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Celebrate Jesus - Let The Fire Fall

by Frank Cox TITLE: Celebrate Jesus - Let The Fire Fall BIBLE BOOK: Psalms 85 : 6 AUTHOR: SUBJECT: OBJECTIVE: Frank Cox Revival; Spiritual Awakening; Holy Spirit This is a call to the local church for heaven-sent revival. And, this is a reminder that we cannot experience the fire of revival unless we get our hearts right with God and call upon Him with sincerity and fervency.

Introduction I. The False Perception Of Revival A. Many Today Have A False Perception Of Revival B. These Attitudes Are Rampant In The Church C. The Psalmist Tells Us What True Revival Is II. The Full Purpose Of Revival A. Revival Has A Powerful Purpose B. Revival Has Positive Results III. The Faithful Presence Of Revival A. Genuine Revival Reveals Two Things 1. Attention 2. Awareness B. History Is Marked By Great Revivals

Introduction

In the fall of 1974 I entered Truett-McConnell College as a freshman in Cleveland, Georgia. There was a student who seemed to be older than some of us entering the freshman class. Spiritually it seemed he was years ahead of us. I recall something unusual about this guy. He would often retreat to his room to spend time with God. At times you could hear him praying, calling out to God. Once he asked if I would join him for prayer. As we knelt to pray, my fellow student became intense. He kept crying out to the Lord, "Lord, let the fire fall!" There was something powerful about that prayer. Was he calling for the fire of Mt. Carmel where Elijah took on the false prophets of Baal? Only the Lord knew how many students at that time needed to experience such a fire from God. Or was he praying for the fire of Pentecost that ignited the carrying forth of the Gospel? On that particular day 3,000 souls were gloriously saved. It was a fire of spiritual awakening that exploded the church age into existence. Again, only the Lord knew how many students on that campus needed a fresh touch from God, a new power bursting forth from their lives that would propel them to be mighty instruments of revival. The fervent prayer was simply, "Lord, let the fire fall!" Do you know the prayer of 24 years ago is as relevant today? We need a spirit of revival to burn through our Convention, ignite our churches and purify our lives so that we can be instruments of God in a world of darkness. We need a revival from God. Billy Graham has said, "A revived condition should be the normal

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situation of God's people." We should have a spirit of revival daily in our lives. That's the norm! If that is, could it be that sin is making us complacent and smothering the fires of revival and the blessings of God from our lives and our churches? In his book, "The Spark that Ignites," Robert Coleman gives to us a true condition of the church today, "People everywhere are sensing something is missing in the life of the church. We go through the motions of religion but there is no power. The joy of the Lord has leaked out. There is no spring in our step, no shout in our soul, a spiritless boredom is the norm!" Many in our churches have grown dull in the things of God. The psalmist begins to pray: "Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you?" (Psalm 85:6) He recognized the people were spiritually impotent. The fires of devotion were burning low. Their joy was gone. The cry comes, "Lord, revive us! Lord, let the fire fall!" God's desire is to send revival. What do we need to understand?

I. The False Perception Of Revival A. Many Today Have A False Perception Of Revival

Ask most Christians, "What do you think of when you hear the word revival?" Some will say singing, preaching, a series of meetings. Others will say a week to whip up interest in the church. Still others will comment, it's some kind of religious emotionalism.

B. These Attitudes Are Rampant In The Church

Every time there is a revival, people wonder what gimmick the guest preacher has to usher in revival. When this is our attitude, then all we're doing is playing games. Think about it. We roast hot dogs, hamburgers and have pizza blasts and think that is revival.

C. The Psalmist Tells Us What True Revival Is

Look at Psalm 86:11-13. Revival is bringing one into a deeper walk with God (v. 11). Revival is bringing one back into obedience (v. 11b). Revival is allowing God to work fresh in our lives. The word revive means to quicken or to bring back to life. It is the movement of God in the heart of His people. It is not man-made or program driven, instead it reigns from above. Richard Owen Roberts says, "Revival is an extraordinary movement of God which produces extraordinary spiritual results." In other words, revival is a move of God. Ten seconds in the presence of God will accomplish more than all the human efforts of all time combined. Revival is not what you can contrive, connive or commence. It is allowing God to send His revival fire in our lives. Revival is not the activity of man but the action of almighty God. It is allowing the supernatural God to bring about His will, His plan in your life and mine. But there is more than just a false perception. We need to understand.

