“A revival, by definition, is the mighty act of God and it is a sovereign act of God It is as independent as that. Man can do nothing. God, and God alone, does it … A revival is something which, when it happens, leads people to say, as the townspeople said in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, ‘What is this? What is it?’ It is something that comes like a tornado. It is almost like an overflowing tide, it is like a flood. Astounding things happen, and of such a magnitude that men are left amazed, astonished …
Miraculous things happen, things that are beyond the explanation and the wit of men. And indeed, if you consult the men whom God has used on such occasions, they will all tell you the same thing. They suddenly, like John Livingstone, became conscious of a power coming upon them. Not themselves. Taken up, taken out of themselves. Given liberty. Given authority. Given fearlessness. Speaking as men of God with the boldness of the original apostles. They knew when the power came, they knew when the power went. You will read it in the journals of Whitefield and of Wesley and all the rest. This is the hand of the Lord. This is the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. It was because he knew so much about this that the Apostle Paul says ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:4–5). That is it …Do we believe in God coming in and doing things that we not only cannot do, but cannot even understand, nor control, nor explain. Yea, I ask you, do you long to know such things? To see such things happening again today? Are you praying for such a visitation? For believe me, when God hears our prayers and does this thing again, it will be such a phenomenon that not only will the Church be astounded and amazed, but even those who are outside will be compelled to listen and to pay attention, in a way that they are not doing at the present time, and in a way that men left to themselves can never persuade them to do …
The outstanding temptation—the besetting sin—of every preacher, myself included, is that after you have prepared your sermons you feel that all is well. You have your two sermons ready for Sunday. Well, that is all right. You have your notes, and you can speak, and you can deliver your message. But that is not preaching! That can be utterly useless. Oh, it may be entertaining, there may be a certain amount of intellectual stimulus and profit in it, but that is not preaching. Preaching is in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. And a man has to realise, after he has prepared his sermons, that however perfectly he may have done so, that it is all waste and useless unless the power of the Spirit comes upon it and upon him. He must pray for that.
Yes, but not only he. Those who listen must also pray for that. How many people pray before they go to a service that the Spirit of God might come upon the preacher and use him and his message? The hearers, as well as the preacher, must pray for that, otherwise they are looking to him and to his message. No, all together must look to God and realise their utter dependence upon the power that he alone can give. And whenever there is a revival and God’s power is manifested, you need not urge people to pray, they do. They want to see more and more of it. Revival, then, encourages us to pray, and that is why it is good for us to read these accounts and look back on what God has done, that we may realise that the living God is among us. And we must pray to him to manifest this power.”
Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1987). Revival, p.116ff., Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books.
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Most Mondays I take the time to raid my electronic version of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ materials, which is produced by Logos Bible Software. Today’s quote centers on the way revival demonstrates God’s sovereign power: