Christian revivals generally have not come through positive thinking, trendiness, political movements, or Jesus flavored motivational speeches. Even social change itself has not been a catalyst for religious revival. A gospel centered revival usually brings social change, not the other way around. With this said, revivals have generally come through humble Bible based, God honoring preaching.
Biblically speaking, the number of disciples being multiplied and strengthened was directly connected to the word of God being increased, and churches being established in the faith. See Acts 6:7 and 16:5. Historically, most revivals have had a few common traits. The evangelistic preaching that has had the longest lasting effects throughout history all seemed to have five common principles, 1) God is sovereign and Holy, 2) Man is depraved and at enmity against God, 3) God’s judgment is just, 4) God is sovereign in salvation, 5) God’s mercy is the only hope and consolation for sinners.
A person should remember that it is only by God’s blessing that individual, or collective revival is found. The Lord alone adds and gives increase (Acts 2:47, 1 Corinthians 3:6). Yet the same God who alone holds the sovereignty over life’s blessings is the same God who promises reaping, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9). The blessings of the Lord certainly makes a person rich, but he often sends those blessings to the hand of the diligent (Proverbs 10:4,22). It is generally against the norm to find any kind of reviving harvest without someone properly planting and watering. We tend to only harvest in the fields to which we have labored. So we are to diligently, and patiently, trust in God’s design while following his pattern. All avenues of revival other than the Biblical model will always create AstroTurf growth.
The message of the gospel, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is the sole means through which God has designed his kingdom to find revival. It alone brings life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 2:10). It alone is the power of God to them which are saved (1 Corinthians 1:18). Whether it is from the pulpit or personal evangelism, the only growth of substance will be found through building correctly. The gospel needs not to be rebranded, it just needs to be correctly and proportionally preached, while also being faithfully obeyed.
This can all be summed up by the advice passed down to me by a mentor in the ministry, “If you preach it, they will come.”
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
Originally published October 2016