why it is such a favorite of mine I am not certain ... except that it extols the many and varied virtues of the word of God. Recently, I was sitting in a restaurant in Mexico having breakfast and reading this psalm. And I noticed something of which I had not been aware. Among the great affirmations about the word of God in his life, there are little prayers or petitions. Then, I went back to verse 1 and began to note each of those little sentence prayers. They are so practical! They are so down to earth! They are so akin to my own needs! Over a few weeks, I want to take notice of some of them. Interestingly, the first of these little pleas I noticed is this one: revive me, O Lord, according unto thy word.
I REALITY: WE MAY ALL COME TO DOWN TIMES IN OUR LIVES
A. Ps 138:7 - Though I walk in the midst of trouble...
1. that little statement perhaps explains the reason
2. there are very few lives, if any, which will be trouble free
B. Some of the very real causes of those down times...
1. physical problems (debilitating disease, aging, etc.)
2. economic problems (loss of jobs, unforeseen necessary expenses)
3. family problems (marital, children, etc.)
4. disappointments (expectations dashed, high hopes not met)
5. guilt because of sin (sin not abandoned, guilt not resolved)
6. guilt because of our own failures (this is so often not truly justified, but is just as real nevertheless)
7. lifes pressures (job related, time related)
C. I dont know what caused the psalmists prayer for revival
1. but I know he was a real person who had the real problems of life
2. and as I look at the little list I suggested, he could certainly relate to several of the causes there
II WE EITHER...
A. Find a way to spiritual revival
B. Or, we continue into deep despair
C. And despair is not a happy option, so...
III HOW CAN WE GET TO THE REVIVAL FOR WHICH WE PRAY?
A. I suggest we must pray for revival as the psalmist did
1. prayer indicates a consciousness of need - an awareness
2. prayer indicates a dependency on God - some of our causes for those down times may really be beyond our control ... and we must trust Him
3. prayer takes us to the real power in the universe ... to God
B. I suggest that we need to meditate on Gods blessings
1. Ps 73:2,17 - lifes circumstances are enough to cause distresses
2. somehow, though, we must life our eyes above them to our wealth
3. Ps 71:17,18 - Now also when I am old... - keep the blessings always in view ... proclaim them!
C. I suggest that we must spend time with/in Gods word
1. remember, the plea? revive me, O Lord, according to thy word
2. meditating in the word brings us to recalling Gods promises - assurance
3. meditating in the word brings us to solutions - Gods way
4. meditating in the word renews our confidence in the nature of God
5. meditating in the word is refreshing (Amos 8:11,12) - I submit to you that a person of spiritual desire will always be refreshed by spending time with the word of God
D. I suggest that we must worship with Gods people
1. too many people in turmoil, trial withdraw themselves from the assembly
2. recall Eph 4:16 - there is a supplying within the body and an encouraging in our collective worship which is vital to life ... and revival
3. Ps 122:1 - note when they said and let us go -
E. I suggest there are times we must seek forgiveness from God
1. when sin is dragging us down, abandon it; seek forgiveness
2. Ps 51:10-13 - sin had plunged David into spiritual trouble ... life trouble ... and he now dealing with it as he should
3. is it possible that more often than not forgiveness will play a very definite part in our plea for revival?
F. I suggest that we might need to reorder priorities
1. lifes demands will take us away from spiritually strengthening things
2. but most of lifes demands are within the scope of our control
3. are our life plans made without proper consideration for God?
CLOSE: Your life will have its peaks and valleys. It is in the valleys that we need to join the psalmist in pleading: Revive me, O Lord.
Cecil A. Hutson
14 November 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “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.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)