It never fails. Whenever a tragedy strikes, or especially when tragedy strikes, someone always proclaims our world's need for revival. And I couldn't agree more. So let's talk revival.
Yesterday's sermon was based on Acts 9: 36-43, which portrays Peter's raising of the dead disciple Tabitha. The text concludes with Peter moving on to a tanner named Simon, but not before leaving behind a revival: "This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord" (NIV). There was revival in Joppa that day. By believing in the Lord, those who were spiritually dead were made to be spiritually alive.
This is the fruit of revival. When non-believers or pre-believers become believers in Jesus, revival is taking place! And when people become followers of Jesus, everything about life changes. Hopeless living becomes hope-filled living. Joy-less living becomes joy-filled living. Selfish living becomes selfless living. The presence of the Holy Spirit begins to move us away from sin and evil and urges us to pursue holiness and love. Isn't this what we long for, especially after last week's Boston Marathon bombings or last December's Newtown massacre? Of course it is. But where does it begin? Let's go back to our text from Acts.
Interestingly enough, the revival in Joppa did not begin with those new believers. It began with the church. It began when those close to Tabitha recognized their loss and cried out for help. That's where revival begins.
If we truly wish to see revival, I suggest we take a good long look at our own spiritual health. Maybe what our nation (and our world!) needs is for God to breathe new life into our churches. As God's Spirit begins to renew and revive our own faith, the results will ripple as if a stone has been thrown into a body of water. With that in mind, here are three prayers we can begin to pray:
1. We can pray for the honesty to understand that maybe something inside of us is lost or (gasp!) even dead.
2. We can pray for the willingness to admit that we can do nothing to restore what is lost.
3. We can pray for the humility to cry out to the One who can do something aobut what is lost or dead within us.