Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 30:11-20
As we think about worship, discipleship, pastoral care, mission and service and all that is involved I wonder if we say, “It’s too hard, it sounds great but it’s beyond us.
We have often I have heard those same words, sometimes from people, thinking about Christianity; “It’s too hard to understand, I’m not good enough, I’m too busy and I’m alright as I am.” Or perhaps from church members in terms of worship and prayer; “We can’t agree about worship styles and everyone is too busy to pray. It’s too hard.” As for discipleship and holy living, we may have heard people say “It’s so hard, everyone is so materialistic and complacent about spiritual things.” It may be said in terms of mission and service. The world is different than it was in the New Testament, in the early days of the Army, its more secularised, more complicated, more apathetic, laws are stricter, people are more easily offended, our numbers too small and our lives more pressured. “It’s too hard”.
“Revival is God at work, restoring His church to health. Walter Boldt
“Lord, you can revive us again. We are not so deep in the mire but that You can lift us out. We are not so dead but that you can make us alive. Will you not revive us again? It is impossible to us, but it is possible to you. Lord, one touch of your hand, a breath from your blessed lips, and it is done.
True revival always involves the acknowledgement of sin and the forgiveness of sins. As he asks God to be merciful towards a people who have grieved him and caused him displeasure, he does soon the basis of the character of God. “Show us your unfailing love O Lord and grant us your salvation.” He sees that repentance is linked to joy.
We connect repentance with tears but not joy. But the one leads to the other. To confess our sin and to turn around and set off again knowing that you are now on the right road is to know a tremendous release.
It is sin, not the process of repentance that is the burden. Revival may bring in tears, but it proceeds to joy. The Christian who is continually grieving on our past sins does not understand the grace of God. Revival and rejoicing go hand in hand. The coal mines in Wales were filled with singing.
Renewal is not just about emotional moments. It is on-going; not a spur of the moment trip to the mercy seat. When we pray for renewal we need to count the cost and examine our motives.
If we want renewal because we want more exciting meetings and we think revival means God will zap everybody with conviction and we won’t need to do any more embarrassing evangelism then we had better forget it. If we are looking for revival so that we don’t have to work so hard in the church because there will be more people about to do the jobs, forget it. In Revival the voice of God is more clearly heard and will call us to greater challenges. And we need to remember that alongside revival there is often also an outbreak of persecution. But to walk with God, in harmony with his will and with his approval has to be worth any cost.