...A plan for personal revival
2 Chronicles 7: 14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways;
Then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, And will heal their land.
"O GOD, REVIVE US AGAIN"
An outstanding twentieth century Christian visiting England was shown the bedroom where John Wesley and the members of the "Holy Club" held their meetings over one hundred years ago. As he entered the room he recalled that these student prayer meetings had been the force God used to ignite a revival, the impact of which was felt around the world! A sense of deep longing engulfed him, and he fell to his knees crying, "O God revive us again."
"What do you mean by revival?" you may ask. A fair question. It does not mean a highly emotional hysteria where people work themselves into a frenzy and do senseless things which bring discredit to the Lord's name. Revival is a time Christians are restored to their first love for Christ, when sham and hypocrisy are exposed; when bitterness and strife which exist in the body of Christ are revealed and repented of under the pressure of the Holy Spirit's convicting power; a time when such changes are effected in the lives of Christians that sinners are brought to Christ in great numbers. There are struggles and deep emotions stirred in the process of returning to our first love.
Revival is walking in the light with Jesus and letting Him live His life in us. The word "revive" applies to that which has life. In this case those who already know Christ as Lord and Savior. To revive is to come back to health and vigor, to flourish again after decline, to come back into use, to become valid, effective, or operative again. Revival is admitting our sins, calling out to the Lord Jesus for forgiveness and being cleansed by His blood, allowing Him to have control of every area of our lives.
God has called Christians to have a sense of personal responsibility for the lost at home and abroad. The Word of God is not fully presented in many churches, and when it is, it is seldom obeyed. On the basis of God's Word, personal revival or renewal can be started at any time one wants it badly enough to take the steps that lead to it (2 Chronicles 7:14; Philippians 4:19). What an added impetus it is to realize that your own personal revival may be used by God as a torch to light the fire in others' hearts and that they in turn will reach still others.
Do you have a longing to see God work in an unusual way? Do you covet for yourself a life of spiritual genuineness, a ministry that is fruit-producing? When was the last time your heart was stirred for a spiritual awakening in your life, in your church, in your community, and in the world?
Very often the desire for revival is kindled by the retelling of the story of another revival. History is full of such reports. Read some of them. Sometimes the Lord has used very unlikely individuals as He did in using Evan Roberts in the Welsh revival. Other times it has been a group of men like the four young zealots in Ireland who met in a barn for prayer, and again a group of students like the "Holy Club" at Oxford University.
We have chosen to look into a revival which occurred in Korea in the early 1940's. We will give in detail the outline of Scripture God used in bringing many Christian leaders and thousands of members of Korean churches into a state of revival. It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will once again move in revival power in our midst.
The unassuming woman God used in this case was Miss Aletta Jacobsz who went to be with the Lord during World War II. The outstanding feature people remember about her was her "rapturous love for the Lord." Her methods were very simple: "She just brings the Bible to bear upon your life," asking you to be honest and heed what God says. She generally worked with the church leaders who were dedicated and trained in the Word.
Miss Jacobsz was not satisfied with the general confession, "I am a sinner." She would hand you a pencil and paper and ask you to write down specific sins. Her dealings with a prominent Presbyterian missionary were typical. On being urged by his wife to have a talk with Miss Jacobsz he said, "I don't need to talk to any woman about my sins."
Later, when he did consent, her gentle probing went like this:
Miss J: Have you considered Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God?"
Mr. X: Yes, I preach on it frequently.
Miss J: Are you willing to face this truth squarely and see if you are actually seeking God's will first in all things?"
Mr. X: (after reflecting) Well, I suppose I'm not seeking God first in everything. Yes, I will have to admit I Am not always putting Christ first in my life."
Miss J: Now, Mr. X, since you say you have preached this truth frequently, and you now recognize you are not fulfilling it in your life, what would you consider anyone, who, while urging others to do something, is not doing it himself?
Mr. J: A hypocrite.
Miss J: Will you please write it down?
"I am a hypocrite," he wrote. Soon he had a list of black sins which broke his heart. But how grateful he was, after repenting, to have deep peace and a sense of forgiveness. He was able to help others move on from being a nominal Christian to being a normal Christian, from being a cold Christian to being a committed Christian. If you are eager for revival, desire to be an effective Christian, and want to walk in the light with Jesus consider doing the following:
- Set aside a block of undisturbed time. If you have a busy schedule, you may have to take an hour now and several hours later.
