We often need many revivals in our Christian walk. Even back as far as King David, 1000 years B.C., he wrote about this. Psalm 85:4-7, “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people [might] rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation.” Revive us again. You know, we need to be revived, and the Lord wants us to be revived more than any parent would want their child to be resuscitated if they were fading or dying.
Back in 1986 in June, a little 2-year-old girl named Michelle Funk was playing just for a moment. That winter, her parents, near Salt Lake City, took their eyes off their little girl and she disappeared. It didn’t take them long to figure out that she had somehow fallen into the swollen, icy waters of the Bell Canyon Creek that winds through the south Salt Lake County. Well, they desperately searched through the waters; it was clear water. They didn’t see where they thought she had fallen in. And as the moments go by—; if you’re a parent, you can understand how frantic you become with each passing moment when you’ve got a 2-year-old that’s fallen in the water. And they stomped around downstream, and they couldn’t find her. They looked near the shore to see if she had made her way to the shore. Someone then called the emergency vehicles. Moment after moment went by. It seemed like it took forever for them to come. When they came, they said, “We’re going to need dive equipment.” Fifteen minutes had gone by. They called people who had diving equipment. And by the time the searchers went through the water, 66 minutes had gone by, and they finally found little Michelle’s cold, lifeless body in the creek.
But this broke all records because they took her then to the children’s hospital, medical center there in Salt Lake City, and they ran her through an experimental machine where they warmed her blood gradually, and suddenly, when her body reached 91 degrees, her heart started beating, and she opened her eyes. And today Michelle has recovered completely with no signs of her traumatic experience, having been drowned for 66 minutes.
I’m using this as an amazing fact tomorrow at the radio station. They say that if that water had not been both very cold and very clean, there wouldn’t have been any hope. If it had been lukewarm, she wouldn’t have survived. Perhaps that’s why God says, “I prefer you are hot or cold,” but being lukewarm can be devastating.
You know, there’s a story in the Bible. It’s a short story, but I’d like to use it as a springboard to share this brief message on understanding the signs of a real revival because I suspect that if you’re honest, there are times when you feel like your experience is in the doldrums, and you need to be revived. Do you know what the doldrums are? I used to hear that, and I didn’t know what they were. Back in the days of sailing, you didn’t have a motorboat, and if you were not going around the Mediterranean, they did not have oars that came out of the side, because when you get into the big waters of the Atlantic or the Pacific, those little holes where the oars come out end up filling up, and it was just too dangerous. So they depended completely on sail power.
But there is a part of the Atlantic that is sort of the whirlpool of all the currents. They call it the Sargasso Sea. And in that Sargasso Sea, it’s actually… You know, for years they wondered where all the eels go when they reproduce, and they found out that on the Atlantic, all the eels are spawned in the Sargasso Sea. It’s filled with seaweed because the current cycles there… You know, if you’ve got the eye of the tornado, you’ve got the eye of the ocean currents where the wind is almost always still, barely flutters. And because there are almost no waves and no wind, the seaweed flourishes there, and I guess that’s why the eels like it.
But if a ship drifted too far to the south, they would get stuck in the Sargasso Sea where it was hot, there was no breeze, they weren’t making any progress, the current would not carry them, the wind would not carry them, and they could spend months in the doldrums, this area where there is no wind and there is no current, and the seaweed and the barnacles would wrap around the bow, and they would not make any progress, and sometimes they’d become so desperate, they would laboriously have to get out makeshift oars and try and drag themselves manually out of this section that’s a couple hundred miles wide. That could be depressing. They were still in the boat, but they weren’t going anywhere.
Have you ever felt like, as a Christian, you’re in the doldrums and that you need a fresh breeze to blow through your experience and to help you feel some progress? And then how do you know the real thing from the counterfeit?
Well, let’s look at the story of Eutychus. You find this in Acts chapter 20. Turn in your Bibles, please. We are going to spend a minute here. Acts chapter 20, and we’ll begin at verse 7 or 8. I’m going to read this right here. As a matter of fact, I’ll start with verse 6 just to give you the whole context, and I’ll be reading to verse 12. Acts 20:6-12, “But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days [we] joined them at Troas, where we [sailed] seven days. Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,” now here they are at Troas. They’ve come together, and this first breaking of bread may have actually been celebrating the Lord’s Supper. And it was probably during a Sabbath.
