A careful reading of Acts chapter 1 and 2 will help in following today’s lesson on revival. What we see in these two chapters could rightly be termed the first new Testament revival. I suppose some could argue that Pentecost was the initial coming of the Holy Spirit, and therefore should not be termed a revival. However, what happened at Pentecost is a pattern of all following revivals through out church history. Therefore, I believe in pattern, it should be called the first NT revival. Let’s get into God’s Word.
In Acts 1 and 2, I found 12 different steps laid forth concerning revival. The first seven pertain to sowing, and the next five pertain to reaping. They are as follows: 1. Waiting on the Lord (Act 1:4). 2. Unified prayer (Act 1:14) 3. Being filled with the Spirit (Act 2:4). 4. Affect community (Act 2:6, 7, 12, 13). 5. Word preached with power (Act 2:14-36). 6. Conviction of sin (Act 2:37). 7. Way of salvation proclaimed (Act 2:38-40) 8. Word received (Act 2:41). 9. Converts discipled (Act 2:42). 10. Unity in the church (Act 2:44-46). 11. Fear of God – signs and wonders done (Act 2:43). 12. Multiplication of the church (Act 2:47).
There is no cookie cutter revival. All revivals have their similarities and their differences. However, there are basic common threads in them all, and our textbook example is, of course, Pentecost. These twelve things revealed in Scripture are common to any genuine revival. Revival is simply life being breathed back into something formerly living. It’s the lukewarm individual or church acknowledging their backsliding state, confessing it, turning from it (repentance), and being zealous. Finney said revival is simply a renewed obedience to God.
Upon studying all the great revivals of church history, one will find this common denominator: a small group of believers in unity praying and waiting on The Lord. Waiting does not mean hanging out and do nothing. Think of wait as in a waiter. We should wait on God. Serve Him. Bless Him. Praise Him. Be still in His presence. We are to pray while we wait. Make our request known to God. It is an act of humility and obedience. He already knows what we need/want - but He wants us to ask Him. Faith pleases God (Heb 11:6).
When we wait on God and fervently pray and believe, we will be filled and empowered by The Holy Spirit to do God’s will. We need to be constantly filled with God’s Spirit! Do you want to be full of power, or powerless?! We need the Power from on high. When we really receive it and really walk in it - it will affect the surrounding area. They will hear about it. Some will be confused; others will be amazed and marvel; and others will mock. But at least there will be attention drawn to the church! Because, as a whole, the American church is powerless; the world ignores it. The church is scorned. It is considered by many an outdated, insignificant institution. There is no fear of God. No respect for God’s Word. No respect for God’s Name; No respect for God’s ministers. No honor given Sunday. God help us, we need revival! We need the power of God!
When that power is real and working, it will cause The Word of God to be preached in power. Holy Spirit empowered preaching that cuts like a sword through the hearts of men. Anointed preaching that scares the Hell out of the sinner, and exhorts the saint to walk in holiness, reverence, righteousness and in love for God and each other! Preaching so anointed that men are crying out, “What must I do to be saved!”, before you can finish a message!
When cut to the heart, the convicted now have ears to hear, and only then can they receive the way of salvation, and believe and act upon their faith. Immediate water baptism after conversion is the clear New Testament example. We should follow it! Don’t wait! Explain the meaning of it, and then do it! This water baptism being a week, month, or year later – is not Scriptural.
As mentioned before, revival is a renewed obedience to God’s Word. The church must get back to the basics. We must go back, before we can go forward. We must go back to where we got lukewarm; to where we compromised The Word; to where we stopped living for God, and started living for ourselves; to where we became hardened, worldly and indifferent. To see revival, we must first go back and tear down, root out, destroy. Only then can we begin to build and plant afresh on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word (Jer 1:10). Will you commit? Do you want it? I pray you do. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!