Here we go! This is week 2 of our recaps of the daily devotional series on revival. As I said, I don’t know how long this
Revival for Sale?
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money
I did not originally plan this particular devotional, but a couple of comments by regular commenters really caught my eye and should be addressed, I think. What we see above is just part of Acts Chapter 8, specifically dealing with a man call Simon. The Apostles had been traveling and preaching in the area and laying hands on people. Upon the laying on of hands these people would then receive the Holy Spirit; at least that was what Simon thought. Simon offered the disciples money to provide him with that same ability. It is from this passage we get the term :”simony,” or the buying and selling of ecclesiastical privileges
Point one was made by by blogging friend Melissa.
This reminds me of the scene in Acts 8 with Simon the Sorcerer. “Revival” has become a marketing ploy for churches rather than another name for the gift of the holy spirit, a spiritual “replenishment” if you will. That and “volunteer weekend”, I thought we served the Lord everyday? lol
The second comment was from my blogging friend Roughseasinthemed
What do you think to Elmer Gantry (Sinclar Lewis) regarding revivalism?
Both Gantry and Falconer were fake, yet, many people believed in them. Gantry was a salesman, just turned to selling religion. And using Falconer, selling revivalism.
Given the film was a triple Oscar winner (yeah, before our time), do you think it had any effect on people’s view of religion, and revivalism?
Is that what revival has become for us? Is it nothing but a marketing ploy to bring in crowds and bolster our numbers?
Does the non believing world see our efforts at revival like the ones in the Movie Elmer Gantry?
Wow, if those questions and those comments do not make you think, nothing will.
We talked about this earlier. Revival is not evangelism, or reaching out to the lost. It is not primarily an emotional event, to get us temporarily “fired up” for the Lord. It is not just an event, or some thing we do once a year out of a sense of duty. If revival is only those things, then we may be guilty of just what these commenters asked about.
What should it be then? Perhaps this will help? “a gift of the holy spirit, a spiritual ‘replenishment.'”
Coming up: Is Revival Biblical? Why do we need it?
The Changing Face of Revival
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
As we continue through this study on revival, I want to note that the contribution by commenters thus far has been simply amazing. I may just start asking questions and allow the commenters to write for me! I recieved this comment today from Julie over at Light and Life, who wrote a great post on revival today also in fact.
“Confession + repentence = revival. We read about it over and over again in the Old Testament. Israel would be blessed; they would take their blessings for granted, get too cozy with the world around them and offend God; God would allow them to suffer the (unintended) consequences; Israel would be oppressed, miserable, cry out to God for help; a prophet would lead them in confession and repentance; God would bless their repentance (revive them) and then they’d get too cozy all over again…”
We see this concept clearly shown in the story in Psalm 51 above, as David repented of his great sin with Bathsheeba.
We see this illustrated in the entire Book of Judges, as Israel would turn their backs on God, face judgment, repent, and then return to God.
We see one of the greatest Revivals in history as we study the book of Jonah and see the entire city of Nineveh repent and turn to God.
Then we see the previously discussed revival in Acts Chapter 2, where the Holy Spirit was given to the church at Pentecost.
A commenter on my blog, The Ancients(I’d link if you had one, Brother!) had the following to say:
“My take on revival is slightly different. In the OT the Holy Spirit did not dwell within a person, but would come and go.
Now, in this new covenant, the Holy Spirit moves in and dwells in a born-again person and NEVER leaves (whether we’re aware of it or not). So when we need to get anything done we don’t have to ask God to send a revival or do a new thing because we have His Holy Spirit in us. We need to wake up to the implications of what it means to be the Kings son, and live life accordingly.”
Another blogger, I Refuse to Follow Your Blog, made note of the fact, on his blog, that there is no mention of revival specifically outside of the Old Testament.
And, of course, we have the statement from the other day from Melissa:
““Revival” has become a marketing ploy for churches rather than another name for the gift of the holy spirit, a spiritual “replenishment” if you will. That and “volunteer weekend”, I thought we served the Lord everyday? lol”
Now…isn’t all of THAT interesting? So, the question remains: is revival really something we should need? Or should we just be in an alive state all of the time?
Ponder on it.
What’s Really Our Problem?
We have covered the fact that revival was a recurring event in the Old Testament. Israel had a common pattern of falling away, judgment, repentance, and restoration to God. We covered some of the instances of that yesterday, so we don’t need to again.
An important factor is this constant falling away and revival has to to with the nature of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Simply put, the ministry of the Holy Spirit was not on a permanent basis then. The Holy Spirit was never given to the Israelites as a whole, and individuals were never seemingly indwelt permanently by the Holy Spirit. As a result, the fallings away and restorations were simply part of life, more or less.
We have also discussed the story of the day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2. It was then that the nature of things changed forever. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the church that day, and from that day forward we see a steady progression through the Book of Acts in the permanence of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now, we can see that believers are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit upon their salvation.
So, what is the point and ramifications of all of this? If the Holy Spirit is at this time permanently among the church and permanently inside of every believer, how does that relate to our need for revival?
Well, the answer is a tough one. The simple fact is, we should not need to be revived. If the Holy Spirit dwells within us permanently, then it should be as simple as walking with Him. We all know the truth, however, and that truth is we do not. We remain sinners until God completes His work of sanctification in us and ultimately completely glorifies us in Heaven. Until then, we remain works in progress. Works in progress fail sometimes.
We do need revival, and we need it because we do not always allow the Holy Spirit to perform his work in us.
So, to answer the question asked: Should we need revival? No. Next question: Do we need revival. Yes
That’s all for this week. It’s rather short, as I try very hard to keep the recaps sort of sorted by category.