Revivals in History 2

Amos 8:11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. 12 “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.

Acworth N.H.
Nothing has appeared like a revival in this town until 1814…At the first communion after his consecration, sixteen offered themselves to the church. Immediately after this, instances of individual conviction made their appearance in different parts of the society and one and another were made to rejoice in God. A solemn and strict attention was paid to the word preached, and the good work progressed gradually until Sept 1816. In which time about sixty were added to the church. Every seat in the house of God was filled, not with drowsy inattentive hearers, but with awakened immortals, hanging on the lips of the speaker with almost breathless attention; looking, as if their everlasting all depended on the proper improvement of a single sermon…[speaking of the school there] They began to discover a greater relish of the scriptures. In searching for the answers to their questions, they felt an increasing desire to know more of the lively oracles of divine truth. Every vacant moment when relieved from their other school exercises, the bible was taken up.

The sign of God’s spiritual judgment is not that of great activity as such, but the opposite of the hearts being broken and the opposite of people who are being fed by God. In other words, when God withdraws the hearing of His words, He hardens hearts and the souls of people are not fed with spiritual truth. During a time of true revival, however, He works in the hearts of people. He convicts both believers and unbelievers and brings them to a true knowledge of their sin. The people begin to be solemn when the words of God are preached and they begin to pray strict attention.

What we must see, then, is that we should seek the Lord to give us ears to hear. It is not that we can earn this or accrue merit in any way, but the Lord does use means though we should never trust in the means themselves. It is only when each person and people as a whole (perhaps not every person) begin to hear His words with the understanding that He gives that they will pay attention to the preaching of His words and as such begin to listen with solemnity. True preaching must be attended with true hearing, but only the Spirit can produce true preaching and true hearing. Before a preacher can truly preach, the preacher must be a hearer of the words of God.

While it may not sound like a lot in our day to have 60 people added to a church in two years, things were different in the period of time we are looking at. The churches were smaller and the population was much smaller. It is also true that people were examined closely and many times for a period of time before they were considered to be Christians. They did not believe that just because a person became serious, religious, and more moral that the person was necessarily converted. They were thorough in examining those who professed the faith and they watched their lives to see if there was a true change of heart and their religion was not just a momentary thing.

The following quote should be imprinted upon the minds and hearts of every preacher and perhaps all who attend a professing church. “Every seat in the house of God was filled, not with drowsy inattentive hearers, but with awakened immortals.” The church was said to be a house of God because God was present. People came to hear the words of God knowing that they were in the presence of God. It was because they had been taught of God in the inward man that they were there to hear the words of God in the presence of God that they were not drowsy and they were not inattentive. No one has ever been bored while in the presence of God. No one has ever been inattentive when God visits a congregation or a people. We should seek Him for that in our day.

The last part of the sentence quoted in the previous paragraph is enormous. Instead of being drowsy and inattentive hearers, they were “awakened immortals.” God has awakened them and had shown them that they would live forever in either heaven or hell. They were awakened to spiritual realities rather than continuing to slumber their way to hell. They now realized that when they died they would enter eternity. They realized that they were not just mortal beings, but they had eternal souls that would never die. It is when souls are awakened to eternal things by the living God that they begin to understand and know their desperate need of grace. They see that they have nothing to offer this great God and that they can do nothing to make their situation better. When properly taught they will begin to see the greatness and glory of free-grace rather than their own so-called free-will. How we must seek the Lord to awaken us in our day that it may be truly said of us that we are awakened immortals.

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