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The word "revival" implies that something used to exist but is now dead and in need of RE-vival, a coming back to life.
In speaking of the outpouring of the Spirit, which is our expectation at this time, I have not wanted to use the word revival, because it carries a lot of baggage from the past. I believe that the soon-coming outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be unlike past revivals, because it will contain the ingredient missing from past revivals.
That missing ingredient is the Word itself--specifically, the Gospel of the Kingdom. Every genuine revival of the past has found its power in a particular revelation of the Word, but that Word has been partial and incomplete. For instance, the Pentecostal revival of a century ago contained the basic revelation of Pentecost and restored it to the Church, but it was not until the Latter Rain movement of 1948-1952 that the revelation of Tabernacles was revealed.
The Charismatic movement had its own flavored revelation, some good, some not so good. But I can think of one particular revelation that has been missing from all of them--the revelation of the Law, which is foundational to Scripture itself and to the Kingdom of God. The idea of the "Full Gospel" (1955) meant that men ought to seek Pentecost in addition to Passover, but it was only a two-thirds gospel, because they did not pursue the third feast, Tabernacles.
The overall revelation missing has been the Gospel of the Kingdom. Though men have often used that term, they have functioned without a real understanding of its meaning. Too long have Christians been functioning on half of a Bible. What is needed is a true Full-Gospel fellowship that includes "every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
We often associate revivals with the miraculous--and, indeed, miracles have often characterized revivals. But miracles have never produced FAITH on a large scale. Look at the example of Israel in the wilderness. They saw the Red Sea part, they saw the manna come every day, they saw the fire come down on the mount--but they still died in the wilderness for lack of a Tabernacles Faith and did not receive the promise.
What was missing? They refused to hear the Word (Ex. 20:18-21; Psalm 95:7, 8). The missing ingredient, then, was the Word, caused by their inability to hear.
The same problem that manifested in the Church in the wilderness has also manifested in the Church under Pentecost. Revivals saw many miracles, which, of course, are very good. But revivals have come and gone without actually changing the world on a large scale. The one coming, however, is going to change the world and will shake whole nations to their core. The missing ingredient will be found.
In the first coming of Christ, John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. He came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). Elijah performed eight miracles. Elisha, who succeeded him, performed sixteen miracles. Yet there is no record that John the Baptist performed even a single miracle.
John was the greatest of the prophets and of all men (Luke 7:28), yet he performed not a single miracle. Greatness is not measured by miracles performed. It has to do with the message that one preaches by word and by example. John's message prepared the way for Christ, for He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, as did Jesus after him.
Today, whoever preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom is preparing the way for the second coming of Christ and is part of the Elijah company as John was. I do not see the "coming of Elijah" as being a single man as it was with John the Baptist. I see "Elijah" coming as a company, a body of people. Yes, of course, there will be leaders and distinct callings among them, but it will not be limited to one person.
I myself want to be part of that company; hence, I preach the Gospel of the Kingdom according to the revelation that I have received. Others have shared their revelation with me, and I have been strengthened by their ministries. I have also learned from my mistakes and from the mistakes of others in the past. In fact, there are always people who are called to keep us humble, for they never let us forget our past mistakes. Their calling is not to encourage or even to forgive, but rather to destroy by the spirit of competition.
This morning the Lord gave me Paul's second letter to Timothy. In it, Paul emphasizes to this young man to follow his example of entrusting the Gospel "to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2:2). He says to remind those men to run this race "according to the rules" or "lawfully" (2:5), so as not to be disqualified. He says that such men must "endure all things" (2:10), and "if we endure, we shall also reign with Him" (2:12).
Paul says to "retain the standard of sound words," (1:13) but "not to wrangle about words which is useless" (2:14). Those who oppose the Word should be corrected with gentleness, or meekness (2:25), not by anger or name-calling. Then Paul comes to the heart of the matter in 3:16, 17,
" (16) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
Paul then solemnly charges Timothy in 4:2 and 3 to--
" (2) Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction. (3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. . ."
He did not instruct Timothy to go out and do more miracles, although I have no doubt that he did those things. Paul himself raised a child from the dead (Acts 20:9-12). But that is not what truly impacted the world. Paul knew that the Church would lose its power when they refused "sound doctrine." Sound doctrine is only possible by understanding "all Scripture." It is not possible by knowing only the New Testament.
For this reason, I have made available all of my books for you to read online without charge. I do not focus upon just one or two things but provide you with a broad spectrum of Scripture and integrate the Old and New Testaments into our understanding. I am conscious of the fact that I am doing electronically what Paul did with Timothy. I am entrusting the Word to faithful men and women who will be able to teach others when their time comes. In talking to people, I ask myself, "What can I say that would edify and help this person in his/her calling?"
But overall, the Gospel of the Kingdom involves four elements: (1) the King, Jesus; (2) the Kingdom (citizens and rulers); (3) Laws of the Kingdom, which define His righteousness; and (4) territory, which begins with the dust formed into individuals, and expands to the whole earth and all creation.
We can understand the King and His ministry by knowing the plan and how it involves two comings and two works. We can understand Kingdom citizenship and Kingdom rulership by studying the difference between the Church and the Overcomers. We can understand the Laws of the Kingdom by studying Moses through the eyes of Jesus with a New Covenant perspective. We can understand the territory and current boundaries of the Kingdom by knowing the divine plan for the earth and the purpose of creation.
These are the basics of the Gospel of the Kingdom. So what Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:15, I leave with you,
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth."