Five Characteristics of a Revived Church
by Erwin W. Lutzer
The following are five characteristics that will be found in any church that experiences revival.
First, there is opposition. Some of the greatest enemies of true Christianity are found within "Christendom". There are many who call themselves Christians but are enemies of the true Gospel and would resist revival if it were to come. True revival always divides a community. Those who are on fire for God are a powerful rebuke to others who have no regard for Him.
Second, there is unity. Revival always produces unity; it forces people to takedown the barriers that divide them. Divisions within churches vanish as people forgive each other for their own petty differences. So often the differences that divide us have to do with personalities, the desire to find out who is in control, and subjective evaluations of ministry. When God comes these matters dissipate in the presence of His love and holiness.
Third, there is generosity. Today, many needy people have nowhere to turn because there is no one in the church willing to help them. Often their needs are ignored because all of us are concerned only about ourselves. Revival changes that. There is a spontaneous, sacrificial spirit where people are willing to share at great personal cost. When revival comes people actually walk around looking for others whom they can help. A spirit of generosity makes sacrifice a sheer delight.
Fourth, there is purity. Revival always brings honesty. The conviction of sin is so overwhelming that people would get right with God and being ready to hear the prayers of those who were in need. Pornography, moral uncleanness of all kinds, cheating on income tax, unpaid expense accounts, routine lying which we think are petty sins
until we see God and His holiness. Revival always produces purity; it is God purging His church and cleansing it so that He can fill it with Himself.
Fifth there is evangelism. People sense an inner compulsion to witness, they seek out those who need to hear the Gospel. When God comes witnessing becomes the overflow of a Spirit-directed heart. Revival means that we have an inner life directed by the Holy Spirit. We witness because we love Christ and it spills out of our life.
| 2008/3/16 13:54|
| Re: Selling All|
A. The Need for Absoluteness in Serving the Lord
Yet the Lord laid down a requirement. If a man wants to serve Him or follow Him, he has to be perfect. Notice the Lord's word: "If you want to be perfect," "one thing you lack" (Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21). In other words, the Lord told him that in order to follow Him, a man has to follow Him absolutely all the way; he cannot lack one thing. He cannot take care of ninety-nine things but leave one thing untouched for himself. Those who do this cannot follow the Lord. The Lord demands that when we come to Him, everything belonging to us has to come to Him as well. The Lord requires that we be perfect; He wants us to follow Him absolutely. Anything short of this will not do. The young ruler had kept the commandments from his youth. He feared God. Yet the Lord said that even a person such as he lacked one thing, without which he could not go on. This one thing was to sell all his possessions, to give to the poor, and then to follow the Lord. This was the only way for him to go on.
B. In Order to Follow the Lord One Must Sell All
Hence, no one can follow the Lord who will not sell all his possessions. If one does not sell his all, he cannot follow the Lord; he cannot go on in this way. We must have a deep realization of this serious matter.
[url=http://www.neve-family.com/books/nee/SellingAll.html]By Watchman Nee: Selling All[/url]
| 2008/3/17 5:06|
| Re: Watchman Nee|
"......May I tell you something? One thing some of us have come to learn is that in the divine service the principle of "waste" is the principle of power, whereas the principle of "usefulness" is the very principle of scattering. The real usefulness in the hand of the Lord is "waste." The more you think you could do, the more you employ your gifts to the very limit--and perhaps beyond the limit--that you will find to be the principle of the world, and not the principle of the Lord.
I knew a sister in the Lord, now in His presence, who was very greatly used of Him. But my first concern about her was that she did not seem to be being used. Every time I said to myself; Why did she not get out and take some meetings, get somewhere, do something? It was a waste to live in a small village without anything happening. Sometimes when I went to see her, I almost shouted at her: "No one knows the Lord as you do. You know the Book in a most living way. Do you not see the need all around you? Why don't you do something? It is a waste of time, a waste of energy, a waste of money, a waste of everything, just sitting here and doing nothing!" But she was the one who helped me most of all., The highest thing is not just to be moving about. I do not mean to say that we are going to do nothing, but the first thing is the Lord Himself, not the work. That is what He is after.
So the Lord said, "Why trouble ye her? She has wrought a good work as to Me. The poor you will always have, but you cannot always have Me." The whole point is, What am I going to do to the Lord today? Did those other women who came with their spices to the tomb succeed in anointing the Lord's body? No! He was risen. Only one succeeded, Mary, who anointed Him beforehand. It seems as if man will say I am wasting my time--but Lord, nothing is too good for Thee! He is worthy to be served. He is worthy for me just to be His prisoner. He is worthy for me just to live for Him. Let others say what they will. Have our eyes been opened to see that working for the poor, working for the benefit of the world, working for the eternal welfare of the sinner, as things in themselves, are not to be compared with the work we do to the Lord, with our being just for Him. What is your estimate of the Lord?
Then the Lord said, "She hath done what she could." It means that Mary had given her all. That was all she could do, no more; and she did it. The Lord will not be satisfied with anything less. The whole point is a life really laid down at the feet of the Lord, and that in view of His death, His burial; that is, in view of a future day. Then it was His burial, now it is His crowning day that is in view. He will be acclaimed by all in that day, but how precious, far more precious to Him it is that we should anoint Him now; not with any material oil, but with that which is deepest and, maybe, hard for us to break. The Lord get anointing from us today!........"
| 2008/3/17 18:59|
| Re: Watchman Nee|
[url=http://www.neve-family.com/books/nee/BeingWasted.html]Wasted (cont'd) Read the whole article here[/url]
"O friends, what are we after? Are we after mere usefulness, as those disciples were? They wanted to make every penny of that three hundred pence go to its full length. They wanted to be used themselves. If only we can please Him, surely that should be enough.
Now the breaking of the alabaster box and the anointing of the Lord filled the house with the odor, with the sweetest odor. Everyone could smell it. Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered; been limited, gone through things for the Lord, willing to be imprisoned by the Lord, just being satisfied with Him and nothing else, immediately you scent the fragrance. There is a savor of the Lord. Something has been crushed, something has been broken, and there is a resulting odor of sweetness. The odor which filled the house that day still fills the Church; Mary's fragrance never passes away.
Friends, we cannot produce impressions of God upon others, impart the sense of the presence of God, without the breaking of everything, even the most precious things, at the feet of the Lord Jesus. The Lord would have us here, not first of all to preach or to do work for Him, but to create hunger in others. No true work will begin in any life apart from a sense of need. We cannot inject that into others, we cannot drive people to be hungry for God. Such hunger can be created only by those whose lives convey vital impressions of Him.
Oh, to be wasted! It is a blessed thing to be wasted for the Lord. So many of us who have been prominent in the Christian world know nothing of this. Many of us have been used to the full--have been used, I would say, too much--but we don't know what it means to be wasted on God. We like to be always "on the go": the Lord would sometimes prefer to have us in prison. We think in terms of apostolic journeys: God dares to put His greatest ambassadors in chains.
"But thanks be unto God, which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place" (2 Corinthians 2:14)...."
| 2008/3/18 9:19|
Charles H. Mason
These signs shall follow them that believe. In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:17, 18).
I had a false interpretation in my heart concerning the speaking in tongues. I did not take it literally as I did they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. For years God had given me the knowledge of healing, and He had marvelously wrought with me and many cases of disease had been delivered. I interpreted the speaking in tongues to mean that we left off blaspheming, etc. Both when I got to the place where, hungering and thirsting for God, I consented to His Word, I saw that we did not need that interpretation, that the only reason we were not enjoying the speaking in tongues was because we did not accept it.
Then I felt I had gone to the end of myself. I had the care of a pastor over many flocks far and near and yet was so hungry and thirsty. The Lord showed me the humility of Jesus. How He came and presented Himself for baptism with the rest. I saw that I should not be above my Master. If He needed the Holy Ghost, I needed it to do the will of God, and Jesus would give me a better consolation to my own heart.
In order to loosen my hands from everything, the Lord showed me how Moses was concerned about Jethros sheep in the desert. He saw the bush of fire and God got his attention and got him on the ground where he could speak to Him. He showed me how the disciples forsook their nets, and even when they had received their commission, He stopped them to tarry at Jerusalem that they might receive the promise.
