Only a God-given reawakening to Christ and the full extent of His supremacy can resuscitate the Church's hope and passion, and re-engage her effectively in the worldwide advance of His Kingdom.
Evan Roberts made this same claim in Wales in 1904: “My mission is first to the churches. When the churches are aroused to their duty, men of the world will be swept into the Kingdom. A whole church on its knees is irresistible.” Revival always brings the church to its knees. Rhys Bevan Jones, who preached in Wales throughout 1904, declared that if ever there was a slogan for that revival it was this: “Bend the church, and save the people.”
R. B. Jones, Rent Heavens, p. 55-56
“Revivals begin with God's own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervour and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones…Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!”
Andrew A. Bonar, details unknown
God is the God of revival but man is the human agent through whom revival is possible.
Duncan Campbell, The Lewis Awakening, 1949-1953, p15
To the praying men and women of Barvas, four things were made clear, and to them became governing principles. First, they themselves must be rightly related to God, and in this connection the reading of Psalm 24 at one of their prayer meetings brought them down in the presence of the Lord, where hearts were searched and vows renewed, and, in the words of one who was present, they gave to their lives the propulsion of a sacred vow, and with Hezekiah of old, found it in their hearts to “make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel.” Happy the church and favoured the congregation that can produce such men and women I So prayer meetings were held in church and in cottage, and frequently the small hours of the morning found the parish minister and his faithful few pleading the promises; with a consciousness of God, and with a confidence in Him that caused them to hope in His Word.
In the second place, they were possessed of the conviction that God, being a covenant-keeping God, must keep His covenant engagements. Had He not promised to “pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the day ground”? Here was something that for them existed in the field of possibility; why were they not actually experiencing it? But they came at length to the place where, with one of old, they could cry “Our God….. is able …. and He will.”
“Faith mighty faith the promise seas
And looks to God alone.
Laughs at impossibilities
And cries It shall be done.”
Thirdly, they must be prepared for God to work in His own way and not according to their programme — God was sovereign and must act according to His sovereign purpose — but ever keeping in mind that, while God is sovereign in the affairs of men, His sovereignty does not relieve men of responsibility. “God is the God of revival but man is the human agent through whom revival is possible.”
Fourthly, there must be a manifestation of God, demonstrating tire reality of the Divine in operation, when men would be forced to say, “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eves.’’ It is therefore not surprising that in the month of December, 1949, God did visit the Parish church of Barvas with revival blessing that, in a very short time, leapt the bounds of the parish, bringing refreshing and spiritual life to many all over the island.
Duncan Campbell, The Lewis Awakening, 1949-1953, p15-16
George Newton (1602—1681), senior colleague of Joseph Alleine at Taunton, Somerset. After expounding the words of Christ in his great High Priestly prayer, ‘I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it’ (John 17.26), Newton concentrates on the significance of the promise, and will declare it: ‘Let our hearts be full of hope in reference to this business. Since Christ hath undertaken it, let us expect the execution of it. Our Saviour’s words are a promise to the Father, what he will do in after times for his people: saith he, ‘I will declare thy name’ to them. And therefore as it is our duty to believe the promise, so to expect the good things promised. To be continually in a waiting frame, looking and hearkening after the accomplishment of this excellent work of his, spying if we can see the daybreak, and the Father’s name shine forth to other nations who never had a glimpse of it by any gospel revelation, till in the end, “from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, his name be great among the Gentiles,” according to that prophecy relating to these latter times and ages of the world, Mal. 1.11.
‘Let us strive with Christ in prayer that he would make good the word that he hath spoken to the Father before so many witnesses. O my beloved, when ye look on many heathen nations that yet are overwhelmed in ignorance and Egyptian darkness, that yet know nothing of the Father’s name ...go to Jesus Christ and say, O Lord, thou hast professed that thou wilt declare the Father’s name to other persons, and to other nations, to the end of the world...
‘Let our hearts be full of joy while we are looking forward to the accomplishment of this work. Oh, let it cheer our spirits under all the sinking damps and deep discouragements that are upon them in relation to the church, to think in what blessed state and glorious posture she will be, when Christ shall have declared his Father’s name to all the nations under heaven, when the Jews shall be converted, and when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in. O my beloved, that will be a joyful time indeed! It is true, those times, my brethren, shall be very comfortable and full of gladness many ways. And this is not the least, that people shall be brought in to the knowledge of the Lord out of all quarters of the world, and that by heaps and multitudes.... There was never such a time since the foundation of the world, nor shall be till that blessed season come: and therefore let out souls rejoice in the foresight of it, though we never live to see it’.
