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This is a reprint of the following article:

 

“Will You, O Yahweh, not return and revive us,
that Your people may rejoice in You?”
(Psalm 85:6)
 

By DON STANTON

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

THE NEED OF THE TIMES

 

TODAY, revival is not a very common word in the Christian’s vocabulary, except for a remnant who thirst for “Rivers of Living Water.” A few books on this topic will be found on the shelves of Christian bookstores, but you are more likely to find revival books in the second-hand shops, than in the new books section.  Books about old time revivals can be blessing for believers who yearn for a deeper work of God than they are seeing at present.

This series of articles is seeking to encourage readers to …

“seek the Lord until He comes and rains righteousness upon us.” (Hosea 10:12)

It is the writer’s deep conviction that we will not see great blessing on the Mission Field, and throughout the world, unless and until we have genuine spiritual revival. Gimmicks, heavy beat music, and bright lights will never produce the revival we need!

What is Revival?

Firstly the negative: Revival is not great evangelistic crusades, or special meetings. Revival is not special programs, or entertainment in the pulpit. Revival is not emotionalism, or going into ecstatic experiences. Revival is not the special activity of some sect or ism.

But positively: Revival is a work of God that brings Christians and the church back to the normal New Testament standard. Revival is a work of the Holy Spirit in and amongst Chris­tians. It is a work that convicts believers of their sin and shallow living. It convicts them of their pride, bitterness, complacency, selfishness and worldliness. It is a work that humbles Christians, and claims their full surrender to Christ. Revival is a time when Christians begin to really pray and witness. It is a time when Christians are truly filled with the Holy Spirit.

In 1745, David Brainard wrote of revival amongst the American Indians: “The power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly ‘like a rushing mighty wind,’ and with it, an astonishing energy that broke down all before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally, and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent ... almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together, and scarcely any one was able to withstand the shock of this surprising operation.”

There are two types of revival:

1. Individual or personal revival which is a rectifying work in one’s own life.

2. Widespread revival - in a church, district, nation or continent. This grows out of individual revivals - it is personal revival spreading like a flame in the community.

Revival begins in Christians, but soon reaches to the world around. A genuine revival usually affects the whole community. The world at large is convicted of its sin of rejecting Christ. Sinners are drawn irresistibly to the Messiah, and into His saving experience.   Hotels, theatres, clubs and dance halls very often close because of want of trade.

ARTHUR WALLIS has written: “It is characteristic of revivals that there have been seasons when sins that have long hindered blessing, are exposed, confessed and forgiven. Relationships, wrecked by pride, envy and evil-speaking are wonderfully restored when the hearts of the saints melt in the fires of revival.”

Revival is a time when righteousness pervades the com­munity. It is a time when men know there is a living God. It is a Divine work that exalts the Lord Jesus, and glorifies Yahweh, the Almighty God. I ask, what true Christian would not desire to see such a movement as this?

What is the purpose of revival? To counteract the spiritual decline in the church, and to bring it back to the New Testament standard of holiness and soul-winning. Revival is not an end in itself. It is simply the means of bringing the church back to its right sanctified walk. An individual who needs revival is one living a sub-normal Christian life. A church that needs revival is a sub-normal church.

Of the revival in Northampton, USA, in  1735, JONATHAN EDWARDS wrote :

“There was scarcely a person in the town, old or young, left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world. Those who were wont to be the vainest and loosest and those who had been most disposed to think and speak slightly of vital and experimental religion were now generally subject to great awakenings. And the work of conversion increased more and more. Souls did, as it were, come by flocks to Jesus Christ. From day to day for many months together might be seen evident instances of sinners brought out of darkness into marvellous light, delivered from the miry clay and set upon a rock, with a new song of praise to God in their mouths.

“This work of God, as it was carried on, and as the number of true saints multiplied, soon made a glorious alteration in the town. In the spring and summer following, 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It never was so full of love or of joy, and yet so full of distress as it was then.

“There were remarkable tokens of God’s Presence in almost every house. It was a time of joy in families on account of salvation being brought to them. Parents were rejoicing over their children as newborn, and husbands over their wives, and wives over their husbands.”

CHARLES FINNEY was a revivalist whom God used greatly in the USA in the early 19th century. It was said that wherever Finney went, the fire fell.

Finney was born in the USA in 1792, and was mightily used to reach multitudes of men and women, so much so that it was estimated that he was instrumental in the conversion of 250,000 souls.

Once, entering a factory and walking around, he was recog­nised by many working there. Among the work people was a young lady who whispered a foolish remark to her companion, and laughed. Finney stopped and looked at her with grief. Instantly, she stopped; her thread broke, and she was so agi­tated that she could not re-join it. She looked out of the window in an effort to compose herself, then tried again, striv­ing to regain her self-command. At length she sat down over­come with her feelings. Finney then approached her, and soon she manifested a deep sense of sin.

The feeling of concern soon spread through the factory, and within a few hours almost every person employed there was under the convicting power of the Spirit, so much so that the owner, though a worldly man, was astounded and requested to have the factory work stopped, and a prayer meeting held. In a few days he and nearly all the employees there - about 3,000 - were converted.

Finney’s solemn appearance, his compassion, and his rebuking of the levity of the young woman, brought her under conviction, with the consequent revival.

Concerning the revival which transformed the city of Rochester under Finney’s ministry in 1830, the district attorney observed many years after, “I have been examining the records of the criminal courts, and I find that whereas our city has increased since the revival threefold, there are not one-third as many prosecutions as there had been up to that time. This is the wonderful influence the revival had upon the community.”

Some Christians are sceptical of the subject of Revival, and of movements of the Holy Spirit. Extremism of some groups or movements has been to blame for much of the scepticism. On the other hand, some Christians just don’t want to be revived. They are careless, complacent and content­ed.

Throughout Scripture, revival is a big topic. We see that revival is not presented as an alternate possibility, but as the essential requirement.

Before we study revival promises, and just in case there should be a doubt in the reader’s mind about the possibility of revival, let us remember; it is God’s direct will that His people should live on a Scriptural, New Testament level of holiness.

“Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  (I Peter 1:16)

“... that we should be holy and without blame be­fore Him in love.”  (Ephesians 1:4)

When the Lord sees spiritual decline in an assembly, He calls that assembly to repentance. We see this strongly in His last words to the Church - the messages recorded in Revelation 2 & 3. His call is to repent, and do the first works. Y’shua calls people back to their first state - of love and zeal for Himself. In this light we see that revival is not an option, but a Divine imper­ative.        

Surely the Love of Christ constrains us! Surely our love for Him, longs to see His name exalted! Surely we long that our own individual lives should be to the praise of His glory!

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”       (Jeremiah 29:13)

To answer further, the question, What is revival? I enclose the following account of the tremendous revival that swept America in 1857, and which was felt all over the world.

The 1857 Revival

The conditions in 1857 were like those facing the Church today. The USA was much smaller than now, but the sins and the untoward conditions were about the same. During the time prior to that Divine visitation, Americans were living in idle luxury.

Wines were plentiful. The theatre and the dance halls gripped a pleasure-bent people.  Divorce was easy in the new states. Feminine smokers were numerous.  Free love, gambling, robbery, murder, and mob-administration were widespread everywhere. Sunday was a day of pleasure.

Cults like Spiritism and Mormonism captured the minds of thousands. The churches were torn with strife. Carnality prevailed in them. Preaching was largely of the letter and not in the Spirit.

The nation was generally prosperous. Railroads and water transportation expanded trade. New towns and cities sprang up everywhere.  National and international trade greatly increased. Buying, selling and money making occupied the minds of business men to the exclusion of better things.

Newspapers increased. Secular reading was sold cheaply. Large numbers of papers and books were brought by eager readers. English and American authors were enjoying great popularity.   Infidelity and atheism were rampant.  The writings of Tom Paine and of European infidels were read by multitudes.

Prosperity gave the people much leisure for reading and discussion. Multitudes turned from the churches and busied themselves in politics, education and amusements. The con­sciences of men became hardened, and indifference to spiritual religion generally prevailed.

These unfavorable conditions drove devout Christians to seek closer fellowship with one another in prayer. Tens of thousands met in stated places for noon-time prayer. God heard their united cry and gave them an astounding visitation of spiritual power, for which the people of God in our land in this generation, will do well to pray.

In a time of general forgetfulness of God, a series of unfavorable providences paved the way for a general repent­ance.

First, there came a time of economic instability. Banks failed everywhere. Those that did remain open closed once a week for examination.  Wealthy people became paupers overnight. Everyone came into financial distress. Unemploy­ment became general. Thousands who had been accustomed to comfort or luxury suffered appalling privations.

Prayer meetings sprang up everywhere. One prayer meeting in New York City had a regular attendance of over five thous­and. Ministers had special gatherings for waiting upon God.

So, by economic failure and unemployment, God turned the hearts of the people back again to Himself.

Answers to prayer were astounding. God took men and matters in hand. The supernatural was pre-eminent.  A spiritual epidemic of conviction of sin broke out, first in New England, then in adjacent states. It spread over the land and crossed the ocean.

The work of God appeared in most unlikely places. Passengers on ships at sea were struck with a sense of guilti­ness and sought the grace of a forgiving God. Upon arrival at port they learned what God was doing in America.

Aged sinners, hardened sceptics, and whole families, even of Jews, were being brought to Christ. The deaf and dumb were being dealt with in like manner by the Spirit of God. New churches were springing up everywhere. Theological errors were straightened out.

Scarcely any books would sell but books of religion. Spurgeon tells us in very temperate language that upon the most reliable authority he could say that “in some New England towns you can scarce find one unconverted person.” Tidings of the heavenly visitation spread far and wide, and everywhere Christians were aroused to seek from God a similar visitation.

Ireland - 1859

Tidings of the work of God in America reached Ireland. The reports stirred in saints there the spirit of expectancy and prayer. They began to realize that God had in mind for His people greater blessing than they had ever imagined. As they prayed, revival fires began to break out in all places of intercession.

Dr. H. Grattan Guinness authenticated reports of this spreading work of grace by securing from a goodly number of highly respected ministers, reports of its progress. These accounts made it evident that Ireland was experiencing in 1859, demonstrations of the Spirit similar to those being witnessed in America.

God was dealing with multitudes there. The Spirit of grace and supplication was mightily poured out upon the people of God. Meetings for prayer in some places were called as many as ten times every week. The largest places were soon filled with anxious souls.   

Nothing like its spread and power had been witnessed in Ireland in over a century. Great numbers were added to the various congregations. The Lord seemed to descend in a rich shower of blessing. In their homes, on the street, at work, as well as in the churches, people were smitten with an unshakeable conviction of sin.

Some were utterly prostrated physically; but in the majority of cases it was found that this was evidently the work of the Holy Spirit rather than any bodily weakness or undue emotion.

Out of distress, souls were lifted into calm. A deep solemnity, earnestness, and diligence possessed the converts. In all of them, conscience was awakened quietly, but the stirring of the heart was deep and abiding.

