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Devotional - week of October 19, 2008


SHORT-LIVED REVIVALS

… he [Paul] departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. Acts 19:9b-10

This passage of Scripture is about Paul’s ministry in the city of Ephesus. There he went to the school of Tyrannus to teach because he and the gospel had been rejected in the synagogue. However, within two years God used Paul and the message of grace to spread the gospel to all of Asia. God sent a great revival.

A few years after Paul’s ministry in Ephesus he wrote a letter to the church encouraging them to put off the old man and to put on the new man and to continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit. A relatively short period of time later, Jesus told the church at Ephesus that they were at the point of extinction because they had left their first love (Revelation 2:5). The revival was over.

The Welsh revival of 1904-1905 was, in the minds of some, possibly the greatest spiritual movement of God on record since the day of Pentecost. It is estimated that about 150,000 people came to the Lord from over the entire nation. History records, though, that within six months, the revival was over.

Perhaps you can remember that your church had a great revival when God saved many souls and changed the lives of believers. Soon, though, things were back to normal. The revival was over.

What happened in Ephesus, Wales, and in our own churches that caused spiritual degeneration after the mighty work of God?

What happened at Ephesus is clear from a study of the Scripture. The church left her first love because she failed to continue to put off the old man and to put on the new man and to be filled with the Spirit by living out their union with Christ. This, of course, is an indication that the church leaders also failed to live out and teach the message of union with Christ.

We do not have the details of what happened at Wales or in our own churches that caused the revivals to be short-lived. Possibly, the problem was the same as in Ephesus. The spirit of revival waned because the spiritual leaders failed to continue to teach and to live out their union with Christ.