The Need for an Awakening

Bible Book: Isaiah  6 : 1-9
Subject: Spiritual Awakening; Revival

There is a story about Billy Graham when he was young in the ministry. He was in this unfamiliar city and was going to preach. He was there that day and wanted to mail a letter but he couldn't find the post office. On his way he saw this kid & asked him, "Hey little boy," he said "do you know where the post office is?" And the boy said, "I sure do." He told him how to get there so Billy thanked him and then said, "Hey I am preaching this evening at First Baptist Church. If you come I will tell you how to get to heaven." The little boy said, "I don't think I am going to come, you don't even know how to get to the post office."

Candidly, as funny as that might be, Dr. Graham has indeed pointed millions into the Kingdom. After a half-century of ministry, Dr. Graham was asked this question: “What is the greatest need in our churches today?”

Before I give you HIS answer let me offer what different people give many different answers for this question. Some say that the greatest need of the church is to be relevant, or the church must take up more social issues, or we need sound preaching, or we need to see the holiness of God. Dr. Graham said, “The greatest need in the church today is spiritual revival or spiritual awakening.”

But we have a problem. Most of us see that the country is in need of revival, that the church is in need of a revival, but the average person doesn’t see HIS need.

For the next five weeks I am calling on you to look at you! We are given to thinking about how badly others’ need this. It’s time for us to stop thinking, “If they’d been here preacher, you’d a got’em!” Candidly, you are here and bluntly, “I don’t got’em, but God does.” Just like the ole spiritual says, “It’s not my brother, it’s not my sister, but it’s ME, O Lord!”

You might fool all of the people some of the time or some of the people all the time, but make no mistake – you fool God none of the time, because HE KNOWS! If HE knows, it will serve us well to know as well.

So let’s begin with a Needs Test to see if you might be in need of an Awakening:

Do you feel like the fire that once burned in your heart for Him has dimmed or died?
Do you feel burned out?
Is serving God a chore or bore?
Has your passion or desire to see people come to Christ diminished?
Do you have secret sins in your life (that no one would ever guess)?
Have you lost the joy and wonder of it all?

See those questions and know for sure that if any of those questions hit home with you, then YOU need a Spiritual Awakening, Renewal, and Revival.

The prophet who comes to my mind is Isaiah. Turn to Chapter 5 and let’s review. If we simply scan this chapter (vs 8ff), we get the sense that God’s judgment is coming on God’s people. It is in this environment that we pick up our reading in Chapter 6 (text).

“In the year King Uzziah died” – this event is important because Uzziah had reigned 52 years in Judah. He was the patriarch of the nation of Judah. Taking the throne at the age of 16 and receiving counsel (early in life) from Zechariah (a man full of God), Uzziah was an extremely successful and powerful King. After the death of Zechariah, Uzziah’s heart became filled up with pride so much so that he thought he was above God’s law. (Power does that to men.) He sinned and God sent judgment by giving Uzziah leprosy. His last years were spent in isolation. But he was still KING! When the King dies, things change.

Americans have little understanding of this truth because we change Presidents and little else changes. But when a King dies – things are different. In the land of kings, emperors, despots, and rulers, for the death of the leader means vulnerability for the people. It can also mean opportunity for the better.

It was at this pivotal moment in history that Isaiah got a fresh word from God. He has just been given words of judgment to record. Can you imagine his mindset as he penned the last word of Chapter 5? And then Uzziah dies!

Let’s put our hands on a principle: Before there can be a spiritual awakening, something or someone may have to die. You don’t like the sound of this? Well, let’s dig into the rest of our text and see how this develops. (Read Is 6:1-4.)

It seems that this text is clear: While awakening may be the need – it begins with getting a clear vision of God. When you get this, at least three things will take place:

I. A Revealing

This could be called a revelation’ because all of a sudden you realize just how short you have sold God.

Isaiah said, “I saw the Lord.” Get Isaiah’s picture in your mind because I submit to you that most of us do not possess a clear vision of who God is. (Read)

This powerful picture of God does not sound like the modern-day descriptions of God. I want to say that God is not a cross between a benevolent grand-dad and the man in the red suit that comes around at Christmas.

This picture parallels the picture in Revelation 4. (Read)

Isaiah saw four things:

He saw was how “high and lifted up” God is.
Secondly, how massive is His reach.
Thirdly, that all creation (the seraphim) were attending to Him.
Finally, how HOLY God is! With respect, this picture flies in the face of our concept of God.

To get a picture of God is to get yourself clearly in focus. Which takes us to:

II. A Reality

Verse 5 should remind us of how much we need a spiritual awakening. Isaiah was God’s prophet, writing down words inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. He had not lost his passion for God’s will, He was recording it. He’s not been chasing other gods, but listening to the heart of Jehovah. Yet when he sees himself in light of Jehovah, reality sets in

Reality. Think about that word. Reality is that which is true (like it or not), it’s that which is real. When looking at the throne of God, Isaiah became aware of who God is and who he is. In front of God, he’s nothing!

And he says, “WOE is me!” Every major translation of the Bible uses the word woe’ – it is like a lament or cry. It’s like trying to translate ‘ahhhhh’ – there is no great way to translate it, since it is a cry of the heart. Some minor translations, transliteration, or paraphrases attempt to make the emotion of Isaiah plain by using words and phrases like, “Oh, no, I’m doomed” or “I’m as good as dead” or “It’s over, I’m doomed.” The living Bible is worth hearing, “My doom is sealed, for I am a foul-mouthed sinner, a member of a sinful, foul-mouthed race.” His agony ran down deep in his soul because he knew that he needed to change. He knew he didn’t measure up to God’s standard. He knew that to stay like he was, was doom.

Some people today will say, “If that is the way it is, then I don’t care to see a picture of Holy God.” Here’s the option: You can see Him now or see Him later. Today, he’ll be your redeemer, Savior, friend, and guide. Today He can transform your human, dirty heart into something beautiful.

Whatever it is that pulls you away from Him, He can and will give you strength to overcome it. How?

The third truth is:

III. A Repentance

This is Jesus’ message. When He was on earth, His first words were, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” His last words to the church are found in Revelation 2-3! To five of the seven churches Jesus said, “Repent or else.” Did your parents ever tell you “Do what I say or else?” Normally the 'or else’ is a real encourager. It encourages you to obey because you don’t want the 'or else'.

Before you can repent, you must confess. Years ago we had a preacher friend who was notorious to say, “If I’ve offended, I’m sorry.” One day my sweet wife said, “You’re lying! You are not sorry.” We cannot be sorry for and repent from something that is generic. It must be specific and it must be confessed. Isaiah said, “I am a man of unclean lips.” I wonder today if our need for revival exists because we have unclean lips. Instead of using our phones for good, have we used them to spread gossip, hurtful stories, or some other unclean talk.

For Isaiah, it was his mouth. What is it for you? What is the sin in your life that stands between you and God? What is it that you need to confess and repent of?

One snippet which will help you: Isaiah confessed and repented, then God sent the Seraphim to cleanse Him (v 6). For you, it’s not a hot coal from the altar, but it’s the blood of Jesus!


What is it and why is it that we need to be awakened or renewed spiritually? Let me give two or three reasons:

It is easy to get preoccupied with other things.
It is easy to get prideful and forget God.
It is easy to get deceived & embrace other gods.

Before you say, “I don’t need to be awakened, renewed, revived, or refreshed toward God,” allow me to remind you of this: Our Lord KNOWS the truth.

How long has it been since you have seen a clear vision of God in your life? The need is NOW!