When we think of revival these days, it is mostly associated with some past great gospel blessing or evangelical activity. But, does this do justice for the word?
Revival is more than mere gospel blessing or activity. Strictly speaking it means to bring to life again, or to make alive again. If one is to be made alive again it means they must have first been alive.
Technically, you can’t revive the unconverted. To distinguish, the term awakening has been used in the past for tremendous outpourings of the Holy Spirit on the lost, who then pass from death to life. But, only the redeemed can be revived.
For the church today, we must ask if are we seeing any great works of the Holy Spirit in evangelism? Are we seeing believers living true to their identity in Christ? Are these two things connected?
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now, our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 11:11-14)
Lord, help us to awake from the slumber of comfort and ease. Lord help us to cast off worldliness, works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Lord help us to recall, we are in a war and there is no neutral zone, there are no forces in reserve behind the safety of walls and towers.
Awaken or revive
The greatest threat to western civilization is not radical Islam; it is a slumbering church.
If you notice spiritual apathy, it is time to awaken.
If your remembrance feasts are lifeless, it is time to awaken.
If you have little concern for the perishing or can somehow disassociate yourself from the condemned, it is time to wake up! I’m told that D.L. Moody never preached on hell with dry eyes.
If there is no distinction between the church and the world, we must have revival.
If there is no difference between you and your unredeemed friends in terms of actions, speech, habits and pleasures, we must have revival.
Salt and light
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
This clear commandment of the Lord is to be both salt and light. Salt is an amazing element. Salt is necessary to life but too much of it can kill. It both seasons and cleans. It helps wounds heal but can sting terribly. It can enhance flavors and melt ice. As salt, we are to cleanse the wound of sin. We are to season the conversation with the morality of God. We are to enhance life without killing life.
We are also to be light. Often an additional light is useless in sunlight. That is we are most effective as light when darkness pervades. Light exposes, illuminates and gives clear direction. We are to illuminate sin and expose our condemned state before God. We are to give clear direction, just as the Lord Jesus did, to repent and trust in Him.
Call to Action
We must cast off works of darkness. We must feed on the bread of life, not entertainment or pleasures. As Paul wrote, “let every man examine himself,” we must honestly evaluate ourselves, and then our local church, for apathy. We must individually seek the presence of God and prostrate ourselves, even physically, before His glorious holiness and greatness.
If we want to see a revival in the church it must begin on an individual basis first. We must seek brothers and sisters who will join us in prayer and supplication and holiness. We must seek to spur on discipleship in ourselves and in others, including our youth.
We must be tired of living as if everything is fine when it is not. We must repent of the sin in our lives and not be content with the status quo. We must be humble in these pursuits so no brother or sister feels threatened by our zeal.
If we are preachers, the Lord help us if our sermons are mainly either dull or flippantly irrelevant. The word of God must be preached for changing the lives of believers also. Is my life changing? Am I merely informed or being transformed?
The word of God by the Spirit of God can satisfy our longing for transformation. Revived souls preaching with power the word of God, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.