The Characteristics of a True Awakening.

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?

A biblical awakening means a stirring, a recognition, realization and a revival in desiring for, and following the truth of, God. The true of God is found in the Scriptures. An awakening is the believer’s initial, or renewed, passion for God: intellectually, emotionally and volitionally.

The individual’s initial awakening the Bible refers to as justification or conversion. Subsequent awakenings that follow conversion the Bible calls sanctification or consecration. All true revivals are a work solely of the Spirit of God.

What are the characteristics of a true, or false, spiritual awakening? Are their ways in discerning if a true awakening from God has occurred? Having examined the characteristics of a false, or the inconclusive signs, that an awakening from God has occurred, what are the characteristics of a true, spiritual awakening from the Lord.

First, the individual has an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the Lord for their salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. This is a gratitude not only for what God has done in the individual’s life in their conversion and sanctification, but also for who God is in His character (Psalm 8; Philippians 1:3-6).

Second, the individual has a renewed sense of the holiness of God (Isaiah 6:1-7; I Peter 1:13-16). “Believers begin to develop a taste and relish for the sweetness of God’s holiness and an equal distaste for and hatred of sin,” explains Dr. Sean Michael Lucas, associate professor of church history at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss.

Third, a genuine humility develops in the believer’s soul. They begin to esteem God, and others, better than themselves (Phil. 2:1-4). They do not think of themselves more highly than they ought to think (Rom. 12:3-4). There is a realization that God is to preeminent in their lives; and not themselves.

“Such humility can only come from the influence of God’s Spirit as He works new ways of being and living into the heart. Genuine conversion will always be accompanied by humility because, at its heart, it is a rebuke to pride and a ceasing of self-willing: we rest in God through Christ who saves us,” writes Prof. Lucas.

Finally, there is an initial, or renewed, sense of obedience. All of life is viewed in its relationship to obedience to God and His Word (Psalm 1; 19; 119; John 17:17; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Titus 1:1; 2:11-12).

“A church filled with men and women who are delighting in God and His holiness, who are humble before God and others, and who are living out that holy delight in obedience to God’s Word—that is a church that is experiencing genuine revival. Such a church would not only be attractive to those who long for spiritual reality, but it would be a great witness to the incoming kingdom of God. May God grant us such churches and people in this day,” concludes Dr. Lucas.

May a true awakening be seen is us today. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

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