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A Crisis that Cries for Revival

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
October 23, 2020 8:00 am

A Crisis that Cries for Revival

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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October 23, 2020 8:00 am

We dont have to go out looking for problems in life; theyll find us soon enough if they havent already. In this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will take a look at the up side of down-times as he explains how a crisis can lead to revival.

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You know you're in a crisis when life is overwhelming you. Dr. Tony Evans says the Lord sometimes allows us to hit bottoms, so the only place we can look is up. The good news is that God allows, creates, and uses crises so that He can demonstrate He alone is God. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. We often try to blame Satan when we find ourselves facing tough times, but today Dr. Evans talks about another explanation and why a crisis may be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Let's join him. If your car falls apart, you go to a mechanic. If your house is falling apart, you go to a repairman or a handyman. If your clothes are falling apart, you go to a tailor.

If your grades are falling apart, you go to a tutor. But where do you go when your life is falling apart, when things are unraveling at rapid pace and you don't quite know what to do? Revival at the heart of it is the return of God to His people where His manifest presence is experienced, where God is no longer a theology or a theory, a concept that you believe in but seems to be so untouchable and so far, far away. Revival is when the reality of God becomes real to the experience of His people, when God, in a sense, re-enters into your situation of life. Regularly, as we stated when we began our series, when there was the return of God, it was often in the midst of a crisis, a situation that men could not fix, such as the situation that we find in 2nd Chronicles chapter 20 with King Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat and God's people were being surrounded by the enemy.

They were being surrounded by those who were against them. You know you're in a crisis when you feel like Jehoshaphat felt because verse 3 says, Jehoshaphat was afraid. A crisis bursts fear. It bursts insecurity. It bursts trauma and even terror because it looms so large in your life. In the Bible and in life, crisis comes in all shapes and forms. There are financial crises of which most people know about right now. In fact, I've had numbers in the congregation share with me about insecurity or fear as it relates to the markets and their retirement or the job situation. How am I going to make it?

Will I have to work longer? And it creates a situation of insecurity. It says he was afraid. Crisis can come in health forms when the doctors don't know quite how to fix the problem. There can be relational crisis, crisis between people, and you're overwhelmed by the inability to fix whatever the nature of the relationship is. Here's when you really know you're in a crisis.

Verse 12, he says, O our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us, nor do we know what to do. You're in a crisis when you don't know what to do. When you sense or feel a sense of powerlessness to change things. You know, as long as you feel like you've got the power to turn around, the fear doesn't dominate. It's when you have this sense of powerlessness. I don't have the wherewithal to fix it or to change it or to reverse it or to correct it.

And I don't even know anybody else who can help me. When your actions have run out and that sense of powerlessness prevails, you're in a crisis. Jehoshaphat says, I'm in a crisis.

It's a big thing, a great multitude. It's now running my emotions. I'm afraid. I feel powerless to do anything. I don't have the wherewithal to turn it around myself.

And even if I had the power, I couldn't use it because I don't know what to do. Jehoshaphat was afraid, verse 3, he turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. Because it affected the whole southern kingdom. There was the northern kingdom and then there was the southern kingdom, Judah.

Jehoshaphat is king of the southern kingdom, Judah. And because it affected everybody who this affected, because the nation was under attack, he called them to join him in seeking the Lord. The good news is that God allows, creates, and uses crises so that he can demonstrate he alone is God. See, it's one thing to know God in theory. He's my rock, my sword, my shield.

He's the wheel in the middle of a wheel. That sounds good and it'll get you an amen. But in a crisis, you don't need cutesy statements. In a crisis, you don't need spiritual serendipities. In a crisis, you don't just need high sounding theological vernacular. In a crisis, you need to see the living God. In a crisis, you need to know the God you've been talking about is real. And you need an experience with that God. Well, if you need an experience with that God, you need an experience that calls for that God. If you need an experience with that God, then you need an experience that calls for that God. So he sets his face to seek the Lord.

Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah, verse 5, and Jerusalem in the house of the Lord before the new court. So he's in God's house in a crisis. He says, Oh Lord, the God of our fathers, are you not God in the heavens? And are you not ruler over the kingdoms of the nations?

Power and might are in your hands so that no one can stand against you. He introduces his prayer with one of the great truths that you need to remember, particularly if you are in a crisis or when you get in a crisis. He says, God, is it not true that, here it is, here it is, here it is, never forget this, God, is it not true, pay close attention, he says, God, is it not true that heaven rules?

If you forget everything I say today, I want you to remember this, heaven rules. In other words, earth never has the last word. Your crisis is not the final word. It looks like the final word because you're being overwhelmed. It feels like the final word because you're afraid. You think it may be the final word because you don't know what to do. So what he does in his prayer is retreat to what he knows to be true about God, even though it goes against how he feels right now. How does he feel right now?

