Isaiah 57:15, “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
Isaiah 64:1,2 NLT, “Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence…your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!”
Jeremiah 3:2,3, “Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; you refuse to be ashamed.”
Joel 2:15-17, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
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.”
When is revival needed?
•When the fires of revival have gone out or have been extinguished.
•When “Ichabod” has been written over the church. “Ichabod” means “the glory is gone.” (1 Samuel 4:21)
•When the vision has dimmed or faded away completely.
•When the preaching of God’s word falls on deaf ears.
•When carnality prevails, even among the clergy.
•When sin is condoned, even in the church.
•When unity is gone or at least is mostly absent.
•When the effective prayer of righteous men has ceased (James 5:16).
•When the ministry is stagnant.
•When worship is forced, difficult or non-existent.
•When Christ’s body is suffering from heart disease.
•When uncommitted people are in places of authority and responsibility in the church. In many churches we see the “committee of the uncommitted.”
•When the church has lost its impact on its community.
•When people are asking the church, “Where is their God?”
Facts about revival:
•Revival: “re,” to do again, “viva,” life. So revival has to do with Gods people. It is the reanimation of dead Christianity.
•Revival is not just an evangelistic crusade. Many times I have been asked by churches to come and hold a revival, I always say, “I hope so,” but I’m not bringing a revival in my briefcase.
•Revival is an instrument for evangelism. When the lifeless church comes back to life, they will bring others to Christ,
•Revival always brings a sense of unity among all of God’s people.
•Revival is a special stirring where God comes down and touches His church.
•Revival prevents stagnation, and revitalizes the church.
•Revival shocks people out of their indifference into a deep need for a touch from God.
•Revival is a miracle from God.
•Revival makes an impact on the church, the community, state and the nation.
•Revival is always characterized by fervor, excitement and joy.
•Revival brings a deep sense of sin and repentance.
•Revival has always discovered great Christian leaders.
•Revival is the restoration of God’s presence with His people.
•Revival is always preceded by intense prayer. “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” –Dr. A.T. Pierson
•Revival can be dated from the time God’s people began seriously to pray for God to touch down in revival power.
Revival is the “Sovereign, Sudden, Selective and Sensational operation of the Spirit of God” –Dr. Ken Connolly
Sovereign: There are no known human factors which cause revival. It cannot be pumped up or pulled down! Dr. Alexander Whyte, who was touched during the 1859 awakening in Great Britain said, “There is divine mystery about revival, God’s sovereignty is in them.”
Sudden: Stories of well-dressed, dignified men and women, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the town, in the middle of the block, in the middle of the street, suddenly falling on their knees, crying out to God for pity, and for help from a neighbor to find forgiveness for sins. Stories like these were common during revivals.
Selective: There must be an evangelical base for revival to operate. Revival is the bringing back to life of dead orthodoxy, dead churches and dead Christians. Not for those who are, “Dead in their trespasses and sins.” But for those who have lapsed into coldness and indifference.
Sensational: Prostrations were a common sight during revivals, people falling under the power of God. Newspapers announced that people had “gone mad,” as on the day of Pentecost. Noises were associated with some revivals, the great and saintly Andrew Murray, reported the sound of a rushing train hitting the wall of the church building. Visions were a minor part in Revivals.
Spiritual degradation and despair always preceded revival.
Prior to the revival under Hezekiah. They were suffering from spiritual blindness, bowing down to false gods, and were practicing witchcraft and divination. They were ruled by Assyria and had lost their identity as God’s people. They lost all of their property and homes. Immorality prevailed, and they were intermarrying with other nations.
Prior to the revival under Nehemiah. They had forsaken God and His word. They were not supporting the temple with their offerings. They were abusing the Sabbath. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down exposing them to their enemies, and most of them didn’t care.
Prior to the revival under Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s determination to change was his realization that the nation was under the discipline of God because of their sin. “Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. 6 For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the [c]dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him. They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. Therefore the wrath of the Lord fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, and to jeering, as you see with your eyes. For indeed, because of this our fathers have fallen by the sword; and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity.”
Do you think our world qualifies for the Spirit God to touch down in revival power on His church?
Why is our world in a mess? Because the church is in a mess! Who is to blame for the millions of abortions? The inactive, prayerless church! Who is to blame for crime, making the streets of most of our cities a war-zone? The lifeless, prayerless church! Who is to blame for the thousands of souls a day that go out into eternity without hope? The cold, dead, lifeless, prayerless church! Do you realize that, somewhere in the world 2 people die every time your heart beats?
Two hundred thousand souls a day are passing one by one away
In Christless guilt and gloom; without one ray of hope or light,
With future dark as endless night, they’re passing to their doom.
