Recently, four teenage boys told me, “You preached in our church last year and it was dead at the time. So we four started a prayer meeting just for us. We wanted to get right with God, to repent and be on fire for Jesus. Our group grew to ten and we helped other fellows get saved. Now we’re inviting the deacons and pastors to come and pray with us. We really have a changed church now!”
A true revival, as I see it, is a restoration of this kind of intense love for Jesus. It is marked by a new desire to obey His every word, a heart attitude that says, “Whatever He says, I will do.” Indeed, a revival is a return to obedient love by a people who individually have confessed and forsaken all sin, desiring only to become channels of Christ’s presence. Revival is embodied in these people. They carry Christ’s glory and presence with them because His life flows through them at all times.
Pastors of large churches have said to me. “You must come and see what God is doing. Thousands are coming—we’re packed out! And our worship is really something to behold.” I visited some of these churches with great expectation, but seldom did I sense or experience the actual presence of Jesus in these mass meetings. The congregations exhibited no true repentance and I believe that if a prophet had stood up and exposed the divorce, adultery, fornication and mixture with evil music that existed in those churches, half the crowd would have walked out.
They were having fun! In one church, a leader invited about fifty people to come to a prayer room where he gave them a sales talk. They needed to join that church, he said, “for a covering—to get your prayers answered.” In that congregation, there were no instruments or channels of His presence. The so-called worship and praise were simply noise, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before the crowd would cry out for entertainment. Where there is no true presence of Christ, the people seek only thrills.
I left these meetings knowing in my heart that Jesus was not among the people. It was clear they did not live in obedience to Him, so in truth they could not be loving Him. Jesus will not manifest Himself to those who say they have love but do not obey.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).