Revival: A Shameful Thing

Table of Contents

A Shameful Thing

  • My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you… (Galatians 4:19)

As the passage above declares, revival resembles the painful process of childbirth. As we will see from Scripture, revival requires labor, anxiety, and time.

True revival gains back what we have lost and renews what we forfeited because of sinful behavior. The state of needing revival denotes a thing of shame. While all servants need refreshing times in the Lord, those who need revival need reconciliation with God. Revival belongs to those who have left the church, been trapped in sin, or have been sent by God into captivity because of their stubborn refusal to repent. Anyone who, over a long period of time, ignores most of God’s Word in favor of their opinions and church dogma will find revival necessary. Certainly, revival demonstrates God’s loving kindness poured out, but it is shameful for any church or man to need revival.

Jesus never needed revival, but walked continually in the presence of God, showing the “same diligence to the end.” We, on the other hand, are so prone to give in to our sin, that we force ourselves into a place where revival provides the only solution. The command, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord,” should be our walk every day, all day. When we fail to obey this Scripture long enough in our lives, by the power of the Holy Spirit, revival must occur for reconciliation with God. Any church that advertises that they plan a revival only adds to their sin and shameful conduct before Christ. A man can no more predict which way the wind will blow, than he can predict when and if revival winds will blow.

  • The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8 NASB)

God makes it clear that no man can predict the revival winds that cause men to regain the New Life in Christ again. Revival is His work and He will not give it at the command of man. Revival, after all, brings a renewal of knowing God as God.

  • As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

Christians today hold a strong false belief that God will send a revival upon millions in the Last Days. In reality, only a false revival on such a scale will take place by the hand of God. However, this doesn’t mean that a few might not experience true revival. In fact, only a few experience renewal because God only gives revival to the remnant. Revival never comes to new converts. They merely have a conversion experience that the Holy Spirit works in those whom God seeks to begin the New Life. Revival restores the New Life in those that abused redemption after receiving it. Revival means labor pains all over again.

We will examine the book of Ezra to see how God’s true revival takes place. This way we will be not be taken in by the current revival craze sweeping the church. For there lies a vast contrast between what happens around us today and true Godly revival.

Those in Need Of Revival

Many individuals don’t even realize they desperately need revival—they are too dead spiritually to know their condition. Those who have read the Bible for years but remain entrenched in their opinions and/or church dogma need revival. These kinds of individuals, of whom there are many, feel totally devastated when God tries to bring revival into their lives. When this happens, everything that they based their Christian walk on is torn down. This can be expected by anyone who has led a Christian life but has not experienced the pain and power of the cross in their life.

The truth is, most enjoy the desert Christian life. They have become so accustomed to their dead spiritual lives and rebuffing the Spirit’s rebukes, that they believe that the desert is the glorified Christian life. Their lives remain so full of spiritual flesh and pride that they feel little need for the Holy Spirit any longer. Yet they think they are alive in Jesus. They remain satisfied with their little spiritual lives. Therefore, they refuse to humble themselves enough to really repent. They feel so content with what they can get from God, or the little ways they choose to repent, that the true life of Jesus doesn’t interest them any longer. Because God’s Spirit has been silent for so long, they have filled the void with other religious and worldly activities and goals. They simply stay too busy in the world or church to give God time to speak, and it would do Him little good to speak anyway. Since they have quieted the Holy Spirit with their lies about how they do not sin, they can only hear their own voice justifying religious self.

Children of Captivity

People in captivity drag their children with them. This causes God to send revival in the lives of the children. Since the parents raised them in captivity, claiming that the Lord blessed them, their children never experience the sweetness of true fellowship with the Lord and never see the resurrected life in their parents. They think that the unrighteous deeds and self-justifications of their parents constitute the Christian life. They never see their parents surrender everything to God, but only live the Christian life on their own terms.

If parents continually confess failure and never gain the victory over self from a totally surrendered heart, the children will despise their parents’ words. Despise means to regard as unworthy of one’s interest or concern.

