“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the scripture says, “Everyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:9-11).
Without the work of the Holy Spirit a genuine and Biblical revival is impossible! As we have already seen in the last study the first and foremost sin that the Holy Spirit convicts people about is their unbelief in Jesus Christ and that this lies at the root of all of their problems in life. Conviction of sin will always be a mark of a genuine Biblical revival. There are other marks as well and we will now look at the second mark of a revival.
A Revival produces Genuine Conversions.
“Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about 3000 were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Everyday, they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:41-47).
a .The Holy Spirit does not know any barriers in His convicting and converting work. He can reach anyone. He can reach down to the derelict in the gutter and the alcoholic or drug addict on the street or reach up to the prime minister of the country. What is impossible for man is possible to the Holy Spirit. He can handle any situation. In a real and genuine Biblical revival the worst kinds of sinners are saved, delivered from evil spirits and even healed. (Acts 8:4-6) (Acts 19:18-20) (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
During the preaching of Charles Wesley, William Booth, George Whitfield, Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards thousands of people were thoroughly saved and sanctified by faith in the blood and merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was real revival! Many hearers would cry out aloud convicted of their sins while others trembled with the fear of hell and judgment yet others wept loudly as they experienced the grace of God changing their hearts from sin to righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.
Others fell to the ground struck down by God’s power. People often shrieked at their meetings as Satan’s hold over their lives was broken followed by heart-felt repentance and sobbing. There was no laughing, clowning around, barking like dogs and acting like baboons!
b. In a real revival weeping comes first before rejoicing. As the scripture says, “For his anger lasts only a moment. But his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Many who are saved in a revival experience a time of weeping because they have a revelation of the spiritual corruption of their hearts but then morning comes and the light of the Son of Righteousness shines into their hearts and their lives are filled with the light of His presence and power setting them free from the darkness of soul and spirit!
c. Today many third world countries are experiencing real and genuine revival. In nations such as Indonesia, South America, South Korea and in many other places in the Middle East and even in Muslim nations revivals are commonplace, however, the Church in the West is spiritually dying. What else can we expect in its present spiritual condition when previous head of the Church of England is a practicing druid who advocates ordaining practicing homosexuals and Lesbians to the ministry. What about a Bishop in England some time ago who denied the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and two thirds of the Bishops supporting him?
What abound evangelical leaders signing an agreement with the Roman Catholic Church not to try converting Roman Catholics? The late Pope himself thought that the Dalai Lama was a wonderful spiritual man and then kissed the Koran, which says that God has no Son? What about 89.9 Light FM broadcasting a live Roman Catholic Mass and working hand in hand with the Roman Catholic Church? What about Alpha courses set up by Nicky Gumball who reads the druid Rowan Williams writings for lent and has nuns and priests teaching the Alpha courses in their parishes?
What about the Uniting Church in Australia tolerating the ordination of practicing homosexuals to the ministry? What about many pastors going in for psychology, and psychotherapy and mixing it with God’s Word? What about “purpose driven” secular marketing strategies mixed with scripture being used to get people into the Church? What about many Christians and even pastors going in for Harry Potter novels and allowing their kids to read them? What about the moral and spiritual decline in society?
Do we feel grieved and distressed by these trends in the Western Church? Are we grieving over God’s Word being prostituted by men in the the Word of Faith prosperity camp? What about many theological institutions becoming more academic and less Biblical? Are we grieving over our own backslidden heart and lifestyle and that of the Church or are we going on with business as usual, maintaining the status quo in our churches and watching football on weekends?
d. Today many who claim to be saved in the Church are not saved at all. Many may have had some emotional experience but if they are still living self centred, self-gratifying lives and attached to the things of this world can they be truly saved? God knows but in the light of the Bible friendship and approval by the world for our lifestyle is enmity with God! If a person loves the world then the love of the Father is not in them! Read the kinds of people Paul mentions that will be a conspicuous feature of the Church in the last days in his second letter to Timothy. (2 Timothy 3:1-8)
The list starts with lovers of themselves and money and ends with lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. These people he mentions have a form of godliness but will not allow them selves to be inwardly changed by the Holy Spirit. People like this are usually into spiritual pride and arrogance and especially into money. They worship “the Golden Calf!”
