This message is a part of our Lent series focused on Repentance, Renewal, and Revival.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.
Sermon Debrief Audio
(The debrief is a series of podcast episodes on the Faith Church podcast where Pastor Daniel and Pastor Eric discuss the message from Sunday, answer questions, and share stories or interviews that also relate to the message)
It’s St Patrick’s Day. Most people know St Patricks Day to be a day that you wear green and perhaps, even drink a lot of beer. However, the guy who is celebrated on St Patrick’s day is so not the person that he’s pictured to be by most. He wasn’t Irish. He was British. He has never been named a Saint by a church. He’s just come to be called that because of Irish Pride.
Patrick was the son of a deacon in the church in England, but he wanted nothing to do with church. He said of himself that he was a wild young man. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped by Irish pirates who sold him as a slave in Ireland. After 6 years of slavery he escaped and made his way home. His experience in Ireland actually brought him closer to God and he became a pastor and monk serving a church in England for 20 years. He would say of himself in his “Confession” “I am Patrick, a sinner and a very unsophisticated man. I am the least of all the faithful and to many the most despised.” One of his biographers Fletcher observes, Patrick’s Latin was “simple, awkward, laborious, sometimes ambiguous, occasionally unintelligible.”
Then at the age of 48, which was older than the life expectancy of the time, Patrick had a dream where someone with an Irish accent was asking for someone to come share the gospel with them. Patrick felt it was his personal call to become a missionary to the country where he had been a slave.
His method was quite different than most missionaries especially of that day. According to George Hunter, who writes about him in The Celtic Way of Evangelism he recruited a team of 12 to go to Ireland with him. They would go to a village and reach out to the people. Once they had converted a group, they would form a church by leaving 2 members of their team behind and bringing two new converts along with them on their journey to the next village or town. They were able to keep discipling the people this way, raising up new leaders, new disciple makers all along the way.
Discipleship is the ongoing work of Christ in our lives as we follow Jesus.
To become a disciple is an ongoing pursuit after coming to trust in Christ.
A Parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.
Some of the seed falls upon the pathway and due to the hardness of the dirt, it can not settle in, and birds come along and eat it up.
Some of the seed falls upon rocky ground. The seeds immediately shoot up, but because there’s no depth for the roots, the plant withers and dies. Some falls among thorns and while it starts to grow, the thorns and weeds choke it out and it dies. Some falls on good soil, puts down roots and bears much fruit. Some of it 30 fold, some of it 60 fold, and some of it 100 fold.
Pathway = Hard Hearts.
It doesn’t even sink in.
Rocky Soil = No Depth or Roots
No ongoing work – (evangelism without discipleship)
Thorny Soil = Consumed by Sin
they would receive the word, but they are consumed with greed, lust, bitterness, or some other sin chokes out the impact of the word in their lives.
Good Soil = Received, Rooted, Reproduced
is the heart that receives the word and puts down roots and continues to experience the work of God in their lives…
Patrick’s strategy in Ireland was to reinvest the seeds that fell on good soil back into new churches, by discipling them into church leaders.
From their evangelism and discipleship efforts, in one hundred years, the whole of Ireland was considered evangelized.
In the National Bestseller
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
We are shown that Patrick’s missionary work saved civilization. After the fall of Rome, barbarians over ran Europe.
Many libraries and bastions of European culture were destroyed, but because of the literacy and learning that Christianity fostered in Ireland, the works were preserved in the Abbeys, churches, and libraries of Ireland.
From this small spark, a call, a command, a dream, Patrick was obedient and the nation of Ireland was changed.
As a result, the world was impacted.
Later in Chapter 4 Jesus speaks of this type of thing happening in another parable.
Jesus tells us the kingdom of God is like the smallest of things, a small mustard seed could bring about great change.
Read Mark 4:30-33
Mustard Seed Picture
Over the past few weeks we’ve been focusing on Lent.
Lent is a season of Repentance & Renewal.
Lent leads us toward revival.
Today is the beginning of our revival services, but unfortunately, we have a misconstrued idea of what revival is…
What happened in Ireland is Revival.
The revival that took place in Ireland was the harvest of the repentance and renewal of Patrick, his ministry partners, and the Irish people they were able to reach.
Revival is the harvest which follows seasons of repentance and renewal.
As harvest is the fruit of work that begins in the spring, revival is the fruit of repentance and renewal.
We pray and hope for revival, when we hold revival services, it’s a title of expectancy and hope. Because revival is this powerful thing, there were many people who wanted to experience it so they would hold revival meetings and they would try to conjure revival.
They became known as revivalists. They were people who were committed to Revival. They would pray it down, preach it up, and call it out…
Jonathon Edwards who would be a part of the Great Awakening, a revival that took place in the America in the early 1700s would actually write a book title Religious Affections where he would list 12 signs of true revival and 12 non-signs- or signs of people who were just interested in religion or swept up in the experience…
You see, some people hoped that by acting as if there was revival, they would experience revival.
