The Price God Paid for Christmas

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

A mountaineer got lost while climbing in the Alps – or so the story goes.  After days of stumbling around in a blizzard, he found a mountain pass that led to a valley that no one from the outside world had visited in centuries.  In this valley he discovered a community of people who had survived for generations with no eyesight.

When he tried to describe to these people the beauty of the night sky, the color of a sunset, and the joy of seeing someone smile, the valley people were first confused, then convinced that he was insane.  Because no one they knew could see, the experience was beyond their understanding.  They did not even have the vocabulary to understand what he described.

Then the mountaineer met a young woman of the valley, and they fell in love.  When they told the villagers that they wanted to be married, the leaders foresaw that the mountaineer’s descriptions of the joys of seeing and of the outside world would disrupt their community.  They told him that he could stay and be married only if he agreed to have his eyes blinded so he would be like everyone else.  Torn between his appreciation of his sight and his love for the young woman, the mountaineer finally agreed to meet their condition.

The night before the wedding and the ceremony that would blind him, the mountaineer took a walk to enjoy the night sky one last time.  He climbed higher and higher on the mountain that rose above the community.  Eventually he noticed that he had come to the mountain pass through which he had entered the valley.  Keeping his sight would be a simple matter of climbing through the pass and returning to the outside world.

The conflict between his love for his fiancée and his love of sight raged fierce within him.  But finally his love for the woman won out.  He returned to the valley and to the community where he would be married – and where he would be blinded for the rest of his life.

What a conflict!  What a decision!  What love the mountaineer had!

Of course, it is only a story – and an unlikely one at that.  But I know a similar story that is true, a story in which the hero accepts a handicap that will restrict him through eternity – all for love!

Divine and human

Supposed that 2,000 years ago God the Son looked at the sacrifice He would have to make to be born in a manger and die on a cross and had decided that the price was too high.  Imagine the consequences to you and me if, at the mountain pass of His decision, Christ had turned His back on us and returned to the glories of heaven that He was so familiar with.

Fortunately, He did not consider the price too high.  So Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who was 100 percent God and became 100 percent human.  Do we really understand what that means – what it meant for God, and what it means to us?

God’s problem

Consider God’s problem.  During the thousands of years people had been exposed to sin, their view of him had become distorted.  Every deviate interpretation of His character had been made the object of worship.  Some of those who believed Him to be an overbearing tyrant had come to believe they must appease Him by sacrificing their own children in their worship rites.  Others, who viewed Him as a weak, permissive being interested only in a good time, worshipped Him with acts of prostitution, bestiality, or gluttony.

In the names of their gods, the strong overwhelmed the weak, and the rich dominated the poor.  Apathy and greed flourished, and love and generosity withered away.

God realized that to salvage the situation, He could not simply speak to people in overpowering tones, as He did from Mount Sinai.  No, to teach human beings what He was really like in a way they would not soon forget, He would have to give a living example of His character in terms people would understand.  In a world where God was an unfocused reflection of humanity’s own selfish desires.  He would have to be focused into a being who was the essence of both humanity and divinity.  He would be as man without all the sin, selfish desires.  How could He be man, yet at the same time be God?

The community of blind people in that legendary Alpine valley could never understand what the mountaineer’s loss of his sight meant to him or how that loss demonstrated the profound love he held.  Similarly, our limited experience keeps us from fully comprehending the price Jesus paid to become human.  Because of that, we tend to trivialize the love His sacrifice reveals.

Christmas, the time when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, offers us the opportunity to take another look at His incredible history-changing life, a chance to recapture the sense of awe that many of us have lost.  It reminds us of His death and the hope of life that sacrifice provided for us.

The difference it makes

We recognize that Christ’s death on the cross made heaven possible for us.  But what of Christ’s life?  What differences did it make? 

By living on earth as a human being, Jesus challenged the conventional judgment and even the moral values of the time. 

Greed, selfishness, and lust for power influence our judgment more than we realize.  The concern for others that Jesus’ life reflect was just as disturbing to the status quo at His time as it would be for you and me to reveal to a community of blind people what it is like to see.  Jesus’ example turned conventional judgment on its ear.

