Anatomy of an Awakening

August 20, 2023

David Sorn

How does an awakening or a revival actually happen?

Anatomy of an Awakening

August 20, 2023

David Sorn

How does an awakening or a revival actually happen?

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Zechariah 12:10 – 13:1

Good morning. My name is David Sorn and I’m the Lead Pastor of Renovation Church.

I’m so happy you’re here with us this morning.

We have 5 more weeks here at Northpoint Elementary,

Next week is our last week outside, and then we’ll have 4 weeks inside before we are hopefully BACK in our building!

I was there this week and could see them putting the roof on our expanded lobby. Pretty neat!

This morning, I want to talk about spiritual awakenings

Specifically, I want to discuss the Anatomy of a Spiritual Awakening

How does a person (or even a nation) actually wake up to who God is and get a passion for Him?

What’s the anatomy of that interaction? What’s underneath it? How does it work?

As we continue in our Zechariah series this morning, we will be in Zechariah chapter 12.

(Page 651/App). Grab a Bible.

Zechariah was a prophet who ministered about 500 years or so before Jesus came to earth.

And today, in chapter 12, Zechariah is going to share a prophecy about the end times.

And the first 9 verses of the chapter are a prophecy of how in the end of days, many of the armies of the world will gather to fight against Israel…

…but God will confuse the enemy armies and Jerusalem will have a great victory and be completely spared.

And so our chapter starts with this prophecy about Israel’s physical saving, but what comes next is a prophecy of Israel’s spiritual saving

And Zechariah is going to show us how, in the future, Israel will have a massive spiritual awakening and turn to Christ!

And so this will be very helpful for us to study…because God is going to give us a peak behind the curtain (or the anatomy of) how an awakening works.

And I want you to understand how an awakening, or a revival, happens, because we want to see it in our own lives…

…and we want to see it in our nation, right?

So let’s take a look.

(Zechariah 12:10-13:1) – NIV.

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

This is a pretty incredible prophecy.

God says that a time will come in the end of days (so this hasn’t happened yet…it’s still in even our future)…

But a time will come in our future when God will pour out his Spirit on the House of David (that’s the tribe of Judah in Israel…the Jews)

And there will be a massive spiritual awakening among the Jews.

And the prophecy says that the Jews will look back and finally understand that it was Jesus (who was God) that was pierced for them.

And the Jews will come back en masse to God…

But how?


So let’s walk through the anatomy of this because I want to see an awakening in our time, and in our city!

The Anatomy of an Awakening

#1: God pours out His Spirit

In the last 2,000 years of Christian history, this is how revival starts every time.

God starts it, not us.

God starts it.

He begins to pour out his Holy Spirit.

V. 10 says he pours out a Spirit of grace, of forgiveness.

And that He pours out a Spirit of supplication.

Or most translations translate that 2nd one a little easier by saying, a spirit of “pleas for mercy”

And this is how awakenings start.

In the past 5 years, I have read and studied much of the great spiritual awakenings (or revivals) of history.

I think of the Revival of the Hebrides in the early 1950’s, which took place in Scotland

When the revival was in full swing, often people just be walking to church, and they couldn’t even make it in the door, they felt such a need for God’s mercy

They would almost spontaneously break down on the sidewalk crying, because they felt such a strong sense that they needed forgiveness.

What is that? God was pouring out His Spirit

This is why I always tell people, that when we give the Gospel here, we don’t woo people into the Kingdom by manipulating their emotions.

Sometimes people say to me, “Well, if you just played more emotional music when you gave the gospel, or if you just had some church members come forward first, then maybe people would be inclined to accept Christ”

Listen, If the Holy Spirit is working, we could say, “Stand up and do 10 jumping jacks if you want to accept Christ, and people would.”

It is God that draws people in…THEN they are awakened.

In John 6, Jesus says:

(John 6:44a) – NIV

44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.

And for many of you, isn’t this how you came to Christ?

God did something in your heart to start drawing you to Himself, and opening up your mind to Him!


Okay, so an awakening starts when God starts to pour out his Spirit!

And here is #2:

The Anatomy of an Awakening

#1: God pours out His Spirit

#2: We look on the Pierced One

This is the middle of verse 10.

God says, “they will look on me, the one they have pierced”

This is a deep line…and rich.

Let’s walk through it

This is one of THE best prophecies in the Bible

It proves that the Bible predicted 500 years in advance that God was coming to earth, and that He (God) would be pierced for us.

The prophet Isaiah said the same thing…that the Messiah would be pierced for our sins.

