The Holy Presence & the Word On Fire Part 2


The Holy Presence & the Word On Fire (by Dr. Michael Brown) Part 2

At 4:00 AM Campbell received a message:

Mr. Campbell, people are gathered at the Police Station, from the other end of the parish. They are in great distress. Can anyone here come along and pray with them?

Who drew them there? Who convicted them? Many of these people had been strongly opposed to the gospel right up to that very day. What was happening? The Spirit was at work! This is a true picture of revival:

We went to the Police Station and I shall never forget the scene that met our eyes. Under a starlit sky, with the moon gazing down upon us — and angels, too, I believe, looking over the battlements of glory — were scores of men and women under deep conviction of sin. On the road, by the cottage side, behind a peat stack, they were crying to God for mercy. Yes, the revival had come! For five weeks this went on. We preached in one church at seven o’clock [in the evening], in another at ten, in a third at twelve, back to the first church at three o’clock [in the morning], then home between five and six, tired, but glad to have found ourselves in the midst of  this Heaven-sent movement of the Holy Spirit.

Remarkably, in the first parish where revival hit, Campbell reports that 75% of the converts were born again beforethey arrived at the meeting place! There was also an amazing revival among the young people. In those days, not a single young person attended any public worship services in any of the churches, but the very first evening — without announcement or advertisement — the awareness of Godin the dance hall at midnight became so great that all the young people left there and crowded into the church! And so the revival continued, spreading in like manner to the neighboring counties.

Why can’t we believe God for similar outpourings in our day? Why cheapen revival by dragging it down to the feeble level of our unbelief-ridden, flesh-dependent expectations? Why not ask God for the real thing? And here’s a good check-point for Pentecostals and Charismatics: With all our emphasis on the power of God and miracles, another sign of revival for us will be true, frequent New Testament healings in our midst. They will not be the exception to the rule but they will be the norm. Such things cannot be fabricated! But as long as our healing ministers reach multiplied millions of sick people through TV, radio, book, tape, and magazine, yet continue to have relatively meager results, we have little to boast about. All the more should we cry out for a real visitation that will not disappoint!

In 1922, when Smith Wigglesworth was ministering in Wellington, New Zealand, he called for a special prayer meeting with a group of eleven leaders. After each of them had prayed, Wigglesworth rose to seek the Lord, and the presence of God began to fill the room. Soon the glory of God became terrible. The light became too bright, the heat too intense. The other men couldn’t take it any longer. Every one of them left the room! Only Wigglesworth could continue in the midst of the Shekinah.

Another minister heard what had happened and determined at the next gathering, no matter how strong the presence of God became, he would stay until the end. Once again the scene repeated itself: Wigglesworth began to pray, the holy presence of God filled the room, and the glory became unbearable. Everyone left, except this one leader. He would not be overcome and driven out by the manifest presence of the Lord. But it was too much. Wigglesworth was caught up in the Spirit, radiant with holy fire, and even the determined minister couldn’t stand the intensity. Soon enough he was gone too!

That is the presence of God that comes with revival. It becomes unbearably intense. Its light breaks through the darkness. Its heat raises the temperature all around! It cannot be localized or confined. By its very nature, it mustmake an impact on its surroundings, otherwise it is not true revival. And while it will not completely change the world, it will make a radical impact. It will drive sin out!

With this in mind, we can speak quite clearly about “revival” in America today: As long as homosexuals march brazenly down our streets and serve in leading positions in our governments; as long as abortion clinics and pornography theaters thrive; as long as “Christian” young people watch MTV and “Christian” adults watch HBO; as long as the jails have too many prisoners and the mission fields have too few laborers; as long as greed and materialism rule most of the world and much of the church; as long as humanists, new agers, and atheists dominate our college faculties; as long as these things are at the forefront of our society — we are not experiencing revival! Sweeping revival in America would mean upheaval. The holy presence would change the complexion of our nation dramatically.

And what if all of America does not experience revival? Then its powerful impact will be felt in select towns, cities, or states. And even with these limitations, the far reaching effects of revival will be experienced well beyond local church walls. The divine “invasion” — actually, to most Americans, a return to New Testament reality would be as abrupt and shocking as an “invasion” — will cause a shake down and a shake up.

Of course, we praise God for the refreshing that He is now bringing to many of His people. We thank Him for the joy and encouragement. Yet we can roll on the floor and laugh every night until three in the morning, but if the world around us remains unchanged that is not revival.

If the way we live outside the building does not become characterized by holiness and sacrificial love for the Lord and the lost, that is not revival. And if everything that happens in our “revival” meetings comes through the hands of human vessels — without the supernatural visitations outside the church, without the abiding Presence, without the clear evidence that God Himself has “stepped down from heaven” in power – that is not revival.

For many ministers, that’s frustrating. We like to do it ourselves! If revival is truly a heavenly visitation, that means that we can’t manufacture it or produce it. We are utterly dependent on God. But that’s the best place to be! He wants to bring revival more than we want to see it. He wants to bless more than we want to be blessed. He has invested far more into this dying world than we have, and He has far more at stake. What better place to be than at the feet of the Lord in fervent prayer, crying out: “Revive Your people O God!”

And when He comes in power He will not only act. He will speak! Revival is characterized by the Word of God on fire. It is not simply a matter of making time in every service for teaching and preaching. It is not just giving the Word its proper place. We’ve had our fill of lifeless pulpits that “honor the Word,” and many believers today are “taught to death.” No, it is a matter of the Word on fire, a matter of holy unction, a matter of hearing the urgent message of the hour.

The effects of the Welsh Revival at the beginning of this century were far reaching and world wide. Clearly, these were days owned by the Lord. But the revival was not perfect, and many believe that it could have had an even greater and more lasting impact — especially in Wales itself — if there had been a deeper, more consistent ministry of the Word of God.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the fervor of revival, in the excitement of the manifestations, that we forget about something critical: God wants the heart, and through the Word of God, He probes the heart and changes the heart. The excitement will pass and the manifestations will wane. But if the trumpet has been sounded, if the awakening cry has been raised, if the burden of the Lord has been delivered, if the radical call to follow Jesus in a radical way has gone forth — that will determine just how deeply individuals will be changed. The Word is the road map for the revival’s future.

Trivial, non-challenging messages will not lead the way. Those who were nourished by lightweight meals will falter during the hard times.

To be continued:

If you enjoyed the post, please let me know: like it, share it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment (I read and respond to every remark). God bless you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: