God Give Us A Little Reviving  
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 Text: Ezra 9:8-9
Title: "God Give Us A Little Reviving"
Prop.:  God gives revival, we give in to revival! 

Intro:  Our subject for this evening is revival.  Revival because we each need to be revived!  Revival because God is able and willing to give it!  Revival because we will be visited by an evangelist next week for that very purpose!
The word "revival" does not occur in the Bible.  The word "revive" occurs only twice in the N.T., though not in the context of spiritual renewal.  The word does occur in the O.T. in the sense that we are considering this evening, but only in 4 verses.  So what we can learn of revival we will learn from the O.T. & these 4 verses:
Psalm 85:6 gives us the Purpose of Revival. 

"Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?"

Revival brings rejoicing in God, or a refocusing of our attention on God. 

Isaiah 57:15 gives us the Condition Necessary for Revival. 
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
  Revival only takes effect in those with a Contrite ("crushed, repentant") & Humble Spirit.  

Hab. 3:2 gives us the Plea of Revival. 
"O Lord, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy."
  Revival brings about a Reviving of God's Work (personal & corporate) in God's Children, and Mercy in the Midst of Wrath toward the Lost. 

Ezra 9:8 gives us the Encouragement of Revival. "And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a Nail in His holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage."

Revival gives us a little space of grace, a little group to escape, an "little" nail to hang our hopes on, a little lightening of our sight, and a little reviving in our bondage.
There is a lot of discussion about what revival is, and not much agreement!  I like to go to the Bible to find out what the word means, though applications are sometimes more obsure. 
"Revive" = to live or have life; giving or restoring life.  The O.T. speaks of life as the experience of life. This is not some abstract idea, but the result of the life you are living right now. This life, or reviving, or revival is the ability to exercise all one's vital spiritual power to the fullest. So to be "revived" or to experience revival, is to have life, to be able to exercise it to the fullest, to restore life, to be alive.   Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  Revival brings back into focus that state of spiritual life that is a requirement of following Christ.   In other words, revival should be the common, everyday condition of the Christian!  It is not a momentary decision, but a continuing manner of life.  It is not making great decisions because an evangelist is in our midst, but it is the making of great decisions because God is in our midst!  It is not being motivated by a speaker, but it is being motivated by the Cross. 
And if we need to be spiritually "revived" it must mean, that to some degree or other, different in each individual, we are spiritually dead or dying. 
Not one of us is free from this decay, not one of us is immune to this most devious work of our sin-natures.  And so Ezra asks of God to give a little reviving in their bondage. 

Ezra 9:5-10 -- "God Give Us A Little Reviving" -- prayer 

Chapters 1-6 of the book of Ezra describes the return of the Jews to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, and the completion of the Temple.  Chapters 7-10 chronicle Ezra’s return to Jerusalem to help bring spiritual revival to the people.  Their spiritual problems are our spiritual problems, and Ezra's spiritual answers are our spiritual answers. 

I. FOUNDATIONAL ACTIVITIES TOWARD REVIVAL (v5-7) (man's part)
A. Ezra Rose Up From His Heaviness
(v5a)
1. It is the responsibility of man to prepare to serve the living God with a living life! 
Rms 12:1-2 confirms this truth (turn).  And sometimes the hardest thing about getting going is getting going! 
2. He rose up in the evening service. From his "heaviness" = humiliation.  Sin brings heaviness to your Christian walk and humiliates you before God, man, and self.  It is like "cement boots" that take you to the bottom.
a. Not separated ("to make a distinction, to withdraw") from the people of the land (v1)
b. Doing according to their abominations ("disgusting things"). 
c. Having mingled ("to have fellowship with, share, exchange") with the people of the land
d. Having sought the peace of the people of the land (v12c)
e. Having sought the wealth of the people of the land (v12c)
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matt 16:24 

B. Ezra Fell Down In Humility (v5b)
1. He exhibited the outward signs of humility (it cost him something!)
2. He exhibited the inward signs of humility (fell on knees = humility)
3. He exhibited the desperation of humility (spread out his hands)
4. He exhibited the confidence of humility (unto the Lord my God) 

Note:  It is humiliating to repent & confess, but it lifts the heaviness 

C. Ezra Cried Out in Repentance (6a)
1. Repent = "change your mind" (Repentance is a Christian grace)
a. God still hates your sin, and sin still separates between you and your God! It does not change your relationship but it sure changes your fellow.
2. Repentance is directed toward God ("O my God" (twice))
3. "Ashamed" = to fall into disgrace, normally through failure of self
4. A lack of "blush" (= public humiliation) before God, before man, and before self  (used 3 times in Bible)
Jeremiah 6:15 "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast
down, saith the Lord." (repeated twice in Jeremiah) 

Note: With self, our shame causes self-esteem problems.  With man, our shame causes fellowship problems, but with God our shame ought to cause repentance. 

D.  Ezra Confessed (6b)
1. Confess = "agree with God about your sin."  Confession convicts us of our spiritual condition, reminds us of the depravity of our sin natures, and cleanses our souls
a. The depth of your sin ("increased over our head & grown up into heaven").  Sin will take you deeper than you wanted to go, and keep you longer than you wanted to stay!
b. "Iniquities" = crooked behavior, perversion; both the deed (sin) and its consequences, the misdeed (sin) and its punishment
c. "Trespasses" = sin, acts of sin
d. Against God ("unto the heavens")
Psalm 51:4  "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight..."  

