THE DOCTRINE OF REVIVAL (2)/ HAVE FAITH IN GOD!
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled The Doctrine of Revival (2)/ Have faith in God! (Mk 11:22). Her main text was taken from the Book of Isaiah and Habakkuk. “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11). “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence—as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil— to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, the mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:1-4). “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).
Only God can produce revival. Revival is a miracle; it is a phenomenon! Revival is a visitation of God’s Spirit to the Church. It affects even the unbelievers. Revival is defined as the unique, sovereign move of God, the Holy Spirit, coming down to earth in a dramatic way, changing people and nations. It manifests as a heartfelt return to God and His commandments. The Holy Spirit does two types of works: the regular work (convicting people of sins, the process of sanctification, helping people to understand the Word of God…) and the extraordinary work, which is called ‘Revival’. From time to time, in the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit manifested His power among the believers in a most unusual way. The believers became filled with the Holy Spirit, sings and wonders multiplied among them. The overflow of this move of God affected all people. Many surrendered their lives to Christ and the Church became stronger. During revival the Holy Spirit recovers the basic doctrines of salvation, especially the justification by faith, by Grace, thru Christ alone. Revival can happen to an individual believer, to a family, to a church, or to a geographical area. True revival changes the history of a city or a nation. Great social changes start to happen. Righteous laws are given and the nation changes for the better. God does more in one day of Revival than in hundred years or ‘regular’ church work! Selah! Oh, how much we need revival in Nigeria!
WHY DO WE NEED REVIVAL?
Spiritual revival is needed when we want to know God deeper in our spirit. Right now, there is no major revival on record in the world. We need revival because Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy. The devil wants to keep us from being on fire for God. Satan will stop at nothing to keep us from sharing that passion with others. Satan doesn’t want us doing anything, that will lift the name of Jesus Christ! He hates that we desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Examine your heart! Do you fervently pray that God will give you opportunities to speak the gospel message to those around you! We need revival when we backslide! We need revival when we chose to watch the TV news than to read the Bible. We chose to gossip than to pray! We watch unholy movies on the TV and we do not feel guilty about it. Our marriages have lost the romantic passion of Christ. Their love wine is ‘finished’ (John 2:3). The couples are co-existing rather than experiencing the fullness of the love of Christ. We are more concerned about our children’s education than about the condition of their souls. Sin in the church is ignored and not punished. We criticize the pastors rather than to pray for them. Our prayers are empty religious words designed to impress others. We have ceased to mourn and grieve over our own sin and the sin of others. We need to entertain people so that they come to church (the clowns have replaced the preachers of the Word). In the Lewis Revival, many of the conversions happen after the church service closed. They went to the homes of those who were converted and there, they repented, struggled in prayer, and became saved. Never despise the informal home fellowships! God bless all the lighthouses of Father’s House Bible Church!
MANIFESTATIONS OF REVIVAL
Some say that revival can be ‘messy’. This is because many people repent and weep openly. There are also demonic manifestations as the anointing increases. People get delivered in the name of Jesus! Each revival has its own fragrance. But there are some things that are common to all: the believers fall in love with Jesus again. They love the Word of God and desire to apply it. They bring their unsaved friends to the church. The conversions increase dramatically. The sales of the Bibles increase. People love coming to church. People pray more. They join the evangelistic ministry in great numbers. People travel from far distances to attend services in the churches experiencing revival. All who come get filled with the Holy Spirit and the passion for Jesus! They go back to their cities and like fire, revival spreads. Religious people become truly saved. The unbelievers cannot pretend anymore. In the churches, the praise and worship get better! The night-clubs, the places where they sell drugs and alcohol, they all shut down. The number of crimes decreased dramatically. The number of abortions decrease. The policemen, the court judges, and the lawyers become idle for there is no work for them. The signs, wonders, and miracles are multiplied! Praise the Lord!
WHO OPPOSES REVIVAL?