Everywhere there was a decided increase of Christian love, a respect for ministers, a holy regard for the observance of the Lord’s Day, and an enlarged attendance at the services of the church. Worship, the ordinances, Bible study and prayer - social and public - were the food for these newly awakened souls.

Ministers were busier with souls than doctors are with patients in time of epidemic diseases. They were reaping a mighty harvest of precious souls, and were deeply solemnized by what they saw and heard. Thousands were brought face to face with God, and seemed to stand at His bar for their numerous and forgotten sins.

The general effect upon the public mind was such as to strike terror in indifferent souls, and to awaken them thor­oughly and lead them to repentance. Able-bodied men got a sight of their sins, and discovered them-selves under the just condemnation of God.

The most healthy and vigorous women, whom you would least expect to come under revival influence, were commonly among the first to feel the convicting power of the Spirit of God. Converts were numbered by groups instead of individuals. All ages were affected. It mattered not whether the subjects were nine or ninety.

This remarkable movement was both healthy and encour­aging. The Divine influence came upon some as a mighty rushing wind; and upon others as rain upon newly-cut lawns.

Everywhere family ‘altars’ were ‘erected.’ Taverns were neglected. Reconciliations were effected, and a spirit of love and unity prevailed among ministers and members of different religious communions.

The Lord had done great things!      


CHAPTER 2

The Promise Of Revival

 

“Are there any among the idols of the nations who cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Is it not You, O YHWH our God? Therefore we will wait for You – our confident expectation is in You, for You are the One who does all this.”  (Jeremiah 14:22)

Can we expect any special working of God - a mighty revival in these days?

There are many pessimistic and fatalistic Chris­tians in the world who would say, “No! Endtimes are here!” But I don’t think there is a Christian in Heaven who would give that answer.

The Word of God is loaded with promises which Adonai Yahweh is waiting to make real through His people. We all believe that He is able to do super-abundantly, but the doubt seems to be, “Will God bless us now?” or, “Is it His will?”

We have already mentioned, last issue, that Revival is the means of bringing the Church back to New Testament principles. We must confess that it is God’s direct will that believers live by the New Testament standards of faith, holiness and witness. Then I ask, “Has God changed His mind?” No! Absolutely no!

God has often used revival throughout the centuries. Has God’s work now finished? No! Certainly not!

In these tremendous days, revival should be our great longing and expectancy. The Word of God is our hope, for the Sovereign Master has given many promises of Revival. But the promise comes alive to those who are longing for, and seeking the LORD, and His greatest honour and exaltation.

Look at this definite promise of nation­wide awakening:

“If I shut up the heavens and there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.”               (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

If we are willing to be challenged to pray for great things, Jeremiah 33:3 will do it:

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”

Isaiah 44:3 is the promise for us if we are truly thirsting for blessing (not just singing about it!):

“For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground: I will pour out My Spirit upon your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.”

In 1949, Yahweh made this promise real to the small expectant group of believers in the Hebrides Islands (Scotland). The Islands were flooded by God.

We must recall also Hosea 10:12:

“Sow for yourselves righteousness, and reap the fruit of mercy. Break up your fallow, unplowed ground, for it is time to seek YHWH until He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

If we have ever needed revival, we need it now - in the 21st century. And the New Testament declares:

“Now is the accepted time. Look! Now is the day of Salvation.”

(2 Corinthians 6:2)

Malachi 3:10 is a promise very precious to the writer. This is a great revival promise. Our Father gives us a vision of how great a blessing we can expect. The promise is not to the half­-hearted, the complacent, or the self-centred. It is for the thirsty, hungry and des­perate - for believers who really long for a blessing so great that we will not be able to fully receive it. Notice the challenge made by the Almighty:

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in My House, and prove Me now in this,’ says YHWH of Hosts, ‘whether I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour on you such blessing so that there will not be space to contain it’.”

Now, not in the future - now! If you will obey, you will prove Me, says the LORD.

There was a woman living in New Jersey, in an area where there had once been a revival. Upon her spirit came the impression that there would be yet another, and so she asked the minister and elders to convene a “conference.” 

They were not so minded, and so with fixed intention, the woman arranged for seats to be specially made, so she could hold meetings in her own house. Scarcely had she opened her doors for meetings when the Spirit of God came down with great power, and the sleepy church members found themselves confronted with convicted sinners. And they could but say, “The  LORD is in this place and I knew it not.”

This sister proved the Lord. So could we, if ... !

The promises of blessing are not confined to the Old Test­ament. The Messiah called aloud so all could hear:

“‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes and trusts in Me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from his innermost being.’ By this He meant the Holy Spirit.” (John 7:37-39)

This is no little blessing - this is torrents of blessing from Holy Spirit.

Let us remember God’s direct will:

“The LORD is not willing that any should perish,” but ‘’desires all men to be saved.”

(2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4)

The Master’s words encourage us to believe and to ask for that which will glorify His Name:

“And whatever you ask in My Name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My Name, I will do it.”  (John 14:13-14)

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you ask of the Father in My Name, He may give to you.”   (John 15:16)

If these words mean anything, they mean something very important. The Messiah does not say yes, when He means no.

The Rain of Blessing

Here are a few of the general promises of revival. If we will ponder them, our hearts must be filled with expectancy and hope.

“O God, You are my God; I earnestly seek You; my soul has thirsted for You, my flesh has longed for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have gazed upon You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.”  (Psalm 63:1-2)

The Bible gives us this specific promise of blessing concerning the last days.

“Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Master. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious ‘fruit of the earth,’ waiting patiently until the land receives the early and late rains. You too be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Master is near.”   (James 5:7, 8)

In this exhortation, James encourages believers to be patient in view of two things: the expectation of the “late rain” that will produce the ingathering of precious fruit; and the Master’s imminent Return.

The Father is waiting, and He will remain patient until He reaps the endtime harvest of precious souls. After that, His wrath will fall.

2 Peter 3 also reminds us of this truth. Why has the Master not yet returned? Why has God not already judged the earth? Because He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. God is waiting for the precious fruit of the earth.

Now what does “early and late rain” mean?

(Be aware that there is an erroneous teaching out there which uses “latter rain” to apply to a “spiritual phenomenon” by which advanced Christians become “manifest sons of God.” It’s a dangerous teaching.)

This term, “early and late rain,” however, is used a number of times in Scripture. The people of Old Testament times knew its meaning very well. It applied to the seasonal rains in the Middle East. The season commenced with great downpours of rain, and finish­ed with very heavy rains. In between the two great rains, there were many smaller, intermittent rains. The first rains are called “early or former rain,” the final as the “late or latter rains.”

In my first year in India I experienced such seasonal rains. By the 15th June, the ground and air was so hot that the heavens burst, and down came drenching rain. After a few days it reduced to smaller but almost daily showers. At the end of three months the final rains came. I will not forget that late rain (I was waiting in a bus shed). It seemed as if the sky would break.

In Scripture the “early and late rain” is used to illustrate spiritual blessing.

Isaiah 44:3 links water with the Holy Spirit blessing:

“For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring,”

as also does the Saviour’s words in John 7:37-39 …

“‘Whoever believes and trusts in Me … rivers of living water will flow from his innermost being.’ By this He meant the Holy Spirit.”

Hosea 6:2, 3 speaks about revival and relates it to the late rain:

“He will revive us after two days … His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the heavy rain, like the late rain, watering the earth.”

Jeremiah says:

“They do not say in their heart, ‘Let us now stand in awe of YHWH our God, who gives rain in its season, both the former and the late rain, and who keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest’.”  (Jeremiah 5:24)

Joel gives a precious promise, firstly to Israel.

“He has given you the early rain abundantly, and will cause the rain to come down for you, the early and late rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil ... And after this I will pour out My Spirit on all people.”  (Joel 2:23-24, 32)

This will surely be fulfilled to Israel. But it has an application to the church age, as Peter, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared at Pente­cost. (Acts 2:16-17)

This church age began with a great and mighty rain of Holy Spirit blessing at Pentecost ... this continued for many years. The following centuries right up until these last days have had the intermittent showers of blessing.

Now in these last days, an endtime downpour will surely come. As we look at the times - the return of the Jews to Israel, the Middle East situation, the alignment of the nations, the European Union, terrorism, lawlessness, calamities and trouble everywhere, we cannot but believe that we are in the last days.

From Scripture we also learn that the last days will be characterized by apostasy; and this we also see today. Perhaps less than 1/10th of Christendom, today, is actually Christian. Worldwide move­ments aiming at uniting all religions are tools being used to prepare the way for the reign of the Beast.

The endtime rain will not come upon apostate Christendom, but upon the faithful remnant, although, no doubt, many may be saved from the apostasy as the power of God moves in the church and the nations.

We cannot say how long the downpour will last. It could be several years, it could be one weekend. But certainly the final ingathering will take place.  The Master is patiently waiting for it.

The Holy Spirit is working in mighty ways in nations of the world such as China and Nepal today. Could this be part of the latter rain? How we should be awake, and on our knees, obedient to His every word!

“Ask YHWH for rain at the time of the late rain – YHWH who makes the storm clouds;

and He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man.”

(Zechariah 10:1)

For any readers who may be sceptical of the possibility of revival today, I close this chapter with two reports of revival, in different settings - Canada and the Solomon Islands - that have taken place in the last half century.

Canada  -  1972

In Portland, Oregon, the Book of Acts came alive in 1972:

“More than 2,000 Christians have discovered the power of the Holy Spirit. Many with suicidal tendencies, mental de­pressions, and strange behaviour patterns - have been complet­ely delivered! Hundreds of marriages have been healed; in some cases parties were separated and had filed for divorce. Scores of pastors confessed the sin of pride, self-effort and frustration in their ministries but now are experiencing joy and boldness in preaching the Gospel.

“Within my own life, God had to touch my son physically, and bring other things to bear upon my soul until 1 was com­pletely crushed and wanted more than anything else to be a broken vessel, available for His use in whatever way He saw fit, and that for His glory.

“Restitutions are being made and the secular press is aware that something unusual is happening. The New York Times, and a New Jersey radio station, called up long distance enquiring as to what is taking place in Portland, Oregon.

“Some have asked for the formula, and some have come to the meetings merely to see something spectacular, and so miss­ed the blessing. But others, on their faces before God, with broken and contrite hearts, and with all humility, prayed:

“O, God, turn the searchlight of Your Holy Spirit upon me and reveal anything in my life that is displeasing to You. I confess it as sin. I give You every area of my life - my home, my family, my possessions, my future, my will. Now fill me with the Holy Spirit, and I thank You for doing so.”

“The outgrowth of the revival is evangelism, but judgment must begin at the house of God. At one of the meetings, a young woman concerned about her rebellious children, first gave herself to the Lord, then committed her children to the Lord.  When she got home at 3:00 a.m., she found that her children had accepted Christ at the very moment that she had turned them over to the Lord.”

Solomon Islands  -  1970

George Strachan reported: “Sunday, we went ashore at Kobiloko. Many were crying and leaders were disturbed that they could not stop it. There appeared to be no real cause - yet their distress was real. The church was full of concerned faces, but a spirit of relief came when we explained that this was godly sorrow which we had been praying for, for years. Those crying were taken to a separ­ate building and the meeting commenced. When we explained to those who were crying that they should accept God’s provis­ion by faith, there was a change, and weeping turned to great joy.

“Of those present and in distress, some had seen visions of Jesus on the Cross, others angels, and still others saw a bright light, and were overcome by their own sinfulness. One or two had seen the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, while one girl saw Hell and just sobbed for her relatives. Then release came and they returned to the meeting. 

“All was in order, till the call was given after the message. Then there was a surge forward, and many broke into strong crying, both men and women. They were left perhaps ten minutes, then there started outbursts of joy and praise. It spread over the whole meeting and continued for another fifteen minutes. What joy! What praise! What glory! What hallelujahs! Some stood on their seats and just shouted praise to God. It was tremendous, such as I had never seen or heard in all my life.  Glory to God, revival had really come to the Solomons!”


CHAPTER 3

Revival  Conditions

 

“If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

(2 Chronicles 7:14)

IN this day of Grace, and especially when things are going comfortably, many Christians do not like to think or remember that there are commands and conditions in God’s Word that must be applied before any revival, individual or national, can take place.

Some sincere believers think that man can do nothing to bring revival. But it has been truly written, “We cannot make revival, but we can prepare for it.”

Spiritual revival is imperative according to our Master’s words in Revelation 2 & 3; therefore we must listen to His commands and conditions. But as we study these, we realise that they are meant to lead us to the true spiritual life that God intends for us.           

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, Yahweh gives four conditions to Solomon and the Israelites, if they are to see His blessing in the natural realm. We should understand these are also conditions for spiritual blessing today.

God addresses His people, who are called by His Name. The LORD’s people today, in general, are called “Christians” (Christ’s ones - Messianic believers). And it is to believers that the Almighty speaks.

 

1.  Humble  Themselves

 

“If My people humble themselves.”

The first condition is humility. If we are to see spiritual blessing, we must begin here. Unless we start with our own pride and reluctance to submit to the Lord, it is no good praying for revival. And yet our tendency is to avoid any hurt to “self.” We would rather first start praying, rather than humbling ourselves.

In the New Testament we are commanded -

“Humble yourselves in the Presence of the Master.”  (James 4:10)

“Clothe yourselves with humility … humble yourselves, then, under the mighty hand of God.”   (1 Peter 5:5-6)

We are to humble ourselves in the sight of God - not just in the sight of men. Our Master does not want mock or superficial humility.

Pride is no small sin. It is called an abomination (Proverbs 6:16-17). Pride panders to all our carnal tendencies. How many sins come from our pride - the pride, anger, bitterness and hatred that fills our souls when an adverse word is spoken about us; unless we are humbled under God’s Hand!

One of the most subtle and abominable sins is spiritual pride. And yet it is not uncommon among God’s people. We become proud of our gifts, our attainments, our work for the Lord, what we have given to God, and what He has done through us.

What pride it is when we pat ourselves on the back in word, thought or attitude, when blessings come from the Master Himself. Our pride is an insult to the Holy One, and robs Him of His Glory.

Spiritual pride of denomination, non-denomination, or inter-denomination is a major reason that the Heavenly Father has not always answered our prayers. Sometimes we seem to think that Yahweh should bless through me, or my group; and if He worked through another group, we should be quite hurt, and disappointed. This shows the falsity of our motives, and our pride.

True humility in Scripture means submission to God. James presents it this way:

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit therefore to God.”  (James 4:6-7)

If we would be humble, let us submit to God. Submission means death to “self” - an essential condition for Christian discipleship.

What a terrible mistake it is for us to seek to preserve our carnal natures. We are commanded to reckon ourselves dead to sin - death to the carnal nature. But we are to yield ourselves (gladly) to God (Romans 6:11, 13); or as Paul exhorts:

“Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.”    (Romans 12:1)

Pride is the enemy of these requirements.  Pride would seek to justify itself.

In a life of continuous submission to God, there is no room for pandering to the flesh. If we are indeed sub-missive to the Master, no matter what assails us - circumstances, or men’s evil words, thoughts and actions, we will remain at His feet in humility. Our lives will take on a spiritual outlook, and we will abhor the things that seek to promote our flesh and pride.

When we take the deliberate step of humbling ourselves, by submission to God, our lives will be prepared for the next import­ant condition for revival.

 

2. Pray

 

“If My people pray.”

The meaning of the word “pray” in this verse, is intercession - prayer for others - interceding for the church and the world; or, as in Ezekiel, “standing in the gap.”

This is the second condition for revival. And no doubt, all genuine believers agree that prayer is necessary.

Brethren, I need not to convince you that prayer is necessary, but maybe I do need to convince you that the work of prayer is not for a few special “prayer warriors” - it is for you!  For every one of us!

Intercession is vitally essential before the windows of Heaven can be opened; before the Lord can heal the land.  Intercession is not praying for yourself; it is not worship, it is more than asking petitions. Intercession is entering into the spiritual realm where the actual battle rages. What happens in the physical world, is the result of the victory won, or not won, in the spiritual realm.

Intercession is a spiritual fight against the adversary and his hosts of wickedness. It means warfare!

We might naturally recoil from such conflict, but the Master has called us to engage in this supernatural, spiritual warfare.

One of the instruments of the revival in Wales in 1904 was EVAN ROBERTS. Burdened for Wales, this young man asked the Lord for 100,000 souls. The Almighty answered; and Wales was on fire with revival. Roberts paid the price and fought against the powers of darkness.

One Monday night his congregation numbered seventeen. “I explained to them the purpose of my mission, and told them what the Spirit had wrought and was working at New Quay and Newcastle Emlyn. And I urged them to prepare for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”

The meeting was hard, the people unresponsive. Three times Roberts resorted to prayer, then returned to his appeal for total commitment and a public confession of Christ. In the end all seventeen yielded, among them, his brother and three sisters.

Next morning Evan Roberts found himself in conflict with Satan. The whole project was presented to him as presump­tuous and delusory. But he fought through. Six more made public confession at the next meeting.

On Wednesday evening people were eager to listen as he vividly explained the vision the Spirit had given him, and outlined his programme for revival:

1 Confession of all past sins

2 Repentance and restitution

3 Surrender to the Holy Spirit and consequent obedience

4 Public confession of Christ

Roberts urged each person to take these four steps. But the meeting was silent and unresponsive. The preacher went down on his knees and pleaded for the convicting power of the Spirit. Gradually the people yielded until in the end twenty persons had stood up and made public commitment to Christ.

As the meetings progressed they grew in numbers and went on into the early hours of the morning.  The Spirit’s outpouring that followed was the beginning of the great flood of revival. From now on no preacher needed to persuade the people to do anything. God the Holy Spirit had taken over. The people flocked in crowds to the chapels. Often there was no preaching. The people sang and prayed and testified as the Spirit led them, and the holy fire leapt from village to village and from town to town.

The Father has raised us up to sit in Heavenly places with Christ. (Eph. 1:20, 21; 2:6). He has provided His own armour for us to engage in the war - not armchairs for relaxing, for there can never be relaxation or discharge until the Lord comes.

This ministry takes time, strength, self-denial and sacrifice. We talk about intercession, we believe in intercession, but our talk and belief is not intercession. We need to practice intercession - be doers of the Word.

Instead, we usually make excuses about our neglect of this holy necessity. We say we have so much to do. Our work for the Lord takes so much time. I am convicted that our excuses are vain.

“Let every man examine himself!”   (1 Corinthians 11:28)

First, how much time do I spend in intercession per day? 10 or 15 minutes? Secondly, how much time do I spend in read­ing newspapers? In eating, in idle talk, in relaxation? Are the newspapers, chatting, eating and relaxing more impor­tant than intercession - more important than translating the victory of the Messiah at Calvary into reality in our lives?

Away with our excuses! How many precious hours are spent by Christians in listening to the radio; watching the devil’s vision - television - which is one of the greatest soul-destroying abominations; or these days, surfing the Net?

Beloved, be delivered from the world. Why should we give any time to the world’s cause, while Yahweh the Eternal One is seeking intercessors for His cause?

The operation of the Holy Spirit depends on man’s obedience.

“And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who are obeying Him.”   (Acts 5:32)

The supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in revival power is something that no man can fully describe.  There are, however, features of the Lewis revival which charac­terize revivals of the past also, one of which is the spirit of expectancy.

In Lewis there was a group of men who seemed to be living on the high plane of implicit confidence in God.  They were assured absolutely that revival had come.

Not far from this praying group of men were two godly women, 84 and 82 years of age.  They had interceded for many years for an awakening. On the same night that God gave assurance to the men, God spoke to them as they spent the night in prayer. “In two weeks, I shall send upon this com­munity the greatest Spiritual Awakening it has known.” 

It was revealed to them that Duncan Campbell would be the instrument used.

A wire was sent to Campbell, but when he receiv­ed it, he was already booked for another meeting. He replied: “It is impossible for me to come at this time, but keep on praying and I will come next year.”

When the reply was given to the sisters, they answered: “That is what man has said. God has said that he will be here in two weeks.” Strangely enough, Campbell’s engagement was cancelled and within a fortnight he was in Barvas.

The first meeting was held in the old parish church. Many people had gathered in great expectancy of a great moving of God, but strangely enough, nothing happened.  It was just an ordinary service.

Seeing the disappointment upon the preacher’s face, one of the praying deacons came up to him: “Don’t be discouraged,” he said, “It is coming. I already hear the rumbling of Heaven’s chariot wheels; we will have another night of prayer, and then we will see what God is going to do.”

Three o’clock in the morning; God swept in and about a dozen were laid prostrate upon the floor, and lay there speech­less.  Something had happened! God had moved into action, as He had promised. Revival had come, and men and women were going to find deliverance.

As they left that cottage that morning, they found men and women seeking God! Lights were burning in the homes along the road. No one seemed to think of sleep. Three men were found lying by the roadside, in a torment of conviction, crying for God to have mercy upon them. The Spirit of God was moving into action, and soon the parish of Barvas was to be stirred from end to end.

In the days of Isaiah and Ezekiel, Adonai Yahweh “wondered that there was no intercessor.” Today He must still be wondering why there are not more intercessors.

Alexander Whyte wrote: “My brethren, will noth­ing teach you to pray? Will all His examples, and all His promises, and all your own needs, and cares, and distresses, not teach you to pray? Will you not tell your Saviour what a dislike, even to downright antipathy, you have at secret prayer; how little you attempt it, and how soon you are weary of it? Only pray, O you prayerless people of His, and the Heaven will soon open to you also, and you will hear your Father’s voice, and the Holy Ghost will descend like a dove upon you.”

We often sacrifice many things, and work for the Heavenly Master, but fail in this, the most important work of intercession.

I beseech you brethren, by the love you have for your great Redeemer, to stand in the gap, until He comes.

A. T. Pierson has written: “From the day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though among two or three; no such outward, upper movement has continued after such prayer meetings have declined.”

Concern for the Souls of Sinners

“In the Fall of 1825, there lived a woman in Oneida County who was in feeble health, who had never been in a powerful revival. Her soul became exercised to the point of agony for the souls of sinners in the land.

“She did not know what ailed her, but nevertheless she kept on praying, until it seemed as though agony would destroy her body. At length she became full of joy, and exclaimed, ‘God has come! God has come! There is no mistake about it, the work has begun and is going on all over the region.’

“And sure enough, the work began, and her family were almost all converted, and the work spread all over the country. She had prevailed with God in prayer. She had travailed in birth for souls, and she knew it.”      - C.G. Finney, “Lectures on Revivals.”

God Can Use a Stammerer

No revival, as such, had occurred in a certain town for many years, whilst the Church was almost extinct. An aged man, a retired blacksmith, lived there, but so stammering was his tongue that it was painful to hear him speak. One Friday he sat in his shop alone and there became greatly exercised about the state of the church and that of the impenitent. His agitation became so great that he locked the door and spent the afternoon in prayer.

On the following Sunday he asked the minister to appoint a “conference meeting” which after some hesitation the minister did, at the same time fearing that few would be present. The gathering was to be in the house. Imagine their surprise when there assembled more than could be accommodated!

For a time all were silent until one man broke out in tears, and asked if any would pray for him? Another followed and yet another until many were brought under deep conviction. A remarkable feature was that they discovered that their concern occurred the very hour when the aged man had been praying. A powerful revival followed.

John Livingston, when he heard of the blessing in Ulster, came and preached at Hollywood on a Communion Sunday. He spent the previous night in prayer, and as a result of that sermon 2,000 souls turned to God.

 

3.  Seek  The  Face  OF  GOD

 

“If My people seek My Face.”

Here is a necessity that we are all too often prone to forget - to seek the Face of God. This is not especially intercession, but it is the seeking of the Presence of the Master Himself, and the knowledge of His will - fellowship and guidance.

God made man, planned, worked and provided for his redemption. Believers, He has justified and seated in Heavenly places, in Christ. God now desires the worship, adoration and close fellowship of His people.

“For the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.”  (John 4:23)

We have been brought so near to God, in position, having being justified; but alas, we may be very far from God in spiritual fellowship.

The Father longs for the communion of His children; the Son seeks fellowship with His beloved.

How cold is a child who seldom approaches his father except to ask for something. Or an espoused who does not enjoy the blessing of her lover’s presence. And yet so often our love for our Saviour is lukewarm. Our fellowship with God is so lacking. We are exhorted:

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  (James 4:8)

It is possible for us to be very busy serving the Lord, and yet be far from Him. First things first. Like Mary we need to worship Him. Our presence at a worship meeting, or a conference, does not guarantee that our hearts are close to God. In thought they may be far away. It may be that we have suffered heart-departure from the Lord; we may have lost the joy of our first-love. We need to continually draw near, and seek His Presence. Evangelistic work, numerous meetings, and even intercession, cannot replace fellowship with God.

Friendship with the world is one reason for our departure from God’s presence. How we should shun the world’s influ­ences, and crave the pure loveliness of the Holy One. James 4:4 also says:

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever decides to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

The early church was concerned with being delivered from the World. Today Christians seem to be concerned with how far they can go into the world, and still remain “safe.” The world will draw us away from God.

We need also to seek the Face of the Lord for the knowl­edge of His will - for his direction and authority.

As we intercede for others and pray for revival, we seek also His face for what He would have us do, individually, each day.

How much of our “Christian work” is Christ’s work? How often do we make our own plans, and then ask God to bless? How often is the Holy Spirit grieved and quenched by Christians ignoring God’s Presence?

How often the Head of the Church is forgotten and His authority reduced to nominal recognition, as though Jesus were but a patron of man’s organisation to whom no reference or report needs to be made.

Committees and church meetings must seek the Lord’s mind, in all things. It is not enough to simply “have a prayer,” and then go ahead and make our own plans. God’s Word should be consulted, and constant reference made to the risen Saviour, as though He were bodily present.

We need the consciousness of His Presence. Without Him we will not see revival blessing.

“In Your Presence is fullness of joy.”  (Psalm 16:11)

 

4.  Turn  From  Wicked  Ways

 

“If My people turn from their wicked ways.”

What a terrible condition they are in, when God’s people need to be commanded to turn from their wicked ways. How terrible it is today, that the Church has largely forgotten her holy calling, and is practicing or condoning wicked ways.

Some will answer, “But God was here speaking to Israel, not to Christians.” True, but in the NT there are similar weighty words to believers. Christians need to repent! It is imperative that we turn from our wicked ways, so that revival may come.

It is not enough that we confess our sins, we must turn from them. To confess our sins and not forsake them is to tell God what we intend to do. Paul writes:

 “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin!”   (I Corinthians 15:34)

“Let everyone who names the Name of the Messiah turn away from wickedness.”   (2 Timothy 9:19)

The Scriptures search the believer for those sins that linger in the heart. In James 4:8 God commands:

“Cleanse your hands, you sinners:

and purify your hearts you double-minded!”

Think for a moment of how terrible double-minded-ness is. Maybe we have become double-minded about the Master’s demand for holiness in our lives.   We know we should be holy, but we are often satisfied with a sub-normal - a carnal life.

Now-a-days many Christians are afraid of the term “holiness.” We should rather recoil from the thought of un-holiness in our lives. We usually criticize the idea of “sinless perfection,” but much more we should judge our own state of sinful im-perfection.

YHWH our God has exhorted, pleaded and commanded us to pursue holiness.

“Just as He who called you is set-apart and holy, you also be set-apart and holy in all your behaviour; because it is written, you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart.”    (I Peter 1:15-16)

A Brethren leader, Montague Goodman, once challenged a convention of believers:

“If we are God’s people we are committed to a holy life.  If we are not a holy people, we are nothing at all, and worse than nothing.”

The keynote to Mosaic worship and to the blessing of the people of Israel, was the words engraved on the golden plate the high priest wore - “Holiness unto the Lord.” God demands that His people be holy, for all believers in this age are priests unto God.

I Peter 2:5 says we are “a holy priesthood.” We are also called the “Temple of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore how imperative it is that we be holy!

Because of our very relationship to God, we need to be holy. Are we not called by a holy God (1 Pet 1:16); saved by a holy Sacrifice (Heb 9:14); indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19)? Are we not called holy brethren (Heb. 3:1), a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9), and a holy temple (Eph. 2:21)? Is our Bible not the Holy Scriptures (Rom. 1:2), and is our heavenly home not God’s holy habitation (Rev 21:2)? Is our calling not a holy calling (2 Tim 1:9), and are we not told to lift up holy hands (1 Tim 2:8)?

Our conversation, our walk then, must be holy!

The key to understanding the meaning of holiness, and experienc­ing holiness, is separation.

Firstly, we have been separated unto God, and by God. (Hebrews 13:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Secondly, we are to separate ourselves from the world, and from all sin, and present ourselves to God. (2 Corinthians 6:17, Romans 12:1-2)

This brings us back to our text:

“If My people ... turn from their wicked ways.”

Our repentance must be continuous. It is not enough to look back on the past and say, “I repented so many years ago, or, I consecrated myself so many weeks ago.” We must maintain our separation to God. Unless we maintain this, we will find sin creeping in and regaining its power over us.

“What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? … Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says YHWH, and do not touch what is unclean; and I will receive you. … Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of body and spirit, perfecting holiness in reverence, standing in awe of God.”    (2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 7:1)

If we feel our weakness, failure and uncleanness, let us remember the Lord has provided the basis and power for our holiness - His Sacrifice at Calvary, the Holy Spirit’s filling, and our Advocate in Heaven.

In 1949, some believers on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, became concerned about the spiritual condition of their people. Spiritual men and women decided to do something about it. They published in their leading newspapers, an appeal to the people to become awakened to the state of things. They mentioned the fact that the Lord’s Day was being profaned, worship services were unattended by the masses, and mentioned the light regard given to the vows of those who were church members.

“The Presbytery affectionately plead with their people - especially with the youth of the Church, to take these matters to heart and to make serious inquiry as to what must be the end should there be no repentance; and they called upon every individual as before God to examine his or her life in the light of that responsibility which pertains to us all, that happily, in the Divine mercy, we may be visited with the spirit of repentance and may turn again unto the Lord whom we have so grieved with our iniquities and waywardness.”

A group of men in the church at Barvas were deeply concerned. They met several nights a week in a wooden barn and poured out their hearts to God. It came to them that God is a covenant-keeping God.

2 Chronicles 7:14 flashed to their minds. They put their faith in the divine promise:

“If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

That night they entered into a solemn covenant with God, to hold to, and to prevail in prayer until revival came! And there was expectancy.

One night, after several months of prayer, this group of men was wrestling in prayer. Then one young man arose from his knees and read Psalm 24:

“Who may ascend into the Mountain of YHWH? And who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart … he shall receive blessing from YHWH and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”    (Psalm 24:3-5)

Then he said: “We have been praying for months, pleading for revival. Are our hands clean? Are our hearts pure?” All fell on their knees in confession of sin. Heaven came down, and the barn was filled with the glory of God. All of them felt they had victory and that the revival had begun.

We Have Our Part

Let us remember also that we have our part - we must turn from our wicked ways.

Here we should be definite and frank with ourselves. It is folly to preserve the ‘“flesh.” If we fail to acknowledge our sins, we fail to turn from them. We should read passages such as the following and let the Spirit of God reveal the dark places:

Malachi 3:7-10

Galatians 6:19-23

Ephesians 4:14-32, 5:1-25

Titus 1:16, 3:2-3  

2 Timothy 3:2-5

Colossians 3:2-9

James 3:3-10

 

“If My people, who are called by My Name (believers), humble themselves (submission), and pray (Interces­sion), and seek My Face (worship and guidance), and turn from their wicked ways (separation, holiness), then (and only then) I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

 

AMEN. AMEN!


Four Major Hindrances

to Revival 

Chapter 4

“Quench not the Spirit”

 

(1 Thessalonians 5:19)

IN THE MASTER’s messages to the seven Asian Churches (Revelation 2 - 3), we see widespread sins hindering revival and God’s blessing – the sins of departure from first love, worldliness, spiritual idol­atry, compromise, tolerance of evil, resting on past reputation, as well as complacency, pride and lukewarmness. (See our booklet, “Personal to the Churches.”)

 Let us now consider four of the other major hindrances to revival.

Much of the Church is sorely in need of revival today, and sins that are preventing revival should be exposed.

We may all feel that we are getting tired of hearing about sin. But my reader, we should be getting to utterly deplore the presence of sin – not only in the world, but in the church, and in our own lives.

We need to have every sin in our lives exposed by the Light of the Word of God, so that we may flee with our sin-sick souls to the Saviour, for His deliverance and renewal.

We sing rather glibly, “Search me, O God, and know my thoughts I pray,” but immediately put up the wall of self-defence and self-righteousness. We need to declare war on sin - firstly in our own lives.

Today we see a sin-sick Church, and a sin-sodden world. Why? Because of a long history of sin-tolerance. And one of the great sins we tolerate is called Enmity!

