BUT THE SPIRITUAL BANKRUPTCY OF ‘THE SALT’ MEANS THE MORAL BANKRUPTCY OF THE EARTH
Does this explain the world’s present demoralized condition? (“The darkest period in history”, says a great Chicago daily.)
Does this explain the wave of lawlessness sweeping over America and the world? (United States Solicitor General J.M. Beck calls this “The Age of Lawlessness”)
Does this explain the enormous increase in crime in the United States? (Four Hundred percent from 1912 to 1921)
Does this explain the amazing growth of the divorce evil? (A tremendous ratio, reaching in some sections from ten to twenty percent of all marriages)
Does this explain the terrible prevalence of social immorality? (Polluting the average of five out of every eight young men throughout the nation, says the health commissioner of a great city).
Does this explain the growing industrial turmoil? (During the past nine years ending with 1922, there have been 26,000 strikes, as against 25,000 during the twenty-five years from 1881 to 1906)
Does this explain the domestic unhappiness, the junvenile delinquency, the lack of parental control, the desire for the frivolous and superficial, the inordinate love of money, the petty thievery and the gigantic robbery, the betrayal of public trust, the disregard of God’s holy day, the banishment of the bible from our public school system, the aversion to restraint of every kind?
Does it explain the moral deterioration of multitudes at home and the growing hostility to Christianity in large sections of the world abroad?
If so, then indeed “judgement must begin at the house of God”. If the moral rehabilitation of the earth is dependant upon the spiritual rehabilitation of the church, THEN LET THE LATTER BEGIN AT ONCE! For judgement of sin and confession of sin on the part of the church means purging and purging means revival and revival evangelisation and evangelisation not only the salvation of multitudes but the quickening of the moral conscience of the masses.
For the sake of Jew, Gentile and the Church of God, the present all-but-extinguished spark of life in the church needs the united breath of multitudes of intercessors to fan it into WORLD-WIDE LIVING FLAME.
PRAY FOR REVIVAL
(Emphasis in Original)
This is an excerpt from ‘The Pentecostal Evangel – A Family and Missionary Paper. Official Organ of The Assemblies of God’ Numbers 478-479 Springfield, MO. January 6 1923.
I am not sure who penned this, but the lead article was written by Pastor A.G. Ward of Toronto Canada. There is a marked inclination to what we now call Dominionism, wanting the whole world to have been evangelised and transformed into some kind of heaven on earth before Christ returns, and we do not espouse this belief. We believe scripture tells us plainly that the world is not going to experience a huge revival and that things will grow steadily worse before Christ’s return. As this paper was written in 1923, some 16 years before WW2, and some years after the Great Depression, you can understand that the desire was for revival to come and clean up the terrible mess that was left after the Great War of 1914-1918.
However, it astounds us how closely the situation is now in the world compared to the concerns of 92 years ago. In fact, it has of course become a much worse situation despite the events that have taken place over the last hundred years. If there ever was a need for the people of God to ensure that their lives are separate from the world, cleaned up by the blood of Jesus Christ and consecrated to Him in all purity and holiness, then it is now. God will surely judge the world, and it will not be changed, but the people of God will. There is a need for revival amongst the brethren still, lets be challenged by this reminder of the fact that going back in time is not the romantic interlude we might think, people still had to deal with sin and darkness even in the ‘roaring twenties’.
We have seen that the period in the believer’s life wherein he receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the special time of danger from the evil supernatural world, and the Baptism of the Spirit is THE ESSENCE OF REVIVAL. Revival dawn, is, therefore, the great moment for deceiving spirits to find entrance into the believer by deception through counterfeits, resulting sometimes in the possession dealt with in preceding pages.
The hour of Revival is a time of crisis and possible catastrophe. A crisis in the history of every individual, as well as in the history of a country, a church, or a district. A crisis for the unregenerate man, wherein he settles his eternal destiny, as he accepts, or rejects conversion to God; a crisis to those who receive the fulness of the Holy Spirit, and to those who reject Him; for to the believer who bends and receives the Holy Spirit, it is the day of the visitation of the Most High, but to others it means the decision whether they will become spiritual men or remain carnal (1 Cor. 3: 1); whether they will elect to remain in defeat in the personal life, or determine to press on as overcomers.
