Quarter’s Theme:REVIVAL IN THE CHURCH
Unit 1 Theme: The Necessity Of Revival (Lessons 1-6)
15/6/2014 LESSON 3
WHY THE CHURCH NEEDS REVIVAL
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 152, 155
Devotional Reading: 2 CHRO. 30:1-14
Topic For Adults
TIME FOR REVIVAL IS NOW
Topic For Youths
LET’S GET READY FOR REVIVAL
JAM. 1:8,4:8A-C; ISA. 1:16, PS. 24:4; LK. 16:13
Memory Verse: Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. (2 Pet. 3:14) NKJV
DAILY BIBLE READING
To Become A Victorious Church
The Church faces many challenges and a lot of oppositions. These are bent on making the Church feeble and constantly undermine its survival. Sometimes, these forces are internal, that is, they are through members of the Church and sometimes, they are external aggressors. The attack is sometimes direct but sometimes, it is subtle and often ignored. For the Church to remain strong and to survive every attack, she needs to be constantly revived and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. When the Church is thus kept in a state of sustained revival, God promises that it will be spared from the terrible time of trial that will come upon the whole world.
Point of Emphasis: The Church needs to guard her spiritual fervor jealously for her to survive satanic onslaught.
Prayer Point: Father, strengthen our Church that we may defeat every satanic attack.
The vacuum created between men and God is not unconnected with how man had
soiled himself with filthy deeds. The alienation as it was in the days of Old
Testament still continues in Christian’s circle where the right things are not done. To avoid being a victim of the fall-away is the intent of this week’s lesson.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
I. TOO MANY DIRTY HANDS – JAM. 4:8A; ISA. 1:16
“Dirty hands” is a metaphor to describe the sullying of one’s moral standing by dealing in unsavoury matters. By dirty hands is meant the kind of ethical problems confronted by persons.
Hand washing is the simplest, most effective method of preventing acquired infections which is responsible for common ailments resulting to death in some cases. Apart from hygienic consideration, some religions make it mandatory that no worshipper can approach the place of worship without first washing of hands and feet.
The Scriptures also talk about the value of clean hands, albeit, more figuratively. Clean hands represent actions performed with integrity. C.S. Lewis defines integrity as “doing the right thing even when no one is watching”. But integrity is also doing the right thing when everyone is watching and expecting you to do otherwise.
Acts of integrity are free from considerations of public approval, acceptance or applause. With or without incentives, the same action is expected to be taken. They are not tied to personal gain. They are done because they align with God’s requirement or demand.
Paul admonished in I Tim. 2:8 that “men pray everywhere lifting up holy hands…” He is referring to hands that are free of blood, bribe and everything that is unjust and cruel, free from defilement of sin which characterise our modern society. These are days of marathon fasting and prayers, rigorous vigils, seclusion to mountains, valleys and sea side seeking God. Sadly, the results do not justify the investment in terms of time, energy and other resources put into these activities. Some of the much celebrated testimonies are photo tricks. Why? Because too many dirty hands are being lifted to God and God cannot be fooled. He is too holy to behold such filthiness especially when we are not prepared to own up and confess them.
With so many dirty hands in the Church today, we really need revival that will make everyone to purify and cleanse their hands to receive the visitation (revival) of God.
II. TOO MANY DEFILED HEARTS JAM. 4:8B; PS. 24:4
To “purify” means to remove dirty and harmful substances from something in an attempt to make it free from contamination. As much as clean hands are necessary to establish a relationship with God, it will not go far unless they are connected with a “pure heart”.
True and acceptable religion is heart-work. The heart is the centre of man’s character; who he really is – Matt. 15:18. It is the seat of deeper awareness.
We may wash our outside as long as we please, as manifested in our outward religious piety but if the inward parts be filthy, we are filthy altogether in the sight of God.
The very life of our being lies in the inner nature and hence the imperative need of purity within. A pure heart is the one that is cleansed, free from the control of wickedness and dedicated to God. It is the heart that has singleness of purpose – to serve and glorify God.
The child of God who has a pure heart has nothing to hide, nothing to defend and nothing to explain. He is open, honest, genuine and transparent with men and with God. There are no ulterior motives in his service and commitment to the Lord.
Our purity of heart is threatened by anything that causes us to lose our “first love” relationship with God. This is the tragedy being experienced by the Church today. A crave for the latest in material possessions; leisure, jobs etc has replaced our first love. Our trouble is in the heart, it is wicked and deceitful. No wonder the Bible warns and encourages us to guard our heart diligently because out of it are the issues of life (Prov. 4:23). We are to follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. A pure heart is a prerequisite for approaching the presence of God.
It is unfortunate that many of the hearts of people in the Church are defiled. Many people in the Church are spiritually dead. The situation of our hearts is crying for revival. Until revival comes, our hearts cannot be cleansed or purified. God is not pleased with the dirtiness of our hearts hence the need for revival.
III. TOO MANY DOUBLE MINDS JAM. 4:8C; LUK. 16:13; JAM. 1:8
The mind is the centre of mankind. It is the reasoning, thinking part of man, the seat of thoughts and feelings.
Those who halt between God and the world are referred to as double-minded. The double-minded person tries to serve both God and the worldly system – two opposing masters. Unfortunately, they fail to realise that the love of God and the love of the world are mutually exclusive.
Think about it. Have you ever tried to walk in different directions at the same time? How possible is it for you to make your two eyes look in different directions at the same time? Why then do you try such spiritually? Is it peer pressure persuading you to conform to do what is “fun” instead of what is right in the sight of God? Each day the devil relentlessly inspire a multitude of improper thoughts. We are bombarded with corrupt communication from co-workers, fellow students and acquaintances. Movies and magazine transmit values, morals and behaviours far removed from those God expects of His children.
Though we cannot always control what we hear but we can control what we hold dear in our mind. We must take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. James warned against inconsistency in our obedience to God as such will lead us nowhere than frustration. It is certain that the double-minded cannot receive anything from God.
Rom. 12:2 also warns us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. With single-minded attention to God’s will as revealed in His word, we will be drawn nearer to God and He will draw near to us.
A look at what happens in the Church will show that the high level of worldliness calls for a great revival to stem the trend of backsliding. There will be revival when we all focus on God and He alone. We cannot serve God and mammon as we are trying to do in this age.
With dirty hands, defiled hearts and double minds, we are estranged from a life of communion and power with God. In such condition, we cannot live the full life in God, neither can we be said to be ready for the rapture.
Therefore, “repent ye, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” Act 3:19. The time of refreshing is the time of revival. We need it now.
1. What does Paul refer to when he says “men should pray everywhere lifting up holy hands”…? (1 Tim. 2:8).
2. Why are some of the much celebrated testimonies photo tricks?
3. Discuss “True and acceptable religion is heart-work”.
4. Though we cannot always control what we hear but we can control what we hold dear in our mind”. Explain.
5. How can we draw near to God and prevent double minds? (Rom. 12:2).
POUR DEVENIR UNE EGLISE VICTORIEUSE
L’église fait face à plusieurs défis et a de nombreuses oppositions. Ceux-ci sont déterminés à l’affaiblir et à miner constamment sa survie. Souvent, ces forces sont internes, c’est-à-dire qu’elles existent à cause des membres de l’église et souvent elles sont des agresseurs externes. L’attaque est souvent directe mais parfois elle se révèle subtile et souvent ignorée. Pour que l’église reste forte et qu’elle survive toute attaque, elle a besoin d’être constamment ranimée et fortifiée par le Saint-Esprit. Quand l’église est ainsi conservée dans un état de réveil prolongé, Dieu promet qu’elle sera épargnée des moments terribles d’épreuves qui viendront sur tout le monde entier.
Point essentiel : L’église a besoin de protéger jalousement sa ferveur spirituelle pour qu’elle puisse survivre toute attaque satanique.
Axe de prière : Père, fortifie ton église afin que nous puissions défaire toute attaque satanique.