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The Church Isn’t Ready for Revival!
AUTHOR: Spurgeon, C.H.
PUBLISHED ON: April 8, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Sermons
TAGS: revival

Times Square Church Pulpit Series
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Church Isn’t Ready for Revival!

  By David Wilkerson
  February 20, 1995

  There are two kinds of churches in the world today. First,
there is the dead, formal church, which has a form of godliness
but no power. Its ministers are hirelings, most of whom are
unconverted. God calls such shepherds “…twice dead…” (Jude
12). And He promises to pluck up such churches by the roots and
burn them!

  I have preached in several of these lifeless mausoleums over
the years. The pastors would invite me because they had read “The
Cross and the Switchblade.” Yet whenever I preached in such a
church, and the Holy Spirit fell upon me, the pastor grew
nervous, slumping in his seat. People would be weeping under
Holy-Ghost conviction. But as soon as I gave an invitation, the
pastor stepped in quickly and dismissed the meeting.

  Oh, how that bothered me! Those pastors dreaded the very
thought of anyone having an emotional response to my preaching.
All they wanted was to get the people up off their knees and out
the door before the Holy Ghost could do something “out of
control.”

  We know God cannot bless such churches with revival, because He
doesn’t pour out His Spirit where He is not welcome. And the
dead, formal church has rejected the Holy Ghost outright. It
simply does not want to be raised from the dead.

  But there is another kind of church in the world today. And
that is a holy, remnant church – a praying, God-fearing,
uncompromising, righteous body of believers. It is comprised of
people wholly given to Christ – people who pray, fast and seek
the face of God regularly.

  My message is concerned primarily with this righteous,
Holy-Ghost church. Why? It is the only church in a position to
receive a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit! You see, God pours
out His Spirit only on those who ask Him to come, and who prepare
themselves to receive Him.

  Yet I do not believe the true church is ready for revival – for
God’s last, great, promised outpouring of His Spirit. You see, a
church can be engrossed for months in prayer, fasting, weeping,
supplications, begging and beseeching the Holy Ghost to fall –
and yet still may not be ready for revival!

  (Let me explain the terms I’m using here: The word revival
literally means “the resurrection of that which threatens to
become a corpse.” So, if you revive someone, it means he has
already passed out. Yet I do not believe God’s holy, remnant
church has fainted. And when I use the word revival, I’m actually
talking about an outpouring of God’s Spirit.)

  It is necessary to search God’s Word to find out how His people
prepared themselves. You see, God has given us many biblical
promises that are “on call” – that is, ready to be fulfilled. And
I believe He is simply waiting on a people who will prepare
themselves to lay hold of these promises.

  Of course, God is sovereign and can pour out His Spirit on
anyone He chooses. There are reports of the Holy Ghost falling on
various peoples around the world, bringing resurrection life to
those who neither expected it nor were prepared for it. Yet God
also gives us a biblical pattern that shows us His standard and
way. And His way is this: He works through a prepared people! He
digs up fallow ground before He sets things in divine order.

  I want to give you three reasons why I believe the church is
not ready for revival. I pray that as we look at these, we will
line up with God’s Word in preparation to receive what He has
promised:

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              1. We Are Not Ready for Revival
              If We Are Convinced This
              Society Has Sinned Away
              Its Day Of Grace!
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  America has so grieved God – its intensity of sin is so
horrible – that many are convinced there is no hope left!

  Indeed, in recent years I have been nearly convinced by
America’s terrible moral landslide that God has no option left
but judgment. So I have preached His impending judgments
intensely, especially over the past ten years. And I still
believe that message with all my heart – and will continue
preaching it with all authority!

  You see, God may wait patiently for repentance, sending many
prophets to warn of judgment. But a day finally comes when He
says, “Enough!” – and prayer is useless at that point. I call
this “the dread release” – when God releases a society to
destructive judgments. We see several examples of this in church
history:

  * It happened to Noah’s generation. God strove with wicked
mankind for 120 years, with mercy, warnings and visible signs
such as the ark. But finally He said, “No more!” – and He wiped
out all of humanity, except for those who entered the ark.

  * It happened also to Lot’s generation, in Sodom and Gomorrah.
God counted the days of wickedness in that society so saturated
with homosexuality, lust and violence. Finally He could endure no
more and said, “Your cup of iniquity is full. Your sins have
ascended to heaven!” – and He wiped out those cities and all the
surrounding towns. They were given over to “the dread release”!

  * It happened as well in Jerusalem. Christ walked the streets
of that city and wept, warning of the coming judgment. Seventy
years later, God said, “That’s enough!” – and Jerusalem fell,
razed to the ground. Thousands were murdered in a horrible
holocaust.

