"Come out of her My people" - Jesus Christ
Obstacles to Spirit Revival
|OBSTACLES TO REVIVAL
John 14:12-14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
What have you been asking God for? I hope that you have been asking God to send revival to our Church. I know I have, and I know that God is ready to send it. But what if he doesnít send it?
There are Churches that have prayed for years for true revival, and yet it has not come. And we question why?
Are we asking outside of his will? No doubt it is Godís will to revive a lifeless church! No doubt it is Godís will to bring sinners to himself and save their soul! For it is not his will that any should perish. So when we ask for revival, we are asking for something good, we are asking for something that is in the will of God.
Yet, in many places they pray and God doesnít answer. Why not? Could it be that Jesus lied when he said: ďIf you ask anything in my name I will do itĒ. Maybe the Bible isnít true, and that is why we ask, and do not receive? Maybe we should point the finger at him, and say he is at fault? Or maybe we should be honest, and admit that God is perfect, and he is full of truth, and if there is a problem here, it is with us and not with God.
So what are we doing wrong? We ask in Jesus name, we have faith that God will move, we know it is Godís will, and yet nothing happens. Why? In the very next verse Jesus gives us an qualifying statement, to his previous teaching, letís read it:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Some men will automatically question obedience as a factor in answered prayers, they will say this verse does not apply, but it does. In the First epistle of John, verse twenty two of chapter three, we read:
ďAnd whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. - 1 John 3:22
WILL SIN AND DISOBEDIENCE HINDER OUR PRAYERS
There is no doubt that the Bible teaches consistently that wilful sin, disobedience and rebellion will hinder your prayers and keep them from being answered. And in Isaiah we have the pointed testimony.
Isaiah 59:1-2 ∂ Behold, the LORDíS hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
There is only one obstacle that can block and choke God's power, and that is SIN. Sin is the great barrier. It alone can hinder the work of the Spirit and prevent a Revival.
King David said: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear me." (Psalm 66:18.) Sin then is the great barrier, sin is why churches pray and receive no answer and it must be put away. Nor is there any alternative. There can be no compromise. God will not work as long as there is iniquity covered up.
THE SIN OF ACHAN
Some men may scoff and say, ďMy personal sin cannot hinder revivalĒ, but those who say such are ignorant of the word of God.
In the Book of Joshua, we read that God granted Israel a great victory over Jericho. God worked a miracle and caused the walls of Jericho to come tumbling down. All of Israel shouted for victory. Shortly afterwards Israel faced another enemy, a small city called AI. And Joshua sent three thousand men to take it, but when they came to the gates, they were turned back by the heathen, and Israel lost 36 soldiers that day.
When Joshua received the news he fell to his face, seeking God wanting to know why he had forsaken Israel. Do you know why?
Joshua 7:11-12 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
ALL OF ISRAEL HELD ACCOUNTABLE
Here God declares the whole congregation of Israel GUILTY of sin. And God said he would not be with them anymore, until the accursed thing was destroyed.
How did the whole of Israel fall into reproach before God? What did this nation do? If we read further we will see that ONE man, Achan had sinned.
When the walls of Jericho fell, he COVETED what he saw and he took some silver and a wedge of Gold! [Oh how Christians today covet the riches of the world, and sin to obtain them. The Almighty Dollar is their God].
Not only gold and silver, but he took a Babylonian garment also. [Things have not changed! Instead separating from the Baptized paganism of Rome, with her rituals, doctrines and holidays, many Christians take them, and try to incorporate them into the Robe of Christ, but it cannot be! It is sin]
And Achan took these things, and he buried them under his tent, and he thought that no man knew. But GOD knew. He thought what harm will it do? But what harm it caused!
Not only did it cause the congregation to lose the battle, and lead to the death of 36 soldiers, but it costed Achan his life, and his children their life!
GOODNESS AND SEVERITY OF GOD
Achan and his sons and daughters were stoned, and then burnt with fire. Oh how harsh you might say! But behold the goodness and severity of God. If you do not continue in his Goodness Christian, if you do not abide in the Grace of God then severity will come your way. You may think under the New Covenant that men escape the stones and the fire, but it is not so! God has hail stones stored up, the weight of a talent for a wicked generation, and his wrath is soon to appear. And then there is a lake that burns with fire and brimstone, for everyone who will not abide in his grace. The foolish virgins of Matthew 25 were shut out of the ark of safety, and if you are not in the Ark, then you will not escape the flood.
And this should be a warning to us dear Christian, you are the greatest influence upon your Children, and upon your family. No one can be a greater light to them than you, no one will pray for them the way that you will pray for them. And you endanger the souls of your people when you play with sin, and shut heaven against your intercessory prayers for the people.
Now I want you to look at the cure that God offers for this evil: Joshua 7:19-21
Joshua 7:19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
Confession, the first step in cleansing the soul. Confess and forsake your sins and you will find mercy. Confess your sins, and the blood of Jesus will cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
In 2nd Chronicles 7:14 the promise of blessing is vouchsafed, based, however, upon unalterable conditions: "If my people, which are called by my name," declares the Lord, "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."
