“Reflections On Revival” (by Pastor Jimmy Inman of True Life Church) #Revival
Reflections on Revival
Revival is a human term not a biblical term (vive is root to make alive again) vivified.
I wanted to write something about revival, however, I think my pastor, Jimmy Inman, couldn’t have said it better. This is what he posted on the church Facebook:
In light of all the attention that is being placed on Asbury Bible College and Seminary right now, I would like to share some pastoral and biblical reflections on revival for our church body. I do this for a couple of reasons beyond just thinking it is a wise thing to do. First, we, like many churches and groups of Christians, have a group that has been meeting together for a while now to specifically pray for revival, spiritual awakening, salvation of the lost, missions, etc. (we meet on Wednesdays at noon and you are invited). Could this be the answer to those prayers? Second, people have questions about what revival is and the genuineness of this occurrence. We are called to test everything by Scripture. Of course, anything I say is tempered by the fact that I have not actually been there. However, I was at Carson Newman chapel and for an hour afterwards today. As I am completing the writing of this, it is about six hours after chapel “ended,” but there a few dozen students still there worshipping, praying, and seeking God. God’s presence was there in a special way was my experience.
Just in case you are not familiar with what I am referring to, here is a synopsis. A chapel service at Asbury College in Kentucky on February 8th organically turned into a worship service that has literally not stopped since then (although the school has announced they are ending it this week) and has attracted people from many other places. Steve Paysen, who has preached for True Life and our church plants the last few years, spent a few days there. Some of what he said to me includes the following, “I think the Lord is definitely here and this is a very authentic movement of the Lord”… “It is timeless inside”…. “This revival is an expression of mercy’s from the Lord and a call of adoration!” For some historical context, something along these lines has happened several times in the history of Asbury, including in 1970 as a part of what was the last widespread revival and spiritual awakening in the United States.
In addition, this has spread to other locations, particularly other college campuses. One of the campuses that it has spread to is Samford University, where our daughter Lillie attends. She said to us, “I was so skeptical because I thought it was probably just an attention-grab Asbury copycat thing. But I wanted to check it out for myself so I went over at about 10:30 last night….What I saw and experienced from the group at large seems to be real and genuinely Spirit-led. Like it wasn’t just singing some cliche worship songs. It was people boldly proclaiming the gospel and talking about lukewarmness and surrender.” She also spoke of getting to talk to and pray with a non-Christian friend who was there.
So with that said in the way of setup, here are some observations about revival:
- We should desire and pray for a great, supernatural, soul-saving, life-transforming, church-purifying, culture-changing, God-glorifying work of God.
- However, revival is not about seeking revival. It is about seeking God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us to “seek God’s face.” This stands in contrast to seeking God’s hand. To seek God’s face is to seek to know and honor Him personally for who He is. Seeking God’s hand is seeking what He can do, which is important but should be the byproduct and not the focus. Our tendency is to seek what God can do. Revival is characterized by seeking, knowing, and glorifying Him for who He is. The good news is that He promises, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
- I have said several times when preaching over the last few years that I believe our nation is at a tipping point because we cannot continue on the current path. I have said that I thought we would either have a spiritual awakening or descend into chaos? What if this is that tipping point? What if God has sovereignly orchestrated things to bring a generation to a place of brokenness and desperation that causes them to seek Him?
- It’s important to define some terms to accurately understand revival. Revival is God stirring and renewing His children spiritually. Byron Paulus wrote, “No two revivals are ever the same. But they have common denominators such as confession, repentance, brokenness, honesty, humility, obedience, surrender, restitution, reconciliation, inescapable love for Jesus and others.” Revival is for believers. Non-Christians need a resurrection because of being dead in trespasses and sins. We have to be alive to be revived. Salvation is in part the regeneration of a spiritually dead heart. Revival happens in the church but then can lead to spiritual awakening in the culture.
- In a desire for revival, we must not forget the ordinary means of grace that God uses in our lives. We have the privilege and responsibility to walk with God every day through the means of grace such as prayer, Bible reading and study, confession and repentance, worship, sharing life with other believers, etc. We are commanded to be filled with (Ephesians 5:18) and walk in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25), which is the normal Christian life. Every believer is indwelled by the Spirit and can live in His power (Zechariah 4:6) daily. When we are not, we need revival. So praise God if He manifests His presence in a special way, but He is always present with us through His Spirit, and we can fruitfully live the Christian life by living under the control of the Holy Spirit.
- Repentance is foundational to revival. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” James 4:7-10 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Tim Beougher says, “Revival doesn’t begin in ecstasy. It begins in agony. Repentance is the marker.”
- We are called to be discerning. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” We are to test everything against Scripture. That includes revival services. It also includes testing those who are critical of revival services. It includes making sure claims are factually accurate and pass the biblical test of sufficient witnesses before making them. This is especially important in the internet age. I also think it’s dangerous to dismiss something because one aspect of it is not exactly right. Nothing involving human beings is perfect. We should look at the whole thing. As Robby Gallaty says, “Revival is messy.”
- As Robby Gallaty also says, “Discipleship must follow a move of God. Jesus never said, ‘make Christians or decisions.’ He said, ‘Make disciples’.”
- Do we really want revival? I know the easy, churchy answer is yes, but if it were the completely honest answer, the church would be much different than she is. My head and heart cry out for revival, but my flesh often rebels against the total surrender that is needed. A better question than do we want revival is, “Are we willing to repent and submit?” Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Let’s do that and see what Jesus does!
We meet at noon each Wednesday at True Life to pray for revival and spiritual awakening, lost people, missions, etc. We encourage you to pray for that and if you are able, we would love for you to join us. We encourage you to also be praying for Carson Newman. There have been students there seeking the Lord for more than 6 hours.
Learn more about True Life Church!
I did try to see what ChatGPT would say about revival, but I guess artificial intelligence cannot grasp current events. This is its reply.
I’m sorry, but as an Al language model, I do not have the ability to browse the internet and access up-to-date information on current events. My knowledge cut-off date is in 2021, and I do not have access to any information beyond that time. However, I can tell you that revival is a term that refers to a spiritual awakening, and throughout history, revivals have taken place in various parts of the world. These revivals have often had a significant impact on the lives of individuals and communities, leading to increased faith, compassion, and positive social change.
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