Revival at Christmas

A Prophecy of Revival

Pastor Paul Chappell

December 02, 2018
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Take your Bibles this morning, turn to the book of Genesis chapter 3, first book of the Bible, Genesis chapter 3. And then we're going to turn to Isaiah chapter 7, as we begin a brand new series this morning entitled "Revival at Christmas." We're going to finish the year preaching about revival just as we began the year way back in January. So let's all stand together, shall we, in reverence to God's Word, Genesis chapter 3. And you'll find the outline inside the bulletin there, I hope you'll look at that. Today's message is entitled "A Prophecy of Revival, A Prophecy of Revival."

So turn to Genesis 3. And then if you can, if you have the ability to hold your spot there and find Isaiah chapter 7. So we're going to go two for one this morning, all right? And I want you to find Isaiah chapter 7. We're actually going to look at three Old Testament prophecies about the coming of Jesus. And so, we're going to start with Genesis 3 and Isaiah chapter 7. And looking forward to this time in God's Word.

Genesis 3:14-15, first of all. "And the Lord God said unto the serpent," somebody tell me who that serpent was. Satan, all right. "The Lord God said unto the serpent, 'Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head,' speaking of the seed of the woman, bruising the head of the serpent, 'and thou shalt bruise his heel.'"

The serpent would bruise the heel of the son of the woman. But the son of the woman will bruise the head of Satan. So this is the first messianic prophecy in the Bible. This verse is about Jesus Christ and his victory over the Devil. We're going to learn about that in just a moment. But let's, secondly, turn to Isaiah chapter 7:14. Isaiah 7:14. This verse says, " Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name," say it together with me, "Immanuel." And let's pray together, shall we?

Our Father, we thank you this morning for the wonderful promises that tell us about the revival that came in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, Lord, we're asking you to revive us again, and fill our hearts with your love, Lord, and awaken us to your wonderful blessings. And we pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.

Well, I read a story this week about a family that was getting ready to travel for Christmas. They put their trash can to the curb. They stopped their mail. They kenneled the dog. They turned off their electricity. They had all their presents wrapped and in the car. They had the car seat and all the children's things in the car. Everything was ready to go. They finally climbed into their car. They got about halfway down the street, and when they go to that point, the wife said, "We forgot the baby."

How many of you parents have ever done that? Anybody want to confess on that one? Some of you are lying; some of you have left your children from time to time; and I know that because we have a Christian school, and we have waited for them till the late hours.

So anyways, the point of this month is very simply stated: "Don't forget the baby, and the baby is Jesus." Now we can get so busy with so many things that we forget the reason we're worshiping. It is the Lord Jesus himself.

I told Terrie yesterday we had invitations to five different functions just last night, and it's going to be that way all the way until Christmas. There's so many things, so many activities, so many errands to run. But again I say to you, don't forget the baby. Jesus is the reason for the season. And that's why we're here this morning.

Now way back in January we quoted a verse from Psalm 85:6, and it says this: "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" And we talked about the fact that God has called us to a place of reviving or awakening, so that we can rejoice in the Lord Jesus. Revival is an awakening to God. And never before in the world's history would there be such an awakening like the awakening when Jesus Christ came. It would affect shepherds and kings and everybody in between. It would revive hearts, everyone who saw Jesus: Mary, her soul magnified the Lord; the shepherds; Simeon – so many – Anna the prophetess. When they saw him in the temple their heart was awakened. And some of you, your heart was awakened when you got saved, but you've been a little sleepy spiritually lately. And we need to revive our hearts this month to the presence and the joy of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Now when you study history, you find that there are periods of history when there is a stillness in the world spiritually. You'll find that there are times when people were not seeking God as readily. Sometimes it may have been due to times of persecution like during Dark Ages, when the Roman Catholic Church burned Bibles, and when people were not able to worship as they pleased, and it was a difficult time. And then we read about the Reformation, and we read about the coming of the Anabaptists, and we read about William Tyndale, and we hear about the great stand of so many of the Reformers who preached Christ. And there was a revival that happened during that Great Awakening. And so it seems that there are cycles historically.

