It Is Time To Seek the Lord | Part Two
Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Spanish Fort, AL
Click HERE for Part One.
Third, there is an expectation after our sincere contrition.
In the ground of your heart are you ready to become fruitful? Hosea 10:12b reads, “For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” Dr. Alfred Rowland (1840-1925) author of many books to include, After Death What?, comments, “When rain falls from heaven it blesses your garden, or your carefully tended plant, but it does not content itself with that. Fields you never saw are greener, limpid streams in distant counties are fuller, leaves and ferns and unnoticed flowers are touched and blessed. All Churches need this outpouring from above. To do the right, to break up the fallow ground which has been unblessed before by enterprise, will all be useless unless he rains righteousness upon us. And for this great blessing a mural world, a weakened Church, a conscious yearning, say, ‘It is time to seek the Lord.’”[i]
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945) said, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the winds of heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”[ii]
Isaiah 55:6-7 reads, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Jeremiah 29:13 reads, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Amos 5:4, 6a reads, “For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel:
‘Seek Me and live. . . Seek the Lord and live. . . .’” James 4:8 reads, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Dr. William Ashley “Billy” Sunday (1862-1935) explains, “When may a revival be expected? A revival may be expected when Christian people confess and ask forgiveness for their sins.”[iii] Psalm 51:17 reads, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” The term “contrition” means “sincere sorrow for wrong doing”, “repentance”. There will be no revival without repentance and there will be no revival unless “[the Lord] comes and rains righteous on you.” Psalm 85:11 reads, “Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.” Henry “Hy” Pickering (1781-1871) shares the following: “‘What is Repentance?’ Asked a teacher of a class of boys. ‘Being sorry enough about your sin to quit it,’ was the clever answer. Acts 26:20; Matt. 12:29”[iv] Proverbs 28:13 reads, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Repentance is needed in the church as demonstrated by our Lord’s words to Ephesus (Revelation 2:5), Pergamos (Revelation 2:16), Thyatira (Revelation 2:21-22), Sardis (Revelation 3:3), and Laodicea (Revelation 3:19).
In Hearts Afire, Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) explains, “Perhaps the supreme call to revival is from the lips of our Lord Himself in the Book of Revelation. The last word of our Lord to the church is not the Great Commission. The Great Commission is our marching orders; the last word of Christ to the church is, ‘Repent.’ To five out of seven churches in Asia it was His message. Many churches today are not ready to carry out the Great Commission until first they repent.
In some quarters we hear much of the Christ of the Gospels. There is a place for that, for He is not only our Saviour but our Example, and in the Gospels we see how He walked. We hear much of the Crucified and Risen Christ, and there we have the Gospel. We hear of the Coming Christ, and there we have our Hope and a mighty incentive to revival, for he that hath this hope purifieth himself, and that is the essence of revival. His return is not a lullaby to put us to sleep but a reveille to wake us up! But we need also a vision of the Glorified Christ among the candlesticks, with His eyes as fire, His feet as brass, and His voice as the sound of many waters; with seven stars in His right hand, a two-edged sword proceeding from His mouth, and His countenance as the sun in its strength. The greatest preacher of revival is the Glorified Christ of Revelation.”[v] In the ground of your heart are you ready to become fruitful?
Do you remember the words of Daniel W. Whittle (1840-1901)?
There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.
Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.
There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.
There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.
There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!
There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.[vi]
Dr. Vance Havner writes in his book titled, It is Time, “But, for all our singing, the revival has not come. Some of us are growing embarrassed about it. We have talked so much about revival that the world is beginning to ask, ‘But where are the showers of blessing?’ The trouble is indicated in our text. We have never broken up the fallow ground of our cold hearts, and God will not waste His rain on briars and thorns! Fallow ground is UNPRODUCTIVE BECAUSE IT IS UNDISTURBED. And just so the hearts of Christians, unless they are stirred with the plow of conviction and brought to repentance, grow hard and become covered with weeds and thorns. We must prepare the soil before God will send rain. It is true that God gives the increase, but we have to do some farming. No farmer can ever raise a crop until he disturbs the soil, and it is just as foolish for Christians to pray for revival showers without breaking up their hearts.
We must investigate ourselves and take stock and make an inventory and put in the plow and break up the soil and tear up roots of bitterness and present to God a broken and contrite heart. Pride must be confessed, restitution made, criticism acknowledged, grudges forgiven, unlove removed, the wedge of gold uncovered. . . . If you have not had a revival lately, is it not because your heart is cold and unconcerned?”[vii]
Dr. Joseph Parker (1830-1902) writes, “To rain righteousness means, in the Scriptures, to teach righteousness. Here some of the ripest and holiest commentators have found what they believe to be a prophecy of the coming of the Holy Ghost. It is the business of the Spirit to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement to come; it is the function of the Spirit to reveal the righteousness of God. We are therefore to seek the Lord till he come, in some form or personality of ministry, to represent righteousness, to teach righteousness, to make the world forget all its mistakes, and begin anew, to do the right thing and the beautiful thing. No prophet could anticipate the coming of the Holy Ghost who did not first accept in his deepest consciousness the coming of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, from whom, as from the Father, proceedeth the eternal Spirit. Whilst we are anxious not to import meanings into the Bible, we should be equally anxious not to impoverish the Bible of its richest suggestiveness.”[viii]
One thing is certain, there will be no revival unless God responds from heaven. Many people are praying for revival without fulfilling their responsibility of breaking up the fallow ground of their heart with genuine repentance of sin.
Hosea 10:12-13 reads, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.”
Is the ground of your heart fallow or fruitful?
If the ground of your heart is fallow, it needs to be converted to be fruitful.
In the ground of your heart are you ready to become fruitful?
We must remember the law of the harvest! It is interesting to study sowing and reaping in the Bible as we find in our text. For example, Psalm 126:5-6 reads, “Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.” Hosea 8:7 reads, “They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.” Galatians 6:7-9 reads, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
We must remember the Lord of the harvest! Dr. Vance Havner writes, “Our God is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, but we must be diligent, in dead earnest. It is knee-time in America, and, no matter how crowded our schedule, we had better put at the top of it, ‘It is time to seek the Lord.’”[ix]
[i]The Pulpit Commentary – Hosea, ed. H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, Homily by Afred Rowland “Spiritual Husbandry” Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.
[ii]Stephen F. Olford, “The Pattern for Revival,” Sermon Notes, (2 Chronicles 7:12-14; Deuteronomy 11:13-4), accessed: 08/28/13, http://www.heraldofhiscoming.com/Past%20Issues/1998/September/the_pattern_for_revival.htm. Cited by Franklin L. Kirksey in Don’t Miss the Revival!: Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah.
[iii]William Thomas Ellis, Billy Sunday, the Man and His Message: With His Own Words which Have Won Thousands for Christ (Philadelphia, PA: John C. Winston Company, 1917), 294.
[iv]Hy Pickering, One Thousand Tales Worth Telling (New York, NY: Gospel Publishing House, 1917), 73.
[v]Vance Havner, Hearts Afire: Light on Successful Soul Winning (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1952), 105-106.
[vi]Daniel W. Whittle, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing” (1883).
[vii]Vance Havner, It is Time (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1943), 23-24.
[viii]Joseph Parker, The People’s Bible: Discourses Upon Holy Scripture, Hosea-Malachi (New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892), 17:102.
[ix]Havner, Time, 23.