Revival at the Water Gate (1 of 5) by J. Gerald Harris

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Revival at the Water Gate (1 of 5)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Nehemiah 8:1-12

On the first Sunday of October we distributed these little booklets which includes a plan for personal revival. The emphasis in our church for this quarter -- the months of October, November and December -- is spiritual renewal, or revival. And I would like to read to you a portion of the second paragraph in this booklet.

"What do you mean by revival?" you may ask. A fair question. It does not mean a highly emotional hysteria where people work themselves into a frenzy and do senseless things which bring discredit to the Lord's name. Revival is a time when Christians are restored to their first love for Christ, when sham and hypocrites are exposed, when bitterness and strife which exist in the body of Christ are revealed and when such changes are effected in the lives of Christians that sinners are brought to Christ in great numbers.... Revival is walking in the light with Jesus and letting Him live His life in us. The word "revive" applies to that which has life, in this case those who already know Christ as Lord and Savior. To revive is to come back to health and vigor, to flourish again after decline, to come back into use, to become valid, effective, or operative again."

In our text for this morning we have an account of the beginning of a revival in the city of Jerusalem, and it started at a place called the water gate.

Now, there were many gates in the city of Jerusalem. There was Stephen's gate and the Jaffa gate. There was the Damascus gate and Herod's gate. There was the fish gate and the sheep gate. There was the golden gate and the ravine gate and the dung gate and the fountain gate and the water gate.

The gate was the place for great assemblies of the people as they passed into and out of the city. This naturally led to the custom of using gates as places for public deliberations, reading the law, issuing proclamations -- even holding court. In the Old Testament we read that Isaiah and Amos and Jeremiah delivered their admonitions and prophecies at the gates of the city.

Now, some of you will remember that during the administration of President Nixon we had what came to be known as the "Watergate Scandal." It was a scandal that ultimately resulted in the resignation of the President.

Our text introduces us to another water gate, a water gate that was the sight of a Bible reading -- an affair that turned into a revival instead of a reproach, an experience that resulted in a spiritual occasion, not a scandalous one.

Now, I want to divide this message into four parts today. Part number one is


I. THE REQUEST FOR REVIVAL
The people of Jerusalem were hungry spiritually. There was an emptiness in their lives. They longed to hear a word from the Lord. You see, not everyone had a copy of God's word such as we have today. The copies of the law that were available remained in the hands of the priests or the scribes. And it is interesting h ...


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