The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” Psalm 85:6
+ Revive Us Again +
Revival is a Biblical doctrine in which every Christian should be concerned about. Revival is truly a work of God. It is a divine visitation, a spiritual awakening, a renewal, a time of refreshing from the Lord, and a return to God. Revival is for God’s people, but will also affect the lost. It is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit followed by reformation. Revival can be personal, corporate, or national. May we consider this important doctrine and pray for revival in our own hearts and lives. Amen.
“If you find yourself loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any house better than the house of God, any table better than the Lord’s table, any person better than Christ, any indulgence better then the hope of Heaven, Take alarm.”
- Thomas Guthrie
This article will consider what revival is, what revival is not, and what revival looks like.
What is Revival
The word revival comes from the Latin word revivere, meaning to return to consciousness, or to awake. In the French language, the word for revival is awakening. The term implies that something has died and is brought back to life (renewed or refreshed). The term revival is not found in Holy Scripture, but the Biblical principle is clearly there.
In Psalms 85:6, the Psalmist is asking God to revive His people (bring back to life). The chapter may refer to the return of Jews from the Babylonian captivity. It was a time of national humiliation, for God’s chastisement had been upon them. The word revival in verse six means to quicken, to give life, or to restore, “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
The meaning of revival is a spiritual awakening of God’s people, a time of refreshing from the Lord, and a renewal or a return to God. It is a special manifestation of God’s presence (2 Chronicles 7:12) and a return to our first love (Revelation 2:4-5). Revival is a supernatural sovereign act of God. It is a gift of God and a special touch from Heaven. We cannot schedule a revival, but we can pray and prepare for it. Jonathan Edwards said, “We cannot cause a revival to come, but we can set our sail so that when the winds of revival blows, we are ready.”
The prophet Habakkuk in chapter 3:2 said, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” May this be our cry unto the Lord as we seek His will in our church. The need for revival and God’s presence is seen in another quote from a minister of the gospel, “Revival is an extra ordinary movement of the Holy Spirit producing an extra ordinary result.” Revival is a Biblical doctrine and desperately needed in the life of God’s people.
What Revival is Not
Revival is not fanaticism, religious excitement, evangelistic crusades, methods, scheduled meetings, programs, or emotionalism. It is not revivalism, as we hear today, for revivalism is a friend to pragmatism, seeking methods and results, etc. Even Charles Finney said fourteen years before his death, “The bulk of my converts are a disgrace to Christianity.” Revival is a work of God, revivalism is a work of man. One writer so clearly said, “Man can neither command it nor make God grant it, God’s sovereignty gives revival when He wills.”
Both the Spirit of God and the Word of God must determine what revival really is. We must test everything by these standards, for even our worship is based upon these principles according to John 4:23-24, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” The question we must ask, is it Spiritual and Scriptural? We cannot rely on our emotions or how we feel about the subject of revival. God’s word will give us a clear definition of how to pray for revival and what it looks like when it comes.
What Does Revival Look Like
I love to study church history and revivals that have come throughout the centuries, but the Bible gives us the most accurate accounts of God visiting His people in a supernatural way. For example, the book of Acts gives us the first record of church history, covering a period of time of about thirty years. From Pentecost onward, we see revival fires spreading throughout the Roman empire with many churches established. From Acts 2:1-4, and onward, the believers experienced great power, boldness, and joy from God. The early church saw the hand of God and experienced the presence of God.
This revival began as a result of those in the upper room in Acts 1:14-24, seeking and waiting in prayer on God’s promise of the coming Holy Spirit. Throughout the book of Acts there is a great emphasis on private and corporate prayer which is the church’s power (Acts 2:42-47; 3:1; 4:31; 6:4; 9:11-12; 5:12; 13:3; 16:13,15). Throughout Holy Scripture there is the lifting of Holy hands in prayer seeking the will and presence of a Holy and Righteous God, 1 Timothy 2:8, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Even the temple was called a house of prayer by the Lord (Matthew 21:10-13). The golden altar which belonged to the most Holy place had one purpose and that was to offer incense (Exodus 30:1, 6-10).
The Patriarch Jacob, in his prayer, wrestled with God for a blessing (Genesis 32:24-30). All of Gods people knew the importance of prayer in reference to revival and seeking the presence of God in their life.
May we seek revival in our prayers, for it is truly a gift of God and a wonderful possession for the people of God to have. Let us never let anything hinder us from all that God has for us. Revival is needed in every aspect of our walk with the Lord. I leave with you a quote from another author which sums up a great principle of revival, “Revival is not something you hold anymore than you hold a hurricane, nor is it something you schedule anymore than you schedule an earthquake, perish the thought, and revival is not something that man works up. Rather, revival is something that God sends, we pray, we believe, we cooperate with the Lord, but in the end, only He can send the rain, we are utterly dependent on Him.”
“What we need is a revival of powerful preaching, old fashioned doctrine, fervent prayer, personal godliness, domestic devotions and genuine love.” -Charles Spurgeon
“When God designs mercy, He stirs up prayer.” - Matthew Henry
“Revival is a return to Biblical truth.” - D.L. Moody
“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523