THE ANTECEDENTS OF TRUE REVIVAL (Part 2)
“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1 NKJV)
History has clearly taught us that true revivals don’t just happen arbitrarily or randomly. No generation in the past has ever experienced a mighty move of God by chance.
If any generation desires to see the manifestation of God’s overwhelming presence, it must prepare the way for God. God is not an intruder or a gatecrasher who will force His way into our affairs when not invited or wanted.
It is our responsibility to prepare the way before the Lord and seek Him with all our hearts and when we do this, the Lord will not fail to reveal His awesome presence and power in His temple, the church.
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (NKJV).
If we fail to prepare the way before God and seek God wholeheartedly, we may not experience true revival in our generation.
In the first part of this piece we began to examine the antecedents of true revival, that is, the important things that we need to know or do before we can expect true revival to break forth in our generation.
We are examining some vital issues that our Lord Jesus Christ raised with His disciples on His way to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead.
First, the Lord would have us to know why today’s church is spiritually sick and weak:
It is a must for us to know from where we have fallen. Jesus said, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…” (Rev. 2:5 NKJV).
We must acknowledge that it is our refusal to continue steadfastly in the teaching of Christ that has debilitated us spiritually.
Second, the Lord would also want us to be assured of His unwavering and everlasting love for His Church notwithstanding her unfaithfulness and backsliding:
Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:38-39).
On His way to Bethany, Jesus reiterated His love for Lazarus, saying to His disciples, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” (John 11:11 NKJV).
Anyone who does not love the church in spite of her present disheartening condition cannot be employed by the Lord for her revival and restoration.
Let us further examine some important antecedents of revival.
Third, the Lord would have us to accurately see, know and understand the exact present spiritual and moral condition of the church:
While the Lord Jesus drew near Bethany to revive Lazarus, He began to help His disciples to see and understand the exact present condition of Lazarus, for they had thought that Lazarus was just sleeping.
John 11:11-14 – NKJV
11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.”
13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.
Like the undiscerning disciples of Christ on their way to Bethany, many believers today are completely ignorant of the true spiritual and moral state of today’s church. Such ones need to cry to the Lord to anoint their eyes with eye salve so they can see as the Lord sees (Rev. 3:18).
Like the Laodicea church, the church today is boasting, saying, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ –and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17 NKJV).
We are certainly not yet ready for true spiritual awakening or revival if we continue to take pride in our large congregations which are largely spiritually immature, carnal or sensual, or in our gigantic cathedrals and imposing edifices void of God’s presence, or in our material prosperity at the expense of our spiritual maturity.
Many believers today are at ease in Zion because they are undiscerning and oblivious of her corruption and ruins. You cannot see today’s church as the Lord sees her and your heart will not be burdened to passionately and continuously cry out to the Lord to purge His church and revive her again.
Like Ezekiel, your eyes need to be opened to see beyond the superficial growth and prosperity of today’s church before you can be one of God’s revival partners in this generation.
Ezekiel 8:5-12 – NKJV
5 Then He said to me, “Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was this image of jealousy in the entrance.
6 Furthermore He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations.”
7 So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall.
8 Then He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall”; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door.
9 And He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.”
10 So I went in and saw, and there-every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls.
11 And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.'”
Lastly, having helped them to understand the exact present state of Lazarus, the Lord Jesus now said to His disciples, “Nevertheless let us go to him.” (John 11:15 NKJV):
Until you also begin to see as the Lord sees you cannot be His partner in revival. Although revival is primarily the Lord’s work, yet He seeks for suitable men to bring into partnership with Him for revival.
When they set out on their journey to Bethany, Jesus expressly declared His intention to raise Lazarus up. Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” (John 11:11 NKJV).
It is the Spirit of the Lord who quickens, revives or gives life (John 6:63, 2 Cor. 3:6). However, the Lord always loves to work in us, with us, and through us.
Although it was the Lord Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, who raised Lazarus from the dead by His voice, yet He had some works for His disciples to do.
What are these works or assignments?
First, the Lord asked His disciples to take away the huge stone that had been laid against the mouth of the cave before He called Lazarus to come forth (John 11:39).
Second, after calling Lazarus forth from the dead, the Lord said to His disciples, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:44 NKJV).
Beloved, although it is the Lord alone who can revive his church, yet He is seeking for partners, instruments or vessels that He can work with, work in, and work through to accomplish His work.
The Spirit of God is calling into partnership with God for revival the believers whose eyes the Lord has opened, having anointed their eyes with eye salve so that they may accurately see the ongoing spiritual and moral corruption and degeneration in the church and thus be burdened to cry out to the Lord for the revival and healing of His church.
The Lord is also seeking for concerned, compassionate, bold and courageous believers who will take away every “stone” that wicked hirelings or spiritual undertakers in our generation have laid against “the caves” they had constructed to keep the sheep of God in perpetual bondage.
The Lord is presently recruiting men and women who will wield the sharp “sword of the Spirit” to cut and loose the grave clothes which greedy hirelings or spiritual undertakers have used to wrap and blind the minds, and to bind the hands and feet of God’s sheep in their caves.
Friend, would you be one of God’s revival partners in this generation?
Let the Lord know your response today!
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I want to be your partner in the revival of Your Church. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and strengthen me to play my God-assigned role in the revival or spiritual awakening of today’s ailing Church, in Jesus’ name. Amen.