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2 Kings 22:1-2; 8-13


Intro: The history of the Christian faith is a history of revival. The people of God will be fired up for a time and then their love for the Lord will cool off. They will repent, seek the Lord and He will bless them with revival. Time spent studying the history of the church will reveal time after time when God visited with His people and sent them genuine revival.

·        In 1734 in a small Christian community called Herrnhut a revival occurred. This small community was gripped by evangelistic fervor and send out over 300 hundred zealous missionaries to Europe and America.

·        In the 1700’s and then in the 1800’s America experienced great moves of God that brought millions of Americans to saving faith in Jesus Christ. These revivals changed our nation in ways that are still felt today.

·        In the fall of 1863, during the height of the American Civil War, a revival broke out in both the Union’s Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were saved on both sides. Some estimates have placed the number at 100,000 Southern soldiers and 150,000 Northern soldiers. Prayer meetings and evangelistic services went on in army camps with thousands being saved. It is said that ten percent of all the soldiers involved on both sides of the conflict were saved during their wartime service.

·        In 1904 a revival swept the country of Wales. Over 100,000 people were converted. The entire Welsh society was altered, with both bars and jails being closed.

·        Right now, there are great revivals sweeping the globe! Millions are coming to Christ in places like China, South Korea and Africa.

      Revivals are nothing new. As long as there have been people serving the Lord, people have been backsliding and experiencing revival. This passage records one of the greatest revivals in the Old Testament. The nation of Israel had drifted far away from the Lord. They had given themselves over to idolatry and to the worship of vile, heathen gods. They were living in deep sin and they had neglected the God of their fathers. They were in great spiritual darkness and the danger of God’s judgment was hovering over them. They stood in need of a genuine spiritual revival.

      God raised up a godly king named Josiah. His passion for the Lord caused him to lead the nation back to the path of righteousness. Under his leadership, the kingdom experienced a genuine revival.

      We are seeking the Lord for revival in our church. We will meet next week to sing, pray and hear the Word of God preached. We expect the Lord to do something for us that will change us and our church forever. We want a revival! If the Lord were to send us a genuine revival how would we recognize it? What are the characteristics that mark a genuine revival? I think this passage holds the answer to that question. Let’s study 2 Kings 22-23 together today and notice the characteristics that identify a genuine revival. I want to preach on the thought How To Recognize A Genuine Revival.



A.  These verses relate a remarkable story. The Temple of God had been neglected and it had become rundown and had fallen into a state of bad disrepair, v. 4-6. It seems that the Word of God had also been neglected and ignored for years. In fact, the Word of God had been lost in all the disorganization in the Temple. When the Law was rediscovered and read, the priests and the king realized that they were guilty of transgressing the Law of the Lord. They also understood that God’s anger was stirred up because of the sins they and their nation had committed, v. 13.

            When Josiah saw himself and his nation in the light of the Word of God, he saw how far they had drifted. He also understood the need to make things right with the Lord. The Word of God convicted his heart and challenged him to seek the Lord. He rededicated himself to keeping the commands of the Word of God!

B.  One of the defining marks of any revival in history is the mark of a renewed interest in and devotion to the Word of God. It is sad, but it is true, the Word of God is a neglected book. People like us who claim to be Bible-believing, fundamentalists often defend the character and accuracy of our Bible are still guilty of neglecting the Bible.

            We make bold statements about the Bible. We declare it to be the very Word of God, and it is. We claim that it is without error, and it is. We hold it up as the final authority in all spiritual matters, and it is. We say it is the standard by which all men should live, and it is. While all of this is true and it is right, we still miss the mark when it comes to the Bible.

            It is not enough to make own a Bible or even to make accurate claims regarding the Bible. We who own the Book should be owned by the Book! We who say we believe in the Book should believe the Book! We who say it is the standard for living should live by the Book! We who hold our Bibles aloft and cry, “The Bible is the Word of God”, must honor that Book by the lives we live!

            The Bible is the plumb line, Amos 7:7-9. It is the final word; it is the standard of our faith and practice. Everything we say and do should be laid alongside the Word of God. Everything we say we believe must be laid alongside the Word of God. The Bible is the “Final Authority” and it must be honored as such!

C.  The Bible tells us what we are to believe; how we are to worship; how we are to live; and how we are to conduct ourselves both in and out of church. It teaches us how to walk and how to talk. It reveals how we ought to dress. It teaches everything we need to know about God; about Jesus; about the Holy Spirit; about salvation; about Heaven and Hell; and about everything having to do with life and living, 2 Tim. 3:16-17. We should love the Book and live the Book, Psa. 19:7-11. A real, genuine revival will be marked by a return to the Word of God as the “Final Authority”. A genuine revival will revolve around the Word of God as God’s people rededicate themselves to keeping and honoring its words!



A.  Josiah took the Bible to the people. He read the Law to them and led them in a time of personal and national repentance. They joined together in a covenant in which they committed themselves to keep and honor the Word of God.

B.  Repentance is one of those words you don’t hear mentioned a lot these days. The dictionary defines repentance as “deep sorrow or contrition over a past sin.” The Bible, however, has a somewhat expanded definition of what repentance truly is. In the Old Testament, the word “repent” means “to be sorry”. In the New Testament, the word “repent” means “to change one’s mind”. It refers to “a change of mind that results in a change of action.” When true repentance occurs, an individual recognizes the fact that they have done something wrong. They feel sorrow because of their sin; they experience a change of mind about their sin; and they head out in a new direction.

            Repentance is not just being sorry you did something, or being sorry that you were caught doing something. Repentance means that we are sorry enough over what we have done that we stop doing it! Repentance means that we are no longer walking away from God, following our own path, but we are walking toward God, following His path.

