What is Revival?

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isa. 57:15 KJV

Spirit-empowered renewal is the manifested presence of the kingdom of God in and among his people actively bringing the lost to salvation and the lukewarm to renewed passionate devotion to Christ. Revival is personal heart change: confession, repentance, joy, Spirit-baptism, and gospel-driven evangelism. Revival begins with individuals freshly consecrating their lives to Christ: their renewed passion leads to a corporate restoration of the local church. In short, revival is the restoration of God’s glory to his church.

Revival is about Jesus receiving the glory that he deserves for his sacrifice and rising again. As the old Moravian slogan declares, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering.” Renewal is the Spirit moving among all peoples: healing, restoring, and delivering. Revival is both a God working sovereignly and the church praying passionately for a fresh wind of the Spirit.

Revival is the sovereign work of God to awaken his people with fresh intensity to the truth and glory of God, the ugliness of sin, the horror of hell, the preciousness of Christ’s atoning work, the wonder of salvation by grace through faith, the urgency of holiness and witness, and the sweetness of worship with God’s people.

John Piper, A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1997), 111.

Revival, above everything else, is a glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is the restoration of him to the center of the life of the Church. You find this warm devotion, personal devotion, to him.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival(Crossway Books, 1987), 47.

Revival is a renewed conviction of sin and repentance, followed by an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is giving up one’s will to God in deep humility.

Charles G. Finney

Immersed in the Holy Spirit

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Acts 4:31 (NIV)

The baptism (in, with, or by) of the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming experience of the Spirit’s presence, power, and purity: a total submergence within the person of the Holy Spirit. This individual experience is instantaneous and may be reoccurring. The baptism refers to the initial work of the Spirit in uniting believers to Christ as well as on-going encounters with the Spirit bringing refreshment and strengthening in the Christian life. The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings intimacy with God, illumination of the Word of God, power for ministry, and hunger for holiness.

Question: The same day as your conversion you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Answer: Yes, it happened like this: After dinner we were moving books and furniture to another law office. The thought took possession of my mind that as soon as I was alone in the new office, I would try to pray again.

Later, I made up a good fire in an open fireplace and accompanied Squire W. to the door. As I closed the door and turned around, my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out, and the utterance of my heart was, I want to pour our my whole soul out to God. The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office to pray.

There was no fire there and no light; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face-to-face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. On the contrary, it seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet.

I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind, for it seemed to me a reality that He stood right before me, and I feel down at His feet and poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears, and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched Him, that I recollect.

Charles G. Finney, Evangelist. Popular books: Lectures on Revival, Autobiography, and Systematic Theology.

Leona Frances Choy, Powerlines: What Great Evangelicals Believed About the Holy Spirit 1850-1930 (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1990), 79.

“We Need the Light of the Holy Spirit to Teach Us the Character of God”

 

Charles G. Finney on Sanctification

When I was a young Christian working as a staff member with the Agape Force Ministry (Lindale, Texas), we were required to read Finney’s Systematic Theology as a condition for seeking ordination. Little did I realize that the Holy Spirit would use Finney’s section on sanctification to set me free from several long-standing struggles. Imagine that a systematic theology would be used by the Holy Spirit to set someone free. That is exactly what God did in 1980 with the vital truths of sanctification by faith.

I learned from Finney that not only was my justification (getting right with God) was by faith, but also my sanctification (Christian growth) was by faith (1 John 5:1-5). My victory over sin came as I trusted in a particular attribute of Christ’s character or by standing on a particular benefit of Christ’s finished work on the Cross.

We need the light of the Holy Spirit to teach us the character of God, the nature of His government, the purity of His law, the necessity and fact of atonement to teach us our need of Christ in all His offices and relations, governmental, spiritual, and mixed. We need the revelation of Christ to our souls, in such power as to induce in us that appropriating faith, without which Christ is not, and cannot be, our salvation. We need to know Christ, for example, in such relations as the following:

1. As King, to set up His government and write His law in our hearts; to establish His kingdom within us; to sway His scepter over our whole being. As King He must be spiritually revealed and received.

2. As our Mediator, to stand between the offended justice of God and our guilty souls, to bring about a reconciliation between our souls and God. As mediator, He must be known and received.

3. As our Advocate or paracletos, our next or best friend, to plead our cause with the Father, our righteous and all prevailing advocate to secure the triumph of our cause at the bar of God. In this relation, He must be apprehended and embraced.

4. As our Redeemer, to redeem us from the curse of the law, and from the power and dominion of sin; to pay the price demanded by public justice for our release, and to overcome and break up forever our spiritual bondage. In this relation, also we must know and appreciate Him by faith.

5. As the propitiation for our sins, to offer Himself as a propitiatory or offering for our sins. The apprehension of Christ as making an atonement for our sins seems to be indispensable to the entertaining of a healthy hope of eternal life.

(Section Thirty-Seven)

More from Finney’s Systematic Theology here.

More about theologian, pastor, evangelist, Charles G. Finney here.