REPENTANCE: The Catalyst for Revival












There is no symptom of a feeble and diseased life more terrible than we get so accustomed to it as to not believe any great change is possible. (Andrew Murray)

The church will either have a revival or a funeral. (Leonard Ravenhill)

In revival, large numbers of people who have been indifferent to spiritual realities become intensely roused to them–beginning with Church people. Charles Finney, a great revivalist in the 1800s, said,

We can expect a revival when the sinfulness of sinners grieves and distresses Christians.

As we saw with Isaiah, this holy grief flows from the conviction of our own sin and worldliness. This is why Frank Bartleman, the intercessor and journalist of the Azusa Street Revival, said,

The depth of your repentance will determine the height of your revival.

The greatest need of this generation is that the Church would make a wholehearted return to the purposes of God.

One of the definitions of revival is to restore something to the original purpose. God’s love compels Him to rescue you from activities you have no business doing; in doing that He redeems the yielding of people due to dealings of God. For example, in George Whitfield’s meetings during the First Great Awakening, people would spontaneously cry out and fall down at his meetings, the majority of which were outdoors. He was a sign as he preached to perhaps 10 million hearers on two continents. Lady Huntington, who played a large part in the revival, wrote to Whitfield about people crying out and falling down in his meetings. She advised him to leave them alone and not to remove them as he had been doing. She told him, “Don’t be wiser than god. Let them cry out.”

The world doesn’t cry out until followers of Christ first cry out, come clean, and throw themselves into the currents of God’s dealings. Emerging revivalists are given a holy understanding of their times and how crucial the hour is. J. Edwin Orr said this:

The Church will be moved when its members are moved. Who will be one of Revival’s advance guard?…We must not regard revival as some supernatural occurrence which we cannot understand. Revival for the individual is simply deeper blessing…deeper blessing is the reward for growth in grace…Thus we see the greatest tragedy unnecessary, wholly uncalled for. At any time, an individual or a church may receive “blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

You and I have a holy obligation to prove God’s promises, and we must prove them now. Why haven’t we seen a full-fledged revival yet in our day? Inconsistency hurts your ability to receive what God wants to give you. Jonah had to deal with this issue. Even the sailors, who knew that Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord, asked him, “Why have you done this?” Jonah had a solid confession of the sovereignty of God, but it was inconsistent with his conduct. The knowledge of God must lead us to the knowledge of ourselves.

Repentance gets a lot of bad press, but repentance is really about freedom, and walking in the presence of God. Repentance cancels the oppressive strategy of darkness over your life and sphere. The Greek word of repentance is metanoia. This word means to think differently, to change your mind or purpose so effectively that it acquires salvation for a sinner who yields. Repentance allows a vessel to be in sync with God and the mind of Christ. Bill Johnson, a modern revivalist, says,

Repent means to go back to God’s perspective on reality.

Repentance always involves two turns–the first away from sin and the second toward God. The reward for repentance is the promise of waves of God’s presence bringing a supernatural refreshing season:

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19)

You are meant for signs and wonders. Your destiny includes the invasion of the impossible–emptying wheelchairs, banishing cancer, and opening deaf ears. Miracles are ready to be released through you in the marketplace. But before the miraculous move makes a comeback, personal holiness must make one.

This is a book excerpt from I Am Your Sign: The Secret to Unleashing Revival and Igniting a National Awakening by Sean Smith. You can get your own copy of I Am Your Sign today and also connect with Sean through his website, Facebook, and Twitter @RevSeanSmith and @PointBlankIntl!

Sean Smith has spent approximately 28 years un full-time ministry, 10 of which was spent direction campus outreach ministries at the University of the Pacific and California State University Chico Campuses. He is currently active in outreaches to universities and colleges all across the nation and involved in full-time evangelism all over the U.S. and overseas. His messages are prophetic, challenging people to fulfill their destiny in Christ. Sean’s services witness the Holy Spirit’s supernatural release to meet people with a heart of compassion and to touch their needs. In addition to his evangelistic ministry, Sean is partnering with Jesus Culture to see a generation of revivalists raised up. In May of 2001, Sean received a Masters in Ministry from the Wagner Leadership Institute. The Smith family resides in San Ramon, California.

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