Archives from July 2021

How Can We Experience Revival? The Pattern of Revival under King Josiah

Sunday Sermon

2 Chronicles 34-35

Biblically and Historically, revival begins with God's people. Moral and spiritual renewal starts with God's people. There's not really an example of revival in the New Testament, because there was no need, but there's some in the Old Testament. Today we look at how young Josiah was used by God to bring about a great revival in Judah. Judah had gone through years of decline and Josiah's father was assassinated when Josiah was only 8 years old. 

Revival begins when we seek God (2 Chronicles 34:3a). Around the age of 16, Josiah began to seek God. Jeremiah 29:13 also reinforces this idea. Revival can only begin when God is our focus. 

Revival gains momentum when we purge our lives of idols (2 Chronicles 34:3b-7). Around the age of 20, Josiah tore down the idols his grandfather put up. He purged the land of idols. Our idols may not be asherah poles or golden figurines, but we have our own idols. An idol is anything that takes our focus from God. The pursuit of 

Revival takes root when we rediscover the Bible and begin to obey it (2 Chronicles 34:8-32). Around the age of 26 Josiah ordered the temple to be repaired. While cleaning the temple, they found a scroll called The Book of the Law, which we believe is Deuteronomy. He listened to the words from it and was convicted and repented. He also had it read in front of all the people. Today we are almost too familiar with the Bible and we don't give it the time or attention it deserves. When revival comes, there is a renewed interest in the Bible and a desire to obey it. 

Revival achieves its goal when we return to right patterns of worship (2 Chronicles 35:1-18). Still around age 26, Josiah had sacrifices made in an attempt to make up for all the ones that were missed. The people hadn't observed the passover properly in a long time, but this time they did. It caused the people to seek to worship God. When we return to right patterns of worship, it makes people want to worship. 

Revive Us Again

Sunday Sermon

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6, NIV)

Every so often we all need a good revival in our Christian walk. Maybe the pandemic has made you need a revival. Or maybe something this summer has caused you to need a revival. 

Four examples of physical revival that illustrate our need for spiritual revival: 

Samson (Judges 15:18-20). When you have no strength, you need refreshment…. Samson was one of the judges for the Israelites, a leader of his people. One time he used the jawbone of a donkey to achieve a great victory. Afterwards, he was exhausted and called out to God. God provided a drink and that drink revived Samson. Sometimes we just need a refreshment to regain our vigor for the Lord. 

An Egyptian (1 Samuel 30:11-12). When you have no activity, you need nourishment…. David and his men came upon this man and they gave him food and drink. Afterwards, he was revived. Refreshment isn't always enough. Sometimes we need more comprehensive nourishment such as being involved in a connection group. Receiving that nourishment can bring back our desire to serve the Lord. 

A boy (1 Kings 17:17-23). When you have no breath, you need resuscitation…. Elijah stayed in the house of a widow and her son. While he was there, they never ran out of food despite the famine. Some time after that, the boy stopped breathing. Elijah returned and prayed for God to bring the boy's breath back. The boy was revived and lived. Sometimes our lives reach the point where they look no different than the rest of the world. There is no sign that we are different, that we are alive in Christ. When that happens we need CPR, we need resuscitation. 

A corpse (2 Kings 13:20-21). When you have no life, you need resurrection…. While burying a body, the people digging the grave saw bandits coming and just threw the body into the grave of Elisha. When the corpse touched Elisha's bones, the corpse was revived. Some have never received the life that Jesus offers. If that's you, you need to be resurrected. By accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, you can go from spiritually dead to spiritually alive (Ephesians 2:1-5). 

Do you see yourself in any of these examples? Do you need refreshment, nourishment, resuscitation, or resurrection? Call out to God. He will provide. 

The Day of Atonement and the Death of Jesus

Sunday Sermon

Leviticus 16

The Day of Atonement in the Old Covenant can help us understand what the death of Jesus means in the New Covenant.

“Atonement” comes from two English words (at + one) and means to be reconciled to God by covering sin. … How can we do this? God gave the Israelites instructions on how to be atoned. They were to build a tent where the priest would go to be near to God. It had a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place. 

The only person who could enter the Most Holy Place was the high priest, and he could enter only one day a year. He first sacrificed a bull for his own sins (Leviticus 16:1-2, 6, 12-14). Two goats were selected. The first goat was killed as a sacrifice for the people’s sins (Leviticus 16:7-8, 15). The second goat was called a scapegoat. It was sent away into the desert (Leviticus 16:20-22, 26-28). … God gave instructions for how to worship Him and expects them to be followed. When the high priest would go into the Most Holy Place, he had to follow a set of instructions to atone for his sins and the sins of his family. The punishment for sin is death. As sinners, we all deserve death, but God gave the Israelites a way to transfer that punishment to animals. This illustrates how serious sin is. It is no joking matter and not something to be proud of. 

Jesus fulfilled every aspect of the Day of Atonement: Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 9:11). Jesus is our sacrifice (Hebrews 9:12-15) Jesus is our scapegoat. … We no longer need bulls or goats to take our punishment because Jesus has taken the punishment for us already. 

How should we respond? (Hebrews 10:19-27) … Draw near to God. Since Jesus was our perfect sacrifice, our sins have been atoned for and we are reconciled to God. We have the opportunity to draw close to God.

Called to be Different

Sunday Sermon

Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 1:13-25

Peter is writing to believers facing persecution under the Emperor Nero. They are called to live a different life in Christ while the Roman culture valued different ideals and philosophies. 

  1. Pursue Holiness (v13-16). … God is holy and we worship a holy God. He is separate from sin. The Greek word for "holy" is "Hágios." Hágios means: holy, set apart, different, pure. Peter tells us that being holy takes preparation and planning. It isn't something that just happens. A concerted effort needs to be made. Plan to pursue holiness by surrounding yourself with people who will help, by learning about God, by reading the Bible all on a regular plan. We aren't called to fit in with the world; we are called to be holy, to be different. It's easy to fall into the temptation to fit in, which is why a plan is needed to pursue holiness. Satan has a plan to keep us from pursuing holiness, but if we follow our own plan, we can avoid his temptations and pursue holiness. One of Satan's greatest lies is that the most important thing in life is to satisfy our own desires and pursue happiness or gratification at all costs. That's not God's will for us though. God doesn't exist to serve us. We exist to serve Him. 

  2. Live Fearfully (v17-21). … We should have a reverent fear, a deep respect and admiration, for who God is. This is a fear that, instead of paralyzing, pushes towards holiness. It keeps us from doing things that would displease God. This fear also pushes us towards salvation. It leads us to hope and faith in the holy God. This reverent fear makes us want to know Christ. And knowing Christ is how we become holy. It modifies our behavior from the inside out. For more on this reverent fear, see Proverbs 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Philippians 2:12.

  3. Love Deeply (v22-25). … God calls us to love one another deeply. We are called to love, encourage, forgive, support one another. John 13:34-35 is where Jesus Himself tells us to love another, that the world would know us because of that love for one another.