- Go alone or with one or two others who have the same longing, to a place where you will be least likely to be disturbed.
- Plan a retreat and use this outline as the basis for study. If several days are available, have some Bible messages on these steps.
- Take your Bible, pencil, paper, and the verses given below and follow step by step, asking the Holy Spirit to search your heart. (Use a dictionary for words you are not familiar with. A modern language translation of the Scriptures would be helpful.)
GOD'S PICTURE OF MY HEART
(What God sees)
2 Timothy 3:1-5
2 Peter 2:10-20
1. STEP ONE
A. What my sin cost God
Isaiah 52:14; 53:1-12
Luke 22:44, 63-65
Matthew 26:26-31,49,56,67; 27:27-31
John 19:1-3, 34
B. Conviction (Isaiah 1:16-20)
- Read slowly and thoroughly all passages listed.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to turn His searchlight upon your past life and upon the present condition of your heart.
- Make a list of sins, shortcomings, failures and impurities as revealed by Him, using the following categories.(Actually sin is the lack of conformity to the will of God as revealed in the Word of God. One kind of sin differs from another in appearance and in intensity only, not in character or essence.)
a. Idolatry (Matthew 6:33; 22:37)
All things I have loved, sought, or placed ahead of God: my work, family, pleasures, myself.
b. Rebellion (1 Corinthians 10:10; 1 Samuel 15:22-23)
All the sins I have committed against God: murmuring, rebellion, lack of submission to His will.
All the features and manifestations of the self-life. Here are some:
n a secret spirit of pride -- an exalted feeling in view of your success, good training, appearance, (because of your natural gifts) abilities, an important, independent spirit, an attitude that says, "My way is best, and I am always right.
n Love of human praise, a secret fondness to be noticed; love of supremacy, drawing attention to self in conversation.
n The stirrings of anger or impatience, which you call nervousness or holy indignation; a touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when disapproved of or contradicted; a desire to fling sharp, heated words at another.
Self-will: A stubborn, unteachable spirit; an arguing, talkative spirit; harsh, sarcastic expressions; an unyielding, headstrong disposition; a driving, commanding spirit; a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when set aside and unnoticed; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored.
Carnal fear: a man-fearing spirit; a shrinking from reproach and duty; a compromising spirit. A jealous disposition; a secret spirit of envy shut up in your heart; an unpleasant sensation in view of the success of another; a disposition to speak of the faults and failings, rather than the gifts and virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself.
A dishonest, deceitful disposition; the evading and covering of the truth the covering up of your real faults; leaving a better impression of your self than is strictly true; false humility; exaggeration; straining the truth.
Unbelief: A spirit of discouragement in times of pressure and opposition; lack of quietness and confidence in God; a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty or at the dispensations of Divine providence; an over anxious feeling how everything will turn out.
Formality and deadness; lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference; lack of power with God. Love of ease and love of money.
These are some of the traits which indicate a carnal heart (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
All the things in which I am not quite unspotted from the world, i.e. self first, worldly pleasures, immodesty or vanity in appearance or dress (Galatians 6:14; James 1:27; 1 John 2:15-17; Joshua 4:4; Matthew 6:24; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18). Worldliness is thinking as the unsaved man thinks, (I, me, myself), which results in acting as the unsaved man acts, rather than thinking in conformity to the will of God, resulting in acting in accordance with His will and purpose.
All my sins against my neighbor -- the way I have broken God's law of love toward him (James 2:8); resentment, criticism, impatience, deceit, unforgiveness (John 13:34-35).
All hidden defeats that have not been revealed and dealt with. (Hebrews 4:12,13; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Timothy 5:24).
All of my failures in real service as a winner of individual souls, a discipler of others, my life of service, my time in the Word and prayer.
If there has been any contact with, or practice of the occult it must be repented of and forsaken; i.e. horoscopes, Ouija boards, occult magic, T.V. and movies based on the occult, witchcraft, etc. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12, 14; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Samuel 15:22-23).
All that the Holy Spirit brings to my mind through the Word of God that does not seem to fit under the other categories (Galatians 5:16-25). Note the catchall phrase in verse 21: "And such like, " which includes all things that are not God-honoring or Christ-glorifying. Failing to do what God tells us to do in His Word is just as much sin as doing what He tells us not to do. (James 4:17).
II. STEP TWO
A. God's standard for my life
1 Timothy 2:8-10
1 Peter 1:15-16
1 Thessalonians 5:18
1. Read carefully the scripture verses listed above and below, asking the Holy Spirit to continue working in your heart for His honor and glory.