The evil spirit of religion is the greatest enemy to revival. Religious pride is the greatest hindrance. The devil does not mind if sinners go to church. But he hates it when they encounter the Only Living God. The truth is that revival can be ‘messy’. Because the Spirit of God works in our midst, there are visible manifestations. The devil produces counterfeit manifestations as well. Many pastors cannot discern the difference. That is why, they tend to reject all fruit, good or bad. By doing that they quench the Holy Spirit, and the revival stops. In the History of the Church, the people who most oppose revival are the older ‘Christians’ who have high positions in the churches. These people are religious but not saved. They are also the ones whom God has used in the past revivals but now they are backsliding (The retreating wave of the sea, blocks the coming one). The more legalistic they are, the more they oppose revival. They hate to see this new activity, this zealous passion for Jesus and for souls. They feel uncomfortable when they cannot control the congregation. They fear changes. They feel threatened. They ‘resist the Spirit of God’ like the Pharisees who stoned Stephen to death. Revival shakes the false believers. “The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Is 33:14). Many of the Christians who opposed revival were members of the great denominations. They loved their positions in the denomination more than they love God. Others who opposed revival loved miracles of healing more than the glory of God and the conversion of souls. It is good to be reminded that in the history of the Church, no revival started thru the organized official channels of the Church. All revivals started small. God used one or few people to feel the burden for revival and to pray for it. Remember this: God is never afraid to start small, like a mustard seed of passion which becomes a tree of revival! Glory!
QUOTES ABOUT REVIVAL
“The Christian Church would have been dead and finished centuries ago and many times over if not for revivals. In one sense, the whole story of the Church can be described as a series of Pentecosts – I mean by that, a series of revivals” (Martyn Lloyd Jones)
PRAYER OF FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS
“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So, Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:20-26)
Faith in God is basic to the Christian. That is why he is called ‘a believer’. It is the duty of the child of God to defeat the evil spirit of doubt and to grow in faith. In this story, we see a glimpse of what happened during the last days of Jesus on earth. The subject is prayer. You may wonder, who does Jesus teach His disciples about prayer on His way to the Cross? Following Jesus, the disciples did not pray much. For the past three years, the disciples had all their needs met just by talking to their Master. Now, He is telling them that He will die and go to heaven. Therefore, they need to learn how to pray! This is a radical spiritual shift! They did not like that. Jesus is telling them that if they pray, all heaven’s resources are at their disposal. When Jesus cursed the fig tree that is a parable of judgment upon the temple and the nation of Israel. The prophesy came to pass. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. Here we see that Jesus has the power that with a word He can curse and dry a fig tree, roots, and all. This is a negative miracle that displays the power of God! Such power, be it negative or positive, is from God alone! “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!” (Rev 19:1). Jesus said: “Have faith in God!” In other words: Have faith that God is Your Father in heaven, that He is all powerful, and that He wants to help you!
How do you pray for revival, for miracles? Examine your memory, heart, tongue, spirit, arms, and conscience! The answer to your prayer depends on these!
*Your memory! Remember what God has done in the past! ‘Peter remembered…’ You cannot trust God now if you have not experienced a miracle in the past! The fig tree withered immediately as Jesus cursed it. Peter remembered the words of Jesus… The more you remember the past miracles the greater faith you have. The old Christians have an advantage here because they remember many miracles. Remember God!!!
*Your heart! Trust God! ‘Have faith in God’ and do not doubt the character of God! Study God’s Word. Attend your church regularly. Listen to your pastor preach. Faith in God is ‘injected’ thru your ears. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Faith needs to be built! You must trust His promises, purpose, power, and plans! When you pray, ask for things that give glory to God and advance His Kingdom! Do not ask for selfish things. Do not pray amiss (Jam 4:3). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7). Pray over your prayer requests!
