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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
REVIVAL1: KNOWING GOD
 

It was a cool, clear morning in a dark and dusty place.
Junk was everywhere.
In fact you could say this was "junk central,"
"dust central" and
"dirt central."
You think your house is bad?
Well, surprise, this was God's house.

You say, "Bruce, how could God's house be 'junk
central?'"

If any of you have renovated your house I'll bet you
know what I mean!
What do you do with the stuff that is in the part of
your house that you want to fix?  Right! You cram it in
the rest of your house.

I remember when he had our hardwood floors sanded and
re-stained.
All the stuff (I won't call it junk), that had been in
those rooms got jammed into other rooms.

That gives you an idea of how it was with God's old
house.
By old I mean 357 years old.
Our Bible adventure takes us to the year 623 B.A. The
temple had been built in 980 B.A.  So after 357 years
it needed renovation, especially because it had been
neglected for many years.

As the workers fixed the outer areas of the temple, all
the stuff that had been there was pushed towards the
center of the building.

It was dusty,
and dirty,
with piles of stuff all around
and cobwebs tying everything together.

The interesting thing about the "junk," that was stashed
in the room where we are is that a lot of it was gold.
In the corner of this room was the money, a big pile of
it.

Imagine exploring a dark, damp cave.  All of a sudden
your light reflects on gold objects laying around.  You
look again and see a big mound of money?
Can you imagine that?
Sure you can!  Bet you often dream of discovering a big
pile of gold!

Well, I think that is what it looked like to Hilkiah.
The difference is that he was not surprised.
He knew the gold objects were there.
He knew the money was there.
And that was why he was there: this is where he kept all
the money he used to pay the carpenters, builders and
laborers who where rebuilding the temple.

As he bent over to get some of the money, he noticed a
little beam of light reflected off the side of a gold
shield.
What it showed was a little seam in the cedar wall that
he had never noticed before.

Maybe he never noticed it before because he had never
been in that room that early in the morning.

Whatever the reason, he could now clearly see in a
reflection of the morning light something that seemed
like a secret door.

So he took out his knife and started prying along the
edges to get the door open.

Sure enough, it was a real, live secret door.
So he started yelling for some more light and some help.
When help arrived they discovered inside the door a fancy
gold embroidered fabric case with a special scroll
inside.

Turn with me to 2 Chronicles 34 and let me read to you
what the Bible says about this special discovery. Read
34:14-19.

Friends, the Bible does not give us the details about how
a portion of the Bible came to be lost.  I have suggested
to you that it was hidden in a secret place in the Temple
because 3 SDA Bible Commentary 309 suggests this is a
reasonable explanation.

During King Manasseh's reign there was bloody persecution
of God's people, so some temple priest might have hidden
it away.

Maybe it wasn't hidden.
Maybe it was like a lot of the stuff in my daughter's
room, it just came up missing.

What we know for sure was that through neglect and
outright hostility, God's Law had been lost to the people
until right now.
Finding the Law was due to the fact that good King
Josiah, when he was only 26 years old, decided that he
would rebuild the temple.

Don't tell me that teens have to turn away from God.
Here we have a King, who from age 16 was leading the
charge to renew the worship of God in Judah.

Can you imagine Hilkiah's excitement when he found the
Bible?
Hilkiah was the high priest of the temple.
Of late he had been under-employed, but I've got to
believe that his discovery of the Bible was something
very special to him.

It reminds me of a recent experience of mine.
Many of you know that my Uncle Ray recently passed away.
He was a minister, evangelist and administrator in the
Salvation Army.
He was also a giant of faith.
He and his sons agreed that when he died I would get his
books on theology.  As I looked through those books, I
was not just interested in deciding which ones would be
helpful to me, I was also looking for the tracks of
history.

Not too long before my Uncle died, he told me that my
grandfather had gone by his middle name, "Evan," and not
his first name, which was "Clayton."

During part of my grandfather's life he also was a
minister. One old book I came across had the name "Evan
Cameron" written in the front.  It got me excited to
think that, just perhaps, I had one of the books that my
grandfather used to prepare sermons.

So I've got to believe that High Priest Hilkiah was
excited beyond belief when he found the only copy of that
portion of the Bible.

As the text I read to you relates, the Bible was taken to
the King and when it was read to him he tore his robes.

Why?

Because for the first time King Josiah learned God's will
and realized that the people of Judah were far from doing
God's will.

I invite you to read the details of the rest of this
story this afternoon. It is found in 2 Chronicles 34 & 35
and 2 Kings 22 & 23.

