There is really only one reason why we see no revival in most congregations in the world: Disobedience in the professing Christians in the Churches. One of ways that disobedience is played out is in Self-Deception and Unbelief!
There is disobedience and self-deception on the part of pastors and leaders as well on the part of the laity.
The disobedience is manifested in sins of commission as well as in sins of omission. The leaders and the congregation engage in worldly lusts, but they all have a good time at church. The call plain obedience to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, “legalism” and a “works-based salvation.” In this way they encourage sin by resisting, quenching and grieving the Spirit and downplay any remorse towards such things. They feel reverent in their Sunday clothes sitting under a hushed atmosphere as the sermon is being delivered. Meanwhile, they are sitting with the Devil in the pews. In many cases they are preaching Satan’s counterfeit, impotent versions of the Word. They cannot ever hope to influence the world for Jesus Christ because they are fully intoxicated with worldliness themselves!
They commit murder (hate their brethren or actually physically hurt them!), adultery, extortion, they lie etc., but would much rather be thought of as good Christians. They vie for positions in the church but are quite satisfied with the lack of anointing that should be required of such offices. They fail to preach repentance from sin and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ. They fail to warn their hearers (congregations and neighbors) of the consequence of the lake of fire for rejecting God’s Son and living in sin because it is taboo in their modern society. There is a sore lack of John the Baptists and Paul the Apostles today. Instead, there is a proliferation of politicians and performers in the pulpits these days and not at all prophets. Self-examination in the light of the Word of God is frowned upon as too introspective and depressing! “It is not a user-friendly, you see.” “Not at all what the people want to hear.” Hardly any biblical, fear of the Lord in the churches, but a lot of irreverence and story time and jokes from preachers instead. Ordination is deemed qualifying for the office of pastor or evangelist, while spiritual maturity, holy sobriety and faithfulness to the Word of God is overlooked. Coffee and cake fellowships are readily preferred over prayer meetings, let alone all night prayer or seasons of fasting and prayer! While there is such comfort in sin, self-indulgence and continual effrontery against a Holy God, can there be any sparks of Revival?
The self-deception and unbelief manifest in these dead churches occurs in embracing (3) lies:
1. “We are already having a revival here!”
2. “We cannot simply dictate or produce revivals, only God chooses when and where!”
3. “We don’t need a revival; just look at so and so and his long and “successful” ministry where there was not even a single revival!”
Lie #1 exposed - “We are already having a revival here!”
Tragically, most folk who call themselves Christians are very proud. He who leaves pride unchecked and who is not the least bit bothered about it, is no Christian. Yet, these who call themselves by that sacred privilege of a name would object to the need for a revival. Why the last thing they want to hear is that their church is on the decline spiritually or that it is indeed a dead church. No basic honesty, hence self-deception takes over. To defend their place of worship, they would swear that they have a revival going on there already. When queried as to the reasons for such an assertion, they would proudly declare that they have umpteen number of religious programs going on or that their pastor is a very dynamic person (confusing creaturely charisma with the anointing of the Holy Spirit), or that the praise and worship is really “awesome”, or that everyone loves each other so much that a lot of food/fellowships are occurring weekly, or that a lot of folks are being saved there, etc. When many members make a rush for the altar after the altar call or during worship and shed many tears and many religious phrases of worship, they think, “Wow, God is doing something here!” Yet, there is no repentance and the same gossiping and horse-playing and same confessions go on every week!
If a lot of folks are being saved there then there must be the power of the Holy Ghost operating there in great measure. However, when the doctrine and preaching are examined and found to be wanting in holiness and true love, when the people are not called to repent of their wickedness and lack of sobriety, when there is praise being offered with a lot of noise and emotionalism but no accompanying reverence and decency, when there is no actual witnessing on a regular basis by the believers of that church by life and testimony at home, the neighborhood, at the workplace etc., then what kind of revival is that? No revival at all! The deception of self-aggrandizement will find many a candidate in the Lake of Fire unless swift and decisive repentance ensues on the heels of true confession of sin.
Lie #2 exposed - “We cannot simply dictate or produce revivals, only God chooses when and where!”
