Revival, Revival, Revival

September 13, 2017 at 10:39 AM Leave a comment

Heard an evangelist speak recently and his topic was revival. He focused in on parts of Psalm 85 and also mentioned 2 Chronicles 7:14. Specifically he referred to Psalm 85:1-2, 4, 6-7 and 9.

1 Lord, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin.

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!

6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Psalm 85 states that it was written by certain “sons of Korah.” We don’t know exactly who among them wrote it, but it is clear from the Psalm itself that everything about the Psalm refers to Israel. The reference to “your land” is a reference to the Promised Land promised to the Jews. “Your people” references the Jewish people of Israel. It is very likely that this particular Psalm was written around the time of the Babylonian captivity and the impending release of the Israelites, allowing them to go back to the Land that God had given them. It is also possible that the psalmist here was referring to another captivity since there were many in Israel’s ignominious history.

Because of the fact that the Land had been desecrated by Gentiles (whom God allowed and even brought in as the arm of His chastisement on Israel), the Land itself needed restoration.

The 2 Chronicles passage also applies to the nation of Israel. Yes, while the principle of forgiveness is certainly extended to Christians and the Church, the whole of the passage deals with Israel. Authentic Christians today already have forgiveness of past, present, and future sins. Yes, we still need to confess them when we realize we’ve sinned, but that is to continue or renew our fellowship with God. God makes no promise to Christians or the Church for any portion of Land in this world. We will certainly be part of the Millennial Kingdom and will enjoy the earth in its renewed state, but the Church does not inherit land in any portion of the world. Yet, this verse has been used and misconstrued by many to mean that if Christians in America will do what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, God will heal our “land” (the USA). This is simply false.

In quoting verse 6 of Psalm 85, the evangelist spoke of revival and he also mentioned the need for God to “come down” to us. He also went into a brief history of revivals in America. The problem with these revivals is that they were often the result of emotionalism and had no real lasting change in any portion of America. This is not to say that people were not saved. I’m sure there were many who were, so that of course is a good thing. But emotions are always changing. We cannot, should not use them as any sort of barometer regarding our Christianity.

This belief that God needs to “come down” is found often within Charismatic circles. However, I viewed the evangelist’s website, and there isn’t really any indication that he is part of that, though there is also nothing on his website that highlights his educational background either.

The push to have God “come down,” is really something that denies the fact that within each and every Christian, the Holy Spirit of God lives and works. Yes, sometimes, our hearts grow a bit hard, but that is usually due to unconfessed sin in our lives or a lack of spending time with God in His Word. It’s an easy situation to remedy.

In the Old Testament, it is clear that God often “came down” and would also leave. His Spirit would come upon certain individuals for the duration of the time He had called them to minister. Once God was done speaking through that individual to Israel, God would remove His Spirit. This is absolutely not the case with Christians today and I cannot emphasize that enough.

Ever since Christ ascended into heaven (Acts 1), and the Holy Spirit was poured out onto people in Acts 2 in what became the birth of the Church, the Holy Spirit remains within us. He is there as a seal of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13). He is there to help us overcome temptation (if we will submit to Him). He is there to recreate the character of Jesus in our lives. Of course, each Christian must cooperate with the inner nudging of the Holy Spirit and in not doing so, we are in danger of quenching Him and His work within us. When He points out sin in our lives, we need to humble ourselves in agreement and confess our sin. When we get a sense that He wants us to do something, we must do what He is moving us to do. While it is imperative to determine the source of any “nudging” within us, once we determine it is God – in keeping with the clear teachings of Scripture – then we must submit to His Lordship. Failure to do so means sin.

But the evangelist, while not even really expressing a clear understanding of what salvation actually is, focused more on revival and God “coming down” to us to “heal our land.”

However, that aside, I have a huge problem with people who take Old Testament Scripture and apply to the Church or America. The only “Land” I’m aware of that God set aside was for Israel, His chosen people who were meant to be a light shining in darkness. They failed miserably, yet God still brought Messiah from them. Today, as Paul tells us in Romans 9-11, the Jews as a general group are fully blind to the truth. This was done so that God could go around Israel and offer salvation directly to Gentiles. Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to come to God through Israel?

What is the key to “revival”? It is not emotionalism. It really has little to do with how we feel. In fact, the very word “revival” is a bit of a misnomer. When applied to the Church it implies that Christians need to be revived. They don’t need to be revived at all. Christians need to simply obey God, His laws, and His will. This is not done in a legalistic sense, but out of a sense of loyalty. Think of Joseph or Daniel or numerous others.

Consider something else. For those of you who are in a relationship, is it based on how you feel or does it go far deeper than that? If I waited for feelings to confirm how much I love my wife, there are times when they are actually absent. That used to bother me because I was tempted to think I didn’t love my wife as much during those times. Feelings are terrible barometers in measuring love. Absolutely terrible. They come and go. Sometimes they are strong and other times they are weak, but none of that matters because of my commitment to my wife.

You hear people today say they “fell out of love,” they are divorcing, but they remain friends. How asinine is that? People who allegedly fall out of love are actually admitting that their relationship is based mainly on how they feel toward one another. Of course, if the relationship is abusive physically or emotionally, the person being abused needs to get out of that relationship, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how easily people enter and leave relationships based solely on feelings.

The best thing Christians can do to “revive” ourselves is to simply live in obedience to God, His laws, and His will in an ever-increasing measure. In essence, that is the commitment we made to Him when we first received salvation and that is how our love to Him is best expressed.

I received salvation at the age of 13. I remember it well and I also remember how it changed my way of thinking. I was a new creation and I wanted to tell people so I witnessed to lots of people at my school. Most hated it. Some threatened me, but I didn’t care.

Eventually, my feelings waned so I began to think I needed something more. I was starting to think that God had removed His Spirit from me (a biblical impossibility), and I needed to do what I could do get it back. This eventually led me into Charismatic circles where emotions often ran high and there was a tremendous expectancy that God was doing something “new.” Fortunately, that chapter did not last that long.

The reality is that too often, Christians start believing that there is a problem in their relationship with Christ because of how they feel instead of what the Bible says is to be understood through faith.

When my wife and I were first dating, oh my goodness, I didn’t need to eat or sleep. I was floating on clouds and life was good. During our first year of marriage, there were numerous things that made it very tough. Certainly the feelings that I had experienced during our courtship were pretty much gone and the process of settling into marriage happened. No matter how well someone tries to explain this to a couple approaching marriage, they won’t understand it. They have to actually go through it to fully comprehend it.

Over the years, the strength of my feelings have changed where my wife is concerned, but my commitment to her has never wavered. Can you imagine as a kid if your parents asked you to do something and you decided to wait until you “felt” like it? You’d probably never do it. However, if you love and respect your parents, you’ll do what they ask whether you feel like it or not. It’s really that simple.

Revival per se is not needed in the Church today. What is needed is the action to follow through on our initial commitment to the Lord. This is not based on feeling. It is based on knowledge of His Word through faith.

Can you imagine Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3), deciding whether or not to obey God or the king based on how they felt? Had they given into any fear at that time, they would have compromised their faith in God and given into King Nebuchadnezzar’s demands. They were resolute.

Because of their commitment to God and their refusal to do what the king asked, they were thrown into the fiery pit. By God’s grace they survived though they did not know that would happen. They assumed they would die, but God had other plans and used this situation to bring about a major change in Nebuchadnezzar. Had they given into fear or allowed their feelings to cause them to compromise, they might have saved themselves from the fiery pit, but would have been disobedient to God.

It is not revival through emotionalism that is needed today. It is for Christians to take their commitment to God in Christ seriously by obeying. We need to obey regardless of the cost. While that does not “earn” salvation (it cannot be earned; Ephesians 2:8-10), obedience brings us closer to God and “revives” our hearts.

God doesn’t need to “come down” to America in order for revival to occur. God lives in every authentic Christian already. You want to revive your heart? Obey God.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , , , .

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