*Your tongue! ‘Whoever says…’ You must believe that because God created you in His image and likeness, your words have power! When you pray, your words will perform the action! Do not doubt your prayers! Your words should be like the words of God! Idle words, even in prayer, are judged by God. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Mt 12:36). The word ‘idle’ means unprofitable, injurious, useless, and thoughtless. Praying in flesh is rebuked by God! Praying in the Spirit is answered by God! Pray with faith and without doubt! Both tongue and heart must be united! That is the ideal prayer! To move mountains is about serious issues. When you pray, there should be no doubt in your heart that God is able to do all things. You need faith in the power and the wisdom of God! Little faith in the Big God is enough! “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (PV 18:21). As you can see, the tongue has power to build or to destroy, others and you. If you do not believe this scripture, you shall carelessly use negative words of destruction. For example, if you jokingly say “I am dying-oh…”. Because you did not die after saying such a word, you start to doubt the power in your tongue. Later, when you desire to pray for healing for example, you cannot believe that your words are powerful enough, for God to answer them. Negative, careless, gossiping, slandering, unholy joking words, are a great hindrance to prayer for revival and miracles!
*Your spirit! You must “pray always” (1 Thess 5:17). The more you pray, the better you understand the God who answers prayers! Prayer and faith grow together! “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”. Jesus says ask for all things! But not for selfish desires. It must be according to God’s will. Ask and wait! “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (Jam 4:2, 3). Jesus was telling them that they must pray. Before now, they have not prayed. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (Jn 15:7, 8). A good prayer answered by the Father proves much spiritual fruit and gives glory to God!
*Your arms! Learn to receive God’s love thru His Word like a baby. A baby at the mother’s breast does not ask: ‘Shall I receive this food?’ He just opens his mouth and sucks the milk! Faith comes with receiving God’s Word! Doubt comes thru rejection of God’s Word!
*Your conscience! ‘And whenever you stand praying… forgive him’ An attitude of forgiveness is necessary for an answered prayer. Choose between your grudge and your miracle!
What are the lessons for us? What is the pattern of a good prayer for miracles or for revival? Jesus says that prayer must be in faith and power! These are the simple steps to follow:
1-Remember God’s Word!
2-Believe God’s Word!
3-Speak God’s Word!
4-Pray (ask) God’s Word!
5-Forgive yourself and others!
6-Receive your miracle!
From looking at these steps of faith, we deduct that the hindrances to prayer, the very mountains we need to remove are these: Forgetting and Doubting God’s Word, Keeping silent when you should speak and pray, and Unforgiveness. In this case, you cannot receive what you desire!
The disciples quickly learned the act of prayer. Immediately Jesus went to heaven, they started praying. Then the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost (Ac 1:14, 2:1-4). Good memory, clean conscience, faith, prayer, and power are always connected! Worship the Lord!
REVIVAL IS LIKE ISAAC WHO DUG AGAIN THE WELLS OF WATER OF HIS FATHER ABRAHAM!