C.  Repentance has been neglected in the pulpits of our day. Yet, if we are ever going to see a genuine revival in the days, there must be repentance among the people of God. We must learn to take the Bible as our pattern for living. When we discover a disconnect between the way we are living and what the Bible says, we must change our minds and turn back in God’s direction! God isn’t going to change His mind and He isn’t going to change His Word. He demands repentance from all those who want to be right with Him. He requires repentance from all those who want to experience a genuine revival.

D.  We are fooling ourselves when we think we can hold on to our ways and still have the power, presence and blessings of the Lord. There must be repentance before there and ever be restoration and revival. (Ill. The Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-24 – He never made things right with the father until he first got honest about his own sins. When we come clean, we can be made clean, 1 John 1:9.)



A.  When Josiah and the people renewed their covenant with the Lord and repented of their sins, the door was open to some major changes in Israel. Let’s take a brief look at the changes they made.

1.  v. 4-7 - They cleansed the Temple and its precincts – The Temple had become a place of idol worship and gross sin of every description. They removed everything from the Lord’s House that was not supposed to be there.

2.  v. 8-20 - They destroyed and defiled all the heathen temples and altars. The places where human sacrifices were offered; the places where gross sexual worship occurred; the high places; all the places where the people had gone to sin against the Lord God and to serve idols were torn down and defiled.

3.  v. 24 – All those people in the kingdom who practiced the occult were put away as well.

      It was a total purge of evil from the whole land. All of this came about because they read the Word of God, recognized their sinful ways and repented of their sins! Reformation always follows genuine repentance!

B.  We are not in a position to reform our nation. We simply do not possess the power to effect change on that level. I wish we could! It is not our business to change the other churches around us who have and are abandoning the ways of the Lord. I wish we could! We are not in a position to change our denomination. I wish we could! What we can do is see that own house is in order! I wish we would!

1.  We can examine our own lives and make sure that anything that is displeasing to the Lord is removed from them. We can have a reformation in our activities, our relationships, our practices, etc that are not pleasing to the Lord. We can have a personal reformation. You can’t change anyone around you, but you can change whatever may be wrong in your own life! If we would just put Matt. 22:37-39 and Col. 3:1-17 into practice, it would revolution our lives and become the first steps in a genuine revival!

2.  We have the power to govern this church and see that it does not drift into worldliness and compromise. We can close the door on evil in this place. We can maintain our integrity by taking our stand on the Bible for the things of God and against the things of the world. We do not have to compromise our standards of dress, music and worship. We can be what God would have us be and we have the power to change anything in our church that would prevent us from enjoying the blessings and power of God! No one can change this church but us! Whether we change it for good or for evil, we are the ones who will make that decision.

C.  Here is what we need to know: When genuine revival comes, there will be a clear move toward holiness and godly living. When revival comes, the way we live our lives will change and the way we worship will change. Real revival will bring about a reformation in our lives and in our church!

            There is a principle that we must not miss. It is possible to believe right and behave right and still not be right! When revival comes, individuals and churches will be changed! We will live right and we will worship right. There will be a return to personal holiness and public praise. Genuine revival will create profound changes in our lives!

            When revival comes, saints won’t have to be prompted to be in church. Sinners will come to Jesus. Our churches will be places of power and glory once again. There will be a reformation when revival comes!



A.  Among the things Josiah discovered when he read the Word of God was the command for Israel to hold the Passover feast every year. They were to have this time of remembrance to commemorate God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt, Ex. 12:14; 21-28. Israel had not kept the Passover in years. They had been guilty of forgetting their deliverance and their redemption.

            One of the reasons Israel had fallen into idolatry was that they had forgotten who they were, what was expected of them and Who their Redeemer was. When they got their eyes off their God, they lost their passion for Him. Their love dimmed and they wandered off into sin. So, Josiah calls them back to God again. He calls them to remember all of the things they and their fathers had forgotten!

B.  When revival comes, there will be a keen awareness among the people of God regarding who they are and what they have in Jesus. There will be a genuine, burning passion within the heart of the revived saint as they remember what they were, where they were headed and what Jesus did for them when He saved them by His grace. Take a trip back and remember, Ill. Eph. 2:1-10!

            When we remember and walk in the light of what we have and who we are in Jesus, it will fill our hearts with profound love for Him. It will fill our churches with His worship and His praise. It will fill us with excitement about the things of the Lord. We will burn with a passion to love the One Who gave everything to deliver us from our sins. When we remember, we will have revival!

C. If there was ever a church that was active and serving the Lord, it was the church in Ephesus! They were busy and they had all the outward appearances of being a church on fire, Rev. 2:1-3. Yet, Jesus came to them and told Him that He knew the truth about them. They were not on fire for the Lord, but they had grown cold in their love for Him, Rev. 2:4. Their problem is made clear by the first thing Jesus told them to do, Rev. 2:5. They are told to “remember”, “repent” and “repeat”. That is the Lord prescription for their revival. I think it will work for us as well!

            When we remember who we are and what we have, we cannot help but be in love with Jesus Christ. And, in spite of what you and I may think a real revival is; a real revival all about God’s people falling in love with God all over again! We need to remember!


Conc: Here is what Josiah and Israel did:

1.  They recognized their sin.

2.  They repented of their sins and eliminated their sinful practices.

3.  They attacked the causes of their sin.

      When they did this they experienced a genuine revival. If we really want revival, then we must do what they did. We must get back to the place where the Word of God is the rule and standard of our lives. We must repent of our sins and make whatever changes are necessary in our lives so that we will be in a place where God can bless us. We need to remember who we are and what we have as God’s redeemed children.

      If the Lord has spoken to you about this matter of revival and you want to talk to Him about it, this would be a good time to do that.

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