"Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14
"The Christian world is in a deep sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can waken them out of it!" George Whitefield, 1739
It's time to wake up our churches to the need for revival and spiritual awakening. It's time to answer the Holy Spirit's wake up call!
Think about the potential of a fully awakened church. There were just 120 members of the original church in Acts chapter one. But these believers were calling out to God for his Spirit in a ten day, non-stop prayer service!
God answered their prayers in Acts 2. The Spirit came and their little church exploded from 120 to well over 3,000 in attendance in an instant!
And unlike the early church in Acts 1 we don't have to pray to receive the Spirit...we already have Him (Ephesians 1:13,14.) The question is does He have us? Are we yielding ourselves to him in full surrender? If we were our churches would be exploding with new disciples!
The indwelling Holy Spirit is calling us and giving us His wake up call! Will we answer that call?
Here are 5 truths a church must wake up to so that revival can happen.
1. Wake up to the power of prayer!
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4
When prayer becomes the engine, not the caboose, of our ministry efforts then our churches become an unstoppable train that advance the Gospel in unimaginable ways!
To experience this we must learn how to pray with passion, focus and faith. We must pray for the lost. We must pray for each other. We must pray for this nation. We must pray for the world. We must pray that God intervenes to break up the hard soil of unregenerate hearts and send forth seed chuckers who will spread his message everywhere to everyone!
Let's wake up to the need to pray!
2. Wake up to the need for holiness!
"'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.' In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." 2 Timothy 2:19-21
God only serves revival on clean plates so we must purify our hearts! If there is sin in the camp we need to address it. If there is sin in our lives we need to confess it.
We need to have people in our lives that keep us accountable in these areas so that, together, we can walk in purity. As James 5:16 reminds us, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
As my old youth ministry professor used to say, "We confess to God to be forgiven. We confess to each other to get healed." May we have churches that encourage this kind of relational reality checks so that we get beyond the surface of "everything's fine" to the raw struggles underneath that all of us have. As we do we can live an increasingly holy life that leverages the power of our prayers with heaven! Again, as James reminds us, "the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Let's wake up to the need for holiness!
3. Wake up to the necessity of faith!
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6
"...without holiness no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14) and without faith no one will ever experience holiness! Living a life of true holiness that increases our prayer impact is not a matter of keeping a list or trying to erase our sins in our own human strength. It's a matter of living a life of faith in Christ who can live his already-conquered-sin-through-the-cross resurrection life through us!
Our churches can be revived as, together, we live a life of faith that God uses to purify our hearts (Acts 15:9.) And when we live like this our prayers will have an ever-increasing impact ! Like Daniel, the angels who deliver the answers to our prayers could say to us, "As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed" (Daniel 9:23.)
Faith in Christ purifies our hearts and propels our prayers. And it also opens our mouth to proclaim the Gospel!
4. Wake up to the urgency of the Gospel!
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" Romans 1:16
A revived church is a Gospel Advancing church. It is a church that unashamedly brings the Good News of Jesus to a world in desperate need of it.
We must wake up to the need to share the Gospel!
Can you hear the voices of those who have passed on to the next life? Some are leaning over the banister of heaven calling down. Others are looking up from the flames of hell screaming out. But both have the same message, "Tell others so they can experience hope in the next life."
Gospel urgency requires Gospel fluency. In other words, if the people in your church are motivated to share the Good News of Jesus but can't articulate that message in a clear and compelling way then it will lead nowhere.
This 4 minute video will help you and your church share the Gospel with clarity, courage and compassion:
5. Wake up to the potential of youth!
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." 1 Corinthians 1:27
Since there's nothing more "foolish" than the typical American teenager we shouldn't underestimate these young people as a potent agent of revival. God loves to use the unlikely to accomplish the unimaginable because it brings unbelievable glory to him!
Teenagers come to Christ quicker and can spread the Gospel faster and farther than adults. So the quickest way to revive a church is through the youth! That's why I challenge you to unleash their potential by getting them to make and multiply disciples.
Youth ministry is strategic. Every Great Awakening in the history of the United States has had teenagers on the leading edge.
For more on this check out a radio program I just did with Dr. James Dobson on Family Talk Radio. It's on the coming youth awakening and Dare 2 Share Live, a student movement coming on September 23rd that will unleash up to 50,000 teenagers to share the Gospel from coast to coast and prayerfully and powerfully shake this nation with the Good News of Jesus! Click here to listen to part one of the interview (which tells my story) and click here to listen to part two (which talks about the coming youth revival.)
It's time for revival!
It's time to pray to God, purify our hearts and proclaim the Gospel!
It's time to unleash the next generation to make and multiply disciples until everyone everywhere hears the Good News of Jesus!
The Holy Spirit is giving us a wake up call. Let's answer it!