You Can Be Changed
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
(With Ted Farcasin sharing at the beginning)
We discussed the impact that Evan Roberts had on a small community of believers in Southern Wales and it essentially was a revival. It transformed the entire nation to some degree, the British Isles and later on into Europe and it all started at a tiny little chapel. I would assume it’s relatively tiny anyway, called Mariah Chapel in South Wales. Evan Roberts who was a member of that particular chapel, went to the pastor one day in October, October 31st as a matter of fact and he said, “I would like to have a time to go and speak with the youth of the church here and speak to them and encourage them in the ways of the Lord.”
He said, “Sure, go ahead, do it”, and Roberts got together the youth of the church there and he spoke to them specifically on four matters. The first matter was simply this, that if we want to gather together and we want to move toward Christ then let us first of all get rid of any un-confessed sin. So remove that from you, take it away from you. If there be anything that is within you, that is a hindrance between you and God, a barrier, remove that from you. That was point number one.
Point number two was essentially this: we need to be obedient. Obedient to what? Well, obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Remember Samuel’s admonishment to the prophet of the Old Testament that obedience is better than sacrifice. That was the message of Evan Roberts to these folks that they be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When he speaks to you, walk, function, move in accordance to that and let Him demonstrate whether or not it is His will or not but be conscious of that, be prompted by that and move in accordance to it. So those are a few things. One, be obedient to His spirit and put away any un-confessed sin.
The third element that I tried to get across was simply this, to proclaim the goodness of Christ within you, to make some sense of a proclamation of what Jesus has done. He encourages folks to do as what Christ has admonished all of us at one time or another, I am sure, you know if you declare me before your fellow men then I will declare you before my Father which is in heaven. In the King James Version it says “I would declare you before the angels of God.” I do agree that what he is getting at is that we can have a proclamation by our life. We can have proclamation by our own ethic or theology and how we believe. So much is manifested by our personal behavior. But it’s interesting to note that 93 percent of all people are saved because somebody spoke to them. Somebody spoke words to them.
Isaiah said, “How shall a man hear unless there is somebody who would preach?”- to your colleague, to your friend, to yourself. Those are the three primary factors that Evan Roberts spoke to these young folks about. Consider them in your own mind.
Rev. Ernest O’Neill:
And what came home to me as Ted was sharing was that there was an incredible outpouring of God’s
Holy Spirit during the next few months. That took place about the 30th of October and then he read a newspaper article which indicated that by December, about three months later, 34,000 people had partaken in these meetings. And then of course after that, any of you who know about the Welsh revival know that Evan Roberts would turn up to preach at a church but the church would have been full from early morning.
People would have closed their businesses to get a seat in the church and there would be hundreds outside and when he would arrive, he would go up and just open in prayer in Welsh and then sit down and the service just went on. Prayer and confession of sin and conversions and baptism of the Spirit and they would still be there 2 o’clock in the morning and at times right up till 6:00 a.m. the next morning.
So, it was that God moved among them and it came home to me, wouldn’t God move that way among us? I mean we couldn’t make God bring a worldwide revival but it does seem that where God’s people walk in light, at least the Holy Spirit moves freely among them and brings Jesus life into existence among them. Maybe it’s being extreme but could it be that we actually, here even in this room tonight, have a whole lot of un-confessed sin? Or a lot of doubtful things?
It just came home to me that there are all kinds of things that we need to see happening among us ourselves. There are healings that we need to see completed. You have loved ones that aren’t in Jesus. We have a campus that is fairly well untouched by Jesus these days. We believe that Jesus moves freely among us in power when we fulfill those conditions, indeed when we just walk in light.
So I was wondering does that mean that on the outside, we look like good Christians and we’re a nice body of people but does it mean that we actually have a whole lot of un-confessed sin among us? Or maybe we’re involved in all kinds of doubtful things that we’re not really sure of but we’re carrying them on because we say, well, the Lord hasn’t really convicted us.
Then, when he mentioned the profession of Christ, I wondered do we have it in our heads and are we all saying day-by-day at work, “Well, we don’t want to put them off Jesus by being too open about it,” or, “We don’t want to go around knocking on doors like Dan Salem does because that doesn’t come too naturally to us.” And could it be that we’re all actually living in sin? We don’t think we’re living in sin because we’re not sleeping around with anybody or we’ve turned away from a lot of the sins that were in our lives, but we’re actually not doing obedience. We’re not doing obedience, you know.
In other words, could it be that all of us have all kinds of little feelings about somebody else here tonight or somebody else who isn’t here and we keep that in our hearts and we just keep it there? It’s kind of a root of bitterness and it just stays there but that’s what stops us entering into the revival life in our own lives and the revival life as a group. Don’t you think it must be?
Don’t you think that wherever God’s people fulfill the conditions of revival — wherever they confess their sin and get it out in the open and get rid of it and agree about that and turn from it — and wherever they turn from things that are doubtful, God sees them. And wherever they obey God’s spirit, obey in actual action, and wherever they begin to go out of their way to profess Christ or to talk about Him to somebody else, do you not think that the Holy Spirit would move among us as He did in that revival?
Loved ones, I know it’s just not sensible to say He wouldn’t. I think we’re a great group. I think
the world of you and we all like each other and I think it’s great. We have a great operation but we don’t have revival, sure we don’t. We don’t. I mean other churches would look at us and think we’re in revival and we’ve been in a remarkable state of revival compared with other churches for years almost since we started, but we all know it isn’t what is talked about in this Welsh revival. It isn’t that.
