“What would happen if revival were to break out into our lives and into our churches today?” [Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit]. So many of my comments on Graham’s book have been positive, but if this revival occurred…
We might like it.
We might not.
Pastor Graham thinks eight things would happen.
1.People would be confronted with a God that is not just tender, merciful and compassionate. Today, pulpits are full of pastors who preach this version of God, you know the “warm, fuzzy God, tender, merciful and compassionate. Many well-known pastors preach on television and the God they describe is often not a God of justice, holiness and wrath. The message is that all is well; live your best life now! Graham says that version of God is a “caricature of God.” If the Holy Spirit broke out in our churches and in our lives, God would confront our sins and it would not be comfortable all the time.
We might not like that.
2.There will be new vision of the sinfulness of sin. The “new” vision will be soundly centered on the cross. Jesus Christ came to die for the forgiveness of our sins so we know that sin is a dark and terrible thing in the eyes of God. When man sins, lust takes over and sin matures into death. As merciless sinners, we cannot live without God. Without Jesus Christ, we are unworthy. Life is not about an endless number of do overs. When the Holy Spirit comes, we must realize that we must admit our unworthiness and make efforts to lead a more righteous life.
Some might not want to do that.
3.There will be an emphasis on the necessity of repentance, faith and new birth. Jesus came and said unless man is born again, he would not see the Kingdom of Heaven. If there is a Holy Spirit revival, it will be necessary to have changed hearts. It will be necessary to become a new creature. It will be necessary for old things to pass away and everything to become new.
Change is hard; some won’t want to become a new creature or they see no need to become a new creature.
4.There will be the joy of salvation. Finally this may be a total positive for the Holy Spirit revival. If the Holy Spirit invades our lives and our churches, thousands of sinners will undoubtedly repent and there will be joy in heaven. Luke 15: 7 talks about the joy in the presence of the angels of God over the repentance of one sinner. Pastor Graham’s vision of a wrathful God, the dark nature of sin and the need to change may be negative but many will be convinced of God’s truth and many will experience the joy that only comes from a dedication to a righteous life. Won’t that be glorious?
5.There will be a new realization that is it our responsibility to evangelize the world. The best evidence that one is a new believer is concern for others. Too often Christians hesitate to share their message; maybe they alter their behavior to fit into the world. That will not be the norm when the Holy Spirit comes. Graham cites the Apostles who went anywhere and everywhere to share the message of Jesus Christ. That type of attitude will be evident if the Holy Spirit invades our lives and our churches. People won’t hold back.
6.There will be a deep social concern. Matthew 22: 37-39 is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible but do we take it seriously? Loving our neighbor as ourselves? Get real. That does not happen. Graham has some cogent words about this: “Too many people today want a brotherly world in which they can remain unbrotherly; a decent world in which they can live indecently. Too many individuals want economic security without spiritual security” . Let’s be honest, Christians should have high moral standards, high ethical standards, but it is clear that Jesus came to show us that society needs a solid Christian brotherly love. If we do not exhibit this, we fall short. We won’t fall short in this department when the Holy Spirit comes.
7.There will be an increased evidence of both the gifts and the fruit of the spirit. When the Holy Spirit pours into your life, your gifts of ministry will be evident and they will be used. The world will no longer say the Church is powerless. The world will no longer say the Church is silent. Individuals will no longer lead ordinary lives, lives that are indistinguishable from the rest of the world. We will know our gifts, we will be using our gifts. Others will know us by our fruit.
The Holy Spirit will have come.
8.There will be renewed dependence on the Holy Spirit. Graham writes the Holy Spirit “is the one who reproves, convicts, strives, instructs, quickens, regenerates, renews, strengthens and uses. The Holy Spirit gives us liberty, direction, discernment, power and fruit” . The Holy Spirit reveals the things of Christ. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to use the “sword of the Spirit,” the word of God. He guides us to the truth; He directs our lives toward Godliness. The Holy Spirit gives us the answers we need when we are attacked by enemies of God. The Holy Spirit gives us access to the Father. The Holy Spirit helps us with our prayers.
These are things we can’t go to the corner market and purchase. No matter who you know, no human contact can get you all of this. No matter how eloquent you are, you can’t talk you way into getting this.
This revival if it comes, if a true gift from God. It will cause change, it will be challenging as we come face to face with unpleasant truths but let’s focus on the good aspects of this. Let’s focus on joy. Let’s focus on the need that the world has for this revival.
Let’s focus on the words of Zechariah who said “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
What would we not like about that?
Just say “thank You Lord!”
For Your Holy Spirit!