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Revival Time

• Greg Boyd

This sermon applies the instruction to “hear” what the Spirit said to the seven churches from Revelation by offering a letter to our church today. Specifically, it is a call to revival, to enter into a new space of renewal so that we might wake up to the work of the Spirit in and around us.

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In this sermon, Greg speaks about how these seven letters are not just pertaining to learning about what Spirit was saying to those seven specific churches, but in fact are about hearing how the Spirit is speaking through these letters to our own church. This sermon asks, “What is the Spirit saying to Woodland Hills Church specifically?” If Jesus were to write us a letter, what would he affirm and what would he challenge?

Here is the first of three letters of Jesus to the angel of Woodland Hills Church to be read by us:

To the Angel of the Church of WH in Maplewood, MN,

This is the word of the Holy One, who abolishes lies with the sword coming out of his mouth. Listen to what the Spirit is saying to you today.

You are admirably committed to being grounded in scripture and to defending my loving character.  I am delighted with the way you are helping many to worship me with all their minds. I applaud your fearlessness in embracing challenging questions, and you rightly celebrate your different perspectives on minor doctrines.  And I rejoice in your willingness to assume positions that are highly unpopular in the broader culture, such as my call to enemy-loving non-violence.

Nevertheless, Woodland Hills Church, I have this against you. Like the church at Laodicea, many of you have lost your first love.  Some have grown accustomed to feasting on kingdom ideas but have neglected the truth that even the best ideas are worthless unless they bring about a change in the way you live, day by day.

I call on you to open your hearts and to let the Spirit empower you to translate your head-knowledge into action.  Revive and refresh your first love. Awaken the Spirit I have placed in you.  Your time of rest is coming, but it is not yet.  This is the time to seek first the kingdom and all of the right-relationships that come with it. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to Woodland Hills Church.

Revival is an experience of a new breath of life and we all need this from time to time. Our attention gradually gravitates away from spiritual things and toward things in the world and our faith becomes increasingly irrelevant to our day-to-day life. We see this throughout Scripture.

In the Old Testament, God’s people see God’s great works, but then they fall away and forget God’s goodness. This is seen in many places in the Psalms (51:10, 85:6, 119:25).  A consistent pattern of the relationship between God and his people was they regularly needed to be revived. The same is true of the people of the New Testament. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:14:

Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

A similar thought about the need to wake up is found in Romans 13:11. Then there are these words in Ephesians 5:18-20:  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit , speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instead of filling yourself with wine that inspires you to act in unruly and harmful ways, be filled with the Spirit, which inspires a totally different set of behaviors. The Greek word for “filled” means something like “be being filled.” It is a word that communicates the ongoing nature of the relationship with the Spirit. It is a continual thing.

How, then, do we experience revival in our lives? There are five things to consider:

  1. Think and Pray.
    This gives us the ability to be honest with God. We must set our minds on the unconditional love of God so that we can trust God with our honesty. This gives us the ability to be real. We can then ask the Spirit what area of our lives that God wants to work on.
  2. Choose a Baby Step.
    The next step is to start with what is doable, something 10-15 minutes
  3. Write It Down.
    Make it concrete by putting it in writing so that you can return to it and focus on it.
  4. Let Us Know.
    You can text it to 651-321-3130 or write info@whchurch.org. (It will be anonymous.)
  5. Tell Someone.
    Act on it by sharing with at least one person who is on the inside of your walk with God.
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Topics: Repentance, Transformation

Sermon Series: Dear Church

Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide
Group Study Guide
The MuseCast: April 16

Focus Scripture:

  • Revelation 3:22

    Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

For Further Reading:

Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton

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