Why We Need Revival

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Christian Living
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re·viv·al  noun /riˈvīvəl/

1. An improvement in the condition or strength of something

2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence.

3. A reawakening of religious fervor, esp. by means of a series of evangelistic meetings

4. A time of reawakened interest in religion.

One only needs to read the headlines in local newspapers or on the internet to know that our world is in serious trouble:

Social Security disability on verge of insolvency; Two shot, one attacked, at NFL pre-season game; Egypt, Israel tries to defuse tension over killings; London riots: police lose battle as lawlessness erupts; Chicago Police Brace for ‘Flash Mob’ Attacks; Gunman opens fire at Philadelphia basketball game…. And on and on it goes.

Throughout history God has called for people to repent and turn away from their ungodliness and every time they could not bring themselves to recognize their own sin. In failing to recognize their sin, they failed to recognize the holy God that they were called to serve. And as a result, God had to discipline his people with judgment. It is no different today. For decades God has been sending his prophets to warn us of His impending judgment, but we refuse to listen to them and instead continue to sin and listen to the false prophets who preach, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

Many of God’s prophets in the Old Testament delivered God’s message of impending judgment but time and time again the people would not listen because of their unrepentant hearts. The message of the Old Testament prophets is the same as it is today. The message of repentance!

I believe that the time for revival is now! Not the revival that is planned with big tents and special ‘Revival Evangelists’ but a true Holy Spirit revival that changes the lives of believers.

Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new compassion, zeal, and new life. And what a great responsibility this lays on the Church of God! Because if you hinder the work of God’s spirit by your unrepentant hearts, then the people who are perishing in the world are the ones who really suffer! Revival is not excitement, or emotionalism. It is not even evangelism! Revival is the moving of God’s Spirit, through the power of His Word, to the hearts of His children, that resurrects new life in those areas which have been lying stagnant, dormant, or out of balance, and that results in a new love and obedience to Jesus Christ.

The captives in Babylon missed revival because they placed their idols above their one true God. And if revival is being withheld from us today it is because some idol remains still enthroned in our hearts; because we still insist in placing our reliance on human schemes; and because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that, “It is not by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)  Hosea 10:12 says: “Sow to yourself in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and reign righteousness upon you.”

What is fallow ground? Fallow ground is ground that was once fruitful, but then it has been unplowed and left alone. After a time, it becomes so hard that no seed can be sown in it and it becomes unproductive. In order to plant again this ground must first be plowed up and turned over to kill the weeds that would crowd out the crop or compete with it for water and nutrients. Notice that the scripture says that we are to break up our fallow ground. Psalm 85:6 states: “Would Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee.” So, without revival, without breaking up the fallow ground in our hearts, there is an absence of joy and our lives become unproductive.

I have read of the revivals of the past, great sweeping revivals where thousands of men were brought into the Kingdom of God. I read about Charles Finney winning his thousands and his hundreds of thousands of souls to Christ. When you read the messages of Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgen you can feel their desperation for sinners falling into the hands of a just God, and understand why men and women trembled and fell down at the altars and cried out in repentance and sobbed their way to the throne of grace!

Where are the men and women of desperation today? Why do we not care if our loved ones depart this world without salvation? Why are we satisfied with a dull watered down Gospel in exchange for the fire of the Holy Spirit? If you are waiting for a pastor or Bible teacher to lead the world to revival you will have a long wait; because religious leaders seldom welcome revival.

Leonard Ravenhill, one of the greatest revival preachers of our time said, “I don’t think the world has ever been in a greater sense of turmoil than it is in this moment. I don’t think our nation has. Whatever we shall say about revival we have to recognize this: There are three things about natural life: conception, gestation, and birth. You can’t alter the program. There has never been revival, that I can trace, that has not been preceded by agonizing prayer. You might say, “I haven’t got to that stage yet of agonizing prayer. How does is come?” Well, it comes through vision. If we are really going to get a concept of revival we have to get a vision of God’s sorrow over sin. We have to get a concept of how, day by day, we offend God. As a nation we offend God in millions of ways. If we are going to realize how much we need revival we need to recognize the dimension of sin. We have to recognize that sin offends God.”

