Revive Us Again

Title: Revive Us Again

Bible Book: Psalms 85 : 6

Author: Michael A. Guido

Subject: Revival; Awakening



A group of American Indians gathered together to pray for a revival. After many weeks a stranger asked the chief, "Have you had a revival?" "Big wind," he answered, "much dust; but no rain." How like the churches of our day. There's a lot of dust, but no rain. There's plenty of pep, but no power. Our churches are beautiful foliage, but barren in fruit. We need revival!

Let's think on the theme REVIVE US AGAIN, as we consider the Significance, the Source, the Stipulation, and the Sequence.

I. The Significance.

What is revival? It's not edification. Churches must grow. If they don't grow in grace they grovel in disgrace. When growth ceases, disintegration commences. Many churches don't grow, glow, or go. They remind me of a toy car a boy received as a birthday gift. He delighted in winding it up and watching it go. But one day, after winding it up, it didn't go. Running to his father he cried, "Dad, the go's broke." Is the "go broke" in your church?

What is revival? It's not evangelism. Revival and evangelism aren't synonymous. Last week a man was pulled out of a pond in our county. He had been missing for days. When they pulled him out of the water and saw that he was dead, they didn't revive him. They buried him. But when there's life, however faint, they work fervently to revive him. Everyone everywhere is by nature "dead in trespasses and sins." Everyone of us needs regeneration. But after regeneration comes reviving. When we are revived, there'll be the edifying and the evangelizing.

What is revival? It's the working of the Lord. It's written in Isaiah 57:15, "Thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy: I will revive." A revival is the work of the Almighty, not the assembly. It's the product of God, not man. Revival is the Reviver in action!

What is revival? It's the working of the Lord in the hearts of His children. Going back to Isaiah 57:15 we read, "I dwell...with him to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Charles G. Finney, the great revivalist attended a church and sang in the choir before he had been born again. One night at Prayer Meeting a member asked, "Would you like for us to pray for you?" "No," he answered. "Why not?" "Because," he said, "it would do no good. I have been with you for many months. You have prayed for a revival. It has never come. Apparently the Lord doesn't answer your prayers. Why should I let you pray for me?"

There are many who pray and preach, who worship and work, but they've never been born again. That's why there's no power in their praying, no sparkle in their speaking, no warmth in their witnessing. Check up on yourself. Have you been born again?

II. The Source.

It's not the president not the politician, not the minister or the missionary, not the church or the club, it's the Lord. The Psalmist prayed, "Wilt Thou not revive us again?" The prophet prayed, "O Lord, revive Thy work."

Has anything loathsome ever come from the Lord? Has anything contemptible ever come from Christ? No, of course not. Why, then, do you dislike revival?

Maybe it's because of impaired impressions, or faulty fancies, or erroneous experiences. Most people have been living in low-grade churchianity so long that when fresh air of high-grade Christianity strikes them it startles them. A couple danced the night away at a disco. Early in the morning they walked to their car reeking with the smell of beer, drugs and whiskey. Suddenly the girl wrinkled her nose and complained, "What's that smell?" "Fresh air," said her date. Can it be that you've been subnormal for such a long time that when you come onto normal Christians you think they're abnormal?

The word "good" is the old English word for "God." God is the good One. As the sun can't darken, so God can't do anything but good. Since God is the source of revival nothing but good can come from a revival. For all real revivals are good for you, good spiritually, mentally, physically, socially and financially.

When God sends a revival the sleeping folk wake up, the lukewarm fire up, the dishonest straighten up, the filthy clean up, the disgruntled sweeten up, the discouraged cheer up, the depressed look up, the estranged make up, the gossipers shut up, the dead-beats pay up, and the church members pray up!

III. The Subjects.

The Psalmist prayed, "Wilt Thou revive us?" To whom does the "us" refer? The world? No, the church. The non-believer? No, the believer. Our Lord said in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If My people, which are called by My name..." There are just two groups: The Lord's people and the devil's people. Are you numbered among the Lord's people? Our Lord continued, "If My people, which are called by My name..." One of His names is Christ. If you claim to be a Christian, then you are called by Christ's name. Therefore the word "us" refers to the Christian. And sometimes the Lord has a most difficult time getting His people, the Christians, right for revival. Think of Jonah and the great revival in Nineveh. The greatest obstacle to that revival was the preacher, not the pagans. It was not the politicians or the prostitutes, the gamblers or the graft-ridden police, the bad business men or the corrupt citizens, it was the pious preacher named Jonah. When Jonah got right with God, there was a country-wide revival. Can it be that you, like Jonah, are an obstacle to a revival in your home, your church, your city?

