There is a lot of talk about revival these days. There are many people who are praying for revival, but does everyone praying for revival really know what they are asking for? Please do not misunderstand the question. I am not implying that I am some kind of know-it-all authority on the subject. I am simply asking the question based on various statements I have heard through the years concerning people’s concept of revival.
For those of us who grew up in church, especially in the American South, the word “revival” usually brings to mind certain images and ideas from our past. When some talk about the need for revival, they are referring to a Sunday through Wednesday meeting in which a guest preacher is invited to speak. Sometimes there is even a guest musician that comes to lead the music and sing “specials” just before the sermon. Some churches think it is the time of year to have the showcase of talent from among the membership or other area churches. Some think it is the perfect time for Cousin Bubba to come and share one or two songs on his gospel harmonica.
For others, a revival means a week of evangelistic meetings in which they hope and pray that many people will come to faith in Christ. Certainly, there is a great need for evangelism and we desire to see more people come to Christ, but is that revival? For others, a revival means a week of great worship, great preaching, a lot of covered dish meals, and at the end of the week we pat each other on the back and say, “My, wasn’t that a good revival?”
Please allow me to share, in this post and in a future one, some definitions of revival from several respected pastors and Bible teachers.
*”Revival is God purifying His Church.” Erwin Lutzer
*”Revival is the Church in love with Jesus all over again.”-Vance Havner
*”A revival means days of heaven upon earth.”-D. Martyn Loyd-Jones
*”Revival is a community saturated with God.”-Duncan Campbell
*”A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of wordliness and selfishness, and making God and His love triumph in the heart and life.”- Andrew Murray
*”Revival is God revealing Himself to man in awful holiness and irresistible power.”-Arthur Wallis
*”Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts.”-Roy Hession
*”A spiritual awakening is no more than God’s people seeing God in His holiness, turning from their wicked ways, and being transformed into His likeness.”- Lewis Drummond
*”(Revival is)… a deep moving of God in the lives of believers, convicting them of sin and shaking them out of their lethargy.”- Richard DeHaan
*”(Revival is)… the inrush of the Spirit into a body that threatens to become a corpse.”-D.M. Patton
*”Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin and a hunger for His Word.”- Del Fehsenfeld, Jr.
*”Revival is a work of God among Christians, bringing them to conviction, repentance, confession, restitution, reconciliation, separation from the world, and submission to the lordship of Christ.”-Vance Havner
*”Revival is ultimately Christ Himself, seen felt, heard, living, active, moving in and through His body on earth.”- Stephen Olford
With these definitions in mind, would you say that most Christians and churches are in need of revival? Revival is a work that God does in His people. When God’s people are revived, they will share Christ more freely and boldly and the lost will be drawn to faith in Him. Entire communities have been transformed when God revived His people. Is your city, village, and nation in need of the transforming power of the Risen Lord Jesus?
We see from Stephen Olford’s definition, revival is not a thing, or a force, or a movement, or a meeting, more than anything else, revival is a Person. Revival is the Reviver, Jesus Christ Himself, living His resurrection life in us and through us for His glory. Revival cannot be programmed or controlled, but we can pray for it and we can prepare for it so that when God, the Reviver, chooses to bless us with His reviving presence, we can receive Him.
Will you and your church begin to cry out to God until He rends the heavens and comes down and shakes us and does what only He can do? Will you seek Him until He revives your heart, the hearts of your family members, your church, your town, and your nation? Let’s believe God and pray according to His Word- 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 85:6; Isaiah 64:1-3; and Habakkuk 3:2.
Until next time, seeking Him together with you,