How to Have a Personal Revival
We are moving verse by verse, almost word by word, through the book of James. We are coming to a section tonight which has to do with the subject of how to have a personal revival. I want to talk to you from these verses about this matter. The more I read and study the book of James the more amazed I am at how thorough and how complete James is in the teaching which he gives to us. There is hardly a subject which impacts the Christian life which is not dealt with in this brief letter of five chapters. Especially the fourth chapter is rather interesting to me because James is addressing some of the matters which are pertinent in the struggle that individual Christians have.
He talks, for instance, in the opening verses of the chapter about the dangers of Christian people selling out to the pleasures of life-letting material things-letting a hedonistic lifestyle become their lifestyle. He moves from that to the subject of worldliness. If there has ever been a subject that needs to be addressed among God's people today, it is the subject of God's people who are marrying the world, so to speak, or flirting with the world when they are married to the Lord Jesus Christ. Having dealt with these opening six verses about the matters of pleasure and worldliness, I'm not surprised at all that now James, in the verses we consider, is really giving a call to personal revival. He is calling us back to the Lord in revival.
The word, revival, really means to live again. Vival means life. Revival means to make to live again. Revival is an experience which can only happen to God's children. Lost people cannot be revived because lost people do not have life. You can only revive life where life has been. So, God's people are called to revival in the Scriptures.
Periodically, churches need revival. Periodically, God's people, individual Christians, need to have revival. So here we have God's call, God's prescription for personal revival. A great revivalist, Charles Finney, said one time, "Revival is a new beginning of obedience to God."
A great evangelist of another year, Gypsy Smith, used to describe revival like this: If you want to have a revival, draw a circle, step into that circle and then say, "Lord, send a revival and let it begin in this circle." That's what I want us to do for a little while this evening. I want us to draw a circle and I want you and myself to step into this circle and ask God to speak to our hearts about the matter of personal revival. You may need personal revival. You may be closer to the Lord than you've ever been. I hope you are. But I fear that there are many of God's people who really, desperately need to have a personal revival.
Notice the context of where James is coming from. In verse 6 he says, wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. The wherefore in that verse calls attention to the fact of the gift of God' ...
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