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REVIVAL - THE MOUNTAINS MUST BE MELTED!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, August 17, 2003


"Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence…When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1, 3).


"That the mountains might flow down at thy presence." "Thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence." The Hebrew word "flowed" is "zawlal." It means "to shake (as in the wind), i.e. to quake" (Strong #2151). The primary root of this word is "zool," which means "to shake out…to scatter profusely" (Strong #2107). Then, the text says twice that "the mountains might flow down at thy presence," and "thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence." The word "down" is translated from "yawrad." It means "literally to go downwards…to fall…to bring down (in all the above applications): abundantly bring down, carry down, cast down (cause to) come down, fall (down)…sink, subdue, take down" (Strong #3381).

When we put these two Hebrew words together, we get a picture of mountains, that these mountains "shake, quake, [are] scattered," and are "brought down, cast down, fall down, sink [are subdued], tak[en] down." That is a picture of what God does in revival.

Matthew Henry points out that "the fire of thy wrath may burn so fiercely against thy enemies as even to dissolve the rockiest mountains, and melt them down before it, as metal in the furnace, which is made liquid and cast into what shape the operator pleases" (Matthew Henry, note on Isaiah 64:1-3).

The "mountains" here represent primarily the hardened hearts of human beings, and the things they do to try to prevent God from coming down in the power of revival. The Psalmist says that in revival,

"Their soul is melted because of trouble [inward trouble, from the convincing power of the Holy Spirit]. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble [in their time of conviction], and he bringeth them out of their distresses [into conversion]" (Psalm 107:26-28).

The fire of God melts the hearts of sinful, rebellious people until they are humbled. Then God brings them out of their distress into peace and salvation in Christ Jesus.

But this work is done by God in the heart of unconverted people. They have erected mountains in their hearts - between them and God. These mountains in their hearts and minds must be "melted down, as metal in a furnace" (Henry) before they can be converted.

And so, Isaiah is praying for the mountains to melt and flow down like molten lava. The mountains represent the obstacles to revival, put up by human beings. And the prophet is praying that God would shake and melt these humanly devised mountains - and come down in revival. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says,

Here is a God who can shake mountains and that is what he is praying for. He realises that he is praying to a God who is still the same and who can still do now what he did in ancient times. This, then, is the power that we, too, should realise and should pray for. Indeed half our troubles in our praying are due to the fact that we fail to realise the greatness and power of God. We are troubled by the enemies of the church, we see the arrogance and the power of the world, but…there were troubles in the church at Corinth and the apostle writes to them,

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:4-5).

…Have we forgotten about the power of God? Our God is a God who can rend the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow…The everlasting God. The power of God - that is what the prophet prays for (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway, 1987, pp. 307-308).

And so, we should pray to God with the full knowledge that He can make the mountains flow down at His presence. He is able to do it - no matter how high the mountains are. And I want to suggest several mountains that God must shake and melt for us to see revival again in our day.

You must remember that there has been no national revival since 1859, no great regional revival since the 1904-1905 revival in Wales, and no small regional revival in the English-speaking world since the 1949-53 revival on the Island of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

If you read the history of the church before about 1830 or 1840, you will find that in many countries there used to be regular revivals of religion almost every ten years or so. It has not been like that. There has only been one major revival since 1859. Oh, we have passed through a barren period…We have passed through one of the most barren periods in the long history of the church. We have been like the prodigal son in that far country, spending our time in the fields with the swine and living on nothing but husks…and it is still going on. We are still in the wilderness. Do not believe anything that suggests that we are out of it, we are not. The church is in the wilderness. But thank God it is always after such a period that God acts and does His mighty deeds and shows forth His glory (ibid., p. 129).

It is at such a dark hour as this that we should pray

"that the mountains might flow down at thy presence"
      (Isaiah 64:1).

Three mountains come to mind, which must flow down at God's presence, if we are to experience true revival.

I. First, the mountain of "decisionism."

I put decisionism first because it is this idea, above all others, that has caused true revival to disappear from the churches in the English-speaking world. I think that the British term "decisionism" is far better than "easy believism," because "easy believism" is a confusing term. It implies that the opposite is true - "hard believism." "Easy believism" implies that it is hard to believe in Jesus. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth! What could be clearer in the Bible than the fact that it is quite easy to believe in Jesus? The Philippian jailor asked,

"Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…" (Acts 16:30-31).

This man and his family believed in Jesus that night and were saved "and rejoiced" (Acts 16:34) that very night! Nothing could have been easier! So, "easy believism" is a misleading term. "Decisionism" is better.

