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The Promise of Revival|
The meaning of the word ‘revival’
When we speak of revival, we are not talking about a group of special evangelist meetings, but of a sovereign move of God, as seen in the Welsh revival.
In the Welsh revival a nation was changed in a matter of weeks. Thousands of unsaved people, all at one time, were moved by a heavenly influence to get right with God. The pubs were emptied, the work place was ablaze with talk about salvation, and the churches over-flowed with sinners wanting to get saved.
The Bible only mentions the word revival once (depending on your translation) yet the word today is used to express many amazing outpourings of the Spirit.
The word revival is like the word 'Trinity'. The word Trinity is not in the Bible, yet we all know that it is a word used to explain the Biblical concept of the unity of the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The word 'revival' is the same; it may not be mentioned in the Bible many times, yet it is used to explain the amazing results of an outpouring of the Spirit of God.
The Promise of the Father
‘And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions. And also I will pour out My Spirit on the slaves and on the slave women in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah.' Joel 2:28-31.
This promise is linked into the end times, showing that when God pours out His Spirit, it will continue from that day, until the days of the tribulation, when the sun is turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming 'Day of the Lord.'
This promise saw the start of its fulfilment in Acts 2, when the Spirit fell and thousands of people got saved. There will be no end to this promise, until the day that these end time prophecies are fulfilled.
Does Scripture promise that revival is coming?
Church history shows that Joel’s Prophecy is being continuously fulfilled until the Lord’s return.
Sometimes we think this – "what Bible passage says that in the 21st century there will be a great revival?" After searching we get discouraged and think "will revival come in the future?" Let us consider the following…
What Bible did John Wesley have? What Bible did Evan Roberts have? What Bible did Moody have? What Bible did George Whitfield have? What Bible did Duncan Campbell have? What Bible did Smith Wigglesworth have? What Scriptures did all these people believe in to see those great revivals?
All of these great revivalists had the same Bible as us! They all had the same promises to pray through. Yes, they believed in revival, prayed through the Scriptures and saw the promise of God revealed. They saw a great outpouring of the Spirit of God in their day, in accordance with Joel 2, just as we will see in our day.
I must be Glorified
“By those who come near Me, I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified” said the Lord. Leviticus 10:3.
Revival is not an option; revival is a MUST. God will not stand to be mocked by popular society without either sending His judgement or revival.
I MUST BE GLORIFIED are His words and only in times of revival will nations turn and truly glorify the Lord.
The coming floods of the Spirit
‘For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground. I will pour My spirit on your seed, and My blessing on your offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses’. Isaiah 44:3-4.
Our nations are dry spiritually. Our churches need reviving, our people need salvation. God has a promise for us all, “I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground’. The Lord will come, and flood our nations with His Holy Spirit.
God will reveal His glory
Some of the following scriptures concern people praying for the glory of God to be revealed, others are the promise that God’s glory will be revealed.
Though some of these Scriptures refer to the millennial reign, yet, like much of Scripture they are not of any private interpretation and can be fulfilled in a multiple ways. For example, in Zechariah 6:12, it speaks about “the BRANCH”. That prophecy was fulfilled in a few ways - in the leader’s rebuilding of the Temple, and in Christ.
Many people have seen the glory of God during the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit, and we shall see it again… revival is coming.
‘The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, says the Lord of Hosts. And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord Hosts’. Haggai 2:9
This Scripture originally concerned the temple whilst it was being rebuilt, yet like the prophecies concerning Jesus’ coming, it can have more than one interpretation.
The church in these latter days will be greater than the church in the days of the Apostles.
With the advent of Christian Media, it is possible to disciple millions via the TV/Internet and radio in relationship with the local churches' discipleship programmes. We do not need to lose large numbers of believers like other revivals have, because this time, the tools of discipleship can be ready to use!
Do we know of what spirit we are?
‘And when His disciples James and John saw this (rejection) they said, ‘Lord, do you desire that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them and said, ‘you do not know of what spirit you are. For the Son of Man has not come to destroy men's lives, but to save’. And they went to another village. Luke 9:54-56.
Our carnal nature can be so strong at times that we can ignore the heart of God as revealed in Scripture, and our flesh leans towards expecting the reality of the coming judgement of sinful men.
Instead of having a heart of love for men, we put ourselves in the place of God, and pronounce judgement on them. There is a great difference between righteous anger, and the carnal condemnation of man.
The disciples were men of God, chosen by Him. Yet, James and John had the wrong spirit; they condemned man, and had to be rebuked.
A village had rejected Jesus and His message (does that sound like the world today?), and His disciples, (thinking they were full of righteous judgement) asked the Lord if they could pray for wrath to come down right now! Do we do the same? Do we always speak of the judgement to come, the wrath on this sinful generation? Do we desire judgement more than an outpouring of God’s Spirit?
Jesus had to rebuke them “you do not know what spirit you are of”. The disciples knew about the righteousness of God and His wrath coming against sinful man, yet they did not understand the heart of God. Yes, He will judge, He must judge, His wrath is great.
Yet, His love is unconditional. He loves every man so much that He will give anything to save them. Anything at all… even His only Son.
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him’. John 3:16-17.
God did not send Jesus to condemn the world, but He sent Him so that the whole world could be saved through His death and resurrection.
After we have checked that we are in the right spirit, it is worth re-confirming God’s desire for people to be saved.
God does not desire the death of the wicked, He desires that everyone will turn from evil and live.
‘Say to them: As I live, says the Lord, I have no delight in the death of the wicked, except in the turning of the wicked from his way, and so to live’. Ezekiel 33:11.
God has more joy over one who repents, than for all the righteous people in the church. He has a consuming passion for revival and world mission.
‘I say to you that likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance’. Luke 15:7.
The Lord is not bringing His fierce wrath upon the world now, because He has a love for people. He desires for everyone to repent, only in revival do the multitudes get saved.
‘The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’. 2 Peter 3:9.
Jonah loved nature more than souls!
The Lord said, 'You have had pity on the plant, for which you had not laboured, nor made it grow, which was a son of a night, and perished the son of a night. And should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than a hundred and twenty thousand men who do not know between their right and their left hand, besides much cattle?’ Jonah 4:10-11.
Right now God is sparing these great cities and nations. His wrath is held back, waiting for people to repent, waiting to send a great revival! We are in days that are environmentally friendly; we should care for the world God has given us. Yet some have more passion for plants, than for people and revival! Just as God spared that great City in the past, so He is sparing our nations now so we can have revival.
Learn from the Pharisees mistake
‘And Jesus said, “I have come into this world for judgment, that they who do not see might see, and that they who see might be made blind” ’ John 9:39.
In John 9, Jesus heals a man who was born blind. The religious leaders rejected the man who was healed as sinful, and rejected the healing, because of their rules - it was the Sabbath. Jesus showed great compassion to the blind man, and to all those sinful, hurting people. But he always judged the religious leaders who were full of pride and looked down upon sinful man.
We should be like Jesus, loving and having compassion on the unsaved. Let’s not be like the Pharisees, who judged the sinner, and missed God’s heart for revival.
The multitude of prophecies
‘For the Lord will do nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets’. Amos 3:7
The Scripture is clear; God will not do anything unless he reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets. So have we heard anything about revival from the prophets?
For years now, from all over the world the prophetic voices have been raised. Many tested and proven men and women of God have seen, heard, and testified of what God has shown them. We have heard again and again a message of the coming revival, and the cost for those who will be channels of the Holy Spirit.
Has there ever been a time when we have heard so many prophecies concerning revival?
Several reasons why Britain and North America will see God’s blessing.
We do hear a lot about the reasons God will bring judgement upon us, and indeed they are very true. Abortion, lukewarmness in our churches, the honour that homosexuality receives in our day, the media's worship of adultery etc. But have you ever considered the reason why God is blessing us apart from His great mercies?
History is undeniable
Jesus said to him, 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’. Mark 9:23
Our history is full of revival! Great men and women of God have believed the impossible, and many times God’s Spirit has been poured out and thousands have been saved!
Many believe that Britain was saved from a bloody revolution because of the revival with the Wesleys!
When anyone reads church history, very soon their faith rises to believe for revival in our day. God has done it many times before; He has changed nations!
The question is not 'will revival happen?' but who will believe for revival?
I will not share My glory
God will not share His glory with anyone, Isaiah 42:8.
For over a hundred years in the West we have not had a revival that has impacted our nations completely. We have seen little outpourings affecting churches, and sometimes small towns, but we have not seen a national outpouring.
We have tried 'church' without revival for over a hundred years, and the results have been devastating. Europe was the centre for Christianity for hundreds of years, yet now barely 5% of its population attends church. Church attendance and morality with that has been devastated.
In the US church attendance has dropped by around 40% in the last hundred years. In the UK only 7.7% of people regularly worship in church.
We have tried many form of evangelism and yet we have not touched the world. It is time to look to God and realise that only He must be glorified in this coming revival…for this simple reason, we have previously messed everything up!
Greater than we expect
‘ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’. Isaiah 55: 8-9.
It is not God who is limited, but our faith. We must resist the spirits of doubt and unbelief. We must see above the natural and believe what the Scriptures and church history say is possible today!
Our mind is set on church growth through programmes, which has limited us to a 3% annual growth, yet God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways are higher than ours. His thoughts are on a mighty revival, who will believe Him?
‘Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall sprout; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert’. Isaiah 43:18-19.
Though we do look to church history for inspiration, our faith should not be limited by it. We will see greater things in the coming revival, than ever imagined.
Do you think the Apostle Paul could have envisioned the day when over a million people would respond to the gospel in one meeting? Yet, today, in our lifetime, that has happened with CFAN, under the preaching of Reinhard Bonnke. Imagine what will happen when God’s Spirit is poured out on all flesh.
The glory of the latter house
‘The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, says Jehovah of Hosts. And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of Hosts’. Haggai 2:9.
This Scripture is about the Temple, yet it can be applied to more than one fulfilment.
When we look back to European church history, we see over 90% of the population attending church. It seems so glorious. As with the second Temple, so it shall be with the church in Europe. It will be smaller than before, yet the glory would be much greater!
Revival is a violent assault on the kingdom of darkness
‘From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven is taken by violence, and the violent take it by force’. Matthew 11:12.
Our evangelism is not a violent assault on the kingdom of darkness! Some surveys show that over 90% of the people who respond in our evangelism turn back to their old lifestyle. Either the people did not truly repent and believe the gospel, or our discipleship programmes are a real failure!
We are left with one answer for the world, that the Lord would send revival.
In time of revival there is a violent assault on the kingdom of darkness. Hundreds of thousands turn from sin to Christ. Pubs are closed, alcohol thrown away, drugs flushed away etc.
Truly that Scripture is only fulfilled in times of revival.
Sow in tears
‘Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy’. Psalm 126:5.
There is no room for pride as we seek God for revival. All we can do is humble ourselves before the Mighty One and cry out for His mercy.
Great names mean nothing in prayer for revival. Look at Evan Roberts, he was a no-body by mans standards, yet he was the only one God could find who was ready to be used in revival.
It is up to us now, as individuals, small groups or churches, to seek the Lord while He may be found. The promise is sure, if we sow in tears as we pray for revival, later we shall reap in joy as we see His Spirit poured out on all flesh.
Now is the time for us to put our words into actions. We have talked about prayer for revival for decades, now let us be true to everything we have said.
May eternity and church historians judge our generation as faithful to our calling to pray for and embrace revival?
2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’.
Nehemiah 9:17 ‘But you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger abundant in kindness’.
Proverbs 1:23 ‘Turn at my reproof; surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make my words known to you’.
Psalm 85 (prayer for revival) verses 4, 6-7 ‘Restore us O God of our salvation and cause your anger towards us to cease. Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your mercy, O Lord and grant us your salvation’.
Psalm 123:1-2 ‘Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God until He has mercy on us’.
Psalm 139:23-24 ‘Search me, O God and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’.
Psalm 144:4a ‘Bow down Your heavens, O Lord and come down’.
Isaiah 32:15 ‘Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field and the fruitful field is counted as a forest’.
Isaiah 44:3 ‘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’.
Isaiah 63:1b ‘…I who speak in righteousness mighty to save’.
Jeremiah 14:7 ‘O Lord though our iniquities testify against us, do it for Your names sake; for our backslidings are many, we have sinned against you’.
Lamentations 3:40-42a ‘Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord, Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled…’
Hosea 6:1 ‘Come let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us’.
Hosea 10:12 ‘Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord till He comes and rains righteousness on you’.
Habakkuk 2:14 ‘For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’.
Habakkuk 3:2 ‘O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of years! In the midst of years make it known; in wrath remember mercy’.
Zechariah 10:1a ‘Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain…’
Psalm 9:10b ‘…For You Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You’.
Psalm 80:3 ‘Restore us O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved’.
Psalm 94:14 ‘For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance’.
Psalm 119:136 ‘Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep your laws’.
v 149b ‘…O Lord revive me according to Your justice’.
v 154 ‘Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Your word’.
v 156 ‘Great are your tender mercies, O Lord, revive me, O Lord according to your loving kindness’.
v 159 ‘Consider how I love Your precepts; revive me, O Lord according to your loving kindness’.
Conditions for Revival
2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’
Psalm 4:3 ‘But know that the Lord has set apart him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to him’.
Psalm 15 (Characteristics of the godly) v 1-2 ‘Lord who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart’.
Psalm 18:24-26 ‘The Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight. With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd’.
Psalm 20:7 ‘Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God’.
Psalm 24:3-5a ‘Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord…’
Psalm 25:5b, 14 ‘On You I wait all the day.’ ‘The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him’.
Psalm 27:8, 13 ‘When you said, seek my face; my heart said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek’. ‘I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’.
Psalm 28:7b ‘…my hearted trusted in Him and I am helped…’
Psalm 32:5-6a 'I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said I will confess my transgression to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this cause everyone who is godly will pray to you.’
Psalm 33:18 ‘Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy.’
Psalm 34:18 ‘The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit’.
Psalm 35:13b ‘…I humbled myself with fasting’.
Psalm 37:4 ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart’.
Psalm 39:1a ‘I said I will guard my ways, that I sin not with my tongue…’
Psalm 42:12a ‘As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God’.
Psalm 44:18a ‘Our heart has not turned back…’
Psalm 50:15a ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble.’
Psalm 51:10 ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me’.
Psalm 55:17 ‘Evening and morning and at noon I will pray and cry out loud, and He shall hear my voice.’
Psalm 62:8 ‘Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him.’
Psalm 63:1, 8 ‘O God You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.’ ‘My soul follows close behind You.’
Psalm 66:18 ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’
Psalm 73:1 ‘Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart.’
Psalm 84:11 ‘No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.’
Psalm 86:11b ‘Unite my heart to fear Your name.’
Psalm 97:10 ‘You who love the Lord hate evil.’
Psalm 100:4 ‘Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.’
Psalm 105:4 ‘Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore.’
Psalm 119:93 ‘I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.’
Psalm 133 (Unity amongst the brethren = Blessing)
Psalm 139:23-24 ‘Search me, O God and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’