Do we as Christians truly want revival to come? Do we truly understand the desperate need for revival in the church? Heed carefully then these words, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) In like kind, James 4:9-10 says, “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Is this message what the church wants to hear today? No, it likely is not. However, it is a most needful message! Let us be reminded of the account given in King Josiah’s day, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.” (Romans 15:4) So then, at that time the temple had been neglected and the Word of God, the Law, forgotten. Now when King Josiah came to power, he wanted the temple restored. Therefore, while all this was going on, we read, “Then Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD’…And Shaphan read from it before the king. And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded… ‘Go, inquire of the LORD for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book.” (2 Chronicles 34:15, 18-21)
Have We Kept the Lord’s Word?
The big question is, have we “kept the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book”? To start with, we read, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3) Now, what does the word “sanctification” even mean? It means to be holy. In the context, it refers to our conduct. We are called to be separate from the world. And, yes, “sanctification” speaks of separation. Therefore we read, “What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer have with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.’ Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1) In this line of thought, we read, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
Again, God’s will for us becomes readily apparent in these words, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce all ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous of good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2:11-15)
Is Our Conduct Holy?
Another question, then, are we holy in our conduct? Let us briefly highlight a few words found in Ephesians 5. We read, “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper for saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk not crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving…because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them…Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:2-21)
Are these things true in our lives, or is it that we are participating in the same “flood of debauchery” that the world has run after? (1 Peter 4:4) Are we lusting after the things of this world? Coveting what others have? Are our minds filled with movies of violence, sexual immorality, demonic powers, vengeance, and all manner of wickedness? Perhaps you try to justify yourself that these are not “actions” but only “imaginary,” and thus are okay? Then hear God’s Word on it, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Let not our minds be polluted with porn, but rather, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4)
Also, today many think that, “Godliness is a means of gain,” but it is written, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.” (1 Timothy 6:5/Hebrews 13:5)
Make Sure Things are Well
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us get down humbly before our living God, and ask Him to revive “me.” Yes, revival begins with self! Then may it spread to our brothers and sisters in Christ! For we have wandered so very far from what is written in God’s Holy Word! Perhaps we’ve only been “playing church,” and have never been saved in the first place! Let us beware! For it is written, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) This ought to alarm anyone who has been involved with Christian activities without actually having been saved! For we are warned, “For you are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them…and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)
If you are one who still outside of Christ, know that you are a sinner separated from God! His wrath is coming! Yet, God so loved you that He gave His Son to take the punishment for all your sin on the cross! This Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised to life on third day in accordance with the Bible! Are you resting in His finished work to save you? Are you placing your confidence in Him to save you now? Why not get into a right relationship with Him right this very moment? Why risk being separated from Him for eternity in the lake of fire? Oh, Jesus already took the wrath for you! That is how much He loves you! He wants you saved! Don’t delay! Tomorrow may be too late! No, even the next moment may be too late! Listen to God’s promise, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Cry out to Jesus, the Messiah, of whom it is written, “Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)
The Church Today
The Word of God exhorts us to “be alert.” Are we? We ought to be Bereans, who checked the Scriptures to see if what Paul the apostle said was true or not. If then, this is the case with the apostle, how much more so with those who stand behind pulpits today! We need to be spending much time in the Scriptures, so that when anything false is said, we recognize it immediately! For even Peter the apostle wrote, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert.” (Acts 20:29-31)
We live in a precarious day and age! This is God’s message, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:16-18) These are strong words that ought to bring us to full attention! Oh, how we the church have strayed so incredibly far from God’s will for us! For God warns, “Do not be arrogant…do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches [Israel] neither will will he spare you [Gentiles/church].” (Romans 11:18-21) The point being, many in the church are not saved at all. For these, they will receive a “strong delusion” and will “fall away” and will bow before the antichrist and receive the full wrath of God during the great days of tribulation that are to fall on all the Earth!
The church has become filled with false teachers who proclaim many things that people with itching ears want to hear, but it is not the truth! As it is written, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) Therefore, we ought to “be alert”! Let us not be deceived! “But understand, that in the last days…people will be…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Therefore, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near…let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
For as it stands, the world mocks our Lord, for they see the utter hypocrisy among us! Yes, our conduct has greatly hurt the Holy Spirit where with we are sealed unto the day of redemption!
Let us understand the seriousness of this, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” Think about it, how does our conduct reflect on our Savior? Does it cause the eyes of the world to turn in awe to our Lord, or to ridicule Him?
Let us pray that the Lord would revive “me,” and then pray the Lord would bring revival to His church across the globe!
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Psalm 85:6
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15
“You have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, Take away our iniquity…we will say no more, Our God, to the work of our hands…I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them…he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine…It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” Hosea 14:1-9
Victor J. Reimer
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*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.