During the summer, I came across a helpful description of what happens when true revival is seen in the church. In his book A Mighty Fortress (Christian Focus 2003), T.M. Moore cites the work of John H. Armstrong who has studied revivals and sees six common indicators of revival:
1. People become profoundly aware of being in the presence of the holy God, falling silent in awe of his glory and majesty.
2. There is a shared experience of an uncommon readiness to hear God speak. People are hungry for God’s word and give more time and attention to reading and studying it.
3. A deep conviction of sin. Talk of sin is in the air. Preachers call congregations to repentance.
4. There is, then, heartfelt repentance; genuine deep and life-changing.
5. A great concern for others, praying for the lost, giving generously to meet the needs of neighbours and a greater commitment to the cause of Christ.
6. The proclamation of the gospel brings about real and lasting change at individual, community or national levels.
Moore finishes his chapter with a helpful study guide. His first question on this chapter is:
Have you ever experienced a season of personal revival and renewal? How did that come about? To what did it lead in your life? If you have not experienced this, do you have any thoughts about why that may be?
I mention in About the Blogger that I experienced personal revival in 2006-2007 which lasts in some part today. It came about from asking the question “must I do good works to be saved?”
As well as the search for the answer some practical things came together.
1. I found the ideal space for morning quiet times, sitting on a day bed in the corner of my study where there were no distractions and I could read, pray, meditate and reflect in peace for an hour or so each morning.
2. I had used Robert Murray McCheyne’s daily bible reading plan in the first year doing all four readings and then for four consecutive years, one reading a day in more depth. This gave me the full counsel of God on the question “must I do good works to be saved.”
3. I finally grasped the distinction between justification by faith in Christ and sanctification and could draw it! Visuals are really helpful when you are dyslexic.
4. I learned what neonomianism is.
5. I spent a season collecting and meditating on the benefits of being united to Christ by faith.
6. I read Thomas Watson’s exposition of the beatitudes.