It’s Revival or Judgment
2 Timothy 3
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Great revival is a movement, not a moment. The Heavenly Father has established an unfailing covenant for a sovereign revival in His New Testament church. Every great awakening in America, Great Britain, Africa, South America, etc., past or present, is set in this covenant. While I am a classical Pentecostal, most great visitations from God have occurred among non-Pentecostals. Yet in the process of those awakenings, Pentecostal powers became wonderfully accepted. Revival without the manifestation of Holy Ghost ministry and gifts is impossible. Yet, the New Testament model for these Sovereign events had to be Biblically maintained or the revival ended in confusion and emotional foolishness.
A perfect model for this covenant of divine visitation is found in the Book of Acts. It is a blood covenant and cannot be disannulled. Every time one person or more humbles himself or herself before God, refuses to doubt what the Master has said, and waits in travail for a lost world, totally separating themselves from known and hidden sins, a sovereign visitation will occur. The blood covenant of the Father by His Son cannot be broken unless we break it or fail to believe to the time of its manifestation. Our covenant with Him cannot be fulfilled on our timetable, but on His Divine Watch. His divine Plan is perfect and most worthy of our absolute rest and faith.
The Book of Acts Model
The sovereign model of a Biblical awakening clearly started on the Day of Pentecost. It continued throughout the whole Book of Acts. As you move from this great book into the epistles, you see the evidence of a Holy Ghost empowered church turning the world upside down and establishing the great doctrines of this New Covenant that Jesus had established. The Book of Acts is our model for the church. We dare not turn from this model to human schemes and sociological ideas. Paul clearly warned us not to depart from this established plan. He said, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (II Corinthians 4:1-2)
One of the most beautiful moments in the Book of Acts is seen in chapter four. The leaders of the church had been put in prison after the miracle of the lame man at the gate called Beautiful. The Jewish leaders were angry with the Apostles, but afraid of the people. The city was shaken and over three thousand had already been converted to Christ. The Jewish leaders threatened the apostles and commanded them to preach no more in the name of Jesus. These men, full of the Holy Ghost, had no fear of their enemies or threats, but were totally convinced that the Kingdom of God would prevail. The threats of these vicious leaders only served to set their faces toward God and to make them completely dependent on the promised covenant. The promise of the Holy Ghost had come and He would triumph in the church.
Let’s look at this text. “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” (Acts 4:23-30) What a statement of the covenant relationship these men had accepted.
First, they confessed their faith in God. “Lord thou art God which hath made heaven and earth and the sea and all that in them is.” Then, they declared the covenant that David had spoken in prophecy of this very moment in human history. “Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.” (Acts 4:25-26) It is imperative that we see their confidence in the connection between Pentecost and this prophesied covenant. They knew that this covenant of victory over every power they might encounter was already guaranteed. The Holy Ghost had given these words to David concerning Jesus Christ and His death and the effect it would have in the world. They were going to experience a Sovereign move of God over all powers of human government and resistance because David had prophesied and it was already being fulfilled.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
I can almost hear Peter, James, John, or one of the other disciples, standing up in the market place or the Jewish temple and reading Psalm two as a sermon text. Let’s listen in as they must have read this text in either the Greek or Hebrew language: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:1-9)
God had spoken and these men were taking the country by storm. Let the heathen rage, let the rulers take counsel against the Lord or the “Anointed One.” They were His anointed and they said, “Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us,” and cast away their cords they did! It is beautiful to look by faith at the way they acted in total surrender and faith to the Word of God. The more the powers of Rome or the Jewish leaders stood against these Holy Ghost filled preachers or witnesses, the more effect they had. Multitudes were being saved and supernatural miracles were abundant.
In chapter five of Acts it is stated, “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” That statement correlates perfectly with David’s words in Psalm two. “He that sitteth in Heaven shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.” When the Lord rends the heavens and comes down, you can believe that fear, the awesome grip of the guilt of sin, strikes terror in human hearts. This is Revival—conviction of sin so incredible that men pine away in reverence and Godly fear. Every great awakening speaks in almost exact terms of the above. It’s all in the covenant that God gave us by David and manifested in the Book of Acts. It is still today a valid covenant that few men dare to claim.
As the disciples took God at His words, disease, demon possession, etc. quickly responded to their presence and commands. Just exactly as the Son of God had promised His disciples, they possessed the “Keys of the Kingdom”. They did not wait for God to move, rather they moved as God anointed their lives. Nothing could stop them. “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.” (Acts 5:12-16)
It is so sad today to hear and read of ministers declaring the day of miracles past. They have convinced themselves that their helplessness is God’s decision to cease His covenant. The Book of Acts is beautiful history to this helpless crowd, but without relevance to a dying church world where making sinners comfortable is in style. Such foolishness does not deserve an argument. Instead, let’s have another sovereign revival as we await the trumpet. Not one scripture can be found that changes God’s covenant. The covenant is already being witnessed in third world countries where holiness of life is still preached and practiced.
