Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Awakening happens when God's people devote themselves to prayer, period. The measure of the awakening is not given according to the talent of the preacher. It's not given according to the resources of the church, the quality of the worship bands, the amount of books, the amount of commercials.
It is solely based on how people pray. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Before we get started today, I want to invite you to listen to the very end today as we have a special Giving Tuesday message from Pastor J.D.
that you don't want to miss. I think we all want some sort of spiritual revival, right? But what does it take to see that happen?
I can tell you this though, it's not dependent on people behaving less wickedly or politicians finally focusing on the right stuff. Revival will only happen when God's people offer their lives as true living sacrifices in the world around them, enabling others to experience the saving knowledge and power of Jesus as a result. To learn more about our Giving Tuesday initiative this year, visit us online at jdgreer.com. But now here's Pastor J.D. with a message that he titled Stand in the Gap. Revival always begins in the house of God. That's where it always begins. We typically think that the problem is out there, but God never looks out there as the primary problem for why his Spirit is not coming and bringing great awakening.
It's us in here. It's what God's people in his community, it's the junk in their lives, in their temple if you will, when we harbor secret sins. When we have things in our heart and lives that we know aren't right, we keep our community from the presence of God. Because listen to me, there is nothing that grieves and drives out the presence of the Holy Spirit like harbored, unconfessed sin in the church. God's not surprised by the world.
He knows what's going on out there. He's not expecting them to be holy. But it is when God's people have secret sin in their lives, they extinguish the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit like water does to a flame. So God's awakening in the community always begins in the church with God's people getting rid of the things that grieve and drive out his Spirit. It never starts out there, y'all.
It starts in here. Here's my question. What if it's you? What if the reason God's not working in your children has to do with your sin? What if it has to do in our community with the fact that you and I are not serious about the things that grieve the Holy Spirit? Let me show you what happened. We could probably just stop there, but I got a few other things to say, but I don't want you to let that go by.
What's the Holy Spirit saying? That's you. I would imagine there are people here that are in adultery. I would imagine there are people here that you're talking about other people. There are pornography habits that have never been dealt with.
There's all kinds of things that God says, you know what? The reason is not Raleigh Durham's wickedness. It's not the college professors and how cynical they are. It's not politics.
It's you. Let's keep going. Verse 25, chapter 29. Hezekiah then begins to reorganize the temple. And the phrase that keeps getting used in these next verses, you'll see, in the way prescribed by David. Let's see it in verse 25. Then it says, what was commanded by the Lord in terms of their worship.
King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord. See this phrase? With the words of David, the Psalms, and Asaph, who's another Psalmist.
You know what's happening there? Listen to this. Hezekiah is re-establishing scripture as the center of their lives in worship.
Write that down as number two. Awakening happens when churches re-center themselves on scripture. When we re-center ourselves on scripture, the Bible, listen, is the church's life. Without it, we die.
And I don't want to bring you here and entertain you. I want to open up the words of life to you. We try to make scripture the center of the songs that we sing. Like they did, we try to use the words of scripture as we sing. A lot of our songs are essentially just quotations and paraphrases of scripture. We try to use the scripture. It's why in our worship service, we will stop in worship and reflect on scripture. You want to know why we do that? Because the most important thing you need in worship is to be reminded of the promises of scripture and to have God's beauty revealed to you. You don't need to sit in here and just come in and exploit your feelings.
You need to see God and then your feelings will follow. Because worship is a rhythm of revelation and response. God reveals himself first. We respond to what he has revealed.
So when we come in here, we don't try to start with, how do you feel? And then start singing Barry Manilow or John Legend love songs written to Jesus and repeating the words a thousand times until you work yourself up into a lilting stupor and then somehow feel affectionate toward God. What we do is start with the revelation of God and then we respond back to the beauty of who he is. And by the way, one of the ways that you know that you've actually seen God and are understanding these promises is you start to worship like they did. So they worship with joy and gladness. And they want to have their hands in their pockets and you know with a bored look on their face. They're seeing God not because the worship leader is up there with a crazy electric guitar because he's whipping everybody up in motion. It just happens. When you see God, you don't need a charismatic worship leader up here trying to play on your emotions.
It just comes out. And if you're not worshiping with joy and gladness because you're not seeing that. Around the throne of God right now with all the angels that are seeing God's face, I promise you there's not one of them with his hands in his pockets and a coffee cup in his hand and a bored look on his face wondering what time the service gets through. And so what's happening is I promise you there is not an angel in heaven right now that is around the throne of God with a bored look on his face and his hands in his pocket and a coffee cup in his hand wondering what time the service is going to get out.
All right? Because when you see God, you respond. So it's a rhythm of revelation and response. In our prayers, I hope you see that we try to base even our prayers on scripture.
