Revival Begins With Us
Revival starts with us examining ourselves and being willing to deal with the obvious wrong in our life.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ all right? This is your good friend, Bob Cook back again with the Word of God. People ask me when I talk about the radio ministry and they’re not familiar with it; they say, “Well, what do you do on the radio?” Well, I don’t sing, and you can be thankful for that. If I sang, it would clear your sinuses I’m sure. But what I do is walk through a book of the Bible, verse by verse, and put a handle on it so that you can get a hold on it for yourself.
Every now and again I am delightedly surprised to run into people who are listening to the broadcast. Lawyer friend of mine said, “Oh I listen now and again.” I was amazed. (Laughs) I never expected he would, but he did. And there’s doctors, and there’s salespeople, and there’s vice-presidents of corporations, and there’re members of different faiths, different denominations, and priests, and sisters of the Church, and prisoners in jails, and shut-in’s who are anchored to a, a wheelchair or a bed because of illness — all different kinds of people God has privileged me to minister to. And what we do is we just walk through the Bible verse by verse, and put a handle on it so that you can get hold on it for yourself.
We’re in 1 Peter 4. Peter said, “Now, if you have problems and troubles and sufferings because you’re a Christian,” he said, “don’t be ashamed, you don’t have to be ashamed. But instead, glorify God on this behalf, glorify God on this behalf.” Now, when you say, “I am doing this on His behalf,” what do you mean? You mean, “I am doing this for Him, and instead of Him. I am, I am endorsing this check on His behalf so that you can cash it.” What, what do you say? “I am doing this for His sake.” So he said, “Glorify God on this behalf,” — that is to say, ‘on behalf of being a Christian’, because you want to honor your blessed Lord. You glorify God.
Now this is a big order but I’m going to risk it. The next time you have troubles because you’re a Christian, just look up and praise the Lord. Say, “Praise God. I’m, I’m, I’m just praising you, blessed Lord, for the privilege of standing with You in a sinful world, and among people who oppose you.” Praise your blessed Lord when you’re under pressure. Don’t cave in, but shine for God and praise Him instead. Good idea? You try it on for size.
Now Simon Peter says, “For the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God. And if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit to keeping other’s souls to Him in well-doing as unto our faithful Creator.” That’s a beautiful passage and ‘course we won’t get through it all today. But we can start, can’t we?
Now he says, “The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” God has, has times of revival, and they invariably begin with repentance on the part of believers. Judgment must begin at the house of God. Revival always starts with repentance on the part of the believer. Someone asked Dr. Torrey how, how to start a revival. And he said, “Get a piece of chalk and draw a circle on the floor with that piece of chalk. And then step inside the circle and say, ‘Lord, start a revival inside this circle.’”
Not a bad piece of advice when you think of it, because spiritual renewal of course can be a sovereign moving of the Spirit of God that is inexplicable, and you can’t really analyze it. Some of the great revivals of history have come that way. The Welsh revival for example is said to have begun spontaneously — no one really knew why. But great renewing spiritually broke out. And this has happened other times, but more often than not.
Charles G. Finney was correct in saying, “Revival starts with repentance on the part of God’s people. If we will start obeying God, the Holy Spirit will begin to work in power in our lives, and as a result in the lives of those who as yet have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Judgment must begin at the house of God. Now what does this mean? Well I think first of all it means, ‘deal with the obvious’. Paul said to the people at Ephesus, “Let him that stole, steal no more; but rather, let him labor with his hands that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
Put away lying. This is, this is written to the Ephesians. They were the most spiritual church in the whole New Testament bunch. Put off the old nature which is corrupt according to your deceitful desires. Put away lying. Verse 25: “Speak truth with one another. Be angry and sin not.” The, the rage that results in, in carrying a grudge. “Neither give place to the devil,” don’t give the devil a chance in you life. “Let him that stole, steal no more,” verse 28 — stop stealing. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,” no more dirty talk. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” what grieves Him? Bitterness.
Verse 31: “Wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, and malice.” Yeah, this is written to Christians. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Why, we’re such nice people, aren’t we? You meet these folk in church on a Sunday morning, and you, you begin to think that one would speak to them in those terms — stop stealing’ stop being filled with rage’ stop giving the devil a chance in your life’ stop talking dirty’ stop grieving the Spirit of God with bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking. Huh?
Judgment must begin at the house of God — start with the obvious. Start with the things that you know are in conflict with the will of God in your life. And you, you, you don’t have to be uncertain about this. The Spirit of God is going to very definitely convict you about it the minute you’re willing to listen. Some of you remember Vance Havner, don’t you? Great man of God and a phrase-maker. His ways of saying things linger in the memory.
He spoke of people who were over-educated but didn’t have any faith. He spoke of people with loads of learnin’ lumber in their heads — remember that? (Laughs) He said we, we need less of people running for something and more of people who stand for something. Well, he was a great phrase-maker and he had an answer for things. There was this person who came up and said, “You know I’m quite willing to get right with God but I, I really don’t know what’s wrong.” And Mr. Havner looked at the person and said, “Well, make three guesses, and you’ll be right the first time.”
See, there’s no doubt in my mind but that you and I know what’s wrong with us. We know where we’re out of the will of God. We know where we have been insisting on our own way. We know our pet sins, don’t we? Yes we do, I’m afraid. Now he says, “Judgment must begin at the house of God.” How do you start? You start by getting down before God and confessing and, and forsaking those things that we know — you and I — are wrong. It’s a big order, isn’t it? You say, “I don’t know if I can do that.” Well, join the group. Lot of the rest of us have felt, and still feel, the same way.
But you know something? If you will submit to the Lord Jesus not only the, the thing or the area or the relationship that is wrong, but also your own inability to handle it; if you will bring to Jesus not only the fault but also your inability to handle it, He’ll take care of both. “It is God,” said Paul, “that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” You say, “I don’t know if I can do that; I don’t know if I can really manage that; I don’t know if I can give that up; I don’t know if I can repent to that.”
All right. Why don’t you tell God about that? The very fact that you come to God and admit that you’re helpless opens the door for His almightiness to work on your behalf. Oh that’s a precious, precious truth. It is in that moment of helplessness when you commit yourself to God, on that basis — “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling. Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bidst me come to Thee. Oh Lamb of God, I come.” See, I don’t know if I can handle this,” you say. Well of course you can’t. But you see, the Bible says “The just shall live by faith.”
How do you live? Get up, get dressed, get breakfast, go to work, go to school, go through the day, come on home, have dinner, pass the evening, go to bed — you lived a day. You don’t live it all at once. You live a moment at a time. He says, “The just shall live by faith.” And when you’re face to face with some of these things you can’t handle… What is it? Desires, resentment, maybe even hatred, greed, pride, discouragement, depression — I don’t know what it is. But when you’re face to face with some of these things you know are not in the will of God, level with God about it. Tell Him exactly where you’re coming from. Tell Him exactly how you feel. And then trust Him by faith, to handle you and the difficulty.
That’s what the verse means that says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee.” God picks up you and the burden, carries both. Oh hallelujah for that! God picks up you and the problem, and takes care of both. “He shall sustain thee. Cast thy burden on the Lord, He shall sustain thee.” Does God take the burden? Yes. But He takes you with it, and makes you able to cope, able to obey, able to follow in the directives of the Holy Spirit of God who dwells within the believer.
Judgment, that’s the first thing. Start with the obvious. Then what? Continue with obedience as God leads you. Revival always issues in obedience, whether it’s restitution of something you may have stolen, or a lie you may have told, or whatever… Get things right. Or whether it’s witnessing to someone whom you’ve been neglecting and ignoring, or whether it’s start to tithe your income as a tither — 10% off the top going to God’s work — your local church first and then missionary endeavors, Christian radio and Christian education, and all the rest. Whatever it is, start obeying the God. First, pray and commit. Second, obey and see God work through you. We’ll talk about this a little more the next time we get together.
Precious Father today, oh may we get right and stay right with Thee so that Thou mayest work through us by Thy Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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