Revival Requires Repentance Built on Godly Sorrow for Sin
- Summary: You've heard the old saying, "Lord, send revival, and let it begin with me!" For that to happen, God's people will need to look deep within ourselves and repent of those things that are inhibiting revival. The oft-quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14 appropriately says, "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." In other words, a repentance revival is a necessary part of a soul-saving revival in the land. Repentance and revival are inseparably linked.
Psalms 85:6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
- •• Revival begins with us, with “[God’s] people.”
- • Why does revival tarry? Because often God's people fail to repent. It's not for lack of specialized revival ministries. It's for lack of repentance by God's people!
- •• A key to how this works is found in Isaiah 6.
Isaiah 6:1, 5-8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple....  “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”  Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
- •• Awareness of personal sin —> repentance —> “Here am I. Send me!”
- • Revival begins with us. Isaiah felt his own sin ("I am a man of unclean lips") ... he repented (2 Cor. 7:10, NKJV, says: "Godly sorrow produces repentance") ... God took away his sin ... Then, walking in God's forgiveness and acceptance, Isaiah was ready for God to send him out and touch other people for the Lord.
- •• What, then, should we be repenting of?
•• Let’s look at how Jesus answered that question in letters to five churches in Revelation.
Revelation 2:1-5b To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:...  Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
- •• We need to repent of a loveless, formal relationship with the Lord.
- • Working hard for God (vs. 2), but not centered on loving God.
• Remember the “first and great commandment” — to love God deeply.
- •• Is your relationship with God works-focused or love-focused? If not love-centered, then repent! Ask God's help, by His Spirit, to bring about a restoration, a heartfelt renewal, of your first love for Him.
Revelation 2:12-16a To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:...  I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.  Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nocolaitans.  Repent therefore!
- •• We need to repent of holding bad teaching.
- • Jesus said to be careful what and how you hear.
• We live according to what we believe, much of which comes from the teaching we receive.
- •• Believers may need to repent of sexual immorality.
- • Not just with our bodies, but with our minds and our eyes.
• What kind of movies and TV do we watch?
• What kind of language do we use? jokes?
• Are you at all flirtatious?
• Dressing modestly?
- • If you're guilty, then Jesus’ command is: “Repent!”
- •• Believers may need to repent of "Nicolaitanism” = an exaggerated doctrine of Christian liberty.
Revelation 2:18, 20-22 To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:...  I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.  So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
- •• We need to repent of tolerating evil influences among us.
•• Again, repenting of sexual immorality.
- • A repeat warning, therefore very important to Jesus.
• Eating food sacrificed to idols is also repeated.
- •• And again, repenting of subjecting yourself to erroneous teaching.
- • Otherwise, how can we be influences for revival in our community if we have a wrong message?
Revelation 3:1-3a To the angel of the church in Sardis write:... I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.
- •• We need to repent of surface Christianity — a good reputation that does not describe us within.
- • Jesus, of course, saw through their outward appearance and discerned their real state.
• The unbelievers we’re trying to reach will see through us, too, if our faith is not real and vibrant.
Revelation 3:14-17, 19 To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:...  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked....  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
- •• We need to repent of lukewarmness — “neither cold nor hot.”
- • Others are drawn to beliefs that are held and lived out passionately.
## In sum, like Isaiah, we need to come to grips with sin and to repent.
- • of a loveless, formal Christianity
• of holding bad teaching
• of every trace of sexual immorality
• of exaggerated Christian "liberty"
• of tolerating evil influences in our midst
• of living our Christianity just on the surface
• of lukewarmness, neither cold nor hot for the Lord
- • and of any other sins the Holy Spirit convicts us of
Then, like contrite Isaiah, we are ready for “Here am I; send me!” It seems that the Lord is calling to the church in America: "Repent!" If we do, revival fire cannot be far behind.
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©2004, 2018, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.