The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)
Look at the rate of crime and delinquency. Look at the corruption
in government and the waywardness of churches themselves. In America we
have lost that trust in God our forefathers had in founding our nation
and pioneering from East to West. So let us go back and search the way
and find that which we have lost. Let us have an old-fashioned revival
- arouse America to the need of Christianity. Let us have a revival
that will draw the thousands and tens of thousands in the metropolitan
areas of the nation back to Christ.
If there were ever a group of people that yearned and worked and sought for such an old-fashioned revival, the people of the churches of Christ are. But our yearning is not for a return to the revivals of a decade ago but to return and pattern our revival, our work, and our worship after the revival of all revivals. We need an old-fashioned revival such as occurred in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The scriptures tell us that about 3,000 souls were added to the church in one day in Acts 2:41. In Acts 4:4 it says that then men alone of the church numbered 5,000. And then in Acts the 5th chapter and the 14th verse it says that multitudes both of men and women were added to the Lord.
Show us such a revival today! Show us today a revival that moves men so that once they are converted they are willing to sacrifice and even die as those early Christians. We believe we are safe in saying that there is not a soul reading these words who would not be willing to do all that he could to have such a revival, not only in America but around the world as they did
there in Jerusalem.
Well, why can't we? The people today are no more wicked than they were 2,000 years ago. With all of our moral decay and corruption, with all of our wars and rumors of wars, we have never been convinced that this generation has sunk any lower than the people who lived in the time of Christ. The people at that time lived by the law of the jungle: "Kill or be killed." It was the amusement of the general population to attend the arenas where the gladiators fought each other to the death, and where men and women and even little children were sent out defenseless to fight wild beasts. Why? Just for the amusement and the pleasure of the spectators!
This was the kind of world in which this great revival occurred. This revival was brought about in the hearts of men and women who only 50 days before had cried concerning Jesus, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
So why can't we have such a revival today? The people are no worse, nor is the gospel any less powerful. The Apostle Paul in Romans 1:16 said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation." We do not believe for one moment that the gospel has lost its power in any wise. It still is the power of God, and when preached in its purity and simplicity, will bring about the same results as it did on the Day of Pentecost.
The Lord said in Isaiah 55:10 and 11: "For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
So what is our problem? The people to be reached are no worse. The gospel is no less powerful. The problem must be that we have failed to preach the gospel in its entirety and power. So may we pause today amidst a troubled and confused world and examine closely this revival that wrought such mighty results; and then may we have the humility and the courage to take it as our example, and in spite of ridicule preach the same gospel and bring about a revival as this generation has never known. But remember, the success or the failure of this revival depends on you! It depends on your acceptance or rejection!
Turn with me, if you will, to Acts the second chapter. The happenings recorded in the second chapter occurred on the Day of Pentecost, meaning 50 days following the Sabbath of the Passover. Thus, Pentecost fell upon the first day of the week, seven Sabbath days after the Passover. On this particular morning, the disciples of the Lord were gathered together in one place.
The scripture says in the second through the fourth verses; "And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance."
The coming of the Holy Spirit was to accomplish a two-fold purpose. The first was to inspire and direct the apostles into all truth. Second, as we shall see later in this chapter, it was to demonstrate to the audience that they, the apostles, were inspired of God.
At this particular time there were gathered in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. They had come together to worship God according to the Law of Moses. Naturally it soon spread throughout the city - this coming of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Christ. Immediately they gathered together to investigate this disturbance and the Apostles began to speak unto them, preaching the gospel by the power of the spirit. They spoke so that everyone in the audience could understand that which they preached in his own tongue.
The 12th and 13th verses say: "And they were all amazed and were perplexed, saying one to another, What meaneth this? But others mocking said, They are filled with new wine." But Peter, standing up with the other Apostles, denied that they were drunk. Being moved by the Holy Spirit, he declared that this was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the prophet Joel - that this was in the last days, and that the spirit had been poured out.
When he had established by the prophecy of Joel that they were inspired, he proceeded to preach unto them Jesus – how that He left the mansions of heaven, descended to earth, wrought many signs and wonders among them, and though He had been crucified, had been raised by the power of God and was now seated upon the throne of David according to the prophecy of the old covenant and by the right hand of God, exalted. It was this same Jesus who was moving them by the Spirit to speak.
In the 33rd through the 36th verses he concluded those arguments with these words: "Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit he hath poured forth this, which ye see; and hear. For David ascended not into the heavens; but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand; Till I make thine enemies thy footstool of thy feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified."
