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Hindrances to Revival (By G R Blackaby

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Hindrances to Revival (By G R Blackaby Empty Hindrances to Revival (By G R Blackaby

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Dec 2010, 4:14 pm

Hindrances to Revival (By G R Blackaby/
By G. Richard Blackaby|Published Date: December 07, 2010
Today's churches are praying for revival in unprecedented numbers. They
are holding "revival meetings" and "renewal conferences" in the hope
that these will hasten the coming of God's Spirit in power. Yet, despite
these sincere efforts, many churches have allowed unbiblical theology,
as well as secular practices, to become entrenched into their corporate
lives. Thus, they impede the very work of God for which they are
praying. Many practices have been accepted uncritically into the
churches and are dulling members, rather than sensitizing them, to God's
voice. The following are some corporate hindrances to revival.
[blackby] Misleading Terminology
A movement of God among His people is characterized by a profound
awareness of sin. Repentance of sin and revival are inseparable.
In many churches, however, sinful practices are being renamed and
reclassified. Adultery is a sin that is clearly identified and condemned
in Scripture. Yet when a church member commits adultery, it is often
said euphemistically that he or she "fell into an affair." The sinner
may be portrayed as the victim of an overwhelming schedule, or an
unsympathetic spouse. Terminology, such as "falling into" and "affair"
subtly shifts the blame away from the sinner. Rather than hiding behind
less offensive terms, Christians must be encouraged to confess their
sins and accept responsibility for them.
Another adjustment in terminology is to reclassify sin as a "weakness,"
"bad habit," or an "addiction." Rather than committing the sin of lust,
the sinner is said to have an "addiction" to pornography. However
addictive and enslaving habitual sin can become, its roots still lie in
sin. Society commiserates with an addict; God judges sin. An addict
engenders sympathy for his or her condition, whereas the Christian
community knows that sin is not to be tolerated. Society encourages
addicts to seek therapy, but not necessarily to repent of sin.
By allowing worldly definitions for sin to creep into the church's
vocabulary, churches inadvertently desensitize their people to the
heinous reality of sin in their midst and the crucial need for
repentance. If churches do not clearly identify sin for what it is,
their people cannot properly respond to their condition.
Misdirected Appeals
Churches can also unwittingly challenge people in an unbiblical manner.
Churches often extend altar calls wherein people who have not been
walking in obedient fellowship with God are invited to "rededicate"
their lives to God and to His will. In this process, people may come
before the church and acknowledge that they have disobeyed God's will.
They will affirm their desire to dedicate themselves afresh to obey God.
Often, members of the congregation will be invited to come and encourage
the one who has expressed his intent to try harder to obey God.
Churches inadvertently desensitize their people to the heinous reality
of sin in their midst.
The problem with this is that it is not biblical. The crux of the gospel
message is not a call to rededication, but a call to repentance. John
the Baptist preached repentance (Matt. 3:2
<http://bibliacom/bible/esv/Matt%203.2> ). Jesus preached repentance,
both in His earthly ministry and as the resurrected Lord (Matt. 4:17
<http://bibliacom/bible/esv/Matt%204.17> ; Rev. 3:19
<http://bibliacom/bible/esv/Rev.%203.19> ). If one's previous
commitment did not keep him walking in obedience, a re-commitment is no
more likely to make him faithful. The proper response to disobedience is
not a commitment to try harder, but brokenness and repentance for
rejecting the will of Almighty God. God looks for surrender to His will,
not commitment to carry it out. Rather than asking church members to
repeatedly promise to try harder, churches must call their people to
repent before Holy God.
Mistaken Compassion
Many church members are uncomfortable with spiritual brokenness and
repentance. When the Holy Spirit works in peoples' lives, convicting
them of their sin, churches often do not know how to respond. We are
uncomfortable with the tears and anguish of a sinner under conviction by
the Spirit. Rather than allowing people to respond to what God is
telling them, we often seek to immediately intervene. We try to comfort
one whom God is making uncomfortable!
Misplaced Priorities
The structure of a worship service can mitigate against the Spirit's
working. Pressure to end the service "on time" can leave little