Few go through the crisis without deception by the enemy in more or less degree, and only those who cling to the use of their reasoning faculties at this time, can hope to be saved from the catastrophe of becoming a victim to the subtle workings of evil supernatural powers. If the believer does become deceived by evil spirits at the time that he is baptized with the Spirit, almost immediately after the highest point of his experience, he begins through deception to descend into a pit which ultimately means depth of darkness, bondage and misery, until he is undeceived and returns to the normal path. Those who do not discover the deceptions, sink into deeper deception, and become practically useless to God and to the Church.
REVIVAL THE HOUR AND POWER OF GOD
Revival is the hour and power of God, and of the devil, for the descent of the Divine power brings the accompanying onslaught of evil supernatural powers. It means MOVEMENT IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM. Revival itself is the hour of God, when heaven is opened, and the power of God works among men, but when the Divine power appears to pass away, and evil supernatural powers manifest their workings in a man, or a church, or a country, then men marvel that the devil’s work should be where God had been so manifest, not knowing that the devil was planting his seeds, and DOING HIS WORK, FROM THE DAWN OF REVIVAL. Revival ebb began with its flow, but all unseen. In the hour and power of God in Revival, the “Tempter” appears to be absent, but he is present as the Counterfeiter. Men say there is “no devil,” and yet it is his greatest harvest time. He is netting his victims, mixing his workings with the workings of God, and beguiling the saints more effectively than he was ever able to do with his temptations to sin. As a counterfeiter, and deceiver, the ever watchful foe uses his old methods of deception and guile on new converts, who, having victory over known sin, think the Tempter has left them, not knowing his new ways. His absence is only apparent, and not real. Satan was never more active among the sons of God.
WHY REVIVAL STOPS
The Devil’s great purpose is to stop the Revival power of God, and every Revival that has been given of God to awaken His people, has ceased after a time, more or less short, because of (1) the Church’s ignorance of the laws of the spirit for co-working with God;note 1 and (2) the insidious creeping on of the powers of darkness, unrecognized, and yielded to by the people of God through ignorance. Those who are born of the Spirit at such a period of the manifested power of the Holy Spirit emerge into a spiritual world, where they come into contact with spirit-beings of evil, OF
WHOSE EXISTENCE THEY HAVE NO EXPERIMENTAL KNOWLEDGE. They become conscious of spiritual forces and things which they think must be of God, and they do not know of the possibility of workings mingled by wicked spirits with the things of God. This is the reason why Revival, which quickens the Church, and for a period manifests to the world the regenerating, uplifting power of God, produces as an aftermath a number of genuine Spirit-born believers who are said to have “religious mania,” or are called “cranks.” And this is why “Revival” is sooner or later checked and discredited, the testimony to the world destroyed, the sober section of the Church dismayed, and made fearful of its effects. To put it in bluntest language, the Revival hour is the occasion for evil spirits to obtain “possession” of spiritual believers, and REVIVAL CEASES BECAUSE OF SUCH POSSESSION. The most spiritual
believers, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and most fitted to be used of God in Revival service, may become deceived and possessed by evil spirits in their outer being THROUGH ACCEPTING THE COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN. Believers who are not so abandoned to the Spirit escape the acute “possession, ” but in their contact with hitherto unknown workings from the spiritual realm, are equally open to deception which is manifested in a less recognizable way.