Jesus taught us that motive rather than performance is what counts. 

Remember the story about the emperor’s new clothes?  They were “sewn” by a clever tailor who, aware of the King’s vanity, claimed that fools would not be able to see them.  Afraid of being recognized for the fools they were, everyone, including the king, went along with the charade.  It took a young boy to state the obvious and draw attention to the king’s lack of both britches and good sense.  Living in sin is like that.  We are all inadequate; we all have selfish motives.  Yet we go through our lives desperately seeking to ignore the obvious.  Let a little honesty creep in, and we are suddenly presented to the rest of the world as the emperor without his clothes, no longer regal but in desperate need of something to cover us up.  Jesus exposes our dishonesty, our spiritual nakedness. 

Jesus showed us that a positive approach is most effective at bringing out the best in people. 

Jesus did not need to condemn men and women as miserable sinners.  His mere presence revealed to them their moral shortcomings.  When we stand openly and honestly in the presence of Almighty God, He does not condemn; our sin condemns us.  Then He called them to look at the world from a different perspective, to center their lives on God instead of on things or on themselves.  This message led some people to seek spiritual wholeness.  Others, in turning from it, headed down a path of anger and resentment that eventually led them out of His presence and even into conspiring to get rid of Him. 

Imagine a cluster of flowers struggling to grow in a deep, junk-strewn ravine in which trees hide the sun.  Then a landscaping crew cleans out the ravine and thins the trees, allowing brilliant sunshine to pour down on the plants.

Overwhelmed by the powerful sun, some plants wither and die – perhaps wishing that everything had gone on as it was before.  Others, still shaded by the trees that remain, continue on much as they had in the past.  But a few of the plants withstand the initial shock of their exposure to the full light of the sun.  Soon they are basking in its light and flourish and multiplying beyond all previous guesses as to what their potential was.

Such is our relationship with Christ.  As we spend time with Him, we realize that His power is overwhelming.  If we welcome it and let it change us, we will grow to a degree we never before thought possible.

Jesus teaches us a proper appreciation of the power of love

Jesus revealed that most of us love selfishly and limit our love to a chosen few.  He showed that the most important thing any of us can do in life is to reflect the love God has shown us, to reflect it by loving our fellow humans.

Modern society talks a great deal about love and how it can change the world – or one’s personal life.  But society’s attempts at loving have merely resulted in increases in divorce rates, child pornography, incest and homosexuality – making it obvious society does not have any idea what love is.

We can never truly understand love until we learn where it comes from.  It comes from God.  He did not create it; He is love.  When you read 1 Corinthians 13 – the Love Chapter – you are reading about God. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-10 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When we learn to show this kind of love to those around us, we will reflect the character of God.  

What it would be like

Imagine being not being limited in time or space, able to know everything, to be everywhere at once, with limitless power available to you at any time.  Imagine then giving all that up to be restricted to one place at a time in the body of a man.  Then you can see how being born in Bethlehem as Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, changed God the Son forever.  At His birth, Jesus took human nature upon Himself.  He willingly shared in our world – knowing what it was to be hungry, tired, to suffer pain and humiliation.

Before the Son became human, we could only hear about God.  When He became a man, we could actually see who God is.

John 14:9 – Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’

Seeing God’s Salvation

Luke 2:25-35

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:  Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.  And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Simeon, A Man of God

In this passage we read of a man who was different from others.  He was probably out of place just as a man of God is out of place today.  He probably was ridiculed.  He was probably called self-righteous.  He was probably referred to as a fanatic.  We read in the Bible about Simeon and it gives us some insight as to who he was.

  • He was a man who was just and devout.
  • He was a man who was looking for the Messiah.
  • He was a man who was led by the Holy Spirit.
  • He was a man who had been given an unusual promise.
  • He was a man who saw and held the Messiah.

Titus 2:11-14 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works

  • Simeon was a man who was just and devout.  What does that really mean to us today?  Someone who is just “dikaios” in the sense that this passage means is someone who is righteous, well-behaved, living as one should live.  And the word devout “eulabes” means cautious and careful in relation to God.  It means a reverence for or pious toward God.   That description does not fit a lot of people today.  There is a care-free, nonchalant, no big deal attitude by a lot of people in their relationship to God. 

Psalm 31:23 –  Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!  For the Lord preserves the faithful. 

Jude 21 – Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  

  • Simeon was looking for the Messiah.  The Messiah had been prophesied to come and save His people.  The Messiah was longed for by the faithful.  

2 Peter 3:10-12 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

  • Simeon was a man who was led by the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament, the Spirit only came upon men for special service.  From what little we read here it appears that Simeon may have had the Spirit upon him continually.  At any rate, one thing we know of this special man, he was a man who loved God. 

Matthew 10:32 – Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will  also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 

  • Simeon was a man who had been given an unusual promise. He was going to be able to see the Christ before his death.

1 Peter 1:8 – Whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 

  • We are to be Men and Women of God.
  • We should be just and devout, as was Simeon. 

Micah 6: 8 – He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 

  • If we are people of God, then we should be looking for His appearing. 

2 Timothy 4:8 – Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

  • If we are people of God, then we will walk and live and move in the Spirit.

Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God,           that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 

  • We, too, have been given an unusual promise.

John 14:1-3 – Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Men of God, our Examples

  • Job – God telling Satan that Job is righteous like no other man.

Job 1:8 – Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

  • Daniel, Noah, Job – God telling Ezekiel of the righteousness of Daniel, Noah, and Job.

Ezekiel 14:14 – Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.

  • Elijah – Elijah taken up to heaven alive in a chariot of fire.

2 Kings 2:11 – Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

  • John the Baptist – Jesus telling the multitudes that there were none greater than John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:11 – Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

  • Enoch – The testimony about a man of God.

Hebrews 11:5 –  – By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God

Jude 14 – Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,

  • Moses – Numerous Scriptures – Greater miracle worker, prophet, law giver, warrior-leader.
  • Paul, the Apostle – Numerous Scriptures – Missionary, Apostle, Prophet, Miracle Worker, Teacher, Man of God.
  • Simeon – He was not ashamed to declare that the One born was the Savior of the world.  This was more than any of the scribes of his time had discerned.  The scribes in Simeon’s day were men who looked upon Christ as a sign to be spoken against and to whom He would become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.  With godly Simeon it was different. He was Spirit taught and knew He whom he held was His salvation, and not only his, but the whole world. 

Nowhere is it recorded that Simeon bragged about or wore his religion on his sleeve.  He was led by the Holy Spirit, and yet he told no one of his walk with God.  His great spirituality and closeness to God was known because of his walk, not his talk.  He was one of a very few select of God who recognized this babe as the Savior of the world.  There were many who saw him as babe but did not recognize him as Savior. 

Luke 2:25-35 – One who was just, devout, looking for the Messiah, led by the Holy Spirit, given an unusual promise and saw and held the Messiah.  His name means “one who hears and obeys”. His faith had been justified and now he could die without fear.  Have our eyes seen the salvation of the Lord?  Can we die in peace?

The Apostle Peter asks this question in II Peter 3:11 when he is talking about the coming of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:11 – Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?

Seeing God’s Salvation

Luke 2:25-35

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:  Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.  And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Simeon, A Man of God

In this passage we read of a man who was different from others.  We read in the Bible about Simeon and it gives us some insight as to who he was.

  • He was a man who was just and devout.
  • He was a man who was looking for the Messiah.
  • He was a man who was led by the Holy Spirit.
  • He was a man who had been given an unusual promise.
  • He was a man who saw and held the Messiah.

Simeon was a man who was just and devout.  What does that really mean to us today?  Someone who is just “dikaios” in the sense that this passage means is someone who is righteous, well-behaved, living as one should live.  And the word devout “eulabes” means cautious and careful in relation to God.  It means a reverence for or pious toward God.   That description does not fit a lot of people today.  There is a care-free, nonchalant, no big deal attitude by a lot of people in their relationship to God. 

Simeon was looking for the Messiah.  The Messiah had been prophesied to come and save His people.  The Messiah was longed for by the faithful.  

Simeon was a man who was led by the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament, the Spirit only came upon men for special service.  From what little we read here it appears that Simeon may have had the Spirit upon him continually.  At any rate, one thing we know of this special man, he was a man who loved God. 

Simeon was a man who had been given an unusual promise. He was going to be able to see the Christ before his death.

  • We are to be Men and Women of God
  • We should be just and devout, as was Simeon. 

Micah 6: 8 – He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 

  • If we are people of God, then we should be looking for His appearing. 

2 Timothy 4:8 – Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

2 Peter 3:10-12 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

  • If we are people of God, then we will walk and live and move in the Spirit.

Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 

Galatians 5:25 – If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

  • We, too, have been given an unusual promise.

John 14:1-3 – Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Simeon was not ashamed to declare that the One born was the Savior of the world.  This was more than any of the scribes of his time had discerned.  The scribes in Simeon’s day were men who looked upon Christ as a sign to be spoken against and to whom He would become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.  With godly Simeon it was different. He was Spirit taught and knew He whom he held was His salvation, and not only his, but the whole world. 

Nowhere is it recorded that Simeon bragged about or wore his religion on his sleeve.  He was led by the Holy Spirit, and yet he told no one of his walk with God.  His great spirituality and closeness to God was known because of his walk, not his talk.  He was one of a very few select of God who recognized this babe as the Savior of the world.  There were many who saw him as babe but did not recognize him as Savior. 

One who was just, devout, looking for the Messiah, led by the Holy Spirit, given an unusual promise and saw and held the Messiah.  His name means “one who hears and obeys”. His faith had been justified and now he could die without fear.  Have our eyes seen the salvation of the Lord?  Can we die in peace?

The Apostle Peter asks this question in II Peter 3:11 when he is talking about the coming of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:11 – Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?

The Prayer Meeting Revival

Jeremiah Calvin Lanphier (September 3, 1809 – December 26, 1898) was an American lay missionary in New York City, popularly regarded as having been instrumental in instigating the American religious revival of 1857–58.  While Lanphier worked as a cloth merchant, he also joined the choir at Broadway Tabernacle where he became an evangelical Christian

During the 1850s, prosperous churches with wealthy congregants moved uptown to more fashionable neighborhoods.  But Lanphier continued to live in lower Manhattan where the number of unchurched residents increased. When a member of the leadership of the nearby North Dutch Church offered him a position as lay missionary, he closed his business and began his work for the church on July 1, 1857.

Although Lanphier had no theological training, he distributed tracts, visited local businesses, invited children to Sunday school, and encouraged hotels to refer guests to the church on Sunday.  However, he found that his time spent in prayer brought him the most peace and resolve, and he determined to start a weekly noon prayer meeting for businessmen that would take advantage of the hour when businesses were closed for lunch. The handbill he had printed read: “[Wednesday] prayer meeting from 12 to 1 o’clock. Stop 5, 10 or 20 minutes, or the whole time, as your time admits.”

On September 23, 1857, he set up a signboard in front of the church. No one came to the appointed room, and he prayed by himself for thirty minutes. At 12:30 another man joined him, four more by the end of the hour.

The next week there were twenty men, forty the following week. In October the prayer meetings became daily, and in January 1858, a second room had to be used simultaneously, by February, a third. By then as many as twenty noon prayer meetings were being held elsewhere in the city. In mid-March a theatre capable of holding 3,000 was crowded for the prayer meetings. By the end of March every downtown New York church and public hall was filled to capacity, and ten thousand men were gathering daily for prayer.

This revival was made up of people from all different denominations. It was a lay person’s revival. This was a prayer meeting for souls, and within a year it is estimated that over 1 million people got saved. 

What might happen again today when a few people set aside a little time each day, or even just an hour a week to pray together for the lost, for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit in our day?

When is Revival Needed?

We often hear that the great need of the church is revival!  The history of the church in the USA records times of religious movements.

What is called “The Great Awakening” was a revival that had a big influence on the English colonies during the 1730’s and 1740’s. Secular rationalism was being widely accepted and faith in God was at a low point. Christian leaders began going from town to town preaching on the need of salvation and faith in Jesus Christ. A renewed interest in God and the church spread through the colonies. Historians believe it had a lasting impact on some current Christian denominations and society at large.

The main emphasis on the preaching of that time was that all men/women were sinners in need of a savior. People can be saved by God’s grace if they simply confess their sin and follow Christ. The churches by that time had become very formal and this revival encouraged a more personal and less formal approach to God and to church services.

This idea of a more personal connection with God rather than relying on a minister led to great growth in the Methodists and Baptists denominations. Princeton and Dartmouth were founded during this revival.

Sadly, as time passed people once again became more complacent in their commitment to the church.

The second “Great Awakening” was in the early 1800’s. Meetings were held throughout the country and the “camp meeting” began. The Calvinism of the earlier churches in the USA began to move toward the Arminianism belief that man could choose to serve God or reject Him, that he was not predestined to be chosen by God for salvation or not chosen.

One great move of revival that has always inspired me is what is called the “Businessman’s Revival” or the “Prayer Meeting Revival.” In 1857 a businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier, began to feel a great burden for those who did not know Jesus Christ.

Praying for direction from God, he decided to organize a prayer meeting for businessmen. It would be on a Wednesday from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. He encouraged them to come whether they could pray for 5 minutes, 10 minutes or the entire hour.

The date was set for his first businessmen’s prayer meeting to be at noon on September 23, 1857. When the day came, he was ready to welcome the other businessmen for a time of prayer. At noon, no one showed up. He continued in prayer, refusing to give up. Finally, at 12:30 one man came for prayer. Before 1:00 came, there were five more men who joined him. Slowly from there the prayer meeting began to grow in number.

About a month after the meetings began, the stock market crashed. Attendance began to really grow as people were desperate This “prayer revival” was not organized or run by any particular church or minister. Lay people from different denominations took part. It is estimated that over 1 million people made a commitment to Jesus Christ in the next year.

The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements were born from a revival in Los Angeles that ran from 1906 until 1915. The black minister William J. Seymour led the movement and it was an interracial group that included both black and white and women in leadership roles.

There have been other times of revival since then like the “Jesus Movement” and the Billy Graham crusades to mention only a couple.

So What is Revival?

The dictionary tells us that revival is:

  • an improvement in the condition or strength of something.
  • an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again.
  • a restoration

So – Do We Need a Revival Today?

  • Coming out of the past two years when Covid 19 caused many of our churches to close their doors or people just afraid to come to church, we truly need a revival.
  • Looking at our nation and all the division and anger, we truly need a revival.
  • Sensing all the stress people have had – still have, we truly need a revival.

What Will Bring Revival

Joel 2:12-17 – “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.  Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—A grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.  Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them.  Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

One scripture that is often quoted when calling for prayer is:

2 Chronicles 7:14 – if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Sadly most of the time it is just suggesting if we pray, God will heal. But there is more than praying required here. The verse says:

  • Humble ourselves
  • Not just pray, but pray and seek His face (no 10 cents prayers here)
  • Turn from our wicked ways.

May we began to hunger and thirst for a revival in our land.

Don’t Worry About the Storm

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.  But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

This story is also told in Mark 6:45-51 and John 6:16-21

Jesus “made” His disciples get into the boat – this indicates it was at His direction that they left in the boat.

There are other Bible stories that tell about the safety of being in a boat.

  • Noah and the ark
  • Baby Moses in the basket set in the River Nile
  • Paul and those with him in a great storm

When you are alone in a boat in the middle of a storm.

  • There are no multitudes to impress
  • It appears that Jesus is not with you
  • Fear and doubt can quickly arise

Question:  Why did Jesus not stop the storm earlier?  Could it be that in the storm our faith is made stronger as we learn to totally put our trust in Him? It was as Jesus calmed the storm that the disciples realized who he really was. Many times it is in the storms of life that we learn more about the power and the love of Jesus.

As I think back over my life and the storms I have weathered – death of a grandson and a son; heart attack; brain bleed and my wife’s battle with cancer – I see how God was with us and how He kept us. I have truly learned the true meaning of this verse in Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Compassion of the Messiah

Matthew 9:35-38

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Jesus’ Mission was to Minister.

  • His method – He went to the people

Luke 19:10 – for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Amen.

