Revival is coming! For the last four or five years we have been praying and expecting revival. In the simplest sense, to revive someone is to take them from a place of unconsciousness, or even almost dead, and bring them back to life. Have we, as a church, allowed ourselves to be so numb that we are or almost unconscious?
How did the church get to this place of slumber? What causes the people of God to get complacent?
Related Post: Are We in the End Times?
The Road to Complacency
Habakkuk 3:12 says, “O Lord revive thy work in the midst of years. In the midst of years make known. In wrath remember mercy.” This verse speaks of a slow slide into complacency, through time. Without a freshness in our worship and Christian life, we stop seeking God and slip into a state of slumber.
The history of Israel, both the Northern Kingdom and Judah, shows the apostasy of the nation. Both the king and the priest turned from the Lord and the people readily followed. We see the same thing has happened in the Western world. Government and church leaders stopped following the commands and precepts of God. Instead, they followed their own wisdom. This has caused both the moral and spiritual fabric of society to start to unravel.
The Rights of the Minority
As the spiritual and moral focus of the leaders turned from God, the rights of the minorities started gaining prominence.
Groups that are contrary to the Christian worldview started gaining a bigger voice. Their voice was heard over the majority and both government legislation and the courts backed them. Those who didn’t support their views were called bigots.
Conservative Christians with their Biblical view of God are seen as stuck in the past. Not only are they seen as bigots but their exclusive claims do not belong in a pluralistic society.
Yet, long before the minority groups began to gain power, the Church started getting cold. They followed the example of Israel. They wanted to be just like the nations around them. We read in the last chapter of Joshua that “Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.” (Joshua 24)
Yet, almost immediately we read in Judges 2:10-13, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baal. They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshipped various gods of the peoples around them. And they aroused the LORD’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreth’s.“
The Western Church did the same thing.
We forsook God and started doing evil in His sight. We went after power and riches and allowed Eastern religious thought to dominate our society. The state removed prayer and the Christian God from the schools and introduced New Age ideas.
The worship of self became our god. Not just in society but also in our churches. New Age and Eastern religious thought entered our churches and our seminaries.
Pluralism and Political Correctness
As the church started allowing false teachings and false gods into the sanctuary, society became more liberal.
The “elite,” both political leaders and the universities, preached this liberal theology. Science and the scientific method took over from faith. As other people groups with their own religious views entered Christian countries, pluralism became the buzzword. There was more than one way to reach God.
The government and the courts championed political correctness. Their laws and decisions supported the minorities and systematically undermined and destroyed the conservative Christian viewpoint. As mentioned earlier, this destroyed the Christian voice relegating those who spoke out as old fashioned and as bigots.
Both the laws and the court decisions continue to go against Christian principles. These include the worship of the only true God, family and justice. Islamophobia is being addressed and the LGBTQ agenda championed in the schools. Transgenderism is legislated and supported. Any voices that speak out are quickly silenced.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 states, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
The phrase, “are lovers of themselves,” describes not only the world but the Western Church today. Society, including so much of the church, is hedonistic. Self is the god of the hour. There is not an attitude of humbleness nor of a broken heart. Rather there is a proliferation of men and women lifting up themselves and their ministries. The spirits of control, of false religion, witchcraft and occultist practices are rampant in the church.
The Dead and Dying Church
Throughout the Western world, including Canada and the United States, the Church is dying. In many places, the church is dead and zombies attend dead services.
The joy, the life, the power has long departed. It is as we read in Ezekiel 10:18, “Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.”
Messages of prosperity or messages of self help are preached from the pulpit.
Messages to feed the hedonistic ways of the congregation. People sit week after week listening to messages that tickle “their itching ears” as we read in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.“
Has God Forsaken the Church?
This looks pretty bleak and hopeless but it isn’t. Jesus is returning for a “glorious church without spot or wrinkle” (Ephesians 5:27). Jesus continues to build His Church and “the gates of Hell will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18)
So, no! God has not abandoned His people.
Peter, quoting Joel 3:28-29 says, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18)
Jesus also, in Matthew 28:20 says, “… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The apostasy of the Western Church was known by God even before the foundations of the earth was laid. He also knew He would pour His Spirit upon the Church in these “latter days”. The darkness looks like it is overcoming and overwhelming the Church and the people of God but John describes us as “the light of the world”. The Church shines with the Light, which is Jesus Christ. As John 1:5 tells us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Revival is coming!
How do we get Revived?
There is only one way to get revival.
It is by crying out with a humble, contrite and repentant heart to God and then to be obedient as He leads.
The classic scripture verse that is used when talking about revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
This of course was given to Solomon in regard to Israel. Yet it can be applied to the Church for we also are His people.
Most will forget the line that says “and turn from their wicked ways”. This means that in order for God to hear us, we need to repent. We have the example of Daniel and Nehemiah repenting for their nation. Let us repent as well. Both as individuals and as the Church.
Repent! Revival is Coming!
Joel 2:13-15 gives a clear call of repentance to Judah. Again this applies to us.
Listen to the intensity of Joel, “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.“ We are told to “return with all our heart”; to repent – “with fasting weeping and mourning”
Are we willing to pay this price? The time to break the slumber and complacency is now.
Ministers and pastors are not exempt!
Earlier in Joel we hear, “Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God;” (Joel 2:13).
It is not just the people of God but also, and dare I say, especially the ministers of God. If the leaders are not seeking the Lord why would the people seek Him?
— Pastor Dave Field
Don’t forget to check out Are We in the End Times?