…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
The word ‘Revival’ does not appear in the Bible.
As an author of a recent book on revival put it, “there are as many definitions of the word revival as there are books”
Its hard when non-biblical words like revival, missional, intentional, relevant, missions, etc. are used in messages, without defining them, … the rest of us are left wondering what does it really mean ?
Eg. missions = overseas ?
This happens also for biblical words, eg, new christians are puzzled about non-everyday words like salvation, gospel, sanctification, justified, etc
As a layman, … I’m puzzled when leaders request
people to pray for revival, … without first defining or describing it. Some of us probably have not experienced a revival, … or may be, … we have, …but no one has told us we’ve been in one 🙂 .
So, if and when God answers, … how do we know He has answered our prayers for revival, so that we can give thanks to Him?
Somehow, its assumed everyone knows what ‘revival’ is.
Are we clear what we are agreeing in prayer about?
An explanation of revival helps, … though its seldom heard.
If its about praying for more people to come to know Jesus, then just state this. Everyone understands & will wholeheartedly & joyfully agree in prayer 🙂 Amen.
To some, revival is the mass conversion of souls … for others, its when Christians are revived, … holiness,
… for others its when there’s truly a socio-political impact on the society … for others a big well-known mega-church … or a great night of miracles and salvation, … signs & wonders, …. or, perhaps its easier to describe it as all the above … and more.
In the literature, … volumes have been written & analysed, … we find that revival is tied to a man (eg Johnathan Edwards) or an event (Asbury) or ‘trigger’ event (Moravians) or a place (‘Toronto’ blessing), or a move of God upon a region (eg Nagaland, Hebrides) … accompanied by prayers, and tangible impact to people.
So what does it mean for a layman … today ?
Recently, I was invited to my cousin’s wedding. As migrant Chinese families, our family is large, and super-extended. It was a great time to celebrate the wedding with everyone in the family, and meet my relatives, … some I’ve not seen for some years.
The wedding banquet began with my cousin’s elder brother giving thanks to the Lord for the food. As I mingled with my cousins (near and distant), it dawned on me that … more than 80+% of my cousins are Christians, walking with Him, attending various churches … & married to the same spouse 🙂 . Praise the Lord!
A number of our uncles and aunties have also become Christians too. At the banquet, one distant auntie took me aside, and informed me she just became born again. Praise God!
The spouses & the majority children of my cousins are also Christians.
Each family, …. a ‘home of prayer’.
One generation ago, …
none in our extended family tree were Christians, we were heathen, idol worshippers – separate from Christ, … foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)
I wish I could say I had a hand in bringing my cousins and relatives to the Lord.
But the truth is
… none of my efforts or prayers
… none of our efforts or prayers.
This is 100% God!
through the prayers, sharing & discipling of nameless others,
… thru family, colleagues, friends, classmates, strangers who crossed their paths;
people who love God, and love others.
All glory to the Lord!
The Holy Spirit moved upon our hearts, and drew us all to the Father.
John 6:44 (NIV)
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
Acts 17:26, 27 (NIV)
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
1 Timothy 2:1, 3, 4 (NIV)
1 … petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
This happened over a 20 years or more period … no dramas, or spectacle … quietly, … by God’s grace
1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted, Apollos watered,
but God was causing the growth.
Not about a person, or an event, or a place, or a prayer meeting, … or in a church
the Holy Spirit quietly working in hearts, through our ordinary everyday lives.
Praise the Lord! God is at work!
He deserves all the glory!
Like the day of Pentecost, … like the Roman Centurion, Cornelius’ home, … when the Holy Spirit came sovereignly came upon them
… 100% God’s mercy & grace, … God so love the world …
Recently, met a friend who had the privilege to lead his sister’s mother-in-law to Jesus; she was 91 years old. His sister’s family (in-laws) were of another faith. The mother-in-law was in intensive care at a hospital, when she suddenly requested to receive Jesus. Weeks later, all 5 of her sons and daughters received Jesus. My friend shared he heard another friend’s family also had a similar experience of family salvations.
I’m sure there are many others in various parts of the world who have had similar experiences in their family. Praise God!
Luke 17:21 (NASB)
… For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst
for a lay person, simply & tangibly,
revival starts with our family,
… our ‘house of prayer’.
At the Philippian Jailer’s home,
Acts 16:31, 33,34 (NIV)
Paul and Silas replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
… immediately he and all his household were baptized.
… he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
Salvation belongs to our God !
The Hebrew & Greek word for house are bayith & οἶκος,
meaning either or both house and family
depending on the context.
In Acts, when the Holy Spirit led large numbers of people into the kingdom of God … it started with a mighty rushing wind in a house … and moving upon home to home … family to family.
Acts 2:2,46,47; 5:42 (NASB)
2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
When the Holy Spirit breathed upon the Gentiles
… it started with Cornelius family & friends meeting in his home.
Acts 10:24, 44(NLV)
24 The next day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was looking for them. He had gathered all his family and close friends at his house.
