The Means and Message for Reformation and Revival (XII)

Many, not all, of the Biblical principles which are applicable to revival have been reviewed in previous articles. Is there revival in North America? Review the principles and apply them to what you have seen, experienced, or heard about. It may very well be that one group of people is experiencing revival and another is not, even though they live in the same proximity. However, more often than not, revival touches a variety of people groups and churches. May this study have increased your desire to pray for revival and may the Lord of revival revive us again.

To pray for revival, we need to know what we are praying for. If God were to grant revival, we need to know what to look for. In the absence of revival, we need to know what we need. May the following principles be in accordance with the Word of God, and hence, with His Spirit.

Article #1

1. Revival, above all else, must come from God. Revival is in the first place, theological. that is, God-initiated, God centered, and God glorifying. Soli Deo Gloria! (Romans II :36; Jude 1:24–25).

2. We may not ignore the binding character of God’s attributes and being in revival (Psalm 119:37–38).

3. God shows Himself to be true through His revelation. You and I need to have the security of knowing that God can speak and act for Himself in such a way that we are not deceived (II Peter 1:20–21).

4. In times of revival. God will revive His message and messengers! He will revive their hearts and minds (Isaiah 6).

5. Revival refers to a time of God’s special redemption activity. Martyn Lloyd-Jones defined revival as an experience in the life of the church when the Holy Spirit does an unusual work. The unusualness of the Spirit's work is not in contradiction with His usual work, but rather an intensification of it (Acts 3:19). 

6. Revival can happen on a personal basis but in church history we usually see it occurring communally. Revival not only effects the local congregation and regional churches but also the community in which it is situated (Rev. 1: 10-11).

Article #2

1. The Spirit of revival is not different from the Holy Spirit introduced to us at the beginning of God’s self-revelation in Scripture (Gen. 1: 1–2; Acts 2:1–4).

2. When revival takes place, polytheism is cleared out of the church. The Spirit of revival is always in complete harmony with the revealed will of the Father. the saving work of the Son, and the holy and perfect ways of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19–20; Eph. 1 :1–4).

3. Wherever the Spirit is at work, the counterfeits are active (Gal. 1:8).

4. When the Spirit of revival comes He introduces order into the chaos of our sinful life. He does not bring chaos into an orderly Christian life (John 16:8–11).

5. When revival comes, God’s people are smitten with the awe of the triune, personal, powerful and holy God (Acts 9:1–9).

Article #3

1. The Ten Commandments, are fulfilled and not suspended in times of revival (Mt. 5:17).

2. There is a revival of true theology-namely, the doctrine of the one true God (Acts 4:12).

3. We see a boldness in representing the sovereign Father, the redeeming Son and the sanctifying Holy Spirit (Acts 2:14–39).

4. True revival is boldly theological and theologically exclusivistic, yet told to all who will hear (Mt. 28:19–20).

5. There is renewed devotion, prayer. and personal repentance and faith (Mt. 6:9–13; I Tim. 2:1–7).

6. Idols fall and true devotion to God is exalted as personal repentance, prayer and praise is revived (Deut. 18:11; Acts 19:18).

7. The name of God is accompanied by the powerful Word and corresponding deeds. There is a revival of witnessing to Jesus (Phil. 2:10–11).

8. We look forward to revival influencing the education world, where Christian education, whether that be done at home, with private schools, or informally within the public schools, exalts the name of Jesus as the ultimate fountain of authentic education, wisdom and values (Prov. 1:7; Col. 2:15–18).

9. There is renewed emphasis on communal worship, communal rest and the personal pursuit of holiness on the Lord’s Day and during the week (Rev. 1:10).

Article #5

1. We see the increase of parental and children’s responsibility, repentance and restoration. The Spirit of Christ brings the fulfilment of the 5th commandment into our hearts and homes (Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1–4).

2. The culture of death and destruction is replaced by the community of life and love (Ex. 20:13; Mt. 5:21–26).

3. The staying power of vows of faithfulness and fidelity are upheld. There is definite repentance of and repulsion to the temptation of lust (Ex. 20: 14; Mt. 5:27–32).

4. There are tremendous inversions of social roles, as the rich serve the poor and the poor work together with the rich. The eternal City of God triumphs over the temporary and self-centered City of Man (Ex. 20:15; Mt.6:24; James 2).

5. The tongue speaks the truth about God, oneself, the church, and society (Ex. 20: 16; Mt. 5:37).

6. In times of revival there is an amazing outpouring of thankfulness and gratitude (Ex. 20:17; Gal. 6:10).

Article #6

1. The Spirit requires that we believe that Jesus is God (Mt. 1:23; John 1:1).

2. Revival not only confirms the miraculous conception of Jesus but also points to the absolute necessity of the miraculous new birth of the believer (John 3:3; I Peter 1:22–25).

