Revival and Entitlement

February 26, 2014 | 0 comments

Posted in: weekly pastor's blog

Revival and Entitlement

It is a strange thing, so it seems to me, that some freely talk about their longing for revival and reformation while avoiding with great care the two means that always have and always will accompany revivals, that is, lots of preaching and lots of praying.


We understand the flaws and foolishness of the entitlement thinking when it is the cause of more taxes.  We see the destruction that young and old lay in their own paths when they expect prosperity and refuse to do those things that God has woven into creation, those things that would be the normal means to that goal of prosperity…things like work, persistence, training/education, faithfulness, character, honesty, and the like.


But what we do not understand, or perhaps just cannot see, is how much of the culture’s mindset has infected our thinking.  Entitlement is the water in which we swim and none of us get out of this life without having been influenced and altered by this part of our culture. Knowing this, we must push back. Paul’s command that we “be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12) assumes the pressure and intention of this world while calling for resistance.


It seems there is often much talk about revival, reformation, and biblical spirituality with little attention to what God has assigned as His means to that wonderful end.  It is just assumed that God will give us strong vibrant churches and that that will be accomplished as we continue on with our lives being little altered or influenced by the mission of the church. The church is seen more as a vendor than the center of our communities, providing a service which at any given occasion may be more or less a priority depending on what else is available.  And yet we continue to say the nice things we are supposed to say and continue to talk about better days that we hope for.


We talk about an awakening of God’s people and we hope that such will be the means for a change in our churches, lives, and country. And those are good things to hope toward.  But to talk and hope for an end while not employing the God given means for that end is as foolish as expecting wealth to pop out of some magical place without work, education, and such necessary means for that end.  Many good things that we wish for our churches: programs, outreach, mercy ministries, better music (whatever that is), activities, and all their friends are not the things that have ever been means toward revival—they are fruit not the means. 


If you long for an awakening in the church, require of yourself more preaching and praying and encourage the same in the life of your church.


When Paul reminds us in Romans 10 that faith comes by hearing, we should note that he is talking about the preaching of the Word.  Likewise, our confession reminds us that it is especially the preaching of the Word that God makes use of to enlighten, convince and humble sinners.  This may not seem to be the best of means but it is the means appointed by God to accomplish His end, so that He receives all the glory.


When Jesus teaches us to pray “Thy Kingdom Come”, He does so inside the context of many reminders of the effectual nature of prayer—it moves mountains and brings God’s answers to our requests.  The prayer of the righteous accomplishes much. This may not seem to be the best of means but it is the means appointed by God to accomplish His end, so that He receives all the glory.

It is vital that we remember that revival is something God does, and that we cannot force God’s hand to make it happen.  But it is also vital to remember that God makes use of such ordinary means as preaching and praying and calls us to the use of those means.


·        Pray that God would work in our church, our denomination and faithful churches of all kinds, a passion for pray—private and together.


·        Make the best use of the preaching that is available in the church—Larger Catechism 160:  “It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer: examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and {consider proper applications} of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.” …such listening is hard work, but a work that God’s Word requires.


·        Pray for, encourage, and be willing to give yourself to a church life that involves more preaching and more praying.  The Scriptures, our confession, and all of church history call for a pursuit of revival though these ordinary means that God makes use of in extraordinary ways.


May it please God to give us the desire and the ability to do His good pleasure.  May it please God to revive His church.

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