Revival Sermon: What is Revival?
A Sermon on 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 …
It’s disheartening how easily human minds forget important events, even the most important events or happenings in history. With human nature comes human forgetfulness. In this sermon on the question “What is Revival?” from Joshua 4:21–24, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones doesn’t allow that fact to excuse the Christian from reconsidering revivals of the past so that the church may discover how to seek the Lord and pray for revival to happen again. He explains that revival is the greatest need among the body of Christ today, and that the thoughts and prayers of Christians should go toward revival. The problem today is that people are so busy that they do not even think of it. Human absorption with oneself, their own generation, and their own activities dangerously occupy them and cause them to forget this great need. Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents the definition of revival and states the difference between it and an evangelistic campaign. Revival happens to the church; an evangelistic campaign is done by the church and happens to those outside it. When it happens to the church, it is almost like a repetition of the day of Pentecost. People become aware of spiritual things as they never were before. Men and women realize the glory and holiness of God. They feel a terrible sense of sin and guilt and their conviction drives them to repentance.
- The sermon focuses on Joshua 4:21-24 and the 12 stones set up at Gilgal as a memorial and reminder of God's mighty acts.
- Dr. Lloyd-Jones stresses that we have a tendency to forget even the most memorable events and need reminders like the stones at Gilgal.
- Our absorption with ourselves, our activities and the present moment contributes to forgetting the past and God's acts.
- We often read the Bible subjectively, focusing on how it addresses our needs rather than objectively seeing it as a record of God's acts. We need memorials to prompt us to ask "What mean these stones?"
- The year 1959, 100 years after a revival, provides an opportunity to consider what revival is by looking at past revivals.
- Revival is a period of unusual blessing and activity in the church. It is something that happens to the church, not something the church plans and does.
- Revival is a repetition of Pentecost - an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church.
- In revival, believers gain a new awareness and sense of the reality of spiritual things like God's holiness, their sin, Christ's love.
- Revival leads to a concern for others, much prayer, crowded and prolonged meetings, and many conversions.
- Jonathan Edwards described revival as days of heaven on earth with remarkable tokens of God's presence, joy, distress, and power in the church.
- Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges the listeners to seek revival - to ask God to visit us with his salvation.
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.