What is called the “fanatical” spirit, which in some degree, follows Revival, is purely the work of evil spirits. At Revival dawn the ignorant are teachable, but through their “spiritual experiences,” later on they become unteachable. Pre-Revival simplicity gives place to Satanic “infallibility,” or an unteachable spirit. Dogged, stubborn obstinacy in a believer after Revival is not from the source of the man himself, but from evil spirits deceiving his mind, holding his spirit in their grip, and making
him unbending and unreasonable. The scheme of the powers of darkness in Revival dawn, is to drive, or push to extreme, what is true. Their “push” is very slight and imperceptible at the beginning, in suggesting thoughts, or impelling to actions a very little contrary to reason, but as the “push” is yielded to, and the use of the reason is silenced,note 5 those who are thus deceived in due course become fanatical. The
judgment of those believers impelled to unreasonable actions, may be against, and even resisting the things they are supernaturally urged to do,note 6 yet they are unable to stand against the supernatural power driving them, which they think and believe is from God.
REVIVAL AND WAR ON SATAN
All this, and much else already dealt with in preceding pages, together with the after history of all Revivals of the past, shows that REVIVAL MINUS WAR ON SATAN AND HIS WICKED SPIRITS, must always appear to end in partial failure through the mixed results, consequent upon Satanic counterfeits of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Church, therefore, sorely needs believers equipped with knowledge and discernment, to meet the Satanic counterfeits which invariably follow the advent of Revival, knowing the symptoms of Satanic deception and possession, and able to
resist the powers of darkness, and teach the children of God the way of victory over them, as well as the aggressive warfare upon them.note 7 War upon the attacking spirits of evil is indispensable for maintaining the health, sanity and spiritual power of those who are revived. A PURE REVIVAL–free from the usual aftermath–IS POSSIBLE if the Church understood the truth about the powers of darkness, as well as the way of co- operation with the Holy Spirit. Apart from this same knowledge of the workings of Satan and his wicked spirits, so as to be able to recognize their presence under any guise, no one can with safety accept all the supernatural manifestations which accompany Revival, or believe all seeming “Pentecostal power” to be of God. A PURE Revival is Divine power in full operation, minus sin and Satan. It is not cold “belief,” but life, and it has to do with the spirit, not the intellect.
PRAYER FOR REVIVAL
Apart from this same knowledge, those who pray for Revival do not clearly understand what they pray for, nor how to act when their prayers are answered; for they are not prepared to meet the Satanic opposition to their prayers; nor even the dangers attendant upon prayer for Revival. Why is there not yet world-wide Revival in answer to world-wide prayer? For the same reason that Revival subsides when it has begun, and that prayer meetings for Revival may end in catastrophe,
or powerlessness. The check to Revival, both when it has begun, and in the prayer preceding its advent, is caused by the spirits of evil deceiving or hindering the praying ones. The hindrance to Revival, at the present time lies, not only in this opposition of the powers of darkness, but in the PRESENT CONDITION OF THE MOST SPIRITUAL SECTION OF THE CHURCH, through whom alone God can work in Revival power. These are the believers who know the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and were liberated in spirit in the Revivals of the last decade, but who are now
driven back into themselves by the pressure of the enemy in the atmosphere, or else are in captivity to the foe through his counterfeits. Let these quenched or deceived believers be liberated once more, and THOSE WHO ARE NOW USELESS WILL BE PRICELESS IN VALUE for teaching and strengthening others when Revival is once more given.
INSTRUMENTS FOR REVIVAL
The Holy Spirit is still in those who were baptized with the Spirit, during the last Revivals. The mistake at the time of the Revival in Wales in 1904 was to become occupied with the effects of Revival, and not to watch and pray in protecting and guarding the cause of Revival. The Spirit baptized souls, at present locked up in spirit, or side-tracked through Satanic deceptions, are still those who would be the instruments through whom God could work, were they but set free. Useless
now, but priceless in maturity, and experience and knowledge for the guiding and guarding of a Revived Church, when they are once more liberated for true co-working with the Holy Spirit of God. How, then, should the Lord’s praying ones pray at the present time? They should pray:
(1) Against evil spirits now blocking and hindering Revival.
(2) For the cleansing and delivering of those who became possessed through deception during the time of later Revivals.
(3) That when Revival is once more given it may be kept pure, and
(4) For the preparation of instruments for Revival, trained and taught of God to guard against further inroads of the powers of darkness.
In brief, let all who pray for Revival, pray for light to reach those who HAVE BEEN ENSNARED INTO BONDAGE TO THE DECEIVING POWERS OF DARKNESS, that they may be set free, and once more become usable in Revival service; then will the forces of evil be beaten back from the ground they have regained, which still belongs to God. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the essence of Revival, for Revival comes from a knowledge of the Holy Spirit, and the way of co-working with Him which enables Him to work in Revival power. The primary condition for Revival is, therefore, that believers should individually know the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. This term being used as a convenient expression for describing a definite influx of
the Holy Spirit which thousands of believers throughout the Church of Christ have received as a definite experience. Such an infilling of the Spirit was the cause not only of the Revival in Wales in 1904-5, but of all other Revivals in the history of the world. The fact that the counterfeiting work of Satan follows Revival through such an opening of the spiritual world as enables the evil spirit-beings to find access to believers under the guise of the Divine Spirit, must not hold back the children of God from seeking the true flood tide of the Spirit, for the bringing about of pure Revival, and the emacipation of the Church of Christ from the bonds of sin and Satan.
I have been reading the book “The Spirit-Filled Life” by John MacNeil. It is an amazing book, written in 1894, by a Scots Presbyterian preacher and evangelist who was born and educated in Scotland but lived and worked in Australia. He was instrumental in the Melbourne revival of 1909, and was deeply interested in the deeper life Keswick movement. His book is interesting in many ways, mainly because for a Presbyterian minister he was an anomaly. He was seeking the blessing of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and taught and preached on the infilling of the Spirit in a way which seemed to separate him from the many who were influenced by the Welsh Revival of 1904 and the American Revivals which followed it. He is not interested in manifestations of strange incoherent ramblings or odd behaviour at meetings. His preaching is sound and biblically based and his teaching is filled with discussions of original languages and the meaning of the words used to describe the experience of being filled with the Spirit.
One of the reasons I wanted to honour John McNeil was that he began a preaching and evangelism tour in Queensland and died en route. He was at the end of his tour and died suddenly while in the shop of a Mr. Webster , a portmanteau maker, in George street, Thursday, August 27th 1896, almost 120 years ago. It is sad that he died so suddenly and away from his family, but his life was devoted to God and the furtherance of God’s Kingdom and People. I feel strangely honoured that he died in my home town even though it seems a morbid thought. It was his love of his brethren and the lost that brought him here and reading his works and seeing the heart of love he had for us here in this city causes me to rejoice that we can continue the work God began in him.
I was deeply impressed with his sensible and easy to read discussion of a subject which for many reformed or other conservative denominations is a very touchy subject. Yet you could hardly fault Macneil for his very thorough yet passionate entreaty for believers everywhere to avail themselves of this most important imparting of power from God.
I include a transcript of his death notice in the Brisbane Courier of August 28 1896.
REV. JOHN MACNEIL
SHOCKINGLY SUDDEN DEATH.
The Rev. John MacNeil, the well known evangelist, who has been conducting a series of services at the City Tabernacle, died with terrible suddenness yesterday. Shortly before noon Mr. MacNeil went to the shop of Mr. Webster, portmanteau manufacturer, George-street, in connection with some work, and had only been there a few minutes, speaking to Mr. Webster, when he dropped on to the floor, apparently dead. The Ambulance Brigade and Dr. Dixon were both summoned immediately, but on their arrival the body was found to be quite lifeless. The Ambulance Brigade handed the re- mains over to the police, who, pending other arrangements, had them removed to the morgue.
Mr. MacNeil was a vigorous, active man, in the prime of mature manhood, being between 45 and 50 years of age. He leaves a wife and five children at Sandringham, near Melbourne, and had a brother In West Australia. Mr. McNeil was in West Australia last year, and was all through the Coolgardie district on his bicycle. Of the life history of the evangelist we have been able to gather but few particulars, and they have been kindly furnished by the Rev. W. Whale, of the City Tabernacle, and Mr. D. M’Nab, with the latter of whom Mr. MacNeil was a guest during his stay in this city. Mr. MacNeil first held a charge at Waverley, near Sydney, and afterwards at Melbourne, and was very well known at Ballarat. He went out as an evangelist in connection with the Presbyterian Church in Victoria, and in that capacity visited Queensland last year, conducting mission services in the Enoggera-terrace, Fortitude Valley, and other churches in and about Brisbane.
