Rattle or Revival?

A.W. Tozer (1897-1963), that great prophet, said that the first mark of a spiritual man is that he desires to be holy than happy! Revival is the restoration of joy in God's house (Psa 85:6). But the oil of gladness will not be poured on those who do not love righteousness and hate lawlessness (Heb 1:9).

Revival is not for sinners but for those who have confessed their faith in the Risen Lord. In other words, revival is not for the unsaved but the saved (Rom 10:8-10). Pentecost is only for the "disciples." That is, those who have enrolled themselves as slaves and followers of Christ the Lord. The Gift of the Holy Spirit is only for those who have repented and submitted to the lordship and authority of Christ (Acts 2:38).

People shed tears over their problems when they hear a moving and comforting sermon. But rarely do they shed tears for sins! We need prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ, Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1) to preach repentance! Old- fashioned revival demands old-fashioned repentance! Health and wealth are only secondary. It is wrong to speak physical and material prosperity to people whose "souls" are not prospering. Apostle John (he was a prophet too) rightly said, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 Jn 2).

Hence the primary responsibility of any pastor or preacher who desires revival in a Church is to see that all the members are led to genuine repentance and heart faith. A corpse cannot be revived! We have too many unconverted or unsaved persons both in our pulpits and pew today. We need prophets who will boldly proclaim to our pew-dwellers that baptism (infant or adult), confirmation, church membership, communion and one hundred such things do not save them (Mt 3:8,9). They should "repent and believe!"

We should not be satisfied by seeing the excitement of the people when they hear inspiring sermons and enthusiastic singing. Revival is more than all these. If in Prophet Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones, had the ministry stopped with the movement of the bones, it will be only a heap of bones in one place (Ezek 37:7). Until the bones become a mighty battalion, preaching of the Word of God and pouring out of the Spirit of God should continue (v10). Otherwise it is just rattle, not revival!