Spiritual Revival and Restoration:
The Want (or Need/Poverty) of the Church

(That I May Know Him & Rekindling the Fire)

I am Thine O Lord & When the Power of the Lord Descended

Main Texts: Phi.3:7-11; Psa.85:6


To revive literally means to bring back to life. The word presupposes that there was life before. Broken into two: ‘Re’ means again; ‘vive’ has a link with live, hence you find words such alive, survive, preserve, reserve, etc. all have connotations with life, sustenance, continuity, etc
Synonyms: renewal, revitalisation, restoration.
Revival, according to the Word of God, is a quickening process. Reawakening of faith, renewal of spiritual life, having a new beginning, etc.

When we qualify with ‘spiritual’, then we are recognising the fact that it is possible to be physically vibrant but spiritually comatose. I Tim.5:6 says “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.” John 6:63 says “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing …” Scripturally, therefore, spiritual revival is:

  • a returning to God and His ways
  • an outpouring of His power and grace;
  • when God’s power is unleashed on ordinary people, and through, ordinary people, for extra-ordinary things

Why do we need revival or renewal?

There is only one major reason: because naturally, all living systems (both organic and inorganic), left on their own tend toward atrophy (wither/deteriorate/waste away). Passion fades, determination weakens, structures deteriorate, the love/desire to live for God ebbs because of the world’s chaos and lust; etc. The scripture is replete with many stories of revival followed by sin and its devastation that ultimately led to another revival. Psa.107 is replete with the cyclical nature of revival – notice in particular verses 8, 15, 21, 31, and the verses immediately before them. The commonality – there is a good life, then the waywardness and fall, followed by a cry, then God’s response with deliverance/revival, then complacence/fall, etc.

More specifically about our spiritual life, this is what usually happens: we usually begin our faith journey with amazement, genuinely surrendering all to Jesus. We remembered how dark and hopeless life felt apart from Him and then we are saved and filled with joy we never thought possible. Thereafter, we want to tell everyone about God’s love and grace and maybe even contemplate oversea missions. But then legalism or ‘religionism’, distraction, or plain busyness seeps in, and the monotony of religion overshadows our first love. We trade God’s presence for programs; we trade listening to His voice for following the rules! And then our fire begins to go down! Unless we combat this life-stealing progression, we’ll find ourselves drifting slowly but steadily into spiritual apathy. At such a state, we need revival.

The Antidote to Lethargy and the Key to Revival

It is wisdom; which is the application of knowledge; though the commonest answer people proffer is prayers. But do we know what/how to pray if the HS doesn’t help us? Prov.4:7 says “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” The people who live a life of revival are wise people because they have a body of knowledge that they live with. Remember Hos.4:6 here!
There are two sides to the knowledge of those who live a life of revival. First, they are conscious of the fact that God knows them; and second, they hunger and thirst to know more of God. Even literally speaking in our day-to-day life, how far a man goes in life depends substantially on who knows him and who he knows. When we say we know somebody, what do we mean? To know is to be cognisant or aware, acquainted with something/someone. From this definition, it is obvious there will be different levels/depths of knowing. That’s why I Cor.13:9 says ‘For we know in part, we …..’ Some of you here may know my wife, but I doubt if there will be anyone who knows her better than me. Let’s bear this in mind as we examine the two dimensions of knowing that is relevant to us, which are:

I. God knows you

Acts 15: 18 – Known unto God from eternity are all His works. Jer.1:5 – His knowledge of man predates his birth. God has a general knowledge of man. If we take cognisance of this and we live our lives in this consciousness, the evil in our society will be minimal because we know that nothing is hidden from Him, and there is a just recompense for every act (Psa.18:20,24). II Tim.2:19 introduced another dimension of God’s knowledge of man: The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal – ‘the Lord knows those who are His.’ The knowledge of man by God enables Him to separate them into two camps: those who do His will and are therefore are His, and those who do not. Thus, He knows Jesus so well that He delegated His full authority to Him as we see in Matt.28:18, 11:27 (All things have been delivered to Me by My Father ….). In the same way, He knows Judas so well that he is a child of perdition and would be lost. In John 17:12 Jesus says of all His Father gave Him, none was lost except the child of perdition. Implication: Nothing can be hidden, or is hidden from Him. Isa.46:10 says He alone declares the end from the beginning; Psa.139:12 says darkness cannot hide anything from Him because both darkness and light are the same with him. That God knows us inside out should possibly provide some comfort for some of us; perhaps a dread for some also.

  • He knows those who are working for Him to get recognition and those working for Him as their response/expression of love, indebtedness and gratitude for their salvation – Phi.2:12 (Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.). But on the surface, both are working from our own limited sense of judgement.
  • He knows those who are free-riders; they are happy when they say their fellowship or parish have done something great, though they have no hand whatsoever in it
  • He also knows about the last sin we committed – whether someone else knows or not!
The fact of God knowing us inside out should help us check our thoughts, words, actions, habit and character. The thought is at the foundation of whatever we become. Remember how Daddy GO spent 8 days in Open Heavens discussing Phi.4:8?

II. How much of God do we know? – this is talking about the journey to revival

We can make here important inferences from Phi.3:10: - “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
One, despite what he already knew, Paul expressed His gap of knowledge and the desire to know more. Remember Jesus introduced Himself to Paul in Acts 9:5 (I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting), but that was just the beginning – which led to his redemption. Even at the best of knowledge, we can only know a little about God, because He is vast and beyond full comprehension. (“ .....the more I know You, the more I want to know You, Jesus, more of you.” - song). Even those of us He made, can we boast that our spouses know everything about us? Do we – ourselves – know everything about ourselves? But this is not an excuse to give up on seeking to know Him. A life of revival is a life that is given to continual search/seeking after God. And the truth is this: the more of God we know, the humbler we become! And as we reduce and He increases, our spirit man is revived and attuned to God. Two, Paul was specific about the dimensions of the knowledge of Christ that he desires; so it is not a wild goose chase! He said: the power of His resurrection (the expanse of possibilities); and the fellowship of His suffering (this is the process of our character formation). This second aspect – most believers don’t want or talk about. But as the saying goes, no cross, no crown! God allows bad things to happen to good people for many reasons: (i) to test them, (ii) to keep their dependence on Him, (iii) to develop their character and (iv) to create in them capacity to help others – Rom.5:3-5. Whatever bad things are happening to us right now, even while we remain truthful and faithful to the Lord and His word, be assured
that He will ultimately overrule the bad situation and bring good things out of them (2 Cor.4:8-10 talks about diverse challenges the apostles faced – “hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed ….. that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body”; Heb.12:11 – No chastening seems joyful but it afterwards yields peaceable fruit of righteousness. ). Remember what Job said in Job 23:10? (“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”). We stay revived when all our days, when we keep chasing after God, consistently diffusing His fragrance all around us – 2 Cor.2:14-16 “Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life, leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” Explain the Roman triumphant parade here!

Four major ways of knowing Him

a) Through our study of His word (the Scriptures). Psa.119:105 says Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (which means when we walk in the light of His word, we cannot stumble). That’s why Apostle Paul charged Timothy in ITim.4:13 to give attention to reading, to exhortation and to doctrine. In IITim.2:15, the bible admonished that we study the word until we are approved of God.
b) Through specific spiritual revelations. We see many examples of this in the OT. c) Through our contemplation and appreciation of His works. Psa.19:1 says the heavens declare the glory of the Lord, the firmament shows forth His handiwork. Have you thought about the air we breathe, your being fearfully and wonderfully made? In Psa.145:16, the bible says this God we are talking about opened His hand and satisfied the desire of every living thing (plants, animals, man, etc). And it is just one hand that He opened! d) Through our diligent response to His works with our works. I perceive the reason why some of us take God and His work with levity is because we don’t have sufficiently deep knowledge of Him.

