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Holy Spirit and Revivalby Duane Mabee on June 9, 2021
Revival is always a work of the Holy Spirit. Nothing of eternal significance happens without His direct involvement, but Christians disagree on what His role will look like and that could be part of our problem.
Christians gravitate to one of two views about the Spirit’s work and often act like their view is the only Biblical view. I just read an author I respect who gives a strong impression that to hope for the Spirit to work in supernatural and external ways is to look for something other than “the real, New Testament, indwelling, empowering, enlivening work of the Spirit”. Does that hold Biblical water?
The Bible promises the Holy Spirit will work in both internal and external ways. Other than the statement above, I agree with the author I just quoted. One of the primary ways the Holy Spirit works is by working in us to conform us to the likeness of Christ. When we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord, the Spirit takes up residence within us. He creates new spiritual life in us and begins to mold us into the likeness of Christ. As we pray and surrender ourselves fully to the Spirit’s control, He shapes and forms us, and He increases His power within us. He encourages, comforts, strengthens, guides, teaches, convicts us and so much more. Before the Spirit brings revival, He will lead us into total surrender.
But the Spirit can and will work powerfully around us, too. Consider two passages from the book of Acts. In Acts 2:17-21, Peter quoted a prophecy from the book of Joel to explain the work of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He said that God promised to pour out His Spirit on all believers and the results would include prophecies, dreams, visions, and signs. In Acts 4:23-31 when the Apostles were threatened with persecution, they prayed that God would help them do what He had called them to do. They asked God to make them bold to continue to speak His Word, and they asked Him to stretch out His hand to heal and perform signs and wonders in the Name of Jesus. The Spirit responded positively to their requests. I believe He still responds positively to appropriate requests today though I don’t know what that will look like.
We desperately need God to pour out His Holy Spirit in revival. For that to happen, we need to stop arguing over what the Holy Spirit can and can’t, will and won’t do. We need both expressions of the work of the Spirit. We need the internal and external evidence of the Spirit’s working and power. We need the Spirit to take control of our individual lives and our churches. We need to see Him transforming hearts and lives – bringing people into dynamic relationships with Christ – and we need to see Him displaying God’s glory in powerful ways. We need the Holy Spirit to cause us to fall on our faces in worship of our gracious God and glorious Savior. That’s what I’m praying for.