This is the one thing that Israel and Judah did not recognize. Even though God sent prophets to warn them, they refused to repent. And because they refused to listen, they were taken captive into Babylon. And this is the one thing that God’s people today fail to recognize.

Characteristics of Revivals of the past

During revivals of the past, people were making money hand over fist. (Due to the railroad and the industrial revolution) because of the economic bubble, there was also a very serious spiritual decline. But at the same time, many were speaking out against the social injustices of the time, such as slavery. Some abolitionists felt so strongly against slavery that they felt justified in the killing of slave owners. Then as the economic bubble began to burst many people found themselves in a sudden economic downturn. Revival started as the result of intense prayer and God seemed to answer prayer in places that they least expected it and the power of God seemed to fall spontaneously in many different places. Soon afterward the Lord breathed new life into the Church where there was widespread repentance and brokenness of Christians and backsliders alike. There were also conversions of ministers during these revivals.

Why America is ready for revival

In the past decades Americans have experienced an economic boom. The 2007 World Wealth Report, issued by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini, showed a record number of millionaires in North America and abroad. The survey said there were 9.5 million millionaires in the world at the end of 2006. The millionaire population increased 8.3% between 2005 and 2006. And these millionaires controlled $37.2 trillion in wealth. By 2011, that wealth is expected to grow to $51.6 trillion. In North America, the number of financial millionaires grew 9.2% to 3.2 million. Their total wealth grew by 10% to $11.3 trillion.

In recent years some of those opposed to abortion, (The social injustice of our time) have sometimes resorted to very public demonstrations of violence in an effort to achieve their objective of curbing the termination of pregnancy. Those who engage in or support such actions defend the use of force—as justifiable homicide or defense of others—in the interest of protecting the life of the fetus.

The financial crisis in the late-2000s is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It resulted in the collapse of large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market has also suffered, resulting in numerous evictions, foreclosures and prolonged vacancies. It also contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth, which lead to a severe global economic recession in 2008. Due to the foreclosures and evictions the homeless population continues to increase and currently the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old!

The characteristics for revivals have not changed; and the Satan’s tactics to keep people from God has not changed either. Unfortunately, people tend to fall for his same old tricks. Mankind continues to put its confidence in ourselves instead of God; all the while expecting God to bless and prosper us as a nation. And then we question why He has not! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results!

Real revival is taking place, but not in America. It is occurring in Korea, where the Church has grown from less than one million 25 years ago, to over 12 million today. And it is occurring in Africa, where the Church is growing so fast that Muslims attack preachers and disrupt meetings to try to stop its progress. It is taking place in Central and South America, in China and Malaysia, but in America? No! We are so smug in our presumed spiritual superiority, so at ease in our comfortable buildings, so fat in our land of plenty that we have no need of God. That may be why God has allowed the current financial crises to occur.

Just like the ancient people of God, we have not realized our sin, and we have failed to acknowledge the holy God that we were called to serve. Why is it only when we feel threatened that we turn to God? When our money can’t help us, we may cry out to Him. When the doctors can’t save us, we may pray for a healing. When we feel we might not be quite as good as we should be, we might respond to an invitation and let the preacher massage our conscience by telling us that now that we have accepted Jesus we’re alright. We might come to God to be “blessed”, we might go to meetings to hear how God wants to “prosper” us and make us wealthy – but surrender to God? Devote our whole lives, hearts, minds, souls and strength, to His cause? Never! We have become a nation of jail house converts!

America will only see true revival if we begin to pay more than lip service to God and His Word. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states “If my people, which are called by my name, 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.” We have heard it preached many times but we must believe it and obey it if we are to see God move in our land. Our church leaders must obey the admonition of Joel, who declares, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” (Joel 2:17) In Habakkuk 3:2 the prophet prays, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” This must become the believer’s heart cry! Elisha exclaimed, “Where is the God of Elijah?” But God is now crying out, “Where are the Elijahs of God?” America can have true Holy Spirit revival if the Church recognizes the need for it and does what it takes to bring it about.

                           Oh Lord! Send revival to your Church now!

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