Theme: Outreach in times of Revival
‘We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”’ Acts 2:11-12
In the months when the words ‘Torronto blessing’ were on many people’s lips, some local churches attempted to stage their own versions. I went along to something that was called ‘Catch the Fire’ but I neither caught anything nor got caught (pun intended). The series of meetings were well advertised, and the idea was that people should come and get revived… but it didn’t quite work out that way.
There are several versions of John Wesley’s quote “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” Another is, “When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” There is some truth in this, but the fire we should be seeking is not just self-induced enthusiasm, but Holy Spirit fire. I like Leonard Ravenhill’s quote in ‘Why Revival Tarries’ where he writes, “A blazing bush drew Moses; a blazing Church will attract the world, so that from its midst they will hear the voice of the living God.’ The burning bush was a supernatural manifestation of God’s glory and a church ablaze with true revival fire is an equally supernatural manifestation.
On the day of Pentecost, the 120-odd disciples burst out of the upper room all speaking in strange tongues. What a commotion this must have caused. It certainly attracted a large crowd who all heard the disciples proclaiming the glory of God in their own languages. Supernatural praise supernaturally interpreted into scores of known languages. The result of this is that Peter took the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel and approximately 3 000 got saved! This is the pattern for an aspect of revival – the supernatural drawing power of the Holy Spirit.
There is a significant difference been the original day of Pentecost experience and the many modern day revivals we hear so much about. In Jerusalem, the unsaved people already there were attracted, saved and incorporated into the local church. In most modern ‘days of Pentecost,’ already saved people come from far and wide to catch something that they hope they can take back with them to give to other saved people. This doesn’t sit well with me. My expectation of revival in the local church is that the existing congregation will catch fire and that they will take this fire out into their communities. What is your expectation? If revival broke out in your church would you advertise that other Christians should come, or would you exhort your people to go?