REVIVE US AGAIN!!! R. D. ICE
Clem Thurman writes in Gospel Minutes Sept. 27, 02: “Some folk, faced with the conditions as they are in the world today, are led to believe that ‘Christianity has failed.’ Even among those who are supposed to be Christians, many are ready to give up on ‘the law of the Spirit of life’ (Romans 8:2) as a world-changing movement, claiming that the gospel will just not fit the complex issues of our society today.”
Paul “planted.” Apollos “watered.” But it was God Himself who gave the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6. Both planting preachers and watering preachers are required. But no human effort can substitute for God who makes the plant grow. God Himself is always on His Throne.
The Lord’s church has existed since Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. But over the centuries there have been times of revival and renewal, movements, brotherhoods, and difficulties - all within the Lord’s church. Note the “
church of God”
struggled with many things. Corinth
The Lord’s church is indestructible!!! Even the gates of hell cannot prevail against her!!! Yet individual churches are only one generation away from extinction, and a local church may lose her candlestick [Revelation 2:5].
The Church is continually in need of "times of refreshing from the Lord." Satan does his worst to discourage us and to send us down "blind alleys" to turn our attention away from Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Note Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10-31. We need revival and renewal to fill our hearts with the love of Christ [Romans 5:5]. This gives us hope, and hope is the anchor of the soul! Peter proclaimed: "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." [Acts 3:19 NKJV]
America look back to three times of revival
which have had particular importance to the Churches of Christ in . America
1. "The Great Kentucky Revival" which took place around 1801. Barton W. Stone said this was the Holy Spirit stirring up things [John 16:7-15], convicting and convincing. This revival at Cane Ridge was a milestone.
The French & Indian War had ravaged and desolated the morality of our Nation. It was said that the nation had become a nation of drunkards. Crime was rampant. Religion was at a low ebb. When a time of revival broke out in
, Stone went to
see for himself. He came back with new
hope and strength. He prayed, along with
others, and revival came to Cane Ridge.
In that time of difficult and almost impossible travel, thousands came
to join in, some from 100 miles away.
Perhaps twenty thousand came. It
was a new day! Later Campbell and Walter
Scott and others joined in. Jesus was
preached and thousands across the land "obeyed the gospel." Logan County, Kentucky
2. "The War Between The States." Another time of revival took place around the time of the Civil War. The War produced great upheaval and dislocation and suffering. But Dr. J. H. Darst wrote in a history of the "restoration" in Virginia, "Ante-Bellum Disciples": "Between the surrender in April, and November 1865, Chester Bullard baptized 500 persons in southwest Virginia, and about the same number of converts were secured in eastern Virginia: approximately a 10% increase in the State membership during the first seven months of peace." The War produced strains on the "restoration" that later produced division. But for a time Jesus was preached and many across the land "obeyed the gospel."
3. "World War II." The Great Depression had come to an end. Many were snatched up and taken overseas to fight. It was a time of great turmoil and dislocation. But many came to realize there was a World out there which could be won to Christ! Returning soldiers brought with them great excitement and this filled the Churches of Christ! Success became the goal! Much outreach was done to bring people to Christ Jesus and to get them to "obey the gospel." Many benevolent works were done; helping those in other countries who were starving; and also proclaiming Christ Crucified and Risen! Much the same things were done here in our own country. We saw a time of tremendous growth!
But the devil does his worst. Whenever revival comes, the devil works to oppose it. He tries to convince good people that the revival is sinful and that these things are of the devil. Note how the Pharisees spoke of Jesus in Matthew 12:24. Jesus said they were in danger of the unpardonable sin, verse 32. But it is the Lord who opens doors that no one can shut (Revelation 3:7-8). In opposing “revival” we could be opposing God (Acts 5:38-39).
Sometimes honest and sincere brethren will differ over what to them is a matter of "The Faith." Note Romans 14. We are to welcome all the Lord's followers - even those whose faith is weak, as Paul says. We are not to spend our time arguing with them over their concerns. We are to love them and help them. Yet of course our own freedom is not limited by what others think (1 Corinthians 10:23-29).
In the 50's brethren began debating brethren over certain "issues" that were being raised. Some began to "choose up sides" and withdraw themselves from those they labeled as "unfaithful." There would perhaps be two struggling churches now, where one strong church existed before; sometimes three or more struggling churches. The Churches of Christ are effectively split into five distinct groups who have little or no contact with each other. Note the list of distinctives in Mac Lynn's Directory: “Churches of Christ in the
But the past is no more. There are times of Revival in our past, but we must move boldly ahead as good stewards of our "revival heritage." Jesus is Lord and we must be faithful to Him! We must speak out and encourage new revival simply because the Word of God on these matters is true. Out of our deep love for God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit, we must strive to make our faith and love be real, honest, genuine and sincere! We lift up our voices to God and ask for fresh strength!!!
Lensch wrote: "A revival is not just a season for spiritual fun and games. No, revival is a divine corrective that is designed to get the church back on a course that is biblically normal." We look back to see the church as it was in the New Testament. We also reach forward to the responsibility of sowing the same good seed from the Bible. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! We must exalt and glorify JESUS CHRIST and lead people to love and obey HIM!!! [Read John 3:10-21.]