(Acts 2:1-12, Acts 13:1-3)
For over 2000 years, since the day of Pentecost had fully come, groups of people have been experiencing the presence of God. We call them revivals. We also call them outpourings, renewals, visitations, moves of God, and other names that do not come to mind as I write. We put specific names on some of these such as the Reformation, the Great Awakening, the Charismatic movement, the Jesus movement or the Jesus Revolution. We also identify them by location and so we refer to Azusa Street, the Welsh revival, the Hebrides revival, the Toronto blessing, and others. Very recently we have heard of a wonderful time at Asbury University.
If we look at all of these, hunger for the Lord and seeking prayer are part of every story. We cannot develop a formula or pattern because the Lord always looks through to see the heart. The words of a message itself will not do. It is the heart of those seeking. It can be one man, or one woman seeking as a start. I have known an occasion when I was in prayer and heard, as it were, from the throne of God , that it was time for a shift, a judgement, in the sense of an exposure to take place. I said what I heard and it shortly took place. I realized I was not the only one praying and hearing and speaking the thing.
Now it is of great value for a gathering to touch God no matter the size of the group. Consider Pentecost where it was about 120. At Antioch it happened in that the Holy Spirit set apart two men for the work He had in mind. That is what it means to be holy, to be set apart. Isaiah knew it. Luther knew it. Calvin knew it. Polycarp knew it. Wesley, Whitfield, Zinzendorf, and Edwards knew it. So did David Brainerd. Should I go back some and name Latimer, Wycliffe, Hus, and Brother Lawrence? Let’s not forget Finney, and William Seymour. The list goes on. Many names are not recorded but those true followers of the Way are saints. We set some on historic pedestals but the Lord knows all who have truly left all to follow Him.
Before I continue, I would mention women also who were set apart for particular purposes. Mary, Jesus’ mom, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha of Bethany, Junia (See Rom. 16: ), and Priscilla are known to us. As I have mentioned before, check out Romans 16 and the several names mentioned there. Little is known about some of them and nothing more about most. All these were filled with the Spirit. I want to say that other women through history have carried the Lord’s presence. Jeanne Guyon, Susannah Wesley, are among many in the cloud of witnesses. When the Lord moves in the earth, He is working to prepare new vessels, new conduits for His life to flow into the world. It has been repeated through history.
We find that these vessels are not perfect. Flaws are exposed. Sometimes the flaws are downright ugly. We have seen this in recent times. While I could be specific, I choose not to do so. Let us simply say we have seen men and women acquiring spiritual positions to deceive others to abuse them and use them for self-serving purposes. Be sure that God sees and will judge them. Let us look to ourselves to not be complicit in such perversions of ministry. We are called to serve in humility. Christ came not to be served but to serve.
Revival comes when we seek God in humility, when we have learned to receive His love, and that He is the source of all that really matters. Many have been abused and wounded. We have heard we must avoid a victim mentality. And too often I have heard some say that they just need to get over it. Too often we do not see the depth of the wound and are quick to dismiss others. I have done it especially when I realize I cannot really help them. We need wisdom to know when it is better to leave someone alone so that God might work through someone else. We cannot force God’s hand or set the clock for Him. Being filled with the Spirit includes a sensitivity to His mind and heart in every situation. When we see the Spirit moving and stirring go with it. It may be small today but it can build till we see overflow and a surge. Go with the surge and learn to keep our hands off. It is always about Jesus Christ having preeminence. The book we call Acts has been referred to as the acts of the Holy Spirit. That is true. He has never stopped moving and He is ramping it up in these days. Let us move with Him.