There is a craving within churches for a period of renewal. I have heard many pastors cry out from the pulpit that there needs to be a spiritual revival in the Body of Christ. For that to become a reality, some look to itinerate evangelists that have a “gift” to get people to rekindle their dwindling fires. The majority of “revivalists” emphasize emotional responses as evidence of a revived individual. There is no doubt there are churches that need reviving, but before one addresses that issue, there needs to be an understanding of how people got to the stage of lukewarmness in the first place.
Much of the preaching today is keyed to what people want to hear, instead of what they need to hear. If a person can go away from a service feeling no remorse for his sinful actions something is wrong. If a person can leave a service without any thought of taking spiritual action, something is wrong. If a person can lift up hands in praise and worship even though his life is in conflict with God’s Word, something is wrong. If a person can’t forgive a person that has hurt them, something is wrong. So much of the preaching today caters to what people already know. It is a repetition of basics with no thought of advanced truths. It is a feel-good atmosphere. Sin consciousness is reverted to others instead of themselves. Exposing the flaws of others is as close to addressing the sin question as some Believers dare to venture. Popular preaching evolves around presenting Biblical blessings without any accountability of personal actions. We are all sinners saved by Grace, but to allow sin to influence our behavior at the cost of losing our commitment to the Lord is “spiritual treason.” For Pastors to know of sin within the Body of Christ and do nothing about it, is a sin in itself.
The ministry of an Evangelist is to preach the Gospel to the unsaved, not to the saved. Yet churches “hire” outside personalities to present a series of messages to bring lukewarm Believers to a recommitment. If every Pastor/Teacher would preach what the Holy Spirit was leading him to say, there would be no need for revival services, for the peoples' love of Jesus would be evidenced by their zeal to serve Him. So many people come to church seeking comfort instead of change. There can be no lasting comfort while sin occupies one’s thoughts and actions. Today, people can attend church and even involve themselves in worship while actively engaged in sinful behavior outside the church and not think twice about it.
I recently attended a church where in the very beginning of the service, the whole congregation read a printed paragraph that acknowledged their sins and asked God’s forgiveness. The pastor then reinforced the Scripture that assures every Believer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. If every Believer would acknowledge his disobediences, whether of commission or omission, and accept Jesus’ forgiveness, there would be no need for revival meetings. Active sin will hinder church growth. As long as sin is not dealt with by acknowledgment and repentance, there will always be inconsistency in the Believers life!
I believe there are three areas that, if pursued, would help to bring about immunity from lukewarmness: 1. Be steadfast: settled and secure in what you believe. 2. Be immovable: firmly committed and persistent in your faith. 3. Abound in the work of the Lord: excessive, overflowing and persistent. (I Corinthians 15:58) If your light is shining brightly, it will be hard to slip into the shadows of faith.