Do We Really Want Revival?

Bible Book: Lamentations  3 : 40-42
Subject: Revival

Lamentations 3:40-42

What is revival?

Some define it as “a new beginning of obedience” or “the inrush of the Spirit into a body that threatens to become a corpse.” Another explains, “It is a renewed commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ, in a secular culture that minimizes the definition and impact of sin. Only those who already have a relationship with Jesus can be revived. As Christians begin to renew their love for their Savior and Lord, they will focus on His purposes of reaching lost people.”1

Dr. Adrian P. Rogers (1931-2005), pastor emeritus, Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee and three time president of the Southern Baptist Convention, explains, “Study the history of revival. God has always sent revival in the darkest days. Oh, for a mighty sweeping revival today!”

Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1919-1981), former pastor Westminster Chapel, London, England, states, “A revival, then, really means days of heaven upon earth.”

Revivalist Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. (1947-1989), founder of Life Action Ministries, explains, “Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin, and a hunger for His Word.”

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), former pastor of Westminster Chapel, London, England, writes, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”

International evangelist, Dr. Sammy Tippit, states, “Revival is not the discovery of some new truth. It's the rediscovery of the grand old truth of God's power in and through the Cross.”

Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004), founder and chairman of the board of Olford Ministries International, offers the following on the subject of Revival, “Whether it be in the personal life, or in the church life, or on the mission field, we need revival--we need revival urgently--we need revival desperately!” Dr. Olford also states, “Revival is the manifestation of the glory, power, and blessing of the Son of God among His people.

Revival is ultimately Christ Himself, seen, felt, heard, living, active, moving in and through His body on earth. Revival is not some emotion or worked-up excitement; it is rather an invasion from heaven which brings to man a conscious awareness of God. Revival is that strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people--restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessing.”

The late Southern Baptist evangelist/revivalist, Vance Havner (1901-1986), simply puts it, “Revival is falling in love with Jesus all over again.”

Dr. Ted S. Rendall, chancellor emeritus, Prairie Bible Institute, laments, “Perhaps the greatest  barrier to revival on a large scale is the fact that we are too interested in a great display. We want an exhibition; God is looking for a man who will throw himself entirely on God. Whenever self-effort, self- glory, self-seeking or self-promotion enters into the work of revival, then God leaves us to ourselves.”2

Dr. Lewis A. Drummond (1927-2004) pastor, professor and president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina, reminds us, “A spiritual awakening is no more than God's people seeing God in His holiness, turning from their wicked ways, and being transformed into His likeness.”

Dr. Tom Phillips, president and chief executive officer of International Students, Inc. (ISI), former  senior crusade director with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, serving as director of counseling and follow-up, tells about taking a course at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, in the fall of 1971, under Dr. Lewis Drummond called ‘Revival 101’. Phillips entered the class with the commonly held preconceived idea that revival is an evangelistic   campaign. To his surprise, ‘Dr. Drummond described great period of history when the Holy Spirit moved on a people in a powerful fashion. He began in the Bible where God intervened in the affairs of men and women, then in history with nations transformed through His intervention, or charios moments. Dr. Drummond challenged us regarding how such movements came through prayer, brokenness, and humility. Once an individual is spiritually broken, then God can intervene in a mighty manner. Phillips confessed, ‘I learned that revival is a continual process of brokenness and restoration, not just a one-night event or even a series of meetings. As I listened to his explanation, my heart jumped. I suddenly knew that I was born for revival and to be part of a spiritual awakening— an awakening that I believe is now in the embryonic stages of touching America and the world!’”3

Jeremiah the prophet writes, “Let us search out and examine our ways, / And turn back to the Lord; / Let us lift our hearts and hands / To God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; / You have not pardoned” (Lamentations 3:40-42).

I. First Notice A Needful Exhortation To God’s People

“Let us. . . Let us” (Lamentations 3:40, 41).

An exhortation is a strong encouragement, a directive or a command.

Note the prophet Jeremiah writes, “us . . . our . . . we” to include himself in the exhortation. Therefore, we know he refers to God’s people. While evangelism is for everybody, revival is for God’s people. As someone said, “You must be ‘vived’ before you can be ‘revived’.”