This is probably the most popular lie that rides the ecclesiastical circuit today! Ignorance and misinformation may be the culprits for persuading some for a time, but surely unbelief is the main reason. It is true that without God we can do nothing. However, the people who agree with the previous truth are ones, which, despite God’s clear commands and promises and God’s help, choose to do nothing and then blame God for it! The condition of the leaders in the churches is primarily to blame for the lack of revival.
A pastor of a well established Assemblies of God church was interviewed not too long ago on why there is a lack of true revival amongst the churches today. In his library were many books on the Christian Religion and one could see that he was well read, but ill-fed too, for on his bookshelf were books by authors who were liberal as well. The question was posed as to why there were such wonderful revivals in the earlier part of the last century, worldwide but only superficial “revivals” today? Why is it especially the case in America? The answer was a sad reflection of many a pastor’s current mentality as well as an expose of the horrible unbelief that exits today in clergy of the, “Faith.” He stated in so many words that, it is all God’s sovereignty and that we can pray all we want but we can’t guarantee a revival. He also pointed to substandard Christianity as sufficient for the day. In this way he went against his own Assemblies of God history and doctrine!
Readily relegating powerful revivals to the annals of yesteryear, they are quite satisfied to “stagnate in the status quo.” As long there are, “Hallelujahs”, raised hands, tears and holy laughter (and “holy” jokes) then they think that they’re doing pretty good! “We’re user-friendly, a growing family that loves each other and very happy, so stay out with that repentance stuff lest you disturb some emotionally weak brothers and sisters and break up the family unity! What we need is a lot of hugging and crying and loving, ok? Not condemnation and finger pointing and judging!” With this, Satanically contrived defense, they neither enter the kingdom of God themselves but they also prevent others from entering in. Self-complacency, the child of self-deception is the order of the day. No wonder there is a marked lack of revival, even in many of the Pentecostal churches that are proud of proclaiming that they are a, “spirit-filled” people. It can be counted on that, the Holy Spirit is not the One behind such weak and faithless representation of God’s Word and Power.
Lie #3 exposed - “We don’t need a revival; just look at so and so and his long and “successful” ministry where there was not even a single revival!”
Even if they have knowledge of the Lord mightily moving upon whole societies in different eras of history, almost all such leaders and congregants are content to simply be historians and distant admirers. The lack of prayer meetings designed to promote revivals are seen as useless because they believe as stated under, Lie#2 that God alone can cause a revival and that we cannot do a thing to help it or hurt it.
They object to the notion that we have a role in sparking a Revival, stating that it is up to God and they unwisely point to popular names in evangelicalism as examples as to why we can’t always have revival. The same names given are men who have been known to compromise with the blasphemous doctrines of the Catholic Church, immorality, and lust for power, money, fame, or creating chuckles from the pulpit. Their supposed converts are also like them, loose-living church attendees with no power characteristic of true Christians. We are never to give such a foolish excuse as to why we are not experiencing revival in our own lives, our churches and in our society. We must look to the revivals in Scripture and seek to emulate the godly men who were fervent in prayer for their nation and were heard of God. The Lord caused reform, with sin and evil being stamped out by the political leaders as well. People began to fear the Lord again. If this is what we desire, then let us forsake the lie that a lack of revival is normal. No, on the contrary it is abnormal and alien to the Bible or Spirit-filled, Christian experience.
God is not looking for librarians or historians but godly men and women committed to praying for a Mighty Revival from on High. It is very clear from scripture that when one or more of God’s people repented of their own sin(s) and then prayed for revival, God answered. He never changes. When the conditions of true penitence and forsaking of sin are met, then in answer to earnest, believing prayer, God will send revival. This is the way God always operated under the Old Covenant and this is the way He operates under the New Covenant as well. It is directly due to a lack of faith and many cases a, “willing” ignorance that causes one to deny that we could be used as God’s instruments in a mighty revival in our day. If there were but one intercessor that faithfully follows all of God’s commandments and prays for his people like John Knox did when he said, “Great God, give me Scotland or I die!” then revival would break out like it did in his day. How much better the speed and intensity of a revival if more than one person of godly character and praying power sought the face of the Lord for such a glorious manifestation of His visitation?
Will you be the one, dear reader whom God can trust to lead a revival in your area? Meet God’s conditions mentioned above and believe God and it will surely follow! Amen.
© 2010 Pastor Pradeep Emmanuel Stephen
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