Peter did not mean that they had actually driven the nails through the hands and feet of Christ nor that their hands held the spear that was plunged into his side. But it was by their insistence and by their cries, "Crucify him! Crucify him! Let his blood be upon our heads," that they had crucified this Lord and Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
It was a masterful sermon, and that sermon as all good sermons, did something! It cut them - it pricked them! And in the 37th verse the inspired writer said, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?"
Now let us stop for a moment and see what had happened up to this time. The spirit had moved the apostles so that we know they spoke by inspiration. Peter declared that we are now in the last days and that Jesus of Nazareth who had walked among men was Christ, the Son of God. This same Jesus had been crucified and buried, but by the power of God He had been raised and is now seated upon the throne of David at the right hand of God.
The Jews heard it. They evidently believed it, because they cried out, "What shall we do? .... Since this is true, what can we do?" And in the 38th verse, Peter gave the inspired answer: "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Not too long ago a friend of mine told of a conversation he had had with a popular religious speaker. This particular speaker had spoken on Acts 2:37, the subject "What shall we do," and through the whole lesson, he did not quote Acts 2:38, which was Peter's inspired answer to those men, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins." My friend asked why he had refused or failed to give the Bible answer to this question. The preacher said, "Why, I would lose all of my support if I preached that." It is my prayer unto God that if I should fail to speak that answer which Peter had given that my tongue will cleave to the roof of my mouth and all financial aid cease. Friends, our concern should be what God would have us to do - not what man wants to hear (cf. Acts 5:29).
But, Peter did not stop with these words. We find in the 40th
the 42nd verses: "And with many other words he testified, and exhorted
them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. They then
that received his word were baptized: and there added unto them in that
day about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the
apostles doctrine, and fellowship and in the breaking of bread and the
So in just these few verses we have found the key to an old-fashioned revival: preach the gospel of Christ - nothing more nothing less. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:8, 9: "But though we or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so say I now again, If any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be accursed."
Then when that gospel is preached, it will move men to obey it. When men ask us what they must do to be saved, give them the same answer that Peter gave on the Day of Pentecost. When they have believed, command them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And then we will have started bringing about this old-fashioned revival.
But, there must be something more than just this! Yes, those who have been converted must continue faithfully so that through their lives, through their words, they may lead the five thousands and the multitudes to Christ as in Acts the 4th chapter.
How can we continue faithful? Acts 2:42 teaches us that they continued steadfastly in the apostles teaching. Christ in giving the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20 commanded that they should go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And then following that he said, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." And so in bringing about the revival, these Christians had been added to the body of Christ, and they continued steadfastly in this teaching that the apostles gave them. They accepted not the books and theories and philosophies of men, but they worshiped God in spirit and truth according to that which they were taught.
Secondly, they continued in fellowship. This word referred to the giving of their means. They were liberal givers. They were willing to spend and be spent for the cause of Christ. And they continued in the breaking of bread, or in the commemorating of the death and suffering of Christ by partaking of the Lord's supper. And last of all, they continued steadfastly in prayer. The Holy Spirit commands us to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). And so these early Christians knew the power of prayer. They continued in it steadfastly.
Herein we find the secret to the continuation of this great revival, which began at 9:00 o'clock in the morning on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It will only be when men will come to the realization that by preaching the word exactly as it has been given that we can have hope of an old-fashioned revival which will cause the saving of the souls of not only thousands, but millions of people around this globe.
Some of you reading these words have never been touched by this old-fashioned revival through the word of God - for you have never believed, repented of your sins, been buried with your Lord in baptism, and risen to walk as a new creature in Christ Jesus (cf. Rom. 6:3-6). If you would seek to know that which you must do, we would give you the same answer that Peter gave on the day of Pentecost: "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins." Won't you take a very vital part in this old-fashioned revival that we are striving to bring about this day by coming to Christ in simple obedience? And those of you who have obeyed these commands but have failed to continue steadfastly, won't you return today, confess your wrongs, repent of them, and rejoice as the blood of Jesus washes them away? (1 John 1:7-9).
Now is the time for us to join hands and bring about an old fashioned revival by turning to God, Christ, and His word in simple obedience. Won't you do that today? You are now making a decision! A decision that may make or may break your life throughout eternity. We are praying that your decision will be to obey Christ and to follow Him all the way. Please visit a congregation of the church of Christ and allow them to assist you in your obedience to God.
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