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Now is the Time for Revival

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 28, 2020 7:00 am

Now is the Time for Revival

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 28, 2020 7:00 am

There are a lot of Christians running around who sound like theyve experienced a revival, but are every bit as dead inside as ever. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he explains that there are two parts to revival, and being only half revived does not get the job done.

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Money can't satisfy you. Having the nice food can't satisfy you. Having the nice club, bling, bling, can't satisfy you. Dr. Tony Evans says true satisfaction is a result of revival, a process of restoration with two vital parts. Once it becomes a priority, now you not only turn from your sin, you are returning to your first love. 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. Today, Dr. Evans explains there are two parts to revival, and being only half revived doesn't get the job done.

Let's join him. I'm sure all of us have alarm clocks, usually by the side of our beds, and these alarm clocks have a major assignment, and that is to let us know it's time to get up. They are set at night to go off in the morning, either with a loud noise or with the coming on of the radio, to tell us that we should no longer be sleeping or slumbering.

It's time to wake up. Alarm clocks can go off at the most inconvenient time. They can go off when you're not ready to get up. They can go off when you don't want to get up.

They can go off and you resist them. It's called a snooze button. That's where you are resisting the call of the alarm that's demanding a response right now.

That means the comfort of the bed must be left, the convenience of the covers must be rejected, because you've got to get on with your day. The alarm clock is critical if you want to accomplish something in life. God had an alarm clock in the Bible, and they were called prophets. Prophets were God's alarm clocks.

They would sound the alarm in order to call God's people to a spiritual response. Our theme is revival, and regularly throughout the Bible, God would call the people to a revival through the alarm system called the prophet. Today, I want to look at one of those prophets and his call. The prophet's name is Haggai, and he is known as a minor prophet. They are major prophets. They're the ones with the big books, the Ezekiels and Isaiahs. Those are major prophets.

They wrote and talked about a lot. Then there are the minor prophets. Now, those are the little books. In fact, Haggai—you flip the page, you finish. Haggai only has two chapters.

He's a minor prophet, but he's a minor prophet with a major message. Let's set the context of Haggai's prophetic message. Israel has been under the judgment of God in Babylon for 70 years. They rejected the earlier prophets, like Jeremiah, who said, if you don't change, God is going to intervene and judge.

They did not change. They refused God. God intervened and judged. And the Babylonians invaded Israel, destroyed the temple, and took many of the Israelites into slavery in the Babylon. That's where books like Daniel come in, where Daniel and Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego have been taken to Babylon.

It was all part of that judgment. For 70 years, they had been living in Babylon in this foreign place, not home, unhappy, miserable, and wanting to come out of judgment. At the end of 70 years, God's grace and mercy intervened, and God brought them out of captivity from Babylon. The Book of Haggai is written to the returning Jews who are now returning back to Babylon. In fact, they have now been back in Israel for over 15 years. When the Book of Haggai, when Haggai the prophet, comes on the scene, they are back in Israel for 15 years.

Let's see what Haggai has to say to these returning folks who are now back in Israel. Verse 2, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the people say, The time has not yet come, even the time, for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt. So these returning people who've been back home now for more than 15 years have not started to rebuild the temple, which was destroyed when the Babylonians came many years earlier to take them into captivity. The temple has been left in ruins. When asked why, the people said, We don't have time to rebuild the temple. We don't have time. Now, we know one of the reasons that they didn't have time, or said they didn't have time, because it's recorded in the book of Ezra.

You don't have to turn there, chapter 4, verses 4 and 5. The people have begun discouraged. They had some opposition. They had some resistance. They had some inconvenience, and they said, We're not fooling with this. Temple is nice, need the temple, but we're not fooling with this, because we don't have to go through all this inconvenience.

So they, rather than deal with the inconvenience, they said, We don't have time for this. So they left the house of God on hold. Now, not dealing with the temple was major. It was major, because in the Old Testament, the temple was the hangout of the manifest presence of God. In the temple was where the glory of God came, where God sat in the midst of his people. So when they said, We don't have time for the temple, they were not just saying, We don't have time for this building, although the temple was a building. What they were also saying is, It's not that big a deal not to have God in our midst, because with the temple came God in their midst. So I want you to not look at the temple merely as a building.

It was a building, but it represented something deeper. Now let me show you what else. If you turn over one page, you'll run into another minor prophet. His name is Zachariah. Zachariah says, verse two, The Lord was very angry with your fathers.

That's before you ever went into captivity. Therefore say to them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Return to me, declares the Lord of hosts, that I may return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Their not returning to him, to God, was being demonstrated through their neglect of the temple.

So here it is. How do you know when you are returning to God? Now you pretty much know when you're turning from sin, because it means something you're doing, you're not doing anymore. So you can measure that. But how do you measure when you're returning? Real simple.

One word. First. You know you're returning when you put God first.