II. Furthermore Consider A Careful Examination For God’s Pleasure

“Let us search out and examine our ways” (Lamentations 3:40a). “And [let us] turn back to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40b).

In Galatians 1:10-12 we read, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Paul writes, “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6). He also writes in Colossians 3:22, “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.”

As Dr. Ronald Cannon states: “The bottom line: when God is pleased, it does not matter who is displeased. If God is displeased, it does not matter who is pleased.”4

“Don’t wanna be a man pleaser, I wanna be a God pleaser” as Petra sings.

Someone wisely advises, “Fear the frown of God more than the frown of man. The smile of God should mean more to you than the smile of man.”

In the Preface of his book titled The Power of Living for God’s Pleasure, Dr. Calvin Miller cites Psalm 147:11, where we read, “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him in those who hope in His mercy.” Dr. Miller explains, “God is incapable of being morose. The pleasure of God grows as his children delight in serving him. But there exists an even greater axiom of human happiness: only when God is pleased with us can we ever be pleased with ourselves."5

Solomon writes, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).

Scottish athlete, Eric Henry Liddell (1902-1945), was the winner of the Men’s 400 metres at the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris. Actor Ian Charleston portrayed Liddell in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. Charleston as Liddell said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

At Jesus’ baptism we read in (Matthew 3:17) “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”

At Jesus’ transfiguration we read in (Matthew 17:5) “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’”

John writes, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.’ As He spoke these words, many believed in Him” (John 8:28-30).

We read in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Paul writes in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

The writer to the Hebrews exhorts, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

Paul explains to those in Corinth, “and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted” (1 Corinthians 10:4-6).

Isaiah the prophet writes, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, / Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, / And the unrighteous man his thoughts; / Let him return to the LORD, / And He will have mercy on him; /And to our God, / For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

III. Finally Hear A Hopeful Expectation Of God’s Pardon

Jeremiah instructs, “Let us search out and examine our ways, / And turn back to the Lord; / Let us lift our hearts and hands / To God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; / You have not pardoned” (Lamentations 3:40-42).

William MacDonald (1917-2007), former president of Emmaus Bible School and author of the Believer’s Bible Commentary, correctly warns, “unconfessed sin is not pardoned.”

John states in his first epistle, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are warned in Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, / But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

In Isaiah 55:8-9, God explains through Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, / Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, / So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’”


Peter Marshall, co-author of The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea, shares in the following in a Washington Watch article titled “Prodigal Nation”, “We have:

Rejected the ‘right way to do things’ . . . in every . . . area of American life. Trashed the reputations of our nation’s founders.

Ended the practice of reforming our society in light of God’s Word. Rejected education with Biblical worldview.

Rejected the notion of our founding fathers that ‘religion is the basis and foundation of government’ (James Madison).

Rejected the fact that our constitution only works when the people are capable of freedom. Rejected the fact that Americans of faith must be involved in current and moral civil government.”6

We need revival!

Dr. Calvin Miller shares in The Empowered Leader: 10 Keys to Servant Leadership, “I used to hear evangelists say that if all the people of the church would trust God, He would send a great revival. The statement is not blatantly false, but it waits on the best truth. Not everybody in the church has to agree on the dream to have progress. In fact, sometimes if only a few people intensely want a revival, the visitation of God will surely come.”7

Dr. James T. Draper, Jr., former pastor of the First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and former president of LifeWay Christian Resources, writes, “Without doubt, we need revival in our hearts and in our churches. Our problems are not caused by the godless and misguided of our world. They are the result of our own hardness of heart and stiffness of neck, our refusal to truly seek God with all our hearts. If, like Nehemiah, we could so prostrate ourselves before God in prayer and repentance, I believe genuine revival could take place.

‘But I am only one person. What can I do?’

