During the past two years, I believe the church at large has been in a season of returning to God. Repentance is crucial when it comes to revival. Scripture shows a clear pattern that repentance precedes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Joel 2:12-28 and Acts 2:37-38). That rings true in this present season.
As all the nations of the earth have been shaken and paradigms have shifted, the church is coming together to consecrate ourselves afresh to God and renew our commitment as we see historic revival in our homes, cities and nations.
Throughout church history, we see that every revival began when an individual or a group of people experienced a fresh consecration to the Lord and were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. During the outpouring of revival, the church receives a massive revelation of God the Father’s love. This, in turn, paves the way for the following key characteristics of revival.
Called to Greater Holiness
The Bible says that followers of Christ are in right standing with God and are holy before the Lord (2 Cor. 5:21). While we already have a position of righteousness, we must practice righteousness in the way we live our lives.
Unfortunately, the church at large has not been practicing righteousness. The body of Christ needs to hear a fresh call to walk in personal holiness: “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:15-16).
As part of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we’re on the path of being transformed and becoming more and more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). If we’re going to see revival come to our land, we must lead lives full of the Spirit and marked by purity. A life of radical, Spirit-inspired holiness is necessary to fuel the advancement of God’s kingdom in our day.
This is especially true for those in full-time ministry. In the church at large, I believe that many pastors need to repent of the Laodicean syndrome of lukewarmness as the result of not preaching the whole counsel of God. We as pastors cannot afford to live lukewarm lives—now more than ever.
One telling example that personally convicted me was during the lockdown when California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared the church as nonessential. Abortion clinics were essential. Marijuana dispensaries were essential. Even strip clubs and casinos were essential, but not the church. I realized that we’ve had hardly any impact in California. I found myself repenting on behalf of the church and its leaders for our nonessential lukewarmness.
It begins with a renewed love for Jesus. We must love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We must speak the truth in love. We must never compromise the truth of God’s Word because of popular opinion in our culture. Holiness is non-negotiable, as it’s the first step to walking in the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Walking in Greater Power
In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Something we need to realize is that God never intended us to fulfill the Great Commission apart from His power. What He’s calling us to do cannot be accomplished in our own strength. We must depend on the power of God if we want to see revival come to our churches.
When we ask the Holy Spirit to fill and empower us, He will enable us to courageously preach the gospel of the kingdom with signs and wonders following! This manifest presence of God is like a breath of heaven to our souls.
Revived by Times of Refreshing
Today, God wants His people to experience a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. He wants us to be spiritually refreshed and revived so we can steward what is to follow (i.e., the harvest of souls and transformation of society).
Acts 3:19-21 says, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”
The church needs to return to her first love in order to move onward with the right motives and vision. When we are consumed by our love for Jesus and stay in-tune with the Father’s heart, we can partner with the fresh move of the Holy Spirit in this exciting hour in history.
Let’s contend to see our nation turn back to God as the church is revived like never before!
Dr. Ché Ahn and his wife Sue have been the senior pastors of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, since 1994. Dr. Ahn is also the President of Harvest International Ministry, an apostolic network in over 65 nations and the International Chancellor of Wagner University. He has authored 15 books, including his latest release, Turning Our Nation Back to God Through Historic Revival. For more information about Dr. Ahn, his ministries and his resource materials, visit cheahn.org.