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Sermon #RV02

Revival Sermon: The Power and the Possibilities

A Sermon on Genesis 26:17-18


Genesis 26:17-18 ESV KJV
So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names …

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Sermon Description

What are the needs of the church today? Have the needs of the church changed since early Christianity? Does the church face the same issues as it did since it first began? In this sermon on Genesis 26:17–18 titled “Revival Sermon: The Power and the Possibilities,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers that as Isaac dug again the wells of his father Abraham, the church must also dig again the wells that have been filled by modern Philistines in order to rediscover the history of the church: “There is nothing so foolish as to ignore the past.” It is wise to study the pattern of revivals as they have taken place, so as to expose the one main issue that hinders the growth of the church. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes clear, “My dear friends, there is only one explanation of the state of the church today: it is the work of the Philistines.” He explains that the church doesn’t seem to see this, and instead puts the blame on false ideas such as the modern day or “new knowledge.” Christians must recognize that humanity’s problem is still the same, God is the same, and the solution of the problem is the same: Jesus Christ.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by highlighting the urgent need for life and power in the church today. Dr. Lloyd-Jones stresses that minor adjustments or improvements will not address the fundamental issues at hand.
  2. The story of Isaac digging the old wells of Abraham is used as an analogy. Isaac faced a life or death situation and went back to the old wells that he knew contained water. Dr. Lloyd-Jones suggests we should do the same by looking to church history and revivals of the past.
  3. The history of the church shows periods of revival and power as well as periods of deadness and apathy. Revivals of the past can teach us lessons for today.
  4. Every revival of the past seemed to involve a return to the teachings of the book of Acts and the early church. There are consistent patterns across revivals throughout history and geography.
  5. When Isaac's men returned to the old wells, they found that the Philistines had filled them with earth. Though the water was still there, it was blocked and unavailable. Dr. Lloyd-Jones suggests the work of the Philistines is blocking the church today from the old wells of revival and power.
  6. The problems of the church today are not new circumstances like technology, education, or a divided church. The church has always faced opposition and excuses for avoiding the gospel. These arguments are irrelevant and the real issue is the work of the Philistines in blocking the wells.
  7. We must have the courage to face the real issues blocking the church today with honesty and conviction. We must clear out the work of the Philistines to open up the old wells of revival once again.

Revival Sermons

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.