2000-01-18 - Revival

The Revival Series, Part 4

Acts 2:43 And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

Mention is made in the Scripture of special outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Particular times of refreshing and generous effusions of grace are, from time to time, evident in the Bible. Joel 2:28, "It shall come to pass that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh." The fulfillment of this prophetic verse began on the day of Pentecost following the crucifixion of Christ.

The outpouring of the Spirit on that day was so great that about three thousand souls were brought into the kingdom of God through regeneration. This was only the first of several large gatherings of souls, which over the next several years, planted and established the Christian Church. It was not long before all of Israel was filled with teachings about Jesus. This was a great and glorious revival.

Pentecost was the first revival of the Christian Church. Many times since God has visited His church with special favor and poured out His Spirit upon it for periods of time. These times of refreshing often come after long periods of dryness. When iniquity has been reigning in the church and triumphant for a season, then it seems that God turns the tide and great times of renewal and refreshing are often granted to His church.

Revival comes when the careless and thoughtless, concerning things regarding salvation, come under saving convictions about the state of their souls. In these times it is not uncommon to see conversions by thousands, just as it was at Pentecost.

The changes revival brings in a community are without equal. Besides a close attention to the preaching of the word of God, some aspects of change are a renewed devotional life in those who had in the past neglected walking with God daily, family prayers, an attention to all spiritual matters, and strengthened religious affections. Souls that were dead in trespasses and sins are, in revival, made alive.

The changes are not only felt in the immediate community but all around where the effects make their mark. Pentecost began such a great a far reaching event in the life of the church that Turtullian could say to the civil authorities, at the beginning of the third century, "We have filled all places of your dominions, cities, islands, corporations, councils, armies, tribes, the senate, the palace, the court of judicature. So mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed."

The example of Pentecost is one that can encourage us and strengthen us. God has blessed greatly in the past and there is reason to hope that He will also in the future. We can not create revival. Revival, as it was at Pentecost, is a work of God, unplanned, and simply the gracious out-pouring of God's Spirit upon those who need His grace. But we can pray for it, and long for it, and who knows, God may yet visit us with His favor and send us revival again.

Soli Deo Gloria,