By: Nathaniel A. Urshan
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:34-38).
Why do we emphasize revival for the United Pentecostal Church?
History documents the strong fact that organized religious bodies have, over the years, slumped into mires of spiritual quicksand when organizational structure is the skeleton upon which its members lean.
Revival is the catalyst that prevents provincialism, isolation, stagnation and finally obliteration.
Revival is life giving. It bears new children in a spiritual body. The travail of a church organism is the lamentation that brings forth life. A church body cannot live unless it projects life into new spiritual generations born through its influence. A revival church is exciting. The excitement breeds interest. It appeals to all age brackets. Significantly, it has fascinating appeal to youth. A church without a revival influence is only marking time. It is waiting to die, without generating hope.
Leaders who do not preach a revival message are visionless. They are unaware of “What thus saith the Word of the Lord.” Is revival a scriptural premise or are we just trumpeting a hyped up promotion to hide inadequacies? It is as scriptural as the birth of Jesus; it is as authentic as the Day of Pentecost; it is as authoritative as Baptism; it is as certain as the coming of the morning and the setting of the sun; it is as important as breathing; it is as accurate as fulfilled prophecy. Revival will happen, if a church movement and its ministries will preach, believe, and pray for it. There is no doubt of its arrival, or better still its omni-presence.
Jesus stated some outstanding facts in his statements to the disciples in the book of John, chapter four.
“Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
This truth categorizes the fact that the harvest is awaiting the reapers. We cannot be content with a wait-and-see attitude. “The fields are white”…, if we don’t reap, the crop will rot and die. The opportunity will be gone for the present crop. That means that every generation has whitened fields ready for harvest. I am a reaper, a debtor to my generation, and that includes every minister and child of God.
Procrastination will kill that privilege of harvesting. “Say not ye, there are yet four months then cometh the harvest.” Some of our hesitation is due to lack of faith, some of it is due to lack of preparation to reap. A lot of it is due to complacency, and downright laziness. Much of it is due to fear of adventuring forth. God, help us to understand that a great deal of our lack of reaping is due to isolationism and personal carnal indulgence. A church doesn’t have a right to exist if it has no evangelistic outreach. It doesn’t deserve to have a recreation center if it doesn’t have a team of aggressive soul-winners and witnesses. A church is not just a roster with names of witnesses, but an active, progressive body reaching out to the lost and dying. Jesus put it into example in John four by witnessing during lunch-time. That is why He said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of….” Then when they carnally asked, “Hath any man brought him ought to eat?” He stated, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” That identified “reaping the harvest” as God’s will. Revival is scriptural.
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtleess come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalms 126:5-6).
Here is a specific “Revival Recipe.” It has to do with a scriptural certainty. Notice “Go forth weeping-bearing precious seed….” A burdened travailing church must understand that watering and the sowing of precious seed are absolutes for reaping and winning the lost. The word “doubtless” exudes the positive absoluteness of the power of the seed and the accomplishment of its potential. In Isaiah 55:10-11 we are treated to the truth of this.
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
It is likened to the rain and the snow. God’s Word is a monument of invested authority. The rain and snow water the earth. This makes the earth bring forth and bud. Every farmer knows the truth of this for the success of a good crop. It will not grow without the rain and snow. The Lord likens this to the certainty of His Word. “It will not return void. It will accomplish what is pleasing to Me. It shall accomplish and prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it.” Doubtless the Psalmist declared, the sower will come rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.
In I Corinthians 3:6, Paul wrote, “I have planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase.” We are knowledgeable about sowing, but watering is somewhat difficult to interpret. The Psalmist includes the weeping with sowing the seed. This certainly fits the watering theme. It is a scriptural premise that travailing intercession is a potential birthing of children, both physically and spiritually (Isaiah 66:89). This portion of Scripture emphasizes clearly the significance of the power of travail. “When Zion travails she brings forth….” (See Isaiah 66:8-9.) This portion of Scripture emphasizes clearly the significance of the power of travail. This spiritual importunity of the church is a most powerful weapon available to the church. The process of watering is related to the weeping travail of burdened soul-winners. Certainly the seed must be sown. Have you ever known of planted seed growing without watering? Both planting and watering is a necessity for nature to produce the fruit of the earth. These are absolute preludes to the God-given increase. We are not fearful of the fact that our Lord cannot and will not do His job. The increase is dependent on the planter and the intercessor (the water). This beautiful purpose and plan in the will of God will bear its sweet fruitfulness. These are the things that the church of the Twentieth Century needs to recognize as a must for revival. Revival is scriptural.
RAIN, RAIN, RAIN, RAIN
“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he
will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two
days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and
we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to
know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he
shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto
the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3).
This is a prophecy to the chosen people, the Jews. It is
scripturally prophetic. The two days referred to are in accordance
with 2,000 years fulfilling a scriptural position stated by the
Apostle Paul, “A day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” The
third day, says Hosea the prophet, the Lord will raise us up.
At this writing, the Jewish nation has its back against the wall,
politically and militarily. The nation is almost being isolated
into a position of demoralization and devastation. Economically
Israel is in exceptionally serious straits. The world almost seems
to be crashing around her.
It seems that revival comes during crisis, as we witness the great
revival now going on in the Philippines. Another illustration is
the revival in Central America. The times of crisis in these
countries have developed a spiritual downpour that appears to be a
timed solution to the needs of mankind. Hosea, in his prophetic
insight, declares that when we are torn and smitten, the Lord will
bind us up. In the third day He will raise us up and we shall live
in His sight. We are about to embark on the third day. Notice how
Hosea prophesied the solution, “And he shall come unto us as the
rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
What I write at this moment may cross your theology; however,
meditate upon it. If the former rain fell upon the Day of
Pentecost and it fell on God’s chosen people, the Jews, who is to
controvert the fact that this is where the latter rain may come.
Circumstances are ripe for its coming. The nation with its back to
the wall must call on Jehovah God or the Messiah for deliverance.
Consider another aspect. Joel 2:28-32 says,
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).
We have preached about the outpouring upon all flesh, which we have witnessed in the past 2,000 years sporadic outbursts of the visitation of God. But notice that it also says that the Lord will “shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” Note that this deliverance shall come before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. It appears that there shall be a special outpouring upon Jerusalem before powers of tribulation and trial shall beset the nation.
Let me say it here without equivocation. Could it be? Will it be? Can it be that the Lord will visit the cast-off branch and restore it to its original position of spiritual election?
Consider another avenue. The Apostle James, Bishop over Jerusalem, also expresses his depth of prophetic understanding. In chapter 5, verses 7 and 8 of his epistle, he points to the fact that “the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” Then he urges the church to consider their estate. “Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” Here is the picture again. An early and a latter rain just prior to the coming of the Lord. The interceding church must patiently wait while the precious fruit is gathered into the garner. It is the early and latter rain ripening the harvest prior to the second coming of the Lord. Revival must come. Revival will come. Revival is scriptural. If you will put these portions of God’s Word together in a sequence of events, what can prevent the power of revival from sweeping our world in one last ingathering before the trump of God shall sound?
SCRIPTURAL AND THEOLOGICAL CERTAINTIES
Isaiah 59:1-2 reads,
“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Anyone who understands the Scriptures is aware of the pertinent truth that revival is God sent. Who can send the spiritual downpour that we need but the Lord Himself? He is sovereign in power, compassionate in care, desirous of saving the souls of men, and waiting for our qualifications for the downpour. He states it clearly: “The LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save.”
Our God is not handicapped by a withered arm nor is he deterred by lack of strength. He has not grown old. He is not decrepit. The might of His power has not been staunched through the ages. Time has not eroded His great abilities. He is the same in power yesterday, in authority today, and in performance of His will forever.
Now this is a theological stance. Neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear. Our God is not deaf. Although time moves on, and heaviness of eyes, deafness of ears, and withered arms, deter the strength and brings to naught the physical stature of man, time has no bearing on God. It doesn’t take away His hearing, for time didn’t make God. The Lord God made time so He is not subject to the ravages of the deterioration of a physical man, the heaviness of eyes, the deafness of ears and the weakness of the arm. He has not lost His strength. Someone said He is almost 7,000 years old but time didn’t make Him. He made time, so time does His bidding and He is the author of it, not subordinate to it.
What weakens God? What deters His power from being displayed? What is it that keeps back the rain from falling? Who is it that prevents revival? The prophet shouts it from the housetop, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” There it is. Repentance is the answer. Intercession is the demand.
Determination is the magnetic pull. God is the source. Revival is scriptural! Revival is scriptural! Revival is scriptural! All we must do is fit our life into the purpose and plan of the eternal Word and we will enjoy beautiful, spiritual, edifying, sanctifying, glorifying, Holy Ghost outpouring. We shall have it in Jesus’ name!
(The above material was taken from the UPCI World Evangelism
Center Symposium, 1985).