They’re passing, passing, fast away, in thousands day by day,
Oh Church of Christ, what wilt thou say when,
In the awful judgment day, they charge thee with their doom.
(The original read 100,000 souls, Dr. John)
–Albert B. Simpson (1843–1919) & James H. Burke (1855–1901)–
What’s happening in the church? The cultural worldview philosophy, Postmodernism has invaded the church. It says absolute truth does not exist, and denies long-held beliefs and maintains that all viewpoints are equally valid. Postmodernism has led to relativism, the idea that all truth is relative. “Unfortunately, the philosophy of relativism is pervasive in our culture today. With the rejection of God, and Christianity in particular, absolute truth is being abandoned. Our pluralistic society wants to avoid the idea that there really is a right and wrong.” –Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
The real problem is not the government, drugs or drug dealers, alcohol, crime, abortion, pornography, or the Media, the problem is the ineffective, uncaring, prayerless church! One problem is, when we wrap our self-righteous, denominational robes of unscriptural sectarianism around and say, “I’m the only one left,” (1 Kings 19:10 MSG), God must remind us as He did Elijah, “I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image” (1 Kings 19:18 MSG). You will find that there are still many churches of every denomination who have not bowed the knee to the gods of Postmodernism and Relativism.
The battle belongs to every believer of every denomination! If any church is in trouble, we are all in trouble! We are all in this battle together! “…fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind…” (Philippians 2:2). “The spiritual life in the believer never has known dissension or break, because where the Spirit has perfect liberty, then they all agree and there is no schism in the body.” –Smith Wigglesworth
What do we see when we look at our town? We see streets and sidewalks, traffic, shopping centers, schools, churches, homes and parks. What does Jesus see? He sees pastors and churches feuding and fighting. He sees hungry, homeless people sleeping in doorways or on the cold ground. He sees spousal abuse and children being abused by frustrated parents. He sees people, young and old, hurting, longing for a touch, for a hug, for a tender word from someone who cares, for someone to show them anything better than what they have been experiencing. He sees people like us, sitting at ease, television remote in hand, while a pain-filled, sin-sodden, sex-soaked, suicidal, messed up, lost and condemned world goes to hell, and the church doesn’t even seem to care!
When God touched down in revival power:
The Day of Pentecost was a revival! Since the Day of Pentecost when God touched down to empower His infant church, every time the church has lost power, authenticity and influence, and has become less effective, God send a mighty revival to awaken His church again. God has kept the church alive through the centuries by sending revival. When God’s church begins to institutionalize, that’s when the machinery of the church becomes more important than God’s purpose, He touches down in revival power!
Certain people become disturbed, concerned and unhappy about the state of the church, and they say, “We need a visitation from God’s Holy Spirit with a baptism of fire for our church.” The get desperate for a fresh touch from God, as Isaiah did, “Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and descend, make the mountains shudder at your presence…To shock your enemies into facing you, make the nations shake in their boots!” (Isaiah 64:1,2 MSG). These concerned people get a burning desire to see God work. They get stirred up and angry about the condition of other believers around them. Then they surrender themselves and decide to pray until God shows up. Once when we were having a joint pastor’s prayer meeting at a local restaurant, a Catholic Priest showed up. I asked him, “Father, why did you come to a Protestant prayer meeting?” He replied, “Someone called to invite me. He said, ‘Jesus will be there,’ and I didn’t want to miss Him.” I’m sorry to say, his expectations may have been greater than any of the other ministers present!
It is very exciting to read about the revivals of history. Somehow, in every instance, the power of God comes upon believers and they are lifted out of themselves and out of time, joy and abandon comes upon them and with great authority and power they teach and preach the word of God. And people fall under conviction and are converted.
The 2nd Century. The Montanist revival is questioned because the Montanist movement, as many claim, is the forerunner of today’s Pentecostalism. The church had lost its power and had become lifeless through the influence of Greek philosophy, God showed up to revive His church.
The 3rd Century. The Donatist movement in North Africa. Donatism developed as a result of the persecution of Christians ordered by Diocletian in 303 in which all churches and the sacred scriptures of the Christians were to be destroyed. During the persecutions, many Christians apostatized, offering sacrifices to Roman gods, and some cooperated with pagan authorities. Again, as with Montanism, there were gross errors. They used violence and intimidation to right social wrongs and even forced masters out of carriages, making them pull their slaves. But Egypt alone had 1 million Christians by the end of 3rd century. Carthage and Alexandria were the leading centers of Christian theological development with such figures as Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria.
The Middle Ages. God touched down among His people. Revivals happened in the South of France connected with the Waldensian church in Northern Italy. “The Brethren of the Common Life in Germany and the Netherlands, a rising tide of mystical lay piety grew up outside the official church. Under the leadership of Gerhard Groote* (1340-84), an interest in the inner life of the soul and the necessity of imitating the life of Christ by loving one’s neighbor as oneself had become popular in the Low Countries. The movement spread from one city to another as houses for men and also for women were founded throughout the Netherlands and Germany.” – biblicaltraining.org
The Reformation was revival. Martin Luther, who opposed the Catholic Church’s teaching, primarily salvation by works, and the sale of indulgences, nailed his 95 theses to the castle door in Wittenberg on October 31st, 1517, it altered history. His 95 Theses spread across Germany as a call to reform.
Hugh Latimer, and others, who preached grace, advanced the cause of the Reformation in England through their vigorous preaching and through the inspiration of their martyrdom.
The 18th Century. Evangelicals in the 1700s learned that corporate prayer was a prerequisite for outpourings of God’s Spirit. The revivals in many places were preceded by days of prayer and fasting. Jonathan Edwards believed that corporate prayer was more effective than just the combined prayers of individuals. These revivals, are now referred to as “The Great Awakening,” during which time their nations’ political and social cultures were radically impacted by Christian values.
The Great Awakening, 1734-43. In December 1734, the first revival of historic significance broke out in Northampton, Mass., where a young minister named Jonathan Edwards was preaching. There he preached his now famous sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God,” which resulted in 300 souls being converted in six months—in a town of only 1,100 people! The news spread like wildfire, and similar revivals broke out in over 100 towns.
The 19th Century. The New York City, Fulton Street Revival, 1857. This revival began with noon-day prayer meetings led by Jeremiah Lanphier, who had been appointed the downtown New York City Missionary of the Dutch Reformed Church. These prayer meetings were the impetus for the 1857-58 revival. For three months he had gone into every business, shop and boardinghouse inviting people to pray on that particular Wednesday. But as he entered the church at noon on Sept. 23, no one was there. Five minutes went by. No one appeared. The missionary paced the room in a conflict of fear and faith. Ten minutes elapsed. Still no one came. Fifteen minutes passed. Lanphier was yet alone. Twenty minutes; twenty-five; thirty; and then at 12.30 p.m., a step was heard on the stairs, and the first person appeared, then another, and another, and another, until six people were present, and the prayer meeting began. On the following Wednesday, October 7th, there were forty intercessors. The first week of October 1857, it was decided to hold a meeting daily instead of weekly.
Within six months, ten thousand business men were gathering daily for prayer in New York, and within two years, a million converts were added to the American churches. Within six months there were anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 men and women out of a population of 800,000 praying at 20 different prayer meetings daily around NYC. For a period of time, it is estimated that 10,000 people were being converted in NYC each week. In the awakening that followed, an estimated 1 million people in America and another 1 million in Britain accepted Christ and became involved in churches in a two-year period.
The Welsh Revival. 1904 and 1905 Wales, when, for many months, the whole country was gripped by a religious revival that swept like a tidal wave across the land. The man at the head of that revival was a young minister named Evan Roberts. On September 29, 1904, at Moriah Church in Loughor, he rose to his feet to make four pronouncements. He wanted people to 1) confess their known sins, 2) get rid of any doubts they might have about the significance of God in their lives, 3) to obey the Holy Spirit and to 4) confess publicly that they would follow Christ. He continued to preach and urge people to join him. God touched down! The presence of God was felt everywhere. The atmosphere was divinely charged. People seemed to be convicted of sin and become aware of the need of salvation, even without the presence of a preacher or evangelist. Within six months, 100,000 souls were converted in Wales. The revival fires burning in Wales spread through England, Ireland and Scotland. This revival spread to America when word of the revival came to Welsh-speaking settlers in Pennsylvania in late 1904 and revival broke out. By 1905, local revivals blazed in places like Brooklyn, Michigan, Denver, Schenectady, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Taylor University, Upland, Indiana, Yale University, and Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky.
The 20th Century.
Lewis, New Hebrides Revival, 1949. Time was suspended, there were all night meetings. In the Lewis revival led by Duncan Campbell, he came for a 10-day meeting and stayed for 3 years. When he arrived in Lewis late at night the awakening had already begun. The church was full, with an additional 600-700 people arriving, at 11:00 pm, without even knowing a service was being held. At 2:00 am, another 300 showed up, crying out, “Have mercy on me.” There was no self-consciousness about the things of God. Remember, these were dyed-in-the-wool, formal Presbyterians, singing praises, lifting their hands, lying prostrate on the ground, shouting, and begging God for mercy.
