AGCC Sun. a.m. 2/1/98



TEXT: II Kings 18:7-8; James 4:7


While revival is a wonderful time of bliss and returning to God, it is not just a time of ease! Returning to God means Rebelling against the Enemy! A time of revival does not take us out of battle, but puts us energized into battle! In this sense a revival is a time of refreshing in the Spirit and resisting Satan! Revivals don't end our problems, nor eliminate our efforts in spiritual warfare, a revival often increases the amount of work. ILLUS: Renewing the Church is like remodeling your house: it takes longer than you hoped, costs more than you planned, and makes a bigger mess than you ever thought possible. -- Paul Smith in Is It OK to Call God Mother. Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 12. Hezekiah discovered that revival meant dealing with the enemy, not just dealing with God. Hezekiah would not have kept the benefits of revival if he hadn't also driven back the enemy, revival therefore is more than just getting blessed by God, it is also battling the enemy. PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that we must fight the enemy to secure the benefits of revival, God asks us to respond to Him, and rebel against the enemy!


A. Confidence! 18:7a 1. Notice this phrase, "and the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook..." a. Because of his commitment to God's Word in spite of the circumstances Hezekiah had God's blessings on him! b. Obedience to honor God's Word had put him under the blessings and not the curses of the covenant. c. Hezekiah was enjoying God's presence and his confidence level was high! 2. This was not "self-confidence" as much as it was "God-confidence". a. Hezekiah's confidence was in God and His Word, not in himself. b. Hezekiah had learned to take God at His word. 3. For Hezekiah the only priority was what God had said, it did not matter what Sennacherib or the Philistines had to say, or how big their armies were, or how many cities and nations they had already conquered, it was what God said that counted in Hezekiah's mind. 4. The enemy had gotten comfortable with their own victories and had grown arrogant, Hezekiah kept his confidence in God and remained humble. 5. Pride comes before a makes them sloppy. 6. The Philistines were smug with their victories, this left them vulnerable for Hezekiah who kept his confidence in God and not self. ILLUS: An incident from the American Revolution illustrates what tragedy can result from procrastination. It is reported that Colonel Rahl, commander of the British troops at Trenton, New Jersey, was playing cards when a courier brought an urgent message stating that General George Washington was crossing the Delaware River. Rahl put the letter in his pocket and didn't bother to read it until the game finished. Then, realizing the seriousness of the situation, he hurriedly tried to rally his men to meet the coming attack, but his procrastination was his undoing. He and many of his men were killed, and the rest of the regiment were captured. Nolbert Quayle said, "Only a few minutes' delay cost him his life, his honor, and the liberty of his soldiers. Earth's history is strewn with the wrecks of half-finished plans and unexecuted resolutions. "Tomorrow' is the excuse of the lazy and the refuge of the incompetent." 7. God had given Judah a revival under Hezekiah, but just enjoying God's blessings wasn't enough, it was time to defeat the enemy to secure the gains of revival! B. Commitment! 18:7b 1. Hezekiah rebels against the king of Assyria and goes out and fights against the Philistines. They had captured a large track of Judah's territory! a. he was not satisfied to just have God's blessings fall on Jerusalem and experience revival while the rest of the nation was under siege by the enemy! b. Revival cannot make us indifferent to the lost humanity around us, we cannot bask in God's glory while the enemy still has a foothold in other places! 2. The enemy needed to be driven back and the blessings of revival brought to the surrounding area. 3. Hezekiah was committed to putting God first even in the presence of his enemies! ILLUS: During Napoleon's Austrian campaign his army advanced to within six miles of Feldkirch. It looked as though Bonaparte's men would take Feldkirch without resistance. But as Napoleon's army advanced toward their objective in the night, the Christians of Feldkirch gathered in a little church to pray. It was Easter Eve. The next morning at sunrise the bells of the village pealed out across the countryside. Napoleon's army, not realizing it was Easter Sunday, thought that in the night the Austrian army had moved into Feldkirch and that the bells were ringing in jubilation. Napoleon ordered a retreat, and the battle at Feldkirch never took place. The Easter bells caused the enemy to retreat, and peace reigned in the Austrian countryside. 4. Note that Hezekiah didn't just hurt the enemy a little, he drove the enemy all the way back into its own territory, he redeemed all the land of Judah! a. revival restores the desire to defeat the enemy completely, not just settle for some victories! b. revival was about regaining lost ground, not just standing still under a blessing! c. Hezekiah was committed to the Lord and to the enemy's defeat! 5. Revival means coming TO God and AGAINST the enemy! 6. Hezekiah was committed to both - obeying God & obliterating the enemy! II. RESISTING THE ENEMY! II Kings 18:8 James 4:7 A. Conflicts! 