When it says, “on the first day of the week,” it’s what we would call Saturday night. When did days begin and end in the Bible? Sundown. And so, if it’s sundown first day of the week, what do we call it? Saturday night. See what I’m saying? And so they’ve spent the Sabbath together. They all come together, and around sundown, as it begins to dawn towards the first day of the week, or as the sun goes down on the first day of the week, they decide to have their communion service. Why? Because Paul is leaving the next day, and he is not going to see them for a long time. Some have tried to say that this was to inaugurate a new Sabbath day. It’s actually the contrary of that. The next day would have been the day part of the first day. Why would he go on an extensive, grueling journey on that day if it was the new Sabbath day? So, that has just been some misapplication of Scripture in the past.
“Ready to depart the next day.” So he “spoke to them,” he preached to them, and he “continued his message [till] midnight.” You understand? The sun has gone down on Saturday, begins the first day of the week, he’s preaching late, it’s dark. That’s why it says in the next verse, “There [are] many lamps in the upper room.” Where does this meeting take place? Upper room. You notice how many spiritual meetings they had in the upper room? There are a number of reasons for that. For one thing, when you were down on street level, and it sometimes was a little noisier when the other houses were down there, if you needed any breeze at all, you got that by going to the upper room, and so they sometimes had their meetings in the upper room and had a little more privacy. Sometimes you’re having a meeting, especially if your religion is illegal and everybody is craning their heads inside your window to find out what’s going on. Meeting in the upper room had a little more advantage of privacy.
And so it tells us there were many lights in the upper room. Paul is probably reading some of the Scriptures, and so he needs to be able to see. “Where they were gathered together. And in [the] window… a certain young man named Eutychus” was sitting. Well, that would make sense if a lot of people were gathered in the room. There may have been a couple hundred people there. We don’t know. And if it starts to get stale, you want some fresh air. And if you’re burning oil lamps and they don’t have the chimneys on them and they put out all this soot, it could get difficult to breathe. So Eutychus, wanting some fresh air, he sits by the window. But there’s a problem. It says he was sinking deep into sleep—why?—because Paul continued to preach too long.
Now, I’ve been trying to work on shortening the messages here because I don’t want anybody to fall asleep, and especially not fall out a window or out of the balcony or something! I tell you, this is a good lesson for even good evangelists. If an evangelist as successful as Paul could preach too long, then we’re all at risk, aren’t we? All preachers. It doesn’t matter how good a preacher you are, you’re not any better than Paul, and the Bible says that he preached too long. And so we’ve had evangelism counsel where we get all our evangelists together, and we say, you know, “You guys are good. But don’t go too long because you lose your crowd.” Paul lost some of his crowd right here in this story.
It says many lights are in the upper chamber, young man named Eutychus “sinking into a deep sleep.” You know, the sermon goes till midnight. “He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story”—this is the upper loft—“and was taken up dead.” Well, that kind of ruined the whole purpose of this celebration they were having. This farewell program was tainted now with the death of a young man.
Evidently, why he was sitting in the window, he was listening and doing his best to stay awake. He thought he had himself propped well. But, you know, when you get real relaxed, you ever see someone when they reach that border of they’re getting into the rapid eye movement, and they start to twitch a little bit? You ever been sitting next to somebody when they start to fall asleep and they reach the point where they catch themselves? Well, Eutychus started to relax, and when he caught himself, he had lost his balance. And though he struggled, he had passed that center of gravity point of no return, and he was on his way out the window. And flail for a ledge or something as he might, he probably yelped, he went crashing down on the cobblestone streets below. And it says the family, people nearest to the stairs, rushed down. They got to him first. They lifted him up, and it says he was dead, whether he broke his neck or internal injuries or concussion or what it was. But it tells us pretty clearly he “was taken up dead.” That means they lifted him up in their arms, but he was dead. Well, at this point, the pastor finally gets down the stairs. “But Paul went down,” verse 10, and he “fell on him,” and he embraced him.
