The churches in America today are full of dead Christians. Now, before you get angry with me and leave comments telling me about how wonderful your church is, how great your Pastor is, or how amazing the choir or worship leaders are…I want us to really think about this. To pray about this. First, I want to ask a question; when was the last time we saw a real revival? Now, a lot of churches have annual revivals. In fact, most churches have scheduled revivals once or twice a year. A preacher comes, talks about God’s word and we spend some extra time in prayer during that week. But that is not a true revival. Unless something changes because of that revival, unless that revival stirs us up and creates true worship, it is not revival. You are simply going to an extra, run of the mill church service. When was the last time several people from your congregation went to the alter in heartfelt prayer and prayed together? When was the last time you saw your Pastor on his knees at the alter praying with his congregation? When was the last time that you saw evidence of a revival? We can pray, we can have an extra church service and call it a revival meeting, we can sing a few extra songs that get us all stirred up, but that isn’t true revival. Sometimes, it isn’t even true worship. One thing that this country needs the most is a true revival. People coming to the Lord, faces on the alter and on their knees. People getting saved and being changed. We need people to find out what real worship is. We need to spend nights in prayer with each other. And I’m not talking abut the so-called prayer meetings that most churches during the middle of the week where we spend 10 minutes in scripture and 10 minutes talking about prayer requests. I’m talking about God’s people coming together with emotion. Trying to figure out what they need to do for God, trying to figure out how to help this country, how to get people saved. Time spent in actual, heartfelt prayer. That doesn’t happen very often.
True revival changes people, and not just for a few days. True revival doesn’t just wear off after we’ve been out of the church for a couple of days. We need true revival. We need to get real, we need to wake up and see the shape that this world is in. If we were really revived by these wimpy revivals, we’d be going out and sharing the gospel with lost souls. We’ve be praising God, no one would be able to quiet us down. We’d see how bad this world is and see how desperately we need our Savior to wash us and make us clean. So why do we see so little revival in America? In the world? We’ve stopped expecting God to work.
I can’t imagine how fed up God must be when He looks down at His so-called churches and sees how we are acting. We sing about revival, we pray for it in passing after Sunday service, but really…we aren’t expecting it to happen. We watch TV and think we’re doomed. And yes, this world is bad, but that is no excuse. In fact, that should be the very reason why we are passionate about revival! How many times do we read about revival in scripture when everyone else had given up? God brought revival to many sinful cities. Why do we think that He can’t bring it to the United States of America? To Washington, D.C? To New York City? To Tennessee? You may say that you do believe in His power. You believe that He can bring revival, so, what is your excuse? Why aren’t you doing anything to see that revival?
Here is our problem; we are spineless and we are lazy. Now, when I say we, don’t get offended and say that you or your church are on fire for God. If you are, good for you. This post may not be about you, it may not be for you. But let’s be honest, 99% of the Christians today fit into this lazy and spineless category. We are weak, we are scared, and we have lost our faith in God and what He can do. We’re asleep and by the looks of it, we’re very comfortable and we don’t really want to wake up. We talked a little bit about Jonah in my last post, about all of the things he did in order to flee from God’s calling in his life. Jonah was a like like us in the beginning of his journey; God called him to share His word in a bad area full of scary people. We view America in the same way that Jonah viewed Ninevah. Maybe Jonah would have been willing to preach in a nicer part of town, but no, not Ninevah. Similar to how we might be willing to talk about God in the safety of our church, but not outside of it. Or maybe, we’ll talk about God to our Sunday school teachers, our Pastor, but not to those people who seem like they’re backsliding a bit. And just like Jonah went to the ship and ran to Joppa instead, in the words of Pastor Clarence Sexton in his latest message from the Jonah series, we go with Jonah to Joppa. We board that ship with Jonah. Why? Because just like Jonah, we’re doubting God’s will and when we doubt God’s will, we’re doubting His ability to bring revival to a sinful world and save people. He has done amazing things for other people, look at what happened in Burlington. And because of that revival in Burlington, the man who preached there is now trying to schedule other revivals, the people who got saved there (at least the several that I know personally) are still on fire for God. That is a revival led by the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t put on a strict schedule by people, it went on for as long as God wanted it to go on, there wasn’t special music to get us excited about ourselves, it was simple. We could be having that. True worship and true revival is something that God desires for us to be having, so what are we waiting for?
