A FRESH WIND AND A FRESH FIRE FROM GOD

    Psalm 85:1-13

There comes a time in the life of a believer where the soul cries out for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit for a rekindling of the fires of faith. When this happens in the lives of church members, the church is ready for a fresh fire from God.

In our church culture we have usually seen this in the context of a revival meeting. As blessed as that is, rekindling the fires of faith calls for more than a series of meetings. We need the “Sound of the Rushing of a Mighty Wind and the emblem of Fire” that visited the believers at Pentecost.

The Old Testament spiritual leaders understood revival in terms like this: the writer of Psalm 85 offered this heart cried to God saying, “O Lord, You showed favor to your land… Will You revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” That was a plea for the revival of the nation of Israel. I am sure that every thinking Christian is burdened about the way our nation has gone the way from God. We cry, “O God, will you revive our nation again? Revive it to spiritual values, revive it to those standards of life and conduct that we once knew; revive the soul of the nation so that we will be strong again and be able to enjoy your blessings.”

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a believer in Christ, is a prophet to the nation and assesses our present spiritual condition. He says,

“One of the truths found in the Bible is that before judgment comes there is often an act of desecration. For example, like in Babylon when Belshazzar took the cups of the Temple and used them to celebrate the gods of Ba’al and of the other pagan nations, the handwriting was written on the wall. So, the act of judgment follows an act of desecration.

Likewise, in America not so long ago, we crossed the line. Our nation committed an act of desecration by striking down the divine order of God concerning marriage. Then President Obama does this, he lights up the White House like a rainbow. That act becomes another desecration. The rainbow stands as a sign of God. It doesn’t belong to man. It belongs to God. The White House turns God’s sign of peace into a sign of desecration. That was a major offense to God.

There’s a day on the Hebrew calendar called the 9th of Tammuz, and that day has historically been a day of judgment. That’s when the Babylonians breached the protective walls of Jerusalem, opening the nation to judgment. That day remains for the Jewish people a mourning day, lasting for more than 2,000 years. That is the day when the hedge of Israel’s protection was removed. Interestingly enough, the 9th of Tammuz fell on June 26, 2015, which is the very day that the Supreme Court struck down the hedge of marriage by legalizing same-sex marriage. And the 9th of Tammuz stands as the day of God removing the hedge of protection around America. This vulnerability is a most dangerous situation.

We have in this nation watched good be called evil and evil called good. Romans 1 teaches that when a nation sets its jaw against God and begins to rebel and shake its fist at God, God steps back and lowers the hedge of protection and allows evil to multiply, resulting in a sexual revolution. If the nation refuses again, God steps back a second time, lowers the hedge, and sexual perversions such as homosexuality will run rampant. The third time the nation refuses to repent, God steps back yet again and He delivers the nation over to a depraved mind.

I think that is where we are today. It is crazy what we are seeing! We are seeing levels of immorality that we could never have ever imagined years before. Even children’s programming on Disney and other networks are pushing this agenda to destroy gender identity. And so, these are the signs of apostasy and also the last days.” ( From Rabbi Cahn)

As you can see the church needs to be strong for our nation at this time. The Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk, prayed, “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years.” It is our prayer that the nation will be revived, that individual Christians will be revived and that the church will be revived.

What do we actually mean by saying we need a spiritual revival? Here are some definitions:

W. B. Sprague says, “Whenever you see religion rising from a state of comparative depression to a tone of increased vigor and strength; when you see Christians becoming more faithful to their obligations and behold the strength of the church, then there is revival.

Charles G. Finney said, “Revival is nothing else than simply times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord. It is the beginning of a new obedience in God’s people.”

G Campbell Morgan said, “Revival is reviving humanity to a sense of God. It is vitalizing the life of the believer.”

Arthur Wallace said, “Revival is the divine intervention in the normal course of things. It is God revealing himself in awful holiness and great power.”

Stephen Olford said, “Revival is the sovereign work of God in which He visits His people restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of blessing.”

Psalm 85 was written in a time that God was angry with Israel. The Psalmist asked, “Will you be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again?” (vs. 5-6).

There is little that we as individuals can do to affect the national scene, but there is much that we can do to revive our personal faith and our church. The church in America needs the fresh fire of the Holy Spirit. Here are the steps suggested by A. W. Tozer that we can take to revive ourselves personally which will have a dynamic effect on our fellowship as a congregation.