Right now, I just want us to cover the high points. Turn
forward with me to 2 Chronicles. 34:29-32 Read.

My friends, the rest of the story tells us about a
reformation and a revival among the people.
Finding and reading the Bible created a revival among
God's people.

Several months ago I saw a TV series on revival in the
churches in the United States.
Not quite two months ago my son and I went to the Promise
Keepers gathering in Washington, D.C.
What an impression that made on me!  I had never seen so
many Christians in one place.  They had as many people on
the mall, as our whole church has members in the United
States.

Can you imagine that if every member from every one of
our churches in the U.S. traveled to Washington, D.C.,
you would have that number of people present.

It made me believe that a revival was possible in our
country.
It made me believe that a revival was possible in our
church.
It made me believe that a revival was possible in my
heart.

And so I wanted to know how I, how we, could get from
here to revival.

Months ago I started thinking about it.
I started reading every text in the Bible about revival.
I started reading everything that came across my path on
revival.
I bought and started reading a book on Revival.
I read everything on my CD rom disk that E.G. White wrote
about revival.

And I started praying for revival.

And after all of that I started to see a pattern, a road
map if you will, for revival.
What I found is reflected in a quote from E.G. White:

 "When we will bring out hearts into unity with Christ,
and our lives into harmony with His work, the Spirit that
descended on the day of Pentecost will fall on us."

Review and Herald(05-15.017)(1888)

Friends, this is the first of three sermons on how we get
from where we are now to revival.  In January and
February I'm going to preach the second and third sermons
on revival, and then we are going to have an evangelist
come and spend some time with us.

How many of you know how to play golf?  I just happen to
have my golf clubs with me today.  You will be pleased to
know that it has been 24 years since I have played golf.
I suppose most people take up golf when they are older.
I was basically forced to take it up when I was in
Academy. Not that I'm complaining. But I stopped playing
after my first year of law school.

This morning we are going to discuss golf theory.
What could be more exciting than that?
And there was no cover charge this morning either!

Do you see all of these nice clubs I've got in my bag?
Those of you who do not know how to play golf, got any
idea why golfers have all these clubs?

That is, if you were handed this bag of clubs, and you
knew nothing about how you played golf, what club would
you choose?

When you play baseball, you choose a bat by how it feels,
right?
Maybe that is the way it is here?  Short people take this
short little club here.

Tall people would take this long club here.

Or maybe it is like choosing a ball in bowling?
Maybe it has something to do with strength?
Strong people would take this big wood club because it is
the heaviest?

Weaker people would go for one of the lighter clubs?

Maybe it just has to do with looks?  You've seen those
golfers, and the funny clothes they wear. Maybe they
chose their club by how they look? These wood clubs I've
got are not very pretty. I've seen some beautiful wooden
clubs.

I sort of like the looks of this one. Maybe I should use
it.

Golfing always seemed to me to be a pretty sophisticated
sport.
Its not that exciting to watch, so it must be
sophisticated.
Certainly, more sophisticated than baseball or bowling.
[Take bag down among audience. Show bag to person and
ask]

Do you notice something that all these clubs have in
common?
Right! Each of these clubs has a number on it.
Of course did you notice all of the clubs in my bag have
an odd number?
Think they sold me a bad with odd clubs for a reason?

So if this is a sophisticated sport, maybe the numbers
have something to do with which club you use, right?  The
numbers must be important. Look at my nine iron.  See how
they have a line drawn under the nine so you can tell it
from a six? (If it were a six, I would not have all odd
clubs.)  So the numbers must have importance.

Sort of like a paint by number project. You would start
out with the club with number one on it and then number
three and five and so on as you work your way down the
fairway until you use them all and then you start over
again.
 

If you know about golf, you know that I am full of
nonsense this morning. None of my "logical" suggestions
about how to play golf are right.

There is no substitute for reading the manual and
practicing.

And so it is with the Word of God!
Friends, this is the manual.
This is the first step towards revival.
When the Bible was read to King Josiah he tore his robes
because he learned of the great gap between what God
requires and what His people were doing when they were
taking my "golfing" theory approach to living.

The next time I preach I will talk to you about good king
Jehosophat. Jehosophat, we are told in 2 Chronicles 17:7-
9 sent out teams of people to teach the Bible among his
people. The result?  A revival in Judah!

I have a dear friend. I guess he is my best friend (not
counting my wife, of course!).  When we were growing up
he wanted to be a minister. At Andrews he was working on
a degree in religion.

