Adapted from: ‘Times of Revival – Times of Refreshing’ @https://rosekainda.blogspot.com/)
What is Revival?
The term “revival” is synonymous with several English words such as ‘revitalization’, ‘renewal’, ‘restoration’, ‘recovery’ and ‘resurgence’, among others. While all these words bring out a similar meaning, the free dictionary, provides two outstanding descriptions as follows:
- A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence: (a revival of colonial architecture; a revival of the economy).
- Restoration to validity of something lapsed or set aside, such as a legal claim or status.
In light of the above descriptions, a spiritual revival is a resurgence, a restoration, a revitalization from the old, former state of luke-warm or cold spiritual status to a hot, awakened and reproductive spiritual status. It is a period where the truths of the Bible are not only known but fully believed and lived out thus bearing results. It is characterized by an awareness of the wickedness in the society and a quickening to change and embrace the right-living offered by God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
A revival is a time of an exchange – godliness for wickedness; a spiritual alertness for spiritual dullness; righteousness for moral decadence, and ultimately, life for death; It is a re-birth; a life giving period.
A revival is a time when believers arise to the validity of their faith in God, which, due to influence by the worldly culture had been submerged and buried under such culture. It is a time of regaining spiritual awareness and clarity on God’s ways of doing and being right (which had been set aside, that which had lapsed). It is a time to claim and uphold the legal status of the word of God in one’s life and ultimately in a society.
A spiritual revival is not restricted to the restoration of spiritual beliefs – it transcends the doors and altars of churches to permeate into every strata of the society. As believers embrace godliness, their spiritual statuses are aligned with God’s word; to an identity of who they are in God; to their God-pre-destined destinies. This shift leads to a holistic healing – spirit, soul and body. Relationships are healed and restored resulting to harmonious living at all echelons of the society – family, communities and nations. An individual transformation trickles a nation’s governance, economy, education and culture. Spiritual revival results into holistic transformation.
The Genesis of Revival
The Early Church, presented to us in the book of Acts and the Epistles, profiles some life-transforming occurrences (miracles) that happened after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. One such miracle is detailed in Acts 3, a story that many people have heard from their Sunday school days – Peter and John healing the Crippled Beggar.
After the healing miracle, the people were startled at this supernatural occurrence. But Peter, boldly proclaimed to them, that it had nothing to do with their own power but, it was the God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers that had glorified His servant and Son, Jesus Christ. Peter further noted that this servant Jesus, is the one the people had “… indeed delivered up and denied and rejected and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to let Him go.” (Acts 3:13).
In addition, Peter pointed out that the One that the people denied and rejected and disowned is the PURE and HOLY, the JUST and the BLAMELESS ONE. Instead, the people had demanded that a murderer (Barabbas), be pardoned and granted to them!
Not too long after pointing out these things, Peter called upon his audience to repentance. The bible records in Acts 3:19 that:
“So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return (to God), that your sins may be erased (blotted out), wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.” (AMPC)
After all the wandering and rebellious ways of Israel recorded in the Old Testament, God fulfilled His promise to send the Messiah, the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Clouded by the laws of the day, the people did not recognize Him, to the extent that they had Him killed in exchange of a thief. However, Jesus’ inner team had had life-changings experiences with the Lord. They had seen him perform miracles, they believed in His power. Just before the healing of the cripple, they had been endowed with power from on high as they waited in the Upper Room, and they were ready to go. (Acts 2:4) The great commission had just began!
As the people marveled at the healing of the cripple, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, boldly called on his audience – the people, including the religious leaders of the day, to repent. According to the Amplified Version of the Bible, to repent is to change one’s inner-self, the old way of thinking, regretting one’s sins and turning back to God. The Free, also puts the meaning of repent as – ‘To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it.’
It is on this basis that Peter called on the audience to repent of their ignorance in delivering up; denying; rejecting and disowning the Lord Jesus, to the extent of having him crucified. Ignorantly, they had asked that a murderer be released for them.
It is through this ignorance that these people did not take into account, that the Lord Jesus, whom they denied had paved way for them to be heirs of the blessing of our father of faith, Abraham. They did not take into any account of any “good” that Jesus had done. They just wanted to do away with him.
By disowning Jesus and His teachings, the people embraced their own way of doing things – they opted to live by the law and not what Jesus taught and demonstrated.
However, the tides were changing, times of revival, times of refreshing awaited them as they considered repentance, turning away from their evil deeds.
“So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of [d]reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.”
As Peter progressed in presenting the good news to his audience, we note that he was absolutely certain of the message he was delivering – he was bold and eloquent; he had been with the Lord. He had been empowered by the power of the Holy Ghost! His message was authentic. Praise the Lord! (Acts 4:13)
This is the message that pierced people’s hearts, it stung them, it cut them (Hebrews 4:12) to the extent that they could not remain the same again. They could no longer be still – change had to take place. On listening to Peter, the people responded:
“Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do?”
“What shall we do?” was the peoples’ response. And immediately Peter responded:
“… Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Peter did not mince his words – he had been with the Lord, he knew the Lord’s mission on earth – to seek and save the lost; (Luke 19:10) and as the Lord’s disciple, that was his mission too. So he continued:
“…Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation.” Acts 4:40b
The result of Peter’s preaching, as led of the Holy Spirit was a massive harvest of souls. 3000 people accepted and welcomed his message; they were baptized and were added into the Lord’s kingdom! Hallelujah! Revival had began!
“Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.”
To be continued…