Hosea 6:1

Come and let us return to the Lord

For He has torn, but He will heal us;

He has stricken, but He will bind us up

We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love - Mother Teresa

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word

There is a lot of talk in Christian circles of the need for a revival. We look upon the barren landscape of Christianity in our nation, and wonder why, and how, we have become so ineffectual. We read stories about the early church, and marvel at the miracles and healings which took place. In doing so, we question why the same things aren’t happening in our day, and why the Holy Spirit isn’t moving like He once did.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing the account of the early church in Acts. She commented on the abundance of miracles that seemed to pervade early Christianity, and was troubled by what appeared to be a lack of spiritual power in modern-day church. I agreed with her. There is no denying that the ministry of the early church was much more dynamic. Holy Ghost power seemed to follow the apostles wherever they went, and miracles, signs, and wonders were commonplace.

Many Christians wonder why there isn’t the same level of Holy Ghost activity in the modern-day church….why the church doesn’t seem to hold as much power, and why signs, wonders, and miracles have pretty much ceased. Truthfully, there are probably no easy answers to this question. However, careful reading of the book of Acts provides us with a spiritual model of the early church through which the Holy Spirit worked.

Revival does not take place apart from the Holy Spirit. There have been many great revivals in history, all of which saw a tremendous move of God’s power, bringing conviction and repentance to thousands of people.

Most historical revivals are associated with powerful teaching from renowned and well-preachers. John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards, William Wilberforce, and more recently Chuck Smith, all led powerful revivals, in which the church was revitalized and many people came to faith in Christ. These were not “evangelical clones,” but were unique individuals with different personalities, living in separate generations, yet each one was called out to influence his generation for Christ, and bring people to God. Despite their differences, a common thread exists between them; that being, EVERY one, without a doubt, unapologetically proclaimed the UNCOMPROMISING Word of God.

The earliest heralds of the gospel were the disciples and apostles. Boldly they proclaimed God’s word, and as a result, miraculous events took place. People were healed, the dead were raised, and demons were cast out. Acts 5:15 tells us that some people even brought their sick friends or relatives into the street in the hopes that Peter’s shadow might fall on them, and heal them….not because of Peter’s miraculous power, but the power of the Holy Spirit working through him.

In Acts 10:44, we see that the Holy Spirit came upon the people while Peter was speaking. What can we learn from this? Quite simply, it is the preaching of the Word of God that ushers in any move of the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, signs and wonders ALWAYS accompanied TRUE gospel preaching. Miracles were performed by the Holy Spirit, through the apostles, as a witness to the gospel of God’s grace, and those who witnessed these miracles KNEW that the word preached by those who performed the miracle was TRUE.

The Bible tells us that in the last days, people will unable to endure sound doctrine.

2 Tim. 4:3 …..but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables

Sadly, much of the doctrine taught in today’s Christian churches is far from sound. In an effort to be seeker-friendly, and politically correct, our country, and much of the western world, has adopted a feel good, watered-down version of the gospel, designed to please everyone, and to convict no one. In doing so, the church has compromised the very mechanism through which the Holy Spirit works – the word of God. Truth has become relative, and sin, obsolete.

For example, God’s word clearly says that homosexuality is sin, yet many Christians believe that to declare this is intolerant and unloving. Abortion is still seen as murder, but the practice is also legitimized in “special circumstances.” We have minimized the seriousness of sin, even going so far as to approve of the very things that the Bible condemns, thus affirming the words of the prophet Isaiah:

Woe to those who call good evil, and evil good; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness (Isaiah 5:20).

In our efforts to make the gospel “without offense,” we have forgotten Christ’s words: “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Mt. 11:6), implying that He knew the gospel WOULD offend people. Indeed, the idea that we are sinners in need of a saviour offends our nature – our human pride. Notice that the verse does not say “because of you,” although perhaps it should. A lot of people are turned off to the gospel because of the way it is presented by Christians, but the fact remains, the gospel in itself is disagreeable to the conscience of man.

We say that we want revival in our nation, yet we water down the gospel and neglect the harsh truths of Scripture. Revival NEVER happens apart from the truth of Scripture, yet so many Christians choose to accept error rather than truth.

Why so much error? Perhaps it has something to do with our view of Scripture. According to opinion polls, many Christians do not hold to believe in the inerrancy of God’s word. Logic tells us that if Christians believe the Bible to be the INSPIRED word of God, then core doctrines would not be compromised; nevertheless, many Christians do not accept the entire Bible, but pick and choose what parts to believe. This should tell us that people do not adhere to this line of thinking.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way to God, yet many Christians adhere to the belief of universalism, in which “all roads lead to God.” Biblical doctrines such as hell have been minimized, or outright rejected because they are considered harsh and unloving. Moreover, theistic evolution has replaced the Biblical account of creation, making the events described in Genesis 1 obsolete. These are just a few examples.

So, we return to the original question: Why is the church so ineffectual, and why do we no longer see the signs, wonders, and miracles that defined the early church?! Moreover, what will it take to bring revival to the church, and to our nation?! There is only one answer, and that is the uncompromising word of God. We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Bible are relevant, and if we continue to do so, the church will remain ineffectual, stagnant, and powerless.

History and the Scriptures tell us that when the WHOLE counsel of God is preached, boldly and through the power of the Holy Spirit, lives are changed and revival takes place. The book of Acts clearly tells us that the Holy Spirit moved when the Word of God was preached – not the watered-down, feel-good gospel but the pure, uncompromised word of God. For revival to take place, we must stop picking the Bible apart, and discounting doctrines that we see as “politically incorrect.”

Signs, wonders, and miracles are produced when faith is present, and the Bible says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Most modern-day “miracle crusades” are organized and promoted by those involved in the Word-of- Faith Movement. The faith that they espouse is not Biblical faith, but the name-it-and-claim-it kind. It is a false gospel that does NOT promote Biblical Christianity….but a lot of Christians will look at the “miracles” that appear to be happening, and assume that it is a work of the Lord.

It is so easy for us to get excited when we see apparent healings and deliverances taking place, but it is important to use discernment. If the gospel that is being preached at these events is NOT synonymous with Biblical teaching, then the Holy Spirit is not in the work, and the whole thing is a sham. There is always an agenda.

Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Mt. 7:22,23)

Any revival that is not based on sound Biblical doctrine is simply a work of the flesh. All great revivals were led by men who preached the WHOLE counsel of God – even the stuff that wasn’t particularly pleasant to hear. As a result, the Holy Spirit convicted the hearts of thousands of men and women, and REAL change took place, influencing an entire generation of people.

The Bible talks about many false prophets leading people astray in the last days. I do believe we are living in those days. This is the “Information Age,” where information is freely transferred through mediums such as the internet, television, and radio. Unfortunately, not all of that “information” is truthful, as anyone can publish an article or post a video, unchecked, and call it “the truth.” It is SO EASY for false prophets to emerge and distract people from the true gospel, and the church suffers because of it.

I personally know Christians who have been praying for a Revival that would awake the church from its spiritual slumber, and bring repentance for this nation. I declare that this CANNOT, and WILL NOT happen, until bold men step forth and proclaim the immutable word of God, as it is set forth in the Scriptures and was proclaimed by Christ, the apostles, the prophets, and other men and women who have been vessels through which the Holy Spirit spoke.

Maybe in praying for Revival, we should pray for bold men and women to STAND UP and DECLARE God’s word, unapologetically, as it was written, so that Revival can take place – to be loving enough to speak the hard truths of God to a generation that is so entrenched in apathy.

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