And then in the Gospels, the books about Jesus in the NT, when the Gospel writer John tells of Jesus being pierced in the side, John quotes our exact verse from today (Zechariah 12:10) as evidence that Jesus was indeed the Messiah (and God!) who was pierced for us!

And so our prophecy in verse 10 starts with God saying, “They will look on me.”

And the order of this awakening process (this anatomy) that we’re studying here is very important here.

Because if we were asked to describe the anatomy of a spiritual awakening ourselves, I think most of us would probably flip steps 2 & 3.

Step 3 is going to be about mourning for our sins.

And I think most Christians think you should mourn over your sins, and then look to God.

But the Bible says, the opposite order is true.

It says we must FIRST look to God.

Let me explain.

See, if you just start with feeling bad about what you did this week.

And you say, “Ugh, I shouldn’t have yelled at my kids…that was so bad”

“I shouldn’t have looked at that…”

“I shouldn’t have thought that about them that way…”

You need to understand that feeling bad about your sins won’t always lead to Godliness…or a spiritual awakening.

Judas’ story that we mentioned last week is a perfect example.

Judas felt terrible about betraying Jesus.

But his guilt for his sin didn’t lead to godliness, it led to suicide.

The great Charles Spurgeon explains it this way:

“A man may hate sin just as a murderer hates the gallows, but this does not prove repentance. If I hate sin because of the punishment, I have not repented of sin; I merely regret that God is just. But if I can see sin as an offense against Jesus Christ, and loathe myself because I have wounded him, then I have a true brokenness of heart.” – Charles Spurgeon

Do you see the difference?

It’s in the text even.

Look at the wonderful verse 10 AGAIN.

God says, “They will look on me, the one they have pierced

In fact, in this chapter, God is saying that when awakening and revival comes to the Jews in our future, it’ll happen because they will look back on Jesus…and realize that it was their sin that killed him.

And awakening can come to us today in the same way…

When we realize that the people whose own sin pierced Jesus’ hands and pierced Jesus’ feet on the cross.

The people who are at fault for the spear piercing Jesus’ side…

Those people……….are us.

We killed Jesus. I killed Jesus. Your sin pierced Jesus.

Because as always say, “Jesus died for OUR sin right?”

And you cannot truly understand the love of God until you first understand this.

And we miss this in our churches in America…way too much.

If you listen to gospel messages or even how you may personally share the gospel…

We are so prone to say something like: “Jesus can change your life! You can know God. He loves you. Accept Him into your heart!”

What’s missing in that presentation?


You can’t explain the gospel without talking about sin.

Because without sin, there is no need for the Gospel!

And you can’t have an awakening until you begin to realize for the first time, or again for the 100th time…

… that it was our sin, that it was my sin, YOUR sin…that pierced the Son of God.

It was your gossip that put the nail in his hand.

It was your lying that crushed the nail into his feet.

It was your hatred that pierced the side of King Jesus.


And what happens when you let that really hit your heart?

We mourn.

That’s the 3rd part of a true awakening

The Anatomy of an Awakening

#1: God pours out His Spirit

#2: We look on the Pierced One

#3: We mourn our sin

I think sometimes people say, “I would love to experience a revival (and so would I”, but I often think people picture them as one long joyous dance.

But often they are solemn, and serious, and intense.

During Covid, I studied the famous Welsh revival of 1904 when almost entire cities were saved…the awakening was so strong.

And people would come every single night to these 3, 4 hour long church services.

And often as God’s Spirit came down, and they began to worship Jesus…

…and they began to look on the pierced one…

… people would just start yelling out their sins.

…in front of everyone.

And they would mourn…they had done such things…that they (that THEY!) had pierced the son of God.

And that’s what we see in our text.

They look on the pierced one, and then the end of verse 10 says that they “will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

And that is who Jesus is…God’s only son, His firstborn son.

And it says they will mourn like they lost their own son.

And who will mourn?

We read that it’s family lines of Royalty, and prophets, and priests.

Many of these that used to lead Israel astray will now mourn over the fact that their sin killed the Lamb of God.

Men & women, people great and small are all swept up in this.

This awakening is going to sweep an entire nation in the future.

That’s incredible! How?

Its’ what we’ve said:

God’s Spirit will be poured out

The people will look on the pierced one on the cross

And then they will begin to mourn over their sins.

You can actually see this exact anatomy of an awakening in Acts chapter 2 at the very beginning of the church.

It starts when the Holy Spirit (who is God) comes down on the disciples.

And people come running to see what is happening.