It is indeed a big privilege to be in God’s service. If I ask you to choose between working for Unilever and OK Foods, which one will you choose? Why? Or between GTB and Glory MFB? Then why should anybody play with the privilege of being in the Lord’s service?

We all start our career in the Lord’s vineyard by working for God; and He pay us wages. When we have demonstrated faithfulness, He admits us into Partnership and we start working with Him and we share in gains and pains. In the ultimate, when we have become exactly like Him and are dead to ourselves like Apostle Paul, He starts to work through us! (Gal.2:20 – I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.).


Until we improve our knowledge of God and apply this knowledge appropriately, we remain losers and of all men, most miserable. And for that long will revival remains evasive. Dan.11:32 says the people that know their God shall be strong and do exploits. Is this your prayer? The lukewarmness/gap in the church today is the emphasis on the power of resurrection and silence on the fellowship of His sufferings. Another word for lukewarmness is average – the best of the worst and the worst of the best! The fellowship of His suffering is the process of our character formation. Without solid character, revival becomes evasive.


    Since you know everything about me (my going out and my coming in), I need grace to make my way pleasing to You. Give me grace to follow, abundant grace to follow, …. Then ask for Grace to pay the price for knowing God Grace to serve God without holding anything back Sing: It’s not by work of righteousness but by His grace alone …. As I deepen my knowledge of you, keep me alive and complete in You (those are steadily alive have no need for revival!

Part II: Rekindling the Fire:

Please recall that this retreat is about revival. Now we focus on rekindling the fire. To rekindle is to regenerate/relight; and that presupposes that there was once a fire that is ebbing. Recall that God Himself is a type of Fire – albeit a Consuming Fire (Deut.4:24; Heb. 12:29). Therefore, to rekindle the fire is to reconnect with God. Our thesis in this section is about understanding and meeting the conditions precedent to rekindling the fire or reconnecting with God:

    First, waiting on the Lord; and Two, preparing the altar.
After Jesus rose from the dead and before He ascended to heaven, he showed Himself to about 500 disciples (I Cor.15:3-6), all of whom should have tarried in Jerusalem till they be imbued with power from on high. But by the time of Pentecost, 40 days after, only 120 remained (Acts 1:15). Waiting is not something average people love to do.

To ‘wait on’ is not only about fasting; but (more significantly to be at the service of the Lord. Feeble people cannot be waiters, hence the declaration in Isa.40:31 – “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” When we choose to wait on the Lord, no matter how small/unattractive our beginning may be, our latter end will increase greatly; Job 8:7. Prov.23:18 – “For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.” We therefore make the first important point: the fire of revival will fall upon those who have steadfastly waited for it. Let’s see how Acts 2: 1-4 buttress this point: 1. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The ‘quick fix’ mentality that has engulfed the church today is one of the reasons why revival is elusive. The fire will not fall until we have tarried in His presence; until we stop timing God during fellowships! We should avoid the following as they would not augur well for revival:
(i) Jumping from church/parish to another – for a variety of reasons,
(ii) Unhealthy rivalry between denominations – church as merchandise!; and
(iii) ‘Judging God’ for poor performance/response’ to ‘our good works’.
The second important point: the altar must be prepared/repaired for the fire to fall. 1 Ch 21:26 – David made an altar to the Lord and called upon the Lord, and God answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. 2 Ch 7:1 – Solomon had made a great sacrifice to the Lord; when he had made an end of praying the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices. I Kings 18:20-40, esp. 38 – Elijah squared off with Ahab and the false prophets of Baal upon Mt Carmel. V.30 says “… And he (Elijah) repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.”

Today’s Altar

It is our hearts, and we can learn about how fire can come back there from David’s experience as chronicled in Psa.51. The chapter contains David’s prayer of repentance after Prophet Nathan had confronted him with his sin of adultery.

