Conditions That Make Revival Crucial

Bible Book: Psalms  85 : 6
Subject: Revival; Renewal; Evil Generation; Commitment; Dedication

Psalm 85:6

There are probably few Christians attending church regularly, who are unfamiliar with 2 Chron.7: 14, which says:

“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.”

That verse embodies what is usually thought of as the principles and promises of revival. In those relatively brief words, we find a most vivid definition of revival. You may have heard them over and over throughout your life; but they are no less true today than the day you first heard them.

However, it isn’t the principles and promises of revival I am concerned with today, but the precursor of it. You see, real revival stems from an acute sense of spiritual neediness. In that sense it is somewhat like salvation. One cannot acquire what he doesn’t yet realize he needs.

If ever we needed to realize how needy we are before God, it is now. If ever we needed to ask the question, “Wilt thou not revive us again?” It is now.

I want to talk about some spiritual conditions in the life of a Christian or a church that indicates the need for revival. May we be willing to let the Holy Spirit of God examine our hearts today.

I. When Our Heart Is Crowded

A. Worldly Affections Can Crowd Our Heart

It’s awfully easy to allow the things of this life to crowd Jesus off the throne of our heart. 2 Tim.2:4a “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life…”

2 Timothy 4:10a, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…”

The Bible likens the Church’s relationship to Christ, to that between a husband and his wife (Eph.5: 22-25). Just as marriage partners are to be faithful, and set apart for one another, even so is the Church, and the individuals that comprise it, to be totally committed to Christ. Vance Havner once said: “A wife who is 85% faithful to her husband is not faithful at all. There is no such thing as part- time loyalty to Jesus Christ.” Christian, if you’re trying to court the world while professing faithfulness to Christ, you’re only fooling yourself. You’re unfaithful to Christ. James, the brother of our Lord put it this way:

James 4: 4 “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God.” (NLT)

We are to keep the things of God as our main focus.

Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

1 John 2: 15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

One of the greatest problems among God’s people in our day isn’t so much that of committing gross sin, as it is that of plain ole worldliness of attitude and action.

The Bible defines worldliness by centering morality where we intuitively know it should be. Worldliness is the lust of the flesh (a passion for sensual satisfaction), the lust of the eyes (an inordinate desire for the finer things of life), and the pride of life (self-satisfaction in who we are, what we have, and what we have done). Worldliness, then, is a preoccupation with ease and affluence. It elevates creature comfort to the point of idolatry; large salaries and comfortable lifestyles become necessities of life.

Worldliness is reading magazines about people who live hedonistic lives and spend too much money on themselves and wanting to be like them. But more importantly, worldliness is simply pride and selfishness in disguises. It's being resentful when someone snubs us or patronizes us or shows off. It means smarting under every slight, challenging every word spoken against us, cringing when another is preferred before us. Worldliness is harboring grudges, nursing grievance, and wallowing in self-pity. These are the ways in which we are most like the world.

Dave Roper, The Strength of a Man, quoted in Family Survival in the American Jungle, Steve Farrar, 1991, Multnomah Press, p.68.

B. Wrong Associations Can Crowd Our Heart

Proverbs 1:10, 15, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path.”

Proverbs 4:14, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.” Christians are to be world changers, not changed by the world.

Some years ago, musicians noted that errand boys in a certain part of London all whistled out of tune as they went about their work. It was talked about and someone suggested that it was because the bells of Westminster were slightly out of tune. Something had gone wrong with the chimes and they were discordant. The boys did not know there was anything wrong with the peals, and quite unconsciously they had copied their pitch.

So we tend to copy the people with whom we associate; we borrow thoughts from the books we read and the programs to which we listen, almost without knowing it. God has given us His Word which is the absolute pitch of life and living. If we learn to sing by it, we shall easily detect the false in all of the music of the world. Donald Grey Barnhouse.

C. Wrested Authority Can Crowd Our Heart

Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

1 Peter 5:6,“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

D. Wicked Amusements Can Crowd Our Heart

1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

II. When Our Heart Is Cold

A. Cold In Our Love

Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

It’s sometimes appalling to hear of the things human beings do to other human beings. What’s even more appalling is the indifference with which society as a whole often views the suffering of others.

