“You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth.” Psalm 70:20
We hear a great deal about revival these days, but one has the feeling that many of those who talk much about it really know very little about it! Revival is defined as “coming back to life; with vigour. A religious fervor.” We are going to approach this absorbing subject in depth with three points:
1. What Is Revival? “A quickening of the powers of the mind and heart.” (1SM128)
A. It is not evangelism – even though many may be saved as a result of it.
B. It is not emotionalism although there may be emotional manifestations connected with it.
C. Modern times revivalism – a lot of interest is spread and many profess conversion; a large number may join the churches.
D. “Counterfeit revivals allow Satan to be introduced into the Church.” (GC464) “Many cry fanaticism but not all. (GW170).
But, unfortunately, results don’t show any increase or growth in spiritual life and awareness. The light flames up for awhile, then soon dies out and darkness becomes greater than before. They are “temporary effects.” “Popular revivals appeal to imaginations, too often, exciting the emotions, and satisfy a love for something new, startling, eccentric, odd.” (GC 463)(4T74). These converts, once gained this way have: a. Little desire to listen to Bible Truths. b. Little desire in the testimonies of the Prophets and Apostles. c. Little desire for the Old Testament and the Law (Ten Commandments) d. Little desire to change their diet. e. Little desire to keep the Sabbath rest day.
Furthermore, they cannot always be reasoned with; there’s no response; there’s no awakening. Unless the religious service has something sensational in character, it has no attraction to them. God’s plain warning in His Word, relating and speaking to their eternal interests and life are not listened to – no interest whatsoever! When a soul is truly converted, the relationship to God and eternal things will be great topics of life – isn’t that so?
But, where is there in the popular churches today, the spirit of Holiness, the spirit of Consecration to God? Where are the Holy ones? The Holy people? Holy people are ones with attractive, beautiful personalities, and smiles, a whole person, whole minded, whole hearted, whole spirited, and generous. Holiness means completeness, dedicated to God, and content, because they trust in God – have peace.
The converts, by counterfeit revivals, however, don’t renounce their pride, their carnality, the love of the world, and worldly things. They are not more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. Religion has become a sport, a game with infidels. Why? Because they are ignorant of its principles. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the Law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hos. 4:6).
It’s like having a severe headache. You don’t like it, but you don’t want to lose your head over it! In fact, the power of Godliness has left many churches. But, still there are true followers of Christ in these churches – remnant churches. Before God’s final judgments upon the earth, there will be, among the people of the Lord, such a revival that has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The spirit and power of God will be poured out upon his children – those that are sealed and receive the Latter Rain. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which love of the world has replaced love for God and his Word. Many, both ministers and people, will accept gladly those great truths, which God is proclaiming at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming.
The enemy, however, desires to hinder and stop this work before such a movement comes. He’ll introduce a counterfeit revival full of sensationalism, eccentricities, and in a romantic style. He will make it appear that God’s special blessings are poured out – and an appearance of great religious interest; Charismatic, and Celebration Movements, with rock music, deafening-jarring drums, twanging guitars, and sweaty preachers. Furthermore, there will be a mixing of truth and error presented with emotional excitement and stimuli.
Watch and Pray
Yet, no one needs to be deceived. In the light of God’s Word, one can clearly see the true nature of these bizarre movements. When man neglects the testimony of the Bible, turning away from the plain truths and the Law, which require self-denial and renunciation of the world and worldliness, God’s blessing is withheld. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Clearly then, in fact, we can see that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God. In the truth of His Word, God has revealed Himself to mankind. The neglect of these truths, however, opens the door to the enemy and evilness, which are rampantly spreading in the religious world.
God’s Law has been lost sight of, its standards, holiness, and permanency. The wrong concepts, character, obligations of the law, have led to a lowering of its standards and holiness in the Church! Here, therefore, is the secret of the lack of the Spirit and power of God in revivals of our time!
2. When Is A Revival Needed?
A. Whenever the love of God’s people wax cold. Lukewarmness: A professed believer is not really disturbed at hearing heretical teachings and is not vigorous or strong in defense of the truth. (Remember the reaction of Jesus with the money-changers in the Temple). This is the most tragic thing happening to the Church today!
B. Symptoms – A sickness in need of a cure
i. Spiritual complacency–“Ye who are spiritual restore such an one.” (Gal 6:1)
ii. Lack of concern for the lost and confused–“Like lost sheep.” (Jer. 50:6)
iii. Hiding secret sinÑ”Out secret sin.” (Psalm 90:8)
iv. Anger-animosity towards other Christians: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matt 24:12)
v. An unforgiving spirit: “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (Matt 5:38).
vi. Worldliness: the love of the world. “He has set the world in their heart.” (Eccl 3:11)
vii. Growth of pride. “Pride do I hate.” (Ps. 8:13)
viii. Self-righteousness–“Be not righteous overmuch.” (Eccl 7:16)
xi. Any condition of spiritual standing in which we are in a state less than we were before. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor.” (Lev 19:18)
c. Dangers In Our Need For Revival
i. Deteriorating, slow change, which often comes without awareness – imperceptible, subtle onset. Much like a rising temperature in an illness; colon, pancreatic, beast cancer, coronary – heart disease. “Slow of heart.”( Luke24:25)
ii. Often the spiritual condition of our hearts is such that we are, also, not aware of our need at the very time it is the greatest. “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25) (Ezek 18:31).
iii. The flesh tends to fight revival. If the flesh is carnal, one cannot please God. “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38).
