In 1977 Dr. Jerry Vines wrote: “The greatest need of churches today is a genuine, old-fashioned, heaven-sent, sin-killing, and Christ-exalting revival.” This statement was made only four years after premeditated murder was made legal in this country (abortion). Since then 50 million babies have been slaughtered on the altar of choice and convenience. Did you know that America practices child sacrifice? Dr. Vines’ statement was made 15 years after prayer was taken out of public schools. Since then millions have come through the public education system as a sacrifice to secular humanism. Dr. Vines’ statement was made 38 years before the Supreme Court decided to redefine marriage. I submit to you that what the Supreme Court did not define, it has NO right to redefine. If Dr. Vines’ statement was true in 1977, then how much truer is it today in 2015?
I recently returned from the Georgia Baptist Convention and was overwhelmed to learn that Georgia is home not just to the worlds busiest center of sex trafficking (Atlanta) but also home to seven million lost people. That’s right: SEVEN MILLION people on their way to a Christ-less fire-filled eternity. As we flooded the altar praying for these souls, the premier question in my mind was: “Lord, are our carnal un-revived churches ready and willing to be the beacon of hope to seven million lost people?” At this point I must say “no”.
God recently blessed our church with revival. We saw souls gloriously saved! It was one of the best weeks I have ever experienced in ministry. However, as I drove down the streets of Baxley I noticed that liquor stores are still open. When I pumped gas I still heard the deafening sound of godless music. I still witness people every week treat church as a game to be played and a service to be performed. God has certainly blessed our church with revival. Dunn Memorial will never be the same; however, note that Vines said that revival was the greatest need of churches (plural) today. Dunn Memorial was not the only church in desperate need of revival.
My generation, and several of the ones preceding it, have not witnessed the type of revival Dr. Vines wrote about. God is doing some great and graceful things in the lives of many churches. I, however, am cautious about throwing around the word “revival” so that it becomes cheap. Revival is not that thing churches do once or twice a year as the calendar moves along. Revival cannot be scheduled; it must be Spirit-controlled. Has our country seen revival? Of course not! Babies are murdered and their precious parts sold for profit! Government mandated education does not allow God ordained prayer! What God has brought together our government has torn apart!
Dr. Vines was right, as he often is. However, I regret to inform you that the greatest need has yet to be met. Revival is rarely genuine because it has been scheduled. Revival is rarely old-fashioned because we consider ourselves superior to the previous generation. Revival is rarely heaven-sent because we have not asked for it. Revival is rarely sin-killing because we are scared of repentance. Revival is rarely Christ-exalting because we are busy exalting the preacher. 38 years and the greatest need has not been met. 38 years and seven million lost people populate the state of Georgia. If the greatest need of the church is not met, then these souls will soon populate hell.