What Brings a Great Revival?

I contend there has never once been a great revival without the preaching against sin.  Without feeling the very fires of hell and awfulness of sin - one has not been brought to salvation.  Flowery messages and pats on the back have never produced a great revival in which the sinner is turned towards God. One-sided preaching is not only un-biblical it is often the practice of such preachers who can't bear the criticism and hatred of people for their own egos but rather want the acclaim and love of men.  They want to make "God seem like a doting old granddaddy with no righteousness, no holiness and no wrath against sin."

If people never become lost, how can they ever be saved?  A sinner can never be saved without repentance.  So how will a preacher who never preaches the full gospel lead a sinner to repentance?  Repentance of what?  If there is no preaching and no conscience being brought to the realization of sin, then how will people know they are in need of a Saviour?  What should they be saved from?  "Until sin is made hateful, Christ is not made lovable and desirable.  Until a man sees himself a great sinner, he does not see Christ as a great Saviour."

Great revivals are brought on by great preachers of God.  God tells us in his word in Romans 10:14 "...how shall they hear without a preacher?"  We can look at accounts from the Old and New Testaments to see the evidence of this great truth.  Jonah tried to run from God's commission but eventually he went and cried against the city and their wickedness as God instructed. Jonah 1:2 For the city to be revived and to be turned back to God - a preacher was sent by God to cry out against them and their sin!  Then great revival came to Ninevah because of one man denouncing sin and God spared them!

What about Isaiah?  We could be here all day sharing his wisdom but let's look at a few concerning what God required in his time.  How did God tell Isaiah to speak to the people?  In quiet, soothing tones with flowery messages that made them feel oh so good?

Isaiah 58:1
"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."

Whew!  God instructed to cry aloud and lift up the voice like a trumpet!  What was he to show the people?  Their transgression and their sin. There are many other examples in the Old Testament of what preaching really is but what about the New Testament?  Did God change his hatred for evil?

What about the man whom Jesus himself said "there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist."?  Matthew 11:11  John the Baptist was the boldest of bold at that time.  He not only name-called the religious leaders but he got even more personal and rebuked King Herod for his adultery!  He was so bold against sin that it cost him his head!  How many preachers today have lost their head for preaching against sin?  Are there any left that bold and that "great" as Jesus said John the Baptist was?  To preach even if it cost you your own head - now that's some real Holy Spirit filled preaching!  This is what Jesus calls a GREAT preacher!

Peter boldly accused the others for the murder of Jesus!  Acts 2:23  He denounced sin, not only in sinners, but Christians as well.  Going so far as to see God strike one couple, Ananias and Sapphira, dead in front of him.  "Tradition says that Peter was crucified downward by those that hated that 'kind' of preaching."

Stephen preached so boldly against sin the people couldn't stand it anymore as his words cut them to their heart, they ran on him and gnashed on him with their TEETH and beat him to death with stones!  How many preachers today have preached so hot for God that their own life was taken away from them?

Lastly, we will discuss Paul.  I love Paul, he was my kind of preacher!  He didn't back up for anyone and no wonder God let him write so many books in the Bible because he truly was a man of God.  How about the sorcerer who tried to prevent Sergius Paulus from hearing Paul's message?  Did Paul just let this man stand in the way of another's salvation?  NO!  He boldly stated:

Acts 13:10
"O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?"

He then continued praying for this man's blindness and God blinded him!  Then guess what happened?  Sergius Paulus saw and heard Paul's rebuke of this man and the judgment of God and it led him to salvation!  One man standing up and being bold against sin, caused another man to repent.   Sometimes it is for those around others that we must take a bold stand in public.

Paul continued to preach against just about every sin in the book and instructed others to do so as well.  He didn't preach a one-sided gospel, he preached the full gospel!  Because Paul was bold and a denouncer of sin he faced persecution from having to flee in the middle of the night to being stoned and left for dead to scars in his body.  He suffered for Christ's sake.  He could have said "I don't want to offend anyone and have enemies so I will just calm down a bit".  No way!  Paul was not like some preachers today because Paul demanded repentance everywhere he went.

If preachers are preaching what God wants they will be hated in this world.  For the greatest preacher of all, Jesus himself, was hated and he told us:

John 15:18
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."

The Great Revival in our land rests in the hands of God's preachers.  Will they be willing to give their life or their "head" by preaching bold against sin to bring others to repentance?  Or will they cowardly back away and become as the watchman in Isaiah who it says "are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter."

1 Timothy 5:20
"Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."

2 Timothy 4:2
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine."

Titus 1:13
"This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;"

A sinner must first realize he is lost in sin before he can ever be saved and God chose the "foolishness of preaching" to bring about this realization.  He needs a preacher to show him his sinful condition and need for a Saviour! 

Some items in quotations are quotes from John R. Rice