I have been thinking about what it means to have a revival and I would like to write down some of the thoughts that I have.
First, we need to think about what a revival is. For some it is a planned event and for some it is a process that can bring about a desired end and reach the most people. Revival is a need in the time that we are in but how does a revival begin? Is it possible to create revival? How could we measure whether or not a revival is actually happening?
I would define revival as an event in which the Holy Spirit moves among people to create new life in Christ among a group of people. I want to work through the different points of the definition so that we may think about revival properly and pray for it. i would also like to emphasize that this is a definintion that I have come up with and that I am going to work with.
The first point that I would like to work through is the idea that revival is a move of the Holy Spirit. We are not able to plan and create revival for the schemes of man are not able to bring to life anybody that is dead in their trespasses and sins. The Holy Spirit, however, is the agent of creation and recreation. Without Him, it is impossible for anyone that is dead in sin to be brought to life. No matter how much excitement or persuasion or manipulation you throw into any event it will not bring the lasting result that we hope for. If you think that anyone can be converted through excitement then you are believing a man-centered view of how people come to faith in Christ. Anytime that we are in a position to give the gospel to someone, we must understand that if they are not in Christ they are a rebel against God himself. Only an act of God can take the heart of stone that hates God out and replace it with a heart that beats for God.
The second point that I would like to work through is that revival is something that brings about new life. This is not any kind of life but everlasting life. People who are caught up in a frenzy generally do not last very long when the pandemonium does down. Spurgeon said that something born in excitement soon dies when the excitement dies down. This a very good observation and considering that people bring about music and testimony to bring about the circumstance that will convince someone to say a prayer or sign a card. I am not categorically against these things, but I do think that the temptation is to make those things the end goal as if that is what brings about conversion. Prayers can become forgotten and cards can be thrown away, but if someone is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the effect is eternal. I think that we need to consider that revival is not about the numbers of responses but the preaching of the Gospel and the work of the Spirit in the preaching.
The last point is that Revival is something that happens for a group of people. Now it is true that the word revival just means to bring back to life, which means that anyone that converts to Christ experiences a revival, but I want to talk about it happening on a large-scale, like the book of Acts. Although some of those revivals turned into riots, people were brought to Christ in the midst of the events that took place. All we need to do is just read the Book of Acts to see that even in the most crazy of event, the Holy Spirit was able to reach people. If you are doing evangelism on a regular basis, you know that when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that barks was hit. Sometimes a revival can happen without all of the crazyness, because the important ingredient is not people or a particular preacher but the Gospel proclaimation and the Holy Spirit. All that to say revival can break out anytime or anywhere. It doesn’t need to be some event or planned thing that takes place. There is a great need for revival to break out in a lot of churches today, so the people and go and fulfill the Great Commission to bring the gospel to everyone.
As you read this is hope that at least I have provoked thought about revival and hopefully helped to focus on what to pray for. We can pray for a big move of the Spirit but lets just focus on praying for revival to break out first in our church and then have it spill out into the community.
For God’s Glory,