Make Room – Acts 1:12-14
Whenever God moves in revival, it is always different than the way it happened before. Nobody gets into Narnia the same way twice.
That said, whenever God moves in revival, it is always the same as what happened before. In every time period, nation, culture, context, what we find in every revival is a repetition of the same things that have happened before.
Revival is a recovery of something that has been lost in the sands of time. Specifically, what we find in every revival is a repetition of what we see in the birth of the Church at Pentecost.
In musical terms, revival is a remix. It is the same song…but played with a different arrangement, a new beat, a fresh feel, a fresh vibe. So as we pray for revival…we are praying for something that has, on the one hand, never happened before. Every revival is different and new. But on the other hand, we are praying for something that has happened many times. We are praying for God to take the same song he has been singing – the same song we will sing with him in the New Jerusalem – and to remix it with a fresh beat for our time and context.
The revival that followed Jesus’ resurrection in the early church in Jerusalem after Pentecost gives us the structure and melody of the song. Even if we don’t know what the beat will feel like in our time, we know the song by looking at Acts 2. For the next several days, we will pray through what happened in the early Church and ask God to remix it in our time.
There are 7 elements of this paradigmatic revival.
- “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” – The scriptures came alive and the people received them, leading them to theological depth.
- “They devoted themselves to…the breaking of bread…they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” – The people experienced compelling and rich community life.
- “The devoted themselves to…prayer” – The disciples experienced an increased commitment to prayer and an an upgrade in their rhythms and patterns of prayer
- “Everyone was filled with awe at the many signs and wonders performed by the apostles.” – The gospel was demonstrated and authenticated by miraculous works of the Holy Spirit, including the very same kinds of healing, deliverance, and prophecy that marked the ministry of Jesus.
- “Everyone was filled with awe…every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts” – In Tim Keller’s words, the early Church experienced anointed worship. Their worship was marked by awe at the manifest or felt presence of God. While God is always present, sometimes he graces our gatherings with his Royal Presence.
- “The believers had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” – Also in Keller’s words, the early Church demonstrated compassionate social concern. There was an awareness of needs in the community and a willingness to practice the kind of generosity that met needs and modeled God’s justice. This is a powerful witness to a watching world.
- “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – There was a culture of bold evangelism and proclamation of Jesus. Individual believers embraced their calling to share about Jesus with their friends and family and associates. The result was a movement where conversion was normal.
Where have you seen signs of these dynamics in your life or Sanctuary Church? Thank God for this and ask Him for more.
Which of these do you especially long to see more? Ask God to do it again in our time. As God to write a fresh remix of the song of Pentecost for Providence in 2022.