"Decisionism" is a far better term, because it clearly shows that people have substituted some human decision for simple faith in Jesus. If you study the history of this, you will see that it was Charles G. Finney who popularized "decisionism," and it has gone on to become "the way of salvation" in the popular thinking of modern evangelicals.

In decisionism a person is saved by an external human act. In decisionism, it is a purely human action that saves. It is often a belief in certain doctrines about salvation. If you make a human decision to believe those doctrines, you are pronounced saved. But the Devil believes those same doctrines, and he is not saved! So, a decision to believe the "plan of salvation," or a decision to believe certain promises in the Bible (to believe what the Bible says) will not save. Only Jesus, Himself, can save you!

Decisionism often takes even cruder forms, such as the belief that you are saved because you "went forward," or the belief that you are saved because you raised your hand in an evangelistic meeting, or that you are saved because you repeated the words of a "sinner's prayer." Decisionism is the belief that performing one or more of these purely human actions saves you. "Lordship salvation" is only another form of decisionism - in which a lost person makes a decision that Christ should be the Lord of his life.

The new birth does not come as a result of any of these forms of decisionism. The passive nature of the new birth was explained clearly by Christ,

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:5-7).

The miraculous nature of salvation was clearly illustrated by Christ's response when the rich young ruler could not be saved by any human decision to obey God.

"And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:26-27).

Jesus also said,

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

I realize that those who have been influenced by Finney's decisionism will accuse me of being a hyper-Calvinist for quoting those verses. But there they are - on the pages of Scripture - and we must deal with these words of Christ. We can't dodge them any longer, if we wish to see real revival in our time!

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:6-7).

"Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God…" 
      (Mark 10:26-27).

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

The new birth is a miracle, a gift of God, by His grace.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).

These verses must be dealt with, and taught, and accepted, or we will never again see real revival.

When God is dealing with you, and drawing you, and convincing you of your sin and utter helplessness, you must believe on Jesus! Believing on Jesus means a direct encounter with the resurrected Christ. You come directly to Jesus Christ, and He saves you by His Blood and righteousness.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…"
      (Acts 16:31).

No human act can save you. You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! It is an encounter with the living Christ, seated at the right hand of God, up in Heaven! No purely human decision can save you! Away with decisionism! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"!

But the mountain of "decisionism" has become so deeply entrenched among us, that God Himself must

"come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1).

II. Second, the mountain of "charismatism."

The Pentecostal/Charismatic movement began with the ministry of two men, Charles Fox Parham and William Joseph Seymour. In 1900 Seymour joined the Church of God (headquartered in Anderson, Indiana). There he learned a radical holiness theology that taught a second blessing of entire sanctification. In 1903 he moved to Houston, Texas, where he came under the influence of Charles Parham, who taught that "tongues" was the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as a "third blessing." The first "blessing" was "salvation." The second "blessing" was entire sanctification. And the third "blessing" was the "tongues" experience, according to Parham.

His student Seymour came to Los Angeles in 1906. After a month of fasting he "spoke in tongues." People gathered by the hundreds to hear him preach about this "third blessing." He took his congregation to an old church building on Azusa Street, in downtown Los Angeles. Although the building was only 40 by 60 feet, as many as 600 people jammed inside, while hundreds of others looked in through the windows. "The central attraction was tongues, with the addition of traditional black worship styles that included shouting, trances, and the holy dance" (Vinson Synan, Christian History, Issue 65, 2000, p. 18). Among those who came to Azusa Street to receive the "third blessing," were Charles Mason, who became the leader of the Church of God in Christ; and William Durham, who formulated the "Finished Work" theology that gave birth to the Assemblies of God in 1914. Dr. Vinson Synan tells us, "By the year 2000, the spiritual heirs of Seymour, the Pentecostals and Charismatics, numbered over 500 million adherents, making it the second largest family of Christians in the world [after the Roman Catholic Church]. Today practically all Pentecostal and Charismatic movements can trace their roots directly or indirectly to the humble mission on Azusa Street and its pastor" (ibid.).

Although I do not think that all Pentecostals and Charismatics are lost, I do believe that their teachings and practices are a major spiritual deception of our time. The Disciples asked Jesus,

"What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3).

One of the signs Christ gave, in answer to their question, was this,

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before" (Matthew 24:24-25).

If that is not a prophetic description of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, then what is it Christ described? This prophecy seems to fit the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement of the last days. What else on the world scene could it be - if not this?

The main fault of this movement is that it rests on the foundation of decisionism. With an extremely weak view of conversion, people were looking for "second" and "third blessings." It should be remembered that this movement began about 1906, and that there has been no national revival of a classical nature in the hundred years that it has existed.

Real revival, as recorded on the pages of the Bible and Christian history, has always been concerned with Biblical conversion - not with "second" and "third blessings"! The idea of another "blessing" after conversion is a modern idea that sprang up as a result of a very weak and inadequate view of the new birth.

The gospel is the central message of the New Testament. Christ did not die on the Cross to give us "tongues," but to pay the penalty for our sins (cf. I Corinthians 15:1-4). The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the central message of the New Testament. The new birth is the central experience of the New Testament (cf. John 3:3-8). Real revivals in history have centered around conviction of sin (cf. John 16:8), the gospel of Christ, justification, and conversion. Those are the central features of every historical revival across the centuries.

The physical manifestations in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles have given a bad name to the physical manifestations in classical, historical revivals - and caused conservative evangelicals to reject outright any display of emotion or conviction in their services. This is tragic, because all three of the great awakenings were accompanied by physical manifestations. But here is the way they were different from the Pentecostal/Charismatic manifestations - in real revival, the manifestations came from those who were under deep conviction of sin!

I do not hate the Pentecostals. Many of them are very nice people. But we have all been confused by Finney's decisionism. We must all go back to the old ways of conviction and conversion if we hope to see real revival.

Iain H. Murray tells us that "the real impediment to conversion is the absence of conviction of sin…sin understood not simply as wrong action requiring forgiveness, but as an evil principle governing man's very heart. A sinner's knowledge of his own inability is therefore part of the knowledge which leads him to recognize that what he needs is a new nature" (Iain H. Murray, Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, Banner of Truth, 1994, p. 370, emphasis mine).

But the mountain of "Charismatism" has become so deeply entrenched that God Himself must

"…come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1).

III. Third, the mountain of Satanic opposition.

Many modern evangelicals tend to forget that we have an enemy. The Bible says,

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

The conversion of large numbers of people occurs during classical, Biblical times of revival. But Satan and his demonic forces do all in their power to stop revival from happening.

That is one of the main reasons we need to pray with the prophet Isaiah,

"Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1).

Only God Himself can overcome and melt down the mountains that Satan has erected to stop true revival!

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him" (Zechariah 3:1).

Then God rebuked Satan, and the "mountain" of his resistance was removed. And God said,

"Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment" (Zechariah 3:4).

When God came down, He broke the power of Satan, and Joshua was clothed "with change of raiment." That is justification! That is the imputation of Christ's righteousness to a ruined sinner! That is salvation by grace! That is what happens in revival!

There are people here tonight who are in the clutches of Satan, "who are taken captive by him at his will" (II Timothy 2:26). Your mind and heart are befogged by Satan and ruined by Adam's fall. You are a lost and helpless sinner. You cannot save yourself. Christ alone can save you. Do you see it? Do you see that you cannot save yourself?

"I must touch Him! I must touch Him!" The thought flooded her mind.

"And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched…she was healed immediately" (Luke 8:43, 44, 47).

"I must touch Him! I must touch Him!" She pressed through the crowd. She touched Christ's garment. She was healed immediately. This is a picture of salvation. Jesus said to her, "Thy faith hath made thee whole" (Luke 8:48).

Will you come to Jesus? Will you "touch" Him by faith? Will you be healed of Adam's curse? Jesus said,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He is alive now in Heaven, at the right hand of God.

May we speak with you about salvation through Christ? May we speak with you about Jesus, and His Blood, shed for the cleansing of Adam's ruined race? May we have a word with you in private about coming to Jesus? If you would like to speak with us about this, please go to the back of the room right now, as every head is bowed and every eye closed. Just get up and go to the back of the room. Dr. Cagan will take you to my office - where we can discuss this in private.


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Isaiah 64:1-3.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"How Great Thou Art" (by Carl G. Boberg,
      translated by Stuart K. Hine, 1899-1989).

THE OUTLINE OF

REVIVAL - THE MOUNTAINS MUST BE MELTED!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence…When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1, 3).

(Psalm 107:26-28; II Corinthians 10:4-5)

I.   The mountain of "decisionism," Acts 16:30-31, 34;
John 3:5-7; Mark 10:26-27; John 6:44; Ephesians 2:8.

II.  The mountain of "charismatism," Matthew 24:3, 24-25;
cf. I Corinthians 15:1-4; cf. John 3:3-8; cf. John 16:8.

III. The mountain of Satanic opposition, Ephesians 6:12;
Isaiah 64:1; Zechariah 3:1, 4; II Timothy 2:26;
Luke 8:43, 44, 47, 48; Matthew 11:28.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."