"Revive Us Again"
Frank D. Butler
In Psalms 85:6 we read, "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" This was a Psalm of joy, a Psalm in praise to God for His grace in returning the children of Israel from captivity in Babylon. In it the writer, because of the sins of the children of Israel who had been led into captivity (Ezekiel 39:23), makes a plea to God to grant unto them a revival.
Today, as in the days of the Psalmist, God's children need a "revival." But in talking to some in the church about the need for a "revival" they usually say, "We can't do that. That's what the denominations do." The definition of a "revival" is: "(1) a restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, etc. (2) a service effecting a religious awakening." From this we can plainly see that there needs to be a "revival" both individually and collectively in the church of our Lord. When we sing "Revive Us Again," are we not asking for a "revival?"
Congregations Need a "Revival"
(1) In Unity. Paul taught in I Corinthian$ 1:10 "Now I beseech you, brethren... that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." In order for the church to carry out the mission God gave it, it must be united. Most of us have seen where strife and disunity were allowed to exist, the work and growth of the church were greatly hindered, or completely stopped. James records, "Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16). Christ taught in Matthew 12:25, "A house divided against itself shall not stand." The church must be united in its stand for the truth (John 17:17) and in it's opposition to error. Paul gives the formula for unity in Ephesians 4:1-16. In a careful study of these verses we find three basic ingredients, (1) speaking the truth in love (verse 15), (2) forbearing one another in love (verse 2), and (3) work (verse 3).
(2) In Zeal. In Paul's epistle to Titus we learn that God's people are to be "zealous of good works." The church needs a "revival" in it's zeal to preach the gospel. In the big promotional schemes in the brotherhood today, and in the efforts to be like (or to outdo) the denominations around us, brethren lose sight of the mission of the church . . . to preach the gospel.
(3) In Faith or Vision. People ask, "Why is the church seemingly at a standstill in places?" It may be because of a lack of faith or vision. We often wonder why the plans or goals the church makes sometimes fall short, or why a gospel meeting did not yield the results we expected. It is from a lack of faith or vision on the part of the members. When a church lacks vision it will never grow as it should. Christ taught in John 4:35, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest."
That's just like some members who say, "When we have our gospel meeting four months from now we will get out and do some personal work." We need a "revival" now, in our faith to grow, build, expand, and to plan for the future of the I church of our Lord. We need to do all we can now, not four months from now.
Elders Need a "Revival"
In far too many congregations of the Lord's people the elders are willing to let the preacher "pastor" the flock, and far too many preachers are willing to "take" this responsibility. Only when elders realize and accept their responsibility as "overseers of the flock of God" (Acts 20: 28; I Peter 5:2-3) will the rest of the members begin to realize and accept their responsibilities.
Preachers Need a "Revival"
(1) In Dedication. There could be no plainer way of expressing this than the words I of Paul to Timothy, "Preach the word; be l urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4: 2). There needs to be a "revival" among preachers to stand solidly for "the truth" and against all error, taking no thought of the consequences. There needs to be a "revival" of the spirit of preachers like Paul and others who felt compelled to correct any error being taught. They weren't afraid to call names when necessary o identify false teachers or false doctrines. They weren't afraid to do without a few things that the gospel might be preached.
(2) In Faith. Preachers need a "revival" n their faith in the power of God's Word. Paul wrote that it is powerful enough to eve (Rom. 1:16), and is alive and active (Heb. 4:12). Christ taught that it will be he standard of judgment when we stand before God in the last day (John 12:48).
(3) In Study. Too much time is being spent by preachers in other things besides the study of God's Word. The "happy man in the first Psalm" meditated in God's word day and night. Paul wrote Timothy that to be approved of God, also that he need not be ashamed as a workman, he had to study. There is a vast difference in the quality of the preaching by those who study and those who do not.
Members Need a "Revival"
(1) Of Faith in God, in Christ, and in the Word of God. The only hope for survival against materialism, atheism, and every other "ism" is a revival of faith.
(2) In their zeal to work. Too often we hear, "Let someone else do it." If everyone had this attitude nothing would be done. The church needs members who aren't afraid to work.
(3) In there zeal to save lost souls. What is the value of one soul? Jesus asked in l Matthew 16:26, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Every child of God needs to be made conscious of the fact that most of the people about them are lost. Members need a revival in their zeal in personal work.
(4) In their attendance. In most congregations the difference in attendance of the Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Midweek services is appalling. There needs to be a revival of the desire to worship God and have the fellowship of other Christians. The first sign of falling away is the loss of this desire. It needs reviving.
(5) In worship and service to God. "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it . . ." (Ezra 7:10). In worship and service to God the heart must be prepared. Too many, the worship is a formality with no forethought and no feeling of devotion or reverence. Worship to God must be with "spirit and understanding" (I Cor. 14:15). Christ taught that God must be worshipped in "spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Unless the heart is prepared, the worship is in vain.
"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee." Brethren, we need a "revival."
Truth Magazine VII: 7, pp. 10-11