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The day of Pentecost was the first New Testament Revival. It was only the beginning of "that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh..." (Acts 2:16-17). It is the purpose of the Lord that this whole Era between the ascension of Jesus and His second appearing, should be an unbroken season of Revival; one shower of Rain after another, whenever an atmosphere should be created for the Spirit of Pentecost.
What Is A Revival Atmosphere?
First of all, those disciples wanted the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus died and rose again, they showed little interest in what He told them about the Holy Spirit. But now, after being "assembled together" with Him in His resurrected body, an intense desire for the Holy Spirit had taken hold of them so that they wanted Him more than any thing else. Perhaps this was because the Lord had revealed to them that only by receiving the Spirit could they continue in their blessed relationships with Himself--a fact which many of us today have overlooked.
Anyone who has received the Spirit as Jesus intends we should, cannot help being aware that the general attitude of Christians toward the Holy Spirit, is one of indifference. He is being shut out (Rev. 3:20). Most of this is because of a lack of Scriptural teaching concerning the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Many preachers and teachers treat Him as a mere theological subject, rather than a Person, "the Messenger of the Lord" (Acts 8:26). Some seem to be afraid of losing their reputation with the respectable element, should they show too great a familiarity with His Person and life. "He is despised and rejected of men"--even more so than the One in whose name He was sent. Until we want Him much more than we do now, we will not be interested in the question of how we may have Him.
Until we shall have a stronger desire for the Spirit, we may as well not talk so much about revival, for revival is the Spirit Himself filling one's heart. "Revival" means life. The Spirit only is that life, the life of God. "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink...But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive" (John 7:37-39).
Before we will thirst for God, we must cease from satiating our souls' desire with earthly things. We possess only one spring of desire. We may drown out the fire of desire with material things, till there is not even the feeblest spark of desire for "the things of the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:14) in our souls. We must fast--not only from those things which go into our mouths, but from some things which come out--if we would thirst for God. Without a hunger and thirst for the Spirit, no real revival is possible. The Spirit and revival are one and the same.
We learn, too, that we are now in "the day of Pentecost" which began with an outpouring of the Spirit which was intended to continue until Jesus comes for "the precious fruit of the earth" (James 5:7). "The promise of the Father" is not one "shower" but many. The first shower set a precedent for the dispensation. The Lord intended a season of revival extending from Jerusalem to "the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8); from the ascension of Jesus to His coming again. Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we like it or not--we have the Holy Spirit and Pentecost at our door. He is on our hands, waiting to be received. Our lack of unity or spiritual one accord, is what is keeping the door shut.
Think not that the modern craze for unionizing the different religious bodies, spells unity. It means that there will be even less of "the unity of the Spirit." This is only another example of what happens when we come to the "things of the Spirit" with our natural understanding, which is not "the true light" but only a veil that hides the true light. But in the absence of "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation," our only alternative is to fall back on our "own understanding." As a result of this, we are in a wilderness of confusion.
This is true with respect to revival no less than other spiritual things. What revival is and how it comes is set forth in God's own pattern in the book of Acts. If we will follow the pattern of the first Pentecostal Revival, we too may have revival of the same kind.
Oneness Essential To Revival
We also learn from the pattern that oneness is essential to revival. It was necessary that a number of the disciples should be together "with one accord." Whether they are aware of this factor or not, many are "flying in the face of Providence" by attempting revivals without any consideration of the question of any unity at all among the people of God. The most important human factor in revival is scarcely ever given a thought.
That we must have the Spirit to have revival, and that there must be an atmosphere made before He can come and that nothing but the unity or oneness of a number of the believing ones can make that atmosphere is the Bible formula for Pentecostal Revival. It is almost wholly ignored in our day. The Holy Spirit, without whom no revival is possible, is the least factor of all in most of our revival campaigns.
The Holy Spirit could no more dwell and work in this world without His own kind of atmosphere, than humans could live in a vacuum. That kind of atmosphere doesn't exist except when a few at least, of God's people "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). When the Spirit is not present, it is because there is no unity--no fellowship--no atmosphere for the Spirit.
Any two sincere believers can prove these things if they will comply with the words of Jesus, "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 18:19-20). This is the ground-floor approach to revival. Revival begins with two--if you can find two persons that can unite as one: for this is what is meant by the word "agree."
Oneness is the abode of the Spirit. Out from the oneness that is between the Father and the Son (John 17:21), the Holy Spirit issues. Where even "two of you shall agree [symphonize--synchronize] on earth" there the Spirit will be, with revival.