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by Mr. Noah Song

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, October 2, 2016

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
(Psalm 110:3).

I would have never guessed that my brother Abraham would be converted. I was very surprised when he was! Just as Isaiah 64:3 says, “When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.” I was surprised to see my brother saved. There has been a transformation in his life that can only be explained by the grace of God, and the Blood of Jesus Christ. Like all conversions my brother Abraham’s conversion was a miracle from God. I have noticed a change in him since the day he was converted. He used to lose his temper very easily, but now he has become less hot tempered and does not lose his temper very much. There is an occasional flare, but not as it once was. His prayers are so sincere. I don’t say this to praise my brother, but to praise Jesus for what He has done in my brother’s life. My brother’s conversion was a miracle, which is true in every conversion.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
      (Psalm 110:3).

Commenting on this verse, Dr. Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890) said,

In this day...the people…willingly and quickly...present themselves from inward impulse (Franz Delitzsch, Ph.D., in C. F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973 reprint, volume V, pp. 190-191).

As a converted Jew, Dr. Delitzsch understood that by experience. He understood that “inward impulse” which comes from the Spirit of God.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
       (Psalm 110:3).

The 1599 Geneva Bible translates it,

“Thy people shall come willingly at the time of assembling thine army.”

The note in the Geneva Bible says,

By the word thy people shall be assembled into thy church whose increase shall be so abundant and wondrous as the drops of water (1599 Geneva Bible, Tolle Lege Press, 2006 reprint, note on Psalm 110:3).

In its context, Psalm 110:3 refers to Christ, seated at the right hand of God, conquering His enemies from Heaven. It is from Heaven that Christ draws His people and makes them willing. This has two applications. First, it applies to a time of revival. Second, it applies to individual conversions.

I. First, the verse applies to a time of revival.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.”

There is a great deal of confusion concerning the meaning of “revival” today. Many people believe revival depends on Christians doing something – repenting, rededicating themselves, that sort of thing. You will read that in nearly every modern book on revival. But that is where those modern books go wrong. True revival does not begin with Christians doing things, even good things. No, revival does not begin with Christians at all. True revival begins with God.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
       (Psalm 110:3).

It is God who sends revival, not man.

It seems to me we should have learned that lesson by now! But we continue to hear sermons and books on revival that are man-centered. They base thousands of sermons and books on revival on II Chronicles 7:14. Dr. John Gill was right when he said that this verse refers to “the particular requests made by Solomon in case of a famine” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume III, p. 52). II Chronicles 7:14 is a promise to Israel under Solomon. It has been misapplied to Christian revival since the time of Charles G. Finney. Finney said,

A revival is not a miracle, nor dependent on a miracle, in any sense. It is a purely philosophical result of the right use of the constituted means…a revival is the result of the right use of the appropriate means (C. G. Finney, Revivals of Religion, Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d., p. 5).

I have not “pulled” that quotation out of context. Finney did not believe that revivals originated with God. He did not believe that revival is a miracle from God. He said, “A revival is the result of the right use of the appropriate means.” In other words, when the “Christians” do the right thing, the revival will naturally occur. Thus, he said,

When the churches are…reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow (p. 8).

For 150 years we have swallowed that lie. No one ever asks why Finney’s method never produces a major revival! The First and Second Great Awakenings happened without Finney’s formula. The Third Great Awakening, though much shorter in length than the first two, did not employ Finney’s formula at all.

People who think have to say that Finney’s theory is totally false. Revival is not the result “of the right use” of any human “means.” Revival does not automatically flow from the rededication of church members. No, the text corrects that view:

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
       (Psalm 110:3).

The Finney “method” of obtaining revival has been almost universally accepted in the Western world for about 150 years. It never produced revival though. So, gradually, the very thought of revival disappeared. It was replaced by “church growth” techniques of one kind or another. These don’t add many people from the world either, so they will eventually morph into other “techniques.” All the while the churches in the Western world continue to slide. Nothing we have done (or will do) can reverse the downward trend, because

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
      (Psalm 110:3),

and in no other way, nor by any other means!

Finney’s view of revival comes from his rejection of man’s total depravity. Finney did not believe in total depravity. Thus, he believed that “a revival is not a miracle, nor dependent on a miracle, in any sense…a revival is the result of the right use of the appropriate means.” A man couldn’t say that if he believed in total depravity. If you believe in total depravity, then you know that man has no ability within him to please God, that salvation is by grace alone, and that revival (which is a large number of conversions) is also by grace alone. Everything in salvation has to come from God because man is completely corrupted and powerless. As the Bible says,

“Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).

Therefore revival is a miracle! That’s why the Chinese have it and the Americans don’t! The Americans have all the human “means” – fancy church buildings, overhead projectors, PowerPoints, recorded music, you name it. The Chinese “house” churches don’t have any of these things. Yet Chinese Christianity is exploding, while American Christianity is dying. What is the difference? It’s very simple!

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
       (Psalm 110:3).

Man’s power cannot bring revival;

“It is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

God has withheld revival from America for 150 years, but He is sending wave after wave of revival to the churches in China. What Jesus said to the Jewish nation He is now saying to the American churches!

“The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof”
       (Matthew 21:43).

No revival is “perfect.” There are always tares among the wheat. There are always satanic counterfeits and false Christs. That happens in every revival. Asahel Nettleton, the main evangelist of the Second Great Awakening, said, “If God builds a church, the devil is sure to build one next door.”

David Aikman, former Time Magazine Beijing bureau chief, is a widely respected analyst of the revival in China. In his book, Jesus in Beijing (Regency Publishing, 2003) Aikman explains “How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power” (ibid., cover statement). Aikman is no fool. He is a seasoned journalist. He says,

China is in the process of becoming Christianized…at the present rate of growth in the number of Christians [in all segments of Chinese culture] it is possible that Christians will constitute…30 percent of China’s population within [about 20 years]. If that should happen, it is almost certain that a Christian view of the world will be the dominant worldview within China’s political and cultural establishment, and possibly also within senior military circles (ibid., p. 285). The Christianization of China is likely to [happen along with] China’s emergence as a global superpower (ibid., p. 286).
      A thoughtful [writer on China] Thomas Alan Harvey, puts it this way:

With... [one hundred] million souls and a growth rate of 7 percent annually, the number of Christians in China dwarfs the number of Christians in most nations of the earth. Like Christians throughout the developing world, Chinese Christians represent the [front rank and the most important part] of the church in the twenty-first century.

…the spread of China into Asia and the southern hemisphere in the past [three] decades will probably affect Christianity on a global scale (ibid., pp. 290-291).

Dr. Aikman said,

      China’s moment of its greatest achievement – and of the most benefit to the rest of the world – may lie just ahead…The process may already have started in the hopes and works of China’s house church leaders (ibid., p. 292).

In view of the tremendous growth of Christianity in China in the past few years, we can only bow our heads here in the Western world and say,

“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes”
      (Psalm 118:23).

It is the Lord’s doing, not the work of man by using Finney’s ideas and falsely preaching on II Chronicles 7:14. It is the Lord’s doing, and it thoroughly overturns Finney’s statement that “a revival is not a miracle, in any sense.” The revival in China today shows that Finney’s theory is completely false. A revival like that in China is certainly a miracle, a world-changing miracle, given miraculously by God Himself. Indeed,

“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes”
       (Psalm 118:23).

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
       (Psalm 110:3).

II. Second, the verse applies to personal conversions.

Not only does the text speak of revival in places like China, it also speaks to each individual conversion. Revivals are great numbers coming to Christ. Individual conversions are one person at a time experiencing the same conversion that happens to great numbers in revival. We may truthfully and Biblically say that each individual conversion is as much a miracle as millions coming to Christ in a time of revival, for the conversion of a single person requires as much of a miracle as a national revival like that in China. The miracle of conversion is made plain by the Apostle Paul:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works [the use of human “means”], lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

What is true of many conversions in revival is also true of a single conversion. No one is converted by his own effort. “It is the gift of God.” Every true conversion is a miracle!

It took a miracle to put the stars in place,
It took a miracle to hang the world in space,
But when He saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!
   (“It Took a Miracle” by John W. Peterson, 1921-2006).

Finney did not believe that. He said, “A revival is not a miracle.” No wonder, in 1831, he preached a very famous sermon titled, “Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts.” Try to do that! Go ahead, try to do it! You cannot “change your own heart,” no matter how hard you try! It takes a miracle! Without that miracle, no matter what you learn or what you do, your heart will continue to be desperately wicked. Jeremiah said,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Your heart will be “desperately wicked” no matter what “decision” you make. No matter what you learn from the Bible, no matter what you believe in your mind – your heart will remain “desperately wicked.” It takes a miracle from God to change your heart!

A person must be convinced that his heart is “desperately wicked” or he will never experience a real conversion. And only the Spirit of God can convince you of the evil of your own heart, for

“When he is come, he will [convict] the world of sin”
       (John 16:8).

When you are convinced by the Holy Spirit of the desperately sinful condition of your heart – then you may suddenly see the value of Jesus’ death in your place, to pay the penalty for your sin and cleanse your sin with His Blood. Only then will you be able to turn to Christ willingly.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
       (Psalm 110:3).

As Dr. Delitzsch said, then

There is no need of any compulsory, lengthy proclamation calling them out…but willingly and quickly they present themselves from inward impulse (ibid.).

“Inward impulse” refers to the quickening, converting power of God’s Spirit. At the moment of your conversion you are enabled willingly and quickly to come to Jesus “from [the] inward impulse” by God’s Spirit. God will draw you to Christ in the time of His power. Then you will be converted, and then you will be saved from the power and penalty of sin by Jesus Christ. His death on the Cross will pay for your sin. His resurrection will give you a new heart in the day that His power converts you. That is the true Gospel. When you come to Jesus He will save you. If God is drawing you, submit to Jesus and be saved! Why wait any longer?

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
       (Psalm 110:3).

It is my hope and prayer that those of you who have not trusted Jesus will trust Him and be made clean by Jesus and His Blood. Dr. Hymers, please come and close this service. Amen.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Aaron Yancy: Psalm 110:1-3.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“It Took a Miracle” (by John W. Peterson, 1921-2006).



by Mr. Noah Song

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”
(Psalm 110:3).

I.   First, the verse applies to a time of revival, Ephesians 2:9, 8;
Matthew 21:43; Psalm 118:23.

II.  Second, the verse applies to personal conversions, Ephesians 2:8-9;
Jeremiah 17:9; John 16:8; Isaiah 64:3.