I can scarcely read Ravenhill’s “Why Revival Tarries” without many tears (and Ravenhill penned his book in 1959!). My heart weeps for the state of the church of Jesus Christ in 2010, for I love her. Tears run down my cheeks in torrents. We placate sinners and sympathize with those who do not trust in God. We are social workers and secular do-gooders, instead of Spirit-filled, sacred God-workers. What have we come to? I am grieved, and I believe the Spirit is grieved.
Rejection is the church’s response to those of us who can’t help but speak the truth of a glorious gospel, bathed in the blood of Jesus Christ, that says we can be set free, indeed! It seems we would rather stay mired in our sin and unbelief than truly receive and take into our hearts the truth of the Word. Christ came that we may be forgiven our sins but also to set us free from the sin nature (see John 8:31-36). I’ve heard many people use John 8:36 apart from its context. Christ is not talking about setting us free from slavery to the rebellious deeds we do against God –– that would make no sense at all! But He says that if we are truly His disciples, we will continue in His word and we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. We will learn that Christ wants to crucify the “self,” our rebellious sin nature, the root of the sin problem, and replace it with His nature. “I am crucified with Christ; I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” Paul cried! That’s the “indeed” part of free! Glory to God! He delivers us from our “selves” so He may use our cleansed, purified and fully submitted vessels to deliver others! Woe to me if I do not preach Christ’s gospel!
What hope do we have, given the careless laxity of the church today, the winking at sin and the scoffing at the idea that the Father disciplines His children, even sending them into exile until a whole generation dies out! Today’s church says, “God allows things into our lives; He does not cause them.” YHWH most certainly chose Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to mete out punishment to sinning Judah; the devil had nothing to do with God’s punishment of His people. It was all God. It is no wonder that no one fears God these days; we have reduced Him to a kindly grandfather who wouldn’t hurt a flea!
We attribute all of our personal problems to the devil these days. “Satan is mad at us and so he lashes out at us,” we say. But we deceive ourselves. Satan has nothing to fear from the church today; he mostly leaves her alone in her foolishness and sin, or snickers at the hordes who follow the ear-tickling false prophets of the day. We are entrapped by our own lusts, per James 1:14-15. All Satan has to do is dangle the carrot, and we greedily bite.
I ask again, what hope do we have? Only Christ Jesus our Lord can rescue His church, and He declares that He will prepare her. He will do so, thank God, using brave souls who will declare that He comes to fully deliver us. He will bring revival, that He may have a bride without spot or wrinkle, all glorious within. Lord, give us revival!