“20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21
By: Chuck Beem, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Baptist Association
April 24, 2018
As Christ-followers, we long to see revival break out, to see souls saved and lives transformed by Jesus. There’s no doubt that our world desperately needs revival. So if God’s people are longing for revival and the world needs it so badly, why hasn’t it come?
In his classic book Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill powerfully points a convicting finger at us believers in Christ. Passionless preaching, lack of prayer...the bottom line is “as the church goes, so goes the world.” Ravenhill passionately writes:
“For this midnight hour, incandescent men are needed. On the day of Pentecost, the flame of the living God became the flame of the human heart to that glorious company. The Church began with these men in the “upper room” agonizing—and today is ending with men in the supper room organizing. The Church began with revival; we are ending with ritual. We started virile; we are ending sterile. Charter members of the Church were men of heat with no degrees; today many hold degrees, but have no heat! Ah, brethren, flame-hearted men are the crying need of the hour! ”
As it was in 1959, so it is also true today. We continue to be in need of souls burning for Christ. One of the things that I believe has smothered the flames of revival is the lack of cooperation in the body of Christ. For too long churches have seen each other as competitors. We have allowed the minor differences in our doctrine to overshadow the main thing that we have in common—the gospel of Jesus Christ!
It just might be that Jesus was anticipating our division when He was praying the great high priestly prayer in John 17. He prayed that His disciples would be united. He looked beyond them as well, praying down through the centuries that we would be united also. And in His prayer we see the reason He prayed for this unity: “...so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” You see, when the body of Christ is functioning properly, when we are cooperating together to share the gospel and make disciples, then theworld sees that God loved them so much that He sent His only Son to die for them. Our unity, not uniformity mind you, puts Jesus on display for the world to see. And until the world sees Jesus, there can be no revival.
Heavenly Father, we repent of allowing our differences to keep us from being united in Christ. As You and He are one, please make us one with You and Your Son. Help us to keep the main thing as the main thing. Help us not to major on the minors. May we cooperate in the power of Your Holy Spirit to make disciples of all nations and to plant churches for Your glory. Our prayer, Father, is that You would help us to display unity in the body of Christ and that You would draw the lost to Salvation. Lord, please use us to demonstrate to the world that You sent Jesus for them and that You loved them even as You loved Jesus. Set our hearts ablaze with cooperation and bring revival to our land we pray, in Jesus name!
Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1959), 155.