There is no question that our nation, along with the rest of the world, is a nation under the judgment of God. As far as I know, throughout the world, in every nation under the sun, the wicked rule. Perhaps you think that is a strong statement. Politicians in every democratic society of which I am aware…
- Openly promote homosexuality, asserting that any objection to that deviant perversity is bigotry.
- Do everything possible to promote fornication and unwed women giving birth to children, or even worse murdering unwanted, inconvenient children.
- Use every means possible to eradicate any mention or thought of the Lord Jehovah, our God, and our Savior Christ Jesus as God the Lord, while rushing to pass laws protecting Islam, Hinduism and atheism.
Yes, the wicked rule everywhere; and when the wicked rule the people mourn.
(Proverbs 29:2) “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
When the wicked rule, the people they oppress “mourn,” the people moan, and groan, and sigh before God under the tyranny of the wicked. The people mourn, groan and sigh, as John Gill wrote more than 250 years ago, “under their tyranny and oppression, and because of the sad state of things; the number of good men is lessened, being cut off, or obliged to flee; wicked men and wickedness are encouraged and promoted; heavy taxes are laid upon them, and exorbitant demands made and cruelty, injustice, and arbitrary power exercised; and no man’s person and property are safe.”
I repeat, there no question about the fact that we are in dark, dark days of well deserved divine judgment. I do not lay the blame for this judgment upon self-serving politicians. — They are only the instruments of judgment. The blame must be placed elsewhere. — In the 1st chapter of the Book of Romans, God the Holy Spirit places the blame for the current state of things at the doorstep of religion, religion that worships and serves the creature more than the Creator. The root cause of all the evil we see around us is false religion, free will, works religion.
- Will worship is the worst form of idolatry there is.
- Idolatry is the mother of all other perversity.
- And idolatry always brings divine judgment, judgment by which God shows his anger.
- These are “them which destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18).
If you can’t see that we are in such a state, you just can’t see.
But I have a question. — Might God yet have mercy? — Might God yet grant revival? That is the title of my message. — MIGHT GOD YET GRANT REVIVAL? Turn with me to Psalm 85. This is the question David asked in his day.
(Psalms 85:1-7) “LORD, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. (2) Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. (3) Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. (4) Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. (5) Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? (6) Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? (7) Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.”
I don’t talk a great deal about revival, though in my very soul I long for it. I don’t talk much about it, simply because I am convinced that the thing God uses to bring revival to his church is not talking about revival, but talking about his Son. I don’t dwell much on revivals of the past because those things that are commonly viewed as evidences of revival (emotionalism, visions, legalism and idleness) are, in my opinion, more likely evidences of a satanic delusion than of a revival. That which men call revival, religious enthusiasm worked up in a frenzy of will-worship (Wilmore Revival — April 1970), is nothing but a satanic delusion, not revival. But in this message I want to talk to you about revival. This Book does speak about revival.
(Psalms 85:6) “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
(Habakkuk 3:2) “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”
MIGHT GOD YET GRANT REVIVAL? When I talk about revival I am talking about — God manifesting himself to his church and people in such a way that he shows us his power, his goodness and his favor in Christ, delivering his chosen from their enemies, for the glory of his own great name. Such revival…
- Sometimes comes to an individual believer (Paul in Corinth — Acts 18:1-10).
- Sometimes to a private family (Cornelius’s Household — Acts 10:44).
- Sometimes to one, or two, or a few local churches (Acts 15:30-35).
- Sometimes to the whole church of God (Acts 2:1-4).
Illustrations: The Reformation
The Great Awakening
Central Kentucky 1790-1805
I know this, the Lord God promises to grant revival, to grant his manifest presence and power to his people, if we earnestly seek his face, praying toward his holy temple, that is praying with our eyes of faith and hope fixed upon the Mercy-Seat, the Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrifice (2 Chronicles 7:14).
(2 Chronicles 7:14) “If my people, which are called by my name, 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.”
