WHAT ARE THE FORMER AND LATTER RAIN REVIVALS?
So, what were the sermons like in the former rain revival?
Paul preached one sermon so long that one man went to asleep in the service, and fell from the second floor window. Paul prayed and the man was resurrected from the dead, and then Paul finished his sermon.
Peter preached his first sermon following the outpouring of the Spirit, and 3000 were saved. Then at the second sermon 5000 were saved.
Some of Paul's messages resulted in him being beaten, imprisoned, stoned, or run out of town - or there was revival.
What messages resulted in these kinds of results? They were powerful sermons. What was their secret? How do we find that secret, and have that kind of powerful sermons?
We know their doctrines centered about Jesus, His sacrificial death, resurrection, and soon return. They may have emphasized the eschatology of the second coming, but they used this prophetic message as a motivating factor. It was the mission of the church to save souls from sin and hell-fire. They wanted to get as many of this world ready for the second coming as they could, so they motivated people to accept Jesus as Savior from sin with their eschatological messages.
Eschatology is great, but to be excited about the future, one must first be sure the present sin has been remitted. Sin of the present will keep the sinner from the joy of the rapture, and the victory of the second coming. The revival church must not only study prophecy, but it must use the prophetic revelations to get people to realize the urgency of the salvation message.
God's ultimate purpose in history is to restore mankind. We must not be like the Priest and the Levite on the road to Jericho, who by-passed the beaten man that the good Samaritan helped. We must realize that the knowledge of the prophetic message should motivate Christians to be soul-winners.
Too many who do not have a doctrinal foundation in prophecy, are weak in soul winning.
The truly revived church will declare a message consistent with Scripture. They will preach a message of mankind being created in God's image. They will teach that mankind is destined to someday rule and reign with Jesus. They will teach that sin caused a fall from that position. The wrath of God therefore abides on all who do not find atonement for sin. The good news of God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ is preached with enthusiasm. The real need of the world is salvation from the power of sin. This is emphasized in the sermons of any true revival.
Atonement is the central message of sermons in a revival. The apostate church of Laodicea, that is described in Revelation 3, sees the main emphasis of the church to be a prosperity message. This is wrong and will not result in real revival. Jesus is seen on the outside of that church knocking upon its door.
With the atoning, sin cleansing, and sin conquering message, will be a message on divine healing, gifts of the Spirit, blessing and spiritual prosperity, compassionate service, intercession, miracles, and faith through trials.
First, there must be a desire to see souls be saved and enter the kingdom of the Lord.
The true message has true power. One must beware of "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." There is a true message that has power. In fact, it is impossible to be a Christian without encountering the power of the Spirit.
The Spirit convicts of sin:
John 16:8-11 (KJV)
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
We are born again by the Spirit's power:
John 3:3-8 (KJV)
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
It is impossible to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, except by the Spirit:
1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV)
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
As we respond to these first moving of the Spirit, His power grows and increases in us.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit will be a baptism into the miraculous power of the Spirit.
"But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you."
Too many have a "watered down" idea of power within the church. They do not expect, and therefore do not receive, any more than some occasional human emotion. This is a third rate substitute for real revival Christianity. It is empty of what God wants the church to have.
The revival church believes what the Bible says, and believes it means what it says. So they expect a "joy unspeakable and full of glory" type church. They do not expect a watered down substitute. They expect the "dunamis" of the Spirit, and not a slight increase in attendance yearly. True revival messages will emphasize a church of power and miracles. They will not only preach prophecy, salvation, and sin-cleansing power, they will expect and see the miraculous results of such preaching
The woman pressed through throngs of people until she could touch the hem of His garment. She expected power when she touched His hem. The revival church will have that kind of expectancy from their preaching of Jesus. The revival church knows that virtue will flow from Jesus to those who act in such faith.