Hence, nothing short of a broken heart over sin, full confession and restitution will satisfy God. Sin must be forsaken utterly.
And not only sorrow for the consequences and punishment of sin, but for sin itself as committed against God. Hell will be full of remorse, but only for the punishment incurred. There is no real contrition. The rich man uttered not a word of sorrow for his sin against God. (Luke 16:29-30.) But David, though guilty of both murder and adultery, saw his sin as against God alone. (Psalm 51:4.) Mere remorse is not true Godly sorrow unto repentance. Judas though filled with remorse never repented.
Now God alone is able to bestow a contrite and broken heart, a sorrow that will result in the confession and forsaking of sin. And nothing short of that will suffice.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:17.)
There are three kinds of confession that must be considered :--
(1) Private Confession; for where the sin has been committed against God alone it need be confessed to no other but God. (1 John 1:9; Psalm 32:5.)
(2) Personal Confession; for where the sin has been committed against another it must be confessed not only to God but also to the one who has been wronged. Nor will there be any peace until the confession has been made and forgiveness sought. (Matthew 5:23,24.)
(3) Public Confession; for where the sin has been committed against the church, that is to say, the entire congregation, or against a group of people the confession must be as public as the transgression. As long as iniquity among the people of God is covered over and unconfessed just so long will the Spirit of God be unable to bring about a Revival. Men must get right with each other in order to be right with God.
TEARS AND ANGUISH, AND YET NOTHING
It is not a common thing today to see souls kneeling at the altar and calling upon God with apparent great anguish of heart, but when this does happen, so often, even though they pray with tears, they fail to receive anything.
What is the trouble? Let the Word of God answer: "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." Hence, let us uncover our sin first of all; let us make straight the crooked ways, let us gather out the stones, and then we may ask in faith and expectancy for showers of blessing.
Now let us take our sins one by one and deal with each transgression separately. And let us ask ourselves the following questions. It may be we are guilty and God will speak to us.
(1) Have we forgiven everyone? Is there any malice, spite, or hatred in our hearts? Do we cherish grudges; and have we refused to be reconciled?
(2) Do we get angry? Is it true that we still lose our tempers? Does wrath hold us at times in its grip?
(3) Is there any feeling of jealousy? When another is preferred before us does it make us envious? Do we get jealous of those who can do things better than we can?
(4) Do we get impatient and irritated? Do little things vex and annoy, or, are we sweet, calm and unruffled under all circumstances?
(5) Are we offended easily? When people fail to notice us and pass by without speaking does it hurt? If others are made much of and we are neglected how do we feel about it?
(6) Is there any pride in our hearts? Are we puffed up, do we think a great deal of ourselves?
(7) Have we been dishonest? Is our business open and above reproach? Are we honest in our statements. or do we exaggerate and thus convey false impressions?
(8) Have we been gossiping about people? Do we slander the character of others? Are we talebearers and busybodies?
(9) Do we criticize unlovingly, harshly, severely? Are we always finding fault and looking for the flaws in others?
(10) Do we rob God? Have we stolen time and money that belongs to Him?
(11) Are we guilty of the sin of unbelief? In spite of all He has done for us do we still refuse to believe the promises of His Word?
(12) Have we committed the sin of prayerlessness? Are we intercessors? Do we pray? How much time are we spending on our knees? Have we crowded prayer out of our lives?
(13) Are we neglecting God's Word? How many chapters do we read each day?
(14) Are we burdened for the salvation of souls ? Have we a love for the lost ?
(15) Have we failed to confess Christ openly? Are we ashamed of Jesus? Do we keep our mouths closed when we are surrounded by worldly people? Are we witnessing daily?
(16) Are our lives filled with lightness and without serious purpose? Is our conduct unseemly? Would the world by our actions consider us on its side?
(17) Have we wronged any one and failed to make restitution?
(18) Are we worried or anxious? Are we failing to trust God for our needs?
(19) Are we guilty of lustful thoughts? Do we allow our minds to harbor impure and unholy imaginations?
(20) Do we hate sin? Do we have any secret sin? Are we holy in heart and in life? Are we willing to let God search and try me?
These are the things both negative and positive that prevent the work of God in the midst of His people. Let us be honest and call them by their right name. "SIN" is the word that God uses. And the sooner we admit that we have sinned and are ready to confess and forsake it the sooner we can expect God to hear us and work in mighty power. Why deceive ourselves? We cannot deceive God. Then let us remove the obstacle, the hindering thing before we take another step. "If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged." "Judgment must begin at the house of God."
This has been the history of revival work all down the centuries. First the sin must be uncovered and taken from the midst, then and not until then, the Spirit of God will come upon us and Revival will happen. I want to close with the following the verse:
Isaiah 66:8 ..... for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
This is the most fundamental element in the work of God. Can children be born without pain and travail? Yet how many expect in spiritual births without travail! Oh, my brethren, nothing, absolutely nothing short of soul-travail will bring forth spiritual children!