Print Sermon

These sermon manuscripts and videos now go out to about 116,000 computers in over 215 countries every month at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Hundreds of others watch the videos on YouTube, but they soon leave YouTube and come to our website, because each sermon directs them away from YouTube to our website. YouTube feeds people to our website. The sermon manuscripts are given in 34 languages to thousands of people each and every month. The sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted, so preachers can use them without our permission. Please click here to learn how you can make a monthly donation to help us in this great work of spreading the Gospel to the whole world, including the Muslim and Hindu nations.

Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.




A PRAYER FOR REVIVAL

(SERMON NUMBER 13 ON REVIVAL)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, November 2, 2014

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!” (Isaiah 64:1, 2).


Dr. John H. Armstrong is the president of Reformation and Revival Ministries. He is the author of “The Coming Evangelical Crisis.” Dr. Armstrong said,

The decline of society in the West is beyond serious question… We are presently witnessing the collapse of civilization as we have known it. We…think that the way things are is the way they will always be. We…have already forgotten that in only a matter of a few days the once impregnable “Iron Curtain” came down (John H. Armstrong, Ph.D., True Revival, Harvest House Publishers, 2001, pp. 125, 126).

He meant that our civilization could end just as quickly as Communism did in the former Soviet Union – in just a few days! I think it will. Dr. Armstrong wrote that thirteen years ago, in 2001.

The other night I read a disturbing article in World Magazine just before I went to bed. As I drifted off to sleep, I thought, “We are there now. Our civilization is falling apart now. It could happen as quickly as the fall of the Soviet Union.”

The lost world doesn’t know it, but Christianity is the “glue’ that holds our civilization together. But our churches are so weak that they can’t do it any more. Our way of life is ending before our very eyes.

Here we are, in one of the very few churches that still has a Sunday evening service here in Los Angeles. And most of them no longer have a Wednesday night prayer meeting either! God help us! We are alone, and we feel it. We are alone, and we are weak. Our enemies are very strong and vocal. We hear their shrill voices every day. Is this the beginning of the end of Christianity in our time? Dark thoughts like that go through the minds of all thoughtful Christians now. And we wonder what we can do. We see the churches and their witness crumbling. We see the weakness and worldliness of evangelicals. That disturbs us more than anything else.

The old Christians of the 1950s are dead. President Reagan is dead. Francis Schaeffer is dead. John R. Rice is dead. Harold Lindsell, Bill Bright, W. A. Criswell, Jerry Falwell and Dr. Lloyd-Jones are dead. Billy Graham, at 96 years old, sits alone in a wheelchair far away, up in the mountains of North Carolina. We are alone – and there is no strong man to protect us as night falls on Western civilization.

The prophet Isaiah felt that way. He was driven to seek God. He said,

“Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting” (Isaiah 63:16).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

You and I must not go into the presence of God merely in the name of tradition…merely in the name of those who have gone before us. I do not care who they were, whether they were the Methodist fathers, or the Puritans, or the Reformers. No, we do not plead their names, Abraham, Jacob – not at all. “Thou art our Father.” The Reformers cannot save us, the Methodist fathers cannot save us. There is great danger [today] that we fall back upon the fathers. No, it is God. “Thou art our Father,” and nobody else…God, “thy name is from everlasting,” and it is to everlasting. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, and He is the living God (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway Books, 1987, pp. 301, 302).

I am very glad to see many Baptists going back to the Reformers. But, as much as I love the Reformers, I know, like Isaiah, that the Reformers and the Puritans cannot save us! They can’t even help us! Our civilization is too far gone, too sinful, too reprobate, to be saved by the theology of those men. We must go back to God! We cannot fall back on the Reformers, however august and great. We must go back to God! God alone can help us!

But we must not go to God and ask Him only to save our nation. Oh, no! In the main, the people of our nation are not God’s people. They don’t want anything to do with the living God! Isaiah said,

We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name” (Isaiah 63:19).

Praise the name of God! We do not want, nor will we seek, the “Moral Majority,” “America First,” the Republican Party, or any other worldly arm to lean upon! We must not even waste our prayers on such trivial and passing fancies! We must now come to lean on the arm of God alone! “Thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting” (Isaiah 63:16).

Before the hills in order stood,
   Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
   To endless years the same.

A thousand ages, in Thy sight,
   Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night,
   Before the rising sun.
(“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

Now, we come to our text. It is to God that the prophet turns his face. It is God to whom he wistfully pleads as he prays,

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…” (Isaiah 64:1).

God’s people were in a very bad state when this prayer was given. They were brought into the lowest place of fear and sorrow. The prophet did not pray for them to have financial prosperity. He did not pray for them to have peace of mind. He didn’t even pray for them to succeed! He wasn’t like Joel Osteen! He knew that was not the essential thing they needed. Isaiah knew that their main, vital need was for the presence of God in their midst. And so he prayed one of the greatest prayers recorded in the Scriptures,

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…” (Isaiah 64:1).

I very seldom disagree with Dr. J. Vernon McGee. But I do not agree with his interpretation of this verse. He said, “Isaiah is predicting Israel’s prayer during the Great Tribulation period” (Thru the Bible, volume III, p. 342; note on Isaiah 64:1). No, this is not a prediction of Israel praying for the second coming of Christ in the Tribulation. They will probably pray for that, but it is not the main application of the text. The prophet was praying for God to come down now! Spurgeon and Dr. Lloyd-Jones both said that this is a prayer for the Holy Spirit to come down.

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…” (Isaiah 64:1).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “I do not hesitate to [say] that this is the ultimate prayer in connection with revival...the special, peculiar, urgent prayer for a visitation of God’s Spirit in revival. There is no term that better expresses the ultimate petition than does that phrase in Cowper’s hymn,

O rend the heavens, come quickly down,
And make a thousand hearts Thine own.

...that is what happens in revival” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, ibid., p. 305).

What does it mean, “God came down”? I will tell you exactly what it means. I had come back to Los Angeles after starting a church in Mill Valley, north of San Francisco. They called and asked me to preach at a meeting called “The Festival of the Son.” I flew to San Francisco and was driven for a few hours, far to the north. The meeting was held in a field. As we approached, I sensed the presence of God. When I got out of the car I was surprised to see many hundreds of young people. After a few songs, I was introduced. I stood before the great crowd and announced my text over the microphone. By this time it was night. Not twilight, but very dark. The microphone and the lights received electricity from a motor-driven generator. Right after I read the text, all the electricity went out. The microphone was dead. All lights went out. It was so dark I couldn’t see my own hand. I thought, “What can I do?” Here were hundreds and hundreds of young people sitting on the ground. Most of them had never been inside a church building. What would I say? What could I do in complete darkness? Then God came down!

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…”

I can only say that God came down with such power that you could feel His presence. I began to preach at the top of my lungs. There were no lights. There was no microphone. None was needed! God was there doing His work in the blackness of the night. As I preached I didn’t even need to think. The words poured out of my mouth in a torrent! The young people were absolutely silent. Nothing was heard but the sound of my voice. I finished the sermon and, for a second or two, I wondered what to do next. Right then, I heard a sound. The generator came back on. Every light in the field came on suddenly – and the microphone as well. I gave a simple invitation. I was shocked to see literally hundreds of lost Hippies coming toward me, many of them in tears. There was no music. There was no sound, except the sound of their feet as they came and knelt on the ground. We were there for a long time afterwards, dealing with them. My friend, Rev. Mark Buckley, remembers that unforgettable night – the night when the lights went out and God came down – and scores of Hippies and drug addicts found peace with God through the Blood of Christ! Out of revivals like that over forty churches sprang – all over America, Europe, Asia and Africa! God did it then and God could do it again! It may have been Spurgeon who said, “Only God can do the work of God.”

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…”

At the First Chinese Baptist Church, in 1969, you could literally feel the presence of God before you even got inside the church building. There was nothing wild about it. But God was there. I can only partly describe it as electricity in the air! The Bible calls it God’s “glory.” It is translated from a Hebrew word that means “weight.” You could feel the glory – the weight of God, in the air!

I know exactly what Rhys Bevan Jones meant when he described a revival in Wales,

The whole place at the moment was so awful with the glory of God – one uses the word “awful” deliberately; the holy presence of God was so manifested that the speaker himself was overwhelmed; the pulpit where he stood was so filled with the light of God that he had to withdraw! There; let us leave it at that. Words cannot but mock such an experience (Brian H. Edwards, Revival! A People Saturated with God, Evangelical Press, 1991 edition, p. 134).

In January 1907, when God came down among His people in North Korea, a missionary said, “Each felt as he entered the church, that the room was full of God’s presence... That night in Pyongyang [there was] a sense of God’s nearness impossible of description” (Edwards, ibid., pp. 135, 136). Brian Edwards said, “Frequently it was the awful presence of God that brought a deep conviction of sin upon a congregation. When the presence of God is an inescapable fact, then we are in revival” (Edwards, ibid.). Dr. Armstrong said, “Both believers and unbelievers become consciously aware that God is present in a powerful way” when revival comes (Armstrong, ibid., p. 53).

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down…”

I hope that some of our people would gather together and pray those very words from Isaiah 64:1. I hope that some of you will open your Bibles to that verse, when you are alone, and make those words of the prophet your own as you pray. Pray for God to come down in our church with revival power! God bless you!

Who will we be praying for? Mostly for those of you who are not yet converted. We will be praying that God will convict you deeply of your sin. You will never feel your desperate need for Jesus until you are first convicted of the deep, dark sin of your own heart and mind. We will be praying for the Holy Spirit to come down and make you feel sinful and lost. Then, too, we will be praying for you to trust Jesus so His precious Blood can cleanse you from all sin. Those are the things we will be praying for God to do in your life. Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhsermons.com or www.realconversion.com.
Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here) – or you may
write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

These sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted. You may use them without Dr. Hymers’
permission. However, all of Dr. Hymers’ video messages are copyrighted
and can only be used by permission.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Isaiah 64:1-4.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus, Where’er Thy People Meet” (by William Cowper, 1731-1800;
to the tune of “The Doxology”).