There is a great ocean of God’s truth and Spirit that is yet to be restored to His church. Revivals of the Holy Spirit, generated far out in the depths of God, reach us in waves that wash over and change us back into His image.
Revivals are progressive in nature. They begin at a certain point but change and evolve over time as the Holy Spirit leads. Not realizing this principle, man seeks to preserve the mere form of these visitations of His Spirit. This inevitably leads to the death of the revival. God has no particular attachment to the outward manifestations of these revivals and moves on freely when His purposes are fulfilled. Like Israel in the wilderness, it does no good to camp at places where God once was for the place and its surroundings are nothing without His presence. The truth is that by simply being near God, wherever He chooses to be, we experience His Holy Spirit on a daily basis. After all, is that not what we really want?
The church, like ancient Israel, is in the wilderness. We have no permanent place to dwell for we have not reached the Promised Land. While in this wilderness our only safety is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Moves of God’s Spirit come in waves. These Revivals, swell, crest, and then start to recede. Just when we fear there is no more another wave of God’s Spirit rolls in bringing with it new power and dynamics. This new wave may stumble many who only look after the natural mind and wish to somehow hold onto the old wave. Like trying to hold water in ones hand the old wave slips away and those who seek to preserve it are left with only the form that used to hold it. On the other hand, those who recognize that the new wave is a bit different but is made up of the same living water rush headlong into the new blessing and ride it for all its worth. Just as before, in time, His Spirit will lift off the present revival and move towards the horizon causing us to again strike camp and follow Him by faith. Each time His Spirit moves to a new place, a new truth, and new experience it is because His wishes to bring those who are willing one step closer to our pre-fallen state of perfection in Him.
Typically, what happens in a revival is that at the outset a great many people enter into a restored truth and/or a new experience. The Protestant reformation under Martin Luther was such a revival. At that time God restored the truth of salvation by faith. When people realized “the just shall live by faith” a great many of them took hold of this truth and a significant number left the Catholic church moving one step closer to Adam’s pre-fallen state. However, many Protestants under Martin Luther choose to camp at the restored truth of salvation and refused to move on. Thus it was necessary for God to give another outpouring of His spirit to birth the Anabaptist movement, which restored the truth of baptism by immersion. It is a historical fact that the Roman Catholic Church persecuted the Lutherans for believing in salvation by faith. Sadly, it is also a historical fact the Lutherans in turn persecuted the Anabaptist for believing in baptism by immersion. As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun and so a historical pattern emerges:
“Those who embrace spiritual truth are persecuted by those who do not.”
I believe this same principle will prove true with future revivals. When God chooses to move His people on there will be those of old revivals who refuse to move with Him wishing rather to enshrine and worship the way things used to be. They will, like the Catholics and Lutherans, reject and persecute that part of their congregation who embrace the new wave of God’s Spirit. They will say it is not of God but of the Devil. As it is written,
“But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
Ironically, those who persecute their brethren will be people who suffered the same sorts of accusations by the established church for the previous revival they embraced. This is as inevitable as gravity, watch for it, and do not be surprised when it happens.
The restoration of truth is also progressive in nature. The Church went into great darkness beginning with the Roman emperor Constantine recognizing Christianity as the official state religion. Unfortunately, Rome’s acceptance came at the price of melding Christian doctrines with pagan beliefs in order to bring harmony to the empire. As Rome declined the rise of the Holy Roman Empire under the Catholic Church took place. This super-church descended into gross error culminating in the dark ages when much of true Christianity was lost to the world. Even the doctrine of salvation by faith was lost and virtually unknown.
Progressively, like the incoming tide, waves of the Holy Spirit God have been washing the darkness away and restoring His truth to His Church. At the time of Martin Luther salvation by faith was a cutting edge truth and some actually became martyrs for believing in it. Yet we now know that God had so much more truth to restore to us, something that was not obvious at Martin Luther’s time.
The truth is this:
“Most of the truth that God wants to restore to His church has not been received yet”
This means that we have comparatively little of the truth that is yet to be restored. I firmly believe that in these last days there will be an explosion of revelation that will astound even the most progressive thinkers.
Every new move of God Spirit brings with it restored truth. We should expect it and be prepared to embrace these truths with vigor and readiness of mind. It is important that we know Gods voice and trust Him above our own understanding. Only in this way will the Spirit of Truth be able to lead and guide us into all truth. Dogma is not part of Gods plan and only serves to imprison God’s saints within their own understanding. Here is a true saying:
“Almost every major doctrine of the church is either partially or wholly in error”
The foundation of the present day church is laid incorrectly. We simply have not yet realized how badly our foundation is misaligned. The very stones upon which the present day church is built have been laid not by apostles and prophets, but by pastors, teaches, and evangelists. As valiantly as the leadership since the reformation has tried, they have lacked the prophetic and apostolic anointing to correctly rebuild the doctrinal foundation of the God’s people. The rise of the prophetic office and the rise of the apostolic office are going to begin to rebuild the foundations of the church. This will mean that some doctrines will have to be discarded while others will have to be modified to bring them into alignment with God’s word. This will be one of the main manifestations of the coming revival of Tabernacles.
If you care more about your doctrine than the Holy Spirit you will resist and even try to destroy that which God is creating. This is what the Pharisees tried to do to Christ. Their form of godliness was more important to them than God Himself.
Armed with these precepts do not the processes and goals of Gods revivals become clearer? Each move of God is designed to bring His people back into unbroken fellowship with Him. God is steadily working towards the perfection of the church. As God brings one wave of revival a portion of His people embrace the truth and another portion camp about it and refuse to go on. Then God brings another wave of revival and a remnant of those embrace the new truth and move on. Like waves of an incoming tide each new swell marches further up the beach with irresistible force reclaiming a little more lost ground for His people.
In Conclusion, knowing the methods and goals of revivals helps us to understand our place in these outpourings of His Spirit. As we see the big picture of what God is trying to accomplish we can remain steady even in times of great change knowing that what is taking place has reason and purpose. Rather than resist change we can therefore embrace it and flow with it eagerly anticipating the day when we shall know Him. As it is written
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
1 John 3:2