God's Previous Work in Awakening

February 27, 2015

""John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins."" (Mark 1:4-5)

We are such finite creatures. We think of everything in terms of time and space, but God is not so limited. He sees all at a glance. Time is immaterial to Him. And, He is always way ahead of us.

THE PREPARER

Here is John the Baptist, born many years before, but just now coming on the scene. He plays a vital role, preaching to the people about two things: 1) the need to turn from their sins in preparation, and 2) the eminent arrival the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world.

What is interesting is the popularity of this message. ""All of the country of Judea"" and ""all of the people of Jerusalem"" were going out to hear him in the Jordan valley. His message was being heard and causing men and women to see their desperate need for forgiveness. It was creating a thirst for a Savior. God was graciously preparing them for the coming of His dear Son.

THE CONSTANT ACTIVITY OF GOD

When we read the accounts of the Welsh revival, we often focus on Evan Roberts in the town of Loughor as the catalyst or ignition point that began an opening of the heavens that resulted in 100,000 people coming to Christ in Wales in 9 months. This movement spread around the world and millions were saved in one of the greatest revivals in human history.

But if we look farther into the records, we discover that God was stirring hearts prior to this all over Wales. Conferences and prayer meetings were being held, calling on the people to repent and return to the Lord. The Keswick Conventions had started several years prior to emphasis a forgotten truth of the role of the Holy Spirit in spiritual life. Men like Seth Joshua were calling people to turn back to God.

PREPARED WINESKINS AND COMING WINE

Right now there is a tremendous surge in church planting across America. Two years ago, one denomination's church planting meeting drew 4,000 attendees (the SEND initiative of the Southern Baptist Convention). This year, the same conference has almost 8,000 registered. All around the nation, prayer meetings and calls for repentance are being issued. The head of the National Prayer Committee and a member of the OneCry team, Dave Butts, says that he is getting so many calls to help support new initiatives for revival and spiritual awakening that their office can hardly keep up.

Are these two emerging movements connected? Is God preparing fresh wineskins (new church plants) to receive the new wine of a fresh outpouring of His Spirit across America? It is said that immediately following the 1857-1858 revival in America there were 1000 new churches planted across the nation.

We can be assured of one thing: God knows. He has a plan and it is about the ingathering of lost people to His glory. If we will cooperate, we will soon see and understand the merciful, wise, perfect preparation of God for the coming of His Son in fresh ways.

It is because God loves people that He is gathering them from every tongue and tribe and nation and people. And He is always previous.




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