There is much talk today about revival. The work of Todd Bentley in Lakeland Florida has caused a division even among the Charismatics. I do not intend to leap into the debate about Bentley as God has risen up many to expose those practices that are not pleasing to Him. What I intend to address in this post is why the church doesn’t have true revival in America. By revival I am not referring to a series of meetings that promote healing or the latest plan to give you a better life. I mean by the term the events seen in Jonah 3:5-10. There the king of Nineveh heard the Word of the Lord and said: “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.” That revival was birthed by fasting and repentance after hearing the Word of God that foretold judgment and destruction. This is the preaching that is needed today because judgment is coming. But why do we not see this type of revival? The following was written by J.M. Humphreys almost 100 years ago explaining why the church was powerless:
1. “As a whole, the church no longer has the ancient type of preachers.
a. Men through whose faces flashed divine lightning, through whose eyes beamed eternity, and whose voice and message struck more terror to the sinner than the tread of an earth quake.
b. Yes, clean ministers, unselfish ministers, sanctified, empowered ministers; ministers who are not afraid of the cross; not afraid to preach against sin in high and low places; not afraid to speak of an everlasting, burning hell; not afraid to cry out against false religion; not afraid to preach death to carnality; and not afraid of the poor-house.
c. Today, mentality has taken the place of spirituality. They do not preach the Christ of the Bible; neither do they preach with the power and unction of the Holy Ghost; it is all dry, dead words. It is no marvel that people can sit and sleep on the front seats, or joke and chew gum all during the sermon.
2. The next thing that ails the church is that she has no longer (as a whole) men and women who are true to their convictions, regardless of what people think or say. They are not ready, like Paul, to die for what they believe.
3. Her members have settled down and lost the three essentials, namely: the spirit of self-denial, the spirit of prayer and the passion for souls. Hundreds of God-called and God-anointed workers have settled down and taken up with mercenary occupations -- store-keeping, farming, selling automobiles, etc. The ancient cry -- "Give me souls or I will die" -- has almost left the earth.”
4. The church has lost the apostolic brand of faith.
a. We do not half believe God's word.
b. We do not look for results.
c. We do not insist that they come.
d. We do not urge our claim for all God has promised in His word.
5. The church is no longer radical in dealing with sin and hypocrisy. She does not make war with the Achaians, she no longer throws overboard the Jonahs, neither does she take her stand against Agaz [sic], the carnal mind, the Old Man.
6. Her members become irreverent and worldly minded.
a. They can laugh and joke in the house of worship, buy and sell, also open her sacred doors for political meetings and worldly enterprise.
b. Instead of the prayer meeting, concerts are held; instead of the class meeting, literary contests; and instead of old fashioned, Holy Ghost singing, operational performances are given by a lot of unsaved, half-nude young ladies, whose faces are painted like clowns, and who squeal like pigs. How in the name of common sense can we ever expect to have a revival over such performances?”
Do the words written by this long departed preacher ring true today? Do we see the same characteristics that caused a powerless church 100 years ago occurring now? Do we want real revival today? If we do, then our attention must be turned to prayer and fasting and not the seeking of signs and wonders. When true revival comes, if it comes, it will impact the entire area; that part of the world will be turned upside down. It will be done so not because of miracles of the flesh but because of the miracles of transformed lives due to the power of God. Whether God will grant revival I do not know; however, I do know that we are to be faithful as believers to live our lives sacrificially in brokenness and repentance. And when we do, those around us will see the true witness of the power of God and true revival may break out.
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