What do you think of when you hear the word “revival’? An old-time tent meeting? A Billy Graham crusade? A fiery sermon? I read a disheartening article about the decline of mainstream denomination churches and their membership. Let’s look at the many reasons why we need a spirit of revival in our churches.
Why Do We Need Revival?
Our small group is working our way through an encouraging study on defending our faith among the rise of secular gods in our society.
Our church is halfway through a sermon series on Revelation. Jesus gives distinct messages to the churches and definite fixes for their individual issues. These messages are just as applicable today as they were in Bible times.
Fewer than half of Evangelicals believe the Bible is the true and inspired Word of God. A Biblical world view is based on this very concept.
I’m concerned for church leaders these days. They have a big job ahead of them. Besides praying for our churches, what part as individuals do we play in revival? I’m hoping to encourage you with what I’ve found.
What is Revival?
The word “revival” is from the Hebrew word chayah which means “to bring back to life” or “restore to a previous condition.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
We may use it, for example, in describing someone brought back to life by CPR, but in the Bible, it’s used to describe a restoration or renewal after some sort of spiritual neglect or decline.
Revival can mean a very dramatic work of the Holy Spirit in a church. It can also be a personal renewal in our spiritual life.
Just as we experience “mountaintop” experiences in our walk, we also go through valleys and plateaus. I’m seeing “revival” as something we can all aspire to work on, not only in those low times but daily!
One of the verses that I read that started me thinking along this path was 1 Peter 2:9: “For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
In the OT, the people needed a priest to go before God for them. We now enjoy direct access to God because of Jesus. As believers, we are all part of a “royal priesthood”. We have a responsibility to bring others to Jesus, our King.
We’re in this together! There is no better way to point others to Jesus than living the way God instructed us to. To do that consistently, we need daily renewal and sometimes a mighty revival.
We Need Revival
Here are a few signs we need revival:
You are “lukewarm”- your spiritual life is like the church members God spoke to in wealthy Laodicea. “So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev 3:16.
The believers there were an indifferent, self-confident, complacent church. They had monetary wealth but were spiritually poor. They lived for themselves, not Christ.
Or maybe you are satisfied with your status quo. You’re feeling pretty good at where you are in your spiritual life. You’re comfortable with the way things are; not interested in changing the way you walk with Jesus.
Paul tells us in 2 Cor 13:5 to “Examine yourselves see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” Paul is urging us to do spiritual “checkups” to make sure our faith is strong and our walk is pure.
Do you radiate God’s love and forgiveness to all? How much time do you spend in His Word? (This could be an entire blog post in itself…..)
Do you feel discouraged by what you see and hear in the news? Does it keep you paralyzed from taking action?
Gal 6:9 says “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Trust God to “do a good work” through you!
Think of the very best excuse you have for not serving, growing, or doing good. Now tell it to Jesus. What do you think his response would be?
Revival In The Bible
Maybe the most well-known verse regarding revival is in 2 Chronicles 7:14-15. God tells King Solomon, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
God laid out the conditions that his nation needed to follow if they wished to experience his blessing. He was speaking to Solomon about his nation, but it also applies to ours. As a nation, we all have to do our part. That’s where we individually can make changes.
Steps to Revival
We must first humble ourselves before him. Acknowledge God for who He is- our King. Present to Him the worship He deserves. Acknowledge His sovereignty over your life.
Next, we are to go God in prayer. Speak with him often. Bring all cares, concerns, and desires to Him. We are to “seek his face”- make a conscious effort to focus your mind and heart on God.
Lastly, we must repent. He’s hoping we will look at our sin as He sees it. We have to willfully reject our sinful ways and be truly sorry when we stray.
The Importance of Revival
Let’s be honest- our human nature gets in the way of our best intentions. We want to be revived, feel renewed, and do our best at showing Christ to the world around us. But if we are honest with ourselves, we know we all have worldly comforts and personal issues that come between us spending more time with God.
So, if we want to experience revival, the first step is to admit that yes, I need it! Then God, who is the only one that can grant revival will give it to us. He wants us to be renewed! He has put His Spirit in us and will help us fan the tiny flame into a fire!
Our Christian walk is a daily work of growing stronger and wiser. Don’t be discouraged or grow weary. We may fall down, but we rise again! Then we can move forward with God’s grace to point others to Jesus. Thank you, God, for showing us new mercies every morning! (Lam 3:23)
How different would our lives look if every morning we earnestly prayed for God to renew our walk with Him? Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me! (Ps 51:10)
How different would our nation look if every believer prayed for revival and lived out the requirements of God?
All Scripture is taken from the NIV unless specified otherwise.
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