  God put this same message in the heart of Jeremiah. He sent the
prophet to the gates of the temple with this solemn cry:

    ***************************************************
      “But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh,
    where I set my name at the first, and see what I
    did to it for the wickedness of my people
    Israel…. Therefore will I do unto this house,
    which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and
    unto the place which I gave to you and to your
    fathers, as I have done to Shiloh…. Therefore
    pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry
    nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to
    me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:12-16).
    ***************************************************

  God told the righteous, “You can stop praying now! My patience
is gone, and I have determined judgment. I’m going to take My
Spirit from the east gate and lift it from My house completely.
It’s going to be just like Shiloh!”

  Shiloh stands as a testimony to all generations that judgment
begins in God’s house. God’s people had become so backslidden and
wicked that the Lord moved in with sudden and awesome judgments.
Shiloh was where the Spirit of God departed, and “Ichabod” was
written above the door. The Lord removed all His glory, shut the
doors and departed – leaving it in ruin!

  The Word of the Lord also came to Ezekiel with the same kind of
warning:

    **************************************************
      “Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by
    trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out
    mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the
    bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and
    will cut off man and beast from it: Though these
    three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they
    should deliver but their own souls by their
    righteousness, saith the Lord God…they shall
    deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but
    deliver their own souls by their righteousness”
    (Ezekiel 14:13-14, 20).
    **************************************************

  God was saying, “Even these three men – Noah, Daniel and Job –
couldn’t pray down a revival. Even their righteous prayers
couldn’t buy more time. You see, I determine judgment – and all
the praying people in the world can’t change My mind!”

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                When I See What God Did To Noah’s
              Generation, Sodom and Jerusalem, I
              Can’t Help But Deduct That America
              Is Ripe for Destruction!
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  Think about it for a moment: None of those societies killed 25
million babies, as we have through abortion. Their inhabitants
didn’t commit random acts of murder in their streets in such
aggregate numbers as we do today. And Sodom’s entire population
didn’t equal the number of gays who march in one parade in New
York City. Beloved, we are a million times worse than those
generations – and God judged and destroyed them all!

  I often pray, “Oh, God – if You destroyed them, how can You
spare us? Why have Your fierce judgments been held back from
America?”

  Experts say the economy is booming in this year of 1995. Our
gross national product is increasing. Automobile factories are
producing cars at a record-breaking pace. Inflation is holding
steadily. Indeed, everything looks good ahead. Yet, why doesn’t
all this good news bring any sense of security to people? All
across the country, people feel that something is hanging in the
air, about to happen. Even the worst sinner doesn’t feel secure.
Why? It is because, deep down, this nation knows it deserves
judgment! We all know we’re living on borrowed time.

  How can we be ready for revival if we believe that all hope is
gone – that we have sinned away our day of grace and there is
nothing left but judgment? Beloved, we can’t have faith for a
revival until we’re convinced God still wants to pour out His
Spirit on us!

  Why hasn’t America been judged? Why hasn’t Jesus come yet? It
is because there is still a great harvest ahead! And God is
“…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come
to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

  We see this great mercy of the Lord in a passage in Isaiah. God
instructed the prophet to tell Judah:

    *************************************************
      “Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your
    mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or
    which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold
    you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold
    yourselves, and for your transgressions is your
    mother put away. Wherefore, when I came, was
    there no man? when I called, was there none to
    answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it
    cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?”
    (Isaiah 50:1-2).
    ************************************************

  God had already divorced Israel, giving them “…a bill of
divorce…” (Jeremiah 3:8). But now His attention was on Judah, a
people who had cheated on Him and walked away from Him. God still
had a heart for Judah, and He came to them crying, “Where is the
bill of…divorcement…” (Isaiah 50:1). He was saying, “Show Me
your divorce papers! Prove to me I ever put you away. It was
*you* who walked away from Me! I did nothing to grieve or hurt
you. I loved you the whole time. I came to you and I called you!”

  Try to picture it: There was the Lord, going into the very dens
of Judah’s harlotry to look for her, calling, “I’m coming after
you! You’re telling everyone that there’s no hope, that there can
never again be a love between us. But I’m coming back for you!”

  Beloved, that is exactly what I see God doing with America
right now. He is saying to us, “Show Me your divorce papers! Show
Me I walked away from you! I have not yet removed My Holy Spirit.
Rather, I am still at work all over this nation – still wooing,
calling, coming to you!”

  The Lord is speaking this through Times Square Church and many
other pulpits across this nation. And He is speaking it through
godly men and women who spend precious time seeking Him. He is
calling America back to repentance – back to His own heart! Yet,
when He comes, He asks, “Where are those who will answer My call?
Where are those who will return to Me?”

  This is what our recent weeks of prayer at Times Square Church
have been about. It all has to do with His last call!

