What Constitutes Genuine Revival?
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
"A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shiggionoth. 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: 1, 2)
Have you ever been in the midst of intense prayer, when suddenly you sensed the presence of Almighty God in a very real way? You knew that you were in the presence of the Eternal Lord and suddenly a sense of godly fear came upon you? A reverence, solemnity and holy awe gripped your being as you waited in His presence for Him to communicate something of vital importance to you?
PRAYER is interceding, supplicating, beseeching and imploring God for help. It is worshipping, praising and magnifying God. It is thanking Him and thinking grateful thoughts toward God.
It is also LISTENING to hear His voice in response. It is waiting in His presence until He gives us the words of wisdom, the direction to take and the reproof that is often needed!
During Habakkuk's prayer, suddenly he heard the voice of God saying that He was about to judge the nation of Israel. The prophet was afraid and he cried out for mercy. He told the Lord of His fear and pleaded for mercy!
He said: "I have heard Your voice telling me of Your disapproval of our SINS and I am afraid! O Lord, instead of sending judgment upon Your people, be merciful and send a Revival. Please do it now. Don't wait until its too late. Do it now in the midst of the years.
"Make Yourself known to us, before we've departed too far from you and crossed the line of your mercy. Save us while our hearts are still open to Your Holy Spirit. And if You must judge us, in your great wrath remember to be merciful, because we are only flesh. Be merciful to us and save us, dear Lord!"
May we always remain open to the Blessed Holy Spirit. He delights to speak to us, help us and lead us in His way of holiness, love and faith. And may we respond to the Voice of God in humility, thankfulness and total obedience to do His will!
WHAT IS A GENUINE REVIVAL?
The heart of our precious Saviour Jesus Christ is touched by the feeling of our infirmities and has promised to meet our every need when we trust Him and obey Him! He wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19: 41) and weeps over us today as He intercedes before His Father's throne in the Holy of Holies in Heaven!
The Bible states: "For we have not an High Priest, which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4: 15-16)
"But this man, because He continueth ever, hath a continuing priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb.7: 24,25)
Here are some key truths that unlock the answer to the question, "What Constitutes a Genuine Revival?" By the grace of God I have chosen a number of vital things the Church must do to bring us to our knees in repentance and faith, so that a sweeping Revival of Righteousness may occur among us.
1). A MEETING WITH GOD
"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
"And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
"Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar.
"And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I send me." (Isaiah 6: 1-8)
The first and most important thing we must do to see a genuine revival in the Church is to have a personal meeting with God. We must have an encounter with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We must see the Lord as Isaiah did, High and Lifted up. Everything changes when carnal man has a glimpse of the Eternal God!
A MISSIONARY MESSAGE FOR US!
Isaiah saw Jesus Christ the Lord of Hosts and his life was transformed. He saw his own sinfulness in relation to Christ's righteousness, and cried out in repentance and humility. He confessed His weakness, nothingness and uncleanness. Everything in him and around him appeared jaded, carnal and worthless when he saw Jesus Christ in His purity, holiness and power!
Immediately, a seraphim took a live coal from off the altar and laid it upon his mouth and declared: "Thy sin is taken away and thy lips are purged." Then he heard a voice saying: "Whom shall we send? Who will go for us?" Isaiah then answered: "Here am I. Send me."
We all must experience the upward look as we see Christ in all of His righteousness, purity and authority. And having seen Him we will fall at His feet in repentance and godly fear, and thereafter obey Him as Lord and worship Him as God! (John 20:28)
Secondly, we must experience the inward look as we see ourselves as God sees us, weak, powerless and sinful. In this state we are moved by the blessed Holy Spirit to cry out for mercy and in our weakness reach out to Him Who alone can meet those desperate needs. By appropriating God's Word to our lives and receiving healing through the shed blood of Jesus Christ we are liberated from the bondage of fear, sin, guilt and evil spirits!
And thirdly, we must experience the outward look as we hear the voice of God calling us, "To go with His Word and Power" to liberate a Lost World and a Sick Church which desperately needs the Gospel of Christ! We will then answer Him as did Isaiah: "Here am I, send me!" We will say with Saul of Tarsus: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9: 6)
The two most important questions a man could ask God are those Saul asked the glorified Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road, 'Who art Thou, Lord?” and “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” We must recognize Who He is before we can enter into a meaningful relationship with Him!
We must have an understanding of the holiness of God and the need for a holy reverence toward Him. The Bible states: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding." (Prov.9: 10):
The Prophet warned Nebuchadnezzar: "Wherefore, O king, let My counsel be unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility." (Dan. 4: 27)
2). REPENTANCE OF SIN & WRONG!
The Word of God says: "If My people that are called by My Name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven and will FORGIVE their sins and HEAL their land." (2 Chron.7: 14)
The Lord was wrought with His people because they had forsaken Him the Living God and had turned to man-made and lifeless images and idols: "For My people have committed TWO EVILS; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living water and have hewed themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jer. 2:13)
His great mercy, grace and compassion continued reaching out to them: "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." (Jer. 6:16)
"Come now, and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Is.1: 18-20)
GOD'S MERCY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT!
GOD'S MERCY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT!
Many have stated that they prefer the New Testament because, they say, Jesus is so kind, gracious and forgiving and the Old Testament is judgmental and harsh. They, of course, are wrong.