And sometimes there are cycles personally when we could not wait to read the Bible and we could not wait to hear the preaching and get to the Missions Conference, and then times when people become a little slumbering in their soul. Well, one of those times of a dip, if you will, spiritually speaking, for Israel was what is known as the intertestament period, the time between the last prophecy of Malachi and then the teaching and preaching of the Gospels beginning with Matthew. And we know that John the Baptist foretold the coming of the Lord, and his prophecies really broke the 400-year silence. Now during this time between the Old and the New Testament it was difficult indeed for Israel. And I want to just mention a few things on the chart here this morning.

We know that in 333 BC Alexander the Great led the Greeks to conquer the Persian Empire. Just a year later, Alexander the Great died, and that empire was broken into four different parcels, if you will. In 168 BC something took place that the Jewish people would never forget. That was the desecration of their temple by Antiochus Epiphanes. And at that particular moment, the Jews were so hated, because even Antiochus Epiphanes led in the desecrating of the temple of the Jews. It was a very low time indeed.

But in 167 BC, there was something that took place known as the Maccabean Revolt, and it was during that time that a priest by the name of Judah really stood up against Antiochus; and it was during that time that the Maccabeans won a victory. What they did was they secured again the privilege of worshiping in the temple, and they were able to light a candle in the temple of which history says the oil did not run out for many, many days. And that's why the Jewish people begin today worshiping and remembering in a holiday known as Hanukkah. This is the holiday where they remember what happened there in the Maccabean Revolt, and the restoration of worship in the temple.

When we look at this period of time we also are reminded that in 63 BC the emperor, the Roman Emperor Pompey establishes Roman government over Israel. And they began to persecute the children of Israel. They said, "All right, you can worship, but you're going to pay us taxes and you're going to be servants in our empire."

And really that was the situation when Jesus was born. The Roman government was taxing and persecuting the children of Israel. It was a time when they were not hearing from the prophets. It was a time of loneliness. It was a time of difficulty for the children of Israel, this 400-year period between Malachi and Matthew.

But did you know that in the middle of those 400 years that God had given in the Bible various promises that hope was coming, that Jesus the Messiah was coming, that revival was still possible. And what I want us to learn this morning is this, that no matter how difficult the day, no matter how still things may be, even if you feel sometimes like, "God, where are you?" And I believe the children of Israel felt that way sometimes, that even in those kinds of times, his promises are always there for us. So I want you to see three promises that God gave to Israel concerning the revival that was to come. I want you to see, first of all, he made a promise regarding his Son, he made a promise.

God made a promise in Genesis 3:15, so let's look at this verse: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Now God is here speaking to a serpent; but than a serpent, he is here speaking to Satan himself. And many of you know the story of Satan. You know how that Satan had tempted Eve and had tempted Adam, and how that they had fallen into sin. And the reason that the promise of God was so important, firstly, is because of the destruction of sin, the destructive nature of sin.

You see in Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2, God had created a perfect world. It was a world without sin. It was a world without disease, and a world without death. God created a perfect world. And God gave only one commandment to Adam and Eve; and you can read it, it's in your notes this morning, verses 16 and 17, "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'"

God said to Adam, "If you partake of this fruit, it will bring not only a physical death, but also a spiritual death." And this is why the Bible says in Romans: " Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

Now Adam is sometimes referred to as the head of the human race, the federal head of the human race. And so when the first man sinned, sin passed on to his children; and we see this in the Bible. We see that sin had entered into the world; and because of that sin, we see in the Bible physical death. Bodies began to die physically. And because of Adam's sin, all men have the physical curse of death. The Bible says in Romans 8:22, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." There is a curse that comes with sin.

Not only a physical, but also a spiritual death. Because of Adam's sin there was a separation of fellowship. And that is why the Bible says in Ephesians 2:1, "You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin." You see, when you come to Jesus Christ for the first time, you are dead in your sin. You fall short as a sinner according to the Word of God. But when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are quickened. You are made alive in Jesus Christ. And so, death had come into the world by Adam. But life has come into the world by the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And so we see the destruction of sin. And yet I want you to notice, secondly, the defeat of sin and Satan, the defeat of sin and Satan. Now this verse 15 tells us that God had a purpose, and his purpose was to defeat Satan. In fact, Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

So let's take a look at verse 15, Genesis 3:15. It says something amazing. The first prophecy in the Bible: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." Now the first thing I want you to take note of this morning is that a woman does not have seed in the sense of biological reproduction. So the very reference to the seed of the woman is a prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. For she would have seed, but it would not come from a man, it would come from the Holy Ghost. And God said, "I'm going to put enmity between your seed, Satan, and the seed of the woman."