“And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them” (Gen 26:18)
THE BUSINESSMEN REVIVAL IN NEW YORK (1857-1858)
This was a great revival. It is the last revival in U. S. This is significant! This is the story: For one year (1857-1858), God used a simple unknown man called Jeremiah Lanphier to ignite the great revival in New York. Jeremiah’s parents came to America from Holland. He was a tailor. He produced readymade clothes. He got converted during Charles Finney’s revival. Here you see how the revival’ seed spreads. Because of the economic downturn, many people stopped going to church. He made good money, but he sold his business to work for God. For a salary of 1000$ per annum, his church, the 88 years Old Dutch North Church at Fulton street, hired him to go from house to house and tell people to come to church. That is how at 49, Jeremiah became a missionary evangelist. He told everyone he met to give their lives to Jesus and start coming to church. One day, God gave him ‘an idea’ to start a weekly prayer meeting for businessmen and workers, during their one-hour lunch break. He obeyed God. He used his money to print 20,000 handbills and distributed them in the city. He was not a preacher. He wrote a simple note in front of his church inviting people to pray. The note read this: “Prayer Meeting from 12 to 1 o’clock—Stop 5, 10, or 20 minutes, or the whole hour, as your time admits.” The first prayer meeting was exactly at 12 noon on a Wednesday, September 23, 1857. He alone climbed the creaking wooden stairs and went to a room at the third floor of his church. He entered that empty dusty room, pulled out his pocket watch and sat down to wait. It looked like no one had the time. As the minutes ticked by, the solitary waiter wondered if it were all a mistake. Then he started praying alone, for God to have mercy on all, to bring revival. Thirty minutes later, a man came. Before the hour was up, four men came to join him. The first prayer meeting was help with six men who did not know each other. The following week twenty men came, and the next week forty men turned out! Their prayers were earnest, but as yet, unremarkable. Undaunted, Jeremiah took a step of faith and decided the men should meet daily. October 14—the twenty-first day after the first meeting—the stock market crashed. All the banks closed, and the whole country descended into the worst financial crisis it had ever seen. Many committed suicides. Upended New Yorkers flocked to the meetings for prayer. Within six months, 10,000 businessmen (out of a population of 800,000 in New York) were bringing their petitions to God, meeting in churches and public buildings throughout New York City. This is how revival started. Soon, people started coming in great numbers. There were many unemployed in New York. There was economic recession. Businesses closed down. People remembered God and came to pray. In January 1858 there were at least twenty other prayer meetings going full tilt in the city. There were rules for the prayer meetings. This revival was much more structured than other revivals. This was the pattern: They start singing a hymn. Then there is a reading from the Bible. Then they start praying for themselves, for mercy, for revival. No man could pray aloud for more than five minutes. The women were allowed to come but not to pray aloud. Soon, people hired a big theater hall, and all people could come and pray aloud, men and women, black, white and Asians. The prayer meetings started 12 noon exactly and ended 1 pm on the dot. No politics or social topics were allowed to be discussed. They made room for the Holy Spirit. Different men led the prayer meeting. At 12:55 they sang another hymn and prayed a prayer of blessing. They close at 1 pm exactly. From here, many men went back to work. They used their lunch break for prayer. Within a year it is estimated that over 1 million people got saved!!!
What are the lessons? Humility, Faith, and Obedience to God are basic in ministry. God can use anybody! God likes to use foolish things to confound the wise! God told Jeremiah that revival will come thru a prayer meeting. He obeyed! Nobody came to pray with him in the first thirty minutes. Then one man came. Many people are too impatient. Wait on God! God uses anyone who humbles himself, who desires to bring glory to God and to save souls. This revival was made from laymen. There were no church leaders. It was not denominational. Most of the people were businessmen. It spread to other cities in the US. It was a revival of prayer. Never since that time have Americans come so united in prayer. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10). Men took the anointing to Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities. Out of this prayer meeting came the ministries of Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey as well as movements to end slavery and bring justice to the oppressed. Though it did not prevent the Civil war (1865-1861) many believe that the revivals during the civil war were inspired by it. This revival changed America. God moved in amid tragedy and saved many souls! To God be all the glory!
In Christ I declare:
WE HAVE ENTERED THE REALM OF ANSWERED PRAYERS!
Revival is your portion, God’s grace and mercy your inheritance, the victory of God is your latest boast! You shall know this salvation, this deliverance! You shall hear the voice of hope singing the ‘coming out’ song to you! You shall once more feel hungry for righteousness! Your passion for Christ is rekindled! You shall be filled with His Spirit! You shall be married and fruitful! The barren shall sing for joy at the embrace of miracle children! You shall see the King in His beauty! You shall feel His touch, His grip, and His lifting. The cursed hiding hole shall be emptied of its contents, for Jehovah has come to redeem His people and claim back His own! Let the praise start! For the glory of God alone!
In Jesus’ name, Amen! Worship the Lord!