He's very much afraid. Never let your feelings sit in judgment over your faith. Let me say that again. Never let your feelings sit in judgment over your faith. You must always let your faith sit in judgment over your feelings. Don't deny how you feel.

How you feel is how you feel. I'm afraid, I'm anxious, I'm insecure, I'm worried, I'm doubtful. Because to say you're not afraid when you're afraid, well, that's like lying. If you're trembling, you're trembling.

But the problem is not how you're feeling. The problem is allowing how you feel, as real as it is, to override your faith. So what he says is what he knows to be true about God. He says, God, is it not true that you rule from heaven? He goes on in verse 7. Did you not, O God, drive out the inhabitants of the land before your people in Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham, your friend forever? I love this.

I love this. He goes back. He says, now, when I read my Bible, because Jehoshaphat is many years later, he said, when I read my Bible, I can find places where you dealt with whole nations of people before. When you wanted to bring Abraham into this new land, you dealt with the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Jebusites, and you dealt with whole nations to give us this land. That's why you need to know your Bible, because you need to know that you can refer back to other folk who were in the same situation that you are now facing to know that while your situation is different, your God is not. So he now remembers. He starts with the sovereignty of God.

Heaven rules. He remembers, God, you faced this problem before with your people, and you handled it. I'm not your test case. Listen, I don't care what crisis you are now going through, you're not the first one God has had to address. You're not his test case. You're not his trial.

He's not scratching his head saying, I haven't faced this one before. You're in a financial crisis, the widow of Zarephath can testify. I was down to my last meal, and he made a way out of no way. If you don't know which way to go, Moses and Israel can testify between Pharaoh and the Red Sea that he can open up a road. Nobody could predict God was going to do that. So the Bible is full of, particularly the Old Testament, testimony. But you say, wait a minute, that was in the Old Testament. Yeah, but the Bible says in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, those things were written for our example.

The Bible wrote the Old Testament so that when you and I are living in the New Testament, we can refer back to the Old Testament when our New Testament problems look like Old Testament situations. He says, as I recall, Abraham had some nation problems, and you came through for him. When we built this sanctuary in your name, we stamped your name on it, in your house, saying, should evil come upon us, the sword, judgment, pestilence, famine, distress, you will hear and deliver us.

Now watch this now. Now he throw God's Word up in God's face. He said, wasn't this our understanding? That if all this crisis came on us, and he gives a whole list of crises, yours is in there somewhere. He lists a whole list of crises. He says, we got pestilence, we got famine, that's financial, that's called Wall Street famine, we got judgment, we got this, we got that, we got that.

But if we called on your name... It's been a long time since we've called upon God as a nation. Cultural unrest and divisiveness are some of the consequences of not asking for God's solutions to our problems on a personal as well as a global level. Well, Tony's written a powerful book that can help inspire and guide us to seek God's assistance in these uncertain times.

It's called Stronger Together, Weaker Apart. This great collection of spiritually empowering prayers and devotions will teach you how to come together with fellow believers and overcome envy, fear, doubt, isolation, worry, and more. Through Monday, we're packaging a copy of Stronger Together, Weaker Apart, along with all 14 full-length messages in Tony's current two-volume teaching collection, Turning a Nation to God, and making them all available as our thank you gift when you make a contribution to help support Tony's work here on the radio and around the world. Without your assistance, this ministry just wouldn't be possible, so we're excited for this chance to support you as you support us. Visit TonyEvans.org or call us at 1-800-800-3222 and make the arrangements before this special offer runs out. That's 1-800-800-3222. We'll have that information for you again after Part 2 of today's message and this.

Anytime, anywhere. Visit TonyEvansTraining.org to get started today. That's TonyEvansTraining.org. God's name is just not a word, God. It is a legal relationship. It is a trademark name, okay? It's a trademark name. You know, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship is trademarked. That name is registered, which means you only use it legitimately if you use it legally. So a lot of people use God's name, but they use it illegally.

So the name doesn't register, because there's no legal authority attached to it. So he goes to God's Word, he goes to God's person, he goes to God's history, then he goes to God's Word. After he goes back to the history, after he goes back to God's person, his ruler, after he goes back to God's Word, verse 10, now. Now, we generally start with now. God, hello, now. He doesn't get the now until he remembers who he's talking to. See, because sometimes we forget who we're talking to.

You forget who you're talking to, and then you reduce it to something else. Now, he says, now let me tell you about my problem. Aren't you the ruler of the heavens? What they got to do with me?

Didn't you do this before? Well, you said something in your word. Now let me tell you about me and my messed up situation. He says, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Sar, whom you did not let invade Israel, see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from your possession, which you have given us as an inheritance.

Oh, our God, will you not judge them, for we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you. My problem is I'm powerless. I don't know what to do. Watch this now.