John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

  • His area of ministry – Wherever the people were

Matthew 22:9 – Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.

Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

  • His effort – He preached, taught and healed.
  • Preaching – proclaiming the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ

1 Cor. 1:17-21 – For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:  “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”  Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

  • Teaching – explaining, establishing those who are saved in the Word of God

2 Tim. 2:2 – And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

  • Healing – meeting the physical, mental and emotional needs of those who are hurting

James 5:13-16 – Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

  • His message – Jesus Christ died and rose again that all who believe in him might be saved

Luke 24:46-48 – Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.

  • Jesus’ Mission was to Show Compassion.
  • He saw the crowds fainting.
  • Responsibilities of daily life weighed them down.
  • Man’s religion weighed them down.
  • Sin weighed them down.
  • He saw the crowds scattered.
  • Turning to legalism (their own Law)
  • Turning to philosophy (Stoics, Epicureans, etc.)
  • Turning to false religion (Roman/Greek gods)
  • Turning to no religion (atheism)
  • He saw the crowds with no leader.
  • Jesus’ Mission was to Share his vision.
  • Vision of a great harvest

John 4:35-36 – Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

  • Harvest is ready
  • Harvest is great
  • Harvest needs to be reaped now – each generation has a harvest.  If they do not reap it, it will be lost.

Matthew 9:36 – But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

  • Vision of a great need for laborers

Matthew 9:37 – Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few

Romans 10:14-15 – How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

  • Vision of a great need for prayer

Matthew 9:38 – Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Ephesians 6:18-20 – praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • Vision of a great force of laborers

Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

  • The harvest is God’s.  He has chosen to use you and me to reap the harvest.  It can be done if:
  1. There is enough concern within our generation for the lost.
  2. There is enough prayer for laborers.
  3. There is enough commitment to obey his voice and go.
  4. There is enough dedication to live for him day by day.
  5. There is enough faith to believe him and his Word.
  6. There is enough conviction to stand strong and firm through all.

Prayers to Pray

Matthew 6:9-13 – The Lord’s Prayer

2 Chronicles 7:24 – If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

1 Samuel 12:23 – Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you.

James 5:16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

1 Timothy 2:8 – I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – pray without ceasing.

Luke 22:46 – Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep?  Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

Luke 10:2 – Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Luke 6:28 – bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Luke 21:36 – Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

E. M. Bounds – “Holy characters are formed by the power of real praying.  The more of praying, the more of true saints.”

Some ideas for your prayer time: These are suggestions. Of course, each individual has to find what works best for them – but do pray.

  • Prepare for your time of prayer.  Try to pray an hour each day.  Start with twenty minute increments at different times of the day.    
    • Set aside a specific time each day for your prayer time, preferably in the early morning. 
    • Be sure to turn your cell phone off and try to eliminate all distractions when beginning your prayer time.
    • Keep a prayer journal.  Use different colored pencils to indicate different types of needs; red for salvation, blue for physical healing, green for financial needs, etc.
    • List your prayer needs specifically and by date.
    • Continue praying about specific needs until they are answered.   
    • Jot the date a specific prayer is answered. 
    • Be sure to give God thanks for answered prayer. 
    • Expect that as you begin to get organized in your praying that there will be interruptions and distractions but continue praying.
    • Expect that God will dramatically change your life as you are obedient to continue praying.

E. M. Bounds – “Units of prayer combined, like drops of water, make an ocean which defies resistance.”         

Some rules for your prayers to be effective:

  • Pray prayers following confession and renunciation of all sins specifically.   Forgive those who have wronged you and ask forgiveness of those whom you are at odds with.
  • Pray prayers with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving knowing that all good things come from and through Him.
  • Pray prayers following a time of reading and meditating on the Word.
  • Pray prayers that are according to God’s will.  His will is His Word.
  • Pray prayers in boldness and faith, believing that God hears and will answer your prayers.
  • Pray specifically for the need, not in vague terms, but identify each need in detail.
  • Pray prayers for the right motives, not for selfish gain, but for the glory of God.
  • Pray prayers and submit to God and His will as He answers in His time frame.
  • Pray prayers that require God’s intervention.
  • Pray continuously, even when you do not have any needs, and not just in time of crisis.
  • Pray with the understanding that all answers to prayer come from God and it is to Him you must give thanks.
  • Pray prayers in the Name of Jesus.

