“You are not likely to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined to single persons and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much future increase.” -Richard Baxter
A word so often used, but more often misunderstood -especially by the modern Church it seems.
We all want revival. And that’s good.
But somehow we think revival happens if we can create the right formula. If we can get the right preacher on the stage and create the right atmosphere for an altar call, then we can cross our fingers with a little prayer and hope it works this time.
Hey, I’ve been there. I’ve done it myself.
You see, revival is thought of in the modern Christian mindset as an event or series of events where thousands of people respond to an altar call.
We think that revival has to be BIG and happen ALL AT ONCE or it’s not revival at all.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s incredible to go to an event where you see the Holy Spirit convicting hundreds of souls to respond to the gospel. I’d be a fool to negate that.
In Acts 2:41 we all learn about how the church starts. Peter stands up after an incredibly supernatural event by the power of the Holy Spirit and preaches a sermon that leads approximately 3,000 souls to Christ. Amazing right?
But the real revival wasn’t the altar call, but what happened next in the following verses.
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers. Now all who believed were together and had all things in common and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” -Acts 2:42, 44-45
You see, revival isn’t the start of something. It’s the continuation of something. Revival isn’t a singular decision -it’s a lifestyle.
In our day and age, it’s easy to get hundreds and even thousand of people to respond to an altar call for Christ if the right atmosphere is in place, but only real revival can get hundreds and even thousands to continue steadfastly in Christ.
We also have to realize is that mere numbers are irrelevant to revival.
Revival is not that shallow, nor is it defined by “how many” come. Rather, it’s defined by “how steadfast” they continue. Revival is just as applicable in one steadfast disciple as it is in thousands.
So if this is the case of revival, and it most certainly is, in what context does revival have the most importance? To that question I would answer: the context of family life.
Family life is at the heart of revival.
If we are truly interested in seeing revival in our cities, then we will start our investment in the salvation and discipleship of our families -especially in our marriages.
Here are 4 reasons why family life is at the heart of revival.
Reason 1: Revival cannot exist without the preaching of the gospel, and how can we preach to the world what we have not preached in our own households?
The Great Commission is awe inspiring.
We discover the final words of Christ before He acsends into heaven. “Go into all the world,” He says, “and preach the gospel to every creature!” Doesn’t that just get you pumped for evanglism and mission work?
But we often forget that Christ prioritized the order we are to preach the gospel, as found in the book of Acts.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” -Acts 1:8
Do you see the order? Jesus starts with Jerusalem, which was home.
You see, gospel preaching doesn’t start at the ends of the earth, it starts in your hometown; and even more, gospel preaching cannot start in your hometown if it first hasn’t started in your home.
Jesus said with all authority in heaven and on earth, “Start at home!”
What man runs a race backwards? What builder starts his foundation in the sky? What sailor sets sea who cannot first swim in water? What tree starts without its seed? Yet, why is it we see so many preachers with unconverted families trying to convert the world? Why is it that the term “Pastor’s Kid (aka. PK’s)” is a stereotype for a rebellious and godless child?
Can we ever expect a revival in our city if we have not been faithful to procure revival in our homes?
“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian… and most of all his family ought to know.” -D.L. Moody
I say, no matter what mighty works of God a man may have accomplished in his life, he will find he has done absolutely nothing before the Throne of God if his family was left undone and unconverted by his own neglect.
“He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind…” -Proverbs 11:29
Reason 2: Revival cannot exist without godly witnesses, and we cannot be godly witnesses when our marriages do not accurately depict Christ’s love for the church.
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” -Ephesians 5:31–32
The Bible is clear. Marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the church, which means that Christian marriage is one of the greatest witnesses we have to show the world the love of Jesus.
Revival is more sure to come when one husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church, than it ever could be at an evangelical outreach with thousands of people.
Revival is more sure to come when one wife respects her husband as unto the Lord, than a million sermons combined could do ever do in this lifetime.
Men of God, do you want to see revival in your city? Love your wife. Women of God, do you want to see revival in your city? Respect your husband. Pastors, do you want to be radical revivalists in your time? Teach your congregration what godly, Christian marriage is, and counsel them on marriage as often as possible.
