Discerning True Revival—And the Counterfeit

If you study accounts of the Azusa Street Revival, you'll find some clues. (Pixabay)

2016 marked the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, which, as many of you know was the birth of an amazing movement of God that we are still experiencing today. As part of our commemoration of this historic event, we released the first official edition of Revival Magazine, a collection of articles, testimonies and prose dedicated to the purposes of God's glorious presence. I wrote this article to describe the different stages of revival, helping us to identify revival and steward a move of God with grace and wisdom. I hope you are inspired and encouraged by this article to dive into the purpose that God has for you as a revivalist and a reformer!

In certain streams of the church, "revival" is a word you can grow accustomed to hearing frequently. As for myself, I have lived with revival burning in my heart from the day I gave my life to the Lord in May of 1973. I was saved in the Jesus People Movement—a time of extraordinary salvations, awakening and unmistakable harvest. Later, I was present during the Toronto Blessing and encountered the Holy Spirit in a way that changed Harvest Rock Church and me forever. In fact, when I returned from Toronto, revival broke out in our home meetings in Pasadena, and our church multiplied nearly overnight, eventually leading us to hold protracted meetings five nights a week for three years.

I believe that we are walking into a time of fullness and the Holy Spirit as never before, the kind of overflowing of the Holy Spirit that Jesus described in John 2:

Six water pots made of stone were sitting there, used for ceremonial cleansing by the Jews, containing twenty to thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, 'Fill the water pots with water.' And they filled them up to the brim. Then He said to them, 'Now draw some out, and take it to the master of the feast.' And they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water that had been turned into wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who drew the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom, and he said to him, 'Every man serves the good wine first, and after men have drunk freely, then the poor wine is served. But you have kept the good wine until now'" (John 2:6-10).

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I am contending for an invasion of heaven to impact the earth with a new wave of revival, unlike anything we have seen before. I am talking about "Revival" with a capital R.

But, what does that mean? Or more specifically, what does revival look like tangibly?

We can look at revival history and testimonies of the past to recognize patterns and indicators of revival to come.

I believe that biblically and historically there are three recognizable signs of revival:

  1. Awakening takes place. The church awakens. Believers repent and return to their first love.
  2. Unbelievers get saved. In other words, the "harvest is here."
  3. Transformation of society takes place. The church in the geographical area of awakening and harvest makes an impact on the city and region. We have seen this transformation of society with the Second Great Awakening and the impact the church had on social reform in multiple arenas.

The apostle Peter himself preached,

Therefore repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the one who previously was preached to you, Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must receive until the time of restoring what God spoke through all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21).

The kind of Revival with a capital R that I am talking about is both the reform and restoration of all things.

Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the founding pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the founder and president of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.

This article originally appeared at hrockchurch.com.

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