You have probably heard of the expression “Don’t put the cart before the horse!” But, to be truthful, that is what so many churches are guilty of doing today, especially the mega-churches. In reality, every pastor and congregation would love to see their church filled, but there are biblical truths that are there as guidelines. If they are not followed, the cart has been put before the horse. Worse yet, if programs and formulas replace those biblical truths, the cart becomes a stumbling block before the horse. The church may be filled just like any sports arena or entertainment center, but that church has become Ichabod (the glory of the Lord has departed). Yes, it is possible to have goose bumps from all of the sensationalism and hype, and have the glory of the Lord departed. Just because there are manifestations, doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit is behind it (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, the question must be asked, “Who is filling the pews?” Are they nominal Christians who were led to the foot of the cross and left there to only seek self-fulfillment through the sensational? This may be harsh, but I am reminded of the following verse:
And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:39-40 ESV)
Or are the pews filled with people whose lives have been dramatically transformed by going through the cross and never stopping there, but moving forward and impacting the world around them?
“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” (Acts 17:6b ESV)
There are many mega churches out there where the masses flock to and fill. Within their church walls you will find people who are pumped up and coddled. But in the eyes of God, is this a legitimate reality for a church to have? Great music and singing, great programs, dynamic leadership, motivating speakers, a sense of euphoria when you walk out the doors, a feel good experience with no confrontation. Nothing wrong with any of that, or is there?
Listen to David Wilkerson’s warning of a dangerous last day’s deception (He calls it ‘The Gospel of Accommodation’) that has invaded the church in America. I’ve also included the PDF as it was delivered to the Assemblies of God at their Headquarters Chapel Service.
So what is the Lord really looking for?
God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him. You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God’s help. (2 Chronicles 16:9 MSG)
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2 ESV)
Now that we have moved on from the concept of filling a church to revivalism, what really is it?
A Christian revival, or revivalism, is increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society, with a local, national or global effect. It is often referred to as an ‘awakening’. This should be distinguished from the use of the term ‘revival’ to refer to an evangelistic meeting or series of meetings. Revivalism cannot be produced by human effort but requires a sovereign work of the Spirit of God.
No formulas or programs will bring about true revival. Only prayer wrought in humility, brokenness brought about by a contrite heart, and desperation for lost souls brings about true revivalism.
Click on the following URL that will take you to a must watch sermon that literally transformed me, my prayer life, and my desperation for a true revivalism in my church and the world around me:
When true revivalism takes place, you don’t have to worry; your church will be divinely filled with no human manipulation involved, because the cart has not been put before the horse. Not only will your church be filled, your whole area will be impacted.
Will there be miracles and healings when there is a true revival? Sometimes yes and sometimes no but they are not necessary ingredients. The following condensed account of the Hebrides Revival that took place only 69 years ago gives us a proper perspective:
Afterwards, please read the full account of the Hebrides Revival as documented from first-hand experience of Duncan Campbell himself. I beg of you to please read through all 8 pages. This single PDF document has transformed my perspective on what true revival is more than any other document I have ever come across:
All of this teaches us that we must be very careful when it comes to human perspective because God’s ways are much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). From a human perspective you would think that the prophesy concerning John the Baptist (Malachi 4:5) would be an Elisha rather than an Elijah who would pave the way for the Messiah and that it would be Elisha rather than Elijah who would meet Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). We are naturally drawn to this conclusion simply because Elisha was blessed with a double portion of the spirit that Elijah had. But, as we learn from scripture this wasn’t the case.
The whole point of this article is to get the message across that we need to stop trying to figure everything out and just simply move in faith by humbling ourselves with a broken and contrite heart as we pray desperately for a move of God on the lost souls around us. If we do, He will take care of the rest!
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land.” (Ezekiel 22:30a NIV)
To put everything in this article in a nutshell, it is as follows:
The word Jesus uses for ‘witness’ in Matthew 24:14 is the same Greek word used for ‘testimony’, which literally means proof of fact. Christ is speaking here of not just preaching the gospel, but of presenting it as a testimony. In short, the gospel we preach is effective only if it is backed up by a life that testifies to its reality. You would think that in America, a nation filled with thousands of evangelical churches, there would be a strong gospel witness. But many churches have compromised the true gospel of Christ and there is very little testimony of His lordship in the lives of the people. They are not true witnesses and the churches are not thriving. Too many ministers, young and old, run all over the world looking for strategies to produce growth in their churches. They attend seminars, conventions and ‘think tanks’ searching for the key to building a larger church. Still others flock to ‘revivals’ in the hope that they will learn new methods of how to have the Holy Spirit fall on their congregation. But it takes more than new ideas or strategies to touch nations for Christ. I am thankful there are exceptions, however, and God is moving mightily in churches where pastors catch a vision and spend time on their faces before the Lord. And they are leading their congregations into a deeper walk with the Lord. All our plans are in vain if Jesus is not enthroned in every area of our lives! (David Wilkerson)