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REVIVAL AND REJOICING!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, September 23, 2017

“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).


The first three verses of this Psalm show the mercy of the Lord on Israel in the past. But verses 4 and 5 show the Lord’s anger at them for their present sin. Verses six and seven show their need for God’s mercy to revive them. The Hebrew word for “revive” means “to quicken, to make alive again.”

“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

We have to be made “alive again” before we can “rejoice in God.”

Our churches today have no idea of what it means to “rejoice in God!” Rejoicing in God is sadly missing from our churches now. All we have today is wildness or coldness. Our Baptist churches are as cold as ice. My wife and I were on vacation last week. We went to a fundamental Baptist church on Sunday. It was very formal and cold – a Bible study church, influenced strongly by John MacArthur. The “best” people took notes on the sermon. But most people either drifted off to sleep or looked around the church and paid little attention to the preacher as he droned on and on explaining the Greek words but not applying them to the people. And the people love to have it like that. I thought if I could have two minutes to apply the text everyone would have opened their eyes in surprise – and then they would have been angry with me! In most of our Baptist churches the people come to doze. Anything that might get their attention would upset them. Dead, old Baptists used to find fault with lively preaching. They said, “He quit teaching and went to preaching” – as if “preaching” was a terrible thing for a pastor to do! After my pastor Dr. Lin left the Chinese church, the people didn’t want preaching any more. Now the church is as dead as a corpse! That is the sad condition of most churches now! Revival is altogether different from anything most churches have today! So the Psalmist cried to God,

“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

It has been my unique privilege to be present in four God-sent revivals. Very few preachers have even seen one! But by God’s mercy I have seen four now, including this one, which isn’t over yet. No, it’s not over by any means! Look at our text in detail.

I. First, revival is a sovereign gift of God.

“Wilt thou not revive us again...?” (Psalm 85:6).

We tried to prepare for revival for over forty years. I would explain revival. I would preach for revival. But every time I emphasized revival people rebelled. People spoke against me for preaching too hard. People formed little groups to backbite me, and spoke against those among us who were serious Christians. It got so bad that I was actually afraid to mention revival. But I kept on preaching the law and the Gospel, and gradually those who didn’t want serious Christianity left. Finally only a handful of those rebellious people remained in our church.

On Saturday night, August 27, 2016 I asked serious people to recite the memory verses in Isaiah 64:1-3,

“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! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1-3).

Suddenly I felt God’s presence in the room. I said that when revival comes down it always comes unexpectedly. A “touch” of revival started that night. On Sunday, August 28 the Holy Spirit was present in the service. John Cagan preached extemporaneously, going back and forth on the platform. Several people came forward to pray as John preached.

On Monday, September 5, at the end of our Labor Day Bible conference, we saw a video on the revival in China. The people were confessing sin, weeping and singing. We had seen it before, but this time God was present and the movie made a deep impression on many of us. There was serious prayer and singing at the end of the evening.

On Wednesday, September 7, a late night prayer meeting was held at my home. Eight leaders in our church prayed for a couple of hours for God to send revival to us as He has to China.

On Thursday evening, September 8 I spoke on “Healing the Backslider in Heart.” I was afraid to give an invitation because John Cagan had said nobody would respond. I asked Christine Nguyen and Shirley Lee to pray. Our deacon Kyu Dong Lee came under conviction and broke into tears. Mrs. Chan and Mrs. Cagan came forward to confess sin. We had another “touch” of revival – for the first time in over forty years. The meeting started at 7:00 PM and ended at 11:00 PM. I said that time stands still in revival, as though it was a much shorter time.

Friday, September 9, God was not present. Mrs. Lee herself could not pray well. The people in our church had assumed God would be present, as He was the night before.

Saturday, September 10, several people fasted and prayed during the day, but God was not present. I warned our people that God is sovereign, and would not come back if they were not serious in confession and repentance. I warned from Hosea that God had withdrawn from us to teach us that without Him we could do nothing spiritual.

A few minutes later God returned to the meeting. Baiyang Zhang testified that she came to the meeting against the wishes of her Buddhist parents who wanted her to stay with them for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Minh Vu testified how he had come to church against the anger of his parents. Several people came forward, but most of them were triflers, who would not give up lost friends and other sins. Dr. Cagan noticed that those who were saved or revived gave up sin and took a stand for God even before they were saved. But those who would not pay the price received nothing from the Lord.

Sunday, September 11, Noah Song preached in the morning and John Cagan in the evening. Many people came forward, but none were saved because they forgot what Dr. Cagan said the night before about being serious and giving up sin.

Wednesday, September 14, I spoke on the need for confession of sin and repentance. Many people came to the platform to confess sins. I ended the service by saying that these meetings (especially the one on Thursday, September 8) was the most important service our church has had. God had never come down this way in over 40 years in our church.

These meetings last summer and early fall showed clearly that God is sovereign in revival. It is God who starts a revival. It is God who keeps the revival going. He withdraws Himself from the meetings if people come in without deep prayer and preparation. God is the one who gives revival. But He only gives it to serious people!

“Wilt thou not revive us again...?” (Psalm 85:6).

“Spirit of the Living God.” Stand and sing it.

Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
Melt me, mold me, Break me, bend me.
Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
   (“Spirit of the Living God” by Daniel Iverson, 1899-1977;
      altered by the Pastor).

You may be seated.

II. Second, revival is only for God’s people.

“Wilt thou not revive us again...?” (Psalm 85:6).

The “us” does not refer to the non-elect. It only speaks of Christians and elect non-Christians. Those who are not among the elect will think they don’t have to be serious in prayer, or in obeying the sermons. They may come to all the meetings, but they will not be helped at all by just coming. They will not confess their sins with tears. They will not be saved. They will not be revived. They will enjoy the happy atmosphere of the meetings, but they will not “bend” in repentance.

Evan Roberts said, “We must rid the church of all bad feelings – all malice, envy, prejudice and misunderstandings. Don’t bow in prayer until all of your offences [against others in the church] have been [confessed] and forgiven: but if you feel you cannot forgive, bend to the dust, and ask for a forgiving spirit. You will get it then” (Brian Edwards: Revival: A People Saturated with God, Evangelical Press, 2004, p. 113).

“Revival is always a revival of holiness. And it begins with a conviction of sin... there is no such thing as a revival without tears of conviction and sorrow” (Brian Edwards, ibid., p. 115).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:9, 10).

One woman has been coming twenty years without being saved. Why? Because she blames other people and does not confess her own sins! “Search Me, O God.” It’s number 10. Stand and sing it.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
Try me and know my thoughts:
And know my heart;
Try me and know my thoughts;
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
   (Psalm 139:23, 24).

Confession of sin is a key to revival. You must confess your own sins. Sing it again. You may be seated.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Confession of sin with tears is a key to revival. As Brian Edwards said, “There is no such thing as revival without tears of conviction and sorrow” (ibid., p 115).

III. Third, revival produces joy.

“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

We are leaping forward one year to September 16, 2017. On Saturday, September 16, Dr. Cagan preached on “The Suffering of Dr. and Mrs. Hymers Produced This Church.” At the end of the sermon I stood at the pulpit and recounted the blessings of the revival so far. I asked those who were saved during the revival to stand at the front. There were about 20 hopeful conversions – the most we have ever had in one year! I also had all those who were revived come and stand with them, and others who were helped in the revival. Over a third of the church came to testify of God’s blessing in the revival so far. It was a time of great rejoicing!

Please stand and sing number 17, “Fill All My Vision.”

Fill all my vision, Saviour, I pray,
   Let me see only Jesus today;
Though through the valley Thou leadest me,
   Thy fadeless glory encompasseth me.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, every desire
   Keep for Thy glory; my soul inspire,
With Thy perfection, Thy holy love,
   Flooding my pathway with light from above.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, let naught of sin
   Shadow the brightness shining within.
Let me see only Thy blessed face,
   Feasting my soul on Thy infinite grace.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.
(“Fill All My Vision” by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).

Now sing number 19, “Here is Love.”

Here is love, vast as the ocean, Lovingkindness as the flood,
   When the Prince of Life, our Ransom, Shed for us His precious Blood.
Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise?
   He can never be forgotten, Throughout Heaven’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion, Fountains opened deep and wide;
   Through the floodgates of God’s mercy Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers, Poured incessant from above,
   And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Thy love accepting, Love Thee, ever all my days;
   Let me seek Thy kingdom only And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory, Nothing in the world I see.
   Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me, Thou Thyself hast set me free.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
   And Thy grace my need is meeting, As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring Thy great love and power on me,
   Without measure, full and boundless, Drawing out my heart to Thee.
(“Here is Love, Vast as the Ocean” by William Rees, 1802-1883).

Now sing “Pass It On,” number 18. Bring someone with you tomorrow!

It only takes a spark To get a fire going,
And soon all those around Can warm up to its glowing,
That’s how it is with God’s love, Once you’ve experienced it,
You spread His love to everyone, You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring, When all the trees are budding,
The birds begin to sing, The flowers start their blooming,
That’s how it is with God’s love, Once you’ve experienced it,
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring, You want to pass it on.

I wish for you, my friend, This happiness that I’ve found,
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound,
I’ll shout it from the mountain tops, I want my world to know,
The love of Christ has come to me, I want to pass it on.
   (“Pass It On” by Kurt Kaiser, 1969; altered by the Pastor).

You may be seated.

I want us to have more testimonies and open confessions tomorrow night. Who will prepare to give a testimony or a confession tomorrow night? Please go over to the green bench. Don’t forget to actually do it tomorrow night.

Don’t take it for granted that God will be present tomorrow. You must pray hard before you get to church. Then you must pray hard before the service in the morning and again in the evening. John Cagan will lead the prayers in the sanctuary here before each service tomorrow. Don’t talk with the visitors. Let them hear the prayers before both services. But don’t pray in the cars as you are bringing first-time visitors in tomorrow. Just pray after they come in with you to the sanctuary. Number 19 again, “Here is Love.” Stand and sing it!

Here is love, vast as the ocean, Lovingkindness as the flood,
   When the Prince of Life, our Ransom, Shed for us His precious Blood.
Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise?
   He can never be forgotten, Throughout Heaven’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion, Fountains opened deep and wide;
   Through the floodgates of God’s mercy Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers, Poured incessant from above,
   And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Thy love accepting, Love Thee, ever all my days;    Let me seek Thy kingdom only And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory, Nothing in the world I see.
   Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me, Thou Thyself hast set me free.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
   And Thy grace my need is meeting, As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring Thy great love and power on me,
   Without measure, full and boundless, Drawing out my heart to Thee.
(“Here is Love, Vast as the Ocean” by William Rees, 1802-1883).

Dr. Cagan, please come and lead the closing prayer and grace for the refreshments.


WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith Before the Sermon:
“Oh, How I Love Jesus” (by Frederick Whitfield, 1829-1904).


THE OUTLINE OF

REVIVAL AND REJOICING!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

I.    First, revival is a sovereign gift of God, Psalm 85:6a;
Isaiah 64:1-3.

II.   Second, revival is only for God’s people, Psalm 85:6b;
I John 1:9,10; Psalm 139:23, 24; Proverbs 28:13.

III.  Third, revival produces joy, Psalm 85:6c.