Essentials Of True Revival
MANY Christians go to great lengths in the search for revival. Some believe that revival can be found through prolonged prayer and fasting. Others see revival only when there is a preponderance of miraculous happenings. Both are not altogether off the mark. Yet, the picture of true revival can be found in the accounts of what happened in Samaria, in the Acts of the Apostles. At the centre was Philip. He was one of the seven men chosen by the Apostles to distribute food in the early church. Their greatest qualification was that they were transformed, trustworthy, truthful, teachable and triumphant believers.
Although Philip handled that assignment very competently, God had a better, greater and higher plan for him. Following the persecution that arose against the early church in Jerusalem, the believers began to migrate to other parts. Philip, for one, ended up in Samaria, after “they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” This then introduces us to the principal element of true revival. It is the preaching of Christ in His fullness. Not surprisingly, all through the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus Christ is emphasized, preached and exalted.
All the apostles and preachers talked about Christ both in private places and in the temple. They extolled Him as Saviour, Sanctifier, Baptizer with the Holy Ghost, healer, the coming King, the Resurrection and the Life, and the final Judge of the quick and dead. Similarly, those who expect revival must preach Jesus Christ in His fullness. Yet, for there to be revival, there must be a response with conviction and faith from those who were preached to. The new converts, or believers are, however, not expected to stand still. They must become mature, and make spiritual progress.
This will take continuous prayer and guidance. To preserve genuine new believers, counterfeit converts must be quickly recognized and rejected. Unless, this is done, revival will become short lived. Also, the new converts and the older believers in a church, must equally resolutely and faithfully pursue the fulfillment of the Great Commission. This must be a spontaneous response from a truly grateful heart, not forced on anyone, or done with the permission of others. In fact, the word of God should not only be proclaimed, but obeyed. The new believers should thereafter show persistent commitment to the faith.
In Samaria, Philip preached and exalted Christ and told the Samaritans the mission Jesus came to fulfill. Exalting Christ before the people is what brings revival in individual lives and to a whole church. The Apostles indicated that for the believer to talk about Christ effectively, he would have to forget about himself or about his abilities. Rather, he should preach Christ the Saviour, sanctifier, healer, the Lord of glory, the deliverer and coming King. This was why the early church had the kind of response they got from their hearers. Also, as the believer preaches Christ, he should expect salvation, sanctification, redemption, the power of the Holy Ghost, new and holy life, grace, godliness and glory, and help in times of temptations.
Christ is the power of God to live above sin. Religion or church affiliation does not make anyone a new creature; only Christ does. He is the One that gives men power to live righteously. This is why He must be preached in all His fullness. The people should be afforded the privilege of being cleansed, saved, forgiven, and having the hope of the second coming of Christ, by preaching. When Philip exalted and preached Jesus to the people and told them that He was the Saviour that died to grant salvation to all sinners, they believed and were subsequently baptized. That Philip preached without a prepared outline in hand indicated that the position the Apostles had placed him — just distributing food — would have left him greatly underutilized. He was so full of the Holy Ghost that any passage of the scripture was relevant to him in preaching about Christ, and repentance from sin.
References: Acts 8:5,4; 6:3,5; 8:5; Acts 8:5,12,35; 5:42; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Acts 16:30,31; 17:3; 1 Corinthians 1:23,24,30; 2 Corinthians 5:17,21; Hebrews 10:10,19; 1 John 1:7; and 1 Samuel 3:3,4; 17:20-22. All scripture references are taken from Kings James Version.
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