Revival isn’t something we work ourselves into, revival isn’t something we can schedule, revival is the result of repentance.
Over the past two weeks I’ve used analogies of plants and seeds, we’ve seen that the seed crosses a line where it no longer a seed but it has become a plant-
We also saw that in the spring plants that were dormant became renewed.
This is what brought about revival.
When people repented of their sin or became renewed in their relationship with God, the result was revival and many people came to know God.
In the history of a revival in Wales in 1904, the incidents of public drunkenness fell by 50%. The jails were practically empty.
Production in the local coal mines actually fell at first because the men no longer swore like they used to and the donkeys that pulled the coal carts no longer understand their commands.
Revival looked like this profound and remarkable change, but it wasn’t brought about by people encouraging coal miners to speak nicer or drunks to stop being drunk- it started when a pastor in Wales implored his people to come to special services to
“deepen our loyalty to Christ”.
“Joseph Jenkins arranged a conference in town of New Quay in 1903 with the theme deepened loyalty to Christ…
The regular Sunday meetings “became lively” following the concerted effort of deepening their loyalty to Christ.
Members of the church went to other nearby towns and villages to ‘witness’ to the effects of how accepting Christ’s message had influenced their lives.
Revival is the result of crops taking root and reproducing 30, 60, and even 100 fold. It’s the gospel seizing someone’s heart and beginning this process of transformation which leads them to be a light and witness to others….
We’ve been watching Little House on the Prairie with the kids.
It’s good clean TV.
Charles Ingall is breaking his back trying to buy a farm, then buy seed, then plant crops…
Then he’s walking in a field of Wheat and it’s just beautiful…
Because you know all the work that went into it and made it possible… and you know it represents this wonderful harvest.
btw, we are wimps…
The harvest is hard work, but Christ paid for the planting.
Lent is the celebration of Christ’s sacrifice for us, his payment of the debt, so that we can be made new.
So the word of the gospel can go forth…
Maybe you’re thinking, but how does this ongoing change happen? How does this harvest come about?
26And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
The harvest is hard work, but the Spirit of God brings about the growth.
The Spirit of God is present in the life of every believer and it is the soil which produces this change in us that Jesus was speaking of… Jesus said that the farmer plants the seed and goes to bed.
That’s what I do.
I share the gospel and then I go to bed and get out of the way.
I can’t follow you home. I can’t text you every day.
I can’t track you down…
I can’t make anyone change, can’t make anyone get clean, make anyone stay with their spouse, be wise with their money…
Trust me, I’ve tried.
Only the Spirit of God can bring about these changes…
It might seem silly to you, it might seem strange that something so small as faith could make such a big difference, but that’s what Jesus is speaking of in Mark 4 when he says the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.
It’s the smallest of seeds, but when planted in the garden it produces not a plant, but a tree, not a stalk, but a truck and branches, it brings about such a great change that birds and animals can come live in it’s shade.
When the Spirit of God gets a hold of someone, I can’t make them change, but He can. If you’re willing to listen, to draw close to him, to walk near to him, to listen closely to him, then you’ll be led toward’s new life…
Pinnochio is the most translated book 2nd to the Bible… It’s story has been retold many different ways, including its adaptation into the classic cartoon produced by Disney….
In the original story, the Cricket isn’t named, partly because he lives so shortly that he doesn’t have a chance to get introduced…
When Cricket shows up after Pinnochio has gotten Gepetto in trouble, Pinnochio kills the cricket with a mallet. The cricket shows up in a ghost form later on, still whispering to Pinnochio…
Even though Pinnochio has silenced his conscience, it whispers to him… it can not be silenced…
When you get in trouble
And you don’t know right from wrong
When you meet temptation
And the urge is very strong
Take the straight and narrow path
And if you start to slide
Give a little whistle!
And always let your conscience be your guide
Revival is not the result of our awakened conscience, but rather it is the replacement of our conscience with the Spirit of God.
The Spirit of God is whispering to us, leading us, guiding us…
I got to go to a conference this week and I shared a car with our church planter in Champaign, IL. I asked him to navigate as I drove.
Every time I’d look over he was reading ESPN or checking his Facebook and I’d say, how we doing Jamie?
Oh right, he’d say and he switch back to google maps.
Discipleship is what happens when we stay focused on the guidance of Jesus in our lives.
This world distracts us from the guidance God gives us.
Repentance and renewal put us back on the path God has for us.
Discipleship guides us on the path God has for us.
Rachel Moix’s Picture
At her celebration of Life there 100 people who were either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation disciples.
True revival is when repentance and renewal bring about a 30, 60, or 100 fold harvest of disciples.