So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thoughts on Revival...

This is a response to a question regarding Christian revival that a friend recently e-mailed to me. I figured I'd share it with you, my reader(s): Christians NEED revival, even when we've been made alive in Christ? Well, there is a difference between being "regenerate" and being "filled with the Spirit". Paul commands the latter in Ephesians 5:18, and he commands that of Christians. Essentially, Christians need to be increasingly under the control of the Spirit, growing in obedience to God's word.

That is one of the reasons why Paul wrote all his epistles to Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, etc. They needed to be instructed by the Lord how to "walk in the Spirit" more than they currently were. But when you read Paul's epistles, you also recognize that Paul was writing to people who WERE Christians. They just were not walking in complete obedience to the Lord...hence they needed revival; the stirring up of the Spirit in them, teaching their minds the truth of God and stirring their hearts to obey.

So yes, we always need THAT kind of revival.

We don't need to get "psyched up" or "on fire for God". That's useless.

Getting "excited" or "on fire" is not revival. That's sheer emotionalism that then leads people to make oaths to God as to how they plan to "be better people" or "serve him more", and those self-driven oaths always crap out, leaving people frustrated that they cannot sustain that level of emotional commitment to God.

When, in modern "revival", people get all psyched up and commit to doing things, they do so usually in response to a "let's get going" sermon; one designed to drum up an emotional response. (I admit that it's a lot easier to preach LOUD than to preach WELL, and most people are clueless as to the difference.) But making oaths to God in a frenzy of emotion consistently leads to frustration, for we lack the resources in ourselves to produce righteous fruit in our lives.

True revival comes from God's Spirit changing hearts via the insertion of truth (in expository preaching, though it can also occur from personal study of the word, or group study of the word) and the scripture doing it's work in the human heart. People often don't recognize true revival because it's often quiet.

It lacks emotionalism, sensationalism, and volume (usually...). But, when the word is effectively delivered to the heart and starts renewing the mind, empowered by the Spirit, then deep heart changes (down in the depths) occur and lives are overhauled. That is what is needed. The core of the heart is where change needs to occur, and that is where real revival happens.

Just some rambling thoughts on revival.

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian


Blogger C.W. Graham said...

So a thought on revival. If we are truely revived by the truth, ie filled with the spirit in an a peculiar way... should we not expereince it physically and psychologically? Can you really be revived without exitement and emotions?

No I know you are speaking of emotionalism etc in your post, which I agree we need to be wary of. But inour concern to avoid ramping up excitement, are we swung too far along the pendulum and quenching the spirit?

After all it is an emotion, "the joy of the Lord" that is "our strength".

At the same time to ever rely on thee emotions as proof that we are revived would be foolish. We need the truth to be revived. So these emotions MUST be driven from the truth of God and not mere emotions. Nevertheless we surely need powerful affecting emotional expereinces of God'a truth, dont we?

10:04 PM

Blogger wagboy said...

What would happen if you interpreted being "filled with the holy spirit" as receiving full assurance? Or that a baptism of the holy spirit subsequent to conversion gave one his full assurance?


3:28 PM

Anonymous Kenneth Ermter said...

We can't forget that true revival is messy, so the real question would be... Are we ready for revival? It is full of people being "filled with the Spirit" and being "regenerate" and people getting "psyched up" or "on fire for God". People will be full of sheer emotionalism and will need leaders who know "grace and mercy" and don't think that "most people are clueless" in other words, they don't care if people are clueless. In revival we need leaders to be ready to come under people and support those "making oaths to God in a frenzy of emotion" and pasturing peace for those "in frustration", or lacking the resources or understanding to "produce righteous fruit in our lives." True revival does comes from God's Spirit changing hearts via the insertion of truth and is all these things including being "often quiet." However, we need to be ready for volumes of all walks of life (transvestites, homosexuals, satanists, fighters, lovers) in a revival full of emotionalism and sensationalism (if it is not occurring from personal study of the word, or group study of the word)as the word is effectively delivered to the heart and starts renewing the mind, empowered by the Spirit, causing the deep heart changes (down in the depths) overhauling lives.
Revival is messy! Yes we need it, but only when it is God's idea!

1:01 PM


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