Fear of Revival II — Judgment Day

Our previous post was titled: “Fear of Revival I — Controversy and Change. This post deals with another aspect of why some dread the thought of a revival. Some fear revival because they know the Holy Spirit will create a heightened sense of sin (conviction) in saints and sinners alike. Due to this level of conviction, brought on by the Holy Spirit, some fear their true spiritual condition will be exposed.

As a genuine revival is being sought for, there is the necessary requirement that genuine confession and repentance be made by individuals, as well as the church corporate. They must confess that they have deviated in some way from their ultimate purpose of making passionate followers of Jesus and in God’s standards of holy living.

What’s our first impression when we hear the word “revival”? Do we imagine believers experiencing the warm and inspiring presence of God? Is our impression that unbelievers are hearing and responding positively to the Good News? Is our perception of revival that it involves heart filled worship and increased participation in church activities?

The initial evidence of a genuine revival will be the Holy Spirit working to impress upon Christians a deep conviction of sin. If there is a need for revival, then sin has crept in, and the only way to properly deal with it is confession and repentance. The conviction will involve our neglect, our waywardness, our apathy, etc., or even things which some would consider as being of a much more serious nature. Revival is when God “weighs us in the balance,” or to use an outdated term—judgment (Dan. 5:27; 1 Pet. 4:17).

Many of God’s people have lost their sense of the fear of God, in that we no longer believe that He judges and disciplines His people. Many think the God of judgment and wrath was the God of the Old Testament. They think of the God revealed in the New Testament as a God who overlooks, doesn’t see, nor holds us accountable when we disobey Him.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:
be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19)

Henry Blackaby, in his book Fresh Encounter, writes that “revival is like judgment day. When God comes into the midst of His people as a refiner’s fire, and the process of revival may be very painful to individuals and churches. Usually when we are praying for revival, what we really want are the fruits of revival—the joy, the closeness to God, the conversion of sinners, and so forth. But before we can experience the fruits of revival, we must be “baptized with fire.”

In the same book, Blackaby lists three objections that are commonly expressed about a God of judgment:

1. Some discount the truth from the Old Testament saying, “God is not like that anymore.”  (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

2. Some are offended to think of God as a God of discipline and judgment (1 Pet. 4:17).

3. Some refuse to deal openly with sin in the church, past sins as well as present ones—Gal. 6:1; 1 Cor. 5:1-7; Gal. 2:11-14).

4. Some choose to rely on human wisdom and reason [when dealing with sin] even when it is in direct opposition to God’s Word.

 

New Testament Examples of God’s Remedial [corrective] Discipline

Though many today totally reject a God who judges and then disciplines, we cannot escape the written Word which testifies of our God who does:

  • Ananias and Sapphira, due to their greed and lie, were judged and then removed so they wouldn’t infect the early church with their sin (Acts 5:1-10).
  • The Corinthian church was rebuked because they allowed an immoral man to fellowship among them. That church tolerated that sin, with nobody standing up to remove that infectious person’s behavior from contaminating the entire body of believers (1 Cor. 5:1-7). They eventually did take action after Paul’s rebuke, and that immoral man was removed from the fellowship, but through that act of love [discipline], the man was ultimately delivered from that sin and restored into the fellowship (2 Cor. 2:5-11).
  • The Corinthian church was rebuked by Paul because they were not taking the Lord’s Supper seriously. People who were not worthy of participating in it were doing so without any objections being presented. They were sinning against the body and blood of Jesus (1 Cor. 11:29-32). Some actually died because they refused to judge themselves properly.
  • The churches of Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicia were all judged by God because of their sins and waywardness. God warned them and gave them clear directions on what they should do to turn back and get on course.

Could it be possible that God would discipline His people by:

  • Refusing to hear our prayers? (Isa. 59:2)
  • Withdraw the awareness of His presence? (Ps. 13:1)
  • Send a famine of hearing a word from the Lord? (Amos 8:11-12)
  • Removing the hedge of protection from us and those we love? (Isa. 5:5-6)
  • Allow us to reap the full consequences of our own sinful behavior? (Rom. 1:24-31)

Could it be possible that God’s wrath is still poured out on those who reject Jesus’ offer of salvation? (Rev. 20:15). Is that doctrine still applicable today?

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