Revival is the sovereign invasion of God in the affairs of humanity that changes the course of human history. It is needed today in every part of this world. We need to understand that if we will call upon the name of God, humble ourselves and pray, and seek God's face and turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land II Chronicles 7:14.
Signs of a Coming Revival
Tremendous changes in the social structure of society. This was clearly seen in the 1960s when the Vietnam war caused people, especially young people, to be pulled in many directions. The death of God was announced and young people left the church in droves. I the midst of the chaos and social upheaval, spiritual renewal seemed impossible. But God, in His sovereignty saved many who have become today's Christian leaders.
Complacency and coldness in God's people. History shows that complacency and coldness among Christians precede renewal. At the point when it seems there is no hope and that Christianity will die because of complacency of God's people, that is the time when you can look for God to do something big.
A majority become deeply dissatisfied with the status quo. God always maintains a loyal remnant in spite of overwhelming opposition. When this remnant expands to become a boundless majority that pleads, "God this not the way it ought to be. This is not the way we want it to be. Would you do something?" He moves. While on earth, the Lord poured His life into few, who later, upon being Spirit-filled, turned the world upside-down. God responds dramatically to the obedience and trust of a committed though small group.
Extraordinary prayer among those desiring awakening. This sign is always evident. In the mid-1850s an overworked missionary to the city of New York cried in desperation, "God I cannot do anything else. Would you do something?" Upon the Spirit's inspiration he organized and publicized a weekly prayer meeting that in eighteen weeks grew from six to one hundred. Within eighteen months ten thousand people were being saved weekly. Awakening comes when people become desperate to say, "O God, we cannot do it, but you can."
Characteristics of Revival
Awakening forms groups and spreads like a wind-drivn fire. True awakening is front page news. The world takes notice of that sovereign activity. We will be sure that revival has begun to touch North America not when the Christian Index or The Baptist Standard carries the news, but when the Los Angeles Times or The Washington Post picks it up. When revival catches the eye of humanity, it will spread like a fire blown by the presence of God.
A deep sense of sin and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. There is an intensified awareness of God's glory, and those who have attacked the church are brought under conviction. Some people cannot be touched by man's persuasiveness, but when God visits, they understand their emptiness and discover that God is the answer to the vacuum in them as they come under the conviction of His glory.
A jealous concern for the truth. The Word stands tall. Men take the Word and read it. Hebrews says the Word is like a two-edged sword, powerful and sharp and it cuts asunder. When God wants to reveal spiritual truth, He illumines our spirit, not our mind. Suddenly, a man who could not understand the Word begins to see how it relates to his life. The Word becomes so powerful that it literally shatters people. There is a tremendous reverence for the holy Word of God in the midst of revival.
Evangelism. Evangelism is the natural outflow of the sovereign inflow, the infilling of the Holy Spirit of God. Every sovereign activity of God that radically transforms the church erupt sin evangelization of the lost. There comes a time when people are saved in such numbers that the world takes notice. The ultimate intention of revival is the gathering of the lost.
Hindrances To Revival
War. When a great revival breaks out, the devil will try to cause a war just to stop it. The revival which swept the colonies in the middle of the 1700s was stopped by the revolutionary war. The revival which began with that prayer meeting in New York City was stopped by the Civil War. There are many examples of this happening, both in the USA and in other parts of the world.
Prosperity. We become so prosperous that we simply look back over our shoulder at God and say, "Oh Father, by the way, thank you." When people are self-satisfied so that they have need of nothing, they forget the sovereign power of God. Prosperity hinders revival.
Excesses. Often when revival comes there is a phenomenal outpouring. Of the Spirit of God and something supernatural takes place. Excess comes in getting caught up in these supernatural manifestations. If God happens to send them, enjoy them, but magnify Him, not the manifestations.
Religious controversy. This is one of the greatest hindrances to revival facing us today. If Satan can bring religious controversy by getting us to fight with each other, he will, because that quenches the Spirit of God in people's hearts.
I believe if God brought revival in the days of Solomon, He is willing to do it today. If he did it in the days of Jonathan Edwards, Evan Roberts and Duncan Campbell, He is willing to do it today. If on occasion God has so anointed and touched segments of humanity that they have become broken in humility before Him, He is willing to do it today if we are willing to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wickedness. Hew ill hear and He will forgive all, and heal our land.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon