August 16, 2015
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Revive Us Again O Lord!
All scripture is from the NIV Bible
Revelation 2:1-2, 4-5
“It Began With A…”
Prayer for God’s Word to be heard through me…
To the Church in Ephesus
2 “To the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
revival (rɪˈvaɪvəl )
- the act or an instance of reviving or the state of being revived
- an instance of returning to life or consciousness; restoration of vigour or vitality
- a renewed use, acceptance of, or interest in (past customs, styles, etc) ⇒ a revival of learning, the Gothic revival
- a new production of a play that has not been recently performed
- a reawakening of faith or renewal of commitment to religion
- an evangelistic meeting or service intended to effect such a reawakening in those present
Have you ever started to do something and then it just sort of looses its joy and so you just stop doing it? I know for myself, there have been many times that I have heard about or seen a new way to exercise and I am so excited in the beginning. Then sometimes, after a short time, it begins to just become such a chore that I just stop doing it. Or it just isn’t what I expected it to be so I think to myself, well what’s the use and stop trying. Sometimes we just get so excited about something and for some reason we just stop having that joy about it…the excitement is gone. What happens to that joy we once had?
It can be the same with our faith. We are so excited and on fire for God and then something happens to that joy…sometimes it just kind of sneaks up on us, so to speak. We stop doing our daily devotions and prayer…I am just too busy this morning…I’ll do it tomorrow, I need the extra sleep, God will understand…I’ll get back to it tomorrow… Then we may stop reading our bible…I don’t need to read my bible anymore…I get it, why should I keep reading my bible…there are so many other things I would rather read… We may then stop going to church and before you know it…there is something missing in your life…that joy that you once knew…that excitement you had for God is gone…you are still doing good for all around you but the joy has gone and now your just going through the motions. What happened?
This is not a new spiritual deadness. It has been happening for a long time. From the scripture that I read from Acts this morning we hear about one such church. The church in Ephesus had this same issue that some of us have today. They were doing a lot of good but they were just going thorough he motions. They had lost their first love. They had lost their passion for God and the work that they were doing in His name. They were like what Jesus called the Pharisees…”White Washed Tombs”. They looked good on the outside but they were dead on the inside. They were seen as all holy from others perspective but inside they had lost that vitality and zeal for God.
John Wesley saw the same thing in the churches. He led a Christian revival in his time. Christians were experiencing a severer crisis because they were a religious minority…what do we face today that make us a religious minority? What day to day stresses effect our faith? Are we just going through the motions and not truly expressing the fruit of the spirit…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Are we having an outward appearance of vitality but inside dead…sort of a burn out? Is there no fruit of the Spirit or a decreased amount …we do all the right things…say all the right things for God but there is no Sprit…passion…purpose…in what we do? Are we just going through the motions to just check another thing off the list that we do for God?
John Wesley saw that there needed to be more to Christianity…a Christian life than what he knew…he wanted something more. This is where the Methodist revival began…the seed was planted. He knew there had to be more. His mother, Suzanna Wesley, showed him a different way. She held family devotions for her family, she was intentional about forming her children’s faith, and it continued when they were adults. Are we intentional about and with our own faith? Are we caring about the children and their faith…the next generation?
This summer…we are embarking on a faith journey together. We are going to be intentional with our faith and our God. We are going to ask God to revive us again with that passion for Him and His word. As we look around the world we see that there is something is missing…something that has been forgotten. We are going back to a time when people met in fields and sheep barns. We are going to look at what made a difference in their lives…why their era was different than ours and what is the same. We are going to take a walk with John Wesley and see how he lived out his faith. My prayer is that we will be challenged and changed…that our Spirit’s will be filled and energized so that when we leave our church each Sunday and go out into the world as light bearers of the King. As we become those light bearers I pray that we bring revival to our community and beyond…to the ends of the earth. But it all begins here…within ourselves…being intentional with our faith…with our Spirit…with our God. It begins here…within you and within me…recapturing that joy of our salvation…that joy that keeps us clinging to the cross of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ. Are you willing to open your heart to a reawakening of your faith and commitment to God? Are you ready for a restoration project…one of your inner most being? Will you join me on this journey…really join me on the journey back to our first love…our God…our Creator…the lover of our souls as we pray “Revive us again, O Lord”?