Summary: A historical look at great revivals of years past.
Revive Us Again
If you ever want to know the truth about something, all you need to do is ask a child. You see, when we ask adults questions that do not have easy answers, they will usually hem and haw around the topic so as not to offend anyone. Children, however, will let you know exactly what is on their mind. There once was a little boy who had grown close to his pastor. Every Sunday after church, they would serve coffee in the fellowship hall together to the people of the congregation. The pastor viewed this as a perfect opportunity to teach this boy about service, fellowship, and evangelism, so he asked the boy, “Do you know why we serve coffee each week?” The boy thought for a bit, and then turned to the pastor and said, “I think it is probably to get people fully awake before they drive home.” This pastor learned a valuable lesson from this child that he would never had learned from an adult. He learned that his church services were boring.
I have to admit that I have sat through many boring church services in my life, and after awhile, you begin to accept boring as normal. It is like the two kids who sat next to each other in church. The younger brother was always antsy, and his older sister tried to get him to sit still. Finally, she said, “I wish you would calm down!” The boy looked at her and proclaimed, “I can’t. It’s just so boring.” Without missing a beat, the sister turned and said, “It’s supposed to be boring.”
When I think about the condition of God’s church, I can’t help but wonder if there is something missing. Is there something more that should be taking place in our services? Is boring the most we can hope for? I am glad that this is not the case. Church does not have to be boring and was never intended to be boring. In fact, as I said a few weeks ago, church was intended to be just the opposite. It was intended to be a place of revival. I’m not talking about the kind of revival where we set up a tent and call in a special speaker. I’m not talking about the kind of revival that we schedule on a calendar. I’m not talking about the kind of revival where the preacher calls down fire and brimstone and bangs his fist on the pulpit. I’m talking about the kind of revival that happens when we come face to face with the Spirit of God and our souls are renewed and set on fire by God. I’m talking about the revival that happens when we come clean before the manifest presence of our Almighty, Holy God.
This morning, we are going to have a bit of a history lesson about revival by taking a look at several revivals that have happened down through the years. We will start by looking at the first revival after Jesus departs, known as the Pentecost, and then we will take a look at other prominent revivals throughout history to see what we can learn from them. Let’s ask the Lord to bless our time.
The Revival at Pentecost
With revival being the topic, I can think of no better example to start with than the very first revival to hit after Jesus had ascended into heaven. Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about this revival in Acts chapter 2.