The Favored (Psalm 85)

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Revival is experiencing God’s presence and power to transform people’s destiny unto eternal life and their desires unto righteousness.

  • @Bayside
    • Hunger for preached word.
    • Holiness and repentance

Acts 3:19 “Therefore, repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

  • Hope for seeing God’s light shined into a community with the gospel.
    • spirit of worship, season of salvations, with prayer & renewal in a church…
      5+ men called to preach over the years, numerous missions, healings, etc.
    • Lasted for couple years but became something we kept trying to repeat spring & fall, assuming on God rather than ongoing aligning ourselves with the Lord.

 

Revival can be prepared for and experienced, but it is not something you can schedule.

  • Jesus says, “the wind blows where it pleases… so with the Spirit” (John 3:8)
  • Me in south with scheduled revivals (even preached!) and church names “church on fire”
  • Even @spbc there’s a call “we should schedule a revival”…
    • When 1/5 at best came to midweek prayer meetings
    • When 1/20 would come on Sunday eves
    • – – – shows the need but not the readiness… which over 8 years in, I believe we are now more than ever still in desperate need with questionable readiness continued.
    • Let us embark on Psalm 85 that God may stir our hearts.

 

Psalms series… Summer Psalms 2018

  • Psalms are not just OT book but NT breath; with spirit of Jesus breathing life into our faith.
  • Psalms are way to pastor skeptics, strugglers, and the searching.
  • Psalms promote personal prayer; giving wording and models.
  • Psalms help us to pursue revival for the church (God’s people) and our world (nations).

 

EXAMINE                       Psalm 85        The Favored

Revival implies a previous spiritual decline.

  • Past tense language reflects God’s favor was present but is no longer. The Psalmist is reminiscing.
    • “were favorable… restored… forgave… covered… turned” (Ps 85:1-3)
    • “Restore us AGAIN… revive us AGAIN” (Ps 85:4, 6)
  • These are estranged people who have journeyed with God through sin, trials, tragedies, repentance, recovery & recommitment. Israel’s return after the exile: back to Jerusalem; entering debris and demolition from Babylon, having to rebuild walls & homes; renewing the temple worship but… the people still lacking what used to be (cf. Ezra 3:12).
  • If we are going the wrong direction, we cannot arrive at our destination until we apply the brakes and make a u-turn. The first step is to assess reality and admit wrong choices that have been made. The next step is bearing fruit with repentance.
    • Me senior year at OC Impact youth retreat experienced re-dedication.
    • Me college at CN… teaching casted doubt and I was distanced from God; until one night I prayed and re-committed to Lord – bought a Bible without study notes to not be influenced by man.
    • Me countless other times (prone to wander, Lord I feel it… but here’s my heart Lord take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above).
  • If we’re going to pray for revival, we must first admit spiritual drift and decline. One of the main reasons revival is lacking in the American church is arrogantly thinking we can overcome a dying church culture without repentance. In our personal lives and in our churches, we must admit we are not where we want to be or where we should be. Some have drifted apart from God, but today is the day that you realize because of gospel grace, that distance doesn’t matter because you’re ready to return on the journey of walking with Jesus. You are ready to pray, “revive me again!”

 

We need revival because

  • Every sinner needs a Savior (John 14:6; Acts 2:38; 4:12)
    • Eternity is long and Hell is hot, but Jesus is gracious to forgive the distance between you.
    • Jesus will return, will you be ready?
    • 60% Nones in A.A. County with other 40% certainly not gospel affirming.[1]
  • Every saint needs filling of the Spirit (Eph 5:18)
    • Church pendulum is either too churchy or too worldly; we need a spirit-revival so the church is impactful.
    • 49% evangelicals read bible each day, but even less for other denom.[2]
    • 1/3 protestants have intentional prayer time[3]
    • 48% people believe morality can shift[4]
  • Many churches are listless and loveless
    • What are we doing besides gathering? Why are so few growing & going?
    • 65% evangelicals are functional universalists[5]
    • 51% churchgoers don’t know the Great Commission[6]
    • 65-80% plateau or declining[7]
    • 78% of churchgoers have not personally shared their faith in last 6mo[8]
    • 59% of churchgoers have not invited someone to church in last 6mo[9]

What can you do?
Selah. Pause and Pray.

 

Revival implies spiritual transformation.

The Psalmist is asking for change. And rightfully, the Psalmist is seeking the right place for change in crying out to the LORD. In this psalm, the verbs are loaded with divine activity that only God can do.

  • God alone shows uncommon favor.
  • God alone owns the land (cf. Ps 24:1).
  • God alone restores what is plundered from evil.
  • God alone removes groanings of guilt.
  • God alone covers sin like a blanket with the blood of Jesus. There is power, power, wonderworking power!
  • God alone withdraws His fierce and fiery judgment.
    • Ps 7:11 “God is a righteous judge, a God who is angry with the wicked every day.”
    • Nahum 1:2 “The Lord is a jealous and avenging toward His enemies”
    • John 3:36 “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life and the wrath of God remains on him.”
    • Rom 1:18 “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”
    • Heb 10:31 “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
      • But thankfully, “God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 145:8). God’s grace is transformative.
  • God alone revives with salvation and new life.
  • God alone gives wisdom to guard us from folly.
  • God alone can reconcile love and truth.
    • Love without truth is cruel; truth without love is callous; but love & truth = Christ.
  • God alone can reconcile righteousness and peace.
    • Righteousness without peace is often persecution; peace without righteousness is corrupt; but righteousness and peace = the gospel.
    • Steadfast love & faithfulness with Righteousness & Peace all intersect in Jesus at the cross.[10]
  • God alone can increase good and blessing upon an entire nation. Note the plural subject of the verbs: land, fortunes of Jacob, your people, generations, us, His people/saints, our land. The implication is that God’s blessings and revival may start with one but will not stop with just one. In fact, true revival is a sweeping movement of God with renewed faith and zeal in the church and remarkable salvations among a community and nation; why history calls them “Great Awakenings.”
    • Ps 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”

Illus. Many people love the home-makeover shows. A house that you wouldn’t live in because of faulty foundations, malfunctioning plumbing, defective electric, dated paint & wallpaper, boxed in & closterphobic rooms, musty carpet and moldy paneling, and rocky soiled yards… becomes something radically and irreconcilably transformed. What was once an eyesore has become elegant and extravagantly beautiful. And we are just television spectators, but imagine how the actual homeowners feel!?!

Likewise, God can change and transform any person. There is no person wandered too far gone, done too much, or caused too much pain and tragedy that cannot be transformed by the grace of God. But, for transformation we have to turn and trust the Lord.

  • Where do you turn and whom do you cry for help?
  • Social media… complaining more than calling God.
    • Later today some will post, “church/pastor isn’t supposed to make you feel guilty.” Hmm?
  • Substances… drink/drug (legal & illegal) binge on shows/shopping – all to forget for moments, but tomorrow comes again and again.
  • Stuffing it doesn’t solve the issue but only delays the day for you to face circumstances.
  • Symptom treating instead of source.
    • Like the child who says my body hurts and dr asks where; child points to head/arm/belly/leg/foot but after examination the dr identifies the child’s pointer finger is dislocated. Likewise, outside of physical/genetic challenges, our issues stem back to our heart idols. Short-term solutions do not solve long-term problems.
    • We struggle with stress so we sleep or self-medicate rather than discuss prayer and trusting God; struggle with marriage issues so we separate rather than discuss character and conflict issues; struggle with singlehood so we compromise with missionary dating; struggle with financial debt so we don’t give to God to catch up on bills instead of learning to budget and give in faith.