44 While Peter was speaking,
the Holy Spirit came on all who were hearing his words.
From Noah’s family … to Abraham’s family,
to Rahab’s family … to Cornelius family,
to Lydia’s family … to the Philippian jailer’s family,
the Holy Spirit continues His work through families & homes of prayer.
Each new generation through the ages having their own personal relationship and experience with the Lord.
God has no grandchildren … only children 🙂 .
Of Timothy, Paul wrote,
For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you,
which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois
and your mother Eunice,
and I am sure that it is in you as well. (1 Timothy 1:5 NASB)
By the way, examples of family members mentioned in the New Testament:
Among Jesus 12 disciples were 2 sets of brothers – Peter & Andrew, John & James. Salome, the mother of John & James.
Jesus & John the Baptist were cousins; their mothers Mary and Elizabeth were cousins.
Mark and Barnabas were cousins. Mark’s mother and Barnabas aunt was Mary – her home was filled with believers who prevailed in prayer for the release of Peter from prison.
James, the brother of Jesus. (epistle of James)
Jude, the brother of James, the brother of Jesus. (epistle of Jude)
A great example is Andrew.
John 1:40-42 (NLT)
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus.
In Joshua, after the crushing victory over Jericho, the 2 spies brought out those who survived in Rahab’s house, … as promised.
Joshua 6:23 (NASB)
So the young men who were spies went in and brought out
Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers
and all she had;
they also brought out all her relatives …
Like at Cornelius’ home, … a large group whom Cornelius and Rahab dearly loved,
they received God’s free gift of salvation.
In Genesis, just before the Lord sent judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham interceded for his nephew Lot and his family.
Genesis 18:32, 19:12,13,16 (NLT)
32 Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?”
And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
12 Meanwhile, the angels questioned Lot. “Do you have any other relatives here in the city?” they asked. “Get them out of this place—your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. 13 For we are about to destroy this city completely. …
16 When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful.
29 But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.
The angels asked, “any other relatives …
your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else”
I like how the mercy of the Lord
to Lot’s family is cinematically captured,
16 When Lot still hesitated,
the angels seized his hand
…. rushed them to safety
for the Lord was merciful.
29 … God had listened to Abraham’s request
and kept Lot safe Genesis 19:16, 29 (NIV)
A love portrait of God’s love & mercy
— Abraham prayers to God,
in collaborative partnership with God,
and God working out His plan.
Praise God! “Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
The mercy of God is manifested & present … even at the eleventh hour,
in the midst of the judgment of God on the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah.
At the eleventh hour, on the cross,
one of the criminals walked with Jesus into paradise.
After Jesus set the man free from a legion of demons, he wanted to physically go with Jesus,
Mark 5:19 (NLT)
But Jesus said,
“No, go home to your family,
and tell them everything
the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”
On a side note, strong family units are the foundation of closely knit, supportive human groups — churches, societies, etc
In the gospels, …. Jesus tells us of His coming wedding banquet feast at the culmination of the ages, where we’ll rejoice with our family, generations past, present and future, to gloriously celebrate the great marriage feast of the Lamb.
Here’s a prophetic description of this great marriage feast,
Revelation 19:9, Luke 13:29, Isaiah 25:6-8, Revelation 11:15 (NIV)
Revelation 19:9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God
People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a
feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
Isaiah 25:7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
Isaiah 25:8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdoms of this world have become
the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ,
and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Amen, the families of this world … have become the family of our Lord!
On the day of Pentecost,
Acts 2:5-11 (NASB)
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs
—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
the mega-church of 3000 multicultural believers was
instantly birthed by the Holy Spirit, … into the Kingdom of God, … with more and more added daily,
Pentecost – Feast of First Fruits of God’s Harvest
…. and prior to this happening,
14 These all with one mind
were continually devoting themselves to prayer, Acts 1:14 (NIV)
and after the first wave of persecution upon the believers,
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats
and enable your servants
to speak your word with great boldness.
30 Stretch out your hand
to heal and perform signs and wonders
through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed,
the place where they were meeting was shaken.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:29-31 (NIV)
and in the next chapter we read,
14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women
believed in the Lord
and were added to their number.
16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem,
bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits,
and all of them were healed.
Acts 5:14, 16 (NIV)
20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere,
the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it
Mark 16:20 (NIV)
A love portrait of God’s love & mercy
— the disciples’ prayers to God,
in collaborative partnership with God,
and God working out His plan.
All this, a foretaste of God’s great Harvest
Revelations 7:9-12 (NKJV)
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God
who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Salvation belongs to our God ! …
all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues
… worshipping God.
Revelations 22:17, 20 (NKJV)
17 And the Spirit and the bride say,
And let him who hears say,
And let him who thirsts come.
Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
20 He who testifies to these things says,
“Surely I am coming quickly.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Alvin Slaughter – Holy Spirit rain down – The latter rain
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
March 4, 2015
Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
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