by Pastor Tim Burt
The word revival is used often in Christian preaching. Most people have never seen or experienced a real move of God—a revival. We see one in its making in Matthew 3:1-3, 5-6 NKJV. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…” They went out to him those from Jerusalem, and all Judea, and the entire region around about Jordan, and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”
At this point in time, God was using John to awaken people to Himself. It was a powerful move of God. Not like anything that generation had ever seen before. People flooded out to see John—some out of curiosity and some compelled by a longing to draw closer to God. Either way, they ALL came. Read this verse again. “They went out to him those from Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region around about Jordan, and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” People came having no clue they’d be apprehended by the Spirit of God speaking through John. When their hearts were confronted with the truth, they repented, were baptized, and began to experience life from a new frame of heart and mind.
The religious leaders of the day also came. They were steeped in their own pride, thinking they knew everything spiritual. They were insulted and envious that anyone besides themselves could be used by God and have such a powerful influence on the people. They were so jealous and blinded by their own pride, that though they were seen as religious people, this exposed many of them as truly evil men. In the midst of this move of God, John looked up to the crowds seeing them, and spoke to them. “…John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…” (Mat 3:7-8 (NKJV)
John’s words may have seemed harsh, but he was speaking to prideful religious leaders with rock-hard hearts. To the people who came to see him for the right reasons, his words were life-changing! John spoke to them saying, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” That simple statement alone is the key to whether the spirit of revival takes hold in an individual’s heart, a city’s heart, or a nation’s heart. God will always be moving in special ways in the earth but we won’t always be able to be in those places to experience God in those unique ways. We don’t need to be! He allows us to cry out to Him wherever we are at. He allows us to draw close to Him and pray for revival within our own hearts. He yearns for it. He is always trying to present Himself and His truth to each of us so that we will see it and come to this place. He is calling you now…
Why does God want us to turn from certain attitudes and behaviors that He teaches us in His word are wrong? For the reasons we already know deep within us. They are destructive. They hurt us. And they hurt others. As the saying goes, “Hurt people, hurt people!” Beyond that, they hold back blessings that make our life rich and that God dearly wants for us! Psalms 146:8 (NLT) says, “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly.” Don’t you want to be blessed? Can you see His motive is from His pure love for us?
The literal Greek for the words “bear fruit worthy of repentance” means to show the fruit equal to a complete reversal of your wrong thinking, attitude, and behavior—show a changed life. People often say they are sorry to God, knowing they should change. Drawing near to God is the first step, and sincere repentance before God is the second step. But, that is all lip service until a person has shown the fruit equal to a complete reversal of the wrong behavior in attitude and action. Only embracing God’s Word as truth and the path to His right living can bring the conviction of heart that creates the real desire to change. And only prayer can equip a believer with the inward strength to follow through and succeed at his or her needed change.
People say, I’m sorry every day but they repeat the wrong behaviors over and over. A personal revival of heart and true repentance, showing the fruit of real heart change, is what creates the exciting experience of personal revival. And let me add a nugget of truth and wisdom here. When a person experiences a sincere change in one area of their life, that one change quickly leads to many changes in multiple areas. That is what makes it so powerful!
The change you desire may not happen immediately because we all seem to first attempt to change in our own strength. It is only when we fall on faces in our own efforts that we realize it takes the power of God within us to succeed. If you continue to be honest with God in your repentance and seek Him for His grace and strength, you will find the power for sincere change, even if it takes some time. God sees your heart and is patient when you are sincere. When this happens, you will have taken another step in your life toward “bearing the fruit worthy of repentance.” And through each step and layer of growth, you’ll experience personal revival! You’ll love God more and become a greater and greater reflection of His life to the world around you! That is exactly what God wants! A revived you!
Psalm 143:11 (NKJV) “Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake, bring my soul out of trouble.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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