Why do revivals and moves of God dry up and die or greatly diminish from their original strength? What has happened to denominations like Methodism, Lutheranism, and Presbyterianism that began in a blaze of spiritual fire and revelation, but then gradually decreased over the years? What of the Salvation Army and other para-church organizations? Here in this thought provoking article we will endeavor to reveal the roots of spiritual decline and offer Spirit-designed solutions to keeping the fires of revival burning through time.
Today’s church needs to be reinvented. It is not possible to read the New Testament without any preconceived notions and a traditional mind-set, and realize how different the spirit, the structure, and emphasis of the early Church was in comparison to much of the Church today.
There are three aspects of the New Testament Church I’d like to briefly address: Life, doctrine, and structure. Revival is the restoration of divine life. That has to do with the wine of the Spirit. The New Testament writers penned much about the inner life of the believer. They also were diligent to lay down a foundation of sound doctrine. And thirdly, they established a form of church government or structure that promoted liberty among ministers and members of the body of Christ, and removed the controls out of the hands of any one individual.
When Jesus came on the scene many of the Jewish scribes and religious leaders did not receive him mainly because of those three areas. Jesus taught and practiced a life that they could not grasp. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of all men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:4-5).” They also could not understand his doctrine. “What is this? What new doctrine is this? (Mk 1:27)”. And thirdly, they couldn’t corral him or confine him to their own structure and way and system of doing things. “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day” (Lk 13:14).
In this small excerpt from my newest book, The Nature of the Kingdom of God, we will focus on the structure, or the wineskin, if you will. And because Jesus carried the new wine of the Spirit to the earth a new wineskin was a necessity. The scribes and religious leaders did not understand this either.