More than ever we hear church leaders bellowing about revival as they throw the word about like candy to their congregations with the promises that “we’re going to have revival!” and “revival is coming, get ready!”
There is great misconception in what pulpit occupiers are saying of what revival means according to the word of God. How presumptuous are those who occupy the pulpits for so many unsuspecting souls who are given to them with the responsibility of care and nurturing. They speak great swelling words that stir the emotions and build up a hot expectancy that God will revive those whose hearts are not yet prepared.
True revival is the spiritual reawakening of one’s faith and renewing of their commitment to God through the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The word “revive” in scripture means to restore to life. There are many of these encouraging passages of scripture regarding God’s promise to restore and revive those who are His.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
As believers, we must humble ourselves and acknowledge our sins, allowing the Lord to search our hearts for anything that does not please Him. “Do I have any unforgiveness towards anyone or have I wronged someone?” We must confess and wholeheartedly repent of our sin. Repentance is a change of our heart’s motive, mind and direction. From this point on we must trust that God is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is the first step into God’s perfect will for His people to return to Him and be revived. This is first individually and then corporately as His church. It is but a futile attempt by man to suppose that God will revive us by proclaiming and just wishing for it. Take heed to these verses in Isaiah showing what God expects of those He will revive:
Isaiah 57:14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.
Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Now do you see why we are not experiencing true revival? The stumbling blocks must be removed out of the way of God’s people: false doctrine, corrupt teaching of God’s Word, and stale traditions that hinder the move of God.
We have spoken with many who clearly see the corruption within their church denomination and their own lives. They do not know how to change it. They struggle through for a season and out of sheer frustration in their near death experiences they come to a final conclusion. They propose an event that will certainly reach the heart of God. They call in the super preacher, put up flyers, and learn new praise and worship tunes. They raise funds by car washes, bake sales, and bazaars. They order the tent, the chairs, and build a stage, preparing for REVIVAL!! NOW they pray for revival. But low and behold their recipe for a powerful revival fizzles.
Man’s pattern for revival is doomed for failure. Almighty God’s vision for man is to restore him to right standing with Him. He gives the vision, the wisdom and the provision for His work to be accomplished here on earth as long as we do it His way. We must be ready and willing to take action by allowing the Holy Spirit to have free reign over us for God’s ultimate loving purpose accomplished through our obedience.
There are several examples of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in history which Christians point to as examples of revival. Nearly every time we have heard these historical accounts retold the emphasis is misleading. Great hopes and expectations are placed on people flocking to the revival sites in droves, sinners lying on the floor being convicted for their sins, saloons and taverns shut down, and an outpouring of God’s blessing on an entire region.
Conversely, we rarely ever see bold preaching of the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Very seldom do we see broken and contrite Christians gather by the direction of the Holy Spirit and sincerely repent and wait upon the Lord to bring true revival to the hearts and minds of His church. This is the yearning of our hearts today and well within the grasp of His people.
We remember when the twin towers fell in 2001 and the churches in America where overflowing. Shortly after, the majority of the churches returned to their minimal numbers. The churches for the most part did not preach true repentance, nor did they point out that only the righteous judgments of God can return America to Him.
True revival begins with judgment, a word which has become repugnant to the populace these days. Only through God’s judgment will we experience God’s righteousness and come to walk in His perfect will bringing us to true peace and joy. This judgment must begin at the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17).
Will we see huge revival like many are expecting? No. Not unless we see the masses repenting and this would require bold preaching and teaching of God’s Word in righteousness and truth. We are living in the last days. There is no promise in God’s Word about a great returning to the Lord in the last days. The opposite is predicted: a falling away (2 Thess. 2:3), many false teachers and many being deceived (Matt. 24:4-11), and the love of many growing cold (Matt. 24:12).
The prophets such as Isaiah write about a remnant, a select portion who will return to the Lord. Revelation describes persecution and martyrdom for Christians in the last days. These scriptures are to stir our hearts in these days as God’s desire is that many would be restored unto Him as the Spirit of God is being poured out upon all flesh. With the increasing darkness there is also increasing conviction within the souls of those who are drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. Through God’s divine leading, with His timing and miraculous intervention, we can touch those searching souls with the love of Jesus Christ and words that will turn their hearts to Him.
Revival begins with the individual, according to one’s heart condition and desire. Areas of familiarity and comfort are the very things that hinder revival in a person’s life. We, in our human nature, make excuses for the things we don’t want to change. Maybe clinging to church traditions and customs makes us feel good, yet add nothing toward the furtherance of the kingdom of God. Perhaps it is fear keeping us from being bold and clear about our faith. Through Jesus Christ we can cease hiding behind a false persona of being shy or timid and rise up in newness of life to be like Him.
We need revival. Let it begin with us today!