 

1.  Right With God But Wrong with Man?

We talk about our standing and our relationship with the Master – we’re justified, sanctified, temples of the Holy Spirit, and seated with the Messiah in Heavenly Places, but at the same time we tolerate enmity in our hearts against our brother or sister. We’re “right with God” but wrong with man! Is that possible? We fool ourselves! What type of Christianity is this? When we hold a controversy against another person, God holds a controversy against us!

Again we sing, rather weakly, “I surrender all - all to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give.” But the Holy One replies, “I will not receive an of­fering at your hand - your hands are full of blood - full of hatred, bitterness, wrath, anger, unforgiveness, evil-speaking, murmuring, gossip, slander, malice, envy, and faction!” 

The Psalmist asks:

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”  (Psalm 24:4)

For this reason, we are commanded:

“Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  

(James 4:8)

We say murder is terrible. Y’shua says:

“But I say to you that whoever nurses any anger against his brother will be subject to judgment.”   (Matthew 5:22)

One reason for the Church’s powerlessness and emptiness today, is the enmity that exists amongst the believers. Today hatred is not only in the world, but in the interaction of “believers.”

Again, our Master has definite teaching on this:

“If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”  (Matthew 5:23-24)

This will mean humility - dropping of the pride - especially if you think there is more fault on the other side. But our relationships must be put right - relationships in the family, in the Church, in our work, in the town, or wherever they are not right. What a disgrace - how unbiblical it is when Christians hold grudges against each other.

How about looking around the meeting next Sunday morning and seeing if there is ill-feeling when you view each saint! And the believers to whom you are never very friendly, why not go out of your way to show concern – Christian love? And don’t forget the strangers!

The great revivalist, JONATHAN EDWARDS, wrote!

“Abundance has been lately done at making up differences, confessing faults one to another, and to making restitution; probably more within these two years, than was done in 30 years before.”          

As the prophet Hosea said, it is time to break up our fallow ground - our stony hearts - and to seek YHWH until He comes to rain righteousness on us. (Hosea 10:12).  It is time our hatred turned to love; our bitterness changed to joy; our wrath to blessing; and our evil speaking to prayer.

“Let the peace of the Messiah rule in your hearts.”  (Colossians 3:15)

 

2.  The Self-Life

Yes, we need to make war on sin. It is time we sleepy Christians woke up and saw what sin is doing! We should take stock of what is happening around us - the utter ruin that sin is causing.

We should also see what sin does in our own lives – it robs us of spiritual strength; robs the Father of His glory; robs the Son of His fruit, and robs the Holy Spirit of vessels He could use.

We know for sure that Satan is not half-hearted in his war on the saints (1 Peter 5:8-9). Just take a look into the church, or perhaps even into your own life, and see what havoc the evil one has done. But look at the church again, and see how half-hearted it is in the war against sin, the flesh and the devil.

It seems that many of us Christians adopt a policy of peaceful co-existence with sin and the devil. Let us not be deceived; peaceful co-existence in the devil’s vocabulary means surrender of righteousness and holiness. We must never compromise and seek to “come to terms” with sin!

Our war against sin may mean that we ourselves will get hurt. It will definitely mean that our flesh – our self-life – will receive strong blows. But should we not welcome that? Our self-life needs to be “put to death” – that is, rendered inoperative by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Self is one of our great enemies – probably the worst – and pandering to it is a great hindrance to revival. We may make excuses for it, but our selfishness, our self-centredness, and our self-gratification is grieving God. We may not regard ourselves as selfish, but self is evident in many ways.

Self-preservation. How we protect ourselves! We often forget that we are to die daily.  We are not called to preserve our carnal life but to render it inoperative. It is to be, “not I, but Christ who lives in me.”

Self-centredness. Have you noticed that often the world seems to revolve around “me?” I seem to be the one who matters most. We say, “Oh that’s only natural.” But the Master needs to be the centre of our lives. Every moment needs to revolve around Him.

Self-defence. “It is God that justifies. Who is he who condemns?” The self-life would vindicate and justify itself, but the spiritual man, even though he may be accounted as a sheep for the slaughter, rests on the Word of God. “It is God that justifies.”

Self-will.  Oh that stubborn will that we have! How reluctant it is to yield everything to God. It may yield in many things - maybe 95% of things, but it will resist in some areas. It will obey on certain conditions – on the provision that it can have some say in the matter.

Many Christians are not willing for God’s greater blessing (and they may never have it!) Many want revival to come in the Church, but they are not willing to be revived in their own personal lives.

The Sovereign Yahweh says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the best of the land.”   (Isaiah 1:19)

We need to surrender our wills to God – to be willing to obey Him at any cost; willing to see Him work in any way He chooses; willing to suffer shame and loss; willing to take that humble place as a bond-servant of Christ.

‘‘Do you not know that … you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price.”  (1 Corinthians 6 19-20)

Self-comfort. “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,” cries the prophet Amos (6:1). Today we are an ease-loving generation. It’s not only in the world; we Christians are often allured by the lust for comfort. There is nothing wrong with being com­fortable, except that we are supposed to be on a battlefield.

There is nothing wrong with comforts, except that we spend too much of our Master’s resources in getting them for ourselves, and use too much of His time in enjoying the comforts. We hate being discomforted!

It is a great pity that we are not as concerned with taking up the armour of God as we are of taking to the arm-chair for “the old man.”

Self-pity. When things go wrong we are inclined to pity ourselves. In all circumstances, however, we have the assurance of the Heavenly Father, “I have loved you,” and, “All things work together for good,” etc. What excuse then is there for self-pity?

Yes, we have self-pity over our small, or big, troubles, but consider others around us who are sliding into Hell daily. Are we such Jonahs that we have such pity for our “own little bush,” but we have little pity for those perishing all around us?

Touchiness. An exhibition of the self-life is our touchiness. Praise the LORD if you are free from this sin. It is a sin that plagues many, and that grieves the Holy Spirit. We often justify touchiness with, “that’s just a part of my temperament.”  But from this sin springs many others - bitterness, hatred, strife, division, gossip, and evil thoughts. We need to humble ourselves before the Holy One or our pride will yet ruin us.

The Word of God says that in the last days, men will be lovers of themselves. (2 Timothy 2:3). That is not surpris­ing seeing the natural man is naturally egotistical.  But what a disgrace, how unscriptural it is, when followers of Y’shua the Messiah, who loved not His own life, can be called “lovers of themselves.”

“He who claims that he lives and remains in Him (the Messiah), should himself walk in the same manner as He walked.”   (1 John 2:6)

 

3.  Wrong Motives

Revival is the great need in the 21st century lukewarm “Laodicean church.” Praise the LORD, many believers are feeling the burden and are praying earnestly for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in this our day.

But let us consider the motive for our praying for and desiring revival. James tells us that sometimes we do not receive the answer to our pleas because we “ask amiss.” (James 4:3). If our motive is wrong, we need not expect anything of the Lord.

Our motive is something that we should think about, and ask, “Is it pure or impure?” for we are exhorted in Hebrews 10:22 to, “Draw near with a true heart.” 

A wrong motive is often the reason why God holds back His blessing. Let us stop and ask, “Why do I want revival?” Is it so that we may consume the blessing on our own pleasures? Or for such reasons as ...

Personal gain.  Is our prayer for revival motivated by selfishness? Is there any thought of personal gain or advance­ment? Is there a hope that revival will fulfil my personal schemes?

Publicity and fame.  This is a trap especially for Christian leaders. We may seem to be praying and working for revival for the Lord’s glory but underneath there may be a subtle desire for our own approval or spiritual reputation. We may test ourselves by asking, “Would I be happy to remain in the background and unseen in a time of revival?”

Church reputation. Some would seek revival for the sake of church reputation. The assembly may be known as spiritual, and there is a concern that it should not lose its reputation.

Membership. To seek revival simply to build up our church roll and attendance is also an impure motive, as is also seeking revival for the sake of filling the church treasury or building fund.

Denominationalism. Some are so concerned for the advance of their own denomination that this becomes the motive in praying for revival. Any group seeking revival only in its own denomination needs to check its motives. The Church, the Body of Christ, is not a denomination, but it comprises all true born again believers, irrespective of “label.” And it is not God’s will to revive just one section of the Church.  And be sure, it would be hard to find one assembly where revival is not needed!

Revival can not be “owned” by one group, just as rain will not fall only on one field.  Woe to that group who would seek to control and own the fire of God. So each one needs to test his motive; if revival began in another group, a differ­ent denomination, which is “not as Biblical and spiritual as mine,” would I be as thankful as if revival started with my group?

Alas, many would be offended and would oppose or doubt a work of God in another group. But if our motives are pure, we will yearn to see genuine revival everywhere, and we’ll genuinely praise the LORD wherever we see the work of His mighty Arm.

These wrong motives, and all others, need to be guarded against lest we “pray amiss.” It is so easy to pray for a right thing with a wrong motive. The only true motive for seeking revival is that Yahweh-Y’shua may be glorified, His Name honoured, and His purpose fulfilled.

To desire one’s spiritual growth, the increase in the church, the evangelization of the town or the world, and the salvation of sinners, is right and good. We should long for these, but these desires, in themselves, are not the highest and pure motive for revival. These are secondary motives.

We usually think of the desperate need of unsaved souls. But most important is the Name of Yahweh and of His Anointed One. It is the LORD’s Glory that is at stake. Any prayer that does not have as its prime motive, the Glory of God, is a prayer that ‘‘asks” amiss.

Remember, man was made for God’s Glory (Isa. 43:7, 21, 25 Eph. 1:12); God promised Israel blessing “for My holy Name’s sake” (Ezek. 36:21-22. Isa. 48:9); “that I may be glorified.” (Isa. 60:21). So we need to see beyond our spiritual needs and the salvation of souls, and see the Glory of God.

Oh, just look around and see how the Name of Christ is blasphemed; how His gracious mercy is mocked and rejected; how His Word is torn asunder – and not just by the world, but also by some calling themselves “Christians” (modernists). See how His Spirit is grieved; His love is despised; and His truth is turned into a lie. Oh how God’s Glory is spurned!

This is the thing that should set us praying for revival. We should be concerned for the LORD’s Name and His Glory, and our prayers should take on more of the plea; “Father, remem­ber Your Name and Your Glory. Hallowed be Your Name. For Your Holy Name’s sake revive us. Let not Your people profane Your Name, and let Your Name be great among the heathen. Oh Yahweh have pity upon Your Holy Name, and let Your Glory be revealed.”

Of course Yahweh glorifies Himself in the salvation of souls, and in the revival of believers, but let us always have a passion for His Glory.

“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My Name be profaned? And My Glory I will not give to another.”   (Isaiah 48:11)

 

4.  Unbelief

Another reason why revival is hindered is plain unbelief. It may be covered by various excuses or arguments, but underneath there is this God-dishonouring, soul-damning sin.

In the world, unbelief is the greatest sin, for amongst those who have heard the Gospel, this is the primary sin that consigns them to Hell.