Don’t expect a million dollar answer from a ten cent prayer.

Make a specific list of recurring prayer needs: Again, your list will be personal, but creating a list helps keep you focused on the needs to be prayed for.

  • I will pray each day for our country, our president, and our military.
  • I will pray each day for our missionaries serving around the world.
  • I will pray each day for those who are in need.
  • I will pray each day for our church and our pastor.
  • I will pray each day for children and young people.
  • I will pray each day for those who do not know Jesus as Lord.
  • I will pray each day for those babies, yet unborn, whose lives are in peril.
  • I will pray each day for families to be united.
  • I will pray each day for those addicted to alcohol, drugs, pornography and other lifestyle choices not pleasing to God.

                                           PRAYER

                                    A – ADORATION

                                    C – CONFESSION

                                    T – THANKSGIVING

                                    S – SUPPLICATION

Teach Us to Pray

Matthew 6:9-13

In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Hallowed by Thy name

  • Jehovah Jireh (My Provider)
  • Jehovah Rapha (My Healer)
  • Jehovah Nissi (My Victory)
  • Jehovah Shalom (My Peace)

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

  • Pray for God’s will in different areas of your life
  • Pray for your family
  • Pray for your place of work, your school
  • Pray for your neighborhood, your town, your state, your country, the world
  • Pray for those who have authority over you and yours

Give us this day our daily bread

  • Ask God for your basic needs
  • Ask God for the needs of your family

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

  • Ask God to forgive you for specific areas of your life where you have failed/sinned
  • Ask God to cleanse you from secret sins, revealing to you as you err, those that you are not conscientiously aware of
  • Ask God for grace to forgive those who have sinned against you

Deliver us from evil

  • This is spiritual warfare
  • No “Now I lay me down to sleep” or “Oh GOD!” prayers

For thine is the kingdom, power and the glory

  • Lord, You are in full control
  • Lord, have Your way in all these areas
  • Lord, You are worthy to receive glory, honor and praise

Matthew 26:40-41 – Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:8-13

Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

  • “Our Father” – The Paternal Need:  When you pray, all needs are met by the benevolence of a loving Father.  This address to the Heavenly Father recognizes your relationship with Him.  You must first come on the basis of a relationship secured for you in the atoning work of the blood shed on Calvary’s cross by the One, Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:19-22 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

  • “Hallowed be Your Name – God’s Presence:  Enter His presence through praise.  You have constant access to God’s throne through praise and worship.  Wherever you will praise Him, He will come and establish His rule.

Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.

  • “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done.” – God’s Priorities:  Declare that His kingdom priorities will be established in yourself, your church, your nation.  God desires to rule in every situation that concerns us.  As you set yourself to first seek His kingdom reign, you will find all that you need and more.

Romans 14:17 – for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

  • “Give Us” – God’s Provision:  Jesus told us to pray daily, asking Him to supply all our needs.  God has already provided to meet our greatest need by sending Jesus to die for us.  How much more can we expect Him to meet our daily needs from His vast storehouses of blessings?

Philippians 4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

  • “And forgive us” – God’s Forgiveness:  We need God’s forgiveness and we need to forgive others.  Daily set your will to walk in love and forgiveness.  This step opens the door for a greater flow of God’s grace in our lives, and the Lord will use this to bring freedom to others.

Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

  • “Do not lead us into temptation…deliver us from the evil one.” – Power Over Satan:  Pray a hedge of protection about yourself and your loved ones, and verbally put on the armor of God.  Seek to walk in righteousness and the Lord will guide you.  Resist the work of Satan, and you will have victory.

Job 1:9-10 – So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

Ephesians 6:14-18 – Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Psalm 37:23-24 – The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

  • “For Yours is the Kingdom” – Divine Partnership:  Praise God for sharing His kingdom, power and glory with us.  God daily calls us to partner in what He is doing.  We can join in His plans by daily walking in open communication and relationship with Him.

2 Timothy 4:18 – And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

John 17:22 – And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: