Revival and Survival - 2 Chronicles 29 – Pastor Scott
A change in our world begins with a revival in our hearts. What does true revival look like?
Greenhouse Youth Ministries will be starting a series going through Acts. The start of the church. It’s amazing what those early church founders went through. Against all odds, they started a movement that has touched practically every corner of the world.
And yet now, 2000 years later, we see a world where evil runs rampant. The recent news of violent attacks and school shootings are indicative of a world that has turned away from its Maker. A world that ignores God’s Word. A world that chooses to live for the now and gives no attention to eternity.
The real issue is not about what political stance you have. It’s where you stand with Jesus. The real battle is not in the courtroom or in Washington DC but in the heart. If we want things to change in this world, we need to have a revival in our heart!
This world desperately needs a revival. While it’s easy to point to everyone else and say the world needs to change, the truth is, we need to start with ourselves. That’s where true revival starts. We cannot impact others if we are not changed first ourselves.
So, as we dive into 2 Chronicles 29, let’s think about how we can have a revival in our own hearts! A change in our world begins with a revival in our hearts. So, what does true revival look like?
1) True revival is repenting to God. (vv.1-14) Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (v.3) – he started from the beginning. Opened and repaired the doors to the temple.
The temple had long been the symbol of the nations’ relationship with God. That is where the people could hear God’s word and worship Him. In fact, 2 Chronicles 2 explains that the condition of the temple reflected the condition of their hearts. And so Hezekiah made it a point to open the doors of the temple ASAP. His father Ahaz had shut the doors earlier and even put up altars in every street corner in Jerusalem. Where Ahaz had failed to honor God, his son Hezekiah was determined to succeed. (v.4)
And so Hezekiah brought in priests and Levites. The Levites were the ones in charge of the temple. When they were able to perform the temple duties, they were significant figures in the nation’s attempt at true worship. But with the doors to the temple closed, they were powerless and insignificant. Hezekiah gathers them and gives them a charge. Can you imagine the scene as he gathers these godly men who were discouraged and had no power or influence?
Hezekiah says in verse 5, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.” Consecrate means to sanctify, to bless, to be set apart, to devote, to dedicate yourself. He’s saying, “it’s time to get back to the way things are supposed to be. Let’s get rid of all this filth and let’s devote our temple and our lives to God!”
So the priests, in order to work in the temple, have to do a ritual cleansing and this purified them to serve. The temple had been closed and the people had turned away from God. He might as well be saying this to us in 2022!
We saw from chapter 28 that Ahaz sacrificed to idols, shut the temple doors, and made altars for other gods. 2 Chronicles 28:23 says… For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.
Hezekiah knows there is work to be done. He wants to cleanse the temple, prepare the priests and open the doors to a new beginning. A beginning that will see the people worship the One True God. A beginning that will see the people serve and follow God in a way they have not done in decades! A beginning that will lead to success for Hezekiah and Israel. A revival!!! That is something we all need to do if we want to have a true relationship with God. We need to check ourselves, our motives, our hearts.
Cleansing was necessary to work in the temple and it’s necessary for us in our relationship with God. Cleansing is necessary in true repentance. We need to recognize we need help. We need to confess to God.
1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hezekiah let the priests know that to start a revival, it needed to start with a cleansing! Have you been cleansed? Have you confessed your sins to God? Have you admitted your shortcomings to God? Or do you live in denial? In order for the revival in your heart to begin, you need to get clean! You can’t be cleansed by just doing anything on the outside. You need to get to the heart of the matter because the heart is what really matters.
How do you start a revival? You start with true repentance. You get right with God. You put God first in your life. And when our hearts are in the right condition from repentance, it’s easier to be obedient to God.
2) True Revival is obeying God. (vv.15-19) Notice it says in verse 15, “by the words of the LORD” God’s Word was opened to give instructions on what to do and the priests used those words to cleanse the temple. It is because the priests were obedient to what God’s Word said that the temple was able to be opened and the people could worship again!
How could the temple be opened? Because the Word of God was opened! By obeying God’s Word, they were able to take out and get rid of all the bad things in the temple and then cleanse the inside. They simply obeyed what the Word of God said.
Sadly, we live in a day and age where the Bible is viewed as more of suggestions than requirements. But when people start obeying what the Bible says, that’s when the land will experience a true revival! We forget that the Bible is God’s Word. It’s how God would want us to live. But when we neglect it, disrespect it and reject it, we miss out! We start playing by our own rules and living our lives based on what we hope is right instead of what is actually true! Knowing the rules can have positive impact on your life as well.
Knowing what the Bible says can have positive results in your life as well! It’s the Bible that tells us how we can have real peace. It’s the Bible that tells us we can have eternal life. There are so many benefits from just opening the Bible. The Bible isn’t a list of what you can and can’t do. But it does help you understand what is good and bad and can help you live the life you were created to live!
But knowing that is not enough. Doing something about it made all the difference. When you are obedient, when you put action into what you know – that’s when you see positive changes, that’s when you see revival! It’s one thing to know what the Bible says but do you live your life accordingly? Obedience is the key!
Charles Stanley said, “You will never go wrong obeying God.” D.L. Moody said, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.” True revival is being obedient to God!
3) True revival is committing to God. (vv.20-24) King Hezekiah made sure that once the temple was ready, he would show that he was dedicated to God. There was meaning in the animals: 1 – They had to be perfect with no blemishes. The animals used for sacrifices were the best of the flock or herd. They had to be perfect because they represented the devotion of the person offering them as he presented his gift of life to God. As one would offer a perfect animal, it reminded them of their own impurities. 2 – As one would lay their hands on the animals - that represented the transmission of their sin to the animal. 3 – The actual slaughter of the animal represented the fact that we deserve death but God provides a substitute. In Old Testament times, this meant animals. But for us, we do not have to do this because Jesus paid the price for us once and for all!
In the same way, if we want a revival, we need to make our daily sacrifices. We need to be dedicated in the things we say and do! Like the one making the offering who gave up the best of his flock and herd, we also need to give up our best.
But often we give God our leftovers. Sure, we may pray before dinner, or we open our Bibles on Sunday mornings. But those are just giving God a few scraps from the religious table. How often do we give God our best? If we keep giving God leftovers, it is not God who is missing out…it’s us! We miss out on the joy of giving Him our all! We miss out because we are so mixed up in living our lazy, wavering, half-hearted lives that we miss out on the exciting, spirit filled adventure that God wants to take us on!
Imagine what you and I can do if we dedicate our lives to the One who created us, loves us and even died for us. Often, we dedicate our lives for things like our careers, our sports teams, our hobbies, our families. And these are not bad things at all! But what if we put Jesus at the top of our list? Can you imagine the amazing changes that would occur in your life? In your workplace? In your neighborhood? In this world? That’s how revivals go. True revival means you are dedicated to God.
4) True Revival is worshiping God. (vv.25-30) They worshiped! Mind you – worship is NOT just music. We hear people say things like – let’s have worship so when we hear “worship” we think of music. But worship is so much more than music. Here we see worship at its finest. Multiple people doing multiple things but all in worship to God!
At SanLo, there are several ways you can help with our worship service. Everyone uses the gifts that God gave them. For some, he gave nice singing voices. To others, the ability to help with the sound or videos or Zoom or to advance slides. Some help by greeting people as they come in. Some teach on Sundays, others clean and set up during the week. And some come and worship and that is awesome! I love it when we all get together to worship together.
When you get people who are repentant, people who are obedient, people who are dedicated to God and people who are not quite there yet but still trying to figure it all out – that is a great recipe for an amazing worship! And then verse 31 says – “thank offering” – (according to Leviticus 7) it is one type of fellowship offering. It symbolizes restored peace and fellowship with God. – It’s great if you would like to be a pastor or a missionary or work for a church. But you don’t have to be in full time ministry to worship God. You can worship God no matter your profession or your station in life. In fact, you don't even have to be inside a church to worship God. You can worship God anywhere.
When I was younger, I thought church was just some place you went to for weddings and funerals. I felt bad for my friends who had to go on Sundays. But as I got older, I learned that worship was not something you did out of obligation. It’s something you do in response to what God has done for you.
I worship by singing songs to God not because I like to hear my voice. (or cuz I think anyone else wants to hear my off-tone singing). I sing because I am praising God. I worship by listening to sermons because I want to learn more about this God that chose to die on a cross for me! I worship by serving God in using the gifts He gave me. I worship by giving God my tithes and offerings not because I have to but because I know God has blessed me and I want to give to Him by supporting the ministries of this church. I worship by meeting with other brothers and sisters so we can encourage one another.
Too many people in the world spend their time pointing to others and complaining about what is wrong in this world. They want to see change. They want to see a better world. They want everyone else to change.
But true revival starts with you and me. Have you given thought to what your life could be if you gave Jesus your 100%? I don't mean if you came to church every week. I mean if you came to Him every day. If you gave Him your full attention. If you chose to do what He wants you to do. If you fully surrendered and allowed Him to work in you and mold you into the person He created you to be.
Give Him a chance. See for yourself and experience a joy that only God can give. A peace that only Jesus can provide. And a life that He created you to live! Don’t miss out! Allow Him to work in your life. Allow Him to start a revival in your heart.
Build My Life, How Deep the Father’s Love, Kindness, Doxology