By George Akers
The study of revival is a very intriguing subject. The Acts 2 revival in the New Testament of the original church is captivating. The Day of Pentecost, when the sound of the rushing mighty wind filled all the house and they began to speak with other tongues, was the first move of God after the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s first decision after ascending back into heaven was to pour out Himself upon His church. Receiving the Holy Ghost is more than just an individual experience. This is God’s act to His New Testament church. In fact, His church must be Spirit filled. This was the initial revival in the New Testament. This was the beginning of revivals.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” They did not dream it up. They did not make it up. It was not taught to them in some school of learning. This came directly from the Spirit of God. And the Holy Scriptures tell us “there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.” This is very important to understand. The Holy Ghost did not fall on a bunch of vagabonds. When we think about revival today, we think about sinners, alcoholics and dysfunctional people coming in the church and receiving the Holy Ghost. That’s not what revival is all about; that’s called evangelism. Revival is what happens to God’s church, God’s people. And when the Holy Ghost first fell, He didn’t fall upon sinners.
The Holy Ghost first fell on devout men. And the multitude that gathered outside this upper room heard those filled with the Holy Ghost speaking in the tongues of nations from around the world where they had been born and raised. They were simply Galileans who spoke only Hebrew and Greek languages. But when they heard them speak in tongues, they asked how this could be. They had come from all over the world, and it confused them that these simple Galilean folks were speaking in the tongues of their native land.
What does this mean? That’s a great question. What does this speaking in tongues mean? And the Apostle Peter explained this is something the Prophet Joel prophesied of approximately 800 years ago. Don’t ever give up on God’s Word. It will come to pass. And in the prophecy of Joel, God said, “I’m going to pour out My Spirit all the way up to the end of the world.” This outpouring of God’s Spirit is until the sun is darkened and the moon is turned to blood. So don’t let anybody tell you the days of revival are over. Revival will not be over until the end of the world. Every time a man of God stands in the pulpit and preaches revival, we ought to be on our feet saying, “Amen, I believe that.”
And the Apostle Peter preached, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is very important. What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord? This is a direct reference to a covenant relationship with us through His name. And how do we enter into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ? We enter into covenant with Jesus Christ by being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism, calling on His name, is essential to salvation! Baptism is all through the New Testament, and it is always a command and never a suggestion or just an option. If we are going to enter into a covenant with Jesus Christ as our Lord, we have got to put on His name in the waters of baptism.
Where did this revival take place? It is very important to understand that the first revival in the New Testament took place in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the center of everything that God does. Jerusalem was the scene of many Old Testament revivals under King David, King Josiah, King Hezekiah and others. Jerusalem was the capital of God’s chosen people. This is where we would expect revival to start. Revival must always start with the people of God. So the first New Testament revival took place in the capital city of the chosen people of God. Revival is not something that happens in the world. Revival is something that happens to God’s people. Evangelism is what happens to the sinner; revival is what happens to the church. It’s a work within the body of Christ.
God wants revival in the Apostolic church. And a revival will get noised abroad and draw lost souls. What were the circumstances that led to the revival? Many circumstances prevailed in that day and time. The Romans who were in power were atheists and idolaters, carnal and mean people. But revival was not prevented just because the Romans were in power. The Pharisees were the religious majority. They easily outnumbered everybody else. They didn’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Ghost. They didn’t believe in baptism in Jesus’ name. The Pharisees did not believe in holiness of spirit. They had their own brand of religion. But none of that stopped the Acts 2 revival.
The people were skeptical. They were sick of religion. The attitude was, “Churches are just filled with a bunch of hypocrites.” So many false prophets were giving religion such a name for hypocrisy. But the church had revival in spite of the skepticism. There was political and religious suppression. It did not stop revival. Carnality ruled. It did not stop revival. In our world, drugs and pornography are rampant. Sports in our world has become a religion with athletes as idols. That’s exactly the type of hour Jesus came to. They had the Roman arenas. They had perversion. They were completely submerged in the vileness of iniquity. They worshiped the human body. But it did not stop revival.
There’s not a perversion shop in America that can stop revival. There’s not a brewery in America that can stop revival. There’s not a casino in America that can stop revival. There’s not a situation or circumstance that can stop revival. There’s not enough carnality to stop revival. When God’s church makes up its mind that it needs God more than it needs anything else, revival cannot be stopped.
There had been no word from God for 400 years. What do you think you would be like if you didn’t hear preaching every week? Just think of what it would be like with you if you didn’t hear even one God-anointed sermon for one month? Or how about one year? Folks would go astray, lose holiness, drop doctrines and backslide. How can you hear without a preacher? This generation had not heard from God for 400 years! If you are going to live for God, then you are going to have to possess a made up mind that you’re going to serve God! No preacher for 400 years did not stop revival!
Ritualism prevailed. Dead ritualism did not stop revival. The New Testament church is a leaping, running, shouting, dancing, clapping, singing, praising, worshiping, magnifying and glorifying church. Life contains movement. Ritualism did not stop revival! Rebellion was everywhere. But rebellion. did not stop revival. Greed prevailed. In the day of the Acts 2 revival, greed was so rampant that everybody was lusting for wealth. But greed could not stop revival. Some contend they could have revival if certain things were different and situations were not so difficult.
The truth is that we need to get all the exceptions out of our conversation. There are no special cases that can stop revival. There are no reservations to having revival. There are no exceptions to having revival. America can have revival, no matter what’s going on!
PASTOR GEORGE & ANNIE AKERS
Pastor Akers and his wife, Annie Akers, have served First Apostolic Church (FAC) for over 28 years. Their passion for Sanford, North Carolina is has been shown through their diligent ministry at FAC, in teaching home bible studies, and community outreach events, including: A 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Memorial Service, “We Love Sanford” Community Event, and feeding the families in the aftermath of the natural disasters in 2011.
Pastor Akers is a licensed minister with the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (ALJC) and has served the ALJC in regional and national positions.
Pastor Akers has also authored several church growth materials, including: Home Bible Studies 101 (a 26-lesson bible study), Basic Training for Life Teacher & Student Edition (a 10-lesson new converts course), and God’s Top Five (a collection of sermons).