2. Ponder the verses given below until there comes upon you a sense of the sinfulness of sin.
3. Open your heart to a sense of the horror of sin until its depths are stirred, and sorrow leads to repentance. It will come if you honestly want God to be glorified in your life (Proverbs 20:6; 21:2).
C. Sorrow for my sin
Psalm 34:18; 38:1-10; 40:12; 51:4
1. Read carefully the scriptures listed.
2. Base your confidence upon these promises from the Word of God, and receive forgiveness and cleansing.
3. If assurance of cleansing does not spring up in your heart, go over the passages again to discover how the Lord is faithful to forgive us when we confess (1 John 1:9). The Holy Spirit is specific in His conviction. Satan is general in His condemnation (1 John 3:20, 21).
4. If you do not know how to deal with some particular sin, ask some mature Christian friend for counsel.
E. Faith for my cleansing: Romans 8:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:23,24
1 John 1:9
1 John 5:14-15
2 Timothy 2:21-22
1. Check your list of things to be made right with others. See or call that person, write that letter, restore that thing which belongs to another. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, one step at a time.
2. God wants us to be right with our fellow men as well as with Him (Luke 19:8). Remember that we all naturally go our own way. (Isaiah 53:6), and we must go His way to have fellowship with Him. (1 John 1:3-10; Amos 3:3).
III. STEP THREE
A. Steps in making total dedication
Admit that God has a right to full possession of that which he owns (1 Corinthians
1. Total dedication includes complete surrender in all areas in all three tenses -- past, present, and future (Philippians 3:7-10; Romans 12:1-3).
2. All things to go out of my life; legitimate things but not the best for me if I am to be greatly used of God -- certain pleasures, magazines, books, amusements, certain T.V. programs, etc.
3. All the things He asks me to do for Him I must do (things He may not necessarily ask of others). Give Him implicit obedience (Acts 5:29; John 14:21-24).
4. All the ways in which I may pay off my debt to those who are as sin-bound as I was. (2 Corinthians 5:10, 14-20; Romans 1:14; Ezekiel 3:17-19).
B. Have you definitely sought forgiveness and heart cleansing by confession of your sins in detail, giving them the names God gives them? Someone has said, "Let the circle of the offense be the circle of confession." The hardest words in the English language is to say are, "I was wrong," and/or "I am sorry." We need true sorrow and humility for our sin, not for the fact we were caught. Having been cleansed, rejoice and plan to move on one step at a time as you daily grow more mature in Christ.
C. Determine to make any additional restitution that the Holy Spirit brings to your attention.
IV. STEP FOUR:
The life God promises, which He paid for at the cross
A. Read thoughtfully the passages listed below, noting the life that God promises, freely offers, and commands.
B. Study these passages until the Spirit makes clear that God plans such a life for you. Remember that privilege carries responsibility with it (2 Corinthians 5:14-6:1).
Psalm 40:3 (A new song)
John 8:32,36 (True freedom)
Psalm 51:10 (A clean heart and a right spirit)
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (A new heart)
Romans 6:14 (Enjoying God's grace)
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (Victory)
Romans 8:37 (More than conqueror)
Galatians 2:20 (Not I, but Christ)
Romans 12:2 (His will for me)
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (His work in us)
1 Corinthians 1:30 (Completeness)
1 John 1:3-9 (Fellowship with God)
2 Corinthians 2:14 (Triumph in Christ)
1 Peter 1:15,16 (His command for holiness)
V. STEP FIVE:
Yield to the Spirit's filling
A. "Be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:18).
After we have been cleansed and dedicated our lives to Him, let us go on to obey His command:
- Believe it is God's commanded will for me to be filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit, and therefore I have no option but to obey (Ephesians 5:18).
- Desire to be filled with the Spirit. This will not be easy. No one will surrender to another without a struggle. It can be done as God works in me "to will and to do His good purpose" (Philippians 2:13 NIV). The desire must be that Jesus Christ may be glorified by my being filled with the Spirit, not that I may have something to boast of or be proud about.
- Present yourself to God to be filled (Romans 12:1,2). Though He commands, He does not coerce. He waits for you, of your own volition, to lovingly give to Him that which is already His by right of redemptive purchase (1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20).
- Ask God for this blessing. His Word says, "You have not because you ask not" (James 4:2-3). Ask in prayer that the indwelling Holy Spirit fill your empty, cleansed vessel.
- Receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit and by faith thank God audibly for filling you (1 John 5:14,15).
- Obey the Lord moment by moment, circumstance by circumstance (John 14:15,21,23,24). Keep in mind that the Spirit-filled life often starts as a crisis experience and must be followed by the process of daily obedience. No one can be truly Spirit-filled who is not Spirit controlled.
- Walk in the Spirit: my will in tune with His. Then you will grow in grace and in Christlike maturity one step at a time.
B. The Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit
1. Each believer is blessed with the gift of love, which is the mark of the Holy Spirit for the functioning of the body of Christ in this world.
2. It is helpful to know what additional gift, or gifts, we have been given so that we may use and develop them. A study of the main passages would be helpful and enlightening. (Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians 12:7-12, 28-31; Romans 12:6-8).
3. Since gifts are sovereignly given by the Holy Spirit, we can take no glory to ourselves for their possession and use. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 11; Colossians 3:17).
4. According to Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:7 we are responsible for using our gift or gifts diligently; the results should be the building up of the body of Christ.
5. The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of the inner life of the Holy Spirit. If He is not hindered by being grieved or quenched by our sin, His fruit will appear in our daily lives.
6. The fruit of the Spirit is listed in detail in Galatians 5:22 and 23. This may be used as a check-list to determine whether the gift being exercised is really of the Holy Spirit. We must not confuse the fruit and the gifts. The New Testament clearly indicates that fruit is the sign of spirituality.
7. The fruit of the Spirit in a life serves to draw people to Christ for He is the perfect embodiment of the gifts of the Spirit.
VI. STEP SIX:
The Life of Victory
1. Believe and accept by faith the victory that God has made possible through the sacrificial death of His Son on the cross. (John 19:30; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; Romans 8:37.
2. Understand that victory does not lie in a system of rules, or works, but rather in a person, namely, our risen, ascended Savior. (2 Corinthians 2:14).
3. Accept victory as a gift and walk in the reality of it. (1 Corinthians 15:57 "giveth us")
4. Thank Him for victory as Paul did. "Thanks be unto God ..." (2 Corinthians 2:14 Cf.; 1 Corinthians 15:57.
5. Apply the truth of victory daily:
a. Without reservation, to God. (Romans 12:1).
b. In the faithful use of God's Word. (Psalm119:105).
c. In unbroken fellowship in prayer. (Philippians 4:4-7)
d. By walking in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:1).
6. Break sinful habit patterns and replace them with godly habit patterns. Share your victories and defeats with those who care. Keep short accounts with God. Do not let unconfessed sin accumulate. If there is some sin over which you cannot seem to get victory, keep praying. God is able as you yield that sin to Him (1 John 4:4; Romans 8:37). You may want to share your need with a friend with whom you have confidence and then pray together. There is power in praying together (Matthew 18:19).
7. Remember that God has GIVEN. We must TAKE and KEEP ON TAKING (John 4:14, 7:38, 10:10; Ephesians 3:16-21). Victory is the Person of Christ living His life in and through us (1 Corinthians 15:57-58; 1 Corinthians 1:30).
VII. WORDS OF WARNING and ENCOURAGEMENT
There is no strength in a decision. Our strength against temptation comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. He is always victorious (Colossians 2:6-10, 15). Temptations become sin when we yield to them. After cleansing and dedication temptation will come as never before ... desperate, diabolical, hellish, subtle, refined, gross, and all fleshly temptations. We need to be on guard against spiritual pride on the one hand, or on the other hand, against discouragement and depression which attacks us when we yield to temptation and fall into sin. Satan will try to keep us from a Christ honoring, God glorifying life. When we do fail and fall into sin there should be immediate repentance and confession. Always keep short accounts with God.
The following Scriptures will help you claim God's provision from day to day living in His presence. Read them, meditate on them, memorize them, and appropriate them. Make them your own:
1 Corinthians 15:57,58
2 Corinthians 2:14
You will now find a fruitful and satisfying life unfolding before you as you are daily cleansed and walk in the light with Jesus.
REMEMBER, God loves you!
O God, Revive Us Again was originally published by Missionary Harold Voelkel as "A revival among missionaries in Korea." This revision and expansion was done by Rev. Will Bruce with the help of many others. Rev. Bruce was affiliated with Overseas Missionary Fellowship at the time this was published in booklet form some years ago.