What to Do After Revival
We have had a great experience of revival this last week. We have seen God move (and continue to move) in the lives of many people in this church. One question I want to address at this point is: What do I need to do now? What does a Christian (whether new or renewed, or long-committed) do after revival? Where do I go from here? Where does the church go from here? I think to answer that question, we need to first address two truths.
2 TRUTHS AFTER REVIVAL
God is still working in my life (Psalm 106:1-12, Psalm 106:47-48).
I have to make the choice to keep following Him (Psalm 106:12).
In between Psalm 106:12 and Psalm 106:47, there is a great parenthesis. In this parenthesis, as a Christian, and as a church, we can easily spiral out of the relationship with God. We stop believing the promises of God and we stop singing His praises. There are seven steps of distraction that help me spiral out of my relationship with God.
7 STEPS THAT LET ME SPIRAL OUT OF RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
I forget His works (Psalm 106:13)
“They soon forgot his works and would not wait for his counsel.” (Psalm 106:13, CSB)
It’s easy to forget. As humans, it becomes part of our nature to forget things. However, the large events and good events in life, we tend to remember. We remember graduation, marriage, births and deaths. We remember great friendships and what people did for us.
Yet, sometimes, we forget what others have done for us. The same is true with God. We have big events in our lives in which God was actively involved. Yet, we made the choice to forget them.
I exchange the glory of God for worthless idols (Psalm 106:20)
“They exchanged their glory for the image of a grass-eating ox.” (Psalm 106:20, CSB)
This comes from forgetting that God is Savior. When I choose to forget that Jesus saved me, then I fall into the distraction that can come from worthless idols. This is very similar to the passage in Romans 1 where Paul warns that people had exchanged the glory of God for worthless idols.
“For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21–23, CSB)
I despise what God provides through His promises (Psalm 106:24)
“They despised the pleasant land and did not believe his promise.” (Psalm 106:24, CSB)
The spiral continues with not just exchanging Gods’ glory for something much less. I continue that spiral when I despise what God provides through His promises. I say that He has not given me what I wanted, instead of being thankful that He has given me in the first place. I start to believe that other things, people, and ideas have much more worth and ability than God.
I align with lifeless gods (foreign religions) (Psalm 106:28)
“They aligned themselves with Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods.” (Psalm 106:28, CSB)
The spiral out continues when I choose to align with another faith. Many times, a family will be made up of people from different flavors of the Christian faith. Denominations are like flavors of ice cream.
You can share ice cream you can choose which flavor you want. You can even choose which company that makes the ice cream. You may choose Hiland, Prairie Farms, Baskin Robbins, or Blue Bell ice cream. That’s like choosing a local church.
The problem is when couples and families choose to go elsewhere than the church. When you make baseball, basketball, volleyball, band, vacation trips, as your primary source of spiritual nourishment, you will soon become practical atheists. This is how a Christian can leave the faith. Atheism doesn’t happen overnight. It happens through a process of unfaithful and unbelieving transitions.
It comes from something that you think is better than what you know is right. God said Sabbath is made for man not man for the Sabbath. But He also said seek first God and everything will fall into place. Yet, when I replace worship of Jesus and the priority of God in my life with the pleasures of this world that I want to enjoy more, I am engaging in idol worship.
That sport or special trip or activity has no eternal significance. If you don’t have time for God then it means something else is taking too much time in your life: work, sleep, television, social media, chores. If you have to carve out time for other things and use God’s time for worship for it, your time management skills need improvement.
If you don’t have time for God, you are saying that a lifeless idol is more important to yourself than your Creator. The more you step away from worship in church, the more you will question your need for God. It can also come from questioning my faith and not finding answers. When I start to doubt my beliefs, then I start to look elsewhere. I should doubt my doubts and believe my beliefs. This leads to the next step I make in my detour from the faith.
I anger God by defying God’s servants (Psalm 106:32)
“They angered the Lord at the Waters of Meribah, and Moses suffered because of them;” (Psalm 106:32, CSB)
When I start to defy God’s servants, it’s a pretty good indication that my relationship with Jesus is severely damaged. When I anger God’s servants and cause them to be embittered in their spirit, like Moses was, then I am straying further from the faith.
I realize that many servants of God can have a very strong personality. It’s almost necessary for some leaders. As a result, some leaders step over the boundaries that God placed. They start to act like tyrants and not servants. They start to develop personality cults, even unwillingly.
