When desperation comes to the people of God for revival, renewal, or even a Great Awakening, and we feel we must have it regardless of precaution, we are setting ourselves up for failure, for deception, and finally for destruction. There is desperation on the very faces of God’s people. They are crying out for revival, for change, and for a Great Awakening. But what will be the cost? We must be careful to accept only those things that are of God. We must not go to and fro, fixing ourselves on every wind of doctrine.
YES, I believe in a coming revival and a Great Awakening for America and even the world, but it will not come through a lukewarm church. This Great Awakening will come from the outcasts in the body of Christ—those who shun the modern-day worldly, backslidden church—and from saints who are red-hot for Jesus, refusing to eat the mammon or filth of cultural Christianity. A Great Awakening cannot originate from that which is deceived, unholy, and worldly.
The occurrence of a true Great Awakening requires judgment from God upon the lukewarm, worldly, and backslidden churches. There is no escaping this fact. A study of past Great Awakenings and major revivals across the world reveals that for a true Great Awakening to take place, God’s judgment upon the church and upon the nations must also occur.
God’s sequence for revival is clearly revealed in studying the past. We must know and respect His divine sequence. The common sequence of the Great Awakenings is as follows:
Powerful singing of songs or hymns (occasionally this was omitted).
A kind of preaching where the power of God was released throughout the congregation as the minister spoke. The focus of the sermons was always Jesus; He was their center. Everything is about Jesus from the beginning to the end. A few times, preaching in a service was omitted or shortened, but this was not the rule.
People experienced the power of God through the preaching especially.
The power brought on hard conviction, repentance, healings, miracles, and other godly manifestations.
Salvation was not easy; the people experienced salvation in a groaning, agonizing way so that they would keep it; and most did keep it.
If there was no preaching like this, there was very little moving of God.
When the people focused on signs and wonders, the revivals fell into trouble.
I agree that we are ripe for another Great Awakening. But what concerns me is that our desperation for the moving of the Lord has left us even riper for the Last Days’ deceptions. Yes, we are apt for deception. To prevent this, we must have discernment to see through the lies and craftiness of our adversary; and a mature saint will be able to do this. God has His own pace, and if we move ahead of God, we will pay dearly. Therefore, we must be able to discern between good and evil—between the profane and the holy. If good things or benefits alone are the very criterion by which something is judged to be of God, we may have already fallen into the arms of deception. There is something more important than benefits, something more important than being released from depression, sickness, or addictions—that “something” is the holiness of God, His name, His honor; it is God Himself.
Receiving benefits of a dubious kind is too high a price to pay if it is going to throw any shadow upon God’s great Name. We have lost everything for the sake of benefit when the desire for benefit is, in itself, suspect.
It is remarkable that, though we are explicitly warned about End-Time lying signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9; Matthew 24:24), we somehow imagine that it is future, and mindlessly trust ourselves in our greed for experiences, empowerments, or releases, to dubious personalities who have caught the public fancy in incredible overnight popularity. I profoundly respect God’s use of the weak and the foolish thing, but I cannot, for that reason, endorse what is garish, cheap and coarse as being that weak and foolish thing of which Paul speaks. “Holiness unto the Lord” is still the standard of God’s House, even when it is unspectacular and unassuming in the eyes of the world, and even in our own eyes.
Waiting is a priestly function. We need to wait to see if our spirits are hospitable to what is being mediated from church platforms. Is it compatible with our existing knowledge of God? If it is not compatible, those involved can stand on their heads, run all over the platform, and display every other kind of madness, and we should be grounded in the Word enough to know that not everything is the genuine moving of the Lord. There is a counterfeit! We are not to mindlessly give ourselves to every manifestation we see. Our integrity in God needs to be guarded, and we should not allow ourselves to be influenced, taken up and affected by church trends, or else we will never have anything significant to give of ourselves to our Lord.
The teaching of the Scripture is to seek out, through the Word and prayer, the roots of the problems that come in life. One will usually find that unacknowledged disobediences are at the root of nearly every problem we face in this life. Absolution of our problems is accomplished primarily through that part of the Body to whom one is accountable and authentically joined.
But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Eph. 4:15 -16).