It's the Lord's will to revive His people. What father is pleased in the sickliness of his child? Lovingly and longingly, prayerfully and patiently he desires health and happiness for his child. Just so, the Lord is pained when there's no fervor for fellowship, no glow in giving, no passion in praying, no stirring in Scripture reading, and no warmth in witnessing in His children.

It's the Lord's will to renew His presence. Revival is an individual matter. He deals with His people one at a time. That's why we hear Him saying in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him and he with Me." It's true that we use this verse with the Lord at the door of the unsaved, but this is also true of the Lord knocking at the door of the saved. The poet has written:

O Jesus, Thou art standing

Outside the fast-closed door,

In lowly patience waiting

To pass the threshold o'er.

Shame on us, Christian brothers,

His name and sign who bear,

O shame, thrice shame upon us,

To keep Him standing there!

It's the Christian who hinders revival by keeping the Lord Jesus outside the church door. There are some churches who have everything and everyone but the Lord! And our Lord isn't waiting for a committee or the congregation to open the door. He's waiting for one Christian. Will you be that one?

It's the Lord's will to release His power. Revival isn't a sudden explosion of power, but a steady experience of power. It's not something spectacular, but something spiritual; not something glamorous, but something godly. Too many saints go up like rockets, but come down like rocks. They're flashy, not faithful. They have pep, but no power. There was a reservoir that supplied a community with water. It was fed by a mountain stream, that flowed quietly on its way. One day one of the walls of the reservoir collapsed, and the waters burst forth down the hillside. People who never went out of their way to see the stream came from near and far to see the powerful water. What a picture of our churches. The Lord is at work, like that trickle of water. But when revival comes the trickle becomes a torrent, sweeping boughs and boulders before it.

IV. The Stipulation.

Our Lord said in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Our Lord said, "If My people." Who are they? Our Lord answers, "people which are called by My name." One of His names is Christ. Are you called a Christian? Then this is for you.

As we read the Bible we see that it wasn't Ahaz, but Isaiah who said, "I am a man of unclean lips." It wasn't Goliath, but David who said, "In sin did my mother conceive me." It wasn't Festus, but Paul who said, "I am the chief of sinners." The nearer the Lord's people are to the Savior, the more sensitive we are to sin. We Christians hold the key to revival.

Mark the self-abasement. Our Lord said, "If my people...shall humble themselves." It was Martin Luther who said, "God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something of us." If we think we're something or someone, we hinder revival. There was an evangelist who felt that he was nothing, and the Lord greatly used him in bringing about revival. In one city-wide crusade the owner of the newspaper went to interview him. But he said to the newspaper man, "You don't need to know anything about me. But you do need to know my Savior." "What humility," thought the owner of the paper, who was also the mayor of his home town. "I wasn't going to stay for the meeting, but I will now." That night the alcoholic mayor came to the Lord Jesus. He left politics for the pulpit, and became a great preacher. One day, years later, that evangelist asked the preacher, "Why is it, Bill, the Lord isn't using me? I seem to be a hindrance, not a help." Bill answered kindly, "When I first met you, it was all Jesus, no evangelist. The Lord mightily used you. But as you became famous, it was all evangelist and no Jesus." Weeping, the evangelist cried, "Pride has destroyed me." Let it not destroy you, and others for whom Christ died.

Mark the supplication. Our Lord said, "If My people...shall pray." John Wesley said, "All God's works are done through believing prayer." D.L. Moody expressed it well, "Every work of God can be traced to some kneeling form." A.T. Pierson observed, "No revival has ever come about except by such united prayer and supplication; and no revival has ever continued beyond the continuation of that same kind of prayer." It was after Elijah prayed on Mount Carmel that the fire of the Lord fell. It was after Elijah had prayed that in the valley of dead bones that the bones came to life. It was after the disciples had prayed in the upper room that the Spirit of God filled each waiting heart with revival and 3,000 souls were saved. Can it be that you're keeping back a revival because you're prayerless?

Mark the seeking. Our Lord said, "If My people...shall seek My face." When John Ruskin, the English writer, wanted to complete a book, he published this notice: "John Ruskin is totally engaged in completing a book and therefore unable to answer calls or correspondence. Consider him dead for the next three months." Are you willing to seek the face of the Lord with such determination and perseverance?

Mark the switching. Our Lord said, "If My people...shall turn from their wicked ways." Sin, in the life of a believer, makes him a barrier, not a bridge; a fence, not a freeway; a hindrance, not a help. Years ago, when Pennsylvania was a logging state, lumbermen would cut down the big trees and roll the logs into a creek. In the spring thaw, the ice and the logs would move down the river. The lumbermen were busy then, keeping the ice and the logs moving, lest they'd form a jam. When a log-jam was formed, the lumbermen would pry the logs loose. There was generally a key log. Move that log, then the other logs would run down the stream. Could you or I be damming up the stream of divine power by some log of unconfessed sin in our lives? Wouldn't it be better to get rid of that thing now? Let's do it!

When there's the self-abasement, the supplication, the seeking, and the switching on your part and mine, there'll be revival. For the Lord promised, "then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

V. The Sequence

It's written in Psalm 85:6, "Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?" Bless the Lord! Revival brings rejoicing! Having been revived, if you had nothing else, you'd have joy. Without being revived, if you had everything else, you wouldn't have joy.

It's strange that our Bibles must be bound in black and that our believers must look like they've been weaned on sour pickles and soaked in vinegar. We have turned our services into funeral, when they should be feasts; and our songs into dirges, when they should be doxologies. Therefore, a joyless Christian is like a limb out of joint, a piano out of tune, and a soldier out of step. But revival makes a delightful difference.

A revival swept over Madagascar, that lies in the Indian Ocean, and the Christians rejoiced even in their persecution. They gathered in caves and holes to worship. Bursting with gratitude and gladness, they started to sing. "Keep quiet," cried the leader. "Our enemies are looking for us. It will be death to all of us if we're caught." "But," protested a believer, "we must sing!" And they sang in a low voice and under their breaths even in the face of death. When some were thrown from high cliffs to their deaths, they were to be singing while falling.

A revival broke out in an African village named Imbai. The Christians were changed and they became cheerful. Joy was seen in their faces, felt in their presence and heard from their lips. People traveled night and day, coming with the request, "We want God to give us that joy!" When the missionaries explained the way of salvation to them, they fell in love with the Lord Jesus, praying, "O Lord, take away our sins. We don't want them any more. Take them away and give us the joy the other people have in Jesus!" Testifying about it later, they said, "God gave us joy that day!" Have any come to you to receive Jesus because of the joy you reveal in your countenance and conversation?

Aunt Sophie, a washer-woman who was a winner of souls, made this comment after a great revival. "Psalm 40:11 says, 'Let Thy lovingkindness continually preserve me.' That's just like the dear Lord. He puts His trusting children in the big sauce pan of His love, and He sweetens them with the sweetness of His grace, so they never get sour. And when you see one who's cross and fretful and gloomy, bless you, honey, he's not preserved, he's pickled." What are you, pickled or preserved?


One March Mrs. Guido and I went to the Lorimer Memorial Baptist Church of Chicago of which Dr. I. Cedric Peterson was pastor to conduct an evangelist crusade. Within three weeks there were hundreds of decisions, and a deacon expressed the unanimous opinion of the membership when he said with joyful enthusiasm, "We have a new church!"

There was prayer, much prayer; and in every service it was evident that prayers were being answered, and were invited to remain for the third week.

One night a man arose and publicly confessed that he had made $4,000 in a business deal that was legal but "shady." He returned the money and great joy flooded his heart. Another man confessed that he had been padding his expenses with his company. Although he didn't drink, he had yielded to his associates, who were drinking me, to make his expense statements equal to his associates, for they were "sure his company wouldn't object." He went to his superiors, admitted his sin, made restitution, and he rejoiced in the peace that swept over his soul. Meanwhile, Christians who hadn't been on speaking terms with their fellow Christians for quite a while, sought each other's forgiveness. And on the closing Sunday the entire budget for the year was subscribed. The members commented, "Never in all my life have I experienced anything like this." "The services became the most unusual demonstration of the moving of God's Spirit in our hearts and lives." "We have experienced a real heaven-sent, joy-filled revival - it is glorious!"

Do you desire such a revival in your heart and church? Then heed the advice of Gyspy Smith: "Lock yourself up in a private room. Take a piece of chalk and mark a circle on the floor, get down on your knees inside the circle, pray God to start a revival inside the circle. When the prayer is answered, the revival will be on."


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