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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Revivals Of The Past - How To Preach

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 Revivals Of The Past - How To Preach

In looking at Revivals of the past in Bible School, we notice the subject of moral depravity is hardly brought up today. In our letter to students -

"14 1. There is much less probing of the heart by a deep and thorough exhibition of human depravity, than was formerly the case. It has been of late a common remark, and a brother who has long labored as an evangelist made the same remark, that for the last few years there has been little or no opposition made by impenitent sinners to revivals. Now it is not because the carnal mind is not still enmity against God, but I greatly fear it is for the want of thoroughly turning up to the light the deep foundations of this enmity in their hearts. The unutterable depravity of the human heart has not, I fear, been laid open to the very bottom as it formerly was. "

Now, what is this “exposing the depravity of the human heart” all about? If you see the way we preach in Church Sermons, we do exactly that. For instance, we expose the pride of heart of those who do not have the spirit of God. Clearly this was done in the past to promote revivals. The letter continues:

"15 A few sermons on the subject of moral depravity are generally preached in every revival, but I fear this is by no means the great theme of the preaching so much and so long as it ought to be, in order thoroughly to break up the fallow ground of the sinner’s and the professor’s heart. From my own experience and observation, as well as from the Word of God, I am fully convinced that the character of revivals depends very much upon the stress that is laid upon the depravity of the heart. Its pride, enmity, windings, deceitfulness, and everything else that is hateful to God, should be exposed in the light of His perfect law. "

So, we sometimes do hear this kind of preaching, but only few and far between. We need to generally see it, to experience revival. In the letter we see some of the practical signs in preaching to look out for, to know whether to preach about this depravity:

"16 2. I fear that stress enough is not laid upon the horrible guilt of this depravity. Pains enough is not taken, by a series of pointed and cutting discourses, to show the sinner the utter inexcusableness, the unutterable wickedness and guilt, of his base heart. No revival can be thorough until sinners and backsliders are so searched and humbled, that they can not hold up their heads. It is a settled point with me, that while backsliders and sinners can come to an anxious meeting, and hold up their heads and look you and others in the face without blushing and confusion, the work of searching is by no means performed, and they are in no state to be thoroughly broken down and converted to God. I wish to call the attention of my brethren especially to this fact. When sinners and backsliders are really convicted by the Holy Ghost, they are greatly ashamed of themselves. Until they manifest deep shame, it should be known that the probe is not used sufficiently, and they do not see themselves as they ought. When I go into a meeting of inquiry and look over the multitudes, if I see them with heads up, looking at me and at each other, I have learned to understand what work I have to do. Instead of pressing them immediately to come to Christ, I must go to work to convict them of sin. Generally, by looking over the room, a minister can tell, not only who are convicted and who are not, but who are so deeply convicted as to be prepared to receive Christ.

17 Some are looking around, and manifest no shame at all; others can not look you in the face, and yet can hold up their heads; others still can not hold up their heads, and yet are silent; others, by their sobbing, and breathing, and agonizing, reveal at once the fact that the sword of the Spirit has wounded them to their very heart. Now, I have learned that a revival never does take on a desirable and wholesome type any further than the preaching and means are so directed, and so efficient as to produce that kind of genuine and deep conviction which breaks the sinner and the backslider right down, and makes him unutterably ashamed and confounded before the Lord, until he is not only stripped of every excuse, but driven to go all lengths in justifying God and condemning himself. "


_________________
Tony Clayton

 2008/10/1 7:41Profile





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