“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31).
“Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. ”After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:29-31).
Bold and powerful praying in the face of opposition will always mark a Genuine Biblical Revival. The Prayer of faith offered up according to God’s will always release God’s power! Despite severe opposition the believers in the book of Acts persevered in prayer until the breakthrough they needed came. They never gave up! Satan was trying to shut them down but they were not moved by what they saw in the natural but only by what God could do in their situation. They not only believed He could act but counted on Him to act!
If we read the preceding verses we can see that their praying was based on God’s Word. They were holding God to His promises. They were not praying for blessing or prosperity or even for protection but that they might have power to speak God’s Word boldly despite the severe opposition they faced, not only that but they were counting on the Lord to do miraculous signs and wonders. Their focus was not primarily that the hand of Jesus might perform signs and miracles and wonders but that they might have boldness to speak the Word of God. As a result they were all refilled with the Holy Spirit and spoke God’s Word with great power. Not only did they have power to witness to the resurrection but also great grace was upon them all. (Vs. 32-35) In this study we will look at three things a Biblical Revival will produce.
1. A Biblical Revival produces Power in Prayer.
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31).
a. Power in prayer will always be a mark of a Biblical Revival . You will never have a revival without prayer first of all. A genuine revival begins when God’s people see the true spiritual state of the Church and society as a whole and get down on their faces before the Lord and begin to confess their sins and the sins of His people.
b. A revival always begins in the Church not in the world. When Nehemiah heard about the great trouble and disgrace that had come upon God’s people in Jerusalem and that the walls were broken down and its gates burned with fire he sat down and wept and for some days mourned and fasted and prayed before the Lord. He wasn’t found staggering around like a drunk, laughing uncontrollably like a Hyena or showing off an ability to speak in tongues. He certainly was not rolling around on the floor, barking like a dog or acting like a chimpanzee. Neither was he falling over backwards into some euphoric spiritual kind of state with a smile on his face. He was weeping, mourning and fasting before the Lord. (Nehemiah 1:3-4)
He was so distressed that as the Kings cupbearer he even took his life in his own hands and appeared before the king with a sad countenance. This could have cost him his life but instead the Lord rewarded his faith and he was able to go to Jerusalem himself to rectify the situation and with the blessing of the king. If he had not prayed before he appeared before the king things could have gone differently for him.
c. Prayer not only brings about a revival but also sustains it. Many revivals have begun well through persistent believing prayer but have gone off the rails when that kind of praying ceases. Spiritual victories are only won through believing and persistent prayer. When Israel were defeating the Amalekites in battle Moses was holding both of his arms towards heaven and as long as he did this Israel prevailed over their enemies but when his arms became tired and he was no longer able to hold them up consequently Israel began to loose the battle.
Moses was tired and sat down on a stone but he never gave up his intercession and when Aaron and Hur supported Moses arms the Israelites prevailed until they defeated the Amalekites. When the leaders were interceding for the people Victory came but only after a time of prolonged, persistent Intercessory prayer. (Exodus 17:8-13)
d. Today our leaders are of a different spirit . Many leaders are ‘throwing parties’ for the people of God and entertaining them with hyped up ‘Hollywood style’ worship. Many are dancing around the ‘Golden Calf of money worship’ and having a good time while millions are going into an eternal hell! They say it is revival but nothing is radically changed in society as things go from bad to worse. There is certainly no opposition from the world in fact the world laughs at them and rightly so!
e. The believers in the book of Acts knew the power of prevailing persistent prayer. When Peter went to prison for preaching the gospel the whole church prayed for him and for the situation and the Lord sent an angel to get him out. When Peter arrived at the door of the house where they were praying the believers were astonished that God had answered them so quickly. (Acts 12:1-16)
f. Persistent prayer will always get results. Jesus told a parable to show us that we should always pray and never give up. He said that there was a judge who didn’t fear God or care about men but when a widow kept coming to him he gave her what she asked for because of her persistence. Jesus said that if we persisted in prayer to His Father who is just and right would He not avenge His elect who cry to Him day and night and answer them speedily. But he also said that when he returns will He find this kind of faith on the earth? A good question in the light of the times in which we are living! (Luke 18:1-8)
g. If we really want a revival then we must pay a price and that price is persistent, prevailing prayer. If we are really concerned about our own spiritual laziness and the spiritual laziness of our brothers and sisters, and if we begin to grieve over our own backslidden state of heart and that of our fellow believers and begin to pray on our faces before the Lord, and if we are willing to do anything that God asks us to do without reservation then and only then can God send a genuine revival. At present it seems that the majority of professing Christians in the western nations are not really interested in a real and genuine Biblical revival but only in some kind of spiritually hyped up signs and wonders stage show with Mega stars like Benny Hinn.
