Many people are praying for a revival in America. Why have we not seen a revival in so long? I believe it is because of the absence of evangelism preaching. Our prayers alone are not enough to bring about an awakening.
I have studied revival and spiritual awakening for over 10 years. There is a difference between revival and spiritual awakening. A revival is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church, which results in the salvation of many church members, conviction of sin and a renewed zeal to reach the lost. A revival is sent by God and cannot be manufactured by men. A spiritual awakening happens when the lost are awakened to their sinful natures and their need to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. An awakening can follow a revival, but can happen separately.
America has had two Great Awakenings. The First Great Awakening occurred around 1730-1755. Some of the famous preachers during this awakening were Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles and John Wesley. It is said that 80% of America’s 900,000 colonists heard George Whitefield preach.
The Second Great Awakening occurred from around 1790-1840. It was known for the Kentucky camp revivals, circuit Methodist preachers and Charles Finney. There were 100,000 conversions in Rochester, NY in 1831 after Charles Finney preached.
These revivals happened as a result of much prayer and great preaching. I know many people are praying for revival, but what I see missing is the type preaching required to bring about genuine repentance. Preachers are too soft on sin. The watered down word of God does not bring about conviction of sin. We must be specific about what sin is. The majority of people in America believe they are good enough to get to heaven. Who is going to teach them what God thinks about lying, using the Lord’s name in vain, adultery and the rest of the 10 Commandments? The world does not know what sin means to God. Many Christians assume the lost know what sin is, but they don’t. This type of preaching might make you very unpopular in today’s society, but it is what is needed in the church and world.
Listen to this sermon by Billy Graham, which he preached in 1957 in New York City. Originally the New York Crusade was supposed to run for 2 weeks, but lasted a total of 16 weeks with 2,397,400 in attendance and 61,148 decisions for Christ made. Why did this revival or crusade last so long? Because of prayer and a movement of God that no one anticipated. I hope you will take the time to listen to this sermon, because he explains that people believe they are Christians when they are not truly born again. I believe that many of our church members in America are really lost.
If we want to see this type of outpouring of the Holy Spirit again, then we need preachers who will preach like Billy did. This is the type sermon required to bring about revival to the church. The Bible is sharper than a two-edged sword, except when it is watered down. When preachers start preaching like this and Christians pray for revival, then I believe God will send revival to America.
The next sermon is intended for the lost. This type sermon is required to bring about a spiritual awakening. The lost must realize their sinful state before they understand why they need Jesus as their Savior.