top of page
Post: Blog2_Post


Acts 19:16-20

The revival at Ashbury seminary has been the talk of the town in recent weeks. My purpose in this short blog is not to render an opinion on what is going on at Ashbury but to use it to share a few thoughts on what I believe constitutes a biblical revival. You, the reader, can make your own assessment of the Ashbury experience; after all, who am I to judge what the young people at Ashbury feel in their hearts and how they are being affected in their relationship with Christ?

The united testimony of the Scripture is that revival, in general, is not for the unregenerate but for God’s people. It is a sovereign work of God, aimed at restoring God’s people from their spiritual dormancy and lethargy and reanimating them to a renewed intimacy with Christ. Revival can occur at an individual or national level at God’s appointed times. The unregenerate need regeneration by the Holy Spirit—being made alive from their spiritual deadness—not revival. But believers who have slipped into backsliding or spiritual complacency need revival to restore them to a renewed zeal for God.

The revival that broke out in Ephesus during the ministry of Paul gives us three salient features of a God-sent revival. First, a God-sent revival always leads to the magnification of Christ (Acts 19:17). The hallmark of a God-sent revival is not a euphoric psychological hype as its chief end but the exaltation of Christ among the people. That happens when people are captivated by a reverential fear of God, drawing them to a profound love for Christ.

Second, a biblical and God-sent revival leads to genuine repentance, returning to God, and holy living. Duncan Cambell (1898–1972) wrote, “Revival forever must be related to holiness, for without holiness, no one shall see God.” When revival broke out during the days of Nehemiah, the Israelites repented and wept when they heard the words of the Law (Neh. 8:9). When revival came to Ephesus during the ministry of Paul, the people repented and turned from their witchcraft and idolatry (Acts 19:18, 19). During the first and second Great Awakenings in America (18th and late 19th centuries), people repented for their sins and turned to God. This is the pattern we see in the Bible and church history when revival swept a nation.

Martin Luther’s first thesis of his ninety-five theses he nailed on the door of the Cathedral at Wittenberg said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.” During a revival, people experience this sense of remorse and conviction about their sins, which inevitably leads to the conversion of souls.

Third, God’s word will grow mightily and prevail among the people when a God-sent revival occurs (Acts 19:20). People will hunger to hear the word of God. There will be an emphasis on preaching the gospel and Christ-centered exposition of the word of God. The ministration of God’s word will assume its rightful place so people can be nourished in their souls and led to spiritual maturity. These are the enduring and proven characteristics of a revival undergirded by a deep-seated joy of the Lord.

Yes, we need a God-sent revival to turn our nation to God. May the prayer of David always resonate from our lips: “Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6).


bottom of page