e. At present millions of dollars are going into the coffers of the money preachers from America. Many genuine ministries are suffering financially because of these greedy prophets (profits) or so called prophets! What these people are doing is a disgrace to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and a slur on His name and they are not even ashamed of their loathsome conduct and they don’t even know how to blush but in a revival they will be rooted out and cast aside by the Lord of the harvest. What these people call a revival like the previous so called laughing revival was nothing more than using the power of the occult to get money out of people. They are laughing all right all the way to the bank and at the expense of the spiritual welfare of the sheep. They claim to hear from the Lord as the false prophets did in the days of Jeremiah but God says to them, “Woe to the shepherds who lead my people astray!”
f. In a real and genuine Biblical revival backsliders re-discover their first love for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. They have real spiritual taste buds for the things of God instead of taste buds for the things of this world. They hate what God hates and love what God loves. Human pride and arrogance will be dethroned, families restored, hypocrisy forsaken and divisions dissolved overnight, bitterness and backbiting and the indulgence of the flesh re-crucified in the life. False doctrines rejected, false prophets and teachers driven out of the Church. False hopes for salvation in anything else apart from the blood and merits of Jesus Christ will be forsaken and the hammers of the opinions of men smashed on the anvil of God’s Word.
Once again God’s Word will be like a fire burning up the hay and stubble and like a mighty hammer that breaks the rock hard hearts of men towards the Lord Jesus Christ and His claims upon their lives. (Jeremiah 23:29) In a genuine Biblical revival people will call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. People will be desperate to find God no matter what and being cut to the heart with conviction cry out to God what must I do to be saved?
g. In a genuine Biblical revival many churches that are now empty will be full to overflowing. People will be pressing in the doors to be saved because they know that this world is a titanic that has hit the iceberg. Believers will be devoted to the apostles teaching in the Word of God and committed to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Witnessing teams will go out to reach the unsaved. Bible colleges affected by the revival will multiply with students. In many Bible colleges and theological seminaries major curriculum changes will occur. Christians will have a driving passion to see sinners saved and backsliders restored.
h. In a genuine Biblical revival Church leaders will fall on their faces before the Lord. They will repent of their compromising attitudes to God’s Word and their neglect to feed their people God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. Church leaders will throw out church growth programs, “seeker sensitive” services, Alpha courses and “Purpose Driven” strategies and come before God to find out what His strategy is for evangelism and discipleship according to the Bible.
i. When the Lord Jesus Christ sends a revival believers will become burdened for their loved ones who are unsaved or backslidden. They will be burdened for their relatives and workmates to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally. Nothing will be spared in time or talents and especially in money to save the lost from an eternal hell in the lake of fire. Young Christian believers will be offering themselves for the mission fields and for full-time ministry to serve and to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Husbands will love their wives as Christ loves the Church and wives will respect their husbands and children will obey their parents in the Lord and the members of local congregations will submit to each other out of love and a pure heart with a clear conscience void of offence towards God.
j. If People have really been saved then they will have a deep hunger for God’s Word, for fellowship in the Spirit and for prayer and witnessing. They will have teachable spirits and allow the Holy Spirit to works through them with the gifts He decides to use. They will be glad to see others using their gifts and fulfilling their ministry to the body of Christ instead of envying them. Above everything else they will want God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on in their lives and in the lives of others. Signs, miracles and wonders will follow the preaching of the Word under the anointing power of the Holy Spirit and genuine gifts of the Spirit will flow among church members.
Now you may not have the grace gift to be an evangelist, preacher or a Church planting missionary but you can be involved in bringing others to faith in Christ. All of us can witness one on one and should when we get the opportunity to do that. We may not have the grace to go to the mission field but we can give our money so that others can go. In a revival money will be used appropriately and go to the people who need it most.