Iain Murray, Puritan Hope p91-2
Richard Sibbes, Preaching to students and townsmen at Cambridge, where he ministered with so much success until his death in 1635, he gives this application to the truth concerning Christ’s power:
‘Let no man therefore despair; nor, as I said before, let us despair of the conversion of those that are savages in other parts. How bad so ever they be, they are of the world, and if the gospel be preached to them, Christ will be “believed on in the world”. Christ’s almighty power goeth with his own ordinance to make it effectual... . And when the fulness of the gentiles is come in, then comes the conversion of the Jews. Why may we not expect it? They were the people of God. We see “Christ believed on in the world”. We may therefore expect that they shall also be called, there being many of them, and keeping their nation distinct from others.”
Iain Murray, Puritan Hope p92
Persons are very ready to be suspicious of what they have not felt themselves. It is to be feared that many good men have been guilty of this error; which however does not make it the less unreasonable. And perhaps there are some who upon this ground do not only reject these extraordinary things, but all such conviction of sin, discoveries of the glory of God, excellency of Christ, and inward conviction of the truth of the gospel, by the immediate influence of the Spirit of God, now supposed to be necessary to salvation. --These persons who thus make their own experiences their rule of judgement, instead of bowing to the wisdom of God, and yielding to his word as an infallible rule, are guilty of casting a great reflection upon the understanding of the Most High.
Jonathan Edwards, Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion, Part I, Section II.
It may here be observed, that from the fall of man to our day, the work of redemption in its effect has mainly been carried on by remarkable communications of the Spirit of God. Though there be a more constant influence of God’s Spirit always in some degree attending his ordinances, yet the way in which the greatest things have been done towards carrying on this work, always have been by remarkable effusions, at special seasons of mercy, as may fully appear hereafter in our further prosecution of our subject.
Jonathan Edwards, A History of the Work of Redemption, 1774, Period I, Part I
John Stott says in his exposition of Acts 2: Pentecost has been called - and rightly - the first revival, using this word to denote one of those altogether unusual visitations of God, in which a whole community becomes vividly aware of His immediate, overpowering presence. It may be, therefore, that not only the physical phenomena (v2ff) but the deep conviction of sin (v37), the 3,000 conversions (v41) and the widespread sense of awe (v43) were signs of revival.
R E Davies, I will pour out my Spirit, p24
G. Campbell Morgan, source unknown
Meet the divine conditions
Revivals are supernatural demonstrations of God's power. When will we learn to let God work in His own way? When will we spend more time in seeking to know what His way is than we do in devising human plans and methods which only bring us a sense of failure and loss? We need a revival. The church needs a revival. The world - hungry, restless, sin-cursed, dying - needs a revival. God wants us to have it. Let us make every effort to meet the divine conditions and let us expect Him to answer by fire.
P V Jenness, quoted A.Wallis, In the Day of Thy Power
Though our persons fall, our cause shall be as truly, certainly, and infallibly victorious, as that Christ sits at the right hand of God. The gospel shall be victorious. This greatly comforts and refreshes me.”
John Owen, source unknown
We have many and express assurances in the Scriptures, which cannot be broken, of the general, the universal spread and reign of Christianity, which are not yet accomplished. Nothing has yet taken place in the history of Divine grace, wide enough in extent, durable enough in continuance, powerful enough in energy, blessed enough in enjoyment, magnificent enough in glory, to do anything like justice to these predictions and promises. Better days, therefore, are before us, notwithstanding the forebodings of many.”
William Jay, source unknown
Christians need to be convinced of revival promises
That day which shall convince the great body of professing Christians of the reality and desirableness of revivals, will constitute a new era in the history of religion; and will precede manifestations of power like that of Pentecost.
Albert Barnes, source unknown
It is most significant that since the Reformation, revivals have recurred with increasing frequency. Again and again God has rescued that which had gone beyond all human aid: what could have saved the church but these gracious interventions of almighty power? The need can but grow more urgent as the age draws to its close. When revivals cease to flow from the mercy of God, judgement must come.
D M Panton, quoted A.Wallis, In the Day of Thy Power
It is my conviction that we are never going to have a revival until God has brought the church of Jesus Christ to the point of desperation.
Stephen Olford 1918-2004, qted at http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=3162
As long as we are content to live without revival, we will