The grace of God permeates the Old as well as the New Testament and secondly, Jesus Christ is the, "brightness of God's glory, the express image of His person." (Heb.1: 1-3). Our Lord said: "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." (John 14:9)
God's forgiveness of David's SIN in causing Uriah's death to cover his sin with Bathsheba, is one of the greatest acts of grace in the Bible. Here is his repentant cry for God's mercy:
"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, and blot out my transgressions. Purge me...Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy Presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation..." (Psalms 51: 1-12)
Even though David had sinned grievously, God forgave him. He realized he was in big trouble when the spotlight of God's righteous judgment was fixed on his life. The presence of God was still with him, however, and he still had the Holy Spirit! You can't find anything greater than that. He was guilty, yet the grace of God covered him.
Consider God's grace to Adam and Eve after their sin, in giving them redemption through the sacrificial system which pointed to the Coming Redeemer. And His mercy toward Noah and His family and multitudes more down through the centuries.
Jesus said: "Likewise, there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth." (Luke 15:10). We must all ask for forgiveness like the Prodigal Son did in the parable Jesus taught:
THE PRODIGAL SON RETURNED HOME!
"And He said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father; Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And He divideth unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
"And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into the fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did ear: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said; How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare and I perish with hunger!
"I will arise and go unto my father and say unto him; Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. And he arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
"And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said unto his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
"And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry: For this my son was dead and is alive again; He was lost and is found. And they began to be merry." (Luke 15: 11-22)
WE MUST ALL LEARN TO FORGIVE!
This is one of the most beautiful parables Jesus told to show us the love of God our Father to His children who have gone astray and decide to return home! He waits with open arms for His erring children. He has every right to severely punish and chastise us if we stray, but that is not His way.
In this parable, the Father was so filled with compassion that when he saw his son a great way off, he ran to meet him. He "fell on his neck and kissed him." When his son confessed his sin and asked to become a servant, the opposite transpired:
"But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry." (Luke 15: 22, 23)
The reaction of the elder brother is a picture of those Christians who refuse to forgive the backsliders who have come home. It should act as a lesson to us all of how much God our Heavenly Father loves those who have drifted, stumbled or fallen.
The Holy Scriptures confirm that our glorified Lord Jesus even now acts as our High Priest on His Father's right hand, interceding for us all:
"Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that DIED, yea rather that is RISEN again, who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us." (Rom.8: 33, 34)
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace and obtain mercy to help in time of need." (Heb. 4: 24-16)
3). RETURNING TO OUR FIRST LOVE!
In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation we actually see the Resurrected Christ as He appeared to St. John on the Isle of Patmos:
"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a great voice, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last...And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire;
"And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last. I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and of death." (Rev. 1: 10-18)
CHRIST KEPT HIS PROMISES TO THE CHURCH!
For years we have correctly stated that Jesus Christ's Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28 and Mark 16, were His final command, instructions and promises to the fledgling Church.
He promised to work with them by sending the Blessed Holy Spirit to empower them with the same power and ability that raised Him from the dead, and to guide and comfort them in their work of representing Him to a lost and hostile world!
Here are His words: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned.
“And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe: In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:15-18)
And what was the outcome of the Great Commission? Did the followers of Jesus Christ obey His command and did He keep up His end of the agreement? Did the SIGNS which He promised actually take place?
As promised, Jesus kept His Word. And His followers obeyed His command. Within a few short years the Gospel of Christ was heralded everywhere. Nothing could stop it. Persecution could not stop the great spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Imprisonment, torture and martyrdom could not derail its influence!
The Holy Record states: "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord WORKING with them, and confirming the Word with SIGNS FOLLOWING. Amen." (Mark 16: 19,20)
The Bible chronicles the amazing ministries of Peter, John, Stephen, Philip, Saul of Tarsus and the other disciples and apostles of our Lord! Here are some Scriptures that that document the amazing acts of God through them!
PETER & JOHN:
"Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to the temple asked an alms.
“Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none: but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.
“And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up : and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and waked, and entered with hem into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God.” (Acts 3:1-9)
Now when they saw he boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could not say anything against it.
“But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straightway threaten them, that thy speak henceforth to no man in this name.
“And they called them, and commanded them not o speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4: 13-20)
"Now when the apostles which were in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only that they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
“Then laid they their hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8: 14-17)
"And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
“And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
"There came also a multitude out of the cities round about Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”(Acts 5: 12- 16 )
STEPHEN the DEACON:
"And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." (Acts 7: 8)
PHILIP the DEACON:
"Then Philip went down to Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice came out of many which were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and were lame were healed.
"And there was great joy in that city. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." (Acts 8: 5-8, 13)
ANANIAS, the BELIEVER:
“And there was a certain believer at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, “Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called, Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus; for behold, he prayeth;
“And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias, coming in and putting his hand on him that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints in Jerusalem. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call upon Thy name.
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how much he shall suffer for My name's sake. And Ananias went into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest hath sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost,
“And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were in Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogue, that He is the Son of God.” (Acts 8: 10-20)
"But when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the Word of God.
But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood hem, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtility and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
“And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand Then the deputy when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” (Acts 13: 6-12 )
"And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked. The same heard Paul speak, who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
“Said with a loud voice, Stand thou upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices in the speech of Lycaionia, the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men.” (Acts 14: 8 - 11)
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
“Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to to saved?
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in the house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he all all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with ball his house.” (Acts 16: 25-34)
"And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19: 11, 12)
To Be Continued ...