And I know that the Lord God will, in the day of this world’s greatest darkness perform a great work of mercy, reviving his witnesses, reviving his church (Revelation 11 — The Two Witnesses).
In this message, I want to show you by inspired example how to seek revival. Turn to the prophecy of Isaiah, and just hold your Bibles open at Isaiah chapters 63 and 64. May God the Holy Spirit speak by his Word to your hearts, and encourage you in these dark days.
(Isaiah 63:15-16) “Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? (16) Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.”
(Isaiah 63:17-19) “O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. (18) The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. (19) We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.”
(Isaiah 64:1-8) “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. (2) As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! (3) When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.(4) For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. (5) Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. (6) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (7) And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. (8) But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
(Isaiah 64:9-12) “Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. (10) Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. (11) Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. (12) Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?”
Without question, this was a prayer uttered by God’s prophet for the deliverance of Israel from the hands of their great enemies.
- Because of their sin, God had left them, sent them into bondage, and sore afflicted them.
- Now, the prophet of God pleads with God for the nation. Remembering what God had done, he has hope that he might again intervene for his people and show them his favor.
In so doing, he gives us an example of how we ought to pray in our own day.
Proposition: Past experiences of grace ought to inspire us with hope for future grace and give us arguments with which to plead with God for more grace.
It is as though the prophet were saying, Where is the God that brought us up out of Egypt? Where is he that put his Holy Spirit in our midst, brought us into the land of Canaan, drove out our enemies, and caused us to dwell in safety, to make himself a great and glorious name? (See 63:11-14.)
(Isaiah 63:11-14) “Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?(12) That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? (13) That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness,that they should not stumble? (14) As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.”
Isaiah’s prayer reminds me of Cowper’s old hymn:
“Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
Of Jesus in His Word?
Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,
And drove Thee from my breast.”
As we go through this great, instructive prayer, I want to show you seven things in this great, instructive prayer for revival which will, I believe, be helpful to you who are concerned for the glory of God and the revival of your own soul and of his church in this day.
A COVENANT CLAIMED
First, in chapter 63, verses 15-19, Isaiah prays for the Lord God to intervene and revive his work, pleading a covenant relationship with him. The Lord tells us to plainly to pray this way. He says, “Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified” (Isaiah 43:26).
(Isaiah 63:15-16) “Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?”
The prophet says, “Lord, look at your house in ruins. The place of your holiness and your glory is trampled beneath the feet of wicked men. Where is the zeal with which you once defended and protected us? Where is the sound of your anger, your roaring bowels of indignation against our enemies? Where are your tender mercies toward your people? — Now, watch this claim of God’s covenant, this declaration to God of faith in him…
(16) Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.”
Next, Isaiah teaches us to acknowledge, as God’s covenant people, that judgment is as surely God’s work as mercy and grace. Did he not say, — “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things”?
(Isaiah 63:17-19) “O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. (18) The people of thy holinesshave possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. (19) We are thine:thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.”
Be sure to take notice that throughout this prayer, Isaiah (speaking for the people of God) carefully and constantly acknowledges God’s sovereignty and their guilt, God’s gracious redemption and their utter helplessness.
“O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?” (v. 17) Here the prophet acknowledges…
- God’s Absolute Sovereignty
- The Utter Sinfulness of the People
“Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance” (v. 17). — This is a prayer for God’s gracious intervention. Isaiah is saying, Lord God, build up your kingdom. Save your people. Gather the outcasts. Gather your elect. Reveal again your mighty arm of grace. Make yourself known as our God.
Take pity upon us, O Lord (vv. 18-19).
- We are your people, your holy people, “the people of thy holiness!” — You chose us. You redeemed us. You called us. We are yours, distinctly and peculiarly your people.
- We are in utter desolation.
- Our enemies and yours trample under their feet your sanctuary. — Your Worship! — Your Altar (Your Sacrifice, Your Son!) — Your People!
