How to Recognize a Biblical Revival

In talking with believers in different places, it can be seen quickly that there are different views of what happens when revival truly comes. Believers will not know, however, if what they seek has truly come or not unless they can recognize it when they see it.

First, let me say what it is not. It is not having meetings called revival meetings. Probably most of these never see real revival – even though the intentions are good. Speaking for these meetings, I must say that I believe that they are generally on the right track.

Secondly, it is not speaking in tongues. I know some people may not like hearing that. However, the Bible says in I Co. 14:22: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” Tongues are for unbelievers, and let me add that they are not for today.

Thirdly, a real revival is not a “feel good” church meeting. Feelings and emotions can be roused by a good speaker, or by music, or even by testimonies. Bible revivals often did not have these elements.

Biblical revivals are not always the same. Each one may be a little different, or there may even be some major differences. This is partly because God is not going to be put in a box, but He will never contradict His Word, either. Some great revivals of the past had some unique features.

In general, it is rather easy to recognize when revival comes. It will have several evidences that will separate it from a mere meeting. These will include:

  1. God will have the main stage.

When there was a revival in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, individuals did not have the main stage. While there were human instruments, such as Moses, Samuel, Elijah, and others, they were only the instruments which led to revival.

When the glory of God filled the Temple at its dedication, the focus was on God alone. The priests and even Solomon, etc., had to get out of the way because the focus was on God’s glory. This is not saying that God’s glory is visible in a real revival today, but the focus will be on God alone.

  1. Sin will become very sinful.

God’s people will see themselves for what they really are in the eyes of God. They will see what their sin has done to them and how it hurts God and their relationship to Him. This usually leads to sincere brokenness of heart and confession with genuine repentance.

  1. There will be a humility not often seen.

Revived Christians will not seek to glorify themselves in any way. It won’t even cross their minds. In fact, they will talk about their own unworthiness and magnify God’s great worthiness in saving, forgiving, and cleansing them. Christ will be spoken of often.

  1. There will be a great hunger for God, His Word, prayer, and meeting with other believers.

Like the disciples immediately after Pentecost, we are told that: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Ac. 2:42). They also were “continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house” (Ac. 2:46).

  1. There will be a strong concern for the lost with bold witnessing.

Because the Lord commanded believers to go and be His witnesses, revival means an empowering for that very task. Notice that sometime after Pentecost: “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Ac. 4:31).

  1. A genuine concern for other believers

Right after Pentecost believers gladly gave of their possessions to be able to meet the needs of other believers. We see this in Ac. 2:44,45: “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” The love of Christ for others was evident.

There are apt to be some other indications of the presence and power of the Holy Ghost in a real revival, but these are a few of the most obvious. They are obvious because things aren’t normally happening that way.

For True Revival,
Evangelist Mike Valles

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