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The Interceders Encourager No. 17

The Cost of Revival

Ken Gott, the leader of Metro Church International, Newcastle on Tyne, recently visited South Korea and Nigeria, and reported: "My visit to South Korea made me realise why Britain isnít experiencing revival. I went to the Prayer Mountain which was set up by Pastor Yonggi Cho, and noticed what we were missing. Thousands were in constant prayer. The atmosphere was amazing. It was so easy to communicate with God. It is no surprise that theyíre in revival, because of all the prayer and desperation for God.

Back in Britain we need to repent. Itís time for the Church to admit that weíve put other things before God. We must come and humble ourselves and seek a move of God, as it says in 2 Chron.7:14.

In John Wesleyís Journal, he records that when he visited Newcastle, he had never seen a place which was so bad. Little children were swearing, and everyone was drunk. That was obviously a very bad thing, but Wesley saw it as a good thing. He said the place was ready for revival.

In November we went to Lagos to hear Reinhard Bonnke preach at a huge gospel crusade. We can certainly learn a lot from Africa. The people there have a hunger and a desperation for God which we need back in Britain. The disease in Britain isnít HIV, itís ease and comfort. We are too comfortable and have life too easy. The Africans have no choice but to cry out to God, and itís high time we learnt to do the same. We must get back to seeking the face of God."

"We must begin to focus on the spiritual truths that genuinely transform, so we can begin to see our walk begin to match our talk. We must take a long look at the Christianity we have created, and see whether it reflects Christ. We must examine ourselves for evidence of complacency, and cry out for mercy. We need a resurgence of humility, a re-emphasis on honesty, and a renewal of holiness.

When we hunger for the Holy Spiritís work in our lives; when we begin to prioritise prayer; when we look to Christ to change our calloused hearts; we will begin to see God move in our midst n extraordinary ways."(Byron Paulus)

"The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the
Church...grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at
the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the
corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds
of the devil. A man may study because his brain is hungry for
knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul
is hungry for God. We live in a generation that has never known
revival God's way. True revival changes the moral climate of an
area or a nation. Without exception, all true revivals of the past
began after years of agonising, hell-robbing, earth-shaking, heaven-
sent intercession. The secret to true revival in our own day is still
the same. But where, oh, where, are the intercessors?" ( Leonard Ravenhill)

"God does nothing except in answer to prayer." (John Wesley)

"Bear up the hands that hang down, by faith and prayer, support
the tottering knees. Have you any days of fasting and prayer?
Storm the Throne of Grace and persevere therein, and mercy will
come down." (John Wesley)

"The prayers and supplications that Christ offered up were joined
with strong cries and tears, herein setting us an example not only to
pray, but to be fervent and importune in prayer. How many dry
prayers, how few wet ones, do we offer up to God!" (Matthew Henry)

"You must pray with all your might. That does not mean saying
your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes
wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent,
effectual, untiring wrestling with God...This kind of prayer, to be sure,
the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature
will oppose. They will pour water on this flame." (William Booth)


"I have never known a person sweat blood; but I have known a
person pray till the blood started from his nose. And I have known
persons to pray till they were all wet with perspiration, in the
coldest weather in winter. I have known persons pray for hours, till
their strength was all exhausted with the agony of their minds.
Such prayers prevailed with God." (Charles G. Finney)

HOLY DESPERATION

The prophet Isaiah declared the woeful state of Israel over three thousand
years ago: "Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we
should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." How
much different are we? Churches are failing, leaders are fumbling, and truth is
fallen in the streets. The prophet Isaiah continues with this divine reprimand:
"They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not." And what shall the end of a
people be that "hide not their sins"? I have seen a strange thing under the sun:
professors preaching "continue in sin" from the pulpit. The Apostle Paul in
contrast preached "God forbid" which is one of the strongest emphatic
statements in Scripture used to convey the ceasing of sin in the life of the
believer. John Wesley said: "What one generation tolerates, the next generation
will embrace."

Sadly we have tolerated a hell-less, eternity-less, sin-less gospel and this next
generation is aimed at accepting this as the genuine apostolic original.
The true Christian witness seems to be almost overshadowed
by false doctrines, false cults, and false prophets. It is time for a holy
desperation for revival to arise in Godís people! Mary Warburton Booth said
this when the Salvation Army movement was waning: "How we have prayed for a
Revival - we did not care whether it was old-fashioned or not - what we asked
for was that it should be such that would cleanse and revive His children and
set them on fire to win others." We need a fury of passionate pleading,
desperate crying, fervent praying for a heaven-sent revival in our day. Chuck
Smith gave this searing statement to a church that does not realise its hour:
"Today, we are living in desperate times. Yet, the Church is not desperate
before God in prayer."

Leonard Ravenhill said that "Revival only comes by birth." With birth comes:
laborious gestation, travailing birth-pains, and conceptional agony. Shall the
birthing of of revival be any different? Revival prayer is born out of a holy
and healthy desperation for the presence and power of Christ in His church. We
need not shrink back from emotions and displays of desperation for revival...