Second, in chapter 64, verses 1-3, Isaiah teaches us, by example, to pour out our hearts to our God in earnest prayer, seeking his manifest presence, power, goodness and glory. Isaiah had cried for the Lord God to look down in pity (Isaiah 63:15). Now he prays that he will come down in power.
(Isaiah 64:1-3) “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. (2) As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!(3) When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.”
This is an earnest, I might say, desperate, desire that God will come down and show himself to be our God. Oh, that God would this day show himself clearly and distinctly as our God, the God in whose eyes we are precious, as he did at the Red Sea, upon Mt. Sinai, and when Israel drove their enemies out of the land God gave them (Psalm 68:1).
(Psalms 68:1) “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.”
Isaiah pleads what God has formerly done as an indication of what he is always ready to do for his people. — What a thought!
GOD’S GRACIOUS PURPOSE
Third, in verses 4-5 the prophet expresses an adoration for and awe of God’s gracious purposes toward his people. Whether the Lord grants our desire or refuses to grant our desire, let follow Isaiah’s example here. Let us bow to him, adore his grace, trust his purpose and acknowledge our sin.
(Isaiah 64:4-5) “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. (5) Thoumeetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.”
Isaiah was overwhelmed at the thought of what God has prepared for his chosen. I am too (v. 4; Psalm 31:19; 1 Corinthians 2:9).
- His Great Salvation!
- Heavenly Glory!
(Psalms 31:19) “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”
(1 Corinthians 2:9) “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
He then acknowledges that though God meets the righteous and receives them, we have no claim upon his goodness by virtue of our own goodness, “for we have sinned.”
But notice this — Even in the acknowledgment of God’s holiness and the people’s sin, their constant sin, Isaiah’s hope is not diminished. His eye of faith and hope was not cast upon himself or the people, but upon God’s grace, God’s Son, and God’s salvation. He says, “We shall be saved!”
Fourth, knowing that God’s grace is sure, trusting him confidently, let us ever take our place in the dust before his august majesty and glorious sovereignty. In verses 6 and 7, Isaiah teaches us to make a complete confession of our sin and vindicate God’s providential judgments (vv. 6-7).
(Isaiah 64:6-7) “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (7) And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.”
- “We are all as an unclean thing.”— Unfit for God’s acceptance!
- “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” — Thank God for another righteousness!
- “We all do fade as a leaf.” — We are like the dry, withered leaves of a tree in the deadness of Winter.
- “Our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
- “There is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee.”
- Thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.”
(Psalms 51:1-4) “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
Fifth, in verse 8 the prophet teaches us to acknowledge and bow to the absolute sovereignty of our great and good God.
(Isaiah 64:8) “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
Blessed are they who understand and acknowledge the truth contained in this verse of Scripture. It is taught throughout the Word of God.
- God is sovereign; and we are nothing.
- God almighty is the Potter; and we are clay in his hands.
- God can and will do whatever he wants with us (Jeremiah 18:6; Romans 9:11-24).
(Jeremiah 18:6) “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clayis in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
(Romans 9:11-24) “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14)What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he willhave mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? (20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”
- Whatever God does with us is right.
- We are the work of his hands (Ephesians 2:10 — “Salvation is of the Lord!)
Sixth, read verses 9 and 10. Here is a prayer for forgiveness and deliverance. — Revival is the sweet experience of forgiveness!
(Isaiah 64:9-10) “Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. (10) Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.”
This is a prayer based upon three things.
- Blood Atonement — God cannot forgive sin except by blood atonement.
- Divine Election — “We are thy people.”
- Desperate Need (v. 10) — Your church appears to be a desolate wilderness.
A POWERFUL PLEA
Seventh, in verses 11 and 12 the prophet makes a plea that always carries weight with God. When we have to have him, the Lord God will rend the heavens, come down, and make every mountain to melt before us!
(Isaiah 64:11-12) “Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. (12) Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?”
We do not just need you. Lord God, we must have you. Without you, we are nothing and we can do nothing!
