The Biblical Signs of an Awakening and Revival.

During this week, we’ll take a break from our study of the Gospel of Matthew and focus on the subject of awakening and revival. In recent months, there has been much discussion concerning what are the characteristics of a true revival? Is it simply about emotion or is there something more involved is a spiritual awakening from the Lord?

“Awakening is at the very heart of the Christian faith, and it is the reason we are Christians. Awakening is the powerful work of our sovereign and gracious God. When He awakens us, He doesn’t simply awaken us from sleep, but from death. Awakening is the glorious work of regeneration, revival, and reformation.” Burk Parsons

The Lord’s awakening of regeneration is when through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God awakens us. He regenerates our hearts, gives us the gift of new birth, and makes us alive. He says to us, “Live!” (Ezekiel 16:1-6; John 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:1-5; Titus 3:1-5).

“The Holy Spirit invades, conquers, and persuades us. He rips out our stubborn, self-trusting hearts of stone and replaces our dead hearts with new, living hearts—hearts that are made willing and able to believe; hearts that are soft and pliable in the hands of our Father, united and lovingly enslaved to Christ, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:22-32; Acts 2),” explains Parsons.

The Lord’s awakening is also the Holy Spirit’s renewal and revitalization of the believer in Christ to the holiness of God  (Psalm 1; Ps. 19; Ps. 51:10; Ps. 119; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthian 4:16-18; Ephesians 4:20-24; Titus 3:5-8). This is what occurred to the Prophet Isaiah (6:1-7).

The Hebrew word renew (had-des) means to repair, reaffirm, rebuild and make like new. It is an improvement and revitalization of what already exists.

In Romans 12:2, the Greek word for renew (ἀνακαίνωσις; anakainosis) means to reestablish something in a like-new and often improved manner. In the context, God renews the believer’s mind and thinking. This is what the Apostle meant in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Ephesians 4:20-24, and Titus 3:5-8.

The Lord’s awakening of reformation extends beyond the revival of a single soul to that of a family, church, community and eventually a nation. Elements of this type of awakening reformation occurred not only in 16th century Germany but also in 18th century colonial America. The Lord providentially used individuals, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, to bring reformation awakening.

This awakening of reformation is illustrated by the confirmation of the Mosaic Covenant by Israel in Exodus 24:1-8. An awakening of revival and reformation is also seen in Ezra 10:1-5, and in the spiritual awakening of the City of Nineveh (Jonah (1-4). Under the leadership of Samuel, the people of Israel turned from idols and served the Lord (1 Sam. 7:3–4). The people of Israel briefly turned to the Lord in the wake of Elijah’s defeat of the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18:39). In 2 Chronicles 29–32, there is the beautiful story of the people’s return to the Lord under the reign of King Hezekiah.

“Nevertheless, just as God ordains awakening, He ordains the means of awakening. God not only sovereignly ordains the ends of all things, He ordains the means of all ends as well. And the means that God has ordained to bring about awakening are the ordinary means He has already ordained for our regular weekly worship and daily growth in grace. The Word, prayer, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the ordinary means of grace God has given us. These are the means through which the Holy Spirit works to bring true conversion, true revival, and true reformation. God’s awakening power is not activated by our schemes and tactics, but by His Spirit and His ordinary means of awakening. And we must trust Him to do precisely what He pleases to do according to His sovereign wisdom, resting in the promise that the light of His countenance shines upon us as we live before His face, Coram Deo,” concludes Parsons.

More to come.

Soli deo Gloria!

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