What Revival Is

Because Revival is so relevant in this hour and is so much a part of God’s Grand Plan for the close of this age… I really want to know what Bible Revival is.  We have seen what it accomplishes.  What are the elements of real Revival?  What happens in real Revival?  What can we do to make the way for Revival?  This is what we will address today.

In the Word of God, which is our best reference book for revival, I have found a place where such a visitation occurred.  In this encounter with God, a nation was saved and God’s people were delivered.  Great joy came forth and God was exalted.  Let’s take a look at this historical event:  Nehemiah 8: 1-12.

Nehemiah was one of the Jewish captives Nebuchadnezzar had carried away into Babylon.  During the captivity, the holy city of Jerusalem was sacked.  It was plundered by the heathen and burned with fire.  The walls were breached and the gates were destroyed.  It had become a reproach to God.  Nehemiah’s heart was to return to Jerusalem, “the place of his father’s graves” and rebuild the walls, repair the gates and restore the city… this was his vision and dream.  The condition of Jerusalem at the hand of the heathen was much like the church of this century.  It needs Restoring.  It needs Rebuilding.  It needs Repairing.  It needs a Refreshing.  It has lost its former glory and has become a reproach to God.  It has been broken.  It has been depleted.  It has been powerless.  It has been barren.  It is in need of REVIVAL.

When Nehemiah completed the work of restoration, a gathering of the people (42,360, plus 7,337 men and maid servants, and 245 singing men and women… totaling nearly 50,000) was held and in this gathering, revival broke out.  Listen:

Neh. 8:1   And all the people gathered themselves together as one man  (UNITY)   into the street that was before the water gate;

Revival is Unity among the Body.  “Til we all come into the unity of the faith…”   Revival is a coming together.  Religion is divisive.  Doctrine is divisive.  Denomination is divisive.  Real Revival brings the elements of the Church together.  No walls of separation.  No barriers.  No divisions.  One in the Spirit. 

The first thing the Holy Ghost did in us in the great Charismatic Revival of the ’60s was His destruction of the demonic spirit of prejudice.  Sectarianism.  Class distinction.  Not only did the Races come together, but the different social and educational and economic levels blended together as one.  This is Revival.  No class distinction.  No racial distinction.  No social distinction.  No distinction because of job, or money or what part of town people lived in.  No favorites because of race, age or gender.  HALLELUJAH. 

Revival produces unity.  Love permeates.  Jesus is all that matters.  Everyone is loved and respected.  No one is left out.  All are included. 

Revival destroys prejudice.  Revival brings unity.  Revival releases love and respect and esteem and consideration for all. 

What about now?  What about here?  What about you?  What about me?  Take a look around you.  See the diversity of this congregation.  Praise God for Unity here at Life. 

In Nehemiah’s day, the people “gathered themselves together as one man…”  No hate.  No hard feelings.  No grudges.  No rejection.  No cliques.   No “favorites.”  No gossip.  No backbiting.  No criticism.  No gripping.  No jealousy.  No covetousness.  No greed.  Skin color did not matter.  How much money they had or did not have didn’t matter.  Where they worked did not matter.  How much education they received did not matter.  How they dressed was not important.  They were One.  They were Together.  Revival produces Unity.  Revival is like a vacuum cleaner… it sucks everybody in.

…and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book  (RETURN TO THE WORD) of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.

Revival is a return to the Word.  “Bring the book of the Law of Moses…”  Bring the Book.  Revival is a return to the Book.  A coming back to the Bible.  When revival comes, the church begins to emphasize the Word of God.  Folk’s there is no substitute for the preaching, teaching and doing of the Word. 

Our opinions don’t matter.  Our “interpretations” don’t matter.  Our man-made doctrines don’t matter.  The social inequities are not the subject matter of Revival preaching.  Pet theological positions are not the subject of Revival preaching.  Only the Word.  The Word comes alive.  It explodes with all its power and effectiveness.  It shatters all the silly, insignificant, shallow and intellectual preaching of dead churches and dead denominations.  It becomes the heart-cry of hungry souls.  It is indeed Bread for the Spirit.  It is Breath.  It is Life.  It is healing.  It is health.  It is the Foundation for all that we ask, think and do.  It is Precious.  It is Respected.  It is Valued. 

            So, there is Unity.  And then there is a Return to the Word. 

