‘Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city.’ Acts 8:4-8
I have learned that I can do nothing of eternal significance without the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I have preached a sermon which I believed should have rocked the worlds of my listeners, but they have been more or less unaffected. Of course I get the odd, “that was very, very nice” comments but I have come to interpret ‘very, very nice’ as ‘interesting but unchallenging’. At other times I have preached a simple message that I don’t think is spiritual rocket science yet people have sat weeping as they listen. The difference can only be the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
A church that is relevant to it’s community
A church that is not anointed will, at best, be interesting but spiritually irrelevant to its community. An anointed church can, and should, challenge and transform its local community. Revival brings great anointing to the people of God but that Holy Spirit anointing MUST impact the secular community. True, revival is a ‘church’ thing. God sends revival to the church, but the ultimate result of that revival must be a reformed community.
I hesitate to use the word ’reformed’ because a segment of the church has appropriated it to describe their particular doctrinal biases. However, it’s a good and noble word and so I use it to label the transformation in values, morals, ethics, and spirituality that must be the ultimate product of any true revival.
A revived church must result in a reformed society. If this is not the result of revival, then we should be questioning the legitimacy of the revival itself. What do you think? Is it enough to send out teams of ‘trained’ people onto the streets with simplistic tracts? Is the ‘fruit’ of revival merely a hilariously horizontal congregation? Or is the true fruit of revival a secular society deeply impacted by eternal realities and a sense of the presence of God?