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In the second and third chapters of Revelation, in those most moving messages that Christ communicated to the seven churches, He is speaking not only as Saviour, but as Judge. He says, "This is wrong and that is wrong and that is wrong, and if you don't put it right, if you don't repent (and I remind you that I am not importing the word 'repent'), unless you repent, I will remove your candlestick." We as members of the Church stand under the judgment as well as the mercy of Jesus Christ.
During these days the Lord Jesus is walking in the midst of the candlesticks. He is pointing out the things in our lives and in our churches that need to be dealt with. He is saying, "Repent!" At the same time He is full of mercy.
The effect of His mercy, penitently sought for and richly received, is vividly described in the 126th Psalm: "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing." Usually our dreams, if they are on the pleasant side, are better than the realities of life. Not so when God in mercy grants revival. The reality is better than the dream!
"I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring" (Isaiah 44:3). To be sure, these are times of dryness, barrenness, lack of faith. Even in such times as these, when there is repentance, God comes.
"Comes?" you ask. "Isn't He here already?" Yes, of course. Still, He comes! Let's not be put off the trail of revival by technicalities. He is here, but He is straitened, limited, fettered, by our unbelief and pride and unconfessed sin. By His coming we mean His fresh and forceful release through lives like yours and mine, surrendered to His will, pliant in His hands.
If revival comes around the world, great hosts of people who have no ringing witness are going to be able to say, "I know that I have passed from death unto life!"