Friday, March 13, 2009

Why God Brings Revival

More notes from Iain Murray's Pentecost - Today? on why God brings revival (pages 71-72)
  • for a great enlargement of the church and usher in a new era of evangelism
  • to establish new agencies -- missionary societies, Bible and tract societies, and organisations to remedy social sufferings and evils
  • to raise up young men and women prepared to raise the next generation by building godly homes
  • to bring home the elect before their lives are cut short in epidemics or natural disasters
  • to give special encouragement to the godly before the onset of persecution or other trials
"The sovereignty of God, far from being seen as a discouragement to our efforts, ought to be seen as an eminent reason for hope and expectancy. Ignoring divine sovereignty may appear to give more room for enthusing over human organisation and activity but the truth is that the church has always accomplished most when she has most deeply realised her own helplessness. Dependence upon God is our greatest need; it focuses our attention upon what he can do; and it makes his glory a supreme reason for all our concerns." (p. 74)

Quotes on the relationship between God's sovereignty and Man's responsibility

from Pentecost - Today? The Biblical Basis for Understanding Revival, by Iain H. Murray discussing the question "what is the cause of my salvation? or what is the cause of revival?"

"God gives promises and duties as 
instrumental means to blessing, not as causes, for the grace of God is in the means as well as in the result. God's act does not follow man's, rather the divine and human agency are conjoined so that we find that what is required of man is also attributed to God." (See Ezek 36:26, 18:31; Eph 2:5, 5:14) "In all these things man is active, and conscious of his own responsibility, but at the same time he is dependent upon God 'who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure' (Phil 2:13)." (p. 62)

"That both sovereignty and responsibility coexist without the one destroying the other is unmistakably clear in the words of Christ concerning Judas." (Luke 22:22)

[And we must come to terms with the fact that this coexistence of man's responsibility and God's sovereignty is nowhere explained in the Bible. Spurgeon said of this, "I cannot comprehend it: without hesitation I believe it, and rejoice so to do, I never hope to comprehend it. I worship a God I never expect to comprehend."]

John Owen, "Our duty is to apply ourselves unto his commands and his work is to enable us to perform them." (p. 63) While God has appointed means and promises, such is our spiritual incapacity that if it were not for his enabling grace no good would ever be done by us. To make human action the cause of divine blessing is to overturn the whole nature of salvation. It would be the same as interpreting our Lord's words, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well,' as though he was indeed saying the woman was the author of her own new health. (p. 64)