So, You Want A
Biblical look at the
Evangelical Back to God
So you want a revival?
The term revival, when applied to spiritual matters, means to bring back to life, to revive a spiritual
status previously dormant, to raise the spiritual temperature far above lukewarm. Some have called it a
Great Spiritual Awakening, a true realization of God's presence in the life of His children. During a revival,
God empowers those who preach, as well as convicting those who listen. The result is many souls saved and
truly converted. Revivals become periods of true repentance. Sinners see their hell-deserving condition
before a thrice Holy God. Christians see the portion of the world that have ingrained itself within their
souls, and feverishly remove it like they would a grain of sand irritating their eyes.
We get a taste of what revivals are like every time we see the early church described in the Book of Acts.
We find, in one day, there was "added unto them about THREE THOUSAND SOULS" (Acts 2:41). We see
the disciples "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH
DAILY such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). We read about Peter and John's willingness to be God's
instruments and, "Howbeit many of them which heard the word BELIEVED; and the number of the men
was about FIVE THOUSAND" (Acts 4:4). On and on through those first chapters we see that "the word of
God increased; and THE NUMBER OF THE DISCIPLES MULTIPLIED in Jerusalem greatly; and a great
company of the priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7).
Many evangelicals today are hoping that a revival occurs during their lifetime. Recent efforts to get
Back to God, by such organizations as the Christian Coalition, Promise Keepers, and others, is adding fuel
to that hope. A recent evangelical publication even stated that: "Hope is rising, and men are praying, for a
river of revival in America. And believers from all streams of the church are responding."
However, the key to having revival is a REPENTANT ATTITUDE, and that means a resolve to do things
God's way, according to His Word. And if evangelicals want a revival, they're going to have to repent of
many of their present methods, and steer their Back to God movement in the right direction. For one
thing, they have to. . . .
. . .Stop Their UNSCRIPTURAL method of EVANGELISM.
In Matthew 28:19-20, we find Jesus, on the verge of ascending into heaven, telling His church: "Go ye
therefore, and TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost: TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and,
lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." These marching orders are commonly
known as the Great Commission because Jesus commissioned His church to:
"...TEACH ALL NATIONS..." Which means to teach people the Gospel - evangelize them.
"...BAPTIZING THEM..." Means to, once saved, make them a member of a local church (1 Cor. 12:13)
"...TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS..." Means to disciple them in Biblical doctrine.
These three commands are all equally important. You can't just follow one and ignore the rest, as
many evangelists do when they blow into a town, evangelize it, and then move on like a rock group on
a concert tour. God's way is not to lead them and leave them, and here's a good reason why:
The Bible says, when a person is truly saved, "HE IS A NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away;
BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW" (2 Cor. 5:17). The Apostle Peter, advising this new creature,
says: "As NEWBORN BABES, DESIRE THE SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD, that ye MAY GROW thereby."
(1 Pet. 2:2) The newly saved person is like a NEWBORN BABE, hungering and desiring spiritual
nourishment from God's Word.
Now, you wouldn't abandon a newborn, leaving him to fend for himself. Nor does God expect His
church to abandon a new creature in Christ. That is why the Great Commission not only says to SAVE
THEM, but also to baptize them into a local church body made up of new creatures like himself. And once a
part of that body: feed them, teach them-DISCIPLE THEM.
Much of the evangelism we see today does little, if anything, to disciple someone who makes a
profession of faith in Christ.
A CASE IN POINT: Often tagged "the next Billy Graham," Evangelist Luis Palau has preached to more
than 11 million people in 62 countries. In 1996, during an eight week period ending on Memorial Day, he
held a campaign called "Say Yes Chicago with Luis Palau." An Evangelical publication stated that: "The
campaign proclaimed the gospel to some 130,000 people at 75 events throughout the Chicago area. More
than 9,400 individuals made public commitments to Jesus Christ during the efforts." There is no mention
of whether or not these 9,400 were baptized into a local church body and fed God's Word.
The article does say: "Chicago is a very religious place, but so many are confused and lost, Palau
preached. Many people are churched but they don't know what to do to receive Christ." So those 9,400
probably returned to their old churches, which according to Palau, don't know how to teach someone how
to receive Christ. It's safe to assume that those churches couldn't disciple a truly saved person either.
