Let us pray …
One hundred and seventy years ago there was a revival in Scotland – this is historical fact. What God did yesterday, He can do today! And, if we look around at the church and at our country – don’t we need Him to do so today, just as much as in times gone past?
But … do we want Him to? really, honestly…!
And, will we ask Him to?!!
Not sometime nebulously in the future, but Now! Today!!
In the words of Robert Murray McCheyne, speaking just of his parish and neighbourhood, “… there was no visible or general movement among the people until August 1839, when, immediately after Kilsyth, the word of God came with such power to the hearts and consciences of the people here, and their thirst for hearing it became so intense, that … for nearly four months it was found desirable to have public worship almost every night.”
“The parish is situated in the suburb of a city [Dundee] containing 60,000 inhabitants. The work extended to individuals residing in all quarters of the town, and belonging to all ranks and denominations of the people.”
“Many … who were before nominal Christians, are now living ones. I could name, however, far more, who have been turned from the paths of open sin and profligacy, and have found pardon and purity in the blood of the Lamb, and by the Spirit of our God; so that we can say to them, as Paul said to the Corinthians, “Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified,” etc. I often think, when conversing with some of these, that the change they have undergone might be enough to convince an atheist that there is a God, or an infidel that there is a Saviour.”
“During the autumn of 1839, not fewer than from 600 to 700 came to converse with the ministers about their souls; and there were many more, equally concerned, who never came forward in this way.”
Does this extract from McCheyne’s “sober” response to a questionnaire sent out in 1840 by the Presbytery of Aberdeen strike a chord with us. Does it begin to raise in us a desire, an enthusiasm, a wistfulness ? I pray so! For although we can’t deny the reality of what happened 170 years ago this August, we can shrug it off – we don’t want that today! It’s so easy for us to act as if it were a fairy-tale. After-all, we haven’t experienced such things ourselves. And it would be rather inconvenient! If this is our feeling, it’s hardly surprising our church is in decline and our country so corrupt.
The means of revival, so far as I have been able to ascertain, is simply reading God’s acts and promises in the Bible; preaching of the same; seeing what God has done in Church history and very importantly desire and prayer.
I pray that God in His mercy will visit us again. I pray that there may be a kindling of desire and wistfulness amongst us; that this may grow into an anticipation, to an expectation … and that we may see in our day, in Bromley, the reality of God’s presence; the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of lives being changed, Emmanuel, God with us – revival!
To the glory of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and to the infinite benefit of ourselves and our country.
Last month I challenged us all, over the Summer, to read the New Testament. I don’t know how you are getting-on with this, or even whether you’ve started yet! If not, there’s still time! but I would encourage you to start this week – you have to start sometime and a month has already gone.
My suggestion would be to start with Luke’s Gospel and then read through the New Testament in order. John’s Gospel is very different to Luke’s, and then you’re into Luke part 2 (the Acts of the Apostles) and the rich treasure of the Letters of Paul and other 1st century Christians. Having got to Revelation and the end, I would then go back and read Matthew’s Gospel; and that then would just leave the summary Gospel of Mark.
If you’re struggling with this (also, if you’re not!), pray for God’s help. Also, for His illumination. God does speak through His Word.
Have a good Summer
and may God’s blessing be with you,