And the disciple Peter quotes the prophet Joel and says that God said He would going to pour out His Spirit!

And then Peter, very boldly says, listen, you, with the help of wicked men, put Jesus to death by nailing him on the cross.”

But God has raised Him from the dead!

And here is what happens next:

(Acts 2:37) – NIV

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

In their minds, they saw their own sin putting Jesus on the cross, and they were cut to the heart!

And listen to me, it’s only when you are cut to the heart…

It’s only when you see that it’s YOUR sin that killed Jesus…

…and yet…and yet…………..

Jesus still came to die in your place…for those sins…

And it’s only when you understand that, that you can be saved…or that you can be awakened again to a passion for Jesus.

I think of that line in the Hymn, “How deep the father’s love for us, “ that says:

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;

Can you see that scene? Can you see it honestly?

Jesus is being crucified at Calvary…

And you are there. You are watching on that dreadful day.

And yet somehow in that scene you find yourself there…not weeping, but handing a nail to the executioner.

And as you’re handing over the nail, Jesus’ eyes catch yours.

And He looks at you, and He says, “I forgive you. In fact, I’m letting this happen, so that you can be forgiven. That’s how deep my love is for you”

See, it’s only when you understand the Gospel at that level, that you’ll be desperate enough, like the people in Acts 2, to ask, “What shall we do? What shall we do?”

And Peter tells them repent (turn from that sin that put Jesus on the cross) and believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins”

And my friends, that truth is still true today.

If you have fallen asleep in your faith.

Go back to this anatomy of an awakening.

As we worship today, ask God to pour out his Spirit on you

Look up again to the Savior who was pierced for you.

Mourn over your sin.

You can’t move on from it until you see what it Has done…

And then you have to walk in his forgiveness.

And that’s where verse 1 of the next chapter comes in:

(Zechariah 13:1)

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

And that’s what happened when you believed in Jesus.

His forgiveness from the cross washed over you…like a fountain of living water.

And this is step 4 in an awakening

The Anatomy of an Awakening

#1: God pours out His Spirit

#2: Look on the Pierced One

#3: We mourn our sin

#4: Forgiveness is received

And some of you need to hear that for the first time.

And plenty of you need to go back to that truth this morning.

But also, church, THIS is the message we must get out to our city…if we’re going to see an awakening here!

We’re not here to bring a message of morality

That Jesus wants everyone to be a good little boy and girl.

That’s not the message of this book.

We’re not here to bring a message of “Life Coach Jesus”

That Jesus is here to give you good advice with your finances, and your relationships

That’s not the message of this book.

We’re here…to bring the Gospel to this city.

To let them know that, yes, their sin has pierced the Son of God.

But He is willing to forgive them anyway.

And not only that but to offer them a relationship with Him, and offer them eternal life.

This is our mission: To Follow Jesus & Help Others do the same!

And we will not rest until every person in our city has heard the Gospel!

Oh man, I want to see an AWAKENING IN OUR CITY!

And I believe God can do it through this church.

I think incredible days are coming, especially as we move back into our building, and into 2024.

But we must go back to step one.

Because it’s not a building that will bring an awakening…

The building just gives us space to handle one.

And so we need to look at the anatomy here!

We need to ask God to pour out his Spirit on us.

We need you to seek God with us.

Please…pray with us again.

Come to our prayer meetings before the service and beg God to move.

15 minutes before the service next week…right there behind the playground.

Let’s ask God to pour out His Spirit on this city.

And then let’s respond to it!

This week, I was reading of an evangelist who 30 years ago, was in the Congo, and was touring one of its worst prisons.

And the men of that outdoor prison were shackled, waiting for their death.

And every Tuesday* the executioner would come, and he would hang as many people on the tree in the courtyard…as he had the strength to do in one day.

And if you weren’t picked that day, you’d surely be hanged the next Tuesday, or the one after that.

And the evangelist thought, “I’ve got to get into that prison and preach the Gospel to those men in shackles, to those men on death row…as soon as possible!”

And I thought, the people of Anoka County may not be in physical shackles but they are in spiritual ones.

And what many of them will face at their death is far worse.

It’s an eternity in hell…an eternity without christ.

And so we’ve got to get to them.

We’ve got to tell them:

“Look on the pierced one!

Look at Him!

It’s your sin on him!

And Yet He loves yoU!

And He can forgive you!

And change you! And save you!

We’ve got to tell them!

That’s the last part of the awakening!

It’s us! We’ve got to go!

Will you go?

Will you tell them?

I pray that we do.

Lord send us an awakening. We need it.

Let me pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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