  Many who sit in our church are proof of the Lord’s wooing. At
one time He stirred their hearts and shook them out of apostasy
and compromise. He called out, “I love you!” – and they
responded. And now the same Spirit who roused them wants to
gather in a whole multitude. Our part is to pray with faith that,
as the Spirit woos backsliders, a multitude will answer and
return.

  We have to be fully persuaded that there is still time (though
short), still hope – and that while we are praying, the Spirit is
at work in all levels of society, calling and wooing people to
Himself!

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              2. We Are Not Ready for Revival
              When We Are Overwhelmed by the
              Darkness That Has Settled Over
              the Nation and by the Fury of
              the Enemy!
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  I see a fury and an intensity in sinners today as in no other
generation. When I was a boy, the church referred to Africa as
“the dark continent” because of its spiritual darkness. But
today, a spiritual darkness is hovering over America that is
almost tangible. America is now “the dark continent”!

    ***************************************************
      “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
    and gross darkness the people…” (Isaiah 60:2).
    ***************************************************

“Gross darkness” signifies a darkness you can feel. And the
darkness over America right now is intense, widespread,
thickening every moment.

  When you fly into New York, you’re dazzled by all the city’s
bright lights. Yet, once you get off the plane, take a cab into
Manhattan and get out at Broadway, you instantly feel the
darkness. It’s heavy, demonic, blinding people’s hearts and minds
– and it’s getting worse!

  Yet, the Bible says God has a part in that darkness:

    ***************************************************
      “Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause
    darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the
    dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he
    turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross
    darkness” (Jeremiah 13:16).
    ***************************************************

  God makes the gross darkness! When people are so set on their
sin that they reject the Lord, they are driven to darkness. David
said of the wicked, “Let their eyes be darkened, that they see
not…” (Psalm 69:23). The Spirit of God allows a darkness to
fall over their hearts and minds.

    *************************************************
      “And they shall look unto the earth; and behold
    trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and
    they shall be driven to darkness” (Isaiah 8:22).
    *************************************************

Sinners are actually driven to their dark acts. Satan has come
down upon the earth with an army of demonic powers who are
whipping godless people into a frenzy of evil!

  The fury and intensity of this present vileness is a thousand
times darker than when I first came to New York a generation ago.
Today I look at people’s eyes as they’re on their way to make a
drug connection, stumbling out of a bar, running to and fro
looking for pleasure – and there is no mistaking they are driven!

  When I first began this ministry some thirty-five years ago, I
spoke in churches all over America, warning of the moral
landslide to come. I told people in Iowa, Oklahoma and all the
Southern states that drugs would strike even the smallest hamlet.
Pushers would appear in schools and on playgrounds. I warned of
blatant homosexuality, with nude parades taking place in our
cities. And I prophesied that nudity and sexual acts would air on
prime-time TV.

  Most of the people who heard me thought I’d come from Mars.
Pastors berated me. And sincere Christians came to me afterward,
saying, “No way! God will never let that happen to America.”
Today, some of those people who ridiculed me are grandparents.
They sit before their TV watching the R-rated, perverted movies I
prophesied about. And their children and grandchildren are
addicted to drugs and alcohol. The darkness I warned about has
now come into their very souls!

  Can you imagine how dark it’s going to be ten years from now,
should the Lord tarry?

  Yet, I ask you: As you see the darkness thickening and growing
on all sides, do you believe it will exceed the light of the
gospel? Are you afraid the darkness is going to squash it, quell
it, snuff it out?

  *No – never!* God’s people must never be intimidated by the
darkness and fury of the enemy in these last days. It doesn’t
matter how dark the world becomes. The Bible says Jesus is going
to rise and shine in the darkness!

  * “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that
thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son
of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy
maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the
foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day
because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to
destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?” (Isaiah
51:12-13).

  * “Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night
shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to
thee” (Psalm 139:12).

  * “…he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light
dwelleth with him” (Daniel 2:22).

  * “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:
they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them
hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2).

  We live in a time of widespread death and darkness. But God
says that in such times He will shine His light the brightest:

    *****************************************************
      “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew
    not; I will lead them in paths that they have not
    known: I will make darkness light before them, and
    crooked things straight. These things will I do unto
    them, and not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).
    *****************************************************

  It doesn’t matter how wild it gets in the streets, or how many
homosexuals curse Christ in gay parades. We are not to be
overwhelmed by any darkness! When gross darkness covers the
earth, we must expect the Lord to shine in all His glory and to
deliver multitudes:

    *****************************************************
      “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory
    of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the
    darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness
    the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and
    his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles
    shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness
    of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3).
    *****************************************************

  *No darkness will ever stop God’s light!* So get your eyes off
the darkness, off the sin, off the fury of violent people. And
believe the Lord for the bursting forth of His shining, effusing
light!

