Revival: Recapturing the Sufficiency of Christ

“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation” (Psalm 85:6-7). 

God has called his people to live a life of love and truth and obedience to him. Yet there are times in the life of individual Christians and churches where the roaring fire of the Christian life is reduced to mere embers. It is here that the church needs revival. What are some things that must happen and will happen when revival occurs among God’s people?

  1. Set your sails. G. Campbell Morgan called his people to set their sails. “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.” To use another analogy, as we ready ourselves for an outpouring of the Spirit of Christ, we make sure that our vessels, as humble as they are, (2 Corinthians 4:7), are ready to receive what He has. This is why the daily spiritual disciplines of prayer, Scripture study, church attendance, weekly preaching of the Word, and receiving of the ordinance as a daily and weekly rhythm are so critical. Revival readiness includes an awareness of spiritual needs.
  2. A God-infused urgency. A.W. Tozer, in his monumental book The Pursuit of God, reflected on John 6:44 when he wrote, “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. . . . The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word.” While the wonders of His Word need recapturing (see #3), we must not reduce the Bible to a mere book that, in theory, holds authority but not in practice. God gives us an urgency to pursue Him, love Him, obey Him, and share the works of His Son, Jesus Christ.  The urgency is Spirit-born.  Can we seek fervency?
  3. A renewed desire to pray. Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing” becomes a reality, not merely a saying stitched on our pillows. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In a soon-to-be distributed article, Joy Raley noted, “When I read or hear statistics that say Christians spend very little time in prayer, I am appalled. How can we have God’s power without prayer? His Word continually encourages, admonishes, and teaches us to pray.” She then shares a word from David Bentley-Taylor: “The power of prayer cannot be diminished by distance; it is not limited by age, infirmity, political changes, or restriction. The power of prayer in the life of an obedient Christian can only be undermined by neglect.” Revival takes us away from neglecting prayer. Our prayer lead, Winn Allison, rightly noted, “The Spirit-quickened heart will recognize the deficit of prayer.  Revival focuses on our desire to seek the Lord in prayer communion where we want more of God.”
  4. A recapturing of the wonders of the gospel. Of all the revivals in Bible and church history, each is marked by recapturing the wonders of the gospel! The Bible is an interesting book, but if that’s as far as it goes, we will never experience a movement of God in our hearts and lives. The Word must be hidden in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) and serve as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The Word is the instrument the Spirit uses to sanctify us (John 17:17). The Word equips us for every good work by the template of teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16-17).  His Word is where we find the good news of how Christ rescues us from our sin and brokenness by repentance and faith in what Christ accomplished for us. Revival is when the gospel comes alive all over again, rising like a Phoenix out of the ashes of our apathy, disinterest, laziness, procrastination, and distracted priorities.  In Jeremiah 20:9, when the prophet’s persecution brought him to a breaking point, he exclaimed:  “His Word is in my heart like a fire.” Later in Jeremiah 23:29, we read: “My message is like fire or like a hammer that shatters rock, is it not?” declares the Lord.” God brought a fire into John Wesley: “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven–how to land safely on that happy shore.  God himself has condescended to teach the way: for this very end, he came from heaven.  He hath written it down in a book.  O, give me that book!  At any price give me the Book of God!” God puts us in a position to put that fire within us.
  5. A realization of hell and the destiny of those without Christ. Bible-believing Christians know hell exists. Yet, a gap (chasm!)–a mental, emotional, and spiritual gap in thinking and feeling–has developed in many over the years that those who do not know Jesus as their Lord will go there for all eternity. The trajectory set in this life goes into the next. If our friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors have this destiny, and we have little urgency to have a gospel conversation with them to tell them about the way to escape and know the true and living way, we need revival. We need a revival of compassion for the lost.
  6. A joyful heart and spirit. Revival helps the fruit of the Spirit to bloom in our lives: “Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” A critical and cynical nature is now replaced by a joyful, hopeful nature that rejoices in all that God is and will do in Jesus. When our hearts are focused on something besides Christ, this will lessen our joy of Christ and the world and the position he’s put us in. Hebrews 12:15 reminds us, “Let no root of bitterness spring up” (Hebrews 12:15). 

In Mark 8:34-35, we read: “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35). Revival says, “Jesus, you are enough! I surrender to you. I will follow you. I will live for you. I will pray to you. I will read and share the gospel for you. I gladly lay my life down for you, for my life counts as nothing except that I take up my cross and follow you.”

