THERE is much confusion and mixed feelings regarding the word "revival". To some it is either of no value, too risky, or smacks of EXCESS in experience and emotionalism. To others it designates nothing more than "professional mass evangelism". Still others regard "revival" as a phenomenon of bygone days -- the good of which DISSIPATED and the return of which is neither POSSIBLE or DESIRED.
BE CONVINCED that God wants to do a deep work in our lives, WHATEVER you want to call it! WE DARE NOT fuss over words or terms and MISS GOD in the meantime. Some are more concerned WHAT they name the baby EVEN BEFORE they HAVE the baby! Give GOD the benefit of any doubts or lack of understanding on our part.
1) DEFINITION OF WORDS, TERMS
A. REVIVAL: Specifically a ministry of cleansing and spiritual adjustment to the inner life of the local church and to the body of Christ in general in bringing back into "consciousness" and "health" those who already have life.
B. SPIRITUAL AWAKENING: Specifically has to do with the UNCONVERTED when they become consciously aware of the presence of God at a given point in time. God sovereignly and supernaturally compels people in a city or area to respond to Him.
C. SOVEREIGNTY - FREE WILL: (Correlation)
Revival is God's response to people's obedience. God sovereignly works with a person who fully obeys. We sow the seeds for revival but GOD sends it from heaven.
Spiritual awakening is God's SOVEREIGN WORK to harvest the lost with NO PARTICULAR human means.
D. REVIVAL - SPIRIT FILLED LIFE: (Correlation)
PERSONAL REVIVAL: "Revive ME..." ONE believer walking in the Spirit. Isa. 57:15; Ps. 119-88; Eph. 5:15-18
INTER-PERSONAL REVIVAL: "Revive US..." GROUP of believers walking in the SPIRIT. Ps. 85:6; Rom. 13: 10-14.
CORPORATE REVIVAL: "Revive THY WORK..." CHURCH COLLECTIVELY walking in the Spirit. Hab. 3:2; Eph. 3:14-21.
-Whenever a church has "had a revival" find out what kind they had! If it was a PERSONAL revival with a small number of individuals meeting God, the extent will primarily be those lives changed to walk in the Spirit.
-If it was INTER-PERSONAL revival, the extent will be a slightly larger group of individuals who not only met God themselves but also made things right with each other. A group of individuals will begin to walk in the Spirit!
** ONLY A CORPORATE REVIVAL can move beyond individuals and begin to challenge and change the life style and structure of the local church. ONLY THEN is there a desire by the majority to place the ENTIRE PROGRAM and CHURCH LIFE at the Cross for God to bring it into conformity to HIS WILL. If the "revival is NOT corporate, DO NOT EXPECT MANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE CHURCH apart from individuals and families being affected. The EXTENT of the revival in ANY church will be determined according to the SCOPE OF THE RESPONSE in the congregation.
E. REVIVAL PREACHING:
When the SUBJECTIVE REALITY of all OBJECTIVE TRUTHS are brought into sharp focus and are related to the daily life style of the people.
2) PRACTICAL DEFINITION OF "REVIVAL" ITSELF
God's "Recall Movement", recalling to COMMUNION. Eph. 3:14-19
Call to Honesty and Godliness. 1 Tim. 1:2-3; Titus 2:11-13
Putting God first, not putting Him off. Matt. 22:36-38
Impact of Divine Truth both REVEALED and APPLIED. James 1:21-25
Believers desperately in love with their Lord. Matt. 22:36-38
Back to dependence on the Holy Spirit. Gal. 5:16
Outpouring of God in the church. Eph. 3:20-21
Right with God, then with each other. Eph. 4:29-32
Spiritual experience catching up with Biblical theology. John 4:23-24
GOD IS MY GOAL, not seeking solution to my problems. Ps. 27:4
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT is normal living - "daily walk". Eph. 5:15-18
Viewpoints and value systems of believers transformed. Matt. 6:19-21; Col. 3:1-2
Back to the CROSS with a sob in the heart! Gal. 2:20; 6:24; Phil. 3:10.
3) SCRIPTURAL CONCEPTS OF REVIVAL
Humility. 2 Chron. 7:14; Isa. 57:15
Love one for another. John 13:34-35
Transparent Honesty, Restitution. Matt. 5:23-24; Acts 24:16
Bearing one another's burdens. Gal. 6:2; Eph 4:25
Joy of the Lord. Ps. 85:6; Isa. 59:1-2
Washing one another's feet. Gal. 6:1; Eph. 5:21; Js. 5:16
Unity in the Body of Christ. Ps. 133; Eph. 4:11-16
LORDSHIP OF CHRIST supreme, resulting from dealing honestly with SIN, SELF, and SPIRIT FILLED LIFE. Ps. 66:18; Rom. 6:11, 22-23; Eph. 3:14-19; 5:18
4) RESULTS OF REVIVAL - "WHAT'S NEW?"
New Obedience - "Yes, Lord, what else?"
New Expectations - "Sights" lifted as people walk by FAITH!
New Initiatives - Spirit-filled creativeness.
New Blessings - those described only in DIVINE terms.
New Atmosphere - conducive to openness, fellowship, worship, and for new believers.
New Encounters - Satan becomes alive. He seems like a NEW adversary. CONFLICT!
New Problems - problems of LIFE rather than those of DEATH.
5) BARRIERS TO REVIVAL
Self-sufficiency - "I have need of NOTHING..."
Previous bad experiences or ill advice about revival
Preconceived mental framework as to HOW revival MUST come.
Historical concepts. Sometimes judgments are made from a "limited" or an inaccurate perspective.
FEARS OF REVIVAL.
1. Fear of Exposure
2. Fear of the cost of total commitment to Christ.
3. Fear of the threat of abandoning certain familiar traditional and "safe" structures.
4. Fear of the uncertainty of the UNKNOWN and the UNFAMILIAR.
PARALYSIS OF ANALYSIS.
AN "analyst" of revival is NOT a "candidate" for revival.
My defenses were way down. I was a CANDIDATE for God's blessing. When I prayed, "Lord, put self to death," I got a picture of Abraham and Isaac and the knife on the alter. Revival is like lifting the lid off a person's heart.
--Rev. Mark Dickerson
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon