Sunday Sermon: ‘Under Contstruction – What Happens After Revival?’ pt 1

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I want to begin by thanking you as a church body for your faithful support and effort to help make this a great revival. Many of you have gone the extra mile and Tammy and I are truly appreciative of your hard work. We love you in the Lord.

Both before, during and after our revival, I have sought the Lord as to what direction we should go in our studies. Hence the title to today’s message – “Under Construction, What Happens After Revival?”

Let’s first turn to a passage of scripture in Matthew 13. Many call this the Parable of the Sower. Perhaps a more accurate title would be – ‘The Parable of the Soils’ because the real issue in this parable is not the sower, but the soil where seed was sown.

Matthew 13:1  The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2  And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3  And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4  And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Note that there was one sower and one type of seed; yet there were four soils and four different results. The Holy Spirit is the Sower and the Word of God is the seed. The soil is the human heart and the fruit is the result of what happens when the Word of God is sown in a man’s heart. Notice the four types of soil and the results:

  • One type of soil is hardened soil which rejects the seed all together.
  • Another type is rocky soil which although it often produces quick results, it does not produce lasting results. It’s a decision based upon our emotions.
  • Then there is the thorn-infested soil. It received the seed and apparently grew and began to produce fruit. But as time went on, its fruitfulness was choked out by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.
  • Lastly there is the good soil that received the seed, sent it roots down deep for nourishment, endured difficulty, and best of all – became fruitful.

The question you and I need to be asking ourselves right now is what kind of soil am I? What will happen in my life after revival? A lot of us are currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

Victorious Christian Life

How do we experience victorious Christian living? Is victorious Christian living the result of our good intentions? Is it based upon our emotional highs or lack of them? Good intentions and emotions are important, but they’re not enough to see us through. Our roots have to go deeper.

How did Jesus live the victorious life? During a moment of spiritual battle, Jesus fought His battle through the power of scripture.

  • Jesus went to the Word when facing physical temptation. (Turning stones into bread in a time of hunger) “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
  • Jesus went to the Word when facing emotional temptation. (Prove that you are the Son of God) “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
  • Jesus went to the Word when facing spiritual temptation. (The offer from Satan for Jesus to receive all the kingdoms of the world) “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

One of the books Harold had on his table was a little book called “Overcoming Bad Habits”. Here’s a couple of quotes: “If our behavior is to be changed, our minds must be changed. Our thoughts can be altered by memorizing and meditating on God’s Word.” “The way to success in Christian living is to meditate on God’s Word and to think God’s thoughts.”

What does Paul teach us in Romans 12:2? “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

What Did Christ’s Disciples Learn From Walking With the Lord?

One of His disciples was named Simon Peter. What do you know about him? He was one of the twelve. He became a leader among them. He denied the Lord and failed God miserably. Consider what Jesus told Simon before his fall. Luke 22:31 …Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Satan desired to sift Simon and the Lord allowed him. Why? Here are some possible reasons:

  • To humble him
  • To help him to see that he desperately needed the Lord’s help
  • To prepare him to minister to others who also would be tempted  “and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

Peter later wrote two New Testament letters. If you study those two letters you will find these themes:

  • Encourage Christians who were suffering (being tried and tested)
  • Warn them of the danger of being deceived and drawn away
  • Instruct them to be strong through the power of God’s Word   “1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

Toward the end of his life, Peter wrote a second letter and he begins this letter by emphasizing the power of living in God’s Word.

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

That’s a great portion of scripture and too large for us to study in just one setting.

What Is God’s Will For Our Lives

To begin with, let’s consider what is God’s will for lives. Peter tells us that it is God’s will that we escape the corruption of worldly lusts and become participants of God’s divine nature. John calls this participation ‘fellowship’ in 1 John 1. It’s the same word used in both places.

How Can We Become a Partaker of the Divine Nature?

2 Peter 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

1. By God’s Divine Power

We all know that it’s God’s will for us to live a more godly life, yet most of us struggle to do so. I would imagine that this past week was not the first time the Spirit has spoken to you about certain areas of your life. As I have said before, ‘Our flesh has an appetite for sin and is always looking for its next meal.’ Even the apostle Paul said in Romans 7 that the things that he wanted to do, he didn’t do, and the things that he didn’t want to do, he often did. Hebrews 12 speaks of the ‘sin which so easily besets us.

How much power if available to us?

Ephesians 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us–ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.

Paul is teaching us that the power available to us is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead? The same power that gave Jesus life can give us life. By what power did God raise Jesus from the dead? Romans 8:11 teaches us that God raised Jesus from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and that this same Holy Spirit dwells inside of every believer to give them power to live the Christian life.