Now there’s a problem. A young man in church has died. How could people die in church? How could a person die even while they’re sitting listening to good preaching? Why would the Lord let something like that happen? Can you be sitting in God’s house… I mean, this is the upper room where Paul is preaching; that was their churches back then. Is anyone going to argue that? They just broke bread together. Is it possible that a person could need revival even if they are a faithful churchgoer? Is it possible a person could need revival even if they’ve been hearing the Word, even if they’ve been hearing the Word from Paul himself? People can go to sleep and need revival. Have you ever sensed you needed a revival?
Well, Paul, he came down, and he embraced him, and he said, “Trouble [not] yourselves.” By the way, this is what Jesus said when He raised the daughter of Jairus, Don’t mourn. She’s just sleeping. Paul said, “Trouble [not] yourselves, for his life is in him,” and he embraced him. And evidently, the boy did something that showed some signs of life. And they whisked him away, maybe to his own room or something nearby. And it says when they came back up, they broke bread again. Now they’re just eating a regular meal. “And [they] talked a long while, even till daybreak, [and] he departed.” Notice, verse 12, “And they brought the young man in,” in other words, the one, he’d been taken away, Eutychus. They brought him in “alive, and they were not a little comforted.”
So the reason this story is in the Bible is to not just say that Paul had a Bible study with the people. The reason this story is in the Bible is to tell us that Eutychus had died and he was resurrected, he was revived. Now, there are a lot of different stories I could use to illustrate the importance of a revival, but here’s a person who is in their prime. They’re young, they’re in the right place, they’re in church, and even they needed revival. So if Eutychus could… And by the way, the name Eutychus means “fortunate” or “happy.” I guess he felt pretty fortunate or happy after Paul embraced him and he came back to life.
Let me read you a quote from 1 Selected Messages, page 121. You’ve probably heard this before. “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.” The most urgent thing I think the church needs today—I need—is a revival of genuine, biblical, primitive Christianity, of godliness. It’s not only needed, it’s an urgent need. You ever gone to urgent care? What makes the urgent care part of the hospital different from other parts? That means you’ve got an immediate crisis that needs attention. It’s an urgent need. “To seek this should be our first work.” It’s the most urgent, and it should be our first work to do what? To seek a revival. “There must be earnest effort.” You mean there’s effort involved in getting a revival? “There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord,” meaning His Spirit, “not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing [on] us, but because we are unprepared to receive it. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give [the] Holy Spirit to them that ask…, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children.” Notice, “But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant … His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer.” We must be praying, and it is our most urgent need. I know it’s my need.
So why do we need to know what the signs of a real revival are? Does the devil know that in the last days the church is going to sense the need for revival? And so, because of this, he wants to counteract that revival by introducing a counterfeit. For every truth of God, the devil has a counterfeit. Does the devil have a counterfeit for love? Does he? Sure, he does! A lot of things being called love today that have nothing to do with love. And how many of you have heard some sparkly-eyed teenybopper tell you, “I’m in love,” and you just kind of—. We know what it really is; it’s that, well—.
To understand a counterfeit, it might help to look at the real. The devil has a counterfeit for the Holy Spirit, he’s got a counterfeit for love, he’s got a counterfeit Sabbath, counterfeit baptism, counterfeit baptism of the Spirit, and a counterfeit of everything. Everything precious you counterfeit. People don’t counterfeit Jell-O because the real thing is bad enough. You don’t need a counterfeit. So you only counterfeit that which is really precious.
Looking at the genuine, Acts chapter 2, when God poured out the Spirit, this was about as Spirit-filled as they were. Acts 2:1, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all [of] one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, … of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house.” Okay, so a real revival is going to have a rushing wind. “It filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire.” Okay, real revival, we need fire. And it “sat upon each [one] of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and [they] began to speak with … tongues, as the Spirit gave … utterance.” People speaking with all different tongues, that must be part of it.
And then you jump down to Acts 4:31, another great New Testament revival, “And when they had prayed, the place … where they were assembled together” was shaken. Okay, an earthquake. “And they were … filled with the Holy [Spirit], and they [spoke] the word of God with boldness.” There’s Bible preaching. Is that evidence of a revival, then? So those are the criteria. It needs to have a wind, and there needs to be fire, there needs to be shaking, and then you’ve got a revival. Speaking in tongues, maybe? It was here the first time. But some of these things can be counterfeited. Is it only God that can send fire from heaven?
