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THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IN REVIVAL!
(SERMON NUMBER 8 ON REVIVAL)
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Now I want you to turn in your Bible to Acts 8:5.
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5).
Now drop down to verse eight,
“And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8).
You may be seated.
I left out some of the details of what happened in the city of Samaria. But you can see that it was very much like what happened in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Philip preached Christ to the people. The people listened intently to his sermon. Many people were converted. “There was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8).
This is exactly the same thing that happened at Pentecost! Peter “lifted up his voice” and preached Christ to them. They “gladly received his word” and were converted. They had great joy in daily fellowship. The same thing happened as a large group of men were saved when the Apostles preached “through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2, 4). By reading the Book of Acts we can see the things which occurred at Pentecost happened again and again. So we conclude that Pentecost was not a “one time” experience. And I do not believe that Pentecost was the “birthday of the church,” as some men teach. The Disciples and others were already saved before Pentecost. The one hundred and twenty people who prayed in the Upper Room before Pentecost were called “disciples” and “brethren” in Acts 1:15, before Pentecost. That assembly of people gathered together as a church ten days before the Day of Pentecost. So, the church was already there when the Day of Pentecost came! Furthermore, Pentecost was certainly not a “one time experience” never to be repeated again, as some teach today. The essential features of Pentecost were repeated several times in the Book of Acts – and throughout Christian history as well.
What then was Pentecost? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,
It is a truism [a true statement] that every revival of religion that the Church has ever known has been, in a sense, a kind of repetition of what happened on the day of Pentecost...And every revival of religion, I say, is really a repetition of what happened on the day of Pentecost...we must really [stop saying] that what happened on the day of Pentecost happened once and for all. It did not; it was simply the first of a series (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway Books, 1987, pp. 199, 200).
I have said in two previous sermons that revival comes when the Holy Spirit is given to convict of sin (John 16:8) and, secondly, when the Holy Spirit draws sinners to Christ (John 16:14, 15), making Christ a living reality to the sinner. Over the past year this has happened about once a month in our church. That is, about one person each month is converted. But, when revival comes, many more people will be converted in a shorter period of time. Iain H. Murray said, “From Pentecost onward, the work of the Holy Spirit can be viewed in two [ways], the more normal and the extraordinary” (Iain H. Murray, Pentecost Today? The Biblical Basis for Understanding Revival, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998, p. 18). We have been experiencing the “normal” work of the Holy Spirit, in the conversion of about one person every four or five weeks. But when God sends revival among us there will be an “extraordinary” number of conversions – perhaps ten or twelve (or more) in a short period of time.
I am afraid that some of our people think of revival as a time when we will have to work much harder, that we will have to do much more pleading with sinners, and toil harder and harder at evangelism. This is really an idea that filters down to us from Finney. It is exactly the opposite of what will really happen when God sends revival.
Think about the first revival at Pentecost and you will see right away that this is a false idea. I think we can even say that it is a Satanic idea. Isn’t that exactly what Satan tells lost people? Doesn’t he make them think those thoughts? He says, “If you get saved it will be much harder than it is now. You will have to work more, and you will have no rest or enjoyment.” But the Devil is a liar. The exact opposite is true! When you are converted it will be much easier for you than it is now! The Devil is a liar. But Jesus never lies! Jesus always tells us the truth! And Jesus said, “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), and Jesus said, “Ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Let’s look at that. Turn to Matthew 11:28-30. Please stand and read it out loud. It’s page 1011 in the Scofield Study Bible.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
You may be seated. Now take your pen and underline the last five words of verse 28, “I will give you rest.” Now underline the last seven words of verse 29, “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Now underline all of verse thirty, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I have often heard new converts say, “Why, it’s all so easy now! I thought it would be so hard if I became a Christian. But now that I have trusted Jesus I feel rested. It’s so easy now that Jesus saved me.” Those thoughts are all through our hymns! Some of you sing them, but you haven’t experienced them!
Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
(“Rock of Ages, Cleft For Me” by Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778).
In the world you’ve failed to find
Aught of peace for troubled mind;
Come to Christ, on Him believe,
Peace and joy you shall receive.
Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?
Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?
(“Why Not Now?” by Daniel W. Whittle, 1840-1901).
Jesus is calling the weary to rest –
Calling today, calling today;
Bring Him thy burden and thou shalt be blest;
He will not turn thee away.
(“Jesus is Calling” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).
Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee...
(“Jesus, I Come” by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
(“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel, 1863-1961).
I could go on and on and on singing those wonderful songs!
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day;
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
(“O Happy Day” by Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751).
The Devil tells you it will be hard and almost unbearable to be a Christian. But the hymns say it will be a happy day! And Jesus says, “I will give you rest...For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28, 30).
And that’s the way it is in a time of revival! “And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). That’s what happened at Pentecost. That’s what happened in Samaria. That’s what happens in every true revival. “And there was great joy in that city.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “Every revival...I say is really a repetition of what happened on the day of Pentecost” (Revival, ibid., pp. 199, 200). So, we need to remember what happened at Pentecost, the main things that happened in that revival. If we think about Pentecost, we will know what we are praying for, and what we are seeking for in a revival.
Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost and quoted from the Book of Joel,
“I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh...And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17, 18).
God pours out “of” His Spirit in revival. He says, “I will pour out in those days of my Spirit.” How strange that most of the modern translations leave out the word “of.” It’s definitely there in the Greek text. It is apó in Greek. The Old Geneva Bible has it, “of my Spirit.” The King James has it, “of my Spirit.” But only the NASV has it in the modern translations. That’s why I don’t trust them. That’s why I tell you to get a King James Bible, a Scofield edition. You can trust it! Those old translators didn’t leave words out or give so-called “dynamic equivalents.” “I will pour out in those days of my Spirit.” The liberal says, “That’s the Septuagint.” I say, “baloney!” Nonsense! That’s what the Spirit of God put down on the page in the Greek New Testament – and He doesn’t lie! When the Spirit of God quotes the Septuagint, the very Greek words are “breathed out” by inspiration in the New Testament. “Of my Spirit.” Why is that important? I’ll tell you why. God doesn’t pour all of His Spirit out. He sends just as much as we need! George Smeaton, back in 1882, said, “There is a shade of meaning not to be lost in the words ‘of my Spirit’ (apó) distinguishing between the measure [given] to men and the [unlimited] fulness of the resources of the fountain” (George Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, 1882; reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1974; p. 28). The apostolic churches received repeated outpourings of the Spirit because there is always more to give! I have been unusually blest as an eye-witness to three revivals. I completely agree with Iain H. Murray, who said, “Witnesses to revivals invariably speak of something being given which was not there before” (ibid., p. 22). An eye-witness to the 1859 revival in Ulster, Northern Ireland said, “Men have felt as if the Lord had breathed on them. They were first affected with awe and fear – then they were bathed in tears – then filled with a love unspeakable” (William Gibson, The Year of Grace, a History of the Ulster Revival of 1859, Elliott, 1860, p. 432). On February 29, 1860 Rev. D. C. Jones said, “We have been visited with a larger measure of the Spirit’s influence than usual. It came ‘like a rushing mighty wind,’ and...when the churches little expected it” (Murray, ibid., p. 25). That was how revival came the first and the third time I saw it. The Holy Spirit came so suddenly and so unexpectedly that I will never forget it as long as I live! I will give you several things that happen in revival, quoted from Dr. Lloyd-Jones,
They no longer have a belief in God. God has become a reality to them. God has come down, as it were, into their midst...everybody is aware of his presence and his glory (Revival, p. 204).
The church is given, as a result of this, great assurance concerning the truth (ibid.).
The church is filled with great joy and a sense of praise...When the church is in a state of revival you don’t have to exhort people to praise, you cannot stop them, they are so filled with God. Their very faces show it. They are transfigured...giving a joy which is “unspeakable and full of glory” (ibid., p. 206).
You do not have to exhort people to come to worship, to praise, and to [hear] the word, they insist upon it. They come night after night, and they may stay for hours, even until the early hours of the morning. This will go on and on night after night (ibid., p. 207).
[In revival] the same sermons [are given] and yet they are not the same. There [is] this demonstration of the Spirit and power (ibid., p. 208).
If you want to get a crowd in your churches, pray for revival! Because the moment a revival breaks out, the crowd will come (ibid.).
Before he had finished preaching they were crying out, and saying, “What shall we do?”...They are in an agony of soul, suffering this profound conviction of sin (p. 209).
It is not a mere question of decision when you have revival, it is deep repentance, it is reformation. People receive a new life and they leave the old life...Read the stories; these are facts. This is not my idea, this is not a theory, but factual matter (ibid., p. 209).
And the converts joined the church...That is how God started the Church, that is how God has continued to keep the Church alive...Is this not the supreme need of this hour? Well, if you believe that, pray to God without ceasing...I am not saying that you should stop all your efforts and just wait. No, go on...doing all that you are doing, but I do say this – make certain that you leave time to pray for revival, and see that has more time than anything else. Because when the Holy Ghost comes in power, more will happen in an hour than will happen in fifty or even a hundred years as a result of your exertions and mine. The power of the Holy Ghost – that is the meaning of the day of Pentecost...pray [for] God to have pity, and to have mercy, and to shed forth again his blessed Holy Spirit upon us (ibid., pp. 210, 211).
Please stand and turn to hymn number 7 on your song sheet, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” by that great and venerable poet of the First Great Awakening, Charles Wesley.
Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!
Other refuge have I none, Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head With the shadow of Thy wing.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want; More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found, Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; Rise to all eternity.
(“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).
I pray that you will come to Jesus. As Charles Wesley said, Jesus loves your soul! He died on the Cross to pay for your sin! He shed His precious Blood to cleanse you from all sin! He rose physically from the dead to give you eternal life! Come to Jesus. Trust Jesus.
Only trust Him, Only trust Him,
Only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.
(“Only Trust Him” by John H. Stockton, 1813-1877).
Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer. Amen.
(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Acts 2:40-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Thy Holy Spirit, Lord, Alone” (by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).