opportunity for people to respond to what God has said to them. Bringing
the service abruptly to a close in order to announce the upcoming
potluck dinner or church council meeting, can utterly quench the work
that God began in the service. If worshippers are quickly ushered out of
the auditorium to make room for another service, they are left with
little time to process the awesome Word they just received from their
Lord. The reality of many larger churches with multiple services is that
they must follow a demanding schedule. Live telecasts of services on
radio or television can allow media concerns rather than spiritual
concerns to be the driving force of the worship service. The danger is
that a mighty moving of God in the church may not "fit in" to the
printed order of service!
Misunderstood Terms
Many churches fail to properly understand revival terminology. The term
"revival" is the returning of God's people to Him. This means their
hearts are cleansed and sensitized to God.
Revival does not refer to bringing unregenerate people to salvation.
Contemporary "revival" services most often embrace an evangelistic
theme. If several people respond to God for salvation, the church
concludes that it had a successful "revival." Of course, any time a
person experiences salvation a church should rejoice. Revival, however,
is for God's people. Preaching evangelistic messages will not
necessarily revive Christians who have become spiritually lethargic.
Rather, spiritually deadened Christians will conclude that, since they
are already converted, the revival meetings have no relevance for them.
The term "repentance" is also greatly misunderstood. It is often seen as
a negative term in an age where everything is expected to appear
positive. Yet repentance is one of the most positive words in the
Christian vocabulary! It refers to turning from a destructive path and
moving instead into God's abundant life.
Entire churches refuse to forgive, and yet they presume God will bless
them.
Too often, churches spurn the terminology of repentance, preferring
instead to speak of God's love and forgiveness. God's love and
forgiveness, however, can only be fully experienced on the basis of the
sinner's repentance. Churches that misuse these terms may hinder their
people from experiencing true forgiveness and true revival.
Misdiagnosis
The temptation for churches is to deal with symptoms rather than causes.
Instead of addressing the condition of people's hearts, churches attempt
to change their behavior. If members are not attending particular
programs or services, churches try to make these programs and services
more appealing. If members are not sharing their faith with unbelievers,
classes in evangelism are offered. If needs are going unmet in the
church, ministerial staff is hired to meet these needs.
Yes, it is important that services and programs be carefully designed,
but we must look past people's behavior to the heart condition behind
it. Rather than focusing on symptoms, God's people must be challenged to
examine their love for God. People who truly love God will willingly
serve Him, excitedly tell others about Him, and long to worship Him
(John 14:15 <http://bibliacom/bible/esv/John%2014.15> ).
Misguided Relationships
Matthew 5:23-24 <http://bibliacom/bible/esv/Matthew%205.23-24>
indicates that Christians are obligated to be reconciled to anyone with
whom they have a conflict. Yet in many churches this is not practiced.
Church leaders are allowed to feud with one another and yet continue in
ecclesiastical leadership. Entire churches refuse to forgive splinter
groups, mission churches, or former pastors and yet they presume God
will bless them.
Churches have a corporate responsibility to seek reconciliation, just as
individuals have been commanded to do so. If the church as a whole
refuses to forgive, its members will also find it excusable to harbor
bitterness toward others. If a church will corporately repent of
unforgiveness toward another church or toward another person, it's
members will be freed to be wholly reconciled with God in revival.
There are many subtle attitudes, practices, and theological
presuppositions which can hinder a church from experiencing revival. If
these are properly dealt with, a church will be in a position to
experience the mighty moving of God.
Download this article as a PDF.
<http://worldviewchurch.org/component/docman/doc_download/25-corporate- hindrance-torevival>
G. Richard Blackaby has been President of Canadian Southern Baptist
Seminary in Alberta, Canada since 1993. Prior to this, he served as the
senior pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He
recently co-authored with his father a daily devotional entitled
Experiencing God Day by Day.
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