An Outpouring of Extraordinary Power

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said in 1959, “The greatest problem confronting us in the Church today is that the vast majority of professing Christians are not convinced of the reality and the desirableness of revivals.”

One reason for that is that we do not know what they are. We constantly confuse a revival with an evangelistic campaign. What’s the difference? Lloyd-Jones puts it like this: “An evangelistic campaign is the Church deciding to do something with respect to those who are outside. A revival is not the church deciding to do something and doing it. It is something that is done to the Church … the whole essence of a revival is that it is something that happens to the Church, to the people inside. And they are affected and moved and tremendous things happen.”

What is it that happens? Again Lloyd-Jones says, “The best way of answering that question is to say that it is in a sense a repetition of the day of Pentecost … The essence of a revival is that the Holy Spirit comes down … It is, if you like, a visitation of the Holy Spirit, or … an outpouring of the Holy Spirit … What the people are conscious of is that it is as if something has suddenly come down upon them. The Spirit of God has descended into their midst, God has come down and is amongst them. A baptism, an outpouring, a visitation.”

What effect does this have on the people? “They immediately become aware of his presence and of his power in a manner that they have never known before … The people present begin to have an awareness of spiritual things and clear views of them such as they have never had before … Spiritual things become realities … What they testify is this: ‘You know, the whole thing suddenly became clear to me. I was suddenly illuminated, things that I was so familiar with stood out in letters of gold, as it were. I understood. I saw it all in a way that I had never done in the whole of my life.’”

What are these things they become so aware of? “First and foremost, the glory and the holiness of God … And that leads inevitably to a deep and a terrible sense of sin, and an ‘aweful’ feeling of guilt … Then they are given a clear view of the love of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, especially of his death upon the cross … They begin to get a concern for the members of their own family … There is constraint that is driving them. They talk about it to people … and they begin to pray for them … Others who are outside begin to join the meetings and to say, ‘What is this?’ So they come in, and they go through the same experience.”

Praying Ephesians 3:16-19 with you,

Pastor John

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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.