Ron Graham – StraightAndNarrowMinistry
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. Many Christians are wondering if there will be a revival soon and should we be praying for one. What is to be expected from a revival? Will a revival change the outlook of today’s society? Revival will occur when folks realize they are steeped in sin and are humble before the Lord. Until that time there will be no real revival.
Today there is a different meaning when revival is talked about in Christian circles. Much of the idea behind a revival today has nothing to do with repentance or humbling ourselves before our Holy God and confessing our sins, but it has everything to do with adding numbers to the congregation. Simply adding warm bodies to the pews is not revival. The revival mindset these days among much of the hierarchy of Christendom is more in line with appealing to the flesh, but the Apostle Paul tells us something disturbing about the flesh “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8. Appealing to the flesh to create an atmosphere of revival will never please God. If we aren’t pleasing God then we must be pleasing Satan.
Revival happens when people humble themselves and pray for their sins to be forgiven and determine that they will now, with a new mindset, embark on a new course for their lives, a course that fully involves Jesus the Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Only then will this world see revival. Will this acknowledgement of sin and turning to Jesus occur any time soon? Too many folks see God as nothing more than a being completely separated from His creation or worse yet they don’t see any reason whatsoever for God to exist. That really is the whole point. How do we see God? Many don’t want anything to do with God, and their lives demonstrate that fact. They don’t see sin as sin; therefore they see no need to humble themselves before God.
For a revival to come about there must not be any sweeping of sins under the carpet. We must believe all our sins were forgiven at the cross then we must confess to God leaving no sin unrevealed. Again, is it likely that we will ever see a revival such as the huge revivals of the past? We are living in the last days, and as we read and study our Bibles we see no indication that a huge revival is forthcoming. Actually we know that in these last days there will be apostasy within the Ekklesia and much weakening among the congregation of saints. The Bible, God’s inerrant word, is replete with history lessons in advance, called prophecy. By studying our Bible we can see what the future will hold for mankind. In the last days just prior to Christ‘s return there is no mention of a revival.
Some folks like to say “Just because it’s not in the Bible doesn’t mean we can’t have a revival.” OK, but if there is to be a grand revival in the last days God would not have kept that knowledge from us, after all He is the beginning and the end. On the other hand, in the book of Revelation chapter 3 He does mention some very distinct characteristics which pertain to the last days true Christians. “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8. Jesus dictated 7 letters to John and they lay out the history of the Christian Ekklesia. This letter was written by Jesus to the Ekklesia in Philadelphia and is the sixth of seven letters. Jesus mentions a characteristic that doesn’t sound very appealing. “Little strength” doesn’t conjure up in our mind much in the way of a great revival. On the contrary, it sounds as though the true Christ followers will diminish substantially in the last days.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10. Another characteristic of the final days true Christians is that they have kept the Word, which is something that Jesus is very pleased about. So He will keep His true followers from going through the tribulation period known as the 70th week of Daniel. Will we see a great and massive revival prior to the Rapture of Christ’s Ekklesia? Not in respect to anything that would be pleasing to God. In fact in the seventh of the letters Christ wrote, the letter to the Laodiceans, we see that Jesus finds their works very distasteful “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16.
There are of course revival meetings going on at various times and in various Christian congregations around the country. The ones I’ve attended have been both enjoyable and worthwhile, but these are not nationwide or worldwide revivals and they pale in comparison to any of the historical revivals of the past. Unfortunately there is a revival of sorts that is occurring and it is taking this nation (America as well as others) by storm. It’s the feel good, emphasis on the sensual, “never mind Jesus but let’s invite the devil in” kind of revival that God would have no part of. Therefore the Holy Spirit will not be in attendance except as an onlooker viewing the goings on in wonderment, and sadness as He sees Jesus Christ eliminated and Satan’s lies embraced. Jesus is not even welcome within the congregation, but He still asks the individual to invite Him in. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. Let’s re-read the second part of the first referenced verse. “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15b. In these last days it seems revival will be personal.
I suppose there are plenty of brethren who don’t see that we are teetering on the brink of the last days. Many born again believers in Christ place no emphasis on or even believe there will be a Rapture of the Ekklesia, even though the God’s word is very clear on this point. They believe that at some future point in time, Christianity will become so powerful and pervasive that the whole world will embrace it. Supposedly this will usher in the utopian existence that is preached from many pulpits. Only then will Christ return. This is an idea known as Dominion Theology, or Kingdom Now.
The problem with the above scenario is that it is unquestionably unbiblical. The Rapture will occur prior to Daniel’s 70th week. Sometime after the Rapture occurs, Daniel’s 70th week will begin, the last half being what is known as the Great Tribulation…a time of judgment such as has never been seen upon this earth before. When Jesus Christ returns at the end of the 70th week of Daniel, He will set up His Millennial Kingdom on earth. That’s the utopia that is coming – only through Christ’s coming will we ever have a utopian existence.
A worldwide Christ-centered revival would be an awesome event to be sure. But according the Bible it isn’t going to occur, at least not before the Rapture of Christ’s Ekklesia. Afterward many will come to Christ through various means, including the witness of the 144,000 described in Revelation chapter 7. Perhaps revival is part of the scenario that will bring those multitudes to Christ during the Great Tribulation, but we don’t really want to be here to find out, do we?
Without a doubt we are now living in the last of the last days prior to Jesus return. In the big scheme of things, and with all things considered, there is very little time left as the events of the last days prophesied in the Bible are unfolding with crystal clarity before our eyes. Soon Christ’s Ekklesia will disappear. All born again believers in Christ will be caught up to be forever with the Lord. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. What a day of rejoicing that will be! Forever with Jesus.
So where does that leave all born again believers in Christ today? While many of us see the end coming at us like a runaway locomotive, there are many more that see no such end approaching. No matter what one believes about the Rapture, the question is this, what did Jesus tell us to do while we were awaiting His soon return? “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.
A great revival would be wonderful, but more than that we need committed Christians. That means born again believers in Christ who’ve committed themselves to not only following but fulfilling Christ’s great commission to go and preach the Gospel to every creature. If Christians would get off their collective pew warmers and begin to do as Jesus commanded we just might see many individuals come to know Christ. We have an army of believers who are perfectly able to revive those who are lost with a few well-placed words which just might jolt them into giving Jesus some real serious thought.
How about you? Are you waiting on that great revival that seems so elusive? Are you waiting for someone else to spark a revival, or are you the force behind presenting the Gospel message to the lost? Remember this, when it’s all said and done we will all report to Jesus and explain what we did with Him and His Gospel while we walked planet earth. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. My own personal opinion on that matter is there will be many Christians standing before Christ wishing they had done more for Him. How about you? Why not start that revival now.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham (1951-2013)