2. By God’s Divine Promises

2 Peter 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Through His divine power, God has given to us what Peter calls ‘exceeding great and precious promises’ that will make us partakers of the divine nature and enable us to escape the corruption of this world. Let me share with you five facts about these promises:

1) Promises that are permanent

2 Peter 1:3  “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things…” Peter calls them ‘promises.’ What is a promise? A promise is a declaration with the obligation to do it. If God doesn’t fulfill His promises, He damages His own character. Peter also tells us that God ‘hath given unto us all things.’ The way Peter wrote that it indicates that these promises have already been given to us and therefore there is no need for God to repeat the action. They are ours!

Many years ago a young pastor took a new church. He soon discovered that there was one old farmer in that church that seemed to have unusual power in his prayers. The young pastor visited him and questioned him concerning the source of his power. The old farmer led the young preacher to the barn loft and there he found an open Bible. The farmer had the pastor to kneel down in front of the Bible and then told him, “Pray the promises son. Pray the promises.”

2) Promises that are powerful. Peter calls them ‘exceedingly great.’ That phrase literally means – ‘mega mega.’ Jumbo size if you will and sufficient for our every need.

In the margin of D.L. Moody’s Bible, he had written in many places two letters – T.P. Those two letters stood for ‘Tried and Proved.’ These were promises that he himself had personally tested and found God to be faithful. I’m sure ol’ Peter felt the same way. Many years ago, my pastor called them ‘nuggets of truth.’ God’s Word is full of nuggets of truth. Are we willing to put forth the effort to mine them? Did you know that someone has estimated that there are 30,000 promises in the Bible? John Piper wrote concerning these precious promises – “Very practically I think this means we must day by day go to the Word of God and search for great promises. Fix one or two in your mind and hold them there before you all day. And use them to overcome temptation to sin and to incite you to daring acts of righteousness and love.”

3) Promises that are precious. Peter liked the word ‘precious’ and uses it several times through out his two epistles. To Peter, these promises of God were like jewels of hope draped against the backdrop of difficulty.

AW Tozer wrote that these promises are precious because they rest upon the character of God.

Spurgeon said, “There are promises which are like grapes in the wine-press; if you will tread them the juice will flow.”

4) Promises that are practical. 2 Peter 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto lifeThe word ‘life’ there refers to common, ordinary, everyday living. God is not a million miles away, looking down upon us with a telescope. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, He lives within us and therefore He walks with us every step of the way. Some of my most exciting days as a Christian are the days when I see God’s presence and activity in the normal details of life.

5) Promises that are purifying. 2 Peter 1:3 … pertain unto life and godliness. What is godliness? The simplest definition is ‘God-likeness.’ Yet there are several words in the New Testament that refer to godliness. There is one word that refers to our worship of God and acts of great reverence. There is another word that refers to our fear of God and our dependence upon Him. Then there is the word that refers to our service. But as I studied this word, I discovered that it refers to our fulfillment of Christian duties before God and before man. It’s the word that Paul used in 1 Timothy when he wrote, “1 Tim 5:3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.”

We heard one message this week that stepped all over my toes. It was about the family and my responsibilities as a husband and dad. Every time I study that subject, I get overwhelmed. I see how far I fall short and I feel incapable of getting it done. But I find encouragement in what Peter tells me – 2 Peter 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. God has given me the things I need to be a godly husband and dad.

Conclusion

There is much more that we need to learn from this passage in 2 Peter, but in closing today, look with me once again at the Parable of the Sower.

Matthew 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Why was this ground fruitful while all the others were not? Was it the sower? Was it the seed? No, it was the condition of this soil that received the seed. What made the condition of this soil different? There is one word in this verse that gives us the answer. “Understandeth” – “the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it.”

Does that mean that this man was a Bible scholar? No. Literally the word here means to ‘bring together in the mind.’ It means to think it through and to make application to his life. The biblical word is ‘meditate.’ We think of meditation is someone sitting on the floor with their legs crossed, eyes closed and humming a chant. But the Bible speaks of meditation.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The word meditate means to speak deep within ourselves. Talk to yourself about spiritual things. Life-changing things!

God used Harold Vaughn to address some sensitive things. The question is now this – what will we do with these issues? Will we dry up like the shallow ground? Will we grow for a while but then eventually be overtaken again by this world? Or will we get into God’s Word and grow so that we might receive the power to escape the corruption of this world and become a participant in the divine nature?

2 Peter 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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