“Revive us again.”

Yes, revive us again.


Christ Fights to Bring Us into His Weekly Rhythm

Every day, every hour, every second, the world works without a break, tempting you and taking you into their rhythm. Thus, Sundays stand as just one of the seven days of the week and you risk church becoming optional (I’ll go when this season of life is over–until another season takes its place).

Christ fought at the cross and empty tomb to bring us into His rhythm of life–and part of that is communing with the saints at our weekly Worship Gathering. God designed us for community and we grow best when we are together. Satan, on the other hand, wants to isolate us from the flock. Christ, on the other hand, leaves the 99 and goes after the one (see Luke 15:1-7).

If you’re in the South Denver area, come tomorrow to ARBC–whether you come regularly or have fallen out of the habit! God calls us to that which is best! Come together to hear His Word and encourage your walk with Christ. Christ is calling you to Himself and working to put you in the precise position needed for His purpose. That’s what the sermon is all about from Mark 4:35-41.

Lord willing, I will see you tomorrow!


Pastor Matt

How to Build Daily Time with God

Photo by nappy on

Do you spend time with God daily? If not, why not? While we certainly have responsibilities with our homes, jobs, school, and other areas, the truth is, we make time for that which we value. Do we value our time with God or do we take Him for granted and just get into our day? Below are some pieces that will help you have that daily time.

  1. It includes a discipleship intentionality.
    • Luke 9:23: “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'”
    • Mark 10:42-45: “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  2. It must include prayer.
    • Colossians 4:2-4: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
    • Psalm 5:3: “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
    • 1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”
    • Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  3. It must include Bible reading.
    • Matthew 4:4: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
    • 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
    • John 17:17: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
    • Psalm 119:15-16: “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”
    • 2 Timothy 2:15; 4:3: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. . . . For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
  4. It could include others. 
    • Acts 2:42-47: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
    • Acts 17:11: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
  5. Find a specific time, plan, and place.
    • Time: What time of day is best for you to have undistracted time in your daily time? Schedule this time like you would any other important event.
    • Plan: Do you have a Bible reading plan that takes you through all of the Scriptures? Do you have a Bible-centered, Christ-honoring devotional? How do you pray? A recommendation on the latter is using A.C.T.S: adoration, confession of sin, thanksgiving, and supplication/requests.
    • Place: Find a place that is your holy ground where you meet God every day.

Psalm 40: From the Bog to Blessing (ARBC Worship for August 14, 2022)

A few years ago someone brought to mind the need for a gospel accent. The thing about accents is that they are an indicator of where we’re from. Accents come from the community from which we are surrounded: family, neighbors, School, jobs, etc. Even in our church of about 100, it’s very clear to hear whether you are from the American South, New England, or even in Colorado which doesn’t seem to have any accent to me at all. So when I begin to talk, it is very clear then I am not from the state. Some of you are not from this country at all. Some of you are from the Caribbean, south america, New Zealand, and I’m sure we’ve had others that have joined us from various parts of the world.

But then I came across a podcast last week called Church Grammar. The definition of grammar is the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken is consisting of syntax and morphology including inflections and sometimes also phonology and semantics. In other words, every language has a system of rules that govern language regarding sounds, words, sentences, and interpretation. What does that have to do with anything we’re talking about right now?

The fact is that Christians have their own language and syntax and grammar and accent. How we talk is a reflection of the community and neighbors we have as part of the kingdom of God and the body of Christ itself. People can tell from how we talk and how we act if we are part of this world or not. The line of demarcation in our culture now is growing more and more bold and thick. No longer do we have a residue of a Christian ethic that pervades our culture and our movies and our books and our shows and our language. Clearly, the culture wishes to have a different set of rules and accents. While we most certainly need to make sure that we understand the language and the rules of the culture and how they speak in order to communicate the gospel, the more we communicate the gospel in God’s word, the more we will be seen to be out of touch.

The temptation will be to resist being rejected and therefore throw off who we are and what we believe and try to get rid of that accent. Don’t give in. For Christ is rescued us from the bog and has brought us into his perfect blessing. Psalm 40 reminds us of our accent. We are reminded of where we were, what God is doing now, and how we desperately need him moving forward. We do not know what’s ahead, but we can most certainly look back and see all that he has already done and are being reminded that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What he did before, and what he’s doing now, he will keep doing.