I had a great desire in my heart to come to Los Angeles. I had preached the Pentecost to my people and they were hungry for it. When I came, it was not strange to me for the Lord had showed it to me in a vision. I went to the altar and the Lord put a parable before me, If you were going to marry would you be sad? I said, No, when I was going to be married, I was glad. He showed me this was wedlock to Christ. If there was anything imperfect about me, He would make it right and marry me anyway. Then my faith was settled and laid firmly hold on the promise.
As I arose from the altar and took my seat, I fixed my eyes on Jesus, and the Holy Ghost took charge of me. I surrendered perfectly to Him and consented to Him. Then I began singing a song in unknown tongues, and it was the sweetest thing to have Him sing that song through me. He had complete charge of me. I let Him have my mouth and everything. After that it seemed I was standing at the cross and heard Him as He groaned, the dying groans of Jesus, and I groaned. It was not my voice but the voice of my Beloved that I heard in me. When we got through with that, He started the singing again in unknown tongues. When the singing stopped I felt that complete death, it was my life going out, but it was complete death to me. When He had finished this, I let Him hold my hands up, and they rested just as easily up as down. Then He turned on the joy of it. He began to lift me up. I was passive in His hands, I was not going to do a thing. I could hear the people but did not let anything bother me. It came to me, I charge thee, Oh daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up nor awake my Beloved until He please (Song of Solomon 8:4). He lifted me to my feet and then the light of heaven fell upon me and burst into me filling me. Then God took charge of my tongue and I went to preaching in tongues. I could not change my tongue. The glory of God filled the temple. The gestures of my hands and movements of my body were His. Oh, it was marvelous and I thank God for giving it to me in His way. Such an indescribable peace and quietness went all through my flesh and into my very brain and has been there ever since.
This article was published in The Apostolic Faith, February-March, 1907. C.H. Mason was the founder of the Church of God in Christ, reportedly the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States.
This testimony and many others are available in Dr. Martin's book, The True Believers Part II.
| 2008/3/18 18:28|
Friday, June 15, at Azusa, the Spirit dropped the heavenly chorus into my soul. I found myself suddenly joining the rest who had received this supernatural gift. It was a spontaneous manifestation and rapture no earthly tongue can describe. In the beginning this manifestation was wonderfully pure and powerful. We feared to try to reproduce it, as with the tongues also. Now many seemingly have no hesitation in imitating all the gifts. No one could understand this gift of song but those who had it. It was indeed a new song in the Spirit. When I first heard it in the meeting a great hunger entered my soul to receive it. I felt it would exactly express my pent up feelings. I had not yet spoken in tongues. But the new song captured me. It was a gift from God of high order, and appeared among us soon after the Azusa work began. No one had preached it. The Lord had sovereignly bestowed it, with the outpouring of the residue of oil, the Latter Rain baptism of the Spirit. It was exercised, as the Spirit moved the possessors, either in solo fashion, or by the company. It was sometimes without words, other times in tongues. The effect was wonderful on the people. It brought a heavenly atmosphere, as though the angels themselves were present and joining with us. And possibly they were. It seemed to still criticism and opposition, and was hard for even wicked men to gainsay or ridicule.
Some have condemned this new song, without words. But was not sound given before language? And is there not intelligence without language also? Who composed the first song? Must we necessarily follow some mans composition, before us, always? We are too much worshippers of tradition. The speaking in tongues is not according to mans wisdom or understanding. Then why not a gift of song? It is certainly a rebuke to the jazzy religious songs of our day. And possibly it was given for that purpose. Yet some of the old hymns are very good to sing, also. We need not desire or treat lightly of them. Some one has said that every fresh revival brings in its own hymnology. And this one surely did.
