If we were to put Pauls teaching in the first three chapters of Romans into one simple statement it would be this: Everybody needs the Lord. We all need the Savior or well face Gods justice for our sins. He shows how Gentile cultures walked away from the truth of God, and then how the Jews who had Gods truth revealed in Scripture also failed to obey what they knew to be right. When Paul is finished we realize the entire human race is in serious trouble. In order to prepare our hearts for the National Day of Prayer on Thursday this spiritual crisis needs to confront us afresh. We need to feel compassion for lost people, not pity them. We need to commit ourselves to do everything in our power to help them find the Savior. And the first, and frankly most important step we can take isnt witnessing, its prayer. The door to peoples hearts is prayed open, not talked open. History is filled with remarkable examples of God reviving His Church and awakening lost people, but such spiritual breakthroughs are always preceded by believers committing themselves to pray until Gods mighty hand moves. When it does witnessing becomes effective, many are saved, churches are refilled and the culture of whole communities is transformed. Our nation desperately needs a revival now! But remember, you and I cant make revival happen, we can only pray until it comes. So the step we need to take today is to commit ourselves to earnestly and consistently call on God.
Listen to Pauls assessment
Gentiles: Romans 1:28-32 (DBS)
Jews (Christians): 2:1-5 (DBS)
Everybody: 3:9-19, 23
Day of wrath: 2:5-11
How should this truth effect us?
There really is a day coming when all will be judged and no one will have an excuse, so those who have not repented and called on God for mercy will face a terrible eternity of justice. Yet in spite of this, believers can tend to become complacent, and this is the root of the problem which holds back revival and the healing of our nation. If we care enough well pray, and if we pray the situation will change.
What does revival look like?
The history of Christs Church has been marked by revivals. The fact is thats the only thing that has kept us alive over the passing centuries. If the Church depended on good leadership skills and our faithfulness to be built, the gates of hell would have prevailed long ago (Mt 16:18). But repeatedly God has intervened to reignite the fires of faith. Lets look at one example of how He did this. (From Sea to Shining Sea, Peter Marshall and David Manuel, Fleming H. Revell Co., 1986, pp 60-69)
Do I think the transformation of America is possible by believers working harder? Absolutely not. The church in America, as a whole, is overwhelmed and losing ground. But the equation changes when you put Gods power into it. He can move on a scale that is incomprehensible to us (Isa 40:21-31). He can indeed revive His church in this nation and by transforming great numbers of Americans He can restore our consensus of values and love for one another. And remember, revival in America today must come in numerous languages and reach many people groups, but also remember that the presence of so many cultures means that what starts here will quickly be communicated throughout the world.
Heres an invitation to prepare for revival:
1) Come this Thursday (7:00pm)
There will be a formal gathering for prayer for our nation, which will be planned and led by our prayer ministers.
2) Commit to prayer
Lets follow Reverend James McGreadys covenant: lets agree to pray every Saturday evening and Sunday morning and to devote the third Saturday of each month to prayer and fasting (till finished praying or noon).
Together lets ask the Lord to cause a spiritual awakening in the United States.
Lets ask Him to search our own hearts and show us where we need to repent so that we might be truly righteous in His eyes.
Lets ask God:
- To restore the gospel and love of the Word to churches across our country
- To pour out the power of His Spirit
- To convert our children and sinners generally
- To give each of us compassion for the lost and fresh passion for Him
- To allow us to partner with Him in the great work Hes going to do
Notice, were not self-righteously praying that God will fix the bad behavior of people so our country will be a nicer place to live in. Were asking Him to reawaken His Church and pour out His Spirit among us. Were praying for Him to enable us to really care about people who are perishing.
We shouldnt overlook the fact that the Great Revival in Kentucky (1800), which began our nations Second Great Awakening, started in a service where people were taking the Lords Supper. And that should come as no surprise because nothing confronts us with the cross of Jesus Christ more vividly than the bread and cup. With these Jesus invites us to place our sin onto Him as He died for us on the cross, and to cling to Him as our Savior. When this step of faith is matched with a truly repentant heart, a miracle takes place. Jesus called it the new birth (Jn 3:3-8), and when the new birth begins to spread rapidly to many people, whole societies can be changed, but that change still must happen one heart at a time. So the most important thing I can do to prepare for revival is to see that my own heart is revived, and for that to happen I must repent and believe for the first time, or again for the 1,000th time.
1) Have you personally had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit? Tell us about it.
2) Revivals can be of different sizes (families, churches, schools, camps, cities, etc.). Have you ever experienced this type of revival? What made that season different?
3) Has anyone in your familys history been involved in revival? Did that ancestor effect other members of the family? Did he or she effect later generations?