Revival Sermon: Variations Between Revivals
A Sermon on the Characteristics of Revival from Joshua 4:21-24
21And he said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23For the Lord your God dried up the waters …
21And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 22Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 23For the LORD your God dried …
What are the characteristics of a revival? How do they start and what are the results? In this sermon on Joshua 4:21–24 titled “Revival Sermon: Variations Between Revivals,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unpacks the powerful ways revival has affected the church and why the church must plead and pray for revival today. He relates revivals to the stones that were questioned by the children of the Israelites. The stones were a memorial there to remind the people and all the nations that the hand of the Lord is mighty. God has done great things and is still doing great things. A revival causes the people to be humbled by the glory and majesty of the Lord. It always results in praise and worship to God. Men and women who are converted during a revival become members of a church and abide in the faith. They become concerned for the lives of others who do not know God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that there are many ways a revival starts, but only after first recognizing that it is an act of God, not a production of humanity. It may start suddenly or gradually, or it may start in a small group or a great crowd. There are many ways it can start and there are variations in the ways it can end. But the reason for revival never changes. It is so that the people will know the mighty hand of the Lord.
- The sermon examines Joshua 4:21-24 which describes the 12 stones set up as a memorial of God parting the Jordan River.
- The stones were meant to provoke questions from future generations about their meaning. The meaning was that God miraculously parted the Jordan River, just as He did the Red Sea.
- The sermon compares the stones to revivals - they are meant to remind us of God's mighty acts. Revivals are a sovereign work of God, not produced by human effort or methods.
- Revivals share some general characteristics but also vary in how they start, the people God uses, the places they happen, and whether phenomena are present. But they are always a miraculous work of God.
- Revivals cannot be explained or controlled by people. They overwhelm people with a sense of God's power and presence.
- Examples of revivals include the 1859 revival and the revival at Kirk of Shotts where 500 were converted in one day. These revivals showed God's mighty power, not the power or ability of people.
- The sermon asks whether we still believe in a God of miracles and revivals. It calls us to pray for another revival, not for our excitement but for God's glory.
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.