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              3. The Church Is Not Ready for Revival
              Because of Its Weak Faith In God’s
              Willingness and Power to Save Wicked,
              Hardened Sinners!
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  God put His finger on Judah’s problem: They doubted His
willingness and power to redeem a people entrenched in apostasy
and idolatry.

    ****************************************************
      “And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk
    after our own devices, and we will every one do the
    imagination of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:12).
    ****************************************************

  Judah had given up hope, thinking, “We’ve gone too far – and
now there’s no going back. We have left the Lord, mocked Him,
abused Him, cast Him aside. We are so deep into our sins, it’s
hopeless. Not even God can bring us back!”

  Beloved, after all my years in ministry, I still have to fight
this kind of thinking. You may feel the same way. Your husband
may be an atheist, mean and godless. And you have convinced
yourself, “All around me, people are getting saved. But my
husband is different. He’s so hard!”

  The Lord said to Judah,

    *************************************************
      “…Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot
    redeem?…” (Isaiah 50:2).
    *************************************************

To shorten means to “chop off.” God was saying, “Tell me – has
the enemy chopped off My mighty arm? Have I lost My power to
save? No! My mighty arm dried up the Red Sea. It clothed the
heavens with blackness. It opened blind eyes. You have seen that
I save to the uttermost. Why do you think I have lost My power to
redeem you?”

  Dear saint, when did God lose His power to save the vilest
sinner on earth? When did He lose His willingness to deliver drug
addicts, drunkards and prostitutes, when nobody was praying for
them?

  Would God then somehow decide not to save your family members,
for whom you have fasted and prayed faithfully? Absolutely not!
We must cry out to Him in faith, “Oh Lord, You can save Wall
Street. You can deliver the worst homosexual in New York. You can
redeem any Muslim in any foreign land. And you can save any
member of my family. Your arm is not too short. You can save
anybody!”

  We will never be ready for revival until we stop limiting God.
Don’t believe His hand has been chopped off; instead, believe Him
for the impossible! Get a vision of His mercy and love – of His
mighty, outstretched arm, all-powerful to save!

  If Jesus prophesied a great harvest, then we are going to
witness supernatural outpourings of God’s Spirit on vast
multitudes. When the Spirit was poured out the first time in
Jerusalem, thousands were saved at once. And, likewise today, we
ought to pray with faith for the Spirit to fall on entire nations
– even those with incredible strongholds.

  In recent years, the Holy Spirit has moved in China, and great
multitudes there have been saved. Isaiah prophesies of many
people being gathered in from Sinim, which represents China:

    ****************************************************
      “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these
    from the north and from the west; and these from the
    land of Sinim” (Isaiah 49:12).
    ****************************************************

  That same Holy-Ghost fire is also falling in Russia and in
parts of India. God’s Spirit is moving, wooing, calling people
all over the world!

  Yet God is asking His remnant church to begin with our own
families, one person at a time:

    ****************************************************
      “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for
    I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a
    city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to
    Zion” (Jeremiah 3:14).
    ****************************************************

We are to pray and be patient – and He will gather in our loved
ones, one at a time!

  Here at Times Square Church, we are praying that God will sweep
many into His kingdom through outpourings of His Spirit. But the
Lord also wants us to focus on our families. We must have an
urgency in us to pray, “Lord, send conviction on my family! Save
my son, my daughter, my wife…”

  Several years ago there was a popular song, “Raindrops Keep
Fallin’ on My Head.” I believe that song tells us the way we
ought to pray – for God to literally rain down His Holy Spirit!
Scripture promises that in the last days, the Holy Ghost will
fall as rain. And you can pray Holy-Ghost raindrops down upon the
heads of your loved ones:

    ****************************************************
      “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter
    rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give
    them showers of rain, to every one grass in the
    field” (Zechariah 10:1).
    ****************************************************

  God is waiting and anxious to pour out His Holy Ghost. Are you
ready to pray down His rain? We are to pray not for the fire of
judgment, but for rain!

  Yes, God’s judgment is coming; it is at the door even now. But
while we still have time, we are to believe God to pour out His
Spirit. So lay hold of His divine, “on call” promises – and you
will see a Holy-Ghost revival poured out all around you.
*Hallelujah!*

================================================================
When in New York City Visit Times Square Church 
Located at 51st Street and Broadway 

Schedule of Services
Sunday Morning……………………………10:00
Sunday Afternoon…………………………. 3:00
Sunday Evening…………………………… 6:00
Tuesday Evening [Prayer, healing, communion]… 7:00
Thursday Evening [Intercessory Prayer]……… 7:00
Friday Evening…………………………… 7:00
================================================================
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            ~~|~  |~~~  |~~’  |  |  |~~`                -=John 12_32=-
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