That's when you know. When God is first, you are returning because that means you have now reprioritized him and you have repositioned him in your life, which means you are returning to him, regardless of how your emotions are at any given moment. See, that's why so much is said about first in the Bible. He says you are to bring your firstborn to the Lord. Deuteronomy 26 says that you are to give the first of your flocks to the Lord. Colossians chapter 1 verse 18 says, Jesus Christ is the firstborn of many brethren that he might have first place in everything. Revelation chapter 2 says, You have left your first love.

See, once you put God first, once he becomes the priority, now you've not only turned from your sin, you are returning to your first love. You are putting God first and therefore calling God down in your midst. Our problem is we are satisfied with a leftover relationship with God.

We are satisfied with the leftovers and nobody wants to eat leftovers every day. But what we're satisfied spiritually with is giving God leftovers, which means we have not returned to him, even if we've turned from sin, which means he is not in the midst. And if he is not in the midst, we do not have the full expression of his presence operating in our lives. Now, how do you know you're not putting him first? Well, one, you say, I don't have time for spiritual priorities.

But then notice what he says in verse five. Consider your ways. In other words, you need to think about this. Okay, so I'm gonna give you something to think about because he told me to tell you to think about it. He said, Consider your ways.

Think about this. You have sown much. You worked hard and harvest little. You want to know where it all went. You eat and there is not enough to be satisfied. You drink, there's not enough to become drunk. You put on clothes and no one is warm enough. And he who earns, earns wages to put them in a purse full of holes.

All right? Here's how you know that you've not returned to God. You're living a dissatisfied life. The money can't satisfy you. Having the nice food can't satisfy you. Having the nice club, bling, bling, can't satisfy you. You're living an unsatisfied life. Guess why you're living an unsatisfied life? God says, because I make sure that all your hard work does not satisfy. It won't satisfy you. It won't be enough. And I will make sure that what you get, you put in a pocket full of holes. Soon as you get it, you lose it.

Soon as you pay off one thing, something else breaks down. And so it keeps going up. You keep trying to get more and more and more and more and more.

Nothing wrong with having it in and of itself, but you're getting it without a relationship. And you wonder what happened to it. I cut a hole in your pocket so that it went in and went through. You wonder where it went.

You wonder where it went. You said, boy, I sure am unlucky. No.

Luck's got nothing to do with it. God is saying, you want to use me. You don't want to return to me.

You don't want a relationship. The Bible says, seek ye first the kingdom of God. Dr. Evans will have more on how to find satisfaction in life when he continues our message in just a moment. Stay with us. 2021 is just around the corner and your help is vital to finish the year strong and keep these messages coming your way. What people need right now is the hope and truth found in God's word.

But the financial costs to make that happen continue to increase. Your gift today will help keep the urban alternative going strong on air and online. So more listeners like you can continue to be encouraged by messages of hope and life. Visit Tony Evans dot org to give today. And when you help us out with a generous contribution, we'll say thanks by sending you the best of Tony Evans 2020. A giant set of 20 of his most popular messages digging into subjects like overcoming addiction, healing relationships, developing unshakable inner peace and much more. And as an added bonus, we'll also include a copy of his popular devotional book called For a Purpose.

Both of these wonderful resources are our gift to you when you make your year end contribution online at Tony Evans dot org or call our Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you again after Dr. Evans brings us part two of today's lesson. Let's join him. He says, consider your ways. Your hard efforts are not bringing you enough. Enough means to be satisfied.

OK, let me put it another way. There's very little contentment in your life. Paul says, I have learned to be content whether times are good or times are bad. I have learned to chill whether my stuff is up or my stuff is down. I have learned to be cool whether the stock market is headed north or whether the stock market is heading south. I have learned to chill.

How you doing? I'm good because I have satisfaction. I have contentment.

You see, that's what he said. He says, but the proof you ever returned to me is your state of discontent. And everything you do to make yourself content won't be enough. You'll drink, but you won't get drunk enough to be content. You'll eat, but you won't be full enough to get content. You'll make more money.

You'll sow more, but it'll go into a pocket full of holes. I will not grant you contentment without me. But if you return to me, he says, that means putting me first.

That just doesn't mean some vague thing. Yeah, I'm returning to God. No, no, no. Because you can come to church every week and still not put him first. So you can come to church and he not be first.

That just could be the religious thing. All right, watch this now. Watch this. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, verse seven, consider your ways. That means you better think about this.

You better think about this. Go up, watch this, watch this now. Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified, says the Lord. Go up to the mountain, chop down some trees, bring back the wood, rebuild the temple, so that I'm happy. Okay, you want me to make you happy. Okay, how about making me happy first? Says you calling on me for all this stuff. Well, make me happy. Go up there.

Let me tell you, you can't chop down wood without sweating. You got an axe, which is the kind of stuff they would have back then. You got to climb up a mountain.

That's a little inconvenient. You're going uphill, climbing the mountain, okay? So let me tell you something. Returning to the Lord has to be demonstrated in what you do, not how good you sound. He my rock, not sword, my shield.

