Friday, September 17, 2021

Revival Prophecies (2) Rare

Revival is rare, because it is not very easy for God to deliver. Getting the Holy Spirit to do his will is easy, but to bring a powerful revival in a nation, he has to get a whole lot of people doing what he wants them to do at the same time, and that does not happen that often. His people have to share the gospel when he wants them to. They need to pray for the sick when he wants them to. At the same time, he needs those who hear the gospel to respond quickly and gladly. It sounds easy, but he has made people free, so he cannot force people to do what he wants them to do.

For a crowd of people to do what God wants at the same time, they first of all need to hear what he is telling them to do. Unfortunately, God’s people are not always listening when he speaks. And even when his people hear what he is saying, they don’t always jump to obey it. Even if God has told people to do things that will trigger revival, there is no guarantee that they will be done.

I know that God often finds it hard to get me to do something important, so I presume that it is the same for most other Christians. Therefore, getting the followers of Jesus in a nation to unite and participate in revival is more difficult than we assume.

This difficulty is confirmed by a study of Christian history. Revivals that touch an entire nation and transform it have been relatively rare. The early church took off with the massive revival recorded in Acts 2. But it was not long before the church in Jerusalem was struggling with heresy. Paul received a great response when he preached the gospel and established churches in Asia Minor. However, not long after, he was struggling with opposition from political powers and people who wanted to shackle the gospel with Jewish traditions (2 Cor 11:23-27). By the time that John was writing his letters at the beginning of this Revelation, many of the churches that Paul had planted had slipped in lukewarmness.

Revival is not a normal condition for the church, not because God does not want it, but because he finds it difficult to obtain the level of obedience to the Holy Spirit that he needs to achieve a massive outworking of his blessing. For most of Christian history, the work of the church has been a hard slog, with a few people heeding his calling to move in the power of his Spirit to share the good news of Jesus with a hungry world, while many others have struggled to do what God wants them to do.

The other difficulty with revival is that the spiritual powers of evil fight against it tooth and nail. They work hard to weaken leaders with exhaustion and to disable them by pushing them into immorality. They work hard to deceive the followers of Jesus with false teachings. They try hard to bring division between people who should be on the side. The spiritual powers of evil do all they can do to snuff out a revival before it gets underway and becomes impossible to stop. I presume that far more revivals are smothered by the powers of evil than flow on to fulness in the power of the Spirit.

For a church and a nation to be ready to receive revival is relatively rare. So those who do experience it are relatively privileged and should appreciate the opportunity.

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