READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Psalm 85 is a heartfelt prayer for revival. It gives us insights into what true revival involves. The Psalm was written just after Israel was freed from captivity in Babylon. Although the Israelites were freed, they were in need of revival. There are parallels in our situation today. We too have been saved by grace and delivered from the penalty of sin, but the church stands in need of revival.
What is Revival?
Revival can be defined as a season of unusual divine visitation resulting in deep repentance, supernatural renewal and sweeping reformation in the church. There is a radical conversion of sinners, producing moral, social and economic change in communities. In the Bible associated words are to quicken, return, heal, restore, renew and times of refreshing.
Who Needs Revival?
All of us are in need of personal revival throughout our discipleship journey. It is not just for the back-slidden, immature and uncommitted. When true revival comes, there is an overpowering sense of God’s presence, resulting in communion with God, consecration, commitment and conviction in the community.
The Cry for Revival
The path to revival. (v1-3) The Psalmist recalled the past; where they were and what the Lord had done for them. Remembering God’s grace and mercy is the first step to revival. Do we remember our first experience of God’s peace or a personal experience of spiritual turnaround? The Psalmist praised God for His past faithfulness. They were granted mercy, favour and forgiveness, in spite of their iniquity. Revival is often a direct result of God’s mercy — an undeserved kindness and gracious love extended to desperate sincere people. The recognition of God’s grace was the basis of the Psalmist’s prayer.
The petition for revival. (v4-7) The Psalmist knew that Israel was still not completely right with the Lord and earnestly petitioned God for a restoration; asking the Lord to lead the people to repentance. When we cease to rebel, the Lord ceases to be indignant toward us. After confession and repentance comes restoration and revival. We once again rejoice in Him with a spiritual vibrancy. We are in need of revival when we are easily offended, gossip, compromise with or justify sin and when we talk and act like the world. Revival is a renewal of the spiritual life of believers. It strengthens spiritual fellowship, faithfulness in Christian service and holiness in daily living. The Psalmist urged God to pour out His love on His people, so that our love for Him might be renewed. We need a divine visitation and a fresh touch of His love.
The picture of revival. (v8-13) The Psalmist resolved to conform to God’s Word and commit to God’s ways. There is a reassurance the Lord will give us what is good. (v10-13) Revival is a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy. It resurfaces a love for God, an appreciation of God’s holiness and a passion for His Word. There is a renewed awareness of sin, repentance and a growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and deepens our faith. We see the truth in a fresh new way and begin to live in the world and not be of the world. The Holy Spirit convicts us of the need to be made right with God. When we respond from the heart, the Holy Spirit draws back the veil the world has cast over the truth. We see ourselves in comparison to God’s majesty and holiness and are completely humbled.
Revival is a restoration of fellowship with God. The evidence of revival is transformed lives. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit propels us toward righteousness, evangelism and social justice. Believers once again spend time in prayer, read and obey God’s word and powerfully use their spiritual gifts. The result is God’s people rejoicing in Him. The degree of our joy is an indication of our spiritual condition. Nothing else brings such joy as a right relationship with God.
(Sermon notes by Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- What is your understanding of revival?
- Everyone needs revival. Share one area of your life that needs to be revived.
- Revive Us Again
a. The Path To Revival (v1-3)
i. Recall and share a personal experience of a spiritual turnaround.
ii. Spend some time praising God for those “times of refreshing.”
b. The Petition For Revival (v4-7)
i. Revival is a renewal of spiritual life. What are some areas of your life that need renewal?
ii. What steps can you take towards being renewed in the Lord.
c. The Picture Of Revival (v8-13)
i. Looking at the psalmist’s resolution to conform to God’s Word and to commit to God’s ways, what can you resolve to do in your discipleship?
ii. Revival is renewing our walk with the Lord, our worship and our walk evidenced by transformed lives. How is the Holy Spirit working in your life of discipleship?
- Revival is restoring God’s glory in every dimension of life from personal to global. How are you restoring God’s glory every day?
- Pray for one another