I'm powerless. I don't know what to do, but I'm changing where I'm looking. Did you see that last line? My eyes are on you.

Now watch this. As long as the enemy can keep your eye on the enemy, you're going to be looking at the wrong thing. He shifted his look. I am no longer going to stare down my crisis. I'm not going to ignore my crisis because I'm just saying, now they're coming at us, but I'm not going to stare them down. I'm going to look to you. I'm going to look to the hills from which cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord.

I am looking for you. Why does God call us to prayer? He calls us to draw down heaven for the benefit of my crisis on earth. Prayer is drawing down what has been offered in heaven in the midst of my crisis on earth.

Now watch this. All Judah is standing before them, infants, wives, children, everybody, because it affects them all. Then in the midst of the assembly, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jehoziel, the son of Zechariah, verse 15, and he said, listen all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat, thus saith the Lord to you, do not feel or be dismayed because of this great multitude, this overwhelming crisis, for the battle is not yours but God's. For the battle is not yours but God's.

Oh, there's so much in here. Listen. Listen now. He prays because he's in a crisis. He says, I'm not going to focus. I'm not going to ignore my crisis because it's right here in front of me. It's invading me, but I'm not going to let my crisis be my focus. I am now going to put my eyes on heaven, because watch this, heaven rules.

Since heaven rules, I'm going to look at heaven that rules. I don't know how you're going to do it. I don't know when you're going to do it. I don't know where you're going to do it.

All I know is you're the only one that can do it because I'm powerless in this situation. The text says, the Spirit of the Lord came on the prophet who then gave them, watch this, a direct word from God for their immediate situation. Please don't miss that. When he focused on God and made God his focus without ignoring his crisis, when he made his focus on God, appealing to God's nature, appealing to God's history, and then appealing to what God's Word said, it says the Spirit of the Lord came upon the prophet and the prophet gave them a word about how God wanted them to resolve this problem. Why am I pointing this out? Because now we have the Word of God joining with the Spirit of God to bring an answer to the crisis being experienced by the people of God. God calls a prophet forth to speak a word. Now here's what I want to say to you.

I want to say this to you. When you are in a crisis and don't know what to do, God has a rhema word for you. Now let me define what I mean by rhema word.

The word rhema refers to a specific utterance. The Bible is the word of God. It is the word of God from Genesis to Revelation. It's the word of God when you feel it. It's the word of God when you don't feel it. It's the word of God when you like it. It's the word of God when you don't like it. It's the word of God because it's the word of God. But when you're in a crisis, you just don't need the word of God in its general written sense.

You need a rhema word. That is, you need the specific word of God that applies to you in your specific crisis. Because you can't go to the Bible and the Bible tell you whether to move to Fort Worth or move to California. You can't go to the Bible and it tells you whether to do this specific thing or that.

It gives you general principles, but it doesn't give you all the specific guidance about your specific crisis. David says the battle is not yours. The battle is the Lord's. Okay, in 1 Samuel we have this phrase.

Because Israel was in a crisis. His name was Goliath. Goliath is a problem too big for you to handle.

By the way, whenever you have a problem that's too big for you to handle, call it Goliath, because then you know how things are going to wind up. In football, the quarterback receives the ball and so the other team is coming in to tackle him. And then he hands it off to the halfback. The halfback then takes the ball and he runs with it.

An amazing thing happens. Everybody that was after the quarterback changes. Everybody was after the quarterback, but now that they didn't hand this baby off, they now shift from the quarterback. And now they're all after the halfback because the quarterback has handed the problem off. So now the problem is in somebody else's hands and all the enemy got to deal with the somebody else because he has the ball.

The reason why all of us are running all the time is we keep the ball. I got this problem. I got this problem. I can't do anything about this problem.

This is my problem. God is saying, hand the ball off. Hand the ball off. Hand the ball off. We say, no, I got the ball. I was born with this ball. I was raised with this ball.

I'm going to have this ball for the rest of my life. God has said, hand the ball off, you dummy. And if we would hand the ball off and let God take it, the battle is not ours.

It's the Lord's. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about how a crisis can drive us to depend on God. Before we go today, don't forget to take advantage of our current double offer, Tony's recently released devotional prayer book, Stronger Together, Weaker Apart, plus all 14 full length audio messages from his current series, Turning a Nation to God, available both digitally and on CDs. This powerful package of resources is yours with our thanks when you help us keep Tony's teaching on this station by supporting his ministry with your donation. This is one of the last days this offer will be available, so don't wait. Visit us today at TonyEvans.org to make your request, or call us at 1-800-800-3222, and let one of our resource team members help you.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. A lot of people attend revivals looking for more energy or enthusiasm. But on Monday, Dr. Evans will talk about what we really need to literally be brought back to life. I hope you'll join us. . . . . .
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-02 09:49:46 / 2024-02-02 09:58:26 / 9

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