Why? Because scripture teaches us how to pray. I've told you that basically effective prayer is just figuring out what God wants and asking him for it. That's why prayers that are heard by heaven, they start from heaven, and you get that from the Bible. 2 Samuel 7.
This is my time with God this week. David is telling God that he wants to build him a house. And God says to David, I don't want you to do that. And then God makes some promises to David. I'm going to build you a house. 2 Samuel 7.
27. I've never seen this before. David says, listen to this, by your promise, your servant has found the courage to pray. Literally in Hebrew, what it says is by God's promise, he found the heart to pray. God's word gave him the desire. It gave him the drive and it gave him the direction to pray. You want to know how to get your prayers heard by heaven? You start with what heaven reveals to you, because prayers that are based in scripture, prayers that start in heaven are heard by heaven. Scripture is the life of the church.
So we put it everywhere. It's in our small groups, it's in our sermons, it's written on our walls. If you remove the centrality of scripture from the church, we die. No matter how entertaining your speaker, no matter how good your music, you remove the centrality of scripture from your life, your marriage, your family, your job, and it will die. So you are to cling to scripture, savor it, plumb its depths, saturate yourself in it so that everything that comes out of your mind and your heart is scripture.
Proverbs says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. You want to become somebody that God pours his spirit into, then you let your mind and your heart be captivated by scripture and you become that. Number three, awakening happens when Christians recenter themselves on the gospel.
Awakening happens when Christians recenter themselves on the gospel. Second Chronicles 30 gives you a pretty lengthy description of how Hezekiah re-instituted the Passover feast. I'm not going to take time to read the chapter, but the Passover was basically the celebration where they commemorated when God had delivered them from Egypt. God had said he was going to kill the firstborn in every household, but he told the Israelites that if they take the blood of a lamb and they put it on the doorpost, that when the death angel saw the blood, he would pass over them. That's where you get the word Passover from. Well, in the New Testament, Jesus uses this as the picture of what he was going to do on the cross.
That when he died for us, the curse of death that was coming upon our house, our lives, that when God saw the blood of Jesus on the doorpost of our heart, that God would pass over us. Well, when Hezekiah comes into power, they haven't celebrated this feast in years. It's completely out of the consciousness of the mind of the Israelites. So what does Hezekiah do? He puts it back into their consciousness.
Listen, because awakening occurs when you re get reacquainted with the power and the beauty of the gospel in your life. If you go back and study Israel's times of spiritual decline, when they fell away from God, to do it sometime, you'll find this phrase repeated over and over and over again. Israel forgot what God had done. Israel forgot his mighty works in the past. So how God brings them back is not by teaching them new stuff, but simply reminding them of their great salvation.
The same is true for us. 2 Peter 1.9, Peter says that when we grow cold spiritually, 2 Peter 1.9, it's because you have forgotten that you were cleansed from your first sins. Forgotten. Forgotten doesn't mean that you don't know that it happened. It's just not real to you. It's not fresh to you. Jonathan Edwards described it like knowing factually about sweetness, but never having tasted it, when suddenly sweetness like honey is put on your tongue.
You didn't learn factually anything new. It just suddenly burst alive in your mouth. He said that's what it's like to reawaken to the gospel.
It's not new things you learn. It suddenly becomes very intimately aware of how great a salvation you have. Listen, for you to experience personal awakening, you don't usually need some new precept. You need to become more intimate with how great a salvation God has given you in Jesus.
Are you cold spiritually? Then ask God, don't go try to learn a bunch of new Bible facts. That's great, but it's not you figuring out whether or not Kirk Cameron's right and you're going to get left behind that's going to awaken you spiritually. What's going to awaken you spiritually is when you plumb the depths of beholding what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we could be called the children of God. That's not new information. That's why we say the gospel is like a well.
If you want the best water in a well, you don't go wider, you go deeper. You want the best awakening spiritually. It's not new things you need to learn. It's asking God to open your eyes to how great and rich a treasure you possess in Jesus Christ. Y'all listen, if I have one goal in my preaching, one, it is to help you behold each week the wonder of the gospel. I don't want you leaving just with a page full of notes. I love it when you take notes. I encourage you all the time. I've told you there's a note-taking gate in heaven, I'm pretty sure, that will get you there.
It's like the FastPass line at Disney World. It'll just get you in quicker. I would encourage you to show up in heaven with your notebooks full, but I don't want you just to leave here with a bunch of notes. I don't want you to leave with action steps about ways you got to change. The goal of a motivational speech is that you leave with action steps.
