Revive Us Again
Psalm 85, verse 6 says; “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”
Have you ever felt like you needed a revival? It’s possible that at times, we might look at others, and think THEY need a revival; But what about you? Have you ever felt like YOU needed a revival? A good old, spiritual revival. Something to get you motivated again; Something to get you excited again; Something to get you feeling, like you felt when you were first baptized.
Do you remember that day? The day you were baptized? Were you excited to know that because of your simple trusting faith, and because of your simple obedience that goes along with that faith, that God had forgiven your sins, and that He had added you to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and that He had given you the promise, eternal life, at the last day, at the resurrection day?
Weren’t you excited? Weren’t you motivated? Didn’t you feel dedicated? Well, if you did feel like that (and you sure should have felt like that) do you still feel like that today? If you don’t, then you need to be revived! And maybe we all need to be revived again! And again and again maybe. You know what I’ve thought for a long time? I’ve thought that when we have our annual summer gospel meetings, that we should really call them “Revival meetings”.
Now I don’t know if you’ve experienced this or not, but what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve noticed through the years, is that when I talk to a “non-church member”, and I say something about us having a “gospel meeting”, they really don’t seem to know exactly what I’m referring to. Oh, they might have a general idea of what a “gospel meeting” might be, but they’re definitely not used to hearing that term, and so they’re really not sure.
But, if I were to tell them, that we’re holding a “revival meeting”, they’d know exactly what I mean! A “revival”! Something to get that fire burning again. Something to charge you up again. That’s what we all need! And isn’t that really the purpose of a “gospel meeting” anyway? To charge us up, and get our fire burning a little stronger. (or maybe a lot stronger) Something to “rekindle” our motivation, and our dedication. And maybe to rekindle our love! Our love for God, and our love for one another. Now tell me we don’t need THAT revived once in a while!
You should know the answer to this, but let me ask you anyhow; What is the one thing, that should characterize, all Christians? Let me read a verse of scripture that will tell us the answer.. The verse is 1 John 3:14, and here’s what it says; “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we LOVE the brethren. He who does not love his brother, abides in death.”
So do you see why it’s so important that we keep our love strong? The scripture warn us about losing our love, right? They do.. Remember what Jesus told John to write to the congregation at Ephesus? Jesus said in Revelation 2, verse 4; “..you have abandoned the love you had at first.” The KJ says; “..you have left your first love.” You know that burning love that you had at first, that zeal you had, when you first became Christians? Well, it just isn’t there anymore. It’s grown cold. And it needs to be revived!
And so Jesus says in verse 5; “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; (Remember from where you have fallen. When your love grows cold, you’ve “fallen”! I get the impression that the scripture might just as well say.. “You have fallen from the benefits of God’s grace.” And so Jesus commands.. “Repent, and do the works you did at first . If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
Do you know what it means, to have your “lampstand” removed from it’s place? Basically it means that you’ve lost your standing in the kingdom. Your “standing” of salvation. Remember what Romans 5, verses 1 & 2 says; “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith, into this grace in which we stand..”
We “stand” in God’s grace; We “stand” in our salvation. We “stand” in our position in the kingdom. Bu when our love is no longer burning within us, well, then we’ve fallen from where we once stood.
And here’s one more warning that Jesus gives, concerning just about the same subject. He phrases it a little differently, but it amounts to about the same thing. It’s a warning about not being fervent, in our commitment to God; Basically, fervent in our love. In this warning, Jesus addresses the congregation at Laodicea, this time, in Revelation 3:15 & 16.. Jesus says; “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
We need to be constantly revived!
Listen again, to the first part of 1 John 3:14; “We know that we have passed, from death to life, because we LOVE the brethren..”
All Christians, have passed from death, to life. Passing from death, to life, is the result of being forgiven of your sins, and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit, which is the promise, of eternal life. That’s what 1 John 2, verse 25 says; “And this is the PROMISE that He hath promised us, even eternal life.” Therefore, upon our belief, and our confession, and our repentance and baptism, we pass from spiritual death, to spiritual life. Because that’s what God has promised us will happen.
But now listen to the second part of 1 John 3:14; “..He who does not love his brother, abides in death.” In other words, he who does not love his brother, has NOT passed from death to life; But rather, he remains in spiritual death. And so one who doesn’t have that love, needs to repent of that condition of the heart, before he can truly posses the promise of eternal life.
Think about this; What is the single overriding trait, that must characterize every faithful Christian? It’s spoken of over and over again in the bible. It’s love. Love of the Father, and love of the brethren, and yes, even love for those of the world.
Here’s what John wrote in 1 John 4, verse 20; “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
We need to revive our love! Now I’m not saying that we don’t have love; But what I’m saying, is that we need to be fervent in our love. We need to love in deed, and not just in word. (1 John 3:18) We need to be constantly “revived”, so that our love will grow to it’s greatest potential.
Let me read to you what Paul wrote to the Ephesian brethren, in Ephesians chapter 4; Paul was writing about how God “equipped” the body of Christ. Here’s what he wrote in verses 11 thru 16; “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. But rather, speaking the truth IN LOVE, we are to grow up in every way into Him, who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow, so that it builds itself up in love.”
If we would grow, “unto the stature of the fulness of Christ”, then we need to grow, in love! We probably could stand to be revived, every day, in our love.
I want to go back to 1 John chapter 3 for a minute though. Paul give us an example of love, in verses 16 thru 18; Listen if you would; “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.” In other words, God showed us what love is, with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world..” that He did what? God so loved us, “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Isn’t that interesting, that John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much, that He gave His Son to die for each one of us, and 1st John 3:16 tells us that each one of us, should be willing to die for each other. John 3:16, and 1st John 3:16.
“And we also, ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” That’s what the scriptures say. And here’s the example that John gives, to help us understand more about what love is; “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; But in deed and truth.”
James uses much the same example, in his teaching on faith; Here’s what he wrote in James chapter 2, verses 14 thru 18; “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” It’s pretty much the same as with love; What good is it to SAY you have love, if you don’t DO, what love does?
But James continues; “If a brother or sister is without clothing, and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart, from your works, and I will show you MY faith, by my works.”
You can’t SHOW your faith, without doing the things that faith does. And likewise, you can’t show love, without doing the things that love does.
Could we stand to be reminded, of what love does, and of what love doesn’t so? It wouldn’t hurt would it? Here’s 1 Corinthians 13: 1 thru 7; “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become like sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge; And if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing!”
“Love suffers long, and is kind; Love does not envy; Love does not parade itself, and is not puffed up; It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs suffered; Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” And verse 8 says; “Love never fails!”
Do you think something that “never fails” might have the power to revive us? I think it might. Love will make you do things! It’ll make you do GOOD things!
But do you what the original source of spiritual revival is? It’s the word of God! Nothing else is going to revive us spiritually, except the very words of God.
Psalm 119, verse 93 says; “I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.” Many versions say; “You have given me life.”
Psalm 119:154 says; “Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.”
And the verse that I opened with; Psalm 85, verse 6; “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”