There is only one obstacle that can block up the channel and choke God’s power, and
that is SIN. Sin is the great barrier. It alone can hinder the work of the Spirit
and prevent a Revival. “If I regard iniquity in my heart,” declared David, “the Lord
will not hear me” (Ps 66:18). And in Isaiah 59:1-2, we have those a significant words:
“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear
heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your
God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that he will not hear.” Sin, then,
is the great barrier, and it must be put away. Nor is there any alternative. There
can be no compromise. God will not work as long as there is iniquity covered up.
In Hosea 10:12 we read, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break
up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness
upon you.” And in 2 Chronicles 7:14 the promise of blessing is vouchsafed, based,
upon unalterable conditions: “If my people, which are called by my name,” declares
the Lord, “shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal
their land.” Hence, nothing short of a broken heart over sin, full confession and
restitution, will satisfy God. Hell is full of remorse, but only for the punishment
incurred. There is no real contrition. The rich man uttered not a word of sorrow
for his sin against God (Luke 16:29-30). But David, though guilty of both murder
and adultery, saw his sin as against God alone (Psalm 51:4). Mere remorse is not
true Godly sorrow unto repentance. Judas, though filled with remorse, never repented.
Now God alone is able to bestow a contrite and broken heart, a sorrow that will result
in the confession and forsaking of sin. And nothing short of that will suffice. “The
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou
wilt not despise.” (Ps 51:17) “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso
confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Pr 28:13). “Only acknowledge thine
iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God” (Jer 3:13).
There are three kinds of confession that must be considered:-
(1) Private Confession; for where sin has been committed against God alone it need
be confessed to no other but God alone (1 John 1:9; Psalm 32:5).
(2) Personal Confession; for where the sin has been committed against another it
must be confessed not only to God but also to the one who has been wronged. Nor will
there be any peace until the confession has been made and forgiveness sought (Matthew
(3) Public Confession; for where the sin has been committed against the church, that
is to say, the entire congregation, a class, organization or company of people, the
confession must be as public as the transgression.
As long as iniquity among the people of God is covered over and unconfessed, just
so long will the Spirit of God be unable to bring about a Revival. Men must get right
with each other in order to be right with God.
One night at the close of a searching message, a young man walked to the front, and
turning to the congregation, made the startling confession that he had stolen and
used money that did not belong to him; after which he passed into the inquiry room
to get right with God. He had been the treasurer of two important organizations and
had squandered nearly all the funds entrusted to him.
It is a common experience to find souls kneeling at the altar and calling upon God
with apparent great anguish of heart, who fail to receive anything. And it is just
as common for groups of people to gather together for nights of prayer for a Revival
and yet never have their prayers answered. What is the trouble? Let the Word of God
answer: “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have
hid His face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa 59:1-2) Hence, let us uncover
our sin first of all; let us make straight the crooked ways, let us gather out the
stone, and then we may ask in faith for showers of blessing.
Now let us take our sins one by one and deal with each transgression separately.
And let us ask ourselves the following questions. It may be we are guilty and God
will speak to us.
(1) Have we forgiven everyone? Is there any malice, slander, spite, hatred or enmity
in our hearts? Do we cherish grudges; and have we refused to be reconciled?
(2) Do we get angry? Are there any uprisings within? Is it true that we still lose
our temper? Does wrath hold us at times in its grip?
(3) Is there any feeling of jealousy? When another is preferred before us, does it
make us envious and uncomfortable? Do we get jealous of those who can pray, speak
and do things better than we can?
(4) Do we get impatient and irritated? Do little things vex and annoy? Or are we
sweet, calm and unruffled under all circumstances?
(5) Are we offended easily? When people fail to notice us and pass by without speaking,
does it hurt? If others are made much of and we are neglected, how do we feel about
(6) Is there any pride in our hearts? Are we puffed up? Do we think a great deal
of our own position and attainments?
(7) Have we been dishonest? Is our business open and above reproach? Do we give a
yard for a yard and a pound for a pound?
(8) Have we been gossiping about people? Do we slander the character of others? Are
we tale-bearers and busybodies?
(9) Do we criticize unlovingly, harshly, severely? Are we always finding fault and
looking for the flaws in others?
(10) Do we rob God? Have we stolen time that belongs to Him? Has our money been
(11) Are we worldly? Do we love the glitter, the pomp, and the show of this life?
(12) Have we stolen? Do we take little things that do not belong to us?
(13) Do we harbour a spirit of bitterness towards others? Is there hatred in our
(14) Are our lives filled with lightness and frivolity? Is our conduct unseemly?
Would the world by our actions consider us on its side?
(15) Have we wronged any one and failed to make restitution? Or, has the spirit
of Zacchaeus possessed us? Have we restored the many little things that God has shown
(16) Are we worried or anxious? Do we fail to trust God for our temporal and spiritual
needs? Are we continually crossing bridges before we come to them?
(17) Are we guilty of lustful thoughts? Do we allow our minds to harbour impure
and unholy imaginations?
(18) Are we true in our statements, or do we exaggerate and thus convey false impressions?
Have we lied?
(19) Are we guilty of the sin of unbelief? In spite of all He has done for us, do
we still refuse to believe the promises of His Word?
(20) Have we committed the sin of prayerlessness? Are we intercessors? Do we pray?
How much time are we spending on our knees? Have we crowed prayer out of our lives?
(21) Are we neglecting God’s Word? How many chapters do we read each day? Are we
Bible students? Do we draw our source of supply from the Scriptures?
(22) Have we failed to confess Christ openly? Are we ashamed of Jesus? Do we keep
our mouths closed when we are surrounded by world people? Are we witnessing daily?
(23) Are we burdened for the salvation of souls? Have we a love for the lost? Is
there any compassion in our hearts for those who are perishing?
These are the things, both negative and positive, that prevent the work of God in
the midst of His people. Let us be honest and call them by their right name. “SIN”
is the word that God uses. And the sooner we admit that we have sinned and are ready
to confess and forsake it, the sooner may we expect God to hear us and work in mighty
power. Why deceive ourselves? We cannot deceive god. Then let us remove the obstacle,
the hindering thing before we take another step. “If we would judge ourselves we
should not be judged.” (1 Cor 11:31) “Judgement must begin at the house of God.”
(1 Pet 4:17)
This has been the history of revival work all down the centuries. Night after night
sermons have been preached and no results obtained, until some elder or deacon bursts
out in an agony of confession, and, going to the one whom he has wronged, craves
forgiveness. Or some woman who is a prominent worker breaks down and in tears confesses
publicly that she has been gossiping about some other sister or is not on speaking
terms with the person across the aisle. Then when confession and restitution have
been made, the fallow ground broken up, sin uncovered and acknowledged, then and
not until then, the Spirit of God comes on an audience and a Revival sweeps over
Generally there is but one sin, one hindering thing. It was Achan in the camp of
Israel. Ad God will put His finger directly on the spot. Nor will He take it off
until that one obstacle has been dealt with.
Oh then, let us plead first of all the prayer of David when he cried, “Search me,
oh God, and see if there be any wicked way in me.” (Ps 139:24) And no sooner will
the obstacle of sin be taken out of the way than God will come in mighty revival