Many want to be dazzled by words of prophesy that soothes the mind and signs and wonders that titillate the senses and in all kinds of emotionally fulfilling spiritual experiences but have very little interest in what the Word of God actually teaches. Many don’t even know what a Biblical revival is! Faith itself can only be built up by prayer controlled by the Holy Spirit and not by the energies of the flesh. (Jude 20)
h. Prayer will always precede the outpouring of the Spirit. This happened on the day of Pentecost to the 120 gathered in the upper room as a result of prayer. The Samaritan believers received the Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands. The same thing happened to the Gentiles as a result of Cornelius and the others who had been praying. Paul the apostle had been praying before he received the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. Should we expect anything less? We can have fantastic programs, top name speakers, so called ‘seeker sensitive’ services Alpha courses, ‘Purpose Driven’ programmes and strategies for church growth, motivational speakers, star studded worship meetings, heady music to dazzle the senses, dramatic testimonies to move people emotionally and every other kind of other program you can think of but still not have revival!
Unless we use the Biblical way to see a genuine revival then there will only ever be counterfeit ones that in the end leave the saints unsanctified and sinners still unsaved. We may be conscious of failure and a total inability to achieve anything for God. We may be grieving over our own imperfect and incomplete spiritual state and that of the Church and almost ready to give up but God wants us to turn again to Him.
The prophet Elijah was a man just like us with human weakness and failings and he even gave up at one stage feeling hopeless and caught up in a hopeless situation but the Lord never abandoned him but when Elijah did pray things happened! Through persistent unwavering prayer he affected a nation. He knew whom God was and knew His Word and as a result was able to pray according to God’s will and see great results in his own ministry and in the life of his nation. (James 5:16-17) We also have the same God and the same privilege he did. (1 John 5:14-15) Every one of us who really loves the Lord can come boldly to the throne of grace and obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. God wants us to approach Him in this way through our great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
i. Do we really want a revival? Do we really want to see God’s Word honoured and the Biblical Jesus lifted up before others? Are we willing to throw out the prosperity and hyper faith doctrines and reject the false prophets and teachers that are telling us lies, yet claiming to speak God’s Word? Are we willing to let the Holy Spirit have His way in our church? Are we willing to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way with us? Right now the Church in the West is standing at the crossroads and has to make a decision. Will it choose to return to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word or go to the ‘Babylon’ of religion or just backslide into the ‘Egypt’ of this world? The Lord said through Jeremiah, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).
2. A Biblical Revival restores the Authority of God’s Word the Bible.
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayer” (Acts 2:42)…“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (Acts 8:4)…“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures everyday to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
a. In a revival when the Word of God is preached there will always be a direct confrontation with the power of the occult. In the end the Word will always prevail over the forces of darkness. This is what happened at Ephesus when Paul preached the gospel. “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand Drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (Acts 19:18-20).
b. Whenever the gospel is preached under the anointing of the Spirit Satan’s kingdom is thrown back. God’s Word will do this. At Ephesus there was opposition to the revival primarily from those who were using religion to make money. These men stirred up others against Paul. Satan was working through these men to persecute Paul for the Words sake. (Matthew 13:20-21) However, despite their efforts Paul established a Church at Ephesus. At one time in the Church the opposition to the preaching of God’s Word came primarily from the liberals however today it is coming not only from the liberals but from the money preachers coming out of America and the Kingdom Now movement with its new style of apostles and prophets. At Ephesus Demetrius, an unbeliever in the world had a thriving trade in idols and was making buckets of money. His moneymaking business was tied to religion. His knee-jerk reaction had nothing to do with religion but money.
Today it is the same Satan is using money with religion to pervert the gospel only he is doing it in the Church through the money preachers. When these money preachers have their doctrines challenged from the Bible by honest servants of God they also react, not because they care for the truth but because it affects their back pockets and their bank accounts. Not only this but they stir up other professing Christians to oppose those who try and tell the truth as it really is in Jesus. In a genuine revival the Holy Spirit brings God’s people back to the spiritual priorities He has for their lives through the preaching of God’s Word, the Bible.
c. In any revival there will always be counterfeit experiences of one kind or another. Satan tries to mingle truth with error to pervert the power of the gospel. Many claim all kinds of ‘spiritual manifestations’ like shaking, rolling on the floor, howling and manifestations of dreams and revelations that cannot be supported from God’s Word. (See the video’s available of these kinds of things)
d. Right down through the history of the Church the main problem has always been opposition to the authority of God’s Word the Bible. This comes from religious people within the ranks of professing Christians. Usually it is the leaders that stir up others against honest preachers of the gospel. When John Wesley preached in a town often the local vicar would lead mobs to harass him and his followers. Sometimes the mobs led by a clergyman would break into believer’s houses and wreck their homes. This was also happening to the first century believers as well. (Hebrews 10:32-34) This kind of thing will happen again with ever-increasing frequency in the last days, in fact in some third world countries it’s already happening.