Our Sufficiency is of God
The challenge has never been more real. When men will cease all fleshly dependency, put all their contrived schemes for church growth in the trash can, and go back to the covenant with God, they will draw near to the Hope that never fails. Apostle Paul must have looked into our day when he wrote, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?” (II Corinthians 3:5-8) The Covenant of Moses “written and engraved with stones,” was never void until the rent veil heralded the New Covenant as Christ died. So, the New Covenant will not be void until the “Early and the Latter rain” is complete. Peter made that absolutely plain on the Day of Pentecost. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:16-18) Pay the negative doomsayers no mind as you cling to the covenant and obey His commandments.
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Standing on the Promises and Fainting Not
Apostle Paul had to encourage His contemporaries not to be weary or to use human craftiness instead of trusting in the power of the Holy Ghost. Like David of old we tend to revert to the numbering of our soldiers and the inspection of our chariots instead of remembering the covenant of promises. Paul said, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (II Corinthians 4:1-2)
Our ministry is quickly rendered helpless when we forget our only supernatural source. Everything is but flesh except the Holy Ghost anointing and when He is sovereignly at work, all else is so aimless. We must constantly reject the arm of human efforts unless those efforts are Holy Ghost anointed and Biblically sound. Churches operating in the powers of flesh are just as clearly rejected today as Jesus rejected the Jewish establishment of His day. He walked into the temple and overturned their money-changing tables, then took a whip and drove them out of His temple. Remember His words, “Saying unto them, it is written, my house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46) What would He do if He appeared in one of our sin-friendly churches with a rock concert in progress?
Back to the Covenant
The Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, has promised us the heathen as our inheritance. This is why Hudson Taylor took the inlands of China by storm. It is why Rev. William Kumuyi has built a “Deeper Life Church” in Lagess, Kenya of 100,000 members plus. Study the history of sovereign visitations of Revival. The Great Awakening in America during the days of George Whitfield, Charles Finney, and their contemporaries, is an exact fulfillment of this prophecy. The Holy Ghost said, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalm 2:8) Our Great God Almighty must be asking us, “Where have you been?” We Pentecostals claim the Baptism of the Holy Ghost but are little more than “puddle jumpers.” Our God must be sick of us.
The words of God continue, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:9) If we will put on the whole armor of God and make ourselves wholly available in fasting and in fervent prayer, the Holy Ghost will sovereignly invade our communities. The supernatural will take hold of our natural availability and the results will be life changing. The picture is of God Himself taking hold of Godly men and women that have taken up their cross, forsaking all, to follow Him. He then possesses them with a Holy Baptism and they become giants of His activity. He does the great work, but He does it in a Holy Ghost temple of flesh and blood.
We Are the Light of the World
Jesus Christ proclaimed Himself the light of the world but then clearly declared us to be His light in the world. He is the light of the world but we are His light in the world. Our light is His light shining in and through us to show Himself to the world. Listen, as Apostle Paul magnifies this great truth to the Corinthian church and us. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 4:6) Just as powerful as His original command, “Let there be light, and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) So, His present command is for “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” to shine through us. This is a command of His Kingdom activity, and it will absolutely occur when all is on the altar to Him. This is His treasure in the church, His light shining in us and we reflecting all His excellent glory.
He then said, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (II Corinthians 4:7-11) Our great task is to allow Him to possess us and to reveal His glory while we continue to be earthen and humble to the point of deep dependency on Him. His glory is so often clouded and destroyed in us by the rise of fleshly claims. No wonder He said, “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” What a challenge. No wonder Paul said, “I die daily.” There is no path to His excellent glory except by death to all flesh.
1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.
6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
The negative attitude toward a sovereign revival is the natural result of worldly living. This covenant cannot be claimed without utter surrender of self and disgust with current church life. When you realize that abortion is just as frequent in the church as in the secular world, our spiritual poverty becomes apparent. The church has been vaccinated with religion of the flesh until conviction of sin is almost non-existent. If we can get sick of our religious poverty to the point of total abandonment before the mourners’ bench, we will be headed in the right direction.
A sovereign revival is America’s hope, and it is His will. The covenant still stands unchanged in the Holy Scripture. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14) Add the promise that God’s eyes or His Holy Spirit is even now searching the church world for a vessel or vessels. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (II Chronicles 16:9) Any person reading this article could be the next Duncan Campbell or the two sisters that prayed prior to the Hebrides Revival. This time it could be Charlotte, NC; Corpus Christi, Texas; or maybe even Danville, Virginia; or Jacksonville, Florida! Even Washington, D.C. or New York City! I believe it is just a matter of days if Jesus tarries. If the Rapture occurs, remember, “When the judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants will learn righteousness.” The latter rain will begin in the first month, at the season of the end, according to the Jewish calendar. (Joel 2:23)
God is searching for a few surrendered hearts to believe and claim the covenant that Jesus sealed with His precious blood. It is still immutable and unchanged!