OUR ONLY HOPE IS REVIVAL
“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!” (Isa. 64:1,2).
You will observe that in that prayer of the prophet two fundamental things are suggested. That unless God comes down, mountains will not flow and sinners will not tremble. But if God comes down, if God manifests His power, if God shows His hand, if God takes the field, mountains will flow…mountains of indifference, mountains of materialism, mountains of humanism, will flow before His presence, and nations, not just individuals, but nations, shall be made to tremble.
We haven’t seen nations trembling, but we have seen communities; we have seen districts; we have seen parishes in the grips of God in a matter of hours when God comes down!
It is true that we have seen man’s best endeavour in the field of evangelism leaving communities untouched. We have seen crowded churches. We have seen many professions. We have seen hundreds, yes, and thousands responding to what you speak of here as the altar call. But I want to say this, dear people, and I say it without fear of contradiction, that you can have all that without God! Now, that may startle you, but I say again, you can have all that on mere human levels!
Howard Spring was right when he wrote, “The kingdom of God is not going to advance by our churches becoming filled with men, but my men in our churches becoming filled with God.” And there’s a difference! Oh, no! Crowded churches, deep interest in church activity is possible on mere human levels leaving the community untouched!
The Difference Between Evangelism and Revival The difference in successful evangelism and revival is this: In evangelism, the two, the three, the ten, the twenty, and possibly the hundred make confessions of Jesus Christ, and at the end of the year you are thankful if half of them are standing. But the community remains untouched. The public houses are crowded, the dancing ballrooms, packed. The theatre and the picture houses are patronized by the hundreds. No change in the community!
But in revival, when God the Holy Ghost comes, when the winds of heaven blow, suddenly the community becomes God-conscious! A God-realization takes hold of young, middle-aged and old. So that, as in the case of the Hebrides Revival, 75% of those saved one night were saved before they came near a meeting!
“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” That is where the difference comes in between evangelism and revival, and that is why I say our only hope is not in crusades. Thank God for all that has been accomplished! Thank God for all that is being done through missions! I represent a mission in Scotland. We have also workers in Canada, and we thank God for all that is being accomplished through the efforts of ministers and evangelists and Christian workers, bringing one here and two there to a saving knowledge of Jesus. But our supreme need and the only answer to the problem that confronts the Christian church today is a visitation from God!
Revival at Berneray Let me illustrate what I mean by an incident that happened, not in Lewis, or Uist, but on the small island of Berneray. I was addressing the Bangor Convention. The Bangor Convention is perhaps one of the largest conventions in Britain. I was sitting in the pulpit beside the chairman of the convention and the other speaker when I was suddenly gripped by the conviction that I had to leave the convention, and leave at once, and go to this island.