Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Four Marks of True Revival

"I am profoundly convinced that the greatest need in the world today is revival in the Church of God. Yet alas! The whole idea of revival seems to have become strange to so many good Christian people... [This] is due both to a serious misunderstanding of the scriptures and to woeful ignorance of the history of the Church..." –Dr. Martin-Lloyd Jones, 1958

When one hears the word revival images of tent meetings, strange happenings, or Elmer Gantry type characters may come to mind. The Dictionary of Bible Themes defines a revival as "The Sovereign activity of God whereby God renews His people individually and corporately in vigor, affecting both sincerity of belief and quality of behavior." Nehemiah chapter eight gives an excellent snapshot of what revival is and what it looks like. The condition of the walls reflects the spiritual condition of God's people in Nehemiah. Following the completion of the wall, God revives the people spiritually. Here are four observations about biblical revival:

1.  Revival has come when the people of God approach the Word of God with intensified receptivity. (Neh. 8:1)

The people of ancient Israel understood who wrote the Word of God. In many ways, the Bible is just like Jesus in that it is 100% Divine and 100% Human in its origin. When the Word of God, God's people understand the WORDS OF GOD are being spoken, not the opinions of men!

2.  Revival has come when the people of God regard the word of God with the highest possible reverence. (Neh. 8:3)

Time, planning, and effort took place, the people had built a platform and pulpit for this particular occasion. They stood from morning until evening listening intently to God's Word!

3.  Revival has come when the people of God encounter the Word of God in its experimental potency. (Neh. 8:7-9) 

Ezra reads the Word in Hebrew followed by an immediate translation into Aramaic for the 30-50,000 people in attendance. Their reaction to God's Word is brokenness followed by joy. No preacher is good enough to cause that many people to repent! God showed up and dwelt with His people!

4.  Revival has come when the people of God encounter the Word of God in unqualified obedience. (Neh. 8:13-18)

Once God's people understood what was required from them according to the Word, the people responded with unqualified obedience. There was no thinking or praying about it; it happened right then as they launched into the Festival of Booths. Sometimes hesitation is not a virtue, but a sin among God's people.

Bottom line, God's Word is central to revival in the lives of God's people, both individually and collectively. Oh Lord, Grant me, may it revival begin with me! Amen!

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