(Dear Readers – I had very minimal notes to work from this past Sunday and since I had to lead worship (along with Brent) and preach, along with the normal things I have to do on a Sunday morning, the whole service was a bit of a blur. If you want to watch the sermon, you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH8SzX403XQ
My notes may not jive fully with what I said, but I thought some notes might be helpful – especially the main points).
INTRODUCTION – What do you do when you get a text at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning informing you that the lead pastor is sick and all of a sudden you are preaching?
One option I guess was to preach a sermon I have preached before around Christmas time. But I rarely preach a sermon twice. And I didn’t feel led to do that.
What I think I’m supposed to do is share with you from my quiet time this last Thursday morning. One of the things I do every morning is read through one chapter of a gospel. Wednesday I finished the gospel of Mark, so Thursday I started Luke.
Typically when I read my Psalm for the day and whatever other book in the O.T. I am reading (just finished Proverbs), and my gospel chapter and a chapter in the epistles, I don’t write down much. I more often turn my observations into prayer for myself, our family, our church family, the wider church, sometimes Israel, sometimes the government, etc.
But Thursday morning I felt led to write down a few thoughts that came to me while meditating in Luke chapter one - - thoughts that I had never quite seen before.
I’m asking Justin to keep Our vision Statement for our church up on the screen throughout my sermon:
Revival on the Central Coast
The Kingdom spreading through people
Lives transformed by Jesus
You know no one I know, perhaps no one alive in the United States today has ever experienced a full on widespread Revival. The last one was in 1904, 1905.
118 years ago – revival broke out in a little nation called Wales and eventually spread to our nation. Listen to a few of the reports that were proclaimed on the rooftops in both religious and secular news outlets about the effects of that Revival as it hit some of our major cities:
Portland, OR – “We can calmly say that the city has been stirred from centre to circumference. The very air is charged with holy influence, and the effect of this wonderful spiritual upheaval will be felt for a quarter of a century.”
Newark, NJ – “Pentecost was literally repeated…during the height of the revival, with its strange spectacle of spacious churches crowded to overflowing and great processions passing through the streets.”
Louisville, KY – “The whole city is breathing a spiritual atmosphere. Everywhere, in the shop and store, in the mill and on the street, salvation is the one topic of conversation.”
(I also shared some reports about “The Layman’s Prayer Revival of 1857-1858” that started with a noon prayer meeting in which six people showed up and spread to prayer meetings all over the country with an estimated 10,000 people participating. Thousands upon thousands of people were saved. Crime and vice drastically declined. Notorious criminals were saved and transformed, etc.).
While no one I know or perhaps no one alive today has experienced a true full blown revival, we have some wonderful books written about them. I just finished my 2nd book on revival in recent months a few days ago by Winkie Pratney.
So I want you to think back with me about the massive history changing move of God that began with John the Baptist and Jesus Christ’s ministries. Huge crowds of the most unlikely people came to hear John the Baptist preach and to repent of their sins and be baptized. Even greater crowds assembled to hear Jesus Christ preach and teach, and to be healed of their sicknesses and freed from their demons.
After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, further trained His disciples and then ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, the first church was born in Jerusalem that eventually turned the known world upside down.
What I want you to see from Luke chapter one is that there were signposts signaling that such a move was coming; or there were conditions met that facilitated or allowed that move of God to happen. And they are very similar to the signposts we should be looking for the coming greatest revival and move of God the world has ever known or seen.
Signs of the Coming Revival, Awakening, Outpouring of the Holy Spirit or signs or works of God that precede or usher in a revival …
1. Corporate prayer will be building. God’s people in holy desperation will start making time for corporate prayer – “And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.” Luke 1:10 “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Acts 1:14
2. Unusual angelic visitations and encounters with the living God and resulting miracles will increase - - Luke 1:11-20; barren to pregnant – 1:7 & 1:24; Gabriel to Mary – 1:26-38; Elizabeth’s baby dancing in womb and resulting prophecy – 1:39-45; naming of John and Zacharias healed of muteness - - 1:57-66; zacharias prophesying – 1:67-80;
3. Fathers will turn from their selfish entitled lives and start pursuing their children’s welfare and needs. Supporting and serving the next generation - -“It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS ABCK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:17
4. Leaders that God intends to use will undergo significant discipline and correction/repentance so that they can be useable in His hands - - “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” Luke 1:20 spoken by the angel Gabriel
Dear Readers: I am out of time to try to write any more notes from memory from Sunday’s sermon. I do want to say that 3 weeks ago I was informed at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday that I would need to preach the next day because the scheduled speaker was sick. I believe there is more to this than sickness. The church I was in for four years during my college years in San Jose and the Seminary community I was in for six years in Dallas raised a very high standard of many hours of sermon preparation in order to properly teach the scriptures. There is nothing wrong with diligent preparation in a given week that allows for that. But in times of revival where God is moving in historic ways, leaders who want to be used by Him must be willing and able do what He says, when He says it, with no complaining. In times of true revival we will see much more of I Cor. 14:26 kind of teaching, and much less of well prepared thought through sermons. There just will not be time for such. I believe that is what we are headed for.