3. The priesthood of all believers is spiritually activated (Eph. 4:12; I Peter 2:5).

4. Unbelieving and dumb tongues are made alive again to testity to God (Rom. 3:13–16; I Cor. 12:3).

5. A sincere preoccupation for the salvation of the Lord is manifest. Salvation, not speculation, is the content of the Spirit's revelation (Romans 10:1; Acts 2:36).

6. There is a renewal of authentic, Spirit-led, Christ-centered and Father-glorifying true worship (John 4:24; Acts 2:14–42).

Article #7

1. The spiritual meaning of Christian baptism is brought into focus (Acts 1:5)

2. Inner purification which only the Spirit of God can give is affected (Mal. 3:1–3; Romans 8).

3. True revival is given by God from heaven (Isaiah 64:1–5; Eph. 1:15–23).

4. Revival does not help us escape the temptations of the world, but the Spirit prepares us to face the temptations (lames 1:12–15).

5. Times of revival are often followed by persecution. (Acts 3:13).

6. Revival depends on the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:25).

7. Real spiritual, personal and social needs are addressed with the gospel of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:18–19).

Article #8

1. Revival is blessed by regeneration of people. Unless the Spirit causes new birth, there can be no belief. true repentance, spiritual life and eternal hope (Jeremiah 37; John 3:5).

2. Revival is not only a knowledge that the Spirit exists, but the fruits of repentance and transformation are evident (Mt. 7:15–23).

3. Revival can only be identified with true spirituality (John 3:6)

4. Revival cannot be identified with human beings seeking to manipulate human emotions, wills and minds. To pray for and wait for revival is to depend on the sovereign workings of God (Acts 2:1).

5. Revival does not increase the measure of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives but rather, by God's grace, the extent of God's working is broadened to include others (Acts 1:8; I Cor. 12:1–11).

6. Revival without Christ-centered Biblical preaching and practice is a Spiritless exercise (Romans 10).

7. Fleshly attempts to produce revival or spirituality are counter to the Spirit of God (Acts 8:14–25).

8. Revival causes us to be dependent on the heavenly reign of the glorified Christ rather than the earthly reign of men (Acts 9:5).

Article #9

1. Pentecost is a further development of the Holy Spirit's work, fulfilling the initial workings of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and in the life of Jesus (Joel 2; John 14–16).

2. In times of revival, the Spirit illuminates the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:1–4).

3. In times of revival, the sovereign God may accompany the communication of the gospel with signs which, without a doubt, come from God (Mark 16).

4. The preaching of the gospel is the means which the Spirit uses to bring salvation to the thousands of listeners (Romans 10:8–17).

5. In times of revival the Holy Spirit brings inner conviction as to the sinner's real gUilt for the death of Christ. The Holy Spirit also brings inner convincing that the promise of pardon for sins and power for service are believable (Romans 7–8).

6. In times of revival there is a worldwide communication of the gospel (Acts 1:8).

Article #10

1. We see that John was revived by the Spirit of God in order to reform the early congregations according to the Word of God and to the glory of the Father (Rev. 1).

Article #11

1. In times of revival, God uses the particular few in order to reach many others (Acts 2:1–39).

2. In times of revival there is an increased awareness of the Christian’s vocation as prophet, priest and king (Exodus history; I Peter 2).

3. In times of revival, the Spirit of God multiplies spiritual seeking in personal communion and in congregational worship in extraordinary ways (Neh. 9:1–3; Acts 2:40–47).

4. In revival, worship is restored to its proper place. God’s people begin the week with communal worship (the Lord’s Day) and continue to serve Him throughout the week (Isaiah 58:13–14).

5. In times of revival the vision of Jesus is so Biblical that non-Biblical manifestations of claims to seeing Christ are exposed (Mt. 24:4; Rev. 20:3).

6. In times of revival there is a multiplication of churches through the increase of gospel preaching and obedience (Acts 2:47; 4:4, 31; 9:31; 12:24; Rev. 2–3).

7. In times of revival there is an urgency to evangelize all in preparation for the day of judgment (Mt. 24: 14; I Tim. 2:1–7).

8. In times of revival the Biblical preaching of God’s Word will be the central activity of worship as God’s people seek to hear the voice and know the will of God (Micah 4:1–2).

9. All true revival begins with prayer and continues with prayer (Eph. 6:18–20; Col. 4:2; I Thes. 5:17).

10. In times of revival, persecution is not able to stop believers from being faithful to Jesus, even to the end (Acts 4:13–18; Rev. 1:2, 9).

Dr. Neal Hegeman is Associate Pastor at the Cornerstone United Reformed Church in London, Ontario, Canada. He serves as Executive Director of Ligonier Ministries of Canada.

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