Since his last year’s visit Mr. MacNeil had resigned his connection with the Presbyterian Church of Victoria and deoted himself to special mission work. Recently he has been through the Northern districts of Queensland carrying his message, and conducted mission services at the City Tabernacle on Sunday morning, afternoon, and evening. Even yesterday and today were set apart for his work at the Tabernacle. Sunday next he was booked to preach at Bundaberg, on Monday at Childers, and on Tuesday he was to have left Queensland by the mail train for his home.
Mr.MacNeil’s death has naturally come as a great shock to his friends here, and the deepest sympathy is felt with his bereaved family.
You can read more about John MacNeil at these links:
The great assembly listened with close attention, particularly to a notedcharacter— “an old man, remarkable looking—; a dealer in rags would not have givenmore than sixpence for all the clothes he had on his person; he bore the marks and tokensof a confirmed drunkard.” Tremblingly, this aged brother gave his earnest testimony: —
“Gentlemen, I appear before you this day as a vile sinner. Many of you know me, for you have but to look at me and recognize the profligate of Broughshane; you know I was an old man hardened in sin; you know that I was a servant of the devil, and he led me by that instrument of his, the spirit of the barley. I brought my wife and family to beggary more than fifty years ago; in short, I defy the townland of Broughshane to produce my equal in profligacy, or any sin whatever; but gentlemen, I have seen Jesus! I was born again on last night week, and am therefore ‘a week old’ to day. My heavy and enormous sin is all gone, the Lord Jesus took it all away, and I stand before you this day not as a pattern of profligacy, but a monument of the perfect grace of God. “I stand here to tell you that God’s work on Calvary is “perfect. Yes, I have proved it His work is perfect. He is not like an architect who makes a drawing of a building, and then takes out this line or that, or alters “the whole, and even while the building is going up makes some further change. No, but God drew out the plan of salvation, and it was complete, and He carried it out with His blessed Son Jesus, and it is all perfect, for had it not been so, it would not have been capable of reaching the depth of iniquity of myself, the profligate of Broughshane.”
From “The Ulster Revival of 1859” by William H Harding.
Here follows an excerpt from a sermon by David Wilkerson, July 25,1988. The rest of the sermon can be accessed here.
Here at Times Square Church we have designated this year as one of prayer for revival. By “revival” we are not thinking of some great emotional stirring, with people coming from miles around to see something sensational. Instead, we are wanting a prepared people – prepared in holiness! We want a revival of the Lord’s holy presence, where things are so pleasing to God, that He will come down to meet every need – where His glory is revealed!
In Nehemiah, the eighth chapter, there are to be found what I call “the five absolute evidences of revival.” It cannot be called revival or awakening unless all five of these evidences are present. Nehemiah is a revival book. It is the story of 42,360 Jews returning to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon to rebuild the walls and get back to the old paths of holiness and true worship. Their leaving Babylon is a type of believers leaving dead, compromising, worldly churches to go forth with a remnant to Holy Zion, to return to the old paths, and to go on with a people and shepherds who walk in truth.
This holy remnant rolled up their sleeves and worked in unity to remove the rubbish and filth that had polluted Jerusalem. They rebuilt the crumbling walls and put up the gates. That’s what we are doing at Times Square Church: removing the rubbish that has accumulated, the rubbish of false doctrines, of materialism, of sin and compromise in the pulpit and pew! We are rebuilding the walls that had crumbled. Hundreds of God’s people have been plundered and ravaged by Satanic powers; homes and marriages have been in turmoil; many are backslidden, starving for God’s Word. We’ve been working together to put up walls and gates to keep the enemy out. God has gathered together a remnant of all who have escaped Babylon and are ready to take the five great steps to restoration and revival.