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The key to revival is in your hand and mine, fellow Christian. God has put it there. Many years ago God gave the keys to revival into the hands of His own people, and He has never taken them back.
Rain is typical of revival (Isa. 44:3; John 7:37-39). If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, God says, (2 Chron. 7:13) then the Lord shows how to get the rain back how to get revival! Here is exactly what He says; here are the keys to revival:
If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (vs. 14).
Note carefully the steps we have to take and it is to His own people that the Lord is pointedly speaking. First, humble ourselves quit boasting and bragging and start bending and breaking. Next, pray. The Lord doesnt tell us here to say some prayers. He means for us to really pray, to mean business, to pray to get results!
But that is not enough. We are to go on and seek His face dig into the causes of Gods disfavor, seek and search out any and everything that could possibly block the way to revival. Seek the Lords face till we find His smile!
Then, an amazing truth dawns upon us. We discover to our shame as we humble ourselves, and pray, and seek Gods face we come to realize that we (with all our experiences, professions, works and everything else) we have wicked ways from which we must turn before revival fires will burn.
The Lord says that. He cannot lie. He means exactly what He says. The reason we are not having revival is because we have wicked ways. And the startling truth is this: we never realize the depth of our need, the awfulness of our wicked ways until we do as God says humble ourselves, pray, seek His face.
We look out on the world tobogganing to hell. We note the particular sins of this one and that one and it is terrible, there is no question about that. But those sinners cant be revived. They have never been saved, never been born-again. In our text, the Lord is not talking to the great mass of unsaved sinners. He is speaking directly, pointedly, personally to you, to me, fellow Christian!
We hold the key to revival! We are responsible to unlock revivals door and no one else on earth can do it for us.
We Have Failed Sinners!
Christians have a tendency to go to extremes. Either they are so very harsh on sinners that they drive them away or else they are so soft in their dealing with sin that they make a mockery out of the whole thing.
Sinners are bad enough, but what have I done, what have you done in prayer, in fastings, in loving your neighbor as yourself to get them saved? Have I professed to love their souls, and then by my irritability cut off their ears (Luke 22:50) so that they will not at all listen to my testimony?
Do I really care for the souls of men and women and boys and girls? Or am I making some sort of a hypocritical make-believe out of my duty to be a witness for the Lord? These questions will face us at the Judgment better get them settled now! God help us!
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit we will care for souls. If we are filled with the Spirit we will pray for souls.
As we humble ourselves, and pray, and seek the face of the Lord, He will show us the wicked ways, in us, the things in our life, in our conduct, in our attitudes and reactions which are grieving the Holy Spirit and blocking the way to revival.
It is so easy to find the flaw in another Christian. It is so easy to locate what we think is the blockade that hinders revival the blockade which we are sure is holding things up and it is almost always something in another Christian which we think is the hindrance. Oh, what a trick of the devil!
Woe To Hypocrites!
There may indeed be things in another Christians life that hinder revival, but Jesus says we are hypocrites if we try to get others straightened out while we ourselves are in a worse condition (Matt. 7:1-5). Get filled with the Holy Spirit, get on fire yourself, get filled with love for God and love for souls yourself, then indeed you can help others. But get filled yourself, first! Else, the Lord says, you are a hypocrite!
It is high time that we, as Christians, seeking revival, realized that the devil is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:9-10). And the devil will encourage us greatly (if we let him) to point the finger (Isa. 58:9) at this Christian and that one, while all the time the very attitude of our own heart is disgusting in the extreme to God.
If we really love others, we may see their faults, but love is grieved at the discovery of faults in others, and love prays for them. We may speak the truth in love to the erring brother or sister in the Lord, but not in a self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitude or manner if we ourselves are really filled with the Holy Spirit.
The devil, I am convinced, has many Christians barking up the wrong tree. They think they have discovered the hindrance to revival, and so they have settled back in a critical, self-justifying attitude and they themselves are doing absolutely nothing to pray down a revival they think they know why revival fires are not burning, and so the wily devil has gotten them shifted into neutral. They are as dead as the deadest and as likely as not they are completely mistaken in their conclusions as to what is hindering revival.
Fellow Christians, let us unlock the door to revival, in Jesus mighty Name!
When we think of what one man, one woman has done in the past, we dont have to point across the aisle at another Christian and say that so and so is blocking revival. Just get a looking glass and point at the face you see there and accuse that one of blocking revival, and nine times out of ten, youve got the right person. Think of what Elijah did, single-handed; and Finney, and Sammy Morris, and David Brainerd, and Mary Slessor. They all got results, and so can you, and so can I! By Gods help, let us unlock the door to revival!
Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you (Hos. 10:12).