Revival, friends. Revival is what the Church at large needs. Not more buildings or programs. Not more feel-good outreach or books or even pastors. The Church is in desperate need of the fire of revival. That’s what the Ravenhill challenge is all about. The challenge derives from the consistent message of Leonard Ravenhill’s books and preaching and the same thoughts expressed by Michael Brown in his book The End of the American Gospel Enterprise. Go to the site and check out what the folks have started and catch the fire.
Leonard Ravenhill wrote in December of 1961,
My old master, Samuel Chadwick, had some barbed phrases in his lectures, sermons, and talks. I can still hear his mellow voice saying, “Brethen [sic], the crying sin of the Church is her laziness after God.” Praying people, however, are not lazy. Prayer demands will power. Prayer recognizes unfinished business with and for God. Prayer is a battle for full-grown men, fully armed and fully awake to the possibilities of grace. I write here by constraint, for my spirit is sore, my heart sick at the slothfulness with which we tarry in prayer.
The Church can ask herself today, is this what our Savior sacrificed His life for? Did He give us the Church so that we can be comfortable, occasionally running guerilla missions out into the world and then returning to the safety of the sanctuary? As I think about the spiritual state of much of today’s Church, I am reminded of Ravenhill’s words:
The true man of God is heartsick, Grieved at the worldliness of the Church,
Grieved at the blindness of the Church, Grieved at the corruption in the Church,
Grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, Grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church.
He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil.
He is embarrassed that the Church folks no longer cry in their despair before a devil-ridden, sin mad society, “Why could we not cast him out?” (Mt 17:19)
Before we pray for the change in others, let us each pray for the transformation of ourselves. Let the tears come searing hot down our cheeks at the mockery our own lives make of the holiness that grace offers to us. Let it begin with me.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:9-11)
The dream of the follower of Christ is to know the unspeakable joy that he promises to be complete. In response to our tendency to seek joy in the world, Leonard Ravenhill provides the road map to help us arrive at our desired objective:
The way to enjoy indestructible peace and joy is to determine:
- To do whatever God commands, however difficult.
- To endure whatever God appoints, however severe.
- To obtain whatever God promises, however seemingly unattainable.
- To die daily, however costly the crucifixion.
- To love my enemies however misunderstood in this.
- To pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks.
“Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?” — Leonard Ravenhill