The 1970 Revival at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. “One morning in 1970, without warning, all heaven broke loose during Asbury College’s 10 a.m. chapel service. “When you walked into the back of Hughes Auditorium…there was a kind of an aura, kind of a glow about the chapel,” said Dr. David Hunt, a Louisville physician who was then a student. “I always have been reminded of the verse ‘Take off your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground.’ You just walked in and sensed that God had indeed sent His Spirit.” Chapel services went on day and night for weeks. Time was suspended as the student body could not get enough preaching, prayer, fellowship and the awesome presence of God. The service, a routine meeting, was scheduled for 50 minutes. Instead, it lasted 185 hours non-stop, 24 hours a day. Intermittently, it continued for weeks. Ultimately, it spread across the United States and into foreign countries. Some say it is being felt even today. –Edited from forerunner.com.
The 1971-72 Canadian revival. Every available auditorium, church, civic center, and store front, anywhere people could gather was filled every night for weeks. The people could not get enough of the presence of God! As one author put it, the revival produced “a revolution of love” in the hearts of those who were touched. And as one pastor put it, “The revival has accomplished more than a million hours of pastoral counseling could ever have done.” The revival spread to Oregon, California, Ohio and Michigan. Often, as hundreds of lay teams spread around Canada and the U.S., revival followed in their wake and as the Spirit of God moved.
The future of revival. The end-time period just after the rapture of the church is called the Great Tribulation period. Although it will be a period of divine judgment upon the earth, Revelation tells us, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.” So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:9-14). This happens during the “great tribulation.” With that many people coming to Christ, that’s revival
•What better day than today for God to move in revival power and touch His church?
•What better day than today for God’s people to decide to either follow Jesus or get out of the way? Uncommitted people just hinder the cause of Christ!
•What better day than today for God’s people to pour out their hearts in true repentance?
•What better day than today for God’s people, pastors included, to get a renewed vision of what God can do for a committed church?
•What better day than today for God’s people to get a renewed vision of the fate of those without Christ, friends, relatives, and neighbors?
•What better day than today for God’s church to rediscover God’s word, making a commitment to reading, memorizing, consuming, preaching and sharing it with a lost world? Some day a simple believer is going to pick up a Bible, simply believe it, and like Evan Roberts (Welsh revival in 1904-05) turn the world upside down.
•What better day than today for God’s preachers to confess their weakness and to lean on God’s great strength. “Without Him I (we) could do nothing. Without Him I’d (we’d) surely fail.” Mylon Le Fevre
•What better day than today for God’s church to confess, that we have not only allowed a divisive spirit, but have promoted it?
•What better day than today for God’s people to stop worrying so much about King James and begin with power to declare King Jesus.
•What better day than today for God’s church to admit, before God, that they are not seeing people come to Christ, and problem is not our town, our location or the times in which we are living. This is the day we put the blame squarely where it belongs, right in front every one of us!
•What better day than today for God’s Spirit to touch down in revival power on our church, our city and on our nation, but especially on me! Someone has said, “Draw a circle on the ground, stand in the middle of the circle, and pray, ‘Lord revive everyone in the middle of this circle!’”
Here are the issues:
God wants all of you. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1,2) . “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
Mourning over sin and a repentant spirit, both in our lives and in the lives of those within our frame of reference. “Our eyes are dry because our hearts are dry.”
There is sin in the camp. There is treason today!
Is it in me? Is it in me?
There is cause in our ranks for defeat and decay.
Is it in me? Is it in me?
Something of selfishness, garments or gold,
Something of hindrance in young and in old,
Something why God doth His blessings withhold.
Is it in me? Is it in me?
What better day for the fire of God to fall! The same fire of the Holy Spirit that came down in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, in Solomon’s Temple, and that sat in cloven tongues of fire on the disciples of Pentecost is the same fire that is available to us today! We need to pray collectively for the fire of God to fall on us and on the entire body of Christ, the church. In a small town the local church was on fire (literally). A deacon and the town drunk were running toward the fire. The deacon said to the drunk, “I’ll bet you never ran to church before!” The drunk replied, “The church has never been on fire before!”
You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there's a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it. Listen people, if we catch on fire, people will come to watch us burn!
Holy Spirit, breathe on me, until my heart is clean;
Let sunshine fill its inmost part, with not a cloud between.
Holy Spirit, breathe on me, my stubborn will subdue;
Teach me in words of living flame what Christ would have me do.
Holy Spirit, breathe on me, fill me with pow'r divine;
Kindle a flame of love and zeal within this heart of mine.
Holy Spirit, breathe on me, till I am all Thine own,
Until my will is lost in Thine, to live for Thee alone.
Breathe on me, breathe on me, Holy Spirit, breathe on me;
Take Thou my heart, cleanse every part, Holy Spirit, breathe on me.
Lyrics by Edwin Hatch, music by B.B. McKinney
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The King James Version (KJV); and The Message (MSG);
All of Dr. John’s teaching and preaching materials are free for your use, but an acknowledgement would be appreciated: firstname.lastname@example.org