I heard a preacher on television in New Zealand say that God is going to send revival to the church. There are several problems with this claim.
Church leaders in New Zealand have been saying for the last 30 years that God is going to send revival; but it has not happened. That is not because God is incapable of doing it, so it must be because the church is not ready to receive revival.
I don’t believe that God is saying that he will send revival. I believe that the is telling the church and its leaders what they need to do and how they need to change, so they can receive what he has for them. He has been saying this for at least the last forty years, but the church has refused to do what he is asking it to do. That is why our situation is so dire.
Revival is not the solution that we need. Revival occurs when the church is lukewarm. It was relevant in a culture where many people still went to church out of duty and in response to peer pressure, but did not really know and love Jesus. These people were part of the church, but it was only a small part of their lives. They were “sort of” committed to God, but had little to do with him. These people needed revival, because revival wakes up and invigorates a lukewarm church.
This is not our situation now. The people who are lukewarm left the church long ago and are not committed to living in the world. They don’t even think about God, let alone acknowledge him. They only people left in the church are seriously committed. They might be lacking in power, but they are not lukewarm, so a revival is not what they need. They need to be set free to function in the calling that God has for them (not just keeping the church system going) and they need the full power of the Holy Spirit to do it.
The people of the world don’t need revival because there is nothing to revive. They need rescue. Their lives are being wrecked by the spiritual powers of evil, and they need God to see them free to live the life that he has for them.
In this situation, the gospel needs to be different. When the church is lukewarm and asleep, a message of repentance will be effective. These people are claiming to serve God but have not bothered much, so they need to repent and choose to serve him seriously.
In the modern world, most people are enslaved by the spiritual powers of evil. Telling them to repent of their sins is pointless because they already know they are trapped in the mess of life. They need to be rescued from their bondage, so a gospel of rescue/deliverance (which is pervasive in the New Testament) will be more effective in meeting people where they are. When someone is stuck in a deep hole, you don’t make them apologise for falling in before you rescue them.
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