About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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An Open Door To Revival


In the 1970's I thought that Christian revival was a result of our prayers and hard work of evangelizing the streets of our city, to which my friends and I were dedicated.  I have subsequently learned that the dawning of a Christian revival does not depend on us, but on Jesus. 


I realize that as Christians we have our part to play in the administration and implementation of God's will here on earth.  I also understand the debate over Mark 16:20 and its placement in the gospel of Mark, but despite that, it states the New Testament pattern that God's will is accomplished by a collaborative process between us and Jesus.  We have our part to play and Jesus has His part to play.  Mark 16:20 reads:


"Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."


Part of Jesus' job in implementing God's will is to create revival.  How, when, and where revival takes shape originates with Jesus, not with us.  Jesus opens the revival door for us to walk through, as I believe Revelation 3:8 states. 


"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."


Sometimes we lament over not seeing revival, but despite Jesus saying that no one can close the specific door of revival He referenced, history tells us that revivals come and revivals go.  They come as a result of Jesus opening the door of revival and they go because we shut the door.  I believe the Pentecostal revival of the late 1800's, for example, was a result of Jesus opening its door that was subsequently closed because of doctrinal and relational disputes among the revival's participants.  It's our ever-present tendency to shut what Jesus opens.   


William Carey (born 1761 - died 1834) suffered through forty one long, painful, and difficult years as a missionary in India without seeing revival.  He estimated that only seven hundred people, out of India's population of millions, came to Jesus during those years.  Despite the lack of revival, he tirelessly translated the Bible into various regional languages, influenced social reform, and laid the foundation for future revival.  1 Corinthians 3:6 is correct.  Some plant, some water, but it's God who gives birth to revival.   


I believe that Revelation 3:8 tells us that in His own good time Jesus opens the door to revival.  Opening the door is His responsibility.  Walking through that open door is our responsibility.  Until Jesus opens the revival door, it's our job, like William Carey, to tirelessly work in the service of the Lord no matter the results.  

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