Job 1:16-19. When the devil finally got license to go and try to undermine the faith of Job, what did the devil do? It says, “While he was still speaking, another [servant] came” to Job, and he says, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants [were] consumed…; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” His shepherds were out in the field. The fields must have been dry. Lightning came down, and there was a fire that rampaged through and killed the sheep and killed the shepherds, and only one escaped to tell Job. And he said “the fire of God.” Was it the fire of God? Who went forth from the presence of the Lord to bring these plagues on Job? It says Satan went forth from the presence of <_____??Job,_____> and he caused these calamities.
Does it tell us when you read in Revelation 13? Speaking of the beast power, “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by [the] signs [that] he was granted to do in the sight of the beast.” The devil is granted permission to perform certain signs, and we know at least one of those things is bringing fire down from heaven. Did we just read that?
Now, I’ve been to a lot of Pentecostal meetings. I’ve been to a lot of charismatic meetings. Before I was an Adventist, those were the people that I was worshiping with. Well, I never spoke in tongues. Everyone around me was doing it, or virtually. And I saw a lot of interesting things that were called revival. I never did see tongues of fire. But if I had, I might still be at that church because that would be some kind of sign, wouldn’t it? Would you forget that very quick if you saw fire come down from heaven? I mean, that would make a big impression! Can magicians do that? Probably. Good ones, special effects. I think there are things that they could do that might even look like that.
I want to take you to an interesting story in the Bible that relates to this that will help you at least get your radar turned on so you can say, “You know, I need to be a little bit cynical sometimes about things that are called revival.” Doesn’t mean I want you to lose faith or be skeptical, but be wise as serpents. Didn’t Jesus say that? Don’t be gullible as a Christian. 1 Kings 19, Elijah is kind of going the wrong direction. He is out in the desert, chased by Jezebel, gets discouraged, runs for his life, angel feeds him, and in the strength of the food the angel gives him, he runs 40 days and 40 nights. Only a couple of people went 40 days and 40 nights without eating or drinking. One was Elijah, the other was Moses. Jesus probably had water in the desert, but he had no food.
And so he finally makes his way to Mount Sinai, and somewhere up on Mount Sinai he finds a cave that’s a shelter, and after being in the cave and hearing God say, “What are you doing here?” he goes and he stands in the mouth of the cave, and he looks out on the vast desert, and he’s wondering, “What am I doing here?” And God said, “‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind,” mighty wind, “tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord.” Now, I’ve heard about some tornados that will snap off trees and telephone poles, and they will send semis flying through the air, right? But as far as rock-breaking wind, it’s a pretty good wind that can split rocks. It “tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces…, but the Lord was not in the wind.” There’s a wind, but God was not in it. “And after the wind an earthquake.” Big shaking taking place. I think if Elijah was not scared by the wind, now he’s scared. He’s inside the cave of a mountain, and the earth is shaking. But the Bible says, “the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after [that] earthquake” shook everything, there was a fire. Some kind of desert fire went through—brush fire. “But the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. [And it was so,] when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in [the] mantle and [he] went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”
Revivals, contrary to what you might think, are not always loud. What will a revival not look like? You know, there are a lot of counterfeits for revivals. And you can sometimes just be driving down the road, and it’ll say, “Our church is having a revival.” And they’ll be—what? Music is turned up a notch. You can maybe hear the drums resonating through the walls. Maybe you could hear louder singing, louder shouting, louder preaching. Is volume always a sign of revival? Or does the Bible tell us that God was not in the roaring of the wind and the fire and the earthquake? God finally speaks to him how? Still, small voice. And it’s saying, “What are you doing here? You’re not where you’re supposed to be.” And Elijah is convicted that he is out of God’s will and that he is supposed to move. He is somewhere he is not supposed to be, and God tells him that, not with thunder, not with fire, not with earthquake, but with a still, small voice. Could it be that the beginning of the real revival in the last days is not going to happen by the typical wild hootenanny that people have in their churches that they call revival? But it’s going to happen through the Holy Spirit’s speaking to us as we’re listening to the Word of God. Elijah heard the Word of God speak to him in a still, small voice.