In the Church also, unbelief is one of the greatest sins because it destroys or hinders the spiritual life and vitality of the Body of Christ.

The Word of God is very definite about the necessity of belief - faith. We enter the Way through faith, and we walk in the Way by faith.  So the Christian life has no place for unbelief!

Some Christians do not believe revival is possible - and for them, except for the grace of God, it will be impossible.

The Scripture says: “Let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man should not presume that he will receive anything from the Master, being a double-minded man, and unstable in all his ways.”  (James 1:6-8)

Unbelieving believers! They will tell the world to believe, but they themselves cannot believe. Faith is not just for the beginning of the Christian life, but for the whole of the life. By faith we sit, by faith we walk, stand, and conquer; by faith we see the windows of Heaven opened.

The Heavens may seem as iron, the difficulties around us may be very great, the mountains unassailable, the rivers uncrossable, but what have these things to do with the Christian? They are things that exist for faith to conquer.

“With God all things are possible.”  (Mark 10:27)

D. L. MOODY faced an impossible task. One Monday night during his great London Campaign, Moody preach­ed to 5,000 men who professed to be atheists, sceptics, and free-thinkers. But of that meeting, and of the rest of that week, we read:

“In an instant the Holy Spirit seemed to have broken loose upon that great crowd of enemies of Jesus Christ, and 500 men sprang to their feet, tears running down their faces, shouting, “I will, I will (come to Christ).”

“Quickly the meeting was closed in order that personal work might begin. From that night until the end of the week nearly 2,000 men were won from the ranks of Satan into the army of the Lord. The permanency of that work of God was well attested. Those evil clubs never recovered their footing. God swept them away in His mercy, by His Gospel.”

 

Unbelief is an Insult to God!

 

How the Head of the Body must be grieved at our modern, materialistic, unbelieving Church. Look at the average prayer meeting and the few who gather, and then dare to suggest the Church is believing.

Unbelief says, “What is the use of prayer meetings - they are wearisome? What is the use of praying - nothing will happen?” The inward attitude may be such, although the stated excuse may be, “I get home too late - I have so much to do,” and a hundred and one other excuses. If we really believed, on the other hand, prayer would take a high priority.

But even the few of us who do gather for prayer - do we pray in faith? Do we really believe we are bringing petitions to the King? Do we expect anything to happen? Prayer is so often formal, and a kind of superstitious observance. We feel we should pray (and so we should) but if our prayers are not in faith, our words are as useless, for ...

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God (YHWH the eternally-existing One) must believe that He exists, and that He is a Rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him out.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

God responds to, and rewards, believing prayer. In May, 1860, a special day of prayer was called for the second Sunday in July by the Presbyterian Church. In Edinburgh, Glasgow, and as far afield as Aberdeen, intercessions took place seeking an abund­ant outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Interest in revival was quickened, and there was a marked increase in corporate prayer.

Approximately 20,000 gathered on Glasgow Green at the commencement of the movement, whilst in September a report indicated that similar size crowds were gathering there. An adjoining theatre was opened where enquirers were dealt with. Richard Weaver was one of the speakers on those occasions, and so heavy was the work that he, with the other two speakers, collapsed with fatigue.

Unbelief is a heart condition. It is a sign that the heart is not right with God, a sign of heart departure from God. This, of course, is a natural tendency and as we detect it, we must turn our eyes to our Master, Y’shua, where they should always be. If we look around us, unbelief will creep in as it did with Peter, when he started walking on the sea.

But some will argue that we can’t expect revival now, as these are the last days. Foolish philosophy! The disciples believed they were in the last days, but that only urged them on more. What if Whitfield and Wesley sat down and said, “It is too late; we are in the last days?” But often this is just an excuse to cover complacency and carnality.

Do you mean to say that we can’t expect greater blessing than we are having today? Do you mean that God is content for His people to live below the New Testament standard? Unbelief be removed! As long as the Holy Spirit lives and works on the earth, revival is a very real possibility.

Some believers catch a vision of what the Almighty can do, but then they give it up. The answer may be delayed, and so they lose faith, and again are filled with unbelief.

In Hebrews 10:35 we read:

“Do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward; for you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

Faith is persistent. Unbelief is a highway robber that robs us of God’s blessing.

 

Failure to Enter

 

We read that the Israelites could not enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief. (Heb. 3:16). And the church, likewise, fails to enter into the richest blessing of God today because of the same sin.

During the Messiah’s life on earth, He could not - did not - do many mighty works in certain places because of the people’s unbelief. (Matt. 13:58. Mk. 6:5). The Master marveled at their unbelief! How much more He must marvel at the unbelief of His own blood-bought body -people who have been given His many promises, all of which are ‘yea and amen.’ Do His tremendous promises mean so little to us?

“Whatever you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  (Mark 11:24 also Matthew 17:20).

If “whatever” does not include revival, then what does the word mean? But the promise must be appropriated by faith. Faith is daring.

          Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees

          And looks to God alone;

          Laughs at impossibilities,

          And cries, ‘It shall be done’!”

DUNCAN CAMPBELL tells of praying with a group of believers in the Hebrides Islands in 1949:

“I found myself battling and getting nowhere as the hours passed.  After midnight, between 12 and 1 a.m., I turned to a young man in the meeting and said, ‘I feel led of God to ask you to pray.’ And that dear man rose to his feet and prayed, and in his prayer he uttered words such as I had never heard in a prayer before. He said:

‘Lord, You made a promise; are You going to fulfil it? God, will You be true to Your covenant? You have said that You would pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground. I do not know how others stand in Your presence, but if I know my own heart, I know where I stand, and I tell You now that I am thirsty. Oh, I am thirsty for a manifestation of the man of Your right hand.’ 

“And then he said this: ‘Lord, before I sit down, I want to tell You that Your honour is at stake’.”

Have you ever prayed like that? Here is a man praying the prayer of faith. I love to believe that angels and arch­angels were looking over the battlements of Glory and saying to one another: “This is a man who believes God. There is a man who dares to stand solid on the promise of God and take from the throne what the throne has promised.”

Believe it, or disbelieve it - and you can verify this if you like - the house shook like a leaf. The dishes rattled on the side­board, and an elder standing beside me said, “Mr. Campbell, an earth tremor.” I said, “Yes!” Then I pronounced the benediction immediately and walked out to find the community alive with an awareness of God.

 

“Come, let us return to YHWH.

He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us;

He has injured us, but He will bind up our wounds.

He will revive us after two days;

He will raise us up on the third day

that we may live before Him.

“So let us know, let us press on to know YHWH.

His going forth is as certain as the dawn;

and He will come to us like the heavy rain,

like the late rain, watering the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)

 

Agreeing For Revival

CHAPTER 5

 “If two of you shall agree  

(Matthew 18:19)

 

MATTHEW 18:19 is a wonderful promise given by the Lord to His people.

“If two of you shall agree on earth concerning anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in Heaven.”

Let these words sink into our minds. If words mean any­thing, this promise means something great. The Lord promises that God will do anything that we shall ask if we are agreed.

We know full well that “anything” does not include some­thing that it is not in accord with the will of God, The interpretation of the promise lies in the importance of the word agree. If we are to receive what we unitedly ask for, we need to consider the word, agree.

To agree means more than to simply say “we both (or all) want this thing.” It is more than outward unity. Two may agree that they want revival, but may greatly differ in motive for wanting it. Another two may agree in motive for revival, but disagree as to when they want revival.

Another two “agreeing” for revival may have different ideas as to how to prepare, or how to expect revival. You may have 100 people all wanting revival but for as many personalities, there may be disagreements.

It does not mean that we all need to be clones, exactly agreeing on every detail about everything.  But it does mean a unity of the Spirit - a unity in pursuing the will of God.

Agreement in prayer is a unity brought about by the Holy Spirit. It is the harmony of the Spirit. Have you heard an orchestra tuning up? It sounds like chaos, but then the conductor comes, and with one plunge of his baton, he produces harmony.

Without the baton - the direction of the Holy Spirit - an assembly of saints can meet together for prayer, but accomplish nothing, because the harmony of the Heavenly Master is not known.

We need to open our minds and hearts for the Spirit to create His unity amongst us. We need to come in one accord. No doubt it is for this reason that prior to and in times of revival, the Spirit gathers the Lord’s people together very often. It is not uncommon in such times for believers to pray together for several hours a day.

Often it seems that we go to prayer meetings in a dutiful type of way, with no particular requests in our mind, or burden on our hearts. Then by the time the preliminaries — the hymns, remarks, message, etc. (not that these are useless) are over, there is hardly 15 minutes for prayer before the hour is up and we are on the way home. We don’t give the Spirit a chance. Nor is there any real desire to wait before the Lord.

In their committee meetings, elders should not merely “commit things to the Lord,” but should wait in prayer. In our prayer gatherings we should not merely repeat the “points for prayer,” but should wait on the Lord. We are usually more keen to be finished and on the way home, than to wait, but wait we should!

“Wait for YHWH! Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for YHWH!”  (Psalm 27:14)

I am not talking about “tarrying meetings” where people wait to receive the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to wait to receive the Spirit - we have received Him already if we are born again believers - but we wait for the mind of the Spirit - the unity of the Spirit.

I often wonder how much we grieve the Spirit by hastening through prayer, and by not waiting for His mind and direction.  15 minute prayer meetings once a month are not going to produce a burden, and the harmony of the Spirit we need to seek the LORD for revival.

The Holy Spirit is seeking to bring us to a unity in prayer where our hearts are prepared, and when we can pray with one mind, asking in faith for His mighty work. This is what happened at Pentecost.

‘‘They continued with one accord in prayer and supplic­ation.” 

(Acts 1:16)

Meeting often for prayer does not necessarily mean full-size church meetings. We should meet in small groups whenever and wherever possible. We need not wait for the elders to start extra meetings, but we should pray in twos or threes, whenever we meet.  Isn’t it true that so often we will spend an hour or two chit-chatting, but don’t spend even one or two minutes in prayer?

When we visit Christian friends - let us pray with them. We must get over our shyness and reluctance to pray with others.

If we determined today to pray with people whenever possible, that itself could be the beginning of revival in our lives.  Selah!  (Think about it!)

 

1859 - THE REVIVAL IN Ireland

 

Burdened for revival, four young men in Ulster, Ireland, met together for prayer. This, led to the holding of a meeting in Ahoghill on 14th March, 1859, and such numbers attended that it was deemed prudent to transfer the gathering to the open air owing to the danger of the galleries caving in.

Expectation ran high as 3,000 people stood in chilling rain, where, moved by fervour reminiscent of apostolic days, hundreds fell on their knees in the mud of the streets.

So began a movement of the Spirit which gathered momentum and manifested itself in remarkable demonstra­tions. Prayer meetings sprang up all hours of the day and night, the evangelical Churches being opened at all times to meet the spontaneous interest generated. On one occasion a crowd of about 5,000 met in the unlikely and uncongenial precincts of a quarry!

From Ballymena, the movement spread in May of that year to Belfast, the capital of the northern provinces, at that time having a population of 120,000. Here Churches were crowded, and united Prayer Gatherings were held, at the first of which the Mayor was in the chair. A new, dynamic and purposefulness characterised Christians and “people were added daily to the Lord.”