  • …Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:15b)

Indeed, these children have no reason to listen to their parents. They will grow up to despise their parents and have little reason to discuss righteousness with them. As Proverbs 10:20 says, though such parents love their children with all their hearts, it is of “little value.”

  • The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. (Proverbs 10:20)

God must then revive the children to straighten out what the parents twisted concerning the character of God. After all, a child’s first and main impression of God is his parents. If a parent’s religion bends God to their own will and wishes, the children will also form God into an idol. If the cross that bends us to God’s will is not present, our children trust in a false Christianity.

If children sense that their parents seem powerless over self, then they will consider Christianity a worthless religion. If children see hypocrisy, they too will think they can live the same way and yet be saved in the end.

When the Lord tries to come to the children, they do not understand who He is, or feel the need for Him, because their parents have deceived them. It is always amazing to watch someone go into captivity. Even the destruction of their children does not cause parents to repent. As in Jeremiah’s day, the Israelites were more willing to eat their children than to love the Lord by way of the crucified life. A child in such a situation will more than likely need revival rather than just quietly growing up in the Lord. As we shall see in Ezra, the young men will rejoice while the old men cry. The old men weep because of opportunities wasted in their lives. The young men will rejoice because God restores what their parents twisted and destroyed. How sad that those hindered in their walk with God hold back others.

  • He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Proverbs 10:17)

Dead in Sin

The more spiritually dead someone becomes, the more they and others think their little acts of righteousness are alive—such as when someone lies on their death bed, we talk of them as “doing much better.” Those who are spiritually dead become calloused to their sin. Sin is such a normal state of affairs that they become hardened to conviction. With each step into self, they begin to think of their sin as part of everyday life. They even think their sin is of Jesus.

To those spiritually starved in captivity, even the bitter spiritual things of captivity can seem “sweet” to them in the Lord. They feel thankful for any attention God might give, even a rebuke. Although they don’t really repent from the heart, rebukes make them feel okay spiritually. They’re like spoiled brats that thrive on any attention, even negative attention. What they consider “sweet” in the Lord becomes spiritually twisted. Bitter works appear sweet and holy to them. Their deeds are not complete before Jesus, but like the church in Sardis, they think they are “alive.”

  • He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. (Proverbs 27:7)

Those “full” in the Lord can see even the sweetest acts of the worldly as loathsome. They want nothing to do with that kind of honey. They become weary of the double-minded, who have one eye on the Lord’s will and another eye on self.

When those in captivity look at themselves and their Christian walk, they believe that short lived acts of repentance and good works suffice. They even feel satisfied when God works in their lives. In reality, God works in their lives because He must, not because He finds them worthy to glorify His name in greater ways. In short, captives have little clue of their desperate need of revival because they have grown “accustomed” to a “desert” kind of Christian life. As the passage below states, they protest their innocence and feel familiar with the desert.

  • How can you say, “I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals”? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving—in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her. (Jeremiah 2:23–24)

Very often those who need revival are the last to admit or to see how desperately they need it. They boast, (verse 23), “I am not defiled” and have all manner of excuses when God confronts their sin. Such people always attempt to crucify sin, but never die to it. Self, the root of sin, reigns on the throne in their hearts even as they deny specific aspects of self. Let us each come before the Lord with holy trembling and ask Him how much self has really been put to “death” by the Holy Spirit.

  • For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

Often those who need revival remain satisfied with the sparse grass they find in the desert. They feel satisfied with short moments of repentance and comfort from God’s Word. These are the type who believe they will love the Lord even when He sends them into captivity. They believe that if they hang around God and endure the discipline, He must accept them in the end. They forget that others perished in the desert and that “without holiness no one will see the Lord.” They forget that though they endured the forty years of discipline, God swore that they would “never enter” His “rest.”

