In the gospel by John we read that at the tomb of Lazarus our Lord said to His disciples, " Take ye away the stone." Before the act of raising Lazarus could be performed, the disciples had their part ...
In the gospel by John we read that at the tomb of Lazarus our Lord said to His disciples, " Take ye away the stone." Before the act of raising Lazarus could be performed, the disciples had their part to do. Christ could have removed the stone with a word. It would have been very easy for Him to have commanded it to roll away, and it would have obeyed His voice, as the dead Lazarus did when He called him back to life. But the Lord would have His children learn this lesson: that they have something to do towards raising the spiritually dead . The disciples had not only to take away the stone, but after Christ had raised Lazarus they had to " loose and let him go."
It is a question if any man on the face of the earth has ever been converted, without God using some human instrument, in some way. God could easily convert men without us ; but that is not His way.
The stone I want to speak about to-day, that must be rolled away before any great work of God can be brought about, is the miserable stone of prejudice. Many people have a great prejudice against revivals ; they hate the very word. I am sorry to say that this feeling is not confined to ungodly or careless people; there are not a few Christians who seem to cherish a strong dislike both to the word " Revival" and to the thing itself.
What does "Revival" mean? It simply means a recalling from obscurity—a finding some hidden treasure and bringing it back to the light. I think every one of us must acknowledge that we are living in a time of need. I doubt if there is a family in the world that has not some relative whom they would like to see brought into the fold of God, and who needs salvation.
Men are anxious for a revival in business. I am told that there is a widespread and general stagnation in business. People are very anxious that there should be a revival of trade this winter. There a great revival in politics just now. In all departments of life you find that men are very anxious for a revival in the things that concern them most.
If this is legitimate—and I do not say but it is perfectly right in its place—should not every child of God be praying for and desiring a revival of godliness in the world at the present time. Do we not need a revival of downright honesty, of truthfulness, of uprightness, and of temperance ? Are there not many who have become alienated from the Church of God and from the house of the Lord, who are forming an attachment to the saloon ? Are not our sons being drawn away by hundreds and thousands, so that while you often find the churches empty, the liquor shops are crowded every Sabbath afternoon and evening. I am sure the saloon-keepers are glad if they can have a revival in their business ; they do not object to sell more whisky and beer. Then surely every true Christian ought to desire that men who are in danger of perishing eternally should be saved and rescued.
Some people seem to think that "Revivals" are a modern invention—that they have only been known within the last few years. But they are nothing new. If there is not Scriptural authority for revivals, then I cannot understand my Bible.
For the first 2,000 years of the world's history they had no revival that we know of; probably, if they had, there would have been no Flood. The first real awakening, of which we read in the Old Testament, was when Moses was sent down to Egypt to bring his brethren out of the house of bondage. When Moses went down to Goshen, there must have been a great commotion there; many things were done out of the usual order. When three millions of Hebrews were put behind the Blood of the Slain Lamb, that was nothing but God reviving His work among them.
Under Joshua there was a great revival; and again under the Judges. God was constantly reviving the Jewish nation in those olden times. Samuel brought the people to Mizpah, and told them to put "away their strange gods. Then the Israelites went out and defeated the Philistines, so that they never came back in his day. Dr. Bonar says it may be that David and Jonathan were converted under that revival in the time of Samuel.
What was it but a great revival in the days of Elijah ? The people had turned away to idolatry, and the prophet summoned them to Mount Carmel. As the multitude stood there on the mountain, God answered by fire ; the people fell on their faces and cried, " The Lord, He is the God." That was the nation turning back to God . No doubt there were men talking against the work, and saying it would not last. That is the cry of many to-day, and has been the cry for 4,000 years. Some old Carmelite very probably said in the days of Elijah : " This will not be permanent." So there are not a few in these days shaking their wise heads and saying the work will not...