If Satan cannot pervert the truth then he will raise opposition and persecution. Usually opposition does not start outside the Church from unbelievers but inside the Church through false brethren. When we see a Bishop in Great Britain denying the resurrection and two thirds of the Bishops supporting him or the Episcopal Church in America consecrating a practicing homosexual as a Bishop this is opposing the gospel or someone like Bishop Spong deliberately teaching against the Bible itself and denigrating those who believe it is the Word of God it is all opening up the way for the Antichrist to be worshipped in the Church!
e. A revival is not only sustained by prayer but also by the faithful preaching and diligent study of God’s Word. The Bereans had the right attitude to Paul’s preaching. “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures everyday to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). Everyday they examined the scriptures because they were diligent students of God’s Word. Many today only hear the Word on Sundays in Church and because they don’t know their Bibles often have no discernment when false teaching comes across the pulpit. A revival always sorts out those who love the Word and those who don’t. God’s Word is the deciding factor. The writer to the Hebrews says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)
f. One-way of testing the spiritual temperature of a church is how devoted its members are to God’s Word. Hearing it is one thing but doing it is something else. James says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). The sure way to be deceived spiritually is not to obey God’s Word. In the last days this will be a conspicuous feature in the professing Christian Church that is tied in with the spirit of Antichrist; in fact it’s already a conspicuous feature in the contemporary Church scene. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) (2 Timothy 3:2-4)
g. God’s Word is sharp and is the only spiritual instrument that can separate truth from error. Only God’s Word can penetrate the deepest recesses of the human heart and reveal its thoughts and motives. It is able to sort out what is generated by the soul from what is generated by the Spirit and in a revival this kind of discernment is needed. Today what they are calling revival is not revival but ‘soul power’ energized by the power of the occult. The faith prosperity and money preachers are the culprits today prophesying revivals that never happen. In some cases they try to make it happen! Only those who know God’s Word in its context can discern truth from error especially where these “so called revivals” are happening.
Spurgeon once said something along these lines; “The only way to tell if a stick is bent even very slightly is to hold it up against a perfectly straight stick.” Of course the perfectly straight stick is the Word of God. The slightly bent stick is false doctrine. The bent stick may look straight at the first glance and the bend hardly noticeable but when held up against the perfectly straight stick its deficiency can be clearly seen!
h. When we see most of these mega churches we need to ask these questions about their leaders . The Church will reflect what its leaders are teaching. 1. Are they preaching the Word in its context? 2. Are they always talking about money and becoming rich in this world? 3. Are they avoiding the serious issues such as suffering in the Christian life from a Biblical perspective? 4. Are they being opposed and even persecuted because they stand for the truth? 5. Are they living crucified lives or living in luxury and opulence? 6. Are they really caring for the sheep or are they hirelings? 7. Do they have a passion to save the lost and see the saints sanctified? 8. Are they living holy lives or self-indulgent lazy lifestyles? 9. Are they humble and serve the sheep or Lord it over the flock? 10. Are they open to correction or when challenged doctrinally say such things as “Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm.” 11. Are they placing their emphasis on signs, miracles and wonders above their emphasis on God’s Word? 12. Are they avoiding foundational Biblical issues such as repentance and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? 13. Are they always preaching about the love of God but neglecting to preach about His holiness and righteous judgments i.e., the weightier matters of the law? 14. Are they faithful where other women are concerned? 15. Do they love money? 16. Do they love the praises of men? 17. Do their prophecies come true? 18. Are their church big because there have been people being saved everyday or because of a transfer of church membership?
i. When real revival comes God firstly deals with the leaders before He deals with the church. (Joel 1:13-14) If God can get hold of the leaders then he can deal with the church effectively. The eye in the body is like a teacher in the body of Christ. If he is a sound eye then the body of Christ will be full of light but if he is not sound then the body of Christ will be full of darkness. (Matthew 6:22) The issue is always right doctrine because if we don’t have right doctrine we will not have right conduct!
