WHAT DOES REAL REVIVAL LOOK LIKE?

ACTS 4:29-35: “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.” NLT
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OBSERVATION: We need revival in the church today! We need a great awakening in America! As we watch our culture slip further and further away from God – only a true Holy Spirit revival can save us.

What does Real Revival look like?

If you have studied any of the true revivals of the past you will note some important similarities that can be gleaned. Although each great awakening of the church took place in different times, different cultures, and even took on different expressions, there were three key elements that we can identify that marked it as a Real Revival.

Before we look at these three elements, it is important to note what Real Revival is not. It is not a weekend of meetings when we invite a special guest evangelist to our church. While this may yield some local fruit, it does not constitute real revival. Real Revival cannot be scheduled. It is not focused upon one individual or a group of special meetings.

Real Revival is the sovereign move of the Holy Spirit within the church!

So what are the three elements that we can identify that are common in a Real Revival of the church? They are prayer, sacrificial love, and the proclamation of the Gospel! We see each of these elements in this account in the book of Acts and every sovereign move of God in church history!

The first element is prayer! Throughout the Scriptures, and church history, revival among God’s people have always begun when God’s people have turned their hearts toward God in true repentance and prayer! When the church turns its heart toward God in prayer – God always responds!

  • “When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—”. Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭4:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The prayer that brings revival is the united cry of God’s people. It is when the church turns its heart toward God in true repentance, surrender, and worship. The apostles had just been threatened by the Jewish leaders. This new church was beginning to face opposition, which would soon turn into persecution. When the apostles shared these threats with the church – the church responded in united prayer. And, when they prayed – God responded!

  • “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…”. Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭4:29-31‬a ‭NLT‬‬

Over the past 50 years, there have been waves of renewal that have flowed through the church. However, the last great awakening was what we can identify as the “Jesus Movement” in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This move of God changed an entire generation. I was a product of this revival. We did not have Christian music, live multi-media presentations, and there were no Christian superstars. Hundreds, yes thousands of young people met several times a week to simply join in worship, prayer, and the study of God’s Word. I can remember our times of prayer vividly. They were filled with God’s presence and power.

The second element that can be identified is that of sacrificial love. When God’s Spirit is truly moving in revival, hearts are directed toward others. The question is not – “How will I be blessed?” The question becomes – “How can I become a blessing to others?” This is what took place in this young church in Jerusalem!

  • “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.” Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭4:32-35‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This was not the beginning of a communistic system. It was the natural expression of the love of God being poured out upon His people. When God’s love is poured out in revival it turns our hearts toward His heart. God is a giver! Giving, generosity, the desire to bless others, is the natural expression of a heart that is captured by Real Revival. Our prayer begins to be focused upon the needs of others. And, our resources are released from our grip of need and fear in an act of trust in the Lord and true generosity!

The final element of Real Revival is a refocusing of the church on its true mission! The mission of the church is not to have the largest facility, the best programs, or the most dynamic worship team. The mission of the church is to proclaim the Gospel and to make disciples. The Jewish leaders, cooperating with the agenda of the enemy, were focused on stopping this from happening. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, was focused on releasing God’s people to complete His call!

  • “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.” Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭4:29-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Note what they prayed. They asked for boldness to preach God’s Word. They asked for miraculous signs to be done as a witness to the power of the name of Jesus. Their prayers were directed toward the harvest of souls, not the comfort of the saved. And, when they joined in this prayer of agreement with the heart of God they were met with Real Revival! From the threats of those who opposed them, they responded with acts of love and a renewed proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with great boldness!

This is what Real Revival looks like!

We need Real Revival in the church today! I need Real Revival in my heart today! Lord, turn my heart toward You in sincere repentance and prayer, acts of unselfish love, and a renewed calling to reach this world for Jesus Christ! Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon Your church again today.

Bring a mighty wave of Real Revival to our land.

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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