Saturday, July 25, 2009

What Does Revival Look Like?

Because God gives us eternal life in Jesus Christ is there a need for ‘spiritual’ revival for something that cannot die?

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13.

We are living in a time that obviously needs the powerful presence of Almighty God and it is said that our churches, cities, nation, and world need what we call revival. There are enormous organized efforts to bring about spiritual revival across our Nation and world, but the question remains, What are we to do in order to bring this about? My question is, Are we able to bring about revival? And I have another question as well. What is revival?

Is revival the evangelization of the lost; or is it spiritual renewal for people who are already saved? Can the idea of revival somehow connect the two? The idea of revival is a phenomenon that has its roots in the Evangelical Community and has been with us for a very long time. But what does a ‘Revival’ look like?
Curiously, the Bible does mention the terms, "revive," "revived," and "reviving," BUT it does not give directions about revival or revival meetings. There is not one word in the New Testament about the meetings that we organize and call Revival Meetings. Are we attempting to do something that does not find root or explanation in the Bible?
The following references attempt to define the term revival:
In the minds of most Believers, the word ‘revival’ is used in reference to evangelistic meetings. I tend to think that the word revival used in reference to present evangelistic meetings changes the historical definition.

From Webster’s Dictionary we find:
1: an act or instance of reviving
: the state of being revived: as a: renewed attention to or interest in something b: a new presentation or publication of something old c (1): a period of renewed religious interest (2): an often highly emotional evangelistic meeting or series of meetings
2: restoration of force, validity, or effect (as to a contract)
Merriam-Webster Online. 25 July 2009

Primarily, revivals point to the restoration of believers, that is to say, reviving someone who is ‘spiritually dead’. The emphasis here must be placed upon the work of the Holy Spirit and must not be something of our strategies although we are directly involved as instruments of the Divine.

The question still remains, ”What is revival?” By definition, revival is refers to something being revived and there must be the presence of life in order for restoration to occur. From what I have understood through the years revival is to be directed at folks who are already claim to be Christians and not unbelievers. But we too often come away from these meetings disillusioned if the lost are not saved. Have we misunderstood what revival ought to be?

Looking at the course of the history of revivals I have found that most of our ideas about revival come from the 18th century of America. From what I have been able to find, the roots of revival can be found in what history refers to as The Great Awakening in America.

Because revival meetings are never mentioned in Scripture where can Believers go to help them mature in their Christian faith?
The answer is to be found in the local church. This is God’s emphasis is for believers today.

God has gifted men, who, through the ministry of His Word, help bring believers to spiritual maturity. That is God’s plan. The best way for Believers to mature in their Christian faith is to be actively involved in a local church that teaches the infallible and inerrant Word of God.
By learning from and apply God’s Word Believers are to be equipped for ministry and will grow to maturity. The job of helping believers grow does not belong to a revival emphasis, but to the Holy Spirit who uses evangelists, pastor-teachers in the local church. My question is, “Why do we need revivals if God’s plan for growth is found in the heart of the His Church? Spiritual growth does not manifest itself in a 2 or 3 day moment of time. Spiritual growth comes only in a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.

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