Hunger and the Need for Revival:
By Chris Jordan
God’s desire is that this latter day’s church would be greater in glory than the early church. It’s time to contend for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our midst today and pray for revival.
“My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:25).
“O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!” (Habakkuk 3:2).
The prophet Haggai said, “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former.” (Haggai 2:9). That statement is troubling to me, knowing a little bit about the glory of God that existed in the early church.
When you read through the Book of Acts, you see how one day, when Peter preached the Gospel, 3,000 people were saved. There was another time when Peter saw a crippled man, and said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” This same Peter was so full of the Holy Spirit that they brought the sick out into the streets, so his shadow passing by might fall on some of them, and they were healed (Acts 5:15). This is a picture of a powerful and a glorious church.
Haggai said that the glory of the latter day’s church would be greater than the former. We haven’t seen that yet. That tells me that either God wasn’t telling the truth, or we’re missing something in the church today. I don’t believe that God is a liar. He is a faithful, promise keeping God. If the church today is not more powerful and glorious than the church in Acts, then we must be doing something wrong. It’s time to position ourselves to where we can experience the greater glory that God desires us to walk in.
For too long, the church has bought into the lie that says, “Yes, the church in the
Book of Acts was glorious, there were signs and wonders, healings and miracles, but that was in the past.” Some people have this idea that the church is destined to be knocked down and continue diminishing over time, getting weaker and weaker until we’re just barely hanging on for our lives until Jesus comes back to the Earth to rescue us because we can’t handle it any longer. I don’t believe that this is the picture that Jesus gives us of the church.
Jesus used this parable to describe His church: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32).
We haven’t seen anything yet in the Church. The best is yet to come! But why aren’t we seeing it yet in the church? Maybe it’s because we’ve been content to live without the manifested power, glory and kingdom of God in our midst. From the time that the Church was birthed on the day of Pentecost, there has always been a group of hungry believers who said, “I want to know God in a real way. I don’t just want to sing songs or hear stories about what God did in the past. If Jesus Christ really is the same yesterday, today and forever, as Hebrews 13:8 declares, and He is the Lord who saves, heals, delivers, and transforms lives, then I want to know that Jesus today.” We will encounter God in that way when we get hungry for His presence. Are you hungry for more than what we’ve seen in the church?
Jesus said: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but wait… until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49). When Jesus started His church, He said to His disciples, “Before you do anything else, before you go out and do anything, wait for the power. I will give you the power to help you to do what I’ve called you to do.”
It reminds me of a story I heard about a man who walked into a hardware store and asked for a chainsaw that would cut down six trees in one hour. The salesman recommended the top of the line model and the man bought it. The next day he brought it back and said, “This chainsaw is defective. It would only cut down one tree, and it took ALL DAY!” The salesman took the chain saw out back, started it up to see what was wrong and the customer jumped back and said, “What’s that noise?”
He had the tool in his hand, but he wasn’t plugged into the power. Too many people in the church haven’t been connected to the power. Jesus said, “But you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses to me.” (Acts 1:8). We need to plug into the power of the Holy Spirit.
Many years ago, we sang songs in the church that declared, “There’s gonna be a revival in the land.” We sang songs that said, “Lord, send revival,” or “Revival fire fall.” But I don’t want to just sing songs about revival – I want to see revival. There’s a great song called Hosanna by the worship team in Hillsongs Australia that says:
- I see a generation, rising up to take their place,
- with selfless faith, with selfless faith
- I see a near revival, stirring as we pray and seek,
- we’re on our knees, we’re on our knees.
That song resonates in my spirit. I see a near revival. It’s near. It’s close. We need to reach out and grab it. When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand” He was telling us that it’s as close as your hand when you hold it out in front of you. Let’s get hungry and desperate for the reality of the power of God that sets people free.
WHAT IS REVIVAL?
Some people think that revival is where thousands of people get saved. Although that is the fruit of revival, that is not revival. When God sends revival, the people of God are revived and refreshed, and then we see the fruit of it in a great harvest of lost souls. Revival is when the people of God are made alive again. The church, for the most part, has been sleeping. We are the sleeping giant, and it’s time to awake!
There are two kinds of revival in the Bible: Personal revival and corporate revival. The Psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?” We need a personal revival when passion for the Lord is missing from our lives, our families, and our churches. We need to get so hungry and passionate for the presence of the Lord that we say, “I don’t care if I’m going to be the only one who’s going to praise the Lord in the dance at church today, I am going to encounter his presence like King David, who danced before the Lord with all of His might.”
