As I have said, we are just poking around a bit regarding this thing evangelical churches do that we call, “Revival.” I really appreciate the comments people have made on the topic, and many great points have been made. As I also said, I am sharing what amounts to the notes of the message I got to deliver at our place a couple of weeks before the actual event. So, it may seem a bit informal and conversational in nature.
What is a revival? One of the definitions of Revival, from the Merriam Webster online dictionary, read in part as follows:
Revival: restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, etc.
I found the following definition in the online KJV Dictionary:
REVI’VAL, n. from revive.
- Return, recall or recovery to life from death or apparent death; as the revival of a drowned person.
- Return or recall to activity from a state of languor; as the revival of spirits.
- Recall, return or recovery from a state of neglect, oblivion, obscurity or depression; as the revival of letters or learning.
- Renewed and more active attention to religion; an awakening of men to their spiritual concerns.
Now that we have provided a book definition of revival, let’s talk a bit about thoughts about revival.
Why do we even need Revival?
Revival was a recurring event in the Old Testament. Israel had a common pattern of falling away, judgment, repentance, and restoration to God. From the very beginning, as Moses led the Israelites from Egypt all the way to the captivities of Israel and Judah, we see this very pattern.
An important factor is this constant falling away and revival has to do 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.
In Acts Chapter 2 we see a key thing; 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 are the points 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