What Is Revival Hunger?

O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

Hab. 3:2 KJV

Revival hunger is wanting God’s presence more than sleep, desiring God’s face more than food, hungering for God’s holiness more than our comfort, and pursuing God’s glory more than our predictable daily routine. Revival hunger yearns for God above all others, removes idols of the heart, glorifies God in public worship, mortifies sins of the flesh (i.e., sin nature), renews commitment to God’s covenant promise, and more importantly, humbles oneself under God’s mighty hand (2 Chron. 7:14). Revival hunger yearns for God more than self-exaltation, self-concern, and self-fulfillment.

The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, a thirst, a living thirst, for a knowledge of the living God, and a longing and a burning desire to see him acting, manifesting himself and his power, rising, and scattering his enemies.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones quoted in A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir, eds., Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 15.

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

Only One Thing Can Give True Joy

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Rom. 14:17 NKJV

Joy is that deep, supernatural fulfillment that comes in knowing that we are experiencing and expressing the one who is true satisfaction, Jesus Christ. Joy begins with acknowledging that we are unconditionally loved, graciously forgiven, and eternally kept in Christ. Joy is released in our lives when we cultivate Christ’s conscious, constant presence.

Joy is not produced by emotional highs: supernatural fulfillment is imparted by obedience to God’s commands. Joy is not dependent on pleasant circumstances, but it is the fruit of finding and meeting Christ in the midst of all our trials both pleasant and painful. Joy is renewed by worshiping the risen Jesus and by sharing him with others. Jesus Christ is the one person who can bring true joy.

Joy is something very deep and profound, something that affects the whole and entire personality. In other words it comes to this; there is only one thing that can give true joy and that is a contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He satisfies my mind; He satisfies my emotions; He satisfies my every desire. He and His great salvation include the whole personality and nothing less, and in Him I am complete. Joy, in other words, is the response and the reaction of the soul to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Fellowship with God (Crossway Books, 1992).

Feeling Sorry for Ourselves

The Self-Deception of Self-Pity

He [Elijah] replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.

1 Kings 19:10 NIV

Self-pity is feeling sorry for oneself: a pathetic state of self-absorption. Self-pity is our own belief that we are victims of pernicious circumstances and hostile people. “No one’s life is as hard as mine” is the cry of the “forsaken” saint.

When we  walk in self-pity, we long for attention, condolences, and admiration for our “unbearable suffering.” Christians experiencing self-pity want our wounded egos massaged by others: see my sacrifice, see my suffering, see my heroic efforts, etc. Self-pity is smashed when we see our Savior’s sufferings and recognize that in a fallen world no one is immune from pain and disappointment.

As Christians we should never feel sorry for ourselves. The moment we do so, we lose our energy, we lose the will to fight and the will to live, and are paralyzed.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

HT: Christian Quote of the Day

“Handle Them With Hands”

Ministry That Is Full of the Spirit

And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom.

Acts 6:3 NLT

When I entered the ministry some thirty years ago (it seems like yesterday), the emphasis was on the Holy Spirit’s power. Christian leaders taught that Christian ministry should not be pursued without the Spirit’s blessing. Our ministry could not be successful without the Spirit’s enabling. Our ministry would not have a lasting impact without the anointing of the Spirit. Our ministry could not change hearts without the transforming work of the Spirit. All these statements were true and are still true.

While these “spiritual” concerns were real and should be heeded by any gospel minister: we should not neglect diligent study of the Word, faithful theological reflection, and research into the latest insights in pastoral care and counseling. Emphasis on the Spirit’s anointing should not displace diligent and faithful study. “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 NLT).

It’s not an either-or, God blesses the minister with a yielded heart and a faithful mind. We worship and serve the Lord in “Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). We are called to love the Lord with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

However for today’s new minister, the pendulum has swung the other direction. For the training of new pastors, the academic is over emphasized to the neglect of spiritual maturity. The obtaining of advance degrees more prized than a ministry candidate’s prayer life. The size of the congregation more valued than than the depth of the minister’s walk with the Lord.

We need both: faithful men and women who will walk with God while consistently acting on the means of grace: study of the Word of God, earnest prayer, receiving the sacraments, and fellowshipping with other believers.

This practice he [i.e., David Brainerd] earnestly recommended on his death-bed, from his own experience of its great benefits, to some candidates for the ministry that stood by his bedside. He often speaking of the great need of ministers have much of the Spirit of Christ in their work, and how little good they are like to do without it; and how, ‘when ministers were under the special influences of the Spirit of God, it assisted them to come at consciences of men, and (as he expressed it) as it were to handle them with hands: whereas, without the Spirit of God, said he, whatever reason and oratory we make use of, we do but make use of stumps, instead of hands.’

Jonathan Edwards quoted by D. M. Lloyd-Jones, “Jonathan Edwards and the Crucial Importance of Revival,” in The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), 370.

The Very Heart and Center

The Preaching of the Cross

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24

My blog, “The Glorious Deeds of Christ” is dedicated to the magnificence of the Cross. The Cross of Christ is the great act of Jesus in dying for our sins, being buried in the tomb, rising from the dead, baptizing with the Holy Spirit, and ascending to the Father.  All grace flows from the Cross as its source and all grace leads back to the Cross as its crown and triumph.

The Cross of Christ is our victory, our repentance, our hope, and our call. The Cross was not a defeat, but the astonishing victory of God over the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil. A number of metaphors are used in scripture to describe the finished work of Christ on the Cross: victory over the oppression and enslavement of sin (1 Cor. 15:57), justification that satisfies the penalty of sin (Rom. 4:25), adoption which grants us the legal status of a son of God and an heir of the kingdom (Rom. 8:17, 23), reconciliation which restores our broken relationship with God (2 Cor. 5:19), forgiveness of our offenses as a result of his pain and suffering on Calvary, redemption  and ransom paid to free us from the captivity of sin (1 Cor. 6:19), healing from brokenness created by our sin (Isa.53:5), representative bringing us all the privileges of the new covenant (Rom. 5:17), participation in all the benefits of his death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6), and substitution for he took upon himself our punishment, guilt, and shame (Rom. 4:25).

In summary, Christ has died for us (substitution), thus we are controlled by Christ’s love for us and our love for Christ as a result our hearts is changed (transformation) and we can now live fully for the Christ who has died for us (surrender) [Gal. 6:14, Rom. 6:5-7, 1 Cor. 15:56-57, 1 John 3:8].

The preaching of the cross, the preaching of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on that cross, is the very heart and center of the Christian gospel and the Christian message. Put that in the center, place it in the front, proclaim it above everything else.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, quoted by Arturo G. Azurdia in Connected Christianity (Christian Focus: UK, 2009), 53.

HT: Of First Importance