During our last discussion concerning the nature of biblical revival, we discussed two of the first five effects produced by a God-instituted revival. These first two effects are as follows…
- SLEEPING SAINTS AWAKEN TO GODLY SORROW AND REPENTANCE (Ephesians 5:14-18; II Corinthians 7:10)
- AWAKENED AND REPENANT SAINTS FORSAKE THEIR SIN (Luke 9:23-26; Acts 26:17-18, 20; I Thessalonians 4:3-5, 5:23; I Peter 1:13-16).
Let’s continue with…
RECOMITTED SAINTS RETURN TO SINGULAR LOVE FOR CHRIST
It should not be a shock to anyone, that those who need revival have at some point left Christ, as their First Love.
Revelation 2:4-5 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
Drifting from our First Love is not difficult and when we have been drifting, leaving our first love can be almost imperceptible. With the Ephesian Church, we see a church of good doctrine, hate of false teaching and overall good Christian practice. The problem is their appearance and self-estimation deceived them into thinking they were tight with our Lord Jesus Christ, yet in actuality they were a universe away from from Him relationally.
Regard the seriousness of His call to repentance, “unless you repent” HE would remove their lampstand. Now repentance in Revelation 2:5 was not and is not saying “Gee, Lord Jesus, I am sorry and I’ll try not to do it again”. Our Lord commanded “repent and do the first works“.
It is important to remember that true repentance comes with works worthy of repentance, as delineated by John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus Christ and all the New Testament writers (Luke 3:7-14; Matthew 4:12,17; Mark 1:15; John 5:12-15, 8:11; Acts 26:20).
Works befitting repentance do not save the induvial, but they prepare the heart of lost person, to receive Christ by faith. In the saved, repentance removes the clutter and unlocks the door of the heart, that Christ, who is knocking can come in again, as Lord. Without repentance there can not be a walk of faith and obedience to Christ.
From the passages above you will find repentance means forsaking sin, but it also means doing those things within our power to do, that please God and aid others. Consider what John the Baptist declares are works worthy of repentance from Luke 3:7-14.
In the same passage, he defines repentance as regular folks giving to those in need, which means to forsake our personal view of extra property–he instructs tax collectors to only charge the tax, rather than extra for themselves, hence denying their greed and thievery– he instructs soldiers to be content with their wages, rather than using force to extort extra money from the citizens.
Again, let us understand, this does not bring salvation, for one could never do enough good works to overcome their sin debt before God, but these works are the person obeying the conviction of the Holy Spirit and God’s word, to make a straight path for Christ to travel on into their heart (Isaiah 40:3-5).
How does this work with the saved, who have left their first love and need to repent and do the first works, as an evidence of revival?
Although works do not save us, our obedience to God’s word, by the leading of the Holy Spirit is how we grow in our salvation, through being sanctified by the washing of regeneration, by the Holy Spirit, with the word of God. The problem arises when the church begins to believe doing ministry means we are close to Christ.
When this occurs, our life seeking to commune with the Lord Jesus Christ in the secret place, our desire to be led by His Holy Spirt is reduced to praying for Him to bless our plans. This replaces grace with religious Christianity, almost imperceptibly. This is the same sin, of Israel, where the Lord declared “all your righteousness is as filthy (used menstrual italic mine) rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
In revival, the church of Jesus Christ recognizes it has given lip service to Christ, concerning its love for Him, and in emaciated dryness of soul, returns to seek Christ with passion and perseverance, to once again live a holy life and experiencing Jesus in all live activity
The revived Church is therefore marked by an outpouring of continual love toward God, fixed on removing every hindrance to our growing in knowing Him.
SAINTS RECONCILED TO THEIR FIRST LOVE BEGIN BEING FILLED
Yes, those who are saved by grace through faith have the Holy Spirit resident with them. Whether the Hoy Spirit is the president of their life, will determine whether they are filled with the Holy Spirit. The revived Church will experience a wave of baptism in the Holy Spirit and many who are being filled with Spirit again and continually.
Ephesians 5:18-21 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
When we read “be filled with the Spirit” the Greek phrase means to “be being filled” or to be currently and continuously filled with the Holy Spirit. This is an ongoing, continuous and progressive action, that we can limit; hence Paul’s command to be being filled with the Spirit of God.
