I believe that only genuine Holy Spirit, Bible-based, and Jesus-centred REVIVAL can rescue the church and nations from the darkness that has fallen upon us.
On Sunday morning and evening I preached at the church of a dear friend; my text was Isaiah 61 and the subject matter was ‘revival’. In the morning I described the Kwasizabantu Zululand revival of 1966 as an example of what can happen in times of revival, and in the evening I detailed the wonderful revival of 1949 that took place in the Scottish Hebrides. You can listen to these sermons by clicking on the audio player links provided at the bottom of this post.
For those of you who prefer a quick read to a long listen, let me outline the ground I covered.
What is Revival?
First allow me to say what revival is NOT:
- It’s not a special rally as in “We are holding a revival Friday through Sunday”
- It’s not a period of growth and health in a local church.
- It’s not a hype and drama signs and wonders promotion – a sort of show-and-tell what God is doing in OUR church.
No, Revival is so much MORE than any of these things.
- It is a sudden and sovereign move of God.
- It is a visitation from God: “When God stepped down”
- It is an acute and sustained church-wide, and often country-wide sense of the presence of God.
- It is when a community is saturated with Holy Spirit.
- It is a dramatic return to Acts 2 Christianity.
- It is a Reformation, Restoration, and Renewal of the CHURCH that then extends to society at large.
- It is when Jesus manifests himself gloriously in and through His church.
Brian Edwards describes revival in his book ‘Revival – a people saturated with God’: A true Holy Spirit revival is a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a large number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of God, intensity of prayer and praise, a deep conviction of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers.
Revival is remarkable, large, effective and, above all, it something that God brings about. It is quite impossible for man to create a revival.
Though men may prepare and pray for it, revival is the work of the sovereign God, not primarily for the benefit of his people, but for his own honour and glory.
Why do we need revival?
After considering the nature of revival it should be obvious but allow me to spell it out.
- In Isaiah’s day Israel and the nations were in great spiritual darkness Ref. ISA 60:2 ‘See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples’ Just so today – look around at ecology, economy, politics, the state of the church!
- ISA 59:14-15(a) ‘So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.’ Just so today!
But it’s not just the world around us that is in darkness for the church too has generally lost its way.
The church has lost its focus on Jesus!
- Jesus as only Saviour
- Jesus as effective Lord and head of our churches.
- Jesus as our model for life and ministry.
- Jesus as our interpreter of scripture.
The only thing that can bring the church back to the centrality of Jesus is REVIVAL!
And the only thing that can bring light to our dark world is a revived church!
The Revival I believe is at the door of the church is not ‘just’ like the great Protestant reformation, or the many restoration movements of the past, or the Azusa type outpourings but ALL THREE – Reformation, Restoration, and Revival.
But more than anything else IT WILL BE A JESUS REVIVAL!
So what can we expect at a personal level when revival comes?
- It will be emotionally volatile
- It will be messy and spontaneous
- It will not be within our ability to control
- It will call for humility and transparency as sin issues are revealed
- It will demand our time and energy
- It will be all consuming
- BUT it will be glorious
- And it will be the only hope for church and world
The questions I believe the Holy Spirit is urgently presenting to all of us are; “Do you want revival?”
And “Are you prepared to call on me in prayer until I come win revival power?”
And “Are you prepared to pay the price that revival will demand of you?”
Over the last few years I have written much on Revival and here are the links to my other articles:
- What we need most is revival
- Reforming structure for revival
- Anointed for revival
- The ultimate result of Revival
- Sometimes God does it all Himself in times of revival
- The Sending Power of Revival
- The drawing power of revival
- Personal witness in times of revival
- Taking our eyes off the revival ‘ball’
- Divisions in times of revival
- Devotion to each other in times of revival
- Relationships in times of revival
- Revival – an Awe-filled Time
- Revival – Devotion to the Fellowship
- Revival – Devotion to Communion with God
- Revival – Devotion to The Word
- Revival – The Need
- What we need most
- When God says, “Step aside!”
- How to discern a Move of God
And finally, for those of you who prefer watching to reading or listening, here is a three-part video series on Revival:
Morning Service: Revival 1 (click ‘play’ button to listen)
Evening Service: Revival 2 (click ‘play’ button to listen)