He my wheel in the middle of the wheel. That sound good, but you haven't done nothing. Amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord.

That's nice to talk. Go up to the mountain. Let's not have a mountain discussion. Get up, go up to the mountain, chop down the trees, bring back the wood, and let me see what you're going to do with the temple.

Let me see what you're going to do, not how nice you can talk. Go to the mountain, chop down the trees, bring back the wood. We build a temple so that I'm happy, so you please me, glorify me. Put me first. Now, the problem with that request, watch this now, is that the Bible says, in a number of places, one place is Ezra 3.7, that when the people went back from Babylon to Israel, the king, then it was Persia, because Persia took over Babylon, the king of Persia, watch this now, gave the Jews the wood to rebuild the temple.

Okay. He gave the Jews the wood to rebuild, see somebody, now follow me now. He gave them the wood to rebuild the temple. They had the wood to rebuild the temple. Well now, if I already had the wood to rebuild the temple, why do I need to climb up the mountain to chop down the trees to get the wood in order to rebuild the temple when I have been given the wood to rebuild the temple 15 years ago, because they've been back now for 15 years.

Well, the reason why I got to go up the mountain to chop down the trees to get the wood to rebuild the temple is because the wood I got when I left Persia is in them panels in my house when I remodel my home. They took the goodness of God and used it for themselves rather than for the glory of God. They took what everybody wants, a blessing, and left God out of being blessed. They wanted a new car for them, new clothes for me, new house for me, but nothing came back to prioritize God. It was so I could get paneling on my walls, I could get this nice wood in my house, forget your temple because you're not important except to bless me. And that's the problem today with being blessed. No problem being blessed, but when you leave God out of the blessing, when I get the wood in order to build his temple, use it for my house and skip his temple for 15 years, what am I saying?

God, you don't matter. As long as you give me the wood, I don't need you in the midst. Verse 9, you look for much, but behold, it comes to little. You want a lot, you want a lot. You come to me talking about, give me this, give me that, bless me this, bless me that, bless me that. You want a lot, but it comes to little. When you bring it home, uh-oh, uh-oh, I blow it away.

Oh, wait a minute now. Why, declares the Lord, because my house lies desolate while each one of you runs to his own house. Therefore, because of you, the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I call for a drought on the land, on the mountains. I call for a drought on the grain, a drought on the new wine, a drought on the oil, a drought on what the ground produces, a drought on men, on your own life, a drought on your cattle, and I call for a drought on the labor of all your hands. You thought you had a bad day. You thought these things aren't right. He says, consider your ways.

Here it is, don't disconnect me from your mess. Just like I can bless, I can curse. Just like I can bring good, I can bring bad. You want to call on me for good, but you think the bad's just happening by impersonal forces.

Let me explain, God says. If the ground is not producing, it's because I told it not to grow nothing. He says if the cattle are not reproducing and giving you good milk, it's because I told them to give you stale milk.

He says if the vine is not producing grapes, it's because I told the vine not to produce grapes. If there is calamity in your world, that didn't just happen because of impersonal forces operating in the universe, uh-uh. I called Ike, I called Katrina, I called Rita, and I called an economic collapse on the government of the United States. You are the richest country in the world, but you have a lot, but I'mma turn it into little because you want me when 9-11 hits. You want me when the nation's in trouble, but then you just want to look me for the benediction and the invocation, but you don't want me, so we gonna let, we gonna shut this mama down so that you understand that I don't care how rich you are, how powerful you are, how many people know you.

I don't care how everybody recognizes you. I can shut the whole nation down if you mess with me. God says, if you looking for somebody to blame, blame me, I will take the hit. Blame me.

Blame me. Because you refuse to turn and you refuse to come to me, then yeah, I will blow on your stuff and let you see I can shut you down. I don't care how powerful you are, how great you are, what gravity, what goes up must come down, but the beautiful thing is if you return to the Lord, then it coming down don't stress you all out. If you return to the Lord, he is able to do exceedingly abundantly above or you can ask or think if you return to the Lord, then he can sustain you during the rough times. Somebody ought to trust him.

Somebody ought to believe in him and put him first. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about the link between revival and survival in the tough times we face. And today's message is part of that special year-end package I mentioned earlier, The Best of Tony Evans 2020, 20 of Tony's most popular messages, plus his powerful devotional book, Called for a Purpose. This package is yours as our thank you gift when you support Tony's work here on the radio, on television, and with pastors, their families, and churches around the world.

Get the devotional book and 20 of the best messages for 2020. This offer will only be around for a few more days, so make the arrangements right away by visiting tonyevans.org. That's tonyevans.org. Or call our 24-hour Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222.

The number again, 1-800-800-3222. Most of us have no problem praying for what we want or even praying for what others want. But tomorrow, Dr. Evans will talk about the importance of praying for what God wants. Be sure to join us for that. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you. 🎵
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-10 16:02:12 / 2024-01-10 16:11:03 / 9

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