If God is in control of everything; that would mean he is in charge of murder, rape, you name it. He has given man a free will. So, anytime you talk about the sovereignty of God you must allow for man’s free will. Remember, he designed it that way. He wanted a people that loved him; but he didn’t want robots. He gave man a choice. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him will be saved.” Does God want everyone saved? Yes, Jesus died for all; but men and women must choose. If you want to go to hell he’ll let you and if you want to go to heaven he’ll welcome you.
Some people will say things like if God wants if to happen it will. Psalms 78:40-42 KJV contradicts that. “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.” You can limit God. You can’t limit his power; but you can limit his power to you. Therein lies the difference. Remember the scripture in Eph 3:20 “God is able to do exceedingly all that we can think.” That’s not the end of the verse. It says, “according to the power that is at work in us.” We must allow this power to be at work in us by trusting God and developing our faith.
You hear people say things like it’s in Gods hands. I wonder if they really think about that when they say it. I do believe that things like ministry, or a job situation are examples of that. But he told us to GO into the world and preach the gospel. If we don’t go then people don’t get saved. So in reality it’s in our hands.
So, how does the sovereignty of God apply to revival. This is a hot subject right now because of what is going on at Asbury. Know this I am totally supportive of revival. But who initiates it God or us? And why does it just go for a period of time? I think the traditional thinking of almost everyone I know it this. God sends revival where and when he wants to. I think most would say that he sends it for a period of time. I believe this is just based on observation. So, what does the Bible say. This is the final word.
So, let me drive this point home. I teach this all the time with Divine Healing. Let me start there. So, if you pray for one person and they get healed and then you pray for another, and they die; it is quite natural to form a doctrine that sometimes God heals and sometimes he doesn’t! I do believe this is a convenient comforting answer to prayer and prayee. It lets everyone off the hook. Again it’s up to God. God told us to “believe, and all things are possible.” Do we really believe? I am not talking about not having enough faith; we all have a mustard seed. I am talking about unbelief that hasn’t been dealt with and do we know how Divine Healing works?
So, lets switch back to revival; is it up to God or us? Observing circumstances only can bring you to the wrong conclusions. Again, it is what the Scripture says. The main revival that I have studied is the Azusa street revival. It was the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early 20th century. There were a group of people praying and seeking God to find out if the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues were still for today. Man initiated it; but not really. If you look closer, you will realize that the scripture says in Chronicles 16:9 (KJV) “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” Today the same thing is true; it is the Holy Spirit searching for open hearts that will totally seek him. What else does scripture say for personal and church revival. For personal revival let’s look at” Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV) “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”Remember church revival is dependent on a group of people responding; personal revival it’s just you and the Lord.
For church revival let’s look at: II Chronicles 7:14 "if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Why do revivals wane and stop? I believe this is the reason. They don’t move on to the Great Commission. God showed me this a short while ago. There are 2 parts. One praying and repenting and seeking God with all your heart. Then part 2 is fulfilling the Great Commission. We must go out into the world and get people saved and healed and delivered and teach them how to have an intimate relationship with God. Only 2% witness; 98% don’t. You do the math. When there is no wood the fire goes out.
Remember, It’s not our opinion that matters. We form a lot of wrong beliefs just by observing life. It’s the Word of God we must go by. The Bible trumps my opinions everytime.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. It’s God’s power and he always should receive all of the Praise and glory from us. It is our authority that he has given us and our obedience to GO. I give God all the Glory!