When we travel to countries like India or Nepal, we often encounter people who have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel. I love that ministry—reaching into the hearts and minds of the unsaved with the glorious Gospel of Christ.
When it comes to ministering in the United States or the United Kingdom, the mission is slightly different. It is about re-awakening the conscience of a people whose hearts have grown hardened towards the message of the Savior’s love. However, the tools of ministry wherever we go are much the same—the Gospel message of the cross and resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit. In order to see change anywhere, there must be conviction of sin, repentance, and a release of the grace of God.
There have been great moves of God in the US and Europe, and I believe we will see them again. But for this to happen, we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in our preaching, in our praying, and in the way we live. We need revival—but revival only comes as we yield ourselves to the Lord and build upon the foundations which are laid out for us in the Word of God.
Every great move of God in the past brought a restoration of truth. They brought forth a reality to eyes which had been blinded by the god of this world. When men and women have sought the Lord with all their hearts, they have found Him. Today is no different. We can find the Lord and receive a restoration of truth and an invasion of His presence that will flood the land with His glory.
An Old Testament story illustrates this point:
“And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.” Genesis 26:18, KJV.
Issac re-dug the wells that his father had dug. These were wells that were needed to sustain life and to prosper the flocks. But the Philistines had filled them in and the water no longer flowed. Likewise today, the Philistines of compromise, false worship, false doctrine, pride, selfishness, religious tradition and humanistic thinking have plugged up the wells. As the Scripture says, “… and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10, KJV.
There are people living on the earth today who have never seen a move of God. They reside in nations which were once shaken by the power of God, but today all they see is an empty shell of religion. There must come another great awakening—not little pockets of revival—but a sweeping move of the high tide of God in the land. We need to re-dig the wells of revival, so that the life of God may once again flow like rivers of living water.
Issac called the names of the wells after the names his father had called them. Here’s some wells which our spiritual fathers dug which are of vital importance today:
1. The Authority of the Bible
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16, KJV.
This really is the foundation of everything that God is doing on the earth. It also is Satan’s primary target. He is always is trying to undermine God’s Word, both in society and in our individual lives. His diabolical words to Eve in the garden still resound in the earth today, “Hath God said?”
John Wycliffe (1320-1384) of England came to regard the scriptures as the only reliable guide to the truth about God, and maintained that all Christians should rely on the Bible rather than on the teachings of popes and clerics. He and his associates translated the Bible into the common vernacular and the movement he started is regarded as the precursor of the reformation. Wycliffe died of natural causes, but after his death he was declared a heretic. His corpse was exhumed and burned and the ashes were thrown into the River Swift in England.
2. Justification by Faith
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Romans 5:1, KJV.
This is the doctrine that changed the world—that God declares a sinner righteous through grace and by faith in Jesus Christ. There are others that preached justification by faith before him, but the Protestant Reformation is counted from the time that Martin Luther (1483-1586) nailed his 95 thesis on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany 500 years ago.
3. The Call to Holiness
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15, 16, KJV.
For all that is great about the doctrine of justification by faith, for some it became a license to sin, the idea being, that since God forgives all I have done wrong or will ever do wrong, I can live to please my flesh, and still have a free ticket to heaven. The ministry of John Wesley (1703-1791) and others brought some much needed correction and balance in this area, calling men and women to a life of total consecration to God.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15, KJV.
With the call to righteousness by faith and consecration to God, a fire for evangelism began to be ignited in Jesus’ Church. George Whitefield (1714-1770) of Gloucester, England, a contemporary of Wesley, adopted the method of open-air evangelism. With a booming voice and no amplification, he would trumpet the message of “Ye Must Be Born Again,” and call men and women to repentance. 30,000 people came to faith in Jesus in colonial America through his preaching. Although he was a believer in predestination, his zeal for souls seemed otherwise, and he left of great legacy for soul winners of every age to follow.
5. World Missions
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14, KJV.
Even though the Gospel fires burned brightly in Britain and America through the likes of Wesley and Whitefield, very little was being done to reach the untold masses in Africa and Asia. One minister was reported to say, “When God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine.” Of course, such an attitude is totally unscriptural, as was pointed out by William Carey (1761-1834) in His sermon to Baptist ministers at Nottingham, England in 1792. His message shook the Church from complacency and marks the beginning of the modern missionary movement, which has literally changed the face of Christianity throughout the world.
6. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8, KJV.
This well was re-dug in the early 1900s. We see the baptism (immersion) of the Holy Spirit greatly emphasized in the Welsh Revival (1904-1905), through the ministry of Charles Parham beginning in 1901, and perhaps most prominently in the Azuza Street Revival in Los Angeles, California beginning in 1906. This movement has fueled the fires of revival and given much-needed power to believers around the world who have truly been powerful witnesses for Jesus. We must have the power of God to reach this generation.
7. Divine Healing
“And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Mark 16:20, KJV.
This is a well that has flowed throughout the history of Christianity, but with particular prominence after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the ministry of people like Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947), Oral Roberts and others during the healing revival in the late 40s and 50s, and later through Kathryn Kulhman.
I believe it all. I believe the whole Word of God. I believe we can have what the early Church had … what the revivalists and reformers had … and more. But we will need to contend for it, even as we exhorted to “…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3) We will need to re-dig these wells and keep them open … in our churches and in our own personal lives.
The men and women of these past moves of God paid a price to reopen these wells, just as Jesus Himself paid a great price to open all the benefits of the divine life to us. As we live in the light of God’s Word, we too will see revivals like the days of old, and multitudes flooding into the Kingdom of God.
Let’s get digging and flowing in the fresh waters which God provides as we stay true to His unchangeable Word. Amen.