He doesn't attend church now.
When I tell him that he should be attending church so
that he will learn more about God he gives me an answer
that sounds like the title to a book you may have heard
about. The title is "All I ever needed to know I learned
in kindergarten."
He says that all he ever needed to learn about religion
he learned in college.

It is not true. If you want to know God.  If you want God
to change you. You have to constantly immerse yourself in
His Word.
The psalmist says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a
light to my path." (Psalms 119:105)

If you want to know how to walk in life, you've got to
read this.
If you want to see the light, you've got to study this.

George MacDonald wrote a children's book called the
Princess and the Goblin.

Goblins in this book are creatures who live under the
earth.

Princesses as you all know, are humans who live above the
earth.

Imagine the stage I am standing on is the ground.
We wear shoes to protect our feet when they bang on the
ground, right?

What about goblins?  Well goblins, according to George's
book, have really tough heads because (you remember) they
live under the ground so it is their heads that always
are hitting the ground.

Are you with me now? Our shoes hit the ground, their
heads hit the ground.

So when it comes to the ground, the goblins' perspective
in completely reversed.
Completely upside down.

Since the Goblins' heads always are banging against the
ground, they have really soft feet. In fact, in George's
book the Goblin's feet are so insignificant they have no
toes. None.

Have you ever seen any good-looking toes?
Goblins are convinced, because they have no toes, that
humans wear shoes just to cover up their ugly toes!

A Goblin would be hard-pressed to believe that shoes
protect feet from the ground because from the Goblin
point of view, ground is always up. It is always
something to bang your head on, not your feet.

George MacDonald was a minister.  His strange little
story is intended to teach us a principle that each and
every one here will
agree upon.

And that is our life reflects those things we see.
Matthew 6:22-23 records that Jesus says: "The eye is the
lamp of the body.  If the eye is good, your body will be
full of light.  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body
will be full of darkness."
Friend, what you behold determines whether you are filled
with light or with darkness.  E.G.White says it more
succinctly in Christ's Object Lessons p. 355: "by
beholding we become changed."

So let me ask you, what do you spend most of your time
beholding? How long do you spend with the God's manual
every day?
How much time beholding this? Do you spend enough time
each day to be changed?  Or is it like my golf clubs; you
are pretty much in the dark?

This is a pretty tough question to answer.
Now let me ask the killer question. How much time do you
spend beholding television?

Don't guess, just count the time you spent, say, last
Thursday.
If Thursday was not a good day for Bible study I'll let
you choose any day from last week. Got your best day in
mind?

Now compare that with the time you spent watching
television that day.

I invite you to keep a little log this week of how much
time you spend with the Bible and how much time you spend
with the television.

If you spend more time during the week studying the Bible
then you do watching television you should come tell me
because I want to shake your hand.

Don't think I'm being too hard on you because I know I
spend more time watching the television than I spend
studying the Bible -- and I teach the Sabbath School
class!

Friends, as we saw, you are not going to learn how to
play golf by guessing.
You are not going to learn how to play golf by watching
football all the time.

And you are not going to understand the Father of truth
by listening to the father of lies all the time.

It is like Goblins and Humans.
The Biblical perspective on life and the Television
perspective on life are complete opposites. You hear
Satan's message on TV.

Now you may say to me, "Wait a minute, Bruce, Satan is
not speaking in the weather or the news."  OK, I admit
Satan is not speaking through every program.

But let me ask you, are you spending 20 hours a week
watching the weather channel and the news?

Friends, I'm not standing up here to attack television.

My point is simply this: if you are spending 20 hours a
week with the TV and 1 hour with God's word, you will
know the message of the TV and you will not know God.
Firm rule. No exceptions.

If we spend more time with the TV then we do with the
Bible, which manual are we following?

In my Sabbath School class (and elsewhere) I hear people
say, "Well the Bible does say that, but I don't believe
it."
They don't believe it because their minds are formed by
another manual.

Do you want revival? Say "Amen!"
Do you want to know God? Say "Amen!"
Do you want to trust God? Say "Amen!"
Do you want God to change your heart? Say "Amen!"

If you said "Amen," I ask you to make a commitment this
morning.
That commitment is to spend equal time with the Word.
I'm not asking for a lot.  I'm not asking you to stop
watching TV.  I'm not asking that you spend more time
reading the Bible than watching TV.  I' m just asking for
equal time.

I'm convinced that if we spent the same amount of time in
God's Word as we spend with TV that our church would come
alive!
That the fires of revival would begin to burn!
That we would set the spark that would ignite
me
and you
and your family
and our church
and our friends
and our neighborhood
with the spirit of revival.

Friends, get to know God.
Next time we'll discuss the next step to revival.