Revival Belongs to the Lord
Revival belongs to the Lord. In this special work of God’s Spirit, He revives the members of Christ’s body. There is a sudden surge in the spiritual life of saints, in a particular place and for an unpredictable period of time.
Church historians have identified these phenomena, and the people and events involved in them. Revival has visited some denominations and passed over others. It has reached some places but not others.
Revivals cannot be planned by people. They are a supernatural and quite exceptional work of God. Still, some have tried to control, even fabricate revivals. At best, they manufacture a fake spiritual frenzy.
Revival is a dirty word for some Christians, while others are singularly obsessed with this theme. Some avoid revival, even refusing to pray for it. Their disdain is based on the eccentric showmanship of “revivalists.” This demonstrates a differentiation in approach to the subject.
One may inquire where the subject is discussed in the Bible. Rather than giving us a prescription for revival, the Scripture gives us descriptions. Jonah 3, Ezekiel 37 and Acts 2 immediately come to mind. The whole book of Acts is a description of the works of the Holy Spirit, including the revival scenes. Someone preaches, a group hears the Gospel preached, some believe, some reject, and typically the preacher suffers somehow.
In these preaching events, it is noteworthy to see no gimmicks employed by the preacher, nor the church. Only the powerful move of the Holy Spirit sets apart those who believed. The times were such that the only thing the believers could do was to pray. Times of refreshing came and God’s people rejoiced in the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).
The apostle Paul spoke of the ministry of preaching, as a demonstration of power and the Spirit (1 Cor 2:4). Obviously, the Spirit works this way where sound doctrine is pursued by the preacher, then followed by the people. Revival is always a product of the Spirit and the Word, working to move the church toward God.
When Christians are drawing near to God in this special way, there is also an ingathering of the elect. There is a stimulus in the economy of the church. The hearts of the people burgeon with love for God and for one another. The allure is irresistible. The quenching of the Spirit via petty disputes, backbiting, favoritism, and worldliness is replaced with the mind of Christ.
The mind of Christ, amidst revival, causes the redeemed to keep their eyes on Jesus. Their focus is the King of kings and the advancement of His glorious kingdom. Interest in doctrine and theology dramatically increases, but this is not for the sake of mere intellectualism. The mind of the Spirit is accompanied with God’s love, poured out in the hearts of His chosen ones, who are being joined by newly adopted sons and daughters.
As an exclusive work of the Holy Spirit, revival is akin to Reformed churches because of God-centered theology being acknowledged by them, during seasons of revival and at regular times, too. They boast in the Lord because they know it is all of Him.
It is a joy for Christians to read history books on the remarkable seasons of God strengthening and adding to His church; but there should never be a “how to” book on the subject. Blessed are those who have their own personal revival story, but even more so those who were participants in this larger scale activity of the Spirit at particular times and places.
Christian, pray without ceasing for God to glorify Himself in this special, supernatural work that invariably reforms the ways of the church. Of course, we need revival here and now. We need Spirit-filled men of God to proclaim Christ with power, in the Spirit. We need unity in this same Spirit, to bind us together in love and truth.
Celebrating Christ in His own house makes perfect sense. To make much of our King is our collective calling, as His royal priests. May God visit us with His holy presence in a mighty way. May He be glorified in this exclusive work of His Spirit, and may Christ be exalted for bringing us…revival.
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 7, 2022