Revival In Our Time

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Outside The Box—Inside The Book!

Harold Vaughan

ISBN-10: 0-942889-16-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-924889-16-9

We have seen “strange fire,” “false fire,” and in most places, “no fire.” But where is the “Holy fire” of God?

You are probably familiar with this verse, “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break . . .but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17). Old wineskins are incapable of containing new wine—they will burst. The “new wine” of revival simply will not survive in the musty wineskins of our preconceived notions. If we want to get in on what God is doing in our generation, we must move beyond our limited frame of reference.

The purpose of this book is to lay before present-day Christians, not only the possibility, but the probability of revival in our day. The defeatism which has captured so many minds must be rejected and replaced with optimistic faith. Our misunderstandings and misconceptions must be laid aside.

The victorious Life of the Lord Jesus is available and accessible. If we are to see Revival in Our Day, we must start thinking Outside the Box and get Inside the Book.

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All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.

 

“REVIVAL IN OUR TIME”

 

ISBN: 0-942889-16-9
Printed in the United States of America
Copyright © 2011 by Harold D. Vaughan

Christ Life Publications
P.O. Box 399
Vinton, VA 24179
www.christlifemin.org

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Cover images: box by MBPhoto, Inc., book by Dmitry Mordolff / istockphoto.com

Cover design by Chris Hartzler / hartzlerhaus.com


Table of Contents

 

Introduction……………………………………………………………….. i

Chapter 1
The Peculiarity of Revival………………………………………………1

Chapter 2
The Possibility of Revival……………………………………….11

Chapter 3
The Pallbearers of Revival……………………………………..19

Chapter 4
The Parameters of Revival……………………………………..35

Chapter 5
The Phobias of Revival…………………………………………….47

Chapter 6
The Pain of Revival……………………………………………………59

Chapter 7
The Principles of Revival……………………………………….69

Chapter 8
The Prayer for Revival…………………………………………….79

Chapter 9
The Preparation for Revival…………………………………87

Chapter 10
The People in Revival………………………………………………..97

Chapter 11
The Products of Revival……………………………………….105

Chapter 12
The Pastor and Revival………………………………………….119

Chapter 13
The Preeminence in Revival………………………………….127

Chapter 14
The Phenomena in Revival……………………………………137

Chapter 15
The Price of Revival………………………………………………..147

Chapter 16
The Power of Revival……………………………………………..159

Chapter 17
The Purity of Revival……………………………………………..169

Chapter 18
The Probability of Revival……………………………………177

Chapter 19
The Predictability of Revival………………………………185

Chapter 20
The Plan for Revival………………………………………………195

Recommended Reading………………………………………….207


Introduction

Revival is a topic that has often been spoken about but seldom realized. Misunderstandings about revival abound. It is one of those mysterious subjects that is extremely difficult to communicate. Like salvation, you must experience it before you can understand it.

For too long revival has been relegated to the annals of history. Rather than seen as a present hope, it is viewed as a relic of the past, which is no longer possible today. Acts 3:19 says, “The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” The word “refreshing” means a “recovery of breath” or “revival.” It is true that these periodic seasons of recovery have been rare for many decades in the Western world. But does this mean that God has abandoned His Bride? Has He left us to our own devices? Of course not! The Holy Spirit is still operating in and through His people.

There is no shortage of analysts and naysayers. These “experts” have explained away the divine dimension in favor of airtight theological schemes, which eliminate the prospect of supernatural visitations. Is it any wonder that Jesus asked, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). It seems that Jesus was referencing a generation of “unbelieving” believers who had lost the ability to actively expect something from God. The Bible tells us that the last days will be difficult and trying, but nowhere does it imply that God has left us without the witness and power of His presence.

Every generation has a rendezvous with destiny. This is especially true of us. The mandate to anticipate Revival in Our Time is the premise of this book. My desire is to spark faith and ignite hope to believe God for a better day. Local churches are not predetermined to function like spiritual igloos—cold rigid structures filled with stiff saints. To the contrary, individuals and congregations can be ablaze with and for God!

—Harold Vaughan


Chapter 1

The Peculiarity of Revival

“Revival is a sovereign, sudden, selected, sensational operation of the Spirit of God, descending in the midst of prayer, which produces purity and reaches the perishing.”
—Ken Connolly

“Prayer has been spoken of as that moment when earth kisses Heaven. This is an expressive way of indicating the precious fellowship we have with our Father above. . . . And what is revival but Heaven kissing earth with its richest blessing? In prayer, we draw nigh to God. In revival, God draws near to the church and to the world.”
—George A. Palmer

“Revival equals a fresh encounter with the living Christ.”
—Michael Vaughan

The topic of revival is of profound importance in our day. The lateness of the hour coupled with the impotence of contemporary Christianity press upon us the desperate need for a divine visitation.

All kinds of things pop into the minds of Christians when they hear the word revival. Many think the word revival is merely another name for a series of special meetings. Others associate revival with a large number of people getting saved. For others the word conjures mental images of people doing strange things such as barking like dogs, laughing like hyenas, or convulsing uncontrollably. Still others relegate revival to a bygone era when God actively worked in a widespread, powerful way.

At the outset, therefore, it’s necessary to define the term revival. As stated in George Palmer’s opening quote, revival is when Heaven kisses earth. It’s a season when God’s nearness overshadows all earthly considerations, and the awareness of God is so overwhelmingly real that nothing else matters.