- Your house, your gospel, your praise is burned up!
- Our pleasant things, your glorious praise, your presence, your people, your honor, all are laid waste by your enemies and ours!
- Will God, for these things, refrain himself? — NO SIR! God will intervene. In wrath, he will remember mercy. He will again rend the heavens and come down. He will yet again revive us!
(1 Kings 18:36-37) “And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thouart God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. (37) Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.”
This is my prayer. I have absolute confidence that it shall be done. I do not know how he will do it; but I know that the Lord our God will let it be known that…
- He is God alone!
- We are his people.
- I am his servant.
- The Gospel we preach is his Gospel.
God will yet again send fire from heaven!
- To Show His Approval and Acceptance of Us.
- To Enliven our Souls.
- To Consume our Enemies.
His contrite ones God will revive,
Nor let His mourners faint;
For He has grace and strength to give
To every drooping saint!
In fact, I am here to tell you more than that. I am here to tell you that in this dark, dark day, the Lord God is reviving his work!
The dog of Rome and the peddlers of freewill will not party forever! God has sent the Spirit of life into his church again. He is now performing the work.
(Revelation 11:11) “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.”
Right in the midst of the wholesale apostasy engulfing this world, our God has raised up his witnesses again! The church of God will yet be triumphant. I know that some of my friends think I’ve popped a cork; but I fully believe we are, in this apostate day of judgment, when the spirit of antichrist is so thick you can cut it with a knife, — we are right now in the midst of the greatest time of revival the world has ever known.
- The gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ has never before been preached so clearly as it is today.
- The gospel has never before been believed and preached by so many.
- It has never before been preached to so many.
Illustrations: Last month (February 08) the Lord allowed us to broadcast the gospel into 89 countries and into 49 of the 50 States in the USA. FreeGraceRadio.com. — Over 10,000 sermons were downloaded last month! — 270,000 Total. —
Bro. Henry Mahan’s Site — 12,000 sermons last month — Over 500,000 Total.
God is saving his people. He is raising up gospel witnesses and local churches everywhere. I am not talking about the froth, and foam, and fizzle of religious tom-foolery. I’m talking about God’s work! The world and the religion of the world have ignored us for generations; no more! They may not yet be made to marvel, but soon!
(Revelation 11:12) “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”
There’s never been a better day in which to live and serve our God than our day! — Before God is done with us, as in the days of the Reformation and the Great Awakening, the religious world and the political world will be frozen with fear.
Holy Spirit, come deliver
All Your saints from slavish fear;
Blessed Spirit, comfort giver,
Rest upon Your people here:
By Your unction, (Blessed unction!),
Bring the Savior’s fulness near.
By Your mighty operation,
Every contrite heart revive;
And reveal that full salvation,
By which ruined sinners live;
By Your unction, (Blessed unction!),
Pardon, peace and comfort give.
It is by divine anointing,
Ransomed sinners know the Lord;
Gospel truths, to Jesus pointing,
Strength, delight and joy afford,
When Your unction, (Blessed unction!),
Rests upon the gospel word.
Come, O come, almighty Teacher,
Let Your people know Your pow’r;
On the hearers, and the preacher,
Send a rich refreshing shower,
Of Your unction, (Blessed unction!),
In this consecrated hour.
Then the end will come. A voice will be heard, as the voice of the archangel, saying, “Come up hither!” As the saints of God, both the living and the dead ascend in a cloud of glory to meet the Lord in the air, “their enemies behold them!” There will be no secret, mysterious rapture. This is talking about the glorious resurrection of the sons of God (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Then the Judgment!
It appears that immediately preceding Christ’s appearing in judgment, there will be a great earthquake, perhaps a great series of earthquakes (Revelation 11:13). Multitudes will be slain. Those who remain will be terror struck. Though they will not repent, they will give “glory to the God of heaven.” Now the stage is set. This is the beginning of the end. “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” (Revelation 11:14). Are you ready?
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