There isn’t a deep conviction of sin. I mean you find that with the ones you talk to, don’t you at work? There’s no deep conviction of sin. Look, there are some of your relatives and there’s no conviction of sin in them at all, you know there isn’t. There’s not even a vague interest in God and it seems that conviction of sin comes when we get convicted about our sin and it seems to me that what we could have, is a kind of a hard packed ice down there.
We’re kind of soft and squashy up here but when we get down here somewhere in maybe most of our lives, there’s kind of hard packed ice where there is unconfessed sin that we have no intention of confessing because we don’t want to forsake it. And where we have doubtful things, we’re glad when we’re not absolutely sure what God thinks of them because we want to hang onto them. All of that is really a controlled surrender, isn’t it? It’s not wanting to do whatever so that God would move.
I mean it’s not an attitude of, “Lord, I’ll do whatever. Here Lord, cut me open. I’ll do whatever Father for You to move”. It’s not that. It’s a kind of uptight close attitude ‘I am a child of God’ and that’s all that matters. But it seems loved ones that if we would break open, surely God’s Spirit would move.
Douglas Crossman, who is the gentleman that sold us the library upstairs, the Scroggie library, preached in that Mariah chapel maybe 10 years ago and he knew there was one very old man there who had been in revival and had written a little book about it. He asked the minister, “Is that man here? Could you introduce me to him?”, and the man had come up, came up to him afterwards and Douglas Crossman said to him, I forgot the man’s name but he said to him his name, “You, Mr. so-and-so, you were in the revival”, and the man almost crumpled to the ground.
It was as if the power of God was still there and he almost crumpled to the ground when he had mentioned it. It seems that that’s what we want to see. We want to see a deep working of God that will move among our hearts and will enable you when someone comes along 30-40 years hence or somebody comes to our children and asks about it, that they will sense that. It seems to me that doesn’t come with trickery or with such stupid tears. It doesn’t come with all that stuff. It doesn’t come with emotion. We turn from all the tricks of the clever music and all that stuff or the showy preacher.
We turn from that because it doesn’t come with all that stuff. It seems from what we read that it comes from honesty in the hearts of men and women like you and me and I think that requires us to search our hearts and to act so that we say, “Well, we don’t know what everybody else is doing, but as for me and my house, I will serve the Lord.” I am going to get the things right with You Lord and I am going to clean out everything that’s doubtful and I am going to turn from it and I am going to confess any sin both to You Lord and to the person that I sinned against and then Holy Spirit, I am going to obey You whatever it means and then Lord Jesus, I am going to stop being a clam — a closed mouth Christian who won’t speak Your name to anybody lest I suffer some of the reproach that You bore. Lord Jesus, I am going to start talking about You to other people.”
Loved ones, I do think that it would be the same as most other things in your life and mine. I think
action would release a lot of pressure and tension and would resolve a lot of problems and I think God’s spirit would move among us and I think it wouldn’t be long. It only took three months and there were 34,000 involved. It wouldn’t be long before men and women would know that some men and women are dealing with God in honesty.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to carry on running services to you. Anybody can run services. What we want to see is God’s Holy Spirit moving among us in power and what we want to see is thousands going abroad, don’t we? Because we know only God’s Spirit can bring that about, we can’t bring it about, but it seems to me that’s what we want.
I think that’s why most of us came together here over these past 14 years. I think it has to start with us loved ones. I start with what I know and then God’s Spirit can take me deeper. So it might be good to have a prayer time to be free to pray as God guides you in quietness or aloud, and to simply guide you to just deal with your sins. I’ll deal with those that I know and then the important thing would be that we begin to walk in this obedience.
We would begin to profess Christ, would begin to obey the Holy Spirit and not do what is convenient for us or what somebody else thinks. And then that we’d walk in openness with each other. Where we’ve got used to criticizing, would you stop that? I mean we just start being open and start being real with each other and you know we’ll have to do it some time. I mean there is nothing Jesus said, whispered in private rooms that will not be proclaimed upon the house tops. There will come a day when everything will be manifested you know, then, for our condemnation.
So it really is how we’re coming into cleanness now so we can be saved and delivered and be used by God or it all being proclaimed then. I think if you found heaviness in your own life or kind of a deadness or coldness, it’s because of this. So let’s just pray together. Let’s pray.
Dear Father, we don’t want to be just an ice church. Lord we don’t want to be hypocrites. Father we don’t want to be doing something that other human beings could imitate. Lord, we want to see You work Your work that can’t be imitated among us. Lord, we really do want that kind of revival, new life from Your own right hand.
So Lord, if You see sin in our lives or Lord, if You have been pointing out sin to us and we have argued with You about it and pushed it to the back or Lord if You’ve brought things up to us and we like to call them doubtful, Lord we see we’ll get nothing from You unless we put away all doubtful things and are absolutely honest before You — open and clear and clean. Lord we know enough about our society to know that only such people can be used by God to cut through this gray and lukewarm society.
Then Lord, if You see that we’re not obeying Your Holy Spirit, anywhere in our lives, will You make us aware of that or if we’re not professing Christ? If Lord Jesus, there are people in our work that don’t know we’re Christians because we are so quiet about it, Lord we want to put ourselves outside ourselves. We want to put ourselves out on the line and separate ourselves from all this self-defensiveness and self-protectiveness which is just God, just being God, just wanting to keep ourselves to ourselves and run our own lives our own way. Lord it’s just sin but we’ve just got so used to it that we think it’s the way we live the Christian life.
Lord we want to begin to be honest with You tonight, confess and turn from these things. Amen.