There is an incident in the Old Testament where King David had to go and fight the enemy. So he took the main army with him but left some behind to guard the baggage. However, when he returned victorious he gave all of his men an equal share of the reward. He rewarded them on the basis of their faithfulness not prowess in battle. Some will go to the front line while others will stay home in a supporting role, however, when the Lord Jesus comes back He will be looking for faithfulness as He Himself said; “When the Son of man comes back will He find faith (faithfulness) on the earth?” Remember Enoch was taken because He was faithful!
k. A real revival results in people being saved and sanctified before a Righteous and Holy God. More than ever today people need to hear that Jesus Christ loves them and died for their sins but that if they do not repent and believe the gospel then they will experience ‘the wrath of the Lamb’ when He comes back. If we would see people saved then we need to give them the gospel of the kingdom i.e., Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures and was buried, Jesus was raised to life for our justification and Jesus is coming again for our complete redemption. Anything else other than this is not the gospel but another gospel and those who preach it are under a curse.
Woe to those who are leading God’s people astray and feeding themselves, greedy shepherds for whom the blackest darkness has been reserved forever, clouds without rain, “twice dead!” These men have fallen into Balaam’s error and prophesy for money and if they do not repent they will fall with the fallen as those who fell in Korah’s rebellion. Tragically many start out as honest preachers of the Word but become corrupted through pride and the love of money. In the end when all the shows and displays are over at the end of the day we must ask ourselves have we done God’s will? Many who call Jesus Lord and do many mighty works and miracles will be shut out of God’s kingdom because in all their activity they have not been directed by the Lord but by some other motivation or power. (Matthew 7:21-23)
The reason that the Lord Jesus Christ poured out His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and made Him available to us was to give us the power to be His witnesses. If we have been baptised with the Holy Spirit then we have all of the Spiritual power we will ever need to witness to Jesus Christ and to serve God. Many have been baptised with the Holy Spirit today but fall into two basic groups.
Firstly, there are those who have been baptised with the Holy Spirit who sit around in small “bless me clubs.”
They practice prophesying to one another and are having “a party” for themselves yet have never really understood why the Lord Jesus baptised them with His Holy Spirit in the first place.
Second, there are those who understand why they have been baptised with the Holy Spirit and are all out for the Lord seeking to save the lost.
If we have really been baptised with the Holy Spirit then we will have a burden to see sinners saved and saints sanctified and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word uplifted before men. These things will become the driving force in our lives. If we do not have a burden for those without the Lord Jesus Christ and are indifferent to the spiritual state of the Church in the West then it means one of four things for us.
1. We have lost our first love and other things have entered in and Jesus is no longer at the control centre of our lives. 2. We are blocking the flow of the Spirit through our lives because we will not confess and renounce a favourite sin. 3. We have never been baptised with the Holy Spirit. 4. We have never been genuinely saved and born again from above by the Holy Spirit. It can only be one of these four things.
The one thing that Satan hates more than anything else is the preaching of the genuine gospel. He will do everything he can to divert us from this purpose. One thing that always accompanies a real revival where people are being genuinely saved is opposition and even persecution. Opposition to the gospel and persecution was common in the book of Acts. These things have been a conspicuous feature of the great revivals under Wesley, Whitfield, Moody and many others. Today especially in third world countries where the gospel is really being preached there is persecution and opposition. Where is it in the West?
Many churches and movements claim to experience revival but the one thing that is really missing is persecution and severe opposition. It has been said that the reason Satan has not physically chained the Church in the West is because he has them spiritually chained and by enlarge ineffective where the genuine gospel is concerned. We should not seek persecution as this is unnatural but realistically if we really stand up for Jesus and for righteousness then we will be persecuted. (Matthew 5:10-12) (Mark 13:9-13) (John 15:18-21) (2 Timothy 3:12) In a real Biblical revival then will always see genuine conversions where sinners are saved and the saints sanctified.
Right now we can begin to work towards a revival. We don’t have to be a good talker or have a great personality but we must be totally available to the Holy Spirit to use us in anyway, anywhere and at anytime He chooses. We must make sure that we have really been saved and baptised with the Holy Spirit. If we are completely committed to God’s will for our lives and totally available to Him then He can work His will through us especially where the unsaved are concerned. Whether we are at school or in the factory or office or on the university campus the Holy Spirit can work through us in the same way He worked through the apostles. This is God’s promise to every believer. (Acts 2:33, 39) If we want to see people genuinely saved then we must not only believe that the Holy Spirit can use us but count on Him to do His work through us!