Sun. a.m. AGCC 2/2/1997

#5

"PROMISE OF REVIVAL"

TEXT: Hosea 6:1-6

INTRO: We are living at a time when there is universal recognition that we need a

real revival. Not only is the secular world struggling with brokenness and loss

of values that once held this nation together, but the Church is struggling

with brokenness...divorce rates among Christians are nearly the same today as they are in the secular society around us.

The world is crying out for spiritual leadership, The following words are not

those of a preacher, but the Los Angeles assistant police chief, Robert Vernon:

ILLUS: Christians need to take a public stand with God, no matter what the cost. We also need to take a stand for our faith and have the courage to say, "I'm a Christian." If we are to have revival in this nation, that's what Christians will have to do. -- Robert Vernon, assistant chief of police, Los Angeles Police Department, in Christianity Today, 3/18/89

Revival doesn't begin with the world, it begins in the Church! In order for the

Church to lead, we must be whole ourselves!

PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that God promises revival to those who will

repent of their sins and cry out to Him. Revival is not just a momentary

experience, it is a life changing event with ongoing results!

I. SHALLOW REVIVAL 6:1-3

A. Superficial 6:1

1. This first verse indicates a problem with the desire to have revival:

a. The concern is over woundedness and healing, not waywardness and

holiness!

b. The concern here is to just have their pain end immediately, this

becomes clear in the next verse or two where the desire to see full

healing is to have it in a matter of a couple of days or less!

2. Their cry for revival here had only to do with ending the pain that God

was inflicting on them, not to truly acknowledge their sinfulness and

see how this was wrong.

a. Revival that only wants an end to pain and hurt will not last, there

must be a revival based on the horribleness of sin, not just on ending

pain!

b. Revival based on ending pain usually ends when the pain ends, but a

revival that is based on the hatred of sin will go on and change a

community and a people for a long time.

3. God does not want to send a superficial revival, He wants us to really see

the horribleness of our sins and repent of them, then not only will healing

come, but so will holiness!

4. God wants us to seek Him for the right reasons!

ILLUS: The following true story is from the life of Louis XIV of France: One Sunday when he and his royal party arrived at church, no one was there except Archbishop Fenelon, the court preacher. Surprised to see all the vacant seats, the King inquired, "Where is everybody?" Why isn't anyone else present this morning?" The minister answered "I announced that Your Majesty would not be here today, because I wanted you to see who came to the service just to flatter you and who came to worship God."

5. The real reason revival hasn't broke out large scale yet in the United States

is for this reason, we are tired of the pain of sin, but not yet willing to

repent of our sins!

a. "True repentance hates the sin, and not merely the penalty; and it hates the sin most of all because it has discovered and felt God's love."

W. M. Taylor --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 440.

b. Those places where real revival has broken out has been characterized

not by a focus on the world's sinfulness, but on those who are there and

their sinfulness!

c. Repentance is the first place revival starts from, this is followed with

prayer...then revival!

6. Too many want a quick, bless me and make me feel good kind of revival,

one that fails to deal with sin and only seeks blessings.....we need a real

revival!

a. note in verse 1 the emphasis was on healing their wounds, not repenting of their sins

b. waywardness should have been the focus, not woundedness!

B. Shortcuts! 6:2-3

1. Israel failed to believe that God would let them hurt long....that God would

fix them right up in short order!

2. They were hoping for a quick fix without repentance!

a. the issues of why they were hurting was sin!

b. the real problem they weren't facing was their sinfulness!

3. Sin is what keeps revival from breaking out....they were missing the point!

ILLUS: Hardening of the heart is more serious than hardening of the arteries.

4. We all think the world is sick and needs a revival, but shouldn't it start

with the Church?

a. Divorce, Drug abuse, lying, pornography, are serious problems in the

Church community today, some of these have the same rates in the

Church now as in the world!

b. Shouldn't this be a wake up call....everyone is so concerned about the

hardening of their arteries, maybe we should be more concerned about

the hardening of our hearts!

c. To preach this way offends Christians!!!!....but if we are to have revival

in the camp, we must have repentance in the Christians!