18:8a 1. Within the relative safety of the walled city of Jerusalem Hezekiah could have enjoyed the blessings of God for some time, it would have been easy to sit back and rule by ignoring the enemy outside the walls of Jerusalem! ILLUS: Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. Publius Syrus --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 132. a. This would have lasted only for a short while however... b. The stakes were too high to just sit and enjoy blessings while the enemy camps outside the walls of Jerusalem plotting its destruction. c. They could not ignore the plight of the other cities that were under bondage just because they were still free...the enemy needed to be dealt with! 2. If we choose to enjoy our own blessings by God and ignore the plight of those around us we will not witness what revival is intended to do ... to defeat the enemy as well as bless the saints! 3. Maybe the Philistines would leave Jerusalem alone, but you never know what the enemy will do, the best thing is to drive him away, to resist him! a. It is a good idea not to trust the enemy even when he seems harmless, his motives are not to be trusted! b. Often the enemy will appear to be harmless and even kind...but behind the innocent actions there is usually a plan to get us into trouble!...this is why we need to resist him! ILLUS: We don't always know the motives of others -- good or bad. One minister was walking down a row of fine old Victorian homes on a cold day when he spotted a young boy on the front porch of one home. The old-fashioned doorbell was set high in the door, and the little fellow was too short to ring it despite his leaping attempts. Feeling sorry for the youngster, the minister stepped up onto the porch and vigorously rang the bell for him. "And now what, young man?" inquired the minister. "Now," exclaimed the boy, "we run like crazy!" 4. Hezekiah does not take the Philistines' temporary lull as a good sign, instead he focuses on preparing to destroy them and drive them out of Judah to end their influence on the rest of God's people! a. Hezekiah makes plans to keep an eye on the enemy through watchtowers, we need to be keep an eye on what is going on around us! b. And Hezekiah attacks the Philistines and removes them from the entire land of Judah, he is not satisfied with some victories, he wants total victory over the enemy! c. We need to resist the Devil ALL the time, not just sometimes! B. Conquering! 18:b; James 4:7 1. It did not matter that both Assyria and the Philistines were against them, and that all their other cities had fallen as well as the other surrounding nations....Hezekiah believed that God could help them conquer the enemy even when vastly outnumbered! a. God is the one that makes us victorious, not our own power or cleverness! b. No matter how outnumbered or overpowering the enemy might appear to be God is in control! 2. Trusting in God and resisting the enemy can bring great victory! a. We just have to fight the urge to think that we are too weak to win! b. We can overcome the greatest odds with faith in God! c. No matter how many times the enemy has beaten down others, if we stand strong and firm and resist the enemy God will give us victory! 3. We cannot and must not accept defeat! ILLUS: I think of the woman who emigrated from Mexico to the United States with her husband and children. On their way to "paradise," at the border in El Paso, Texas, her husband deserted her, leaving her stranded with the children. A divorcee, twenty-two years of age with two kids, she was poverty-stricken. With the few dollars in her pocket, she bought bus tickets to California. There she was sure she could find work. She did find a job -- an awful job, working from midnight until six o'clock in the morning, making tacos. She earned only a few dollars, but she ate meagerly and saved a dime from every dollar she earned. Why did she save? She saved because she was visualizing a dream -- she wanted to own a taco shop. One day she took the few dollars she'd managed to save, went to a banker, and said, "There's a little place I'd like to buy. If you'd loan me a few thousand dollars, I can have my own taco shop." The banker, impressed by her, decided to take a chance and loaned her the money. She was twenty-five years old and the owner of a little taco shop. She worked hard at it, and eventually, she expanded and expanded until today, fifteen years later, she has the largest wholesale business of Mexican products in America. She went on to become the treasurer of the United States. Her name is Ramona Banuelos. -- Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!, Robert Schuller 4. Too many Christian give in too soon and miss out on some of the greatest victories! 5. We need to resist the enemy... a. to resist is an active ongoing process! b. it is a lifetime battle too! c. but it is full of great rewards when we practice resisting the enemy! 6. Revival means yielding to God, but fighting the enemy too! 7. How's your battle going? CONCLUSION: "Revival" means an active fight against the enemy of our souls! Revival wasn't just a time of "REST", it was a time of "RESISTANCE!" In every revival there is an active movement to defeat those things that would enslave us spiritually. Once the Philistines were conquered, Judah had peace throughout Hezekiah's rule. Fight the Enemy! ... it pays!