ADDRESS THE DISSATISFACTION IN YOUR FAITH.

It is complacency that is the enemy of spiritual progress. It is being satisfied and at ease in Zion that causes us not to move forward in the Christian life. Referring to physical things, the Apostle Paul said, “I have learned in all states wherever I am to be content.” But referring to spiritual matters, he said, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12). Are you satisfied where you are spiritually? Do you know the Lord as well as you want to know Him? Do you know enough of His Book the way you want to? Are you living the way you want to? Paul would say to us, “Stir up the gift of God that is within you.”

DEVELOP A STRONG DETERMINATION THERE WILL BE IN YOUR LIFE A SWEEPING SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION.

You and I do not have to be the way that we are. We can grow in our understanding of God. We can grow in our spiritual lives to be more sensitive to God. We can grow in our ability to serve God.

PLACE YOURSELF IN THE WAY OF BLESSING.

If you want a new spiritual fire in your heart, get into God’s Word. The truths of Scripture will ignite in your spirit a hunger to know more and to apply what you do know to daily life.

DO A THOROUGH WORK OF REPENTING.

Do not hurry over this. Hasty repentance means a shallow religious experience and a lack of certainty about the whole of life. We need to recover a sense of the evilness of evil. John Stott said, “Repentance is an inward change of mind and attitude toward sin that leads toward a change in behavior.” Confess all known sin and be determined to break the patterns that you keep repeating.

MAKE RESTITUTION WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

If there is a broken relationship in your home, where you work, in your neighborhood, or in the church, make it right. A man stood up in a prayer meeting as his church was praying for revival and said, “I know the Spirit of God will not come upon our church as long as I and brother so-and-so have enmity toward each other. We have not spoken in five years. He said to the brother, Let us settle this now!” He walked over to him and offered his hand. Then others began to do the same thing. Make restitution where it is possible.

BRING YOUR LIFE INTO ACCORD WITH THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT.

It is a good exercise to read Matthew 5-7 with a notepad in your hand and take notes of how your life lines up with these teachings. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ description of a Christian. It is His manifesto of the Christian faith.

BEGIN TO WITNESS FOR CHRIST.

You will come across people every day to whom you can witness. Sometimes, it will just be a word of encouragement to look to the Lord. Other times, you can share how you came to faith in Christ. We need to become a church of bold witnesses for our Lord.

Billy Graham was once asked, “Is an evangelistic crusade a revival?” He said, “No. Two things happen in a revival. When Christian people have a profound sense of the holiness of God, that’s revival. When we realize that we are sitting at this very moment in the presence of a Holy God, the more we understand His Holiness, the more we understand our sinfulness.”

We don’t know what sin is anymore. We have become so conditioned by our society that we do not see sin for what it is.

Would you like to see our nation turned to God again? Would you like to see our church filled with power of the Holy Spirit imparting the fire of faith to our congregation?

I have studied the great revivals of the past and found that we have not had a great revival in America for over 100 years. There have been places here and there but never a national turning to God like we need to see now.

There was a great revival in Wales in 1905. Evan Roberts was the leader. He went around from church to church and made the suggestions when they wanted to know when revival could come to their church. He said, “You’ve got to do three things. First, there must be a public confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who are being saved must confess their faith publicly. Second, you must confess all known sin. If there is sin in your life, you must confess it. There can be no friendship with Jesus if we hold on to the very things that hurt Him.” Third, there must be a prompt complete obedience to the Lord. Whatever the Lord tells you to do, you must do it then. When you do it, He will open all kinds of doors for you. Someone has said, “Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into the human heart.”

Once a French Admiral was captured by the British naval commander, Lord Nelson, in a battle at sea. The French Admiral was brought aboard the ship of Admiral Nelson. As he entered the quarterdeck, he started toward Nelson with his hand out, hoping to make friends with him. Nelson stopped him because he saw at his side his sword, which was an act of defiance to approach with his sword when he was surrendering. Lord Nelson turned his back on him and said, “I will not extend to you my hand until your sword is on this table.” In a similar way, the Lord Jesus says when you come to Him with your hand outstretched, “I will not place my hand in yours until you repent of your sins. That is what keeps you from Me.”

But at the cross, his arms are open to all.

Praise Be To His Name!