By Jay Rogers
Published November 1, 1989
One of the best known verses in the Bible is Habakkuk 2:14:
For the earth shall be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
But there is a lesser known verse in Habakkuk:
O Lord, I have heard thy speech and was afraid.
O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years
In the midst of the years make it known
In wrath remember mercy
Habakkuk’s prayer is a necessary prerequisite for God’s glory filling the earth. Before such a great awakening can take place there needs to be a great revival of prayer in the Church.
Ever since I have been a Christian, I have heard much about revival. I have heard people praying for revival and talking about revival. I have read many books concerning revival. Yet few of the Christians I have spoken with can claim to have experienced revival. It seems so elusive. The consensus is that there is a stirring taking place and many are anticipating a strong move of the Holy Spirit in the Church. There is going to be a revival in the land. But I have often wondered, “Do we really know what revival is?”
Psalms 85:6 says: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
Revival comes from the word “revive” which means literally “to live again” or “to come back to life.” The lack of the presence of God in church meetings and the numerous problems in the church are seen to be evidence of the need for revival. But I often wonder – if we have never experienced revival, then how do we know what it is? And if we don’t know what it is, then how can we be so sure that we want revival?
Apply this illustration to yourself. Revival means to come back to life. But this implies something more – to say that you need to come back to life is to say that you are dead. This is a startling revelation. Revival can only come when you admit that you are dead and far away from God. Are you in need of revival today? Are you really?
If you see yourself as being alive and yet sense that something is still lacking in your spiritual life, then it is the natural life, or the flesh, that still has to die.
Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us. It can only be removed in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction. We may as well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are set free. Let us remember that when we talk of rending the veil we are speaking in a figure, and the thought of it is poetical, almost pleasant, but in actuality there is nothing pleasant about it. It is never fun to die. To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet this is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free (A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God).
How much of your own life is merely religious activity and how much of it is truly born of God? Do you allow the Holy Spirit to conduct your life? Or do you have your own agenda? You may be excelling spiritually compared to others, but without revival this is still a status quo experience. Even if you are above average compared to others, you are still very religious.
This revelation challenges everything that appears to be a move of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Although many appear to have a measure of the Presence of God in their lives, most Christians rely on the strength of their own flesh and much of their activity is devoid of the Presence of the Holy Spirit.
Before Revival Comes the Church Must Die
The contrast between a religious experience and true revival is seen in Luke 7:36-50. In this passage Jesus is invited to have dinner with Simon the Pharisee. A woman, who perhaps had been a prostitute, comes and stands behind Jesus holding an alabaster jar of perfume. She then sits at His feet weeping and begins to wet his feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair and kissing them. She pours perfume on his feet, weeping all the time.
Simon the Pharisee is content to have Jesus, a great prophet, at his table and hear his teaching. Perhaps he may be able to pick his brains for some interesting sermon material, or gain some insight into the scriptures. He is disturbed by this woman, a repulsive sinner, who is carrying on at Jesus’ feet. To his dismay, Jesus doesn’t seem to care and goes on teaching:
“Simon, two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him 500 denarii, and the other owed him 50. Neither one of them had the money to pay him back so he canceled the debts of both. Now which one of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your home. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman has not stopped kissing my feet since the time I came in. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
The woman in this passage has no name. She is of no position in society; she has no reputation. Simon was a man of great reputation – a teacher among the Jews, God’s chosen people. Yet the woman was more highly esteemed in Jesus’ eyes.
Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Do you see this woman?” Jesus was able to praise the person of low esteem because she saw her desperate position in life. She humbled herself, lowering herself at Jesus’ feet and shedding many tears. Her love for Jesus consisted of a great awareness of her need and a deep thankfulness for Jesus as her Savior.
Simon the Pharisee, on the other hand, was self-righteous. He had already arrived at a high position in life and did not perceive a great spiritual need in himself. He saw himself as already having great favor with God. Simon looked to Jesus solely for intellectual stimulation. Simon was absorbed by Jesus’ teaching and neglected his great need for spiritual salvation. Jesus turned to Simon and rebuked him.
“You did not wash My feet … You did not give Me a kiss… You did not put oil on My head.”
Now I ask you – be honest with yourself – which one of these people do you more closely resemble – Simon or the woman? When was the last time you truly wept before the Lord? When was the last time you truly thanked Jesus for redeeming your life from the pit? Are you like the sinful woman who bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears? – Or are you like Simon who looked to Jesus to feed his intellect? Although his head was swollen with theology, his heart was shrunken and lukewarm.
The woman in this story brought an alabaster box of ointment. Back in those days perfume was very expensive – a person would have to spend a life’s savings to buy enough perfume to anoint another person. The woman came with one purpose only – to worship Jesus. She poured her life out at his feet, then as she cleansed Him with her tears and hair, the fragrance of God came back upon her.
If you desire the fragrance of God in your life then you must spend time loving Jesus and pouring your life out to Him. God is not impressed with your natural talents or your intellect. The glossy veneer of religion is more repulsive to Jesus than the sin of a harlot. You may have three degrees and a colossal I.Q. but if you are not intimate with Him then you are dead and you need revival.
So, What Is Revival?
It is a realization of a great need for forgiveness, deep conviction of sin, followed by repentance and a fresh experience of joyful obedience. This experience begins with personal holiness and results in the transformation of society. A.W. Tozer has said, “Revival changes the moral climate of a community.”
Wilt Thou not revive us again:
That thy people may rejoice in Thee?
The greatest characteristic of revival is the great joy found in the people of God for the work he has done in their lives. A revived people speak only of loving Jesus. They have moved on to a passionate love relationship with their Savior. Their lives are a testimony of his holiness. Of course, it is important to receive biblically balanced teaching. But the great need for the Church today is realization of need and conviction.
We have become like the church at Laodicea. Jesus beckons to us, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” Although we appear to be rich in God on the surface, in our hearts we have become miserable, wretched, poor, blind and naked. Many churches in America today are among the richest and most prosperous that have ever appeared on the face of the earth. And yet Jesus is pounding on the door! While many are excelling among their peers, few are changing the moral climate of our nation. Most spiritual experience remains within the four walls of a church building, but little emerges on the outside.
We need only to look to the great awakenings of past centuries to see that the Church has fallen from great heights. The men who led these great awakenings were ordinary men. They were intelligent, but they carried none of the distinguishing marks that accompany those who are capable of changing a nation. There is no money or fame here – no power or prestige. In fact, the greatest characteristic of these men was that they were consumed with a passionate love for Jesus Christ. They were humble men who loved the holiness of God. They were jealous of God’s glory and refused to compromise with those who would lower the standard of His holiness. If we would only follow their example then the Church would be reinstated to a place of power and the world would be shaken by our testimony.
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Your comments are welcome!
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
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Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
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Running time: 85 minutes
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