We have to remember how to worship God properly. The contemporary church has confused us greatly, but regardless as to how most Christians now think, worship is not singing a popular song and waving our hands. Worship is not getting excited while our worship team plays drums and guitars. A.W. Tozer brought up a very interesting point in his book The Purpose of Man, where he said this about worship;
“On a Saturday night, a “praise and worship band” will hold a concert in a hall downtown. After one song, the audience explodes in applause accompanied with cheers and a standing ovation. To cover his track, the lead singer will say, “let’s give a clap offering to God!” If you do not think that this is crowding the line, do this. Take the lyrics of the song that caused such uproar and give it to one of the dear old saints at church on Sunday. Make sure it is one of those saints with an impeccable reputation of holiness and unimpeachable Christian character. Usually this will be one of the saintly prayer warriors at church. Have this person take the lyrics to the pulpit and quietly read them to the audience. If that does not create the same effect as the night before, maybe it was not the truth in those lyrics the people the night before were applauding, but the performers. The path of heathen darkness to worship always mirrors the culture around it rather than the Christ within.”
Our revivals stem from worship. We can not truly worship God while doubting Him. It seems a bit silly to get on our knees at the alter and praise Him like this; “Oh, thank you God for saving us! Thank you for saving our souls from Hell, the place that we deserve. Thank you for washing us as white as snow, for sending Your Son to die in our place. It’s too bad You’re not going to send another revival and save more people. I guess we’ll just sit here and be the last to be saved!”
We may not say that to God, but we might as well be saying those same words. We’re assuming that God is done, whether we realize it or not. When we sit in our pews day after day unchanged by the Gospel, unchanged by the Bible, not convicted at all by our Pastor or the other people in our church to go do right, to stop sinning so blatantly, and to start sharing the Gospel to other souls with a passion knowing just what we’re saved from, we are assuming that God is just done. Maybe, He doesn’t deserve that much of our worship. Worship isn’t listening to a nice band during church, worship is something we do every single day of our lives, with our lives. We should be serving Him daily, constantly in awe of the things that He did in scripture, the things that He has done in our lives, and be expecting Him to work again. We should be praying for revival and knowing that with God, all things are possible. He can do this as long as His people stop living like the world, so helpless and depressed over the shape that this world is in.
“Whenever the church came out of her lethargy and rose from her spiritual slumber and into a renaissance and revival, worshipers were always back of it all.” A.W. Tozer.
Nowadays, we’re bored. We’re just bored. The idea of being in a church that only sings hymns sounds like a snooze fest to most young Christians, they have to have a peppy worship team with nice acoustic guitars and drums to wake them up. It should be God waking you up. We don’t want to have a real prayer meeting on Wednesday’s because the idea of sitting on an alter or in our pew just praying for however long it takes sounds horrible. We’ve got places to be, after all. But this is how we can work the best for God. We can do nothing for Him unless we can sit in a pew and pray.
Now, I’m not bashing any type of music. I’ll be honest with y’all and say that I’m definitely a classical music girl. My YouTube history is full of Chopin, Bach and old hymns. I joke and say that I was meant to live years before when I was actually born. I like a handful of contemporary songs, not because I necessarily have anything against the song Oceans, or other popular songs that play on the radio, but because listening to hymns is my preference. That’s personal. But let me be a bit blunt and say something that will no doubt offend some people; the reason why we started bringing in the contemporary music is perhaps not because we feel that we worship God more reverently because of them. The reason why is because we got bored with the old music and worshiping God like that. Now, if you can pray about this and feel fine with the contemporary music, that’s between you and God, and I certainly won’t judge you for it, but I really want us to look and ask ourselves why we prefer that type of music in our churches, in our worship time. God demands that we worship Him as He deserves, with reverence. He is holy. Are we truly worshiping Him with our words, similar to how David used his Psalms, or are we getting our emotions and minds tickled by music that sounds like secular music? When we compare the lyrics of contemporary Christian songs to the lyrics of hymns, I wonder, which could I more easily see in the Bible? Which one could I picture people singing in Heaven as they proclaim God’s holiness? Psalms and poetry and old hymns are quite similar; if it was good enough for the greats that have gone before us, for the people in the Bible, are they not good enough for us? What makes us so different and special that we need different music now, too?
Tozer also said that if we are bored of worship, we are not ready for Heaven, and I wholeheartedly agree. If we can not stand worshiping for long periods of time, revival is not going to happen, and frankly, we’d probably prefer it that way. God forbid something come and stir us up out of our comfort zones.
I want to see a church full of people singing hymns and expecting God to work. When they sing Victory for Jesus, I want them to expect that victory to come again and again. When they sing about revival, I want them to be so full of worship and adoration for God that they know He is capable of bringing revival today. I’m tired of seeing Christians who mope around and continue on, living like they were never saved. We were saved. So worship and expect Him to do it again and again.