1999-12-21 - Revival
The Revival Series, Part 1
Psalm 85:6 Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?
Revival is one of those interesting subjects that everyone talks about, but few understand. It is for this reason that I would like to spend a little time looking at revival historically, and with a view to a response of Christian devotion. To aid in this end I have re-published a sermon from the 1858 prayer meeting revival that stated in New York City. Information on how to obtain this sermon is at the end of this devotional.
Revival is a phrase that is applied to the spiritual state of a community. A town is said to be in revival. A college goes through a time of revival. Or in rare instances, a nation experiences revival.
The mark or evidence of a revival is a escalation or surge in the hearts of individuals with concern over the condition of their souls. Religious concerns, however, do not make a revival. Revival takes place when those religious concerns are married with a visitation of God's Spirit, coming to a church, town, community or nation and awakening believers, reclaiming backsliders, and converting sinners.
This is why we can not plan revivals. The greatest misconception regarding revival is that we can have a yearly, or semi-annual revival in April or/and October. Churches fall into this trap all the time. They, in a sense, announce to the congregation that God's Spirit will visit on this or that weekend in this or that month, and therefore, "we will be having a revival." On Monday morning, after a planned revival, everything for the individual in the congregation is often back to normal. This is NOT revival!
Revival is the spontaneous and unplanned, flowing of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the unsuspecting in such power, in such glory, that the world takes notice. In a revival in Windham, Connecticut in the early 1730's the effect was so extensive, so pervasive, that there was not one household in the town that did not have a member in the local church. Every house was effected. Every person in that town and all the surrounding towns knew that something beyond human design was happening.
Are you in need of revival? As noted above, revival awakens believers who have become comfortable in their circumstances and walk with the Lord, it reclaims backsliders, who have fallen into sinful practices and customs, and it converts sinners. Revival does these things to such an extent that in a town that experiences revival, all the bars, gaming houses, and similar dens of sin shut down their operations because there are no patrons.
Everyone of us fits into one of those above categories. We either need to be converted, reclaimed, or awakened. Revival is not something that we can create in ourselves, but we can pray for it. Since we can't create it, we can attempt to "pray it down." Would you like to have all the people in your town or city concerned with the state of their souls? Well, then, revival has begun with you, for you know the value of concern for your soul. Go now to the Lord and beg Him for a special visitation of His Spirit upon you, upon your church, your town, your college, your state, your nation!
Soli Deo Gloria,
If you would like information on how to acquire a sermon preached at the last national revival in the United States (1858) send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.