The goal of a lecture is that you leave with a page full of notes. The goal of a gospel message is that you leave worshiping, because when your heart is full of the love of God, you'll figure out the action steps on your own, and then you'll study the scriptures until you got notes that are coming out of your ears. We'll return to our teaching here on Summit Life in just a moment, but I wanted to quickly share a little bit about what we're doing for Giving Tuesday today. Every gift we receive will go directly to Port City Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, located in eastern Canada. Jeremy and Julianne Daeger were sent from our church here in North Carolina a few years ago to help plant a church down the road in Greensboro, North Carolina, and now they've been sent from the Mercy Hill Church plant to plant again in Nova Scotia. They're currently tilling the soil and have launched home groups with a plan to launch public worship services in early 2023.
You can be a part of helping them do that. So what special about this Giving Tuesday is that every gift today will be matched up to $35,000. Your gifts will enable Port City Church to prepare for their spring launch, essentials like a place to meet, equipment, and resources to invite their new community.
Halifax is growing rapidly, creating gaps in housing, churches, and all parts of life. So if you would like to invest in bringing the gospel, the real good news to this growing area, please give us a call at 866-335-5220 or go online to jdgrier.com any time today. Now let's get back to today's message on Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. Let me give you one other dimension of this before I go on to number four. This is really important. Verse 17, chapter 30, it says that there were many people who showed up who didn't have their own Passover lamb. So Hezekiah told the priest to kill a Passover lamb for each person that came without one. Listen, follow me.
I don't want you to get confused. What's significant, listen, is that the sacrifice has to be applied individually to everybody. Now, that's a ceremony so the priest could do it for the people who didn't bring one. Listen, I cannot apply the sacrifice of Jesus to you, but the point is the same.
The sacrifice has to be individually applied. There are many of you who are listening to me right now who you've been caught up in the movement but you've never actually made the decision. That happens all the time where you come, you kind of get into it, you learn the songs, you start going to small group, you're just kind of going along, but you've never actually made a decision to personally trust Christ. My fear is that many of you are going to show up never having trusted Jesus as your own. There is no salvation by association with the right group. You have to choose yourself to trust Jesus.
Have you ever done that? At night, I'm reading my kids, we're reading Pilgrim's Progress before they go to bed. There's a kid's version of it called Dangerous Journey. In the story, you get this guy named Christian who's leaving the city of destruction to go to the celestial city which represents heaven. Along the way, he comes to faith in Christ and so he gets a parchment which is like the certificate of his salvation. As he goes along, as he's getting close to heaven, another guy joins him and Christian asks him where his parchment is and the guy's like, ah, it's not important.
I never really bothered with that. Christian asks him about it two or three times and the guy keeps blowing him off and so Christian quits asking him but they go through the whole rest of the journey together side by side. They come up to the gates of heaven and then John Bunyan, the author, says that the angels, the strong ones, come out and they ask for the parchment and Christian has his but this other guy doesn't have his and Bunyan said that angels take this one and they throw him into outer darkness. What Bunyan was trying to say, listen, is that there's a lot of people in a church like this one who are making the journey with us but they make the mistake of thinking that it's salvation by association with the right group. Do you know that you have trusted Christ personally and received the sacrifice for yourself? Y'all, you know I'm not real big on the you gotta have a day and know the day and the hour and you gotta have a card in your Bible signed by Billy Graham with the tear stains of your grandmother on it that signifies the second that you trusted. I'm not like that but I do know that you ought to know that there was a time when you personally received Christ as your savior. Do you know that that has happened because the salvation sacrifice has to be individually applied?
Don't make that mistake. God has no grandchildren, just children. Number four, awakening happens when God's people devote themselves to intercessory prayer. Throughout these chapters, we find Hezekiah praying for the people. So for example, chapter 30 verse 18, Hezekiah prays for them. Verse 20, the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
Verse 27, the priests of the Levites stood to pray for the people and their prayer reached heaven. Awakening happens when God's people devote themselves to prayer, period. The measure of the awakening is not given according to the talent of the preacher, it's not given according to the resources of the church, the quality of the worship bands, the amount of books, the amount of commercials.
It is solely based on how people pray. Jonathan Edwards, who led in the first great awakening in this country, the largest revival our country has ever seen, said that the primary characteristic of the great awakening was not great preaching, it was extraordinary prayer. There is no awakening, he said, apart from prayer. In fact, he said, I would go so far as to say that prayer does not bring the awakening, prayer is the awakening.
A missionary to China, who's worked in China during the great revivals there, by the way, church is growing faster in China than in any place in any time in history. He said this, listen to this, I used to think that prayer should have the first place and teaching the second. I now feel it would be truer to give prayer the first place, the second place, and third place, and then teaching the fourth. You know, when I read that, I thought about what I pointed out to you guys from the book of Acts, that in the book of Acts, you find Jesus go up to heaven and the disciples go up into a room and for 10 days they devote themselves to prayer.
10 days! Peter stands up in Acts 2 and preaches for 10 minutes and 3,000 people get saved. Remember I pointed out to you that we pray for 10 minutes, I preach for what feels like 10 days, and three people get saved.