How often do you promise to change without…

  • Conversion implies you may have turned away from a problem and emptied but haven’t turned to Jesus and become filled with Holy Spirit. It’s like the mane Jesus describes who gets rid of an unclean spirit only for 7 more evil spirits to enter his life (Mat 12:43-45). If we only like the idea of religion and not the true impact of a relationship with Jesus then we will continue to struggle with our sin and its consequences.
  • Conviction implies not taking the Scriptures serious. In other words, we have faith in God but we’re doing the very minimal to get by. We don’t allow Scriptures or Christians to rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness (2Tim 3:16). We are not allowing the word to marinate in our hearts to avoid sin (Ps 119:11). Instead, we treat the Bible as a lucky charm rabbits foot reading the VOD rather than daily food for our soul (Mat 4:4).
  • Confession, implying that we treat God as a means rather than the main aim. When faith is only a means then we want God’s hand of gifts and not His heart for intimacy. We want blessing without change. But to truly come to Jesus, we must change (Mk 8:34-38). We will not address what we do not confess publicly. Part of our sanctification occurs through accountability with others (cf. Gal 6:1-2; Heb 3:13; James 5:16).

 

Revival implies spiritual faithfulness.
The Psalmist’s vision for revival is beyond short-term success to sustainable increase. Ps 85:6 reflects the aim of revival for continual rejoicing. The proclamation of the Lord speaking peace (shalom) implies ongoing goodness and well-being (Ps 85:8). God’s glory dwelling permanently in the land is the nature of Jesus (Jn 1:14) and mission of the church. The closing statement of righteousness advancing the path of God’s people is a picture of God’s people following the footsteps of Jesus – the Righteous One.

In all, we know that God expects faithfulness of His people.

Illus. Unlike a letter of a man in love…
My dearest Betty,
I love you beyond words. Webster does not have in his dictionary the necessary vocabulary to explain the depth of my love for you. Thoughts of you dance across the portals of my mind. You are my all-consuming passion. So enraptured am I regarding my love for you that the Pacific Ocean would be like a pond if I had to swim it. I could do it as long as I knew you were awaiting me on the other shore. The heat of the Sahara Desert would never impede my pursuit of you, knowing that you would be the oasis that would refresh me when I arrive. There would be no inconvenience I wouldn’t endure for you. Climbing Mount Everest would only seem like getting over an ant’s hill if I knew you were at the summit. All I’m simply saying to you, my darling… is that my love for you transcends time and space.
Signed, Sam.
P.S. I’ll see you Saturday night if it doesn’t rain.

This man Sam is like many of us Christian saints, who give lip service to our faithfulness to the Lord but our actions indicate our true priority and passion.

 

APPLY/THINK  ps 85

  • Will you revive us again?
  • Praying for a Bible revival

For our nation to be revived, a state has to be revived.
For a state to be revived, a community has to be revived.
For a community to be revived, a church has to be revived.
For a church to be revived, a Christian has to be revived.
Revival starts with God speaking to you and I.

  • If not you and I, then who?
    If not here, then where?
    If not now, then when?

 

 

[1] http://www.city-data.com/county/religion/Anne-Arundel-County-MD.html

[2] https://lifewayresearch.com/2017/04/25/lifeway-research-americans-are-fond-of-the-bible-dont-actually-read-it/

[3] https://lifewayresearch.com/2014/02/03/survey-spiritual-maturity-comes-through-intentionality-2/

[4] https://lifewayresearch.com/2017/05/09/americans-worry-about-moral-decline-cant-agree-on-right-and-wrong/

[5] https://lifewayresearch.com/2016/09/27/americans-love-god-and-the-bible-are-fuzzy-on-the-details/ also https://www.barna.com/research/sharing-faith-increasingly-optional-christians/

[6] https://www.barna.com/research/half-churchgoers-not-heard-great-commission/

[7] https://thomrainer.com/2017/06/dispelling-80-percent-myth-declining-churches/

[8] https://lifewayresearch.com/2014/01/02/study-churchgoers-believe-in-sharing-faith-most-never-do/

[9] https://lifewayresearch.com/2014/01/02/study-churchgoers-believe-in-sharing-faith-most-never-do/

[10] https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/drama-redemption/

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