By Robin Sam
GORDON L Anderson, who served as the president of North Central University in Minneapolis, US, once wrote: ‘For many, the word revival creates an image of long, emotional, powerful church services where people worship with enthusiasm, pray with passion, reach out in faith and see the power of God demonstrated in new and unique ways. This might be generally true, but I believe that revival is much more than that.’
YES. Revival is not just a deep and passionate longing to pray or lengthy, Spirit-filled worship sessions. It is greater and deeper and wider than we have understood.
These days we hear a lot of people preaching on the need for revival. No doubt, we need revival. But in our quest for revival we must not forget the basics. Some of us are putting the cart before the horse. We need revival but we need Jesus more. We need Jesus first and foremost. REVIVAL IS THE FULFILMENT OF THE LONGING FOR JESUS CHRIST! It is our quest in Christ for holiness, purity and peace on earth that makes us look for revival.
Hosea 6: 1 to 3 talks about revival. There are three stages to revival, if you go by these verses.
The first stage of revival is: RETURNING TO GOD
Hosea 6: 1 “Come, let’s ·go back to the Lord. He has ·hurt us, but he will heal us. He has wounded us, but he will ·bandage our wounds.”
We return to God and Christ knowing fully well that apart from Him we have no life and can do nothing (John 15:5).
The psalmist says “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). In the last days, when the Lord’s house is established on the mountains, Isaiah says, all nations shall flow into it (Isaiah 2:2).
That is revival. People returning to the Lord. Sinners repenting. Hundreds of thousands of people crying their hearts out for forgiveness in the realization that they have no hope aside from Jesus Christ. Nations casting their idols and returning to the Lord of lords and King of kings. That’s revival!
Revival must begin in me, but it should not stop with me. If it stops with me, it was not revival in the first place. Revival and repentance are inseparable. Repentance comes from the knowledge you are a sinner and you need a Saviour.
Will you pray with me today that our nation will witness revival and be a part of it in our generation? This nation needs Jesus Christ more than ever. The biggest leaders have been found to have clay feet. They have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. They have disappointed people around them and the nation at large. They have proved to be myopic Lilliputian people who cannot look beyond their own interests and rise above their own limitations.
Tell someone this week about Jesus Christ. Invite someone to go with you to the church. Help someone without expecting anything in return. Give to missions without crowing about it. Look for opportunities to show Christlikeness every day. May God bless you and yours!
Let us return to God in the wonderful knowledge that He will bandage our wounds and He has a salve for our bruises.
Though our sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow. Returning to God is not an option, it is an absolute imperative. Isaiah 1:19 tells us the benefit of returning to God: ‘If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.’
The 2nd stage of revival is: BEING QUICKENED IN THE SPIRIT by God
Hosea 6:2 “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.”
No one who has come to God with a penitent heart will go away like he was before. However, calcified his ways be, however vile his sins be, he will be renewed. An important stage of revival is being able to commune with the Spirit of God. No one can fellowship with the Spirit of God in his sinful state. That’s why God quickens the spirit of the man and woman who has turned to Him in true repentance.
‘After two days’ is not to be taken literally. It simply means very soon God will revive us. If you repent of your sins, God will not tarry in renewing your spirit. He will do it quickly.
The 3rd day is when the dead body begins to decompose. Third day is the day of putrefaction. Third day is when all hope is lost. That’s why Lazarus’ sister Martha protested when Jesus asked people to roll over the stone covering his tomb. “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days” (John 11: 39).
The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the high priests and the Romans thought the Man who was crucified on Golgotha would soon be forgotten. After all, He was dead. But, God had marked a third day for the glorification of the body of Jesus.
The tomb in Jerusalem is empty. And because He lives, we will live too (John 14:19).
There comes a time when all the dead in Christ will rise again. Isaiah puts it beautifully: ‘Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:19).
God quickens the spirit of the living too. And because our spirits are now quickened, we are able to lean on God and count on His strength and grace.
Jesus said: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63).
Being quickened in the spirit means walking free from sin. Apostle Paul said: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5: 16). A quickened spirit seeks to serve and please God. A quickened spirit says ‘No’ to the flesh and its lusts.
And one day, the same Spirit of God will revive us to receive our glorified bodies. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11).
The 3rd stage of revival is: GROWING IN GOD
Hosea 6:3 “Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord…He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
The final stage of revival is the sanctified man who has been quickened in the spirit now growing in God.
Growing in God means an ever increasing knowledge of God and His ways. To know God is to know His heart and His Spirit. When you know a person intimately, you know how that person will react in every possible situation.
Although we cannot claim to fully know God, Hosea calls us to pursue the knowledge of the Lord. When you know God and His ways, you can be free from a lot of disappointments, heartbreaks and anguish.
There comes a time when the whole earth will be full of the knowledge of God. “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). In that day, “no more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
Before that would happen, however, the Bible says a different kind of knowledge – the worldly knowledge – will increase. Daniel was asked to shut up the prophetic words and seal his book till the end time because “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4).
Now, it is for us to pray that God pours out revival in our hearts, hearths, cities and the nation.
- Pray for a heart that knows God and pray that we return to Him with our whole heart (Jeremiah 24:7).
- Pray also that we inherit eternal life. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Amen.