By Hyman Appleman
Some people think the need for a revival is a sign of decadence in a church. This is not always so. In the New Testament, in the Old Testament, in Christian history, revivals have been a part of God’s plan for the advancement of the Kingdom. This is natural. This is spiritual. This is psychological.
It is impossible for a farmer to be always harvesting. The same is true of the Lord’s work. We cannot have a perennial revival. We are so constituted that it is impossible for us to be always on the heights. We would go mad with the strain. We could not endure it. The flesh is still with us.
What many people call revivals are not revivals at all. You have heard of revivals with supposedly great singing, great preaching—and with few if any noticeable results. Such meetings are not revivals. You will know it. You will witness it when it comes. Mere preaching is not enough.
We want something that will make people know there is a God in heaven, that the Bible is His Word, that the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ. A real revival shakes, breaks, melts, molds, and causes the power of God to flow over the hearts of people.
We want a revival. God is ready to give it. He will give us that kind of victory the minute we make room for it. Let us, therefore, consider the purpose and the price of a revival.
The first purpose of a revival is to expose sin in the hearts and lives of God’s people, and in the hearts and lives of the unsaved multitudes. I can say by experience that nothing can convict of sin, bring people faster and more definitely to a realization of their sins than a revival of religion.
The second purpose of a revival is to enlist souls. First, we must seek to enlist God’s people. Why are our churches half empty? Why do not souls come to Christ? Because Christians are not sufficiently concerned about the work of the Lord. We have to enlist God’s people.
We must enlist also the unsaved, bring them out of darkness into light, lead them from hell to heaven, from sin to salvation, from iniquity to righteousness.
The third purpose of a revival—the chief purpose, the highest passion, the only purpose God can really bless—is to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. I am very much afraid that one, if not the chief, reason why God is not blessing our efforts more is that we are selfish, that we have no thought for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are in love with Jesus, if we have a passion for Jesus, no matter what the difficulty, no matter what anybody else does, our passion for Christ will drive us to give, to pray, to do. We need to exalt Christ. Only by enthroning Christ can we claim the promises of God, the fullness of His Holy Spirit, the answers to our prayers.
Price of Revival
What is the price of a revival? What did Moses have to pay? What did Samuel have to pay? What did Elijah have to pay? What price did Peter and Paul and Luther and Wesley and Whitefield and Spurgeon and Moody and Billy Sunday have to pay?
Each of us has to pay the same price—exactly the same price. There is no difference. There never will be any difference. God has never changed His terms. Power is costly. The most expensive power in all the world is the power of Pentecost. The price is high—but we can pay it. Here is how.
We must have a personal devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will study the biographies of these men I mentioned, you will find that they were characterized by one outstanding attitude. They were in love with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The second price of a revival is a purposeful compassion for the souls of men. I mean the kind of compassion that gives us no rest nor peace until we give the best of our thought, the best of our talents, the best of our time, the best of our efforts to seeking out the lost for the Saviour.
The third price that we must pay for this revival is persistent intercession. If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, if you believe the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ, if you believe God can give us a revival, I implore you, from this moment on, without rest or cessation, let us lift our cities to God’s throne of grace. Let us keep them there in the white heat of our prayers until God answers by fire and sends us a revival from above.
HYMAN APPLEMAN (1902–1983) was born in Russia to orthodox Jewish parents who moved to America in 1914. At age 28, he was converted to Christianity, causing his parents to disown him. He attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and became one of the greatest evangelists of his generation.