We are living in a time of spiritual and political unrest. As believers, we should be comforted by the reality that we serve a sovereign God and resurrected Savior. It seems that there are many even within the church who are in a continual state of fear and anxiousness or anger and bitterness. I am convinced that we should be crying out passionately for revival, but it often seems we care more about trying to win arguments on Twitter.
Jesus spoke to the church at Ephesus,
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4–5)
I believe Jesus is calling the Ephesian church to revival. He is calling them to remember, repent and return to a greater love to Him.
I believe God is calling His church to revival once again. We need a love revival: love for Jesus, love for His church, love for each other, and love for the lost. Not some sentimental, commercial-driven kind of love, but a Holy-Spirit-driven, Christ-centered, Gospel-proclaiming movement of God!
One of my favorite revival accounts is the story of the Welsh Revival of 1904–5. It began like most revivals, with various calls to prayer and a recognition of the spiritual coldness of the day. The revival expanded when a coal miner by the name of Evan Roberts experienced personal revival and began to be used mightily of the Lord. He began to travel from town to town, speaking about the change God had rendered in his life. He began to pray that God would convert 100,000 souls in a six-month period. God answered the prayer, and the newspapers even published the results: 70,000 after two months; 85,000 after five months; and more than 100,000 in six months.
The impact of the revival was noticeable throughout the land in many ways. Chapels were overflowing with attendees; judges were presented with white gloves to signify there were no crimes to be tried; and taverns had to shut their doors because alcoholism was halved.
My favorite account was that so many of the coal miners had been saved, they had to re-train the horses how to haul the coal out of the mines. A manager stated, “The haulers are some of the very lowest. They have driven their horses by obscenity and kicks. Now they can hardly persuade their horses to start working, because there is no obscenity and no kicks.” Even the horses could recognize there was something different about the men who worked in the mines.
Roberts shared consistently what he called “Four Points,” or four requirements, for revival. We understand that revival comes by the power and Spirit of the Lord, but men and women who follow these four points provide fertile ground for such a movement. Roberts shared that one must:
- Put away any unconfessed sin. We cannot expect God to move in power in our lives when we refuse to deal with unconfessed sin. We must confess and agree with God about sin if we expect to grow in our love for Him and for others.
- Put away any doubtful habit. In a culture and even a Christian culture that cries out for our “rights” or liberty, we often forget that we are slaves to Christ. If there is anything that causes us or others to stumble, we need to be willing to quickly put it away. Normally, if you need to ask whether it should be part of the Christian life, it probably is not something that needs to remain in your life. There are many things that are not particularly sinful but have become so in your life because they have grown too prominent in your life.
- Obey the Holy Spirit promptly. If we expect to fall more in love with Jesus and really see revival, we MUST walk in obedience.
- Confess Christ publicly. If genuine revival is to happen, it must be ALL ABOUT JESUS! There is nothing in us that is worth lifting up other than our Savior, who dwells in us!
Will we take Evan Roberts’ challenge? Do we want to please Jesus more than we want anything else? May God strengthen us to confess any known sin, put away any doubtful habit, and obey the Holy Spirit. And may Jesus be high and lifted up!
Information is summarized from Malcolm McDow & Alvin Reid, Firefall (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1997), 275–279.
As cited in McDow & Reid, Firefall, 279.