BellaVista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

08/09/2017

Randall Caselman

 

Our Role In Revival

 

  What church among us would not like to see a genuine spirit of revival? But the truth is, there’ll be no revival in our churches, unless there is a spirit of revival and renewal present in our heart, yours and mine. You see, revival demands an admission that we have lost something which we need to restore. People who were once “hot” in the Lord’s service are now lukewarm. Some have even fallen through the cracks, disappeared back into the world. What must we do?...

 

  Return to a belief in the power of God. We are not the ones who make things happen; it is God working in us, for us, and through us. The Hebrews’ writer says that “God is at work in us, helping us to be pleasing in His sight.” Revival is not dependent upon some gimmick, fad, new church program, or human ability, but upon our return to a faith in the power of God, the power of the gospel message, the power of prayer, the power of a holy life, the power of His resurrection. Both church leadership and people of the pew must return to, revive, a faith in the power of God working in our lives. Do we have Scriptural basis for such a belief? “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” “May the God of peace… Equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus…” “Being confident of this: That He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." With these verses should come a faith in revival, made possible through the power of God working in us… Amen?

 

  Return to genuine discipleship. Daniel Walker, in his book, “Enemy In The Pew,” says we need a change from “membership to discipleship.” Churches have watered down membership to the point that anybody can claim it, but the demands of discipleship to Jesus remain unbent and unbendable: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” God’s grace has demands: “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Church members, church leaders, must be men and women who believe in genuine New Testament discipleship, a change in lifestyle, becoming like Jesus: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. You see, genuine discipleship is both being and doing: ”Be doers of the Word, not hearers only.” Revival is hearing and doing! Thinking of Daniel’s book, we gotta ask the question: Are we disciples or pew sitters, worshipers or merely those searching for spiritual entertainment?

 

  Revival of genuine New Testament worship. Today,we want worship to meet our felt needs. We want what makes us feel good. So, the preacher must be dynamic, the temperature just right, no crying babies, a perfect song service, the sermon short and entertaining. We’ve moved the focus of worship from God to the audience, from Him to us, from theSpirit to the flesh. What for our grandparents was exhilarating and exciting worship, became for our fathers a tradition, and for many of us a boring habit…So, we’re about changing it! Revival is not changing the worship, but changing the heart of the worshiper while remaining faithful to truth. Jesus said: “God-pleasing worship must be in spirit and in truth.” We have no right to change the truth, so we must be about changing our spirit, our heart. God pleasing, spirit and truth worship, edifies, encourages, lifts up, challenges, and comforts the worshiper. But this is ours to claim only when we participate with proper motive, when we have a genuine love for God and a genuine desire to worship Him. Only then will we be found not forsaking such assemblies. In fact, they will become a priority in life. Instead of yawning through them, we’ll be anxious to meet Jesus there: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

 

  Revival of fellowship. Biblical fellowship doesn’t mean we agree on every point, that we always get along perfectly. We’ve tried to make fellowship mean something that Scripture never did. Fellowship means we worship and work together, pray for the same things, have the same priorities. Fellowship means edifying and encouraging one another. Fellowship means placing the interest of others before our own. Questions: What if someone had discouraged David that evening on the roof top? What if Jonah had had a brother encourage him to obey God’s call to Nineveh? What if we had someone pray for us, with us, in our last temptation? You see,God created us with a need for one another, and when we fulfill that need we have genuine Biblical fellowship… Amen?

 

  Revival of a pioneer spirit. The Hebrew church was locked into a prison of first principles with no desire to press on into new frontiers of maturity: “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” A ship load of pioneers landed in New England. Four years later, the government they established wanted to build a road five miles into the wilderness. Many said it was a waste of time and money. Amazing, isn’t it, that those who could once see three thousand miles across an uncharted ocean, could not now see five miles down the road. With age, we sometimes lose our enthusiasm; we no longer have a dream. God help us to revive the spirit of adventure and excitement in our faith. We must be like Samuel: "Speak Lord, Thy servant hears!" Or like Saul on the Damascus Road: "Lord, what will You have me do?"

 

  Spiritual revival is our need... And it must begin with us.

 

Revive us again,

Fill each heart with Thy love;

May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.

 

—RANDALL CASELMAN