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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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REVIVAL THAT GLORIFIES GOD!

Charles H. Spurgeon:

Charles SpurgeonSpasms of any sort are not desirable things, least of all spasmodic religion! I want a revival that keeps on every day in the year, all the years in the century! That is the kind of revival that glorifies God—not a temporary ripple on the surface—but a great swell that comes rolling up from the depths! May God send it! He can do such a work by His Spirit and there are indications that He is going to permit us to see greater things than ever. All these many years, in this place, souls have been saved in one continued stream by the preaching of the Gospel—scarcely ever more and very seldom less—but oh, for a grand spring tide, a mighty flood that shall bring many to Christ and to the Church! (1891, Sermon #2229)

PRAYING FOR REVIVAL

D.M. Lloyd-Jones:

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-JonesWhen did you last hear anyone praying for revival, praying that God might open the windows of heaven and pour out His Spirit? When did you last pray for that yourself? I suggest seriously that we are neglecting this almost entirely. We are guilty of forgetting the authority of the Holy Spirit. We are so interested in ourselves and in our own activities that we have forgotten the one thing that can make us effective. By all means let us continue to pray for the particular efforts, for the minister, and his preaching every Sunday, for all essential organizations and for evangelistic campaigns, if we feel led to have them. But before it all, and after it all, let us pray and plead for revival. When God sends revival He can do more in a single day than in fifty years of all our organization. That is the verdict of sheer history which emerges clearly from the long story of the Church. (Authority, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1984 p. 93)

THE PRAYERS OF GOD’S PEOPLE

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

“It is God’s will through His wonderful grace, that the prayers of His saints should be one of the great principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s kingdom in the world. When God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people; as is manifest by Ezekiel 36:37 and it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish great things for His church, He will begin by remarkably pouring out the spirit of grace and supplication (see Zechariah 12:10).” (Thoughts on the Revival in New England),

 

REVIVAL IS ALL DIVINE

Robert Murray M'CheyneRobert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843):

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6 ESV)

It is God who must revive us again. It is not human work. It is all divine. If you look to men to do it, you will only get that curse in Jeremiah 17. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.”

The Lord has all the means in His hands. The Son of Man holds the seven stars in His right hand. The stars are His ministers. He lifts them up, or lets them down, at His sovereign will. He gives them all their light, or He takes it away. He holds them up and lets them shine clearly, or He holds them in the hollow of His hand, as it seemeth good in His sight. Sometimes He lets them shine on one district of a country, sometimes another. They only shine to lead to Him. The star that leads away from Him is a wandering star, and Christ will cast it into the blackness forever. We should pray to Christ to make His ministers shine on us. (“The Cry For Revival”)

LIFE FROM ABOVE

Robert Murray M'CheyneRobert Murray M’Cheyne:

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6 ESV)

The divine life is all from above. They [human beings] have no life till they come to Christ. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” Now this life is maintained by union to Christ, and by getting fresh supplies every moment out of His fullness. “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in Him.” In some believers this life is maintained by a constant inflowing of the Holy Spirit — “I will water it every moment” — like the constant supply which the branch receives from the vine. These are the happiest and most even Christians. Others have flood-tides of the Spirit carrying them higher and higher. Sometimes they get more in a day than for months before. In the one of these, grace is like a river; in the other, it is like a shower coming down in its season. Still, in both there is need of revival. The natural heart is all prone to wither. Like a garden in summer, it dries up unless watered. The soul grows faint and weary in well-doing. Grace is not natural to the heart. The old heart is always for drying and fading. So the child of God needs to be continually looking out, like Elijah’s servant, for the little cloud over the sea. You need to be constantly pressing near the Fountain of living waters; yea, lying down at the well-head of salvation, and drinking the living water. “Wilt thou not revive us again?” (“The Cry for Revival”)

The Church

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Ron Adair

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Ron Adair

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

If you go back through the long history of the Church, you will find that it has often counted most, and has been most used by God, when there have been just a handful of people who were agreed in spirit and in doctrine. God took hold of them and used them and did mighty things through them. But when there was only one Church in the whole of western Europe, what did she lead to? The Dark Ages. And yet it seems to me that this great lesson of history is being entirely forgotten and ignored at this present time. I say these things not because I am animated by any controversial spirit, but because I have a zeal for the truth as I find it in the Scriptures, and regard it as tragic to note the way in which Scripture is being twisted and perverted in the interests of a unity which is not a unity. (Great Doctrines of the Bible – The Church)

Christian Boldness

Bishop J. C. RyleThe truth is, that many believers today are afraid of being criticized and have lost boldness in their faith. They have become victims of secular and religious wet blankets who object to anything that might be considered as Christian fire. According to J. C. Ryle:

“It is always good to be zealous in a good cause.” (Galatians 4:18)

Where is your zeal for the glory of God? Where is your zeal for extending Christ’s Gospel through an evil world? Zeal, which was the characteristic of the Lord Jesus—zeal, which is the characteristic of the angels—zeal, which shines forth in all the brightest Christians; where is your zeal, unconverted reader—where is your zeal indeed? You know well it is nowhere at all. You know well you see no beauty in it. You know well it is scorned and cast out as evil by you and your companions. You know well it has no place, no portion, and no standing ground, in the religion of your soul. It is not that you know not what it is to be zealous. You have zeal—but it is all misapplied. It is all earthly. It is all about the things of time. It is not zeal for the glory of God. It is not zeal for the salvation of souls. Yes! many a man has zeal for the newspaper—but not for the Bible—zeal for the daily reading of the “Times,” but no zeal for the daily reading of God’s blessed Word. . . .

