Revivals in History 3

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 attention that people are able to devote to sermons and the teaching of the Scriptures during these times of awakening and revival is quite beyond the natural ability of those during ordinary times. During those times it appears as if heaven or the presence of God comes down and dwells among men and the thoughts and hearts of men are taken from worldly things and they are taken up with spiritual things. It is also true that preaching seems to be changed from being dry lectures to dealing with spiritual things as if they were the real issue and not the ordinary things of life in the spiritual realm. Buildings are filled with people who come and are actually anxious to hear the preaching of God and of His words.

What would it look like and what would it “feel” like to be around a crowd of people that could be described as “awakened immortals” and then to have those awakened immortals “hanging on the lips of the speaker with almost breathless attention” and that the entire time that he spoke? What would it be like to preach to a congregation of people so awakened or (as the case mentioned above) be at a school of teenagers? What would it be like to be amongst a group of people (large or small) that were concerned enough that they appeared as if their everlasting all depended upon how they listened to a sermon and how it was applied to them? Do we even have the remotest idea of what these things would be like in our day? Do we desire to be like those people?

One thing to think about is that the presence of God does not leave people comfortable and in control. In our day people want to be comfortable and in control. While awakened souls long for and desire to see the wonder and glory of God (and their own sin) set forth in the Scriptures, those who long for comfort and control do not long for those things. Those who long for comfort and want nothing but that comfort and control will never know what it means (until eternity) to be in the presence of the true God who is sovereign and His very presence brings a reverent fear and awe. Those who don’t have a great relish for Scripture and the God of the Scriptures will not want to be stripped of all hope in self and all self-righteousness so as to leave one naked with nothing but Christ.

The heart of an awakened soul becomes curious in one sense about divine truths, but it is not just an intellectual curiosity. It wants to know the very life of the doctrine and the very life of God in the soul. Dry doctrine will not give the relish these souls long for as these souls hunger and thirst for Christ and only Christ who is the bread of life will satisfy these immortal souls. In our day when we are asleep just a little dry doctrine or moral behavior is enough for people to hear, though they may not want to live that way. We must seek the Lord that He would awaken our souls and give them even just a taste of His glory. We must seek the Lord that for the sake of His name and His glory that He would come down (so to speak) and awaken His people and give them a hunger and thirst for Himself that nothing will satisfy but Himself. We must not be satisfied with anything but the real Christ and His real grace which is free-grace and sovereign grace.

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