You know, Jesus, He kind of turned the world upside down, but have you noticed what His technique was? It says He sat down, and He taught the people. And the Words of Christ had so much substance, He didn’t need to yell. Something touched their hearts, and it spoke to them on the inside, this still, small voice that said, “What are you doing here?” I’d like to submit to you that a real revival is God’s Spirit speaking to your heart, and if there’s any area in your life where you’re out of God’s will, He will bring conviction, and He’ll call upon you to make some tangible changes.
You know, in the book Great Controversy, talking about false revival before God brings real revival, listen, “The enemy of souls,” the devil, he “desires to hinder this work;” this great work of revival before the Lord comes, “and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit.” The devil knows that God is going to pour out His Spirit in the last days. Doesn’t the prophecy tell us in Joel? I will pour out My Spirit in the last days, and your sons and daughters will prophesy. They will dream dreams. There will be a great revival. And you notice that the dreaming dreams and the prophesying is the Word of God going forth. It doesn’t say they’re shouting. You don’t have to shout to dream. And it tells us that this message is going to spread. The devil wants to counteract that. He knows it’s coming. He deceives those through the means of those miracles he can do.
“In those churches [that] he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out,” the appearance of a revival. It looks like something wonderful is happening. But it’s not from God, it’s from the devil. Does that scare you at all that a deception could actually come looking like a counterfeit Holy Spirit so that people think, “Isn’t this wonderful!” And some folks are going to go, “No, this isn’t wonderful,” because there will be something wrong with the message that’s being called the revival. How are you going to know? Doesn’t Jesus tell us the deception in the last days is going to be so subtle, so insidious, that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived? Because it’s going to look like a Holy Ghost revival, and people in the church are going to say, “Ah, this is what we’ve been praying for! Isn’t this wonderful!”
And it’s going to be a counterfeit. How will you know? What are the signs of a real revival?
“He will make it appear … God’s special blessing is [being] poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world” by being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So how will we spot it? Obviously, the Word of God.
Is a full church a sign of revival? Not always. You can probably give away donuts and fill a church. I’ve found, if you have good enough potlucks, that you can sometimes attract people, at least for the loaves and fishes, right? We’ve been testing everyone here at Central Church by strategically running out of food at our potlucks to see if you’re sincere. No, a full church isn’t always a sign. As a matter of fact, I think some real revivals, you actually see the membership decimated because the preaching of the truth will sometimes cut into membership. Jesus preached some things that were hard. It’s actually in John chapter 6, verse 66, you can’t miss that, John 666. And Jesus said some things, and many of His disciples stopped following Him after He said some tough things. Well, it could have been that a revival was coming, and it was separating the wheat from the chaff. So large numbers are not always a sign of a revival.
Is it feelings of ecstasy? “Oh, I just feel so good now. We had a revival at our church. It was so exciting! The exuberance! It was sensational preaching. And the things I heard, I had no idea that conspiracy was going on.” So hearing sensational things that stimulate our imaginations, that are exciting, secret information nobody else has—some people call that a revival, because everybody comes to hear something. The pastor’s got an inside scoop that nobody else has. And so they think, “Must be a revival. What wonderful information!” Having your mind stimulated because you’ve heard something amazing can feel like a revival because you’re going, “Wow!” But, “Wow” because of interesting information or some amazing conspiracy is not necessarily the Holy Spirit reviving you. But a lot of people have started to come to churches, and attention and enthusiasm is built based upon sensational information, inside information. It’s not necessarily feelings of ecstasy. There are pills that people can take that will make them feel much better. That doesn’t mean that revival comes in a bottle from the drugstore, right?
Maybe it’s hundreds of baptisms. That’s proof of revival. Sometimes, I’ve known of evangelists that have gone into foreign countries and actually bribed people to get baptized by saying if they get baptized, they’ll give them some free clothing or free Bible or even money. It’s true. And all these people line up for baptism, and the cameras are rolling, and it looks really good, but if you knew the behind-the-scenes story, you’ll find out those people were given some other incentive to get baptized, and no sooner than the camera crews leave, than they went back to their pagan idols in their village. So a lot of people getting baptized is not necessarily the sign of revival.
As a matter of fact, when God first poured out the Spirit at Pentecost, the baptisms came after the revival. The revival started in the upper room. There were only 120 left of the thousands of people who come to hear Jesus preach, and when He was multiplying the bread, and when He was riding triumphal into Jerusalem, lots of people. But after He rose from the dead, 40 days later it was down to 120. If Jesus preached in the Holy Land for three and a half years, and He only had a membership of 120, would you call that a success in a city of a million? Jesus? It didn’t look good, but a revival had happened.
You know what brought about that revival? They put away their differences. They humbled themselves before God. Look here in Acts 1:14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” There was a unity of mind and spirit because they were all listening to the same Lord and reading the same book. There was a revival. And they were praying together. We need to do more of that. Get to Acts chapter 2. You notice that it said “one accord” in Acts chapter 1. Acts 2:1, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Not only there was a unity, they were gathered together in one place. You know, the Lord says, “Where two or three are gathered … in My name,” something about when we come together, we are able to encourage each other, and that generates revival.
So what does a revival look like? Well, was it significant that the disciples were of one accord? Why is it worth mentioning that? Because before that, they had not been of one accord. They had been arguing among themselves who was the greatest. And they were upset with Judas because he had borrowed money from everybody and then hung himself, wouldn’t pay them back. And they were disappointed because Peter had sworn that he would never deny Jesus, and he was the loudest in denying Christ. And there was probably some disunion among them. They were wondering, you know, who is going to have the right-hand position and the left-hand position, who was the greatest.
They had been arguing among themselves. But finally, after Jesus washed their feet and then died on a cross for them and they saw Him alive in the upper room, they really began to understand what the message was, what the main thing was, not about them and their position. It wasn’t about an earthly kingdom, it was about Christ’s heavenly kingdom. And once that finally began to jell for them, they put aside their differences, they humbled themselves, they prayed together, they were of one accord. And you notice it didn’t happen right away. They spent ten days in an upper room praying together. They even did some fishing together. They spent time together. And then God poured out the Spirit when they least expected it. You stay together long enough, you’re probably going to be there when it happens.
So what’s the evidence of a revival? What’s the sign for a real revival? You look in 2 Chronicles 7:14. You’ve heard this verse; most of you probably could say it by heart. By the way, there’s a song that someone put this verse to music. It’s a beautiful song. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face,” now here’s the practical part that we can follow, “and turn from their wicked ways.” That still, small voice says, “Is there something in your life? You’re not where you’re supposed to be.” Humbling ourselves, repenting. “I will hear from heaven.” He says “then.” “You do this, I will do this.” “I will hear from heaven, [I] will forgive their sin and heal their land.” In other words, He would pour out the refreshing rain from the drought. God will pour out the Spirit from the drought. We’ll get out of the doldrums. The wind will blow again. “Now My eyes will be open and My ears [will be] attentive to [the] prayer [that is] made in this place.”
Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins [might] be blotted out, so that times of refreshing”—that means revival. Did you get that verse? Acts 3:19. “Repent … be converted, … so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Could you use a little refreshing? Would you like to have a fresh wind blow through your experience, a revival of God’s Spirit in your life? You know, it’s not that far away. There are things that we can do.
And this is the evidence for a real revival. When marriages that are on the brink are restored, that’s kind of what a revival looks like. When relationships that are strained, people go to each other and say, “Brother, sister, I need to apologize to you.” Just this last week I needed to talk to a brother, and I was sitting next to him, and I thought—the Holy Spirit said, “Doug, you ought to apologize for something that you said to him months ago.” “No, I’m sure he’s not upset,” I’m telling myself. And then I thought, “Well, if the Holy Spirit is telling me, what have I got to lose?” And, you know, I’m so glad that I mentioned it because he turned around, and he mentioned something too, and the relationship then becomes healed when you can put aside those differences. You know, when you confess your faults to each other and pray for each other, you’re united.
