1 Corinthians 4:19-20
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
What distinguishes a healthy and vigorous Church is the demonstration of the power of God in their lives. It is the Presence and power of God manifest in real and tangible ways that have an effect on our neighbors and our community. There is a stunning parallel in Acts regarding the simplicity of the lives of the believers and the power and effectiveness of their ministry. Real revival is evident through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit being lived in the lives of our people. But the Acts church didn’t need revival because they were living in the overflow of the original outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power.
The purpose of revival is to restore us, the Church, back to our original state of righteousness, authority, purpose and power. We could spend days on each of these topics, but I want to talk about power in the church and the apparent lack of it. Many churches in America are in a state of downward descent, dried-up devotion, and trying to survive rather than revive.
There is no Revival.
Churches are not demonstrating the manifest power of God that we should be because too many of our people are discouraged, disillusioned, dishearten and discontent. Trying to survive rather than revive.
There is no revival because…
- Lack of the Presence of God in our lives
- People are walking around depressed, unhappy, and living as if there is no hope.
- Privately vs. publicly
- publicly people will at least try to put on a good face, but privately there is no power at all in them.
- Lack of pursuing God – chasing after
- Fewer and fewer people long for, hunger and thirst for God’s power and Presence.
- Lack of righteousness and holiness
- God can not and will not be part of the sin that too many people still live in.
- The church may talk about the day that God will come and pour out revival somewhere, sometime in the future. Some may talk about the “good old days” when God came back then.
- But where is the present tense reality of His manifest presence right here, right now!
There are things that prepare us for and can welcome in the presence of the Lord, things like unity, prayer, worship, and a broken and contrite spirit. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” There must be a remember, repent, and return before we can go from survival to revival.
There is no revival because…The Lack of unity in the church body. Power comes through unity. Acts 2:43-44 “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common.” There are too many sections in the church. Sections, divisions, clichés don’t exist in the church model formed by Jesus.
There is no revival because…There is no prayer. Acts 4:31 “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.” The most spiritual activities have fallen into being excuses for the lack of God’s presence. Take prayer, Its amazing how much time believers spend talking about prayer, reading books on prayer, and holding conferences on prayer. Yet never have we been so preoccupied and infiltrated by worldliness. How much time do we actually spend praying?
There is no revival because…Sin is in the camp. The church tries to protect herself by focusing on the sin out there. So it doesn’t get inside. What we fail to understand is that the sin is already inside. According to biblical principles, until we cleanse the temple, we will have no power or authority to deal with the sin out there. When the church protest against immorality, and then immorality is found inside, it gives the enemy and the world every opportunity to accuse us of being hypocrites. When the church processes sin issues internally, through desperate prayer, repentance, and turning back to holiness, the fruit of that work is revival.
There is no revival because…There is no action. The truth is the world doesn’t want our religion. The truth isn’t in our church culture or becoming one of our statistics (counting noses). But many people will respond to God’s love genuinely expressed through His people who carry the fragrance of Christ.
When God’s presence ceases to be a tangible reality in a church, spiritual life cannot be sustained for long. When God’s presence begins to recede from a church, the goodness, His light and His life, begin to grow fainter and darkness begins to increase and take hold. What happens is the people of God slowly become desensitized to the loss of His presence and to the growing darkness around them. As a result, hearts become hardened, senses are dulled, and perspective is lost. The church falls into survival rather than revival.
The only solution from being powerless, is to run after and pursue God, being unified as the body, putting away all the things that do not look like Christ, prayer that is desperate and sincere for the heart of God and putting all the elements together in action. Putting the hands and feet and heart of Christ to work in a tangible way. It is then that the church can turn from survival to revival.
Pastor Rob Beckett, Shepherdsville first Church of the Nazarene. “Restoring the ‘image of God’ to the broken and hurting.”