In the beginning in Azusa we had no musical instruments. In fact we felt no need of them. There was no place for them in our worship. All was spontaneous. We did not even sing from hymnbooks. All the old well-known hymns were sung from memory, quickened by the Spirit of God. The Comforter Has Come, was possibly the one must sung. We sang it from fresh, powerful heart experience. Oh, how the power of God filled and thrilled us. Then the blood songs were very popular. The life is in the blood. Sinai, Calvary, and Pentecost, all had their rightful place in the Azusa work. But the new song was altogether different, not of human composition. It cannot be successfully counterfeited. The crow cannot imitate the dove. But they finally began to despise this gift, when the human spirit asserted itself again. They drove it out by hymnbooks, and selected songs by leaders. It was like murdering the Spirit, and most painful to some of us, but the tide was too strong against us. Hymnbooks today are largely a commercial proposition, and we would not lose much without most of them. The old tunes, even, are violated by change, and new styles must be gotten out of every season, for added profit. There is very little real spirit of worship in them. They move the toes, but not the hearts of men. The spirit of song given from God in the beginning was like the Aeolian harp, in its spontaneity and sweetness. In fact it was the very breath of God, playing on human heartstrings, or human vocal cords. The notes were wonderful in sweetness, volume and duration. In fact they were of times humanly impossible. It was singing in the Spirit.
Brother Seymour was recognized as the nominal leader in charge. But we had no pope or hierarchy. We were brethren. We had no human program. The Lord Himself was leading. We had no priest class, nor priest craft. These things have come in later, with the apostatizing of the movement. We did not even have a platform or pulpit in the beginning. All were on a level. The ministers were servants, according to the true meaning of the word. We did not honor men for their advantage, in means or education, but rather for their God-given gifts He set the members in the body. Now A wonderful and horrible thing is come to pass in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof. Jer. 5:30, 31. Also AS for my people, children are their oppressors (sometimes grown up ones), and women rule over them.
- Isa 3:12.
Brother Seymour generally sat behind two empty shoeboxes, one on top of the other. He usually kept his head inside the top one during the meeting, in prayer. There was no pride there. The services ran almost continuously. Seeking souls could be found under the power almost any hour, night and day. The place was never closed nor empty. The people came to meet God. He was always there. Hence a continuous meeting. The meeting did not depend on the human leader. Gods presences become more and more wonderful. In that old building, with its low rafters and bare floors, God took strong men and women to pieces, and put them together again, for His glory. It was a tremendous overhauling process. Pride and self-assertion, self-importance and self-esteem, could not survive there. The religious ego preaches its own funeral sermon quickly.
No subjects or sermons were announced ahead of time, and no special speakers for such an hour. No one knew what might be coming, What God would do. All was spontaneous, ordered of the Spirit. We wanted to hear from God, through whoever he might speak. We had no respect of persons The rich and educated were the dame as the poor and ignorant, and found a much harder death to die. We only recognized God. All were equal. No flesh might glory in His presence. He could not use the self-only recognized opinionated. Those were Holy Ghost meetings, led of the Lord. It had to start in the poor surroundings, God. All were equal. No flesh might glory in His presence. He could not use the self- to keep out the selfish, human element. All came down in humility together, at His feet. They all looked alike, and had all things in common in that sense at least. The rafters were low, the tall must come down. By the time they got to Azusa they were humbled, ready for the blessing. The food was thus placed for the lambs, not for giraffes. All could reach it.
We were delivered right there from ecclesiastical hierarchism and abuse. We wanted God. When we first reached the meeting we avoided as much as possible human contact and greeting. We wanted to meet God first. We got our head under some bench in the corner in prayer, and met men only in the Spirit, knowing them after the flesh no more. The meetings started themselves, spontaneously, in testimony, praise and worship. The testimonies were never hurried by a call for popcorn. We had no prearranged programmed to be jammed through the time. Our time was the Lords. We had real testimonies from fresh heart-experience. Otherwise, the shorter the testimonies, the better. A dozen might be on their feet at one time, trembling under the mighty power of god. We did not have to get our cur from some leader. And we were free from lawlessness. We were shut up to God in prayer in the meetings, our minds on Him. All obeyed God, in meekness and humility. In honor we preferred one another. The Lord was liable to burst through any one. We prayed for this continually. Some one would finally get up anointed for the message. All seemed to recognize this and gave way. It might be a child, a woman, or a man. It might be from the back seat, or from the front. It made no difference. We rejoiced that God was working. No one wished to show himself. We thought only of obeying God.
