“Sow yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men” (Hosea 10:12-13).
What Time Is It?
Hosea tells us that it is time to seek the Lord. It is time to break up the fallow ground.
It is time for God’s people to wake up and do something. The apostle Peter informs us that it is time for judgement to begin, “For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17). It is also a time for the saint of God to stop being lazy, “How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” (Joshua 18:3). It is time for the Church to repent of its backsliding and sin, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins be blotted out, when times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). If we want to experience the times of refreshing as promised by the Lord then we must return to the Lord with our whole heart.
The subject of revival can be broken down into two sections:  A time to get real;  A time to get zeal.
A Time To Get Real
We need genuine Christianity in our churches and pulpits today. When clowns are found entertaining God’s people instead of Holy Spirit baptised preachers teaching the truth then we need revival desperately. Our churches our filled with those claiming to be Christians but who will not hear and obey God’s word. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16). If we want revival we are going to have to have it God’s way. We all must return to the old way, yes, the old-time religion of the Bible.
“There are no shortcuts when it comes to revival. The church desperately needs revival, but it is not going to come by quick and easy methods. Evan Roberts prayed for eleven years before the Welsh Revival broke out, and his ministry during that remarkable time broke him physically. More than one hundred thousand people were converted to Christ during that mighty awakening, but it was not the result of manufactured meetings (they were spontaneous) or manmade promotions. True revival goes deeper that that.” (God Isn’t In a Hurry, Warren Wiersbe).
The new Christianity with all its gimmicks does not work. It is valueless, bankrupt, and void of the Holy Spirit. Leonard Ravenhill said, “The Church is either supernatural or superficial.” If we return to the old paths of righteousness and obedience, if we would but walk in the ways of the Lord, then we will find the revival we desire. These new teachings, new waves, new bibles, and new songs cannot and will not produce revival. God cannot and will not bless them. The modern-day believer can think that he has the baptism of the Holy Spirit because he can babble in tongues, he can think he is worshipping God with his meaningless songs, he can try to build up his faith with unholy versions of the scriptures, but God will not bless him, answer his prayers or accept his praise. If we don’t do it God’s way we are simply playing games, looking for new gimmicks to promote our churches, and raising the temperature of God’s wrath against such abominations.
What churches today are living according to the New Testament Pattern? No wonder we have to return to the old paths, the good way, the road to revival. The 19th century evangelist Charles G. Finney said, “Revival is the renewal of the first love of Christians resulting in the conversion of sinners to God. It presupposes that the church is backslidden, and revival means conviction of sin and searching of hearts among God’s people. Revival is nothing more than a new beginning of obedience to God.” (Source unknown).
So why do we not return to the old paths? The reason is simple – there is a price to pay, and few are willing to pay that price. Few believers have paid the price of laying down their lives and being fully committed to Christ. Even fewer are willing to consider taking up the cross daily. Few pay the price because they are too comfortable in this world. Maybe what we need is a dose of old-fashioned persecution to wake us up! “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). The world does not persecute Christians who live ungodly lives. It does not persecute those who frequent pubs, clubs and bars. It does not persecute those who waste time in cinemas and other worldly pursuits. The world is not offended by a hypocritical believer. Gone are the days of seeking the Lord for lost souls, now we invite them to the barn dance, line dance, church barbecue or table sale. Revival is the visitation of God. It wakens sleeping saints, it is the presence of God in our midst. It brings the reality of God’s holiness and a deep understanding of our sinfulness. It reveals the power of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. “A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness, making God’s love triumph in the heart” (Andrew Murray).
We need to come to the point where we know we cannot do without a mighty move of God. “Seek the LORD” says Amos, “and ye shall live; lest He break out like a fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel” (5:6). There are only two options here, Revival or Judgement – God is leaving the choice to us.
There needs to be a shake-up in our churches. Hell is burning while we sleep in our comfortable Christianity that is powerless to impact society. “It is not our eloquence, our learning, our fame, or our wealth, that can commend Christ to the world: it is only the holy living of Christians” (The Key to Holiness, C.H. Spurgeon).
One major problem is that few amongst us expect or dare believe for a revival. We blame it on the devil, society, or the Last Days instead of our personal laziness in the Lord’s work. Yes, we blame it on everything except our lack of faith. Of course we are living in the last days, and things are getting worse, sin is increasing and the love of many is waxing cold, but have we never read, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20)? Though we are at the close of world history souls still need to be saved. We are not doing what Jesus commanded – this is why we need revival. “Revival is needed when there is a worldly spirit in the church. The church has sunk down into a low backslidden state when you see Christians conform to the world in dress, parties, seeking worldly amusements, and reading filthy novels” (Charles Finney).
It is time to get real with God and ourselves. We must get back to the old paths – back to God, back to the altar. If you look closely you will find that the altars of the Lord have been replaced with modern-day idols. Revival means that the idols must come down and God’s altars repaired. “And [Manasseh] took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 33:15-16). King Manasseh had the courage to change his life, to rid himself and his people of all forms of idolatry – everything that was offensive to God. We who have the Holy Spirit are doing less than what is expected of us. God has not changed His mind for He still wants us to get right with Him. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Revival does not start with organisations or denominations, it begins with individuals. “There is no doubt that a Christian may be enabled to clearly discern the signs of the times, so as to understand, by providence, what to expect, and to pray for it in faith. They are often led to expect a revival, and to pray for it in faith, when nobody else can see the least sign of it” (Charles Finney). Research the history of Revivals and you will find that one man (maybe two or three) got right with God. God is still looking for that one man … “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30) … will we continue to disappoint Him?
A Time To Get Zeal
It is not only a time to get real with God, it is a time to get zeal for God. We are living amongst the Laodicean Church (some call this the Laodicean Church Age – the final age before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ). Reading from the letter to the Laodicean Church should leave us in no doubt regarding Revival and Zeal. “Unto the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22). The last day wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked church has the opportunity to repent and receive revival from the hands of Christ. Notice that the letter is written to a whole church (to a whole church age) but Jesus says, “If any man….”. It only takes one person to open the door and receive personal revival for the outpouring of God’s power to spread throughout the church. Notice that Jesus actually loves the Laodicean Church and wants it to experience revival! It is a church that has much going for it, but it is all worldly. It has the outward appearance of power but none of the ingredients for it. If you believe, as I do, that we are living in the last days, then do not miss the obvious significance of the above text. While there are sinners needing to be saved and no church zealous enough to preach the word to them, then there is a need for revival. Those who object to this are living proof that revival is needed.
We need zealous believers to stand up for Jesus. We are not calling for militancy here – history proves it does not work. We do not envision a Christianised world (that is the trap the Kingdom Now people have fallen into). What we need is a revival amongst God’s people (the remnant that see the desperate need of the day). There is no real move of God at the moment anywhere in this world (forget the nonsense going on in Toronto and Pensacola – that is not God but the devil. As I stated earlier, we must return to the old paths not accept the ways of these barking mad fanatics that bare their gold fangs).
Read the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 before you read on. Now read verse 6 again, “At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” Notice four things about this:-  It is Midnight – Spiritual darkness in the church, especially since she sleeps;  A cry made – this means that someone was awake (that one man again);  The Bridegroom cometh – the last days – Jesus is coming soon;  Go ye out to meet Him – they must wake up first (REVIVAL). This is the revival we have been talking about and which we should be expecting. Those God will use in the last revival are those who are convinced that Jesus is coming soon and dare to wake others up to the fact. These are the people whom God will fill with His Holy Spirit to bring revival to a sleeping church.
You must make sure you are awake on time or it will be too late. We need a people possessed of God and full of zeal. We need someone who will take hold of God. “There is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth himself to take hold of Thee: for Thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities” (Isaiah 64:7). Do you really want God to move? “For I will pour water upon Him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isaiah 44:3). It is a time for the zealous to take hold of God. Let’s follow the example of others who prayed until revival came. In the spring of 1904 a young Welshman named Evan Roberts was repeatedly awaked to pray from 1:00 to 5:00 a.m. By November a powerful spiritual awakening was spreading through Wales. When we are revived, we are in a position not only to pray, but for God to hear and answer our prayers.
Don’t leave it a moment longer to call out to God for personal revival. While we carelessly drift through life souls are slipping into a Christless eternity. Don’t wait until you are zealous enough. You will never have zeal until you repent of what offends Christ in your life. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). In effect Jesus is saying, “Return to thy first love” (:4). We limit God because of our lack of faith and love. Because we believe God will not do it we think that He cannot do it. If God did it for Moody, Finney, Evan Roberts, Duncan Campbell and John Wesley, then He can do it for us.
We need to add one final ingredient to this – a desperate, serious and earnest desire for revival. “O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2) and “Wilt Thou not revive us again that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?” (Psalm 85:6). The heart cry of every true believer in these last days should be, “Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down …” (Isaiah 64:1) or as Fanny Crosby wrote, “Revive Thy work, O Lord! Exalt Thy Precious name: And by the Holy Ghost, our love for Thee and Thine inflame.”