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This Week's Teaching: "Revival is Coming But Not of Hype and Hubris"
Last week, I said, I believe hardship is coming and that when it does, many people will fall away from the faith. And I said that in the coming weeks, I would have additional thoughts. My thought this week that I just wanna follow up, is that, revival is coming.
(Sorry about the finger. I slammed it in my truck door.)
Revival is coming, but it will not be of hype and hubris, like we tend to think.
Now, before I say that , I had a conversation with someone last week. I presented that same message about hardship. I presented it live at a church. And someone came up and said, "You know, I'm willing to die for my faith, but these days it feels like I'm being persecuted for lies. Like people accuse me of being or doing things that aren't true." And, as he and I related, we realized -- and I've thought about this before -- I'm willing to take a bullet for Jesus. Like if it's, " Deny Jesus or you will die," of course I'm not gonna deny Jesus. Like to become a martyr like that, there's an honor, a dignity to it. But to be accused of being something that you're not. To be accused of being a bigot when you're not, to be accused of something that you said or believe about someone, when it's just not true, and then being persecuted for that, or being killed simply as a matter of convenience, like a convenient crime for someone, like no one wants to give up their life for that. No one wants to lay down their life for something that just seems untrue or insignificant.
And so we talked through that and Jesus said in Matthew five, " Blessed are you when people accuse you falsely because of me." That's our lot. That's what Jesus said we could expect. Jesus said that this is how it would be. People would accuse us of things that aren't true because of our identification with him, whether they know it's because of our identification or not.
So we talked that through and thought, well, yeah, that's hard, but it still is our lot. And so we take encouragement in it that God knows what is coming our way.
Let me pull over here and I'll read some scripture to you.
Still looking for a place to pull over. I wanna be a good example.
Okay in scripture. I was just reading it this morning. First Peter five, verse eight. "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen."
God knows what we're going through. He knows that hardship is coming. He knows that we'll be tempted to fall away. He knows that some of the hardship that we endure, that we suffer will be totally unwarranted, nothing to do with truth. And yet, after we have suffered a little while, he himself will restore us. His grace is eternal. Like I said last week, like it's an eternal reward that we're waiting for. It's not about what we get in this earth.
So all that ties into actually that second statement. If hardship is coming and many will fall away, it's also true that revival is coming, but it will not be of hype and hubris.
I say this because many of us have fallen in love with the sensational revival tent meetings and stuff. And it's fine if people are meeting under a tent and someone preaches the word and people come to faith, that's great. Like anywhere anyway. If people come to faith, that's great. And even if it's at such quantity that it feels like there's a revival happening. Great. Wonderful. Second chapter of Acts, was that a revival? Sure.
But I think people have become accustomed to hearing the language of revival as something that happens when you have a bunch of people in a room, or in a tent, facing a stage where there's music -- which, music is great. I make music! When I'm playing guitar and leading worship that's a wonderful thing for me! I'm not cutting that! I'm just saying that we have made music into something more than what it is. And so we feel like if we're at this event where we have an emotional response, we call it revival. But sometimes our heart is moved by the music, by the experience, and it simply is a wonderful moment of prayer, or it simply is a reaction to something culturally, I don't know.
And so we think that revivals are big, sensational things where there's lots of zeal, there's lots of jumping around, lots of screaming "hallelujah" -- and again, if you express yourself that way, amen, hallelujah. Do it. I'm one who can be pretty expressive at times.
But I don't believe the revival that we're gonna see, if the Holy Spirit is really leading this, it's not gonna be a revival of hype and hubris. It's not gonna be gathering people together to go on marches, to do chants , to try and raise a ruckus, to try to raise the fever. Like, it's not gonna be that hype. It's not gonna be trying to gather attention for a movement, like a show of force. It's not gonna be any of those things.
Or of hubris where, "We are special, we are somebody, we are kings, we are princes, we are the children of God and no one is gonna stop us because we have God's favor." Like, it's not propping ourselves up with how special we are, even if it's true that God loves us. But it's not gonna be a revival of hype and hubris.
It's gonna be a revival of self denial. A willingness to pick up our cross, to lay down our lives. And we always flip that. We always, we pick up our cross and then we lay down the cross in order to pick up our lives because the cross is not fun. The cross is a death instrument. And so we lay down the cross to pick our life back up.
Jesus says, "Lay down your life. Pick up your cross, and then follow me to the daily death of self, of the fleshly impulses, the temptations that I resisted in the wilderness, to feed my appetite, to satisfy my anxieties, to become somebody. Pick up your cross, lay down your life. Follow me."
Well, let me read that. Luke nine. " 'The son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law. He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.' Then he said to them all, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me, we'll save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit their very self? '"
Revival is coming, but it won't be revival of hype and hubris. I believe there are a number of us who are resisting the hype and hubris that we see in the church these days, and maybe we're going too far in it, but I just think it's a corrective thing. We're pulling back and saying it's not about the worship concerts. It's not about the celebrity pastors. It's not about the show. It's not about trying to impress people. It's not about big crowds. It's not about those things. It's being willing, actively, to lay down my life for Jesus, for each other, for my neighbor, for the least of these, and even for my enemies.
I'm recording this right now 4th of July weekend, and we have a wonderful picture of the difference of hype and hubris, and self-sacrifice. If you can imagine people back in the day, totally up for this new thing, the United States of America, and they go on marches, they wave flags, they declare themselves independent, and they're so overjoyed at the thought of what's happening and that can be a revival of a sense.
But on the other hand, there are those who actually risked their lives. Not just willing to risk their lives, but risked their lives in order to make it happen. Laid down their lives, not knowing if their lives would be given back to them again. That is an example of the kind of revival that I'm talking about. And please don't misconstrue that. I'm not talking about Christian nationalism or anything. I'm saying, as an example, to declare yourself, "I'm a child of God" is a whole different thing than to lay your life down, including all the royalty stuff, all the benefits. I will lay my life down for Jesus, for my brother and sister, for my neighbor, for the least of these, and even for my enemy.
I believe revival is coming, but it won't be a revival of big worship concerts and motivational speeches. It won't be the revitalization of church institutions. And it won't be the restoration of America to Christian values. I mean, obviously, Christian values are good, but it won't be those things. It'll be the active, applied willingness to lay down our lives for Jesus, for each other, for our neighbors, for the least of these and for our enemies.
So this is my prayer. I believe it is the prophetic witness of the Holy Spirit these days. That this is what he is leading us toward.
So if you're a part of conventional church or something and you still enjoy those things, which again, please hear me, those things aren't in and of themselves bad. I'm just saying what we've done with the big worship concerts and stuff can be bad. If you're looking at what we're doing, pulling back from those things and thinking that we're naysayers and everything, think again: Are you willing to lay down your life? Are you actively laying down your own preferences? Are you following the scriptures in this? And when the scriptures say that hardship is coming and that you must lay down your life, do you resist it? Do you declare something better-sounding over your life? Or do you simply say, "Amen Lord. So be it. I am willing, let revival come."
Hardship is coming; many people will fall away from the faith. Revival is coming, but not of hype and hubris, but of an applied, active willingness to lay down your life for Jesus, for each other, for our neighbors, for the least of these, and even for our enemies. Let's crave that revival.