No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!
THE ROADMAP FOR REVIVAL
Intro: Revival, as we think about it, is a modern phenomenon. The idea of setting a few days aside and expecting God to change everything in our church and lives is something that no one even considered until about 150 years ago.
In fact, just a generation ago, revival meetings usually ran for two weeks, morning and evening. Now, in a lot of places, three days is the limit. Now, a five-day meeting is a strange thing.
As far as I can tell, the New Testament never records a revival meeting. The church in those days was consistently walking in the power of God, enjoying the manifest presence of God, and did not need revival.
In the Old Testament, revivals were common, but they were different than what we call a revival now. Revivals always came on the heels of a time of national disobedience. When revival came, it was a time of social, political and spiritual change.
Most of us agree that we need revival. We need revival in our personal lives. We need revival in our church life. We stand in need of a revival.
What we need to understand is that we will not have revival just because we set aside a week for meeting. We will not have revival just because we have a great preacher and some singers come in for a few nights to minister. We need to understand the truth that genuine revival is a time when God moves sovereignly among a spiritually prepared people. These verses tell us how that can be a reality in our lives.
These verses tell us about a time of genuine revival. Isaiah is writing about the coming of the Messiah. These verses were partially fulfilled through the ministry of John the Baptist, Matt. 3:3. They will see their ultimate fulfillment when Jesus comes in His second advent, to rule as the King of Kings, and sets things right in the world. That will be a time of revival such as the world has never known!
While these verses are primarily about the future, they also present what we can call A Roadmap For Revival. They point out the preparations the church must make if we want to see the Lord move among us in a time of power, glory and spiritual renewal.
We know that we need a move of God in our lives and in our church. We want to see the blessings of verse 5. Those blessings are the blessings of revival. But, before we can live in verse 5, we must make the preparations found in verse 4. If we make these preparations, I cannot promise you that we will have revival, but I can promise you that we will make revival far more likely than it would be otherwise. I can promise you that these preparations will form a highway in the desert.
The word highway means raised up. It refers to that which is higher or elevated. When we take the steps outlined in these verses, we will be elevated in our living, and we make it far more likely that the Lord will walk among us for His glory.
So, I want to point out the preparations we need to make as individuals and as a church. These preparations will help us follow The Roadmap For Revival.
I. SOME THINGS WILL HAVE
TO BE LIFTED UP
· Every valley shall be exalted – Isaiah refers to a filling process.
· A valley is a crevice, a gutter, or a low place
· This speaks to us about the places in our lives that are lacking. We all have low spots in our walk with the Lord. We all have places that we have allowed to become hollowed out and shallow. Those places must be filled in before revival can come in your life.
· These valleys can go by many names.
Ψ For some it is spiritual: prayer life, Bible reading, church attendance, unforgiveness, guilt, anger, self-righteousness, etc.
Ψ For some it is physical: financial problems; marital issues, physical problems, the hardships of life, relationship and activities that have pulled you away from God, etc.
· I am asking you to look into your life today. Identify those low places that need to be filled in and get busy seeing that they are made right. If you will, you will be more likely to experience God moving in your life in genuine revival.
II. SOME THINGS WILL HAVE
TO BE LOWERED DOWN
· Every mountain and hill shall be made low – This refers to a lowering process.
· A mountain or a hill is something that stands taller than the landscape around it. Throughout history, mountains and hills have always been barriers to mans progress. They have hindered his efforts to explore his world and go where he wants to go.
· This speaks to us about the barriers, or roadblocks in our lives, that have the potential to hinder revival from coming our way. There are many potential barriers to revival in our lives. Let me name a few: Jealousy, lust, pride, unfaithfulness, hindering relationships, worry, hypocrisy, disobedience to the will of God, busyness, fear, guilt, unforgiveness, etc.
· While we need to work in some areas of our lives to bring things us to where they need to be; we must also work to tear down the barriers that stand between us and what God wants to do in our lives.