5. Israel assumes here that all they have to do is "ACKNOWLEDGE GOD..AND

HE WILL COME TO US LIKE THE WINTER RAINS..."

a. What they needed to acknowledge was their sin...not just God!

b. They wanted a shortcut that would fix things quick...in 2 or 3 days!

6. We always wait for others to repent before we are willing to, or perhaps we

think that doing so won't make that much difference...there is still so

much sin around anyway.

a. A revival can't be judged just by numbers alone

b. A revival is even one person who has been profoundly changed by God's

cleansing power!

ILLUS: A soap manufacturer and a pastor were walking together down a street in a large city. The soap manufacturer casually said, "The gospel you preach hasn't done much good, has it? Just observe. There is still a lot of wickedness in the world, and a lot of wicked people, too!" The pastor made no reply until they passed a dirty little child making mud pies in the gutter. Seizing the opportunity, the pastor said, "I see that soap hasn't done much good in the world; for there is much dirt, and many dirty people around." The soap manufacturer replied, "Oh, well, soap is only useful when it is applied." And the pastor said, "Exactly, so it is with the gospel." --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 354.

7. Israel's desire for a shallow revival won't cut it!

a. God's desire is more than just purging their pain...it is purging their

sin!

b. To remove the brokenness in society or the Church without dealing

with the sin issue leaves a people without the long enduring change

that real revival should bring!

c. Historical revivals started in the Churches with repentance and prayer,

and the sweeping effect of this brokenness over sin change the Church

and the community...not just for a temporary moment, but in many

cases for years and even decades!

d. Revivals in the Old Testament often had profound effects for entire

generations such as those in the time of the Judges where after a real

revival the nation experienced God's peace for 20, 40, and even 80 years or more!

e. We need more than a superficial feel good revival, we need a revival

based on the recognition of sin in the camp and a brokenness over our

sins in the light of a God who loves so amazingly that He will forgive

us our sins if only we come to Him!

II. SINCERE REVIVAL 6:4-6

A. Serious! 6:4-5

1. Notice God's viewpoint of their desire for only healing over their wounds instead of hatred over their waywardness....

a. God views their intent to change as merely "like the morning mist, like

the early dew that disappears".

b. God knows that any attempt at revival will fail if it doesn't deal with the

waywardness of man and only the wounds of man!

2. God's judgments weren't just to make them feel pain, they were to make

them aware of sin and its destruction!

a. Judgment is a wake up call, not a vindictive act of God!

b. God makes this clear in verse 6...His intent is to get them away from

sin and into holiness!

3. This kind of response requires a serious commitment, not a quick fix mentality!

4. Has the Church lost it's passion for commitment?

a. the world has passionate followers of sin....

b. shouldn't the Church have passionate followers of Christ?

ILLUS: A few centuries before Christ a man named Alexander conquered almost all of the known world using military strength, cleverness and a bit of diplomacy. The story is told that Alexander and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified walled city. Alexander, standing outside the walls, raised his voice and demanded to see the king. When the king arrived, Alexander insisted that the king surrender the city and its inhabitants to Alexander and his little band of fighting men.

The king laughed, "Why should I surrender to you? You can't do us any harm!" But Alexander offered to give the king a demonstration. He ordered his men to line up single file and start marching. He marched them straight toward a sheer cliff

The townspeople gathered on the wall and watched in shocked silence as, one by one, Alexander's soldiers marched without hesitation right off the cliff to their deaths! After ten soldiers died, Alexander ordered the rest of the men to return to his side. The townspeople and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to commit suicide at the command of this dynamic leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.

Are you willing to be as obedient to the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ, as those soldiers were to Alexander? Are you as dedicated and committed? Think how much power Christ could have in our area with just a portion of such commitment. --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 102-103.

5. God cannot turn Israel around on a superficial commitment, He must have

a serious commitment to turn from sin in order to restore them!

a. this is why He "cut them to pieces", etc.

b. God IS a jealous God, He will have NO OTHER GODS before Him....

all such attempts to merely tack Him on to our life along with other

things will not suffice!

c. Israel was willing to acknowledge God, but not destroy their idols or

high places....there would make God significant along with all the other

things the covenant had forbidden!

6. God's covenant had clearly stated that they would have to renounce their

allegiance to the things of pagan nations and hold fast to God's ways, this

they had failed to do....the essence of sin!

7. To be citizen's of God's kingdom is to renounce allegiance to sin!

ILLUS: When an immigrant comes to America, before he can become a citizen he must renounce all his commitments and allegiance to his former homeland and pledge 100 percent allegiance to America. Then and only then will the U.S. Government grant him citizenship. That's the way it is with Jesus. When you accept Christ as Lord and Savior, you renounce Satan completely. You can't "split time" by serving Satan part-time and Christ part-time.

B. Steadiness! 6:6

1. God's heart is revealed in this verse: "I desire MERCY, not sacrifice..."

a. the word for "MERCY" here means "LOYALTY"

b. God wasn't looking just for routine sacrifices for repeated sins,

especially since the ritual of merely going through this repeated action

can dull their senses the real power of sin.

c. God was looking for a "LOYALTY" from them that makes them see sin

as a serious problem!

d. God wanted their heart on an ongoing basis, not just at moments when

they sacrificed for their sins in a ritualistic way!

e. All the while they routinely sacrificed for their sins they also accepted

idols and idolatrous practices among themselves!

f. A REAL sacrifice for sins would not have let them return to idols only

moments later! Repentance means "TURN AROUND"!

2. It had become too easy to simply bring another burnt offering to dull the

sense of the sins committed...the ritual of doing this had let them lose the

sense of sin!

a. Isn't this true today too, we hear about God's willingness to forgive

freely and have taken it so for granted that we hardly feel bad when we

sin anymore, we just let a quick prayer go up asking for forgiveness and

then turn around and sin again!

b. This cheapens the grace of God and His forgiveness when we don't really

recognize sin for what it is in our life....rebellion against God!

3. God wants to send a revival that will transform His people...which will then

transform society!

a. this will require more than a quick fix revival....

b. this will require LOYALTY to God's Word and not just "sacrifice"

c. We will never transform society with legislation, even godly legislation

will not change the hearts of sinful man, it will merely impose on them

the will of a God they are in rebellion to anyway, thus they will merely

resent it!

d. But a people who have repented of their sins and embraced the God who

will truly forgive and change will find a major change that is long lasting!

4. In this sense, Revival is more than an event, it is life changing and lasting.

5. Real revival dramatically alters a people, a Church, a community, a Nation!

ILLUS: As newsman Clarence W. Hall followed American troops through Okinawa in 1945, he and his jeep driver came upon a small town that stood out as a beautiful example of a Christian community. He wrote, "We had seen other Okinawan villages... down at the heels and despairing; by contrast, this one shone like a diamond in a dung heap. Everywhere we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows. Proudly the old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields... their storehouses and granaries, their prized sugar mill."

Hall said that he saw no jails and no drunkenness, and that divorce was unknown in this village. He was told that an American missionary had come there some 30 years earlier. While he was in the village, he had led two elderly townspeople to Christ and left them with a Japanese Bible. These new believers studied the Scriptures and started leading their fellow villagers to Jesus. Hall's jeep driver said he was amazed at the difference between this village and the others around it. He remarked, "So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus."

6. Repeatedly through Hosea God promised revival to His people...if only they

would acknowledge not only God, but their sins!

a. We live in a society that is more than willing to acknowledge God...most

Americans believe in God by an overwhelming number according to

the latest Gallup poll, but we are not as prepared to acknowledge our

sins!!!

b. Shouldn't the Church lead the road to repentance?

a. The world has seen enough scandals in the Church to be suspicious

of our message!

b. The world has tired of our attempts to legislate morality when they

have witnessed the hypocrisy of Christianity among it's own proponents!

c. Maybe the correct course to restore the credible message of the saving

power of God over sin would be for us to admit our own sin and turn

from it!!!

d. then revival will strike everywhere!!!!

7. Will we be like Israel in Hosea's day, wishing for a quick fix, to have our

pain healed, to deal with only our woundedness and not our waywardness?

8. Or...will be the examples to the world of turning from sin and turning to

God again?

CONCLUSION: God promises to revive those who are truly broken and ready to return to Him. Revival is not just a quick fix, it is a sustained commitment to walk with God and avoid sin! The failure of God's people to experience real revival in Hosea's day was due to their inability to face their waywardness, they only saw their woundedness. God promises revival to those who are repentant!