Notice how this would happen in verse 15: "It shall bruise thy head." The seed of the woman, which is Jesus Christ – we'll see more about that in a moment. The seed of the woman will bruise the head of Satan. And then it says in verse 15, "and thou shalt bruise his heel." So we see the defeat of Satan comes with a bruising of the head. Now the word "bruise" means "to break," "to snap," or "to overwhelm." It's not something to be taken lightly.

On a few occasions I have visited in the ER room or in a hospital room someone that had experienced a head injury. Sadly, I've been there a few times when they were pronounced dead. And it always is amazing, because you can barely see or notice any disfiguration at all. Sometimes a head injury can be very deceitful indeed.

May I say to you this morning that the bruising of the head is a very serious injury, and in fact, it means in the case of Satan that Jesus, the seed of the woman ,would completely destroy Satan and bruise his head. It would be a fatal wound, and that wound would be given and issued at the cross of Jesus Christ, because when Jesus shed his blood and rose up again, he completely defeated Satan on the cross. When Jesus said, "It is finished," he defeated sin's grip on us. He defeated Satan's hold on us.

First John 3:8 says that he might destroy the works of the Devil. And so this prophecy tells us that Jesus would come in order that he might conquer over Satan. And this is what we celebrate this month. But also the Bible tells us in verse 15, it says, "and thou shalt bruise his heel."

Now may I say to you this morning that the victory we enjoy in Jesus Christ came with a price. The heel of Jesus was bruised. What does this tell us? It tells us that Jesus Christ was also seriously wounded on the cross.

And make no mistake about it: the baby in the manger was tempted in all points like as we are. He lived for 33-and-a-half years on this earth, and then he went to the cross and suffered real pain and shed real blood, and his heel was bruised in order that we might be saved. Warren Wiersbe says, "At the cross Satan bruised Christ's heel. But because of his death and resurrection, Christ crushed Satan's head and won a complete victory over him. But God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

And so we see that there had been a promise made to Israel way back in the first book of Moses, that the Messiah would come, and that he would live a perfect life, die upon the cross at a place called Golgotha, the hill of the skull. And because of what Jesus did there, he was able to crush the head of Satan. Yes, his heel was bruised. It was a painful toll that was made in the body of Jesus. But thank God on the third day, up from the grave he arose again. And so a promise was made.

Yes, there were 400 years with no prophecies, 400 years of persecution from the Greeks and the Romans. And maybe in your life you have seasons where you feel like everything is so hard, and you feel like God does not hear. And what I want to tell you this morning is there are promises in the Word of God for you to come to. God has promised that he will awaken and he will bless you life.

And so, he made a promise. But I want you to notice, secondly, he promised a place. Now what we're going to see concerning the prophecies of Christ is that God narrows these prophecies down and narrows them down in an amazingly miraculous way. So look, if you would, at Micah 5:2 before we go to Isaiah 7.

Notice, secondly, he prophesied a place in Micah 5:2. And the Bible says, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

Now what I want you to know about Micah's prophecy is that it took place seven hundred years prior to the coming of Christ. Seven hundred years prior to the coming of Christ, the Bible is predicting the very city or village, if you will, where Jesus Christ would be born. I want you to understand the impossibility of that, humanly speaking. That would be like one of us saying of our grandchildren ten generations removed, that ten generations from now you're going to have a grandchild, and that grandchild's going to be born in Topeka, Kansas; and the odds of you knowing that are millions and millions and millions small.

But God is God, and God's Word is infallible. And seven hundred years before Jesus came, God said he will be born in Bethlehem. And one of the reasons we believe in the infallibility of the Scriptures is the fulfilled prophecies of God from hundreds of years prior regarding the first advent. And by the way, those promises when Jesus said, "I will come again," regarding his second advent, you can count on those promises as well.

And so, Micah prophesied during a difficult time. The king that was ruling seven hundred years before Christ was named Hezekiah. He hated the things of God; he was a wicked man. But in the middle of that prophecy God said, "I want you to know that I'm sending revival in the person of Jesus Christ. I'm sending the Messiah." He said, "I want you to know the exact place." He said, "I want you to understand this place called Bethlehem."

Now man cannot prophesy. Back in 1949 in the popular mechanics magazine there was prophecy about calculators, calculators; and here was the prophecy: "Where a calculator today is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may only have 1,000 vacuum tubes and only weight 1.5 tons." That's how close they were with their prophecy.

How many of you understand? I've got a computer in my hand this morning that weighs two pounds. You see, the fact of the matter is that man cannot predict, but God knows the future. He has been in the past, present, and future.

How many of you are thankful that we serve such a wonderful God this morning? He said, "I'm going to tell you where Jesus will be born. He'll be born in Bethlehem, Bethlehem." The word "Bethlehem" means "the house of bread." About four miles south of Jerusalem, just an hour's journey, he would be born in the house of bread. It is also referred to as the house of David. For Jesus was of the house and lineage of David.

The word "Ephratah" speaks of the Bethlehem in the words of the Old Testament language. Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephratah, which is Bethlehem. And so, it was the city of David. And God had said to David in 2 Samuel 7:16, "And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever and ever. And of they kingdom there shall be no end."

And how could there be no end of a man like David who lived and died? The only way would be in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived and died and rose again. And of his kingdom, there will be no end. He's of the house and the lineage of David. Are you tracking with me this morning? Very significant where Jesus was born: the house of bread, the house of David. And God had prophesied the exact site.

But notice, secondly, the eternal Ruler that would come. You see, this One born in Bethlehem would be more than just another human ruler. This One would be God himself.

Now pay very close attention to the last part of Micah 5:2. It says, "whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting." Let's say that together, "whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting." All right, we can do better than that, so help me out here, one more time, the last part of Micah 5:2. Ready, begin, "whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting."

Now what I want you to understand is that Jesus the One who had come to Bethlehem, he did not simply begin to exist in Bethlehem. His goings forth have been from old and from everlasting. And what we learn here is something of the eternality of Jesus Christ. You see, the Mormons, the Jehovah Witness, they say that Jesus began in Bethlehem.

But I declare to you this morning that Jesus is eternal God, that his goings forth are from old; in fact, they are from everlasting. In fact, Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." In other words, friend, all of the attributes of deity can be ascribed to Jesus Christ. He is all-powerful. "Lo," he says, "all power is given unto me." He is all-knowing, he knew the thoughts and intents of the hearts of the Pharisees; and he is eternal.

And what I want you to realize is that we are celebrating that Jesus Christ, yes, he was born of the Virgin Mary, but he was conceived of the Holy Ghost and born as the Son of God; and he is God in the flesh. And what separates true religion from false religion is always what someone believes about the deity of Jesus Christ. He is eternal God. His goings forth have been from everlasting.

John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the same was in the beginning with God." And verse 14, " And the Word," that eternal Word, "was made flesh." In other words, he who never began to be, he who was eternal in Bethlehem's manger, the Bible shows that same God to us in the flesh.

"The Word, the eternal Word, became flesh, and dwelt among us." I love what Spurgeon said, and I want you to see it in your notes: "He who never began to be," think of that, "he who never began to be, but eternally existed began to be what he eternally was not. He robed himself in humanity."

Listen, deity wrapped in humanity. And then the Bible says he continued to be what he eternally was. So when Jesus took the form of a man he never stopped being God. Can I get an amen on that this morning? He never stopped being God. He was the God-man.

Listen, sometimes we need to understand the theology of our church. We need to understand the nature of our God. We need to recognize that without the deity of Christ, without an eternal God, without the virgin birth, without the truths that we preach this month, then we have no common faith to hold us together. We need more than the emotion of this season. We need more than the music and the food of this season. That'll last just a little while; we'll get discouraged and quit. But if we have a common belief in the fact that Jesus Christ is eternal God, the way, the truth and the life, then we've got something to bring us together this month, you see: the eternal Ruler.

And so, God had made a promise, and God had prophesied a place. He said, "It's going to be Bethlehem, Israel. And when you have those 400 quiet years, and when the clouds are dark and you wonder where I am, just remember my word I told you. I'm going to defeat Satan. I'll bring my Son to Bethlehem, and I will crush the head of Satan."

Don't forget that you're on the winning side. And I'm telling you, I don't care if you face unemployment. It doesn't matter if you're having family difficulty. It doesn't matter what kind of prayer that doesn't seem like it's getting answered. There is still a God in heaven, and his promises are real; and you can trust him in the dark times. God has promised, and he said, "Here's the place; it's going to be Bethlehem."

But it's even better. I want you to see a final promise he gave in the Old Testament, and that is he said, "I have prepared a vessel, I've prepared a person for this." Now let's look at this in Isaiah 7, shall we, Isaiah 7:14. We're looking at three Old Testament prophecies today, prophesying revival.

Now notice this. It says in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and thou shalt call his name," say it again with me, "Immanuel." What does Immanuel mean? God with us.

Now I want you to notice the prophecy of Isaiah. Isaiah is known as the prophet of redemption. Seven hundred and fifty years before Jesus was born the Bible tells us how he would be born. You see, Isaiah speaks much of Jesus. Isaiah tells us about the coming of Jesus, the suffering of Jesus. And for seven hundred and fifty years they had this promise. Even during those last four hundred quiet years between Malachi and between Matthew, there were the promises of Isaiah that could have been read.

And many times we become depressed and anxious because we do not read the promises that God has given to us. So notice the promise first. There is the promise of a supernatural miracle. The Bible says, "A virgin shall conceive."

Now Mary was betrothed to Joseph; that is to say she was espoused to him, which is stronger than engagement. She was committed to be married, although they had not come together physically. The Bible tells us that she was a virgin, Matthew 1:18, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on the wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph," notice, "before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."

So this virgin birth, this is a supernatural miracle. It was before they came together that she was found of this child according to Isaiah and according to Matthew. It was a supernatural miracle. And then it was a personal Savior that had come.

Now, Immanuel means "God with us," Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. And notice in your notes Matthew 1:22, " Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 'Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.'"

You see, Matthew says just like the prophet said. You see, the Old Testament and the New Testament compliment each other. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. And Matthew is saying, "This one, Mary, this one miracle that you are about to bring into the world is exactly what Isaiah said would happen seven hundred and fifty years ago."

The definition of this miracle is found in the word "Immanuel." But what is the ramification of Immanuel? Well, think of this. Immanuel means God with us. And I want you think of that as we close: God with us.

Hebrews chapter 4, listen to these words: "Seeing then we have a great high priest, which is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast the profession of our faith. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

This is Immanuel. He came and dwelt on this earth. He was tempted in all points. He was tried in all points, yet he never sinned. He was fully man to be tempted. He was fully man when he cried and wept. He was fully man when he suffered on the cross. But he was fully God when he did not get down off that cross. He could have called ten thousand angels; but he said, "Take me away." But he stayed on that cross.

And he was fully God when he said, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Satan said, "If thou be the Son of God, turn these stones into bread." Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God." He was fully man, he was fully God. Listen, he was God with us:

Immanuel: God with us. He who resided in heaven co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit willingly descended down into our world and breathed our air, and felt our pain, and knew our sins, and died for our sins. And that's what we mean when we say, "Have you accepted Jesus in your heart? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?" because Christianity is not about getting baptized, or joining a church, or worshiping an idol. Christianity is Immanuel, God with us. And when he's with you, you know it. That's why he came. He came to be a personal Savior.

It's not enough to be a Baptist. It's not enough to have a denomination. Do you have Jesus in your heart? This is why he came? Immanuel, God with us. And what we celebrate this month was an eternity in the making. Hundreds of years prior, this will be the place, this will be the way, this will be the date we're told, going back into Ezekiel's prophecies. All through the Old Testament there were promises made of a coming revival.

And then when he came and the shepherds saw him, their hearts were revived and awakened, and they had to go soul-winning. No one had to make them go soul-winning, they wanted to go soul-winning. They had to tell other people why, because they saw the Messiah, the Son of God, and they had revival in their hearts. And the wisemen came, and they had to give their offerings. No one made them, no one passed out cards, no one made announcements, they just said, "Oh, the gold and the frankincense and the myrrh."

And I'm telling you, my friend, we will witness, and we will give, and we will sing when we get a fresh glimpse of Jesus Christ. When we realize who he is, there will be something within us that will say, "Jesus, if you left heaven's glory to come down here to this earth for me, what can I do for you to worship you? How can I tell others about the greatness of Jesus Christ?"

God says, "I know there's times when there's dark clouds and it feels like your prayers don't get above the ceiling. But just remember, I've made a promise. Just remember, children of Israel, I told you the city. Just remember, I told you the way that it would all happen." For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The prophecies of revival. God said it; God performed it. Revival came; and listen, revival is still here for all who want it, because revival is an awakening to Jesus Christ. And that's what we're praying for.

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Revival at Christmas