Saturday, 04 August 2012 16:05

A Revival Culture: Normal and Needed

Written by  Rev. Al Baker and Rev. Reed DePace
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Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? ~ Psalm 85:6

A revival culture is actually normal in the Church’s experience. In the Upper Room the gathered 120 believers prayed and fasted for ten days for the Holy Spirit to come and empower their proclamation of the gospel. And He did. On Pentecost three thousand were saved in Peter’s first sermon. Later another five thousand were saved through Peter and John’s witness.

 


In fulfillment of God’s promises, a revival culture was established in the Apostolic Church. And this culture has been experienced in the Church ever since.

In the last three hundred years alone revival cultures have flourished in: the Great Awakening (1730s to 50s, New England, Scotland, England and Wales), the Second Great Awakening (1820s, U.S. eastern seaboard), the 1858-59 Revivals (New York City, Boston, Philadelphia), and the Azusa Street Revival (1906, Los Angeles), among others. Revival cultures are currently thriving in China, India, Iran, Algeria and locations around the world too numerous to list.

So what does a revival culture look like? The Book of Acts provides ten marks that are present when the Holy Spirit blesses a church with a revival culture.

First, a revival culture includes mighty praying. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer… When the day of Pentecost arrived … they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 1:14, 2:1,4

Second, a revival culture includes mighty preaching. Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” ~ Acts 2:37

Third, a revival culture includes mighty conversions. So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. ~ Acts 2:41

Fourth, a revival culture includes mighty assemblies. And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. ~ Acts 4:31

Fifth, a revival culture includes mighty holiness. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. … So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. ~ Acts 19:18, 20

Sixth, a revival culture includes mighty generosity. Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. ~ Acts 4:32

Seventh, a revival culture includes mighty evangelistic work. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” ~ Acts 4:19-20

Eighth, a revival culture includes mighty societal impact. And when they could not find [Paul], they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” ~ Acts 17:6

Ninth, a revival culture includes mighty leadership. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. ~ Acts 11:22-24

Tenth, a revival culture includes mighty opposition. But Elymas the magician … opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. ~ Acts 13:8

Each of these characteristics is normal in a church experiencing the Spirit’s work of revival. Revival culture is still available today. It begins with revival prayer.

They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

Rev. Al Baker is Director of the Alabama Church Planting Network and an evangelist with Presbyterian Evangelical Fellowship. He is the author of Seeking a Revival Culture: Essays on Fortifying An Anemic Church. An Alabama native, he resides with his wife in Birmingham.

Rev. Reed DePace is pastor of First Presbyterian Church, at Vaughn and Chantilly in Pike Road. He, his wife and five children live in Montgomery.

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