-A Shipwrecked Man!
The story is told of a shipwrecked man who somehow managed to reach a small, uninhabited island. To protect himself from the elements & to safeguard the few possessions he had managed to salvage, from the wreckage of his boat, he builds a small hut from which he constantly scanned the horizon, looking for a ship that might pass by and rescue him. One day, after searching for food on the other side of the island, he returned to find his little hut completely engulfed in flames! Nearly everything he had left had perished inside of it! Devastated, his sorrow was turned to joy the next day when he awoke to find a small ship anchored off the island! When the captain came ashore, he told the man, “We saw your smoke signal & came to help!”
-Loss Leads To Rescue!
Ironically, it was the destruction of everything that the marooned man had left that led to his rescue! And, after the fact, he gladly gave up all his stuff in order to be saved from his plight! That story, in many ways, illustrates what it feels like when you’ve experienced a spiritual revival in your life. Like that man, you think you’ll lose some things, that have become precious to you if you agree to give up control & give it all to God. But, in reality, holding onto all those things, that keep you from giving your life in total to God, has left you shipwrecked, marooned & impoverished. Spiritual revival is different from salvation! Salvation is to make someone alive who was dead, spiritually! That’s what God does, for us, when He saves us! We were “…dead in our trespasses & sins…” Ephesians 2:1-3. But, God makes us alive when we admit our sinful brokenness & trust Jesus’ work on the cross to save us. If you made that decision, you probably still remember how alive you felt at that moment.
-Have You Lost Your 1st Love?
Over time, however, you may have lost that “1st Love”— to use the phrase, from Revelation, that described a backslidden church (Rev. 2:1-7). Perhaps you were once on fire for Jesus! He was you “1st Love.” But, other things— perhaps college & careers & marriage & kids & houses & stuff—began to crowd Jesus out of that 1st place position, in your life, that He once held! So, you live with a divided heart & divided loyalties! The vibrant life you first experienced has been replaced with a sort of “dullness” toward spiritual things that you were once “alive” over! If that describes you then you are in need of REVIVAL! You need to be “restored” to the spiritual fervor you previously enjoyed! You need to be REVIVED spiritually!
-Revivals Are Nothing New!
Revivals are not a new thing! Because God’s people have always been prone to backslide in their faith— dating back to the Israelites under Moses; to, the times of the judges and the kings; and, to the Church today— God has found it necessary to bring revival to His people! We are sinfully depraved & broken & incapable of doing God’s work without the help of His indwelling Holy Spirit! We regularly need His reviving work in our hearts! All of us! We all need a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit! Daily! We need God to revive us by removing our spiritual indifference & renewing our commitment to live only for Him! Only as God revives us will we willingly rebuke ourselves; and, beat our chests in repentance over our indifference toward God & His Word! Only then will we renew our commitment to crucify ourselves daily & offer ourselves to God as a “living sacrifice” Romans 12:1-2. We’ll say more about this next week!