Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Church Must First Repent
WRITEN BY . Edwin Orr

All that has been said about individuals applies with equal force to the larger groups in which individual Christians find themselves a place. The life of the majority of churches and societies is sub-normal, stunted in growth, paralysed instead of powerful. What is the trouble ? It is just general backsliding. The author was once told by an agnostic: "I think I would be a Christian [if it were not] for the Christians." Another man, of communistic views, is reported having said to a parson: "I have a regard for your Jesus, but I am sure I see no connection between Him and the life of your church." Churches, and all other groups of Christians, are just like individuals--either they are growing in grace or else they are backsliding. Such backsliding is often a vicious circle, for spiritual poverty produces worldliness, and worldliness brings greater spiritual poverty.

Little by little, the church loses its grip on essential things, becomes a social club, goes to sleep or flies off at a tangent. All over the world we find sleeping churches, and all round them are the gospel-starved masses. Instead of performing the first thing of importance, evangelising the rnasses, they are engaged in a bewildering variety of pastimes--anything but the real thing. It has pleased the Lord to intervene at times to bring back His people to a more normal life. This is called revival. Revival, it must be noted, is solely the concern of believers, and is not an evangelistic campaign as many seem to think, although such a gospel effort may be the outcome of revival among Christians.

The greatest need of the churches today is revival.

Revival is of course a matter for individuals as well as churches--and in such cases, it is often called 'full surrender', or 'a clean heart', or 'victory over sin',--the term is not of such vast importance provided we recognise that the experience is simply the forsaking of a subnormal experience for the normal Christian life. This is individual revival. Returning to the words of Scripture, we find the message of the Lord blunt and powerful. " I counsel thee..." There is no mistaking what the Lord thinks of that Church. His denunciation; "You say that you stand in need of nothing " is met by an offer of pure gold instead of dross, clothing instead of shame, ointment to cure the blindness.

Again...repentance ! What does it mean? Be in earnest, and change your warped mind, change your backslidden heart, change your wrong attitude, change your contrary direction. Repent ! The next exhortation is one of mixed tenderness and urgency; "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me." This plea, preached so often with effect to unregenerate sinners, would be even more effective with believers in the Church.

It is the Lord Christ Who stands outside the door of the Laodicean Church. He is patiently, tenderly knocking. Few hear Him, and many of those that do are too busy with other things to open the door. And those that are eager to open the door are often hindered by others who stand in the way. Still He is knocking. To the individual, there is wonderful comfort. Christ does not say, " If you persuade all the rest to let Me in----" but rather " If any man hear My voice" Individual responsibility is as great regarding revival as regarding salvation. Letting Christ into the heart means revival for the individual who does it.

If "revival is the reception by the church of life abundant," revival is also reception by the individual of the life abundant. Revival has always begun through the obedience of individuals. Four young men, together with individuals scattered throughout the Province, prayed down the Ulster Revival Of 1859. Evan Roberts and other individual servants of God prayed down the Welsh Revival Of 1904. God lit little fires here and there, in individual homes, and when they became numerous the place went on fire. Andrew Gih, listening to a plea made by Paget Wilkes, in Shanghai, did not wait until the rest of China was moved. He opened his heart to revival, and God has been using him as a revivalist ever since. Instances could be multiplied.

"If any man hear My voice, I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me." Revival must begin somewhere. It must begin in some heart. Who knows but it might start with You ? Many Christians are waiting for a collective stirring...something which will be labeled "revival" right away. God is waiting for individual stirrings, and He is waiting for you. Get the perspective right. "If any man..."


At 8:39 PM, Blogger Maria del Carmen said...

I often find myself waiting on God when it's really the other way around. We're the ones that need to seek and knock before big things start to happen. There's power in prayer. I'm doing more of it lately and I feel a stirring in my heart, an enthusiasm for His word that wasn't there before. I was always afraid of who I'd become if I totally let go and let God take over (as if I were ever really in control in the first place). 2Tim1:7 talks about us not having a spirit of fear (timidity) but of power and of love and of self discipline. We need to move. It's our choice, our will, that gets everything rolling in one direction or the other. I choose God and I'm not fearing what happens because in faith I know He won't take me to a place I can't handle, a place he wouldn't accompany me. He is everywhere and that's a comforting thought.

Loved this post on revival! God bless!

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Joe said...

When enough individuals in a church repent, the church experiences revival.

Good post!

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Godzheart said...

Powerful post. It is true, revival has to start even if it be one person. I guess thats how all the revivals start, one man stirred up by the power of God and then transferring that power to others around him. But it surely must start at an individual level.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

As always, good thoughts.

At 6:58 AM, Blogger J. Wendell said...

Merry Christmas!

At 6:23 AM, Blogger Andy said...

great post! Check out my blog at www.andrewclements.blogspot.com where I talk about some similar things. God bless.


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