E. Ezra's Acknowledgment of Bondage (v7)
1. To the kings of the land, to the threat of the sword, to the threat of captivity, to the threat of being plundered/preyed upon, to being shamed in their presence.
a. If we are not in bondage to Jesus Christ, we are in bondage to the world and its threats. 

Note: Ezra's steps to revival followed a well-worn path.  1) A determination to change--he rose up.  2)  A determination to repent--he fell down, he cried out, and he confessed.  3) Acknowledgment of bondage to the world--his present condition. 

II. GOD'S PROVISION FOR REVIVAL (Christ's part)
A. God's Long-suffering For Now
(v8a) (God is a God of now!) 

Note: That is why God says to a sinner, “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2)  (Salvation) 

1. And God says to the Christian, Time to repent, yet a little space (before backsliding, before death, before Christ's returns).  Everything we do for Jesus Christ must be top priority, and in the now and now.   

B. God's Grace Has Been Shown (v8a)
1. "Grace" = unmerited favor toward you; God favorably disposed toward you & your revival
Lament. 3:22-23 "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." (and great is our unfaithfulness!)
a. There is nothing on God's side to hinder your revival
 

III. GOD'S Abilities on Our Behalf are Sure (v8a-10) (God's part)
A. Sure Because He is the Lord
("Jehovah" = ever present, self-existing One) [our own] God ("Elohim" = Triune God), representing all He is to His Own. 
1. I don't know where revival will take you, but I know Who will be there!  I don't know what He might ask of you, but I know Who can provide!
*Revival brings about a deeper trust in God 

B. Sure Because He Has Provided a Way of Escape (v8b)
1. A remnant escapes the clutches of sin, self, and the world because a remnant is willing
1 Cor. 10:13  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
*Revival brings about a new willingness to forsake sin 

C. Sure Because God's Secure Place Is Revealed (v8c)
1. The Nail has been given us
2. The Nail is secure in a holy place (not just any place)
3. The Nail is Christ, a sure place to "hang your hope."
a. This Nail was forged in the furnace of adversity
b. This Nail was shaped by the hammer & anvil of human passions
c. This Nail was tempered in the deep of the garden
d. This Nail was hammered into place on the cross
e. This Nail was enthroned in His Father's house on highIsaiah 22:23 "And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His father's house."   

Note:  Most people fear the results of revival in their life, for we are afraid of change that is not of our making.  But the foundation of revival is knowing that you have a sure place to "hang your hat," "pin your hopes."  There is One Who will not fail you when you place your full weight, expectation, and trust upon Him; your very life itself.
*Revival brings about a new love and dependence on Christ 

D.  Sure Because God's Vision Imparted (v8d) ("lighten our eyes")
1. We see circumstances and situations as God sees them
John 1:4 "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." 

Note:  The agent/cause of revival is a new vision of the glory/manifestation of Jesus Christ, and His work on our behalf.  It is the same vision that brought about our salvation, therefore, revival and salvation are closely linked, since both center on Christ.  Salvation put you into a state of revival/life, and surrender and obedience to Christ work to keep you there.
*Revival brings about a new perspective 

E. Sure Because God's Reviving Is Given (v8e)
1. Given when bondage
2. Perhaps a "small" work to start, but with continuing results.  We want a "full" dose, but God gives an increase.
*Revival brings about a new awareness of bondage 

F.  Sure Because God's Faithfulness Realized ("not forsaken us") (v9b)
1. He was faithful to save you, He will be faithful in your revival.  Your sins have not caused God to forsake you, you can be revived! 
*Revival brings about a new awareness of God's faithfulness. 

G.  Sure Because God's Mercy Is Proclaimed ("in the sight of") (v9b)
1. "Mercy" = acts of grace freely bestowed on the guilty. 
*Revival brings about a new appreciation of God's mercy. 

H.  Sure Because God's Reordering Is Initiated ("set up the house of our God") (v9)
1. He will make His priorities, your priorities to put your spiritual life in order, first things first
Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." 
*Revival brings about a new ordering of priorities 

I.  Sure Because God's Repairing Is Begun (v9b)
1. "Desolations" = root is 'to be dry': waste places, ruins
Isaiah 62:4 "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah-bah ("My delight"), and thy land Beulah ("married"): for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." 
Ephes. 2:22 "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
*Revival brings about a new desire to repair relationships

J. Sure Because God's Protection Is Afforded
("a wall") (v9c)
1. You are walled about wherever you serve.

“And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?  Then Satan answered the Lord..  Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?"
   Job 1:8-10
Romans 8:35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"
*Revival brings about a new feeling of security 

Conc.:  I can do no better than to conclude with v10, "And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments"  Here is the root cause for our need of revival, we have forsaken God's commandments, therefore we have lost to one degree or another the living sense of  Christ's great work of redemption and therefore have grown to one degree or another, lukewarm to the things of God.  Ezra cried out to God for the sins of others, will you cry out to God for the sins of self?  Are you willing tonight to do what it takes to be revived, to live in the abundance of life that Jesus promised?  No matter your spiritual condition, you need a fresh unction from the Spirit of God to say with Paul,

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith"

Ezra got up, repented and confessed, and then hung his hat on that Nail, which is Christ, and went on to serve God despite the circumstances without or within.  Will you come tonight, and refresh your life in Christ--will you be revived?

Perhaps you have never trusted Christ as Saviour, and turned from death to life.  Will you come tonight? 

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