Reader, if this is your case, awake; I do beseech you, to see your gross folly. You cannot live forever. You are not ready to die. You are utterly unfit for the company of saints and angels. Awake! Be zealous and repent. Awake to see the harm you are doing. You are putting arguments in the hands of infidels by your shameful coldness. You are pulling down as fast as ministers build. You are helping the devil. Awake! Be zealous, and repent. Awake to see your childish inconsistency. What can be more worthy of zeal than eternal things—than the glory of God—than the salvation of souls? Surely if it is good to labor for rewards that are temporal, it is a thousand times better to labor for those that are eternal. Awake! Be zealous, and repent. Go and read that long-neglected Bible. Take up that blessed Book, which you have, and perhaps never use. Read that New Testament through. Do you find nothing there to make you zealous, to make you earnest about your soul? Go and look at the cross of Christ. Go and see how the Son of God there shed His precious blood for you—how He suffered and groaned, and died for you. How He poured out His soul as an offering for sin, in order that you, sinful brother or sister, might not perish—but have eternal life. Go and look at the cross of Christ, and never rest until you feel some zeal for your own soul—some zeal for the glory of God—some zeal for extension of the Gospel throughout the world. (Be Zealous)

We are All Foolish Babes

A Narrative of the Revival of Religion in New EnglandJonathan Edwards:

“There is not so much difference before God, between children and grown persons, as we are ready to imagine; we are all poor, ignorant, foolish babes in his sight. Our adult age does not bring us so much nearer to God as we are apt to think. God in this work has shown a remarkable regard to little children; never was there such a glorious work amongst persons in their childhood, as has been of late in New England.” (A Narrative of the Revival of Religion in New England)

Counting All Lost for the Sake of Christ

Bishop J. C. RyleThe early Christians often lost everything in the world for Christ’s sake. They generally gained nothing but the cross and persecution. If they did not convince their adversaries by argument, they could die, and prove that they were earnest. According to J. C. Ryle:

“It is always good to be zealous in a good cause.” (Galatians 4:18)

You know the habit of mind that makes men great in the sciences of this world—that makes such men as Archimedes, or Sir Isaac Newton, or Galileo, or Ferguson the astronomer, or James Watt. All these were men of one thing. They brought the powers of their minds into one single focus. They cared for nothing else beside. And this was the secret of their success. I say that this same habit consecrated to the service of God, becomes religious zeal.

You know the habit of mind that makes men rich—that makes men amass mighty fortunes, and leave millions behind them. What kind of people were many of the bankers, and merchants, and tradesmen, who have left a name behind them, as men who acquired immense wealth, and out of poverty, became rich? They were all men that threw themselves entirely into their business, and neglected everything else for the sake of that business. They gave their first attention, their first thoughts, the best of their time, and the best part of their mind, to pushing forward the transactions in which they were engaged. They were men of one thing. Their hearts were not divided. They devoted themselves, body, soul, and mind, to their business. They seemed to live for nothing else. I say that, if you turn that habit of mind to the service of God and His Christ, it makes religious zeal.

Now, reader, this habit of mind—this zeal was the characteristic of all the Apostles. See for example the Apostle Paul. Hear him when he speaks to the Ephesian elders for the last time, “In town after town the Holy Spirit assures me that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me. But I don’t place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23-24)

Hear him again, when he writes to the Philippians, “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). See him from the day of his conversion, giving up his brilliant prospects—forsaking all for Christ’s sake—and going forth to preach that very Jesus whom he had once despised. See him going to and fro throughout the world from that time—through persecution—through oppression—through opposition—through prisons—through bonds—through afflictions—through things next to death itself, up to the very day when he sealed his faith with his blood, and died at Rome, a martyr for that Gospel which he had so long proclaimed. This was true religious zeal. (Be Zealous)

Revival!

This article is by N. L. DeMoss:

WE NEED REVIVAL:

• when we do not love Him as we once did.

• when earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.

• when we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.

• when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.

• when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings.

• when we have little or no desire for prayer.

• when we would rather make money than give money.

• when we put people into leadership positions in our churches who do not meet scriptural qualifications.

• when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.

• when we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.

• when we make little effort to witness to the lost.

• when we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.

• when we do not tremble at the Word of God.

• when preaching lacks conviction, confrontation, and divine fire and anointing.

• when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.

• when God’s people are more concerned about their jobs and their careers, than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salvation of the lost.

• when God’s people get together with other believers and the conversation is primarily about the news, weather, and sports, rather than the Lord.

• when church services are predictable and “business as usual.”

• when believers can be at odds with each other and not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.

• when Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.

• when our marriages are co-existing rather than full of the love of Christ.

• when our children are growing up to adopt worldly values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles.

• when we are more concerned about our children’s education and their athletic activities than about the condition of their souls.

• when sin in the church is pushed under the carpet.

• when known sin is not dealt with through the biblical process of discipline and restoration.

• when we tolerate “little” sins of gossip, a critical spirit, and lack of love.

• when our prayers are empty words designed to impress others.

• when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.

• when we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our own sin and the sin of others.

• when we are bored with worship.

• when people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.

• when our music and dress become patterned after the world.

• when we start fitting into and adapting to the world, rather than calling the world to adapt to God’s standards of holiness.

• when we don’t long for the company and fellowship of God’s people.

• when we aren’t seeing lost people drawn to Jesus on a regular basis.

• when we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.

• when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors, business associates, and acquaintances who are lost and without Christ.

• when the lost world around us doesn’t know or care that we exist.

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