We Need Spiritual Revival – Part 1
“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47 NIV)
I believe that nearly all church leaders and mature believers across our country today would agree that we urgently need spiritual revival. In some exceptional places the Lord is obviously blessing, but in the vast majority of our churches, no matter the denomination, we are not seeing the kind of evangelistic growth and spiritual vitality modeled in the book of Acts.
The plain truth is that we are not baptizing large numbers of people in proportion to the population. Researchers have now proven that most of the much-heralded “church growth” is little more than people moving from First Presbyterian to First Nazarene to First Baptist to First Assembly of God. That is not what causes the angels to rejoice. They rejoice when a sinner repents.
Part of our problem is that we have developed a religious industry whose machinery runs smoothly without any need of the Holy Spirit. A.W. Tozer once commented that if God were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, most of what the church is doing would go right on, and nobody would know the difference. We have become set in our ways—but they are not the ways of God’s blessing and power.
The churches in Acts had no New Testament (it wasn’t written yet), no choirs, no electronic gear, no buildings of their own, no friends in high places—and yet they still shook the world. God didn’t send the Holy Spirit to give us thrills and chills; he sent the Spirit to empower us to win lost people to Jesus. The acid test of my preaching and our choir’s ministry is whether, through God, we are able to pierce hard, unbelieving hearts with the gospel message and see people turn to the Lord. Without this divine power and boldness we tend to shy away from confronting the world head on. We retreat into discussions about how terrible everything is around us. Or else we argue endlessly with each other about whose doctrine is more correct. Church becomes a cultural club for sociologists to study.
To be continued...
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Power)