Seven Marks of True Revival

Isaiah 32:1-20


Though this chapter is applicable to Hezekiah and his reign, it is clearly a prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ and his reign today as our great King. The King here spoken of is Christ. The kingdom described is the Gospel Kingdom, the Church of God. The time referred to is this present gospel age.


I do not pretend to understand much about revival; but I seriously question what men commonly call “revival.” When I hear men talk about or I read about the “great revivals” of the past, I am convinced that the things they are talking about are nothing but religious delusions. Men who should know better speak of fits of religious ecstasy as signs of revival.


This much I do know, if the message preached is not the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, the result is not revival, but delusion. The preaching of heresy is damning, not saving. The preaching of Arminian, freewill, works religion never results in revival. — Wherever there is true reviva1, a genuine restoration of divine worship, the seven things spoken of in Isaiah 32 will be evident.


1. Christ is exalted as Lord and Savior (vv. 1-2). — There is no revival where the mediatorial offices of Christ are not known. Wherever Christ rules in the heart he is known, used and enjoyed as the sinner's all-sufficient Substitute.


2. True prophets are restored to God's church (vv. 3-8). — In times of spiritual darkness vile, covetous men fill the pulpits of churches and are looked upon as good men. When revival comes, faithful pastors rule as princes in the house of God, teaching his truth, the gospel of his free and sovereign grace in Christ.


3. God's saints repent, lamenting and confessing their sins (vv. 9-14). — It is our carnal ease, presumption and neglect of Christ that makes us desolate. When the Lord God pours out his Spirit upon his people, he causes us to know and confess the evil that is in us.


4. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the church (vv. 15-16). — Where once there was emptiness, barrenness and desolation, there is fulness, fruitfulness and joy.


5. The work of Christ is magnified (v. 17). — The work of his righteousness, not ours, is peace. The effect of his righteousness, not ours, is assurance forever. It is his work that is our salvation, brings us joy and glorifies God.


6. The worship of Christ is restored (vv. 18-19). — Sinners are gathered into the church and the saints of God dwell together in peace.


7. The gospel is preached near and far (v. 20). — Whatever revival is, it certainly results in the church of God being filled with a sense of urgency in evangelism and missionary work. We must preach the gospel to every creature. When God moves upon his church, his church moves the world. Without him, we only amuse it!


Don Fortner



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