REVIVAL or DEATH

"For decades sincere believers have asked, "Why don't we have revival?" And for
decades the answer has always been the same: We don't have revival because
we're willing to live without it! It really is that simple. Do we really want
to hear the truth? God responds to hunger and thirst. He fills those who
recognise their need, who are empty and broken, who are at the point of
desperation, who are panting for Him the way a deer pants for water in the
desert. He answers dependent prayers. Sure, we want revival. But we don't need
revival. That's the difference. God will meet us at our point of need, not our
point of preference. Revival is God's radical measure to get the church in a
given area or at a given time back to normal before it falls into spiritual
oblivion and cultural irrelevance. Revival comes when we realise that it's
either revival or death, revival or continued backsliding, revival or the world
around us goes to hell." In this above quote from Michael Brown, he really
speaks to the high requirement for revival, namely, in one word, everything! Oh
brethren, we must realise that this has always been so. There are no shortcuts
with God, and we will never see a revival until this is realised and acted upon. In the light of eternity let us have tears for our lack of desire and desperation for
God. John Knox was a great man of God and this was his prayer, " God give me
Scotland or I die!" Again, John Hyde who was a missionary, prayed, " God give
me souls or I die" Again, Whitefield prayed, " God give me souls or take my
soul!" May we take it further dear reader, can you pray: "Give me revival or I
die?"

Where are those that have a burdened heart like Evan Roberts, who prayed for revival night and day for twelve years. At the end of these twelve years he prayed with such intensity, agony and urgency that his landlord asked him to vacate his living quarters. Is there a burning in your soul, a building desire in your heart? Let us not fool ourselves, the prayer meeting is "dead", and so are multitudes in their trespasses and sins. We need a holy desperation to fill our prayer meetings, a holy zeal that will not relent until revival comes. The "Lord comes suddenly" to his temple, let us not be found sleeping or great will be our shame. Mario Murillo in his article: ĎVital insights into Godís preparations for revivalí states: "now is the time to pull out all the stops. No program is sacred, no worthy project is worth enough. None of the ointment can be spared. It is revival or death!" William Seymour, the father of the modern day Pentecostal movement, prayed for five to seven hours a day for over a year for revival. And what resulted? A glorious powerful sweeping pentecost swept the world. Winkie Pratney told why there was no revival in the church over twenty years ago: "We do not have men and women who are prepared to pay the same price to preach the same message and have the same power as those revivalists of the past. Without these firm believers, the community can never be changed. Our concern is conciliatory, our obedience optional, our lack theologically and culturally justified. Quite simply, it costs too much!" S.B. Shaw, who wrote on the last Welsh Revival, shares the results of a true heaven-sent revival. "A revival that like a tornado will sweep away all the old dried-up sermons, and all the cold formal prayers, and all the lifeless singing, and like a whirlwind will carry everyone that comes in its path heavenward. A revival that will fill the hearts of saints with holy love, and so burden the hearts of God's ministers that the word of God will be like fire shut up in their bones. For such a revival, our heart cries out to God! For such a revival we are ready to watch and toil and pray." May we take it further dear reader, for such a revival are you willing to die?

If NO REVIVAL

In the writings of Isaiah we see three clear consequences of the result of the nation of Israel not having repentance towards God. May I say that these three consequences will also be ours if we do not have a renewed repentance in the Church and a revolutionary revival from Heaven. If no revival then we will see these three judgments come on the earth, and surely anyone that has been awakened to the hour will realize these monstrous consequences are already falling upon us.

If no revival then, hell will be enlarged. "Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure." Oh the horror of it, hell yawning and swallowing multiplied millions of souls that will be damned forever. To just see a glimpse of this reality will shake any soul to ask what can be done? George Whitefield said: "At the day of judgement we shall all meet again." How will you feel when you meet all of the millions of souls that could have been saved if you prayed and sought God for a revival of religion? When the Church does not have revival, hell enlarges. What a frightful thought.

If no revival, then sin will abound. Men will begin to draw sin "with a cart", speaking of the enormous amounts of sin that abounds in a season when the Church is not being the salt of the earth. We see that evidently today where people call good evil and evil good, and to such God says "Woe unto them." As Richard Baxter said of sin, "it is the murderer of the whole world." The only hope for lost captive sinners is Christ; yet the Church and Christians keep multitudes from Christ. Lamentable fact! When the church is not the "light of the world" the world falls into outer darkness. When the Church does not have revival, sin abounds on the earth.

If no revival, then the Word will be despised. In a season where there is no revival in the church the world will begin to disregard the law of God as the Scripture says "they have cast away the law of the Lord." And they begin to "despise" not only the Word of God but the "Holy One of Israel." This is a double-smart; the church is ineffective and God is mocked. Martyn-Lloyd Jones wrote to this fact: "Does it grieve you my friends, that the name of God is being taken in vain and desecrated? Does it grieve you that we are living in a godless age. The main reason we should be praying about revival is that we are anxious to see Godís name vindicated and His glory manifested." When the Church does not have revival, Godís name is despised.

Leonard Ravenhill wrote: "this generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of sinners." This responsibility is of eternal consequence. Dear reader, being a Christian is a sombre thing. Over a hundred years ago, Andrew Bonar wrote: "Revivals begin with God's own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervour and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bonesÖOh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!" Evan Roberts wrote: "Prayer is buried and lost, and Heaven weeps. If all prayed, the wicked would flee from our midst or to the refuge."

LOSS of REPUTATION

Perhaps one reason why there is no revival is because the ministers are not willing to pay the cost, namely the loss of reputation. Gilbert Tennent was used mightily of God in the First Great Awakening. Hear him give an account of the popular preaching in his day: "They often strengthen the hands of the wicked by promising them life. They comfort people before they convince them; sow before they plough: and are busy in raising a fabric before they lay a foundation. These foolish builders strengthen men's carnal security by their soft, selfish, cowardly discourses. They have not the courage or honesty to thrust the nail of terror into the sleeping souls!"

Preaching without unction and praying without fervour, are two reasons why revival tarries in our day. We need a moratorium on reputation to see revival. May God rouse this generation to a passionate pursuit for revival and a determined ardour to see it come to pass. (Greg Gordon)