When Do We Need Revival?
By Oswald J. Smith
May I ask and answer some very important questions. First of all, when do we need revival, or to make it more personal, when do you and I need revival?
When we have lost our first love, then it is that we need revival. Do you remember, my friend, when you were first saved? Do you recall your love for souls, the realization of the presence of God in your life? Do you remember how you loved to pray and to testify and to sing the Gospel songs? Do you recall how you were thrilled when you gave out tracts, and especially when you led someone to Christ? How eagerly in those days you worked for the Lord, how delighted you were to do something for Jesus. How you loved to read the Word. But what about today? Do you no longer feel the thrill? Has the joy of the Lord departed from your heart? Are you neglecting His Word and prayer? Has that first love died and is everything now commonplace? If that is so, then, my friend, you need revival.
When you have lost your burden for souls, then, too, you need revival. Is it possible that you are on your way to heaven while your loved ones are lost, and is it true that you have no burden, that your eyes are dry, that you can go on satisfied and contented, knowing perfectly well that you are going to heaven while they are going to hell? What about that father or that mother of yours, what about your sons and daughters, what about your wife, your husband? Are you saved and are they lost and yet is there no burden?
If I knew that I had a son or daughter who was not saved, I do not know how I could eat or sleep. It seems to me that I would want to stay up half the night and agonize in the presence of God in their behalf. I would take hold of the horns of the altar and never let go until they were saved. My eyes would be filled with tears and my heart with sorrow. I could not rest until they had made the great decision. How could I stand to have the circle broken? God’s Word is that "Thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). I believe it. I claim it. I want every member of my family converted.
I cannot understand how any minister can be satisfied to preach a Gospel sermon and then pronounce the benediction and go home without ever giving the people to whom he has preached, an opportunity of accepting Christ as Savior there and then. How a minister can go on, Sunday after Sunday, without seeing anyone walk down the aisle to be saved, is truly beyond me. A lawyer is out for a verdict, so is a minister, and if he is not, he should be, and if he does not get a verdict, there is something wrong somewhere for God has promised fruit and it is his privilege to reap as well as sow.
My friend, if you do not have a burden for souls let me say again, you need revival. If you are satisfied to go on year after year without results, remember, there is something wrong. You had better get down on your knees and pray in confession and penitence until God opens the floodgates of heaven and sends a revival to your own heart, and then after setting you on fire, enables you to kindle revival fires in the hearts of others, until at last your whole church will be aflame for God.