Kitty Genovese was the young woman who was murdered in a New York residential section while at least 38 neighbors watched from their windows. During the course of the 30-minute assault, no one even telephoned the police. Studies have uncovered some surprising facts about these people.

Interviews revealed that they were not totally indifferent, as many had suspected. The main reason nobody did anything was that each person thought someone else would take the initiative to get help. Source Unknown.

B. Cold Toward Our Lord

Like the church of Ephesus, many saints have waned in their love for the Lord. Revelations 2:4b, “…thou hast left thy first love.”

Our waning love for the Lord reveals itself in our conduct. John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

C. Cold Toward The Lost

Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”

1 Corinthians 9:22, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

It’s awfully easy, because of the busyness of our lives, to forget the fact that one day Jesus is going to return, and our lost loved ones, friends and neighbors, will be left behind.

A recent novel by Madeleine L’Engle is entitled A Severed Wasp. If you’re addressing young people or some other audience with strong stomachs, the title, which comes from one of George Orwell’s essays, offers a graphic image of human lostness. Orwell describes a wasp that “was sucking jam on my plate and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him.”

The wasp and people without Christ have much in common. Severed from their souls, but greedy and unaware, people continue to consume life’s sweetness. Only when it’s time to fly away will they grasp their dreadful condition. Source Unknown.

III. When Our Heart Is Corrupt

A. What We See Can Corrupt Our Heart

Psalms 101:3a, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes…”

It’s no secret that Satan often uses the eyes in our head (our physical eyes) to divert the eyes of our heart (our spiritual eyes). Therefore, we must be careful what we focus on, both physically and spiritually. We must diligently keep Jesus clearly in focus in our daily lives, as this story suggests:

Keep Your Eyes On Jesus

Often in a football game you will see the quarterback step out from the huddle to look to the bench. What is he doing? He is getting his directions from the coach.

In baseball you will see a catcher turn his head toward the dugout before a critical pitch. Why does he do that? He must get the pitch signal from the coach.

Also, you will see a batter step out from the plate and look down toward third base. He is getting the sign from the 3rd base coach on what he is to do with the next pitch.

If this is important in sports, how much more important is it in the life of a child of God? We must turn our eyes toward our Lord each day, in each decision, at all times. He is the Master. Nothing must get in the way of our concentration upon His directions for us in the game of life!

Somewhere I heard or read about a dog movie that was being filmed. Everything was set up for the scene that was to be shot. It was costing thousands of dollars to create this most important scene in the movie. At the wrong moment the dog barked and the entire scene was ruined. It cost the filming company a lot of money because of the mistake. The dog was famous, well trained and as a rule did not make this kind of mistake. What caused the problem? It was simple. A cameraman had walked between the dog and the dog trainer. When the dog lost contact with his trainer, he barked. In essence, the cameraman had gotten between the dog and his master.

That is Satan’s plan for us. He wants to put something between us and the Master. We must keep our eyes on Jesus. Author unknown. Taken from

B. What We Study Can Corrupt Our Heart

Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Romans 8:6a, “For to be carnally minded is death…”

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren…whatsoever things are pure…think on these things.” Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

Here’s a good rule of thump for controlling our thinking: “Let the mind of the Master be the master of your mind” (Source unknown).

C. What We Say Can Confirm A Corrupt Heart

Matthew 12:34b, “…for out of the abundance the heart the mouth speaketh.”

Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

A corrupt heart must be kept under tight rein, lest it run off at the mouth. What’s in the heart comes out of the mouth sooner or later.

Aesop, the ancient storyteller, told this fable. Once upon a time, a donkey found a lion’s skin. He tried it on, strutted around, and frightened many animals. Soon a fox came along, and the donkey tried to scare him, too. But the fox, hearing the donkey’s voice, said, “If you want to terrify me, you’ll have to disguise your bray.” Aesop’s moral: Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.