In fact there was an atmosphere of God there that forbade any one but a fool attempting to put himself forward without the real anointing. And such did not last long. The Spirit, from the throne controlled the meetings. Those were truly wonderful days. I often said that I would rather live six months at that time than fifty years of ordinary life. But God is just the same today. Only we have changed.
Some one might be speaking. Suddenly the Spirit would fall upon the congregation. God himself would give the altar call. Men would fall all over the house, like the slain in battle, or rush for the altar enmasse, to seek God. The scene often resembled a forest of fallen trees. Such a scene cannot be imitated. I never saw an altar call given in those early days. God himself would call them. And the preacher knew when to quit. When He spoke we all obeyed. It seemed a fearful thing to hinder or grieve the Spirit. The whole place was steeped in prayer, God was in His holy temple. It was for man to keep silent. The shekinah glory rested there. In fact some claim to have seen the glory by night over the building. I do not doubt it. I have stopped more than once within two blocks of the place and prayed for strength before I dared to go on. The presence of the Lord was so real.
Presumptuous men would sometimes come among us. Especially preachers who would try to spread themselves, in self-opinionating. But their effort was short lived. The breath would be taken from them. Their minds would wander, their brains reel. Things would turn black before their eyes. They could not go on. I never saw one get by with it in those days. They were up against God. No one cut them off. We simply prayed. The Holy Spirit did the rest. We wanted the Spirit to control. He wound them up in short order. They were carried out dead, spiritually speaking. They generally bit the dust in humility, going through the process we had all gone through. In other words they died out, came to see themselves in all their weakness, then in childlike humility and confession were taken up of God, transformed through the mighty baptism in the Spirit. The old man died with all his pride, arrogancy and good works. In my own case I came to abhor myself. I begged the Lord to drop a curtain so close behind me on my past that it would hit my heels. He told me to forget every good deed as though it had never occurred, as soon as it was accomplished anything for Him, lest my good works become a snare to me.
We saw some wonderful things in those days. Even very good men came to abhor themselves in the clearer light of God. The preachers died the hardest. But when God got through with them they gladly turned a new page and chapter. That was one reason they fought so hard. Death is not at all a pleasant experience. And strong men die hard.
The testimony of Frank Bartleman is excepted from his book, "How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles." Christian Life Books plans to republish the original book, unedited and with the original title.
This testimony and many others are available in Dr. Martin's book, The True Believers.
| 2008/3/19 11:51|
I was born in Los Angeles(city named after the angelic host) on 1414 Hope Street..no kidding,in 1956..I seem to remember this revival having taken place in the late 60's...Do you have the main yrs that this surrendered and obediant approach to fellowship was happening? I am curious because when I was 14 I was divinely rescued,for the first time, (from an evil killer,who ,by the way, so resembles Charles Manson..that every time I see his face..he is back in the news unfortunately..I am more than ever inclined to think he must be the same man) by an angel I later(at 22) was to recognise as the lead angel assigned to guard me from this type of harm. It has been interesting to see what God has been doing in different parts of the nation and world while we have been growing in Christ..the seasons of breakthrough..the waxing and the waning..the impact for opening..preparations God has made for us through the obediance of others.We give thanks for this. This was the best recounted rendition from that time that I have read yet.
G.M. (Destiny) Sweet
| 2008/3/19 15:33||Profile|
Do you have the main yrs that this surrendered and obediant approach to fellowship was happening?
According to Wikipedia:
"It began with a meeting on April 14, 1906 at the African Methodist Episcopal Church and continued until roughly 1915."
| 2008/3/19 15:47|
Ok..so the one I heard of/read about more recently was not the same one,or I clumped them together in my head..sometimes I get things/statistics and dates turned all around..this is good to know. Thanks!
G.M. (Destiny) Sweet
| 2008/3/19 17:30||Profile|
Ok..so the one I heard of/read about more recently was not the same one,or I clumped them together in my head..sometimes I get things/statistics and dates turned all around..this is good to know. Thanks!
Now you have my curiosity. :-) It's possible their was another one that was less prominite than the Azusa Street Revival. I'm sure this revival had a great effect on Los Angeles for a long period of time, atleast I would think so. It's still being talked about today so you never know.
| 2008/3/19 17:44|