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Text Sermons : Classic Christian Writings : Spurgeon and Revival By Robert H. Lescelius

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Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the "Prince of Preachers," shines as a bright luminary in the sky of Church History. Certainly the word revival must come to mind as we consider such a life and labor owned by God with such phenomenal success. Without doubt his success was the fruit of revival, and his doctrine, passion, and practice were inseparable from the biblical truths of spiritual renewal...

In his longings for revival in the local church Spurgeon was ever motivated by love for God and desire to glorify Him and a passion for the souls of men. He preached:

"Yet, above all, we want a revival, if we would promote the glory of God. The proper object of a Christian’s life is God’s glory. The Church was made on purpose to glorify God; but it is only a revived Church that brings glory to His name."

Spurgeon’s sermons are full of expressions of intense desire to see sinners saved. This is why he sought revival power in his ministry. "Among the blessings of revival, we commence, by noting the salvation of sinners." He was utterly dependent upon the working of the Holy Spirit to bless his preaching with souls. He expressed this realization many times. Here is one:

"The preaching that kills may be, and often is, orthodox--dogmatically, inviolably orthodox. In the Christian system, unction is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, separating a person unto God’s work, and preparing him for it.

"This unction is the one divine enablement by which the preacher accomplishes the peculiar and saving ends of preaching. Without this unction there are no true spiritual results accomplished.

"The results and forces in preaching do not rise above the results of unsanctified speech. Without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel has no more power to propagate itself than any other system of truth. Unction in the preacher puts God in the Gospel."

Spurgeon preached for revival in his church and preached in revival, anointed as one who lived in an experience of personal revival regularly.

Spurgeon Prayed For Revival In His local Church

Believing as he did in the sovereignty of God and the necessity of the power of the Holy Spirit for the believer and the church to have spiritual vitality and for sinners to be regenerated, Spurgeon believed in prayer--effectual, fervent prayer. He realized how utterly dependent the church is upon God for its every need. We have numerous calls to prayer for revival in his sermons. He pleaded with his people to turn to God and beseech Him to shine His face upon them in revival blessing:

"Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved" (Psa. 80:19).

He saw signs of coming revival blessing in the spontaneous burden of prayer that manifested itself in two or three members who would be gathered unto Christ in prayer (Matt. 18:18-20):

"Usually when God intends greatly to bless a church, it will begin in this way--two or three persons in it are distressed at the low estate of affairs, and become troubled even to anguish. Perhaps they do not speak to one another, or know of their common grief, but they begin to pray with flaming desire and untiring importunity. The passion to see the church revived rules them. They think of it when they go to rest, they dream of it on their bed, they muse on it in the streets. This one thing eats them up. They suffer great heaviness and continual sorrow in heart for perishing sinners; they travail in birth for souls.

"I have happened to become the centre of certain brethren in this church; one of them said to me the other day, ‘O sir, I pray day and night for God to prosper our church: long to see greater things, God is blessing us, but we want much more.’ I saw the deep earnestness of the man’s soul, and I thanked him and thanked God heartily, thinking it to be a sure sign of coming blessing.

"Sometime after, another friend, who probably now hears me speak, but who did not know anything about the other, felt the same yearning, and must needs let me know it; and he too is anxious; longing, begging, crying, for a revival; and thus from three or four quarters I have had the same message, and I feel hopeful because of these tokens for good.

"When the sun rises the mountain tops first catch the light, and those who constantly live near to God will be the first to feel the influence of the coming refreshing. The Lord give me a dozen importunate pleaders and lovers of souls, and by His grace we will shake all London from end to end...Oh, may God give us this first sign of the travail in the earnest ones and twos."

Spurgeon himself exercised such a prayer ministry and led his people in revival praying, as for example:

"And now, O Lord God of Hosts, hear our ardent appeal to Thy throne. ‘Turn us again.’ Lighten our path with the guidance of Thine eye; cheer our hearts with the smiles of Thy face. O God of armies, let every regiment and rank of Thy militant Church be of perfect heart, undivided in Thy service. Let great grace rest upon all Thy children. Let great fear come upon all the people. Let many reluctant hearts be turned to the Lord. Let there now be times of refreshing from Thy presence. To Thine own name shall be all the glory: ‘O Thou that are more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.’"

Spurgeon preached and prayed for revival, and God heard his prayers and the prayers of his church and honored his efforts with spiritual power and fruit. He would settle for nothing less, believing that anything less would be vanity. Ponder the solemnity of these words:

"Death and condemnation to a church that is not yearning after the Spirit, and crying and groaning until the Spirit has wrought mightily in their midst. He is here; He has never gone back since He descended at Pentecost. He is often grieved and vexed, for He is peculiarly jealous and sensitive, and the one sin never forgiven has to do with His beloved Person; therefore, let us be very tender towards Him, walk humbly before Him, wait on Him very earnestly and resolve that there should be nothing knowingly continued which would prevent His working in our midst.

"Brethren, if we do not have the Spirit of God, it were better to shut the churches, to nail up the doors, to put a blank cross on them and say: ‘God have mercy on us!’ If you ministers have not the Spirit of God, you had better not preach, and you people had better stay at home. I think I speak not too strongly when I say that a church in the land without the Spirit of God is rather a curse than a blessing. This is a solemn word: the Holy Spirit--or nothing and worse than nothing."

May Spurgeon’s zeal for revival in the local church kindle a like burden in the heart of every true pastor and member of the body of Christ! Spurgeon’s heart for revival was broader than his local congregation, however. He longed to see the reviving of God’s work throughout the world.

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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