Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. Wisdom is good with an inheritance, and profitable to those who see the sun. -Ecclesiastes 7:10, 11 (NKJV)
If you have been paying attention to the current trends in our society you have either read or seen for yourself that church attendance on the whole is declining. Research in this area is showing how in recent decades attitudes regarding church attendance have become increasingly negative. Many people simply no longer believe that attending worship services on a regular basis is relevant for them. We as followers of Christ could easily become discouraged, because we have witnessed firsthand many churches which were once large and thriving now just barely holding on. We might be tempted to lament all of this and ask the question why everything can’t be the way it used to be.
The book of Ecclesiastes warns us about longing for the former days. We are challenged to confront the reality that the past is gone and we cannot go back to that place in time. We must meet head-on what lies before us in the present. As I have conversations with other pastors and church members I find growing discouragement about how their congregations are not growing. If a church is simply “holding steady” we find this as cause for rejoicing. What I want to challenge us with this morning is to not settle for just maintaining and staying where we are. The past is gone; we accept this. However, let’s not grow complacent and believe that a revival of faith is impossible. God is able to bring about a great revival in our personal lives and in congregations which would have thought that such renewal was out of reach.
Begin today by praying for personal spiritual renewal. Pray that the Lord will bring to your life a spiritual breakthrough unlike anything you have ever experienced in your relationship with Christ. Pray earnestly that this personal revival will come and it will then spread to the local church. Let us not be quick to give into the belief that revival and church growth are no longer possible. If I believed this I would be out looking for another line of work. Pray, believe, and claim what Christ has promised: “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). We are called to be faithful, and when we are faithful, the Lord takes care of the rest.
God has promised that when His people pray He will hear from heaven and He will pour out His blessings. Let us not lie down in defeat, but instead let us rise up and go forward in the victory Christ has promised. A great movement of God’s Spirit is about to happen. Desire it and pray it will come – today!