— WHERE DOES REVIVAL BEGIN?
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, IF MY PEOPLE who are called by My name will 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 7:13–14)
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 reminds us that God’s People are the gate keepers of the nation — That the spiritual condition of any society is determined by the spiritual condition of the family of God — As the Church goes so goes the nation. Therefore, if a CHANGE is needed, it MUST begin first in the heart and house of the people of God.
Today there is a cry for revival rising on every side. Believers all across America are contending for a radical change in the ethical and moral values of our nation. But the CHANGE most are seeking is FOCUSED almost exclusively on the unbelieving and unchurched world. Have we forgotten where revival truly begins? Revival always REAWAKENS the Church before it ever AWAKENS and transforms a nation. The first priority of revival is NOT to make America GREAT again, but to make the Church RIGHT with God again. America will NEVER be any greater than its churches! We can’t call the nation to TURN from the very SINS and DARKNESS we ourselves are embracing! The darkness in the land is always determined by how bright or dim the FIRE of God is burning within the Church.
— CONFUSING EVANGELISM FOR REVIVAL
Because many are confused about where revival begins, many are also confusing evangelism for revival. As the old revivalist James A. Stewart once wrote, “The majority of Christians today confuse revival with the work of evangelism. Such confusion is easy to understand, since revival results in a great wave of evangelism and ingathering of souls. Revival includes evangelism, but evangelism may not include revival. Evangelism always follows revival, but revival does not necessarily follow an evangelism campaign.” The Keswick speaker, A. Douglas Brown put it this way, “Revival is a Church word; it has to do with God’s people. You cannot revive the world; the world is dead in trespasses and sins; you cannot revive a corpse… Revival is not the drunkard coming down to the altar. It is the PROUD Church member coming to himself.”
Revival in the Church is the ROOT, and evangelism and transformation in the streets is the FRUIT. I’m NOT suggesting that we stop all our evangelism until we make everything in the Church perfect. Certainly not, but I am seriously questioning how much all our praying and evangelism is truly accomplishing, until we first HUMBLE ourselves and FORSAKE all our wicked ways!
If this is the TIME to call the Church to pray for REVIVAL, then it’s also the TIME to call the Church to REPENTANCE. It’s NOT RIGHT that we continue to COMPLAIN about the sins of our unbelieving nation, while barely confessing our own sins! Do we want revival in America? Then let us begin to cleanse our own hearts, homes and houses of worship. Then and only then, can we boldly claim the promise of God — “IF MY PEOPLE who are called by My name will 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 7:13–14)
– David Smithers