A Truth We Almost Forgot

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”Jesus Christ (John 8:32)
I love getting great bargains on books and I got one yesterday when I found a new copy of book for less than $2.00 at a Spring blowout sale. The book is titled, Jesus Now: God is Up to Something Big,” (2016), by Dr. Tom Phillips, Vice President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Executive Director of The Billy Graham Library.

The introduction to the book on Amazon.com states the following:

God is moving today!

God desires to draw all people to Himself. He is awakening the world through the reconciling love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. What if the Lord was already awakening you, your family, your church, your city? Are you willing to let His Spirit, without warning, sweep through your own life?

In “Jesus Now,” join Dr. Phillips as he explores:

  • the themes and patterns of previous revivals that are becoming apparent today.
  • the unpredictable, untamed purposefulness of God to draw His church to Himself through ordinary and anonymous Christians.
  • how the power of prayer has found extraordinary new expression within Christians who have raised the name of Jesus above a denomination or ministry.
  • human impediments to God-initiated and sustained spiritual awakening.
  • ten principles to discern current revivals.
  • how to seek and follow Jesus, who has promised to do far more than you could ever imagine or request!

God is up to something big. What is your place in His great awakening? Because of Jesus, our churches, nation, and lives will never be the same again. (Quote source here.)

At it’s core, a revival is about a personal journey taken by each individual involved in it. The definition of revival according to Dictionary.com is: (1) restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, etc.; (2) restoration to use, acceptance, or currency; (3) an awakening, in a church or community, of interest in and care for matters relating to personal religion; and (4) an evangelistic service or a series of services for the purpose of effecting a religious awakening. (source here).

There are many stories in this book about revival and “the refreshing winds of the Spirit” that have broken down racial barriers, denominational barriers, and “the most remote, insensitive hearts and the many shades of prejudice and hate that segregate us from each other and from God” (page 22). Here is one of those stories on pp. 22-23:

One Sunday Dr. Phillips preached a sermon about love, the love of Jesus that embraces all people, all of God’s children–“God is love” (1 John 4:8) at a small white church in a small town in Mississippi.

He states, “I made it clear that anyone coming into the sanctuary would not be stopped, but be welcomed. After the service, I was standing at the front door greeting the people as they left. One deacon, a white gentleman, said to me, “I know what point you were trying to make, but I still love you anyway.”

Yet, something else happened. I noticed that younger people seemed to appreciate the sermon. In fact, the younger the person the more he or she said, “The things you said about Jesus loving all people, regardless or race, are real. It’s what God says.”

That day, I began to see the differing perspectives of the older and the younger generations. The former tended to have remote, insensitive, fearful hearts. Young people, on the other hand, were more open to following the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

How willing are you? How willing am I to do the same? My hunger for personal revival and spiritual awakening across our land is as strong as my desire to be used in the reconciliation between blacks and whites, all peoples. I have seen African-American and Asian pastors from Philadelphia confess to each other their racism and then break down weeping. I’ve seen pride broken, sins confessed, and lives restored in the most calloused hearts and in the most unlikely parts of the country” (Quote source: Jesus Now,” p. 22-23).

Revival is truly a personal experience, and at the very heart of revival is the issue of love. I came across a couple of blog posts on this very topic written by the same author, John Enslow, titled, Love Brings in Revival or It’s Nothing,” and Cold Love Prevents Revival,” published in 2016. You can click on either title above to read the entire posts. I’m including some excerpts from those posts below. The following is taken from Love Brings in Revival or It’s Nothing:

The fact will always remain that revival is not birthed in doctrine, knowledge, understanding or anything of the mind. Love itself is the only force that can bring forth revival. And why is this? Because God is Love!

Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love.1 John 4:7-8 GW

I know it would seem safer to rely on prayer to bring in revival. Or our enlightenment in theological study would seem safer. But revival isn’t birthed from my doings or my knowing; Love brings in revival or I have nothing. It’s not that revival isn’t based on the Truth of God, nor that we don’t have to humble ourselves and pray to see our land healed. But unless Love is the center of our revival, it isn’t true revival. We might have a resurgence of study, but that isn’t revival. We might even have a surge of prayer, but this isn’t revival. Love brings in revival!…

Love requires faith in His keeping power. It’s impossible to manage Love. Love relies on trusting Him who is Love and who shepherds our hearts. To experience revival, we must leave the safe boat and trust in God’s ability to keep us on top of the waters.

I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep His love is. You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God.Ephesians 3:17b-19 GW

Jesus said that Love, not knowledge, is the characteristic of a genuine disciple. For the Law and the prophets hang on two commandments: Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself. Love is the core of Life and Love brings in revival, which is a renewal of Life. The amazing thing is that very few of the people quoted about revival even mention Love. Maybe this is why we see so little true revival. No one is willing to be vulnerable enough to love….

If I want to see true change and true Life, I must buckle my seat belt and hang on for the ride of my life. Love alone brings in Life. I can maintain my life all the way to the grave, but unless I am willing to cast my heart into the Hands of Love, I will never actually experience Life. Unless Love is the basis of my church, it’s just another business. Unless Love is the core of my revival, it’s just another community service project. And unless Love is the Source of my reformed theology, it is just another Bible study. Quite simply, Love brings in revival or it’s nothing lasting at all.

And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.  —1 Corinthians 13:13 AMP (Quote source here.)

The following is taken from the second blog post titled, Cold Love Prevents Revival”:

Most Christians know that unless we experience a revival in this world, we will never see change. We are not going to vote in change, change is going to happen through revival. And I showed how loving our neighbor is just as important as our renewed love for God. The two great commandments that encapsulate the whole of the Law and the Prophets is to “Love the Lord your God and to Love your neighbor as yourself.” I can’t have one without the other.

Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love.1 John 4:7-8 GW

I see the biggest hindrance to an end time revival is cold love.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of most will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”Matthew 24:12-13 NKJV

Our world seems to be on a crazy train where lawlessness is exponentially leaping beyond all of our previous bounds. And in the middle of our greatest need for revival, the enemy is assaulting us from within our own hearts. He knows that unless we have love for one another, we will never see revival. What better way to prevent this than to tempt us towards cold love.

“For the love of most shall wax cold.” The love that Christ refers to here is AGAPE love – God-sourced love. And because of the increase of wickedness, those who should have God-sourced love will wane, but he who endures (in love) until the end will be saved.

Wickedness rises when those who should love, resort to self-protection instead. It’s self-love to self-protect, and I say this as one who has in the past closed the doors of my heart to not be hurt again. But this is not God; on the contrary, it is satanic hatred. I have learned that I can’t close off my heart to the world in self-protection and not also close it off to God, who created that world. Unfortunately, when I do this, I begin to accuse and hate Him as the source of the problems. Only with an open loving heart can I face a fallen world with His grace. While everything in me says, “Protect, retreat, fortress!” the actual solution is to open up and love….

I have to be open to loving, both God and others, for revival to come. If I am in the cold love of self-love, I prevent that revival from coming through me and touching those around me.

Revival is LOVE! Revival happens when we have abounding love for God and open love for others. I might be tempted to withhold my love, prevent my love from happening, and remain safe in a loveless corner, but only Love sees revival. As scary as love is to embrace, being loveless is so much more frightening! (Quote source here.)

Genuine love for others and for God is the key to our own personal revival. Without it, we are, as 1 Cornithians 13:1-2 points out rather clearly, nothing. And we can’t fake real love, either. That should give us pause for thought in how we treat others (as in all others).

I’ll end this post with the words of Jesus from John 13:34 NKJV: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you…

That you also . . .

Love . . .

One another . . . .

YouTube Video: “Others” by Israel Houghton:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

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