Out of the Belfast Revival mass open-air Prayer Meetings were held in the city’s beautiful Botanical Gardens, the first of such meetings attracting a company of 15,000 people.

As the weeks sped by the Awakening showed no sign of abating, and there was an atmosphere of expectation and fervor existing on every hand. People of all ages and in various walks of life were wrought upon by the Spirit.

Amazing Scenes

In Coleraine in County Derry some of the most amazing scenes in the whole God-created movement were witnessed. A school boy came under such deep conviction of sin as to be quite incapable of continuing his studies. The kindly teacher sent him away in the company of another boy, already converted.

On their way home the boys noticed an empty house, which they entered in order to pray. Here the boy under conviction entered into peace, and returned to the classroom to tell his teacher: “I am so happy; I have the Lord Jesus in my heart.”

The effect was electric, and the boys, one by one, slipped quietly outside and knelt in prayer, each one apart. The Spirit was so manifest in convicting power that the master asked the converted boys to go out-side and comfort those that were spiritually distraught.

In a few moments the whole school was upon its knees and the wail of distress was heard in the street outside.   Neighbours and passers-by came flocking in.

Every room was filled with men, women, and children, seeking God. The ministers of the town, and prayerful men were sent for, and the whole day was spent in directing these mourners to the Lord Jesus. That school proved to be, for many, the House of God and the very Gate of Heaven.

So the flame spread, and schoolgirls, teachers, parents and neighbours all felt the spiritual movement, and remained together until eleven o’clock.

“So mightily grew the Word of God”

Stories of blessing could be multiplied many times in other towns in widely separated areas.

Nor was the movement confined to predominantly Protestant areas, for even in towns where Roman Catholicism was strongly entrenched, the Breath of God was felt.  The City of Dublin was specially visited by those who had experienced blessing in the Northern Counties. Seekers after salvation appeared in every meeting. Prayer Gatherings marked by deep fervency were held and unity of purpose was felt in all directions.

It was said concerning the Revival that some were suddenly pierced as by a sharp sword, and their agonized cry for help was heard in the streets and in the fields.

A farmer returning from the market in Ballymena with his mind wholly intent on the day’s bargain. He pauses, takes out some money and begins to count it. Suddenly an awful Presence envelops him. In a moment his only thought is that he is a sinner standing on the brink of hell. His silver is scattered, and he falls upon the dust of the highway, crying out for mercy.             

Time For Revival

“It is time to seek the LORD till He comes and rains righteous­ness upon you.”

(Hosea 10:12)

In our last chapter we considered various hindrances to revival. And here is another hindrance; many Christians don’t want revival NOW.

But when is the time for revival, I ask, if it is not now? Revival is needed when any spiritual decline has begun. Hosea has a word on the subject.

“It is time to seek the lord, till He comes and rains righteousness upon you.”  (Hosea 10:12)

The Lord says, "It is time!" Not, it will be time, but it is time now. We may look for revival in the future, but we have not been given the future, and we may not have it. But we do have the present. If we don’t want revival now, will we ever want it?

YHWH says, “ ‘At the acceptable time I heard you, and in the Day of Salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is ‘the well-accepted time’; now is ‘The Day of Salvation’.”  (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Often the expecting of revival in the future is simply an ex­cuse for not wanting it now. Sometimes it is not convenient to have revival now. There is something else to attend to at present; some worldly object which needs to be gained; some business to attend to; just this “something” that must be finished first. But revival will never be convenient for our carnal plans.

Another excuse for not expecting (and probably not wanting) revival now is: “It’s the Lord’s work, and you can’t force God to work until it is His time.” That’s true, but it may be that our passive attitude does not hunger for God’s blessing. True, revival is God’s work, but there is a human element. We are called upon to prepare the ground for revival. Again Hosea says ...

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for is time to seek the LORD. (Hosea 10:12)

Psalm 110:3, sheds some light on the subject:

“Your people shall be willing in the day of Your power.”

When God is mov­ing He finds willing people. And I believe it is true to say that when God’s people are willing, they will find God moving.

Now is the time to seek the Master’s Face if there is any spiritual decline in our lives. If we do not love the Saviour as much as we once did, now is the time for us to be revived. If our witness and service for Him has grown weak at all, it is time to seek His fullness. And if we admit there is a need for a deeper experience of the Lord, it is sin to continue in a state where we are not seeking the Lord.

Whenever we see a need for revival in the church, or for awakening in the world, it is sin to continue in an uncaring attitude. We should set about bringing revival through the means and principles which God has established - especially prayer.

There is one more thing that we need to agree on for revival - it is the time for revival. I suggest that the present time would be a good time for revival! In individual and collective prayer, we should seek the Lord’s blessing now, and expect His reviving work to begin in the days and months ahead.

What a difference it would make in our own lives, if we prayed sincerely, “Lord, revive me now - today. Not tomor­row, Lord, right now! Master, I can’t go on another day without Your blessing.”

This praying would show some real thirst for God. Jacob came to this stage when he wrestled with the Lord in Genesis 32, and cried out in desperation,

“I will not let You go unless You bless me.”

JOHN KNOX the Scottish Reformer was a mighty man of prayer, he also prayed in desperation:

“O Lord, give me Scotland, or I die!”

After a time of stillness again the cry,

“O Lord, give me Scotland, or I die !”

Once more deep silence.   Then again the cry with more intense pathos,

“O Lord, give me Scot­land, or I die!”

God gave him Scotland!

If ever the man and the hour struck together it was when John Knox landed in Scotland in 1559, and commenced his history-changing tour, preaching “root and branch reform.” His trumpet-like call sounded over mountain and moor, and within a few weeks the chief centres of Scotland were won for the Protestant faith.

But how do we pray these days? So often I fear we pray with an attitude that says, “Lord, bless me. Lord, send us revival - send it tomorrow, or the next day, or next week, next month, or next year. And if the blessing doesn’t come, well, Lord, You know best. Of course I know I need revival, and the church needs revival, but to be candid, Lord, I am contented to go on as I am; and I really don’t have time for anything extra these days. So Lord, I’ll just leave it up to You.”                   

Let us examine our prayers and attitudes. Now - today is the day for revival. We urge sinners to repent now - in case they are in Hell tomorrow. We say,

Now is the accepted time, now is the day of Salvation.”

(2 Corinthians 6:2)

But when it comes to ourselves we say, “tomorrow is the accepted time, tomorrow is the day of revival.”

May the Lord awaken us to this vital matter, so that we may be able to say,

“But NOW have I kept Your Word.”  (Psalm 119:67)

 

REVIVAL, THE NEED OF THE TIMES

CHAPTER 6

  JONATHAN GOFORTH   

A Surrendered Life under God’s Control

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God”

(Romans 12:1)

“Be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

(Ephesians 8:18)

 

THIS REPORT IS BY CHARLES CLARKE

THE following report describes how a man of God determined to fulfil revival conditions.

Jonathan Goforth had gone into a period of retirement to recover from the exhaustion he suffered from the harrowing experiences of the Boxer persecution. He thought back over his thirteen years as a Presbyterian missionary in China. They were barren years. Up till now he had argued that you could not expect a harvest all at once. The sowing had to be done first. But now the years were passing and there was no spirit­ual harvest. This was not right.

Restless and discontented, he returned to an intensive study of the Scriptures: “Every passage that had any bearing on the price of accession of power became life and breath to me. There were a number of books on revival in my library. These I read over repeatedly. So much did it become an obsession with me that my wife began to fear that my mind would not stand it. Of great inspiration to me were the reports of the Welsh revival of 1904 and 1905. Plainly, revival was not a thing of the past. Slowly the realisation began to dawn upon me that I had tapped a mine of infinite possibility.”

Then a friend in India sent him a little pamphlet of selec­tions from the writings of Charles Finney. On the cover was a quotation of Finney’s which said that a farmer might just as well pray for a temporal harvest without fulfilling the laws of nature, as for Christians to expect a great ingathering of souls by simply asking, without fulfilling the laws governing spiritual harvest.

“If Finney is right,” he vowed, “then I am going to find out what those laws are and obey them whatever it costs.”

As he gave himself to grayer and Bible study, God began to deal with him. He graphically describes the Spirit’s convic­tion concerning resentment against a brother missionary.  It came to a head in a meeting during which Goforth was speaking. He was talking to the people while in his heart the Holy Spirit was speaking to him. In the midst of his address, the speaker answered the voice within: “Right, Lord, I’ll go straight round to his house tonight and apologise.”

Jonathan soon found that Finney was right.   He was speaking to a crowd of Chinese at a fair when he saw convic­tion move over the faces of his congregation. An evangelist standing just behind the speaker said, “Oh, these people are being moved, just as they were by Peter’s sermon at Pentecost.”

Later the same day as Jonathan was conducting a meeting with a team of ten native evangelists, the same thing happened.

“Conviction was written over every face. I called for decisions and the whole audience stood up as one man, crying, “We want to follow this Jesus.” I expected one of the evangelists would be ready to take my place, but what was my surprise when I turned round to find the whole band standing there motionless, looking on in wonder.”

Now a great change came. It was as if the people melted. They would begin to pray but broke down weeping. “For almost twenty years we missionaries had been working among the Honanese and had longed in vain to see a tear of penitence roll down a Chinese cheek.” The tears were rolling now and it seemed like a miracle.

Korea

IN 1907 our ardent seeker went with Dr. R D Mackay to Korea where a remarkable revival movement was in progress. Here was a God-sent opportunity to explore further the secrets of revival. Jonathan Goforth soon traced this great movement back to its source. The missionaries at Pingyang had heard of the revival in the Khasi Hills of India, and had made a firm agreement to pray together every day at noon until a similar blessing was poured out upon them.

After a month one brother said, “We are spending a lot of time and nothing comes of it. Let us give the meeting up.” The majority disagreed and determined to spend more time in prayer, though now they changed the time from 12 noon to four in the afternoon. After many months the blessing came.

Jonathan was tremendously impressed by all he saw and experienced in Korea. He says: “It is one thing to read about revival in books. To witness its working with one’s own eyes and to feel its atmosphere with one’s own heart is a different thing altogether. Korea made me feel that this was God’s plan for setting the world aflame ... Those missionaries were just ordinary people. I did not notice any outstanding figure among them. It was in prayer they were different ... They seemed to carry us right up to the throne of God.”

On the way back to Honan via Manchuria, Jonathan stayed at several mission stations and always told the story of the Korean revival. Everywhere a deep impression was made. At one gathering of missionaries he spoke at length, then realising that the time had gone he cut out the last hymn and closed the meeting. He looked up but no-one moved. All remained in prayer.

“The stillness of death seemed to pervade the assembly. For at least six minutes no-one stirred.” Gradually suppressed sobs were heard here and there. Then followed a season of mutual confessions and reconciliations, and the beginning of revival among the missionaries. They covenanted to pray each afternoon at four o’clock until the revival came.

