time in "Floods Upon Dry Ground", Chapter
5, Praying For A Nation", Pastors Bobby Duncan and James Jones
reminded us that the church needs to be revived before America can be revived.
Only then will “God Bless America” as the song states.
In today's post “Floods Upon Dry Ground, Chapter 6: Why No Revival?” the authors cited reasons why there is no revival in today’s world. They gave examples of the past, such as Jesus' words to John the Revelator about the Church of Laodicea—and also Leonard Ravenhill’s 60-year-old book, “Why Revival Tarries".
Jesus said about the Church of Laodicea that they thought they were "rich and in need of nothing". He corrected them, however, and said they were “neither cold nor hot”—that they were instead, “lukewarm”. He said about their lukewarmness—that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, and blind”. Jesus was very descriptive about what would happen if they didn’t change their ways. He said He would “vomit” them from his mouth.
Ravenhill, in the 1959 book, “Why Revival Tarries”, told his opinion of the reasons for no revival back then. I was five years old at that time. Authors Duncan and Jones hold that the reasons are still true today.
Ravenhill said that evangelism was at that time “highly commercialized”, and therefore “cheapened”. Also, the church was “careless” and “fearful” to share the truth of the Gospel. They lacked, way back in 1959, “an urgency to pray”, and also they were “stealing the glory that belongs to God”.
Authors Duncan and Jones concurred with Ravenhill that some of those points are true today. They also said revival can’t come under the following conditions:
- If we worry about
what people think about us if we share the truth of the gospel. We are
sometimes afraid people will think we are “intolerant” if
we point to Jesus as being the only way to reach God.
- If Jesus
isn’t “returned to the absolute center of the body of believers we
call the church.” Failure to do so will result in no
- If we don’t become
broken before God and repent for our sinful condition of “self-centeredness”.
- If we don’t “hunger
and thirst for the righteousness of Christ".
They gave the example of a prospector in the desert who forsook his pack
of precious gold that was too heavy to carry in the desert heat. All he cared
about was getting some “cool, refreshing water”. Duncan and Jones
said if we want revival we need to be like that prospector—to be so desperate
that we forsake everything else to thirst after righteousness.
Duncan and Jones wrote that most of us as Christians would welcome a revival. But they wrote, “the voracious hunger to experience it is almost non-existent.” They said we need to do the following for revival to come:
- "Thirst so
much for the righteousness of God that we feel we simply cannot survive
- “Are driven into
His (God’s) loving arms through intense prayer and supplications, and
through casting aside all obstacles that stand in our way.”
- “Genuinely hunger
and thirst for His presence and obey His Word.”
They compared today’s church to “untempered mortar”, or
stucco that is so prevalent in making buildings look nice. However, stucco
doesn’t increase the structural integrity of the building. They compared our
church practices and programs, including what they titled “misguided
worship”, to stucco. All these practices and programs might look and feel
nice, but they don’t lead people to repent, to sincerely seek God alone above
all other things, and to make Him once again “the epicenter of all we
are and do.”
Now, I want to qualify where I'm at in hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of Christ--and revival. I confess that I'm sorely lacking. I turned 70 years old this week, and in my five years of retirement, I have become distracted by many things, as I'm sure most of you do.
Charles Spurgeon, at the end of his book "The Soul Winner", quoted the following verse in Luke 15:10: “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” He reiterated over and over again that Jesus has "boundless joy" over sinners who repent and turn to Him, Jesus, for eternal life!
Spurgeon concluded the book with the following statement:
“With this in mind, go and seek to bring your
children, your neighbors, your friends, and your kinfolk to the Savior’s feet,
because nothing will give Him more pleasure than to see them turn to Him and
live. By your love to Jesus, I implore you, become fishers of men.”