  • So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:7–12)

  • Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

After their stubbornness sent them into captivity, they grew more stubborn about their need to repent. God sent them into captivity because of their stubbornness. It was a desperate act of love on God’s part, for He hoped they might wake up and cry out to Him. Sadly, most captives grow accustomed to the desert rather than repent with a full and total heart. Instead they become a “swift she-camel running here and there,” changing in one area, seeking God in another way, changing their words and garments here and there, but never really surrendering self. They do one “Christian” thing after another, but never really follow the Spirit all the way in all things. When God starts to revive them, their stubbornness checks it and He must wait for another time to try. Alas, they put their souls in great danger and may pass the point of no return.

This truth explains why anyone who needs revival must realize it will take years of repentance for full reconciliation with God and for God to correct the wrongs they committed. They must allow the Spirit to search them for sin, stubbornness, and stiff-neckedness as never before—because the last time God tried to bring them to repentance, they grew rebellious, cold, and dead.

Revival belongs to anyone who has been out of step with the Spirit long enough that God had to send them into captivity or the desert. Anyone who has, over the years, rejected the many calls of the Spirit to repent over “little” things needs revival. Those who continue to outmaneuver the Holy Spirit in the matter of repentance need revival desperately. They are always repenting without giving themselves fully to the Lord. Those who continually ask for forgiveness but never really change, should cry for revival. These people please all the flesh they can and hang on to what is considered “freedom” in the Lord. They call God “friend” but make every provision for the flesh.

  • Have you not just called to me: “My Father, my friend from my youth, will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?” This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can. (Jeremiah 3:4–5)

Those in desperate need for revival falsely believe they try hard to follow after God and have an elevated opinion of their importance in Christ. They usually think they can bless others even though they remain spiritually dead themselves. They always believe they “confessed” their sins and made real efforts to change. As the following passage states, they think they have a reputation of being “alive,” or at least somewhat well in Christ.

  • And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, says this: “I know your deeds, that you have a name, that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:1–5)

Captivity is the last stage before someone falls away completely from the Lord. As Revelation stated, they are “dead,” and “about to die.” They still do “deeds” for God, but not “complete” deeds, so Jesus will remove them in short order. They still pray, share the gospel, give money, study the Word, get quiet times, agree with the Spirit and the message of the cross, but their deeds are not “complete.” They remain too full of self and have simply become fools with a message. Their wisdom and works in Christ just kind of “hang” there, not really going anywhere. There is no real power in what they do, and it always falls short.

  • Like a lame man’s legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. (Proverbs 26:7)

Such people’s words of wisdom resemble a “thornbush” in a “drunkard’s hand.” They cannot feel or sense the harm they do. Their acts of righteousness do more harm than good, yet they feel proud of their work in God and shocked when someone points out how harmful their advice and actions were. Just as an alcoholic justifies his drinking and will not admit the problem, such people find excuses for their failures.

  • Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. (Proverbs 26:9)

That is how close they are to the end of their walk in the Lord—and their deeds prove it. Indeed, most will perish in captivity while a very small part of the remnant remains. As we shall see, even that small remnant must be tested and purified. Although they seem dead, there remains something small still alive in them, so hope remains. Yet they stand on the verge of damnation and must “overcome” the self that caused God to give them over to captivity in the first place. They are in great danger and about to die.

The solution is to “wake up.” To revive yourself in Christ means you wake up and see the reality of who you are in Jesus. Of course, waking up, or revival, involves remembering what you once heard and had once received, keeping it and not letting go of it again by repenting.

  • The reason God does not seem able to move with revival in so many lives is because they will not respond to His call. They cannot, as Revelation 3:6 states, “hear what the Spirit says.”
    He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:6)

Revival must come to anyone who lets go of the cross and moves out of step with the Holy Spirit over a long period of time. Usually one big sin does not send someone out into the desert, but small, deliberate, unrepentant sins slowly drive a person away. Ignoring the soft voice of the Holy Spirit over and over again causes God to take desperate measures.

Such people cannot really hear God’s voice, but only echoes of the Spirit’s voice from the past and leach off others for spiritual power. Because of their spiritual poverty, they become mockers who mimic just the right spiritual words while pleasing the flesh. Indeed, they become so good at this, that lies and half-truths pour forth from their lips in order to make self look spiritual. Such people have lied so much that they believe themselves spiritual and just fine in the Lord. In short, they believe their own lies. Be careful not to call your darkness light. What a dreadful condition to be in. Make sure you do not focus your eyes on yourself and your words, rather fix them on Jesus and His powerful crucifying cross.