Neh. 8:3   And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday,   (PATIENT)  before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

Revival is patience.   It wipes out a time-consciousness…  The interest and hunger for the Word surpasses physical limitations.  The desire to be caught up in the Presence of God becomes our priority.  When Revival comes, no one is in a hurry to get home.  Seeking God is more important than eating.  Seeking God is more important than getting through at a certain time.  Revival removes regimented schedules.  Priorities automatically come to the front.  They stood (did not sit) on the street (not in an air conditioned building) before the gate (outside, where the crowds passed by, not secluded in a safe and secure setting) from the morning (perhaps 5-6am) until midday (perhaps 12 noon – 1pm) or between 6 to 8 hours… both men and women… because they wanted to hear what God had to say.  When God speaks, something happens.  When something happens people will not be in a hurry to get home.  Revival causes men to wait until God gets through.  Often we get through before God does.  Sometimes we have already left for home, got home and turned the TV on when God is ready to really show up at church.  Revival produces patience. 

Neh. 8:4   And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose;  (STRONG PULPIT) and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

Revival is preachers preaching.  Not mouthing words or pampering people.  Not patronizing or petting but preaching.  Not comforting the afflicted but afflicting the comfortable.  Not making friends and influencing people, but preaching… Preaching that is strong.  Preaching that is anointed by the Fire of the Holy Ghost.  Preaching that changes lives, impacts communities and effects nations.  Preaching.  Preaching that is pointed.  Preaching that is plain.  Preaching that is bold and courageous.  Calling sin sin and sinners sinners.  Sounding the alarm.  Standing in the gate.  Watching on the wall.  Declaring the whole counsel of God. 

The world needs preaching.  Bible preaching by bold Bible preachers.  Preachers who are called and chosen.  Anointed and appointed.  Preaching has changed things and preaching will change things.  It has brought down kings and kingdoms.  It has built up nations and stopped wars.  Preaching has done what legislation and political lobbying has never been able to accomplish.  One Holy Ghost Sermon can do more than the Supreme Court.  More than the White House.  More than the United Nations.  More than all the armies and navies and ships and airplanes and missiles in the world.  God is in Bible preaching.  When God shows up Heaven comes down.  When Heaven comes down hell has to go.

I am convinced that the lack of Strong Preaching by strong preachers is the major cause of the moral erosion we are experiencing right now.  No one has challenged Hollywood.  No one has challenged the gambling crowd… the gangs… the drug dealers…. the pimps and prostitutes.  Crooked politicians.  Crooked judges.  Crooked cops.  We need preachers like the prophet Nathan who pointed his finger in king David’s face and announced:  “Thou art the man!”  

We need some Elijah’s who will challenge hell and call Fire down from heaven.  We need some John the Baptist’s who will step on the nation’s stage and declare: “Repent… for the Kingdom of God is at hand…”  The trash that is published and printed and the movies and TV programs cranked out by ungodly, uncaring, unspiritual moguls in the entertainment industry has flourished because weak preachers in weak pulpits have stood strangely silent.  They address social issues.  They strain at gnats and swallow camels.  They preach sugary sermons with no substance.  They lecture and entertain and deal with worthless philosophies.  Congregations must demand strong preaching.  Strong preaching builds strong churches.  Strong pulpits forge strong moral foundations.  God give us preachers.  God give us uncompromising pulpits.  God give us men who will not be silent in the face of rampaging evil and wickedness.  Revival is strong preaching. 

Neh. 8:5   And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:

Neh. 8:6   And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.  (PARTICIPATION)

Revival is participation.  Revival demands response.  Revival moves men.  Revival causes reaction.  In Nehemiah’s day the people joined in… they shouted the lifted their hands they bowed their heads and they worshipped God.  Church must never be a one-man show.  Or a two man show… or an any man show.  Saints must never assemble themselves to be entertained.  There is an electric stream that flows in Revival.  It flows from the pulpit to the pew.  It causes men and women and young people to respond.  It is emotional.  It is moving.  It is orderly but it is free.  When the Holy Ghost moves, people move.  They cannot be silent.  They cannot be still.  They cannot be sedate.  They must participate. 

There is Interaction.  Revival is a Holy Ghost orchestration of the Message of the Gospel of Christ.  It is thrilling.  It is touching.  It produces genuine interaction between each member of the Body and the Preacher preaching the Word. 

The days of dead, lifeless lectures are over.  The services where everybody has to be still and quiet are past.  Do you remember those?  Church as it was is not Church as it is today.  There is life.  There is participation.  There is interaction.  And rightly so…. this is the way it was and it is indicative of Revival.   Organized, controlled, structured and scheduled meetings may be religious, but they are not Spiritual and they are not Revival.  You were there.  You remember them.  You dreaded to go.  Dreaded to get there.  Dreaded every part of it.  The most joyful part of the meeting was the benediction.  Dead members.  Dead choir.  Dead music.  Dead ushers.  Dead announcements.  Dead sawdust preaching.  Dead praying.  Dead.  Dead.  Dead.  Come dead.  Arrive dead. Leave dead.  Stay dead.   NO MORE.  Revival is participation.  Revival is excitement.  Revival is noise.  Revival is life. 

Neh. 8:7   Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

Revival is commitment.  The people STOOD.  And they STOOD IN THEIR PLACE.  They were not running all over the place looking for something else.  They were committed.  They were determined.  They were resolved.  Revival causes men to stick with it.  To go on with God… no matter what.  Revival does away with the need for constant “rededication” because Revival produces constant dedication and commitment.    Revival is more than a spiritual flash in the pan.  We are in a time where most people treat their church relationship like a supermarket or a shopping mall or sale catalogue.   Who has the best show?  Who has more for me?  Who is the most convenient?  Where can I get the best deal?  Revival locks men in.  It brings focus to their spiritual relationship.  It zeros in on the important and the eternal.  Revival does away with carnal opinions and personal preferences (I don’t like the music… I don’t like the deacons… I don’t like the way the preacher preaches…. I don’t like the color of the carpet… I don’t like the way they run things…  If they don’t change I’m going to leave… etc.). 

Revival removes the challenge to always have something bigger and better next time.  Revival does not depend on what we do or how we do it or what we think… Revival transcends human effort and brings men face to face with the Living Eternal God.  And it produces Faithfulness.  Commitment.  Dedication.  Steadfastness.

1Cor. 15:58   Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Neh. 8:9   And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep.  (TIME OF GLADNESS) For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. .

Neh.8:10…..for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  

Revival is celebration.  It is a time of great gladness.  Revival removes mourning, sadness, heaviness and depression.  It releases the desire for celebration.  It is loud.  It is noisy.  It is joyful.  One of the greatest evidences of Revival is Joy.  Gladness.  Lightness of heart.  Exuberance.  It is a reckless abandonment to praise and worship God with the whole man… spirit, soul and body.  This celebration involves every facet of the total man.  His spirit is alive with the life of God.  His mind is fixed on the glory and beauty and grace and goodness of God.  His body is released to express joy and thanksgiving through lifting up of hands, through praising with the tongue and voice… through leaping and dancing for joy.  This is revival.  Revival is Visible.  Revival is Audible.  Revival is Emotional. 

Neh. 8:10   Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:   (PROSPERITY AND GIVING)  

Revival is Prosperity.  Revival is productive.  It produces a harvest.  We normally think in terms of a harvest of souls… and this is so… Revival always results in many being Born Again.  But revival is more than the salvation of the lost.  Revival is also the time of increase and multiplication and addition… it is a time of great prosperity.  This was the case in Nehemiah’s day.  It is the case today.  Revival produces resources… increased income… greater opportunities to seed and sow into Kingdom Projects.  Revival makes the Body of Christ rich… rich in money… rich in resources… rich in abilities… rich in opportunities to reach the World with the Word.  Revival will be the method God uses to channel the wealth of the wicked into the bosoms of the just.  Folks, the time is near when the Church will call the shots in Banking circles, on Wall Street, and the major financial markets of the entire world.  The church will become the lender and the world will become the borrower.  Then the world will be the servant to the Church.

Prov. 22:7   The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. 

Do you understand what Revival is?  It is Unity. It is Word-Centered. It is Patience.  It is Strong preaching by strong preachers. It is Participation.  It is Commitment.  It is Celebration. It is Prosperity. It is A RETURN TO GOD. 

Do you want revival?  Do you want it now?  Will you receive it today? 

“Dear Jesus, I want to come back to You.  I long for a close and intimate walk with You.  I want to really Know You and the Power of your Resurrection and the fellowship of your sufferings.  I REMEMBER how it was when I first got Saved and when I first received the Baptism in the Holy Ghost.  I REPENT for my waywardness and my backslidding and my sin and my indifference.  I make a DECISION RIGHT NOW to RETURN to my First Love…. Jesus, You are all that matters.  I come to you right now… take me back and forgive me for my sin and coldness.  I really Love You, Jesus.  Thank You for restoring the Joy of My Salvation…      Amen.”

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