Read the context from Ephesians 4 until the verses cited above, you can see the Ephesians, who approx. 35 years later had already turned from their first love, and it was effecting their ministry to each other.
Let us understand that to be filled with the Holy Spirit, one must have been baptized in the Holy Spirit for the first time, subsequent to salvation very close to being saved. This is seen in the Ephesian Church at its beginning.
In Acts 19 Paul comes to the Ephesians believers, who believed on Christ, continued together and were disciples, but had not yet been baptized in Christ’s name, having not been told to be so.
Paul, asks them if they have received the Holy Spirit since they believed, not the residency of the Holy Spirit, as they would have had Him, the same as any disciple. Consider the first disciples the day of Christ’s resurrection in John 20:19-23.
This was prior to Pentecost, Christ rebukes their unbelief in the same encounter from Mark’s gospel, they believe, he gives them the resident Holy Spirit and then they are able to understand the scriptures (Luke 24:45; I Corinthians 2:14).
Even thought the Spirit of God was with them, the Lord Jesus still commanded they wait in Jerusalem, after His ascension to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:4, 8).
So, we understand the Ephesians in Acts 19 were as the original disciples, saved and sealed by the resident Holy Spirit, with Him as a deposit, but not being continually filled with the Holy Spirit as Christ prophesied (John 7:37-38). Therefore, after Paul baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they experienced…
Acts 19:4-7 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.
Of great interest is that we can neglect our first love Jesus Christ and go from being continuously filled with Spirit of God, to being dry and empty, while we carry on in ministry and life, believing we are filled. It is for this reason Paul prays for the Ephesians in this fashion.
Ephesians 3:14-19 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
You’ll notice that being strengthened with all might and being filled with all the fullness of God begins with Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith (as LORD and president not simply resident deposit)–with the believer being rooted and grounded in God’s love–then understanding the immeasurable nature of the love.
Therefore we see the revival characteristic of the church returning to its first love, being the impetus for the next characteristic… experiencing the gift of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, leading to being currently and continuously filled with the Holy Spirit.
This wonderful blessing is not so we can sing all night in an auditorium and fall all over the floor, then make commitments that we will not fulfill. But it is for holy lives, empowered by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, for the purpose of being His witnesses and completing His mission of disciplemaking. This gift is for all of us, until He comes
Acts 1:4-5 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:8 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 2:38-39 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
SAINTS BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT IMPACT LOST COMMUNITES
Finally, we come to the ultimate impact of revival in God’s church. Saints reconciled to Christ, as their first love, are being continuously filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to share the gospel in the power of His Holy Spirit. If you read a Acts of the Apostles in a survey fashion, you will discover that whenever the church is baptized in the Spirit for the first time or filled again, their is an immediate an lasting impact on in the church and on lost world.
Study the results of Acts 2 after the 120 are baptized in the Holy Spirit and its continuing effects, at beautiful gate through out chapter five–look into the events of Acts 6 and chapter with Stephen the first martyr or Philip who is mentioned as filled with the Holy Spirit (as a deacon), as we follow him through acts chapter 8–or events following the first gentiles filled with God’s Spirit in Acts 11 and also the Ephesians in Acts 19.
What you will discover is that God’s fills His redeemed with the Holy Spirit to empower the preaching of Christ and by faith, do miracles which testify to the truth of the message. These revival characteristics effect the lost world we live in.
Let us be mature enough to understand the results in the community of lost men, is not always what took place with the ministry of Phillip.
Acts 8:4-8 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
Often, the results bring glory to God in manifold salvation, but also manifold sufferings for the saints. Revival means, the world will hate us even more than before. The reason is that Christ has come to bear on them through us, in His presence and conviction which can not be ignored. So crime will drop, immorality and ungodliness repented of, but the kingdom of men locked in war with the LORD and His anointed (Psalm 2), will rage more violent and abominable.
Worry not, the fulness is even to persevere that tribulation.
Acts 4:23-32 23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.’
27“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
After this filling, there was more trouble, but the church was sweeter and better, because they, who loved Jesus Christ more than their own lives, were filled and poured out ruth in love upon one another and the world around them..
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