II. The Full Purpose Of Revival A. Revival Has A Powerful Purpose

Remember, revival means to wake up and live. In the Old Testament it comes from the word which means to live. It is like breath. It means to have the breath of God flowing in our lives. In the New Testament, the word means to live again. It conveys the idea of the penitent prodigal who returns to the father's house. (Luke 15) Once he lived in the midst of the blessings of his father, only to awaken to realize sin has digressed him to the pig pen of life. To be revived is to allow the freshness of the Spirit's work in our lives and allow the Spirit to rekindle the slow-dying fire. Revival is returning to the nature and the purpose for which we were saved. It brings us into the power, the purpose and the

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presence of almighty God. During the Welsh revival in the early part of this century, God's Spirit began to sweep through our world. If one were asked to describe in a word the outstanding features of those days, he would reply without hesitation that it was a universal, inescapable sense of the presence of God. They said a sense of the Lord's presence was everywhere. His presence was felt in the home, on the streets, in the mines, in the factories, in the schools, even in the saloons. So great was His presence felt that even the places of amusement and carousal became places of holy awe. Many were the instances of men entering taverns, ordering drinks and then turning on their heels and leaving them untouched. The presence of almighty God! That is exactly what revival does! It awakens our hearts to the presence of God. Believers, who experience awakening, are no longer content to fill the margins of their Bibles with great insight, they become eager to get the Word in their daily lives. Once this happens, there is birthed within a driving desire to be obedient to the Lordship of Christ.

B. Revival Has Positive Results

When you experience God's freshness, it moves you from spiritual depression to spiritual vibrancy. It takes you from the doldrums of sin to allowing the spiritual breath of God to blow in your life! It literally brings personal transformation. In the great Welsh revival, such strong conviction was felt among the hearts of men and women that they were crying out to God for mercy and pardon. The movement of God in that great revival was tremendous. Drunkards stopped their drinking. The gambling and alcohol businesses lost their trade and the theaters closed down from lack of patronage. The famous singing festivals of the Welsh culture, which were always so popular in the land, somehow in those wonderful days sickened and died. The trained professional vocalists of Wales became singing Sankeys and Alexanders, who came forth now with such hymns as "Throw Out the Lifeline." Political meetings were canceled or abandoned. They seemed completely out of question since no one was interested. Political leaders even from the parliament of London abandoned themselves to the revival meetings. It was all because of personal transformation in people's lives. One account of the great movement of God said that dogs in the mining camps had to be retrained when their masters were saved and the foul language disappeared.

Revival brings vitality to the church. You can tell when churches have revival. There is a common sense of unity. Compelling evangelism is born. Social concerns are quickened for the oppressed. Duty becomes a joy and love is forever flowing. In the book, "Revival," by John Avant, Malcolm McDow and Alvin Reed, one can read many stories of modern-day revivals in America. From reading their book, one draws a sense that when genuine revival comes there will be some commonalities. There will be transparency and confession of sin, taking off the mask. There will be a real sense of brokenness. There will be probing periods of prayer, praise and proclamation. People will get off man's time clock and get on God's time table. There is a real sense in a genuine revival that you are in God's presence and on holy ground. According to Avant, it was nothing for his worship services to turn into two and three hours expressing the praise and worship and acknowledgment of almighty God. It is called vitality of the Spirit of God in your church. Let the fire fall! When revival comes, society feels the impact. You cannot have a touch from above and not touch those around you. People will notice you and I have been with Jesus. Sinners will move toward the Savior. Restitutions are made and broken homes are reunited. Moral standards are improved and integrity abounds. Righteousness sweeps through the land! We need the purpose of God to be fulfilled. Not only do we need to see the false perception and the full purpose, but there is also a third aspect of revival.

III. The Faithful Presence Of Revival

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A. Genuine Revival Reveals Two Things 1. Attention

Attention will be focused on divine power, not human weakness. People will begin to bow in adoration as we give way to God in our lives.

2. Awareness

Awareness of the presence of Jesus will be paramount. People will be drawn to Christ. The world will have to admit He is alive because of the difference they'll see in our lives.

B. History Is Marked By Great Revivals

Jonathan Edwards - Korean revival - Asbury College - Brownwood, Texas - Will we be a part of the next awakening? I thought about what God would desire me to say to Georgia Baptists in all probability the last time I will be asked to address this body. Here it is: "God desires to bless our lives. Do not allow the joy to leak out. Don't lose the spring in our step, the shout in our soul, but daily let's hunger, thirst and fellowship with God." Evan Roberts says four conditions must be met if you want the outpouring of His Spirit in a great revival. Is there any sin you have not confessed to God? On your knees at once! Your past must be put away and yourself cleansed. Is there anything doubtful in your life? In other words, you can't decide whether it is right or wrong. Away with it! Have you forgiven everybody? If not, don't expect forgiveness for your own sin. Do what the Holy Spirit prompts you to do. Obedience, obedience, obedience! Publicly confess Jesus as Savior and Lord! When we meet those conditions, the fire will fall! Lord, let the fire fall!

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