For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. Eph. 2:10 (AMP)
Throughout his ministry, Jesus spoke boldly and publicly about the necessity of being born again and experiencing the forgiveness of sins. What he meant is spelt out in his late-night meeting with a leading Pharisee. Nicodemus thought he knew it all. He knew the Scriptures – obeyed all the rules – was diligent in going to the Temple – gave generous offerings – all in all, he was a kind and considerate man. However, when Jesus spoke about eternal life, Nicodemus realised he was missing something fundamental.
In his encounter with Jesus, Nicodemus learned that to enter heaven – to gain eternal life – he would need to be born again. Jesus had to explain to him that this was a spiritual birth in which he would come to know God personally. Nicodemus needed to come to God in humility, admit his need for a Saviour, and seek forgiveness for his sins. He now understood and became a follower of Jesus, changing his lifestyle and worldview to reflect his newfound faith.
In times of revival, what that eventful evening was to Nicodemus as an individual is multiplied by the thousands and the tens of thousands or even greater. It’s said that we can have evangelism without revival, but in a revival, evangelism just happens. A.W. Tozer expressed it this way “In times of evangelism, evangelists run after sinners. In times of revival sinners run after God.”
Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). Those in steady pursuit of God feel compassion for the lost and make it their business to share the gospel. Evangelism is the lifeblood of the church and the natural outgrowth of revival. The power of God’s Holy Spirit flows through those who have accepted Jesus as their saviour, and they go out into the community and lead scores of people to Christ.
In any revival, a pattern in the work of the Holy Spirit is evident. Firstly, ‘nominal’ church members get converted. Secondly, ‘sleepy’ Christians wake up to an immediate sense of God’s love and presence. Thirdly, non-believers outside the church are attracted to the Christian community in remarkable numbers. As a result of the conversion of nominal members and the assurance of believers, the church community becomes beautified. Christians begin to reach out in love to their community in striking ways. Cold, ‘tribal’ attitudes ordinarily present in non-revived churches melt away. Non-believers are drawn in, and the church grows at an amazing speed.
In revival after revival over the past 2,000 years, evangelistic zeal is intensified. Love for the lost deepens. The commitment of the church to missions is always increased. An estimated 50,000 people were saved in New England during the Great Awakening and an additional 300,000 throughout the thirteen colonies. In the 1859 Ulster Revival, 100,000 people came to faith and a similar number in the 1904 – 05 Welsh Revival. However, these numbers are dwarfed by the explosive revival growth of believers in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and China since 1950. In times of revival, routine things occur rapidly. There is an acceleration of spiritual growth and individual maturity. Two words characterize everything that happens during revival: intensification and acceleration. What may take many years to accomplish is wrought in just a few weeks. The Kingdom of God then advances in leaps and bounds.
For 1,000 years after St. Patrick brought the gospel to Ireland, the island was a centre of learning, scholarship, monasteries, and missionaries – so much so that it became widely known as the “land of saints and scholars.” During the “Dark Ages” of European history, Ireland kept the Gospel torch lit and saved civilisation. It was faithful and intrepid Irish missionary monks who evangelised Scotland, Wales, England, France, Germany, and Northern Italy. However, tragically, today, Ireland, despite its rich Christian heritage, is now the least evangelised English-speaking country in the world! In this desperate state, faithful people need to pray that Our Heavenly Father, in His mercy and grace, will send His Holy Spirit again so that millions of new births can and will take place.
Ireland can be saved – Ireland will be saved!
“Every converted life is supposed to be a pulpit from which the Lord proclaims clearly to people who may not be listening, ‘I am here!’”
C.S. Lewis [Isa 65:1-10]