Dr. Timothy W. Jackson
The truth is no one schedules a “revival” to happen in the local church so why even have a special week of meetings? God blesses His Word, God honors Christian fellowship and God desires the community to have the opportunity to see His Work that is why!
1. God honors His Word
God desires to honor His Word with His people and uses men to do so. The “revival meeting” hosted in a church uses seasoned preachers to draw special attention to the Word of God, for God’s glory. It is the Word of God that convicts the heart and often has been doubted by the believer and often not acted on. To encourage belief in the Word of God, and give the congregation an opportunity to respond to it the “revival meeting” is hosted. From as far back as the first family, namely Adam and Eve, God was looking for an opportunity to bless them through His Word. Remember how God gave clear instructions and Adam and Eve disobeyed, by doubting His Word (see Genesis 3:1Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? The way for Adam and Eve to restore fellowship with the Lord was to hear His Word and then follow Him, Genesis 3:23 “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” God still desires to have fellowship with man and still uses His Word to draw men into a closer relationship! Praise the Lord for His goodness in bringing the Word through preaching, to convict our hearts Romans 10:14 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Illustrated: When first starting the church here in Lansing, the fruit seemed to come far apart and little in number. With the encouragement of a brother our church scheduled a preacher. This was done in faith and with hardly any money to even pay the hotel room for the well-known evangelist. Each day the meetings were held people neglected to attend. One evening a visitor attended who had to leave the meeting early because of illness. She was a new convert who just discovered she was sick unto death with cancer. Unknown to us, she had placed my name on her will and when she passed away the church received enough money to purchase property with cash ($87,500). I believe God honored the special meetings of preaching and that her heart was touched by the simple service of hymn singing, prayer, offering and preaching. Early, in the meeting the evangelist had commented that the work of soul winning in Lansing was like “cutting them out of the rock”.
2. God honors fellowship of the believers
There is a special bond between believers that is unmatched in other organizations, fraternities or units and it’s by His design. Hebrews 10: 24, 25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” God uses Christians to “provoke unto love and to good works” through the meeting together in church. The special meetings, “revival meetings” give three, five, six or more consecutive days of being around other Christians with sound preaching, Biblical based music, prayer, testimonies and opportunities to contribute offerings. The first church practiced these disciplines to God’s glory Acts 2: 42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Illustration: The first church saw people encouraged to follow the Lord with meetings that continued everyday. Although, the practice of consecutive day meetings that were perennial isn’t mentioned again in the Acts account the conception time certainly entertained the concept. The results were phenomenal with souls saved, converts baptized and the Lord added to the church daily. That is so fantastic that it thrills my soul! What a stirring in the community if you can imagine, to have people asking their employers permission to take off work early to attend meetings with other Christians.
There is a special unity built in prayer that is unmatched in the church calendar of events when the “revival meeting” is brought before the Lord with requests, petitions, thanksgivings, prayers. I beg you to reflect on a unique time in a revival meeting, as the church service develops God works through the prayer of His people: when the preacher is speaking and the congregation is listening with the Holy Spirit working as only He can, there develops a tension on occasion like none other on earth, a sacred communication, is the best way I can describe it, when a pin could be heard in the sanctuary, because God has once again used His Word, drenched in prayer to convict the heart of the congregation. From that moment, all who is part of the service sense God’s presence, not in physical body of course, but through the direct result of people praying for His Will to be done. Acts 6:4 “But we will give ourselves continually to PRAYER, and to the ministry of the word.” The Apostles realized the value of prayer and made it a priority in their ministries according to Acts. The Apostle Paul, experienced those times of dynamic preaching (bathed in prayer according to
Philippians 1:4 “Always in every PRAYER of mine for you all making request with joy,”) one such is recorded in Acts 20: 7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” The result of Paul’s preaching was marked by God’s presence in the service.
Illustration: The pew is being held in a grip that never has been there before but this time it is your grip, why wouldn’t you just move towards the decision you know is needed in your life? Pride, concern of others opinion of why you moved to the altar is that what is keeping you from bending your will to God? The fervent prayer of others have brought you to this breakpoint now you need to confess the work of the Lord before others and prayer to Him will pave the road, as it has so many times before, Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in PRAYER, believing, ye shall receive.”
What does it mean to host the “revival meeting”?
3. God wants the community at large to know He is able.
God is able to save all lost men. The church that hosts the “revival meeting” is inviting others to experience being born again as Jesus said in John 3: 7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Christ came to offer salvation to all men, Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to SEEK AND TO SAVE that which was lost.” After all, the church that hosts the “revival meeting” has the evangelistic thrust, at least during that week of meetings that compels men to be converted from their sins to God’s salvation.
Illustration: I have hosted meetings where the whole congregation got involved in giving invitations to their friends and neighbors only to see nothing visibly happen until the very end of the week of meetings. Because of the Lord’s graciousness and His honoring of the Word being preached, God worked in the heart of a youth or an adult to be saved, Romans 10: 9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” It sure seemed like the week was going to be fruitless and then the Holy Spirit moves in a sinner’s heart, it is terrific.
God is able to soften the heart of the backslidden Christian through the church that hosts a “revival meeting”. It is easy to become discouraged, down hearted, to grow cold about others, to allow a sin to become a habit, to keep back offerings and tithes from the Lord and all of those matters are examples of sin. Those and other practices put an individual at opposition with the Lord’s will, I John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Through the preaching of the Word of God at the “revival meeting” I have seen people come back to God. Personally, I have had the Holy Spirit convict me of matters that don’t please God in my own life. It is so refreshing to be know that He loves me enough to draw me closer to Him even though I don’t deserve that kind of treatment, James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
This is a great time to be a part of a “revival meeting” our church is hosting one we call it “Community Week” this May 15-20 with Evangelist Hal Hightower. We have gone to great effort to attempt to honor God by developing a prayer chain, invite the congregation to fast, promoted the meeting with post cards and personal invitations to extend an open door policy to the community we live in. Our goal is to follow the Lord’s path with preaching from the Word of God, to sing and play hymns and Gospel music in the services. Our church will yield ourselves to His will with the setting aside of our activities to be involved in this weeklong
“revival meeting”. Our objective is to have God’s way in our lives and this meeting is focused on the Lord and His ways. God is deserving of our dedication to Him and His church. A church does well to host a
“revival meeting” to yield itself to the Lord for His will to be done in His time.