“Someone should do something about that.” We often hear people say this when talking about a problem (I will admit I’ve said it before). However, if every time we felt the urge to say this phrase we instead actually did something to fix the problem. we would all be in a better situation. So, let’s stop pointing to others and ask ourselves what we can do.
Last week, we began to look at the church’s desire for revival in our own time. We peruse the history of spiritual awakening and tend to think, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone could do that again? When is the new Martin Luther, George Whitefield, or Billy Graham going to step up and do something?” Instead, we should be reminded that revival begins in our own hearts first. I confess that I have too often been the person wishing someone else would bring revival to our churches and communities. So, taking my lead from Jonathan Edwards, Resolved: I will seek God’s will in seeing a spiritual revival happen in my time and place through the power of His Spirit.
We’ve already discussed the events of past spiritual awakenings: 1) Believers pray eagerly and earnestly and then, 2) God convicts the sinful hearts of people. However, as we look at the text of the New Testament and the history of revival, we see that God does not stop there.
#3 Jesus Is Exalted
After such overwhelming experiences of God’s holiness and our personal sin, a time of revival tends to lead to a new experience of love, joy, and peace as Jesus is exalted. Why? Because after seeing our sin, the only peace we find is in knowing that Christ took our punishment. This understanding of the gospel and why is it “good news” overwhelms the hearts of the saved.
Truly encountering God always changes people. We find examples of this type of change throughout the text of scripture, whether it is the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) or the apostle Peter (Luke 5:8). When an individual comes to see who he is face-to-face with when he is in the presence of God, he becomes a new man. Likewise, in our own day, when people come to understand the depths of their sin and the grace of God, they are forever changed by His mercy. The sinful desires that once ravaged the body are now mitigated by the holy desires that come through the power of the Spirit.
When I became a believer, I no longer wanted to indulge in the things of my past but I found true joy and peace being together with God’s people in worship. I desired to hear God’s voice as I diligently read and studied His Word, the Bible. All of this only came because of God’s mercy and grace, not because I was seeking to find something. On the contrary, when I thought I knew what I wanted, God stepped in to show me otherwise. Revival brings about a new interest in living life in line with God’s word and in His will.
#4 Spirit-Empowered Witness
Finally, in a season of revival, the Spirit empowers believers for bold witness to win many unbelievers to the faith. If a friend of your was to win the lottery, you would hear about it. How do I know? Because that type of “good news” is not kept secret for very long. However, Christians claim that the only true “good news” is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The fact that God became flesh and entered into His own creation to save broken sinner is an amazing, unbelievable truth that should bring us more joy and excitement than anything else in the world. Why then, is it so difficult for followers of Jesus to tell other people about Him?
A revival we desperately need in our day is for God to ignite a spirit of immediacy when it comes to gospel witness. We need to be creating a culture of evangelism in our local churches. A culture where people see sharing their faith not as something out of the ordinary, but as a regular, daily occurrence. Having leaders that are able to stand up and preach truth to unbelievers is a great blessing, and we have been blessed to have people like Billy Graham to do that. Yet for a great impact with long term reach, I believe that the example the New Testament gives us is that of regular, everyday Christians taking it upon themselves to stand up for the faith and to take the gospel message wherever they go.
So as we pray for God to revive His people, we should not be asking Him to make other people do something; instead our prayer should be asking Him to use us. As followers of Christ we are simply tools to be used in the hands of the Master. May the Master be pleased to use us to glorify Himself. Therefore, trusting in God, looking to past examples, and moving forward with the gospel of Jesus Christ, I pray to see a revival in my own time and place. I pray that God would glorify Himself in raising up more revival leaders, that He would soften the hearts of many people, and that it would please Him to save many from their sins through Christ. “Use us, Lord!”
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