Over the past thirty years, there are many types of activities that have come and over time been discontinued on our annual church calendar. But our January Winter Revival is not one of them.
In fact, this Sunday will begin our thirtieth consecutive year of these meetings. Each year, our guest speaker has been Dr. John Goetsch, and the Lord has used his preaching to convict, stir, and renew our hearts.
I’m aware that many churches have discontinued multi-night meetings of special revival services. But there are many reasons we have chosen not to. Here are four:
1. We get spiritually cold.
Nobody plans to drift spiritually. But it is the nature of human life. As William Booth wisely said, “Look well to the fire of your soul, for it is the tendency of fire to go out.”
We often don’t even realize that we have drifted. But hearing the preaching of God’s Word several services in a row in a short period of time gives entrance to the Holy Spirit to convict and restore us.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.—Psalm 51:10
2. Biblical preaching exposes our hearts.
There is something about the preaching of God’s Word that cuts straight to the heart and exposes the sin we’ve become oblivious to or comfortable with.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.—Hebrews 4:12
3. The battle around us is getting worse.
As we’ve been warned would happen before Christ’s return, the world is growing increasingly hostile to the Lord and our faith (2 Timothy 3:12–13). We ourselves are constantly bombarded with a morally decadent culture and a spiritual battle.
It may be more challenging to carve out four free nights in 2016 than it was in 1986 when we held our first Winter Revival. But it certainly is not less needful. Our culture is growing worse, not better. So why would we invest less, rather than more, effort in keeping our hearts tender toward the Lord?
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.—Hebrews 10:25
4. We want to continue.
Our theme for Lancaster Baptist Church this year is taken from 2 Timothy 3:14, “Continue.”
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;—2 Timothy 3:14
Over the years, I’ve noticed that the Christians who continue in the faith and in a vibrant relationship with the Lord are those who invest effort in hearing from the Lord and actively following Him in obedience.
When the world, the flesh, and the devil are fighting against your spiritual progress (and they always are), the best course of action is to take a definitive step forward in faith. Making time to attend revival services with a heart purposed to hear and follow the Lord is such a step.