Maybe we’re separated from God by our sin. And the key for the Holy Spirit flowing through that pipe again is to sort of clean out the pipe and confess our sins to God and ask for mercy and to keep the pipe clean, that conduit between heaven and earth, by saying, “Lord, every day I’m willing to do Your will.”
I’d just like to summarize by giving you—. I don’t want anyone falling out the window today, so I’m going to keep this short. I’d like to give you a few steps that I’ve jotted down are, what can we do to generate revival, some practical things? You know, preachers talk about revival, and sometimes they get worked up, they yell and scream and work up a sweat and throw their Bible, and people say, “Wow, what a revival!” But if you haven’t walked away with anything practical, then is a revival going to happen?
I remember when I lived on the Navajo Reservation, they used to have a lot of these tent revivals, and you could hear them for miles because they had a good sound system. And typically, they were fleecing the people. And I heard the story of one old Navajo that went to one of these revivals where the preacher yelled and screamed, and he stomped, and he pounded his Bible and carried on all the antics, and he came out, and someone said, “Well, what did you think?” In a very succinct way, the old Navajo said, “Loud thunder, big wind, no rain.” And that’s sort of what happens when a lot of people get together and say, “You know, we’ve got revival scheduled on our church’s calendar this year.” It’s just a lot of wind, a lot of thunder.
So I’m going to give you some practical things that might bring some rain. First of all, realize your condition, that we are sinners, that without God’s help we’re under a death penalty. We need to repent of our sins and pray. Some verses, Haggai—. And I could actually give this to Melissa, and we could post it online if you want it. But you may want to write some down. Haggai 1:7, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!”
Two, read the Word of God and pray. Acts 6:4, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and … the ministry of the word.” “Faith comes by hearing,” Romans chapter 10, “and hearing by the word of God.” I think that’s verse 17, Romans 10:17.
Assemble with other Christians. They were of one accord in one place. When there is a meeting and we’re getting together, you come as often as you can to hear the Word proclaimed. Hebrews 10:25, Do “not [forsake] the assembling of [yourselves] together, as … the manner of some [is], but exhorting one another.” I met with the conference secretary at Granite Bay two weeks ago, and he said, “This is a very unusual church because most churches that we go to, you’ve got the membership 500, actual attendance 200.” Isn’t that right? Very rarely is the attendance more than the membership on the books. The membership is an inflated number, a lot of phantom members because they don’t come. But at Granite Bay, they’ve got 300 coming, 200 on the books. That’s a good sign. As the manner of some is to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together,… and [all] the more as you see the Day approaching.” We need to come together and pray. You know, even probably, I won’t say more important, but equally important, is not just that we gather together on the Sabbath to corporately worship God—that’s very important, we need to be getting together in our homes and studying the Word, having worship in our families. That’s something that will also, I think, generate revival.
Confess and repent and forsake your sins and pray. James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of [God], and He will lift you up.” Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his [sin] will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Four, right whatever wrongs possible. Jesus said if you go to the altar to ask for forgiveness and you remember at the altar you’ve got ought with your brother, go be reconciled first to your brother, then bring your gift. One of the most important things we could do for revival is to be peacemakers with each other. All men will know we’re Christians by our love for one another. If we can’t get along with each other, some of us have had long, festering problems with another brother or sister, and we just said, “Well, you know, that’s behind, nothing I can do.” Maybe the Holy Spirit is telling you to write a letter or give them a phone call, and even if they don’t forgive you, you forgive them. Do what you can do.
Six, share your experience. “Brethren,” this is James 5:19, 20, “if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he [that] converteth the sinner from the error of his way [will] save a soul from death, and … hide a multitude of sins.” We can intercede for each other. Don’t just pray for your own revival, pray for our revival. You notice in that verse, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray,” it’s all in the plural. Even the Lord’s Prayer is in the plural. Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise [will] shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars.” We should participate in encouraging others to righteousness.
And then finally, my seventh point (I thought that was a good, round biblical number), believe in God and seek His kingdom. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” you know that, “and His righteousness, and all these things [will] be added.” Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say…, [what] things you ask [for] when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” I think that we should be doing that now, friends, drawing near to God. The Bible promises if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. And there are practical things we can do, looking for real revival in our lives. Would you like that in your experience?