It's because we got our zeros in the wrong place. God gives awakening according to the measure of how we pray. Here's the question, do you pray daily for our church? Do you pray daily for our city? Do you pray daily for your own kids?
It is inconceivable that you would say you want the power of God and don't pray and plead with God because he doesn't give it according to the measure of your parenting, he gives it according to the measure of your prayer. Or here's another way I've asked you, let's say that God answered all your prayers from the previous week at five o'clock today. How many new people would be in the kingdom at 5.05? I mean your food might be blessed, you don't have traveling mercies. How many new people will be in the kingdom? Number five, awakening happens when God's people give extravagantly.
Awakening happens when God's people give extravagantly. Chapter 31, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain. They brought a great amount of tithe, 10% of everything, and they piled it in heaps. I love the word heaps, don't you? I feel like we don't use the word heaps enough.
Look how many times he repeats it. When Hezekiah and the officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the Lord and blessed the people of Israel. Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps, because when there's a heap, you're supposed to ask about it. And Azariah, the chief priest, said, well, the people began to bring their contributions to the temple, and since then we've had enough to eat and plenty to spare because the Lord has blessed his people and this great heap is left over. Hezekiah led an offering, and the people were so grateful for what they'd seen God do in their midst that they poured out so much that not only was there enough to meet the immediate ministry needs, there were heaps left over. Summit Church, are you grateful for what we've seen God do here in the last two years? Are you grateful for how God has worked in your family, in your kids, in your kids' friends? Are you grateful for how we've seen Him do miracles on college campuses? Are you grateful for the incredible ways we've seen God work? One last little thing that I'll point out here, maybe one and a half things.
Listen to this. This is part of it. The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced along with the priest.
You see this phrase? Including the foreigners. Their generosity not only restored the temple, their generosity blessed their neighbors.
They blessed foreigners who didn't really belong to Israel. I am continually moved at this church to hear how you care for one another and how you care for members in our community that don't even belong to this church. I got a letter this week from a guy in our prison ministry.
I won't read it to you, but the guy basically says this. He says about a year and a half ago, a family from the Summit Church essentially adopted me. The prison has this deal where as prisoners come to the end of their sentence, they can start to get reintegrated in society and they'll allow families to take some of these guys and work with them.
So this family basically adopted me. He says, I cannot describe the impact this family and your church has had on me. He said, I thought God had forsaken me, and I thought that nobody wanted me, but this family showed me that I was loved by God and I was important to the people of God. He said, not only did they leave me to Christ, but he said, here I am on the eve of when I'm going to be released. He says, and the first thing I'm going to do when I get out is I'm going to join the Summit Church. He said, and then I'm going to lead my family to adopt and love another prisoner so that him and his family can experience the same love and the same message that I've experienced to the people of your church.
You know what that is? That is a foreigner, to let me use the analogy, who is being blessed by that that is then himself becoming a blessing to others. Summit Church, we stand in the gap.
Awakening will not happen. When people out there get better, it's going to happen when we devote ourselves to these five things. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer and a message from the teaching series titled It's Not About Me. Today is Giving Tuesday, and as we've already mentioned, we have an amazing opportunity here at Summit Life to raise funding for a brand new church. What's special about this Giving Tuesday is that every gift today will be matched up to $35,000.
Yes, Molly, today is the day. All funds collected, 100% of them, are going to be given to help plant Port City Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the eastern part of Canada, which is a very unchurched area. It's not far from us, but it's amazing when you look at how unreached it is. Those gifts are going to help fund the startup cost of securing a facility, a lot of the initial needs they'll have in terms of equipment and getting the word out. Pastor Jeremy Daeger, who's leading this, I've known him for more than 15 years. He comes out of our church many years ago.
He has planted his family in Canada. He's gone up there on faith, trusting God to provide their needs. And Summit Life family, we get a chance to be a part of answering that prayer. One of the things we love doing here is we use your gifts to help keep the gospel on the air and to expand Summit Life's reach into various places. But one of the things we love doing is from time to time taking a moment just to say, hey, let's turn our attention to one of these church plants in a difficult place and let's help get them off the ground. If you would like to invest in the mission of God in the global church, just go to jdgrier.com right now.
Don't wait. In fact, if you have access to a computer or phone, just do it right now. You can have a direct impact on real church planting.
It's happening live in the moment. We're going to keep zero of these dollars that are raised here today at Summit Life. It's all going to go to the work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
What an exciting opportunity to invest in kingdom work today and stand in the gap for revival in our lifetime. Today is the only day available if you want to give directly to this new church in Canada. Don't forget, you can also give online at jdgrier.com or call us at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Before we close, let me remind you that if you aren't yet signed up for our email list, you'll want to do that today.
It's quick and easy to sign up at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again tomorrow as we explore the power of prayer and the problem of pride. Listen Wednesday to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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