· Everyone here has mountains in their life. We all have attitudes, actions and passions that need to be brought down so that God can move in like He desires to. I have noticed that when mountains are brought down, lows places are filled in. (Ill. Highway 321) Look at your life today and identify those high places that stand as barriers between you and revival.
III. SOME THINGS WILL HAVE
TO BE LINED UP
· The crooked shall be made straight – This refers to getting things lined up like they should be.
· The words crooked comes from a word that means deceitful, sly, or slippery. It speaks of a road that is deceptive in nature. It promises one thing and delivers another. It appears to be a level, easy way, but when traveled, it proves to hazardous and it always leads to a fall.
· If we want revival in our lives, we are going to have to identify those areas where we have taken the wrong road and get back on track with Him.
Ψ Some have gotten themselves into relationships that have led them away from God. That road is crooked and needs to be straightened out.
Ψ Some have allowed work; recreation or some other pursuit to lead them away from the Lord. That is a dangerous road and it needs to be abandoned for the straight road of serving the Lord.
Ψ Some have wandered down a path of self-righteousness, and have come to believe that they know whats right for everyone around them. That is a dangerous road and it needs to be abandoned for the straight path of humility.
Ψ Some are walking the crooked path of pride. They refuse to bow to the Lordship of Jesus in their lives. They hear His Word and turn a deaf ear to His call. That is a dangerous path! It needs to be abandoned for the path of humble service to the Lord.
· We have all taken the wrong path at times. If we want real revival in our lives and church, we must consider the path our feet are walking right now. We must abandon the deceitful, sly and slippery paths of sin, pride, self-righteousness and worldliness that lead to destruction, and we must step onto the path of submission, surrender and obedience to the Word and will of God.
· Are you walking a path God can bless?
IV. SOME THINGS WILL HAVE
TO BE LEVELED OUT
· The rough places plain – This refers to a smoothing process.
· The word rough refers to that which is impassible It refers to roughness or being bound up. It can even have the idea of being dubious or doubtful. It speaks to those areas in our lives that are a little rough, or doubtful. It speaks to those areas that are questionable. It speaks to those places in life where we know we could do better but we dont.
· The Bible tells us very clearly how to handle those areas of life. It says, Abstain from all appearance of evil, 1 Thes. 5:22. The Word of God is telling us that we need to examine our lives and deal with those places where we are a little rough around the edges. We need to address those areas where we tolerate things that need to be confessed and forsaken.
· Again, we all have those places in our lives that are a little rough. We allow ourselves a mile when the Lord has forbidden even an inch. We allow things like gossip, envy, anger, unforgiveness, slackness, hatred, bad temper, bad habits, arrogance, tardiness, prayerlessness, impurity in talk, thoughts and motives. There are a thousand other areas that could be named. I am talking about things that w often see nothing wrong with, or that we excuse as our own little weakness.
· We all allow those rough places in our walk with the Lord, but they must be smoothed out if we want Him to send us genuine revival.
Conc: if real revival came, what would it look like? It would not be a few days of meeting and then forgotten forever. If real revival came, would everyone embrace it? No, if real revival came, many would leave the church because they like things the way they are. Revival messes things up for those who are unwilling to change.
If real revival came what would it look like? I think it would look a lot like verse 5. I think it would look a lot like Acts 2:42-47. I think it would look a lot like Acts 4:23-33. I think it would look a lot like Acts 5:1-13. I think it would look a lot like Acts 8:4-8.
In other words, I think real revival, when it comes, will make the church look more like the New Testament model that it does now. I think real revival would empower us for Gods work; impassion us to reach the lost; enliven us to worship the Lord; and instruct us in holiness.
I do not think that real revival would be about counting nickels and noses. I do not think real revival would be about emotionalism. I think real revival would cause the church to fall in love with Jesus Christ once again. When real revival comes, the church will fulfill Romans 13:11-14 perfectly. Until we do, we have not experienced a real revival!
Is real revival possible? Yes, I believe it is. It will be more likely when we follow His roadmap and prepare the way for Him to come to us in power and glory.