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If there was ever a time in which there was need to cry unto God in the words of the Psalmist, "Wilt Thou not revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?" (Psa.85:6), it is this day in which we live. It is surely time for the Lord to work, for men have made void His law (Psalm 119:126). The voice of the Lord given in the written Word is set at naught both by the world and the Church.
Such a time is not a time for discouragementthe man who believes in God and believes in the Bible can never be discouraged. But it is a time for Jehovah Himself to step in and work. The intelligent Christian, the wide-awake watchman on the walls of Zion, may well cry with the Psalmist of old, It is time for Jehovah to work for they have made void Thy Law (Psa. 119:126 R.V.).
The Great Need Of The Day Is A General Revival
Let us consider first of all what a general revival is.
A revival is a time of quickening or impartation of life. As God alone can give life, a revival is a time when God visits His people and by the power of His Spirit imparts new life to them, and through them imparts life to sinners dead in trespasses and sins.
We have religious excitements gotten up by the cunning methods and hypnotic influence of the mere professional evangelist. But these are not revivals and are not needed. They are the devils imitations of a revival.
New life from Godthat is revival! A general revival is a time when this new life from God is not confined to scattered localities, but is general throughout Christendom and the earth.
The reason why a general revival is needed is that spiritual dearth and desolation and death is general. It is not confined to any one country, though it may be more manifest in some countries than in others. It is found in foreign mission fields as well as in home fields.
We have had local revivals. The life-giving Spirit of God has breathed upon this minister and that, this church and that, this community and that, but we need, we sorely need, a revival that shall be widespread and general.
Let us look for a few minutes at the results of a revival. These results are apparent in ministers of the Church and in the unsaved.
Results of Revival In A Minister
The results of a revival in a minister are first of all, the minister has a new love for souls. We ministers as a rule have no such love for souls as we ought to have, no such love for souls as Jesus had, no such love for souls as Paul had.
But when God visits His people, the hearts of ministers are greatly burdened for the unsaved. They go out in great longing for the salvation of their fellow men. They forget their ambition to preach great sermons and for fame, and simply long to see men brought to Christ.
Second, when true revivals come, ministers get a new love for Gods Word and a new faith in Gods Word. They fling to the winds their doubts and criticisms of the Bible and of the creeds, and go to preaching the Bible and especially Christ crucified.
Revivals make ministers who are loose in their doctrines orthodox. A genuine, wide-sweeping revival would do more to turn things upside down and thus get them right side up than all the heresy trials ever instituted.
Third, revivals bring to ministers new liberty and power in preaching. It is no week-long grind to prepare a sermon, and no nerve-consuming effort to preach it after it has been prepared. Preaching is a joy and a refreshment, and there is power in it in times of revival.
Results Of Rival On Christians Generally
The results of a revival on Christians generally are as marked as its results upon the ministry.
In times of revival Christians come out from the world and live separated lives. Christians who have been dallying with the world, who have been playing cards and dancing and going to the theater and indulging in similar follies, give them up. These things are found to be incompatible with increasing life and light.
In times of revival Christians get a new spirit of prayer. Prayer meetings are no longer a duty, but become the necessity of a hungry, importunate heart. Private prayer is followed with new zest. The voice of earnest prayer to God is heard day and night. People no longer ask, Does God answer prayer? They know He does, and they besiege the throne of grace day and night.
In times of revival Christians go to work for lost souls. They do not go to meeting simply to enjoy themselves and get blessed. They go to meeting to watch for souls and to bring them to Christ. They talk to men on the street and in the stores and in their homes. The cross of Christ, salvation, Heaven and Hell become the subjects of constant conversation. Politics and the weather and new clothes and the latest novels are forgotten.
In times of revival Christians have new joy in Christ. Life is joy and new life is new joy. Revival days are glad days, days of Heaven on earth.
In times of revival Christians get a new love for the Word of God. They want to study it day and night. Revivals are bad for bars and theaters, but they are good for bookstores and Bible agencies.
Results Of Revival On The Unsaved World
Revivals also have a decided influence on the unsaved world.
First of all, they bring deep conviction of sin. Jesus said that when the Spirit was come He would convince the world of sin (John 16:7,8). Revival is a coming of the Holy Spirit, and therefore there must be new conviction of sin, and there always is. If you see something men call a revival, and there is no conviction of sin, you may know at once that it is bogus. Conviction is a sure mark.
Revivals bring also conversion and regeneration. When God refreshes His people, He always converts sinners also. The first result of Pentecost was new life and power to the one hundred and twenty disciples in the upper room. The second result was three thousand conversions in a single day.
It is always so. I am constantly reading revivals here and there where Christians were greatly helped but there were no conversions. If Christians are truly refreshed, they will get after the unsaved by prayer and testimony and persuasion, and there will be conversions.
Revival Is The Cure For Todays Sinful Conditions
We need a revival--deep, widespread, general--in the power of the Holy Ghost. The moral condition of the world in our day is disgusting, sickening, appalling! A revival, new life from God, is the cure and the only cure. Revival will stem the awful tide of immorality and unbelief. Mere argument will not do it, but a wind from Heaven, a new outpouring of the Holy Ghost, a true God-sent revival--will do it!
The great need of today is a general revival. The need is clear. What then shall we do? Pray! Take up the Psalmists prayer, Revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee. Take up Ezekiels prayer, Come from the four winds, O breath [breath of God], and breathe upon these slain that they may live (Ezek. 37:9).
Hark, I hear a noise! Behold a shaking! I can almost feel the breeze upon my cheek. I can almost see the great living army rising to their feet. Shall we not pray and pray and pray and pray, till the Holy Spirit comes and God revives His people?
From How to Pray by R. A. Torrey.