Compare that with the way the early church did it during their revival: "Then they that gladly
received his word WERE BAPTIZED: and the same day there were ADDED UNTO THEM ABOUT THREE
THOUSAND SOULS. And they CONTINUED STEDFASTLY IN THE APOSTLES' DOCTRINE and fellowship, and
in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:41-42). Notice that those who were preached the Gospel, and
got saved, were baptized into the membership of that local church body, continued in that church and
were taught the doctrine of Christ. This is The Great Commission in a nutshell.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: an article about Pat Robertson, Christianity Today (8/12/96), states: "Through his
television ministries, Robertson has seen millions of conversions, and today, in overseas venues, he is
seeing a far greater harvest than ever before. (Our organization, CBN, over thirty years of ministry had
about 2 million people that came to the Lord. In the last five years we've had 52 million decisions in
Russia, Romania, the Philippines, Latin America. . .)." An obvious question comes to mind to anyone
who reads this: "How on Earth has CBN been able to follow- up on all these conversions?" THE ANSWER
IS, IT CAN'T, nor could it, even if it wanted to, because since CBN prides itself on being able to reach
people in places that have no Bible-believing churches, there would be no place to plug them into once
they have made a profession of faith. This is not to say that CBN shouldn't even try to reach the lost, but
wouldn't it be more in accord with the Great Commission for them to have an aggressive church planting
ministry to go along with their televised outreach? If they have such a ministry, why isn't it publicized
Follow Paul through his evangelistic/missionary journeys and you'll find him planting churches
everywhere he went. He didn't just blow into town, get people saved, and then leave without establishing a
church body for them to assemble in and grow spiritually. For example, during Paul's first missionary
journey, the Bible says: "And when they had PREACHED THE GOSPEL to that city, and had TAUGHT MANY,
they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, CONFIRMING THE SOULS of the disciples,
and EXHORTING THEM TO CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, and that we must through much tribulation enter
into the kingdom of God. And when they had ORDAINED THEM ELDERS IN EVERY CHURCH, and had
prayed with fastinq, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." (Acts 14:21-23)
This was typical of Paul as he went from city to city, "And so were the CHURCHES ESTABLISHED in the
faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5). He was faithful in carrying out the ENTIRE Great
Now, when one considers examples like these, you have to wonder: are most evangelical leaders
ignorant of God's Word? Don't they know about the Great Commission? Do they know about it
but don't care and try to explain it away? Or, as shocking as this may sound, ARE THEY EVEN SAVED IN
THE FIRST PLACE? This last question is not unreasonable when you consider that Jesus Christ warned
that: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. MANY WILL SAY TO ME IN THAT DAY, LORD, LORD, HAVE
WE NOT PROPHESIED IN THY NAME? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many
wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work
iniquity" (Mat. 7:21-23).
Read that sobering scene again, and pay particular attention to the words: "HAVE WE NOT PROPHESIED
IN THY NAME?" To Prophesy means to preach, and tragically Jesus will tell some preachers that they are
not truly saved. And if they're not, what does that say about the people they supposedly led to Christ? Are
they saved themselves? How many of Palau's 9,400 actually got saved? How many of Robertson's 52
million were truly converted?
Unfortunately, due to the lack of follow-up, we'll never know, and neither will those millions that were
led. Any false professions they made will not be weeded out thanks to the negligence of those evangelists,
and many others like them. Many of those that were led will find themselves standing before God one day,
only to hear Him say: "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Mat. 7:21-23). And
that's one very important reason why God wants the ENTIRE Great Commission carried out. In fact, let me
relate to you my own experience with the no follow- up evangelism prevalent among Evangelicals.
Some years ago, while watching the Trinity Broadcast Network (a CBN clone), I made a profession of
faith. A Television evangelist led me in that profession, and then urged me to let him know, by phone, of
my glorious conversion. I called and after being read a pre-written, mechanically dictated, congratulations
by a volunteer phone operator, they took down my address in order to send me some material. When
their envelope arrived, it contained a salvation certificate, an NIV John- Romans, and of all things, a pre-
addressed envelope requesting a love offering. There was no address of a good Bible preaching church for
me to plug into; my discipleship was left up to me. A month later, another letter arrived. There was no
"how are you doing spiritually?" or, for that matter, any Bible literature of any kind. It was just another
self-addressed envelope with a reminder to send the love offering.
A year later, I attended a true Bible-believing church where my false profession was exposed. And when I
got TRULY saved, the first thing that church said was: God wants you to join this local church body so you
can grow spiritually. As a new creature in Christ, that made perfect sense to me. Looking back, I know
that, if left solely up to TBN, I would not have realized my false profession, and I, too, would be hearing
Jesus say: "I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Mat. 7:21).
Friend, I hope you realize that the Back to God movement we see around us will never experience a
true, God-sent, revival if it continues to ignore, among other things, God's command to carry out the
entire Great Commission. I hope you realize that there is a possibility that many of its leaders are not
even saved. But even more importantly, if you are an evangelical, I pray that you will "Examine yourselves,
whether ye be in the faith..." (2 Cor. 13:5)
Are you sure that you are saved? Did you make a profession of faith under a condition similar to one of
the examples that we talked about? If you did, are you a member of a true Bible believing, Bible teaching
church? Have you grown spiritually since? Are you a new creature, and have old sins passed away? If most
of what you have just read is new to you, then that is a good indication that you're not being fed properly.
You could be living with a false profession and not realize it until you hear Jesus say one day: "I NEVER
KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Mat. 7:21).
Please read the plan of salvation located on the back [below].
And if you have any questions, contact the address indicated.
IF You were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps
you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Rom. 3:23.
And Jesus, referring to sinners, said that He:
"shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity [sinners];
And shall cast them into
a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth." Mat. 13:41-42
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good deeds,
church membership, self-righteousness are all
examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved
is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the
way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by me."
(John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us."
(Rom. 5:8-9) THEREFORE: You must REPENT
(change your mind); admit that you are a Hell
deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And
call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine
heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:9
SEND THE LIGHT
P.O. Box 815 Fargo, ND 58107
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]