For truly, as much as our bodies rely on water, so does revival rely on Christian marriage. If we starve our marriages and neglect our marital duties, revival will only be but a farfetched dream or an unrealistic desire.
We cannot be a godly witnesses when our marriages lay dead in the gutters.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” -Ephesians 5:22–33
Reason 3: Revival cannot exist without prayer, and the power of our prayer lives very much depend on the health of our marriages.
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” -1 Peter 3:7
A solemn warning for the husband is given, that the power of his prayer life is directly affected by the health of his marriage. No doubt, this warning most certainly can be applied to the wife in certain cases as well.
Think about the gravity of this consequence.
The idea of it should haunt us!
All of your petitions before the Throne of God for each individual need, big or small, important or unimportant, are put on hold if your marriage is not right before God!
We all pray for revival, and we know revival cannot happen without prayer! Yet how many countless, millions of prayers for revival are marked as “hindered” because our marriages are not healthy? How many transactions for revival could be made if all Christian marriages were fixed at once, and all the prayers being hindered were finally released to be answered?
If we care at all for revival, we will care all the more for our marriages.
“If any good be begun by the ministry in any soul, a careless, prayerless, worldly family is likely to stifle it, or very much hinder it…” -Richard Baxter
Is there something hindering your prayers right now?
Are you bitter and angry towards your spouse? Are you unforgiving and cruel towards your wife? Are you disrepectful and mean to your husband? Are you flirting with someone who is not your spouse? Are you watching pornography? Are you participating in gossip? Are you entertaining temptations that will ruin your marriage?
I say, unless we are prepared to die without seeing revival, we must live in repentance from these lifestyles and seek out the welfare of our marriages.
Every generation of Christians can see revival if they will but see to their marriages.
“The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray.” -C.H. Spurgeon
Reason 4: Revival cannot exist where hypocrisy reigns, and hypocrisy is at its worst if we neglect the conversion and discipleship of our own children.
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” -Jesus (Mark 10:14)
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” -Psalm 127:3
“If you are professing Christians, but cannot say that you have no greater joy than the conversion of your children, you have reason to question whether you ought to have made such a profession at all.” -C.H. Spurgeon
If we cannot see the importance of the conversion of our children in the Bible, then I have to question whether we are actually reading the Bible?
Most societies in all of history have placed little importance on children. Even in the days of Christ, children were hardly citizens and were not minded as much.
Pharisees would ignore them. Scribes would disregard them. But Jesus… Jesus would chase after them.
“Of such are the kingdom of God!”
All over the New Testament Jesus brings the example of God’s Kingdom, of faith, of doctrine and of love back to children. Is not God’s Kingdom, faith, doctrine and love all integral ingredients for revival?
You see, the very heartbeat of revival is found in the example of a child.
It may be in history that children have birthed more revivals than adults, we’ve just never noticed.
Therefore, how much hypocrisy exists when we do not seek the conversion our own children all the while striving to see a revival in our cities? It seems we’re all trying to save eachother’s kids, and not our own.
You not only have been given an incredible stewardship by God as a parent to raise your child(ren) from birth, but only you can train them up in the way that they should go.
Do not be faint of heart in discipling your children, no matter how late in the race of life it may seem. Your godly impact on their lives may very well be the beginning of a revival.
Some closing question to think about.
What if the lack of revival is our greatest indicator that we need to step up the family life?
What if the greatest asset to revival isn’t the preacher, but the families of the church?
What if the best method to preach the gospel to a lost city isn’t door to door evangelism, but child to child discipleship in our own homes?
What if our greatest strategy for revival isn’t to spend money on large outreach events, but to spend quality time investing in our marriages and children?
These are just questions.
I don’t overlook the importance of preaching the gospel, evangelism and outreach events. In fact, I would love to see more of them, but not while families fall by the wayside and marriages struggle to stand up on their own.
I’ve created a cheat sheet of verses right out of the Bible about the family life. Please download it and invest time studying those verses.
I’d like to know your thoughts. Please share by commenting below.