  • But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:23)
    Don’t delay when He starts to blow revival winds your way. You may never have another chance to repent. Indeed, your total spiritual death will come “like a thief, and you will not know at what hour [it] will come upon you.” (Revelation 3:3)
    Anyone who keeps repenting of the same old basic self and sins needs revival. As Hebrews says, anyone who continually “lays a foundation” for repentance of the same old sins, desperately needs revival.

  • Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death… (Hebrews 6:1)

Anyone in this condition after years in the Lord had better cry out for revival today, otherwise they stand in danger of being burned in hell. They have received the blessed rains of God, but their hearts are double-minded. For example, if they don’t despise money, they lie about themselves, and remain unloving and self-absorbed. Simply stated, if self stays that alive after years in the Lord, a person remains in danger of being “cursed.”

  • But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

If you fit any of these areas, time runs short and you had better stop everything and beg for revival from God.

A Quick Summary

As we explore the book of Ezra, the following points will become clear as to what constitutes a true, Godly revival:

  1. No advertisement can announce or predict a coming revival.
  2. It takes years for revival to be completed.
  3. Revival stirs a growing and deepening realization of sin.
  4. Revival never lasts one day or a weekend.
  5. True revival renews interest and obedience to Scripture.
  6. Revival causes a lot of godly judging and division to take place.
  7. Worship and other religious activities completely stop at times.
  8. A renewed interest in the needs of Jesus occurs.
  9. Joy mixed with weeping can last for days in a true revival.
  10. Above all, revival is marked by sacrifice.
  11. Unity is honest and real.
  12. The revival cry must be present.
  13. After many have fallen away, revival is reserved for the “remnant.”
  14. Revival consists of a lot of hard work.

The Signs of a False Revival

Look for the following symptoms of a false revival as you read through the Scriptures.

  1. The church or ministry advertisesrevival—they even sell revival merchandise.
  2. The revival meeting only lasts for a fewdays or weeks.
  3. The revival preacher promotes himselfherself as a revival preacher.
  4. The emotion of the revival generates frompersuasive words, stories, and a style of preaching.
  5. Conviction of sin is shallow and notfollowed by outward repentance and a change inthe heart.
  6. No person is judged. No one removes unclean,evil things from their homes and the church.
  7. Entertainment occurs, instead of veryserious Bible study.
  8. Sacrifice never increases.
  9. The revival starts with one big bang, ratherthan increasing slowly over time.
  10. Worship services are not canceled for atime period with the Holy Spirit stopping andstarting them.
  11. Every church doctrine and ministry is notre-evaluated and cleaned up by the power of theHoly Spirit.
  12. No new commands are discovered or obeyed.
  13. There is no revival “cry” present.

  1. Revival: The Whisper Revival
  2. Revival: The Cross
  3. Revival: Receiving a Revival
  4. Revival: A Shameful Thing
  5. Revival: Revival begins
  6. Revival: In the Midst of Revival
  7. Revival: The Revival Cry
  8. Revival: Wanting to Help: The Opposition
  9. Revival: Revival Resumed
  10. Revival: The Acid Test
  11. Revival: The Whole Camp
  12. Revival: Words of Comfort
  13. Revival: The One Thing
  14. Revival: Discipleship: To Begin

Revival: Everything Said

Revival: Endnotes

Disclaimer

The Consider Podcast attempts to express opinions through God’s holiness. Nothing concerning justice or injustice should be taken as legal advice or a call to action. There is no political agenda. There is no individual moral life advice. Indeed, each person is solely responsible before God and man for their actions or inactions. The Consider Podcast is narrowly focused on one thing, and only one thing – the need for all to surrender to a life of repentance according to the whole gospel.

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Examining today’s wisdom, folly and madness with the whole gospel.
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