1. He approached God with humility, recognizing who he was in light of who God was.

After being confronted for his sexual sin, David repented. He asked for God’s mercy according to His unfailing love (Psalm 51:1-2). This demonstrated his complete dependency on God and his understanding that he wasn’t worthy to stand in God’s presence. He did so based on God’s love and grace alone. He needed and asked for God’s mercy, which was based on His love.

2. He acknowledged the condition of his heart and asked for cleansing.

“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin,” he prayed. “For I know my transgression, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psa.51:1-2; 139:23-24).
If we fail to deal with sin, it will harden our hearts, dull our spiritual sensitivity, and mute God’s voice. Sin distances us from Him, but confession draws us near.

3. He asked for spiritual rejuvenation.

This is my favourite part of David’s prayer and are words I love to say often:
“… Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (v. 11-12).
Nothing could compare or compete with the love we experience in Christ, and nothing could hold us back from pursuing the One who had so earnestly pursued us.
If this day, our hearts have begun to harden, we can ask God to bring us back to that place of repentance again. We can ask Him to restore the joy we experienced the moment we first believed.

4. One Final Point: Big Fires Usually Start as a Spark

Most powerful and enduring movements often start small, just like most infernos (Jam.3:5b), and that’s why Zec.4:10 asked rhetorically: “For who has despised the day of small things?” If a spark of fire is not quenched, it will become wild. So also is the move of revival fire. A further illustration is in Eze.47:1-12 – water flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. And when measured at every 1000 cubits. At first measure, it came to the ankles; then to the knees, then to the waist, then it becomes a river that could not be crossed. By V.13, we see that at the bank of the river grows trees that will be producing fruits ceaselessly every month – the fruit is for food, and the leaves for medicine. That is revival hat’s the anticipation of John 7:37-38 – “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” We are talking about ‘rivers’ now; not just water.
Still talking about the small becoming big, in His parable of the mustard seed in Matt.13: 31- 32, Jesus demonstrated that although it is the smallest of all seeds, the mustard grows to become a tree that birds of the air come and nest in its branches. Meaning: the most powerful revivals need not begin in a sanctuary or tented pavilion, but in a quietly bowed heart that yields completely to God within.
Therefore, revival is a combination of roles between an individual (you and I) and the HS. Our role: You & I: we wait on the Lord; and we prepare/repair the altar. And I plead with everyone: today if you have heard His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion – Heb.3:7,15; 4:7).
The Holy Spirit’s role: to ignite the fire, guide, teach, strengthen, and to grow. (Another biblical description of revival is Eze.37:1-10) We can re-enact Pentecost here today; provided we meet the conditions:
Hymn: when the power of God descended Chorus: As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after You

Father, we repent of our lukewarmness today, our backsliding, our backstabbing, our empty busyness, our substitution of legalism and religious acts for weightier matters of love for You and Yours, etc
Father we come together in one accord today, and we ask that you immerse us in Your Spirit and release Your fire upon us. Remember Your promise that we will receive power AFTER the Holy Ghost has come upon us
Father, release fresh fire upon us today: to remove our dross and set us aglow for You and Your works

Last Line

As we make our ways back home today, let’s remember: we cannot live for Christ in our own strength. We need to stay connected to the vine, yielding to His Spirit and continually asking Him to purge everything within that threatens to pull us from Him. This is how one experiences a fresh wave of God again and again.
Revival isn’t an event or a moment. It’s a spark within the heart that explodes until everyone and everything we encounter becomes engulfed in God’s love. We need this type of personal revival. Our churches and nation need us to experience this as well, because we must experience God’s power within if we want to live it out. That is true revival, and that type of revival changes us and everyone we encounter.

S. Olufemi Adebiyi
Pastor, Christ the Light Parish; &


"..., Truly I tell you what ever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did for me".

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