Words like Revival, Awakenng, Visitation and others are often used in church circles. Many long for the return of days of “revival” or a new “awakening”
What do these words meaning? and is there a difference?.
I’ll elaborate on Revival and Awakening below.
“Revival is an extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit, producing extraordinary results.”
(Richard Owen Roberts)
“Revival is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God.”
“Revival is the inrush of the Spirit into a body that threatens to become a corpse.”
(S.E.Wirt and K. Beekstrom)
“A revival is not merely the stirring of people’s emotions, but a mighty manifestation of the power of God in turning men and women…from their sins to a life of God glorifying and wholehearted sacrifice and service.”
“True revival is that divine moment when God bursts upon the scene and displays his glory. The glory comes when God takes over. He fills the Church with His presence and power, and when He takes over, all the credit goes to Him. (Del Fehsenfeld Jr.)
“Revival is God purifying His Church. (Erwin Lutzer)
“Revival is the Church on its knees. (R.B.Jones)
“It is God’s method to counteract spiritual decline, and to create spiritual momentum; in order that His redemptive purposes might be accomplished on earth. (Arthur Wallis)
“A revival is about God; His people meeting with him and the nation being confronted with Him. (Colin Urquhart)
“A revival is a return to Apostolic Christianity. (John Morgan)
“Revival is the Christian Church going back to the God given norm. ((Selwyn Hughes)
“Revival is stepping into line with the spiritual life and law of God, for God is an eternal revival in Himself. (G.D.Morgan)
“An awakening is a going of God among His people, and an awareness of God laying hold of the community.” (Duncan Campbell)
“An awakening is a community saturated with God. (Duncan Campbell)
The Difference between Revival and Awakening
The word revival can be applied only to the Church: to revive means to re-invigorate the life that has become weak and is in danger of dying. Unbelievers, cannot be revived, as they have no spiritual life, not having been born again. They are ‘dead in trespasses and sins,’ so there is no life to be revived. They need to be regenerated from spiritual death or awakened from spiritual sleep.
This is why the overflow of a revival from the church into the world is called an awakening, which is, of course what God wants That has been His intention ever since the Day of Pentecost, where the Spirit was poured out upon the 120 in the upper room: the outpouring was not for their benefit, but to reveal His power and grace to a world of sinners, to bring them to repentance and salvation, and from darkness into His marvellous light.
Characteristics of Revivals and Awakenings
Every revival/awakening will have certain characteristics. We can list these as follows:
1. The awareness of the awesome presence of a holy God.
2. Conviction of sin, with people crying out for mercy.
3. The things of eternity, especially the facts of heaven and hell, becoming more real than the things of time.
4. Deep and overflowing joy and delight in the Lord for those brought out of conviction of sin to faith in Christ.
5. A reverence for God and a fear of Him, so that people are afraid to sin.
6. Great concern for the salvation of sinners, with people pleading to stop others going to hell.
7. The lives of those awakened are radically altered, with worldly lifestyles renounced.
8. People become enthusiastic to pray and study the Bible and meet wherever possible.
9. Because those converted have a much deeper conversion experience than those ‘converted’ in a non revival situation, they stay true to the Lord far longer.
10. The church’s priorities change, and become much more spiritual; the Bible is honoured, read, obeyed and shared; prayer becomes the church’s passion; and as the Holy Spirit is given His rightful place, holiness becomes paramount.
A genuine revival/awakening will have these characteristics. Any claim to revival that is not centred on holiness, and does not emphasise the sinfulness of sin, is not from the Holy Spirit, but is a counterfeit revival.