By Robert Wurtz II
SURVIVAL OF THE REVIVAL
Do You Really Want Revival?
Revival begins when God sovereignly begins to place an urgency within the hearts of His Saints to awake from their spiritual slumber and repent of ALL their ungodly deeds (Ezekiel 14:6). An awareness comes over His people of the times and conditions in which they live. The Saints of God are carried along with the tide of worldliness and if they are not careful find themselves falling in step with the behavior of impenitent sinners. God calls His people to repent. The word repent is used in connection with the Seven Church's of Asia eight times. Revival begins when man rightly responds to God's call to repent. Mclintock and Strong defines evangelical repentance saying 'It begins with conviction of sin, accompanied by sorrow for it, confession of it, hatred to it, and renunciation of it.' The author as well as the object of true repentance is God (Acts 5:31). Man in of themselves do not desire to repent. It is initiated by God when He sends His ministers to preach repentance to the people (Acts 17:30; Romans 10:14, 15, etc.). The Holy Spirit begins to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8); and it is up to the hearers whether they will submit themselves to God or resist the Holy Spirit and stiffen their necks (Acts 7:51). The Spirit of God will not always strive with man because they are also flesh (Genesis 6:3). Man's response to the call to repentance answers the question if they really want revival or not. Some will heed the call and forsake all their sin and the objects of their sin. Others will continue to believe that they can manage their compromise and in the end will finally believe the lie and be damned because they did not love the truth, but took pleasure in sin (II Thessalonians 2:12).
Short Term Repentance
Some people initially repent because they are in a crisis or they see danger looming and repent only to avoid judgment or to ease the punishment associated with it. If their heart is not changed (replaced) their foolishness will only be driven far from them as it is bound in the heart of the impenitent. When relief from the trial comes they will soon forget their pain and their foolishness will return and take center stage in their life once again. True repentance used to be preached as follows: 1) It must be haughty and not timid 2) It must be total and not partial 3) It must be permanent and not temporary. If the repentance does not follow this pattern it is not true biblical repentance. When those who temporarily repented sinned they felt no shame, but yet they were ashamed to openly repent. They were haughty sinners and timid repenters. They sinned with a 'fist in the air' and in all manor of shameless highhandedness, but they repented silently and hid themselves as though they were ashamed to be seen repenting and accepting the Lord. Jesus openly rejects this when He said that if you are ashamed of Me before men I will be ashamed of you before my heavenly Father (Mark 8:38). What wrath must burn in the eyes of Christ when He bore our sin in His own body on the tree laid bare before the entire world; yet a 'temporal repenter' won't even acknowledge that they sinned and caused it. How is it we could embarrass God and all the host of Heaven and then refuse to embarrass ourselves by openly repenting? Show me a person embarrassed to repent and I'll show you them home on Sunday in 6 weeks.
Dangers of Short Term Repentance
Pharaoh remains as the great example of what happens when you resist the Holy Spirit and the judgment of God that brings repentance. As God stepped up the judgment, Pharaoh resisted the Holy Spirit and God hardened his heart all the more. Finally when the judgment reached its apex- Pharaoh agreed to let the Children of Israel go; but later he pursued them to his own destruction. This is how people are, they have no intention to repent until the situation is at its maximum judgment- and by the time they repent they think they have done God a service, but they have only hardened their own heart. And that, because as soon as they find relief they pursue their old sin as though they felt it slipping through their fingers. Short-term repentance is not repentance at all and it is evidenced in the end.
Repentance Means Forsaking Sin and the Means of the Sins
It is not really repentance until the 'High places' and the 'Groves' are thrown down. Jehoshaphat was one of the great Kings of Israel. It was said of him that he did always have the Lord before his eyes. In II Chronicles 17:6 we read... And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah. When our hearts are truly lifted up to do the will of God we will destroy the High places in our lives. Christians all over this nation have severe strongholds of the devil that have to be dealt with and yet they refuse to. The enemy has built a sin or sins in their life that the person keeps running back to over and over again. True repentance is when we burn the bridges back to our old sins. This may mean getting rid of things that serve as stepping-stones back to your sins. As long as you think to yourself something like this... 'Well, if anything goes wrong, I can still go back to thus and such' it is not true repentance. True repentance is when you do as did Elisha and kill the oxen and burn the yoke and plow (I Kings 19:21). True repentance is when we take hold of the plow and refuse to look back.