3. How Can We Have A Revival?
A. God is sovereign in starting or bestowing a revival.
i. Ultimately, it comes when He, God wills it, not man. “A baptism of the Holy Spirit will lead to a revival of true religion.” (Psalm 71:20) (2SM).
ii. There’s no set pattern which will surely bring it to fruition; no church picnics, church bazaars, fairs, socials, pot-lucks, concerts, bake sales. etc. can quicken a revival.
iii. It’s impossible to schedule a revival, or make such a resolution; e.g. “A revival is scheduled for the first of the year!”
B. There are certain conditions to first meet to bring about the kind of situation into which God sends revival.
i. Prayer – praying that God will send a revival to His people and to His work. “Expect a revival only in answer to prayer” (1SM 121).”Quicken me according to thy Word.” (Psalm 119:25).
ii. Facing of spiritual realities:
a. Facing ourselves for what we really are: “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”(Rev 3:17) (The Lukewarm Church).
b. Facing the nature of God: “Turn from your evil ways and keep my CommandmentsÉ but they would not and stiffened their necks.” (2 Kings 17:13,14).
c. Facing the true nature of sin: “sin is the transgression of the Law.” (Rom4:15).
3. Confession of sin: confession means to agree with God concerning sin. (John 1:15; 4:2; 1 John 1:9). It’s not freedom of conscience!
iv. Seeking of life on a higher plane than we have known it – heavenward – upward. “But rather seek ye the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:31). “You can walk on water, fly like an eagle, and move mountains!”
v. God calls for a revival of health reform: “your body is the temple of God.”(1Cor 6:19).
C. The problem of desire.
i. Usually we don’t want it (a revival) badly enough to make any difference.
ii. God, sometimes, has to bring us to the end of ourselves before we desire to really know it. Jesus said, “I have trodden the wine press alone.” (Isaiah 63:3)
Revival – More Than Wishing
To be sure, “Revival will not come with the efforts on the believer’s part.”(1SM 190). Also, “the whole church will never be revived.” (SM 122). You see, revival cannot be turned on or off like a water fountain, but there are conditions of His promises which we must meet if a sovereign God is to bestow revival. Then we can be transformed and revived. Certainly God is sovereign. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8). Ah! But, let us beware, however, of making the sovereignty of God the scapegoat of our own sinful, worldly and careless living. “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Rom 14:9). A “revival” of Jesus! A “revival” for us through Jesus.
True revival is always marked by an overwhelming sense of the presence of the Lord. When a church is touched by revival, its members act just as they would if Jesus were physically present in the sanctuary Sabbath after Sabbath. If you are hungry for the presence of God in your life, develop an appetite for worship; study the Word of God, listen to worship choruses, look for evidences of His care, lessons on His character, and take an active part in the church’s worship service–then offer thanksgiving or praise for them. Hebrews 13:15 says, “let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.”
In Genesis 3, we find that the Garden of Eden and the ingredient that made it so beautiful and the real hallmark of Paradise was the presence of God. What we have not mastered is walking with the Lord “in the cool of the day.” (Genesis 3:8).
During the Great Awakening in 1735, the earliest widespread revival in America, Jonathan Edwards wrote, “The town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It was never so full of love, nor so full of joy.”
Moreover, in the O.T., God’s people experienced a marvelous national revival under Hezekiah, a twenty five year old king, who urged his people to “serve the Lord your God, so that His fierce anger will turn away from you. He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” (2 Chronicles 30:8,9). In second Chronicles 29-31 is described the people’s repentance from sin, the purification of the temple, a great celebration of worship and the nation’s return to the LordÉ a stupendous revival of an entire nation! “Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for His people, because it was done so quickly.” In your prayers, begin asking God for a rapid spiritual turnabout in your life, your family, your church, your community, your city, your nation! Even so, “a reformation should accompany a revival;” for “a reformation and revival are two different things.” (1SM 127-128). “God’s people will not endure the test without a reformation.”(7T 285). Reformation means – improve, abandon evil practices!
Matthew 1:23 tells us, by definition, that Jesus was Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” Jesus stated His purpose for being on earth in John 10:10: “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” That’s what revival is all about! “It’s the renewal of the spiritual life.” (1SM 128).
David appealed to God in Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,” Revival is what David is asking for after a tragic spiritual fall; adultery, and murder.
Revival is not something strange or mysterious. If you want to return to a “first love” relationship with the Lord, you’ll be thrilled to discover that God has desired that for you all along. What David knew, you too can know. The freshness of your spiritual life can be restored. Your Revival Time is now! Amen.
John Theodorou, U.S.A.