j. God’s Word is our only road map around the kingdom of God. If we want to know the directions to heaven then we need to read The Book! God’s Word will keep us from sin. (Psalm 119:9-11) It will be our guide in life. (Psalm 119:105) It will give us wisdom and understanding in the things of God. (Psalm 119:130) (Proverbs 2:1-9)
k. God wants to revive the Church in the West. God can do this but unless we repent of our unbiblical doctrines and practices, throw out the false teachers and prophets, humble ourselves before Him and be willing to submit to the authority of His Word in matters of doctrine and practice we will never see a revival but judgment. Remember that Judgment always begins in the house of God and, “that if the righteous are scarcely saved where will the sinners and ungodly appear?” And that, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” or a safe thing when we turn back to Him through repentance and faith and renew our commitment to Him! If we really love Jesus we will love His Word because He is the Word of God made flesh! In the end His Word will prevail. As Isaiah the prophet says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
3. A Biblical Revival produces a Real Spirit Filled Church.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day 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 2:42-47)
a. A genuine revival always brings about a real Spirit filled Church and genuine unity in the body of Christ. Real unity itself is based on the truth of God’s Word. Any other kind of real and genuine spiritual unity is impossible. Many think Ecumenism or interfaith dialogue and worship is the answer to true unity however God thinks differently. Interfaith and Ecumenism is nothing more than “the Babylon of all false religion” and one of the main ways that witchcraft has found its way into the professing Christian Church.
b. The Only person who can bring true unity to the Church is the Holy Spirit. Now He is the Spirit of Truth not error and He will never endorse a union that is not based on the Word of God. In a revival the Holy Spirit unites believers in right doctrine as well as in right conduct. As we have already said if we do not have right doctrine them we will not have right conduct. One is dependant on the other to bring about a unity that the Holy Spirit can empower. The first thing that happens is repentance. Without repentance revival cannot happen!
When the Holy Spirit really falls in power upon the Church He not only brings about repentance but also deals with wrong doctrine and false teachers. Usually when professing Christians depart from the teaching of the Bible the Holy Spirit’s power departs from them. Many Church leaders are into Charismatic hype and when you have seen the previous so-called “laughing revival” you saw people really out of control. Whenever you see people laughing uncontrollably, women rolling on the floor having what looks like sexual orgasms, others making all kinds of animal noises and acting like chimpanzees it is not the Spirit of God! In fact it is nothing more than a Zoo!
God’s Word tells us that the Holy Spirit has given us a spirit of love, power and a sound mind, or self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7) When you see professing Christians out of control it is not the Holy Spirit. In fact whether Rodney Howard Brown realised it or not, that he was using occult power to deceive God’s people and their leaders who endorse the laughing revival remaions to be seen. Wher is the laughing revival today? I saw Rodney Howard Brown on video contriving a laugh like a Hyena and swaggering around speaking in tongues with Kenneth Copeland with both of them acting like drunks. Kenneth Copeland called out another pastor to the front and clearly heard him say “Come up here Dennis and take the mark of the beast” and then he laughed. This is spiritual deception! This is “Babylon in the Church “
If you watch the antics of many of these ‘hype artists’ and conjoureres of the occult at work you do not see the work of the Holy Spirit but another spirit. The Holy Spirit came He would uplift Jesus and not Himself. (John 15:26 16:14-15) When you examine the doctrines of those claiming to have revival they are teaching the commandments of men and adding things to the Bible that it does not teach. They may claim to have the Spirit anointing their ministry but if their teaching is out of line with God’s Word then we need to ask the question by what spirit are they really anointed with?
The Bible clearly warns us that false teachers and prophets with a false anointing will multiply in the Church in the last days. (Matthew 24:5,11, 24) (1 Timothy 4:1-2) (2 Timothy 3:13) (2 Peter 2:1-3) The Antichrist himself will be revealed on the incoming tide of counterfeit signs, miracles and wonders in the professing Christian Church. (2 Thessalonians 2:8) Satan has been around a long time and when you see the so called revivals being claimed by the faith prosperity money preachers and those leaders into hyping people up you can see the ancient religion of Baal worship being re-packaged in Christian wrappings.
Satan is up to his old tricks! As King Solomon wrote; “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done.So there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) When you see Elijah confronting the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel you see what is happening today. The prophets of Baal were working themselves up into frenzy and yelled and shouted and tried to call down the fire, and the people of God were riveted to the spot with this spectacular show, but no fire fell. These men had enchanted the people of God with witchcraft. God’s true prophet Elijah stepped up and by the real anointing of the Holy Spirit called down upon the name of the Lord and the real fire fell from heaven!