The Revival Will Last as Long as the Repentance Lasts
When the people fall back into their old ways revival is over. When the newness of repentance has worn off and the zeal to do God's will is wearing thin- there is a danger to falling back into a spiritual slumber. When the people don't get into the word and pray and witness they will be running on the same dead battery they had before. God may 'jump start' the people with a sovereign act of revival, but He expects us to then stir up the gift of God that is within us from there on out.
There comes a point when God is sending revival that the people keep taking in and taking in and taking in, but they are not giving out. God has empowered them for service and they are using that 'power' as a means to a new 'spiritual experience' rather than to do God's will. This is where many revivals blow up. People start seeking a 'deeper experience' in the Lord in some mystical way and end up ready for the funny farm. Instead of allowing the Spirit of God to empower them for service they keep seeking more and more and more 'spiritual blessing' until they just flat loose it all together! The pressure and drive to minister becomes so volatile that they nearly explode like an atomic reaction from the pressure. Anyone seeking an experience with Christ apart from knowing Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings- being made comfortable until His death- is headed for flakesville. The anointing of God is for service. An experience with God that is genuine causes us to want to share the faith with others and conform to pure religion. A lot of things have been blamed on the Holy Ghost that were not God at all! People don't bark in the Holy Ghost. They don't contort their bodies like epileptics or any other demonic thing. When people don't use their anointing to minister and they keep seeking more and more and more power and blessing-they open themselves up to devils.
Protecting the Ground God has Given Us
It is impossible to be full of the Holy Ghost and not desire greatly to minister to the lost (Acts 4:31). It is impossible to be full of the Holy Ghost and continually struggle with sin (John 16; Mark 16, etc.). It is impossible to be full of the Holy Ghost and not love your neighbor as yourself (I John 4:8). When God sends revival into our lives and into our church serious changes take place. People begin to feel the heart of God to want to witness. They begin to live holy lives separate from sin. Their life is characterized by Godliness. When we begin to wax lazy and begin allowing the enemy to offer us alternative entertainment for our Spiritual walk with God trouble is on the way.
Revival According to Atkins
The revivalists diet is one of strong meat and very little fluff and nonsense. Many people believe that they can turn God on and off like a switch- they can shift into Spiritual mode or compromise mode at will. However, ANYONE who has ever done anything meaningful for the Lord lived with a high level of consecration to God. They were often misunderstood and disliked. They seemed to be dull and boring. This is because impenitent sinners measure their beliefs by their fleshly standards and not by the fruit of the Spirit. What a sinner hates a believer loves- they cannot understand spiritual things.
An' on fire for God' individual has a different diet than a person who is 'half backslidden' or lukewarm as a Christian. Too often we forget that Jesus rejects lukewarmness. When we are half in and half out He spits us out of His mouth. When we get into this condition we have need to be taught again Spiritual truths that we once understood. Hebrews 5:12 reads... For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. As a new born babe grows up in Christ they begin to apply the word and understanding moves from the milk to the strong meat (adult food). Milk is for New Converts and when it is needed among aged Christians it is evidence that the senses are not being controlled and all manor of sin is being let in to the heart and mind.
Drowning in Chocolate Milk
Hebrews 5:14, 15 reads... For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. The use of meat has less to do about education than it does with our walk with the Lord. Many people in the time of Christ could not read or write, but they could exhort the meat of God's word. In Acts 4:13 we read...Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. On the contrary, someone who has NOT been with Jesus may have multiple degrees and not know the first thing about the truth of God. The word of God is not intellectually understood- it is Spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:14). God hid His truths from the wise and the prudent (Matthew 11:25) and revealed them unto His children (Luke 10:21). Strong truth has little to do with human wisdom and much to do with being born again and simple obedience. The more light we desire to walk in God will give us more light to see with. If there is no hunger and thirst for righteousness- men and women will eat the strong meat of sin and iniquity for years and sip the milk of God's word. Soon it will get so bad that the only thing they will drink is the 'Chocolate Milk' of God's blessings and promises. What a meal? 'Steak and potatoes sin' washed down with the 'chocolate milk' of God's promises. This is the preferred meal of modern Christendom and it's a mockery of God worse than the impenitent sinners on the streets. People trying to use God's promises to assist them in serving their god of mammon. We live in a day opposite of the book of Job according to David Wilkerson. Its as though Satan approached the throne of God and demanded that God bless His people until their vats were full to sift them to see if they would serve God or mammon.