We often hear the term “revival” in certain streams of the Church. Some Christians are hoping and praying for “revival” in the nation where they happen to live, whether America or some other nation. But the term itself is actually not found in the New Testament. Now of course it is certainly God’s will for his lukewarm Church to return to her first love as Jesus admonished the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2.
Revelation 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Instead of seeking after revival, we should be repenting. We should be doing the things the Church did at first nearly 2,000 years ago as recorded in Acts. We should be healing the sick, preaching the gospel in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and making disciples of them. This will fulfill the Great Commission and pave the way for the Second Coming of our Messiah Jesus Christ.
But that is not how the Church in the West today views “revival.” Yes, we see it as truly loving God from our hearts—but to be realized mostly in terms of faithful church attendance, the faithful giving of tithes and offerings, and serving the local body in love. But such “revival” will not result in fulfilling the Great Commission through the preaching of the gospel to the multitudes in faraway lands who never heard the life-giving gospel even once. Yes, we understand that local churches do support missionaries. But what percentage of the typical church’s budget goes to foreign missions during these Last Days when the time is short yet the remaining work to be done is immense? It is estimated that over 80% of a typical church’s budget in the United States goes for local operating expenses.
“Revival” in the West will mostly result in bigger and more prosperous local churches in those regions of the world which for the most part have already been reached for the gospel.
What is needed instead of “revival” is the baptism of the Holy Spirit as experienced by the early disciples at Pentecost.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 8:1 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. …4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
Only after this persecution when the disciples were scattered from Jerusalem—having been driven out from the comfortable confines of the temple courts where they usually met—did the disciples begin to preach the gospel in Judea and Samaria. Is this what it will take for the Church today to leave her comfort zone to preach the gospel to those at the ends of the earth who never heard?