Another Plate of Ribs Please!

During revivals there is a pronounced presence of God which produces deep conviction of sin, which then leads to confession and genuine repentance.

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37)

It isn’t preachers that produce this conviction; it is the work of the Holy Spirit. One of the surest ways to determine if a revival is real or not is the presence of genuine Holy Spirit conviction, accompanied by confession and repentance.

Mike was one of our shipmates on the Barry, and he was a large man. Not only was he tall, he was also overweight. At that time the Navy had very lax requirements for physical fitness, so there were a considerable number of overweight sailors.

Mike, fourth from left. USS Barry arriving in Rota Spain. June 10, 1979
Mike, fourth from left.
USS Barry arriving in Rota Spain.
June 10, 1979

After Mike came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, he would continue to go out and get drunk several nights a week. One Saturday morning as I was laying in my bed reading a book, he came in and laid down on the floor next to me (I was occupying a bed next to the floor at this time), and he started moaning and complaining about his hangover, saying, “I don’t know why I always drink so much, and then the next morning I’m miserable.”

Mike not only had a “healthy” appetite for alcohol, he also had a “healthy” appetite for food. When we would go out to eat, he always preferred the buffet type restaurants, and his favorite was an “All You Can Eat Ribs” type of place. I still remember him polishing off multiple plates of ribs, and even hearing cooks in the back talking loud enough so that they could be heard, expressing their displeasure in Mike’s voracious appetite. That didn’t faze Mike, and he merely polished off what was in front of him, licked his fingers, and called for another plate!

I didn’t jump on this new Christian and start preaching to him about the evils of drunkenness. I merely asked him if he wanted to see what the Bible had to say about the topic. Being a very sincere follower of Christ, though still new in the faith, he was very much interested in what the Bible had to say. Mike had never attended church a day in his life, so everything in the Bible was new to him. The people who have regularly attended church, whether they are saved or not, are abundantly aware of the moral standards in the Bible—Mike clearly was not!

As I opened my Bible and let him read the verses about drunkenness, he also saw that those same verses about drunkenness included the sin of gluttony.

“Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.” (Prov. 23:20-21)

After Mike read that passage, and several others similar to it, the Holy Spirit convicted him and he immediately stopped drinking alcohol, and he also began losing his excess weight. This was genuine Holy Spirit conviction, accompanied by sincere confession and repentance!

Mike was an exceptional man and had a very tender heart towards the Lord. Sadly, that degree and level of confession and repentance wasn’t universal in all the sailors that turned to Christ during the USS Barry Revival.

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