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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Revival... a revival of what?

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37226
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Revival... a revival of what?

[b]Revival... a revival of what?[/b]
[i]by Jimmy Humphrey[/i]

Often I have heard over the years that we need to seek God for revival. This has been encouraged both at the local church level, denominational meetings, and through various ministries such as Sermon Index. Many talk about revival and pray for revival. But I must ask, a revival of what? Briefly, I'd like to offer up the following meditation on the topic. Lord willing, such will give place to a lengthier message in the future.

As a starting point that many students of revival have pointed out, to pray and seek for revival is to admit that we need reviving. That somehow there is something deficient in our present Christian experience. That somehow things are not as they should be. Unless this is realized, then any "revival" we are seeking is simply a soulish frenzy of religious activity that we wish to add to our present religious diet that seeks to somehow excite and satisfy ourselves in some fashion. Such a mentality looks at revival as a blowing the lid off the church. When in reality, as Leonard Ravenhill pointed out, revival is not when the lid blows off the church, rather, revival is when the bottom drops out. But such is not something we are often willing to accept. For the proud people that we are, we simply are not willing to suffer the necessary humility that comes with the bottom dropping out. We want everything to go smoothly and easily.

So with this foundation laid, I would like to assert three principle things that I believe to be the aim of all genuine revival:
Apostolic Faith
Apostolic Practice
Apostolic Life
If you haven't noticed already, I've used the adjective apostolic to describe the things we are to return to. For if the church is to be anything, it is to be apostolic. Not apostolic in the oneness pentecostal sense of the word. Rather, apostolic is a word used to describe the quality and level of dimension to which we as the church are to aim to attain. For if the church is not apostolic in quality, then it is not the church its supposed to be. As Art Katz said time and time again, apostolic is a word we should salivate over. For if that word doesn't get our mouth watering, then nothing will. And if we do not hunger for that which is apostolic, then we will be all to easily satisfied with something much less that purports to be the real thing, but is in fact something entirely other.

In our aim for apostolic faith, at the most simple level we are talking about the doctrines of the faith, "once for all handed down to the saints." (Jude 1:3) That is, there is an actual body of doctrine that has been handed down by the Lord and the original apostles that is to be the basis for everything we believe. Apostolic faith has no room for novelties. However, apostolic faith is much more than ascribing to razor sharp orthodoxy. Rather, apostolic faith has to do with seeking to embody the reality of that faith. Just as the Word was made flesh in the incarnation of Christ, so it is to be made incarnate in us who believe.

In seeking to embody the reality of the faith, such will give rise to apostolic practice. Apostolic practice is the issue of walking out the apostolic faith. The apostle Paul regularly encouraged the church to, "walk according to the pattern you have in us." (Philippians 3:7) For Paul could so boldly state such amazing things as: " is no longer I who live, but Christ..." (Galatians 2:20) He didn't say such a thing as just some sort of theological truth as many preachers do today. Rather, these are realities which Paul walked in for all to see, and for all to follow. Thus he could say: " imitators of me, just as I am also of Christ..." (1 Corinthians 11:1). This imitation is to be a way of life by where we practice what was preached. It is the outworking of the gospel message, not only in our own personal lives, but also in the life of the church assembled.

Finally, apostolic practice is intimately tied to apostolic life. If apostolic practice were to be the wineskin of our faith, that outward thing that is visible to all, then apostolic life is the wine of our faith. The issue of apostolic life is ultimately the issue of resurrection. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ. And in seeking to live out the resurrection life, we will find that our old wineskins from the world and our denominational traditions are completely incompatible with the new wine we have received. To try and continue on in the practice of the old wineskin will lead to the spoil of both. For Christ wants to act no different in you then when He walked among the world. But sadly, we often want to have it both ways in spite of the Lord saying we cannot.

Much, much more could be said than has been said here. But to summarize, what is needed in our day and generation is nothing less than a revival of apostolic Christianity.


SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/4/25 14:12Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: Revival... a revival of what?

Amen!!! ;-)

Jimmy H

 2008/4/25 18:34Profile

Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554

 Re: Revival... a revival of what?

This message is more than important for the body of Christ, especially here on SI. I think it's time to grow in maturity and to hear clearly and obey, what the Lord is saying to the church right now in these crisis hours. As brother Ron (InTheLight) said some time ago, it needs to take place another thinking and life of the church that is [url=]Beyond Revivalism[/url]. Here is what he shared:

"...and we read of the darkest hour in Israel's history during the period of the Judges. They cried out to the Lord, and with each new judge that He raised up there was a bit of revival, but I believe that this would teach us that mere reviving is not the real answer. God must awaken His people to be alive to His larger purpose, not merely awakenings and revivings for themselves."

...His larger purpose...

Oh how we need to be awakened and freed from our earth bound limits-always looking up to see how things relate to us. Jesus must lift us up to His perspective so that we see all things as they relate to Him. We desperately need the reality of these verses...

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Col 3:2-3 ESV)

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
(Eph 2:5-6 ESV)

Lord save us from mere revivalism and bring us beyond our natural ability [b]to understand You and Your purposes for these days.[/b]

His purposes for these days are not purposes that can be done by individuals, but it will take a body, a body that will be together hearing His voice and doing and going where He says. Living and sharing the gospel of the Kingdom in a way with a power and reality, that will be living testimony and accusation to the wordily principles and system. Principles that are based on the foundations of the Kingdom.

 2008/4/26 9:54Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC


Very well said. There is something so much beyond the revivalism mentality that many embrace. Sadly, the church still sets up grave stones ...err: revival services, where some speaker comes for several days in a row to speak on revival or to preach a revival. Revivals often end up being nothing more than flashes in a pan. Lots of intense heat, but nothing that one can burn for long periods on. Something so much more is needed.

Jimmy H

 2008/4/27 22:37Profile

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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