Friday, September 1, 2006

Getting Ready for Awakening

Suppose God's Spirit descends in revival power; suppose a Great Awakening of holiness and perfect love seizes us. Are we ready for the seizing?

There is a sense in which we cannot be ready until God blesses us with the readiness that comes from spiritual awakening. However, I advise us to be as ready as possible should the following joyful occasion occurs:

"Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'" (Zechariah 8.23 ESV)

Since Peter warned us to, " always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3.15 ESV) we should prepare for a Great Awakening.

How do we do it? Let me suggest the following to the ministers. Let's cinch some things up.

1. As I mentioned in my last post, I believe we actively should pray personally and corporately for a Great Awakening. Ministers, let the congregations hear you constantly ask that the Spirit would be poured out. Drum it into their consciousness to pray for, to wait for, to expect the outpouring.

2. Keep preaching, teaching and learning Wesleyan doctrine. Never take for granted that the church knows the theological ropes. (I have to catch myself lest I talk of Wesley incessantly to my people but they know I want a Great Awakening.)

3. Start writing sermons to be used if God graces us with a Wesleyan revival. That's right, start writing them! What will an influx of newly reborn saints need? The milk of the word. (Many saints need that, too!) Also, don't neglect the meat for the seasoned hearts strangely warmed.

I really believe in this concept. Show God you mean it when you want him to pour his Spirit over your congregation, city, state, country and world by beginning to anticipate what sermons will need to be written. Wesley had his Sermons on Several Occasions. Why not have your own? Get ready!

4. Make your intentions known. Fetter Lane is my attempt to get people to start thinking of a Great Awakening for America. I refuse to believe that since we don't have Wesley or Whitefield, Edwards or Finney anymore then times of refreshing can't come! Yes, they can come!

5. Keep your focus. Pray for salvation and entire sanctification. The church doesn't exist to tell people how to be "successful" in this life. The church doesn't exist to rival the world in entertainment. The church exists to save the lost and disciple the believers and worship the Triune God.

Okay, perhaps people will think I am being foolish. So be it. It would be an honor to be a jester in the Court of my King.

May Wesley's words from April 21, 1777 ring true once more:

"This revival of religion has spread to such a degree, as neither we nor our fathers had known. How extensive has it been! There is scarce a considerable town in the kingdom, where some have not been made witnesses of it. It has spread to every age and sex, to most orders and degrees of men; and even to abundance of those who, in time past, were accounted monsters of wickedness."

(Sermons, # 132, "On Laying the Foundation of the New Chapel, Near the City-Road, London")