We can see in the case of Nehemiah that God responds to the cries of one individual. In his grief, Nehemiah was driven to fasting, repentance, mourning and prayer. His prayer was not over the living conditions of his people. He cried for personal cleansing because he knew that he and his nation had violated the holiness of God (Nehemiah 1:6-7). He confessed the sins and prayed for the nation in a pattern that is seen throughout the Bible. One can confess the sins of a nation and, through personal repentance and prayer, make a difference. (See Exodus 32:30-33, Ezra 9:5-10, Jeremiah 14:20, Lamentations 3:40-42, Daniel 9:5-11, Nehemiah 9:33-37, Isaiah 26:18, Isaiah 59:12-13 and Isaiah 63:17-19).

During the captivity, God told Ezekiel, ‘I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none’ (Ezekiel 22:30).

If God can find one person who has a heart for Him, He will act! Will you be that person God can use?

Even though Nehemiah was exiled from the nation, he confessed the sins of the nation. Note the ‘we, us, our’ in his prayers. He had not been the one who allowed the walls and gates to lie in ruin, but, as a citizen, he prayed, "we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned."With a broken heart, he poured out his repentance and confession to the Lord. Overwhelmed with the need, he ‘sat down, and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven’ (Nehemiah 1:4). This is the day for us to repeat that pattern. Weeping, mourning (repenting), fasting and praying before our God is the greatest need we have today. Are we up to the task?

Do We Have the Courage? As he prayed, Nehemiah became determined to take action. Death was the penalty for approaching the king with a sad countenance. Nehemiah risked his very life to ask the king for assistance and favor.

Courage is what we need today to rise to the occasion before us. We will face obstacles. Many will oppose and ridicule. Those of us who believe in the uniqueness of Jehovah God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, will face the contempt of many in our nation. But we must beseech God with no reservations, no holding back. There is an open door set before us, but there are many adversaries to keep us from going through it. Do we truly believe that we can move faster and better on our knees?

After repenting and confessing, Nehemiah was so confident in God that he could approach Him on behalf of his nation. Our nation needs us today to fall on our faces before God and cry out for revival and renewal. Our real security is not in our military, our economy or our government. Our real security is in God alone.”8

Rev. Thomas Baird, pastor of Midway Baptist Church, Melbourne, Arkansas, explains, “As Henry Blackaby once put it, you can not revive something that has never been vived, or born to start with.” Baird continues, “Accordingly, revival should be understood as referring to a return to spiritual health and vitality after a period of spiritual decline into sin and broken fellowship with God. Friends, it is crucial for us to realize that true revival involves restoring spiritual life and power within the Christians who make up the membership of any particular church.

We must come to realize that the focus of revival should be the lifeless and powerless spiritual condition of Christianity within the church . . . not the people outside the church who do not even profess to be Christians.

Until Christians really come to understand and appreciate the fact that it is ourselves who are spiritually sick and desperately in need of spiritual healing and reviving, we will never experience true revival.”9

Do we really want revival?


1 Available    from: 257BCDA250E8-8866-4236-9A0C-C646DE153446% 257D/Revival_and_Spiritual_Awakening_Brochure.doc+revival+awakening&cd=61&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us Accessed: 06/10/09

2 Available from: Accessed: 06/10/09

3 Tom Phillips with Lisa Marzano, Ignite Your Passion for God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing Personal Revival (Chicago: MOODY PRESS, 2001), p. 35

4 Available from: Accessed: 07/06/09

5 Calvin Miller, The Power of Living for God’s Pleasure (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003), ix

6 Adapted from the two-part article “Prodigal Nation” by Peter Marshall. See Peter Marshall, “Prodigal Nation—Part 1,” Washington Watch, June 1998, 1, 5; and Peter Marshall, “Prodigal Nation—Part 2,”Washington Watch, July 1998, 1.

Cited by Tom Phillips with Lisa Marzano, Ignite Your Passion for God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing Personal Revival (Chicago: Moody Press, 2001), p. 57

7 Calvin Miller, The Empowered Leader: 10 Keys to Servant Leadership (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995, 1997), p. 68

8 Available from:,1703,A=150181&M=150019,00.html        Accessed: 06/09/09

9 “Do we really want revival?” by Thomas Baird available from: available from: 07/08/09

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / / (251) 626-6210

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