A man saved during the throes of a revival movement in the Scottish Highlands testified, “Something touched me where words failed to reach me.” An unexplainable force got through to his heart when reason and logic failed. The days of heaven on earth profoundly touch believers at the living level of their lives, and ultimately, it spills over when the unsaved are converted.

The Meaning of Revival

The psalmist cried, “Wilt thou not revive us again” (Ps. 85:6, emphasis added). The primary meaning of the word revival in the Old Testament is “to recover,” “to restore,” and “to return” to God and His standard. The Greek word for revival means “to stir up or rekindle a fire, which is slowly dying” or “to keep in full flame.” The prefix re- stands for “again,” and vive means “life.” Simply put, revival means “life again.” Jesus identified Himself as “the life” in John 14:6, so revival could actually be taken to mean “Jesus again.” Vance Havner summed up the term when he said, “Revival is the church falling in love with Jesus all over again.”

The concept of revival is primarily associated with giving life to God’s people, no matter how feeble that life may be. Reviving something that is dead is impossible, but existing life can be revitalized. For example, the world cannot be revived because it is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

Revival, as a church-word that applies only to God’s people, denotes resuscitation, rekindling, and restoration. “Wilt thou not revive us” refers to those people already in a covenant relationship with God who have suffered an eclipse in their obedience. Revival is God’s gracious arousing of His slumbering saints and returning them to Spirit-filled living.

Though revival directly affects only God’s people, its implications impact nonbelievers as well. The powerful overflow of revival that results in the conversion of a sizeable number of people is known as an awakening. An awakening is the result of God’s power being unleashed through His revived church. A study of historic revivals reveals that many people came to saving faith in Christ in the wake of revival. But let me be clear—evangelism isn’t revival but its outcome.

As I’ve said, in many people’s minds the term revival, unfortunately, is synonymous with holding special meetings, which may produce new converts but leave the congregation unchanged and unmoved. Experiencing evangelism without revival is possible, but revival always produces evangelistic zeal. When a person’s heart is in tune with heaven, he will be like the Master and “seek . . . to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).

Arthur Wallis sheds light on this subject. “Revival is God revealing Himself to man in awful holiness and irresistible power. It is God’s method to counteract spiritual decline and to create spiritual momentum in order that His redemptive purposes might be accomplished on earth.”

A fresh encounter with the living Christ brings a baptism of compassion to revived souls.

The Source of Revival

Notice Who the psalmist appealed to—“Wilt thou not revive us again” (Ps. 85:6, emphasis added). He appealed directly to the Lord not with a request for help but with a prayer that God would personally intervene. Gardiner Spring said, “Revivals are always spurious when they are got up by man’s device and not brought down by the Spirit of God.” When Heaven kisses earth, it exposes stunts, gimmicks, showmanship, and entertainment for what they are.

In Genesis God “breathed into [Adam’s] nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (2:7). Adam’s body was only a lifeless clay pot until God animated him. The breath of life, which comes directly from God, is a force consisting of desires, drives, and appetites. God’s breath brought life to Adam. Man did not evolve; the Creator, who is the only source of life, created him. Just as God is the starting place of life, He is the reanimating life Giver through revival.

That wonderful prophecy of Israel’s rebirth in Ezekiel 37 illustrates this point. The hand of the Lord carried the prophet Ezekiel into a valley and told him to prophesy to “very dry” bones. When Ezekiel preached, the bones came together with “noise” and “shaking.” Flesh appeared on the bones, but they still lacked breath. “Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezek. 37:9–10).

Sadly, scores of church congregations are as lifeless as these dry bones. Only God can bring life again to those who once enjoyed His presence and power. Only Jesus, who raised Lazarus from the dead, has the power to resurrect those who have flat-lined spiritually. A fresh encounter with the living Christ energizes sluggish believers.

The Object of Revival

“Wilt thou not revive us again” (Ps. 85:6, emphasis added). The psalmist petitioned God for himself and his associates, asking God to grant new life again. From this verse we learn that prayer is the means of revival, God is the source of revival, and we are the object of revival.

Robert Coleman said, “Revival is that strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring, re-animating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessings.” Chapter Four, “The Parameters of Revival,” offers a description of the five levels of revival. The scope may vary, but revival is nothing less than a fresh encounter with the living Christ.

For God to work in our hearts, a “breaking up” of the hardened soil must come first. One person said, “We are trapped in a shell of self.” To escape this prison of self, this breaking must occur. Once this shell is broken and the heart is sensitized, the next step is the “breaking down” of our resistance. With hindrances swept aside, a “breaking through” in prayer comes next. We’re not even capable of praying on our own, “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26). At this stage praying in the Spirit becomes possible.

The culmination is the anticipated “breaking in” of the Holy Spirit in power. One explanation of revival is a “divine disruption.” A God-focus replaces a preoccupation with self. God delivers those revived from the bondage of self-centeredness and releases them to the fullness of a God-centered life.

Yes, we are the objects of revival. After God revives us, He in turn is able to work through us. J. Edwin Orr defined revival as “a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church of Christ and its related community.”

Questions to Ponder

  1. How does George Palmer describe revival?
  2. What is the Old Testament’s primary meaning of the word revival?
  3. What does the Greek word for revival mean?
  4. Keeping John 14:6 in mind, what could revival actually mean?
  5. Is it possible to revive something dead? Can the world be revived?
  6. True or False? Evangelism is not revival but its outcome.
  7. Is it possible to experience evangelism without revival?
  8. Who is the source of revival?
  9. What is the means of revival?
  10. Who is the object of revival?
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