Break up the fallow ground

How to prepare your heart for revival


Revival is when eternity invades time [1]

Revival is God’s radical treatment for a sick and lukewarm church

Revival starts with me

Revival starts with you

God is calling me into personal revival

God is calling me to break up the fallow ground in my heart

God is calling you into personal revival

God is calling you to break up the fallow ground in your heart

The fallow ground is the soil of your heart that used to produce fruit

The fallow ground in our hearts is overgrown with weeds and thistles and thorns

God is calling us into revival through Hosea 10:12

Sow for yourselves in righteousness

Reap in mercy

Break up the fallow ground

For it is time to seek the Lord

Until he comes and rains righteousness on you

Context: Hosea chapters 1-3 tell Hosea’s personal story

God told him to marry Gomer a promiscuous woman and raise children

Hosea had even to buy her back from her lover

Their third child a boy had a name something like ‘my daddy is not my daddy’

Hosea keenly felt the pain and rejection of loving an unfaithful covenant breaking wife

God keenly felt the pain and rejection of loving an unfaithful covenant breaking people

Hosea identified with God’s breaking heart[2] over the sin of his people

Our sin breaks God’s heart

God’s tender love and mercy towards his people pours out of the book

Hosea chapters 4-14 give the prophetic message of Hosea to Israel

The land was filled with corruption amongst its rulers

Families were unstable and immorality was widely accepted

Society was divided and poverty was rife

Idolatry was on the rise and the religious leaders had no answers

Sound familiar? Could this be Scotland today?

Here is God’s solution for a backslidden and lukewarm church

Sow for yourselves in righteousness –Sowing; –live right before God-

Believe and practice God’s word- let it dwell in your heart richly- Ask the Holy Spirit to water the seed of the word-Pray fervently-share the gospel

Sow only good seeds Do only good deeds

Reap in mercy; Reaping; when we sowed in righteousness we reaped a harvest of the Lord’s loving-kindness (chesed)

Our God is Chasidic-full of loving kindness


Our God multiplies the righteous seed we have sown way beyond the measure we sowed

Our first cycles of sowing and reaping produced a good harvest

But something crept up on us- perhaps the sin crouching at the door?

Or the worries and cares of this life? The pursuit of wealth?

And now whatever has happened, the soil of our hearts has become fallow ground.

Examine your heart...take the Tozer [3] test


The fallow heart is smug and can’t be taught much

The fallow heart is self contented

The fallow heart is protected from the shock of the plow


The fallow heart

Some hearts have lain fallow year by year, safe and undisturbed

The fallow heart focuses on past fruit

The fallow heart has a two signs on it; ‘Do not disturb’ and ‘Past-master’ .

The fear of the plough means there can be no present fruit

The spirit of adventure is dead .

The fallow heart is fenced in and God is fenced out

The fallow heart smiles indulgently at fasting, revivals, self searching and the need to move on in God.

The fallow soil has been hardened and can only support weeds and thorns and thistles

The very seeds sown by the world , the flesh and the devil

The soil of our hearts lies fallow to varying degrees-what state is your heart in tonight?

Examine your heart… and take the Plough [4] test


The ploughed heart

The ploughed heart practices confession and repentance

We need to keep short accounts with God and each other

The ploughed heart has a sign ‘not safety first’

The ploughed heart is discontent in God

The ploughed heart is yearning and full of godly sorrow

The ploughed heart is courageously obedient and ready to bear fruit.


Break up the fallow ground; Breaking- humble yourself before the Lord

Confess that your heart has become hard, fallow and shallow

Acknowledge it is your own responsibility to break up the fallow ground

Ask for his help and guidance in the breaking – the Holy Spirit will assist us

Confess all known sin, all the usual suspects found in the Ten Commandments

Include unforgiveness, bitterness, grudges and resentment- then forsake them

Examine your heart…

Examine your heart for unbelief

Examine your heart for prayerlessness

A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning [5].


Examine your heart for the lost

Examine the priorities of your heart

Is your first priority in the material world?

Is your first priority in human relationships?

Is your first real priority to get money, power or possessions?

Is your heart, seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness knowing that all these things shall be added unto you?

What are you living for? Who are you living for?

Next, deal also with the questionable things in your life. It might not be outright sin but does it glorify God?

Examine your friendships and associations –do they please God?

Develop convictions to protect yourself from falling into sin

Convictions help integrate our hearts (inward) with our actions (outward)

Job made a covenant with his eyes [6].


For it is time to seek the Lord; Seeking – the time to seek God is now –the time to seek his face is now- the time to seek his face in faith is now- believing he wants you to find him now

It is God’s will for you to find him- when you seek him with all your heart


Until he comes and rains righteousness on you, persist- how long O Lord?

Persist until he comes – he will certainly come if we persist

If we focus on the persisting –He will focus on his coming-

Yes the very presence of the living God will come down on you- History testifies to this in the Lewis revival

Prepare ye the way of the Lord in your own heart- remove every obstacle – and bring the presence of the living God in a new way into your heart

God wants to do a new thing in your heart right now.

Raining- Until the Spirit is poured on us from on high [7]

And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field

And the fruitful field is counted as a forest

God wants your heart to be an orchard.

God promised to pour out his Spirit on the dry and thirsty ground [8]

He promised that the crocus and the rose would bloom in the desert place

Imagine fragrant flowers and sweet fruit trees in planted in the soil of your heart

God desires to breathe in your fragrance

God desires to taste the sweet fruit of your character

Jeremiah says ‘break up your fallow ground and don’t sow amongst thorns[9].

Conclusion

The reason we don’t have revival is that we are willing to live without it [10]

The alternative to revival is progressive decline into barrenness

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.


Let’s bring the plough of God’s word into the fallow grounds of our hearts tonight asking God to empower the plough by his Holy Spirit and that he shows us exactly what needs to be removed.


Are you willing to break the fallow ground in your heart? , are you willing to be made willing?

God is willing and God is able to help each one of us break up our fallow ground. Amen.

Prayer

[1] Unknown author quoted by Clayton Dougan [2] Clayton Dougan in the podcast The breaking heart of God, Sermon Index.com [3] A.W. Tozer [4] Michael Catt The power of surrender; breaking through to the ploughed life [5] Leonard Ravenhill [6] Job 31 1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman. [7] Isaiah 32 15 [8] Isaiah 44 3-4 [9] Jeremiah 4 3 [10] Leonard Ravenhill

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