people-praying-for-revival3Now, learn the truth about revival. Discover what every Christian should know about it in 10 minutes.

The current condition of the Church requires an accurate, Biblical definition of revival. The many fallacies of revival cause confusion within the Church. In addition, the spiritual decline of the Church and individual Christians demands a clear statement to give proper direction for its solution.

Biblical revival describes a time when God pours out His glorious presence upon the child (ren) of God through an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit that produces extraordinary effects in the child (ren) of God and in the world.

In essence, this definition identifies four critical, fundamental areas that call for more detailed explanation: the nature of revival, the source of revival, the objects of revival, and the effects of revival.

Nature of revival

As declared in the simple definition, revival describes an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the child (ren) of God. In revival, God manifests His glorious presence. He overwhelms people, and they fall before Him in worship, fear, and adoration. God’s presence permeates all of life.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones described this manifest presence of God in revival.

“It is a consciousness of the presence of God the Holy Spirit literally in the midst of the people. Probably most of us…have never known that, but that is exactly what is meant by a visitation of God’s Spirit. It is all beyond the highest experiences in the normal life and working of the Church. Suddenly those present in the meeting become aware that someone has come amongst them, they are aware of a glory, they are aware of a presence. They can not define it, they can not describe it, and they can not put it into words. They just know that they have never known anything like this before. Sometimes they describe it as ‘days of heaven on earth.’ They really feel that they are in heaven, they have forgotten time; they are beyond that, time has no longer any meaning for them, nor any real existence, they are in a spiritual realm. God has come down amongst them and has filled the place and the people with a sense of His glorious presence.”

This describes revival. God pours out His glorious presence and manifests Himself to believers who note His presence. They feel Him. He reveals Himself in unmistakable fashion through an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. His Spirit fills them, and His awesome presence brings a wonder and amazement all of its own. It is clearly Him and not a manufactured or manipulated feeling.

Source of revival

The stated definition says, in part, “…God pours out His presence…” That phrase recognizes the role of the sovereignty of God in revival. Revival comes from God when and where He pleases.

This statement, however, flies in the face of popular opinion. All of the fallacies have one common theme. Humanity can meet certain requirements that, when fulfilled, guarantee and produce revival. Nevertheless, history and Scripture prove the error of that conclusion.

God acts sovereignly in revival for at least four reasons. First, it demonstrates that the true nature of humanity, weak in the flesh to attain God’s righteous demands, requires God’s sovereign work. Second, it reveals the attributes of God: loving, just, gracious, and merciful, to name just a few of them. Third, it shows mankind’s complete dependence upon God. Finally, it exposes the futility of formulas to produce it. In other words, revival begins and ends with God, Who maintains complete control over every aspect of it.

Charles Spurgeon referred to the Psalms to describe God’s sovereign work in his London ministry. You will recognize the reliance upon God’s sovereignty in this example from Psalms 80:18-19:

“So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. {19} Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

The psalmist prays to God for relief, but he shows his utter reliance upon God for it. God must quicken His people even before they will seek Him. He must turn His people and cause His face to shine upon them.

Finally, the outpouring of God’s glorious presence on Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 confirms unmistakably the sovereignty of God in revival.

In contrast, Charles Finney, for example, believed that any one could produce revival simply by following stated means. In his writings, Finney outlined the specific steps that would culminate in revival. Numerous Godly men and women faithfully followed them, including many today. Yet, they have failed to experience revival. He neglected the sovereignty of God in revival.

God holds revival, the manifestation of His glorious presence, in His hand to dispense as He wills, when He wills, and where He wills.

Objects of revival

The definition of revival identifies the objects of revival, the child (ren) of God. The child(ren) of God contrast(s) with the world. The world of the unsaved needs regeneration, not revival. They require the new birth, which the Holy Spirit gives to God’s chosen ones. To revive means to impart new health, vigor, or spirit to it. The one revived has spiritual life restored to use. Since unbelievers have no existing spiritual life, they need that new life. Once born from above by the Spirit, they can experience the outpouring of God’s glorious presence.

Numerous Scripture references establish this truth. However, one reference ties the origin of revival together with the objects of revival, Acts 2. It shows the sovereignty of God as the source of revival as well as the people of God as its object. Those, who believed on Christ as a result of Pentecost entered, too, into the glorious experience of God’s poured out Spirit.

Church history records it in application as well. In this regard, many examples exist to substantiate it. Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, documented it in his ministry. God sent revival to Spurgeon’s work in London for many years. He said very simply:

“A true revival is to be looked for in the Church of God.”

When God sends revival, it comes to His people.

Outcome of revival

Finally, Biblical revival produces extraordinary effects in the child (ren) of God and in the world. But, it reveals itself first in the Church.

In revival, doctrinal truth becomes a primary emphasis. The Scriptures actually become the foundation of life and practice. Christians view God as actually sovereign, not an old man helplessly observing His creatures. The Church recognizes Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church. Believers no longer quench, grieve, nor resist the Holy Spirit. Salvation becomes more than a catch phrase or an innocuous decision.

In revival, God also exhibits His great power. He displays it in believers’ changed lives. Holiness and separation from the world mark the believer’s life. Christians increase their faithfulness to God. True repentance and sorrow from long forgotten sins characterize everyday life in revival.

The world receives the impact of His power, too. Flocks of unbelievers feel a deep sense of conviction for sin and come to true saving faith in Jesus Christ. The holiness of Christians together with the salvation of nonChristians frequently changes society. Blatant immorality, drunkenness, and debauchery of life cease in great measure.

Finally, God sends revival for one great reason, His honor and glory. Mark well the statement in Isaiah 64:1-2:

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. {2} As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!”

Cry For Revival

No more pressing need has ever existed for God to display His presence and power in revival than today. What can the Church of Jesus Christ and believers do, then, in the face of this staggering necessity? The Scriptures by abundant example and exhortation call the Church to pray and seek God’s mercy. (See Hebrews 4.16.)

However, this kind of prayer can result only from the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit. One passage in particular gives hope to the believer. It is the example of the disciples at prayer in Acts 4:25-30:

“Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? {26} The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. {27} For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, {28} For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. {29} And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, {30} By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signme of thy holy child Jesus.”

It shows both their prayer for God to manifest Himself and their reliance upon God’s sovereignty.

Furthermore, Jesus encouraged believers by a promise to send His Holy Spirit to those who ask. Note His promise in Luke 11:13:

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

Jesus has promised additional and greater outpourings of His Spirit in answer to believing prayer. This promise will hearten those who pray for spiritual revival.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will prompt you to join with countless others who cry day and night to our God that He will indeed pour out His glorious presence upon His people through a mighty effusion of His Holy Spirit. May He come to you personally today in grace and bring this spiritual encounter in your life. May He come to His people in a glorious effusion to His honor, glory, and praise.

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