It has been unfortunate that we put the Holy Spirit in a box. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said that “‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”’ So why don’t we live that way? Again I refer you to “Forgotten God” by Frrancis Chan and John’s Gospel chapters 14-17. But I have also typed up something below.
Let me write, I do not come from a Spirit-filled background. I have never spoken in tongues nor interpreted. Meagan can interpret tongues but that is resent. I come from a college that would for the most part be considered cessationalist which means they believe the sign gifts of the Spirit do not exist any more. But my seminary was not that way at all and I am not. I was part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the Missionary Church USA which both recognize the Spirit in mighty ways, but that doesn’t mean I have.
But as I read about great revivals or renewals or evangelism movements I see the Spirit at work. People get over their tendency to be Spiritual introverts and let their emotions flow. They are so excited and overcome to know Christ and so that is expressed in awesome ways. We need this in our church and our churches. We need this if we ever expect to see another “Great Awakening.” We need this if we want to see many come to know Christ. I want to see this. I want to see masses come to know Christ. I pray that I mean this with pure motives. So first we must be opened to the Holy Spirit. Please read below. I read this in the end notes of Vertical church:
James MacDonald. Vertical Church: What Every Heart Longs For. What Every Church Can Be.
David C. Cook / 2011 / Hardcover
Pages 315-316 in end notes number 25 for chapter 5: Unashamed Adoration:
John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of the founding members of the Methodist movement, and his journals are filled with descriptions of unusual physical manifestations that accompanied revival. For example, when describing the effects of a sermon on Saturday, July 14, 1759, he wrote, “Several fell to the ground, some of whom seemed dead, others in the agonies of death, the violence of their bodily convulsions exceeding all description. There was also great crying and agonizing in prayer, mixed with deep and deadly groans on every side.” (“Journals of John Wesley,” The Wesley Center Online, accessed January 3, 2011, http://wesley.nnu.edujohn-wesley/the-journal-of-john-wesley-vol-4/the-eleventh-part-section-two/.)
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a contemporary of Wesley in England. When he heard reports of people responding boldly in Wesley’s meetings, Whitefield confronted his fellow preacher in a letter dated June 25, 1739: “I cannot think it right in you to give so much encouragement to these convulsions which people have been thrown in your ministry.” But a very short time later, Whitefield had to reverse his judgment when people began, without any prompting, to respond outwardly during his meetings. Henry Venn, a contemporary of Whitefield, wrote of the crowds listening to the great preacher: “Under Mr. Whitefield’s sermon, many among the immense crowd that filled every part of the burial ground were overcome with fainting. Some sobbed deeply; others wept silently; and a solemn concern appeared on the countenance of almost the whole assembly.” (Cited in J.C. Ryle Christian Leaders of the 18th Century [London: Banner of Truth, 1997], 253-53).
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) also described the sometimes-unusual events that would accompany a revival. Writing of those who find God’s grace for the first time, Edwards said, “It was very wonderful to see how persons’ affections were sometimes moved— when God as it were suddenly opened their eyes…. Their joyful surprise has caused their hearts as it were to leap, so that they have been ready to break forth into laughter, tears often at the same time issuing like a flood, and intermingling a loud weeping.” (“A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998], 1:354.)
In his description of the Great Awakening, Edwards wrote, “Many of the young people and children that were professors appeared to be overcome with a sense of the greatness and glory of Divine things, and with admiration, love, joy and praise, and compassion to others that looked upon themselves as in a state of nature; and many others at the same time were overcome with distress about their sinful and miserable state and condition; so that the whole room was full of nothing but outcries, faintings, and such like…. It was a very frequent thing to see a house full of outcries, faintings, convulsions and such like, both with distress, and also with admiration and joy.” (Jonathan Edwards, The Great Awakening: A Faithful Narrative [New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1972], 4:546-47.)
When considering the physical and emotional manifestations of revival, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) wrote that “these phenomena are not essential to revival yet it is true to say that, on the whole, they do tend to be present when there is a revival. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1987].)
Steve, I too would like to see the Holy Spirit fill us to the point that we are overcome with joy and and admiration. I believe it will happen in small prayer groups first and then hopefully move to a worship service. You are doing your part by praying and teaching us and we just have to be open to the Spirit and expect big things. I, for one, am excited about what is happening at FBC and also in some of the other Alliance churches.