In one case, you have a cult that worships the pastor and then is upset the next pastor is not the same and therefore the Christian falls away from the faith. In another case, a Christian can experience a bad experience in church that causes them to consider other options than just the church. At this step, because of my bitterness, I may choose to start the journey of leaving the faith.
Yes, there are many leaders and many churches that have abused Christians. But God never tells us that we should consider other religions or adopt non-Christian ways. When we do, we start down a path that leads to severe consequences.
“They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them but mingled with the nations and adopted their ways.” (Psalm 106:34–35, CSB)
The psalmist lists three non- Christian ways that people adopt.
THREE NON-CHRISTIAN WAYS ONE ADOPTS
Spiritual Multiculturalism (Psalm 106:36)
“They served their idols, which became a snare to them.” (Psalm 106:36, CSB)
The first non-Christian way one adopts is spiritual multiculturalism. What is spiritual multiculturalism? Just as multiculturalism says that every culture has value and worth, spiritual multiculturalism says that every religion is valid. You start to have interfaith families when you believe spiritual multiculturalism. You start to hear things like:
Every religion teaches the same thing.
As long as you are a good person, it doesn’t matter what you believe.
You believe what you want and I will believe what I want, as long as we don’t hurt other people, what’s the harm in it?
The problem is that the Bible doesn’t teach this. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Even the Old Testament teaches that God’s people must trust God alone. Yahweh is the only God. The psalmist warns here that God’s people should not mingle with people who don’t follow God.
The Bible here acknowledges a spiritual realm where there can be all kinds of negative influences. That is why behind every idol is a demon. It’s also a demonic act when you decide to kill your family (even babies). That leads us to another form of non-Christian activity.
Abortion (Psalm 106:37-38)
“They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood— the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; so the land became polluted with blood.” (Psalm 106:37–38, CSB)
The second non-Christian way that a person adopts here is abortion. God is not a God of death but of life. God makes life and He desires life. Abortion, which is the blood of innocent children that are spilt here is against God’s nature.
Violence (Psalm 106:38-39)
“They shed innocent blood— the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; so the land became polluted with blood. They defiled themselves by their actions and prostituted themselves by their deeds.” (Psalm 106:38–39, CSB)
When one accepts spiritual multiculturalism, and a willingness to kill babies, then you become desensitized to violence. You accept that as part of your religious beliefs.
The Christian faith is not a faith of violence. All other faiths are a faith of violence. The other nations and other religions teach extremism. You will notice that when someone does bring up that Christians are violent, what is their example: “the crusades.” The crusades happened over 1000 years ago. Yet, all other religions have been violent within the last century. As a matter of fact, what you begin to see lately is an attack upon Christians around the world. Persecution of Christians is at an all-time high.
Yet, true Christians don’t believe in violence to advance the Gospel. Good news cannot be introduced by violence.
When I have stepped away this far from the Christian faith, I am really making God angry. Let me say that I believe that you can be a Christian and believe these things. You just won’t be a very effective Christian. You will become a very tolerant Christian with little conviction. That’s going to make God angry.
I make God’s anger burn (Psalm 106:40)
“Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own inheritance.” (Psalm 106:40, CSB)
At this step, God allows consequences to occur. He takes away His blessing. He stops the hedge of protection. He allows sin, oppression, and rebellion to have its natural spiritual course.
You play with fire and you get burned. You anger God and there will be consequences in your life. The problem with people today is that they are so numbed to the oppression in the world, sinful and rebellious nature of their own lives that they don’t realize that they are living in a place of consequence. They’ve let the sewage back up and they don’t notice the smell. Their life is such a mess that they don’t realize that it could be so much better. How can that happen? How can a Christian turn it around?
How do I return?
I cry out (Psalm 106:44)
“When he heard their cry, he took note of their distress,” (Psalm 106:44, CSB)
That is the simple answer. Cry out to God. Beg for Him presence in your life. Because we are God’s people, we don’t need to be saved from sin again. We need to be delivered from the present suffering. We need deliverance from present distress, not atonement for eternal sin. We need to be placed back in right relationship with Him.
We can prevent this detour in our relationship with God if we do two things: recognize God is at work in my life and make the daily conscience decision to follow Him. What do I do after revival? Keep following Jesus.