Manchuria

IN February 1908, Jonathan Goforth traveled north to Manchuria, by invitation, in order to conduct special services there. He began at Mukden amid a cold unresponsive atmos­phere.

He says: “I knew I had a message of God, but I had no method. I could deliver an address and let the people pray and that was all.” That, however, proved to be God’s method.

No sooner did he ask the people to pray than the work of conviction became apparent. The work of the Spirit began among the Christians. In meeting after meeting they stood up and confessed their sins, sometimes tearing up their tickets of authority as elders and announcing their resignations because they were unworthy. Terrible sins were unmasked by the Holy Spirit - sins of adultery, and theft, and murder. It was an awful shakeup in each church, with distressing scenes as the leaders writhed under pains of conviction.

The Chinese Christians called this the Little Judgment - the Judgment of the Holy Spirit by which they were brought to a penitence that would save them from the Big Judgment at the Great White Throne.

Dr. Walter Phillips was at one gathering when the Spirit first fell upon the church in Manchuria. His description is typical of what happened in many parts of China:

“It was at Chinchow that I first came into contact with the revival. Meetings had been going on there for a week, hence I was ushered into the heart of things unprepared. In candor, I must add, with a strong temperamental prejudice against ‘revival hysterics’ in every form, mine is an unbiased witness.

“At once, on entering the church, one was conscious of something unusual. The place was crowded to the door, and tense, reverent attention sat on every face. The very singing was vibrant with new joy and vigor ... The people knelt for prayer, silent at first, but soon, one here and another there be­gan to pray aloud. The voices grew and gathered volume and blended into a great wave of united supplication that swelled till it was almost a roar, and died down again into an under­tone of weeping.

“Now I understood why the floor was so wet - it was wet with pools of tears! The very air seemed electric - I speak in all seriousness - and strange thrills coursed up and down one’s body. Then above the sobbing, in strained, chok­ing tones, a man began to make public confession. Words of mine will fail to describe the awe and terror and pity, of these confessions. It was not so much the enormity of the sins disclosed, or the depths of iniquity sounded, that shocked one ... it was the agony of the penitent, his groans and cries, and voice shaken with sobs; it was the sight of men forced to their feet, and in spite of their struggles, impelled, as it seemed, to lay bare their hearts that moved one and brought the smart­ing tears to one’s own eyes.

“Never have I experienced anything more nerve-racking than the spectacle of those souls stripped naked before their fellows.

“So for hour after hour it went on, till the strain was almost more than the onlooker could bear. Now it was a big, strong farmer groveling on the floor, smiting his head on the bare boards as he wailed unceasingly, ‘Lord! Lord!’

“Now a shrinking woman in a voice scarcely above a whisper.

“Now a small boy from the school, with tears streaking his piteous grimy little face, as he sobbed out: ‘I cannot love my enemies. Last week I stole a farthing from my teacher. I am always fighting and cursing. I beseech the pastor, elders and deacons to pray for me.’

“And then again would swell that wonderful deep organ tone of united prayer. And even as the prayer sank again the ear caught a dull undertone of quiet sobbing, of desperate entreaty from men and women, who, lost to their surroundings, were wrestling for peace.”

China

AMONG the Chinese Christians the terrible Boxer persecution of 1900 had left a legacy of hatred. Many of the young people had seen their parents brutally murdered. Some of the evan­gelists had returned home to find parents, wives and children dead. The result was widespread bitterness and a desire for revenge which poisoned and crippled the life of the church. All this was cleansed away as revival torrents swept through the church.

Pastor Goforth, moved from the astounding scenes in Manchuria, the province of Shansi, and then back again in his own district of Honan, preaching three times a day in many places. With only a few exceptions the scenes were always the same-conviction and confession, and restitution and reconciliation, on the part of the Christian; and then the cleansed church moving out in powerful evangelism among the people.

The exhilarating sense of God’s Presence was wonderful. Crowds thronged the meetings. Thousands were converted and baptised. Demons were cast out. Sickness was healed. Opium smokers and alcoholics were delivered. This glorious work went on for years, renewing the church and saving the people.

So Jonathan Goforth found the secret of revival. Let me underline four elements in the secret.

His own desperate longing for revival.

His search in the Scriptures and in the writings of others who had found the secret.

His own brokenness and yieldedness as the Spirit convicted and guided.    

4  The covenanted praying on the part of the missionaries that per­sisted until revival came.

But the heart of the secret was Jonathan himself.  He was the pioneer of the revival.

As he himself said:

“Revival is simply the Spirit of God

fully controlling the surrendered life.”


the Alternative to Revival

CHAPTER 7

“Will You not return and revive us that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O YHWH, and grant us Your salvation.” (Psalm 85:6)

THIS IS the heart cry of God’s people who yearn for God to revive and restore true spiritual life to the church.  The psalmist here places the onus for revival on the LORD, for ultimately it is only God who can revive.  But at the same time, YHWH puts the onus on His people, as we have seen in these articles.

“If I shut up the heavens and there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.”   (2 Chronicles 7:13­-14)

If we are not willing to fulfil these conditions, then we will not see genuine revival and healing in our lands. We will continue to struggle with our pathetic efforts to win souls and to keep the church together. That is an unacceptable alternative, but we will accept it regardless!

Tell me though; are these conditions so terribly difficult? Are they impossible?

Yes, true, it is very difficult for some of us to humble ourselves; true, it is very difficult for some Christians to pray; true it takes time to seek the Face of the LORD, and some of us just don’t have that type of spare time; and, of course, some of us just don’t want to give up our wicked ways!

We seem to think that because there is an “if” in front of the above conditions, they are all optional. But you know, these are not just Old Covenant commands.  They are very much New Covenant:

“… all of you, be submissive to one another, and clothe yourselves with humility, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. [Proverbs 3:34]. HUMBLE yourselves, then, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares, and is concerned about you.”       (1 Peter 5:5-7)

PRAYING in the Spirit at all times, with every prayer and supplication. To this end, keep alert and watch with all perseverance, interceding for all the set-apart people of God.” (Ephesians 6:18)

 

We are to pray with a sense of urgency.

We are to pray believing that it is effectual.

We are to pray persistently.

 

DRAW NEAR to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded! Express your grief and distress, mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the Presence of the Master and He will lift you up.” (James 4:8-10)

“‘The Master knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the Name of the Messiah turn away from wickedness.”       (2 Timothy 2:19)

God does not hold out revival as a type of special offer which we are free to accept or refuse as we desire! And it is not offered as a “spiritual spectacular,” or as a boost for the churches’ ailing finances and falling attendance. Revival is not a bonus or a bonanza. It is an essential work of conviction and restoration wherever there is spiritual decline. The purpose of revival is to bring God’s people back to the spiritual state that Yahweh intended for them – to the praise of His glorious Name!

If we have grown cold, lukewarm or carnal in our individual, per­sonal lives, there is no acceptable alternative to revival. The unacceptable alternative for a person, or a church which refuses to be revived, is barrenness, stagnation, and judg­ment.

When personal revival is refused, the possibility of wider revival is hindered. To refuse revival in one’s life or assembly, is to grieve and quench the Spirit, and this must provoke the discipline or judgment of the LORD.

“The Lord shall judge His people.”  (Hebrews 10:30) 

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of YHWH, the LORD, nor lose heart when you are rebuked and corrected by Him; for YHWH disciplines those He loves.” (Proverbs 3:11-12. Hebrews 12:5-6)

We do not like to accept the possibility of judgment for believers. Unbelievers, we know, will all stand at the Great White Throne.  But for believers we read, “There is no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah, Y’shua.” And yet the Scripture clearly says … 

“It is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.”

(1 Peter 4:17)

There is a discipline here and now; and there’s the Bema - the Judgment Seat of Christ - ahead, for believers!  Certainly there is a vast difference between the Judgment Seat, and the fearful Great White Throne.

The Bema - the Judgment Seat, is an evaluation time when every believer will give account of himself. The works believers have done as believers, will be tested as to what sort they are – spiritual or carnal. It is the time when the believer will receive his rewards for faithfulness, but he will also suffer loss because of the carnality of his life; it will be burned up. Obedience and faithfulness will be standards used for this evaluation.

“If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”             

(Romans 14:12.  See also 2 Cor. 5:10, I Cor. 3:13, 15)

This is the coming accounting day for every one of us who are saved.

The unbeliever, however, has no rewards, and he will be judged and sentenced because of his rejection of the pardon offered to Him which has been provided through the Messiah’s sacrifice. And so he will reap the wages of his sin - death.

THE Ministry of DISCIPLINE

The Lord Jesus disciplines His people constant­ly.

In Revelation 1 to 3 we see the Saviour walking in the midst of the seven churches of Asia Minor. He is presented there as the One whose eyes are like a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass – this symbolises His searching and pen­etrating judgment, and the divine firmness with which He  judges evil in His church.

In the seventh message, the Master declares, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” (Rev. 3:19). Here is the reason for the disciplinary judgment of believers. God’s love! God did not plan for us, and provide redemption at the cost of the life of His Beloved, so that we might spend our crucial training years play­ing with sin, compromising with the world, pleasing self, and feeding a carnal life.

If redemption and being born into God’s family were the end goal, we might expect to escape chastening. But God’s intention is that we go deeper into His life, that we should rise higher in His grace and faith, and that we should reach out to other souls who also need salvation. We are to grow, to become strong in the Lord, and mature in His ways and work.

No wonder then that our complacency (lukewarmness) is sickening to the Saviour! No wonder that God allows trials to shake us! No wonder the spiritual conflict within us is strong. And it’s no wonder Y’shua the Messiah says;

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

We are not on a picnic, brethren; we are on a pilgrim pathway, and that pathway involves warfare, as well as training in righteousness and Godliness.

It is the Father’s purpose that all His children should grow to maturity, to be conformed to the image of His only begotten Son, and to participate ever more fully in His life, His character, and His authority, and His joy.

When spiritual decline sets in, however, grieving the spirit, hind­ering God’s purpose, and dishonoring His Name, the Father’s love and purpose compels Him to minister to that soul or church - to minister in rebuke and in comfort, in chastisement and discipline, in breaking and in building up. He will use the means He knows is best in each life and circumstance. He may use joy; He may use sorrow and sickness, trials or tragedy. He may use ecstasy, but He may use emptiness. He may even use depression and despair to bring a believer to the end of himself, and then revive and rectify his life.                                            

It may be possible, however, that even after such a divine ministry, the believer continues to resist and grieve the Spirit of God. The result will be barrenness, stagnation and constant carnality. It could then come to a state where the Lord fulfils His warning;

“I will remove your candlestick out of its place.”  (Revelation. 2:5)

The believer’s witness will dry up, and he will become like a dead man. Instead of being a vessel of useful-ness and honour, he will become a vessel of dishonour.

“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some are for honour and some are for dishonour. Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 2:20-21)

In these crucial endtimes, may the Master find amongst us many whose lives He can touch and revive. May He graciously minister to our needs, and make us vessels of honour; vessels into which He may pour torrents of Living Water that will overflow to the many perishing souls around us.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Master, Y’shua Messiah. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  Amen!!

 

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