The second kind of revival is corporate revival. The old prophet said, “O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!” (Habakkuk 3:2). After we are restored to a passionate personal relationship with Jesus, we need to see the work of God revived in the church as well. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil such as sin and sickness, and where Jesus is manifested as King, the kingdom of darkness has to flee. Light is more powerful than darkness. When you walk into a room and turn on the light, you don’t have to chase the darkness out. Once you flip on the switch, the darkness is gone. It’s time for the church to arise and shine, for the light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon us. We need to get so filled up with the light and glory of God that the darkness around us flees.
There is a work of God that He wants to do in our generation, as He has in the past. Jesus told us to pray that His kingdom would come and that His will would be done on the Earth as it is in Heaven. There’s no sickness in Heaven. There’s no depression in Heaven. There’s no lack in Heaven. Jesus told us to pray for God’s will to be done on the Earth as it is in Heaven, so guess what God’s will is on the Earth? He doesn’t want there to be sin, sickness, depression or lack here on the Earth. He wants us to be rejoicing in the Lord always. I hope I’m stirring up your hunger today for MORE: more of the presence of the Lord, and what He wants to do in our midst.
The original Hebrew word translated revival is chayah and it means to sustain life, be restored to life or health; to cause to grow; or to restore. It’s time for a revival, where we are restored to life and fruitfulness in the church. The Bible says that Jesus came to give us life, and that more abundantly (John 10:10), but too many Christians aren’t experiencing that abundant life. We need to be made alive again, to be revived. If something is alive, it will be hungry, growing and produce fruit.
How’s your fruit? Are you a ‘juicy fruit’ Christian? Do you remember that old jingle for juicy fruit gum? ‘Juicy Fruit – it’s gonna move ya, It’s got a taste that gets right through ya.’ Are you so full of the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) – that when you get squeezed, juicy fruit comes out? We need to be full of the Holy Spirit and bear His fruit in our lives. We need to be revived.
When the people of God can wake up in the morning and go through their whole day without even thinking once about Jesus, it’s time for revival. When Christians can go through their whole day without praying or reading their Bible, and in fact it’s been so long since they last read their Bible, they don’t even know where it is, it’s time for revival. When the people of God walk and talk and act just like the world, it’s time for revival. When Christians are easily offended, and can stay mad and hang on to unforgiveness for months and years, it’s time for revival. When the power of God is absent from our lives, and we aren’t seeing people saved, delivered and healed, it’s time for revival. When believers will prioritize their children’s sports games and move heaven and earth to make sure they don’t miss a game, but will sleep in on Sunday morning and skip church just because they’re tired, it’s time for revival. So what is the verdict? We need a revival!
The people of God need to be revived. When we are revived, the first thing we think about when we wake up in the morning is Jesus. Our heart’s cry will become that of Job’s: “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!” (Job 23:3). Our heart’s cry will resonate with the Apostle Paul’s: “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly].” (Phil. 3:10, amp). More than anything else in life, we want to know Jesus more. Then we know we’ve been revived.
“And now grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape…that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival.” (Ezra 9:8).
STORIES OF REVIVAL:
I enjoy reading about previous moves of God throughout the history of the church. Over and over again we see the same pattern repeating itself. A man or woman of God gets on-fire with a passion to know God intimately, and the people of God gather around that fire-starter and seek after the Lord again. The preacher John Wesley said, “I set myself on fire, and people come and watch me burn.” We need to start a fire burning today, so that people around us can see the passion we have for the living, loving, wonderful Jesus that we know, and people will say, “I want to know Jesus, too.” Do we have a story of what He’s done in our lives? Not only has Jesus forgiven my sins, but He’s healed my sicknesses, and provided for my financial needs.
Throughout the history of the church, there have been men and women of God who have said, “I want more of You, Lord.” By the 1500’s, the church had become so legalistic and religious that the people didn’t have direct access to God anymore. The church of that day told people that if they wanted to know God, they had to go through the priest. People didn’t even have their own Bibles in their homes so that they could learn about God for themselves. There was one Bible in the church, chained to the pulpit, written in a language that the common people could not read. In the midst of this dark time in the church, there was a man of God named Martin Luther who said, “This is not right. We’re not doing things the way that God said we should do them in the Bible.” We call this period of history the Protestant Reformation, but really it was a revival. It was through a divine encounter that Martin Luther had with God through the Scriptures, as He read Romans 1:17, “The just shall live by faith,” that sparked that revival. There was a reviving of the truth of God that says we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Martin Luther knew that if this reformation revival was going to continue, he needed to get the Word of God into the hands of the people.
Then there was another revival – the Great Awakening – that happened in the 1700’s in the United States through preachers like John Wesley, George Whitfield, and Jonathan Edwards. As these men started preaching the Gospel, whole communities and cities were transformed by the power of God as His Word was spoken. In the 1900’s, there was the Pentecostal revival with William Seymour at Azusa Street, as the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church anew and afresh.
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