Renew Sermon Series
The Prerequisites of Renewal
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 41:1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.
Intro: The people of God today are in desperate need of renewal.
RENEW: To renovate; to restore to a former state, or to a good state, after decay or depravation; to rebuild; to repair. (1828 Webster’s Dictionary)
The burden on my heart is that we each experience a supernatural renewal.
The toll that last year has taken on us varies, but it happened.
God’s people are tired, weary, demoralized, discouraged, doubting.
- SEE Isaiah 40:28-30 Even the youth shall faint, and be weary – And the young men shall utterly fall.
People are weary physically.
People are weary emotionally.
People are weary mentally.
People are weary spiritually from the roller coaster of faith and doubt.
Some people have become weary and faint this year.
Some of you have been weary and faint for many years.
The need for RENEWAL is greater than ever before.
The need for God’s people to be restored to a former state, or to a good state, after decay or depravation; to rebuild; to repair is essential if we are going to move forward for God in 2021.
What is it that is causing so many Christians to be weary and to faint?
What has happened to wreck such havoc and do so much damage on Christians?
There are a number of things that Satan is using, but here are just a few:
I. The Attacking of the Church
Never in our history as a nation has the church been under the attacks that it has been under in 2020.
Our forefathers left the old country and came to America to seek religious liberty and freedom to worship.
Not since then has our people had to contend with such an adversarial climate against the church of God.
Never before in our nation’s history have pastors been arrested for holding church services.
Never before in our nation have churches been issued cease and desist orders for holding church services.
Never before in our country have churches been fined by elected officials for simply opening the doors of the church.
Reading about persecution is one thing. Hearing stories about it is one thing. Experiencing it is another.
Our church – Calvary Baptist Church – was embroiled in legal battles with Baltimore County from May until November (that’s 7 months).
That is enough to make any church member weary; faint; discouraged; demoralized.
- 19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
- 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
- 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
- 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
In John 20, the disciples were hiding in an upper room for fear of the Jews. Why?
Their leader, their Pastor, their master had been arrested on trumped up false charges, beaten in the public square and executed along with a bunch of common criminals.
They didn’t get a cease and desist order; they didn’t get a fine – their pastor was beaten, stripped naked, and murdered in front of their eyes for simply preaching and teaching the Word of God.
They were in desperate need of renewal. They needed something – anything.
I don’t think we give them enough credit for having the courage to meet. Most today would have stayed home!
But they met. They assembled together with the people of God. And notice what happened.
Jesus came and stood in their midst. He showed them his hands, his nail-scarred hands. Notice their reaction.
- Vs. 20 – Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
Another illustration of the toll it takes on the church when it is attacked is found in:
- 26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
- 31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
II. The Apathy of the Christians
- 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
- 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
- 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
- 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Here is a church that Jesus said was dead. What a statement. What a testimony!
When Jesus says your church is dead, it’s dead!
But according to verse 4, there were a few people in the church that were not dead.
There were a few people that had not defiled their garments, that were worthy
What was Jesus’ words for them?
Notice verse 2 – He challenged them to: “…strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.”
That sounds like a RENEWAL to me.
Imagine being a member of a church where everybody was dead.
Imagine the toll that would take on you when you and your family show up to worship.
God’s prescription for the dead church was simple – renew the ones that weren’t dead!
It was up to the living to keep the church going, but they needed a revival.
They needed to be strengthened. They needed to be refreshed; renewed; revived.
ILLUSTRATION: I get emails and letters nearly every day of people that are so frustrated with the spiritual condition of their church. I got a letter yesterday that broke my heart.
III. The Aftermath of the Conflict
- 15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
- 16 And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
- 17 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.
- 18 And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
- 19 But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived:
Sometimes, you’ve been in a battle for so long you feel like you are about to die.
Samson – the strongest man that ever lived reached a point in his life where the aftermath of the conflict almost killed him.
He was in desperate need of a supernatural working of God just to survive.
God, in His mercy and in His compassion, created a spring of water from the jawbone of an ass.
When the enemy couldn’t kill him, the physical and mental exhaustion from the battle almost did.
But God revived him; refreshed him; renewed him – right there on the battlefield.
Surrounded by dead and vanquished enemies, God revived his spirit.
Maybe you are here today after a year of surviving the attacks of the enemy.
You’re still here, you made it; you didn’t become a casualty; you didn’t fall out of church; you didn’t quit on God.
But you are in desperate need of a RENEWING.
If God can turn the jawbone of an ass into a water fountain, God can renew your spirit! God is able!!
IV. The Agony of the Chastening
- 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
- 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
- 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
- 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
- 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
- 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.
David was the recipient of the chastening hand of God for his sin.
He had deliberately gone against God and God’s word.
As a result, he had brought shame and reproach on God.
His sin was known to everyone, and he had been confronted by God’s man.
David is praying a prayer of confession and repentance in Psalm 51.
He testified that as a result of his carnality and sin, God had “broken his bones” verse 8.
David prayed for RENEWAL (vs. 10) and RESTORATION (vs. 12)
God has a way of getting our attention!
- 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
- 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
- 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Conclusion: Regardless of why you are weary and faint this morning, rest assured – God WANTS to RENEW you and He is READY to RENEW you, if you will let him.
Will you let God help you get a fresh start? Will you let God restore to a former state, or to a good state, after decay or depravation; to rebuild; to repair.