One of the leading preachers that were part of a God-sparked revival that was instrumental in giving our country our independence from England was George Whitefield. Pastor Whitefield believed that every truly religious person needs to experience a rebirth in Jesus; aside from this, he cared little for distinctions of denomination or geography. He played a leading part in the Great Awakening of religious life in the British American colonies and in the early Methodist movement. At Oxford, he became an intimate of the Methodists John and Charles Wesley, and at their invitation, he joined them in their missionary work in the colony of Georgia in 1738. He was already known as an eloquent evangelist. The rest of his career was divided between evangelical preaching throughout the American colonies from Georgia to Massachusetts and itinerant preaching in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. George Whitefield believed in a change in a person's life was due to a rebirth or being born-again, and the effect of that. rebirth caused life change at the deepest level in a person's heart. Whitefield said the following words in one of his many sermons. If you are going to walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to be opposed ... In our days, to be a true Christian is really to become a scandal.
What is the result of true revival in the church? There is a radical change in the focus of what we do from ourselves to those who don't know Jesus. No longer the selfish "I want to do things MY WAY" anymore. We are willing to be a drink offering poured out in service to Jesus our Savior and Lord. Our perspective on life changes also, and the humdrum way of living the "Christian" life is replaced with a passionate desire to serve Jesus in every area of our life. Some think that being younger is the key to this revival taking place, and younger people may be more willing to accept this radical change because they don't have all the baggage that older believers carry with them. I personally think that age has nothing to do with it and the rebirth that happens in a person's life is the driving force no matter the age. Even those in their twenties can experience this new way of living that compels us to serve and witness. The "nones" of today's world cannot hide behind their nothingness anymore because the born-again life is calling them too, and they become "somethings."
Take away all of the side issues and focus on the Word of God and the mission set before us and we will find a desire for true revival in the church. Not denominationally led revival, but REVIVAL that is prompted by the Holy Spirit and includes all who wish to experience it at deeper level. This deeper level will reveal many of the problems keeping us from experiencing a revival. Sometimes we think entertainment is the key to drawing people into serving God, but I don't. Leonard Ravenhill says this "Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord the less entertainment you need."
As you can see this movement of God will be more Holy Spirit-led than people-led. We have to get back to putting the focus on Jesus and Him alone and then we will be in the right position to experience what God is wanting to do through those who know Him. The experience of revival was seen in the Great Awakening and George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers saw it first hand. Here is an account of how God moved in their prayer for revival.
Each revival movement has its own distinctive features, but the pattern is the same every time.
First God comes. On New Year's Eve 1739, John Wesley, George Whitefield, and some of their friends held a "love feast" which became a watch night of prayer to see the New Year in. At about 3 a.m., Wesley wrote, "the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground." Revival always begins with a restoration of the sense of the closeness of the Holy One.
Second, the gospel is loved as never before. The sense of God's nearness creates an overwhelming awareness of one's own sins and sinfulness, and so the power of the cleansing blood of Christ is greatly appreciated.
Then repentance deepens. In the Ulster revival in the 1920s shipyard workers brought back so many stolen tools that new sheds had to be built to house the recovered property! Repentance results in restitution.
Finally, the Spirit works fast: godliness multiplies, Christians mature, and converts appear. Paul was at Thessalonica for less than three weeks, but God worked quickly and Paul left a virile church behind him.
May we pray with purpose, power, and precision as we ask God to move in the days ahead. Be willing to let God change our lives and realize that rebirth is not something that stopped when you were born again, but it keeps on burning in our hearts the desire to see God move!! Join me to pray for revival every morning at 7:14 am as we realize the scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a reality for all of us. The scripture says 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
The Pilgrimage Continues..